I can’t say I was the world’s biggest fan of Gregory Isaacs aka the “Cool Ruler” – musician whose style was considered laid-back even among fellow roots reggae musicians – which is saying a lot! He was really mellow! But somehow his passing (this Monday) has been affecting me in a big way – second day in a row can’t stop reading articles on him and listening to his records. Night Nurse, Private Beach Party, Willow Tree. He was tremendous, really was. I always liked some of these tracks, but now I’m growing obsessed. Which weirds me out a bit – I had the same thing happenning a few months ago when Tuli Kupferberg departed. It’s like that Henry James story, the Altar of the Dead – where protagonist “collects” dead to pray/mourn for, builds imaginary mournful relationships with people she hardly knew. In all, it’s kind of a funny story, parody? I think. Anyway, RIP Gregory – I guess you won’t be needing that Night Nurse any more – but we will! Oh btw, in the Night Nurse song (which I’m pluggin below) there’s a line “I dont wanna see no doc” which once upon a time, my friend Rokhl riffed on as “I don’t want no synagogue”. Hehe.
When someone passes on to the better world, Jews say: “Baruch Dayan Haemet” – “Blessed be the True Judge”. Can’t think of anything less appropriate to say on the news of Tuli Kupferberg’s death. This wild anarchist poet-musician-madman questioned everything there’s to question in social/mythic/historic lore. There’s a beautiful obituary here at the Forward, and this is a piece I wrote on him a short while back. And I can’t help but embed this tune here -
Are blog posts long outdated by the way? By the time I got this website together it’s time to haul in dinasaurs. But then what about the nostalgia factor? Speaking of nostalgia: this is the recent review of the latest issue of the Blue Jew Yorker, at the Forward: http://www.forward.com/articles/123813/
What came to mind, in lieu of a proper opening was Woody’s line: “A lot of things have happened in my private life recently that I thought we could review tonight.” Why this came to mind, I’m not sure: as of now, I’m envisioning this as a more professional, impersonal project. “Impersonal” has a great ring to it because of the “imp” factor – more impish.
Since, at this point, I’m addressing myself, I’ll echo with the latest bit of excitement: Nathaniel Mackey’s Bedouin Hornbook trilogy will be coming from New Directions this summer. I’m a huge fan of Nathaniel, and this book in particular: it is the most far out, inventive, and hilarious bit of writing about jazz ever imaginable. I emailed them for a galley.
In the meantime, I’m reading Ammiel Alcalay‘s Islanders which is coming out from City Lights in a few months.