September 22

Sample This: The Story of ‘Apache’ and The Incredible Bongo Band

incredible-bongo-bandI caught this fascinating documentary on Netflix last night. I hadn’t planned on it, Hell I had never even heard of it before. It just popped up in my Netflix feed…It’s a little independent documentary from 2013 called ‘Sample This.’ And while I’d never heard of the film, I am very familiar with its subject, which is a song. Not just any song, but one of the most heavily-sampled recordings in hip-hop and pop music history. It’s a track from 1973 called ‘Apache‘ by The Incredible Bongo Band. And while that might not sound too familiar to you, I’m willing to bet that you’ve heard at least part of it before. Don’t believe me? Give a listen:

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January 15

Our Lives Are Shaped By What We Love

our-lives-are-shaped-by-what-we-love-motown-mowestIt’s been a long week. Popular culture took a real hit this week with the death of David Bowie, and then actor Alan Rickman, both aged 69, both from cancer. Each in his own way created beauty with their art, and will be sorely missed. I take solace in the fact that all of the media attention will pique some curious kid’s interest, and he or she will visit a record store, or seek out a film, and be inspired to create art of their very own. Not for money, not for attention, but just because.

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January 6

BrainstemBob Approved: Two New Documentaries

As I get older, and I am definitely getting older, I find myself watching more and more documentary films. Documentary films show us the neglected corners of the world that don’t get much attention, shining a much-deserved light on the people, places, and events from the past, present and future, and give us more insight on the human condition. Documentaries have many marvelous qualities; they can educate, enrage, and inspire us. They can move us to take action to right wrongs. They can also be incredibly entertaining. What I’m saying is, I love documentaries. Given a choice between the latest box office blockbuster or an unknown little indie documentary, I’m almost always going to choose the doc. And I’ve seen two in the last week that are well worth checking out. Continue reading “BrainstemBob Approved: Two New Documentaries” »

September 18

1977 Time Capsule: The Donny & Marie Osmond Star Wars Mind Melter

star-wars-donny-marie-osmondAs the Disney-owned Star Wars marketing juggernaut starts ramping up ahead of December’s much anticipated release of ‘The Force Awakens,’ I think it’s worth taking a look back to the days when Star Wars was new. For those who weren’t lucky enough to live through it, I don’t think it’s possible to understand just what a huge deal this flick was back then. It was a time when there was no internet. There was no cable TV (at least not around here.) We had four or five TV channels with which to glean as much pop culture as possible; compared to today’s limitless access to literally everything that has ever existed, those were very lean years. But, we took what we could get. And what did we get? During 1977 and 1978, we got a lot of Star Wars popping up all over the TV. What sounds like something that would be awesome to kids at the time often resulted in some truly bizarre stuff.

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September 1

The Songs of Summer #98: ‘In the Sun’ by Blondie

blondie-in-the-sunOf all the bands that exploded out of the New York punk scene of the late 70’s, none saw more popular success than Blondie. But before their big new wave hits came their debut album ‘Blondie,’ (orig. released 1976, re-released 1977) which contained this bouncy little track ‘In the Sun,’ which was also the b-side to Blondie’s very first single ‘X Offender‘ (originally titled Sex Offender, but changed so as not to offend those with highly sensitive eyes.) There’s nothing better than early Blondie, so full of the raw energy that was exploding out of the music scene at the time.

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