Monday, September 30, 2013

Breaking Bad's Final Song Available at the Library

"Baby Blue" by Badfinger was the final song in the series finale of Breaking Bad. Hear it on Badfinger's 1972 album Straight Up (CD 6335).

We also have a live version recorded in 1974 on Day After Day (CD 10881) and a guitar score in The 1970s Guitar Big Book (MP125.A17 B5). As you can research in the Academic Charts Online database, the single peaked at No. 14 in the U.S. Billboard chart on April 28, 1972.

No spoilers here on how the show concluded, but lots of people are talking about that song.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Banned Books Week: Considering and Reconsidering Invisible Man

September 22-28 is Banned Books Week, a time to reflect on and celebrate the freedom to read and examine attempts to limit that freedom. It was fitting that on Wednesday, September 25, the Randolph County (North Carolina) Board of Education rescinded the ban on Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man that they had established on September 16.

The ban was in response to a parental complaint about the book. The Times-News reported that school board member Gary Mason argued that the book had no literary value in voting in favor of the ban. He is only board member who voted to uphold the ban upon reconsideration.

How do you evaluate literary value? Mason made his judgment based on his reading the book, and the news coverage doesn't state if he consulted any external sources.

Here are some of our resources if you want to determine a book's literary value, in this case Invisible Man. Start with the book itself (PS3555.L625 I5 1994). Even the catalog record tells us something; it is part of the series "The Modern library of the world's best books."

We also have two ebooks that discusses it, History and Memory in the Two Souths: Recent Southern and Spanish American Fiction by Deborah N. Cohn (electronic resource) and Prophets of Recognition: Ideology and the Individual in Novels by Ralph Ellison, Toni Morrison, Saul Bellow, and Eudora Welty by Julia Eichelberger (electronic resource) and a book about author Ralph Ellison, Shadowing Ralph Ellison by John S. Wright (PS3555.L625 Z96 2006).

But an easy way to research literature is using Literature Resource Center, available through our list of databases. Searching it by the name of work and author (to distinguish it from the similarly titled novel by H.G. Wells) brings up a raft of criticism of the work as well as biographies of the author, reviews, and other related resources.

Clearly, many people other than Gary Mason have found literary value in the book.

Gary Mason made a decision that affects others' right to read, and he made it out of ignorance. Take advantage of library resources to make informed decisions, and appreciate that you have the right to do so.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Best Live Albums

Cheap Trick At Budokan (CD 6484) marks its 35th anniversary this year. Sound Opinions devoted a recent episode to the album, interviewing the members about it. While many rock bands in the 1970s released live albums as a culmination of their success, At Budokan established Cheap Trick's success. Their previous albums had sold modestly in the U.S. but had done well in Japan, and this live recording finally introduced them to a huge audience in their native country, eventually selling three million copies. At Budokan succeeded aesthetically as well as commercially; Rolling Stone named it one of the 500 greatest albums of all time (ML156.4.R6 A16 2005).

The album's anniversary prompted a discussion among the library staff of the best (or a least their favorite) live albums, and everyone with an opinion knew they couldn't list them all. But here's a starting point in no particular order.
  • The Who Live at Leeds (CD 1727)
  • Charley Parker Jazz at Massey Hall (CD 3185)
  • Charles Mingus Mingus in Wonderland (CD 10504)
  • Miles Davis The Complete Concert: 1964: My Funny Valentine and "Four" & More Recorded Live in Concert (CD 3518-3519)
  • Johnny Cash At Folsom Prison and San Quentin (CD 10659)
  • James Brown The Apollo Theater Presents, in Person, the James Brown Show a.k.a. Live at the Apollo (CD 3605)
  • Daft Punk Alive 2007 (on order)
  • Woodstock (Annex CD (Box 36))
  • Nirvana MTV Unplugged in New York (CD 1504)
  • Queen Live at Wembley's 86 (CD 9349-9350)
  • Keith Jarrett La Scala (CD 11098)
  • Jaco Pastorius Live in New York (various volumes)
  • Chet Atkins, Jerry Reed & Suzy Bogguss Live in Nashville (on order)
  • Metallica Live Sh*t: Binge & Purge (CD 13043-13045)
  • Black Sabbath Live at Last (on order)
  • Weather Report Live in Tokyo (CD 19269-19270)
  • Bob Marley Babylon by Bus (CD 11495)
  • Cream Wheels of Fire (CD 9916-9917 Disc 2)
  • Any CD entitled at Fillmore
What do you think the best live albums are? Post your suggestions.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Archives Update: New Finding Aids

Two additional archival collections have been physically processed and have new finding aids available online:

The Jerome Gross and Bert Henry papers on the Schillinger System (BCA-006) consist of correspondence, coursework, and other materials produced and collected by Bert Henry and Dr. Jerome Gross. Both individuals were students and proponents of the Schillinger System of Musical Composition, a method invented by Russian composer and theorist Joseph Schillinger. These papers are available for research use on site by appointment. To schedule a visit, email or call 617-747-8001.

The Lawrence Berk papers on the Schillinger System (BCA-007) contain the foundation of Berklee's early curriculum. This collection is comprised of notes, formulas and other figures compiled and created by founding president Lawrence Berk during his private study with Joseph Schillinger. Following this exposure to the Schillinger System of Musical Composition, Berk founded his own school based on this method: Schillinger House, now known as Berklee College of Music. These papers have been digitized and are freely available online as part of the Archives' virtual display.

While Berklee's Archives remains a work-in-progress, an ever-increasing list of finding aids for all fully processed collections is available here. Physical materials do not circulate, but we are happy to accommodate visitors via appointment. To schedule a visit or request further information on any aspect of the Archives or a specific collection, please contact college archivist SofĂ­a Becerra (phone: 617-747-8001 | email:

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Sing Along Like a Pirate

September 19 is Talk Like a Pirate Day. We highlighted our pirate-appropriate materials last year, but we've added two more CDs since then:

  • Rogue's Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs, & Chanteys (CD 35233-35234)
  • Son of Rogues Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs, & Chanteys (CD 34995-34996)
Both the original and the follow-up were executive produced by Johnny Depp and Gore Verbinski, who know something about bringing pirates to life. The albums are full of tradition songs recorded by colorful artists like Shane McGowan, Richard Thompson, Bono, Nick Cave and Dr. John.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Revisiting the Replacements

This past weekend, the Replacements played Riot Fest in Chicago, the city that hosted what had been their 1991 final performance before their reunion this year. Their sets at Riot Fest in Toronto, Denver and Chicago have been a triumphant return for a band that fame eluded in their heyday. Despite Paul Westerberg's sharp songwriting, the band was always hamstrung by their brilliant but erratic live shows. They could be on fire, or they could be drunk and useless. While Nirvana capitalized on their aesthetic, the Minneapolis quartet, nicknamed the 'Mats, may have been ahead of their time but also had themselves to blame for not finding greater success. The best example of their deliberately avoiding hitting the big time is their video for Bastards of Young, a single shot of stereo speaker playing the song in a  living room.

Want to know why the 'Mats matter? Of course the library can help.

Start with their CDs, particularly Let It Be (CD 11559), their creative peak. Dive further with the book Let It Be (ML421.R47 M45 2004) by Colin Meloy of the Decemberists, part of the 33 1/3 book series that offers in-depth analysis of a single classic album.

To understand the phenomenon, watch Color Me Obsessed: A Film about the Replacements (DVD 5597-5598). The documentary is notable because it relies only on the band's fans to describe them and contains no actual recordings of the group. Jim Walsh's The Replacements: All Over But the Shouting: An Oral History (ML421 .R47 W35 2007) incorporates a wider range of voices to tell their story.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Research Help on Saturdays This Fall

The library has reference librarians available during regular business hours and several evenings a week. This fall, we will also provide reference services on Saturdays from Jon Amey, our reference intern. Jon is in his final semester of his master's of library science at Simmons College here in Boston.

What is reference? It's library service to help you with your research. Our student workers at the main service desk can help you with the basics, things like getting reserve materials or finding a score for a particular song. But reference librarians can help you with the more more complex or vague stuff, especially when you need help finding something about a topic rather than knowing exactly what you're looking for. We can also save you time because we're trained in sources and techniques to pinpoint relevant information; it's the difference between finding everything and finding the right thing.

Stop by the reference desk in the reading room for help or just to say hi.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Creating Alerts to Follow to Your Favorite Topics

Victor Willis of the Village People has just successful exercised his termination rights on 33 on the songs he wrote for the group, as reported by Billboard. This makes him the first artist to reclaim copyright ownership of his recordings under a provision of copyright law that took effect January 1 of this year. Artists such as Bob Dylan and Tom Petty are pursuing doing the same.

Termination rights, which allows composers to reclaim the rights from the record companies to their recordings after 35 years shows the potential to have major effects on the recording industry, particularly for legacy stars whose recordings have continued to sell over the years. Following this issue is a great example of why you would want to set up an alert in one of our databases.

Let's start with the basics of alert services. If you do a search in a database, it will retrieve matching items, usually articles from magazines, newspapers or other periodicals, that already exist in that database. By creating an alert, you'll be notified when anything new is added to the database that matches your search.

The basic steps from within a database:
  • Sign in, or create an account if you don't have one yet.
  • Do a search.
  • Set up an alert.
Not every database offers this feature, and procedures vary from one database to another, although they are usually consistent within the databases from a single vendor such as EBSCO or Gale.

Here is an example for termination rights in Business Source Premier, a database with articles on business topics.

Once are in the database, sign in to your account. Click sign in to create a new account if you don't have one yet:

Perform a search using any criteria your like. For this example, it's a basic search for "termination rights." You can use the features in the database to further refine your results if you want. If the results look on target for your interests and you want to see what is added in the future that meets those criteria, click "Share" near the top left:

One option in the pop-up window is Create an alert. Following the directions, you can create an email alert or an RSS feed so that you will find out when new content is added matching your criteria.

Using alerts, you can keep up-to-date on any topic you're interested in.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Happy Birthday, Otis Redding

September 9 marks not only the first day of classes at Berklee but also what would have been Otis Redding's 72nd birthday. The soul giant's importance is a great example to show off the library's many resources.

Start by searching our catalog. A keyword search brings up 220 items, but using various limits, you can quickly find:

In our streaming audio resources, you'll find his music in both the Music Online and Naxos Jazz Library streaming services.

In our e-Resources, you'll find lots of articles about him, including encyclopedia articles in Oxford/Grove Music Online and African American Experience and magazine and journal articles in databases such as the International Index to Music Periodicals and Rock's Backpages.

The library has lots of ways to show him the "Respect" he deserves.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Welcome (Back) to Berklee

Whether you are a new or returning student, welcome to Berklee on behalf of the library. We have lots of upcoming events to help you make the most of the library.

Some events such as Thursday's Scavenger Hunt and Welcome to the Jungle: Intro to the Stan Getz library, with open sessions on Wednesday and Thursday, are meant primarily for incoming students, but other sessions, such as Welcome to the Catalog and the upcoming Research on the Go provide helpful training to all students, faculty and staff.

An 8th semester student said, "I wish I had known this sooner," after attending one of our recent workshops. So don't wait!

See the calendar on our website for more details about these and all our upcoming events.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to keep updated about everything going on at the library.