Historical Voice Stilled Forever

I see with extreme regret that historian Paul Johnson has died.  Shit.

There is a very good case that Johnson’s History Of The American People should be required source material for high school U.S. History classes.

And his History Of The Jews and History Of Christianity (along with Jacques Barzun’s From Dawn To Decadence) should be part of World History classes in both high school and university curricula.

Oh, for heaven’s sake:  if you read all of Paul Johnson’s history books and absorb just a third of the material, you’ll still be one of the most educated people on the planet.

He will most definitely be missed.

Studying Genius

I’ve studied music, sung it, played it and pretty much been into it ever since I could walk.

But I never got close to figuring out where Jeff Beck was going, ever.  I could only listen, marvel and appreciate the man’s endless artistry and talent.  And now he’s gone, leaving only his body of work for us to enjoy.

Probably my favorite Beck was his guitar on buddy Rod Stewart’s People Get Ready.  Haunting, melodic, beautiful and perfectly suited to the emotion of the gospel hymn, Beck’s soaring riffs turned it from lovely to sublime.

Yeah, sublime — that’s the word I was looking for.  Once again, the music world has lost just one more thing of beauty, and the world is a little less lovely.

Damn it, I can’t even write a proper obituary about the man and his music.

R.I.P.  Jeff.