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J. Freedom du Lac
washingtonpost.com Staff Writer
Tuesday, December 11, 2007; 2:00 PM

Washington Post music critic J. Freedom du Lac is online every Tuesday at 2 p.m. ET to talk about the latest on the music scene: alternative, country, alt-country, pop, hyphy, harp-rock, reggae, reggaeton, R and B and whatever it is that Britney Spears does.

The transcript follows.

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J. Freedom du Lac: So, I saw a little of the LedZep reunion-show footage on the BBC. Also watched some low-fi, long-distance videos on YouTube. And I've come to the conclusion that yes, I do, in fact, wish I'd been there last night. Instead, I was, um, slogging through the season finale of "The Hills." Second-hand viewing, of course! (I'll explain later on the Post Rock blog.)

Anyway, let's do this.

What's up? Besides Josh Groban's net worth.

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Reston, Va.: Anyone else think OneRepublic's song sounds like a power metal ballad? What do the band's other songs sound like? Do you see a neo-metal trend? I'm getting tired of neo-punk, so something "new" would be a nice change.

J. Freedom du Lac: A little bit, though it'd need a major infusion of electric guitar to qualify. As it stands/plays/whatever, "Apologize" sounds more like a modern cover of an Elton John song than anything. Listen to the melody and phrasing in the first verse. You'll pick up on it immediately.

I think the next single is supposed to be "Stop and Stare," which has a little bit more guitar crunch and, therefore, is more along the lines of the metal power ballad you mention.

Either way, I really don't like any of it - except maybe for the Lil Wayne "Apologize" remix featuring Bun B and Devin the Dude. Maybe. Pretty amazing to me that "Apologize" is getting so much radio love. Friend of Freedom Rock Jeff Leeds had a really interesting story in the New York Times recently about the success of the song, and how commercial radio stations are playing the big hits with stunning frequency in an effort to compete for listeners.

According to his piece, "...'Apologize' broke the record for the most plays of a song on the nation's Top 40 stations in a single week since computerized tracking began in 1990."

Huh.

washingtonpost.com: Radio's Newest Strategy: Play a Hit, Again and Again (NY Times, Dec. 1)

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Washington, D.C.: Greetings Mr. du Lac: Do you know any details about the upcoming Patti Smith show at the 9:30 club? Will it be the Patti Smith Group playing electric rock'n'roll, or will it be an acoustic (solo?) performance as rumored? Her website offers no insight. Thank you.

J. Freedom du Lac: It's apparently an acoustic show.

Question: Is it easier to admire Patti Smith than to actually, you know, like her music? Just wondering.

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Barnwell, S.C.: Free-

Please post your annual encomium on the greatness of James Brown's "Funky Christmas." I need to get in the holiday spirit ASAP. Thanks.

J. Freedom du Lac: Go power at Christmas time! But, you know, things are different this year. JB passed away on Christmas Day last year. Makes listening to "Funky Christmas" a little bit bittersweet.

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Washington, D.C.: This may not be the right place for this question.....I still have quite a few cassette tapes and I'm wondering the best way to get rid of them - and maybe environmentally friendly....is there such a thing?

J. Freedom du Lac: Donate them to a library.

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Glen Ellyn, Ill.: Odds on Led Zeppelin actually touring? My sense is that Plant still won't do it.

J. Freedom du Lac: At this point? It's a pick'em, if not 10-to-9.

washingtonpost.com: Post Rock: Back In Through the Out Door

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McLean, Va.: How does one pronounce the name "Rriiccee"?

J. Freedom du Lac: Apparently, like so: Zzzzzzzzz.

washingtonpost.com: Rriiccee: Bboorriinngg Electro-Noodling

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Van Halen: Hey Free,

Good morning. I have tickets to Van Halen but have no CDs. If you had to pick one VH CD to buy which one would it be?

Thanks.

J. Freedom du Lac: You could go the easy route and pick up their 1996 best-of compilation, but then you'd have to deal with some of the Hagar-era material. And that's not what you're getting on this tour. (Plus, the early stuff with Diamond Dave is better.)

So, I'd go with their self-titled debut. It's a paradigm-shifting rock record that sounds like nothing that came before it. Eddie's guitar work is so incredibly original ("Eruption" was a revelation) - and David Lee Roth's sleazy schtick really upped the ante for frontmen. You'll probably get some votes for "Van Halen II" and "1984," too, and I won't argue against them, especially since the lyrics on "Van Halen" aren't exactly their best. (Not that they ever turned into Deep Thinkers; but still.) But I really like the swagger and energy of that first album.

J. Freedom du Lac: By the way, I'm thinking Producer David and I should make another side bet on the second part of this tour. What do you say, David? You up for another Wiggles-like assignment?

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Food for thought?: From the bottom of the web page:

People who read this also read

Robbery Suspected in 2 Deaths

The USDA's Losing Effort

Eugene Robinson - We the Paranoid

New Allegations Test Craig's New Boldness

J. Freedom du Lac: Washingtonpost.com mixtape. We gots range!

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Zep Question #127: Since producer David isn't a Zeppelin fan (as he admitted in the blog), does that mean he doesn't like rock and roll? I say yes. What say you, J. Free?

J. Freedom du Lac: He only likes rock 'n' roll that was recorded in a bedroom, or maybe a living room. Also, there needs to be a certain unsteadiness to the rhythm. And, as you know: No bridges. I *think* he's inherently opposed to double-neck guitars, too.

He's very particular about his rock 'n' roll. Kinda like his turkey sandwiches, which he takes plain. Just bread. And turkey. (And just ask him about his gum-chewing history one of these days.)

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Alexandria, Va.: J. Freedom,

This is a little personal but I'll feel better for writing even if you don't use it in the chat.

My older sister died a few months ago and I've been thinking about her a lot and her influence on me - particularly musically.

Back in the mid 60s, she was dating a local Buffalo DJ who introduced her to the Toronto music scene. She saw Neil Young and Joni Mitchell when they were doing solo acts in small clubs, she saw the Hawks rocking out and met Burton Cummings and partied with the Guess Who.

And then one day in 1968, she brought home a weird album: "Music From Big Pink". I asked who this group was - The Band. She said they were the guys who backed Dylan.

That album changed my tastes completely and I still will claim The Band as the greatest American band.

Miss ya sis.

J. Freedom du Lac: Very sweet. And very nice of her to turn you on to The Band. There's a place on my year-end best-of for Levon Helm, you know. His new album, "Dirt Farmer," is marvelous. (He's also on "Fresh Air" today.)

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Anonymous: Rather than just admiring Patti Smith's rep over her actual music, better still to admire my imitation of Patti Smith doing "Piss Factory".

Believe me, it's GOOD.

"In thisssss pisssssss factoryyyyyyy..."

J. Freedom du Lac: Or, better yet, Gilda Radner riffing on Patti Smith!

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Arlington, Va.: I flew in from Nashville last night on a Southwest flight that had originated in L.A. There was a fellow on the plane who looked exactly like Bono. While waiting for his bags in the luggage area he was very friendly and happily let people take pictures with him. Could it really have been him? Or, was this just a very good look alike? (The answer will affect the value of the autograph I got...lol)

J. Freedom du Lac: Bono on Southwest? I just can't see it.

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Arlington, Va.: Bad christmas music should be illegal. I'm just sayin'.

J. Freedom du Lac: As should the all-Christmas radio format.

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NW, D.C.: Side-bet with producer Dave -- he has to review the next Paramore show. Seriously, who are these kids? And why should anyone over 14, including the Grammy Grannies, care?

J. Freedom du Lac: As Producer D astutely noted on Post Rock, the folks at Fueled By Ramen earned their holiday bonuses this year. What a triumph of marketing that Paramore was able to land a best new artist nod over, eg, Daughtry. Not that I'm a fan of Daughtry's - or, I guess, DAUGHTRY'S (they prefer all caps). But still.

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Fairfax, Va.: I'm confused -- what time does the Brian Wilson chat start?

J. Freedom du Lac:1967.

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Falls Church, Va.: So Cake last night. Why would a band with a little over an hour long set spend most of their time complaining about the world instead of playing music? We endured a 5 minute long pine tree hand out contest, during which we could have had another tune.

I understand that they have a political agenda, but save it for the 3 hour shows, don't deliver Cake lite and then play 2 covers during the encore. We want Cake, not Ozzy.

J. Freedom du Lac: John McCrea has been vocally meandering on stage for years. This is nothing new. And I should know: The first music feature I did in Sacramento was on Cake. In fact, I wrote more about that band than any other during my tenure in the 9-1-6.

He also likes to antagonize audiences. There's something vaguely Andy Kaufmanesque about him.

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Washington, D.C.: Care to give us a sneak peek at your top 10 albums list? Is "Back to Black" really 2007? It seems like a decade ago.

J. Freedom du Lac: 1. Miranda Lambert, "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend."

Take THAT one to the comments section, people.

I actually pondered doing an all-Americana list, since Levon Helm and Patty Griffin are also in play - and I'm a big fan of the Elizabeth Cook album. But I abandoned that idea.

"Back to Black" was released in the UK in 2006 but it didn't come out stateside until February. Or was it March? Anyway, when we ran our profile on her on Feb. 7, she was still something of an unknown.

How's this for a headline, by the way?

"100-Proof Voice: Amy Winehouse Has the Makings of an Incredible Musician. And Perhaps the Makings of a Sad, Short Story."

BRB. I have to pat us on the back for a few minutes...

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Indianapolis, Ind.: My favorite part of James Brown's Christmas Album (other than the opening chords of "Santa Claus Go Straight to the Ghetto") is the inane chatter that James & one of the sidemen indulge in quite randomly on "Go Power". They start plugging James' appearance in some movie called "Ski Party". I guess they weren't thinking "beloved holiday classic" when they went into the studio.

J. Freedom du Lac: Yes! As you know, most of these albums are recorded in the middle of the summer. A couple of years ago, Diana Krall told me that she'd done that "Christmas Songs" album at Capitol Studios in July. To try to get into the mood, they decorated the studio with a plastic Christmas tree. But still: She was at Hollywood and Vine! In July!

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Dupont Circle, Washington, D.C.: Hey Free,

Great Brian Wilson piece...sorry I'm late in passing that on. I'm curious though, who's gonna be your next marquee interview? Have you picked your lineup for the Grammys yet? Traveling anywhere else interesting soon?

J. Freedom du Lac: Posting this because, as the great Sally Jenkins says, who doesn't like an ego bath?

I've got a few things cooking. Actually, I'm still shopping for ingredients and getting ready to do the prep work. The stove hasn't yet been fired up.

One word re LA: Lefsetz.

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Celebration Day: It is nice to read your comments that you would have liked to have been present at the re-Ledding show last night in London. You seemed to be on the fence before today about if the Led could still get it out. My biased opinion is that if "Led Zeppelin" are to tour the USA ever again, there would almost have to be some new material for the band to play and I am not talking about songs that they have not played on stage before. The drudgery of performing songs that are 20, 30 and approaching 40 years old is what I believe Plant does not want, that is a greatest hits show. That band has always been about energy and forward motion, witness Plant's solo career and his upcoming tour with one Allison Krauss. Your chat each Tuesday is always fun interaction and reading. Jason Bonham sure can hit those drums, huh?

J. Freedom du Lac: I think the idea of the Page-Plant tour a decade-and-change ago was more exciting than the execution. From what I've seen online so far, it looks and sounds like they were inspired last night. But would that last if they took this thing on the road? Dunno. Would people really want to pay top dollar to hear a bunch of new material instead of the classics? Dunno about that, either. The songs are old, but it's not like they've been playing them night after night for the past quarter century. And anyway, even if they had, there might still be moments of greatness during every show, no? Consider the Rolling Stones, who sometimes seem like they're phoning in their set - until suddenly, Keith and Ronnie's riffs start to get all tangled up, and they go roaring down the runway.

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Re: Admire vs. Enjoy: A valid point.

I'm going to get murdered for this, but (for me) Springsteen falls into this category.

J. Freedom du Lac: Fair enough.

I can't tell you what to enjoy.

I can only tell you that you're wrong!

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Candy Slice!: I knew Gilda Radner, and Tina Fey, you're no Gilda Radner.

J. Freedom du Lac: I'm no Tom Shales (who is?), but I'm just going to say that I think "SNL" is much, much, much better now that Fey is gone as head writer.

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Washington, D.C.: Are the Led Zeppelins ever going to be on television?

J. Freedom du Lac: The reunion will not be televised. Or so I've read.

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Dutch Oven, OR: In your opinion, who's more HAGGARD??? Don Henley, Brian Wilson or Sean Connery...

J. Freedom du Lac: Easy -- Eric Church. You know, he of the song that goes: "They say country's fadin'/But we still wavin' that flag around here/When it's time to go, you know you're welcome back/Where the people pledge allegiance to the Hag!"

But that's not really what you're asking, is it? I'd say Brian Wilson. Though when I asked him how he thinks people perceive him, he said: "I think they think of me as a dedicated musician." And: "I do believe people think I'm good looking."

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Washington, D.C.: Hey there J.,

I was wondering if you could help me with a gift idea. Over the past couple years I've bought a relative albums by Arcade Fire, the Killers, Interpol and Wilco, and he's dug them all, but I'm out of ideas this year. Any new great albums you can suggest along those lines?

Thanks.

J. Freedom du Lac: Three obvious possibilities: Okkervil River's "The Stage Names," one of my favorites of '07; the National's "Boxer," which is showing up in the top few slots of many, many year-end lists (though it won't be on mine - I think I like the album less after having been put to sleep at one of the band's 9:30 club shows); and Spoon's "Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga," which, too, has triggered a critical droolfest.

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Burlington, Vt.: What's your least favorite Led Zeppelin song? Mine is "Carouselambra".

J. Freedom du Lac: Hats Off to Roy Harper. Noting personal against Roy, but ... wow.

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RE: Lefsetz: Can just anybody send him unsourced rumors about Bonnoroo and have him publish them? I ask because I have no outlet for my very active imagination.

J. Freedom du Lac: Dunno - try it and see what happens.

He said something interesting yesterday about the Bonnaroo rumor. Apparently, a rep told him it was untrue. But when Lefsetz asked the rep to say in writing that Led Zep would not be playing Bonnaroo, all he heard was radio silence. Could mean that the rep was just busy. Or had an email server meltdown. Or maybe not.

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Zep reunion: Must...talk...about...reunion...

So J., what body part would you have cut off to attend the Zeppelin reunion?

I would have to go with my toes...or maybe just my pinky toe. Yeah, I would totally give up my pinky toe to attend that concert...

J. Freedom du Lac: I don't do the cutting of body parts thing. But I might have sacrificed Producer David to be there.

Can't wait to see 'em at Bonnaroo.

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Washington, D.C.: How do you pronounce Rilo Kiley? I've never actually heard it said so I just figure I'm saying it wrong. Rye-lo? Ky lee? eh?

J. Freedom du Lac: What is this, Hooked on Phonics: The Pop Music Edition?

RYE-low. KYE-lee. You can only add the "eh?" if you're Canadian.

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My Vote for Van Halen Album..:...after "Van Halen", would be "Fair Warning". "Mean Streets" is Diamond Dave's best performance in his first tenure as the VH frontman.

J. Freedom du Lac: Van Halen votes.

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Washington, D.C.: Van Halen: Have to go with both WOMEN AND CHILDREN FIRST and FAIR WARNING. Less of the well known hits, but top notch records.

J. Freedom du Lac: And more.

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Falls Church, Va.: I once saw Jose Canseco on Jet Blue. -shrug-

The best part was whether someone asked him if he was Jose Canseco and he said "No, shhhh" and put his finger with his World Series ring up to his mouth.

J. Freedom du Lac: Well, yeah, sure. I mean, Jose Canseco isn't exactly rolling in dough. Bono, though - he's got a $15 million pied-a-terre at the San Remo, for chrissakes!

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Woodbridge, Va.: Someone asked Sally Jenkins how she came to write a profile on Hillary Clinton. SJ said the WaPo had assigned non-political beat writers to cover the main presidential wannabes.

So who did you draw? I hope you dibbsed Huckabee - ask him about Judas Priest or GWAR!

J. Freedom du Lac: Did you ever read her Howard Dean piece in TWP's Sunday Magazine? She good.

I'm very, very, very disappointed that I wasn't asked to review Hillary's campaign theme. I'm always up for writing about Celine Dion.

washingtonpost.com: Return of the Angry Man

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Re: Respect vs Admire: What is the line from High Fidelity?

"How can it be bollocks to state an opinion?"

"It can be bollocks when it is the wrong f___ing opinion."

J. Freedom du Lac: Very nice.

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Washington, D.C.: Watching Feist explode these last few months really makes me wish we could buy stock in artists. Instead I just get to muffle screams when people call her "new" much like I did a few years ago when Modest Mouse broke and were "new."

J. Freedom du Lac: I had that idea first. You're so late to the party in thinking this! This idea has already jumped the shark.

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RE: Van Halen: Van Halen is on itunes. Make your own best-of one 30-second sample at a time.

J. Freedom du Lac: Another vote for Van Halen. Or, I guess, against Van Halen.

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RE: RE: Lefsetz: So this is how rumours get started? Where there's smoke, there's fire. I'm sure there is a joke in there somewhere, I can't just seem to find that confounded bridge.

J. Freedom du Lac: Nah, the Bonnaroo rumor was already out there. This is how rumors are spread. Somebody emails Lefsetz, who passes along the info, which is picked up by blogs and radio jocks, etc.

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Indianapolis, Ind.: Is it just me or are concerts getting shorter? Seems like every show I've seen recently was 90 mins. tops.

J. Freedom du Lac: Two words: Smashing. Pumpkins.

washingtonpost.com: At 9:30 Club, Smashing Pumpkins Both Overcooked and Underdone

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Baltimore, Md.: UGH! Led Zeppelin is the WORST. The previous poster who asked "which body part would you cut off to attend the reunion" probably won't like my answer: I'd cut off my ears if i HAD to attend that reunion.

J. Freedom du Lac: Fantastic!

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Knoxville, Tenn.: When are you starting the "Please Explain to Me..." feature in your blog? I want to explain to you.

J. Freedom du Lac: After we get through all the holiday and year-end stuff and there's nothing left to write about. Or, as I like to call it: Jan. 2.

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Glen Ellyn, Ill.: Bonnaroo has already squelched the LZ rumors.

But hey, maybe they'll play Lollapalooza Chicago, which takes place two blocks from my office.

J. Freedom du Lac: Boo, hiss.

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Wheaton, Md.: I had a Van Halen tape I made back in the 80s, it started with Dead Or Alive, the 2nd song was Where Have All the Good Times Gone, and the third song was You Really Got Me. It was great to listen to.

J. Freedom du Lac: More runnin' with Van Halen.

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Patti Smith: It's absolutely easier to respect her than to like her music. Kind of like Elvis Costello most of the time, Shawn Colvin/Nancy Griffith/KT Tunstall most of the time, and the list goes on.

By the way, what effect do you see the new crack sentencing guidelines having on hip-hop?

J. Freedom du Lac: Please -- don't ever use KT Tunstall and Elvis Costello in the same sentence again.

Can't be long before The Clipse comes up with a smart song about the new guidelines. And Rick Ross might have to change his name.

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Van Halen: Women and Children First: Is my favorite, even though it only has 3 good songs. But then, that's how most of their albums are.

J. Freedom du Lac: More.

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Philly, Pa.: Maybe Kingdom Come could reunite if Zeppelin isn't up to it.

J. Freedom du Lac: Or, Page could just go on the road with David Coverdale.

Oh, wait.

(Jack White could open.)

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Anonymous: Bono has a multi million dollar pied a terre?

WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN?????

J. Freedom du Lac: There's room for the kids. The place is like 3,500 square feet or something. I think he bought it from Steve Jobs.

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tops!: J.Free, since it's that time of year...who was your favorite opening act of 2007? My vote is Georgie James for Ted Leo. I'd say Elvis Costello for Bob Dylan, but should that even count?

J. Freedom du Lac: Elizabeth Cook, opening for Suzy Bogguss at the Birchmere.

Speaking of Ted Leo, what in the world was up with Kristeen Young, who was the middle act on the Ted and the Pharmacist shows at the 9:30 this past weekend? Okay, okay - you're crazy. You caterwaul. You don't like Morrissey. WE GET IT. She was unlistenable.

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Takoma Park, Md.: John Paul Jones was the talk of Bonnaroo, I saw this coming a mile away.

The Youtube clips of him practicing "Dazed" with ?uestlove and Ben Harper as a trio are NUTS.

He has always been at the top of his game, he deserves more credit than he gets.

Signed,

Another bassist holding it down in the back.

J. Freedom du Lac: I'm going to have to investigate said clips. Thanks for wiping out my afternoon. Thanks a lot.

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Arlington, Va.: A few months ago, I decided it was time to add a Led Zeppelin playlist to my mp3 player. So I went through all their CDs song by song deciding which to include. It was the first time in many years that I'd listened to many of them. It was actually really interesting -- some of the tunes that I loved back when I was in my teens turned out to be surprisingly disappointing, while others that I used to basically ignore were really great. And I was most impressed by the variety from one song to the next. Those guys were definitely not boring. p.s. I never did like that Roy Harper song, either.

J. Freedom du Lac: Another vote against Roy Harper.

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Skat christmas music should be illegal. : I'm just sayin'.

J. Freedom du Lac: Yes.

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Washington, D.C.: Miranda Lambert: I've listened to samples on iTunes, and I just don't get it. It sounds like every other Nashville psuedo-country record coming out: slick, over-produced, and called country because she has a southern accent, sings about pick-up trucks and somebody plays a fiddle or dobro every now and then. My loss I guess.

J. Freedom du Lac: You're not listening very closely. It's produced, for sure, but it doesn't have that gnarly Nashville sheen. And the lyrical content is hardly typical country. Johnny Cash, for one, would love this album. Your loss, indeed. This is the album of the year.

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RE: another Wiggles-like assignment?: Don't forget you'd consider having him review the Rockabye Baby cds. Parents need to know which ones are best, so our little rug rats can enjoy Nine Inch Nails by harpsichord.

J. Freedom du Lac: I like. Though I've already written about the Rockabye Baby series. Way back when it started.

Producer D and I are discussing some sort of a Spice Girls-related bet. We'll try to get details ironed out over the next few days. I'd say that the punishment is that the loser has to write about the lame music on "Gossip Girls," but he actually loves that show. Huh.

washingtonpost.com: The Cradle Will Rock, to Metallica

(And it's "Gossip Girl," singular. Some respect, please.)

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Atlanta, Ga.: Man oh man I do NOT want Zeppelin to tour behind a new record. Not unless they're paying ME to be there.

Went to see John Fogerty the other night and his set was liberally populated with new songs. They didn't seem bad, fwiw, but man the energy in the room just DIED every time he broke out a new number.

J. Freedom du Lac: I saw Fogerty at the Fillmore when he'd decided to start doing Credence songs again. He also mixed in some new material. but and the sum total was fantastic. (I also got an angry letter from Stu Cook after I said in the review that Credence Clearwater Revisited was sort of a silly idea, given that Fogerty had the corkscrew guitar and that voice, leaving CCRevisited with ... the rhythm section!)

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Led Zeppelin is the WORST.: No, Led Zeppelin is the BEST. I am shocked to find out there are people who do not like Led Zeppelin. I'm not totally crazy about Stairway to Heaven, but I sure do love Battle of Evermore, Friends, Immigrant Song, Celebration Day, and too many more to name. A day does not go by when I don't listen to some Zeppelin song, and I'm still not tired of them. Trying to convince husband to name our first child "James Patrick." I suppose you could say I'm a big fan.

J. Freedom du Lac: Hey, David - how about a "Please Explain to Me" on Led Zeppelin?

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Dread Zeppelin: Will they be making a comeback too? Nothing like a little Zeppelin, reggae and elvis all mixed up together.

J. Freedom du Lac: Yeah, I think they're touring with the folks behind that "Radiodread" album. Which, I have to admit, I kind of liked more than most Radiohead albums. Sorry, but it's true.

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Washington, D.C.: Miranda Lambert: I'll give it another try. I love Cash. If you had to pick one song from that record, what would it be? I can spend a buck on a song to try it out.

J. Freedom du Lac: I can't pick one. I'll give you three, instead: The firecracker of an opener, "Gunpowder and Lead." The weepy, desperate "More Like Her." And "Guilty In Here," a fantastic song about female libido.

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Kristeen Young: Yes, she is totes unlistenable. I love a good caterwaul, but seriously. She's not even in my top 5 caterwaulers of 2007 (sorry, but I have to make room for PJ Harvey and Thom Yorke). Like Morrissey hasn't been through enough already this year.

J. Freedom du Lac: She's like Karen O, without all the interesting attributes. Karen Zzzzzzz, I guess. (Sorry, I'm recycling zzzzzz jokes today. Distracted by the Dewey Cox box set that's on my desk.)

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NW, D.C.: New Rule:

Beatles, Stones, Zeppelin, Prince, Dylan, Beach Boys, Petty, Cash, Willie Nelson (am I missing anyone?) -- if you don't get it, quit coming 'round here.

J. Freedom du Lac: Yes, of course: Starland Vocal Band.

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Baltimore, Md.:"I'm Not There:" But I am here, wanting to know if you have seen this biographical mediation on Dylan? I saw it over the weekend and thought it was the fastest two hours and fifteen minutes I'd ever spent in a theater. And Cate Blanchett commits a work of alchemy as the electric-at-Newport, snarky-in-England Dylan.

Granted, I think someone's appreciation of the movie may depend on how much they know about Dylan's history (I laughed, for example, at a line of dialog that was lifted verbatim from "Don't Look Back"), but I think it would be worth seeing if you knew very little about Bob's history, if only for Blanchett. Thanks.

J. Freedom du Lac: Have to admit that I've been kind of avoiding this movie. I didn't like the soundtrack all that much. (Not as bad as "Across the Universe," but still. Meh.) And the conceit seems awfully bizarre to me. And, also, I didn't want to come down from my "Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story" high. But I do plan on seeing it. Soon. Really.

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Re: Dewey Cox: How was the movie, BTW?

J. Freedom du Lac: You'll laugh. You'll cry (because you're laughing so hard). And you won't be able to get some of those songs out of your head.

By coincidence, "Walk the Line" was on last night, and boy oh boy did Judd Apatow nail it in the opening.

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Lucy, you got a lot of explaining to do: Here goes on Led Zeppelin: They came about in at time in rock music when there was no RAWK music. Led Zeppelin bombarded the listener with sludge, loud guitar riffs, dramatic pauses and starts, screaming orgasm yelps and genuine atmospheric lyrics that didn't make any sense. And the "fans" loved it, music critics didn't want to get it and millions were served

J. Freedom du Lac: And, of course, they came around at a time when Carl Bernstein was writing about popular music. I'm pretty sure I've told this story before, but I got a call one day from Bernstein, who introduced himself on the phone by saying: "It's Carl, your predecessor." He then explained that he'd reviewed Led Zeppelin many years ago. (And then asked if I'd go see his son's band, the Actual, at DC9 that night.)

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Christmas music: A trip to Macy's on Saturday pushed me to my limit and made me think the unthinkable: I really, really wish Ella Fitzgerald would just SHUT UP. I don't know if I can forgive them for that. Also that I saw mommy kissing santa claus song causes something in my brain to short circuit. Then again, for reasons I can't even explain, I love (seriously) the Paul McCartney Christmastime song. What gives?

J. Freedom du Lac: You might consider wearing an iPod when you go holiday shopping. Really. Give it a try. Thank me later.

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Re: Levon Helm: So the record really is good, and I'm not just reading "he's an American legend and we're glad he's still around so let's be nice" kind of pity reviews?

J. Freedom du Lac: I wouldn't consider it for my best-of if it was a pity play. It's really, really good. Check him out on "Fresh Air."

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Cate Blanchett: I like her, but I hope I never see a movie in which she plays Robert Plant.

J. Freedom du Lac: I think Gwyneth already has that role locked down.

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Barston, Mass.: J Free,

Are the Foxboro Hot Tubs Green Day in disguise like the blogs tell me?

J. Freedom du Lac: Punknews.org says so.

washingtonpost.com: Foxboro Hot Tubs on MySpace

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Alexandria Again - Dirt Farmer: I've been listening to Dirt Farmer. Very "old timey" and Levon's voice has recovered pretty well from the cancer. I think it now has a touch of Ralph Stanley to it.

And I'd love to her Amy Helm sing some more.

J. Freedom du Lac: See? Not an ounce of pity here.

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U tube: The Led Zep videos are being removed from You Tube as we type. Then maybe it didn't happen last night

J. Freedom du Lac: Dazed and confused, indeed.

Thanks for stopping by today folks. We can pick up any and all of the conversation over at Post Rock. And/or, same time same place next week.

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