Monday, October 11, 2021

#BestSongIHeardToday • Volume VIII

 Volume I • II • III • IV  • V • VI • VII • VIII • Team Tortoise Blogs

The #BestSongIHeardToday series is often centered around hearing great songs while exercising. These posts will tend to drift into health related topics but will always come back to the music that brought you here. This particular series is probably more about a self journal to help me stay on the path of healthy living that includes, listening to old and new tunes. If you're looking for a great mix playlist of 25-30 songs, just click on one of my Volumes above.

...little aches and pains
I got 'em always now, sunshine or rain
Oh, these little aches and pains
I don't count my losses now, just my gains
–from Little Aches and Pains, song by Paul Kelly

This week I play the wannabe influencer, again trying to promote exercise related products that have worked for me even without an endorsement deal, much less any business acumen. 

Really I'm just sharing several solutions where I've gone through the trial and error process of buying and using several similar items in a product category before finding a winner.

First up, after buying a couple larger 'Uzi' style cordless massage guns for my chronically tight calves and thighs, I found this lightweight gem (or gym) that also conveniently fits in my day pack or suitcase. It charges easily with a USB port. I use the ball attachment for deep tissue pressure and the smaller size fits so much better in the palm of my hand. What's the line from John Mellencamp, "hurts so good."


Next up is my ongoing search for the ultimate joint pain relief supplement. In the past, I have posted a product that I described as the "kitchen sink" of joint support containing the four main ingredients found in the joint ache market today: Glucosamine, Chondroitin, MSM, and hyaluronic acid.  

My brother-in-law Roger turned me on to hyaluronic acid several years ago and I started to incorporate it combined with Glucosamine, Chondroitin, and MSM almost like a multiple vitamin. About six months ago, I decided to just go with hyaluronic acid alone but take more of a maximum dose. For me, I think it's been more effective than the kitchen sink approach as I feel it has eliminated most joint aches and has minimized my knee pain. By no means is hyaluronic acid a miracle cure but I feel it does a good job in hydrating one's skin and joints. Here's an article that looks at 11 benefits of hyaluronic acid for the face and body  

Here's my current recommendation - 
NatureBell Hyaluronic Acid Supplements, 250mg Hyaluronic Acid with 25mg Vitamin C Per Serving, 200 Capsules, Supports Skin Hydration, Joints Lubrication, Antioxidant and Immune System, Non-GMO (Amazon). I take the recommended 2 capsules a day (500 mg).

If you're a walker, jogger, cyclist, baller or dancer you've probably experienced knee pain at some point. In the past couple of years, I have developed knee pain (w/no swelling) in my lower right knee below the patella. 

I then found this patella knee strap on Amazon and wear it for running and if I'm doing any work around the house that involves bending or working on my knees. 

This strap in conjunction with the hyaluronic acid (and icing) have significantly reduced my knee pain to more of an ache, again no miracles here but a big improvement to keep me moving forward and in the long run of life.

Best Songs I heard this past month while mostly on the move with my phone.
  1. Little Aches And Pains, Paul Kelly
  2. Don't Owe You A Thing, Gary Clark Jr.
  3. I Can't Let Go, Evie Sands
  4. Broken Spoke, Creedence Clearwater Revival
  5. Outtasite (Outta Mind), Wilco
  6. You Tickle Me, Jesse Winchester
  7. Just Because, John Lennon
  8. Hello Stranger, Emmylou Harris with Nicolette Larson
  9. Anna Lee (Sweetheart of the Sun), The Bangles
  10. Beautiful Way, Beck
  11. Just Can't Go To Sleep, The Kinks
  12. Sabra Girl, Nickel Creek
  13. About You, Teenage Fanclub
  14. Dreamboat Annie, Heart
  15. Hurts So Good, John Mellencamp
  16. Four Seasons In A Day, Crowded House
  17. No Milk Today, Herman's Hermits
  18. House of Pride, J.D. Souther
  19. So Sad (To Watch Good Love Go Bad), The Everly Brothers
  20. Tug Of War, Paul McCartney
  21. Half A Human, Real Estate
  22. King Midas In Reverse, The Hollies
  23. I'll Remember, The Kinks
  24. Digging For Gold, Val McCallum
  25. Our Lady Of The Well, Jackson Browne with Val McCallum
  26. One World, Dire Straits
  27. Shades of Scarlett Conquering, Joni Mitchell
  28. B.S.U.R., James Taylor
  29. Dance, James Taylor
  30. Amazing Journey/Sparks (Live at Leeds), The Who

Monday, October 04, 2021

Beatles Covers • Volume I

 The Covers Series: 

When your favorite band covers a classic tune, their version is their interpretation — their translation — of the music. Is it better than the original? That's up for interpretation.

In putting together this Volume I of Beatles covers, I had three movies in mind that feature Beatles covers that would help shape the playlist. 
  1. I am Sam (2001 Film)
  2. Across the Universe (2007 Film) 
  3. Yesterday (2019 Film)
I included the song, Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight from the 2016 animated film, Sing performed by Jennifer Hudson.

I also included the song, Across the Universe from the 1998 film, Pleasantville performed by Fiona Apple.

I then filled the rest of the playlist with mostly live Beatles covers some of which I had never heard before. I decided to only feature one cover song per volume playlist. For example, I found several excellent versions of Blackbird and Here Comes The Sun and they will likely appear in later volumes as the treasure of Beatles covers is deep and wide. 

I also included a cover of George's Beware of Darkness which is from his solo album All Things Must Pass, and in the spirit of Chris Carter's (KLOS-FM) Breakfast with The Beatles I will include cover songs from the lads solo albums here and in future volumes as well. 

I found a great clip with The Bangles on Breakfast with the Beatles. In that discovery, I found three album volumes of covers by Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs recording under the faux love couple name, 'Sid & Susie,' called Under The Covers. And on that note, I'll lead with Sid & Susie and their Beatles cover of And Your Bird Can Sing.

One last thing. In putting the playlist together this week I've been playing Beatle tunes in my head all week. Usually, I get one song I've picked for the playlist and that will be stuck in my head for several days. Here, I'm playing a different song or two or three a day in my head in the cover interpretation arrangements. The power of Beatle songs with all their composition just jumps right in and stimulates your brain in such a wonderful way. I don't need a reminder to know how special The Beatles are to me, but this past week brought back a wave of thought and emotion to punctuate how special John, Paul, George, Ringo, and George Martin are to the world.

Featured Covered Songs and Artists Include:
  1. And Your Bird Can Sing, Sid and Susie (aka Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs) 
  2. Help!, Cover Club
  3. Blackbird, John Batiste
  4. Penny Lane, The Barefoot Movement
  5. I Want To Hold Your Hand, T.V. Carpio
  6. Interview with Paul regarding I Wanna Be Your Man
  7. I Wanna Be Your Man, The Rolling Stones
  8. I'll Be Back, Shawn Colvin
  9. Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight, Jennifer Hudson
  10. I Need You, Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers
  11. A Day In The Life, Jeff Beck
  12. All My Lovin', Amy Winehouse
  13. I Want You (She's So Heavy), Umphrey's McGee 
  14. Let It Be, Bill Withers (w/Booker T. Jones on organ)
  15. Because, The Bangles
  16. Yesterday, Himesh Patel
  17. Paperback Writer, The B-52's
  18. Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds, The Analogues
  19. Hello, Goodbye, The Cure
  20. Across the Universe, Fiona Apple
  21. Come Together, Gary Clark Jr.
  22. Hey Jude, Wilson Pickett (w/ Duane Almond)
  23. Strawberry Fields Forever, Todd Rundgren
  24. You've Got To Hide Your Love Away, Jackson Browne
  25. Every Little Thing, Yes
  26. Here Comes The Sun, Richie Havens
  27. Yesterday film scene- Ed Sheeran vs. The Long And Winding Road (Himesh Patel)
  28. I'm Looking Through You, The Wallflowers
  29. Get Back, Lenny Kravitz
  30. Rain, Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs
  31. I Should Have Known Better, James N. Brown
  32. Beware of Darkness, Sheryl Crow and Brandi Carlile
  33. Two of Us, Aimee Mann and Michael Penn
  34. Hey Bulldog, Dave Grohl and Jeff Lynne
  35. It's All Too Much, Steve Hillage
  36. Yes It Is, The Bangles - Breakfast With The Beatles w/Chris Carter
  37. We Can Work It Out, Stevie Wonder
  38. While My Guitar Gently Weeps, Eric Clapton (w/ Paul on piano and Ringo on drums)
  39. Don't Let Me Down and All You Need Is Love, Cast of Across The Universe Film
  40. Imagine, Tommy Emmanuel

Monday, September 27, 2021

#NewMusicMonday • September, 2021

This Monday finds me with few words and a 60 song playlist that features several artists new to me. 

When I stumbled onto Dori Freeman's new album Ten Thousand Roses, I started to go through my normal routine of sampling an album. I usually glide across several sections of a song daring the artist that is new to me to stop my incessant 'skip clicking' and slap me to attention. I love it when my search mode mentality stops and my active music listening mode starts. Is there gold here?

Dori certainly got my attention in that she has a wonderful voice to go with her straight forward songwriting. What makes a person gravitate to a singer-songwriter artist over another? Of course you have your personal taste even within a genre like Americana, but there's a magic to finding someone that sings and speaks to you. It's rare when I feature all or almost all the songs from a new album, it just doesn't happen that often. I've included all ten songs from Ten Thousand Roses across the playlist this week. I'll now be going to listen to her other three albums

Enjoy the playlist my friends!

Albums Featured This Month (w/at least 3 songs)

  1. Dori FreemanTen Thousand Roses
  2. Billy StringsRenewal
  3. Mac McCaughanThe Sound of Yourself
  4. Third Eye BlindOur Bande Apart
  5. Adia VictoriaA Southern Gothic
  6. J.P. Saxe Dangerous Levels of Introspection
  7. Lindsey BuckinghamLindsey Buckingham
  8. Heartless BastardsA Beautiful Life
Featured Artists this Month Include:
  • Jason Isbell
  • Natalie Hemby
  • Sting 
  • Darlingside
  • Pat Metheny
  • Ric Robertson
  • Tommy Emmanuel & Richard Smith
  • Amanda Ventura
  • King Princess
  • Ronnie Wood
  • Eddie Vedder
  • Kacey Musgraves
  • Alexis Taylor
  • Ringo Starr
  • Aoife O'Donovan
  • Old Sea Brigade
  • Nathaniel Rateliff


Monday, September 20, 2021

Fifty Years of Music • September, 1971

When a big album like John Lennon's Imagine hits the fifty-year mark, there's a fair amount of press to celebrate the occasion. I've decided to just include it here in the fraternity of September, 1971 albums that take us back to a great year in rock 'n' roll. 

The song, Imagine was John's biggest single as a solo artist reaching #3 on the Billboard charts. It also took off again after his death in 1980, and for me, made my list of Great Songs Ruined By Radio in its continual overplay as one's mind rebels to the satiation. How can something once so lovely slowly torture the listener to sadly change the dial, or today hit the 'Skip' button .

Last year, JOHN LENNON. GIMME SOME TRUTH. THE ULTIMATE MIXES was released. This past week, I watched the Imagine, Ultimate Mix (2020) video of John and Yoko filmed at their Tittenhurst Park English country estate. It struck me that the verse-

Imagine, Ultimate Mix (2020) image capture
Imagine no possessions, I wonder if you can 
No need for greed or hunger - a brotherhood of man 
Imagine all the people sharing all the world...

was just a tad over the top when juxtaposed with the video of the loving couple's walk up to Tittenhurst's spacious white mansion. Okay my cynicism aside, what got my attention about the video was John singing directly into the camera, communicating his message to all of us. It's like only 26 seconds of the video, but it was stunningly fabulous! During the video shoot, someone should have suggested, "a little more John at the piano?"

In the Imagine, Ultimate Mix (2020) liner notes description, I do like John's later words giving credit to Yoko for their collaboration on the song.

John: ‘Imagine’ was inspired by Yoko’s Grapefruit [Book]. There’s a lot of pieces in it saying like ‘Imagine this’ or ‘Imagine that’. If you get a copy of Grapefruit and look through, you’ll see where I was influenced by her. ‘Imagine’ could never have been written without her. And I know she helped on a lot of the lyrics but I wasn’t man enough to let her have credit for it. So that song was actually written by John & Yoko, but I was still selfish enough and unaware enough to take her contribution without acknowledging it. The song itself expresses what I’d learned through being with Yoko and my own feelings on it. It should really have said ‘Lennon/Ono’ on that song, because she contributed a lot of that song.

In the playlist this week, I end with the beginning in the sense that the people doing John's archives found the 'original demo' tape of Imagine and it was released in 2018. I especially love Beatle demo's because they are just as brilliant in their raw form. Here's the video liner notes on the demo.

While sifting through boxes upon boxes of the original tapes for Yoko Ono, engineer Rob Stevens discovered something truly remarkable that had gone unnoticed all these years. “Early 2016, during the gestation period of this project, I'm in the Lennon archives with my people going through tape boxes that have labeling that's unclear, misleading, or missing entirely”, says Stevens. “There's a one-inch eight-track that says nothing more on the 'Ascot Sound' label than John Lennon, the date, and the engineer (Phil McDonald), with DEMO on the spine. No indication of what material was on the tape. One delicate transfer to digital later, the “Imagine” demo, subsequently enhanced superbly by Paul Hicks, appears within this comprehensive set. It was true serendipity.”

I love this original demo and the video with just the animated clouds, and hey this version is not played on the radio. Also, check out the 2018 Documentary, John & Yoko: Above Us Only Sky on Netflix. 

Another big album in 1971 was John Prine's debut album,
John Prine. It actually wasn't so big when released but over time like the man himself became a classic for all time. Rolling Stone magazine had it ranked last year in their 500 Greatest Albums of All Time at 149. Prine himself has always been uncomfortable about the recording of John Prine as he said, "I was terrified. I went straight from playing by myself, still learning how to sing, to playing with Elvis Presley's rhythm section." (Wikipedia). I do sense a little tenseness in his voice in this first recording as later recorded versions bring out John's comfort and joy in performing his folksy masterpieces. He also shared his displeasure in an interview with the hokey country photo shoot.

"I had never seen a bale of hay in my life! I tried to explain that to Jim Marshall when he took the picture in his studio in San Francisco. We were making small talk when a pickup truck arrives with three bales of hay. He said, “I’m gonna do a head shot of you and the straw will make an interesting background.” Next thing I know it’s about five days before the album comes out and I’m at the record company in New York and I saw the cover photo, and there I am sitting on a bale of hay. And I pipe up that while I like country music, this looks like “Hee-Haw.” But it was too late to change it, and I’ve been making up for it ever since. (

Bob Dylan's quote at John Prine's passing in 2020 has always stuck with me and seems a good time to bring it out on the 50th anniversary of just a remarkable album of songwriting. "Prine's stuff is pure Proustian existentialism. Midwestern mindtrips to the nth degree."

The writer, Patrick Doyle has stated, "John Prine is the Mark Twain of songwriting." 

For me, John Prine the album is just a variation of the great American novel. Here's some selected lyrics I have picked from each song on the album, a masterpiece of Americana songwriting. 

Illegal Smile
When I woke up this morning, things were lookin' bad
Seem like total silence was the only friend I had
Bowl of oatmeal tried to stare me down, and won
And it was twelve o'clock before I realized
I was havin' no fun

Spanish Pipe dream
She was a level-headed dancer
On the road to alcohol
And I was just a soldier on my way to Montreal

Hello in There
Me and Loretta, we don't talk much more
She sits and stares through the back door screen
And all the news just repeats itself
Like some forgotten dream that we've both seen
Someday I'll go and call up Rudy
We worked together at the factory
But what could I say if he asks "What's new?"
"Nothing, what's with you? Nothing much to do"

You know that old trees just grow stronger
And old rivers grow wilder every day
Old people just grow lonesome
Waiting for someone to say, "Hello in there, hello"

So if you're walking down the street sometime
And spot some hollow ancient eyes
Please don't just pass 'em by and stare
As if you didn't care, say, "Hello in there, hello"

Sam Stone
Sam Stone came home
To his wife and family
After serving in the conflict overseas
And the time that he served
Had shattered all his nerves
And left a little shrapnel in his knees
But the morphine eased the pain
And the grass grew round his brain
And gave him all the confidence he lacked
With a purple heart and a monkey on his back

There's a hole in daddy's arm where all the money goes
Jesus Christ died for nothin' I suppose
Little pitchers have big ears
Don't stop to count the years
Sweet songs never last too long on broken radios

Then the coal company came with the world's largest shovel
And they tortured the timber and stripped all the land
Well, they dug for their coal till the land was forsaken
Then they wrote it all down as the progress of man.

And daddy won't you take me back to Muhlenberg County
Down by the Green River where Paradise lay
Well, I'm sorry my son, but you're too late in asking
Mister Peabody's coal train has hauled it away

Pretty Good
I heard Allah and Buddha were singing at the Savior's feast
And up in the sky an Arabian rabbi
Fed Quaker Oats to a priest
Pretty good, not bad, they can't complain
'Cause actually all them gods are just about the same

Your Flag Decal Won't Get You Into Heaven Anymore
While digesting Reader's Digest
In the back of a dirty book store,
A plastic flag, with gum on the back,
Fell out on the floor.
Well, I picked it up and I ran outside
Slapped it on my window shield,
And if I could see old Betsy Ross
I'd tell her how good I feel.

But your flag decal won't get you
Into Heaven any more.
They're already overcrowded
From your dirty little war.
Now Jesus don't like killin'
No matter what the reason's for,
And your flag decal won't get you
Into Heaven any more.

Far From Me
Well, I started the engine
And I gave it some gas
And Cathy was closing her purse
Well, we hadn't gone far in my beat old car
And I was prepared for the worst.
"Will you still see me tomorrow?"
"No, I got too much to do"
Well, a question ain't really a question
If you know the answer too

Angel From Montgomery 
I am an old woman
Named after my mother
My old man is another
Child who's grown old

If dreams were lightning
And thunder were desire
This old house would've burned down
A long time ago

Make me an angel
That flies from Montgomery
Make me a poster
Of an old rodeo
Just give me one thing
That I can hold on to
To believe in this livin'
Is just a hard way to go

Quiet Man
Last Monday night I saw a fight
Between Wednesday and Thursday over Saturday night
Tuesday asked me what was going on, I said
"Sunday's in the meadow and Friday's in the corn"

Donald and Lydia
Small town, bright lights, Saturday night,
Pinballs and pool halls flashing their lights.
Making change behind the counter in a penny arcade
Sat the fat girl daughter of Virginia and Ray

Lydia hid her thoughts like a cat
Behind her small eyes sunk deep in her fat.
She read romance magazines up in her room
And felt just like Sunday on Saturday afternoon.

But dreaming just comes natural
Like the first breath from a baby,
Like sunshine feeding daisies,
Like the love hidden deep in your heart.

Bunk beds, shaved heads, Saturday night,
A warehouse of strangers with sixty watt lights.
Staring through the ceiling, just wanting to be
Lay one of too many, a young PFC:
There were spaces between Donald and whatever he said.
Strangers had forced him to live in his head.
He envisioned the details of romantic scenes
After midnight in the stillness of the barracks latrine.
Hot love, cold love, no love at all.
A portrait of guilt is hung on the wall.
Nothing is wrong, nothing is right.
Donald and Lydia made love that night.

The made love in the mountains, they made love in the streams,
They made love in the valleys, they made love in their dreams.
But when they were finished there was nothing to say,
'cause mostly they made love from ten miles away.

Six O'Clock News
Wanda had a baby in 1951
The father was stranger and a stranger was the son
Call that child James Lewis, call these rooms a home
Changing all them diapers, polish all that chrome

Flashback Blues
While window shopping through the past
I ran across a looking glass
Reflecting moments remaining in a burned out light
Tragic magic prayers of passion
Stay the same through changing fashions
They freeze my mind like water on a winter's night

Spent most of my youth
Out hobo cruising
And all I got for proof
Is rocks in my pockets and dirt in my shoes
So goodbye nonbeliever
Don't you know that I hate to leave here
So long babe, I got the flashback blues.


Albums Featured in the September, 1971 Playlist

  1. Imagine, John Lennon
  2. John Prine, John Prine
  3. Cahoots, The Band
  4. Electric Warrior, T. Rex
  5. Welcome to the Canteen (Live), Traffic
  6. From The Inside, Poco
  7. Future Games, Fleetwood Mac
  8. Santana III, Santana
  9. Aereo-Plain, John Hartford
  10. Bark, Jefferson Airplane

Monday, September 13, 2021

Under the Influence • Songs of 1949-1951

Howlin' Wolf and band in the 1960's
In May of 2020, I started my Fifty Years of Music series where I feature my favorite songs from a month and year 50 years from when I publish a post on the subject. Then at the end of the year, I post My Favorite Songs of (that year). I started with 1970, and at the end of this year will post My Favorite Songs of 1971.

Since I started the series in 1970, I thought I should go back to the birth of rock ''n' roll in the 1950's and the explosion of rock 'n' roll in the 1960's with lots of treasure to mine into playlists.

In 2019, I wrote a blog called,  Rock 'n' Roll: The Classic Generation 1940-1950. I started that blog by identifying three essential groups of musicians:

  1. The Founding Generation of Rock 'n' Roll born in 1910-1925;
  2. The Pioneering Generation of Rock 'n' Roll born in 1925-1940;
  3. The Classic Generation born between 1940-1950.

The Classic Generation includes all the musicians in: The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who, Cream, Bob Dylan, Simon and Garfunkel, The Beach Boys, The Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, Stevie Wonder, Jimi Hendrix, James Taylor, Jackson Browne, and Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers, just to name a few...

I thought I should go back to 1940-1950 where this classic generation of rock 'n' rollers as World War II babies and children, absorbed the music of the day from their parent's radios and records. 

Sun Records, Memphis Tennessee
I then started sifting through Wikipedia's (Year) In Music as my guide starting in 1945. When I got to 1950, I found my starting point-

January 3, 1950 
Sam Phillips launches Sun Records at 706 Union Avenue in Memphis, Tennessee.

Sam Philips [brought in] performers such as B.B. King, Junior Parker, and Howlin' Wolf, who made their first recordings there. Phillips then sold the recordings to larger labels [like Chess Records].

Chess Records located in Chicago was also founded in 1950 by the Chess brothers Leonard and Phil. The brothers formed an early business association with Sam Phillips as both Chicago and Memphis became magnets for the Blue's and early rock 'n' roll.

Sam Phillips
In 1951, Sam Philips produced "Rocket 88" (originally stylized as Rocket "88") is a rhythm and blues song that was first recorded in Memphis, Tennessee, in March 1951. The recording was credited to "Jackie Brenston and his Delta Cats", who were actually Ike Turner and his Kings of Rhythm. The single reached number-one on the Billboard R&B chart [and as distributed by Chess Records].

Many music writers acknowledge Rocket 88's importance in the development of rock and roll music, with several considering it to be the first rock and roll record.

Alan Freed
Also in 1951,  Cleveland disc jockey Alan Freed began broadcasting rhythm, blues, and country music for a multi-racial audience. As one source points out, there was some controversy in his selection of recordings: "Freed would play the original singles by the black artists instead of waiting for a white singer to cover them".

Freed, familiar with the music of earlier decades, used the phrase 'rock and roll' to describe the music he aired over station WJW (850 AM).

Several sources suggest that Freed discovered the term (a euphemism for sexual intercourse) on the record "Sixty Minute Man" by Billy Ward and his Dominoes. The lyrics include the line, "I rock 'em, roll 'em all night long". Freed did not acknowledge the suggestion about that source (or the original meaning of the expression) in interviews, and explained the term as follows: "Rock ’n roll is really swing with a modern name. It began on the levees and plantations, took in folk songs, and features blues and rhythm".

This past week, I found a great little documentary titled, Howlin' Wolf - The Howlin' Wolf Story - The Secret History Of Rock & Roll (2003) on Amazon Prime. This 90 minute film gives insight into the beginnings of rock 'n' roll as older black Blues artists influenced many white kids in England hungry to experience American music and culture in the post-war 1950's. 

As a child of the 1960's, I was totally unaware of who Howlin' Wolf was or any other Blues musician. Without the backstory of bands like The Rolling Stones starting out as a Blues cover band in London; I would only later learn in the 1970's about these Blues players and their great contribution to the birth of rock 'n' roll and great influence on bands like The Rolling Stones. The name, "Rolling Stones" actually comes from a Muddy Waters song, Rollin' Stone picked by Stone's guitarist Brian Jones in 1962.  

In 1965, The Rolling Stones were invited to play on the popular ABC music variety show, Shindig!. They said they would do the show only if Howlin' Wolf would perform. On one hand, that's brave of the Stones to do that, on the other hand, it's sad that it took a bunch of young white upstarts from England having the privilege and power to coerce an America TV network to feature a black musical legend and national treasure, born right here the United States.

Note- Billy Preston is the piano player for this performance on Shindig.

I rather enjoyed the interrupted intro of the Shindig host by Brian Jones who basically calls out his BS and tells him, "I think it about time you shut up and we have Howlin' Wolf on stage." 

Another side note- You may have noticed my recent and complete interest in everything Rolling Stones of late. Well the debauchery continues.

Brian Jones
This week, I recommend two Rolling Stones documentaries. First up is, Rolling Stone: The Life and Death of Brian Jones on Amazon Prime. And, if you are a budding 'True-crime podcast' detective, Brian Jones' death would make for a great future podcast series... just saying.

Second is Keith Richards: Under The Influence, a 2015 Netflix one hour and 22 minute film that serves as a video companion to Keith's 2010 autobiography, Life. 

I think Under the Influence is a great title and I've ripped it off to use here for a series of blogs to showcase songs that influenced the development of rock 'n' roll. I think this will serve as a good lead in to My Favorite Songs series that will have a starting date around 1963. 1963 in Music is the first year in Wikipedia where new albums released for that year start to be categorized on a monthly basis. Let that big bang begin! 

Now on to the playlist. Enjoy my friends.

Songs Featured in this 'Under the Influence' Playlist
  1. Rock Awhile is a song by American singer-songwriter Goree Carter, recorded in April 1949 for the Freedom Recording Company in Houston, Texas. The song was released as the 18-year-old Carter's debut single (with "Back Home Blues" as the B-side) shortly after recording. The track is considered by many sources to be the first rock and roll song, and has been called a better candidate than the more commonly cited "Rocket 88", which was released two years later. And, I would agree with that assessment making it my first song to start this playlist.

  2. Move It On Over (1947) Hank Williams. Often cited as one of the earliest examples of rock 'n' roll music. I thought I'd insert it here. The influence of Folk and Country music is unmistakeable to the birth of rock 'n' roll. Hank was right there.

  3. Rock The Joint  (1949) Jimmy Preston & His Prestonians. Another contender for first rock 'n' roll song, there are hundreds and the playlist here is just a sample of the power of R&B and its influence towards rock 'n' roll. 

  4. Rollin' Stone - (1950), Muddy Watters - In 1962 Brian Jones takes the title of this song and names his band, 'Rollin' Stones', then changed to 'Rolling Stones', then finally 'The Rolling Stones.' Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf had a friendly rivalry as both were fearless leaders in the Chicago Blues sound.

  5. Rocket 88- (1951) The original version of the twelve-bar blues song was credited to Jackie Brenston and his Delta Cats, which hit number one on the R&B charts. Brenston was Ike Turner's saxophonist and the Delta Cats were actually Turner's Kings of Rhythm back-up band, who rehearsed at the Riverside Hotel in Clarksdale, Mississippi. Brenston sang the lead vocal and is listed as the songwriter, although Turner led the band and is said to have been the actual composer of the song.

  6. Sixty Minute Man is a rhythm and blues (R&B) record released in 1951 by Billy Ward and his Dominoes. It was written by Billy Ward and Rose Marks and was one of the first R&B hit records to cross over to become a hit on the pop charts. It is regarded as one of the most important of the recordings that helped generate and shape rock and roll.

  7. Good Night Irene - (1950) 13 weeks at #1 in the U.S. - The Weavers. The song was written by Lead Belly a great influence to the American folk music revival movement in the late 50's and early 60's. 

  8. Down in the Bottom (Written by the great Blues songwriter, Willie Dixon) - Howlin' Wolf 

  9. If You’ve Got The Money I’ve Got The Time (1950) Lefty Frizzell. And you thought Willie Nelson wrote that song. Willie loves Lefty Frizzell. 

  10. Move - (1950) Birth of the Cool - Miles Davis. The man was miles ahead his whole life. 

  11. Rollin' & Tumblin'  - (1950) Muddy Waters. Muddy made it a classic, and in the middle to late 60's he and Howlin' Wolf would be playing songs like this to a whole new generation of fans via rock 'n' roll bands from England.

  12. Hey, Good Lookin' - (1951) 8 weeks at #1 C&W charts - Hank Williams

  13. The Thrill is Gone (1951) Roy Hawkins. B.B. King makes this a #1 hit song in 1970, a magical time when some of the Blues greats finally got their due.

  14. How High the Moon (1951) 9 weeks at #1 in the U.S. - Les Paul & Mary Ford

  15. Unforgettable - (1950) Only #14 in the U.S. Later in 1961 Nat King Cole would record the song again and it became his biggest song. 

  16. Cold Cold Heart (1951) #1 Country & Western charts - Hank Williams

  17. Walkin' Blues (1950) Muddy Waters. England is listening and learning.

  18. Moanin' at Midnight (1951) Howlin' Wolf. England is listening and learning.

References - All Wikipedia

Monday, September 06, 2021

#BestSongIHeardToday • Volume VII

Volume I • II • III • IV  • V • VI • VII • VIII • Team Tortoise Blogs

The #BestSongIHeardToday series is often centered around hearing great songs while exercising. These posts will tend to drift into health related topics but will always come back to the music that brought you here. This particular series is probably more about a self journal to help me stay on the path of healthy living that includes, listening to old and new tunes. If you're looking for a great mix playlist of 25-30 songs, just click on one of my Volumes above.

Graphic by - Kyran BerlinGolden Gate Xpress

West Seattle Junction
Easy Street Records & Cafe
It had been on my mind for about a month to buy Keith Richards' autobiography, Life. So I dropped into a book store in San Diego and found a copy that I thought would be a fun read for my upcoming flight and vacation in Seattle. The book in fact had remained in my backpack until the sad news of Charlie Watts death on August 24th. With that event as my kickstart, I began reading it the next day and it's been hard to put down. I don't remember the flight back home as I was completely absorbed into it until touch down.

Here's a passage from Keith Richard's Life (2011).

Amazon Books
If it hadn’t been for Charlie, I would never have been able to expand and develop. Number one with Charlie is that he’s got great feel. He had it then, from the start. There’s tremendous personality and subtlety in his playing. If you look at the size of his kit, it’s ludicrous compared  to what most drummers use these days. They’ve got a fort with them. An incredible barrage of drums. Charlie, with just that one classico setup, can pull it all off. Nothing pretentious, and then you hear him and it don’t half go bang. He plays with humor too. I love to watch his foot through the Perspex. Even if I can’t hear him, I can play to him just by watching. The other thing is Charlie’s trick that he got, I think, from Jim Keltner or Al Jackson. On the hi-hat, most guys would play on all four beats, but on the two and the four, which is the backbeat, which is a very important thing in rock and roll, Charlie doesn’t play, he lifts up. He goes to play and pulls back. It gives the snare drum all of the sound, instead of having some interference behind it. It’ll give you a heart arrhythmia if you look at it. He does some extra motion that’s totally unnecessary. It pulls the time back because he has to make a little extra effort. And so part of the languid feel of Charlie’s drumming comes from this unnecessary motion every two beats. It’s very hard to do — to stop the beat going just for one beat and then come back in. And it also has something to do with the way Charlie’s limbs are constructed, where he feels the beat. Each drummer’s got a signature as to whether the hi-hat’s a little bit ahead of the snare. Charlie’s very far back with the snare and up with the hi-hat. And the way he stretches out the beat and what we do on top of that is a secret of the Stones sound. Charlie’s quintessentially a jazz drummer, which means the rest of the band is a jazz band in a way. He’s up there with the best, Elvin Jones, Philly Joe Jones. He’s got the feel, the looseness of it, and he’s very economical. Charlie used to work weddings and bar mitzvahs, so he knows the schmaltz too. It comes from starting early, playing the clubs when he was really young. A little bit of showmanship, without himself being the showman. Bah-BAM. And I’ve got used to playing with a guy like this. Forty years on, Charlie and I are tighter than we could express or even probably know. I mean, we even get daring enough to try and screw each other up sometimes on the stage.
Richards, Keith. Life (pp. 121-122). Little, Brown and Company.

Charlie & Ringo
This got me thinking about the two greatest bands of all-time, The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. As young bands, both had all the players except they lacked a really good professional drummer. I find it very interesting that both picked guys who were very similar in their simple straight ahead style of playing the drums. Ringo Starr and Charlie Watts were not showboats, but they were the anchors.


As kismet would have it, I started program surfing in Netflix last week and stumbled upon, Count Me In. This is a 1 hour and 21 minute documentary on the history of some of rock's greatest drummers. Both Charlie and Ringo are featured and I recommend it. 

The best quote from Count Me In is from Joe Strummer of The Clash, "The rule of rock 'n' roll says, 'You're only as good as your drummer.'"


Bill & Charlie (far right)
And kismet². Last Friday, I'm watching the second season of Modern Love on Amazon Prime. After I finish an episode, Amazon's AI suggests I watch the 2019 documentary on The Rolling Stone's original bass player Bill Wyman (from 1962-1993), The Quiet One. It was perfect timing watching this documentary for the second time as it filled in several key holes missing so far from Keith Richards' Life. I'm a little more than half way through Life as I write this, and it seems Bill Wyman has been mentioned like only three times so far! "Keef" does mention in his book, and also in The Quiet One how solid the rhythm section of the Stone's became once Bill Wyman and Charlie Watts started playing together. Up until that point, Richard's wanted Wyman only for his amp! What a complete group of characters, and as it turned out, the enduring band for the ages! 

The Stones' will be starting up their 13 date U.S. 2021 No Filter Tour beginning September 26th in St. Louis with drummer (and long-time collaborator with Keith Richards) Steve Jordan sitting in for Charlie. 


All Down The Line • Lincoln Park

When in West Seattle, I try to get to Lincoln Park. I usually can get (con) the family to go for a walk or play on the playground equipment (they have two great kid friendly zip lines), while I take off for a run on the trail that leads down to the water, and then loops back up to the trail again.

As luck would have it, a couple of Stones' songs came on during the run and seemed appropriate to complete this mix of songs.

Stay well my friends, and mask-up at public indoor locations, again. The folks in Seattle know how to do that very well!

Artists featured this week.
  1. The Rolling Stones
  2. Neil Young
  3. Peter, Paul & Mary
  4. Tom Petty
  5. The Jayhawks
  6. Danny O' Keefe
  7. The Youngbloods
  8. The Byrds
  9. The Smother Brothers
  10. Jackson Browne
  11. Ray Wylie Hubbard & Ringo Starr
  12. Mollie Tuttle
  13. The Kinks
  14. J.D. Souther
  15. Ricky Nelson
  16. Stevie Wonder
  17. Traffic
  18. The Cactus Blossoms
  19. Seals and Crofts
  20. Rosanne Cash
  21. REM
  22. Bob Dylan
  23. Gillian Welch
  24. Timothy B. Schmit
  25. Pete Townsend, Ronnie Lane & Charlie Watts
  26. John Belushi & Dan Aykroyd with Brian Wilson
  27. Todd Rundgren
  28. John Prine

Monday, August 30, 2021

#NewMusicMonday • August, 2021

I've been tempted to rebrand my Monday Monday Music™ name several times since I started this blog in 2015. Did I write myself into a corner by having to publish every Monday or on a Monday? Should I have used my own name to brand myself? But, I always come back to sticking with Monday Monday Music as it's taken me this far with a dedicated reader and playlist listening base.

Now when it comes to bands, a name change after some success can be a risky venture. I know this happens, but I'm only coming up with one example from the past. I remember 'The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band' going through a short phase of calling themselves, 'The Dirt Band.' I think they quickly went back to their OG name once they realized the nitty gritty of the situation.

Naming of the most famous band-
By January 1959, Lennon's Quarry Bank friends had left the group, and he began his studies at the Liverpool College of Art. The three guitarists, billing themselves as 'Johnny and the Moondogs,' were playing rock and roll whenever they could find a drummer. Lennon's art school friend Stuart Sutcliffe, who had just sold one of his paintings and was persuaded to purchase a bass guitar with the proceeds, joined in January 1960. He suggested changing the band's name to 'Beatals,' as a tribute to Buddy Holly and the Crickets. They used this name until May, when they became the 'Silver Beetles,' before undertaking a brief tour of Scotland as the backing group for pop singer and fellow Liverpudlian Johnny Gentle. By early July, they had refashioned themselves as the 'Silver Beatles,' and by the middle of August simply 'The Beatles.' 

Now The Beatles, did all this name swapping before they really had any real name recognition. Personally, (and please Beatle fans don't burn me at the stake here) but I've never liked the name, 'beat' pun and all. Anyway, The Beatles did start getting name recognition in 1960, stuck with the name, and the rest is history as they say. 

That brings me to one of my new favorite bands of the past several years and featured in the new music playlist this week, Mandolin Orange. The name 'Mandolin Orange' is pure Americana genius and one of my favorite band names in memory. 

However, this past year the Mandolin Orange duo of Emily Frantz and Andrew Marlin changed their name to, 'Watchhouse.'

You can read the link article above for their name change and maturation as artists, and it all makes perfect sense, it's their band, period.

Personally, as a fan I'm not digging it so much. Honestly when I first heard the name, I thought of teenage slasher movies like, I Know What You Did Last Summer, or The Hills Have Eyes. I'll just forget my images of Jamie Lee Curtis, Neve Campbell, and Jennifer Love Hewitt, sorry.

Watchhouse with their self-titled new album, Watchhouse is a very good album from a very good band. If you're into acoustic guitar, mandolin and harmony look no further than Watchhouse (tagged for awhile as, "formally Mandolin Orange"). I think I'm now cured of my blog name change game I play in my head.

Featured Artists And Bands On This New Music Playlist (A-Z)
  • Marisa Anderson & William Tyler
  • John Batiste
  • Big Red Machine
  • Jade Bird
  • Bleachers
  • Lindsay Buckingham
  • Coldplay
  • Rodney Crowell
  • Dawes
  • Brett Dennen
  • Tommy Emmanuel & Richard Smith
  • Oliver Hazard
  • Natalie Hemby
  • Scott Hirsch
  • Chistone "Kingfish" Ingram
  • Durand Jones & The Indicators
  • Josiah and the Bonnevilles
  • The Killers
  • John Mayer
  • James McMurty
  • Robert Plant & Allison Krauss
  • Kathleen Regan
  • Maggie Rose
  • Sturgill Simpson
  • Toad The Wet Sprocket
  • Watchhouse 

Monday, August 23, 2021

The Ongoing War on Covid-19 and the Cantankerous Objectors

Photo Source - Steve Hoffman Music Forums

Last Monday, I got on a jet plane for the first time in over a year and a half due to the Covid-19 pandemic. I'm currently in Seattle and feeling like I'm actually on a vacation. When in Seattle, my wife and I usually see a concert, but we decided we should wait a bit longer to be inside a venue with the Delta variant surging and a large percentage of the population STILL NOT vaccinated.

Due to the pandemic in 2020-21, we have had tickets cancelled for-
  • The Rolling Stones (San Diego)
  • Sheryl Crow (Las Vegas)
  • Sting (Las Vegas)
  • Livingston Taylor (San Diego)
  • Joan Osborne and The Weepies (Seattle)
We're coming back to Seattle in mid-October and Mary Kit and I were planning on seeing one of my favorite bands that I have never seen before, The Jayhawks. This show is General Admission (standing only) at the Neptune Theatre on October 21st. This specific show has already been cancelled twice on 6/18/2020 and 1/17/2021, and we've made the decision not to go. I just have to wonder how the virus will be in October, and standing so close to others in a packed house, and wearing a mask for 2-3 hours? I love this band and really want to see them, but sadly not now 😞.

Even though I'm not going, I'm encouraged that venues like the Neptune Theatre have the following proof of vaccination requirement.

STG requires proof of vaccination for entry to all performances at the Paramount, Moore and Neptune Theatres. Those individuals unable to be fully vaccinated, including children under 12, must have proof of a negative Covid PCR test (taken within 48 hours of performance). STG staff will check for proof of vaccination and negative Covid PCR tests at the doors as a condition of entry. Additionally, masking is required inside the venue. Patrons and employees will be required to wear masks, except while actively eating or drinking. (STG Seattle Theatre Group)

Now, two of my heroes of rock 'n' roll have handled their upcoming concerts at venues quite differently. 

The first being Eric Clapton, and without giving him too much attention with his cantankerous past rants about lockdowns and his Covid vaccination, and his new stance that he will not require proof of vaccination before entering his concerts. Moving forward, I just had to say on my July 23rd Monday Monday Music social media accounts, "Goodbye legend, hello dumbass."

The second, and still reigning champion is Jason Isbell. If you didn't get a chance to see Stephanie Ruhle's interview with Jason, here is a condensed version (01:23) with Mr. Common Sense simply explaining the priorities of one's freedom pertaining to The Declaration of Independence.  In my opinion, it's the definitive statement of our current situation with the anti-vax/anti-mask movement during this pandemic.

On August 14th of this month, my vaccination patience with the unvaxxed snapped.

I was on the way to my twin grandson's birthday party when I drove by an anti-vax/anti-mask rally in front of a Kaiser Hospital in San Diego. I thought how ironic, the hardworking healthcare staff providing care and treatment with non-vaxxed covid patients inside, while outside, these selfish dumbasses are carrying signs and waving American flags whining about mandates to their personal rights, freedom, and liberty.

Comparing Wars

Our nation has a history of being divided. You just have to start with slavery and the Civil War.  If you jump to the 1960's, you have the civil rights movement, the Vietnam War, abortion and women's rights to name a few. But let's go back to the Vietnam War to compare the protest movement of that time with the current protest movement of the anti-vax/anti-mask protest movement. 

This current movement is fueled by small groups on the left usually peddling the risks of vaccine myths, like vaccines can cause autism. Then there's the much larger conservative groups on the right proclaiming the violations to their 'individual freedom' wrapped around their use of the American flag.

In the Vietnam anti-war movement, the ultimate action by a protester who was called into the 'Military Service Draft' was to declare themselves a 'conscientious objector.' 

A conscientious objector is an "individual who has claimed the right to refuse to perform military service" on the grounds of freedom of thought, conscience, or religion. Wikipedia

The conscientious objector paid a huge personal price in their decision. They either had to flee their country and leave their former life behind, or lose their personal freedom and go to prison for a certain amount of sentenced time. My point here, is that the military service mandate imposed upon them and their individual decision to be a conscientious objector did not physically harm or kill anyone else.

Now for the anti-vaxxer it's totally a selfish decision, nothing conscientious about it, who I now call, "a cantankerous objector." Cantankerous objectors refusing to take the Covid-19 vaccine and fight the war of this deadly virus are in fact making a conscious choice that I define here.

A cantankerous objector is a grumpy misinformed individual who has claimed the right to refuse the Covid-19 vaccine and potentially contract and/or spread the virus causing a range of sickness to death to children and adults in the general population. 

To promote and practice an anti-vax/anti-mask stance is in my opinion, unethical and immoral, it's simply unAmerican. For young children under 12, they have NO Choice, other than to mask-up, unless under two, whom often can't tolerate a sun hat much less a mask around their little nose and mouth. My one-year granddaughter would be in that group. As an adult and/or parent, who would even think only about themselves, much less actively protest to endanger children in an ongoing public health crisis? 

With the Delta variant virus surging- sending children to the hospital, sending businesses and the economy back into limbo, sending us all back to mask mandates for our safety, it's all too much, again! 

I'm beyond patient as a vaxxed American. Driving by Kaiser Hospital on August 14th made me mad as hell!

some old-time American Civics  

In school as children we were all taught about how you don't have the right, or freedom, or liberty to shout, "FIRE" in a crowded theater. This most basic of examples taught us as CHILDREN that the safety of the entire group in the theater superseded any one person's free speech to yell something that might endanger a group of people. 

As Americans, 99.9% got the larger message back in the day, and then from Star Trek, Wrath of Khan, Spock says, “Logic clearly dictates that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.” Captain Kirk answers, “Or the one.”

And, The Three Musketeers- One for all, all for one.

Remember Polio?

Polio Iron Lung Ward -
The ventilator/respirator back in the good 'ol days
The history of polio (poliomyelitis) infections began during prehistory. Although major polio epidemics were unknown before the 20th century, the disease has caused paralysis and death for much of human history. Over millennia, polio survived quietly as an endemic pathogen until the 1900s when major epidemics began to occur in Europe. Soon after, widespread epidemics appeared in the United States. By 1910, frequent epidemics became regular events throughout the developed world primarily in cities during the summer months. At its peak in the 1940s and 1950s, polio would paralyze or kill over half a million people worldwide every year. (Wikipedia)

In 1921, at age 39, Franklin D. Roosevelt contracted polio and was left permanently paralyzed from the waist down.

Neil Young (5 Years Old)
In 1951, Neil Young contracted polio during the last major outbreak of the virus in Ontario, and nearly lost his life. Fellow Canadian music legend Joni Mitchell, two years his senior, also caught polio during the same outbreak. The family brought him to New Smyrna Beach, Florida in December 1951 where they stayed for 6 months for him to regain his strength. (Tidal)

In the United States, the 1952 polio epidemic was the worst outbreak in the nation's history, and is credited with heightening parents’ fears of the disease and focusing public awareness on the need for a vaccine. Of the 57,628 cases reported that year, 3,145 died and 21,269 were left with mild to disabling paralysis. (Wikipedia)

On March 26, 1953, Dr. Jonas Salk announced his successful polio vaccine to the world. I was born two years later on the same date, and as a child received the polio vaccine as my family and my whole community did, and as all the towns and cities of America did in the 1950's and 60's. Sure there was a mandate to get the polio vaccine before you could go to school, but TEAM America didn't need a mandate to do the right thing.

Elimination of Polio in the United States (from CDC):
  • by 1957 there were less than 6,000 cases
  • by 1963 there were less than 100 cases
  • by 1970  there were less than 10 cases
  • Since 1979, no cases of polio have originated in the U.S.
In the 20th century, TEAM America knew how to come together to fight the fascists in two world wars. So in the war with the polio virus in the mid-1950's, we now were armed with the Salk vaccine as it became 'ALL HANDS ON DECK' to get the vaccine and protect each other. As a country we were divided on many political issues, but when it came to public health issues of life and death, we knew how to come together as a democratic society.

As a result, people like me have never heard of or have never met someone who had contacted polio after my birth year of 1955. In 1955, If you carried an anti-vax sign that read, "LET ME CALL MY OWN SHOTS, proclaiming your personal freedom and liberty as an American citizen in 1955, you probably would have received a strong response being called at the very least, "unpatriotic" and "unAmerican" and quite possibly, "a pinko-commie pig!"

Maybe for the anti-vaxxers anti-maskers out there, we should just rebrand here for their bubble of selfish dilution and now call the Covid-19 virus, "POLIO!" Oh, sorry I forgot, they grew up vaccinated and probably don't know what polio is and it's disabling effects.

Remember Small Pox?

Smallpox is a terrible disease. On average, 3 out of every 10 people who got it died. People who survived usually had scars, which were sometimes severe. (CDC)

Smallpox was found on ancient mummies from 3000 years ago. In the 20th century it killed from 300-500 million people. The vaccine for smallpox was actually first developed in 1796 but only effective after successful world-wide inoculation programs in the 20th century made it completely eradicated across the globe-  
  • North America 1952
  • Europe 1953
  • South America 1971
  • Asia 1975
  • Africa 1977

Remember Measles and ChickenPox, I Do 

Here's a measles story told to me over the years by my mother, Fern.

My Grandparents & 3 Children (1933 or 34)
The McWilliams family were poor farmers in Texas in the depression of the early 1930's. In 1934, my grandparents had three girls, Nellie May (7), Wilma (5), and Juanita (15 months old). In February of that year, all three contracted the measles. Within a short time, both Nellie May and Juanita also developed pneumonia. Nellie May died first and then Juanita four days later. Wilma although very sick, survived the ordeal.

My mother was born in July of 1935, and two sisters, Wanda and Carolyn followed her two and five years later. In 1938, the McWilliams family came to California and although it was not a 'Grapes of Wrath' journey, it was pretty close.

When I was a teenager, my Grandma Mary was over for a family holiday celebration with my aunts Wanda and Carolyn. Some how they got on the topic of Nellie May and Juanita and my grandmother telling us about their lives. 

When it got to their death, there wasn't a dry eye in the house, I'll never forget it. One thing that sticks with me, is that my grandmother said, "After Nellie May passed, Wilma played with Nellie May as an imaginary friend, and she was never the same little girl, and neither was my husband."

8/25/21 Update- Shortly after I published this post, my sister Stephanie called me to remind me that our Grandma Mary's mother had died of the Spanish flu in the 1918 influenza pandemic (678,000 deaths). My grandmother was 13 thirteen years old and one of 12 children. She had to quit school in the 8th grade to instantly become a mother to her younger siblings. Later in 1947, her husband Edwin had a massive heart attack when he was only 40, and then lived in an oxygen tent in their living room for three years before he died at 43. My mother was 12 years old and helped raise her two younger siblings while my grandmother had to go to work and become the Post Master of her small town in Casmalia, CA. Grandma Mary was tough as nails with a heart of gold and had already lived a lifetime of suffering just before modern medicine kicked in the second half of the 20th century.

If you're younger than 55 years old or so, you probably don't remember the measles because a vaccine was tested and then implemented in 1963. As a child before the vaccines, I got the measles and chickenpox (varicella) and believe me I remember it as a horrible experience, same for my brother Steve and sister Stephanie.

In the decade before 1963 when a vaccine became available, nearly all children got measles by the time they were 15 years of age. It is estimated 3 to 4 million people in the United States were infected each year. Also each year, among reported cases, an estimated 400 to 500 people died, 48,000 were hospitalized, and 1,000 suffered encephalitis (swelling of the brain) from measles. Measles was declared eliminated (absence of continuous disease transmission for greater than 12 months) from the United States in 2000. (CDC)

Now my little sister Susan was born in 1965. The Beatles were the top band in America, the Vietnam war was beginning to escalate, but the war on the deadly viruses in America were going, going, almost gone. Susan never had the measles or any other of the world's deadly viruses (maybe chickenpox?), because she was born into the time and culture of the fully vaccinated. Note- The chickenpox vaccine was added to the childhood immunization schedule in 1995. It is part of the MMRV vaccine (measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella vaccine).

Stephanie's Baby Book.
The immunization schedule is built right-in.
In a conversation with my mother about this a few days ago she said, "I was the first in line to get all you kids the new vaccine whenever one came out."

The Vaccine Life

My point in all this is that the great majority of people living today have no idea how life was before world-wide vaccines and inoculation programs saved millions of lives in the 20th century. When it came to a virus as a public health crisis, TeamAmerica came together because they had directly experienced the suffering and death of viruses. 

In the 21st century, not so much. 

The anti-vax movement first took hold on the fringe left as part of the old dogma of government control of our personal lives coupled with various conspiracy theories. On the right, that dogma has been hijacked and politicized to work as an ongoing dividing wedge to keep conservative politicians in power fighting for "freedom" already and STILL secured here in America as any strong democracy on earth.

The anti-vax/anti-mask movement is bullshit politics, and it's killing Americans everyday as 49% of the total adult population has still chosen not to receive the FREE Covid-19 vaccination. The efficacy data on the Covid-19 vaccines  are overwhelming, they protect us and save lives! 

I can only hope the anti-vaxxers and anti-maskers behavior doesn't directly shut down the economy and schools again because of their selfish motives that continues to turbocharge the Delta variant. Didn't this same protest movement complain about the 2020 economy shutdown because of the lockdowns and mask mandates before the vaccine? I guess if you're blinded by dogma propaganda, logic is not part of your self-serving brain.

As of this post, 628,000 Americans have died from Covid-19. It would seem that for the anti-maskers who carry the highly offense signs at their rallies, "I Can't Breathe," I guess that would be to them, 628,000 inconveniences (not to mention that they don't give a rat's ass about George Floyd's and the Black Lives Matter movement's rights, freedom and liberty).

For the all the people in the U.S. who have never experienced suffering and death due to a virus, that time arrived in 2020 with the Covid-19 pandemic. What will change to get to herd immunity for Covid-19 in the United States? Sadly, behavior change for many may only come after a close family member or friend dies from the virus or variant(s). Believe me you didn't have to tell my mom and dad's generation more than once to get a vaccine when technology made it available. 

We will ultimately win the war on the Covid-19 virus and variant(s). But, it would have been wonderful if 21st century America could have come together to recapture "The Greatest Generation" mentality, spirit and disciple that defeated the Nazis and the killer viruses, and saved the world. Thanks mom and dad.


And now for a Live Music Playlist From My Cancelled Concerts Due To Covid-19 that I have missed so far in 2020-21. I also included some live Jayhawks songs because I was so close to hitting the "Purchase" button a couple of times this past week.

Charlie Watts (1941-2021)
Also, rest in peace Charlie Watts. I missed seeing The Rolling Stones during your lifetime and after holding cancelled tickets to your shows in Las Vegas before the pandemic, and in San Diego during the pandemic. It wasn't meant to be, but we have a lifetime of Stone's music and videos of you providing your unassuming solid rock beat as one the best drummers of all-time!