DAVID KATZNELSON’S BEST OF 2007…
1. Folk Yeah Festivals in BIG SUR at Ferndale: The best environment for Arthurtastic musical warmth and great bands to fill it (Howlin Rain, Vetiver, Whalebones, Tarnation…).
2. Bruce Springsteen’s Magic: Yeah, I didn’t believe it either…and when Ethan Miller threw the disc at me, I stared it in the eyes for days before slipping it in the car stereo. But to play it is to hear the vibrancy and almost garage feel of the Boss engaging with his classic fifties roots with all the pop melodies that made his pre-Born in the USA albums classics.
3. The Shooting Gallery/White Walls: This radical art gallery is a high point of San Francisco culture bringing new artists to the public in ways that attract both the young and the old, the hipsters and the people I relate to…throwing the best jam-packed art openings on the block to give witness to some of the forward thinkers of this generation of artists (like: Mike Davis, Travis Louie, Eric Joyner, Ausgang, Andrew Schoultz, Jeremy Fish).
4. Aquarius Records: Still THE BEST PLACE for old-fashioned Mom And Pop-type store advice about the most crazed-out music of life. And their Internet lists are bi-monthly highlights as well, offering music with each review and a host of Black Metal cassettes to choose from.
5. Archive.org: The greatest place for LEGAL AND FREE downloadable movies. Sure they are pre-iphone and often pre-b movie fodder, but where else can you see NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, 39 STEPS, DOA, M, WHITE ZOMBIE, RASHOMAN alongside unknown gems like Maciste In Hell (1926), Heading For Heaven (with a pre Beverly Hillbillies Granny Irene Ryan), and Harold Diddleback (the final Preston Sturges picture)??
6. The Turner Family August BBQ (Senatobia, MS): Best one yet since patriarch Otha Turner’s passing. Featuring: R L Boyce, Lightnin’ Malcolm, R L Burnside Jr, Cedric Burnside, and the Rising Star Fife And Drum Band.
7. Os Mutantes at the Stern Grove Festival: thousands of people—ALL AGES–digging the craziest Brasília psych for the first time…for free…with guitars that blazed tones that Kicked Out The Jams in serious mid-’70s Detroit fashion.
8. “Life Is A Problem…BUT WHERE THERE IS LIFE THERE IS HOPE”…just ask this vinyl-only garage-gospel stunner on Mississippi Records.
9. La Tapatia: All other burritos are put to shame by this establishment in South San Francisco. I know those are fighting words for Mission-goers and Southern California Mexican Foodologists…but Tapatia puts EVERYONE to shame.
10. Jack Hirschman: A social justice oriented people’s poet who took the given title of SF Poet Laureate to new heights, throwing a true international poetry festival that brought the medium not only to life, but to fiery awareness in the Bay Area (imported poets included: Cletus Nelson-Nwadike, Agneta Falk, Alberto Masala, Maram Al-Masri and Aharon Shabtai).
11. Brute Force with Daughter Of Force at SXSW: Thanks to legendary record collector Geoffrey Weiss, I witnessed the craziest duo in pop history—the father being an ex-Token and big-time 60s songwriter– singing songs like TO SIT ON A SANDWICH and the John Lennon approved KING OF FUH with his daughter.
12. All the great meat consumed: Davis Grocery, House Of Prime Rib, Harris’, Jon Blaufarb’s Ribs, Dal Rae, Peter Luger’s, Acme Chophouse, Mom’s brisket, Meatshos, Como Steak House, Interstate BBQ, Sammy’s Romanian……..
13. Rock of the elder statesmen: Spiritualized at Bimbos, Flaming Lips in Tulsa, The Pogues at the Fillmore, Leon Russell in Tulsa (Tulsa rocks), John Fogerty at Glastonbury, Lester Chambers in Golden Gate park, Jimmy McCracklin in Golden Gate Park, Mavis Staples with the North Mississippi All-Stars in Santa Cruz, Crime at Lou Lou’s 16th birthday party. Blistering.
14. The Jim Ford lyric from his righteous 2007 reissue of Harlan County: “I’m Going To Make Her Love Me Til The Cows Come Home”…..
15. Last but most important: the continued resurgence of the ultimate medium of music recordings: VINYL!!!!!!
David Katznelson has a deserved reputation as one of the enduring Good Guys of the record industry, and always has his fingers in a lot of tasty pies. These days he’s running his label Birdman Records, working on the Reboot Stereophonic series, thinking hard for money, and officially appreciating San Francisco with the SFAS amongst other things. Good to know ya, Dave, and keep up the good, grand work!