Yeah, I can't believe it either....
Latest musical discoveries -- all thanks to KPLU-FM's "All Blues" program, every Saturday and Sunday from 6 p.m. to midnight Pacific Time, and streaming at kplu.org. Especially good stuff is marked with a *: I'm still drawn most to the funny stuff, big dramatic productions, and anything with a good riff I can hum or whistle along with.... Lyrics I can screech along with are good, too....
Alabama Shakes -- *You Ain't Alone. (Brittany Howard's singing is amazing. This hits HARD, like some great lost '60s R&B track.)
Rhiannon Giddens -- Black is the Color.
Danielle Nicole -- *You Only Need Me When You're Down.
Stacey Jones -- *Can't Do Nothing Right.
Chris Joyner -- *Hallelujah.
Irma Thomas, Tracey Nelson and Marcia Ball -- *Sing It.
Buddy Guy -- *Meet Me in Chicago. (Buddy burns up the guitar on this.)
Joe Bonnamassa -- Jelly Roll Baker. (Silly song, but I like the way he sings it. The guitar's pretty good, too.)
Ann Peebles -- *Read Me My Rights. (Why wasn't this a hit?)
Ronnie Earl -- *Eddie's Gospel Groove. (You will swear that this is some forgotten early-'70s Santana jam.)
Lyle Lovett -- *She's No Lady, *My Baby Don't Tolerate.
Carla Thomas -- *B-A-B-Y.
Joan Osborne -- *Shake Your Hips. (Another silly song, but I like the way she sings it -- and her backing band is great, once they stretch out with the tune.)
Johnny A -- *Drinkin' Rye. (Not as amazing as his "Wichita Lineman," but nice.)
J.B. Lenoir -- Voodoo Music.
* Lawrence Gonzales: DEEP SURVIVAL (2003) -- This was in the Adventure/Travel section of my favorite local used bookstore, Book 'Em in Port Orchard, Wash. -- but it's not really travel writing. Gonzales spent years interviewing survivors of disasters to see what got them through it -- how they lived while others around them died. He interviews people who fell out of airplanes, fell off of mountains, people lost in the mountains for days, 911 survivors, people who were adrift at sea for weeks, pilots, astronauts, and more -- and comes up with some theories about things they all did that helped them survive.
Gonzales was started on this project by his father -- who was shot down over Germany during World War II, fell 21,000 feet inside the cockpit of his bomber and survived the crash, was held in a German POW camp ... then went on to earn a PhD and become a microbiologist.
Some of the folks Gonzales writes about are friends who were killed in plane crashes ... plane trips he said "No" to at the last minute.
It's weird, but I laughed all through this book. Gonzales has a lot of Attitude as a writer, and some of these stories ARE funny. And others will rip your heart right out. Still others will make you wonder how dumb people can be -- and just how much abuse the human body can put up with and still survive.
I tried to read Gonzales' rock&roll novel JAMBEAUX a few years back, and couldn't get through it. DEEP SURVIVAL is way better -- it's the best thing I've read in months. See if you can find it.
Only one complaint about Robert Christgau's memoir GOING INTO THE CITY that I raved about last time -- I propped it open so I could eat lunch and keep reading ... and the book's back broke and the pages started to fall out. I paid $30 for THIS?