Thursday, October 25, 2007

So Bored's Underrated Artist Theater

In the hopes of leavening the sometimes acidic political coverage here at So Bored, I am debuting a new feature: Underrated Artist Theater. As the name implies, this will be a space for featuring artists (mostly of past decades, mostly musicians) that deserve more props than they've received.

First up, the absolutely astonishing Chambers Brothers (not to be confused, fellow Michiganians, with the Detroit crack 'family' of the 1980s).

Four brothers born in the 30s to a sharecropper in Mississippi, the Chambers Brothers sang in their church choir before moving to Cali to try and make it as a recording group. They worked gigs for years, moving their sound toward the folk-rock they heard around them in California. In 1965 they brought on a *very* good white drummer, Brian Keenan, who plugged the group into the psychedelic and folk scenes, where they became a hit. Dylan booked them at the Newport festival, they got on TV, etc. Lester Chambers got heavily and brilliantly into the trippy psychedelic rock thing, and "Time Has Come Today hit #11. But the truly cool thing is, all that while the brothers remained dedicated to their choir group, and they returned home regularly to sing in their church!

As has happened to so many artists (especially Black artists) before them, the Chambers Brothers eventually got ripped off on royalties. They slipped into undeserved obscurity. But not here at So Bored!

Here is their freakin-awesomely harmonic version of People Get Ready:
And here is "Time Has Come Today". Unfortunately it's the short version, with all of the psychedelia edited out, but if you don't know the song, you'll get the idea:

God Bless Ye, Lester Chambers! More profiles to follow...

"I get listed -- up hi-igh"

CNN reports today that Bush's "Terrorist Screening Center" (I swear this administration just makes up new subagencies on a daily basis!) has been so meticulous with their research that the "terrorist watch list" has now ballooned to 755,000 names. As the ACLU points out, we are not far from the point where "we all become suspects in the eyes of the Terrorist Screening Center." Of course some of us - people whose names look like they rhyme with "Aladdin", for instance - are likelier to become suspects than others. I wonder if these fools have even one person working there who understands Arabic nomenclature?

Despite these police-state tactics, a Mexican national with tuberculosis -- tuberculosis! -- was able to cross the border into the US more than 20 times without being stopped, and there are other such glaring security breaches in the report. The US govt's combination of blatant despotism and utter incompetence is once again dazzling...

Not that I'm calling for a more effectively-run police state. No Mexico 'security' fence! No secret 'security' watchlists! Over the past 30 years, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, and Bush-with-a-vengeance have made it eminently clear that 'security' means protection of rich white guys' political power and corporate profits. It has very little to do with protecting ordinary peoples' lives.

There's only one group I trust to bring about the Security Of The First World!