Monday, May 20, 2024

Third Time's the Charm • The Rolling Stones Hackney Diamonds 2024 Tour

My floor level view of the Hackney Diamonds stage
Seattle WA, Lumen Field, May 15, 2024

I finally got to see The Rolling Stones after two previous attempts where the concerts were cancelled. Last week was such a blast! Our dear friend, Ken Forman cooked up the idea some months back as he and his wife Vicki have a daughter and family that live in Seattle. My wife, Mary Kit has three children that also live within the Seattle region and every now and then we make it a point to get together with the Forman's up in the great Pacific Northwest. We all see our kids, grandkids and then get together for an event in our homes away from home.

Ken was a dog with a bone on this one. First, the Stones advanced ticket sales AARP sponsored website crashed (how appropriate) when all the old fart baby boomers were trying to get primo seats at the same 10:00 am "Start Me Up" time! Never the less, Ken was undeterred and secured four tickets the next day on another "pay the equivalent of your first born" ticket service. 

The four of us arrived at Lumen Field (home of the Seattle Seahawks) after a wonderful Mexican food dinner. I also have to give a big shout out to my son-in-law, Spencer who gave me great directions to a great parking lot he uses just a few blocks from the stadium with immediate freeway access! 

The concert was such a blast and all four us loved every minute of it! Mick Jagger at 80 years young is still hopping around the stage like he's in his 30's. As for the average 60+ year old fan base, I could see more than a few hobbling just to get to their seats, and then relive their 20's and 30's and stand like everybody else for the entire two hour show. I'll admit, I had to sit down several times to give my old feet a breather. 

Now for the playlist this week. I've used the Hackney Diamonds tours setlist from the May 15th show we attended. The first video is my handheld iPhone shot of Start Me Up, and then I've got an eclectic choice of YouTube videos celebrating these enduring songs from the everlasting Rolling Stones!

I was thinking I would never see this, and by God here I am, watching The Rolling Stones live in Seattle. When they started their last song of the evening, (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction, I thought back to the ten year old boy in 1965 listening to that song come on his Sony transistor radio for the first time. I still remember that moment so clearly, sitting on my front yard lawn almost 60 years ago, thinking, "What a wonderful song this is, who are these guys? Rock 'n' roll baby, it gets in your blood. 

So here I am, following my one true religion, together with friends and strangers, all of us celebrating life in the three-cord church of electric music. Long live The Rolling Stones! Thank you Kenny for this moment and this night, I love you buddy.

Enjoy the playlist my friends.

Monday, April 29, 2024

#NewMusicMonday • One Deep River • Mark Knopfler

Ok, I can hear you laughing, three weeks and the hiatus is already over right? Not quite. I just happened to fall into Mark Knopfler's new album, One Deep River and couldn't help but to share it with you, and particularly with my old buddy Bill DeVoe. Bill happens to be a big Mark Knopfler fan and told me he was going through Monday Monday Music withdrawals. 

The songwriting here is outstanding, relaxed and with nothing else to prove, Mark Knopfler just keeps making great music. Enjoy the album my friends. 

Monday, April 01, 2024

60 Years of Music • April, 1964 • The Rolling Stones Debut

April, 1964 and the "British Invasion" is in full swing. The Rolling Stones release their debut album in the UK. This release follows an emerging pattern as England's young stars albums are slightly repackaged for the North American markets by adding prior singles or songs only released in the UK.

The album covers of the three bands featured this month plus Dusty Springfield, show their first release in the UK and the different release jacket in the United States and Canada.

The Rolling Stones whose name was taken from a Muddy Waters tune, debut with mostly cover songs from black American artist's that express their love of the Blues, but also shows their inexperience in crafting their own songs at this early stage in their career. In the playlist this week, I also couldn't resist throwing in the Stones' 1963 second hit single in England which is the Lennon and McCartney song, I Want to Be Your Man.

However, The Rolling Stones are not alone here, as The Beatles, The Dave Clark Five and so many upcoming bands have their first and second albums filled with cover tunes.

For The Beatles second album, With The Beatles, I love Capital Records' complete lack of imagination in just calling the U.S. release, The Beatles' Second Album, not to mention that Capital felt that they had to remix Producer George Martin's mix of With The Beatles, blasphemy!

A Girl Called Dusty is the debut album by London England's Dusty Springfield who for me epitomizes the complete magnetism of American pop, country and soul with other people of the world. As a young person, and with the name Dusty Springfield (born Mary O'Brien), I totally thought she probably grew up in some small town in Ohio or Tennessee. For me Dusty Springfield is one of those "it" girls who was a great singer and interpreter of songs written by other people. There are so many fantastic female singers from the 60's that I love and adore, but Dusty's voice is special, and it transports me back to watching any number of popular "Variety" TV shows in the 1960's. 

I round out this month's selections with Tottenham London's The Dave Clark Five and their debut album, A Session with The Dave Clark Five. The band also known as DC5 started in 1958. Their first big hit single, Glad All Over in January of 1964 knocked off The Beatles', I Want To Hold Your Hand out of the #1 singles spot in the UK. This debut album is a good example of how groups were trying not to blatantly copy The Beatles' sound as they incorporated electric keyboards and sax into their own blend of that early 60's pop sound. I love DC5 and think their lead singer and keyboard player Mike Smith should have gotten a bit more attention than he did. Alas, their time at the top would be short as waves of bands from both sides of the pond would vie for the top of the charts and DC5 would not sustain their early momentum going head to head with The Beatles.

Well, here we are 60 years later and guess who's still under the big bright stadium lights? The Rolling Stones, who in my opinion are the second greatest rock 'n' roll band of all time. 

With the death of Brian Jones in 1969, Mick Taylor's short stint as his replacement until 1974, Ronnie Wood entrance in 1975, Bill Wyman's retirement in 1992, and Charlie Watts death in 2021, there's alway been Mick and Keith, The f***in' Rolling Stones.

Now, you may have read my attempts to see the Stones live on two different occasions this century with tickets in hand, and the band cancelling the event. First in Las Vegas, where my wife and I got a text in our hotel room that Mick had a bad sore throat from singing in the cold dessert air at Coachella the night before. Then, in San Diego where Covid killed that stadium show. But, thanks to our dear friend Ken Forman's persistence with the online sales gauntlet, he has gotten us tickets for the May 15, 2024 show in Seattle. Ken and his wife Vicki, along with my wife Mary Kit and I are all going to Lumen Field for my,"third times a charm" attempt to see this legendary band for the first time. Think good thoughts.
_______________________________

I'll end this post with an announcement that is a bit hard to write down here at the computer keyboard on a rainy Saturday afternoon.

I've decided to take a hiatus from writing Monday Monday Music™ blogs for the time being. I'm not going to fold the tent just yet, hell I got one already baked in for May 15th. But, starting next Monday, I'm going to take a break for awhile and focus on some other things.

Maybe, it's now going to be... "Sporadic Monday Monday Music"?  

This actually has not been my first break from the blog, but since 2021, I have published a blog post every Monday for three years and three months (3 is my favorite number).

Since Monday January 5, 2015, I have written 404 Monday Monday Music™ blog posts. I assure you this is not the last.

I want to thank my faithful readership who read my blog every week. I write this blog for you... and for me. I leave this post at April, 1964, as I had just turned 9 years old at the time. I will not forget that time, and I promise to return to 1964 to carry on what I believe to be the greatest decade in rock 'n' roll history. I promise to return to 1974 and to music of the 1970's, and I promise to write about current bands and artists making music today. 

I will continue to post YouTube music videos @ Monday Monday Music's Facebook and Twitter sites as the music spirits move me. I make time to listen to music most everyday, I got a feeling, you do the same.

Thank you for your support, and as always... Enjoy the playlist my friends.

Monday, March 25, 2024

#NewMusicMonday • March, 2024 • Failing Forward

Embrace adversity and make failure a regular part of your life. If you're not failing, you're probably not really moving forward. –John C. Maxwell

Hey, make this t-shirt, I know a gal!
This past week I was in Palm Springs at the annual CUE (Computing Using Educators) Conference. I have been going to this conference, well... before the invention of the Internet. Back in the 1980's through early 2000's, we as computing using educator's could only dream about every student having a laptop in their backpack. 

At some point in the 2010's, the tipping point was happening. From teachers having one desktop computer in their class, it evolved into teachers having a whole locking cart of classroom laptops, to each individual student having their own laptop assigned to them like a textbook, that they could take home.

As teachers, we keep pushing forward, stumbling and falling with slow-moving leaders, but always advocating for the integration of technology across the K-12 curriculum. Attending the conference this year, I realized many of the teacher's present were actually the school children growing up in a digital world where "digital access" became well... expected.

Fomcore - Rock'n Roller @ CUE
I was at the conference this year working with my colleagues at
D&D Learning Spaces to push that same envelope with mobile and modular furniture (and technology) for the classroom. As a reader, you may be unaware that the same furniture that young students used in the 80's and 90's, are now grown tax paying adults, and their own children are still using that same crappy furniture. So today, we have 21st technology in classrooms with school furniture purchased when Ronald Reagan was President. A bit of a disconnect from the world of work, and the concept of project-based learning. And, that tipping point in public school classrooms is probably another good 5 -10 years out. Hey, but teachers can dream, and they can act.

So, I'm in my exhibitor space, talking with teachers who say, "I guess I could dream about getting this cool furniture in my class someday." Then, I see a teacher in his 30's walk by with a black t-shirt with the phrase, "Failing Forward" in white letters on the front. I just smile. Here's a teacher coming to this conference to learn new things, make mistakes, and change young people's lives for the better. 

My motto in life is a line taken from The Beatles song, Hey Jude,
"Take a sad song and make it better."

Now think of yourself. How will you fail this month and year to ultimately achieve a series of steps to success? 

As JD Souther says in his wonderful song, Little Victories,
I know it hurt sometimes to look around
The sameness of it beats you down
And the best seems all behind
Before you start

Little victories
I know you need one
Little victories

––––––––––––––––––––––

Now the playlist this week has nothing to do with my post above, and that's kind of my way in life these days. I bounce around with different passions and often conflate things like school furniture and rock 'n' roll together. 

Whistle while you work my friends. Enjoy the playlist.


References 




Monday, March 18, 2024

#BestSongIHeardToday • Volume 29 • Suffering WTF (With Trump Fatigue)

 Portrait by court sketch artist, Isabelle Brourman

I got tension. How many nights can you watch the news and see Trump somehow slither through the United States of America's legal justice system year in and year out. I don't know if there has been anyone who has had so many trial dates (91 Federal counts) kicked down the road more than slippery Donald. It has to be the ultimate example of "elitist" treatment ever given to anyone in American history. I've had it, I'm now taking a 30 day vacation from cable news. I'm worn out.

I got tension. I put my news watching on hold and switched to sports, specifically basketball. Trouble is I'm a San Diego State Aztec and Golden State Warrior fan. These two teams currently make me talk at the TV! I thought I was going to have a relaxing time here watching some basketball over Trump. Believe it or not, these two teams are driving me just as crazy with their ups and downs, hot and cold... the inconsistency is so hard to watch. I need a vacation from these two teams. I'm worn out.

I got tension. I recently finished watching, True Detective: Night Country (HBO), mr.&mrs.smith (Amazon Prime), and Masters of the Air (Apple +). All these shows (great by the way) have got me so stressed out. I somehow get sucked in, care way too much for all the leading characters, it's just too much. I'm worn out. What's next, something stress-free: a rock 'n' roll documentary, PBS's Nature, maybe Pee Wee's Playhouse?

I've got a feeling, a feeling deep inside, oh yeah. 
Then, I go to my happy place of looking and listening to music. Nothing like listening to old and new tunes, some just audio, some with video and then, making a playlist over time. 

The playlist this week has actually gone through several iterations of change that probably is only interesting to me. Now its' time to bring it out. Who's going to listen to it? Maybe find one song that makes them smile, maybe remember a moment in time. I got no tension, I'm energized. 

New Blog Feature - Notes
Starting this week, below the playlist, I'm going to have three sections that you may be interested in beyond, or a little deeper dive past my 30 second to 3 minute reads.
  1. 🖇 Blog References 
  2. 🖊 Blog Notes
  3. ♬ Playlist Notes
Enjoy the playlist my friends.


🖇 Blog References
🖊 Blog Notes
  1. My wife, Mary Kit walks into the kitchen this past week with the TV droning about another Trump court case delayed and says to me, "I got Trump fatigue." We started our vacation from cable news together that day. Don't tell her, but I did sneak a news peak after she went to bed, instantly regretted it, and flipped the channel.
  2. This past Saturday, the San Diego State Aztecs basketball team lost in the Mountain West Tournament Finals to New Mexico 68-61. Expect more madness when they enter the NCAA Tournament. Last year, they had a spectacular over-achieving run all the way to a loss in the NCAA Finals. This year, nah (he's just so pessimistic).
  3. This past Saturday, the Warriors beat the Lakers 128-121. The Lakers center, Anthony Davis caught an elbow to the eye in the first quarter and had to leave the game. Lucky break for the Warriors as Davis would have blocked the paint, prevented all the easy scores, and the Lakers probably would have beat the Warriors easily (he's just so so pessimistic). 
  4. The paragraph about the TV shows is an embellishment. Nothing like watching great a series or movie in the Lazy Boy with the gas fireplace on. Last night I watched Nyad (Netflix). Tense, but wonderful! I highly recommend all the shows I've shared this week.
♬ Playlist Notes
  1. I'm doing a run and Tension by Todd Snider comes on, and another blog post is born.
  2. I wake up Saturday singing, I've Got a Feeling in my head and it's suddenly song two.
  3. Seven Bridges Road was the natural lead-in song for the playlist and stayed there for a month until Todd's song came along and bumped it to number 3. Now Seven Bridges Road is probably saying to itself, "WTF man, I'm always the first song in any Eagles concert."

Monday, March 11, 2024

60 Years of Music • February-March, 1964 • The Times They Are A-Changin'


Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don't stand in the doorway
Don't block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
The battle outside ragin'
Will soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin'
3rd Verse, The Times They Are A-Changin' –Bob Dylan

•••

It's been too hard living
But I'm afraid to die
'Cause I don't know what's up there
Beyond the sky
It's been a long
A long time coming, but I know
A change gon' come
Oh yes, it will
3rd verse, A Change is Gonna Come –Sam Cooke

•••

History has a way of circling back. Just when we think we have left behind-
  • fascism back in the 1930 and 40's;
  • disability and death by viruses back in the 50's;
  • racial hate back in the 60's;
  • Roe vs Wade back in the 70's;
  • evangelicals working to destroy the separation of church and state back in the 80's;
  • a cad, running again for President without a moral center, like another cad President back in the 90's;
  • and, authoritarians bombing and invading their neighbors land, like well... forever.
I can go on, but you get the point. America probably has always been two-steps forward, and one-step back. Now the one-steppers back, want to take it all the way back to the mythical 1950's, where power and control would be restored to a white majority culture.

Bob Dylan's The Times They Are A-Changin' has always been one of my favorite Bob Dylan albums. The lead song is one of the greatest songs of all-time. The entire album is a somber protest as the artist's lyrics are pure poetry raising social consciousness through the medium of folk music. In recent years, I have been enraptured by Dylan's early years, especially concert footage and audio capturing the passion of his voice delivering the song to a hushed audience taking in every word and verse.

Two other songs are to me even more outstanding. First, With God on Our Side, an anti-war song written by such a young man about America having the Christian moral high ground over other countries. It smacks directly at millions of Americans upbringing, and surely mine, brought down to the level that the Little League's team prayer was somehow going to translate into a winning score.

The next is, Only a Pawn in their Game. Dylan sings truth to power about America in his pure clarity of racism and political manipulation of the powerful to the isolated, poor, and uneducated. The song is as relevant today, maybe substitute a George Floyd-like killing mixed with our current political divide, and we surely can dust off this song for a fresh listen.

Sam Cooke recorded his last album, Ain't That Good News released in February 1964, as he would be tragically shot dead in December by a hotel clerk in a bizarre set of circumstances involving a woman who he had taken to a hotel in Los Angeles.

Ain't That Good News is a wonderful mix of fun songs with the very serious, A Change is gonna Come which would come to be the enduring anthem of the 1960's civil rights movement. The song's first verse-

I was born by the river
In a little tent
Oh, and just like the river, I've been running
Ever since

simply opens you up to his experience, an experience where hate and hard times were some day going to be better, because the alternative could not be tolerated any longer. The theme of "we're not ever going back to that again," is a people's determination and history lesson all in a song. 

I never realized that The Times They Are A-Changin' and A Change is gonna Come, would be released only eight days from each other in February, 1964. Sixty years later, they came together for me and this little blog. In fact, this past week of listening to music in this time period helped shape for me three themes about popular music of that time.

Think of the first six songs here as two-set themes of the early 1960's in music.
  1. The Times They Are A-Changin' and A Change is gonna Come, represent social change and the emergence of the "protest song" or statement songs with a clear message about our society.

  2. Glad All Over (The Dave Clark Five), and Fun, Fun, Fun (The Beach Boys), represent fun simple rock 'n' roll love songs. (The Beach Boys also needed to start putting teens in cars because only so many people could geographically get to the beach.)

  3. Anyone Who Had a Heart (matching Burt Bacharach and Dionne Warwick), and The Girl From Ipanema (matching American saxophonist Stan Getz and Brazilian guitarist João Gilberto, featuring the vocals of Astrud Gilberto.) These two songs represent the transition from 50's popular standards songs mostly sung by males, to 60's pop songs influenced by R&B, soul, jazz, rock 'n' roll, women singers, and even world culture like the bossa nova.
Like last week's blog, musically the culture is saying, "goodbye" to the previous decade, and "hello" to a new order. Enjoy the playlist my friends!


References and Resources


1964 in music
- Wikipedia. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1964_in_music#February, Last accessed 11th March 2024

Ain't That Good News (album)
- Wikipedia. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ain%27t_That_Good_News_(album), Last accessed 11th March 2024

Sam Cooke - Wikipedia. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sam_Cooke, Last accessed 11th March 2024

The Times They Are a-Changin' (Bob Dylan album) - Wikipedia. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Times_They_Are_a-Changin%27_(Bob_Dylan_album), Last accessed 11th March 2024

Tolsen,. Billboard Hot 100™. Available at: https://www.billboard.com/charts/hot-100/1964-03-14/, Last accessed 11th March 2024

Monday, March 04, 2024

Fifty Years of Music • February-March 1974 • Goodbye the 60's, hello the 70's


Musically, the 1960's died in 1971, okay let's stretch it to 1972. In 1969 I entered high school, and by 1973 when I graduated from high school, a new iteration of rock 'n' roll was well underway. In 1974 as I started college, many of the bands that I call, "Tier 1 bands" were either gone (e.g. The Beatles, Cream, Jimi Hendrix), or bands still going like The Rolling Stones and The Who, were sharing radio time with a whole slew of new bands that I call "Tier 2 and 3 bands."

Music is such a personal preference, even akin to a religious experience. Like religion or faith, I would never get into anybody's grill about their "taste" in music. The popular music of one's time in middle school and high school will often be the defining years that shapes one's taste in music for a lifetime.

For example, my brother and sister are twins and just 2-1/2 years younger than me, and my other sister is 10 years younger than me. My whole musical experience of being a 6th-12th grader in the 60's-early 70's I feel was much different than my siblings.

I'm certainly not going to knock them if they like Aerosmith, Kansas or Rush, it was simply the music more in their grade school years, than mine.

Believe me, there were tons of crappy bands and artists in the 1960's, but I found my groove with folk and "jingle-jangle" bands like The Byrds and Buffalo Springfield that really shaped my musical tastes.

By 1974, there's slicker and smoother versions of rock 'n' roll being produced in my opinion, and in looking through Wikipedia's 1974 in Music for February and March, you may see the transition too. (Note- I have pasted these Wikipedia lists at the bottom of this post.)

I want to also mention a couple of other events that shaped how I looked at artist's as once heroes, to now-not so much, or not at all. The first example actually happens in February, 1974 with the release of Seals and Crofts, Unborn Child. This is where Seals and Crofts crosses that line between their religious beliefs and telling others how to live their lives as they think you should. Unborn Child is a song told from the perspective of an aborted fetus, really? Here's the 1974 album cover of I guess, a sad embryo? Well they not only lost me as a fan, but I guess a whole generation of Roe v. Wade young people. The duo never recovered from this song and this album, and their future albums would never put them back in the limelight. 

For this record, Seals and Crofts won the "Keep Her in Her Place" award from the National Organization for Women (tying with Paul Anka for his recording of "(You're) Having My Baby") during "its annual putdown of male chauvinism" in the media on Women's Equality Day. Wikipedia

The second event that rocked me with a musical hero was in 1989. Here is a clip from the New York Times. LONDON, May 22 -- The musician known as Cat Stevens said in a British television program to be broadcast next week that rather than go to a demonstration to burn an effigy of the author Salman Rushdie, ''I would have hoped that it'd be the real thing.''

The singer, who adopted the name Yusuf Islam when he converted to Islam, made the remark during a panel discussion of British reactions to Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's call for Mr. Rushdie to be killed for allegedly blaspheming Islam in his best-selling novel ''The Satanic Verses.'' He also said that if Mr. Rushdie turned up at his doorstep looking for help, ''I might ring somebody who might do more damage to him than he would like.''

''I'd try to phone the Ayatollah Khomeini and tell him exactly where this man is,'' said Mr. Islam, who watched a preview of the program today and said in an interview that he stood by his comments.
Craig R. Whitney, May 23, 1989, New York Times.

In the playlist this week, I include Cat Steven's, Budda and the Chocolate Box, an album I simply loved and played all the time in 1974. When this news came out, I was incensed, and I guess both Seals and Crofts and Cat Stevens were the first artists I could say that I "cancelled" in the 20th century. 

But please, enjoy the many spiritually influenced 1974 songs from Budda and the Chocolate Box, as I guess Steven's Peace Train vibe was all a ruse, and his message of love and peace had left the station.

Let's move on to something more positive, and a band that like so many other people, we didn't discover when we needed to in 1974, Big Star. I personally found Big Star a couple of years ago through the 2012 documentary, Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me  (Here is the link on Amazon Prime.)

Radio City is their second album. Rolling Stone has included their first three albums in their Top 500 Albums of All-Time. I'm not going to get into their backstory here but I highly recommend you watch the documentary and check out these three albums - 

Enjoy the playlist my friends, and I didn't even mention the Eagles and Steely Dan, touring together 50 years later on the Eagles, The Long Goodbye Final Tour.



Wikipedia's 1974 in Music, February and March album release listings


Monday, February 26, 2024

#NewMusicMonday • February, 2024 • John Leventhal

John Leventhal is one of those great musicians that you probably have never heard of before. Like most people, I learned about Mr. Leventhal through his famous wife, Rosanne Cash. In 2018, I got to see both perform at the wonderful 700+ seat Edmonds Performing Arts Center in Edmonds, Washington. I wrote a blog about it, Rosanne Cash Duo - Edmonds Center for the Arts, 1/25/18. Recently, I have seen them billed as Rosanne Cash & John Leventhal. Today, I'll just focus on John and his new album, Rumble Strip, that is also the same name of Cash's and Leventhal's new record label. 

Rumble Strip is Leventhal's first solo album, but with 6 Grammy's under his belt has made a career being a very successful record producer. (Click on the link to go into several good articles about Leventhal, Rumble Strip, and his 30 year relationship with Cash.)

My interest in Leventhal (who is 71) is basically my interest in people continuing to create, and maybe getting a little attention after a lifetime of already excellent work. It is so inspiring to see older people continuing to work their craft and just keep doing it year in and year out. John Leventhal, you're a new hero of mine!

The playlist this week has a smattering of new songs from new albums that are coming out soon. I have saved the end of the playlist for all of the remaining songs on Rumble Strip not featured at the top of the playlist. Rumble Strip is the perfect listening album for my taste in music in 2024, writing and arranging with acoustic guitars that just soothes the soul.

Enjoy my friends!

Monday, February 19, 2024

Fifty Years of Running • The Ramble

50 years later, with a lot of miles down the road. January 31, 2024

This post takes me back to the spring semester of 1974 with my buddy and long-time part-time running mate, Paul Hobbs. Actually, I'll let Paul kick this thing off with several thoughts I asked him to jot down.

Doug and I first crossed paths at the Santa Maria Recreation and Parks Department Junior Olympics. We were pitted against one another in the standing broad jump event. Though I was a 4th grader and Doug was a year behind, he kicked my ass and I’ve never forgiven him, end of story.

No, just kidding. Doug’s family, as mine had done, moved from the west side of town to the east side, and wound up living next door to my friend Ron Zieman. We became dear friends and spent a lot of time together.

We ended up, eventually, attending Hancock College and signing up for a jogging class. It was very loose. We met in the morning and ran for an hour or so, showered up and moved on to our next class. Our only responsibility was to map out a course, measure the distance, and submit it for a book of courses to be provided to future classes, as ours was the maiden voyage of Jogging 101. Great idea.

The class instilled a running discipline in Doug and I that we’ve somehow maintained for about 50 years. We were running buddies for that brief time but over the years rarely ran together. We have remained friends and running enthusiasts and have shared information regarding treatment of injuries, running shoes, events, and love of the sport. Now, we get together a few times a year for a glorious run on the beach, lunch, and a couple of beers. What a grand way for a pair of old friends to spend some time.
–Paul Hobbs

Up until that point in 1974, I would do what many people do in having that start-stop inconsistency with running. Running is not pleasurable for a large part of the population, so I imagine even reading about it here might be annoying at best. If so, just skip to the playlist below as I've been tweaking it for several years now into a nice upbeat rock 'n' roll listen. However, I am going to press on, even start sprinkling in a few running quotes.

“Most of us have enough areas of our lives where we have to meet others’ expectations. Let your running be about your own hopes and dreams.” 
– Meb Keflezighi

My first running partner was my early childhood friend, Bill DeVoe. In high school, Bill would put his German Shepherd, Leroy on a leash, and we would all run together from his house to the very same Allan Hancock Jr. College. We'd would run around the exterior of the school and then head back to his house without Leroy missing a beat.

Beach walk on Vashon Island, 2021

50 Years later, Bill is still running, and runs with a small group of guys on Vashon Island in Washington. Recently, Bill told me that the group of 60+ year old guys had to insert a new rule into their run routine overlooking the beautiful Puget Sound. New Rule - If anyone brings up their current aches and pains, they have to 1), quickly explain their ailment, and then 2), cannot talk about it the rest of the run. Sounds like a plan. Like Paul, Bill has been a long-time part-time running and walking partner based on our distance from one another.

“I always loved running… it was something you could do by yourself, and under your own power. You could go in any direction, fast or slow as you wanted, fighting the wind if you felt like it, seeking out new sights just on the strength of your feet and the courage of your lungs.” – Jesse Owens

For most runners who are consistent with it over the years, it's a solitary event, where your mind goes inward while your body gets expressive.

“Running is alone time that lets my brain unspool the tangles
that build up over days.”
 – Rob Hanisen

After two years of Hancock, I moved into the dorms at San Diego State in 1975. There, I met another dear friend, Mark Hunter. Mark and I would move out a year later and become roommates for a couple years after that. Mark being a Health Science major was into running and we would often hook-up for a run in the streets of San Diego. We would also run the trails together at Palomar Mountain as camp counselors for a couple of summers. I don't think I was ever in better shape in my life running those dusty trails in our shorts and hiking boots.

A tired Mark and Doug after leading campers with disabilities
on a two day hike and camp @ Camp-A-Lot, Palomar Mountain 1977
(a shout out to my trusty Wolverine boots)

“There is something magical about running; after a certain distance, it transcends the body. Then a bit further, it transcends the mind. A bit further yet, and what you have before you, laid bare, is the soul.” – Kristin Armstrong

After college, I started teaching in 1980 and after several years in the special education program in San Diego Unified School District, I met a wonderful guy named Bob Morris. Both of us were married with two kids each, and one day, we just started running together after work. We'd solve all of our work problems mostly running the San Diego Bay. 

Eventually we started running half-marathons together and then ran the San Diego Marathon sometime in the early 90's. Bob was also a street bicyclist where a 50 mile ride was nothing to him. I called him, "The Mountain Goat' because he came from Montana and told me about riding the freezing roads with the wind and prairie in his face. Bob and I would go up a steep hill and he'd just leave me in the dust. 

Although, I do remember running our first half-marathon together from the Del Mar Fair to La Jolla Cove. On the way, there is a very long stretch climb from the coast up to the UCSD campus. We're in our late 30's, and this grey-haired woman in her 60's just comes up gliding next to the two of us, and then just passes moving at her pace. We both look at each other as she's already 20 yards ahead of us. Yes the sport is humbling, but as one learns, always at your own pace. Thank you Bob for your friendship and all those running years together!

“Running allows me to set my mind free. Nothing seems impossible.
Nothing unattainable.” 
– Kara Goucher

In the list of running partners in my life, I must include - 

My daughter Katie. 
We ran together after her high school years while she was in college and mostly before she had children. Katie is the closest running partner I've ever had. It's like running with myself next to me- same gait, same pace. I miss our runs, maybe one day after her boys grow older we will run again.

Pictured left to right -
Susan's husband Rick, Susan, Stephanie and me.
My sisters Stephanie and Susan. 
Stephanie and I started running together sometime in the early 2000's. At some point, we invited our sister Susan to a couple of half-marathons and a couple of Thanksgiving Turkey Trots that we all really enjoyed together. I started this idea of calling my running and anybody who ran with me, "Team Tortoise." I created a logo, and Susan printed up some t-shirts. Here we are on a very blustery Thanksgiving day at Pismo Beach in 2019, at the annual Turkey Trot walk or run. 

“We run to undo the damage we’ve done to body and spirit. We run to find some part of ourselves yet undiscovered.” – John Bingham

At some point in my 40's, I began to really enjoy running by myself again. Maybe at heart, runners are loners. Speaking for myself, it's free therapy where my mind and body stays connected. Young people don't even think of this, but as you get older you physically have to be moving, or else...

“Run when you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must;
just never give up.”
 – Dean Karnazes

This past Saturday (February 17), I celebrated 22 years of life after my heart attack. In retrospect, it was probably one of the best things that ever happened to me. In my mid-40's, I still hadn't learned to let things go. My heart attack although mostly rooted in heredity was more than a family trait, it was about me owning my place at the table. I could create, contribute, and care with confidence, without the baggage of what anybody or everybody thought. I didn't have to metaphorically run from my life, rather I could choose to mentally and physically run to my life. My heart attack experience helped me actualize my self value.

“I breathe in strength and breathe out weakness.” – Amy Hastings Cragg

You may have noticed (other than the group poses above), there's not a single picture of running here. In fifty years, I don't think I have an actual picture of me running, because I don't think I have any pictures of me brushing my teeth either. Good habits are practiced on a weekly basis without any fanfare. In whatever form of exercise you choose, your habits of mind will determine how you move your body. Perseverance is characteristic of the practice one puts into one area, that can transcend into the wholeness of a person. Running has provided me an organizational foundation to be confident and task-oriented in both my personal and professional life.

I guess it's time so show some running. If someone were to ask me, What is the most inspirational clip you've ever seen on running? It would be Dave Wottle's 800 meter gold metal run in the 1972 Olympics. I think it's the single most reason I dedicated myself to running. Here's also the excellent sports commentary by Jim McKay and Marty Liquori that may have also simultaneously inspired thousands of young people's journalism careers.

   


"Taking a walk, most everyday is one of the foundational cornerstones of an engaged life." – Doug McIntosh  

In the 1970's running and tennis were big sports and thus began popular exercise with the average person. Today, the everyday exercise is walking and pickleball. Let's stick to walking here.

Solving the world's problems
on a walk in Santa Monica with
Ken Forman, Paul Hobbs, & Ron Zieman
Taking a walk is liberation from buildings. Back in the 20th century, it just used to be the old lady out for
a walk around the neighborhood, while her soon to be dead husband was home on the couch. Today, millions of people have reserved that walk as that "me time" to stay healthy. Doesn't matter if you're solo or with a friend, or dog or two, walking will save your life. Taking a walk is the most accessible aerobic activity that is going to keep a person young in spirit, because if you give up on your body, that spirit will follow. 

I'm most inspired by friend Ron Zieman's semi-retirement 7 and 10 mile walks, or what he calls "The trail of tears" up and down the steps leading to his local Santa Monica Beach, and then some more steps in and around the beautiful coast and canyons. You rock Ron!

For runners, most of us have the simple rule that we are going to run... until we can't. And when we can't, we're already walking... until we can't. The thing is, if you take a walk everyday, the time that you have on this earth will probably be a lot longer than the short time you can't walk at all. 

Walking is problem-solving. You can be walking with someone, or by yourself, as forward movement stimulates the brain, and a stimulated brain is an active agent for change. 

“I run because it’s so symbolic of life. You have to drive yourself to overcome the obstacles. You might feel that you can’t. But then you find your inner strength, and realize you’re capable of so much more than you thought.” 
– Arthur Blank

This past year, I made the choice to transition from running on my favorite hilly and sometimes rocky trail to the flat back of a middle's school baseball fields and large dirt field, about .6 of a mile round. Over the course of time on my trail runs, I had begun to trip and fall every couple of months on the little rocks jutting up from the ground (snipers), and decided that was enough of that. Besides, I had become so slow on the trail for fear of falling, that I was missing the joy of running.

Over Christmas break, I pulled a groin muscle playing tennis with my twin grandsons. I waited a month or so, and then finally ran with Paul on the same day the Hancock picture was taken. Later that same morning we ran at Grover Beach, and I pulled that same muscle, again.

The past two weeks, I've been sick with a pretty strong cough and chest cold and have not been able to run. It's been almost two months. I'm not really a patient person like when I was younger, but what running has helped me understand is the process of adaptation. Life throws stuff at you, and it's how we adapt to situations and events that allows us to cope and problem-solve our way through. So, right now I'm just walking everyday with my beautiful wife, just like we always do.

They are moments in time when running allows you to see
how wonderful your life is.” – Kara Goucher

It's a morning last November, about 8am at the baseball fields and the back 40 dirt lot behind De Portola Middle School. I'm about half way through my 5 mile run. As I recall, I'm on a good clip running 4.7 mph and the sun just coming up over the east side line of trees. Several people are walking their dogs and chatting in the right field grass at the largest ball field. Got my phone strapped on my arm with my music library of 30,000 or so songs, set to "Random." Tom Petty's Running Down a Dream comes on, I pick up the pace, just looking at my feet hit and return, hit and return. I'm movin' I'm alive, and another day on this earth to feel it, love it and later, get some stuff done.

TeamTortoise.org

Hey my editor did find one of me running!
Crystal Pier Pacific Beach, California

Enjoy the playlist my friends, 
it's enough to keep picking them up and putting them down!

Monday, February 12, 2024

Beatles Tribute Bands • The Analogues • Rain • The Fab Four


“He’d say, ‘Where are we goin’, fellas?’ And we’d go, ‘To the top, Johnny!’
And he’d say, ‘Where’s that, fellas?!’
And we'd say, ‘To the toppermost of the poppermost, Johnny!’
And he’d say, ‘Riiiiight!’ And we'd all sort of cheer up."
–Ringo Starr

In my tribute to 60 years of The Beatles in recent posts including last weeks, Sixty Years of Music • The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show • February 9, 16, and 23, 1964, I thought I'd focus on three Beatles tribute bands that I think are the toppermost of Beatles tribute bands.

But first, let's talk about the cultural phenomenon The Beatles created after their first visit to the United States as a band in February, 1964. What follows for millions of young people across the globe is talking mom and dad into buying them, an acoustic or electric guitar, bass, or drum set. 

Suddenly, the family piano became a friend and if your piano teacher was cool enough, they were starting to buy pop band sheet music and introducing it their students. My only experience in this area was convincing my 80 year old piano teacher to let me learn how to play, Windy by The Association a #1 hit in 1967.

In the months and years following Beatlemania and the British Invasion, kids started forming garage bands and started learning rock 'n' roll songs, together. Any musician and band that was ever born, started in someone's garage, basement, or bedroom, playing cover songs of their favorites. From 1964, Beatles songs were the bread and butter go to songs for such bands and their dreams.

Today, it's still so amazing that a band basically known to most Americans from 1964-1970 could still have such a hold on us today, from that 6 years and the body of work created by the best band of all time. 

The Beatles not only launched thousands of bands world wide, but in the decades following 1970, launched hundreds of professional Beatles tribute bands. Most of us never saw The Beatles live. But, you can recapture that live magic again by going to a Beatles tribute bands concert worthy of their namesake heroes. Here are three tribute bands worth talking about, even though I've only seen two of them live.

My top Beatles tribute band, and one I have never seen live other than through the wonders of YouTube, are The Analogues. I might even postulate that they are the "ultimate" Beatles tribute band. And, for what it's worth, I cried while listening to their live performance of the entire The Beatles (White Album).

The Analogues are a Dutch tribute act to The Beatles. Founded in 2014, the Analogues' ambition has been to perform live the Beatles' music from their later studio years, using analogue and period-accurate instrumentation. The Analogues distinguished themselves by performing songs and whole albums live, which the Beatles never played live. While the band does not attempt to look like the Beatles, they have been noted for accurately recreating and reproducing their music and sound. Wikipedia

Note- From what I can tell, The Analogues from The Netherlands mostly stay in Europe 😞. 

The next two are California bands, Rain, and The Fab Four. I've seen Rain twice, and The Fab Four once, all in either San Diego or Los Angeles. I actually don't have an opinion if one is better than the other, with both building a brand name even as band members come and go. I can tell you how I have felt after all three shows as audiences will concur; we were all one in the pure joy and happiness of having an "in the moment" experience of excellent live Beatles music in the 21st century. Note- Please bear in mind the sound quality from many of these two bands video clips were mostly shot in the audience with smartphones. Watching Rain, and The Fab Four live is really what's it all about.

Now I've also seen Paul live and Ringo's All Starr band live, and both of course were fabulous shows. Nothing like the real thing. But, be on the look out for these two California tribute bands, when yearning for that Beatles fix and its poppermost high.

Maybe Paul said it best a few years ago on Stephen Colbert..."These songs get into people's heads and they have this meaning."


Tribute bands are like horseshoes where close really counts to a paying audience. Enjoy this Beatles mix from The Analogues, Rain, and The Fab Four my friends!

Monday, February 05, 2024

Sixty Years of Music • The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show • February 9, 16, and 23, 1964

In past blog posts I have written about my personal experience of February 9, 1964 viewing The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show for the first time. Here, I thought I'd put together a series of quotes and videos that amplify an astonishing moment in American cultural history that changed our lives forever. For the generation who knew where they were on the sorrow of November, 22 1963, and then the pure joy of February, 1964, we never seem to tire of these images and sounds, placed at the beginning of the mix tape of our lives.

Ed with the lads February 8, 1964
Note- George would be confined to his hotel room most of that day with a sore throat.


The February 9th Performances in New York
Sullivan began the show by telling the audience that Elvis Presley and his manager, Colonel Tom Parker, had sent the Beatles a telegram wishing them success in America (though it was reported later that Parker sent the telegram without Presley's knowledge). Sullivan then introduced the Beatles, who opened by performing "All My Loving"; "Till There Was You", which featured the names of the group members superimposed on closeup shots, including the famous "SORRY GIRLS, HE'S MARRIED" caption on John Lennon; and "She Loves You" The act that followed the Beatles in the broadcast, magician Fred Kaps, was pre-recorded in order to allow time for an elaborate set change. The group returned later in the program to perform "I Saw Her Standing There" and "I Want to Hold Your Hand". Wikipedia 

 

"The minute I saw The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show -- and it's true of thousands of guys -- there was the way out. There was the way to do it. You get your friends and you're a self-contained unit. And you make the music. And it looked like so much fun. It was something I identified with. I had never been hugely into sports. ... I had been a big fan of Elvis. But I really saw in The Beatles that here's something I could do. I knew I could do it. It wasn't long before there were groups springing up in garages all over the place. "
–Tom Petty

"This was different, shifted the lay of the land. Four guys, playing and singing, writing their own material ... Rock 'n' roll came to my house where there seemed to be no way out ... and opened up a whole world of possibilities."
–Bruce Springsteen

"I remember exactly where I was sitting. It was amazing. It was like the axis shifted ... It was kind of like an alien invasion."
–Chrissie Hynde

"That one performance changed my life ... Up to that moment I'd never considered playing rock as a career. And when I saw four guys who didn't look like they'd come out of the Hollywood star mill, who played their own songs and instruments, and especially because you could see this look in John Lennon's face -- and he looked like he was always saying: 'F--- you!' -- I said: 'I know these guys, I can relate to these guys, I am these guys.' This is what I'm going to do -- play in a rock band'."
–Billy Joel

"The lightning bolt came out of the heavens and struck Ann and me the first time we saw the Beatles on 'The Ed Sullivan Show.' ... There'd been so much anticipation and hype about the Beatles that it was a huge event, like the lunar landing: that was the moment Ann and I heard the call to become rock musicians. I was seven or eight at the time. ... Right away, we started doing air guitar shows in the living room, faking English accents, and studying all the fanzines."
–Nancy Wilson

The February 16th Performances in Miami Beach
After a February 11 concert in Washington, D.C.'s Washington Coliseum and two February 12 shows in New York's Carnegie Hall, the Beatles flew to Miami Beach on February 13, where Cassius Clay (later known as Muhammad Ali) was in training for his first title bout with Sonny Liston (on February 18, the Beatles would eventually pose for publicity photographs with Clay in a boxing gym). The Beatles held rehearsals on February 14 and 15. The band stayed in the Hotel Deauville, which was also the broadcast location for the show. The Beatles rehearsed in the hotel's basement.

On the evening of the television show, a crush of people nearly prevented the band from making it onstage. A wedge of policemen were needed and the band began playing "She Loves You" only seconds after reaching their instruments. They continued with "This Boy" and "All My Loving", then returned later to close the show with "I Saw Her Standing There", "From Me to You", and "I Want to Hold Your Hand". The audience for this show was about 70 million, nearly equaling the prior week's performance.
 Wikipedia


The February 23rd Performances Taped in New York
The Beatles' third appearance aired on February 23, though it had actually been taped on February 9, before their first live performance. They followed Ed's intro with "Twist and Shout" and "Please Please Me" and closed the show once again with "I Want to Hold Your Hand". Wikipedia

Monday, January 29, 2024

#NewMusicMonday • January, 2024 • Women Rule 'n' Roll

Over the course of the last several years I have noticed a trend in my #NewMusicMonday posts, women are ruling the Americana genre of music. Even as I explore Indie or Alternative genres, they are now either led by a woman or one or more members of a band now consist of women. 

You don't have to look deep in any field and realize that women are qualitatively front and center. One stat that I recently read was that nearly 60% of women attend a college or university, whereas men are at just over 40%. But, as usual, the flip side of that statistic is that it's also harder for women to get accepted into these same colleges, as admissions offices are aggressively looking for more men. 

I'm not here to make this about bashing men. I've always had a large musical preference towards women musical artists that all started with Joni Mitchell, Linda Ronstadt, and Emmy Lou Harris in the 1970's. And, even though I'm not a big Beyoncé and Taylor Swift fan, They are currently at the very top of the music business.

All my big male rock 'n' roll heroes, like most of my friends, are over 70, or "almost 70" as my buddy Paul has been told. 

For me, popular music in the 20th century was about making hits. As the young artists of the 70's, 80's and 90's grew older, their hits started dropping off at some point, but I didn't stop listening to them. As a maturing music listener, my music tastes have expanded to other genres, but more importantly, it's discovering the deep cuts, the one's that never get played on the radio, or late night television shows.

Several years ago, I found Sarah Jarosz and Madison Cunningham on YouTube. These two young women for me represent the best of 21st century music, women of heart and mind. 

Recently, Rosanne Cash celebrated her 30th anniversary of the album,  The Wheel as she and husband and collaborator John Leventhal remastered and released the album on their own new label, Rumble Strip. I think of Rosanne Cash as sort of a new pioneer who took her daddy's music with elements of folk and rock 'n' roll back to its roots, and moved it forward to the future. 

I hear those roots and future in Sarah Jarosz and Madison Cunningham, and in new music by Brandy Clark and Dori Freeman this month. Not to fear, I have a new Mark Knopfler song, a couple of Real Estate and Bleachers songs, and new song from The Black Keys to create a little 80/20 women to men ratio here in the playlist this week. But whose counting?

Enjoy the playlist my friends.