Freedom Rock

J. Freedom du Lac
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, February 10, 2009; 2:00 PM

J. Freedom du Lac is online every Tuesday at 2 p.m. ET to talk about the latest on the music scene: this week, the winners, losers, best performances and duds from Sunday's 51st annual Grammy Awards.

The transcript follows.

____________________ Celebrating Marley's Ghost; Photographer's 'Soul' Illuminates a Legend

_______________________ The Gang's All Here; Performances Trump the Prizes on Beleaguered Industry's Big Night (Grammys)

_______________________ Power Of Just Plain Folk; Tom Paxton Humbly Garners Life Grammy

_______________________ Blog: Post Rock


J. Freedom du Lac: Hello again.

The future needs a big kiss. So does the music industry.

But the Grammy ratings were actually

up this year.

Did you watch? Thoughts? How long has Neil Diamond been without a real singing voice? I must've missed that memo. So, too, did Whitney Houston. but she misses everything these days, I'm afraid.


Spit Take: When the Jonas Brothers told Stevie Wonder to "show us what you got", I literally spit out my Doritos laughing.

J. Freedom du Lac: Yeah, that was amazing, wasn't it?

You'll love this quote, from Joe Jonas: "I don't think we would have wanted to perform with anyone else. I mean, there were stars in that room who we'd love to perform with, but that was such a perfect opportunity and a perfect collaboration."



Arlington, Va.: Was it just me, or were the vocals way down in the Grammy broadcast mix? I could barely hear the singing. Did anyone else notice this, or do I need to adjust my set, stop sniffing glue, etc.?

J. Freedom du Lac: The mix wasn't great, but I think it was probably better than last year (or was it the year before?) when the sound was flat-out awful. How is it that the music industry keeps dropping the ball during its biggest promotional night of the year?


Washington, D.C.: Are you anxiously awaiting the next Green Day?

J. Freedom du Lac: I am. Very much so. I loved "American Idiot."

I wish that they'd been invited to perform a new song at the Grammys. They could've pinch-hit for Neil Diamond, who was not at the top of his game. Not even close.


Chattanooga, Tenn.: Isn't your personal hero Rick Rubin responsible for the "new" Neil Diamond? Maybe you should call him up and ask what the deal is.

J. Freedom du Lac: But Neil's voice wasn't shot when I reviewed him at the Phone Booth in 2005, around the time he was working with Rubin on their first album together. Something happened between then and now. Either that or he was just having a really, really bad night on Sunday.


Nashville, Ga.: You know how "The Eagles" always insist that the name of the band is just "Eagles"? That's so stupid. I am going to start a band called "THE Eagles" and force "Eagles" to sue me so that they have to admit that to the court and Jesus that everyone calls them "The Eagles" anyway, no matter what Dan Henley says.

J. Freedom du Lac: I'd be curious to know what Don Henley says, too!

But yes, I've always been kind of amused by that. Befuddled, too. I remember having a long debate with an editor in Sacramento about "Eels" versus "THE Eels." Also whether it was "Counting Crows" or "THE Counting Crows."


Chicago: Aside from Fitty Cent, who got outed last year, which artists are using PEDs to look better, not sound better?

J. Freedom du Lac: Is there any question whatsoever that Melle Mel of the Sugarhill Gang isn't on the music industry's own list of 104?


Big thanks for the piece about "Soul Rebel": Thank you for highlighting his amazing work and reminding me to reach out to an old friend.

J. Freedom du Lac: Seriously, though: Who doesn't like Bob Marley? His Q rating has to be higher than just about any other musician's.


Adams Morgan, Washington, D.C.: Considering her small role in the performance and the fact it was her due date, do you think MIA performed just because this might be the only opportunity to wear that outfit?

J. Freedom du Lac: I suspect she also loved the very idea of performing on her due date. It seems like an idea she'd embrace. And really, who's to say that she wouldn't have worn that outfit otherwise?








Severna Park, Md.: BTW, it's "Jonas Brothers" not "THE Jonas Brothers."

J. Freedom du Lac: Sure, just as it's Hot One, Cute One and Other One -- sans definite articles.


Washington, D.C.: Cat Power - Anyone going to review?

Chan Marshall is undeniably other-wordly - but I was disappointed by the weak showing of songs off of "You are Free" and "The Greatest".

For me, song selection put a damper on what was otherwise mindblowing, borderline stupefying show.

J. Freedom du Lac: Malitz was, until he decided to stay home and stare at that old New Yorker photo -- err, I mean, Twitter the Grammys telecast.


Baltimore, Md.: Thanks for the fine piece on Tom Paxton last week. I knew he was now living in the D.C. area, but did not know the particulars. I met him many, many years ago when he played the Foghorn Coffeehouse in Baltimore -- I even have his signature on the LP jacket of his first album. Of all the performers of that era, he was easily the most sane. (Well, maybe Tom Rush was his equal in sanity.) It's simply hard to imagine someone has grounded as Paxton mixing it up in the poker games in the Kettle of Fish in the Village with the likes of Dylan and Phil Ochs, but he did. It's also good to know that he hooked up with someone like Milt Okun so he wound up hanging on to his publishing royalties. I imagine "The Last Thing On My Mind" brings in a nice chunk of change each year. Again, thanks.

J. Freedom du Lac: Thanks for the thanks. Tom, as you know, is simply a delightful human being -- and a really fantastic old-school folksinger.


is a pretty cool video of Tom discussing and performing "Ramblin' Boy" with one Pete Seeger way back when. (Tangential observation by Malitz: The '60s didn't look like the '60s in 1965.)


National Press Club: I'm going to meet Dolly Parton -- are you going to be there?

J. Freedom du Lac: I don't think so. Nothing will ever top our meeting in her Dollywood dressing room, where she sang a new song to me - and me alone. It's all downhill from there, so why bother?


Alexandria, Va.: Event CD release of the year - Van Morrison, Astral Weeks Live at the Hollywood Bowl, 2.24.09. also to be LP and DVD formats. He is also playing 4 shows in NYC this month. Cover those!!!

J. Freedom du Lac: We already did.


Fairfax, Va.: You know, I was less than enthusiastic about the Springsteen album when I first heard it, but this past weekend, I put it on to give it another chance and by the end of the weekend I found that I couldn't stop playing it.

J. Freedom du Lac: I remain less than enthusiastic about the album. I've tried to listen to it again -- twice -- since I reviewed it, and it's just not happening for me. The lyrics leave me cold.


Outlaw Pete: So since the phone booth appeared to sell out for Springsteen in about 3 minutes, any chance they will add a show? Please?

And you are so wrong on the new album. Channeling Roy Orbison and Brian Wilson is a great thing. What a fun album, which I admit is quite a change from MAGIC and THE RISING, but it is change I can believe in.

J. Freedom du Lac: Doesn't look like it. On the "Magic" tour, the second Verizon Center date went onsale immediately after the first one sold out. You'd think they would have done it the same way this time around. (Then again, maybe Ticketmaster is looking to sell out all of those marked-up ducats via its controversial TicketsNow site first.)


Arlington, Va.: What do you think of Loney, Dear? I've heard a couple of their songs and liked them both, but am wondering if their most recent album is worth shelling out for.

David Malitz: You'd like to see more power out of a 1B, even if Chavez Ravine keeps his power numbers down. PECOTA has him>.800 OPS in 2009, that's not cutting it for 1B.

Seriously though, I think Loney Dear (he dropped the comma) isn't quite interesting enough for an entire album. I wish more bands would release EPs. Why not, right?


Vienna, Va.: Neil's voice -- I just listened to his "12 Songs" the other night and his voice sounds terrific for a man his age. Granted, it's dialed back because the songs are low-key, but still good.

J. Freedom du Lac: Yeah, but that's not the Neil who showed up at Staples Center. Check this out. He's not even singing, really.


Disturbia: Chris Brown: Is his career over if he really did beat Rihanna?

J. Freedom du Lac: Billboard's editorial director seems to think so. He told the Associated Press as much:

(AP) At this point, Chris Brown would have been better off getting caught with a bong. At least then, the scandal enveloping his white-hot career could have been dismissed by some as a youthful indiscretion.

But Brown's arrest in connection with an alleged assault of a woman has potentially devastating implications for the 19-year-old heartthrob because it unravels the charming, wholesome image that fans know and love.

"If it's true, his career is probably over," said Billboard magazine's editorial director, Bill Werde, although he cautioned that "it's important to withhold judgment until all of the facts are known."


I wrote about Chris

in December 2005, by the way, just as his career was exploding.

He was 16 at the time (with his mother hovering protectively backstage at the Spectrum in Philly) and was about to land on the cover of Vibe, which was pretty unprecedented for a new artist with all of one single on his CV. He's almost lived up to the considerable hype that surrounded him back then -- no small feat.

But now? Not looking so good.


Charlotte, N.C.: Sir,

My 11 year old daughter loves Chris Brown....what do I tell her?

J. Freedom du Lac: That he's been charged with committing a violent act/doing something unforgivable to another person -- and that you'd like to introduce her to her new favorite artist ... umm ... see, that's a problem. There really isn't an obvious alternative in the realm of urban pop right now. Usher Raymond eight years ago? Tevin Campbell back when he had a career? New Edition?


re: The future needs a big kiss.: Hey J. Free, what are you smoking? Is it sleep deprivation making you say stuff like this?

J. Freedom du Lac: I'm smoking the new U2 single!

Bono being Bono



Guit, AR: Was I the only one disappointed that T. Bone Burnett got the spotlight guitar treatment during RP and AK's performance the other night? Buddy Miller would have killed it.

Also, Buddy is producing and playing on Patty Griffin's new cd. Two great tastes that ought to go great together.

J. Freedom du Lac: Absolutely not the only one. More Buddy is ALWAYS a good thing. He was en fuego when they performed at Merriweather Post last year.

There's a new Buddy and Julie Miller album out soon, too - early March, I believe. Haven't heard it just yet, though it's on the pile at home, right under "Hushabye Baby: Country Lullaby Renditions of Johnny Cash."


Chris Brown replacement: Perhaps the daughter can now turn her attentions to Ne-Yo. He seems pretty clean cut.

Don't you think Al Green should do one of those duet albums and work with Justin Timberlake & Duffy. Their voices all worked really well together.

J. Freedom du Lac: Ahh, yes. Ne-Yo -- how could I forget??! Very good call, though he's more adult-oriented. Loved "Year of the Gentleman," though. Just lurrrrrrved it.

I thought Al Green ran circles around Justin on "

Let's Stay Together

" the other night, though that's sort of like saying: I thought Pedro Feliz was in over his head against Tim Lincecum. Or something.

But shockingly, yeah: Duffy did OK in that mini-collabo with the Rev. Al.


Tampa, Fla.: You ask "Who doesn't like Bob Marley"?

I have finally come to terms with the fact that I DO like Bob Marley, but I used to THINK I didn't, mainly because I was so put off by the reefer-enthusiast/head shop associations that accompany Bob Marley's popular image.

J. Freedom du Lac: Resistance is futile.


Interwebs!: "J. Freedom du Lac: Malitz was, until he decided to stay home and stare at that old New Yorker photo "

Uh, you could provide a link to said picture! Just sayin'....

J. Freedom du Lac: Careful.


I think I was hallucinating: Help me out because I think my wife spiked my drink the other night. I could have sworn I saw Stevie Wonder performing with, please don't laugh, the Jonas Brothers.

Okay, I know that sounds stupid. So should I call the cops now and try to gather more evidence against my wife?

J. Freedom du Lac: The performance might have been at least mildly tolerable if she HAD spiked your drink. Though probably not.

Truly terrible

. So bad that I actually longed for another Shakira-Stevie collabo.

I love Stevie as much as anybody, but wow. He should've just said no, as politely as possible. Either that or: Kids, get off my lawn -- and off my stage.


Washington, D.C.: Did you play music to your offspring while it was in utero? What band is his favorite? Don't play any Jack Johnson or John Mayer, or the baby will sleep through its feeding and be up all night. Except John Mayer Trio. Cash in on the Pino Palladino-Steve Jordan exception.

J. Freedom du Lac: Oh, sure -- all kinds of music, from Jamey Johnson and Josh Ritter to Patty Griffin and, um, Lil Wayne. Also took him to some shows. He seemed to be especially fond of the New Orleans pianists.


Grammy Disappointment, Va.: I thought the blues peace with Keith Urban, Buddy Guy, BB KIng, and John Mayer was awful.

For one, they didn't let Buddy play long enough, nor BB for that matter, and why do they have to drag out Mayer every time there is some blues to be played?

Also, I thought Jamie Foxx seemed out of place in the 4 Tops tribute.

They should just keep it simple.

J. Freedom du Lac: Yes, that Four Tops tribute lineup was sort of like the old Sesame Street game: One of these things is not like the others. Duke Fakir, Smokey Robinson (singing much lower than before, but still -- it's Smokey), bright young star Ne-Yo and ... Jamie Foxx?

What the ???

To be honest, I missed the Bo Diddley bit with BB et al. Was busy typing frantically, trying to make deadline. Must. Review. Tape. (Or YouTube.)

Agree about Mayer, though. Enough already. I was actually bummed to see his picture on the bottom of the front page of TWP on Monday. Lil Wayne or MIA would've been a much more interesting pick.


Chris Brown: I'm having a debate with a co-worker about this. I think his career likely is over, especially with reports of how savagely Rihanna was beaten. My co-worker says Michael Jackson still sells albums, and so does R. Kelly. I think because Rihanna's so famous - and Chris had such a squeaky clean reputation before - that he won't recover.

J. Freedom du Lac: Yeah, but R. Kelly already had a reputation for being a bit of a freak. Or, a big-time freak. The charges against him were almost of a piece.

Chris Brown was supposed to be one of the good ones - the kind you DO bring home to mother, etc. This kind of horrible and idiotic (alleged) episode could really ruin his career. I mean, I can't even see things turning around for him if he tries to make a "Funky Headhunter"-era Hammer switch and turn hardcore. Not happening.

Michael Jackson: People still love his old music, but they're not gonna buy new Jacko product. Not in any great numbers, anyway.


New Orleans Jazz Pianists: I think you are on to something with your young one and New Orleans pianists. Our son has an odd penchant for Professor Longhair that began long before his ear lobes were fully formed. I can't explain it, but I am hopeful that it will not turn into a fondness for Dr. John.

J. Freedom du Lac: I'm hoping that our boy becomes a fan of the NoLa brass bands, too. (Loved seeing Dirty Dozen up there with Lil Wayne, Allen Toussaint and Terence Blanchard at the Grammys, btw. If you're going to bring a posse onstage, make sure they actually have something to contribute. As opposed to Weezy at the Virgin Mobile Festival, where it seemed like he brought about three dozen people of unclear purpose out with him.)


Arlington, Va.: An opposing viewpoint - I thought the blues guitarists were the highlight of the show....perhaps the only understated musical moment. And I'm not a fan of either Keith Urban or John Mayer, but they clearly held their own with the masters.

J. Freedom du Lac: Keith Urban can really play. I'd love to see him do a Nashville guitar summit with Brad Paisley and Vince Gill one of these days.


Speaking of Jaimee Foxx out of place: Did you notice that during the performance, Robinson, Foxx, and Fakir were all on one side of the stage and Foxx was on the other? He had to run down to them to finish the song. What was up with that?

J. Freedom du Lac: He was having a Ray Charles moment.


Alexandria, Va.: I don't know, Jamie Foxx's voice is as good as Ne-Yo's

J. Freedom du Lac: Jamie Foxx is a very good karaoke singer.


WaPo Journalistic Standards: Linking to a racy picture in lieu of actual reporting.

I guess we know what Malitz & J. Free think of Cat Power!

David Malitz: Don't lump me into this!

It's been a loooong time since I've seen Cat Power (Virgin MOBILE Festival notwithstanding) so I was a little upset to miss it, but duty called. My best memory of Chan was at the Matador 10th anniversary show in 1999 at Irving Plaza in New York, she played right before Pavement and ran off stage literally a dozen times during her "set." It was the classic Cat Power trainwreck. "Moon Pix" remains a favorite album of mine. Not as much into her new direction and all the covers, but at least she seems sane.

J. Freedom du Lac: Yes, because a live Web chat is all about reporting. Thanks.


They could've pinch-hit for Neil Diamond, who was not at the top of his game.: Green Day and Neil Diamond, now that would be an interesting collaboration. You don't need a great voice to sing some of those Green Day songs. At least that what it seems like when I'm in my car.

J. Freedom du Lac: Right, just three chords and a guy in a bunny suit running around onstage. (Plus, I guess, somebody to mop up all the loogies afterwards.)


Who doesn't like Bob Marley: I don't. I used to pretend I did since everyone else did, and then one day I woke up and said I do not like his music. Nothing personal, it's just that when one of his songs comes on the radio I immediately change it. That strong of a gut reaction and I had to admit it wasn't for me.

J. Freedom du Lac: Do you dislike the music itself, or is it a reaction to saturation/overexposure?


Anyone else notice: that when Al Green broke into his brief version of "Moon River" they cut to a shot of Andy Williams in the audience. Who knew he was still alive let alone at the Grammys!

J. Freedom du Lac: That really was a great Grammy moment, wasn't it??


Athens, Ga.: Does anybody in any professional capacity in the music business have the nerve to come out and say that Miley Cyrus and Taylor Swift cannot sing, don't have anything resembling talent and people shouldn't waste their money supporting their careers? Just saying.

J. Freedom du Lac: People have whispered that about their voices, but I will say that it's not true that Taylor Swift doesn't have anything resembling talent. She's a terrific pop songwriter. And her voice works just fine in the studio, albeit with a bit of technical assistance. But, then, on Music Row, more singers are being Auto-Tuned than aren't these days. So I'm told, anyway.


Katy Perry: Will she ever get another nomination? Or are her 15 minutes over?

J. Freedom du Lac: Who?


Arlington, Va.: re: the Grammys, I think there might be more interest in them if their categories made any sense at all. What is the difference between record of the year and song of the year? Pop vocal album and traditional pop vocal album? Rock performance, hard rock performance, and metal? R&B and traditional R&B? It all just blends together. As for the show itself, every time I turned it on they were in a ridiculously long commercial break. So I gave up and watched a movie about dogs in the Antarctic instead.

J. Freedom du Lac: It's really true. There are way too many Grammys -- 110 in all. I understand the Recording Academy's desire to recognize artists in as many genres as possible, but the whole thing seems really watered-down. Why not have the Folk Grammys, the Clasical Grammys, etc, in the same way that they've already launched the Latin Grammys? And then keep the big show for the biggest awards and streamline the whole thing, a la the Country Music Association Awards.

But, you know, you're talking about an award show whose very name screams out: OLD DAYS!

Grandma, what's a gramophone?

And yes, record of the year is a ridiculous name. Change it to single of the year already and move on.

At least they didn't give "Raising Sand" the LP of the Year award.


I don't like Bob Marley either: But I'm no fan of reggae in general. I suppose the real question is "Who doesn't like Stevie Wonder?" He gets love from everyone.

J. Freedom du Lac: Very good call. I think he's #2 on this list. "Higher Ground" and "Superstition" would play well at almost any party. Even a Jonas Brothers birthday soiree.


Reston, Va.: J. Free, I confess. I didn't get it when it came out and I don't get it now that it's winning Grammys. The Robert Plant/Alison Krauss album left me cold and I love Plant's recent solo work. I think Alison Krauss is almost as boring as Cat Power, just with her pants buttoned.

J. Freedom du Lac: I wasn't as moved by the album as, well, a lot of other people. But I thought the project played fantastically live. Truly spellbinding stuff. The instrumentation and the interplay between Plant and Krauss was just magical. (She must've checked the inertia at the door.)


Grammy Fun: Ok, so far we had some hatin' on Neil Diamond and the Jonas Brothers. If anybody rips on Katy Perry- the third member of the Troika of Kitschy Cool - I am so gone from here.

J. Freedom du Lac: Buh-bye!


Dodgeville, Wisc.: J Free,

While I watched the Grammys it occurred to me to ask someone - and I guess that's you - do you happen to know whether this generation's artist's are paying royalties to the older songwriters they so blatantly copy? For instance, Jennifer Nettles - Stay - the line - Why Don't You Stay - is an exact lift from Bob Seger's We've Got Tonight. And Kid Rock and that Summer song - Holey Crikeys where do I begin? The intro is exactly Warren Zevon and several spots in the song are Lynyrd Skynyrd. Heck, Even Zac Brown's Chicken Fried is really Roger Miller's Chug-a-Lug in disguise. If George Harrison had to pay 587,000 - something like that - for the three notes of He's So Fine, then these other writers - or their estates - should be in line with a hand out don't you think? Thanks

J. Freedom du Lac: I've always been kind of fascinated by this idea. At what point DOES a particular piece go from being informed/influenced by somebody/something to actually interpolating (if not stealing) their idea? The big plagiarism charge this year surrounded Coldplay's "Viva La Vida," which Joe Satriani says is a rip-off of his 2004 song "If I Could Fly."

Hear for yourself here



Vienna, Va.: Did I miss the Post's review of the Griffin-Colvin-Harris-Miller show at the Birchmere? All I saw was a Reuters puff piece about Emmylou returning to her DC roots.

J. Freedom du Lac: Here ya go.


Taylor Swift is a Talented Pop Song Writer: Wow, she's lucky she's hot then.

If she was ugly she would be "some chick with a book of 'poetry' that no one wants to read/hear or cares about."

J. Freedom du Lac: I had a friend in Sacramento - Mike Triplett - who liked to respond to similar statements by saying something to the effect of: "Well, yeah, and if my mother had [a totally different kind of naughty bits], then she'd be my father."

I'm not sure that the math works out exactly, but you get the point. I think.


My dad loves that Krauss/Plant album: I was teasing him that he should get some Led Zeppelin, and he was like "who is that, honey?"

J. Freedom du Lac: Funny. The Recording Academy probably wonders the same thing: Led Zep never won a Grammy.

But the Plant-Krauss project has racked up six in two years. Those voters just love them some Alison Krauss, who is the winningest female in Grammy history and is something like Top 3 overall now.


Plainsboro, N.J.: JFDL: That Radiohead performance finally has me sold on them. IM. PRESS. IV. On the contrary, what is the purpose of Kenny Chesney's existence? I'm sure he's plenty a nice guy, but aside from the pure dullness, he's starting to give me the creeps.

J. Freedom du Lac: Chesney has a fine voice. And actually, when he sings the truly authentic-style stuff, he can be pretty great. (He was a highlight at the BMI Awards in Nashville last November, during a Hank Williams Jr. tribute. It was really a revelatory performance from my perspective.) Having said that: I thought his performance on Sunday was kind of soporific. He probably would've been better off doing the sort of Buffet-esque stuff that really resonates with his fans and has made him such a force on the touring circuit. Win with the fastball that got you here, not with a changeup that you taught yourself between the 5th and 6th innings.

J. Freedom du Lac: (Unless you're David Cone.)


Washington, D.C.: On Kid Rock -- he gave songwriting credits to Zevon and others so they do get a piece. On the Stay song --- just because you use the same words for a line does not mean you owe royalties ------ music is different --- song is different. Not even a close claim there.

J. Freedom du Lac: Yes, good and important point re Kid Rock.

He wasn't pretending to have come up with that song out of thin air. Skynryd gets props, too.


marley and me: i was suprised that those pictures of Bob Marley even existed. i was under the impression that all known photos and negatives of Marley had been replaced by those charcoal drawings on sale at the mall next to the one's of Biggie and Scarface.

J. Freedom du Lac: And Tupac.

Don't forget Tupac!

I wonder where Marley's dreadlocked visage ranks globally among musicians. He has to be the most recognized figure in the world. Such an iconic face.


Manassas, Va.: What do you think of Springsteen's beef with TicketMaster, Tickets Now and the possible Monopoly caused if Ticket Master and Live Nation join forces?

J. Freedom du Lac: Maybe Bruce and Pearl Jam can start their own ticketing company.


Chaptico, Md.: I'm a big U2 fan but thought there performance at the Grammys was just average. Maybe that was because I think the new song is just average. What say you?

J. Freedom du Lac: I actually thought they brought the heat with the performance, but the song itself was lukewarm. As Klimek noted earlier today, it's like a good B-side. As the lead single from their new project? Ruh-roh.


speaking of buddy: I saw the second of the "three girls and their buddy" concerts last week and while I think it may have better than the first night, it was still disappointing - except when it was Buddy's turn to lead. He totally stole the show and I saw this as an ardent fan of each of the three women. He claims his performance of "To Love Somebody" that night was his first - shouldn't be his last.

J. Freedom du Lac: Just passing along.


Alexandria, Va.: I'm also in the non-Marley room. Boring, everything sounds so similar.

J. Freedom du Lac: Really? You can't discern the obvious differences in melody, rhythm, etc, let alone the lyrics? "Could You Be Loved" sounds the same as "No Woman" which sounds the same as "Stir It Up"? Huh.


Duffy: Ugh, I thought she sounded awful when singing with Al, although I agree with you that Justin was surprisingly weak. On the other hand, I was blown away by Estelle and Kanye - you?

J. Freedom du Lac: Estelle was fire. Kanye was better on "Swagga Like Us." (I still love that bloke/bespoke rhyme, though.)


He has to be the most recognized figure in the world.: No, I think that's Elvis.

J. Freedom du Lac: Internationally, I think Marley gives Elvis a run for his (estate's) money.


Washington, D.C.: J. Free:

It occurred to me over the weekend (I think during one of those bad "Grammy collection CD" commercials):

Lady Gaga = Paris Hilton + better producer - interesting famewh-re backstory

agree or disagree?

J. Freedom du Lac: Lady GaGa has a much better feel for how to deliver a song. More charisma, too. Her voice isn't remarkable by any stretch, but she's better than Hilton as a performer by a multiple. Paris worked with some talented producers but just couldn't make it work.

Having said that,

I don't really like Lady GaGa's steez

. She's really derivative, and her songs are kind of generic. In non-recessionary times, "Just Dance" is not a No. 1 hit. I'm just saying....


Washington, D.C.: Don't you just love Adele's voice. She is a bit of an amazing talent.

J. Freedom du Lac: Yes.


At what point DOES a particular piece go from being informed/influenced by somebody/something to actually interpolating (if not stealing) their idea? : Maybe there are no new riffs.

J. Freedom du Lac: Maybe.


Cleveland Park, Washington, D.C.: re: Marley

The only Marley song I don't like is "Buffalo Soldiers," and only because the chorus is a rip-off of the Banana Splits song. And yet I love the Dickies' version of the Banana Splits song.

J. Freedom du Lac: Posting.


Re: Taylor Swift: And I'm not sure we can call her "hot".

a) she's a kid; and

b) it's really more "super-cute" than "hot", kinda' like a female jo-bro.

J. Freedom du Lac: Posting, cont...


Saturation/overexposure: That's it exactly! Especially down here in Florida, you can't go anywhere to eat or drink without hearing the same five Buffett and Marley songs. Enough already.

J. Freedom du Lac: Posting, cont...


Re: Katy Perry: Thank you. There is a God.

J. Freedom du Lac: One in an occasional series of "Posting cont." posts.


Washington, D.C.: The "the" controversy must end. Rick Danko, Levon Helm, et al. had "The Band." David Byrne ended the controversy on the live album "The Name of This Band Is Talking Heads." Everyone else must use the definite article. Geez.

J. Freedom du Lac: And more.


Eagles: I'm going to start calling them "Eaglesband" because their website is You can't have a conversation without putting a "the" in front of the name.

A: What are you listening to?

B: Eagles

A: We have eagles out in the yard?

B: No, THE Eagles.

J. Freedom du Lac: Boom-tsk.


Gotta Love a Good Marching Band: Here's the real issue: Thom Yorke's hair. Yikes.

J. Freedom du Lac: It's "art."


Miley Cyrus and Taylor Swift: How much do you wish cameras had panned over to Jonas Brothers? And do you think their "people" manufactured the duet partly because both have been burned by the Younger One and the Cute One?

J. Freedom du Lac: Very much so. The producers need to have a sense of humor about these things. Just think: If they'd done it and the JoBros -- excuse me, JoBros (no THE) -- had reacted in a notable way, the kids who helped drive up the Grammy ratings would be dissecting that moment in perpetuity. (Or at least until there's a new episode of "Gossip Girl.") Good marketing.


My brain: I would just like to a take a moment to publicize my personal theory that "No woman no cry" is playing 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, somewhere in the world. It's a longish song, on a classic album, and Bob Marley is so well-known and loved on practically every continent that it is a conceivable notion.

Now you can think of this every time you hear the song, like I do.

J. Freedom du Lac: You're probably right.

In fact, if you limit "the world" to U.S. college campuses -- I think the theory still holds.


Grammy Mix: Mix for the hall doesn't necessarily mix well for TV - but you would think they'd figure it out somehow

J. Freedom du Lac: Right. It's only the music industry we're talking about. You'd think they'd figure it out, sorta like you'd expect the program at a convention of copy editors to be without typos, the wine poured at a wine-industry dinner to be free of TCA, etc.


Lil Wayne: Is Lil Wayne now considered the best rapper alive?

J. Freedom du Lac: By many many people, yes. But for me, Rakim still owns that title, even if he hasn't done anything noteworthy in years.


Chris Brown: Who's to say he can't go down a darker road w/music? Aren't there plenty of people in music who've done really bad things? He'd have to reinvent his sound, probably, but I'm not sure he's "over." I guess the problem is his current crop of fans won't travel w/him? Hope he's saved some $.

J. Freedom du Lac: His good-kid image was a major part of appeal. He's lost that.


National Press Club: Because she sang "Coat of Many Colors" and time practically stops when that voice gets going.

Sorry you had to work!

J. Freedom du Lac: (Sigh.)


Chicago: I had a much greater appreciation for WOAD after reading this interview with the Boss here.

J. Freedom du Lac: Posting.


Clearwater, Fla.: Any thoughts about the way the Lifetime Achievement awards were handled? Granted, most in the audience were probably too young or weren't born during these singers time, but none the less, a little more respect, video time and applause were deserved and sorely lacking. Who's Dean Martin?? Really??

J. Freedom du Lac: I think they should've had live performers doing at least short bits of some of the awardees' songs. Even if it's a brief medley. They could've done that and taken THE Rock out of the show and it would've been just fine.


On the other hand: My wife looked at me during the "blues jam" and asked "Who are those guys with BB King and John Mayer?"

The ladies love Mayer, and the fellas who love them appreciate that at least he's an actual musician. Just wish he didn't make that Metamucil face so often.

J. Freedom du Lac: Another in an occasional series of "Posting cont." posts.


That he's been charged with committing a violent act/doing something unforgivable to another person : and that he's innocent until proven guilty. And that often the people we admire who are celebrities have faults that you can't see in the music, and that their abilities as musicians can be admired, but their faults make them humans, just like anyone else, and that if you put them up on a pedestal they are sure to disappoint you.

J. Freedom du Lac: Sure.


re Lil Wayne: You cannot be serious. He is garbage, plain and simple. He is successful because the last 5 years of hop hip has set the bar below the floor.

J. Freedom du Lac: Nope, he's not garbage. He's a very different kind of lyricist than the great ones that I you grew up on. But there's genius at work there, even if he sometimes falls flat on his tattooed face.


Eagles vs. The Eagles: Personally this debate interests me not at all. But if you start addressing "The Batman" (which was the orignal intent of the comic strip) as "Batman", well then it's time to pack a lunch.

J. Freedom du Lac: The end.

Thanks for stopping by, folks. It's been a fun one.

The J. Freedom.


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