My new Think Again column is called : "History" Isn’t a Dirty Word about the incredible amnesia shown by the MSM regarding the Bush presidency is here.

My new Nation column, on Marty Peretz’s New Republic as being "Bad for the Jews" is here (I took a relatively high road here, and did not get personal about Peretz but whenever I write about "aging ideologue" I like to point out the following. The man’s entire life is filled with nothing but negative accomplishments. He has never published a book; never published a memorable piece of scholarship. He has written no journalism of note, save in a negative fashion. He does not actually edit the magazine upon which his name appears. All he has really done since becoming an adult is to spend down the inherited fortune of his ex-wife, lose TNR readership, destroy its reputation, end its tenure as both a liberal and a weekly magazine, and spew insults to people who, almost without exception have accomplished more in life than he has. Were it not for his former wife’s inherited fortune, we would take his racist rants no more seriously than we would any other bitter, crazy old man screaming at Arabs and Latins on the streets of Cambridge.)

That’s all this week

Here’s Sal.

Alter-reviews:

AC/DC-Backtracks

While not essential, not even for AC/DC fans, Backtracks is a smart collection of leftovers. Covering songs that appeared just about everywhere except the band’s officially released US albums, this compact boxed set gives you 2 CDs of oddities, many of which are not just throwaways. Disc Two is the best thing here with live perfomances culled from concerts as early as 1977, and Disc Three, the perfunctory DVD slap-on, is a nice addition to the previously released DVD set, Family Jewels, covering the TV appearances and videos that didn’t make the earlier set. This is not the place to start with AC/DC, but a great place to end.

David Bowie-Space Oddity (40th Anniversary Edition)

Bowie’s 1969 debut gets the big upgrade with new remastering and an entire CD of unreleased material, including early demos, stereo mixes and live BBC tracks. Not quite "there" yet, Bowie tries his hand at a few different styles of music on this debut, with folk-tunes, hippie-anthems, and straight out rock and roll, and most of it works. Everyone knows the title track, but it’s songs like the beautiful "Letter To Hermione," the super-catchy country rocker "Janine" and the nearly 10 minute "Cygnet Committee" that make this pre-Ziggy album a bit of a gem.

The bonus material is all worthy, with alternates and live BBC tracks that are more than just slight variations on the album tracks.

Paul McCartney-Good Evening, New York City

This is the type of release that I just love to tear apart. Do we need yet ANOTHER live document from the cute Beatle? Well, "need," no. But it’s really great and it’s really cheap.

Paul has toured the USA 5 times as a solo act and each time has released a live document. Wings Over America is legendary and Tripping The Live Fantastic was just that, in that it had been 13 years since we heard Macca rock up the Beatles’ catalogue. But since then, his live repertoire hasn’t changed that much, with the exception of the inclusion of some weak-ass new material, so the next two live sets, Paul Is Live and Back In The US, seem pointless, cute titles not withstanding. This new 2 CD document of his historic CitiField stint, got a big ol’ eyeroll from yours truly, but as a fan, I had to listen, and you know what, it’s damn good!

First time live performances of "Mrs. Vanderbilt," & "I’m Down" are nice surprises, and "Paperback Writer" sounds better than ever. But it’s the whole package that works. The recording itself is in your face, and just a few songs in you will be reminded of why Paul McCartney is still one of the greatest bass players in the game. Lots of Beatles and Wings, and even the two songs Macca recorded as The Fireman sound great with a full band.

I have not seen the DVD and I don’t plan on watching it. An educated guess tells me each song will have 250 edits per 20 seconds of music, and more than enough close-ups of adoring middle-aged Beatles’ fans. My heart can’t take it. Still, $19.99 ($13.99, if you act now) for 2 CDs and a DVD is just right.

Sal
BURNING WOOD

The Mail:

Name: Derek Lessing
Hometown: Philly

Michael Green thinks liberal criticism of Catholic bishops is unfair because Martin Luther King Jr was a minister. But, while MLK’s faith was an integral part of his activism, he never claimed to speak in an official capacity for the Baptist church. MLK’s influence came from the force of his ideas, not from his position of authority within a church.

Name: Bob Seymour
Hometown Tampa, FL

I’m an avid reader and, as a jazz broadcaster, enjoy your comments on music as well as politics. Just want to point out this was not Christian McBride’s debut as a leader; he’s formed lots of bands, along with his remarkable sideman career. The ’07 Vanguard appearance was the first as a leader at the VV in more than 10 years, though, with a name he often used, The Christian McBride Situation. It’s great that the new Mack Avenue disc has got that ensemble back together with their new name, Inside Straight. He’s a man of real brilliance. Keep up the great work.

Name: Tim Burga
Hometown Dallas, TX

Dr. A,

Before Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, the holy trinity of Kevin Smith movies was Clerks, Mallrats, and Chasing Amy. If you haven’t seen Mallrats, you aren’t spiritually complete as a human being.