Monday, August 26, 2013

More Music trivia

Hot off the press of Billboard Magazine, celebrating its 55th anniversary. Their latest compiling is the Hottest 100 Singles of All Time. So I am sharing it with you. When it comes to lists, we all have our preferences. On first glance I was a bit baffled. But after more thought, I am utterly perplexed.

Hot 100 All-Time Songs 

I realize that it is based not on shelf life or sales, but number of weeks at the top of the charts. There must be something more complex at play in the digital age or else a lack of artists to spread the wealth. Roughly a third are from the 80's and 90's which in my mind is not music's greatest era. But a good 25% are from the last decade and I honestly am not sure of the song and often the artist on a few of them. Thank God for the disco era and the Bee Gees who racked up a slew of notables. Paul McCartney and the Beatles had a few honorable mentions. A single Elvis & Elton John shout out surprised me. Michael Jackson, the King of Pop only had one tune in the mix. Surprising are oddities like Debby Boone's "You Light Up My Life" & the Archies "Sugar Sugar." Both are certainly hits but it seems odd that a century from now they will be an icon to refer to. Also worthy are that there were a few vintage chestnuts like Bobby Darin's "Mack the Knife" & Chubby Checker's "The Twist." But is the Macarena destined to become what we consider a Pop Classic? Really?

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

New Music techno links

Although I would never consider myself cutting edge, I would say I am least current on some of the technology out there and access it whatever spare minutes I have. Here are two that came my way and worth a share. As cabaret artists we can draw from a myriad of sources.

The first is a new table app that could hook me for hours. Old Time Radio Player. It is a media app that has been around for over a year now, but I just found it in the last week. Think of it as Netflix for the hey day of radio. Every imaginable program from Amos & Andy to Dragnet. Many I have heard about but never listened to. Burns and Allen - check. Orson Welles Mercury Theater - check. Sam Spade - check. Episodes are sorted by genre. They may not be the greatest in terms of sound quality - but in most cases I would say it is a wonder that they exist at all. Go at it! Some musical gems to be found here.

Old Time Radio Player

And then there is NPRs Piano Jazz podcast. It was hosted for many years by Marion McPartland who is a legend in herself. (Sadly, the day after this posting, Marion died at the age of 95.) Now it is helmed by Jon Weber. But her guests are an ecclectic mix of all sorts and have tons of great stories as well as archives of fabulous music. The recent listing that caught me was with Janis Siegel of Manhattan Transfer and she spoke much about finding the right collaborator that could listen to the lyrics as well as playing the notes to sing along with. Many are musicians alone, but the range of vocalists goes from Boz Scaggs to Tony DeSare to Barbara Carroll. Check it out as well.

NPR's Piano Jazz

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Opera Hunks

Charles Castronovo
Hadleigh Adams
For those with some Opera pedigree. Our postings tend to be heavy on the musical theater side. But fresh from Buzz Feed - a list of 33 Hunks who you Need To Know Right Now. All handsome and striking and not the fat Italian tenors we likely knew growing up. Maybe the fodder for some new reality tv show?

a link to the full posting:
Noah Stewart

Nathan Gunn

Zachary Gordin

Monday, August 5, 2013

Mumford & Sons

Mumford & Sons has absolutely nothing to do with the genre of cabaret music that we perform. But their new music video is so unusual that I thought it was worth sharing just for the sheer audacity and theatricality of it. There is something to be said for comedy and parody and every once in a while we take ourselves a bit too seriously in cabaret.

This is the official video for their new song "Hopeless Wanderer." But instead of using themselves, they enlisted the help of a celebrity cast to take on their roles in the band: Ed Helms, Jason Sudeikis, Jason Bateman and Will Forte. Although they don't use prosthetics to become the alter-egos, it becomes obvious which of the quartet they are portraying. Most unrecognizable is Will Forte from SNL with his long burly beard. But the image of the folk troubadour gets a send up. Starting as earthy musicians in a golden field, then more ridiculous as a posse complete with instruments in a canoe, a bromance ensuing and trashing the entire band in an old barn. I am now a bigger fan of both the band and the actors involved.