Monday, October 31, 2022

Halloween Playlist

The thought of doing a Halloween Playlist never occurred to me until I realized a couple of weeks ago that Halloween actually falls on a Monday (today). Better get on that...

Funny how halloween became hijacked first by young Boomer adults in the 70's. in january 1980, i started teaching at a school for students with severe disabilities and met a teacher there who i'll call here, ms. outthere. 

ms. Outthere was the first person i knew who started dressing up for halloween during the first week of october. 

Now Ms. outthere was maybe 5-10 years older than me so she was a front end boomer where i kind of picked up at the middle to later half of kids born after 1945. so ms. outthere probably was a budding mod go-go girl in jr. high, then in the late 60's a full fledged hippie, not a flower-type hippie, more of a party-type if you get my drift. 

in 1980, I remember ms. outthere at halloween as a combination of bette midler's characters from the rose  and Hocus pocusthis major party gal took halloween seriously and made it her own national holiday and married it with something like Brazil's carnaval.

So Ms. outthere was a true pioneer in taking children's halloween to a whole different adult level, maybe even johnny depp's role model (and you thought that was keith richards). 

Happy Halloween Ms. Outthere, wherever you are.

Now the playlist this week is a mixed bag (bad joke) from one hit wonder ray parker jr. to...Boo Radley, everyone's favorite hero.

Happy Halloween to all the moms and dads, oh and their children too!

And a bonus treat playlist too! The Beatles 2022
(63 tracks remix) of Revolver

Monday, October 24, 2022

#NewMusicMonday • October, 2022

Americanaas defined by the Americana Music Association (AMA), is contemporary music that incorporates elements of various American roots music styles, including country, roots-rock, folk, bluegrass, R&B and blues, resulting in a distinctive roots-oriented sound that lives in a world apart from the pure forms of the genres upon which it may draw. While acoustic instruments are often present and vital, Americana also often uses a full electric band.

That use of a full electric band is basically taking the above definition of what is called "roots" music and literally plugging that into the amalgamation know as "rock 'n' roll."

Most of the playlist this month just fell into albums that lean towards folk with a funky bend to it. There, yet another blended-genre is formed, "Funky-Folk."

Enjoy the 80 song playlist including a few cuts from The Beatles new deluxe box set release of Revolver on October 28th!

Monday, October 17, 2022

Joni Mitchell Covers • Volume I

The Covers Series: 

Interpretation and the "Traditional Folk Song" • The Singer as Interpreter 
Singer-Songwriters Covering Singer-Songwriters • Beatles Covers (Vol. I)
Bob Dylan Covers (Vol. I) • Joni Mitchell Covers (Vol. I)

Photo Source - The Times

I remember that time you told me
You said, "Love is touching souls"
Surely you touched mine
'Cause part of you pours out of me
In these lines from time to time

Joni Mitchell is special to so many people. Her songs have touched women and men alike ever since she burst on the scene in the late 60's. Joni didn't invent the interpersonal song, but the combination of her songwriting and singing sinks deep into one's soul.

With Joni's health issues over the past several years, there's now an added sentiment as the outpouring of love for this woman of heart and mind is immense. If John Lennon still lives in your heart, Joni's probably right there too. It's very personal.

In planning this post, I thought I'd begin with Judy Collins' cover of Both Sides Now because it was a top ten hit in 1967 when I was in junior high and the first Joni Mitchell song I ever heard, you too? 

Next comes, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young's cover of Woodstock off the band's epic Déjà vu album as a solid second choice. After that it's pretty random, but I will say Madison Cunningham's cover of California came across my YouTube feed recently and really was the jump-start to make this playlist. (Note- The volume on Madison's home produced video will need to be turned up.) Anyway, if you read this blog on a regular basis, you know I think Madison Cunningham is special too.

Sitting in a park in Paris, France
Reading the news and it sure looks bad
They won't give peace a chance
That was just a dream some of us had

For this Volume I, it was was easy to find a ton of Joni Mitchell covers on YouTube. She has inspired so many people to pick up a guitar or sit at a piano and learn to play music from one of the best singer-songwriters of all-time. 

But here's the thing, I can't tell you how many passess on covers I made to make this playlist. I'm not just talking about the budding musicians on YouTube, but for the many professional artists who've taken on this task and realized that performing a Joni Mitchell song is much much harder than it would appear. 

I thought I'd knock out this blog in a day including the playlist, but I think I'm in day three now with about only 20 songs that pass mustard. It's just my opinion, but for every good 1 in 10 Bob Dylan cover, it's probably like 1 in a 100 for someone to get my attention with their Joni Mitchell cover. Even most of the live Joni tribute efforts got a pass from me this week as it often takes even the most gifted artists some professional studio time to put out a worthy interpretation.

For example with one of my favorite songs, Don't Interrupt The Sorrow,  I just had to give up trying to find a cover for the playlist after pouring through many videos of the song. I think I spent an hour alone on this one song, and then had to get up and do something different. There's just a way that Joni herself performs her own material that makes it hard to duplicate. I'm playing the song in my head right now and she's got me totally under her spell.

Don't interrupt the sorrow
Darn right
He says, "we walked on the moon
You be polite"
Don't let up the sorrow
Death and birth and death and birth
And death and birth
He says, "bring that bottle kindly
And I'll pad your purse
I've got a head full of quandary
And a mighty, mighty, thirst"

I will have of course not selected your favorite cover, but please feel free to leave a comment as I may include it in this Volume, and for the fact that a Volume II maybe a tough row to hoe for me in the future. 

Note- If you make an "Anonymous" entry because the comments tool is kind of a bust unless you have a Google Account in play, just sign your first name and last name to let me know who you are (or at least your last initial) at the end of your comment.

The scope of Joni's influence is unmeasurable whether you are just a listening fan like me or have taken the bold step to walk up to a microphone on a stage and play and/or sing one of her songs, or for that matter, anyone's songs. As an active music listener, my hats off to you! And if you somehow thought I was making fun of the 1 in 100 thing above, that's no slight to anyone who's ever had the courage to hit the record button because if it was so easy everybody would be doing it. Rock on my friends!

So the years spin by and now the boy is 20
Though his dreams have lost some grandeur coming true
There'll be new dreams, maybe better dreams and plenty
Before the last revolving year is through

Monday, October 10, 2022

Fifty Years of Music • October, 1972

My "Fifty Years" listening dive every month never tires as I rediscover familiar albums I experienced as a young person, or today hearing albums I didn't pay much attention to when they were released. 

If you know that I grew up on the central coast of California, you may also know that Loggins and Messina were a very popular band in the region and were smart to book many college campuses early on up and down the coast. I first saw them in San Luis Obispo at the Cal Poly gym and wrote about it along with friend Paul Hobbs in an earlier blog this year

In 1973, I saw them a second time at the UCSB gym in Santa Barbara as it was a fantastic show and one of my favorite concerts of all time. The band was on fire that night and the crowd just loved every minute of it! Listening to the songs on this second L&M album not only takes me back to high school, but reinforces my lasting appreciation of their musicianship as a rock 'n' roll band. 

Jim Messina is often overlooked with his singing, songwriting, guitar playing and producing skills. His early contributions to Buffalo Springfield and Poco built his reputation as a musician and then producer inside the music industry, but many fans didn't know who he was until Loggins and Messina. Even then, Messina quietly let the star shine on it's handsome frontman Kenny Loggins. As a partnership and friendship that has stood the test of time, it's safe to say that Jim Messina greatly enhanced Kenny Loggins eventual solo career, and even made it possible. It's great to see them on tour together again celebrating that 50 year partnership and I would love to certainly see them live again. 

Pure Prairie League's second album, Bustin' Out came out in 1972, but really didn't catch on until 1975 when the song Amie became a huge hit for them. I purchased that album as a student at San Diego State during this time and really enjoyed the band's lead singer and songwriter, Craig Fuller. In 1975, I had no idea that Craig Fuller was actually forced to leave the band in 1973 due to the government refusing to accept his conscientious objector status during the Vietnam War. Fuller was required to perform two years of community service in a hospital in Kentucky. In 1975, Fuller received a pardon from then President Gerald Ford.

I don't know the band dynamics of Pure Prairie League, but for whatever reason Craig Fuller did not come back right when the band was just breaking famous. It just seems weird that he wouldn't return as the leading founding member of a band who just hit the big time? Fuller would go on to form the band American Flyer in 1976 and released a couple of albums with some success until they broke up in 1978. I do faintly remember Fuller making a record with Eric Kaz in 1978, Craig Fuller Eric Kaz, so it looks like I got American Flyer on my radar for some future listening.

Nevertheless, I think Bustin' Out is one of the best country rock albums ever made due in large part to Craig Fuller who is still alive today. Kind of weird nobody has done a remaster of this classic album for digital streaming services? Fuller actually has played in Pure Prairie League over the years from 1970–1973, 1985–1988, 1998–2002, 2004–2012. He even sang and played for Little Feat from 1987-93 as the lead singer in essentially Lowell George's position.

I looked up all the former and present band members of Pure Prairie League and that number was an astonishing 26 former members (including Vince Gill from 1978-82), and 5 current members (not including Fuller). I Wish I knew the whole backstory of this band and a little bit more knowledge of Craig Fuller himself? Fame is often elusive for talent such as Fuller, but maybe he just did things on his own terms and I certainly can respect that.

My surprise album of October, 1972 is Alvin Lee's Blues Band, Ten Years After and the release of their seventh studio album, Rock & Roll Music to the World. What a great rock 'n' roll album that I never heard before. I guess it's easy to appreciate so much more today as the rock 'n' roll genre is long past the center of attention in the current media. This blog exercise just reminds me, there's a ton of rock 'n' roll treasure out there on the Internet Tubes just waiting to be found!

I'll finish with more treasure already discovered years ago with Pete Townshend's, Who Came First, but have you heard all the extra tracks from the 2006 Bonus Tracks and 2018 Deluxe Edition? 

Enjoy the playlist... Arrr, there's gold in there mates!

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 8 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.