Thursday, September 17, 2020

Another cup of TEA FOR TILLERMAN

 Yusuf Islam is a singer-songwriter.  We first got to know him as Cat Stevens.  Early in his career, he wrote "The First Cut Is The Deepest" and P.P. Arnold recorded it and had a hit in the UK with it.  Later, he would record it himself, Linda Ronstadt would perform an amazing version of it on THE MIDNIGHT SPECIAL (a late night program in the 70s), Rod Stewart would have a hit with it in the 70s, Sheryl Crow would have a hit with it two decades later and hundreds of other people will record it as well.

In 1967, his first album was released, MATTHEW AND SON, and it contained his first hit ("I Love My Dog").  Three albums later came 1970's TEA FOR THE TILLERMAN which is considered his best album and a rock classic.  Paul Samwell-Smith produced the album and he also produced Carly Simon's album ANTICIPATION and he co-wrote a very beautiful song with Carly -- "Do The Walls Come Down" from her 1987 album COMING AROUND AGAIN. 

"Anticipation," the title track to Carly's album of the same name?  Carly wrote that song while waiting for Cat to show up for a date.  "Into White" is a song he wrote that appears  on his TEA FOR THE TILLERMAN album that Carly recorded for her 2007 album INTO WHITE.  Other songs on TEA FOR THE TILLERMAN would include the singles "Father And Son" and "Wild World."  "Wild World" would make it to number 11 on the US pop charts.  The album would make it to number eight on Billboard's album charts and it would sell over three million copies in the US alone.

So I'm talking about his 1970 album right now because?  TEA FOR THE TILLERMAN 2 will be issued Friday, September 18th.  ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY notes:

Fittingly, the decision to remake the album was born out of a conversation with his own adult son, Yoriyos. “We sat down and started talking about ideas to mark this milestone — 50 years of probably one of my most well-known, well-loved albums,” Yusuf, 72, tells Entertainment Weekly. “He came up with the idea of doing it all again, and I said, ‘Yeah, I like a challenge!’ It was intimidating because the album is so successful and iconic.”

Rather than record a faithful replica of his masterwork, he radically recast many of the familiar tracks, exploring the sonic possibilities only hinted at in the acoustic originals. The original calypso groove of “Longer Boats” morphs into a full-on funk breakdown, capped off with a spoken word verse from rapper Brother Ali. “Miles from Nowhere” includes a buzz-saw slide guitar that’s positively rowdy — a word seldom used to describe Yusuf/Cat Stevens tracks, while “But I Might Die Tonight” is given a similarly hard driving treatment. “Wild World,” arguably the album’s best-known song, received the most extensive makeover, rearranged as a noirish waltz straight out of Weimar-era Berlin. “I wanted to do things that would help me to recapture a different aspect of that album,” he explains. “For me, that makes it what it means today.” The sounds may have changed, but so has he. This fact is poignantly illustrated on “Father and Son,” which features Yusuf duetting with his younger self — drawn from a recently unearthed tape of the then-22-year-old performing at the legendary Troubadour club in Los Angeles.

On NPR's MORNING EDITION, Rachel Martin spoke with Yusuf:

After you converted to Islam, you stepped away from pop music for a couple of decades. May I ask how and when you knew that it was time to come back?

I had lots of people throughout that period telling me, "Make some more music, please, for us." Not just my old fans, but just people in general, including Muslims. You know, I went through so many changes in the beginning [after converting]. You don't know the rules and things and what to do; you're in a state of educating yourself. I got rid of my guitars, because ...

You got rid of them?

Yeah, I sold them for charity. I got rid of it all because I felt I was being weighed down with an image of me that I was no longer willing to serve. I just sort of thought, "Hey — I found out who I was, what I want to do, and I'm going to get down to doing it." The songs were predicting a change in my life. When the change came, I didn't have to keep on singing songs, you know? That's kind of logical.

Anyway, there was a point when the Bosnian War was taking place — and it was a big, big shock, because this was Europe and we were seeing a genocide right on our doorstep. This was quite frightening. But I was involved in relief and delivering aid to these people, and when I got there, I found that they were singing these songs. I mean, these songs lifted their spirit at this time when it was so dark. I think it was that that made me realize that music has a very important part to play in the shaping of our dreams and the shaping of what we want for tomorrow. What we want for today.

 I'm eager to hear the album.

Closing with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

 Thursday, September 17, 2020.  Do #OTHERLIVESMATTER! or only the lives of Americans?  Interesting question considering a new story in the news.

Starting in the US, Savannah Bermann (USA TODAY) reports:

Federal police asked the National Guard whether they had a “heat ray” officers could use against protesters gathered near the White House earlier this summer,according to a letter sent to Congress from a senior officer involved with responding to the protest. 

The inquiry for these tools came just hours before demonstrators protesting on the evening of June 1, following the death of George Floyd, were forcibly removed from the Lafayette Square in Washington D.C. by authorities, some on horseback, using chemical irritants, rubber bullets and shields.

President Donald Trump then walked with members of his administration to historic St. John's Church, and posed with a Bible, drawing wide condemnation.  

In written responses to the House Committee on Natural Resources, which were obtained and shared by NPR, D.C. National Guard Maj. Adam DeMarco said he was copied on an email from the Provost Marshal of Joint Force Headquarters National Capital Region who was seeking two things: A device called the Active Denial System, or ADS and a Long-Range Acoustic Device, also known as the LRAD.

ADS is a weapon designed by the military that uses short radio waves that "provides a sensation of intense heat on the surface of the skin,” according to the written statements. This causes an intense burning feeling, leading to the tool also being called a "heat ray" or the "Pain Ray."

Elliot Hannon (SLATE) adds:

“The technology, also called a ‘heat ray,’ was developed to disperse large crowds in the early 2000s but was shelved amid concerns about its effectiveness, safety and the ethics of using it on human beings,” the Washington Post reports. “Pentagon officials were reluctant to use the device in Iraq. In late 2018, the New York Times reported, the Trump administration had weighed using the device on migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border—an idea shot down by Kirstjen Nielsen, then the Homeland Security secretary, citing humanitarian concerns.”

The technology should not be used.  If you're a pompous drama queen prone to hiding behind what you did in Iraq, you might want to check yourself -- especially if you're screaming your head off in a video calling for people to be killed.  Just sit your ass down, princess, you've got nothing to proud of if you're video and your Tweet is all about how this should never be used on Americans.  

#OTHERLIVESMATTER.  There were many reports in the early stages of the Iraq War of this very weapon being used in Iraq.  So don't hide behind your "I was in Iraq and I wasn't in Iraq so these weapons could be used on Americans!  You don't look brave, you look like a thug.  Because really bad weapons were used on Iraqis.  Depleted Uranium was used on the Iraqi people.  It's why birth defects skyrocketed in the country.  

There is no justification for that.  And fourteen-year-old boys -- or twelve-year-olds who look fourteen -- are not terrorists and should not be hunted as if they were or not allowed to leave Falluja, kept there to be killed and executed by the US military.

That's what happened and I'm not in the mood for your sudden concern over weapons now that they might be used on Americans.

I'm also not interested in, Princess Vet, your use of this for partisan b.s.  At this point, the issue appears to be it having been raised, the use of it having been raised.  It does not appear to have been used.

It should not have been raised and there should be a loud rebuke -- but not threats of shooting people over this, Princess Vet, calm down -- so that the message is clear that we do not use this technology on humans (I'm not painting an X on the backs of all animals, I'm just focusing on humans).  And that's here, that's in Iraq, that's anywhere.  

We need to be very clear on this.

We also need a few details.  That would include who was in on the discussion.  Was the White House party to it?  Was Donald Trump aware?  

It's really easy to scream and yell into a video like a lunatic with the hopes that you're going to turn out the votes for Joe Biden.  But that's not reality.  And Joe's Barack's roll dog so some of this outrage on his behalf is a bit much -- Barack remains King of the Drone War.  And he did use them on US citizens.  

The notion of using weapons -- of any kind -- on peaceful protesters is disgusting.  

And yet, Princess Vet, that has happened for almost a full year now in Iraq and you're so quick to manly man your service in Iraq but you're not very quick to defend the Iraqi people.

Oh, right, the illegal war was never about defending the Iraqi people or making their lives better.

Your hypocrisy and much more is showing.

What appears to be not in dispute at this time: Early in the Trump presidency, these weapons were tossed out for possible use on immigrants crossing the border and then-Homeland Security Secretary Nielsen shot down the idea.  This summer, the use of the weapons were again raised.  Judging by the written document submitted, they were not used.  That needs further examination and Congress should pursue the matter in public hearings.  

Efforts to attach this to a person without evidence is not a good idea.  And it doesn't help the situation.  No matter how much a man like Princess Vet screams in a selfie video, it doesn't help anyone.

We actually had an editorial on this ready to go at THIRD -- on Princess Vet -- and the ones who wrote it didn't know about the above.  They just tried to stream his video and they noted in the editorial (we didn't publish it) that whatever Princess Vet's message was, he wasn't going to persuade anyone because his presentation was so off putting and because his 'answer' was to call for the deaths of people.  It is a grotesque and embarrassing video and a sign that maybe Princess Vet needs some mental help and maybe there needs to be courses before you return to civilian life encouraging to grasp that shoot-and-kill may work in the military but it is not the answer to every political issue.

I'm being nice and not naming Princess Vet.  I won't be nice about Keith Boykin who Tweeted:

Trump tried to deploy military heat ray weapon on protesters in Lafayette Square that the Pentagon didn't want to use in Iraq War. Army National Guard major also confirms protesters were never given clear, audible warning to disperse before the attack.

Donald Trump did that, did he?  Because that's a fact not in THE WASHINGTON POST article you link to.  I'd think whoring would get old.  I'd think people would say, "Wait, let me deal with what we know.  This is a very serious issue and I want to deal with the facts."  Not Keith.  It's not about what was 'tried,' it's just about partisan bulls**t.  

I'd also be very careful about claiming it wasn't used in Falluja.  I remember when Scott Shane got nasty about what weapons were used in Iraq at THE NEW YORK TIMES and then, woops, he had to follow up with an article admitting White Phosphorus was used.  I'd be very careful about claims from the Pentagon about what they used in Iraq and what they didn't use because they have been repeatedly caught denying this or that use only for it to be exposed that this or that was used.

In other news, NBC NEWS Tweets about Jon Stewart:

"The only difference between the 9/11 responders at Ground that that was caused by a terrorist attack," Stewart said. "Veterans in Iraq and Afghanistan are suffering the same illnesses and the same toxic exposure."

Here's THE NEWSHOUR (PBS) reporting on Jon:

The burnpits issue is one we've long covered.  And Congress has done damn little.  It's amazing that we set through a hearing -- and reported on it -- where a US Senator had the nerve to insult Vietnam veterans -- he was one himself -- and state his opposition to the Agent Orange registry.

Centrist Dems are liars and whores.  That's why Jim Webb did not seek re-election.  He was the US senator at that hearing.  And you damn well better believe veterans groups knew what he did and knew what he said.  That's why he didn't seek re-election.  Yet when he tried to throw his hat in the race for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination in 2016, centrist Dems were gushing over him like he was someone to look up to.  No.  

BURNPIT360 remains the strongest resource for the burnpit issue.


That's Alicia Keys' "Brand New Me" (the live version from the live album VH1 STORYTELLERS).  As Betty noted in "Alicia Keys" earlier this week, Alicia's latest album (ALICIA) drops tomorrow.  It's her follow up to 2016's HERE.  On Tuesday, community members noted their favorite Alicia songs: Betty went with "Try Sleeping With A Broken Heart," Kat went with "In Common," Mike went with "Another Way To Die," Marcia went with "If I Ain't Got You," Elaine went with "Holy War," Ruth picked "A Woman's Worth," Rebecca chose "fallin'," Ann offered two choices "Girl On Fire and . . .," Stan selected "Queen of the Field" and Trina went with "Underdog."  Betty picked my personal favorite but I do really love "Brand New Me."  (Just realized no one chose "No One."  I would've thought that would have been someone's pick.)  So, tomorrow, new album from Alicia Keys.

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