Jacob Haller (jwgh) wrote,
Jacob Haller

Some good episodes of 'The Sound of Young America'

Two things are going on that resulted in this post. One is that MaximumFun.org (home of The Sound of Young America and other podcasts) is having its annual fund drive, and the other is that I'm about to go on a tour (aka road trip) with my friend Chris Monti and I need to burn stuff to CDs that we'll want to listen to on the trip.

So I've been re-downloading some old TSoYA episodes that I think Chris will find enjoyable and I thought I would list them here too.

Swamp Dogg. Soul writer and singer Swamp Dogg's general philosophy towards musical projects seems to be that if someone asks him to do something he'll give it a try, a philosophy that I identify with. (This might explain Swamp Dogg's country album, for instance.) It's great hearing an interview with an interesting person when both he and the interviewer are clearly just having a great time, and I bought one of Swamp Dogg's greatest hits collections on the strength of this interview, a move I have not regretted.

Nellie McKay. I gather that this interview with singer/songwriter Nellie McKay is a bit controversial, with some TSoYA regular listeners finding her wry attitude incredibly annoying, but I found the interview and the live performances (she sings and plays the ukulele) both really enjoyable. Hearing her talk about playing on Garrison Keillor's show was particularly interesting to me.

Bill Withers. Bill Withers was a great soul writer and singer who got sick of the music industry and has been mostly retired and reclusive since the 80s, but Jesse Thorn (host of TSoYA) managed to catch him while he was promoting the documentary 'Soul Power', and it's a really interesting interview. (Jesse reports that this interview was extremely terrifying for him, particularly as Withers didn't hesitate to let him know if Jesse said something Withers disagreed with.)

The vocoder. Dave Tompkins talks about his book 'How To Wreck A Nice Beach' [the title is a mangled version of the phrase 'How To Recognize Speech'] which describes the history of the vocoder, which had its roots in technology designed to protect phone conversations from codebreakers during WWII.

Mavis Staples. Mavis Staples is a really friendly and engaging speaker, and this might be the best interview I've heard with her. The bit about Randy Newman at the end of the podcast is a particular highlight for me.

I should note that Jesse doesn't just interview musicians -- I was just thinking along those lines because of the tours. He also interviews authors, actors, comedians, and other interesting people. I could keep listing episodes but maybe it's simpler to link to one of Jesse's posts where he lists some audience favorites.

  • For Danielle

    Yesterday's WikiHow explained how to draw a sea turtle. Here's what I've got: Give it a try. Why not?

  • unexpected discovery

    While I was backstage at the Noxagt show tonight, I found a collection of old Time/Life books which I remember reading and rereading quite a bit…

  • Giant Steps

    Jazz fans (and other people) may be interested in this video accompaniment to John Coltrane's Giant Steps by artist Michal Levy. It sounds like…

  • 1 comment
  • 1 comment

Comments for this post were locked by the author