It’s early Thursday morning and I’ve just left on a month-long photo shoot for my next book, Builders of the Northwest Coast. I’m sitting in Cafe Roma in San Francisco, earphone plugged into my Mac laptop, watching film clips of Otis Redding, Muddy Waters, Bob Dylan, and Hank Williams.
YouTube.com (www.youtube.com) is the most fabulous website I’ve discovered in years. Film clips of all manner of things and I haven’t even got past the music stuff. (And there aren’t just oldies.) Lord this is so brilliant. You not only hear the music, but see the artists performing.
Otis dancing in a park with about 15 little kids, maybe 6 years old. His version of “Satisfaction.” Is this good! He must have lip-synched to the music and he starts dancing for the kids and they all start dancing with him and then more kids run up and dance. Spontaneous and genuine. Rare and unique.
Otis doing “Try A Little Tenderness” backed by the Bar-Kays band in orange jumpsuits. It’s wonderful to see him in person — he must be the most beautiful man I’ve ever seen.
You knew Otis (not Aretha) wrote “Respect,” right? Here he does it with the Bar-Kays. You just can’t hold still when he gets into “Got-to/got-to/have it·”
Hank Williams and Anita Carter singing a beautiful duet of “I Can’t Help It (if I’m in so love with you).” Intro by June Carter:
Bob Dylan in strong voice at Frank Sinatra benefit 1995 backed by full orchestra:
1983 duet by Frank Sinatra and Bono (yes!) of “I’ve Got You Under My Skin”:
When you find some songs you like you can bring up all the songs posted by whoever put those songs on the site. For example, James Carr has 142 songs posted.
I’ll probably be doing more newsletters and blogs in the next month, when I’m nomadic and free of office biz.
P.S.: Every time I set out on a trip these days I think of my friend Godfrey writing me once: “May your trip be fraught with adventure.” May it.