Political Humor: “Healthcare Reform Will Not Be Televised”

January 22, 2010

As a general rule, we don’t talk politics here at On Deaf Ears. First, because it’s not that kind of site, and second, because our writers’ views are all over the place, from solidly conservative to very liberal with some stops in between.

But music and politics do intersect sometimes, and we’ve occasionally had coverage from the perspective of both our liberal writers and our conservative, uh, writer (who happens to be me).

This one I had to share.

Older readers, counterculture types, and music geeks are likely familiar with Gil Scott-Heron’s “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.” Scott-Heron’s compelling proto-hip-hop blend of beat poetry and jazz has been a leftist anthem for decades now, even lending its name to the title of a documentary generally viewed as pro-Hugo Chavez.

Gil Scott-Heron – “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised”

Enter conservative musician, comedian, and guerrilla filmmaker, AlfonZo Rachel.

Zo (as he is affectionately known) serves up a brilliant parody, mocking President Obama’s repeated and transparently false claims that the congressional debates on the planned government takeover of health care, which is one-sixth of the economy and affects the lives of every American, would be aired on C-SPAN. Instead, we got shady backroom deals that handed out privileges to labor unions that the rest of us won’t enjoy and bought the votes of Ben Nelson (D-Nebraska) and Mary Landrieu (D-Louisiana). It finally reached the point where even a liberal like Jack Cafferty was calling the president a liar on national television and even a deep-blue state like Massachusetts was willing to elect a Republican to the Senate in an effort to stop the bill.

Healthcare reform was not televised. If it was, maybe the bill wouldn’t be hanging by a rapidly-fraying thread.

AlfonZo Rachel – “Healthcare Reform Will Not Be Televised”

The parody is so perfectly executed, I have to think that even that ol’ lefty Gil Scott-Heron got a kick out of it.

(Wikipedia has a good guide to the references made by Scott-Heron in “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.”)


Who Dat?!? (“The Saints Are Coming” by the Skids)

January 16, 2010

No matter who wins the Cowboys-Vikings game tomorrow, next week will be the ultimate battle of good versus evil. And evil better look out, because…

The Saints Are Coming.

RIP Jimmy Lee Lindsey Jr., aka Jay Reatard (May 1, 1980 – January 13, 2010)

January 13, 2010

News came down today that Jay Reatard has passed away at the tender age of 29.  Reatard was a controversial figure in rock, not just because of his name, but also his on and offstage antics, which involved picking fights with his audiences and firing his whole band at will, among others.  However, Jay was a truly prolific artist who released tons of material, whether as a solo artist or member of tons of other bands.  And it all just kept getting better and better.  The man was surely in the prime of his artistic life, releasing killer song after song (many later released as singles compilations) and two brilliant solo albums (2006’s Blood Visions and 2009’s Watch Me Fall).  It’s a shame to lose such a promising talent so young, and many rock fans will be left to wonder what greatness they have missed out on with his passing.

I only dedicated one short blog post to Jay Reatard back in 2008, but I aim to correct that soon.  Watch this space for posthumous reviews of each of his solo albums as well as his singles compilations.  RIP, Jay.  To quote one of your song titles, “Oh, it’s such a shame.”

Jay Reatard – “Always Wanting More”

That Ain’t Country: “Sara Smile” by Jimmy Wayne

January 11, 2010

The sad state of what is now considered to be popular country music is a topic of much ire for me, a subject which I have touched upon a few times on this blog, most notably here.  The girlfriend/fiancee mentioned in that particular post and others is now my wife, and she still holds the same baffling predilection for country radio.  Therefore I hear modern country radio on a daily basis, whether I like it or not (definitely not).  There have been a few gems encountered amongst the soul-crushing crap, such as this still respected song by the Randy Rogers Band, but for the most part, it’s all hideous pop masquerading as country music (I’m looking at you, Taylor Swift/Lady Antebellum!).  Dress up any old pop tune with a  drop of fiddle here, a pinch of mandolin there, maybe a dash of banjo, and you now have the recipe for what passes as country music.

So I was sitting at the breakfast table a few weeks back, trying as hard as possible to block out the stream of Country Top 40 crap blaring out at me at way too early in the morning for such things, when I noticed that what I was listening to at that particular moment was even less country than usual!  In fact, it almost sounded like… R&B?  “Wait,” I thought to myself, “Why in the hell are they playing Hall and Oates on a country station?”  I would soon come to find out that I was not in fact listening to Hall and Oates (although they apparently assisted with this version), but instead to a “country” artist named Jimmy Wayne.

Now, I have been somewhat shocked to hear in recent years that Hall and Oates somehow have the respect and admiration of the current hipster community.  Not the most expected fanbase for them, I would think, but what do I know?  I myself have never been much of a fan of any of their music outside of “She’s Gone,” which admittedly is a great tune. Some of their other 70’s material is listenable, and their 80’s material is downright lame, but “Sara Smile” has always been such a non-entity of a song to me.  It’s got a similar blue-eyed Philly soul template to “She’s Gone,”  but it has always seemed to have such a watered down flavor, lacking in that authenticity that “She’s Gone” captures so well.  No shocker that it was the song that put the group on the map.  Watered-down-whiteboy-AM-soul music in the 70’s?  “Yes, please!” screamed audiences.

“Sara Smile” by Hall and Oates

Then there’s this cover by Jimmy Wayne.  What is added to this cover?  What distinguishes it from the original?  The smattering of banjo and fiddle is just barely even there, just enough to give someone the opportunity to justify its place on country radio.  Admittedly, Jimmy Wayne sings this song well, perhaps even better than Daryl Hall, but who cares?  This song bores the crap out of me, and the cover is even more unecessary than the original.

“Sara Smile” by Jimmy Wayne (featuring Daryl Hall and John Oates)

If you have never heard Mr. Wayne’s cover of this song before and this is your first listen, please explain to me how this song fits on modern country radio?  It’s not as insipid or blatantly ridiculous as Taylor Swift’s Avril-Lavigne-with-a-fiddle act, but do we really want our country stations to move in the AM Gold direction after already losing the country airwaves to tweener pop?  I guess at this point, it doesn’t matter.  Country and pop have become one, and there’s no stopping it, especially since this stuff is vastly outselling the other musical genres.

However, in regards to this Jimmy Wayne song, I will paraphrase David Allen Coe and say, “If that’s country, I’ll kiss your ass.”

Introducing Idolpundit!

January 11, 2010

As you may recall, last year Jason and I did significant blogging on American Idol. This is a music blog, and while some may not care to admit it, Idol is music. On rare occasions, it’s even music of a very high caliber (Adam Lambert’s “Tracks of My Tears,” for example).

At the same time, the posts didn’t really fit. This is a record-geek sort of place, and the mass injection of pop culture that these posts delivered made for an odd and not entirely appropriate combination.

Because of this, we have elected not to cover American Idol here this year, even though those posts were among our most popular.

Instead, I am pleased to announce the launch of our sister site, Idolpundit!

If you’re an Idol viewer visiting because you liked our coverage last year, you’ll find all of our old Idol posts there. Jason and I will provide the same sort of coverage this season. We’ve also got two new writers who I think you’ll like a lot.

So drop on by and spread the word! Idolpundit.com.

Below is just a small taste of the awesomeness you’ll get at Idolpundit.

Nikki McKibbin – “Cry Little Sister”

The King is 75

January 8, 2010

Today would be the 75th birthday of Elvis Aaron Presley.  There have been plenty of things said about “the King of Rock and Roll”, but his stage presence and showmanship are pretty undeniable.  When I was a kid, my Dad kept a steady rotation of Kenny Rogers, the Beach Boys, and of course Elvis pumping through the 8-track player in his ’77 Cadillac (no lie).  As I’m writing this, I’m visiting my family at their home in Louisiana.  As I walked in the front door, I was greeted by Elvis performing this southern anthem during his 1970 Vegas performance in the documentary “Elvis: That’s the Way It Is”.  The song, Polk Salad Annie, written by Tony Joe White, was set less than 30 miles from where I am right now.  My Dad, a die-hard Elvis fan, had never seen Elvis perform this song until now.

If you read this tonight, head over to TCM as they’re having an Elvis marathon.