Fresh Air

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  • Hosted by Terry Gross

Opening the window on contemporary arts and issues with guests from worlds as diverse as literature and economics. 

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TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

There's a new entry in the ongoing series of Rough Guide music anthologies called Latin Rare Groove Volume 2. The mostly instrumental cuts draw on salsa, funk, soul and rock from vintage and new performers. Fresh Air music critic Milo Miles surveys the terrain and wonders what exactly to call this combination.

The creator of the 1999 BBC series Queer As Folk has made three new TV series about gay men and women — and two of them are coming to the U.S. later this month. They have the conspicuous names of Cucumber, Banana and Tofu. Russell T. Davies says the titles came from a study he read from a scientific institute in Switzerland that investigated men's sexuality.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross. We're used to lots of political ads on TV in election season, but more and more these days, we're also seeing ads for judicial candidates.

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In 1970, Warner Bros. Records had an unusual philosophy: they'd sign artists and, instead of wanting a hit single immediately, they'd develop them over several albums. This way, James Taylor, Joni Mitchell, Little Feat, and Randy Newman got big career boosts. They also took a chance on Captain Beefheart, and although neither a hit single nor a hit album resulted, some very interesting music did. Fresh Air rock historian Ed Ward has the story.

Clive James' most anthologized poem is commonly known by its first two lines: "The Book of My Enemy Has Been Remaindered/And I Am Pleased." Those lines tell the uninitiated almost all they need to know about the pleasures to be found in reading James: chief among them, his wit and his appreciation of the underlying absurdity of so much literary effort — including his own.

Since 2006, Laurie Pepper, the widow of jazz saxophonist Art Pepper, has been releasing live recordings her husband made during the last years of his life. A new batch of these recordings from 1981 is out. Fresh Air jazz critic Kevin Whitehead says that Art Pepper played like he was making up for lost time.

The words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance and the phrase "In God we trust" on the back of a dollar bill haven't been there as long as most Americans might think. Those references were inserted in the 1950s during the Eisenhower administration, the same decade that the National Prayer Breakfast was launched, according to writer Kevin Kruse. His new book is One Nation Under God.

In the original Pledge of Allegiance, Francis Bellamy made no mention of God, Kruse says. Bellamy was Christian socialist, a Baptist who believed in the separation of church and state.

Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors, and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:

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