Posts Tagged ‘blues’

Yesterday, I wrote about the attacks of liberal mainstream economists on Bernie Sanders and one of his economic advisers, Gerald Friedman.

Today, Neil Irwin tries to explain why the “liberal wonkosphere has a problem with Bernie Sanders.”

there may be something broader going on here beyond the specific disagreements about growth assumptions, or cost savings from a single-payer health system, or how to regulate the financial system.

Behind closed doors, among the left-of-center policy types who populate the congressional offices, executive agencies and think tanks of Washington, I’ve seen enough eye rolls when Mr. Sanders’s name comes up to suspect something more tribal is going on.

The wonkosphere vs. Bernie clash is not just a story of center-left versus left-left. It is also a clash between those who have been in the trenches of trying to make public policy for the last seven years versus those who can exist in a kind of theoretical world of imagining what public policy ought to be.

That’s pretty much what I argued yesterday: “The liberal mainstream economists who are now attacking Sanders and Friedman seem to be taking it personally, as if their monopoly on analysis and policy has been challenged.”

Irwin concludes by asserting that Sanders needs to mend “fences with left-of-center policy wonks.”

Alternatively, liberal mainstream economists might want to put aside their delicate sensibilities and, to invoke a saying from a time when a similar standoff between liberals and radicals took place, stop being part of the problem and start being part of the solution.


I spent a lot of time over the years browsing and purchasing items from the inventory of music, especially jazz and blues, at Chicago’s Jazz Record Mart. I also enjoyed taking friends from out of town there.

Now, due to rising rent, the shop that billed itself as “The World’s Largest Jazz and Blues Record Store” has closed its doors.

Jonny Winter RIP

Posted: 17 July 2014 in Uncategorized
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Jonny Winter was one of the great guitarists to emerge in the blues revival of the 1960s and 1970s.

Here are a few more of his songs that have become classics:



Magic Slim RIP

Posted: 22 February 2013 in Uncategorized
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Chicago blues guitarist Magic Slim died yesterday at the age of 75.

Said Bruce Iglauer, founder of Alligator Records, “Magic Slim was a true Chicago bluesman through and through. He gloried in the rough edges of the music. He never tried to make it slick.”

Like generations of Southern bluesmen who migrated to Chicago in the mid-20th century, Mr. Slim lived the hard life he sang about. As a child working the cotton fields of the rural South, he couldn’t afford a guitar, so he made one by taking baling wire from a broom, nailing it to a wall and coaxing a primordial music from it.

He tried the piano, but when he lost the pinkie finger on his right hand in a cotton-gin accident, he focused on guitar, playing gigs when he wasn’t working in the fields.


It is, in the midst of the Second Great Depression and the current presidential campaign, the perfect time for this song. . .

The lyrics are here.

The great migration

Posted: 16 August 2012 in Uncategorized
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I’m in the midst of preparations for the great return migration. So, for the next few days, blog posts will be minimal. . .

Etta James RIP

Posted: 21 January 2012 in Uncategorized
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Etta James’s obituary

And from Henry Giroux:

Not everyone recognized her talent and President Obama made the dreadful and revealing mistake of having Beyoncé sing Etta’s signature song, “At Last,” at his inauguration. Etta later admitted she was hurt by the gesture. For me, this was not only an insult but also a sad commentary on how a hyper-consuming, talent flattening society had contributed to erasing a musical giant, or even worse, how Etta’s working-class legacy for middle-class politicians had become too dangerous to associate with.

Etta never bought the whitewash, the cleansing of history, life and memory, and it was reflected in every note she sang. No wonder she was rebuked by a president who later turned risk-free civility into a form of cowardice. She was more than a musical icon, she was a pioneer who pushed the boundaries of music and talent into the murky and complicated mix of a society struggling with racism, inequality, and justice, and she found a space in which to remind us what it could mean to be moved to listen, dance and revel in our desires. In this age of electronic noise, talentless posturing and pure spectacle, Etta James stands out as a musical giant and a reminder of what music could be when it was rooted in passion, desire and possibility rather than in the corporate playbook version that has all but killed the kind of sound she produced.