Monday, September 20, 2004

Franklin D. Roosevelt: A Poor Man's Friend

This week, we'll be dipping into th' Hut's Holy Water; providing fresh, sweet draughts of clean and refreshing gospel.

Here's a somewhat appropriate place to start given that it's an election year: a musical tribute to good ol' FDR. I make learning fun!

glisten: Holy Water 1
Franklin Roosevelt - "Excerpt from the Second Inaugural Address"

Here's a brief bit of history, just to get us in the mood. This is circa 1937, the "happy valley" speech.

More's the tragedy that Roosevelt's dream of the US as "a good neighbor among the nations" becomes this in '04.

Read the complete speech.
Explore this collection of political cartoons published during the FDR administration.
Explore more documents and oral histories about FDR.
Shake your head at the well-meaning but wiggity-wiggity-wack "The Roosevelt Rap".
I mean, really: "They had the same last name but that don't mean nothing; they were far enough apart they were fifth cousins."? Uhhhhh... no.

Let's hear some music about Roosevelt with a bit more soul, yes?

Evangelist Singers - "Tell Me Why You Like Roosevelt, Pt. 1"

"He wasn't no kin but good god amighty, he's a poor man's friend."

This fascinating history lesson was written by Otis Jackson, a member of the group.

Buy "Wings of Faith: Detroit Gospel 1946-1950", another excellent P-Vine Collection, from Amazon.
Read this brief AMG bio of the Detroiters AKA Evangelist Singers of Detroit.
It seems as if an earlier incarnation of the band featured a young Milt Jackson.
View the infamous "Unfinished Portrait" by Elizabeth Shoumatoff.
Read about Benjamin O. Davis, "first Negro general of the United States".

Willie Eason - "Franklin D. Roosevelt, A Poor Man's Friend"

Same song, utterly different sound.

The steel guitar is generally recognized as having a rich tradition in Hawaii but its role in Floridian church music is somewhat lesser known. Eason is one of the greatest of those working in the Southern tradition.

Buy "Sacred Steel" direct from Arhoolie Records.
Here's a review of the disc.
Read this "Brief History of the House of God Steel Guitar Tradition" and this article about the steel guitar influence up North.
Read this article about Florida Folk Heritage Honoree Eason.
Want more? Try Roosevelt's Blues: African-American Blues and Gospel Songs on FDR by Guido van Rijn.


Meeting the Neighbors

Largehearted Boy is a glutton's feast, packed to the gills with a magically replenishing cornucopia of live shows, web-only releases and promotional giblets of all types. Styles for all tastes is the order of the day; if you can't find ANYTHING on there of some interest to you, I weep for your generation.

Recent offerings include music from Iggy and the Stooges, Miles Davis, Ladytron and Rilo Kiley.

David was kind enough to take some time off from updating the flood of info on his page and spare a few moments for the Hut.

I'm a music lover and web developer in the American South (the "dirty south" as the Drive-By Truckers would say). The first post on Largehearted Boy was January 31, 2002. When Largehearted Boy began, there was little focus but soon content gravitated toward the things I love: music, pop culture and literature with an emphasis on music. The site offers artists who have enriched my life a little exposure; I'm just sharing the musical love. LHB is more "mp3 smorgasbord" than mp3 blog; I set a table every morning and let the readers decide what to download.

Where did the name of your blog originate from?

Largehearted Boy comes from a Guided By Voices song, "Unleashed! The Large Hearted Boy." I combined the "large hearted" into one word, and the rest is history. The blog would have been entitled "Kicker of Elves," but kickerofelves.com (based on another Guided By Voices song) was taken.
Five Desert Island Discs?

1. Guided By Voices - Under the Bushes, Under the Stars: My favorite GBV release, brilliant from start to finish. Of course, for the desert island, I'd pack my UK release which has a bonus EP.

2. Miles Davis - Kind of Blue: Because you cannot live on indie rock alone.

3. The Stone Roses - The Stone Roses: Sheer pop goodness and one of my favorite albums of all time.

4. The Amps - Pacer: Stripped down and powerful, this disc is Kim Deal at her best.

5. Stravinsky - Petrouchka/Le Sacre du Printemps: Primal and raw, Le Sacre du Printemps still sounds modern 90 years after its composition. Petrouchka is a lovely bonus.
How much does it cost you to maintain your site (in time/money/effort)?

The total cost in time and effort is pretty minimal. I am blogging sites and music that I read and enjoyed before I started Largehearted Boy, so I'm not spending much more time online because of the weblog. I try to spend less than a half hour a day doing weblog-specific duties (redesign, tweaking, etc.). I could easily spend more time but work, friends and family (not to mention our new kitten) always take precedence.

The monetary cost is low. Hosting is cheap these days, less than $80 US a year, and I would be buying lots of new music anyway. The little bit of advertising on my site helps defray the cost of hosting.
What are the criteria you judge a song by to decide if it's post-worthy?

I have to be a fan of the artist or enjoy the song. I try not to limit myself by genre, if you look at my daily downloads you have a pretty good idea of my cd collection.
Which critical darling do you find most overrated? Who's the most overlooked genius in the music industry?

I think the Beatles' music can never live up to the hype that surrounds it. I appreciate their music (especially the very early releases), but don't worship at their feet. John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats is definitely the most overlooked musician working today. Outside of the indie world he is hardly recognized but I feel he currently the best living American songwriter.
What song would you like played at your funeral?

Something irreverent, poignant, and catchy, "Golden Boy" by the Mountain Goats would be perfect. The last chorus would be a singalong, of course: "There are no Pan-Asian supermarkets down in hell, so you can't buy Golden Boy Peanuts."
What do you do for kicks when you're not posting?

I'm a fervent reader, mostly into modern fiction, but I will read anything that crosses my path. I play inline and ice hockey, enjoy biking and love to travel. I have always loved to see live music; that's a huge part of my life. Luckily, the woman I married shares the same passion for music.
Do you have a favorite music critic?

I have become a fan of Douglas Wolk through his intermittent mp3 blog, Lacunae. His reviews are listed in the left sidebar and he recently published a book in Continuum's 33 1/3 series, Live at the Apollo.
What was the last track you heard that really changed your life?

I recently linked to a live performance of "Yarn and Glue" by Joanna Newsom. I had attended the show and had never seen her perform live. She walked onstage to open her set with an acapella version of this song and I literally tingled from head to foot. This song didn't change my life but it did have a visceral effect.
Describe the space you do your writing in.

Most of Largehearted Boy is written on my home laptop in our living room, while sitting on the couch with my wife underneath a surreal portrait of us done by a friend.
That old chestnut dinner party is at your house and you can invite three musicians living or dead. Who are you inviting?

John Coltrane, Bela Bartok and Carl Perkins; three musicians who helped change the direction of music.
Are you much of a dancer?

My wife often jokes that people pay her family not to sing; I have been offered money to stop dancing. I'm much more likely to stand on the sidelines and drink a beer.
Drop on by Better Propaganda and pick out a track to hype.

Iron and Wine - "Naked As We Came"

Sam Beam takes a break from form and raises his voice above a whisper on "Naked As We Came," the first single from Our Endless Numbered Days. Don't worry though; his trademark tight acoustic arrangement and the dark lyrical beauty always present in his music is still there.

The King is Dead; All Hail the King

Sean from Said the Gramophone posts his last tracks for the foreseeable future today. Gramophone was, as I've said before, one of the main inspirations for me to create th' Hut. I am understandably sad to see him move on but wish him the best of luck on his European gallavantin'. You're the best, man!

Gramophone soldiers on tho' and I'm excited to see what new manager Jordan Himelfarb has up his sleeve.