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Catamount Community Radio - January 17, 2010

My original plan for today was to feature the music of Bob Seger, but when I heard news of the earthquake, I had to feature Haitian music. I don't have all that much in my library, so I kept with the Bob Seger plan, and played other things as well, but my mind was on Haiti.

One of the greats of that musical hotbed, Detroit, Bob Seger joined the Rock 'n' Roll hall of fame in 2004. He toiled long and hard, doing 200 shows a year, working on the fringes of rock, until finally hitting it big with his 1977 album "Night Moves." In my opinion, though, most of his best work starts at Night Moves and works backwards chronologically. Live Bullet set the stage for his fame, and it's a great album. I remember lying on my back in the far back of the old Chevy station wagon, on the way back from somewhere downstate (Michigan) in the late seventies on a gray winter day, poring over the album that I bought that day, not being able to wait to get home and put it on the turntable. I tore off the cellophane wrapper and looked over and over at the concert photos. I learned to love that album. A lot of the songs on it were released earlier, and while they were often big hits in Detroit (many reaching #1), it wasn't until Night Moves that Bob Seger became a rock star coast-to-coast. I don't know why he never hit it big earlier, for, as Dave Marsh wrote, "he had all the requisites of greatness: the voice, the songwriting, the performance onstage, the vision and the ambition." We listened today to "Get Out of Denver," (the greatest Chuck Berry song Chuck Berry never wrote), "Ramblin' Gamblin' Man," "Turn the Page," and "Heavy Music." All these tunes are on Live Bullet, but we listened to the earlier studio versions. We also listened to Tina Turner sing "Nutbush City Limits," which Seger also covered on Live Bullet.

I found some interesting writing by Ben Greenman on Haiti at Moistworks. I'm not using quotation marks because I took some liberties editing the text:

On the Hatian lottery:

A surreal enterprise in which the numbers played are extracted, through a mix of soothsaying and self-deception, from dreams. (If you dream of a fire, you are encouraged by a dream consultant to play the number 11, say; a cow may translate to the number 20.) The lottery process is, strangely, a vehicle of hope: it takes people's dreams, turns them into numbers, then tries to turn those numbers into a different kind of number, money, that can satisfy dreams.

On Alan Lomax's field recording from 1937:

This song is about Lenba, which is a healing movement that contributed to the growth of the Petwo movement in Haiti that helped to develop a revolutionary consciousness among Haiti's slaves. Petwo, which refers to a family of Vodou spirits, can also refer to a drum, or to a rapid style of drumming. The lyrics talk about overtopping, if not exactly overcoming, death:

Lenba, I am shouting out
Lenba on top of Lenba
Lenba, Lenba triumphs over death
Ay, Lenba rises over Lenba

One of the Petwo spirits is Bosou, who is represented by a bull and is in charge of fertility and protection. The spirits teach, among other things, that the power to heal and protect is closely allied with the power to kill.

The show airs on WWCU Sunday morning, 10-12, Carolina time.

If you have any dollars to spare, donate them to the Haiti relief effort:

Doctors Without Borders
Red Cross
Partners in Health


1. Clifford Jordan – from The Glass Beads: John Coltrane
2. Luis Armstrong – I Want a Little Girl
3. Hatiando – Grog mwen
4. Juan Habichuela – A mi Africa
5. Brad Mehldau – The Nearness of You
6. Wyclef Jean – 24 é tan pou viv
7. Béla Fleck, Jamie Hartford & Sam Bush – Gentle on my Mind
8. Nemours Jean-Baptiste – Manman tyoul la sou
9. Bob Seger – Get Out of Denver
10. Mulatu Astatke & the Heliocentrics – Addis Black Widow
11. Unknown Hinson – Fish Camp Woman
12. Cecil Grant – I Wonder
13. Mizik Mizik – Blakawout
14. Bob Seger – Ramblin' Gamblin' Man
15. Charles Mingus – Hatian Fight Song
16. Kenny Werner – New Amsterdam
17. Eddy Loiss – Mazurka cacodou
18. Conway Twitty – A Table in the Corner
19. Caetano Veloso & Gilberto Gil – Haiti
20. Ike & Tina Turner – Nutbush City Limits
21. Wyclef Jean – Le ou marye
22. Bob Seger – Turn the Page
23. Unknown Hatians – Lenba, Lenba sou lemo
24. Gonzalo Rubalcaba – Alma mía
25. Stevie Wonder – Boogie On, Reggae Woman
26. Bob Seger – Heavy Music
27. 3 Cohens – Tfila (Prayer)


Bob Seger

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