Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Tuesday Music Digest

R.I.P. to jazz great Freddie Hubbard


Stanley Clarke scores


How-to for digital music geeks


R.I.P. to Stupid Music fiddler Bob Boatright, whom I saw play with the Texas Playboys in 2000


And the best soundtrack tunes of 2008


Monday, December 29, 2008

Music Vid of the Day

"I get allergic smelling hay!"

Monday Music Digest

How to celebrate New Year's Eve in N'Awlins


A jazz festival in South Africa gets cancelled


2008 music in review


Bo Dollis gets his:


And a visit with an NFL coaching legend, who also happens to play the ookelele


Tech Woes

The internet has been experiencing some "Level 3" difficulties the past 2 days, and I am no exception. I have been having connectivity issues big-time, as well as some browser issues. As a result posting may be limited.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Last Waltz?

Word from Proco at Planet Proctor is that the Firesign Theatre's 2009 Nick Danger show may be their grand finale live performance. Click on the post title to go into orbit.

R.I.P. Delaney Bramlett

Delaney worked with Eric Clapton and George Harrison. He was best-known for writing Clapton's classic "Rain", and with Leon Russell co-wrote "Superstar", which became a huge hit for The Carpenters.

He and his wife Bonnie also toured with Clapper as "Delaney and Bonnie and Friends".

Sunday Music Digest

1000 recordings to hear before you die


Musical RIPs for 2008


Best world music of the past year


A lab for musicians in Tokyo


And another Top 10 list, this one from Chi-town


Saturday, December 27, 2008

O'ahu Lights Coming Back On

Crews gradually restored electrical service across parts of Oahu on Saturday after a power failure blacked out the island's population of about 900,000 and thousands of visitors including President-elect Barack Obama.

Saturday Music Digest

2008 Monterey Jazz Fest sampler


Best classical tunes from the past year


And the best 2008 Jazz releases, including one from NRBQ's Terry Adams


Putting a Hirt on...


And Watermelon Slim sighted


Friday, December 26, 2008

Name That Park

Soliciting names for the new park to be created on Governors Island in NY Harbor...

Let It Snow

I brought back the Saddle Hill snowfall total on the sidebar, right below the "View From" picture, which this month has been from well north of here with the hiking fox.

This is the grand total of snowfall here on the Hill since December 1st. However, it should be noted that we do have freeze and thaw cycles here even in winter, so the actual amount on the ground at any given time will vary.

For example, we lost quite a bit of the snowpack here over the past few days and will lose more this weekend as Sunday will have a high temp in the low....50s?

Friday Music Digest

Some Indie music jewels from 2008


Spooky Tooth sighting?


The best of what music-makers had to say this year




And 12-bar protest songs


Thursday, December 25, 2008

R.I.P. Eartha Kitt

One last time to hear "Santa Baby"...


KP2 Update

An update on the monk seal pup found on Kaua'i a few months ago...

We Travel The Spaceways, Santa Edition

Fox Fur, a Unicorn, and a Christmas Tree
Credit & Copyright: R Jay Gabany

Explanation: Clouds of glowing hydrogen gas fill this colorful skyscape in the faint but fanciful constellation Monoceros, the Unicorn. A star forming region cataloged as NGC 2264, the complex jumble of cosmic gas and dust is about 2,700 light-years distant and mixes reddish emission nebulae excited by energetic light from newborn stars with dark interstellar dust clouds. Where the otherwise obscuring dust clouds lie close to the hot, young stars they also reflect starlight, forming blue reflection nebulae.

The wide mosaic spans about 3/4 degree or nearly 1.5 full moons, covering 40 light-years at the distance of NGC 2264. Its cast of cosmic characters includes the the Fox Fur Nebula, whose convoluted pelt lies at the upper left, bright variable star S Mon immersed in the blue-tinted haze just below the Fox Fur, and the Cone Nebula at the far right. Of course, the stars of NGC 2264 are also known as the Christmas Tree star cluster. The triangular tree shape traced by the stars appears sideways here, with its apex at the Cone Nebula and its broader base centered near S Mon

Mele Kalikimaka

Back in the early part of the 20th century, my great-aunt and her family gave room and board at their house to a bright young college student from Hawai'i who was attending Cornell. He would remain their lifelong friend.

His name was Robert Alex Anderson, but to friends he was "Andy". He also made a daring escape across Europe during World War 1 (later made into the classic film "The Dawn Patrol") and became a hugely successful Hawai'i businessman.

But he was most famous for his hobby-writing songs. His best-known one celebrates Christmas in Hawai'i and is called, of course, "Mele Kalikimaka".

Click on the post title for more about Andy.

Mele Kalikimaka Music Digest

An interview with Lester Paul


Berklee College going to Spain!


New Year's Eve with Big Al Anderson


The Ukesperience


And fueling a funk firestorm in New Orleans


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Big Isle Blog


Christmas Eve Music Digest

Christmas tunes from off the beaten path


Christmas records time forgot


Christmas with the big trombones from N'Awlins


Christmas with the New Orleans Music Station, WWOZ


And a review of this past year's 10th All-Starr Band


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Tuesday Music Digest

The best Christmas music internet stations


Take 5's top 5 jazz cds of 2008


Wavy Lines of Sound


Oasis pays tribute to George Harrison


And a new book about a jazz-playing priest


Cleanup Continues...

Sorry for the dearth of posts recently-as previously mentioned I am phasing in a new monitor and it takes some getting used to. In addition we are still busy cleaning up after the massive dump of snow we got last week-between the Friday and Sunday storms we got about 28 inches of Global Warming here on the hill.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Monday Music Digest

Keeping New Orleans music alive (hint, go there)


Best American music CDs of 2008


An old Jaco Pastorious group surfaces-pre Weather Report


Stupid Music from fiddler Liesel Schoenberger


And a hand-carved fish guitar?


Sunday, December 21, 2008

"Looks Like a Big Fried Egg!"

Some friends and I lived in Newmarket, NH, just north of Exeter, in the late 1970s-early 1980s. Exeter is what is known as a "UFO Window".

In fact, we ourselves saw UFOs out by the exact train tracks mentioned in this article...

Scary Flying Story

An 89 year young Australian flight instructor safely lands after a mid-air collision...


Statement as of 4:36 PM EST on December 21, 2008

Snow will fall at rates of one to two inches per hour this evening with thunder snow possible... Snow will continue to be heavy through the late evening hours across western Maine and much of New Hampshire.

Expect snowfall rates to be one to two inches per hour at times... reducing the visibility to near zero. There will be blowing and drifting of the snow as winds gust as high as 35 mph. Thunder snow is also possible through 8 PM... mainly near the coastline.

Avoid all travel tonight.

UPDATE: Click post title for updates

Winter Solstice Music Digest

A visit to The Fillmore


Christmas at Graceland


R.I.P. jazzman Buddy Charles


A bio of the man behind Charlie Brown's music


And dancing thru Cajun country


Saturday, December 20, 2008

Worst Hawai'i Visitor Numbers Since Great Depression


“There has never been a time like this in Hawaii's visitor industry," said Ed Hubennette, Marriott International's vice president of North Asia, Hawaii and the South Pacific.

Saturday Music Digest

A visit to the Blues and Brews Fest


The state of pop music circa 2008


"I told Bob Dylan he was dead"


A new CD from lap steel guitarist Chris Haughen


And Van Halen intros a new line of guitars


Friday, December 19, 2008

Dave's Not Here

An interview with Cheech and Chong...

How did you get George Harrison, Carole King, Billy Preston and all those people to play on Basketball Jones?

Cheech: They were in the next studio as we were recording it. Lou Adler went in there and said: "Hey! Come here. I want you to play on this tune." And they'd go, "Oh, OK!" and do it. George Harrison said: "Oh, those are very good chords. I'll have to nick those."

Chong: We ended up on Joni Mitchell's album (Court and Spark). We were all on A&M Records at the time. It was a bit of a family affair there. Whoever was in the studio at the time would just walk over to the other studio and play on the side.

Friday Music Digest

A new teenaged harp genius


More Cool Yule tunes


The history of jazz piano


A new Willie DVD


And a look at this weekend's benefit for NRBQ's original guitarist, Steve Ferguson


Thursday, December 18, 2008

8 Tiny Reindeer...

NORAD Tracks Santa turns 50...

In The Garden

The Gardens of Lawa'i...I was forced at gunpoint to stay 1/4 of a mile east of here in May 2003.

Kaua'i Teevee Tour

The new season of TVLand's "High School Reunion" starts in February and was filmed on Kaua'i. The class comes from a high school in Arizona.

Thursday Music Digest

The 2009 Blues Music Awards nominees are out...


Where's Homer Simpson? Next year's Rock & Roll Fantasy Camp faculty lineup is announced


Dion DeMucci sighting


When George Harrison met Ralph


And a look at some Big Easy jazz music greats


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

105 Years Ago Today...

Under Construction

FYI blog posts will be limited today as I will be doing some computer hardware changes-new monitor and adding a UPS.

Wednesday Music Digest

Another Grammy nomination for the slack key guys


A Stupid Music Christmas in Texas


Sax man Bill Evans sighted:


R.I.P. to Bay Area jazz singer Frances Lynne


And the lineup for the San Francisco Jazz Fest is announced.


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

3 Strikes And You're Out

The Honolulu baseball team was the Islanders in the 50s and 60s. Their announcer for a few years in the early 1960s was Harry Kalas, who was then replaced by an infant named Al Michaels.

The Isles moved to the mainland long ago, and now are the farm team for the Colorado Rockies.

Sad to say, another Major League Baseball experiment is history, as the Hawai'i Winter Baseball League has been phased out.

Too bad, as it generated a lot of talent.

2008 New Orleans JazzFest Lineup Announced

As usual, a cast of thousands!

Aretha Franklin; Los Lobos, Dave Matthews Band; Earth, Wind and Fire; Tony Bennett; Joe Cocker and Bonnie Raitt are some of the national headliners that will join local stalwarts like the Neville Brothers, Dr. John, Allen Toussaint and Irma Thomas.

Click the post title for the complete list.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Test Pattern

I am still doing a re-config of various bells and whistles so the "Music Digest" will be down for a day or so...

Meanwhile, here's the folks getting us back on.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Frightful! Goes Hawaiian Part 2

While we had ice here, Hawai'i had the following. No links now but I will put them up tomorrow.

1. Blizzard on Mauna Kea

2. Massive rain/floods/landslides/power outages/sewage in Kailua Bay on O'ahu

3. Possible tornado on Kaua'i?

Stay safe, folks!

Got Ice? Part 2

Looking southeast towards Saddle Hill...

Got Ice?

Normally these two paper birch trees just uphill from me stand upright...

Firesign Theatre Reunion Show

The Firesign Theatre will be performing April 24, 2009 in California.

Tickets can be purchased on-line; click the post title for info

On Ice!

Things here on Saddle Hill are slowly getting back to normal after the Great Ice Storm of 2008-this was the worst ice storm here on the hill since the January 1998 storm, which left us without power for 8 days. This time we were "only" without power for about 58 hours, but we were extremely lucky, as only one wire was down.

To our south and west, in the most densely populated parts of New Hampshire, it's a different story-on Friday morning almost a half a million NH people were without power, and many will not have power until later this week-some may even be without until after Christmas. In terms of total number of people knocked off, this is 10 times worse than the storm of 1998, which mainly hit central and northern New Hampshire where far fewer people live.

I will be uploading a few pictures of the damage later today, and am also going to throw up a separate blog page with more images.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Daily Music Video

NRBQ at Boston's Paradise, 1982...4:33 of pure excellence!

Frightful! Goes Hawaiian

Speaking of frightful weather, it's Makahiki time in Hawai'i. Major rain. Flooding. And some rockslide action as well.


From NWS: Snow and sleet accumulation of 1 to 3 inches. Ice accumulation of one half of an inch to one inch.

Craig sez: 1 inch of ice is a LOT. One has to have lived thru it (as we did here in the Great Ice Storm of 1998, where we lost our power for 8 days).

Surf's Up on Mau'i

Some results from the Billabong womens' surfing event...

Crawfish Heaven

Vermont Public Radio is doing an 11 day tour in April 2009 to Louisiana to visit the Lafayette Music Festival, followed by a week in New Orleans for the final weekend of JazzFest. You even get to work rebuilding houses in the Big Easy for a day...

Thursday Music DIgest

Cape Town Jazz Fest celebrates 10 years


Yet more new holiday music releases


An elementary school gets some ookeleles


A music museum as muse


And a guy is charged with using a guitar as a deadly weapon?


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Pricey Real Estate for Sale

A couple from Kailua are offering a $100,000 bonus to anyone who can find a buyer for their properties. One is a house in Hauula on the Windward Coast, and the other is a 38 acre undeveloped parcel of land on the Big Island in the Keeau area.

"The state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs said it was the first time it had heard of such an offer and urged all parties to check with an attorney to make sure it doesn't violate laws."

Today's Music Video

"The Price of Silence" features the voice of the great Hugh Masekela and is introduced by Lawrence Fishburne...


The NY Times rides the swells...

Diamond Head Fishing Banned

A 1 year moratorium...

Wednesday Music Digest

More boxed sets reviewed


Some "innocently bad" music groups


A singing NFL quarterback


Once again it's Wednesday, so Uncle Tom is Gabbin'


And Tulane University will now offer a degree program in...New Orleans music!


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Puna Power!

15 years of geothermal power on the Big Isle...

SuperFerry in SF

Not the boat, just a book about it.

Genetically Modified Hawai'i

New crops being tested out on the Garden Isle.

Every Little Thing

A visit to a collector with a huge stash of Beatles memories...

Tuesday Music Digest

The music of America


USC honors Brian Wilson


The little radio station that could


Kiko sighted


And a new animated version of Bob and Doug's "12 Days of Christmas"


Monday, December 8, 2008

28 Years Ago...

We lost John Lennon. Click on the post title for a video...

A Caz Christmas

The Brothers Cazimero will be doing their annual holiday show this weekend...

Got Heat?

Our esteemed weather gurus said the low temperature here in Meredith this morning would be 14 degrees.

In reality, it was 2 degrees below ZERO.

Currently, it's a tropical 3.7 degrees above zero here on the hill.

But as this is New England, just wait a minute. The day after tomorrow, the high temperature will be 52 degrees. Above zero.

Monday Music Digest

An Edison Jazz Music Award for the Brad Meldhau Trio


An interview with the cast of the new movie "Cadillac Records"


Traveling Wilburys T-shirts for sale


A review of recent music DVD box sets


And British Columbia's Langley Ookelele Ensemble is headed to Italy, after they cut a Hawaiian CD


Sunday, December 7, 2008

New Doug Sahm Tribute Album

Will include a cast of thousands!


Click on the post title for a great satellite image of VOG over the Big Isle, taken 4 days ago...

What's New at Pearl

67 years after the attack, what's new at Pearl Harbor.

Pearl Harbor-No Coded Warning

A new report debunks the long-hold claim that the US received the famous "winds execute" shortwave radio news broadcast in the days before the attack.

Mister Leon Goes to Washington

The ultimate Stupid Music concert-81 year young Leon Rausch and Bob Wills' Texas Playboys have been invited to play the Texas State Society's Black Ties and Boots Ball in Washington D.C. on January 19.

"I thought they’d forgot all about us," said Rausch, 81, of Fort Worth. "We do some special events, but we don’t play all the beer joints like we used to. We wait for special events."

Sunday Music Digest

A roundup of new music books-


Jazz pianist David Benoit channels Vince "Charlie Brown" Guaraldi


Stupid Music Deluxe: a review of the new cowboy music box set


Another fine tribute to Mama Africa


And the Beatles made more $ than Madonna. Good for them!



Photo by Craig on Saddle Hill from an Aloha Airlines 737-200, April 30, 2003.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Picture Book

A book review of the new photo collection just published by country musician Marty Stuart.

Reefer Madness!

How drilling rigs in the Gulf of Mexico have become fish magnets...

Bar Exam

Grading the bars at some of the grand hotels of the world...

New Pearl Harbor Monument

New World War II monuments in 4 states...the Hawai'i sites include the mooring quays on Battleship Row, memorials for the USS Utah, USS Arizona and USS Oklahoma, and six chief petty officer bungalows on Ford Island.

Saturday Music Digest

Guitarist Joe Satriani sues the band Coldplay


Speaking of guitars, China has one called the "Pipa":


R.I.P. to well known Hawai'ian musician Pat Sylva


Genesis of a Louisiana "super-group" that also includes members from Down Under


And "Blame it on the Bossa-Nova"...


Friday, December 5, 2008

Isle to Isle

Mokulele offering deals for travel between isles...such a deal!

Today's Music Video

Sad to say I am behind on these as well-here's a great one from Carlene Carter's old show on CMT, featuring some friends of hers.

George Kuo on Radio Australia

Slack key man George Kuo will be featured on "The Sunday Planet" on Radio Australia this weekend. Click on the post title to figure out how to listen online and when.

Happy Birthday to Little Richard

Mr. Penniman turns 76 today!

Here are some other artists doing his stuff

The Everly Brothers do "Lucille"


McCartney and the Beatles do "Long Tall Sally"


And (!) Zappa and Sugar Cane Harris do "Directly to My Heart From You"


Click on post title for his bio

Friday Music Digest

Fun with LP covers


New Orleans JazzFest recordings get 3 Grammy nominations...


A look at two new movies about Chess Records


Reviews of some more recent boxed set releases (including "Box of Danger")


And the strange story of a jazz singer in Botswana!


Thursday, December 4, 2008

When Hawai'i Was "Cheap"

I have been clearing out my mother's attic this week, as we are getting ready to sell her house. I have stumbled across a treasure trove of items she saved from our years in Kailua, including some pristine-condition photo negatives of our house.

I also came across an old issue of a tourist newspaper, "The Waikiki Beach Press", which I picked up on our way home from Hawai'i for the last time in early June 1966, and an issue of "Sunset" Magazine from 1968. Both had some wild ads!

First up, from "Sunset", an ad for the then-new Sheraton-Kaua'i at Poipu notes that room rates are...$9 to $10 per night. Air fare from the West Coast to the Garden Isle was $100, and if you wanted to stop over in Honolulu it was 5 bucks more.

Two years earlier, Hawaiian Air Tour Service offered a 1-day tour of all 8 islands for $75. This included an early-morning flight from HNL, with a flyover of the Pineapple and Forbidden Islands, then touchdown at Kailua-Kona for breakfast and a limo tour. After a short hop to Hilo and a limo tour of the Rainbow Falls and orchid gardens, the plane then flew over the Valley and Friendly Isles on its way to Kaua'i. After arrival on the Garden Isle, the tour included a visit to Lihu'e, followed by a short trip up to Wailua to take the Smith's Boat Tour to the Fern Grotto. After takeoff from LIH, the plane flew up to the North Shore, down to the Na Pali Coast, and then a flyover of Ni'ihau before the trip back to Honolulu, just in time for dinner. Such a deal!

In the same issue, their competitor, Sky Tours Hawai'i, charged 10 bucks more for an all-day tour, but it had some things the HATS tour missed-after takeoff from HNL and a flyover of Lana'i and Mau'i, the plane landed in Hilo for the same orchid and waterfall tour-but then flew back to Mau'i to Kaanapali, for a ground tour of Lahaina and lunch at the Sheraton there. Then it was back on the plane for a short hop and ground tour of the Kalaupapa colony on the Friendly Isle. Finally, they flew west over Ni'ihau and clockwise up the Na Pali coast, before landing at LIH. Then the touristas got a candlight dinner at the Kaua'i Surf Hotel. This is now the Marriott.

Sounds like both tours were worth doing!

More golden oldies tomorrow.

Click on the post title to see the HATS planes.

Laminar Flow?

The lava is flowing again on the Big Island-it's just west of the "main flow".

Hillbilly Music...From Michigan?

Introducing the Rhythm Billies...

Pricey Small Towns

Haleiwa, on the North Shore of Oahu, made the list with a median home sale price of $898,538. The town has a population of 2,226 and a median household income of $39,643, according to the report.

More Grammy Nods

And a look at the rest of the pack...

Hawai'ian Music Grammy Nominees

Some familiar faces missing, like the Caz Brothers and Na Leo...

This year's nominees for best album are:

" 'Ikena," Tia Carrere & Daniel Ho (Daniel Ho Creations);

" 'Aumakua," Amy Hanaiali'i (Ua Records/Concord);

"Force Of Nature," Led Kaapana & Mike Kaawa (Ledward Kaapana & Mike Kaawa);

"Hawaiian Slack Key Kings Masters Series Vol. II," various artists, Chris Lau & Milton Lau, producers (Rhythm And Roots Records);

And "The Spirit Of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar," various artists, Daniel Ho, George Kahumoku Jr., Dennis Kamakahi, Paul Konwiser & Wayne Wong, producers (Daniel Ho Creations).

Also nominated for a Grammy yesterday was Saint Louis High School graduate Dean Pitchford. Pitchford was nominated in the Best Spoken Word Album For Children for "The Big One-Oh."

Thursday Music Digest

"White Noise" heading to Broadway


Critics' pick music for Thursday


Jazz and the sounds of Puerto Rico


Live musical scores for silent films


And why Dad's Stupid Music matters!


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Christmas at Ulupalakua

Ulupalakua is the upland area of Mau'i but the name was also stolen by a developer on O'ahu for the street my family lived on in the 1960s. Here's what they have coming up...

PS, Ulupalakua is supposed to have a bunch of glottal stops, but I am too lazy to put them in right now.

Cowboy Flavor

A preview of this year's Monterey (CA) Cowboy Poetry and Music Fest. Wonder if the teevee cooking guy with the long moustache is doing the catering?

Iz Lives

Iz's ookelele willl go on display in LA for 2 years at the new Grammy museum.

Getting Lucky!

After too long, finally a release from one of Hawai'i's most beloved entertainers, Robert "Lucky" Luck, will hit the stores December 9th. Includes his classics "Magic Pua Dog" and "Mynah Bird", as well as his inimitable reading of "Numbah One Day of Christmas".

R.I.P. Odetta

(Folk Music Archive photo)

We lost "Mama Africa" a couple of weeks ago. Now her American counterpart has also departed.

Interestingly enough, in November of 2007 Odetta gave one of her final concerts at a church in Oswego, New York. She was introduced by "Mama Africa's" ex-husband Hugh Masekela, who noted that it was the first time in his 47-year career that he and Odetta had shared a stage...

Wednesday Music DIgest

Come sail away...


Uncle Tom's weekly gabfest from Kaneohe


A new orbit is out from the man of a thousand voices, Firesign Theatre's Phil Proctor-


A look at Elvis Costello's new music series, which starts tonight on cable!


And some rarely heard Oscar Peterson music...


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Brah Hugh Gets the Hiccups

Review of a jazz fest in Gabarone...

Gabby 1961

"Tracking down real roots music in Hawaii, amidst all the hotel lounge acts and tourist fare, is about as easy as finding a good surf spot in Bolivia. But if you persist, it can be done. I know, because I came back from the islands with a suntan and a stack of Gabby Pahinui records."

Surf's Up!

It's December, which means huge waves on O'ahu...

Includes some wild video!

The Last Witnesses of Hawai'i's Leper Colony

Kalaupapa in its twilight...

Tuesday Music Digest

Just say Los-a new PBS special celebrates Latin music


A roundup of new holiday music releases


A video of the Wellington Ookelele Orchestra


Using "Air Guitar Hero" to help amputees test out their new arms


And yet another "interesting" band name-Bitch and the Exciting Conclusion. Auwe!


Technical Difficulties-Please Stand By!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Surf's Down?

"What’s expected to be the start of the biggest swell of the season churned out strong winds, choppy surf and rain…forcing surfers and beachgoers out of the water Saturday."

12/1 Music Digest

The Honolulu Symphony makes a rare trip to the Garden Isle


Wayne Shorter sighting


BB King visits Atlantic City


A new movie about the rich history of Chess Records


And Happy 75th B-day to Pat O'Brien's piano bar in New Orleans. I'll have a Hurricane to go!