Monday, June 20, 2022

Fifty Years of Music • June, 1972

I'm not an Alice Cooper fan, but his timely June, 1972 release of School's Out was a big hit with all the kids back in the day. Years later as a teacher inside the educational system, I remember our host playing School's Out at a year-end staff party at his house with assorted beverages. I was ready to hit the beach.

On a recent weekend trip to Santa Maria to see my mother, I was driving on a two lane blacktop back road (the old Highway 1) heading down from the Nipomo mesa to Oceano. I suddenly had a flashback of being on this same stretch as a 14 year old in the summer of 1969 with pals, Ron, Paul, and Gary on our bikes. As I remember it, they were all on their 10-speed bikes, but I had my sister's old three-speed clunker as my 10-speed had recently been stolen from my front driveway, the frickin' nerve. I even wrote a letter to the Santa Maria Times editorial page warning of the rash of bike thefts at the time. That bike was a jewel with its metallic pearl white finish.

"And meaner than a junkyard dog"
–Bad, Bad Leroy Brown
So the lads and I just out of school head out one early morning west of Santa Maria on Main St. (166) to the little town of Guadalupe. 

Note- I guess living in a small town in the late 60's our parents would just let us take off on our bikes to go beach camping by ourselves. I can't even imagine a parent letting a 14 year old do that today.

Anyway, somewhere on the often dangerous two lane to Guadalupe, Gary gets a flat tire and we waste a good part of the day walking to a gas station in Guadalupe to get the tire patched. Then we head north through the eucalyptus trees on Nipomo Highway 1. I remember we rode past one of the old junkyards that used be there in the woods and suddenly several junkyard dogs emerge chasing us on this backroad. My friends on their 10-speeds put their bikes into gear and easily sped away from the dogs. I on the other hand with a rusty chain in a single gear was instantly the sole target now standing and frantically pedaling to get some speed. With the handlebars swaying from side to side I thought I'd finally pumped up enough speed when suddenly I feel a stinging pain as the lead dog sinks his teeth into my right ankle. Winded and defeated, I ride up to the rested and waiting boys. They ridicule the old family 3-speed, and revenge visions of catching my 10-speed bike thief in his criminal act come back to play in my head.


So, we proceed on our bike journey and come to a downward grade (pictured above from Google Maps).  I will estimate it is about a mile long as you come out of Nipomo. It drops into a left turn on Highway 1 that leads into Oceano and then north to our destination, the Pismo Beach Campgrounds.

The boys take off for the glide and brake down the hill as I follow in tow. As I pick up speed, the bike starts to shake, rattle and rattle some more. I apply both the front and rear brakes on my handlebars... nothing! I'm now speeding down this hill in this rocket rust bucket as the worn down brake pads serve only as a hood ornament. 

If you look at the picture where the road bends, I think this is the spot where I was going to attempt to ride up the side of the hill to slow myself down. Unfortunately, my front tire flipped sideways as it hit the dip at the edge of the asphalt. This did stop the bike cold, but my inertia propelled me straight over the handlebars in a momentary superman fashion before landing hands first sliding across the road for probably 5 or 6 feet. Luckily, I was wearing my trusty Levi 501 jeans that protected my knees, but my hands absorbing the impact were a fire hot red from the horizontal skid on the pavement. I picked myself up, the bike actually still rideable. I then straddle the bar with my tennis shoes acting as my new brake pads until I get to the bottom of the hill, where I find the boys rested and waiting for me. 


When we finally got to Pismo Beach, I remember going into the pacific ocean with the healing properties of the salt water washing over me like a cool blanket. School's out. I'm surrounded by great friends, free and on our own as young teenagers on the central coast of California with many fun days of summer still ahead.

Enjoy the eclectic sounds of June, 1972 with the Eagles debut album, David Bowie taking off as Ziggy Stardust, Aretha's gospel roots on full display, Leon Russell's great songwriting, and Jethro Tull with sort of a compilation album with some songs never released in the U.S. before. No format radio here. Take it easy my friends and have a great summer!

Monday, June 13, 2022

Under The Influence • Songs of 1960-1962

Songs of 1949-19511952-19551956-19591960-1962

The Beatles at the Indra Club, Hamburg,  August 17, 1960. L-R: John Lennon, George Harrison, Pete Best, Paul McCartney, and Stuart Sutcliffe.

Songs of 1960-1962  concludes my mini-series Under The Influence. This series is based on my primary source, Wikipedia and their organization of music through the years. What I found interesting about Wikipedia's (Year) In Music entries is their succinct 'Events' highlights. Then, new albums released are listed alphabetically for the entire year, until 1963.

In 1963, Wikipedia entries go from a yearly album overview, to a month to month breakdown of mostly all popular albums from that month in time. As it turns out, rock 'n' roll is a lot bigger deal than the short-lived fad that many in the short-minded establishment predicted would quickly fade away.

In 1964, popular music just explodes with The Beatles coming to America and the The British Invasion.

On January 28th, 2019, I started my Fifty Years in Music • (Month and Year) Series starting with January, 1969. I noticed in going back to find that first post of the series, that I actually had skipped several months along the way. I will correct that, and at some point will have a Monday Monday Music™ historical record of the music that has influenced my life, and probably yours, since 1949.

My long-term game plan will be to have two concurrent 'Way Back' series– my current Fifty Years in Music that will cover the 1970's, and starting in 2023– Sixty Years of Music to cover every month and year of the 1960's, starting in 1963. 

••••••••••

No regrets.

Now one of the things I have mentally done over the years in the reflection of my life, is that I play the game, What If...

I've gone back to the fall of 1973 when I started college and started planning my life as a future teacher. My plan at the time was to become a special education teacher. I did that, and then I went on to become a general education elementary teacher, I did that, and so forth...

But, I did have an alternate plan of becoming a History major and teaching History at high school as it was my favorite subject in all of school. In my recent shoulda coulda reflections, that would have included a minor in English, but at 18 years of age, writing something more than a school assignment was something that I was never going to do. Later at San Diego State, I had to pay other students to type my assignments that required a typed finished product. 

So as a pretext here, I'm writing (typing on my laptop from the home row) about music every week that often goes back in history to the second half of the 20th century. 

Never say never.

••••••••••

1960 through 1962  is still about Elvis, but the King is already transitioning to ballads as many rock 'n' roll bands are forming in England and America and preparing for their own ascent to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, if not the rock 'n' roll throne.

In putting the playlist together, I was amazed at how many electric guitar instrumentals were huge Billboard 100 hits creating the whole surf music craze of the early 1960's. I think the public had just fallen in love with the electric guitar and you could see how every kid interested in playing music, simply had to have one.

Note- All dates and timeline descriptions below in italic are from Wikipedia. What I have done in this cut and copy exercise is to only include the interesting and influential stuff (from my perspective) from 1960-62. I have also interjected some (mostly sarcastic) commentary of my own in regular text.

1960 in Music

  • January – Stuart Sutcliffe joins the Liverpool band Johnny and the Moondogs and suggests they change their name to the Beatals; after several variations this settles on The Beatles in August. Stu was quite the looker, no doubt the best looking and coolest BEATAL starting out.
  • January 14 – Elvis Presley is promoted to Sergeant in the United States Army. Really.
  • January 25 – The National Association of Broadcasters in the United States reacts to the payola scandal by threatening fines for any disc jockeys accepting money for playing particular records. The music business has always been such a slimy business.
  • March 5 – Elvis Presley returns home from serving in the U.S. Army in Germany, having stopped off on March 2 at Glasgow Prestwick Airport, his only time in the U.K. Really, with all those #1's in the U.K. I would have thought he played there.
  • April 4 – RCA Victor Records announces that it will release all pop singles in mono and stereo simultaneously, the first record company to do so. Elvis Presley's single "Stuck on You" is RCA's first mono/stereo release.
  • April 17 – Eddie Cochran, Gene Vincent and Cochran's girlfriend Sharon Sheeley are injured in a car accident near Chippenham in England. Cochran dies in a hospital in Bath, Somerset, from severe brain injuries. Police officer David Harman, who attends the incident, starts learning to play the guitar using Cochran's impounded Gretsch, later becoming professional musician Dave Dee. I've never heard the last part of that story.
  • April 20 – Elvis Presley returns to Hollywood for the first time since coming home from Germany to film G.I. Blues. Bring on those "B" slock movies.
  • May 2 – The Drifters' Ben E. King leaves the group and signs a solo record contract with ATCO Records.
  • May 20–28 – The Beatles, as the Silver Beetles (uncredited), play their first ever tour, as a backing group for Johnny Gentle on a tour of Scotland. The lineup comprises John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Stuart Sutcliffe and Tommy Moore.
  • July – The Shadows' instrumental 'Apache' is released in the U.K. I Love that song!
  • August 17 – The Beatles make their debut under this name in Hamburg, Germany, beginning a 48-night residency at the Indra club. The band at the time comprises John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Stu Sutcliffe on bass and Pete Best on drums. (see photo above, credit to The Beatles Bible.)
  • The last 78 rpm records are released in the U.S. and the U.K.
  • English rock musician Ritchie Blackmore's musical career begins.
  • 14-year-old Neil Young founds The Jades with Ken Koblun. Neil loved The Shadows and playing Apache, not to mention his affinity for surf-style guitar.

1961 in Music

  • January 15 – Motown Records signs The Supremes. Have you ever heard of anyone not liking the Supremes? It's like someone saying, "I don't like pizza."
  • February 9 – The Beatles at The Cavern Club: The Beatles, at this juncture John, Paul, George and Pete, perform under this name at The Cavern Club for the first time following their December return to Liverpool from Hamburg. Beginning with this lunchtime session, the group would go on to make almost 300 appearances here in total. Practice, practice, practice.
  • February 12 – The Miracles' "Shop Around" becomes Motown's first million-selling single. Smokey Robinson's influence is off the charts.
  • February 13 – Frank Sinatra forms his own record label, Reprise Records, which will later release recordings by The Beach Boys, Ella Fitzgerald, The Kinks and Jimi Hendrix. Frank knew his way around a recording studio. Frank was very business savvy, like reading the script and not making "B" movies.
  • The 3rd Annual Grammy Awards are held in Los Angeles, hosted by actor Lloyd Bridges. Lloyd must have had a great agent! Ray Charles wins the most awards with four. Ray's on fire! Bob Newhart's The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart wins Album of the Year, Percy Faith's version of the "theme from A Summer Place" wins Record of the Year and Ernest Gold's "Theme from Exodus" wins Song of the Year. Newhart also wins Best New Artist. Really, Percy Faith? Love Bob Newhart who was the young part of that older generation tradition of being a lifetime comic and actor on TV.
  • June 14 – Patsy Cline is hospitalized as a result of a head-on car collision. While she is in hospital, the song "I Fall to Pieces" becomes a big Country/Pop crossover hit for her. Bigger news coming...
  • June–July – Stu Sutcliffe leaves The Beatles to resume his art studies in Hamburg. Man, who's gonna play bass now?
  • July 17 – Billboard magazine first publishes an "Easy Listening" chart, listing songs that the magazine determines are not rock & roll records. The first #1 song on this chart is "The Boll Weevil Song" by Brook Benton. This chart will be renamed a number of times, becoming the Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks chart. The kids are driving the bus now.
  • October 17 – Former schoolfriends Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, later of The Rolling Stones, meet each other again by chance on Dartford railway station in Kent, England, on the way to their respective colleges and discover their mutual taste for rock and roll. Turns out, the whole universe is a series of random events.
  • November 9 – The Beatles at The Cavern Club: Future manager Brian Epstein first sees The Beatles. A huge part of The Beatles early success.
  • December 8 – The Beach Boys release their debut 45rpm single: "Surfin'"/"Luau" on the small California label Candix Records. If you love The Beach Boys, you have to read David Marks' book, 'The Lost Beach Boy.'
  • December 9 – The Beatles play their first gig in the south of England, at Aldershot. Due to an advertising failure, only 18 people turn up. In the early hours of the following morning they play an impromptu set at a London club. You mean Facebook screwed up back then too.
  • The Country Music Association (CMA) creates the Country Music Hall of Fame and inducts, Jimmie Rodgers, Fred Rose and Hank Williams as the first three members.
1962 in Music
  • January 1 – The Beatles and Brian Poole and the Tremeloes both audition at Decca Records in London which has the option of signing one group only. The Beatles are rejected, mainly as they come from Liverpool and the others are Dagenham-based, nearer London. Decca will come to regret that decision.
  • January 5 – The first album on which The Beatles play, My Bonnie, credited to "Tony Sheridan and the Beat Brothers" (recorded last June in Hamburg and produced by Bert Kaempfert), is released by Polydor.
  • January 24 – Brian Epstein signs on to manage The Beatles. Good move lads.
  • March 19 – Bob Dylan releases his debut album, Bob Dylan, in the United States, featuring mostly folk standards. The New Folk Movement gets their superstar.
  • April 7 – Mick Jagger and Keith Richards meet Brian Jones at The Ealing Club, a blues club in London. What if Brian Jones had lived past 1969? It sure would have made things even more interesting with their very interesting band.
  • April 10 – Former Beatle Stuart Sutcliffe dies from cerebral paralysis caused by a brain hemorrhage in Hamburg, Germany. The good die young.
  • April 12 – A recording is made of Bob Dylan's concert at the Town Hall, in New York City by Columbia Records. (Columbia eventually release the recording of "Tomorrow is a Long Time" from this concert.)
  • April 24 – Bob Dylan begins recording The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan in New York. Look out world.
  • May 29 – The 4th Annual Grammy Awards are held in Chicago, Los Angeles and New York. Henry Mancini wins the most awards with five, including Record of the Year and Song of the Year for his song "Moon River". Judy Garland's Judy at Carnegie Hall wins Album of the Year, while Peter Nero wins Best New Artist. The old guard will run the Grammy's for years to come and mostly be out of touch with the changing culture.
  • June 6 – The Beatles play their first session at EMI's Abbey Road Studios in London.
  • June 19 – The film version of the musical The Music Man is released to theaters by Warner Bros. "Ya got trouble, my friend, right here, I say, trouble right here in River City."
  • August 2 – Robert Allen Zimmerman legally changes his name to Bob Dylan in the New York Supreme Court. Bob has repeatedly said that he did not take his name from Dylan Thomas. His quote, " I have done more for Dylan Thomas than he's ever has done for me."
  • August 16 – The Beatles fire drummer Pete Best and replace him with Ringo Starr. Single best decision the lads ever make as a band.
  • August 17 – 'Instrumental Telstar,' written and produced by Joe Meek for English band The Tornados, is released in the UK. The song will eventually be the first song by a British group ever to reach the top spot on the Billboard Top 100 in the United States, proving to be a precursor to the British Invasion.
  • August 18 – The Beatles play their first live engagement with the line-up of John, Paul, George and Ringo, at Hulme Hall, Port Sunlight on the Wirral Peninsula.
  • August 20 – Albert Grossman becomes Bob Dylan's manager. Colonel Tom Parker with a beard?
  • August 23 – John Lennon marries Cynthia Powell in an unpublicized register office ceremony at Mount Pleasant, Liverpool. She would not be treated well by John.
  • September 21 – New Musical Express, the British music magazine, publishes a story about two 13-year-old schoolgirls, Sue and Mary, releasing a disc on Decca and adds "A Liverpool group, The Beatles, have recorded 'Love Me Do' for Parlophone Records, set for October 5 release."
  • September 22 – Bob Dylan appears for the first time at Carnegie Hall in New York City as part of a hootenanny including the first public performance of "A Hard Rain's a-Gonna Fall". I've heard live 1963 and 64 recordings of Hard Rain and they are extremely powerful, I got chills the first time I heard these live recordings just a few years ago.
  • September 23 – Opening concert at the New York Philharmonic's new home, Philharmonic Hall at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, conducted by Leonard Bernstein and broadcast live on television across the United States by NBC. The opening work, Aaron Copland's specially commissioned Connotations, sends "shock waves through the world of music".
  • October 5 – The Beatles' first single in their own right, "Love Me Do"/"P.S. I Love You", is released in the UK on EMI's Parlophone label. Look out world!
  • October 17 – The Beatles make their first televised appearance, on Granada television's local news programme People and Places.
  • October 20 – Peter, Paul and Mary's self-titled debut album reaches No. 1 on the Billboard 200 album chart. Like a Hard Day's Night, I found this album in my grandfather's 'Columbia House Record Club' collection in his stereo console after he died and snatched it to be part of my new record collection in 1967.
  • Joan Baez has all of her first three albums on the Billboard charts, on their way to Gold status. I was not a fan of Joan Baez as a young person, but have grown to admire her life-long activism and singing. Unlike many of her contemporaries, Baez is a great example to anyone in how to take care of yourself over the years.
  • Two Pete Seeger classic songs reach the Billboard pop charts:"Where Have All the Flowers Gone" recorded by The Kingston Trio reaches No. 21. "If I Had a Hammer", recorded by Peter, Paul and Mary, reaches No. 10. Pete is such an influence to kick-starting the new folk movement and bringing folk music into U.S. classrooms across America. 
  • The first American Folk Blues Festival, initiated by German promoters, tours Europe; artists include Sonny Terry, Brownie McGhee and T-Bone Walker. Its only UK date, 21 October at the Free Trade Hall, Manchester, is influential on the British R&B scene, with the audience including Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Brian Jones of The Rolling Stones with Jimmy Page, Paul Jones, John Mayall and other musicians, and with a second show filmed and shown on Independent Television. Sad to learn years later that American Blues and Jazz treasures had to go to Europe to get the recognition they deserved. In a large sense Europe is like a boomerang for American music, where we put it out there, it's appreciated and absorbed by European fans who in turn bring it back around to American audiences. 

Monday, June 06, 2022

#BestSongIHeardToday • Volume 12

A complete rust bucket by 2025? That's my prediction of this metal bucket turned flower pot purchased a couple of years ago at Ross Dress For Less on the senior 10% off Tuesday. I'm always on the hunt for Mexican clay pots or metal containers that I can stick my succulents in. 

Now let me tell you straight up, I don't know squat about succulents. I don't know know their names, I don't know what this one's name is, I'll call it, "Not Dead Yet" succulent.  All I know is that if it has a thick rubbery petal, it's a succulent. All I have to do is snap off a limb from a larger plant (thanks mom) and stick it in some kind of pot with planting soil, and I'm good to go. People ask me what I do to have such green plants? um.... "I send them positive vibes." I was going to say, "I pray with them" but the proof-reader in me said, "Maybe just try not to piss off anybody in authority this week."

Now the impending rust bucket is a daily visual reminder for me to stay sharp, keep moving, and to do a little more in life, than "just add water," as you can see what it's done for this bucket, just sitting around. Hey, I even drilled a bunch of holes in the bottom of this bucket for drainage and all. The gratitude of such objects, probably is going to start calling itself, "shabby chic" any day now. (Is he going to talk about music at some point here?)

So I bumped into Neil Young's Rust Never Sleeps (1979) (from Youtube's AI watch over me) the other day, and I thought I'd marry my succulent bucket with Neil's sentiment to keep moving forward... like ride your bike or you're going to freeze up the gears and chain, something like that. (Can you believe he's not going to talk about the song, 'My My, Hey Hey (Out of the Blue)' and Kurt Cobain and everything about better to be this than that? I tell ya, he's no Robert Hilburn. I just checked the playlist and it's not there either.)

Enjoy the playlist my friends.

Here is the YouTube Music app which is great for listening to this playlist on your phone. Click on the text link below. https://music.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLE7OYmYUxGQdvT4LIATgjm3Cx4559Xzjj&feature=share

Monday, May 30, 2022

#NewMusicMonday • May, 2022


 Pop music. I'm mostly underwhelmed by most pop artists and bands today, and then Harry Styles came along a few years back. He's so good, and getting better. So good in fact, that I keep listening to his new album, Harry's House like I used to listen to new albums. I think it's simply fantastic! Harry's a terrific person who's really lifting people up with this new album and it's perfectly timed to counter the hate in our increasingly 'cruel country.' Go Harry!

Last Friday, my daughter Shawna stopped by to help me take my car in for some service. While my car was in the shop, we drove together to get some breakfast at our favorite, DZ Akins. In her car, she starts to play Harry's House and asks me if I have heard any of the new songs? 

She then tells me how Harry Styles is part of a group of artists with a special invite to Joni Mitchell's house (pre-Covid) to play, sing and just jam together. Harry's House is in fact a Joni Mitchell song (not on Harry's new album) but on her 1975 album, The Hissing of Summer Lawns (still part of my vinyl collection). I'm sure as polite as Harry is he probably asked for permission first, as Joni tweeted her approval when the album was announced in March. Oh Harry, the friends you keep.

In my opinion,  I think Harry Styles is going to be the artist of his generation as his greatness has only just begun.

I was also pleased to discover that this was a great release month for new rock 'n' roll and Americana with a little something for everybody. I'll let my usual album focused playlist speak for itself this month.

But first, something more important from the editorial desk-
My fellow 90% of Americans, enough. It is time to vote out all the politicians who don't support background checks on all gun sales. These same NRA funded politicians continue to support the insanity of letting the general public continue to buy assault weapons with high-capacity bullet magazines. I think the NRA's issue of Democrats taking away people's guns for hunting animals has never been the issue at all. But now more than ever, Americans face the much larger crisis of people hunting people with AR-15 style rifles (60 Minutes) as their mass weapon of choice in our schools, churches and public gathering places. It's way past time to throw these assholes out of office and their semi-automatic thoughts and prayers. Enough. If you didn't watch 60 Minutes last night, I recommend you click on the link above.

Now Harry Styles brought me to Everytown for Gun Safety where he has just donated 1 million dollars to this leading non-profit organization. I can't match that but Mike Bloomberg is tripling Harry's donation and yours too if you make a donation by May 31st. I just donated $25 so thank you Mr. Bloomberg for tripling that! 

Enjoy the music my friends.



Here is the YouTube Music app which is great for listening to this playlist on your phone. Click on the text link below. 
https://music.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLE7OYmYUxGQfTBn0w_OOa-iC7Pa-_FBAG&feature=share

Monday, May 23, 2022

Fifty Years of Music • May, 1972

In America you get food to eat
Won't have to run through the jungle
And scuff up your feet
You just sing about Jesus and drink wine all day
It's great to be an American
–Sail Away, Randy Newman

So I was wondering when the streak would end?

Meaning, what month would I only have three albums to showcase as the header for this month fifty years ago. Typically, I can have between 6 and 10 albums that I feel are worthy as whole albums. Was this the month where the rock 'n' roll well started to lose water?

In 1972, The 60's were officially dead, not to mention Jimi, Janis, and Jim. The Beatles were no more. The Beach Boys were done, Bob Dylan was where? The original Byrds had long flown, Neil Young was embarking on making non-selling solo albums, CS&N were toast, Motown took the last train for the coast...

Yet, The Rolling Stones make their critically received Exile On Main St., an album I would appreciate much later but I'm sure for many, a 'stay calm and rock on' moment... we still have the Stones. Elton John has moved from the new kid in town into being a huge superstar, and Randy Newman ascends into 'American Treasure' songwriter status even though many people will only know him for his much later, Toy Story movie score.

These three albums are for me a perfect moment in rock 'n' roll time. 

The Stones are the 60's past but in 1972 are still making great rock 'n' roll and white boy blues. In the 70's, The Rolling Stones cement their 'best rock 'n' roll band of all time' title in that they are the band who lived for another day, then year, and as it's turned out decades... 60 years baby! 

After Brian Jones death in 1969, The Stones have only had two new members, guitarist Mick Taylor who lasted 5 years (1969-74) because he probably thought he'd be dead in another 5 years, and his replacement, Ronnie Wood (1975-present). The line up of Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts, and Ronnie Wood would remain the same until Charlie's death last year. And, they're still a band today adding all-star drummer Steve Jordan recently. Of all the bands in the world, nobody can deny their greatness and appreciate their sheer longevity in an industry that chews up bands and spits them out as sport. Not to mention most bands tendency to self-destruct once money, drugs and fame enter the picture. Long live The Rolling Stones.

Elton John represents the transition to 1970's rock 'n' roll. He with David Bowie become huge stars. In an odd way, Elton replaces Neil Young for me. Elton with Bernie Taupin are fantastic songwriters. He is also a great singer and entertainer, basically the whole package. Loggins & Messina replace the whole sorted mess with Crosby, Stills & Nash, then Young, then not any of them. James Taylor, Joni Mitchell, Jackson Browne, Carol King and Linda Ronstadt continue to rise as great solo artists, and another big band is about to break out in my 50 years feature next month, the Eagles.

In 1972, Randy Newman is both the past and the present. He's steeped into an early 20th century songwriting style, becoming a timeless artist with a quirky voice who writes songs like Mark Twain wrote books. More importantly, he's a songwriter's songwriter. His influence with his peers and now a couple of generations is unmeasurable. Over the years he's had a few non-movie based hits, Short People and I Love LA come to mind, but I'll take songs like Dayton, Ohio - 1903. If there's one person to take in this week on the playlist, take him in, you've got a friend in Randy Newman.

Enjoy the playlist my friends.

Here is the YouTube Music app which is great for listening to this playlist on your phone. Click on the text link below. 
https://music.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLE7OYmYUxGQeRLTCJxMbhXWlFYSS5PZRS&feature=share

Monday, May 16, 2022

50+ Years of Music (with apologies to) November, 1971 and Loggins & Messina

By Doug McIntosh & Paul Hobbs

Paul and I were talking the other day on the phone and in our conversation he was wondering when Loggins & Messina were coming up in the 50 year blog series? He said something like, "Loggins & Messina were a pretty big deal for me in my senior year of high school."

That got me thinking too. Loggins & Messina's debut album, Sittin' In surely must have come out by the spring of 1972? 

I get 99% of my 'this month 50 years ago' from Wikipedia. Could they have screwed up and missed such an important album? So I went to the way back on Wikipedia, and low and behold I found the album sittin' in November, (1971 in Music). Yeah guess who screwed up!

With that news, the proof-reader gal over hearing the conversation on my iPhone in speaker mode, squealed my mistake to the new owner of Monday Monday Music™some guy named Musk. Anyway, Musk fancies MMM and is attempting a hostile takeover bid estimated to be around $44 and a song to be named later. 

So with the office mole's intel, the SOB fired me on the spot through one of his stupid tweets. He then cooled down and recanted, but hired Paul to be a staff writer and was told, "To watch Mr. McIntosh very carefully." 

Late breaking news on the MMM takeover... It appears Musk (wasn't that the worst cologne ever from the 1970's) is now saying he won't buy the blog to drive the price down further. Stay tuned loyal readers...

So I guess, Paul takes it over from here... Actually I've been mentoring Paul, which is kind of funny because he's older than me... Anyway, I got him up to speed in how things work around here– where you basically retell stories of your childhood and youth because your long-term memory is the last thing to go. Anyway, here's Paul.

I was working after school at the Tognazzini Box Co. my senior year in high school. We blasted a big radio, living room console type, that my parents had donated when they upgraded our household system. KSEE reverberated through the echoey warehouse. I remember a recurring advertisement for a concert featuring a band I was unfamiliar with, Loggins and Messina. They played parts of 3 selections from their newly released album and 2 of the 3 had me hooked, 'Danny’s Song' and 'Nobody But You.' I got myself a ticket and accompanied by Ron Zieman, Gary Hill, and Doug McIntosh went to see them play at Cal Poly in SLO. We were summarily impressed and in one combination or another, some including Paul Tognazzini, of Box Co. fame, proceeded to see them play four more times on the central coast within the next year.

left to right - Danny Walker, Sean Landers, and Paul Hobbs
circa 1976 @ The Feed Store in Santa Barbara
(Photo by D. McIntosh who subbed as driver and equipment guy with his green Chevy truck w/camper shell,
and let Gary sleep one off in the truck bed with the guitars and amps on the return trip to Santa Maria. )

I was introduced through Gary and one of his friends to a new musical partner, Danny Walker. We got together to play music exclusively. He was a couple of years older, from a different school, and a tad intimidating. We had one goal and that was to practice up a bunch of songs and start playing out. Friendship would come later. He had an older brother who played and brought a lot of music around that Danny learned and taught me without me ever hearing the recorded versions. It was very organic, shades of the early folk scene. I was, and still am, a Beatle nut, and a big JT fan so I knew a bunch of their stuff. We also each had some songs we’d written.

Loggins and Messina provided a brand new opportunity. We were hearing a band that neither one of us had heard before. It gave us some songs to learn, we did 5 from this album alone. And, they exhibited several qualities that we, humbly, counted among our strengths.

They were essentially a duo. Both were lead singers. There were usually two distinct guitar parts to choose from. Danny would play the more difficult one. They had a folkie quality and at the same time a country feel. We did a pared down version of their songs, of course, as they had a large band and a couple of spare singers when needed. However, with the addition of a singing bass player, Sean Landers, who came along in pretty short order, we could rock a bit more and do the bigger production numbers serviceably well. Their material was very popular with our audiences so they were quite the boon to our fledgling act.


Beautiful stuff from the cub reporter there... and I didn't realize until the proof-reader gal informed me that this Musk fellow is going to pay us by the letter. (Geez, I must have used 280 characters in this blog title alone. sweet!)

Anyway, Paul was talking about the Loggins & Messina concert in the Cal Poly Gym which was my first rock 'n' roll concert! It was a great show that happened sometime in the first half of 1972 (I'm guessing, 'Steel Trap' Hobbs can't even remember). 

L&M opened for The Youngbloods and blew the crowd away, we were so excited! Then, The Youngbloods come out who were on their last legs as a band. I didn't even know who Jesse Colin Young was at the time, and would become a big fan of his as my bay area SDSU roommate Mark Hunter would turn me on to him a few years later. So The Youngbloods come out very flat and definitely were not the youngblood band that night. People in the audience, including our gang of four mentioned above, left the concert in the middle of their set. I imagine Loggins & Messina weren't going to remain an opening act shortly after that.

"The album's first single release, the Caribbean-flavored Vahevala, found top 3 success on WCFL on May 18, 1972. Although the album went unnoticed by radio upon release, it eventually found success by fall 1972, particularly on college campuses where the pair toured heavily. Loggins and Messina's vocal harmonies meshed so well that what was begun as a one-off album became an entity in itself. Audiences regarded the pair as a genuine duo rather than as a solo act with a well-known producer. Instead of continuing to produce Loggins as a sole performer, they decided to record as a duo, Loggins & Messina." Wikipedia

This week I feature the entire Sittin' In album as the playlist this week. As stated, the first single from the album was the very catchy Vahevala and fifty years later it's come back to play in my KSEE radio head all week. I then added some concert videos of the same songs performed over the years including a couple songs from their 2005 performance at the wonderful Santa Barbara County Bowl. 

The central coast, not a bad place for a band like Loggins and Messina to get famous and launch another duo who would play there and eventually end up in my neck of the beach, in San Diego for a year in 1975-76. Paul and Danny, now called Southwind played at a couple of Pacific Beach and Mission Beach bars during their year there. I loved this because I would sometimes go see Paul at the beach after classes at SDSU, and then attend their evening gig. I remember waking up one morning on Paul's living room floor at his rented beach house in Mission Beach, not remembering the night before. Then it dawned on me, "Shouldn't I be in my Jazz Appreciation class right now?" 

Enjoy the playlist my friends.

Here is the YouTube Music app which is great for listening to this playlist on your phone. Click on the text link below. 
https://music.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLE7OYmYUxGQe7ftS05MLtCMnEFwo0Y5DA&feature=share


Monday, May 09, 2022

A Million Inconveniences

Photo Source: Vox, Who has died from Covid-19 in the US? 2/16/21 

 by Doug McIntosh & Paul Hobbs

Around January of 2021, I was thinking of different blog ideas to write about when I came upon the idea to create a concept album of satirical song titles. I'm not a musician but I thought I'd create a concept album called, Songs That Piss People Off. I ended up writing 12 song titles and then it just sat in my Blogger draft box for months. 

At some point, I shared the titles with Paul as we have collaborated on several posts together here at Monday Monday Music, as well as creating several videos together of Paul's music for Youtube.

One of my original titles for this made-up concept album was 400,000 Inconveniences because at that time that was the round number of people in the United States who had died from Covid-19. 

As time went by, that number had moved past 500,000 and was well on its way to a million.

I'll let Paul pick it up here.
As the dreaded milestone of one million Covid deaths approached Doug suggested I write a song for which he would create a video to commemorate the horrific occasion.

I started by thinking how the country’s reaction personified the Trump presidency for me. He had reinvented American exceptionalism as American spoiled brat-ism, where we treated non Americans suspiciously and refused to do anything for the common good. No one can tell me what to do. I live in the land of the free. I’m free to think only of myself. The ultimate selfishness manifested itself in refusing to wear a mask to protect against the spread of Covid. I took some time to set up this pervasive attitude before settling into the Covid prevention resistance, which was really the essence of the blog in the first place.

Here's Paul's lyrics for the song, followed by his composition and recording that I made into a still photo Youtube video.

A Million Inconveniences

It very rarely rains but
You’re keeping your front lawn green
Some tyrant city councilman’s
talking bout recycling
You’re not one for following rules
They’re just for misinformed fools

You say, Don’t inconvenience me 
I live in the land of the free

My uncle fell and hit his head
Died waiting for a hospital bed
They’re filled with anti-vaccine casualties
Preventable tragedies
If you care about your fellow man
At least wear a mask and wash your hands

You say, Don’t inconvenience me
I live in the land of the free
I live in the land of the free

You’ll lose your job before you’ll ever get the shot
Or you can wear a mask and test twice a week
But no sir you will not
You think these events are coincidence
But we just hit one million inconveniences

Yeah we live in the land of the free
Land of the free

Now they’re clogging our main arteries
Shutting down commerce between countries
Some of our brilliant politicians say
We should do this in the USA

There’s a strain on our
hard to maintain hospital system
Emergency room nurses are overworked and it’s impossible to replace them
You tried to see your father before he died
But with no vaccine they wouldn’t let you inside

You said, Don’t inconvenience me
I live in the land of the free
Hey don't you inconvenience me
I live in the land of the free
Land of the free
I live in the of the free


The timing of this blog and song comes with the fact that around 300 people a day are still dying of Covid-19, and so let's just take a moment to pause and acknowledge that a 1,000,000 people in the U.S. have now died from this virus to date. 

Take care my friends.

Monday, May 02, 2022

Circling Back Around

photo source - flickr

We were ring-around-the-rosy children
They were circles around the sun
Never give up, never slow down
Never grow old, never, ever die young
–James Taylor

2020 was as they say, "A bad year." 

In 2014, I retired from being a teacher as I was with the same school district for thirty-five years. At the time, I couldn't believe that it had actually gone by so fast. My friend Mark Hunter says, "Life is a roll of toilet paper, it starts out slow but at some point that paper roll seems to quickly get smaller and smaller."

As a teacher in a large urban school district, I actually had quite a number of different jobs. My goals as I shifted from special education to general education never included being an administrator. I found that managing other adults was something to avoid and generally gravitated to work that was more project-based. I spend many years mastering the art of lateral movement in a large bureaucracy and discovered how to thrive in the world of grants, or what is often called, "soft money." As a resource teacher, I learned to live close to a money stream where I could personally make change and be a positive difference in students and other teachers lives.

So when I retired from my day job, I was looking to carry that semi-independent streak into being my own boss and start my own educational consulting business with a focus in K-12 learning spaces. I basically worked with vendors who sold furniture and technology to schools where we created new learning spaces from older, traditional learning spaces.

This all went along pretty well for a few years. Then in 2019, business really started slowing down for me, and then the pandemic hit in 2020 to completely finish it off. I folded my tent thinking, "I guess this is it, I'm never going to create a new learning space again." 

Sting sings, If You Love Somebody Set Them Free. I don't think I gave up, but that song kept playing in my head, and I resolved to thinking that if I just let the business go, to set it free, that maybe someday it or something else like it, would come back around to me.

After two years, I'm tanned and I'm rested. Bye-bye Covid, I'm ready to go see some rock 'n' roll.

Then I get a call from Dean Smith who is the CEO of his own small business called, D&D Integrated Solutions. Dean and I first met sometime in the 1990's when he was selling security locks for desktop computers. When I started as a consultant, Dean's business had expanded to technology integration and then expanded into being a K-12 furniture dealer as well.  As a consultant from 2015-2019, we did a half-dozen fun learning spaces together. But I had plans. I was always looking for something bigger, working with bigger vendors, doing bigger projects. Well you know...

So in March, Dean offers me a job in his business to be a Learning Environment Designer. He actually let me create my own title and as you can probably tell from that comment, I'm delighted to have it, not to mention the freedom to collaborate with his team and school districts, again. Thank you Dean!

This past week, I wrote the first in what I'm hoping will be many blogs for D&D. In an irony of all ironies with respect to my Monday Monday Music™ blog, I got paid to write a blog. How sweet is that!

If you're interested, here is the link to my D&D blog post titled, Learning Environments: Macro to Micro

I'm thinking, "2022 is a good year, so far... Stop it Doug, 2022 is already a good year!"

Here's a few songs swimming around my head that express my emotion with all this... I may add more as they come to me.

Enjoy my friends!

Monday, April 25, 2022

#NewMusicMonday • March-April, 2022


 I'm a folk and Rock 'n' album guy. In reviewing albums released in March and April of this year I found six worthy of note from a songwriting perspective. For me, it's hard to find an album these days where I like most of the songs. You know that Bonnie Raitt is going to deliver, and of course she does as she writes or covers songs with style and grace, not to mention she can still make you shed a tear. Listen to the songs, Just Like That and Down The Hall, and you'll know what I'm talking about.

Colin Hay is my personal find of 2022. I really never paid attention to him as I wasn't a big Men At Work fan. Colin has been busy over the years touring, playing in Ringo's All Star Band, and putting out some fine albums the last several years. The guy speaks right to me and I enjoy everything he records on YouTube, a real gem, you should check him out.

Of the six albums, I've only seen Mike Campbell live with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and also a few years back in Fleetwood Mac. External Combustion is a really good rock 'n' roll album and Campbell is a very good front man for his band, The Dirty Knobs. How does one go on after losing their lifetime musical collaborator? Well nobody's going to replace Tom, and Mike is just being Mike Campbell, a fantastic guitar player, and not a bad lead singer too. The Heartbreaker spirit lives on and thank the gods we still have rock 'n' rollers like Mike Campbell making music.

I also just discovered Robert Pollard of Guided By Voices this past year. The Band was formed in 1983 and is just another great rock 'n' roll band to come out of the mid-west (Ohio). He writes and plays nice little guitar riffs and I ended up including song after song from Crystal Nuns Cathedral to the playlist.

If you're looking for introspective folk, you'll find it all over the streaming services with most of it just sounding the same. If I hear one more droning indie female or male voice... skip. Well, Christian Lee Hudson is for me an exception. Produced by Phoebe Bridgers who is also a cut above, lets Hudson's songwriting carry the day. I'm thinking Joni Mitchell probably likes Christian Lee Hudson.

And lastly, Jeremy Ivey. Invisible Pictures is his third solo album and a guy you want to succeed as an emerging Americana star. I was feeling for him after trying to look him up on Wikipedia. He didn't have a Wikipedia page as it cross referenced him to his wife, the now very famous Margo Price. He probably gets that a lot, as just being "the husband" of Margo Price. Anyway, I love most everything both of them do together and separately, and this is a couple you just want to root for to counter the stereotypical Nashville country pop tripe.

Enjoy the playlist my friends.

Here is the YouTube Music app which is great for listening to this playlist on your phone. Click on the text link below. 
https://music.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLE7OYmYUxGQd91SiRY_cgZZM9NyEYNjWL&feature=share

Monday, April 18, 2022

Fifty Years of Music • April, 1972

 
Now I’m just an old nothin’ with memories of fifty years
I started with The Blues Project
Spent some time with Blood Sweat & Tears
My life was filled with music
My heart was drenched in sound
And if you go see an old movie
You might hear me in the background
–Al Kooper, A Possible Projection of the Future

In my monthly routine of going through albums released in the current month from fifty years ago, Al Kooper's A Possible Projection of the Future / Childhood's End just jumped out at me. The album cover is a 28 year old Al in full makeup made to be 80 years old. I looked up Al Kooper in Wikipedia and he is indeed alive and kicking 50 years later at 78 and it states, "He is currently retired."

Now for fun, I did a Google image search and tried to find the oldest looking picture of Mr. Kooper and put him up against his 80 (or 78) year old makeup-self from 1972. Here's the side by side with a photo I found from an article review of him in 2015, at 72 years old.



I got to say Al, "You look great my man" as you still got your rock 'n' roll hair and shades, and are not nearly as wrinkled as you thought you'd be. I love your futuristic projection of yourself in a white (Pete Townsend) jumpsuit, being a ward of the state. Here's wishing you the best and being one of the best in your distinguished career as a musican's musician, not to mention a wonderful wry sense of humor.

Several of the songs this month from April, 1972 clearly have a 'time' theme not to mention the strong folk vibe that dominates this month. 

I remember going to the Santa Maria Library as maybe a freshman or sophomore and checked out this folk album from Woody Guthrie, the guy who wrote This Land, the song that we all sang together in grade school. I wanted to know a little bit more about him, brought the record home, played it in my bedroom as usual, and just got obsessed with the song, Hobo's Lullaby. I couldn't sing a lick, but with Woody it was easy to sing along with him and wondered to myself, could I ever write a song? I thought this was a great song that I ironically just discovered this month he didn't write, it was a Goebel Reeves song. 

Then in 1972,  Arlo releases the album titled, Hobo's Lullaby and figured he must have been impressed by dad too! I loved listening to it this past week and have always loved Arlo's cover and big hit of the classic Steve Goodman song, City of New Orleans

Songs are like a smell that triggers your memory, like corn dogs at the Santa Barbara County Fair. That would be happening soon that summer of '72, but first I had to wrap up my junior year in high school.

Enjoy the playlist my friends.

and now, A Possible Projection of a Present Blog Reader -
Did you notice, he didn't say a word about Crosby and Nash, or Stephen Stills?... And why was Chris Hillman wasting his time as a lowly underling to Stills in Manassas? I still miss the original Byrds so much.... Really Manassas with 21 songs with Stills just kind of meandering through a double-album no less... Didn't any of these guys realize that doing their own thing (after doing the initial solo albums) was such a watered-down experience for their fans?... The separate duo of Nash & Crosby, and a Manassas Stills had some good songs here, but not a whole album's worth like they did just a few years before... And releasing two separate albums in the same month?... was that a competition thing?... When does the ego come back to earth to realize that the greatest thing about themselves is the magical band they created together, not the individual... self... Remember Mick Jagger's solo career... for about 5 minutes... The band is the thing, man...

Monday, April 11, 2022

#BestSongIHeardToday • Volume 11

 Volume I • II • III • IV  • V • VI • VII • VIII • IX • Team Tortoise Blogs •
Volume 10 • 11

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.


 I'm fixing a hole where the rain gets in
And stops my mind from wandering
Where it will go
–Lennon/McCartney

The whole idea of volunteering one's time for the greater good has always been a difficult concept for me. Not in the idea, but in the doing. The 'do good' activities always seem to involve having to do that organized thing with other people, and they're probably... strangers. If you're kind of a loner or on the reclusive side like me, mixing with a bunch of social go-getters is just going to make me turn and run in the other direction.

Speaking of running. I'm on my trail run (really he's going to write about that again)... and I get to the worst section on the trail (pictured above). Over the past several years, the little creek that flows next to the trail when it rains, has over time found its own path to this lower part. It always floods this section after a storm. This makes for  a muddy and slippery mess for anyone passing through this hole. It has  gotten worse as mountain bikers have kind of exacerbated the situation by steadily deepening it as they ram on.

Several months ago, I saw a women pushing her baby in a stroller. She had a dog and toddler in tow and struggled through the hole section that was totally dry and a bit rocky from the ongoing drought. Anyway, she made it through as I approached and passed her. Her struggle kind of got me thinking that there weren't as many kids on the trail as there used to be. I've been doing this trail run since 2001 and seen a lot of regulars come and go. In fact, I might very well be the current patriarch of the trail! Maybe I should do something about fixing that hole...

In early March I was watching the news one day and the forecast was for rain, actually over several days. After thinking about fixing that hole for several years, I finally got off my ass and did something about it before the rains came this time. Jefferson Airplane's Volunteers came into my head and I laughed at myself that I finally found my calling, all by myself with my shovel and rake.

Here's the trail a month later in early April after several rain storms. I'm happy to report the terrace effect upper trail that I created with my shovel and rake have given walkers, runners, and even mountain bikers higher ground to pass through without getting all muddy. 

I've got a few more tweaks to fix just up around the bend and will have to get to that soon. I would like to think that the woman has come back with her kids and dog and enjoyed the fun of being in this little peaceful greenbelt canyon trail between the 1970's housing development boxes... And they're all made out of ticky tacky and they all look just the same.

Take care my friends and enjoy the songs heard right here from this trail to this playlist.


Monday, April 04, 2022

List Your FAV FIVE: Neil Young Songs

FAV FIVE Series

Songs • Albums • Singer-songwriters • Rock 'n' Roll Bands • Guitar Players 
Beatles Songs • Bob Dylan Songs • Rolling Stones Songs • Neil Young Songs

Photo by Gary Burden

In riding the wave with the FAV FIVE Series, I've completely enjoyed the readership participation of creating a group playlist with The Beatles, Bob Dylan, and The Rolling Stones. 

This week, your assignment should you choose to accept it- 
LIST Your FAV FIVE: Neil Young Songs

You will make your list in the Comments section at the end of the blog post below. 

So to begin, let's start at the end. The big idea is for all of us to create a Monday Monday Music™ Readers: Neil Young Songs Playlist.

I'll start the playlist with my favorite five Neil Young songs and then, as readers leave me their five in the Comments section below, we will grow the playlist together. Note- I'm sure we will have duplicates which is great, but I will only include a song once in the YouTube playlist as I receive the lists.

Songs must be original Neil Young compositions recorded by Neil Young, or his compositions in Buffalo Springfield, CSNY, Crazy Horse, etc. So, no covers from other artists doing Neil's songs, which is another whole blog in itself that I will do someday. 

So here's my five (at this moment). Why only five? Tell me why?
  1. Cinnamon Girl
  2. Tell Me Why
  3. Bad Fog of Loneliness 
  4. Only Love Can Break Your Heart
  5. See The Sky About To Rain
Now if you want a little help in making your list, here's a great resource.
Also, here's the same little tutorial I made for The Beatles list.
  1. Scroll down to the bottom of the blog to the Comment section. Number and name your songs 1-5.
  2. Comment as: If you're logged into your computer, tablet or smartphone with a Gmail (Google) account, pick the first selection. I would recommend using the Chrome browser.
    Or, pick Name/URL, write your name and leave URL blank,
    Or, if you pick Anonymous, just write your first and last name in the Comments box itself.
  3. Hit the Publish button, and I'll list your five songs in the post here (if you provided your first and last name), and then I will mix your list in the Youtube playlist.
  4. One last thing, if someone else has picked one of your favorite 5 already, still include it in your list. It may reveal a clear winner that in the end needs to sit at the top of the playlist.
Thanks in advance for playing along and come back later in the week to listen to OUR growing playlist!