Monday, October 30, 2023

Halloween Playlist • 2023

Every year, I add a few songs to this playlist and I think every year it gets a little more separated from the standard Halloween playlists. but yes I have ghostbusters just like everyone else.

Tis the season for pumpkin! Here are two great pumpkin treats. 

First, if you haven't tried the pumpkin bread loaf at Starbucks, well it's available all year long, and delicious!!!

Next up, is Trader Joe's seasonal Gluten Free Pumpkin Streusel Muffins. 
  1. Cut one muffin in half
  2. Butter each half up
  3. Place in the microwave for... whenever butter melts in your microwave!
  4. eat with a folk like its cake, because it's cake!
wonder why I'm already packing on the pounds and it's just Halloween?

Tis the season, Enjoy my Friends!

Monday, October 23, 2023

#NewMusicMonday • October, 2023 • Hackney Diamonds • The Rolling Stones

60 Years of Music. Wait a minute. This is not a Monday Monday Music blog going back to 1963, this is The Rolling Stones releasing a new album of original material this month! 

The album's name is London slang for the shattered glass left behind after burglars have smashed a window to break in, Hackney being an inner-city area of London associated with a high crime rate. Wikipedia

Hackney Diamonds is a gem. It's just so wonderful to hear new rock 'n' roll period, much less from the band known as the "world's greatest rock 'n' roll band" from the 20 century. 

I mean for god's sake Mick Jagger is 80 and can still belt it out. Keith Richards will be 80 in December and has adapted his guitar playing around the arthritis in his hands. Ronnie Wood is the young one at 76. Who would have ever imagined that this band would still be going in 2023- they must be on lithium batteries. 

I wish Charlie could have made this one, but wait a minute, he's on a couple of tracks, not to mention original bass player Bill Wyman on a Stones track for the first time in 30 years. Then, there's Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder, Elton John, and Lady Gaga who are featured in songs throughout the album. This one's a bag of jewels ready for the taking.

Enjoy my friends, and never die young because we all still have a lot to do! 

Monday, October 16, 2023

Fifty Years of Music • October, 1973

October, 1973 is a monster month in rock 'n' roll. I've already featured three albums from this list of twelve shown above recently and decided to mix them all together and make a big ol' playlist this week. 

I always seem to surprise myself 50 years down the road, and this past week it was listening to Neil Young's Time Fades Away. This was the album that followed Harvest and it just became part of Young's succession of albums where he seemed not to care as much in making great records. Neil has a lot of personal history within this time period, so much so that this live album is not officially listed in his catalogue, and wasn't pressed as a CD until 2017. In my journey through the past this last week, I found Time Fades Away very satisfying. In a year, I'll give Neil's 1974 On The Beach, another try.

Two other gems, are Fleetwood Mac's Mystery to Me, and Dave Mason's It's Like You Never Left. I think I included every song from both albums here as the Brits just kept making great music.

Enjoy my friends, you've got a full week of listening enjoyment as I was personally having the time of my life with my girlfriend and into my first semester of college in October, 1973. 

Monday, October 09, 2023

Fifty Years of Music • October, 1973 • Quadrophenia • The Who

Quadrophenia is The Who's sixth studio album. Pete Townshend has called it, their last great album. As a double-album and rock opera, it follows Tommy and Who's Next, two back-to-back rock 'n' roll classics filled with hit songs. 

Like many great albums of the 1960's and early 70's, I didn't fully appreciate Quadrophenia until later. It tells the story of a young Mod, Jimmy confused about his identity, worth, and purpose.

With regard to British culture, most Americans were focused on how the "British Invasion" bands of the 1960's affected American music and culture. The Who give us a story of early/mid-1960's culture in England where class, fashion, and music collide to become a culture war between two young unsatisfied working class groups, the "Rockers" and the more progressive, "Mods."

Mod, from the word modernist, is a subculture that began in London and spread throughout Great Britain and elsewhere, eventually influencing fashions and trends in other countries, and continues today on a smaller scale. Focused on music and fashion, the subculture has its roots in a small group of stylish London-based young men and women in the late 1950s who were termed modernists because they listened to modern jazz. Elements of the mod subculture include fashion (often tailor-made suits); music (including soul, rhythm and blues, ska and mainly jazz) and motor scooters (usually Lambretta or Vespa). In the mid-1960s, the subculture listened to rock groups with mod following, such as The Who and Small Faces, after the peak Mod era. The original mod scene was associated with amphetamine-fuelled all-night jazz dancing at clubs. One notably instrumental figure in the movement's origins was British fashion designer Mary Quant. Wikipedia

In 1979, Quadrophenia became a movie that until this past Saturday I had never seen from start to finish. I think Quadrophenia does a good job in depicting post-World War II conditions in Britain where England's war-babies have grown into a stalled economy with little opportunity and options other than to be a day labourer. Ray Davies of The Kinks and Pete Townshend of The Who are two such post-war children who turned that angst into pop-culture hits. 

Townshend's duality of the Rockers representing the 1950's youth rebellion of James Dean's Rebel Without a Cause and Marion Brando's brash-biker in The Wild Ones is dated and out of touch for the upcoming Mods. These kids want more from their society as communicated in The Who's 1965 song, My Generation

It's all a motor scooter preamble for what's coming as London becomes the center of change with "Swinging London" and the dawn of modern drugs, sex, fashion, music, and all things psychedelic in the swinging sixties. 

So, with the 50th anniversary of the October, 1973 release of Quadrophenia, I present you with a couple of shiny little pill options.

First, here is the Super-Deluxe double-album of Quadrophenia for your listening pleasure this week. If you haven't given it a listen to in a while, well it's certainly worth the revisit, and a rock 'n' roll classic right up there with Tommy and Who's Next. Who could have imagined such a trilogy of greatness!

And second, here is the original 1979 movie trailer, followed by a link to Amazon Prime where you can rent the movie for $3.99. I enjoyed this movie as my recent Saturday night feature, and highly recommend it if you're like me and kind of obsessed with this time period in history.

Enjoy my friends!

Monday, October 02, 2023

Fifty Years of Music • October, 1973 • For Everyman • Jackson Browne

For Everyman is Jackson Browne's second album and there is no sophomore slump here. I remember going over to listen to it for the first time with my friend Paul Hobbs in his bedroom, the teenager's sanctuary. 

Everyone realizes that Jackson Browne is an exceptional talent with the release of this album. For me, he quickly ascends to the same songwriting status that I had for James Taylor, Neil Young, Paul Simon, and Cat Stevens in the early 70's folk-rock era. This album also begins Browne's long collaboration with David Lindley whose lap steel guitar playing was a huge part of the Jackson Browne sound.  

Everything about Jackson Browne's albums are intricate and intimate, including his album covers. Didn't everyone want to live in a spanish-style house in the 1970's? I sure did. When I saw this album cover for the first time, I immediately thought of my grandparents little spanish-style house on Park Street in Santa Maria, CA and their little brick enclosed backyard with its outdoor arched fireplace. I loved that house.

The album cover photograph is a depiction of Browne's childhood home in Highland Park, California, "The Abbey San Encino” which was hand-built by his grandfather Clyde Browne and owned to this day by his brother Edward. The photograph was taken by Alan F. Blumenthal. The cover of the original release was a cutout with the inner sleeve showing Browne sitting in a rocking chair. When removed the picture on the inside had the same background but Browne and the rocking chair were omitted. Wikipedia

 Jackson Browne is Evermore. In the fifty-one years since his debut album in 1972, nothing has diminished. Buy his latest album, go see him in concert, and watch his current YouTube videos as I continue to be in simple awe of his everlasting talent and humanity. 

Enjoy this wonderful album my friends, again.