Entertainment

A Very Delayed Post

I have to apologize to ya’ll. We took our Campbell Christmas Vacation as planned, leaving here on December 26th. While the vacation was a joy, I became very ill, and was hospitalized on our return. That will be the subject of my next post, as I am still sorting out details of the whole vacation/illness. So this will be a quick post with some pictures of the vacation aspect.

The plan was to leave here on the morning of the 26th, and we actually made it work. We piled Wifey, Son-The-Younger, both granddaughters and myself into the car and headed north. Our destination was Maggie Valley, NC. We rented a larger cabin than the one Wifey and I rented two years ago for a five night stay. The weather was good, and for once, traffic not an issue at all. We all got our suitcases unpacked and stuff put away in our rooms and away we went!

The cabin’s living room.

Friday was Son-The-Younger’s birthday and we promised him we would take him the Sierra Nevada Brewery just outside of Asheville, NC. Wifey and I visited the brewery and took the tour two years ago. Son-The-Younger was looking forward to this trip. We took the Blue Ridge Parkway over the mountains to Asheville. We stopped at many of the scenic overlooks and the girls took many pictures.

We arrived at the Brewery just in time for our scheduled tour (you have to make reservations), and Wifey and the girls went to “The Back Porch”, an open area that has food, a garden and even – get this – beer! Although there wasn’t any live music that day, they do have an outdoor stage, as well as an indoor area in case of bad weather. And is very dog friendly.

We drove home and had a great BBQ dinner, which was another “requirement” for this trip.

Saturday was a planned “quiet” day. In the morning we took the girls to do some “gem” mining. Then Son-The-Younger and I visited Elevated Mountain Distillery, while Wifey took the girls to a little store we enjoyed on our last visit.

It was a good thing that we didn’t have much planned for Saturday. I woke up about 3AM with fever and chills. So after the short morning excursions, I went back to bed for the afternoon. I think I sweated through my clothes twice that afternoon. The rest of the family went tubing (man made snow, sadly) while I basically sweated every ounce of liquid out of my body. Son-The-Younger tried to get a fire going in one of the outside fire pits, but it was rained out.

I awoke Sunday morning feeling better, but not great. I knew I was still fighting whatever bug I had picked up, I just didn’t realize how badly I was losing that fight.

But not giving up, we again went over the mountains, but this time from Cherokee, NC to Gatlinburg, TN. We went right through the Great Smokey Mountains National Park, and we hadn’t even gone half a mile into the park when we came across a herd of Elk. The girls were so happy.

We made it to Gatlinburg with no issues. We even found a Mexican restaurant that Wifey and I had tried almost 20 years ago! And it was right next to the Ripley’s Aquarium which was our first scheduled stop (after tacos of course). Then the real fun began.

The plan all along was to get me a wheelchair while at the aquarium. My legs were still heavily impacted by the back injury, so I figured I would not be able to walk the entire distance required. Turns out I couldn’t even make it into the aquarium!

Going up the steps to get to the wheelchair I passed out. I was so lucky that there was a guy right behind me who saw it coming, probably before I realized what was happening. He was a strong enough guy that he grabbed me and set me down so I only ended up with was a scrape on one knee where it hit the pillar I has holding on to. Luckily it passed somewhat quickly and by the time the kids met us with the wheelchair I was coherent, and some of my strength returned. It was nice have everyone push my wheelchair so I could see the major parts of the aquarium, and there were plenty of places that I could be parked while everyone else went to see something that would have been a tight fit. We got in a few other attractions that afternoon, then head back to our cabin in Maggie Valley.

I will leave the health issues for the next post. I knew I was sick, but I really didn’t feel any worse or better for the rest of the trip.

Monday found us in Cherokee, NC. I really didn’t expect the girls to enjoy the museum as much as they did. They were asking questions about the displays and had good comments when their questions were answered. it’s really nice to see them getting inquisitive about things that aren’t covered very well in school. The Cherokee people have an absolutely beautiful creation story. Personally, I find it every bit as relevant as any other creation story. It is no more, nor any less credible the one most of us have been force feed all these years.

Outside of the museum in Cherokee.

Every time I visit a museum of this sort, I am saddened beyond words how native peoples have been treated by we white people. On every continent we have hurt if not straight out destroyed entire cultures. They had a veteran’s display in the museum. It told of a Cherokee medical doctor that was on a landing craft on D-Day. I didn’t know they had any doctors on the landing craft. But it makes me wonder were there any “white” doctors on any other landing craft? Then there was a display of Cherokee Medal of Honor Recipient. I’m sorry I don’t have names for these, and the other Cherokee’s enshrined in this part of the museum. I was so overcome, and still am, with emotion I had to leave the area and just sit down in the lobby. Knowing that chances are that these gentlemen had already been forcibly removed from their ancestral homes to the squalid desperation of a reservation, but still answered the call to serve this nation (not the Cherokee Nation, but the “white man nation”) amazes me. Sadly, most of the town of Cherokee was closed for the season, so shopping was limited.

However, Son-The-Younger conquered the elements and got the fire pit going. I am told the s’mores were wonderful!

The next morning we loaded everything back up in the car and headed home. We only stopped long enough to visit with Lil-Big-Sis at lunch. There are so many more stories to tell of this trip, but I just don’t have the energy to keep this going, nor a voice to dictate to Wifey, so dear reader this will have to suffice.

But I leave you with What’s Stuck In Wifey’s Head this morning. Enjoy!

Peace,
B

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I Didn't Know That!

So, just now I’m flipping through my Twitter feed and see this;

This was news to me (and my brother). I am a big fan of The Bangles. They really appeal to my “Pop-Music” side. I knew Prince wrote lots of songs that other artists made famous. Sinead O’Connor’s cover of Nothing Compares 2U (1990) made it to number one, Chaka Khan’s 1984’s hit I Feel For You made it number three on the charts. And another I didn’t realize, Stevie Nick’s Stand Back (1983) made it number 5. That is just the short list. Rolling Stone Magazine has a short article with 15 songs.

The song was on The Bangles second album, Different Light, which also had their monster hit (and a favorite of my granddaughters), Walk Like An Egyptian.

Manic Monday” went on to become a number-two hit in the US, the UK and Germany, outsold at the time only by another Prince composition, his own “Kiss“. The band’s second album Different Light (January 1986) was more polished than its predecessor and, with the help of the worldwide number-one hit “Walk Like an Egyptian” (written by Liam Sternberg), saw the band firmly in the mainstream. The song was sent to them in mid-session and the group was divided about whether it would be a failure or a success. When the song was released the group was amazed to discover that it brought them a new audience of female fans, most of them very young. Commented Michael Steele to a Nine-O-One Network Magazine writer: “When I go out now it is usually girls who recognize me.” Three additional hit singles released from the “Different Light” album were: “Following” (top 40 in Ireland), “Walking Down Your Street” (#11 on the US Billboard Hot 100), and the wistful “If She Knew What She Wants“, written and first recorded by Jules Shear (which reached 29 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the summer of 1986 and was in the German Top 20 for 13 weeks).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Bangles

I highlighted my favorite Bangles tune, a cover of Simon & Garfunkel’s Hazy Shade Of Winter way back in 2017. So here’s there awesome video for Manic Monday.

Enjoy!

Peace,
B

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What's Stuck In My Head – 17 December

The year was 1965, I was 7, and like all the other kids, thought this song about Snoopy. But alas, it’s not.

“My Girl Sloopy” was first recorded by the Los Angeles-based R&B vocal group, the Vibrations in 1964, for Atlantic Records (45-2222). It was a hit, reaching number 10 on the R&B chart, and number 26 on the US pop chart. In April 1965, The group members were Don Bradley, Carl Fisher, Dave Govan, James Johnson, and Ricky Owens. The song then became a local hit in the Pacific Northwest in a cover version by James Henry & the Olympics (Jerden Records), but it was quickly eclipsed in August when the Indiana pop group the McCoys released their iconic retitled version. “Hang On Sloopy” went to number one in the U.S. in October 1965.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hang_On_Sloopy

And just who were “The McCoys“?

The original members were all from Union City; however, the Zehringer boys were initially from Fort Recovery, Ohio. The band members were guitarist and lead singer Richard Zehringer, his brother Randy on drums, and bassist Dennis Kelly. This first line-up was known as The Rick Z Combo, and later known as Rick and the Raiders. When Kelly left for college, the Zehringers were joined by bassist Randy Jo Hobbs, saxophonist Sean Michaels, and keyboardist Ronnie Brandon. This was the line-up that took the name of “The McCoys”. Brandon left the group in 1965 and was replaced by Bobby Peterson on keyboards.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_McCoys

Never heard of these guys? Well, The McCoys may have been sent to the “one hit wonder” pile of the 60’s, but that Rick Zehringer guy didn’t. You will know him better as Rick Derringer, he of Rock And Roll Hoochie Koo fame. The McCoys did have other hits on the charts including “Fever” (Billboard #7) and “Come On, Let’s Go”, Billboard #21). But this on hit #1 on 2 October.

Mr. Derringer is, supposedly, the subject of Steely Dan’s “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number”. But probably not;

Just to clear up a generation’s worth of rumors about the lyrics of “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number,” Walter Becker stated for the record in a 1985 interview in the pages of Musician that the “number” in question was not slang for a marijuana cigarette (“send it off in a letter to yourself,” supposedly a way to safely transport one’s dope back before the post office abolished general delivery mail, was held up as the key line), and an uncharacteristically forthcoming Donald Fagen has similarly revealed that the “Rikki” in question was simply a woman he’d had a crush on in college. It says something about Steely Dan’s reputation as obscurantists that even a straightforward lost-love song like “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number” could be so widely over-interpreted. … It’s unsurprising that “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number” ended up becoming Steely Dan’s biggest commercial hit … as it’s one of the group’s most gentle and accessible songs.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rikki_Don%27t_Lose_That_Number

Talking this selection over with Wifey™ we both remember this as Hang On Snoopy. We’re completely wrong of course, but that’s how we both remember it. We seem to recall a cartoon of Snoopy set to this song. But maybe that’s just wishful remembrance.

Enjoy!

Peace,
B

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It Has Begun!

As I have mentioned several times (most recently here), the Christmas Season can’t begin until two things happen. I have to hear John Lennon’s Happy XMas (War Is Over) in some random way and I have to watch National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.

I am (somewhat) happy to report that both of those requirements have been met. The Official Christmas Season® may now begin. You’re welcome.

Yes, I’m a Grinch. Thank you for noticing…

And as dear old dad always said, “Merry bah humbug!”

Peace,
B

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So, This Is Christmas?

Faithful readers (I do have a couple of faithful readers, right? RIGHT??), will remember that I do not start the “Christmas Season” until two things happen. First, I have to hear John Lennon’s, Happy XMas (War Is Over) and we’ve seen National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.

We can control when we watch the movie, but hearing the song has a more strict requirement. I have to hear it while out of the house, and it can’t be played at my request. It just has to be on a random playlist, usually while shopping. But this year, I’ve only been to the mall once, and even then I never left the little pub. I still can’t walk long distances, so I sat and had a few beers while Wifey and son-the-younger did the shopping.

As usual, I do most of my shopping, holiday or not, on-line. Since Amazon doesn’t have background music like the mall stores do, the chance of hearing Happy X-Mas is slim to none. And Slim just walked out the door.

We did go to Wifey’s office Christmas party last night and they had Christmas music playing in the background. The song may have played, but luckily they had the volume low enough that I could only catch brief bits of the music hear and there. So I don’t know if it played or not. They didn’t have the old standards playing so it may have, but I didn’t hear it.

If you haven’t caught on by now, I really, really, really don’t like the usual Christmas music. Granddaughter-the-elder had her class Christmas program earlier this week. It was quite enjoyable. Other than the hand bell part, which was the old standards, the rest of the program was new music. They even did We Will Jingle, set to the tune of Queen’s We Will Rock You complete with foot stomps and hand claps. That was cool. And even better my wee bonnie lass had a small speaking part and she nailed it!

I’m thinking we will probably watch the movie this weekend. I’m sure it’s available on one of the streaming services I pay for. If not, Pay For View is always an option. As long as I can find it without commercial interruption. I absolutely despise commercials.

Today is also the Army Navy football game. This is probably the only football game I care about. And even then, not that much. I won’t watch the game since son-the-elder is currently overseas with his Army unit. But as an Army retiree, I have to say #GoArmyBeatNavy.

What are your holiday requirements and/or traditions? Get the conversation started by leaving a comment!

Peace,
B

P.S. Wifey has the old The Monkee’s TV show playing while I’m writing this, so here’s a totally unrelated video…

My favorite Michael Nesmith song!

P.P.S. The Monkees have ended and the old Partridge Family show has come on. Wifey said she didn’t remember how ugly the clothes were back then!

P.P.P.S. This is, what day 14 of the “official” Christmas season and not a single bit of the craptastic music has been played. ‘Nuff said.

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What's Stuck In My Head – 7 December

Today’s entry is not really all that odd. But what is odd is that as I’m getting everything together to write this post, Wifey is looking for Elf to stream later tonight to watch with the girls. So how does that relate to whatever song is stuck in my head? Because, apparently, Leon Redbone has a part in the movie, as Leon the snowman. As should be apparent, I have never seen the movie do I intend to watch it. Will Ferrell just grates me the wrong way. I think the only thing I’ve seen of him that I find funny is the SNL “More Cowbell” skit. Everything else, just like Jim Carrey (who according to the IMDB page for the movie was also considered for the part of Buddy), I do not find funny. But that’s me, if you enjoy the movie, please go on and continue to. I’ll be sipping on a single malt and listening to my music and probably doing some genealogy while the girls will be watching it.

So, back to the song and the singer. I believe I first saw Mr. Redbone on SNL performing this song. If I remember correctly (which is questionable), it was a solo act. Just Leon and his guitar. I have a vague remembrance of him wearing a ring with a big red jewel on his left hand. But I cannot find a video of that performance to collaborate that memory. It may have been on The Johnny Carson Show that I saw him instead.

Leon made a career playing “Tin Pan Alley” music, and this is one of those. One part of his stage shows was him claiming to have written these old songs. It was a joke of course, as the music had been written before he was born. And it figures that his obit claims he was 127 when he passed. He wasn’t.

A statement on Mr. Redbone’s website noted his death with cheeky humor: “It is with heavy hearts we announce that early this morning, May 30th, 2019, Leon Redbone crossed the delta for that beautiful shore at the age of 127.” His longtime publicist Jim Della Croce confirmed that his age was, in fact, 69.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leon_Redbone

Here is the best live recorded video I could find. Enjoy!

Peace,
B

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18 Years Ago

Sorry for the lack of recent posts, but Wifey and I have been painting the granddaughters rooms and making some major changes for them. But that will be another post here in a day or two.

I’m not filing this post under my usual “What’s Stuck In My Head” category, although it would fit nicely there. This is a remembrance post for one of my guitar gods. It seems that on this day, 29 November, in 2001 we lost George Harrison. It was a tough day for me.

George was probably the second person to be put on my “guitar gods” list (Michael Nesmith of The Monkees was the first – I was very young when I started said list). The list isn’t ranked in any way. In fact it’s quite fluid as to who is on the top of the list at any given time. And don’t let the masculine term “god” worry you, there are ladies on the list as well.

George’s music, from the early Beatles, to his solo work, to The Traveling Wilburys is always on any of my playlists. “Don’t Bother Me” would be the first solo written credit, appearing on the 1963 album “With The Beatles”.

His “Handle With Care” was supposed to be a “B-Side” to European single but the record company said it was too good for a “B-Side”, and wanted an entire album. Thus was born The Traveling Wilburys.

I would imagine that the one song of George’s that everybody knows (even Frank Sinatra called the greatest love song ever written), would be Something. Written for his first wife, Patti Boyd. I believe Ms. Boyd should be known as the greatest muse of 70’s British rock and roll. Not only did George write this beautiful love song about her, Eric Clapton (another on the “guitar gods” list), penned the iconic “Layla” about Patti. Clapton wrote several other songs about her before, during, and after their marriage as well.

There are so many great songs of George’s to include in this post. It took a long time to decide which on to use. I picked this video because, one it’s a great track, and this live version has both Harrison and Clapton. And you can’t go wrong with two guitar gods! Enjoy!

Peace,
B

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What’s Stuck In My Head – 19 November

This beautiful song has been stuck on repeat since about 4 AM this morning. I don’t know why. It’s not like I heard it recently, I’ve been over on Pandora, on channels with other playlists. Yet, here it is..

I’m not complaining, it’s a great song. And one that does get played often, so I’m sure everyone will recognize it.

“Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” was a song that I had written the music and Tom had written the words. The Heartbreakers had recorded a version of it with Jimmy Iovine, and Jimmy being the entrepreneur that he was, he was working with Stevie, and I guess he asked Tom if she could try it, and it just developed from there. We cut the track as a Heartbreakers record and when she decided to do it we used that track and she came in and sang over it. It became a duet. It’s basically all the Heartbreakers on that record. ~ Mike Campbell

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stop_Draggin’_My_Heart_Around

Interesting note, son-the-younger was almost named for Ms. Nicks. We were looking at Stephanie Nicole as a girls name, or Steven Ray (for guitar god Stevie Ray Vaughn) for a boys name. It was about an hour before he was born we decided to name him after his maternal grandfather instead. Such is life. Also, I did not have a poster of Stevie in my room as a teenager. I did however have a music book of Fleetwood Mac’s that had some great promotional pictures of her.

Enjoy!

Peace,
B

P.S. Stevie is the first woman to be elected to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice. Once with Fleetwood Mac and then just last year for her solo work.

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What’s Stuck In My Head – 16 November

A.K.A. The Christmas is coming post

I have to admit, that I had never heard this song until yesterday morning. One of my favorite DJs on SiriusXM Deep Tracks, Earle Bailey played it while I was eating breakfast. I was humming the tune the rest of the day, and into this morning.

The track is by Loudon Wainwright III. Loudon is best know for the 1972 novelty song (and one of my all time favorite tracks) Dead Skunk (In The Middle Of The Road). He was also on 3 episodes of the TV show M*A*S*H. I have also spotlighted his son Rufus Wainwright here for his cover of Across The Universe.

I think this song really sums up the entire “Holiday Creep” thing. Christmas decorations are almost up year around now. And sadly Thanksgiving, my favorite of the holidays, has become nothing but “a buffet in between”. So, without further comment, here is “Suddenly It’s Christmas”.

Enjoy!

Peace,
B

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