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New Lester Bangs!

Well, kinda. While finding the link to Psychotic Reactions and Carburator Dung -- the sole previous Bangs anthology, edited by Greil Marcus and published about fifteen years ago -- for the previous post, I discovered on Amazon that there's a new Bangs anthology, designed as a second volume of sorts, coming out in early August.

Entitled Main Lines, Blood Feasts, and Bad Taste: A Lester Bangs Reader, it's edited by John Morthland, a writer from the Texas Monthly -- long one of the better magazines in America, IMO. Published in paperback. You can buy it here.

posted by Anon. 9:25 AM
Let us now praise big men

So Barry White has died. (Here is the NY Times obituary.) White, like other corpulent celebrities (John Candy, for example), is one where we don't say, "he died too soon," but instead, "well, had he taken better care of himself all these years..."

But of course, Barry White did take care of himself. Great care of himself. He generally wore silkish pajamas almost all the time, and he had a lot of sex with a lot of women, and didn't have to pull Luther Vandross diets to do it.

And his profile had re-emerged in recent years, thanks to a recurring shtick with the Peter McNichol character on Ally McBeal.

But the music? Yes, "Can't Get Enough of Your Love, Baby" and "My First, My Last, My Everything" actually somehow to stand up as great singles of the 70s soul era. (And I do like that Afghan Whigs cover of the former, from the Beautiful Girls soundtrack.)

But let's face facts: Barry White was kind of a lightweight performer, whose stature mostly came from the fact that many people chose him as their hump music, rather than people choosing him as quality material. Put him alongside Al Green, who had both the chops and skills and was appropriate for boudoir madness, and Barry floats away.

If you own Lester Bangs' Psychotic Reactions and Carburator Dung, thumb through it this week to the hilarious piece he wrote about Barry White live. One of my favorite Bangs' pieces ever. If you don't own the book -- well, for god's sakes, man, buy it. Now.

posted by Anon. 9:20 AM


Summer songs

Apparently everyone wants to get in the act of compiling favorite songs of summer. This from LS, who is himself still resisting posting his own favorite summer songs.

Then again, so are we.

A little bit of overwriting on this list, but I do like his inclusion of REM's "Nightswimming." Too often, in thinking of summer songs, we only think of the springy, happy, go-go tunes. Forgetting that there's some melancholia to be found amidst the humidity and dank evenings, too.

posted by Anon. 5:03 PM