Tuesday, June 5, 2012

No News Good News to Wall Street; Music for a Depression: Benny Goodman's Sing, Sing, Sing

Running a bit late today and writing in the first person singular, not because this is a critical day or anything like that, but because I'm just happy as a lark to see that financial stocks led today's absolutely nothing advance.

From years of personal experience (especially over the past four) any time our broken down banks lead the market, one can rest assured the move is nothing more than self-aggrandizement by the former "masters of the universe," thus completely meaningless in a macro sense.

The afternoon insider ramp job was notoriously devoid of volume, making the major event of the day nothing more momentous than the May reading on ISM services which leapt an entire 0.2, from 53.5 in April to 53.7 in May. Big whoopie, and not much of a reaction from the street, so hold off, for now, on the champagne. Europe's issues and the big fiat debt fiasco that pervades everything these days still lurks, waiting to pounce upon a suspect market.

Major events in this little corner of the world were the two rabbits frolicking in my back yard. From the looks of things, the planet may soon be blessed with a few more little cottontails soon. Ah, Spring...

The sun is shining again
and birds are singing in the trees,
My heart is open wide my friends,
I've just caught a summer breeze.
-- from the soon-to-be-released Flowers in Your Garden, a love song by Fearless Rick

There was an "urgent" conference call by leaders of the G7, bemoaning the fact that Europe's crisis might just be spinning out of control, unlike the Earth itself, which, last we checked, was still orbiting the sun and rotating smoothly without any help from the Fed, central bankers or any over-indebted sovereign nation.

When the global financial system finally falls completely apart, those of us with good minds, bodies and hearts will know what to do: Make sure our gold and/or silver is safe, our guns well oiled and our crops bathing in sunshine, pour another drink and watch the crooks being harnessed by their own hangman's noose.

It's really just that simple.

Since we're already well into the Greater Depression, I thought it appropriate to post a couple of Youtube videos - actually they're more music than anything else, in hopes that we might all come to understand better how things were during the Great Depression of the 1930s.

My father, who was born in 1924 and passed away in 2009, was a spry lad of five years old when the markets crashed in 1929. He used to tell me that they didn't know they were poor, as just about everybody was in a similar situation. It's somewhat the same today, except that the many of the truly poor and unemployed now receive all kinds of benefits such as food stamps, free rent and free health care, which makes them much better off than many of the working stiffs who grind out a living on wages that have been stagnant or declining since the year 2000.

At the end of this post there are two videos posted. The first (to which you are encouraged to stand up and dance to) is of Benny Goodman's original recording of Louis Prima's (my dad's favorite) Sing, Sing Sing.

The year was 1937, the depth of the Great Depression, but Goodman's big band orchestra really let it rip in this rendition, which helped Goodman earn the reputation as the "King of Swing." The band leader and on clarinet, Goodman was aided by Gene Krupa on drums (amazing, by any standard) and Harry James on trumpet, among others. The piece is an absolute classic, a treasure of Americana, showing that even as hard as times were for millions, the spirit of the day was one of joy, a never-say-die attitude and unbridled musical genius.

While Prima's original version carried lyrics, Goodman's arrangement was purely instrumental. With Krupa's driving beat and Goodman's flawless orchestration and leadership, the tune became an instant hit crossing generations of music fans. The title is a bit misleading; it could easily be re-named "Dance, Dance, Dance."

If you can't get up and dance to this tune, you either have no sense, no rhythm or no business being alive. All you oldies out there, be careful. Don't bust a disk or pull a muscle. This one's a mover. Enjoy.

The second video (again, it's all for the music) is of the same tune at the fabled 1938 concert by Goodman's band at Carnegie Hall in New York. The piece is longer, lasting 12 minutes, and includes some introspective solos by Goodman and notably, pianist Jess Stacy's solo work, which the Wikipedia entry calls, "exceptional, a four-chorus, chromatic impressionistic masterpiece distinct from everything that preceded it." The entire track is marvelous. Turn your speakers up for this one.

As the global depression expands and envelops more and more of the world, music like this may be the best antidote to the craven antics of thieving bankers and incompetent politicians.

Dow 12,127.95, +26.49 (0.22%)
NASDAQ 2,778.11, +18.10 (0.66%)
S&P 500 1,285.50, +7.32 (0.57%)
NYSE Composite 7,338.65, +53.10 (0.73%)
NASDAQ Volume 1,627,906,750
NYSE Volume 3,403,227,500
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 3882-1641
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 54-117
WTI crude oil: 84.29, +0.31
Gold: 1,616.90, +3.00
Silver: 28.40, +0.40

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