Monday, April 29, 2019

My second 100 Songs


In November, 2016 I posted My 100 Songs as a YouTube Playlist. In the description header of that playlist I wrote, "My 100 favorite songs not necessarily rated 1-100. This playlist is part of me, like remembering listening to the Rolling Stones' Satisfaction on my transistor radio in 1965 on my front yard grass."

If you spend anytime thinking about the music you love, 100 songs is really just a good start. So it's taken a while but I've put together My 'second' 100 Songs. Like the first 100, I did not rate them 1-100 as this continues to be more of a shuffle of mostly longtime favorites.

These lists are my favorites not only because I like the songs, but they continue to represent a place in time for me. For example in this grouping, I selected Ohio by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, a song written and recorded just three weeks after the May, 4 1970 Kent State shootings. The song was released in June of that year and I remember hearing it for the first time while in the back seat of my friend Gary Hill's family station wagon. I was in the car with my pals Gary (driving), Paul and Ron and the song came on over the radio. We were driving on Main street, all talking stopped and we just quietly listened to it, blown away.

There's some gems in here that you will easily recognize and maybe a few you've never heard before. I have included both lists here with 200 songs that continue to change over time. Some songs get deleted from YouTube and I can't remember what was deleted. Maybe that's a blessing as I just add a song here or there that I love. For example, The Zombies were recently inducted into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame and that got me listening to them again and suddenly, two songs make the latest list.

Well, I guess I had better start working on 201-300, there's never enough good music. Enjoy my friends!
My second 100 Songs


My 100 Songs

Monday, April 22, 2019

April, 1969 - 50 Years of Music

April, 1969 (Source: Wikipedia 1969 in Music)
DayAlbumArtistNotes
1TasteTaste-
7Nazz NazzNazz-
Songs from a RoomLeonard Cohen-
8Three Week HeroP.J. Proby-
9Nashville SkylineBob Dylan-
15Green Is BluesAl Green-
21Uncle MeatThe Mothers of InventionSoundtrack
23With a Little Help from My FriendsJoe Cocker-
25On the Threshold of a DreamThe Moody Blues-
26It's Our ThingThe Isley Brothers-
28The Chicago Transit AuthorityChicago-
30M.P.G.Marvin Gaye-
-Blue MatterSavoy Brown-
HairVarious ArtistsLondon cast
Our Mother the MountainTownes Van Zandt-
Ramblin' Gamblin' ManThe Bob Seger System-
My deep dive back to 1969 in music this year has been fun in the appreciation for all the songs I dismissed the first time around as a young and stupid 14 year old. Nashville Skyline is a perfect example. I liked Bob Dylan, but what was he doing changing his voice and making a Country album? Several years later, I did take notice when Lay Lady Lay came on the radio one day and my mom said, "I hate that song" and I said to myself, "Hey maybe Bobby's got something here."

In the 50 years since, I've expanded my thinking a bit as well as my taste for different genres of music. If this Monday finds you wanting a little retrospection, this music will take you there.


Monday, April 15, 2019

Taxman Then and Now

One of George Harrison's homes - Friar Park

Taxman is one of The Beatles most famous songs and is the title track from their 1966 album, Revolver. George Harrison wrote the song when he realized that over 90% of his income was being taxed by the British government. Now even us wee folk would agree that rate excessive and that different tax rates should be set to what a society would deem fair from the super rich to the very poor.

In all the Monday Monday posts, I've tried very hard to stay away from politics and focus mostly on the positive aspects of music. But with this post falling on America's tax due date of April 15th, it was just too tempting to not let this day in our time in history and great song pass us by.

As you probably know, our tax laws have recently changed during Trump's presidency to favor the super rich. I like many middle income Americans had my worst tax year in memory.

At this very moment, the topic of Mr. Trump's own taxes are one of the top national news stories. In fact this story will only get hotter in the days, months or even years ahead, and likely won't be solved until the Supreme Court makes a decision on the matter.

Ultimately and in my personal opinion, Americans are going to have to push to pass a Federal law that any Presidential candidate would have to reveal 10 years of their latest tax returns in order to receive the nomination of their political party to run for President of the United States.

Now back to the wee folk. So, George wrote Taxman about himself as a rich person, but the song was a big hit because of its monster beat, not to mention, it spoke to the common man being taxed by 'the man.' So in that spirit of today and being the common men and women of America, give a heart felt listen to Taxman. 

Also, watch the second video below, The Beatles - Taxman (Explained) The HollyHobs, it's very entertaining and explains my choice for the lead in photo of Friar Park.

Wishing you, a happy Return.




Monday, April 8, 2019

School Days and 'This Land Is Your Land'

Growing up in America in the 1960's every school child learned the Woody Guthrie song, This Land Is Your Land.

For me, it is my most enduring folk song because I have such fond memories of singing it in school with a room full of kids, countless times. 

I'm not going to get into Woody's politics, but the song was written in 1940 after Guthrie's was literally blown away in the great dustbowl of the 1930's and saw thousands of working people forced to migrate to California in the search of a better life. Woody spent a lot of his life as a 'rolling stone' and he saw our great country, and wrote about the land and it's people from his perspective.

This Land Is Your Land has three controversial verses that were edited out of the school songbook versions, as Woody's publisher adeptly kept the more global verses for the American school children to learn and become an American anthem.

Recently, I saw Bruce Springsteen and Pete Seeger's rendition from Barack Obama's 2009 inaugural where Pete would only do it if they sang all the verses. I also came across the NPR article, How 'This Land Is Your Land' Roamed And Rambled Into American Life. Last week I was reviewing My 100 Songs Playlist where I placed This Land Is Your Land as my first song.

I also love Gary Clark's Jr. new song, This Land . The track was inspired by "This Land Is Your Land" by Woody Guthrie, with Clark commenting in an interview with American Songwriter: "It’s one of the first songs we learn, and we sing it together ... It's like the Pledge of Allegiance ... And when you're kids, everybody's together. You don't see differences until you get older, and older people influence you to think about other people a certain way. I just want to get back to singing that song like we were kids again, you know?" (Wikipedia)

This information kind of all collided at the same time for me to want to continue to celebrate this wonderful song this week. No matter your political stance we as Americans can all call this song, "our song."

My granddaughter Elliot is visiting, and she came up to me last night while I was writing this and asked me what I was doing. She smiled when I told her and said, "We sing that song in school." We then sang it together.

This Land Is Your Land
Words and Music by Woody Guthrie

This land is your land This land is my land
From California to the New York island; 
From the red wood forest to the Gulf Stream waters 
This land was made for you and Me.

As I was walking that ribbon of highway, 
I saw above me that endless skyway: 
I saw below me that golden valley: 
This land was made for you and me.

I've roamed and rambled and I followed my footsteps 
To the sparkling sands of her diamond deserts; 
And all around me a voice was sounding: 
This land was made for you and me.

When the sun came shining, and I was strolling, 
And the wheat fields waving and the dust clouds rolling, 
As the fog was lifting a voice was chanting: 
This land was made for you and me.

As I went walking I saw a sign there 
And on the sign it said "No Trespassing." 
But on the other side it didn't say nothing, 
That side was made for you and me.

In the shadow of the steeple I saw my people, 
By the relief office I seen my people; 
As they stood there hungry, I stood there asking 
Is this land made for you and me?

Nobody living can ever stop me, 
As I go walking that freedom highway; 
Nobody living can ever make me turn back 
This land was made for you and me.




Monday, April 1, 2019

#InstrumentalMonday - As Far as I can See, Phil Cook


I found this gem this past week just released on 3/26/19 as it landed with me just wanting to hear some instrumental guitar. Hope this #InstrumentalMonday starts your week off with the positive vibe of Phil Cook.

Now I have never heard of Phil Cook so I looked him up on Wikepedia and discovered this wonderful sentence about him - Beyond his musical career, Cook works at the Center for Inquiry Based Learning at Duke University where he "assembles hands-on science kits for elementary schools."

As an educator, I spent a great deal of my career focused on Inquiry-based Learning and I just thought that was fantastic! Here's a great little review of  this album by Andy Kahn from JamBase as Phil comments on the tracks from  As Far as I can See.

"This is a collection of snapshots. Recording “D.L.’s Holler” in the upstairs hallway of an elementary school, outside my wife’s classroom while she graded papers in a thunderstorm. Listen for the thunder roll in one of the breaks. Recording “Waiting Round The Oven Buns” in my house in January while my wife Heather, pregnant with our first child, napped in the front room. Driving hours in the wrong direction during a blizzard into Tennessee on Highway 40, making us four hours late for the recording session I had booked for his Side Up. Loading in wet and snowy and then loading out four hours later with my friends Nick and Yan, finished, victorious and laughing. Recording “Saratoga” with one son next to me flipping through Calvin and Hobbes and my other son napping just a room away. Sitting on an old front porch in Birmingham, Alabama one hot spring morning with James’ beat-up classical guitar and recording a quick voice memo as we were packing up to leave. Sharing a joint with my brother Brad on the way to The Cave in Chapel Hill and feeling grateful for the spontaneous virtuosity of the Canine Boys and Libby Rodenbough. These moments, stacked up in a pile, feel like the kind of riches nobody can ever take away from me. The truest currency. I hope you, dear listener, also share this currency and feel this gratitude when you think of the journey of moments that has formed you."