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“Bob Dylan’s career-long exploration of regional American music has finally reached Las Vegas.” The snarky way of announcing  the singer’s Sinatra project. How a country haemorrhages people: Portugal’s emigration crisis. Beyond parody. A story for our times. “If you’ve ever wondered what happens … Continue reading

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World music albums of the year

Just for a change, a home-grown recording tops my world music choices in the Sunday Times 100 Best Records of the Year [£]. 1  VARIOUS  The Elizabethan Session (Quercus) 2  MELINGO Linyera (World Village) 3  AURELIO Landini (Real World) 4  MAYRA ANDRADE, Lovely Difficult (Sterns … Continue reading

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Jazz albums of the year

  My round-up of the best jazz releases of 2014.  Full details in today’s Sunday Times 100 Best Records of the Year [£]. 1 HENRY BUTLER/STEVEN BERNSTEIN  Viper’s Drag (Impulse!) 2 DYLAN HOWE  Subterranean: New Designs on Bowie’s Berlin (Motorik) 3 … Continue reading

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Frank & Dino

On the set of the Judy Garland Show, 1962. From the West End exhibition of Bob Willoughby’s photos. (His classic shot of Big Jay McNeely, rock ‘n’ roll pioneer, is also in the mix.)

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Waiting for Tony Bennett

Royal Festival Hall, last night.

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Links

“The supreme irony was that Viola and Alfred also came from working-class backgrounds.”  The status-conscious parents who disowned their son. And Sinatra said, “That’s kooky, kid.” Paul Anka on writing “My Way”. Photo-opportunity: the glamorous life of a White House … Continue reading

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Notebook

It remains one of the oddities of this war that Hitler demanded far less from his people than Churchill and Roosevelt did from their respective nations. The discrepancy between the total mobilization of labour forces in democratic England and the … Continue reading

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Notebook

Walther Funk, who was both Minister of Economics and president of the Reichsbank, told stories about the outlandish pranks that his vice-president, Brinkmann, had gone on performing for months, until it was finally realized that he was mentally ill. In … Continue reading

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Céu

Another of my 20 essential Brazilian songs from the Sunday Times.  The playlist is on Spotify too.

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Transatlantic language barrier

Matthew Barzun, American ambassador to the UK, on adjusting to the local way of speaking English: In my work it sometimes causes difficulties, like when I told a British staff member his work was “quite good,” causing a confused expression. … Continue reading

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