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Internet Radio: Readers have asked me where they might find new music as well as political music. My reply to one was rather simple: Just start searching. One place to begin is on the Internet. And the best place I know there is Live 365 (www.live365.com), a site that features literally thousands of broadcasts of music, talk, news and more from around the world. I got turned on to the site by my friend Howard Thompson, an Englishman who lives in the New York City area who retired from his career as a record company A&R (artists and repertoire) executive but still retains his passion for music. He indulges it with his own Internet radio station on Live 365 that he calls Cake. (Shameless plug for a pal: Listen in at www.live365.com/stations/thespangler. If you love rock’n’roll anywhere as much as I do, Thompson is a man of impeccable taste whose selections should delight.) But he’s just one of a slew of citizen broadcasters on the site, where a search using the term “political” brought up 242 stations that include such content as part of their programming. Just one of the many is Liquid Blue Radio (www.live365.com/stations/liquidblueradio), which describes its programming as “Socially conscious music to inspire higher love and higher thinking. Truth to power! Spreading world peace through music. A mix of rock, acoustic, folk, R&B, progressive, adult, pop, and reggae. Dylan, Sting, Marley, Lennon, Young, Ochs, Bragg, etc.” You can listen to many of the stations free (with ads) or get access to all their stations with no ads with CD quality sound by becoming a VIP subscriber for a price of $6 to $8 a month. Live 365 also just went mobile and can be listened to on cell phones and PDAs with Windows Mobile 5 or 6. It’s a site that lives up to the potential of the Internet by democratizing radio and giving us access to as much music as you can ever wish to hear.

DVD: I wrote a while back about the English TV series MI-5, which at the time was being shown on US cable TV on A&E in edited form, and was then abandoned just as the fourth season began. It finally landed on BBC America, which has to date only shown the first two seasons. Shame, as this show — titled Spooks in the UK — may be the finest post-9/11 series on television, a conclusion that was only reinforced for me by watching its first four seasons in full on DVD. Yeah, the crew of spies in Great Britain’s domestic spy service are mostly all young and sexy, and the tone of the show has some modern flash to it. But it’s also a show that’s not afraid to kill off its main characters, and it doesn’t pull punches when it comes to such issues the political machinations that involve intelligence services, torture as an interrogation tool, government sanctioned assassinations and other controversial issues. And I wish our US spies had a head spook like MI-5’s Sir Harry Pearce, head of the counter-terrorism unit, who refuses to let his basic principles of democracy, freedom and morality be compromised for political expediency or the “war” on terrorism. The fifth season was recently released on DVD here in the US, and it’s all well-worth seeking out and watching.

CD: Tom Paxton is one of the few central artists of the folk revival still at it, and he’s rarely been heard in such a fine musical setting as on his latest CD, Comedians & Angels, a collection of love songs on which he is backed by some of Nashville’s best country-folk players with delicious musicality. The charming 16-song set is capped by the ending title song, on which a wistful Paxton looks back at his Greenwich Village folkie days and friends with touching emotionality. A lovely set for old folk fans (and new) to enjoy and cherish.

From The Progressive Populist, March 15, 2008

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