AUGUST 31, 2018
Song of the Day: I've Just Begun To Love You, words and music by William Shelby and Ricky Smith, was featured on the 1980 album, "Adventures in the Land of Music," by the SOLAR-label R&B group, Dynasty. This song was the highest charting track in the Dynasty single discography, a Top Ten R&B hit. Check out the Extended 12" Mix [YouTube link]. What's a Summer without a little SOLAR power?
AUGUST 30, 2018
Song of the Day: I Like Me Better features the words and music of Kobalt and Lauv, who provides the vocals on this melodic mid-tempo dance track. The song, from the artist's second studio album, "I Met You When I Was 18 (The Playlist)," took a record 35 weeks to reach the Top Ten on the Billboard Mainstream Top 40 chart. Check out the official video version, a version performed live by the artist at this year's MTV Video Music Awards, and several dance remixes by TRU Concept, Kaan Pars, and Paul Gannon.
AUGUST 29, 2018
I am honored to announce that our contract with Lexington Books, a subsidiary of Rowman & Littlefield, has been signed, sealed, and delivered [Hat Tip to Stevie! YouTube link] and that a superb new collection entitled The Dialectics of Liberty: Exploring the Context of Human Freedom will be published in 2019-2020.
The book, co-edited by Roger E. Bissell, Edward W. Younkins, and yours truly, features the contributions of eighteen extraordinary scholars in fields as diverse as aesthetics, business, economics, higher education, history, the humanities, law, philosophy, politics, psychology, and social theory. Despite spirited disagreements among them, and the diversity of perspectives represented, all of our authors work under the Big Tent that is "dialectical libertarianism"---a form of social analysis that seeks to understand the larger dynamic and systemic context within which freedom is nourished and sustained.
The homepage we have developed is sparse right now, because we are in the process of collecting, editing, and organizing essays from our contributors and integrating them into an organic unity; in other words, you might say that the very creation of this trailblazing volume will be an unfolding dialectical process---so, for now, we are purposely not providing a list of our contributors. That will come in time; indeed, very soon, we'll unveil our stellar cast of authors.
But the news of the book's acceptance for publication was just too wonderful not to share with you. I look forward to filling in the blanks very soon. But most importantly, I look forward to the publication of the volume itself.
And speaking only for myself, as a person who felt as if his was the voice of one crying in the wilderness over the past forty years, in championing the very notion of a "dialectical libertarianism" with my "Dialectics and Liberty Trilogy" (Marx, Hayek, and Utopia, Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical, and Total Freedom: Toward a Dialectical Libertarianism), I have immense personal satisfaction in having played a part in bringing together this remarkable group of contributors from whom I've learned so much---and who have honored us with their presence in what promises to be one of the most important and provocative contributions to the scholarly literature of its generation.
Song of the Day: Speed Demon features the words and music of Michael Jackson, who was born sixty years ago on this date in 1958. This track from Jackson's 1987 album, "Bad," was never released as a single, but it is memorable for its funk-rock music video, featured on the artist's "Moonwalker" 1988 video anthology. Check out the album version, the fun video with its cool animation, the Extended Alternate Mix, the Dilemmachine Edit, the DMC Remix, and the Nero Remix included on the 25th anniversary edition of "Bad" [YouTube links]. The song has even been covered by British heavy metal band Xerath [YouTube link].
AUGUST 28, 2018
Song of the Day: LovE is LovE is LovE is credited to Darrell Brown, Lindy Robbins, Toby Gad, and LeAnn Rimes, who turns 36 today. And today also begins an eight-day extended Labor Day weekend stretch of hits for our Summer Dance Party. This was the third Rimes single to hit #1 on the Hot Dance Club Chart (the other two #1 Dance Hits preceding this one were "What I Cannot Change" [YouTube link] from 2009, and "Long Live Love" from the same album as this song, "Remnants," released in 2017). Check out the original single and then listen to its transformation to a dance floor hit in three remixes: the Dave Aude Disco Remix, the Drew G Remix, and the Maruo Mozart Remix.
AUGUST 25, 2018
Song of the Day: West Side Story ("Symphonic Dances") [YouTube link], composed, arranged, and conducted for the concert stage by the great Leonard Bernstein, is derived from his score for the classic musical. Here, Bernstein lifts his baton to lead the New York Philharmonic Orchestra (for which he was the Musical Director from 1958 to 1969) at Lincoln Center, which was built over the very terrain on which the movie version of this classic Broadway musical was filmed. He actually made his debut conducting the Philharmonic on November 14, 1943 at Carnegie Hall, on a few hours notice, when conductor Bruno Walter came down with the flu. On that date, he led the orchestra in a challenging program that included Richard Strauss's "Don Quixote," along with works by Schumann, Wagner, and Miklos Rozsa---and was met with enthusiastic applause and critical acclaim. In this 1976 clip, the composer interweaves so many of the wonderful themes from the musical, illustrating his distinct ability to integrate elements of classical, jazz, Latin, and other idioms into his repertoire. So in keeping with our Summer Dance Party theme, this gives you dance of another kind entirely. Let us hail the Maestro, in a Centenary Tribute on the date of his birth, one hundred years ago today.
AUGUST 24, 2018
Song of the Day: Prelude, Fugue, and Riffs was written by legendary composer Leonard Bernstein, the centenary of whose birth we celebrate this weekend---as we take a little break from our Summer Dance Party. This ensemble piece was originally written for Woody Herman before the breakup of his band. Its premier performance was shown on the CBS show "Omnibus: The World of Jazz" [Vimeo show link] on October 16, 1955. Dedicated to clarinet great Benny Goodman, Bernstein recorded the piece with the King of Swing in 1963 [YouTube link]. The piece suggests a three-movement classical composition, its first two movements typical of the Baroque form, its final movement based on a series of jazz "riffs." It is the kind of piece that was the perfect incarnation of Bernstein's and Goodman's penchant for crossing over from classical to jazz and back. Stay tuned: Tomorrow is Lenny's Centenary.
AUGUST 21, 2018
The Kids are alright! The New York Daily News tells us of this "Greatest (story) of All Time: Goats on Subway Tracks Head to Upstate Sanctuary." Just 6 stops away from the N-train Kings Highway station that is closest to my apartment, between 8th Avenue and Fort Hamilton Parkway in Brooklyn, two goats, Willy and Billy, spent two hours on the tracks. Eating grass. Chilling out.
They backed up subway traffic for a couple of hours, but were eventually rescued, with the help of former "Daily Show" host Jon Stewart and his wife Tracey, who runs a New jersey animal shelter. The goats are now residents of Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen, New York. Hooray for the Goats!
Check out yesterday's action on WABC's Eyewitness News.
AUGUST 20, 2018
Song of the Day: Filthy features the words and music of Larrance Dopson, James Fauntleroy, Floyd Nathaniel Hills, Timothy Mosley, and Justin Timberlake, who released this electro-funk track as the lead single from his 2018 album "Man of the Woods." It was the first song featured in his medley of hits in this year's Super Bowl Half-Time Show [YouTube link]. Tonight, the futuristic video of this song is nominated in the category of "Best Choreography" on the MTV Video Music Awards. The song made an impact on six Billboard charts, becoming a Top 10 Billboard Hot 100 hit. Check out the innovative video, the single version, the Lord 'n Club remix, and the Workout remix [YouTube links].
AUGUST 18, 2018
Song of the Day: I Turn to You features the words and music of Billy Steinberg, Rick Nowels, and Melanie Chisholm---aka "Melanie C" or "Sporty Spice," one of the five original Spice Girls. She recorded this 1999 song for her first solo album, "Northern Star." She was the first woman to top the U.K. charts as part of a quintet, quartet, duo, and solo artist, racking up eleven #1 U.K. singles in the process. Check out the single mix, a music video mix, the Hex Hector 12" Club Mix and the Techno Mix to this catchy tune [YouTube links].
AUGUST 17, 2018
Song of the Day: Let it Whip, words and music by Leon "Ndugu" Chancler and Reggie Andrews, was recorded by the Dazz Band for their 1982 album, "Keep It Live." The song held the #1 spot on the R&B chart for five nonconsecutive weeks and peaked at #2 on the Hot Dance Club Chart and #5 on the Billboard Hot 100. It would go on to win the Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals. Check out the funky album version and the extended 12" remix [YouTube links].
AUGUST 16, 2018
Song of the Day: Respect was written by Otis Redding, who recorded the song in 1965 [YouTube link]. But it was in 1967, that Aretha Franklin recorded a version of this tune that went to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and became her signature song, featured on her album "I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You." Franklin would go on to win her first two (out of eighteen) Grammy Awards for her rendition, for "Best Rhythm & Blues Recording" and "Best Rhythm and Blues, Vocal Performance, Female"---in the latter category, the first of an unprecedented eight consecutive wins, and a record-holding 11 wins out of a record-holding 23 nominations. The song was later inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame (in 1998), added to the Library of Congress National Recording Registry (in 2002), and rated #5 on the Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. The Memphis-born Aretha herself became the first female inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (in 1987). On a date that marks the sixtieth birthday of the Queen of Pop (Madonna), the forty-fifth anniversary of the passing of "The King" (Elvis Presley), as well as the seventieth anniversary of the death of the Bambino and Sultan of Swat (Babe Ruth), we have lost the Queen of Soul today at the age of 76. Ironically, I had already programmed this song for later in our 2018 "Summer Dance Party"---but moving it up to today is so much more apropos. Check out Aretha's soul-shaking recorded version of this classic, along with two live performances, one in Detroit and the other in Paris (at 16:33) [YouTube links].