Monday, March 29, 2021

#NewMusicMonday • March, 2021

March has been a Neil Young month of sorts. Neil has so much unreleased material that he is just now getting around to share with the public- Neil Young Archives Vol. II: 1972-1976, and Young Shakespeare (1971). If you're a fan, it's new music (or a new release) to our old ears.

Right now, I'm on a Neil Young biographies jag. Good friend Ken Forman sent me Neil's 2012 autobiography, Waging Heavy Peace: Hippie Dream that was perfect timing with his new batch of releases that I have mixed in this month's playlists. Thanks Ken!

Friend Mark Hunter and I are getting together next week for some takeout sushi and beers. After not seeing each other for many months due to the pandemic, he's going to bring along the 2003 Neil Young biography Shaky for me to borrow, and I'm going to do the same as he has never read Waging Heavy Peace. I love how I'm reading these backwards in time. 

Neil's a very special musician to several generations now. If you're into my blog and playlists, you know I always manage a way to stick his tunes in my playlists. So enjoy some of his new old stuff that I have selected and mixed right in with all the younger musician's new songs. I'm thinking, Neil would probably like that last sentence.

This week, all the work is in the playlist (80 songs), or my new spin on an old proverbThe proof of the playlist is in the listening. 

That's all I got. 

Enjoy my friends, stay healthy and mask-up. 

Monday, March 22, 2021

#BestSongIHeardToday • Volume III

 Volume I • II • III • IV  • V •  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.

Man's Got To Know His Limitations. –Dirty Harry



2nd Edition @ Amazon Books
Pain is a signal that something is wrong. If it is mild and disappears quickly it's probably nothing to worry about. However, if the pain is severe, or persists for over a week, your body is trying to tell you something. Take it seriously! Catching an injury early always makes it easier to take care of. There are many people who fail to listen to their body's early warning signals, and as a result they have compounded their injuries, crippling themselves with unnecessary pain for months and even years. –Dr. Ben E. Benjamin, Ph.D 

My good friend Mark Hunter turned me on to the book, Listen to Your Pain many years ago during its first edition back in the 80's. It's a great reference book for every household. 

Mark has in fact given me two life-long mantra's to work with. First, as roommates in college with his enduring, "Health is a lifestyle." Living with Mark in the mid-1970's, I felt that I had earned a minor in Health Science in our countless conversations in the dorm and then living together in a couple of different apartments. The second, is right here in the book title and is my runner's manta, "Listen to Your Pain." Now I haven't always been a good listener, but I think I'm finally getting this running thing down since I started a 'running the streets' PE class in what used to be called, "Junior College" back in the fall of 1973 (with friend Paul Hobbs).

That PE class in fact provided a blueprint for maintaining a healthy life-long habit as Paul and I have both been consistently running now for 48 years. We've both had our share of injuries over the years, but nothing to stop us permanently, yet. 

Now for me, I've always set some personal goal in relation to distance and speed, that upon recent reflection, has me uttering Dirty Harry's line. You see, the mortal process of degeneration has taken me from a runner to now a slogger (slow jogger)

So many parts, so much gravity. Source - Web MD

My goal for the past three years or so, was to run 5 miles and average 5.0 miles per hour for one hour (a 12 minute mile). Starting last year, this goal has in fact resulted in typically a calf or knee injury for me every three to four months. Man's got to know...

Recently, I felt a slight pain in my right knee, that wasn't going away. I listened to my body, stopped running and only walked. It took FIVE weeks for the total discomfort to go away. After the first three weeks, I finally woke up to my slow brain saying, "Why aren't you icing your knee dumb ass!" So, I began icing twice a day, and like Trump off Twitter, that nagging pain simply disappeared after a couple of weeks. 

I then started slogging again, but this time at 4.0 mph for 4 miles. This past couple of weeks I'm averaging between 4.2 - 4.5 mph for 5 miles. I've found that my sixty-five year old body is now humming at a natural rhythm at 4.33 mph and I'm feeling great with no mental stress to push my body beyond the reach of my reality. In fact my new goal is NOT to run faster than 4.5 mph for 5 miles. The hare is dead, long live Team Tortoise!

A lot of people don't understand why runners run. I don't have a pat answer. For me, I do some of my best thinking while running alone on the trail. I hear terrific new and old songs. It helps me battle the weekly fight against weight gain since my late 30's. Probably the best answer is Mark in my head, "Health is a lifestyle, dumb ass!"

Here's several suggestions for walking or running with your life's pair of wheels.

Cloth Ice Pack Wrap with Velcro Strap

I ice my knees at least once a day for a half hour in my recliner.
There is no silver bullet, but there is ice.
Meanwhile, enjoying the Bob Dylan doc, No Direction Home

Glucosamine Chondroitin Msm + Hyaluronic Acid

This is the kitchen sink of the four main joint support supplements on the market, all in one capsule. I take two of these twice a day with a meal, everyday. It takes about two-three weeks to start working in you system and quietly works in the background. If I stop taking my joint support supplement for a week or two, my knees mysteriously start to bark at me!

Enjoy my friends, stay well,
ice if you need to, and mask-up out there!

Oh and speaking of masks, if you wear glasses of any kind, I have ditched the anti-fog spray as my daughter Shawna has turned me on to reusable dry anti-fog cloth. Here is my current suggestion.


Now on to the music
Here's a selection of 25 #BestSongsiHeardToday that took longer to assemble this go around, but now I'm back bouncing to these beats and have started a Volume IV.

Monday, March 15, 2021

Fifty Years of Music • March, 1971

Elton John, 1971

The wealth of rock 'n' roll material in the late 60's - early 70's is a gold mine of riches to reflect upon. Such is the month of March, 1971. I think right now I have a playlist of three complete albums and eleven other albums with two or more songs, with a total of sixty-two songs. Do I write one post or four? Well, I settled for one because I have just enough words for about one post here. 

You see, I've also started writing my second book, which has cut into my word count here on Monday Monday Music. This blog suffered a bit with weeks of inactivity from 2016-2018 as I was running my educational consulting business and writing my first book, Learning Environment Design (LED (shameless plug here).

This go around I'm swearing, no not in a pledge, but cussing that I damn better hit 'Publish' every Monday Monday until a distant future blue hot cremation fire succumbs my body, "Am I in hell?"

Okay, first up is an all-time favorite, Friends (film soundtrack) that I probably played more in 1973-74 because my girlfriend was in love with Elton John and I was in love with her. We went to the $1.00 Cinema Theater in Orcutt, CA to watch the movie, as we did for Fiddler On The Roof, Finian's Rainbow and a bunch of other movies that weren't first run movies any longer. 

As a young teenager, friend Paul Hobbs was infatuated with the young French actress lead from FriendsAnicée Alvina as a young boy's dream. Every song from the soundtrack made the playlist this week as this soundtrack was a big hit with Elton's growing fan base.

Second up is Bryter Layter by English singer-songwriter Nick Drake. In 1971 Nick Drake was not on my radar, but over the years I have heard some of his music, and here 50 years later, I'm a fan. Unfortunately, Nick Drake suffered from depression and died from an overdose at the tender age of 26. This sad story just continued to play out in the early 1970's. 

Every song makes the playlist this week. Drake's shy introspect lyrics mesh with the wonderfully crafted string and brass arrangements from Robert Kirby as this album stands the test of time and is prime for a new generation to discover. Long live Nick Drake! 

Next up is Aqualung by Jethro Tull. This album got initial play in friend and next door neighbor Ron Zieman's bedroom and I dedicate the entire album to our listening experiences together. The album also got some quality airplay in my college dorm in 1975 as my room was music central. I brought my high school graduation stereo sound system with its 3 ft. cubic speakers packed in a two bed dorm room. My roommate Kevin Kuhlmeyer was a wonderful person and we bonded as education majors. Poor Kevin put up with many spur of the moment listening sessions with fellow dorm hall mates Mark Hunter and Chris Mitchell, and sometimes if we were lucky, a few girls from Zapotec Hall would join us. Chris really loved 'The Tull' and I remember him saying he loved Martin Barre's guitar playing on this album.

I've also got lots of songs from Alice Cooper (of all people), The Kinks, Buddy Miles, Leonard Cohen, John Mayall, Dave Mason and Cass Elliot, Humble Pie, Delaney and Bonnie, Janis Ian, Mott The Hopple, and James' brother Alex Taylor to finish the large mix of music this week. A little something for everybody.

I also want to dedicate this post to friend Kevin Kuhlmeyer, my dorm roommate in Toltec Hall from 1975-76. I found this picture of Kevin online in a 1977 San Diego State Yearbook pdf this past week, which I think is kind of amazing. I remember him telling me he was going to take a graduating class photo, and all these years later, I'm so glad he did. Here's to our days on campus, at Catalina Island, and you showing me around your home town of Pasadena. Rest in peace brother.

Enjoy my friends, stay well and mask-up!

Monday, March 08, 2021

Fifty Years of Music • Live at Massey Hall 1971

Neil Young's Live at Massey Hall 1971 is my favorite live album of all-time.
@ Amazon
It was recorded January 19, 1971 and circulated for years as a bootleg before Neil officially released it March 13, 2007. Now I'm a couple months late in getting this post out, but it's timely because Mr. Young has a wonderful surprise for his fans and a birthday present for me coming up on March 26th.

On that date, he is going to release Young Shakespeare, a live concert album recorded just three days after Massey Hall on January 22, 1971 at the Shakespeare Theater in Stratford, Connecticut.

What makes Young Shakespeare special unlike the Massey Hall performance is that the Shakespeare Theater concert was filmed (although from what I've seen so far on YouTube, it looks like a ten year old was behind the camera). 

I'm planning on presenting the Young Shakespeare concert in my March 29th post as my readers and I can just take in this new release in our continuing journey through the past together. Being only three days apart we can compare to see if Young Shakespeare rivals Live at Massey Hall 1971. Here is what Neil has said on the subject.

Coming March 26th
“[Producer] John Hanlon and I both feel Shakespeare is superior to our beloved Massey Hall,” Young wrote last year on the Neil Young Archives. “A more calm performance, without the celebratory atmosphere of Massey Hall, captured live on 16mm film. Young Shakespeare is a very special event. To my fans, I say this is the best ever. Young Shakespeare is the performance of that era. Personal and emotional, for me, it defines that time.” Rolling Stone, Andy Greene, 2/12/21

Okay Neil we trust you all the way, but for the moment we're going to take in your famous Massey Hall performance and a little shout out to your best bud and producer, David Briggs.

According to Young, "This is the album that should have come out between After the Gold Rush and Harvest...David Briggs, my producer, was adamant that this should be the record, but I was very excited about the takes we got on Harvest, and wanted Harvest out. David disagreed. As I listen to this today, I can see why." Wikipedia

Enjoy my friends, this one's very special. 
stay well and mask-up.

Monday, March 01, 2021

Neil Young Archives (NYA) • Way Down In The Rust Bucket

Photo Source: NYA Times-Contrarian 2/23/21.

T
he Neil Young Archives (NYA) is an ongoing project started by Neil to curate all his recordings, photos, videos and memorabilia spanning across his career. In 2016, NYA became a website and in 2019, he created a subscription service website with enhanced high-quality audio streaming all his music.

The subscription service is $2.00 a month or $20.00 a year. This includes getting all of Neil's music through his Xstream audio service on your phone, tablet, or by using the NYA web site. If you are a yearly subscriber that also gets you to the front of the line for concert pre-sales.

NYA provides a free experience in that you can browse and read so much information relating to Young's life that I highly recommend you check out and explore the web site. One of the features of the site is the NYA Times-Contrarian with tons of articles organized in an old faded yellow newspaper format. You can also hear the 'Song of the Day', or a 'Featured Album.'

The web site is one of the most creative web sites I have ever seen. Its just so retro-funky cool, reflecting Young's personality and attention to detail as he does with all the varied projects in his life.

Now what got me back to look at NYA was the February 26th release for his never released double live album with Crazy Horse, Way Down In The Rust Bucket

The album was recorded on November 13, 1990 at The Catalyst in Santa Cruz, CA, where the band was warming up for their upcoming Ragged Glory tour. The show consisted of three sets and an encore, featuring most of recently released Ragged Glory, as well as older fan favorites and deeper cuts. Wikipedia

Here's the web interface for Way Down In The Rust Bucket on NYA, and I've got you covered this week with the playlist of the album on YouTube.
Enjoy the concert my friends! this is only the beginning
as March is going to be a Neil Young Archives month, and remember, 
rust never sleeps.