Riff Album Challenge

“I am that I am”

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Photo by Arun Sharma on Unsplash

I waited patiently in 2013 for Vampire Weekend’s Modern Vampires of the City to drop. I didn’t know what the album would contain, but I had grown to love the band since I had listened to 2010’s Contra. And I lamented not attending a concert they had given at my older daughter’s college, Wofford College in Spartanburg. The band showed up, I heard, but not many others came to hear them.

I figured it was going to be a fraternity party of sorts and so I didn’t feel it appropriate to go mix with the late teens and early twenty-somethings…


A Playlist Series

You got to have friends

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Photo by Chang Duong on Unsplash

Why can’t we be friends, why can’t we be friends?” so sang War back in the early 1970’s. I didn’t know why then, and I’m not sure I know any better now.

“I didn’t know we were still speaking?” Jedediah Leland says to Charles Foster Kane.

“Of course we’re still speaking, Jedediah…you’re fired.”

Friendships form and are torn asunder for too many bad reasons. Even good reasons make me wonder why, and if, after enough time, we can’t mend our broken hearts and minds. And so, I dedicate this playlist not to the national crisis, but to my old friends…


Perfect Song Series, PT 3

These songs are Purrrrrfect

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Photo by Jan Huber on Unsplash

Our acquired cat, “Mr. Wheeler,” couldn’t get oriented this morning. It’s raining pretty hard — gray and cold — and he kept going out, coming in, and I kept drying him off, and he kept purring and meowing. He has a low-pitched, staccato meow, sort of like “Meah.” He’s kindly found his favorite spot now, on the bed in our guest room where no one, and especially my wife, can bother him.

She doesn’t really bother him, but let’s say she’s not quite as accommodating of him as I am.

But I’ve fed him all his favorite treats — he…


In or out of old cabins

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Photo by Jessica Tan on Unsplash

When I was a kid, there was a restaurant on the other end of Birmingham from us, a place called Catfish Cabin. From what I remember of it, the building resembled someone’s idea of a cabin — not an old log cabin, but a lighter, more refined stained wood. But that’s merely the vagaries of memory talking, because though I surely passed the building from time to time — a close friend had moved nearby, though I was soon off to grad school in another state — I never once entered the premises.

I never ate catfish at this leading…


Riff Album Challenge

An album worth waiting for

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Photo by Ryan Parker on Unsplash

It seemed a virtual desert out there, waiting for the newest Neil Young album. Maybe it was just that as a teenager, I thought that everything good took forever to arrive: my driver’s license, my first kiss, and my first…well, you know.

After Harvest was released in the winter/spring of 1972, Neil seemed to fall into a self-proclaimed ditch. That’s actually what he said about having a hit single and an album that topped the charts. It’s hard to explain, but some people like making their own kind of music, and critics and profits be damned. Politically-speaking, I was with…


Live Concert Series PT 6

The Marshall Tucker Band Live

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Photo by Matthew T Rader on Unsplash

I should tell you right from the start that I once knew a kid named Sput Poe. His real name was Frank, I think, but everyone called him Sput. We played little league baseball at the same time, though not on the same team. He was a Phillie, I a Cub. We weren’t close friends, and I think he was a grade behind me. We didn’t even go to the same high school: Sput attended Bessemer Academy, and I spent my four-year sentence at Jess Lanier High.

What I’m saying is that we didn’t know each other well, except in…


And so is Stanley Tucci

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Photo by Lucian Alexe on Unsplash

Tonight, CNN brings us Stanley Tucci’s first installment in his tour of Italy — a scenic, gastronomic experience that I set up to record weeks ago. Tonight it’s Naples and the Amalfi coast, and though pizza seems the entree in question, I thought about what I cooked recently and how much that dish expresses love and at least American-Italian joy:

Eggplant Parmesan.

I remember as a boy my mother frying eggplant. Clearly, that’s not the only thing I remember about her or her cooking, but something about the word “eggplant” got me and my strange powers of imagination. …


A Playlist Series

Notes from Caucasia

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Photo by Josh Hild on Unsplash

More rumblings from the dead of winter. The impeachment/conviction trial will now hear from some witnesses who will tell us what we should already know. What so many of us have known. Our former president fomented, incited, a coup, and he did so not because he had a sinister plan in mind, but because he enjoys chaos, enjoys watching people do his bidding. Enjoys the world on his tiny string.

Last night, in preparations for Valentine’s day, my wife and I watched the 1956 Don Siegel version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. It’s a creepy film sometimes, though wasn’t…


A Playlist series

Do you have any convictions?

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Photo by Mehmet Turgut Kirkgoz on Unsplash

So much going on in this week leading up to our collective commercial property, Valentine’s Day (which I wrote about over at PS I Love You, but don’t tell anyone in my family yet). Tonight is the Super Bowl. Friday is my late Mother’s birthday. Still celebrating International Clash Day over at my house, and, oh yes…

Someone has a conviction trial starting on Tuesday, though one of his lawyers can’t work past Friday evening at 5:26, I think it is, because that’s the beginning of the Jewish Sabbath. He could get a special dispensation to continue defending the OP…

Terry Barr

I write about music, lit culture, sports, food, and my Alabama past in One Table One World, MuddyUm, Indelible Ink, Literally Literate, and The Weekly Knob.

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