Playing around with YouTube some more--- oh, how much I've missed with my years on dialup--- I've been discovering all kinds of stuff which I'd resigned myself to never seeing (or seeing again). Tonight I've been finding all kinds of Van Morrison goodies, including concert and video footage that seemed lost to the sands of time. Especially neat: versions of "Wavelength," "Bulbs," "These Dreams of You/Cyprus Avenue" and "It's All In The Game." Also worth checking out: a recent and intimate (to say nothing of folky) version of "Saint Dominic's Preview" (I think from the Jools Holland show), a truly great song that deserves more recognition than it gets. See also the duet with Ray Charles on "Crazy Love" that eventually became the closing track of Charles' Genius Loves Company, and this version of "Fast Train" from the Montreux Jazz Festival featuring the great Solomon Burke.
(Two asides. First: yes, I'm probably just cataloguing this stuff here for myself for easy locating in the future. Call it one of the few instances of this blog actually acting as a kind of log. Second: it's a pretty staggering thought, don't you think, for you to be presented an award by your personal hero? Very few of us will ever know what that's like. Then again, how many people have heroes anymore? Worth contemplating, non?)
From that search, though, I stumbled upon tons of clips from (to my estimation) one of the best TV shows of all-time, the immortally hilarious WKRP In Cincinnati. Sadly, the show will probably never find release on DVD because of its rich use of then-contemporary music which now requires extensive licensing fees to reissue. Most of my readers here are probably too young to remember the show, but I'd suggest that, references and sartorial horrors aside, it remains as fresh and sharp as anything on the tube today. Case in point, the clip below (larger version available here), surely one of the most famous third acts in TV history, and one which me and my peers have had seared permanently into our memories. Suffice it to say that it has to do with the station manager's plan for a Thanksgiving promotion.
Watching those clips, though, I'm reminded how much I miss that show; even some of the show's most minor characters, like Mrs Carlson's impishly impudent butler Hirsch, remain more vividly defined than leads on other shows. See also some of these gems, including a tipsy Mama Carlson singing Gershwin, the jingle for the aptly named Ferryman Funeral Home, and the last act and epilogue of what turned out to be the show's finale. Some brilliant TV comedy in those clips, all perfectly performed. G-d, I miss that show.
Also found the video (alas, at AOL with an annoying commercial) for Leonard Cohen's "Closing Time," surely the only song in recent memory to be composed in sonnets and simplified cinquains. It's also a great video in its own terms. I especially like the small playful touches, like backup singer Perla Batalla's finger-play over Leonard's shoulder, and Leonard's "you-expect-me-to-sing-now-so-I'm-not-going-to" moment in the coda.
Anyway, such are some of the discoveries of the NSG Doc finally getting familiar with the advantages of high-speed net service. And he uses it to find stuff mostly twenty years old or more? Yes, yes he does. Oh, the modernity!