Category Archives: music

Tunes in 7-4

I’ve been in a groove (or rut, depending on your perspective) of listing song titles this week, so I thought I would do it again today. I haven’t actually made this disc, and the songs wouldn’t necessarily be in this order, nor do I make any claim that this list is all inclusive:

Almost Independence Day-Van Morrison
4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)-Bruce Springsteen
4th of July-Pete Droge
4th of July-U2
Independence Day-Bruce Springsteen
Independence Day-David Byrne
Lake of Fire-Nirvana
On the 4th of July-James Taylor
Saturday in the Park-Chicago
Tears of Rage-The Band

4th of July-Dave Alvin
4th of July-X
Yankee Doodle Dandy-James Cagney

4th of July-Sweet
4th of July-Keel
4th of July-Soundgarden
4th of July-Mariah Carey
4th of July-Robert Earl Keen
4th of July-Aimee Mann
Independence Day-Martina McBride
Independence Day-Ani DiFranco
Independence Day-Eliot Smith
Independence Day-Imani Coppola
Independence Day-Too $hort w/ Keith Murray

The first batch I actually have on CD, the second on vinyl, and the third not at all. So, if I WERE making a mixed CD, I’d have to throw on America the Beautiful by Ray Charles, and the Star Spangled Banner by Marvin Gaye or Whitney Houston, probably both.

Incidentally, many of those same-named songs are totally different songs, not covers of each other.

So, as you celebrate America’s 229th birthday today, remember that is music that’s as much a part of our national heritage as musket.

Oh, and a piece from the Independence Day sermon I heard yesterday led me here.

The blogger CD exchange-ROG

Several months before I was involved with the bloggers exchange I mentioned a couple days ago, I was participating on a one-on-one exchange with Fred Hembeck, my old compatriot from the FantaCo comic book days. Most of my earlier works were chronologically based, but as Fred was already doing more thematic pieces, I did likewise.

One of the topics I decided on was to get a song for every state in the country. I missed a few states, but I ended up putting together three discs of an “American travelogue.”

Meanwhile, Fred was involved with a bunch of folks, most of them interested in comic books, who did a bloggers’ exchange of mixed CDs, initiated by Chris “Lefty” Brown. As I wasn’t blogging at the time, I couldn’t participate. But now that I am posting fairly regularly, I got to give it a go in the second round with these very diverse folks (May 23).

I decided to use the first of my American Travelogue discs, but I made a few changes.

US: I wanted to start and end with an “American” song. I started with “American Roulette” from Robbie Robertson’s first solo album, which starts off slowly, but really rocks at the end. My old friend Karen has worked for record companies over half her life, and she was trying to promote this album when it came out. She goes to one station trying to explain who Robertson WAS, “You know, The Band? Backing band for Dylan? The Last Waltz?” No hint of recognition from some 23-year old program director who was making decisions about what got played on the air.

NY: “New York, New York” – Ryan Adams was an alt-country darling in 2001. Some critics indicate that he puts out too much mediocre stuff, so his double albums should be single discs. Remind me to look up “alt-country.”

NJ: “Atlantic City” – I wanted to NOT do Springsteen here; I half succeeded. It’s a Bruce song by post-Robertson The Band, a little more up tempo than The Boss’s version, with mandolin.

PA: “Allentown” – I expect to be pilloried by some bloggers for putting the very uncool Billy Joel on the disc, but sonically, it just works for me. I had put Elton John’s “Philadelphia Freedom,” but it didn’t fit.

MD: “Baltimore” – I’m sure I got Peter Case from Karen. It’s one of those albums that I never remember to play, but the gravelly-voiced singer always satisfies when I do. I considered Vonda Shepherd’s “Maryland” here, but I was in a city groove.

DE: Couldn’t find anything in my collection for the First State. Don’t think “The White Cliffs of Dover” would count.

DC: “The Bourgeois Blues” – Folkways put out an album of covers of Woody Guthrie and Leadbelly tunes. This song was written by the latter, and sung by Taj Mahal. Talks about black people not getting a break in our nation’s capital.

VA: Some relative told me that “I Believe” was the “future of popular music.” So, sound unheard, I bought the Blessed Union of Souls album. I wouldn’t say it was “the future of popular music,” but “Sweet Virginia” works in this disc.

NC: “Take the Train to Charlotte” – There are a number of other NC songs, but this one was obvious for me, since my mom, sister Marcia, and niece Alex live there. From the Roots and Blues 109-song, box set, this tune is by Fiddlin’ John Carson, no relation to the late, late-night talk show host (I don’t think so, anyway.) This song is from c. 1930.

SC: “Darlington County” – talk about commercial! From Springsteen’s massive Born in the U.S.A. album. This was the toughest change, because I replaced an obscure John Linnell song “South Carolina”, but again the sound was the determining factor.

GA: “Oh, Atlanta.” Love the chromatic scale ascent on this Alison Krauss tune. Chromatic scale? Play the scale MI up to DO, including the black keys, on a piano, staccato (short notes), then imagine that on guitar leading to Alison’s sweet voice.

FL: “Gator on the Lawn.” At 1:13, the shortest song, also the loudest. It has a really rockabilly feel. From the Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ box set.

PR: I DUMPED “America” from West Side Story from this version. I LOVE West Side Story, I ADORE West Side Story, but I didn’t think it worked here.

AL: “Alabamy Home” by the Gotham Stompers, an instrumental from “1930s Jazz- The Small Combos.”

MS: “The Jazz Fiddler” by the Mississippi Sheiks, also from “Roots & Blues”.

LA: “Down at the Twist & Shout” was performed by Mary Chapin Carpenter at a Super Bowl, and I have the live recording, but this is the studio version.

TX: I love Lyle Lovett. I love his backing vocalists, Sweet Pea Atkinson and Sir Harry Bowens. They really help make “That’s Right (You’re Not from Texas)” swing.

US: This CD ends with a Garth Brooks song “American Honky Tonk Bar Association.” It’s a flat out country song for the “hardhat, gunrack, achin’-back, overtaxed, flag-wavin’, fun-lovin’ crowd.” I had, in the previous incarnation, put this song before Lyle.

So, when I see reviews of this album on other blogs and I link to them, you’ll know what the heck they’re talking about. Not so incidentally, look at Lefty’s page for June 28 for what other bloggers said about their own and each others’ discs.

Mixed CD-Greg Burgas

For some obscure reason, I was singing “Istanbul (not Constantinople)” in the locker room of the Albany Y a few weeks ago. I noted to one of my compatriots, Phil, that the original came out in 1953, the year I was born, but I didn’t know who performed it. (It turned out to be the Four Lads. It entered the charts on 10/17 and went to #10.) Please know that I don’t USUALLY go around singing “Istanbul”.

I’m involved in this CD exchange among two dozen bloggers, organized by Chris “Lefty” Brown (May 23). The first disc to arrive was on that same day from a guy named Greg Burgas, and what’s on it? “Istanbul”! It’s the They Might Be Giants version (which I own), but still pretty spooky.

It’s a pretty eclectic mix from Delenda Est Carthago, the name of his blog. Some of it I liked a lot. The title cut is a relatively obscure Diana Ross and the Supremes hit, “Forever Came Today,” a fine song (though how that defines the theme of the disc, I’m not quite sure yet.) Only two songs I didn’t care for, and I attribute that to a generational thing. (A Fred Hembeck lets me know that I’m the second oldest one in the exchange; he has 5 weeks on me.) One was Ugly in the Morning, an apt description of the Faith No More song, and the other some Jane’s Addiction song that would have driven me to drugs if I didn’t have willpower.

On the other hand, a lot of stuff worked. Alison Krauss’ Down to the River to Pray (the second O Brother cut on the disc) oddly segues nicely with the guitar noodling in the beginning of a song by the hard rockin’ Cinderella! Who knew? There are other links like that throughout.

But for me, THE find was: “Somewhere between a 1930s Cuban dance orchestra, a classical chamber music ensemble, a Brasilian marching street band and Japanese film noir is the 12-piece Pink Martini. Tasty. I want MORE.

(Oh, and I just figured out WHY Greg was first – his wife just had a baby. Congrats, Greg, but did you think having a baby might interfere with blogging and making mixed CDs? Can’t understand THAT.)

OK so I wrote that, but now I have two dozen MORE CDs I should address. Four I haven’t heard, and – fortunately – a few I haven’t received yet. Don’t know that I’ll be as verbose in the future. BTW, I expect that, eventually, the song lists of all of these bloggers will show up on Lefty’s page. If Chris’ list shows up on the page, I’ll link to that. MY list will show up on THIS page, also eventually.

Memories of Pop

So I went up to my attic, trying to find some memorabilia for a project I’m working on, about which I will tell you about soon. I didn’t find the memorabilia, but I DID find 10 notebooks I used as diaries between 1979 and 1987, which will also be helpful for that aforementioned mysterious project. But it IS rather painful to read about your immature, self-absorbed thoughts from 25 years ago. (As opposed to my current MATURE, self-absorbed thoughts.)

One of the things I re-discovered was the death of my grandfather a quarter century ago this week. I knew he had died sometime in the late 1970s or early 1980s, but the precise date had fled my memory.

Pop is what we (my parents, my sisters and I) called my father’s father, McKinley Green. Everyone else called him Mac. My nuclear family lived downstairs in a very small two-family house in Binghamton. Pop and his wife, my Grandma Green, Agatha (and it was A gath’ a, not Ag’ ath a) lived upstairs. This was one of two houses owned my mother’s mother, Grandma (Gertrude) Williams, who lived about six blocks away. (HER death I remember quite well: Super Bowl Sunday, 1982.)

Pop was a janitor at WNBF-TV and radio; eventually, the TV station was sold, but he maintained his job at the radio station. I’m not quite sure just how old was, but he was well past the age of retirement, yet the station kept him on to work as long as he wanted, and as much as he wanted. He was such an amiable man that people liked him to be around.

He used to bring home albums (LPs) that had been discarded by the station. Most were “beautiful music” with no artist even listed, or in later years, obscure rock bands that I had never even heard of, but three discs stand out in my mind.

  • “50 Stars, 50 Hits on two great country albums!” That’s the way it was advertised on TV, and I was thrilled when Pop brought a copy home. It featured Buck Owens, George Jones, Minnie Pearl, T. Texas Ruby and many more -46 more, to be precise. In Binghamton in the 1960s, you could get these clear channels (not to be confused with the conglomerate Clear Channel) at night, and I could get stations in New York and Cleveland. I could also reach WWVA in Wheeling, WV, a country station, and I probably listened a couple nights a week for four or five years.
  • Gary Lewis and the Playboys Greatest Hits- Jerry’s son’s band doing The Loser (with a Broken Heart), Where Will the Words Come From, (You Don’t Have to) Paint Me a Picture, My Heart’s Symphony, and my favorite, Jill.
  • The soundtrack to the movie The Night They Raided Minsky’s (1968). I saw this movie with my high school friend Carol and HER friend Judy, on whom I had a tremendous crush (though nothing ever came of it.) The film, starring Britt Eklund and Jason Robards, was the film debut of Elliot Gould and served as the final film for Bert Lahr. It started with Rudy Vallee saying: “In 1925, there was this real religious girl. And, quite by accident, she invented the striptease. This real religious girl. In 1925. Thank you.” It also featured songs like “Take 10 Terrific Girls, But Only 9 Costumes.” For a 15 year old, this was really hot stuff, even though the “striptease” in the movie lasted a nanosecond, so getting the album was quite fine.

    Pop was an avid hunter. He provided the vast majority of the venison I’ve ever eaten in my life. The only time I ever used a firearm was with Pop. We went out to the woods somewhere, and he gave me his rifle. I fired. Naturally, the recoil left me sitting on my butt. Pop also liked to bowl, work on cars, and especially go to the track, particularly in Monticello.

    I used to go upstairs and play gin rummy with him while we watched Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom. In the later years, I’d beat him about 50% of the time. On a bulletin board, he had a faded newspaper clipping of Ed Marinaro, the Cornell running back, who was the son or nephew of a friend of his; Marinaro eventually played Officer Joe Coffey on Hill Street Blues.

    From my 6/26/1980 diary: “Pop was a very dark-skinned man with grey hair, thinning, but more prevalent than mine, combed straight back… I recall a certain twinkle in his eye, though I hadn’t seen him in a year and a half or longer; he was never home when I dropped by. I probably should have written more often, but he never wrote back…I would have called if had [had] a telephone, but he refused… The phone company would have required a deposit in switching service from Grandma Green’s name [she died in the mid-1960s] to his, even tho’ he had been paying the bills, [so he had the phone taken out.] He was stubborn that way.”

    I was going to write about Pop’s death, and I will soon. But it was nice to write a little about Pop’s life.

  • THE RULES, Part 2 (of 37) Finding the Tunes

    A friend of mine started reading my blog a few days ago and said, “Heavy stuff!” Hmm, this about a blog that has revealed that the creator makes bird noises? OK, something REALLY frivolous, then:
    I arrange my CDs (and used to arrange my LPs, before they got moved around so often that they have no particular order) in this way:

  • Classical, by composer (and chronologically within the composer range)
  • Classical compilations, alphabetically by title
  • Pop, by artist (and chronologically within the artist range)
  • Pop compilation, by title

    Of course, these are RULES, so it’s never that simple.

  • Classical means that the composer is more prominent than the performer: Beethoven, Gershwin, Scott Joplin- all classical
  • Pop is defined as “everything else”. I know some folks put their music in categories: folk, jazz, heavy metal, whatever. My problem is that I don’t think the labels really MEAN anything. Recently, I was in a conversation about “punk”. Were the Ramones punk? Was the Clash, or were they too competent? I’ve read the definition of “emo”, e.g., and STILL don’t know what it is.
    Moreover:
    Bruce Springsteen won a Grammy for contemporary folk. Am I to put that album in one category and, say, “Born in the U.S.A.” in another?
    A more striking example is k.d. lang, who started off as a country artist and became a chanteuse. It’s much easier just to look under “L”.

    Besides, an alphabetical list generates a more interesting shelf read: Bill Miller (Native American/popular), Glenn Miller (big band), Roger Miller (country), Steve Miller (rock). “Shelf read”: a librarian must have written that.

    In the pop compilation category, I violate my own rules (but they’re MY rules, so I can do that), in the placement of tribute albums, mostly because I’m having an increasingly difficult time REMEMBERING what they’re called. So I’ve moved:

  • Common Threads from C to E (for Eagles)
  • Complete Stax/Volt Singles from C to S
  • Come Together (both of them, one country, one Motown) from C to B (for Beatles)
  • Enconium to from E to L (for Led Zeppelin)
  • For the Love of Harry from F to N (for Nilsson)
  • Till the Night is Gone from T to P (for Doc Pomus)
  • “Tribute to…” albums from T to the respective artists (M for Curtis Mayfield, V for Stevie Ray Vaughn, e.g.)
  • All the albums starting with “Concert for” under the next significant word (Bangladesh, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame)

    You may think this is anal. *I* think this may be anal. But I can FIND items in my collection, which is all a librarian can really want.

  • Skating away

    I told my wife that Eddie Albert had died last week at the age of 99 of pneumonia and Alzheimer’s. She said that she figured he was already dead. I suppose that was a reasonable assumption.

    When I was a kid, I admit to not only watching Green Acres, but liking it. (I also enjoyed Switch, but there was no shame in that.) Maybe it was because it was another show in the same Hooterville universe as Petticoat Junction. (Think Buffy/Angel on TV, or Marvel Comics crossovers.) Or maybe it was that it had Green in the title. I realized that Oliver Wendell Douglas (Eddie Albert), who initiated the move to the country (check out the theme lyrics) remained a fish out of water, confounded by Mr. Haney, Arnold Ziffel the pig, and their handyman Eb. Lisa Douglas (Eva Gabor), on the other hand, seemed to take it as it came in “Hootersville”. Like most supposed “airheads” on TV, she was probably smarter than her husband, the lawyer. I’m not defending it as Great Television, just not as bad as it has been portrayed.

    Eddie Albert sang the title song (Eva Gabor more or less talked it). It is unusual for a star to sing the title song, I thought. Oh, there’s Dean Martin, Tom Jones, Jimmy Durante, and Happening ’68, hosted by Mark Lindsay of Paul Revere and the Raiders, but those were entertainment shows. And, of course, there’s Mr. Rogers. But I’m thinking scripted comedies or dramas. There was Erica Gimpel on Fame, but that was an ersatz performing arts school.
    The only other ones I could think of were Drew Carey (Drew Carey Show, “Moon over Parma” -first season only) and Linda Lavin (Alice, “There’s a New Girl in Town”). Oh, and I nearly forgot the classic Carroll O’Connor/Jean Stapleton rendition of “Those Were the Days” on All in the Family, so notorious that it had to be recorded twice. (No one could understand, “Gee, our old LaSalle ran great.”)
    But then I checked out some of my Television’s Greatest Hits CDs and discovered Tony Danza (“Hudson Street”) and Marla Gibbs (227, “There’s No Place Like Home”). And how did I forget Will Smith (with Jeff Townes, a/k/a DJ Jazzy Jeff) on “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”? But the leader in this category, as far as I can tell is Greg Evigan from My Two Dads (“You Can Count on Me”) and the title song of “B.J. and the Bear”; this is in quantity, not necessarily quality. For my money, Green Acres told the story as well as any theme.

    CBS canceled Green Acres and the Beverly Hillbillies in 1971, part of its de-ruralfication, despite its still strong ratings. Would that happen now? Maybe, with emphasis on “demographics”, the coveted 18-49 market. But these days, some cable outlet (TNN?) would have snatched them up.

    But my everlasting recollection about the Green Acres theme is the routine performed by the ice dancing duo of Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto. The couple, who won a silver medal at the World Championship in Moscow in March, do a goofy, sexy exhibition featuring the Green Acres theme segued with the theme to Deliverance. (BTW, I didn’t look this up. My wife watches skating; now, I’m watching skating. I know more about the new international scoring system than I care to.)

    So, as Eddie Albert skates away to a new existence, Green Acres lives on, not only in reruns, but on the ice as well.

    What's in a (Band) Name?

    I went to see the Funk Brothers and the Family Stone Experience in Washington Park back on May 14. It was great, but it got me to thinking: When personnel changes in a rock group, can it still be considered that group? There were, last I knew, TWO splinter groups from Sly and the Family Stone, both with original members. Since NEITHER includes Sly, there’s no issue of being the real thing. But there have been other bands during the years that have had more complicated issues.

    The Beatles: When the Beatles broke up in 1970, it was considered “Paul’s fault” in some circles. After all, he had the audacity to put out his first solo album at about the same time as Let It Be. (Even though the others had all released solo discs earlier.) And he had different management (the Eastmans, Linda’s kin) than the others (Allen Klein). There was a widespread rumor at the time that the Beatles would re-form with Lennon, Harrison, Starr, Billy Preston (keyboardist on Get Back) and Klaus Voorman (designer of the Revolver album cover) on bass. Would they have been accepted as “The Beatles”? I seriously doubt it. They could survive the switch from Pete Best to Ringo Starr on the cusp of their stardom, but as the icons they became, there could be no substitutes.

    The Rolling Stones: Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Brian Jones, Charlie Watts, and Bill Wyman was the line-up, with Ian Stewart as session and tour keyboardist. In June of 1969, guitarist Jones quit the group, quickly replaced by Mick Taylor. (Jones died a month later.) Taylor left in December of 1974; Ronnie Wood played (on loan from the Faces) on the 1975 tour, and the following year is installed as a permanent member. Bassist Wyman calls it quits in 1994. It seems that the Rolling Stones will survive as long as the Glimmer Twins (Jagger, Richards) continue to perform. With a new album and tour in 2005, it is still very much an active band.

    The Beach Boys: Brothers Brian, Dennis, and Carl Wilson, cousin Mike Love, and friend Al Jardine (replaced briefly in 1962 and 1963 by David Marks) were the band. Brian quit touring in 1966, replaced briefly by Glen Campbell, and more permanently by Bruce Johnston. Dennis drowned in 1983. When Carl Wilson, Alan Jardine, Mike Love, and Bruce Johnston toured as the Beach Boys through 1997, there was a real legitimacy. But Carl died in 1998. [I went to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame shortly after Carl’s death, where they had a nice tribute piece to him and to another Carl who had died recently, Carl Perkins.] Mike Love and Bruce Johnston regained the legal right to use the Beach Boys name and have been touring as “The Beach Boys” ever since. Even with short-timer David Marks, it’s hard for me to accept this band as the Beach Boys. Maybe if Mike & Bruce kissed and made up with Brian & Al (who was a respondent in a lawsuit for using the Beach Boys’ name in his “Al Jardine’s Family & Friends Beach Band”, featuring Al’s sons, Brian’s daughters, and several former Beach Boys’ backing musicians), then THAT would be the Beach Boys.

    Herman’s Hermits: There’s the group headed by Barry Whitwam; it also featured Derek Leckenby before he died in 1994. Then there’s Herman’s Hermits Starring Peter Noone, which at least has the original Herman. The two groups create an unfortunate dilution of legitimacy.

    Bob Dylan: No, wait, he’s solo artist. He’s just had so many phases in his career. He is 64 today – happy birthday to the “unwilling counterculture icon.”

    I liked what Cream did. They break up, the name’s done, even though 2/3s of them (Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker) end up in Blind Faith. And when there’s a Cream reunion this year (with Jack Bruce), there’s no question of their legitimacy.

    Say, this is FUN! Think I’ll do it again with some more groups some other time.

    Not so little Stevie

    Before I got a CD burner a year or so ago, I used to make mixed cassette tapes from my albums and CDs. I made one of Stevie Wonder songs that did not appear on a Stevie album for my friend Donna George (who unfortunately died of cancer a couple years ago.) Think I’ll make a mixed Stevie CD soon. After all, he is 55 today. “Gee, 55, gee, double nickel,” as the bingo caller in Charlotte, NC used to say when I lived down there in 1977.

    Stevie’s new album, A Time to Love, which has been on my Amazon wish list for over a year, was finally released on May 3. Since his 1995 album Conversation Peace, he’s put out a 2-CD live set, a 2-CD greatest hits, a 4-CD box set, a couple songs on the Bamboozled soundtrack, and a single-CD greatest hits. He also produced a tribute album to himself called Conception. So this is his first CD filled with new material in a decade.

    According to Yahoo, Stevie “also appears on” 463 albums, as producer, or performer on vocals, keyboard or harmonica. He worked with Quincy Jones, Paul McCartney, Jermaine Jackson, Whitney Houston, and many others. He also appears on the Rent cast album. Some of the selections I’ll put together will be from a series of tribute and/or benefit albums, such as Tribute to Curtis Mayfield, Inner City Blues (Marvin Gaye), Gershwin’s World, Nobody’s Child (Romanian Relief), and America: A Tribute to Heroes, which shows his sense of musical history as well as his heart.

    *****
    Speaking of heart, my brother-in-law John Powell would have been 45 tomorrow. He died three years ago of colon cancer. He was one of the greatest boosters of my relationship with Carol with our various ups and downs before we got married. I’m only sorry he never got to meet his niece Lydia.

    Add Some Music to Your Day

    One of the (faux) reasons I started a blog was because there were folks in the blogiverse that were doing a CD exchange. The list below, which represent an album I gave out at my 50th birthday a couple years ago, wouldn’t have made the cut as it was then constituted, had I been participating in the exchange, for reasons explained below. Still it is, as I wrote at the time, “a list of songs that, for a variety of reasons, resonate to a particular time, place and/or emotion over the years.” So, I might well have offered it in a modified form. I had included liner notes; these are not them, except for the stuff in quotes.

    Sorry (I Ran All the Way Home) – the Impalas: one of my father’s 45s. But I would have dumped it in favor of the much more obscure “45 Men in a Telephone Booth” by the Top Hatters in a heartbeat. I had ordered a Cadence Records compilation specifically for this purpose in January, but it did not show up until April, well after my birthday.

    Roger Ramjet- TV cartoon theme: pretty obvious. Don’t know if it would still be included, if only because its abrasive quality doesn’t help establish a mood.

    Quintet: “My mother took us to West Side Story, the first “grown up” movie I remember seeing. I didn’t know one could have several simultaneous melodies at the same time.”

    Drive My Car – Fab Four: Lots of people have a certain antipathy for this first song on the British Rubber Soul album. I don’t know if it’s because it’s NOT “I’ve Just Seen a Face”, the first song on the American version of the record, or because it has a weird chord progression. I like it BECAUSE of its complicated chord changes. Sting butchered this song on a bootleg someone gave me.

    Take Me For A Little While- Vanilla Fudge: “Carrying groceries for Mom. One afternoon, I was home listening to the album. Mom came home. I retrieved groceries, and found the stereo off. The crescendo made her think the record player was broken.”

    Worried Man/Ain’t Gonna Be Treated This Way: Carol & I went to see Woody Guthrie’s American Song at Capital Rep, when this brace of songs came up. Both of them were in my father’s repertoire when he sang around Binghamton when I was growing up. This was a year or two after my father died, and I just lost it.
    But as for the compilation, if I were doing it now: the song is TOO LONG, and has TOO MUCH TALK. Every other song I’d lived with for a number of years. This was too much an emotional choice of the moment.

    Spider-Man cartoon TV theme: my favorite comic book character.

    Feel Flows -Beach Boys: freshman year in college. Probably influenced by its inclusion in the movie Almost Famous

    Gone Away – Roberta Flack: “When romance went sour, I developed a quartet of songs to play: Sweet Bitter Love (QoS), this, My First Night Alone Without You (Jane Olivor), and Stay with Me (Lorraine Ellison). Sometimes added Remove This Doubt (Supremes).” QoS means Queen of Soul.

    Fantasy – Earth, Wind, and Fire: Schenectady Arts Council, 1978. “The choreographer needed a partner to help teach the elementary kids some dances, and I got sucker.., volunteered to do that.”

    Naïve Melody – Talking Heads: “The ’83 show was one of the best concerts I ever saw. This song is about rediscovery on the way to Cooperstown.”

    23rd Psalm -Bobby McFerrin: My then choir director Eric Strand “transcribed this song, and choir members Bob, Tim & I sang at church. Eric gave me the high part, which I did almost entirely in falsetto. Someone came up to a church member, expressing concern that a ‘gay guy’ was singing in church.”

    Harvest Moon -Neil Young: “About lost love. Also, about the only Neil song my ex-office mate [the Hoffinator] could stand”.

    Lullabye-Billy Joel: “The melancholy of the song (and the back story) parallels my melancholy about the state of my old hometown” [Binghamton].

    Church-Lyle Lovett: “When four of us [librarians] were in tight office quarters, with very distinct likes (and especially dislikes), Lyle passed muster with all of us. Closing act of a great Newport Folk Festival at SPAC.”

    JEOPARDY! – “an NBC daytime game that I used to watch with my Aunt Deana. “

    Now That I Found You – Alison Krauss: “One of my wife’s two favorite artists; oddly, both of them have last names beginning with KRA. We saw AK at the Palace [Theater in Albany] in 2002.”

    At Last-Etta James: “One of five great songs on the Rain Man soundtrack. Oh yeah, Carol & I danced to it at our wedding.”

    So, I would have changed the first song, dumped the second and fifth cuts, but keep the rest pretty much as is. I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback, especially the Free Flow to Church run.

    See what you missed out on, bloggers?

    Media Overkill (hubris)

    Gee, it’s STILL bugging me, this “Runaway Bride” thing.

    It’s not that I care why Jennifer what’s-her-name ran away, whether her fiancé still loves her, or whether they’ll marry (but apparently People magazine thinks their readers will, based on last week’s cover story).

    I DO care that the media attention has been so wacky, in the Jacko/Scott& Laci tradition. Some of the so-called news networks, including the one apparently named after a canine, were practically convicting the fiancé of murder for his delay in taking a polygraph before she turned up. Jon Stewart skewered them on the Daily Show last week.

    (And I DO care that she unfortunately found it necessary to pick a Hispanic man, along with a white woman as her assailant. Reminds me, just a bit, of Susan Smith or Chuck Stuart.
    The ease of the accusation – “it was one of THEM” – is a bit frightening.)

    (My wife gave me some good advice the other day: if I ever want to go through an airport inconspicuously, I shouldn’t wear an orange towel on my head. I’ll keep that in mind.)

    And still on the subject of news: OK, I’ve watched American Idol from time to time. But the reason I watched the “ABC Prime Time exclusive” on former contestant Corey Clark outing Paula Abdul as his lover last Wednesday was to figure out the newsworthy rationale for running the program. After viewing the whole hour, I still don’t know. Clark also appeared on Good Morning America that morning AND the next morning, which I thankfully missed. With Peter Jennings fighting cancer, perhaps the network has taken leave of its journalistic senses. But I did enjoy Kelly Ripa ripping into Clark on her show (with Reege) the next morning.

    Oh, and I STILL don’t know why Paris @#$%^&*! Hilton is famous.

    I’ve ranted. I feel better now. Thanks.

    I’m listening to the newly re-formed (or reformed) Cream. They sound great.