That’s Entertainment

The tendency is to think about all things human–scientific, athletic, intellect, etc.–as being in a constant state of evolution and improvement. But I found a series of YouTube videos that make it painfully apparent that this is not the case when it comes to music and entertainment.

See what I mean…

Finale to “Stormy Weather” 1943 with Cab Calloway, Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, Lena Horne and the Nicholas Brothers

Nathan Milstein: “Paganiniana” 1968

“Jammin’ the Blues” with Lester Young

Aaron Copland: Fanfare for the Common Man, Leonard Bernstein’s Young People’s Concerts

The Osbourne Brothers: “Rocky Top”, “Ruby”

Sviatoslav Richter: Chopin Etudes Op. 10 No. 1-4

Hey Jude


New Music

Two of my favorite current artist each released new recordings this past month. Thought I would share.
Brandi Carlile, Give Up The Ghost


Dreams – Brandi Carlile

Caroline – Brandi Carlile

The Avett Brothers, I and Love and You


I and Love and You – The Avett Brothers

Slight Figure Of Speech – The Avett Brothers

2009 Pops on Nantucket

A few scenes from a fabulous evening!


Coming Soon to a Chicken Box near you…

Two excellent artists at The Chicken Box in the next few weeks. Don’t miss these shows!

Donavon Frankenreiter
July 29-30

In addition to Wednesday and Thursday night shows, he is doing a signing at 3pm Thursday (sponsored by Billabong) and an all ages show Thursday at 5 pm (tickets available at the door only).

Touring in support of his latest CD, Pass It Around:






And Grace Potter & The Nocturnals
August 3-4

Latest CD, This is Somewhere:




Classical Music in Cartoons

I grew up watching Bugs Bunny, the Roadrunner, and Mickey Mouse. Many of these classic cartoons are now available online and, watching them again, I am reminded of how well they used the music. It occurs to me that this was actually my introduction to classical music. Here are a few of my favorite examples.

The Band Concert, 1935

The music: Rossini’s William Tell Overture. Made before the William Tell Overture became identified as The Lone Ranger’s theme, The Band Concert features bandleader Mickey leading an outdoor performance. While the band plows through the overture, Donald Duck continually interrupts by playing “Turkey in the Straw” on his recorder.

Tom and Jerry in The Hollywood Bowl, 1950

The music: Johann Strauss II’s Die Fledermaus. Tom is the conductor of an orchestra of cats. Naturally, Jerry wants in on the act, and of course, Tom repeatedly shoes him away. Excellent choreography in this one. And both Tom and Jerry look pretty sharp in those tuxes.

A Corny Concerto, 1943

The music: Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto #1, Strauss’ Tales from the Vienna Woods and The Blue Danube. Warner Bros. frequently poked fun at Disney, especially considering many animators migrated from Disney to Warner Bros. (and MGM). A Corny Concerto rips on Disney’s Fantasia (see #2), starting with Elmer appearing as an unshaven Stokowski introducing the two segments. The first segment is a wild romp in the Vienna woods with Bugs, Porky and an unnamed dog. The second is more standard fare of a duck protecting a family of swans from a vulture.

The Cat Concerto, 1947

The music: Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody #2. The Cat Concerto won the Academy Award for Short Subjects-Cartoons in 1946. Warner Bros. released a nearly identical cartoon the same year, Rhapsody Rabbit, which had many of the same gags. Both MGM and Warner Bros. accused the other of plagiarism, but nothing official came of it. It’s a toss-up as to whether The Cat Concerto or Rhapsody Rabbit is the better cartoon. Also watch Rhapsody in Rivets, an Oscar-nominated Warner Bros. cartoon that features the construction of the “Umpire State Building” while the foreman/conductor leaders the show.

The Rabbit of Seville, 1950

The music: Rossini’s Barber of Seville Overture. Bugs does Rossini in a beautifully timed and written masterpiece. Elmer chases Bugs into a theater. Bugs and an unwilling Elmer act out Rossini’s “Barber of Seville,” with Bugs giving Elmer a full head manicure. Best part: Bugs uses his ears to massage Elmer’s bald head. Some of the lyrics: “Hey you! Don’t look so perplexed/why must you be vexed/can’t you see you’re next? Yes, you’re next. You’re so next!” and this one: “There! You’re nice and clean! Although your face looks like it might have gone through a machine.”

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, 1940

The music: Dukas’ The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. Fantasia is one of Disney’s greatest films. It’s a safe bet to say that more people saw the segments of Fantasia as one-off cartoons on TV than actually saw the movie in the theater. The best part (and probably best-known) is the Sorcerer’s Apprentice, with Mickey as the apprentice who literally gets in over his head. The rest of the music featured in Fantasia was: Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite, Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, Beethoven’s Sixth Symphony, Ponchielli’s The Dance of the Hours, Mussorgsky’s Night on Bald Mountain, and Schubert’s Ave Maria.

What’s Opera Doc? 1957

The music: Wagner’s Ring Cycle. Bugs and Elmer Fudd do Wagner in this Chuck Jones masterpiece. Many people consider this the best Bugs Bunny cartoon of all time. Jones reduces Wagner’s whole Ring saga to 6½ minutes in a hilarious parody — and it’s one of the only times Elmer actually “gets” Bugs. I cannot listen to “Flight of the Valkyries” without hearing Elmer sing, “Kill the wabbit, kill the wabbit, kill the wabbit!”

In My Ears

My friend Rocky Fox recently scolded me for having “all that cooking stuff” on my blog and nothing about music. So, per request, here’s what’s shuffling in my iPod lately.

Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears

Black Joe Lewis is a large, horn-heavy soul band from Austin, Texas. Joe Lewis, the front man, could be the offspring of James Brown and Otis Redding, with a little less voice but more then enough soul to make up for it. The band behind him squeals, howls and really rocks. I think they would send the Box’s roof up and in the general direction of Tom Nevers. Get to work John.

black joe lewis – sugarfoot.mp3 –

Gunpowder – Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears


The Avett Brothers

The Avett Brothers genre could perhaps be best described as Americana music for hipsters, dabbling in alt-country, folk, bluegrass, and pop. If they didn’t do all of those things so well, it might come off as a tad bit grandiose, but it works for these guys. Judging by their Facebook Fan Page, they have a lot of momentum these days and they could taking the big step from good to well-known and good and before long be impossible to ignore. I think they’re destined to be beer commercial fodder before long.

Shame – The Avett Brothers

A Lover Like You – The Avett Brothers

Redbox Suggestion

We recently watched an old favorite movie and I want to offer it as a suggestion the next time you’re standing in front of the redbox and are not sure what to rent. Released in 1996, Big Night was directed by Campbell Scott and Stanley Tucci, and starred Tucci and former Wings star Tony Shalhoub.

The film, presumably set in a small town on the New Jersey Shore in the 1950s, tells the story of two immigrant brothers from Italy who own and operate a restaurant called “Paradise.” One brother, Primo (Shalhoub), is a brilliant, perfectionist chef who chafes under their few customers’ expectations of “Americanized” Italian food. Their uncle’s offer to return to Rome to help with his restaurant is becoming more and more appealing to Primo. The other brother, Secondo (Tucci), is the restaurant’s manager, who is enamored with the possibilities presented by their new endeavor and life in America. Despite Secondo’s efforts and Primo’s magnificent food, their restaurant is failing. (VIA)

Here’s a classic scene from the movie.

Once you’ve seen the movie and you decide you want to make the Timpano Alla Big Night recipe, you can do so with the help of the similarly entertaining cookbook from Tucci’s mother, whose skills and stories no doubt influenced the movie. The book is called Cucina & Famiglia and it is available here.

© 2009 ackdoc - Greg Hinson, MD 508/325-9981 Purchasing help RSS feed