My new 'Think Again column is called "Republicans Ignore the Evidence About Higher Taxes on the Wealthy," and it's here.
Alter-reviews: Peter Wolf, The Mavericks and WHN
So, Monday night I stopped by Hill Country Barbeque for some excellent guess-what and to listen to a bunch of radio old-timers reminisce about the good old days when New York had an AM country radio station, WHN, which it did between 1973 and 1987. I originally discovered the station looking for Mets games, but it turned out to be the best thing on if you were in a car and didn't have an FM radio. The panel, moderated by Ed Salamon, former WHN Program Director and author of the new book WHN: When New York Went Country was pretty good humored, and most of the audience was made up by former employees of the station, and everyone had a nice cozy feeling. One problem: Alan Colmes was on the stage, but none of the other people seemed to know him.
I had to leave early before the music started because hey, THE MAVERICKS are back together with their first album in seven years, and were playing an insanely crowded show at the Bowery Ballroom. They are really too popular for such a small hall, though not as popular as they should be, because well, okay, the music's great and fun, but Raul Malo has one of the greatest voices of any singer alive and most singers before that. I think he sounds a lot like Elvis. Others say Roy Orbison. The new album is called In Time, and what can one say, it's a Mavericks album. Act now.
The night before I went to City Winery to see Peter Wolf, for the first time since I saw J. Geils with Scott and Paul and the Palladium and we all smoked pot for the first time in 1975. (It's okay, my kid doesn't read this.) We actually didn't get too far with the pot, as we heard something about cops when we were in the bathroom and flushed it down the toilet. Anyway, they were among the greatest live bands ever and Peter Wolf remains a charming, energetic entertainer and storyteller. Sunday night he paid tribute to his roots which stretch from John Lee Hooker to Sonny Rollins to Merle Haggard. One of the world's great DJs, he is an awesome storyteller. One of them actually ended with Hooker watching Lassie and telling the teenage Wolf: "Man, that is one smart motherfucking dog." The band had nice chops and the solo material is first rate, even without Jagger, Haggard and Shelby Lynne, et al. The most recent one got a real workout. It's called Midnight Souvenirs.
So Reed told he wouldn't have anything this week owing to deadline pressure, and I didn't want anyone to feel they had come here for (next) to nothing, so in honor of Ted Cruz, I, too, made a bunch of lists. Mine's not of Harvard commies but a patriotic list of some of the things that make this country great; at least if you're me. I'm sure I forgot stuff, so don't yell at me. (They are not in any particular order.)
My Favorite Things: God Bless America Edition
Francis Ford Coppola
All About Eve
His Girl Friday
It's a Wonderful Life
Fast Times at Ridgemont High
Dazed and Confused
Crimes and Misdemeanors
The Godfather II
One Two Three
This is Spinal Tap
The Maltese Falcon
The Big Sleep
F. Scott Fitzgerald
James M. Cain
E. L. Doctorow
"The Odd Couple"
"The Bob Newhart Show"
"The Larry Sanders Show"
"Curb Your Enthusiasm"
"Eastbound and Down"
"Freaks and Geeks"
"The Johnny Cash Show"
"The Dick Van Dyke Show"
"Bill Moyers Journal"
"I Love Lucy"
"The West Wing"
The Beach Boys
Solo rock performers:
Billy Joel (just barely)
Simon and Garfunkel
Jazz performers and composers:
Miss Peggy Lee
Jimmy Dale Gilmore
Townes van Zandt
One (or so)-hit wonders:
Redbone, "Come and Get Your Love"
Tommy Tutone, "8675309"
Dean Friedman, "Ariel"
Zanger and Evans, "In the Year 2525"
King Missile, "Jesus was Way Cool"
Stories, "Brother Louie"
Shocking Blue, "Venus"
Brewer and Shipley, "One Toke Over the Line"
Bobbie Gentry, "Ode to Billy Joe"
Jeannie C. Reilly, "Harper Valley PTA"
Norman Greenbaum, "Spirit in the Sky"
Lee Michaels, "Do You Know What I Mean"
Archie Bell and the Drells, "Tighten Up"
Left Banke, "Walk Away Renee"
Electric Lighthouse, "Love Grows Where My Rosemary Goes"
Swinging Medallions, "Double Shot of My Baby’s Love"
Bobby Fuller Four, "I Fought the Law"
? and the Mysterians, "96 Tears"
Marmalade, "Reflections (of my Life)"
Bruce Springsteen, "Glory Days"
Nancy Sinatra, "These Boots Are Made For Walking"
Beastie Boys, "Fight for Your Right to Party"
Madonna, "Material Girl"
Cyndi Lauper, "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun"
Paul Simon with Chevy Chase, "You Can Call Me Al"
Mick Jagger and David Bowie, "Dancing in the Streets"
Should be (much) more famous than they are:
Loudon Wainwright III
Kate and Anna McGarrigle
Whatever happened to:
Terrance Trent DÁrby
Bonus: Best and worst baseball moments, post 1962. (I was born in Flushing, FYI…)
Cleon Jones catching the ball on one knee (1969)
Ron Swoboda catching the ball sideways (1969)
Seaver strikes out nineteen, sets record (1970)
Tom Seaver strikes out Dave Winfield at Yankee Stadium with bases loaded on 3-2 to get 300 Ks, (1985)
Bill Buckner’s blown grounder (1986)
Sox beat Yankees in game seven (2004)
Endy Chavez’s catch (2006)
R.A. Dickey wins Cy Young (2012)
Jimmy Qualls singles with one out in the ninth (1969)
Seaver is traded (1977)
Carlos Beltran looks at three and two (2006)
Madoff is arrested, (2008)
Dickey is traded (2012)
Opening Day (2013), alas.
Editor's note: To contact Eric Alterman, use this form.
For a better take on Washington gridlock, the media should look at proven psychological differences between Republicans and Democrats, Reed Richardson writes in the last Alterman post.