Robert Baird

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Robert Baird Posted: Jul 17, 2009 1 comments
You know there are days and then there are DAYS. Yesterday I had one of the latter, but music in the end was what saved me.
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Robert Baird Posted: Jul 07, 2009 3 comments
If you like freak shows, then the current travails of the Republican Party are incredibly sweet. Marc Sanford’s “I’m gonna try and fall back in love with my wife” nonsense [need dental work? try repeating that one to your wife?], Palin’s rambling, basketball–and–dead fish–laden resignation speech, and now the pride of Long Island, U. S. Rep. Peter King, calling Michael Jackson names on the day before he is buried. “Lowlife,” “pedophile,” “child molester,” oh yeah, King hit `em all. The run of bad news on Jackson is about to begin again—his toxicology report is gonna cause a circus, not to mention the end of several medical careers—so I’m thinking King coulda waited a day or two before giving us another dose of some righteous Republican extolling the heroism of firefighters, cops and soldiers. The fact that all three of those professions are paying gigs—no one is being drafted lately—is clearly beside the point for King. And okay, we all know Jackson had some unhealthy sides to his life, but couldn’t King have waited a day or so before becoming a new hero to the haters in the Republican Party. The appetites for hating and hypocrisy in the GOP are apparently insatiable. I loved it when one of King's colleagues questioned whether this outburst would help or hurt King by saying that it might help if has a lot of racists in his district.
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Robert Baird Posted: Jun 26, 2009 1 comments
It’s a sure thing that Michael Jackson’s life was not going to end pretty. In fact, it can be argued that this mode of death is not the worst thing that could have happened. Seeing him waste away from cancer or die in prison, or collapse and die onstage would have all been worse. You could feel that how ever it was going to occur, Michael stood a good chance of going out in spectacularly tragic fashion. If the rumors are true, it was a shot of Demerol and he stopped breathing. At least it was mercifully fast. Can you imagine the mad scramble that’s now going to occur for his assets being carried out while he was still breathing? And who gave him this alleged shot? I have a feeling that a number of Dr. Nicks are about to be uncovered. At least his poor tortured soul departed quickly for what I hope is a better life somewhere else.
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Robert Baird Posted: Jun 19, 2009 4 comments
Seems to me most musicheads always have a reserve of bands, solo artists, string quartets, jazz soloists that they know but haven’t really seen or connected with. You know `em but you don’t.
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Robert Baird Posted: May 27, 2009 2 comments
Sad to hear of the death of guitarist/keyboard player/singer/songwriter/mad genius Jay Bennett at age 45. I don’t want to be a hater here but like many others, his portrayal in the Wilco film, I Am Trying To Break Your Hearthas always been very problematic for me.
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Robert Baird Posted: May 15, 2009 1 comments
Tribute records are only as good as the person being feted. Their success or failure is also directly linked to how much energy the performers put into the project. Most tributes operate via telephone and UPS, meaning everyone uses the telephone to figure out what song they want to cover, and then UPS (or if you’re really sexy and rich, Fedex) delivers the finished tape. Actually, in some really impersonal cases, the music might be sent via email. Gee, ain’t this `ol digital world great?
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Robert Baird Posted: Apr 10, 2009 5 comments
There wasn't space in the May issue of Stereophile for all these photos of the gorgeous and very talented Eliane Elias so here are a few more to ogle. And while you do, I know you'll all be doing it because you respect her as an artist. Seriously though, her new record Bossa Nova Stories is wonderful.
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Robert Baird Posted: Mar 26, 2009 1 comments
Another South by Southwest is in the books. My 21st out of a possible 23 festivals. Let me start with three acts that were among the most prominent participants there in terms of appearances. It seemed like every time I turned around—day, night, those sunny, warm Austin spring afternoons when the free drinks flow freely and the good times roll—there would be Raul Malo, the Heartless Bastards and/or M. Ward playing yet another gig.
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Robert Baird Posted: Mar 03, 2009 2 comments
I can see the scene now, Gary, the mighty Max, the Big Man, all standing around the studio, looking at their feet, afraid to tell Bruce that one of his new songs, the otherwise very charming, “Outlaw Pete,” has a melody very similiar to the one found in KISS’ “I Was Made For Lovin’ You Baby,” their successful quasi-disco single off their otherwise weak 1979 stylistic stumble, Dynasty.
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Robert Baird Posted: Feb 09, 2009 2 comments
The mini–dustup over Etta James saying she “can’t stand” Beyonce and was gonna “whip” or “whoop” her ass is a hoot. First of all, Etta’s legacy is in no danger. No one will ever top her rendition of “At Last.” That performance, her greatest single track, is in no danger of being superseded.
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Robert Baird Posted: Jan 20, 2009 1 comments
How great was it to hear all the music at the inaugural. Maybe music and the arts will once again be valued in the country. Maybe someone else than right wing country singers can get a tune in edgewise.
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Robert Baird Posted: Jan 16, 2009 5 comments
As soon as we pulled up, I knew that this was gonna be the highlight of my trip to New Orleans. When the door to Snake and Jakes Christmas Club Lounge swung open, I got tears in my eyes as I beheld the kind of unclean, unsafe booze shack that I've wasted many an hour in.
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Robert Baird Posted: Jan 05, 2009 5 comments
Sorry to be a humbug, but it seems that Christmas is becoming a magnet for musician death. This year Eartha Kitt, Robert Ward and Freddie Hubbard all expired around the holiday.
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Robert Baird Posted: Dec 12, 2008 0 comments
One night last week, a bout of channel surfing brought me to the Grammy nomination concert. Not the Grammys mind you, that’s in February, but a televised special to announce the nominations. And only the nominations of the celebrity—driven stuff like Best New Artist which is when LL Cool J, who was hosting, walked across the front of the auditorium and ask the Jonas Brothers how it felt to be nominated. As the bile rose in my throat I changed the channel. I found it to be very strange that this was proceeded by a showing of the venerable 1964 stop motion animation special, Rudolph, The Red—Nosed Reindeer which is narrated by Burl Ives and contains a couple of indelible toon icons in the prospector Yukon Cornelius and a Yeti called a “bumble.”
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Robert Baird Posted: Nov 26, 2008 2 comments
Perhaps the most interesting thing on satellite radio has been Bob Dylan’s Theme Time radio show on XM, where he uses big themes like “baseball” or “eyes,” and builds shows around music that somehow connects to the theme. The idea for this show, which is worth listening to if only for Dylan’s raspy–voiced patter, may have come from a previous Forties–era radio program hosted by one of Dylan’s heroes, Woody Guthrie.

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