Monday, May 25, 2020

50 Years of Music • April - May, 1970

50 Years of Music Series • 1970
January - March | April - May

Howard McIntosh Sr. (top row 3rd from right) - Santa Maria High School Varsity Baseball Team 1924 or 1925
April and May of 1970 reminds me of freshmen high school baseball. I wasn't the greatest player but was fast enough to often beat out an infield hit. On the defensive side I played first base. I loved playing first base simply for the reason that the ball usually came to my glove from a variety of infield hits, almost every inning. As a freshmen, I followed the crowd and played football and baseball. In hindsight, I wish I had focused on cross-country, track, and tennis.

But, that's not why I started this blog. The picture above, hangs in my bedroom/bathroom area and I look at this picture almost everyday. If you look at my grandfather's teammates, they are wearing the uniform of the day which was probably made of wool. Now my outstanding memory at 15 of playing baseball for the Santa Maria Saints was not any special play I made, it was the very old hand-me-down uniforms they gave us to wear. I swear to God, they gave us these wool baseball uniforms that could have been just a few years removed from my grandfather's playing days. My long-term memory on this one is specifically tactile, it was the constant goddamned itching of my uniform on warm spring days! 

Now my outstanding musical memory of 9th grade was Let It Be

In 1964, I saw The Beatles first appearance on  the Ed Sullivan Show on a Sunday night after church. We were in our living room with our good friends, the Reyburn family. So my brother Steve, sister Stephanie, and the three Reyburn children (Steve, Cheryl, and Brenda) and I are were all huddled around the TV with our parents sitting behind us. As the Beatles are performing, my dad (Buddy) and Mr. (Lee) Reyburn are making fun of The Beatles and we are telling them to, "SHUSH!"

Now fast forward to the summer of 1970, and I'm on a backpacking trip in the Sierra's with Lee and son Steve, my dad, and my brother Steve, all jammed in our family Vista Cruiser station wagon. We had a fantastic week hiking and fishing, and make it back to our parked car near the old China Peak Resort. We all pile into the car exhausted, and my dad drives home. At some point on the trip back home, my dad turns on the radio and after a while the song Let It Be comes on. We all sit silently and listen to the entire song. Lee Reyburn turns around from his front seat to us kids in the back, looks at me directly and says, "That is a beautiful song and I give The Beatles a lot of credit for writing such a song." Lee Reyburn was a real nice man and I liked him very much, and on that day, I connected with him for the rest of my life. Rest in peace, Buddy and Lee.

Now the playlist this week is chock-full of wonderful albums experienced at the time, and more discovered and appreciated later.

On this Memorial Day, there are several songs in the playlist that cover aspects of soldiers and the Vietnam war. As a 15 year old, I experienced the Vietnam War through the CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite. In the summer of 1970, CBS aired a documentary in prime time called, The World of Charlie Company. I was glued to the TV watching an embedded film crew follow the 100+ soldiers of C (Charlie) Company, 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division in 1970 during the Vietnam War.

The unit routinely patrols the harsh, heat-filled Vietnamese jungles in War zone C near the Cambodian border west of Saigon looking for enemy contact and supplies. The soldiers are worn down on every patrol by the exhausting conditions of heat, dense foliage and biting insects. The troops express diverse opinions about fighting the war. One soldier who opposes the war says he hasn't fired his weapon, a mortar, since arriving in South Vietnam. Others talk about killing the enemy as routine. "Killing gooks don't mean nothing," says one. The medic, a pacifist, says, "Killing for peace just don't make sense." The troops talk about their lives back in the United States that they commonly refer to as "back in the world."
Wikipedia

This documentary rocked my little world! I realized I was just three to four years younger than many of the boys fighting in the jungle for their lives everyday. God bless those boys! (I have included 3 video clips of Charlie Company at the end of my playlist. The first clip, was filmed on the morning of my 15th birthday.)

Okay, I'll finish this one on a happy note. I started dating my girl friend, Mary Kit in the spring of 1973. After coming back from a first date movie, the original Bloom in Love, we sat together on a red ottoman in her family room and listened to the 1970 Mona Bone Jakon album by Cat Stevens. Our first, 'our song' was Lady D'Arbanville. The red ottoman now resides in our living room.

Enjoy this playlist, and stay well my friends!



References

Note 1 - On the McCartney album, since I did a blog on the subject a few weeks back, I decided to just add the songs I didn't feature in A 'What if' Album: Apple Scruffs • The Beatles.

Note 2 - On May 11, 1970 the triple album, Woodstock: Music from the Original Soundtrack and More was released. I chose not to feature it here, as I've written about Woodstock previously and usually don't feature live or compilation albums. However, in this playlist I do sneak in several songs from The Who's Live at Leeds.

Monday, May 18, 2020

#NewMusicMonday • April-May • 2020

#NewMusicMonday Series • 2020
January-March | April-May

In March, I started a new and reoccurring blog series that I call #NewMusicMonday. I plan to highlight new music releases hopefully during a current one, two, or thee month stretch throughout the year. This installment is for April-May, but it's really impossible for me to find and capture on a playlist every song released at a particular month. 

So this month, you will see some of my new favs I found dating back to January that I missed in my January-March installment. I may also throw in an old song that's been recently recorded. For example, I have several #StayAtHome videos of Jimmy Fallon and James Taylor songs that I think you will enjoy. I may also throw in a song or two I haven't heard before. Paul Hobbs sent me a 2019 Keb' Mo'/Taj Mahal song plus several new releases, and I added a 2019 video from Rosie Flores who played the San Diego club circuit in the 1970's with Rosie and the Screamers, and rekindled some fond memories. 

Purchase or Stream on Amazon
For this week's playlist I have 69 songs. For me, one album stands out above the rest, James Elkington's 
Ever-Roving Eye

An epiphany… a cryptic storyteller and dazzling acoustic guitarist. – Rolling Stone 

Elkington stands apart among the wave of 21st century guitar soloists. Beautiful, complex, and assured.
– Pitchfork

Stay well my friends, music always helps.



References

Monday, May 11, 2020

Outdoor Exercise In The Time Of Coronavirus: Who was that masked man?

Holy Bat-Distancing Catwoman
Four weeks ago,
Mary Kit and I started wearing masks. Oh no not that kind... maybe you thought the former Kindergarten and Pre-School teachers had finally lost it at our #StayatHome... maybe a little too much dramatic play?

No, I'm actually talking about the handmade cloth pandemic face masks people have been crafting at home. We started wearing them while at the grocery store and noticed that several young people avoided making eye contact in the aisles and several older people looked at us with a visible look of distain.

This past week everybody had an assortment of face masks on in the store.

My favorite is the, "Ma'am I'm not robbing a bank bandana, I'm just here for the Noosa yogurt."

Three weeks ago,
Mary Kit and I started wearing our masks on our morning walk together, and me on my run in our urban neighborhood. Only the older people were wearing masks, and no runners or bicyclists had a mask on.

On May 1st,
All San Diego County residents are now required to wear a cloth face mask while out in public. On our walk now we see about 1/2 of the public are following this new requirement. Again, older folks are leading by example, not to mention the fact that many in this age group may have a compromised immune system. We have also observed more women wearing masks at about a 2:1 ratio over men.

Most annoying, is my own running and biking brother and sisters continuing NOT to mask up!
I bruise you
You bruise me
We both bruise too easily
Too easily to let it show
I love you and that's all I know

The lyrics above are from the Jimmy Webb song, All I Know (video link), a big hit for Art Garfunkel in 1973. The song came on my phone music app while on a run last week. On that run, I made a parody of that song in my head while passing mostly people without masks.
I mask for you
will you mask for me
we all mask so individually
so individually please let it show
I run on with my sweaty glow

Kit's Crafts "Go Hawks"
You don't need a TV shrink or pundit telling you to get outdoors these days. Its simple common sense, we all need to get outdoors, breathe fresh air and exercise for our mental and physical well-being, all the while social distancing.

Wearing a mask is such a drag, and that's something 100% of us can probably agree on. Now if you are a runner or bicyclist, it's beyond a drag, it's a hyperventilation mini sweatbox!

My mask in 'ready position'
If you are walking outdoors, here is what most people are practicing while wearing their mask. You wear the mask down at your chin in 'ready position.' When someone approaches you from about 25 feet away, you get your mask up and keep it up for 25 feet past you, then pull it back down to your chin. We try to stay 10-25 ft. away from everyone while walking, and will go into the street if needed to avoid people completely. People do the same with us, and we appreciate that so much. 

Now more than ever, it is important to have our social skills, and say, "Good morning" and a wave is always good, especially to the adults and kids not wearing masks.

If you're out walking or running and encounter a runner or bicyclist, you need to mask up 25 yards before they pass you and keep it on 50 yards after they have passed you . If a runner or bicyclist passes you from behind, you need to get out of their direct 'vapor trail' path and stay 50 yards behind. 

I have no statistical data to back these distances up, it's just my common sense telling me to be cautious in a pandemic and insure the 'aerosol effect' has evaporatedPublic health experts like to refer to bigger particles that are heavy and thus fall fast as “droplets,” and tiny particles that evaporate faster than they can fall as “aerosols.” When a virus is transmissible as aerosols, they say it’s “airborne”(Vox). Also, the 25 yards before guideline seems to be a good visual cue for both parties to mask up (if they have one). This has just been my personal experience.

Also, mask up when coming to a blind corner on a street of bend on the trail. People sometimes just appear out of nowhere.

I've discovered that the coronavirus is no time to attempt your PR (personal record) time on your course. Sometimes, I have to go way around people and into the street bike lane, or wait for a mom and her two little kids on the narrowest part of the trail to pass (always happens there). Memo to self- "Relax."

I would like to note that wearing a cloth mask is a little bit like the guys I see wearing those high altitude simulation training masks, you know the ones that make them look like they're in the cast of Mad Max: Fury Road. Since I've started wearing my cloth mask, it's in mask up mode longer and longer every week, and I'm slowly getting a bit faster in my up hill split times. (Update 5/18- I now wear a mask on for my entire run.) I also recommend having Altoids® with you on your run. The peppermint will cool your mouth with the mask on and I swear it has a calming effect while running.

If you are wearing glasses or sunglasses and they fog up in combo with wearing a mask, try Fog Gone, I love it!

Wearing a cloth mask while running is a bit like finding the right pair of running shoes, you have to go through a couple different models before you find the one that works for you.

Now is the mask meant to protect you, or the stranger? 

The mask is actually for the stranger. By wearing a mask you are protecting a stranger from catching this crazy virus because you don't know if you have the virus. Most all of us assume we don't. We feel fine, fine enough to get some exercise, so you may ask, "why do I need to wearing a f*#%ing mask, nobody else is?"

So a 'lil shoutout here to the exercising mask wearers! You're simply doing the right thing in trying to protect yourself and the strangers around you! What did your parents tell you, "All you can do is try." 

But please, DO NOT pull a Larry David-like scene with the people around you not wearing a mask. People don't like to be told what to do, and your little scolding is only going to backfire and cause that person to go deeper in their resistance to ever wearing a mask- for a stranger.

As a regular runner for some forty-seven years now (Mary Kit editing this, says,"nobody cares"), I thought runner's were kind of a cool breed of human. We smile and wave at each other, give each other the transcendental "good mornin" "howdy," or even a thumbs up as we pass each other.

However in recent weeks, I'm just starting to get an unspoken vibe by all the exercising walkers and dog walkers around me that maybe are thinking these joggers are just a bunch of perspiring pariahs. Here's some observations.
  • When I'm running mask up and approaching a non-masked person, there is often an uneasy look in their eye or body language.  I'm not the harmless old fart on the trail anymore. So if I'm now some aerosol can of sweat, why in Gotham City don't you have a mask on to protect yourself... especially on a popular and often narrow trail for runners?
  • A new walking woman on my regular trail route has turned her back to me while I approach her. In our previous two encounters, she was the one without the mask, so who is protecting me in this situation? Since the May 1st mask requirement, she now has a mask on which is a safer situation, for me. She still turns her back away from me, well okay. (5/18 update - She's back to not wearing a mask, turning her back and pulling up her tank top to cover her mouth.)
  • On three occasions in the past couple of weeks I've encountered a young couple walking without masks on the trail. When I get close, the guy always pulls up his t-shirt to cover his face when I go by, to I guess protect himself from the old masked running man. Am I hideous? Quasimodo? This is actually hilarious. The young woman does nothing, but I'm praying for the day she pulls her top up too! 
  • Now I've also started seeing people carry their mask in their hand on their walk, never even attempting to put it on as other walkers or runners approach them... posers. (update 5/8-Now I see a lot of people with their mask in 'ready position' but never attempt to mask up in a mask up situation.) This reminds me of the old Seinfeld skit where Jerry has a car reservation at a car rental. ("You have a mask, you just don't know how to use the mask.") Play the clip below and you'll see my point.


Below is  Seth Meyers to continue, and hit my points right on the head.



Symbol Charades
So why the weird vibe about wearing face masks while on a walk or run? On our walk there's this particular old guy without a mask, who just glares at us when we walk by, no "good morning" here.

In the past several weeks, the masks themselves have seemed to morph into a larger political game.

It's no secret that leaders model the behavior they want others to follow. Again, your parents may have told you, "Talk is cheap, it's what you do that matters."

Now unless you're living under a rock, you've seen the President or Vice President on TV make numerous public appearances at hospitals, factories or large facilities that I personally think would require face masks all around.

Leading by example? @ The Mayo Clinic w/ COVID-19 patient
So why are Trump and Pence overtly modeling to every man, women and child in America that wearing a face mask at close quarters public events is not important, in fact if you do, you're kind of a pussy. (Maybe a correlation with my 2:1 woman to man mask ratio observation earlier?)

"The decision to wear a mask in public is becoming a political statement — a moment to pick sides in a brewing culture war over containing the coronavirus. While not yet as loaded as a “Make America Great Again” hat, the mask is increasingly a visual shorthand for a debate pitting those willing to follow health officials’ guidance and cover their faces against those who feel it violates their freedom or buys into a threat they think is overblown." (NBC)

I also think it's coupled with "The Donald's" narcissism and old world political machismo bullshit where both Trump and Pence need to be SEEN as 'tough leaders' - nothing to worry about little sheep, this soon shall pass.

As ESPN would say, "C'mon man."

It's time for these two to man up! Wear the damn mask in public social distancing situations so that millions of Americans will follow your lead, and save some lives.
Mask up motherf*#%ers.

So what if I wear this mask, will that work for everyone? 

Of all the stuff I've heard about masks in this pandemic, an elderly woman being interviewed on the news said it best, "Is wearing a mask around town more uncomfortable than being on a ventilator in an ICU at the hospital?"

My Born To Run - Runner's Playlist
I've presented this before in my Team Tortoise blogs, but I've updated it again this week and think it might spark that bounce in your steps. Stay well my friends!

and, Rest in Peace Little Richard.




References
"Who was that masked man?"
The allusion to the masked man refers to the question often asked at the end of an episode of The Lone Ranger, a radio and television program featuring a vigilante cowboy, popular from the 1930s to the 1950s. 
–Library of Congress




Face Mask Resources

Monday, May 4, 2020

A 'What If' Album: All In • CSNY 1970

By Doug McIntosh & Paul Hobbs
(two fans and a fanciful rewrite of 1970)

A 'What if' Album Series:
Apple Scruffs • The Beatles 1970 | All In • CSNY 1970

Photograph by Jim Cummins • Morrison Hotel Gallery


Background
David Crosby, Stephen Stills, Graham Nash and Neil Young came from successful bands. The Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, and The Hollies, collectively had more than a dozen hits in the middle sixties. But by 1968, Crosby is kicked out of the Byrds, Nash stifled and frustrated in the Hollies, and Stills, who’s band fell apart just as it seemed poised for greater things, were drifting, looking to be a part of something else.

Neil Young, Stills’ former bandmate in Buffalo Springfield, had left the band, came back, and left again, his final departure coming as they were preparing to play the Tonight Show, a major milestone in a young bands rise. Neil was not drifting. He embarked immediately on a solo career, releasing Neil Young in 1968, and Everybody Know This is Nowhere in 1969. He did not look back.

Crosby, Stills, and Nash had found each other in Laurel Canyon, joined forces and released their self-titled stunning debut album in May of 1969 to great acclaim.

It all seemed to make perfect sense...

Ahmet Ertegun
That was... until Ahmet Ertegun, the President of CSN's record company (Atlantic Records) made a bold suggestion to have Neil Young join the band and go out with them on their first tour together. After some wrangling among the three founding members, all agreed to have Neil join the band as a full member to become Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.

Fan Fantasy
If you are a loyal reader of Monday Monday Music, you know this subject has been well covered before in the May, 2019 blog-
Crosby, Stills & Nash - Celebrating 50 Years of Their Debut Album. In that blog, I (Doug) take the 'what if' position that Ertegun does not make the suggestion for Young to join the band and CSN is lead by Stills as that band continues to develop as a harmonious trio.

In my March 23rd blog this year, I wrote about the 50th anniversary of Déjà Vu • March, 1970. My co-author this week, Paul picks up on that read, and we start to bat around the notion, "What if Neil didn't bolt (again) after the 1970 Déjà Vu Tour." So this week, we are going down the rabbit hole together with the fan fantasy that Neil is either hit by lightning or better, sees a 1950's Pontiac Hearst on Sunset Blvd when he returns from that 1970 tour and has an epiphany- He's going to stay with Stills this time and be the greatest American band (even if he is from Canada, and Nash is from England).

Back to Reality for a Moment
Like CSN, CSNY wanted to be an even a bigger supergroup of individuals and declared that up front with their last-name-band-name brand. This was done by design as all band members intended to use CSN and now CSNY as a springboard for having solo careers basically following Neil's solo album playbook. By Neil agreeing to join CSN and CSN agreeing to sign this talented free agent, they were all literally banking on all-star name recognition for a lifetime, with Neil posed in perfect position to be a superstar.

CSNY's second gig together as the new band was not just any tour stop, it was the Woodstock Festival, August 18, 1969. In what would be the start of countless dysfunctional acts among the group, Neil refused to have himself filmed at Woodstock and threatened the cameramen if they took any pictures. Most fans didn't even realize Neil was at Woodstock until years later.

In March, 1970 CSNY released Déjà Vu and it tops the charts as the band intentions are fully actualized. (Déjà Vu, reached number one in several international charts in 1970, and remains their best selling album, going on to sell over 8 million copies with three hit singles. Wikipedia)

On May 4, 1970 unarmed college students are shot at by the Ohio National Guard at Kent State University in Kent, Ohio, during a mass protest against the bombing in neutral Cambodia by United States military forces. Twenty-eight National Guard soldiers fired approximately 67 rounds over a period of 13 seconds, killing four students and wounding nine others, one of whom suffered permanent paralysis. Wikipedia

David Crosby takes the May 15th, 1970 Life Magazine to Neil Young and encourages him to write the song Ohio, which he completes very quickly. The song is rehearsed by the band and recorded on May 21st in just a few takes. It is released in early June and climbs to #14 on the Billboard charts.

Today is the 50th Anniversary of the tragedy at Kent State. Let's just take a moment...

As young teenagers, Paul and I lived the Vietnam War and antiwar protests through our TV sets. The song Ohio brought the war and protests directly to our music listening as a single on our local AM radio station. CSNY opened a door to the the counterculture for many young people living in little towns like our's across America. Their music was powerful for a couple of young hippie wanna-be's as CSNY had more songs in the wings for our budding political awareness.

After releasing Ohio, and the 1970 summer tour, CSNY were on top of the world.

It all seemed to make perfect sense...

Then as quickly as it all came together, the band dissolves. So instead of a 4 Way Street coming together as a musical intersection, it's really four one-way streets all driving away from each other.

During 1970-1971, all four members made solo albums, and CSNY never attains the critical acclaim and chart performances from the original two classics Crosby, Stills & Nash, and Déjà Vu.

Neil Young                                 Stephen Stills                   David Crosby - If I Could           Graham Nash
After The Gold Rush                  Stephen Stills                    Only Remember My Name          Songs for Beginners
September 19, 1970                   November 16, 1970          February 22, 1971                       May 28th, 1971


and now for some... 

'What If' Pure Fan Fiction
It's July of 1970 and CSNY take the summer off from the second part of their 1969-1970 Tour. All four have agreed to meet in Los Angeles for mid-September rehearsals and recording for their third studio album scheduled for a December release date, and just in time for Christmas shoppers.

The young men, all previously intending to release solo albums in 1970 or 1970 have developed a killer instinct. They now know they have something special and this third CSN/CSNY album would put them in an elite class with the big three: The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and The Who. And hey, The Beatles have just broken up in spring 1970, and CSNY sees their band moving into that big three band slot.

During that first tour, the band mates talked about the Stones and how they somehow managed to stay together as a team being, "all in." That phrase has kind of stuck with the boys and on July 9th in a Bloomington Sports Center dressing room (after their last first tour performance), agree to title the upcoming third album, All In.

1970 Fantasy-Band-Land Rules
  • Our album had to be a 12" vinyl LP (Long Playing) analog record with 23 minutes maximum play time per side. So back in 1970, a typical album had 12 songs or 6 songs per side.
  • Our fantasy album has seven songs on each side, almost taking up the entire 23 minutes per side. The thinking behind this- As four creative singer-songwriters, they have the songs! They also want to create a buzz in the music industry.
  • Songs picked for this 'What If' album would be from Neil, Stephen, David and Graham's solo albums released in 1970-71. This album will also include their hit single Ohio, and the B-side single, Find The Cost Of Freedom.
  • Think of these solo album songs as 'demo tracks' recorded without all four  participating to make a final definitive track with CSNY harmonies.
  • Use your imagination. For example, on Songs for Beginners, think of the boys harmonizing over Rita Coolidge's back up vocals.

All In • Release Date: December 7, 1970
All In represents a complete collaborative philosophy as the band wants to capture the spirit of making their first album, Crosby, Stills & Nash. They are actually practicing Music is Love, not only in a hippie sense, but by each band member bringing in their best songs for the group album, it becomes a critically acclaimed hot selling classic.

From a business sense, the boys play the long game and will be much richer in the years ahead over the sales of their individual albums. (How come countless bands can't see this, other than being young and stupid drugged out self-loathing egomaniacs.)

If they're smart, they will take all the songs from the four 1970-71 individual albums not yet used, plus new songs always coming and continue to make CSNY albums, but only bringing in their best material for much of the 1970's. How's that for some historical fiction!

And in a last fan fantasy footnote-
Historically, they are not viewed as a wash out band by the mid-1970's with only two great albums to carry their legacy decades down the road and most everything Wasted On The Way.

All inAlbum Design
In creating our fake album, Paul and I wanted to capture the band's involvement in the Vietnam antiwar movement. The back cover photograph was taken at the Fillmore East. With a little help from Photoshop, I gave the album jacket a textured feel. We both remember getting Déjà Vu and Neil Young's Harvest (1972), where you not only heard the albums, but you tactually experienced them as well.




Ladies and Gentlemen
Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young • All In