Steve Cotler

Steve Cotler

Category Archives: Music

Admitting Writers and Artists to Harvard

The following essay is taken without alteration from Harvard Magazine’s current issue. I reprint it without comment because its clarity and persuasiveness require none. Read and reflect. *     *     *     *     * Porter University Professor Helen Vendler, a  preeminent poetry critic, has served on Harvard College’s undergraduate admissions committee. Given contemporary admissions processes and pressures, […]

Two Lives in a Small Town

The following, in Shonnie Brown’s “Neighbors” column, appeared in The Healdsburg Tribune, our local weekly, on February 9, 2012. [Most of the images were not in the original.] *     *     *     *     * Ann, born and raised in Casper, Wyoming, has the dubious distinction of attending high school with both Dick and Lynne Cheney and […]

Little Songs on Big Subjects–Download

I have posted about this long out-of-print album here, here, here, and here. Finally, a commenter has noted that the entire album is available for downloading online. Enjoy.

Little Songs on Big Subjects–Sung by Bibb & Gilbert

Earlier this year I mentioned there were at least two cover records of the Jesters’ version of Little Songs on Big Subjects. In addition to a version by the Bachelors: There was also a Leon Bibb/Ronnie Gilbert album called It Could Be a Wonderful World that included many (or all…I have more research to do) […]

Little Songs on Big Subjects–Cover Records

Under US Copyright Law, once a tune is recorded and released, others may record and release their own versions without explicit permission from the writers or the publisher. The process is simple: pay for a compulsory license. The rate is preset by statute. I recently learned that in addition to the Jesters’ very successful 1948 […]

Blue Moon Bloops

According to almost every online source that commented on it, the round disk in the sky on the last day of 2009 was a “blue moon,” a term commonly used for the second full moon in any calendar month. Commonly—and erroneously. The internet offers near-instant access to information. It is ironic that in some cases […]

Little Songs on Big Subjects: “Ol’ Commodore Gray”

In a previous post, I spoke about “Little Songs on Big Subjects,” tunes of tolerance written by Hy Zaret & Lou Singer and performed by The Jesters. The album, recalled with great nostalgia by many, was recorded in the late-40s. It is long out of print and almost completely unavailable. The album was widely played […]

Buffy Sainte-Marie

Earlier this year Buffy Sainte-Marie released her 18th album, Running for the Drum. Her first album, It’s My Way, for which she was awarded Billboard‘s Best New Artist in 1964, included Universal Soldier, which has become an anthem for peace. Her song, Until It’s Time for You to Go, was a huge popular success and […]

Little Songs on Big Subjects

When we were very little, my brother and I had a record entitled Little Songs on Big Subjects. Sung by The Jesters, one of the first groups to record commercial jingles, the tunes, written by Hy Zaret and Lou Singer, emphasized tolerance. Zaret, who died in 2007 just a month shy of 100, told me […]

Draw Your Brakes–A Jamaican Creole Shout

Some art, like the 1969 Hopper/Fonda film, Easy Rider, flashes boldly in its moment and ages to insignificance or embarrassment. Some, like the soundtrack of the 1972 reggae film, The Harder They Come, is timeless. I owned the soundtrack early and played the cassette until it was lost. Almost 35 years later, I bought the […]