Monday, May 29, 2023

Fifty Years of Music • June 1, 1973 • McIntosh in Love

Susan Anspach, Kris Kristofferson, and George Segal in Blume in Love (1973)  

If you go back a couple of months to the blog post, Fifty Years of Music • March, 1973, you can catch most of the beginning of this little love story.

In that post, we have young McIntosh just turning 18 who is completely smitten by a pretty and spunky redhead, Mary Kit Smith. She's been sitting behind him in English class the entire spring semester. Well here it is late May of 1973 with graduation only a few weeks away, and damn it all, the boy has not summoned the courage to ask the fascination of his dreams, out on a date. 

He has however done some reconnaissance. He has enlisted a long-time Sunday school friend and current classmate in Miss Dunn's English class, Evie to ask Mary Kit if she likes Doug enough to go out with him on a date. Her response, "Yes."

But nevertheless, the lad is hopeless and fails in several attempts as the class bell rings and popping that question just before the rush of students fills the hallway.

He even stoops so low after finding out that Mary Kit and her best friend, Valerie are going to see the wildly popular 1972 movie, Cabaret at the Peppertree Plaza Theater. With this information, he stalks the pair entering the theater and slips in the back row to watch them watch the movie, so pathetic!

However, he does see a poster in the theater lobby for an upcoming movie, Blume in Love. And most importantly, it plays as a preview trailer before Cabaret. He's now plotting, maybe I could take her to that movie?

The movie's tagline is "A love story for guys who cheat on their wives." It's about a guy, (Stephen Blume) who's still hopelessly in love with his ex-wife (Nina). It's not exactly high school first date material, but oh well.

So a plan is hatched and rehearsed, "Hey Mary Kit there's this new movie out called Blume in Love, and I was wondering if you heard about it?"

So with that line practiced in his brain, he finally summons the courage to ask the question in the 11th hour of the last week of May just before the bell (literally) rings. Her answer, "Yeah, that one looks kind of interesting." 

And the all important follow up, "Well, would you like to go with me this Friday night and see it at the Peppertree?" 

Her response, "Yes, that would be fun." They then walk slowly together in the hall of wall-to-wall students before splitting off to their next classes. The boy will remember that scene forever.

So on a Friday night, June 1, 1973, young McIntosh hops in his green 1957 MGA sports car, nervous but happy as he has ever been in life, and turns onto East Church street. Inexplicably, he quickly drives right past her house as she's waiting, looking out the front living room picture window. "Did that little f**ker just chicken out," she's thinking.

No, in his excitement he's simply lost in love, what a doof! He slowly turns around and parks the car. She's there to greet him at the door with her parents in tow, and that begins a wonderful four year relationship from that moment. 

Unbelievably it's now fifty years later, and that seventeen year old girl waiting at the door eventually became, his second wife! But that's a whole other story...

Enjoy the Playlist my friends!
And, thanks for the timing of this Harry Nilsson with your June, 1973 release of A Little Touch of Schmilsson in the Night. Nothing better than a little mood music to kick this thing off.

Monday, May 22, 2023

#NewMusicMonday • 5/19/23 • Paul Simon's Seven Psalms


Paul Simon's new album is not a typical album of songs, rather seven connected works.

Produced by Simon and Kyle Crusham, Seven Psalms is a single suite of music comprised of the following seven interlinked movements:

1. The Lord
2. Love Is Like A Braid
3. My Professional Opinion
4. Your Forgiveness
5. Trail of Volcanoes
6. The Sacred Harp
7. Wait

I've been listening to it on YouTube and present it here. What I like is that the original form is a 33 minute continuous stream of music. I'm sure others will break up the seven songs, but what it did for me was force me to make time to listen to a half hour of music. Kind of like when I was a teenager, buy an album and sit in my bedroom and listen to the entire piece. I suggest taking it on a walk with your phone, somewhere in nature away from the cars and noise, or just maybe in a quiet room with amplified equipment.

Enjoy my friends.

Monday, May 15, 2023

60 Years of Music • May, 1963 • The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan

The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan starts with the front cover itself, a photo that will reflect a generation. Bob with his hip but too thin suede leather jacket for a cold February, 1963 day in New York City, walking in the middle of the street with his bundled up girlfriend, Suze Rotolo in the dirty snow. I just love how they are framed between the building and cars (not to mention the VW Bus that would be a symbol itself of the 1960's.)

This is a 21 year old with his whole life in front of him with most any young person looking at the cover and thinking the same. The photograph is a thoroughly spontaneous moment in time that communicates, you're going to like what's inside.

I of course was an oblivious 8 year old at the time. I can't recall the first time or 25th time I casually heard Blowin' in the Wind on the radio or TV. But, at some point in many a teenager's life since 1963, we let our minds purposely listen to this wonderful song for the first time, and ponder the big questions without any answers, for ourselves.

As an 8 year old, I lived in an household where abstract questions were presented with a singular answer. From my small town church community and parents, the answer wasn't blowing in the wind, it was Jesus Christ. He was the answer. The man who died for our sins so that we could have everlasting life... but with the caveat, only if we accepted him into our life... as our personal savior. Yes, I was told very strongly by the church as a child, that I personally needed saving. And please sit tight, don't ask questions, as we have all the big answers.

Bobby Dylan and his friends come along in the 1960's with their 'Protest Songs,' then, plug in an electric guitar into an amp, and the Billy Graham's suddenly got themselves some serious competition. 

This devil music just wasn't going away, and by the 1970's 'Christian Rock' actually became a thing.

In 1963, all my family, and all my close friends went to church. 

In 2023, none of my siblings, blended family, and close friends go to church. Guess we started asking some questions?

Blowin' in the Wind

How many roads must a man walk down
Before you call him a man?
How many seas must a white dove sail
Before she sleeps in the sand?
Yes, and how many times must the cannonballs fly
Before they're forever banned?
The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind
The answer is blowin' in the wind
Yes, and how many years must a mountain exist
Before it is washed to the sea?
And how many years can some people exist
Before they're allowed to be free?
Yes, and how many times can a man turn his head
And pretend that he just doesn't see?
The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind
The answer is blowin' in the wind
Yes, and how many times must a man look up
Before he can see the sky?
And how many ears must one man have
Before he can hear people cry?
Yes, and how many deaths will it take 'til he knows
That too many people have died?
The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind
The answer is blowin' in the wind

Before I get to the album, here's a clip I love of Bob Dylan singing Blowin' in the Wind with a few friends at the 1963 Newport Folk Festival. The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan would make Bob Dylan an international star and singer-songwriter for the ages. Still today, generation after generation of young people discover Bob Dylan for the first time. I could only be so lucky to have a young person hear this album here for the first time. 

The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan 

Monday, May 08, 2023

Fifty Years of Music • Paul Simon and George Harrison • May, 1973

There Goes Rhymin' Simon
 was released by Paul Simon on May 5, 1973 and I bought it shortly after. It instantly was one of my all-time favorite albums with so many great songs. I love them all to this day. If there was ever a doubt about the genius of Paul Simon, this album puts Simon into rarified air among artists. In 2003, the album was ranked number 267 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums, I personally would put it in the Top 100.

In the spring of 1973, as the Watergate scandal was heating up and leading to the resignation of Richard Nixon in 1974, Simon's American Tune hits the streets. If ever there was a song that captures that snapshot in time, it's American Tune. It is in fact a timeless song. Listen to it today, and it plugs right into today. Upon hearing it again this past week, I immediately thought of the mass killings happening everyday in America with assault weapons. 

For me, American Tune transcends an individual citizen's weariness to our nation's weariness. We now live in a time where keeping Democracy is a taunting challenge. Our weariness in this struggle is felt by millions, but we get up every morning with the knowledge of who we are and the collective tasks ahead, as Americans.

I never tire of reading the lyrics.

American Tune

Many's the time I've been mistaken
And many times confused
Yes, and I've often felt forsaken
And certainly misused

Oh, but I'm alright, I'm alright
I'm just weary to my bones
Still, you don't expect to be bright and bon vivant
So far away from home, so far away from home

And I don't know a soul who's not been battered
I don't have a friend who feels at ease
I don't know a dream that's not been shattered
Or driven to its knees

But it's alright, it's alright
For we lived so well so long
Still, when I think of the
Road we're traveling on
I wonder what's gone wrong
I can't help it, I wonder what has gone wrong

And I dreamed I was dying
I dreamed that my soul rose unexpectedly
And looking back down at me
Smiled reassuringly

And I dreamed I was flying
And high up above my eyes could clearly see
The Statue of Liberty
Sailing away to sea
And I dreamed I was flying

We come on the ship they call The Mayflower
We come on the ship that sailed the moon
We come in the age's most uncertain hours
And sing an American tune

Oh, and it's alright, it's alright, it's alright
You can't be forever blessed
Still, tomorrow's going to be another working day
And I'm trying to get some rest
That's all I'm trying to get some rest

Living in a Material World was released by George Harrison on May 30, 1973. I never purchased this album, but in the world of streaming albums and YouTube, I can listen to it anytime. This past week I sat down and listened to the whole album and now appreciate this gem of a record with it's #1 smash hit Give Me Love (Give Me Peace on Earth) which in turn made it the #1 album at the time too.

This album hits at a time where many young people are "losing their religion" and finding an inner spiritual awareness as an individual over organized religious denominations. In 1973, I was still very much in the grips of a conservative Baptist upbringing, but rock 'n' roll would help "save me" in the long run from that narrow mindedness, to creating my own path. It's interesting that George emerged from the "Quiet Beatle", to openly share his own spiritual journey as a wealthy person in a spiritually poor world.


In 1976, Paul Simon hosted Saturday Night Live and his special musical guest was none other than George Harrison. Here I have included their two songs together, George's Here Comes The Sun followed by Paul's Homeward Bound.

Monday, May 01, 2023

#BestSongIHeardToday • Volume 22 • It's Only Rock 'n' Roll

The book on Amazon

This playlist has been shaping itself for the past couple of months after I discovered that I was picking a lot of songs with "rock," "roll," or "rock and roll" in the song title. 

I then started stripping out the straight up "folk" or softer stuff, and started alternating bands and artists between the 60's-70's classic era with rock 'n' roll songs from the 80's on. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers are always the exception for me, as that band is one of the best five bands of all-time and stand next to The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and The Who. (I'll let you pick the other band.) I'm not a huge Bruce Springsteen fan, but Bruce and Tom carried the torch through the 80's and 90's and helped keep rock 'n' roll front and center until it wasn't. 

As the playlist progressed, I just stopped my natural selection process of hearing songs on my trail runs and just started thinking about songs with "rock," "roll" in the title, or songs that struck me as the essence of rock 'n' roll. For example, The Doors Light My Fire certainly does that for me. The video I picked from their 1967 performance on Ed Sullivan must have shaken "the establishment" to the core with his, "I don't give a f*** attitude." Jim Morrison's performance of that song on that show is quiet memorable from my 7th grade brain. 

The Byrds are one of my favorite bands and perfect to start this thing off as they were pioneers in blurring the lines between folk and folk-rock, psychedeliaand then, country and country-rock. If you love rock 'n' roll, you can never forget The Byrds.

A last note of sorts- You may say, "Why didn't he pick ____________, or for example, Bob Seger's Old Time Rock & Rock? Well, that particular song doesn't move me, but Fire Lake sure does. Well, it's only rock 'n' roll, and as the old saying goes pertaining to art, "I know what I like."