Monthly Archives: October 2013

Listening to the Remastered Saved (Bob Dylan)

Listening to the Remastered Saved Bob DylanAs previously noted, the most interesting thing about the forthcoming mega-Bob-Dylan-Box-Set seemed to me to be the prospect of hearing a remastered version of his 1980 album, Saved, which no one seemed to be satisfied with in its original incarnation, including Bob Dylan himself. The question was how one might obtain only that item (legally) without buying the entire two hundred dollar set. Well, the remastered albums from that set have apparently already been made available in MP3 and similar compressed formats, on Amazon and elsewhere, although the actual box set isn’t officially released until November 5th (thanks to to Ben for originally giving me the heads-up).

Given my druthers, I’m someone who would like to be able to buy the music in question in a lossless format, e.g. FLAC, or on an actual CD. However, given the significance of this particular content, and the unlikelihood of easily getting it as I would prefer, I could not resist splurging for the MP3 version a few days ago. Continue reading Listening to the Remastered Saved (Bob Dylan)

The Cinch Review

River of Love – T-Bone Burnett

T-Bone Burnett River of LoveStopping by the local chapel this morning, some might have heard Psalm 46:

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy habitation of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved;
God will help her when morning dawns.
The nations rage, the kingdoms totter;
he utters his voice, the earth melts.
The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Hearing mention of that river which makes “glad the city of God” caused my brain to make a connection—which might not be so wildly inappropriate—to this old T-Bone Burnett tune, “River of Love.” He’s known all over these days as the producer to tap when a deft touch on rootsy-realness is called for (recently even bringing Reggie Dwight back to basics) but yours truly was the closest-thing-possible to a real fan of his back in the mid-1980s when he was still releasing records under his own name on a semi-regular basis. His music had a special charm (and so still does), being a fine cocktail of wryness, cynicism and hope, with memorable melodies and a decent degree of that rootsy-realness. Continue reading River of Love – T-Bone Burnett

The Cinch Review

Lou Reed 1942 – 2013

Lou Reed, R.I.P.It was something of a shock seeing the announcement today of Lou Reed’s death. Although chronologically he was 71 years-old, and although it was known he’d been having health problems, Lou Reed seemed more ageless than most. It’s hard to recall when he might have been young. He was just … Lou Reed. Never overexposed, but popping up from the periphery with reassuring regularity.

Despite his orneriness and his sometimes arrogant persona, and despite his tendency (at least in my opinion) towards self-indulgence in his work, there was something very likeable about Lou. He didn’t just have a unique singing voice; he was a unique voice. Although his music was intensely simple, he was one of the few true stylists of the whole rock & roll circus of the last fifty years, a seminal influence to countless other performers and one who never lost his creative spark. Continue reading Lou Reed 1942 – 2013

The Cinch Review

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks – The Erasmus Lecture

The Erasmus Lecture Rabbi Jonathan SacksRabbi Jonathan Sacks—who recently moved on from his post of Chief Rabbi of Great Britain, which he occupied for 22 years—gave the Erasmus Lecture in New York City last Monday night, an annual event sponsored by the journal First Things. Yours truly was fortunate enough to attend, and judging by the energy and passion of Rabbi Sacks’ talk, he is not interested in fading away, but looks rather likely to relish his new freedom and devote it to advocating for the value of faith in the contemporary world. The title of his lecture was “On Creative Minorities,” which would seem to be a yawn-inducing topic before you even get to the fourth or fifth syllable, but turned out to be quite the opposite: it seemed very timely, even urgent, and it was delivered with a spirit, erudition and humor that earned the rabbi a number of standing ovations from the religiously-mixed audience (Catholics, Jews, Protestants, intellectuals, and the usual motley band of dilettantes to which I subscribe).

The term creative minorities has a quite specific origin, but Sacks structured his lecture to introduce that source later, the better to begin, I suppose, with a broader sense of what a creative minority might be. So he began 2600 years ago, with a letter from the prophet Jeremiah to the exiles in Babylon, including these verses from Jeremiah 29:

Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.

Sacks pointed out that in contrast to Jeremiah’s reputation as a prophet of gloom or doom, he was fundamentally a prophet of hope. And in the lines above Jeremiah is (while speaking for the LORD) giving a hopeful prescription to the exiles from Israel who were a small minority in Babylon: live, increase, pray for that place in which you live, and seek its welfare. Sacks later recommended a similar role for public religious intellectuals today; that is as prophets of hope rather than doom. Continue reading Rabbi Jonathan Sacks – The Erasmus Lecture