Friday Factory Tune

Friday Factory Tune: Celluloid Heroes

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On this day 120 years ago, the first movie — depending on how you define “movie” — was shown to a delegation from National Federation of Women’s Clubs in one of Thomas Edison’s workshops. As a Library of Congress article relates, the women viewed the prototype for the Kinetoscope.

The device was both a camera and a peep-hole viewer, and the film used was 18mm wide. According to David Robinson who describes the Kinetoscope in his book, From Peep Show to Palace: The Birth of American Film, the film “ran horizontally between two spools, at continuous speed. A rapidly moving shutter gave intermittent exposures when the apparatus was used as a camera, and intermittent glimpses of the positive print when it was used as a viewer–when the spectator looked through the same aperture that housed the camera lens.”

William K.L. Dickson starred in the 3-second movie clip of him passing a hat in front of himself. The filming took place at the Photographic Building at Thomas Edison’s Black Maria studio in West Orange, N.J.

In honor of that historic moment, our Friday Factory Tune this week is The Kinks performing “Celluloid Heroes,” one of their last great songs before the band gave way to the lucrative bombast of “Low Budget.”

Here’s Dave and Ray Davies performing the song on Jay Leno’s show. Time’s running out, guys. You’ve already lost Pete Quaife. Bring the group back together!

UPDATE (8 a.m.): At Tom the Dancing Bug, Ruben Bolling figures out what Thomas Edison would be inventing in today’s world. From The Super-Fun-Pak Comix edition.

Friday Factory Tune: Louisiana 1927

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Randy’s Newman’s “Lousiana 1927” is the go-to song to commemorate Mississippi River flooding, and a great song it is. But it seems like there should be just as evocative music for the upstream communities afflicted by the river’s destructive power.

We need a song about the flooding of Mississippi County, Mo., after a levee was blown to save Cairo, Ill. The effects of the current flooding on Vicksburg, Miss., manufacturer LeTourneau Technologies could easily inspire a tune.

Maybe Memphis already does have its own flooding song, but if so, it’s not famous. (Mark Cohn, “Swimming in Memphis?”)

In any case, here’s a 1977 performance of Randy Newman and the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra.

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Friday Factory Tune: Keynes vs. Hayek Round Two

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Via EconStories, “Fight of the Century, Keynes vs. Hayek Round Two.”

In “Fight of the Century”, Keynes and Hayek weigh in on these central questions. Do we need more government spending or less? What’s the evidence that government spending promotes prosperity in troubled times? Can war or natural disasters paradoxically be good for an economy in a slump? Should more spending come from the top down or from the bottom up? What are the ultimate sources of prosperity?

Keynes and Hayek never agreed on the answers to these questions and they still don’t. Let’s listen to the greats. See Keynes and Hayek throwing down in “Fight of the Century”!

Starring Billy and Adam from

Hat tip: Veronique de Rugy, Mercatus Center

The first video was “Fear the Boom and Bust

Friday Factory Tune: Busted

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Johnny Cash and Ray Charles anticipated S&P’s critique of U.S. debt many years ago. “Busted” is an allegory!

The Johnny Cash Show broadcast so many good performances and guest artists. It’s hard to beat “Sunday Morning Coming Down.” And Derek the Dominoes! With Carl Perkins, even.

The spiritual, “Were You There?,” performed in 1962 by Johnny Cash with the Mother Maybelle and the Carter sisters is, of course, a song of Good Friday and Easter.

And let’s close with June Carter Cash in 2002 performing with Johnny, “Keep on the Sunny Side of Life.” Beautiful retrospective footage.

Friday Factory Tune: Heat Treatment

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Jay Timmons, president and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers, addresses the spring meeting of the Metal Treating Institute today in Naples, Fla. The MTI’s webpage is:

Well, then, of course the Friday Factory Tune must be “Heat Treatment” by Graham Parker and the Rumor, a performance from the “Squeezing Out Sparks” tour.

Parker, who now lives in upstate New York, embarks on occasional solo tours. He’s at Jammin’ Java at the end of April. Saw him at the Black Cat a few years ago with a band touring behind “Don’t Tell Columbus.” Very, very good album. Still lively, not quite so ticked off as in the old days, and that’s OK.

Friday Factory Tune: Big Train

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Legendary rock/new wave bassist Mike Watt has an affinity for means of transportation.

That’s a live performance of “Big Train” from his 1995 album, “Ball-Hog or Tugboat?” There’s a music video to the song, too.

Watt was the bassist in the great Minutemen and later with Firehose, a fun band we saw in Fargo in the mid ’90s. In the last couple of years, he’s been touring with The Stooges. (Here’s a 1980 performance by The Minutemen, and the Firehose single, “Walking the Cow.”) The Minutemen embraced a low-tech, man-of-the-street, dare we say “blue collar’ approach toward performing and touring. Indeed, the documentary about The Minutemen is called “We Jam Econo.”

Which makes Watt the perfect guy to do a Kelley Blue Book video review of a 2008 Ford Econoline cargo van. He knows his vans. Read More

Friday Factory Tune: Factory

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There’s a fine line between anthemic and boring, and Band of Horses dances along it in this performance from Later with Jools Holland.

Industrial processes are not mentioned, although the lyrics do refer to a snack machine. Anyway, pleasant enough song by one of those beard bands, and, it’s called “Factory.” That’s good enough for Friday Factory Tune.

Here’s an acoustic in-studio version of the tune. Band of Horses goes on tour of Southern states next week with Kings of Leon. Now, THAT’s a boring band.

In other Southern rock ‘n roll news, the Drive-By Truckers do rock, yes they do.

Friday Factory Tune: Bicycle Race

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A middling tune from Queen, which we should have posted last week in time for the National Bike Summit. Darn.

There’s a topical connection anyway, that is, the induction into the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame of Jac Holzman, the founder, chief executive officer and creative head of Elektra Records, which recently celebrated its 60th anniversary. Holzman signed Queen in the United States, helping make the band a true worldwide phenomenon. We honor him for putting out the two Television albums. For “Friday Factory Tune” purposes, we note his involvement in numerous manufacturing enterprises over the years.

Sound Opinions, the rock ‘n roll talk show from Chicago, just had Holzman on the program for a very entertaining, interesting interview.