Friday, August 11, 2017

Hang on chillins for a wild ride on a playlist

August 4, 2017
Music can mean many things to many people, some of it and them not so pretty. Take, for instance singing in the shower, alone in a moving car or in this case a lonely old Alaskan sitting at his computer with a glass of wine and a pizza in the oven on a Friday night. A lot of it occurs right where it belongs and heard only by the hopeful musician. If it should go public what we need to keep in mind is it's the thought that counts, and the effort. If the performance isn't perfect, at least some credit should be given for the attempt. This first offering is a case in point. Consider 65,000 people singing "Bohemian Rhapsody."
Bohemian Rhapsody at a Green Day concert in England.

A couple of months ago, Greg Allman of the Allman Brothers died. A friend told me she expected a southern rock playlist. At the time I could only think of the brothers and Lynyrd Skynyrd. Since then I have found a few more and I am going to mix them in tonight. First up a a traditional southern song with a rock twist. One I couldn't help singing as a teenager. The Fendermen. "Mule Skinner Blues." There are some other versions and I will put at least one up later. 

Let's get this one out of the way early. Star Wars medley played on stringed instruments with light sabres.

All right, that's done. I know drum solos can get tedious, unless you like the new Energizer Bunny commercial, so I will be judicious. In the last playlist I featured an 11-year-old singer who was awesome. A 14-year-old in the background was largely ignored despite her amazing drumming. Here she is now and maybe a couple more later, Sina covering "Smoke on theWater," Deep Purple.

Sorry, I couldn't resist trying this: 

Another southern rocker with an absolutely genuine deep southern song. Have I ever gotten very far without mentioning Leon Russell? Barely recognizable as a young man, doing Jambalaya. Get this, I once won a 45 of Jambalaya for spelling the word correctly in a contest on The Hound's radio show on WKBW in Buffalo, New York. From the Zanzibar, man.

George Lorenz Biography

 It's too bad the bio didn't put his opening in. With background music that paused so he could give his spiel it went something like this: First a howl, then he would say "The Hound's around" then more music, then "I'm rockin' on record, dad," more music, then "from the Zanzibar, man." That's all I remember. The Zanzibar was a dance club in the center of Buffalo's African-American neighborhood. One thing it is important to note is that very early on during the birth years of rock music, The Hound promoted black musicians before they were being played regularly on other stations. Those included Frankie Lyman, "Little" Stevie Wonder and Little Richard.

Going softer now. I've written on these playlists before about Steven Stills and Judy Collins. Here they are in a duet after all the fireworks. "Someday Soon," with Graham Nash.

How about another southern song? A more country version of "Mule Skinner Blues" with Pete Seeger and Ramblin' Jack Elliot.Sometimes you have to listen to these songs the way they were meant originally.

Here's sort of an introduction to the drummer Sina. The timing is cool. It's also fun to scroll down the YouTube window and read her own comments about what she is doing. This is an aside. A few years ago I came across a 16-year-old drummer who, like Sina, employed two base drums. Her sets were so energetic she needed help walking off the stage afterward because her legs were cramping. Whitesnakes' "Here I Go Again."

Let's go back in time a ways. Do you think Elvis was the first person to record this? Big Mama Thornton "Hound Dog."


Heading south again with the Allman Brothers from their album Hot L'Anta. Light one up if you have one.

How about a comedy break. Jimmy Fallon, Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick "Blowin' In The Wind."

Here's another hard rock band from the southland. Hold onto your seats. Black Oak Arkansas "Jim Dandy."

Here's a last one from Sina, for tonight anyway. I just figured out that's her father playing the guitar in this video. "Wipe Out"from the Surfaris.
Leaves you breathless just watching. The photo is from her website: 

We aren't going to leave southern rock tonight without hearing from these guys. Lynyrd Skynyrd, with their classic "Freebird." Then watch out for a hard right turn. Incidentally their name comes from a basketball coach named Leonard Skinner who told band members their hair was too long.

Making that right turn now. A dear friend of mine and I have joked about the inappropriate crushes we have on people, celebrities mostly. Many of mine are female singers who have shown up on these playlists.  But despite the number of female singers I have featured, I have left out an important one, not because I don't like her but because I am not familiar with her music despite the fact she is the biggest-selling woman singer over the past 20-some years and often has a song at the top of the charts. She has had 18 number one hits and wrote 17 of those herself. A friend on Twitter is a big fan and considers herself one of the lambs, a name for Mariah Carey's most devoted followers. Sometimes I have gotten a little tired of all her tweets about the singer but I tolerate them for the friendship. Frankly I have never listened much and I probably know more about her personal life from the tabloid press than I do about her music. Then, the other night I came across her cover of one of my favorite songs and I liked it. So, let's try it here. Mariah Carey with Foreigner's "I Want to Know What Love Is."

As usual I like the original version better, but that's just me and doesn't take anything away from the way she performs it. She did a beautiful job with the song. Here's the original Foreigner version. Make your own choice.

Then I explored a little more and I came across another cover Mariah did and I like that one too. 
Mariah Carey,"Without You."

Many people have covered that song and she does it beautifully, but my favorite and a cover, also, is Harry Nilssen's version.

Now for a little history. Usually but not always we like the original version of a song. I mean who with one exception from Joe Cocker can cover the Beatles? This one is the exception. Badfinger was a band that George Harrison promoted originally. Two members of the band wrote "Without You," but then differences led to the band's breakup and later both of the authors, Pete Ham and Tom Evans, eventually committed suicide. Their song lives on in the voices of others. This is the Badfinger version. The backup music and the guitar don't quite make up for their clipped performance of the song.  Badfinger, "Without You."

At this point I realized we need some more music from Mariah Carey. But what? So, at a loss, I asked my Twitter friend what her favorite song was that wasn't a cover. Boy, did I get an earful over that one. I mean, all I had heard so far were those two covers, but I knew she had written so much of her own music and that was explained to me very clearly. I told my friend what I was doing and she asked me if I was becoming one of Mariah's lambs. I asked if I would have to give up my Lil' Monster badge. She said I could be both. I asked her to tell me her favorite original Mariah song. This is it:"Make It Happen."

And, this is her song "One Sweet Day," the longest-running No. 1 hit in US chart history.

One more thing about Mariah Carey. She has a five-octave range and beyond. She can hit what is called the whistler register. You have to hear it to believe it. She not only hits that off-the-chart note but can maneuver within that range. And, no, I do not have an inappropriate crush on her. Yet!  Here are some examples of her whistle register.

Almost midnight and I guess maybe it's time to bring this one to an end. A song lingers in my mind.Foreigner takes some grief for some sappy songs but the hell with that. This last song got me through a whole winter of a tough breakup so many years ago. (Search Key Largo on the main blog). It got kind of embarrassing because I was working on a newspaper copy desk at the time and out of the blue one night I blurted out a line from this song before I realized it was out loud. Foreigner, "Waiting for a Girl Like You."

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Interesting quotations

· " “Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut.” — Ernest Hemingway

When I write, I feel like an armless, legless man with a crayon in his mouth. Kurt Vonnegut

“If you wrote something for which someone sent you a cheque, if you cashed the cheque and it didn't bounce, and if you then paid the light bill with the money, I consider you talented.” Stephen King

The thing about ignornance is, you don't have to remain ignorant. — me again"

Never debate with someone who gets ink by the barrel" — George Hayes, former Alaska Attorney General who died recently

My dear Mr. Frost: two roads never diverge in a yellow wood. Three roads meet there. — @Shakespeareon Twitter

"The mark of a great shiphandler is never getting into situations that require great shiphandling," Adm. Ernest King, USN

Me: Does the restaurant have cute waitresses?

My friend Gail: All waitresses are cute when you're hungry.

I'm not a writer, but sometimes I push around words to see what happens. – Scott Berry

“The rivers of Alaska are strewn with the bones of men who made but one mistake” - Fred McGarry, a Nushagak Trapper

Many people hear voices when no one is there. Some of them are called mad and are shut up in rooms where they stared at walls all day. Others are called writers and they do pretty much the same thing. – Meg Chittenden

A non-writing writer is a monster courting insanity. – Franz Kafka

We are all immortal until the one day we are not. – me again

If the muse is late, start without her – Peter S. Beagle

Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very;’ your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be. ~Mark Twain Actually you could do the same thing with the word "really" as in "really cold."

If you are looking for an experience that will temper your vanity, this is it. There's no one to impress when you're alone on the trap line. – Michael Carey quoting his father's journal

Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. – Benjamin Franklin

It’s nervous work. The state you need to write in is the state that others are paying large sums of money to get rid of. – Shirley Hazzard

So far as I can remember, there is not one word in the Gospels in praise of intelligence -- Bertrand Russell

You know that I always just wanted to have a small ship to take stuff from a place that had a lot of that stuff to a place that did not have a lot of that stuff and so prosper.—Jackie Faber, “The Wake of the Lorelei Lee”

If you attack the arguer instead of the argument, you lose both

If an insurance company won’t pay for damages caused by an “act of God,” shouldn’t it then have to prove the existence of God? – I said that

I used to think getting old was about vanity—but actually it’s about losing people you love. Getting wrinkles is trivial. – Eugene O’Neill

German General to Swiss General: “You have only 500,000 men in your army; what would you do if I invaded with 1 million men?”

Swiss General: “Well, I suppose every one of my soldiers would need to fire twice.”

Writing is the only thing that when I do it, I don’t feel I should be doing something else.—Gloria Steinem

Exceed your bandwidth—sign on the wall of the maintenance shop at the West Coast/Alaska Tsunami Warning Center

One thing I do know, if you keep at it, you usually wind up getting something done.—Patricia Monaghan

Do you want to know what kind of person makes the best reporter? I’ll tell you. A borderline sociopath. Someone smart, inquisitive, stubborn, disorganized, chaotic, and in a perpetual state of simmering rage at the failings of the world.—Brett Arends

It is a very simple mind that only knows how to spell a word one way.—Andrew Jackson

3:30 is too late or too early to do anything—Rene Descartes

Everything is okay when it’s 50-below as long as everything is okay. – an Alaskan in Tom Walker’s “The Seventymile Kid”

You can have your own opinion but you can’t have your own science.—commenter arguing on a story about polar bears and global warming

He looks at three ex wives as a good start—TV police drama

Talkeetna: A friendly little drinking town with a climbing problem.—a handmade bumper sticker

“You’re either into the wall or into the show”—Marco Andretti on giving it all to qualify last at the 2011 Indy 500

Makeup is not for the faint of heart—the makeup guerrilla

“I’m going to relax in a very adult manner.”—Danica Patrick after sweating it out and qualifying half an hour before Andretti

“Asking Congress to come back is like asking a mugger to come back because he forgot your wallet.”—a roundtable participant on Fox of all places

As Republicans go further back in the conception process to define when life actually begins, I am beginning to think the eventual definition will be life begins in the beer I was drinking when I met her.—me again

Hunting is a “critical element for the long-term conservation of wood bison.”—a state department of Fish and Game official explaining why the state would not go along with a federal plan to reintroduce wood bison in Alaska because the agreement did not specifically allow hunting

Each day do something that won’t compute – anon

I can’t belive I still have to protest this shit – a sign carriend by an elderly woman at an Occupy demonstration

Life should be a little nuts or else it’s just a bunch of Thursdays strung together—Kevin Costner as Beau Burroughs in “Rumor has it”

You’re just a wanker whipping up fear —Irish President Michael D. Higgins to a tea party radio announcer

Being president doesn’t change who you are; it reveals who you are—Michelle Obama

Things sports announcers say

"… there's a fearlessment about him …"

"He's got to have the lead if he's going to win this race."

"Kansas has always had the ability to score with the basketball."

"NFL to put computer chips in balls." Oh, that's gotta hurt.

"Now that you're in the finals you have to run the race that's going to get you on the podium."

"It's very important for both sides that they stay on their feet."

This is why you get to hate sportscasters. Kansas beats Texas for the first time since 1938. So the pundits open their segment with the question "let's talk about what went wrong." Wrong? Kansas WON a football game! That's what went RIGHT!

"I brought out the thermostat to show you how cold it is here." Points to a thermometer reading zero in Minneapolis.

"It's tough to win on the road when you turn the ball over." Oh, really? Like you can do all right if you turn the ball over playing at home?

Cliches so imbedded in sportscasters' minds they can't help themselves: "Minnesota fell from the ranks of the undefeated today." What ranks? They were the only undefeated team left.

A good one: A 5'10" player went up and caught a pass off a defensive back over six feet tall. The quote? "He's got some hops."

Best homonym of the day so far: "It's all tied. Alabama 34, Kentucky 3." Oh, Tide.

"Steve Hooker commentates on his Olympic pole vault gold medal." When "comments" just won't do.

"He's certainly capable of the top ten, maybe even higher than that."

"Atlanta is capable of doing what they're doing."

"Biyombo, one of seven kids from the Republic of Congo." In the NBA? In America? In his whole country?

"You can't come out and be aggressive but you can't come out and be unaggressive."

"They're gonna be in every game they play!"

"First you have to get two strikes on the hitter before you get the strikeout."

"The game ended in the final seconds." You have to wonder when the others ended or are they still going on?

How is a team down by one touchdown before the half "totally demoralized?"

"If they score runs they will win."

"I think the matchup is what it is"

After a play a Houston defender was on his knees, his head on the ground and his hand underneath him appeared to clutch a very sensitive part of the male anatomy. He rolled onto his back and quickly removed his hand. (Remember the old Cosby routine "you cannot touch certain parts of your body?") Finally they helped the guy to the sideline and then the replay was shown. In it the guy clearly took a hard knee between his thighs. As this was being shown, one of the announcers says, "It looks like he hurt his shoulder." The other agrees and then they both talk about how serious a shoulder injury can be. Were we watching the same game?

"Somebody is going to be the quarterback or we're going to see a new quarterback."

"If you're gonna play running back in the SEC you're gonna take hits."

"That was a playmaker making a play."

Best headlines ever

Sister hits moose on way to visit sister who hit moose.

Man loses his testicles after attempting to smoke weed through a SCUBA tank

Church Mutual Insurance won't cover Church's flood damage because it's 'an act of God'

Homicide victims rarely talk to police

Meerkat Expert Attacked Monkey Handler Over Love Affair With Llama Keeper

GOP congressman opposes gun control because gay marriage leads to bestiality

Owner of killer bear chokes to death on sex toy

Support for legalizing pot hits all-time high

Give me all your money or my penguin will explode

How zombie worms have sex in whale bones

Crocodile steals zoo worker's lawn mower

Woman shot by oven while trying to cook waffles

Nude beach blowjob jet ski fight leads to wife's death

Woman stabs husband with squirrel for not buying beer Christmas Eve