Episode 187: Miguel, Rachel Dratch, and Seduction Instruction

Miguel/Courtesy RCA Records

This week: R&B sensation (and multiple Grammy-nominee) Miguel spells “wah!”… SNL alum Rachel Dratch lists her favorite lovahhs… “Thomas Jefferson” makes his second inaugural etiquette address… Blues legend Charlie Musselwhite tells a high-flying tale about Muddy Waters… Author Betsy Prioleau defends ladies’ men… Brendan learns not to confuse ‘soulful’ with ‘healthful’… And Aussie psych-band Pond rocks a Giant Tortoise. Plus: a bomb of a cocktail from the Georgia coast, fun with trigonometry, and a library of misfit books.

Icebreaker: Charlie Musselwhite

Harmonica great Charlie Musselwhite does some medieval math. (Charlie’s new collaboration with Ben Harper, Get Up!, is out now.)

Small Talk: Sadie Stein

Sadie Stein, Deputy Editor of lit mag The Paris Review, tells us where we can rescue – and read – ‘unwanted’ books.

A History Lesson with Booze: Domestic Nukes and the “Tybee Bomb”

This week in 1958, the U.S. military lost an H-bomb. And it’s still lost… possibly somewhere off the coast of Tybee Island, Georgia. Hear how it happened, then calm your nerves with a custom drink that gives new meaning to the term “cherry bomb.”

“The Tybee Bomb,” courtesy of Sabina Cushing, mixologist at the Olde Pink House in Savannah GA, right up the river from Tybee Island:

In the vein of the classic southern drink the “Ramos Fizz”:

  • 2 oz. Aviation gin
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 oz. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz. maraschino liqueur
  • splash of grenadine
  • 1maraschino cherry, steeped in moonshine for 2 days

Shake everything (except the cherry) very hard, over ice. Strain into a martini glass (no ice). Drop the deadly maraschino into the drink’s silty depths. Drink ‘til you’re glowing.

Guest List: Rachel Dratch

Comic actress Rachel Dratch performed on “Saturday Night Life” from 1999-2006, originating beloved, oddball characters like teen dweeb Sheldon and ‘Debbie Downer.’ She recently published “Girl Walks into a Bar,” a memoir about her life after leaving 30 Rockefeller Center. Just in time for Valentine’s Day, she shares a list of her favorite lovaaahs:

  • Annie Hall (Diane Keaton) and Alvy Singer (Woody Allen), in “Annie Hall
  • Michael Dorsey/Dorothy Michaels (Dustin Hoffman) and Julie (Jessica Lange) in “Tootsie
  • Charles Ingalls (Michael Landon) and Caroline Ingalls (Karen Grassell) , of TV’s “Little House on the Prairie

Guest of Honor: Miguel

R&B star Miguel first made waves with the sleeper 2010 hit All I Want is You, as a songwriter for the likes of Usher and Asher Roth, and with his blend of soul, funk, hip-hop, electronica and rock. (His sultry stage presence doesn’t hurt, either.) This year, his acclaimed album Kaleidoscope Dream earned him five Grammy nominations, including “Best Urban Contemporary Album,” “Best R&B performance,” and “Song of the Year,” for the track “Adorn.” He talks to Brendan about the sound of pure passion… and what keeps him up at night.

Miguel performs with Wiz Kalifa at the Grammys this Sunday night, and then in March on tour.

Eavesdropping: Charlie Musselwhite

Blues Hall-of-Famer Charlie Musselwhite plays a mean harmonica… and some say he inspired Dan Ackroyd’s character in “The Blues Brothers.” He’s performed with everyone from John Lee Hooker to Bonnie Raitt – and traded stories with them, too. Today we overhear one of those tales. (Charlie’s new album – a collaboration with Ben Harper – is called Get Up! They’ll be touring the country in March.)

Chattering Class: In Praise of Seducers

With apologies to Tim Meadows and Casanova, it’s tough to cast ‘ladies men’ in a positive light. Which, according to author Betsy Prioleau, is our loss. In her new book “SWOON: Great Seducers and Why Women Love Them,” she debunks some of the stereotypes of lotharios and explains how they connect so well with women. Turns out, genuinely liking women helps.

Etiquette: Thomas Jefferson

Making President’s Day plans? Thomas Jefferson would not be amused, says Clay Jenkinson. (A holiday for U.S. leaders is far too kingly for his taste.) Jenkinson is a humanities scholar and host of the weekly radio show “The Thomas Jefferson Hour,” during which he pretty much becomes Thomas Jefferson. Today – for his second address on our show – he muses on Lincoln love, life before pizza, and good-natured shaming.

Main Course: Soul Food Junkies

The new documentary “Soul Food Junkies” takes a fresh look at soul food – both the pros and the cons. Director Byron Hurt is no stranger to the subject: he grew up loving rich Southern cuisine, but then watched his father struggle with serious health issues. Brendan catches up with Byron at Vonda’s in Newark, New Jersey, one of restaurants featured in his film, and learns how soul food fits into a health-conscious lifestyle. (The film premiered on PBS and is now available on iTunes. Keep an eye out for it at festivals and screenings around the country.)

One for the Road: Pond – “Giant Tortoise”

Pop outfit Pond hail from Perth, Australia; they’re an offshoot of Aussie favorites Tame Impala. This week they unveiled the first single from Hobo Rocket (due in May). It’s a sunny slice of psychedelia called “Giant Tortoise”…and the perfect way to turn your world upside-down.

Other Music in this week’s show:

The Sea & Cake – “The Argument”

Aphex Twin – “Boy/Girl Song”

Tipsy – “Liquordelic”

Working For a Nuclear Free City – “Forever”

Stereolab – “Op Hop Detonation”

Tommy Dorsey – “Sleepy Lagoon”

Stephen Bishop – “It Might Be You”

David Rose – “Little House on the Prairie” Theme

Carrie Rodriguez – “I Cry for Love”

Miguel – “Adorn ”

Miguel – “Kaleidoscope Dream”

Jurgen Kneiper – “Urstromtal (The Glacial Valley)”

Big Joe Williams – “Please Don’t Go”

Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite – “All that Matters”

Muddy Waters – “Got My Mojo Working”

Prince – “Superfunkycalifragisexxy”

Tuff Crew – “Soul Food”

James Sanderson – “Hail to the Chief”

Pond – “Giant Tortoise”