Come With Us
Charles de Ledesma reviews the latest CD from the Chemical Brothers, called Come With Us. The British duo is known for its cutting-edge sound that combines electronica, rock, and hip-hop. Their music is fast enough to dance to all night at a club, but still soothing enough to have in the background at home or on a long drive. One critic calls the Chemical Brothers music "urgent but serene, like a car chase on Prozac." (4:00)
The CD is on Virgin Records.
The Persuasions Sing the Beatles
Jerry Lawson, the leader, singer and arranger for the a capella singing group The Persuasions, tells us the story behind his group's new CD: The Persuasions Sing the Beatles. We hear some excerpts including "O Darling!" and "From Me to You." (4:30)
The CD is on Chesky Records. See http://www.thepersuasions.com/index.htm.
Looking for Chet Baker
Jazz man Chet Baker was a trumpeter, singer, and an important contributor to "cool" jazz. His life was viewed by some as glamorous. His 1988 death in Amsterdam was tragic and its circumstances never completely resolved. And that has inspired Bill Moody,
to write the mystery novel Looking for Chet Baker. Liane Hansen talks with
Moody about the book. The book is published by Walker and Co. (8:19)
Three Times = A Trend
Bob Garfield of WNYC's On the Media tells us that some popular news outlets call something "a trend" if they find at least three instances of it. This arbitrary number serves as pseudo-substantiation for exploration of what might otherwise be dismissed. The danger, he finds, might be that less effort is being spent on less colorful, but fundamentally more important trends, like homelessness. (7:30)
"Moondog Coronation Ball"
What some have called the first rock & roll concert took place fifty years ago tonight. To this day, no one knows whether too many tickets were printed for the "Moondog Coronation Ball," hosted by DJ Alan Freed. But before Paul Williams and his Hucklebuckers finished their set, the doors to the Cleveland arena came down and, to quote the song, "there was a riot goin' on." David C. Barnett, of member station WCPN, reports. (7:45)
What's Happening to Home?
Liane Hansen talks with Maggie Jackson about her book What's Happening to Home? Balancing Work, Life, and Refuge in the Information Age. Jackson, who is national workplace columnist for Associated Press, says more and more of us are using technology to bring our work home. This interview is an example of the phenomenon, it was conducted while Liane was at home, in what she refers to as NPR's Bethesda, Md. bureau (her daughter's bedroom.) (5:00) The Publisher is Sorin Books, February 2002.
Words of the Angel
Tom Manoff reviews Words of the Angel, the debut CD from the Norwegian ensemble, Trio Medieval. Three women sing church music composed in the 13th and 14th century. Manoff says the trio infuses the music of spirituality and contemplation with earthiness and sensuality. (4:00) Words of the Angel is on ECM, catalog number #461782.
Born on the 24th of July
Charles de Ledesma reviews the latest CD from Charles Webster, called Born on the 24th of July. Webster is an electronic music producer who's put together a chill-out album with a range of moods. Nothing ever gets too charged, but it's never too languid either. Ledesma thinks Webster, who is enjoying success in the United Kingdom, is poised for greatness and getting discovered soon in the U.S. market. It's from Statra Inc. See http://www.statra.com. (3:30)
Pack Horse Librarians
Liane Hansen talks with Kathi Appelt, co-author of Down Cut Shin Creek: The Pack Horse Librarians of Kentucky, about the Pack Horse Library Project of Eastern Kentucky, a Works Progress Administration program created during the Great Depression. The book documents the stories of the young librarians who circulated books by horseback to remote recesses of the Cumberland Mountains. (6:00) The book is published by Harper Collins.
Cheuse Book Review
British writer Ian McEwan won the Booker Prize in 1998 for his novel Amsterdam. Reviewer Alan Cheuse thinks McEwan's latest novel, Atonement, deserves attention. (2:30) Atonement is published by Doubleday.
The Herbie Nichols Project
The late pianist Herbie Nichols is a favorite among jazz musicians for his challenging compositions. But the Herbie Nichols Project goes beyond merely performing his music. Group members are actively involved in searching for previously unpublished works, much like classical scholars looking for unknown music by a long-dead European. The HNP has just released Strange City, a CD of some of these tunes. The group is performing them tonight in New York. Tom Vitale reports. (7:45) The CD is on Palmetto Records.
Robert Siegel talks with writer Kanan Makiya about his book, The Rock: A Tale of Seventh-Century Jerusalem. It's a historical novel, which takes place during the Muslim occupation of Jerusalem in 638 A.D. Mikaya traces the story of the rock, which currently is in the center of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, also known as the "Dome of the Rock" in Jerusalem. Kanan Makiya was born in Baghdad. He currently directs the Iraq Research and Documentation Project at Harvard University, and teaches at Brandeis University. (6:00) The book is published by Pantheon.
The Return of Rockabilly Queen Wanda Jackson
Wanda Jackson has always been one of the boys. Back in the 1950s, when country
music started to rock, Jackson made waves with a bold voice and sultry stage
moves. She dated Elvis and toured constantly, but slowly slipped from the spotlight.
Now she's back and is the subject of a new PBS documentary. NPR's Neda Ulaby
reports for All Things Considered. (7:30) See http://www.pbs.org/itvs/welcometotheclub/.
Queen Esther Marrow
Susan Stamberg talks with gospel singer Queen Esther Marrow about her new CD God Cares. Ms. Marrow sang with Duke Ellington and performed for Dr. Martin Luther King Junior. When performing did not pay her bills, she worked at a department store and as taxi driver in New York City. After years as a hit in Europe, Queen Esther Marrow has just released her first gospel record in the United States. (8:20) The CD is distributed by EMI Gospel/Dexterity.
Susan Stamberg talks with Richard Perlmutter about his CD called Beethoven's Wig. This children's CD is a series of classical music favorites, but the twist here is that Perlmutter composed silly lyrics for them that both tell a story about the artist and can help classically impaired remember the names and composers of these old faves. (5:00) Beethoven's Wig: Sing Along Symphonies, by Richard Perlmutter is on Rounder Kids records. See http://www.rounder.com.
Photographer Todd Hido's House Hunting
Photographer Todd Hido specializes in creating evocative, moody images of lonely suburban homes. He has a new book, House Hunting, and recently he took
commentator Louise Rafkin along on an outing to the suburbs. All Things Considered
has the story. (4:15) House Hunting, is published by Nazraeli Press, 2001.
Music critic Tom Moon reviews the first release from jazz singer/songwriter Norah Jones. It's called Come Away With Me. (4:00) Norah Jones, Come Away With Me. Blue Note Records, 2002.
The Paradox of American Power
Joseph Nye reflects on America's need for cooperative relationships with other countries, even as it holds the position of the world's only "superpower." Nye is dean of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. His latest book is The Paradox of American Power: Why the World's Only Superpower Can't Go It Alone. The book is published by Oxford University Press. (2:45)
Songs Inspired By Literature
Susan talks with Deborah Pardes about a new CD she produced called Songs Inspired By Literature. The album features songs by a few well known musicians and many new artists who submitted their literary songs to a songwriting competition. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this CD will benefit adult literacy projects. The CD can be ordered at the Songs Inspired By Literature web site. (8:20)
Susan Stamberg talks with Albert Goldbarth, winner of the National Book Critics Circle 2001 Poetry Award for his collection, Saving Lives. (5:45)
Servants of the Map
Alan Cheuse reviews the title story from Andrea Barrett's new collection Servants of the Map. Mid-nineteenth century British surveyor Max Vigne is the main character. He puts his heart and soul into the exploration of the mysterious dangerous and previously unmapped Himalayas. Servant's of the Map, by Andrea Barrett is published by WW Norton. (2:00)
Jacki speaks with British music artist Nitin Sawhney, whose latest album, Prophesy, is the product of a worldwide journey last year. Hundreds of musicians appear on the highly produced tracks. Sawhney said the trip, and the album, are part of a quest for firsthand experiences to bring to his work. (8:15) The album is Prophesy by Nitin Sawhney from V2 Music. Catalog # VVR1015912. See Nitin Sawhney's Web site and V2 Music's Web site.
A Rough Guide to Latin Music
Host Jacki Lyden speaks with music writer Sue Steward about her book, The Rough Guide to Latin: 100 Essential CD's. It picks music from Cuba, Brazil, Venezuela, Spain, Mexico and more, giving a nice overview of Latin music, how it evolved, and what to buy at the music store. (8:00) The Rough Guide To Latin: 100 Essential CD's, edited by Sue Steward is published by Rough Guides, ISBN # 1858287332.
The music in this piece came from various recommendations in the book. In order of appearance they were:
- Beny More. The song was "Bonito Y Sabroso" from the CD Serie Platino, on BMG #43214 94942.
- Celia Cruz. The song was "Melao De Cana" from the CD 100% Azucar! The Best of Celia Cruz, on Rhino #8122 72816.
- Adriana Varela. The song was "Cada Vez Que Me Recuerdes" from the CD The Rough Guide to Tango, on Rough Guide #1030.
- Stan Getz/Joao Gilberto. The song was "The Girl From Ipanema" from the CD Getz/Gilberto: Stan Getz and Joao Gilberto featuring Antonio Carlos Jobim, on Verve #31452 14142.
- Inti-Illimani. The song was "Candidos" from the CD De Canto Y Baile, on Redwood Records #RRCD 8901.
- Cafe Tecuba. The song is called "El aparato" from the CD Re, on Warner Brothers #4509 96784.
Jacki Lyden talks with Katherine Frank, author of the biography Indira: The Life of Indira Nehru Gandhi. Frank says that behind former Prime Minister Gandhi's authoritarian political presence in India was a lack of self-confidence. Despite these internal and external struggles, however, she won the hearts of common Indians. (9:45) The book is published by Houghton Mifflin, January, 2002.
Binjamin Wilkomirski won awards with his book, Fragments: Memories of a Wartime Childhood. It was, he said, his own story of his life in a Nazi concentration camp during World War II. But questions began to be raised about whether Wilkomirski's story was, in fact, a fabrication. Now, Robert Siegel talks with Blake Eskin, author of the book A Life In Pieces. Eskin's book tells what he says is the REAL story of a gentile Binjamin Wilkomirski and his childhood in Switzerland. Eskin's book is published by Norton. Robert Siegel interviewed Wilkomirski about his book, Fragments, in 1996. You can hear the 1996 interview by visiting the All Things Considered program archives. (8:00)
From the Belly of Abraham
Tom Moon reviews a recording of jazz music that is unusual collaboration between Muslims and Jews. The Jewish musicians of the band Hasidic New Wave have are now playing music with a troupe of Muslim drummers from Senegal. The CD project is called From The Belly of Abraham: Adventures of the Afro-Semitic Diaspora. (4:15)
The CD is on Knitting Factory Records.
Commentator Calvin Trillin says he's written the first "parking novel." It's set in New York. But after a book tour brought him face to face with people all over the country who had parking stories of their own, he concedes that Manhattan is only one of many places where it's hard to park. (2:45) Trillin's book, Tepper Isn't Going Out, is published by Random House.
Master of the Trautonium
German composer and physicist Oskar Sala has died at the age of 91. In 1929, he developed a device called the trautonium, which was billed as the first electronic musical instrument. Many people know its sound from its prominent part in the soundtrack to the Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds. (4:30)
William Marcus of Montana Public Radio reports on the essays of Montana writer Judy Blunt. Blunt's first book, Breaking Clean, is a memoir about her life on a remote Montana ranch and the breakup of her marriage. The book has been awarded the Whiting Writers' Award for non-fiction. (7:45) Breaking Clean is published by Knopf, February, 2002.
During the 1990s, Andrew Behrman was a successful art dealer, traveling around the world making deals. He perpetrated a famous art deal and was convicted of fraud -- the whole time, suffering from bipolar disorder. To cure himself he underwent Electro Convulsive Therapy. Jacki talks with Behrman, about his new memoir Electroboy. (Random House, 2002) www.electroboy.com
Books & Music Review Archive
Alan Cheuse's Book Review for 2001
Alan Cheuse's Summer Reading List
The Top 100 Books Since 1900