Monday, October 03, 2022

#BestSongIHeardToday • Volume 16

On average, it takes my wife about two years to adopt one of my ideas. I'm patient, I'm in it for the long run. 

Recently, I mentioned to her that my right knee pain had disappeared, and for some reason she was all ears when I told her about my new running shoe inserts. You see, for the greater part of six months she has also been having right knee pain and suddenly the typical "yeah, yeah yeah" response was replaced by... "Really!"

Maybe she has a history and good reason not to listen to me. For example, I was the one who talked her into spending $400 on orthotics that really didn't work out for either of us. 

In fact, I came to the conclusion that my orthotics were actually working like a permanent foot cast, perpetually preventing my feet from naturally healing. I eventually had surgery for plantar fasciitis on my left foot, then later, started developing plantar fasciitis in my right foot.

After reading the book, Born To Run by Christopher McDougall I began to change my patterns with regard to exercise and my feet. 

My stupid grin meeting Christopher McDougall 
at an author talk/book signing 10/19/18

I started walking barefoot in and around the house letting my feet feel the earth again. It was a start. I ditched the orthotics. I ditched all my running shoes designed with the curved back heel which force you to strike your foot on your heel when running. Thanks Chris McDougall, that was a big tip along with wearing flat running shoes (see Zero Drop Altra)!

I lost 40 pounds.. no that didn't happen... eventually down 20 then up 10, constant f***ing battle. Born to Eat.

Eventually, my right foot plantar fasciitis pain started to go away and now its gone, for now. As you know, "it's always something" and that pain may one day again say, "not so fast buster."

No magic here, but lots of problem solving in the quest to keep moving forward.

"What about the inserts McIntosh?"

Oh yeah. After great research on Amazon... and now another attempt to be a social media influencer.

I found a pair of Dr. Scholl's insoles for $15. These insoles come in size 14 and you just cut them around the cheap ass inserts that came with your shoes and insert The Dr. Scholl's in their place. Doesn't matter if your shoes were $150, they all come with cheap ass inserts. Tip- Use a good pair of scissors to get a clean cut with the new insoles. 

What makes these insoles a keeper? They come with three bottom foot pads: one gel pad for the landing foot pad area, a flexible arch support, and a gel heel pad. Simple and durable. My insoles are currently about 4 months old and still feel new.

And most importantly, the little missus loves them! Her knee pain is now down several pegs on the 10 point pain scale, and my status is up!


Here's the men's Dr. Scholl's Insole on Amazon- 

Dr. Scholl’s Running Insoles // Reduce Shock and Prevent Common Running Injuries: Runner's Knee, Plantar Fasciitis and Shin Splints for Men's 10.5-14

Price: $15.19



Here's the women's Dr. Scholl's Insole on Amazon- 

Dr. Scholl’s Running Insoles // Reduce Shock and Prevent Common Running Injuries: Runner's Knee, Plantar Fasciitis and Shin Splints for Women's 5.5-9

Price: $13.56



I will say 90% of the songs on this playlist came while running in these insoles, and that's Rubber Soul on the go! 

Lotta mid-60's and jingle-jangle this week. 
Thank you for being a friend.

Monday, September 26, 2022

#NewMusicMonday • September, 2022

 
Sunday, around 6pm.
 
I'm staring at a blank white screen with a blinking cursor. I've got nothing. 

But, I did make time to curate a playlist of 72 songs over a month.

The listening, sifting and sorting discovery to make a playlist
is a wonderful escape.

And, that's something. Enjoy my friends.

Monday, September 19, 2022

Fifty Years of Music • September, 1972

Folk. The influence on our culture from its rebirth in the late 50's through the early 70's is profound. As I listened to albums released in September of 1972, I was struck by its sheer world-wide appeal and the talent of many to modernize folk and make top 10 hits from a genre they grew up with.

In America, you have the seemingly shy and unassuming folk musicians like John Denver and Seals and Crofts writing and performing big mainstream hits. Meanwhile, the UK mounts a second-wave invasion of sorts with artists like Cat Stevens, Sandy Denny (from Fairport Convention), and groups like The Pentangle, not to mention Jethro Tull, Genesis, Yes and a host of others taking the traditional English Folk genre and bending that into rock. In progressive rock, Yes releases Close to the Edge turning their back on the 2-3 minute hitmaker format, making continuous movements that take up the whole side of an album. AM radio dazed and confused needs FM to take over the progressive sides of blues and rock 'n' roll. 

Folk is roots music. Where ever you come from and no matter your taste in popular music, strands of folk are always there to bond a tune with its audience.

Note- I wanted to mention the passing of Jim Seals (79) this year (June, 6). For anyone growing up in the 1970's, the duo Seals and Crofts were very popular and very humble. In an ever growing environment of substance abuse destroying musicians lives and ultimately thinning the herd of quality rock 'n' roll in the 1970's, Seals and Crofts were well, a summer breeze. 

I also wanted to mention John Denver who was never really on my radar in high school. Like Glen Campbell and The Carpenters, I came to appreciate their music later. In about four years from now, I'll be writing specifically about 1976 and a summer camp I worked at for children with disabilities. Let me tell you, John Denver music was king around the campfire!

Enjoy my friends!

Monday, September 12, 2022

Clean Up in the Archives Aisle: Born to Run

"Slow but steady wins the race." The Hare and the Tortoise

I've been in Seattle since Labor Day having a bit of a vacation and a timely escape from the heat wave in California. Basically on September 4th, I went from 100 degrees and 80% humidity in San Diego to low 70's and clouds, what a lovely transition. This week in the Pacific Northwest has been fantastic with sunny skies and that same 70's temperature all week. My wife and I know the labor day week exit from So Cal as being that time of year to be two birds and make our annual migration to Seattle.

I thought this would be a good time to introduce what I'm calling, Clean Up in The Archives Aisle where I drag out some old blog and/or playlist to use as a rerun of sorts when I get busy, or like now, on a vacation.

In the past several weeks, I've actually been adding and deleting songs from my Born to Run playlist from the running series blog I created several years back called, Team Tortoise. Here is that four part series if you've been thinking of starting a new walking or running routine again. Or, you can just sit on the couch and listen to the playlist and eat a big bowl of ice cream. 

Take care my friends!

Team Tortoise - Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV


Monday, September 05, 2022

#BestSongIHeardToday • Volume 15

Pacific Beach Sunset, our Shangri-La

My running routine before I head out includes turning off my iPhone for about 20 seconds and then restarting. I do this to clear out any of the digital cobwebs that may effect my GPS running app or my Amazon Music App. As I get out the door and away from my home wifi, I then turn on the music app, go to my ever growing library of 32,709 songs (just checked) and then hit the shuffle icon.

About 60% of the time, music that finds its way to this 'Best Song' playlist, come from those songs shuffled from my runs. Every now and then the digital gremlins do appear. On one run last month, I realized after listening to a few songs that they all began with the letters "Sh" like, Shaky Town, and Shame, and then settled in for an extended happy stay on song titles with "Shangri-La" in the title.

Sometimes you just have to roll with it. I decided that all the Shangri-La songs that serenaded my run that day, and even a song I found on the Tubes from the sixties girl group, The Shangri-La's would frame the playlist. I also have the big hit from "The La's" in the late 80's, There She Goes to start the playlist. In fact the 80's, 90's, and Blues all emerged as sub-themes running through out the playlist this week.

Speaking of a lost horizon, it ironically made me think of the time Mary Kit and I had a little Shangri-La "Staycation" on the Pacific Beach Crystal Pier cottages just about 20 minutes from our home. We were able to book the last cottage on the pier (pictured above) with an unobstructed view of the Pacific Ocean, simply paradise... until nightfall.

In full transparency... we only got that last cottage because it was February. A storm came in that night with high surf and crashing waves pounding the pier pilings right under our bed. We pretended we were on a pirate ship in a rough sea having a wonderful adventure nevertheless. And as they say, "Don't come a knocking when this pier starts a rockin."

Note- The Shame song I mentioned above was a Randy Newman tune, but when I got to YouTube to find it, I found his I Love LA which was fitting nicely into my 80's co-theme and Shame was replaced. That happens about the other 40% of the time.

Enjoy my friends!

Monday, August 29, 2022

#NewMusicMonday • August, 2022

 
Madison Cunningham doesn't dominate the playlist this week, but I'm already getting geared up for her next album release, Revealer on September, 9th. I have been following Madison for a couple of years now. In January, 2021 she released on YouTube a home recording of the song, Life According To Raechel that knocked the running socks off friend Paul Hobbs and I when it came out. She has now recorded the song for the new album and it's the first song of the playlist, and I hope it hits you like it did us. I finish off the playlist with Madison's recent appearance of NPR's Tiny Desk Concert with four songs from Revealer

Tedeschi Trucks Band finished their 24 song epic, I am The Moon this month, with Part III The Fall, and Part IV Farewell. I have included songs from these last two parts and just love how Susan and Derek feature all their band members, a real musical family that harks back to the Leon Russell and Delaney and Bonnie ensembles. You feel the spirit of this band and the love all the members have for one another. The late 60's and early 70's rock 'n' roll DNA lives on with this band with so many new original songs.

Speaking of that DNA, Marcus King is not related to Mountain's Leslie West, but the physical stature coupled with his kickass rock guitar chops reminds me of albums made from vinyl back in the sweet spot time period. King's new album, Young Blood with its southern blues vibe and rock guitar licks provide a nice mix throughout as my more subtle Americana tunes selection tend to dominate this week.

The Watkins Family Hour Vol. II are a big part of the Americana tunes featured in the playlist. Siblings Sara and Sean continue to make great music together since their early days starting with Nickel Creek. The album is sprinkled with guest artists including Madison Cunningham. 

Hopefully, a little something for everyone as so many great young musicians make new music or cover the greats with the time honored tradition of mixing something old and something new.

Enjoy my friends!

Monday, August 22, 2022

Fifty Years of Music • August, 1972

 

I have to admit, I struggled with the playlist this week. When I looked at the albums released in August of 1972, I thought there might have been some great new summertime records just before I became a senior in high school. Instead, I had to carve out a playlist of mostly trusted Buddy Guy & Junior Wells Blues, a couple of live albums from The Band and The Kinks, a bit of Country Michael Nesmith, and several AM soul hits that did make me think of high school. I then added several Top 10 radio hits from August, 1972 just to round it out a bit. Don't worry I didn't add #3 Brandy (You're a Fine Girl) onto the list.

I think this week's a pick and choose playlist even for me. 

Enjoy my friends!

Monday, August 15, 2022

Bob Dylan Covers • Volume I

The Covers Series: 

The Byrds performing Mr. Tambourine Man in 1965

Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me
I'm not sleepy and there is no place I'm going to
Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me
In the jingle jangle morning I'll come followin' you
–Bob Dylan

Now you would think that I would go into a little depth about Bob Dylan and how many artists have covered his songs for 60 years. I guess he's probably the most covered artist in music history in the sense that he's written 623 songs as of this posting that encompass an amazing scope in the sheer quality and craft of this American treasure. In 2020, Dylan sold his entire songwriting catalog to Universal Music for 300 million, and in 2021 sold all of his recorded Music to Sony for 200 million. 

But, as I started putting together this first round of Dylan covers (I stopped at 25), it became quickly apparent that my love for The Byrds was going to dominate this first volume. How could it not?

When Bob Dylan was invited to hear The Byrds record their first album, Mr. Tambourine Man in 1965 that features four Bob Dylan songs, he was impressed and undoubtedly influenced with their electric sound that would have him quickly picking up an electric guitar shortly after. 

The Beatles influence and specifically their use of  Rickenbacker guitars combined with Dylan's songwriting created The Byrds, and the birth of folk rock. For me, Roger McGuinn's "jangly" 12 string Rickenbacker, his lead vocal combined with the band's wonderful harmonies is uniquely magical. The original Byrds line up only lasted from 1964-67, but it greatly influenced rock 'n' roll from that point moving forward and like so many other young people, turned our heads toward Mr. Dylan himself.

Note- I will of course have not included your favorite Dylan cover here. I do read all your blog comments and MMM's Twitter and Facebook, so let me know what they are, as I have already started a Bob Dylan Covers • Volume II playlist for a future post. 

Enjoy my friends!

Monday, August 08, 2022

#BestSongIHeardToday • Volume 14

A 1965 Santa Maria postcard I found on the Internet, and my longstading MMM Facebook & Twitter header.

Your musical taste came from somewhere, born at a time in a city or town that shaped you. 

The popular music that came into your life as a child and teenager is like a date stamp for your generation. For boomers like me, that is most emblematic in one date, Sunday 9pm February 9th, 1964, The Ed Sullivan Show. I think you can guess the band that were the musical guests on that night, The Beatles.

I remember being with our family friends, the Reyburn's that night and being with Steve Reyburn who was my age at 8 years old (both just shy of our 9th birthdays).

Now jump ahead to the summer of 1972. I'm in Steve's car somewhere along Highway 1 heading back to a beach camp location where both of our parents were camping together. Steve has an 8-track tape deck in the dash and of all things on this earth, he puts in a Jackson's Five tape! I nearly fell out of my seat in disbelief (A B C, It's easy as 1 2 3, as simple as Do re mi).

How could two teenagers from basically the same community environment be worlds apart in our musical tastes? Well by 1972, we both had a different set of friends, and obviously one was still married to AM radio, and the other had an album collection.

The older I get, I like to think that my taste spans many genres of music. But as I reflect back to that summer 50 years ago, when it gets down to it, it's really those very specific bands and artists from folk to rock, shared with my friends, that endures today with that beautiful date stamp.

So what brings you here to read this blog? And if I'm so fortunate, why are you taking the time to listen to some or all of the songs in my playlist?

Well, no matter where you came from, one thing's for certain, we have a connection. Maybe the first three songs in this week's playlist are good examples of some of the factors that bond us a little more together from the herd, and bring us a little closer to understanding what's this world's about. At the very least, we have similar tastes in music to help us along our way.

Enjoy my friends,

Monday, August 01, 2022

Summer Tunes 2022

Summer Tunes 2018 & 2019 • 2022

I'm listening  to the Norah Jones song, Toes and it just hits me, why haven't I created a summer mix playlist every summer like I've done with my Christmas Mix since 2015? 

Wait a minute, let the old brain clear out the cobwebs, actually I've kind of done that. I went back into the MMM archives and sure enough found that I had built up a playlist over a couple of summers in 2018 and 2019 called, Summer Tunes. I cleaned out the deleted files and cut the playlist down to just under 100 songs. 

Then, I created a new playlist for 2022 as I'm a little late to the party publishing this new summer playlist in August, but I think it's worth the wait. 

I would suggest you have a little OUTDOOR summer barbecue this month with only people in your inner circle because of the BA 5 thing, and play both playlists at your party! 

I have even embedded both playlists right here because you'll have had several drinks at your party, and won't be able to find the other one.

Enjoy my friends! Hope I can remember to make a new playlist next summer? 

Hey, where's my drink!

Dug;s Wurl Famuss Strwbary Banannna Smotieh

  1. Find a blendr
    Covid Summer Bummer
    2020 Cocktails 
    with the Family

  2. In the frig- find the Strwberry Margrrrrita miX - poor whatevr amoun in
  3. find the Frezzzr
  4. 50-50 chAnce, there will b a bag of frozn bananassss and maybe strawberries too, cuz in summer all the Costico fruit goes bad unles u freeeez it - Put the frozn frut in - maybe sum ice cUbes 2
  5. somewear On the counter their wil be tequila or my fav, Ketel ONE vodca - Pour in wahtever
  6. Dn't forget tu put on the lid -
    I hate wehn that happins
  7. Turn on teh radio I mean blender
  8. you Might hav to TilT it bac and rok it back and fourth to brak up the frozen stouf
  9. pur carfully Enjoy!
  10. Drink, but do nut drive my friedns- Happi Sumner!
p.s The drunk I mean drink aT the top is MK's grapfrut wodka, not my dreek. 

Summer Tunes 2022


Summer Tunes 2018 & 2019

Monday, July 25, 2022

#NewMusicMonday • July, 2022

 
This past week I began the rather easy and fun task of listening, shifting, and sorting new music that was released this month, or songs I have missed in the past couple of months.

The Mosaic browser
Recently on CNN, I watched the decades series, "The Nineties: The Information Age." I watched it in real time, and ironically was just so annoyed at having to watch the commercials. 

Most of my teaching career was spent as a educational technology resource teacher and so the time beginning in September of 1993 when the Internet began with the Mosaic browser, then Netscape, then Microsoft Explorer, were exciting times. The pioneer days.

The evolution of Internet music with music piracy servers like Napster in 1999, then legit online music stores like Apple iTunes, and now online subscription music streaming services, actually rekindled my interest in music. After years of being a working stiff in the 80's and 90's, I rediscovered my passion for rock 'n' roll and folk through the shear ease of access, online. 

A Monday Monday Music™ blog post now averages between 150-200 hits during its first week of publication. During that first week, the playlist that accompanies the post gets about 1/3 of the hits than the post itself. I realized early on in the world of blog writing that the author has about 3 minutes tops to convey their message. So, when it comes to listening to a playlist of 25+ songs, most just ignore it altogether. 

I say this as I'm just so thankful that you're actually here reading this at this moment. If you never listen to my playlists, I would just suggest, pick one song to listen to as most songs are also typically no more than 3 minutes too. (Although, most of the songs I usually pick for the playlist are 4+ minutes. This week there are several songs in the 7-10 minute category like the old days of rock 'n' roll.)

In any event, do like most of my playlist listeners do, and just do the famous 'digital skip' until you land on something that catches your ear. I will guarantee there's at least one song here worth listening to that you've never heard before, and most likely will never ever hear on the radio.

Enjoy my friends. Skip, skip, skip to my Paul McCartney.

Monday, July 18, 2022

Fifty Years of Music • July, 1972

  • July 1 - 
    • U.S. actress Jane Fonda tours North Vietnam, during which she is photographed sitting on a North Vietnamese anti-aircraft gun.
    • The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms becomes independent from the IRS. 
  • July 8 – The U.S. sells grain to the Soviet Union for $750 million.
  • July 11
    • The long anticipated chess match between world champion Boris Spassky of the Soviet Union, and United States champion Bobby Fischer, began in Iceland at Reykjavík.
  • July 10–14 – The Democratic National Convention meets in Miami Beach. Senator George McGovern, who backs the immediate and complete withdrawal of U.S. troops from South Vietnam, is nominated for president. He names fellow Senator Thomas Eagleton as his running mate.
  • July 18 – Anwar Sadat expels 20,000 Soviet advisors from Egypt.
  • July 21
    • Bloody Friday: 22 bombs planted by the Provisional IRA explode in Belfast, Northern Ireland; nine people are killed and 130 seriously injured.
    • Comedian George Carlin is arrested by Milwaukee police for public obscenity, for reciting his "Seven Words You Can Never Say On Television" at Summerfest.
  • July 25 – U.S. health officials admit that African-Americans were used as guinea pigs in the Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male.
  • July 31 – The Troubles, Northern Ireland:
    • Claudy bombing ("Bloody Monday"), 10:00 AM: Three car bombs in Claudy, County Londonderry, kill nine. It becomes public knowledge only in 2010 that a local Catholic priest was an IRA officer believed to be involved in the bombings but his role was covered up by the authorities.
  • August 1 – U.S. Senator Thomas Eagleton, the Democratic vice-presidential nominee, withdraws from the race after revealing he had been treated for mental illness.
From Wikipedia, 1972

In looking back to the events of July, 1972 as a 17 year-old, it's the first Presidential race where I had an introductory grasp of our nation's domestic and international politics. I had just completed my junior year in high school where I had taken a class titled, "International Relations" taught by History teacher and my freshmen football coach, Randy Enberg.

Up until that spring semester, I had only known the rather tall Mr. Enberg by his hunched over cranky demeanor on the practice field in the summer of '69, getting us ready for the fall season. Jeff Muro, who would later play linebacker for UCLA was our fullback. During practice one day he was carrying the ball through the line and hit me square in my chest with his helmet and drove me straight down on my back into the turf. Now that left an impression. Mr. Enberg just looked at me and said, "Well McIntosh, are you going to get up?"

A couple of years later, I meet a completely different man in the classroom as Mr. Enberg would start a discussion on a world topic and then let us freely discuss as students. He would essentially moderate and keep the conversation going. I loved it! For the second part of the semester, we did a research project where he guided us to independent study and we had to submit a paper with all our references to him a couple of weeks before school got out. 

I had handwritten my report, put it in a folder and for the life of me forgot where I put it! I had worked in the library like two weeks straight on this thing. I went to Mr. Enberg to tell him (like... my dog ate it) but decided to tell him the truth of how I just screwed up and lost it. He looked down at me like he had on that practice field a few years prior, and said, "Meet me after school in my class." Oh shit!

So I go to his classroom and he's sitting at his desk. He tells me to pull up a chair and looks at his notebook and says, "Your report was on Israel and Arab relations, correct?" I said, "Yes." Then he says, "Tell me what you learned." We spent the next 20 minutes or so talking about Israel becoming a nation after World War II and the hot button issues of religion and politics including American and the Soviet influence in the region. Mr. Enberg gave me a B for the class. 

•••••

Summer of 1972 has me buying Son of Schmilsson by Harry Nilsson and Trilogy by Emerson, Lake and Palmer. 

In listening to Son of Schmilsson after many years and a lot more knowledge of Harry Nilsson's life, I realize this is the beginning of the end. I loved this album as a kid, but you can kind of hear between the record grooves that all is not well, and the extremely talented Mr. Nilsson is kind of doing it here half-ass. Don't get me wrong, there's a lot of good songs on this album, especially, Remember (Christmas) but you know he could have worked it a bit harder.

Trilogy by Emerson, Lake and Palmer is an album that I listened to a lot the year it came out. They really were at the forefront of progressive rock and got a lot of kids to listen to their reworks of the classics. 

I have never really been a Rod Stewart fan, but all these years later I can appreciate his band, Faces as the second-string to The Rolling Stones. I say that as a high compliment as Rod after he blew up the band a few years prior. He used all the guys from Faces to back him up on his albums in the early 70's when he became a huge star. Never a Dull Moment has me listening carefully to the very tight rock and roll of Ronnie Wood, Ronnie Lane, and Kenny Jones. In three years, Ronnie Wood would join the Rolling Stones and is still a band member today, and Kenny Jones would be the Who's drummer for a few years after Keith Moon died in 1978.

Enjoy the playlist my friends!

Monday, July 11, 2022

Songs That Piss People Off • No. 1

 
Songs That Piss People Off: No. 1 is a satirical album I dreamed up one day back in 2020 during the lockdown phase of the pandemic. My state of mind at the time was to put together 12 song titles with the ability to piss off or even get a laugh from my readers depending on their personal or political perspectives. My goal was to be an equal opportunity offender where I would be successful with at least one title pushing one of your buttons. Hell, several of these titles pushed my own buttons when they came into my head.

This blog has just been sitting in my drafts folder and for some reason I decided to pull the publish trigger and just let this one fly. Actually, I know why I picked this week is because this shit just doesn't seem to go away. Many of these titles are simply ongoing themes of life in America that I could have coined yesterday. 

Anyway, I had fun designing the album jacket and you can only imagine what my "Number 2" album cover is going to look like.

Here's the titles with no explanations or apologies. 
  1. People And Their F***ing Dogs
  2. Defund Stupid Liberal Slogans
  3. Old Lady Shopping Cart Blocking Aisle 2 Blues
  4. Fascist Patriot Games (beat you with my American flag)
  5. Your Precious Coffee
  6. A Million Inconveniences
  7. The Ballad of Joe Manchin (feat. Kyrsten Sinema)
  8. So You Want To Be A Smelly Cat Indie Star
  9. "I'm not a racist, but" (feat. Pika Krackr)
  10. Semi-automatic Thoughts & Prayers
  11. The Hunchbacks of iPhone Fame
  12. The Baptists Converted Me... to an Atheist
Note- If I didn't piss you off this round, I hope to do better next time.

Bonus Track - 1,000,000 Inconveniences
At some point, I shared these titles with my buddy and guest writer for Monday Monday Music™, Paul Hobbs. Paul and I got to talking about actually writing some songs from these titles and then we settled on, A Million Inconveniences.

That whole collaboration resulted in Paul writing the lyrics and music for the song that he recorded and was featured in the Monday Monday Music blog,  A Million Inconveniences on May 9th, 2022

What was so great about working with Paul is that he encouraged me to write some lyrics of my own. I did that and he then went to work again and recorded a whole new song with the same title with my lyrics (this one with the number in the title, 1,000,000 Inconveniences).  He also wrote new music for this second perspective on the theme of a million people dying of Covid-19 during the past two years. Paul is a very special person, and anyone would be honored to be his friend and now for me, an ongoing collaborator.

I thought this might also be a good time to release this second version as Covid cases (+11%) and hospitalizations (+18) are both up again.  As this latest strain, Omicron subvariant BA.5 becomes dominant, everybody now has family and friends, all vaccinated testing positive for Covid. I'm just so thankful for the Covid-19 vaccination for all ages NOW as my youngest two grandchildren under 5 were recently able to get their first shots. 

Covid-19 is NOT going away, and probably never will. All of us will eventually get it, but again I'm so thankful we have the medical technology through vaccinations, boosters and medications like Paxlovid to greatly reduce the symptoms and not put larger numbers in the hospital as in 2020-21.

Since the May 9th blog, 17,000 more people have died from Covid-19. Deaths are down to about 300 a day in the U.S. but as in all tragedies like this, the simply phrase, "We can never forget" is still appropriate and ongoing. 

So here's our reflection after two years of the pandemic in a song. It's a sarcastic response to the naysayers, deniers, liars, selfish, and pussies who simply can't tolerate a little mask, all wrapped in the American flag with the misconception that their personal behavior trumps the collective safety and liberty of the many. Grow up and face adversity like the generations of Americans before us. Piss off.

And, what a feeling to say, "I co-wrote a song" for the first time in my life. Thank you Paul!

Monday, July 04, 2022

#BestSongIHeardToday • Volume 13

The Scream by Edvard Munch
A little more than two months ago, I tripped (yet again) while running as I was transitioning from concrete to grass. This is becoming a recurring nightmare as I clipped the edge of the grass with my left shoe, stumbled badly and not wanting to fall on the concrete somehow tore my left hamstring in some awkward fashion trying to right myself. 

I instantly knew I was toast. In my swirling head a six-week recovery awaited with 'waiting' being the operative word. The walk back home was depressing... Edvard Munch in Adidas. 

You may be screaming to yourself upon reading that the old man is writing yet again about another running injury. But it beats listening to Michael Flynn plead the 5th when asked if he believes in a peaceful transfer of power in the United States of America. My God it's fascists pleading the 5th on parade- Roger Stone, Jeffery Clark, John Eastman... Hey I even found a perfect song to describe these guys this week in the playlist. Do not even get me started on the five Supreme Kangaroo Court Justices driving their Keystone Cop car over the cliff over and over and over.   

Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Barrett

Anyway, it's happy trails again as I'm back running with a new group of songs collected while picking them up and putting them back down, at 4.3 mph. Let's hope I can stay upright for awhile. My close friends probably have a running bet on the matter.  

Happy July 4th! Enjoy the tunes my friends! 

Monday, June 27, 2022

#NewMusicMonday • June, 2022

As Americans, we have a long history of progressively adding things to make our lives better 💪. Whether it be civil liberties, creating new genres of music, social security, medical breakthroughs, inventing new technologies, or even a city getting a new sports franchise team. 

We Americans don't like things being taken away from us. Whether it be our civil liberties, prohibition, nazis trying to take over the world, an insurrection, or even a professional sports team moving away from your city (I've had two, mother... 😖).

Every month, I write a blog and make a playlist about fifty years ago in music, so that puts me currently in 1972.

Breanna Stewart
Power Forward • Seattle Storm • WNBA
In 1972, the Supreme court debated Roe v. Wade and on January 22, 1973 voted 7-2 to give women the fundamental right to have the option to have an abortion. 

On June 23, 1972, Title IX also became Federal law giving women the right to equally participate in  educational sports that received federal funding. 

Both Roe v. Wade and Title IX created new opportunities for women and I will go so far as to say, saved lives.

A human life is very limited without two essential things: opportunity and choice.
 
I'm writing this on Friday, June 24, 2022 just as the Supreme Court has reversed Roe v. Wade and almost 50 years of protecting women. This backward decision has taken away an attained right affecting opportunity and choice for women with the rippling effect to all American families (including men). 

I have two daughters, two step-daughters, and four granddaughters, all born after Roe v. Wade and Title IX. Let me just say as a father speaking with my collective daughters in mind, that they will not endure or suffer the religious zealot fools kindly in taking away a woman's fundamental right to an abortion. They refuse, or will refuse the idiot's premise that to make America great (white) again, America must go backwards in time.

Best album title of the year
So the white religious crazies have successfully played the political long game on abortion. You can disagree or even hate their motives and methods, but you have to acknowledge and respect their tenacity to tirelessly fight for what they believe in.

With right-wing-nuts like Clarence (and Ginni) Thomas leading the charge, who say the Supreme Court “should reconsider” its past rulings to now take away Americans rights to contraception access, same-sex relationships and same-sex marriage, you have to marvel at their privileged power position in action. If 63% of Americans who support Roe v. Wade have seen it fall, why wouldn't evangelicals keep their clown car rolling with the pedal to the floor?

I wonder, will my inept majority Democratic Party ever get off its ass to simply vote in the midterms? What's the midterms?

Ok, enough for now. In times like this it's probably best to just take my shaking hands off the keyboard and sit back and listen to the playlist I made this past week. I will leave with my new favorite album title of the year including a couple of songs featured in the playlist this week.



Summer's here and Jack Johnson grabbed my attention with his new album, Meet The Moonlight. He's the tonic I need right now including the new song called, Calm Down. I think I'll take Jack's advice.

Enjoy the new music releases my friends.

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.