Feeling Apocalyptic?

My insurance broker told me a 72 year old man with a history of cancer has a one in six chance of living to the age of 80.  Given that, the very possibility of President Palin has left me in a dark mood, for which I recommend the Phildelphia Band, An American Chinese.

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0 Responses to Feeling Apocalyptic?

  1. Morgan Warstler says:

    4 presidents have been assassinated. Other attempts made. If we’re going to worry about dead presidents, that’d be the actuarial table that matters no?

    You’d think a man as old as you, would be championing the capabilities of the elderly, instead of running yourself into the ground.

    Fortunately, I don’t discriminate like you do.

  2. T Bone Burnett says:

    Tap, thanks for sending that. Here’s one for you.

  3. len bullard says:

    Good find. Kinda dark but appropriate.

    My daughter tells me I need to listen to Muse.

  4. Rick Turner says:

    Morgan, as I recall, you’re the one who wants to cut off MediCare to folks older than 80. I call that discrimination by murder.

  5. Dan says:

    Yes, I am feeling apocalyptic. I have been for over a year now.

    Watching this five trillion dollar Fannie/Freddie slow-motion meltdown has not made me feel any more at ease.

  6. Dan says:

    That band reminds me a little of the Kinks in their apocalyptic days. In fact, the Kinks should release an album titled, “So How Does It Feel, America, Now That It’s Your Turn.”

  7. Jon Taplin says:

    T Bone- Frank Newsome is amazing. Is that shaped notes singing?

  8. Alex Bowles says:


    I’d actually prefer the 1:6 odds your broker cited to the existing track record, where the replacement rate for sitting Presidents by their VPs is 1 in 5.

  9. T Bone Burnett says:

    Ralph Stanley calls that lined out singing. It’s also called lined out hymnody. It is either Hard Shell Baptist or Old Regular Baptist. Either way it is deep Appalachia.

    Shape Note or Sacred Harp or Fasola singing came from pre-revolutionary New England and probably regular old England before that. It was a method of notation in different shapes to teach music to people who didn’t read music. That is a whole universe of music unto itself.

  10. len bullard says:

    Is that a hymnal or a personal notebook he is using? It’s small and dog eared.

    It’s Baptist. Methodists don’t wear neckties and sing. We wear them in the baptismal so the preacher can pull us back up. Martha White may self-rise but after a plate of biscuits, we don’t. Soggy bottoms.

  11. T Bone Burnett says:

    Funny. Looks like a well used hymnal. It’s got some of that fancy gold writing on it. And neck tie or no neck tie, it is absolutely Baptist. I’d say it is Hard Shell Baptist, as that is where Ralph Stanley comes from, and Frank Newsome has for sure listened to Ralph.

  12. len bullard says:

    You’ve got better eyes than me, or I need to up the power on this prescription. Definitely Baptist. I heard a lot of this growing up but I’ve never heard the term Hard Shell used. I thought those were for crawfish.

    Takes me back to the old tent revivals my grandmother took me too, and the days when they dressed us up and the old lady gave us a hand fan at the door, and we sweated our way through our best clothes for most of a Sunday morning because hell fire was not just a place to go to after we die. It was waiting in the car outside.

    By the way: my family passed around a video of Oh Brother until we’d all almost passed out from it. I’m not sure if people who didn’t grow up in TVA country know just how funny that really is. Thanks!

  13. T Bone Burnett says:

    You are very welcome. The pleasure was mine.

    “Yessir, the South is gonna change. Everything’s gonna be put on electricity and run on a payin’ basis. Out with the old spiritual mumbo- jumbo, the superstitions and the backward ways. We’re gonna see a brave new world where they run everyone a wire and hook us all up to a grid. Yessir, a veritable age of reason – like the one they had in France – and not a moment too soon…”

    That, Odysseus, appears to have been wishful thinking.

  14. len bullard says:

    Too funny and too true, T. I live in the city that sent men to the Moon that’s in the state that tried to outlaw the diminished fifth 100 miles south of the Bluebird where Ronny Cox tried to explain the chord police to me one night after my set.

    Ah but it’s home. How to explain that, I don’t know.

  15. Patrick says:

    Ah’m from Mis’sippi. Ah know about hard-shell, and that was hard-shell. But the same sound could be heard in the tiniest Methodist churches in the backwoods until fairly recently. My father’s church, in Clara, Mississippi, sounded much like a host of Reverend Newsomes of a Sunday morning. Clara’s not there, anymore.

  16. zestypete says:

    Not feeling Newsome or American Chinese right now. I’ve drifted back into a bit of Tuvan throat singing, especially Huun Huur Tu – fantastic live and the fact that every song is about their personal relationships with horses makes it all the more appealing – http://www.huunhuurtu.com).

    As for McCain’s age, I’m think the new chant for GOP gatherings should be “First Four Years! First Four Years!’ – encourage the old man to hang in there just long enough to screw things up that little bit more for everyone.

    PS I’m serious about Huun Huur Tu – if you get the chance to see them, they can overwhelm a space with sound.

  17. AndyF says:

    Maybe those are the odds for the average man, but probably not for a man who has access to cancer testing every day of his life.

  18. Hugo says:


    Your Beulah Frank makes my emoticons weep. Thank you for doing that rootsy hoodoo that you do so well.

    That man puts the sweet “fear of God” in me. Along with the usual anxiety over the prospective loss of such Tradition in the flesh. Reckon I’ll make an effort to sing praise with the local Primitive Baptists whilst I remain in Atlanta. Where do they fall in the musicology to which you and len and Patrick refer?

    I’m thinking, without my old neighbors and some new Newsome I’m mostly left dependent upon the blessings of l’oeuvre Burnett and childhood memories of duets with my Southern grandfather, doing “Closer Walk” and “Rugged Cross” and much of the rest of the old Methodist hymnal, his Baritone offset by my Soprano version thereof, my legs dangling from the piano bench till at last long enough to reach the Player pedals. Lord, how my grandfather loved Ralph Stanley, and how also he’d have loved “Oh Brother” had he lived to hear it! (As for the endearing film, I suspect he’d have said, frankly, that he liked “the book” better. He was a witty one; moreover, he had to steal my grandmother from Penn Warren and the other Fugitives from Vandy, so the literature and mythology stuck like a love dart, even though he was an historian.)

    Fab band JT. I may be the newest patron yet, thanks to your posting.

    Admittedly I’ve been missing your strings of late, but don’t let Ms. Sarah get you down. Silly old Fred Thompson was right: she really is a breath of fresh air. (Besides, she messes with our heads in ways that need messing with.)

    If it helps, ask your actuary to estimate McCain’s chances of surviving the happiest four (not yet eight) years of his life while under the utmost protection and care. If your insurer has any stats at all, she’ll refuse the anecdotal bait.

    Excuse me, please, while I finish cracking up over Rick’s succinct parody of Morgan…

    P.S. Len, I’d cherry-pick Muse were I you; otherwise I vote with your daughter. (A daughter, lucky Len! She must be fetchingly whimsical.)

  19. T Bone Burnett says:

    “As for the endearing film, I suspect he’d have said, frankly, that he liked “the book” better.”

    We’ll see which one lasts longer.

    (Back in the epic times, pre-cinema, they used to say, “Frankly, I liked the song better.” Those were the good old days. )

    Please channel your grandfather often.

  20. len bullard says:

    Hugo: I let her pick the songs and I listen while she works on her Facebook page. That why I get her viewpoint and that of her compadres without trying to influence it. Yeah, the Boo is my jewel baby. When I was in Atlanta a few weeks ago, I saw her photo on her FB page and called her mom and told her to take that photo down. A 14 year old that looks like a 22 year old model is too scary for Dad. We do become our parents or grandparents.

    The way they share their music using the social networks is throwing quite a wrench into the old marketing models. My daughter won’t link to my songs but her friends do. She is mortified by that. She will link to her brother’s band’s recordings. Whimsy? Perhaps but I think it just a daughter’s way to tease.

    And it is wonderful. I am blessed in so many ways I lost count.

  21. Jon Taplin says:

    Hugo- As before, welcome back. I’m not that worried about Palin as I don’t think they can sustain the personality hysteria for 60 days. Eventually issues will come to the fore and as I’ve been saying here for a while, things are going to get darker financially before we see the light.

    BTW-Morgan has taken to insulting comments again. I tried to be zen, but it all falls under “the life’s too short” category. I’m kicking him off the island.

  22. Hugo says:

    Thanks again, Jon.

    I’m ever mindful of your economic forecasting in the context of this election cycle. You’ve already got me helmeted and in five-point harness, with my finger on “CHUTE RELEASE”. Your projections never are mistaken, at this end, for Cassandrism.

    One political tweak, though, just for the fun of it. Were I a more doctrinaire feminist I’d parse your funky deployment of the word “hysteria” to describe the public interest in the downright interesting Governor of the American Arctic, a woman who refers to her husband, in his official capacity, as “Alaska’s First Dude”. I mean, what’s not to like about the prospect of Molly Brown for Vice President? It’s the biggest hoot since McKinley’s ‘Theodore the All-American the Boy Wonder’.

    And Ms. Palin’s nomination positively scrambles the remaining brains of the biggest jerks in the Democratic Party. (Not to mention Donna Brazille.) If only for that reason, I propose that we regard her as a kind of national treasure, right up there with William Jennings Bryan and Pat Paulsen.


    Mestro Burnett,

    Thank you also. As it happens I don’t exactly bother to channel my grandfather, though, as he largely raised me. He’s tatooed all up and down my veins. He taught me to think out of time, as an historian. So good a teacher was he that even now I regard him as a bit outside of Time. (It helps that his own father had been a Civil War officer; so, time warpage all round.)

    I do recall that my grandfather found the title track of “Let It Be” a catchy profanation of the spirit and substance of “Closer Walk”. Now THAT sort of umbrage is just downright funny — a point my grandfather was inclined to make at his own expense.

    He would’ve relished your fun point about Homer from Orality to Literacy to Cinema and Soundtrack, etc., from the blind to the manifest, the winged to the frozen-in-Annenberg-amber.

    What good fun.

  23. T Bone Burnett says:

    I understand this Rick Turner is Rick Turner the great luthier.

    Rick, I want you to know that the K-161 (with no truss rod) that you straightened the neck on twenty years ago has not moved a millimeter since you did it. How he hell did you do that? You have some Uri Geller type power over wood. Thank you!

    It is still my main electric, although the new Gretsches are killer, and I am using a Black Falcon quite a bit with Robert and Alison.

    Where are you now?

  24. T Bone Burnett says:

    Now here is something for youall to mitigate somewhat this apocalyptic zone.

    Go to this page and drag “QTYouTube” to your bookmark bar:


    Search a video, play it to see how bad the video and sound quality are, then click on the bookmark on your browser “QTYouTube”. It will find the hi rez original source. The video and sound quality will improve markedly.

  25. Rick Turner says:

    Hiya, T-Bone! Yeah, it’s me, and I’m up in Santa Cruz these days mostly building guitars all the way from pure acoustic to electric. Check out the Summer issue of Fretboard Journal for a 16 page spread on how we build acoustics.

    Great to hear the guitar is still treating you well, and the degrees of separation are very few, my friend. Ask Steve Soles about when he was a kid hanging out with my band in New York way back when!

    Also, I saw John Paul Jones at MerleFest last year. I’d built basses for him back in the really crazy days. He played “Whole Lot of Love” on mandolin with the Duhks, and it blew the festival away.

    Anyway, I remain a fan of everything you’ve been doing. Right up my little alley!

  26. T Bone Burnett says:

    Here is a good place to start.

    Freedom Day Max Roach Abby Lincoln

  27. Rick Turner says:

    Hey, T-Bone, drop me an email…Jon’s got my address. I’ve got a pretty amazing project bubbling under…a treasure trove of live tapes from the mid 1960s recorded in a coffee house on Martha’s Vineyard on pro gear…probably hundreds of hours…Kweskin, Collins, Taylor, Simon, Country Gents, Kentucky Colonels, Ian and Sylvia…etc…

  28. T Bone Burnett says:

    Will do, that sounds very interesting, and come up to the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival if you can get away.

  29. Rick Turner says:

    T-Bone, I can make it to the Friday Hardly, Strictly show, and you’ll be there. Unfortunately (or wonderfully!), I’m teaching my “Build a Mandolin in Four Days” course over at the Crucible, and incredible art school, in Oakland on Saturday and Sunday, and then again the next weekend. We’ll be in touch…

    I’m missing the opening of the Slide Guitar exhibit at the Museum of Making Music in Carlsbad the next weekend…David Lindley playing with Sonny Landreth for the first time ever… I’ve been doing some guest curating of exhibits at the museum over the past few years.

  30. Hugo says:

    O Lawsy, Lawsy…

    Do keep going. y’all.

    Do now.

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