Unread books, and rock song comparison

The blogger MDS from Pantheon Songs – check out his sites if you like music – wants to know:

1) what are some of the books that you’ve wanted to read but never got around to reading because of whatever reason or circumstance?

So many…let me limit this list to books that are actually in my possession, and specifically in the office of the house, as opposed to the living room or the attic:
Personal History – Katharine Graham
The Brethren (re: Supreme Court) – Woodward and Armstrong
Wired – Bob Woodward
Crossfire (re: JFK) – Jim Marrs
Undaunted Courage – Stephen Ambrose
The World Is My Home – James Michener

As a member of the board of the Friends of the Albany Public library, I would buy a book from each of the authors. But I hadn’t read any of them until I read Wicked by Gregory Maguire last year. I’ll be reading some of them.

Then there is Shakespeare. I’ve seen so many productions of his comedies that I no longer remember which ones I’ve actually read, aside from The Merchant of Venice. I’ve read none of the histories or romances. I’ve read most of the tragedies, though not Titus Andronicus or Timon of Athens.

2) “Fortunate Son” or “The Weight”?

Interesting question. Never thought of Fortunate Son [listen] as more than an excellent song by a very good band, Creedence Clearwater Revival, though I agreed with very much with its sentiment. The group had more number 2 hits on the US charts without having a number 1 hit than anyone, I believe. I never had any CCR albums until they broke up.

I owned The Band’s first four or five albums more or less when they came out, though I did get the second album (the brown album) before the first. The Weight [listen] was on their first album, Music from Big Pink; I’ve been by the actual pink house in Ulster County, NY. The song appears in the movie Easy Rider. For reasons of commerce, their version does not show up on the movie soundtrack, replaced by an iteration by a group called Smith [listen].

For my taste, the song was covered too often, and the song started to get on my nerves, though I like Aretha’s version [listen].

Time passes and I can appreciate The Weight for the great, no, anthemic, tune it is.

8 thoughts on “Unread books, and rock song comparison”

  1. Thanks for the site shout-out and answering my questions, Roger. I’ve read quite a bit of Michener but never made it to that book either. The big ones for me are Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress, Pasternak’s Doctor Zhivago, Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude, and Cather’s O Pioneers! I’ve started each of these books but then something has always sidetracked me from getting beyond page 25.

    A couple years ago I had a Facebook status of “‘Fortunate Son’ or ‘The Weight’?” and the general consensus was that both were great songs to hear at a bar and most people couldn’t choose one or the other. (“Wish You Were Here” and “Gloria” also fit this scenario to a tee as well.) Like you, I think I would choose “The Weight” if only by a hair.

    Hope you have a great 2013!


  2. Oddly enough, because I didn’t know The Band in their heyday, I prefer their version of “The Weight”. And Books? Well, I couldn’t possibly comment—not if there’s a possible blog post in it…


  3. MDS, I have to laugh. I played bars for years, but it was all jazz. If someone had asked me to sing “The Weight,” I don’t know what I’d have done.

    Love your responses, Roger. Nice to hear you are on the board of the Albany library system. The only volunteer job I am able to handle right now (besides music on Sundays with the praise band) is at our library, shelving. They found in me a Dewey Decimal savant, which is silly because EVERYONE should know that system!

    Incidentally, John Kellogg (friend of mine since age 5, came to all my gigs when I grew up, knew him until his death) was an English teacher at Bing. Central and excelled at helping high school students understand, appreciate, and read aloud works of the Bard. He was a genius.

    Peace and Happy New Year, Amy


    1. Amy- I KNEW John Kellogg too! He was an actor (stage name: John Kell, because there was already a John Kellogg in the actor’s union) who taught at Binghamton Central in my senior year. I distinctly remember that he had us do staring exercises with each other. I was actually quite good at this, except v. him, who’d NEVER crack before I did.


  4. D’oh! Sorry, should’ve clarified: jukebox songs at a bar, not live performances. (Most of the bars I’ve ever frequented were jukebox-centric.)


  5. SO glad you know John. Yes, he was into theatre and wanted students to improvise. We used to do the stare-down after a few beers (we’d hang at his place, then on Riverside), and I never won. Not once. He was also into Silva Mind Control, so that must have factored in.

    Yes, John Kell. John Kellogg did mostly Westerns, I believe… anyway, John’s best role and claim to Binghamton fame was his Elbert P. Dowd in “Harvey.” I’ve only seen photos, but I heard he was marvelous.

    Thanks for the memories of this wonderful man. Rest in peace, John, and I’ll see you on the flip side. Peace, Roger – Amy


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