Series

What’s Stuck In My Head – 10 September

I have no idea why this song has been stuck in my head for two days now. My best guess is that I’ve enjoyed having my brother helping me paint most of my house the last couple of weekends, and that brought up many talks about music and our parents. This was one of our father’s favorite songs.

I’m not going to get into anything about the song other than it’s a blues standard. I will mention that Maria sang backup for many other artists including Linda Ronstadt. And you know how I feel about Linda.

May I present to you; “Don’t You Feel My Leg (Don’t You Get Me High). Enjoy!

Peace,
B

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What’s Stuck In My Head – 6 September

(AKA Yet Another Traffic Rant Edition)

It’s been a bit since my last Stuck In My Head post, and even longer since a traffic rant. So I combined both. Consider this a 2-for-1 deal. Don’t say I never gave you anything either.

I guess the area is returning to normal after our near brush with Hurricane Dorian. Today’s traffic was much heavier than it should have been. When my work schedule was moved to a half hour earlier the traffic on the way into work became much lighter. On the way home, however, is every bit as bad. The 30 minute shift allows me to miss the school buses now. That’s a beautiful thing. There is a city bus that sometimes gets in my way. I can time that bus and avoid it most days. But as we all know, city buses are not the best at time keeping. Their routes can vary by up to 10 minutes or more. Even so, this particular bus only has 3 stops before it turns off onto a side road and is out of my way.

Usually, the first of two main problems I have on the way to work are yard crews. They tend to hog the left lane and travel way under the speed limit pulling their big trailers. And since I tend to regard the speed limit as a mere suggestion, they do tend to get my dander up. The second issue are the garbage trucks. I go right past their work yard to and from work. If my timing is off and I have to stop at the traffic light at the entrance to the yard, there will be 4 or 5 trucks in front of me. But that’s not as bad as it sounds. These guys (I say guys since I’ve only seen men driving the trucks) are much better drivers than the average moron on the road with me. They tend to do the speed limit, or just over, use their turn signals, and leave space between each truck for cars to maneuver. Their biggest problem is they aren’t the quickest thing to get up to speed. Plus, it’s hard to see around them.

Now, this morning, I didn’t have any garbage trucks, no city bus, no school bus, and only one yard crew. What I did have was some work truck doing 25 MPH in the left lane (the speed limit is 45 MPH – I’m usually zipping along at 50+ MPH) with about 10 cars behind like baby ducks following mama duck, and the usual folks in the right lane turning into various parking lots, and side streets, and doing about 15 MPH.

AARRRGGGHH!!! On my next vehicle, I’m getting the Photon Torpedo option. Just blow these jerks and their vehicles into subatomic pieces.

I can hardly wait to see what traffic adventures await me on my way home today. At least it’s Friday, well, at least it’s Friday on the calendar…

What does this have to do with a song? As one of my favorite DJ’s on SiriusXM, Earle Bailey like to say; “I hope this is the only traffic you get into today”.. And this song has a permanent home in my head. Enjoy!

Peace,
B

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What’s Stuck In My Head – 13 August

(A.K.A. The Woodstock Edition)

This week will be the 50th Anniversary of the legendary “Woodstock” music festival.  Admittingly, I was too young to attend, not to mention it was many miles away from my south Florida home. 

Just in case you’re unsure about the whole thing let me quote from the wiki page;

Woodstock was an American music festival held August 15–18, 1969, which attracted an audience of more than 400,000.  Billed as “an Aquarian Exposition: 3 Days of Peace & Music”, it was held at Max Yasgur‘s 600-acre dairy farm in Bethel, New York, 43 miles (70 km) southwest of Woodstock. It was alternatively referred to as the Bethel Rock Festival or the Aquarian Music Festival. Thirty-two acts performed outdoors despite sporadic rain.[6] It has become widely regarded as a pivotal moment in popular music history, as well as the definitive nexus for the larger counterculture generation.

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

I was healthy 9 years old at the time, so my musical tastes were more inline with The Monkees and The Beatles than Jimi Hendrix.  But that all changed when my sister brought home the 2-album set. I listened to those records constantly.

All this week SiriusXM is featuring music from the festival. The Deep Tracks channel is playing the complete tapes.  Every band and every song all week long. While I haven’t heard Country Joe McDonald’s “I Feel Like I’m Fixin’ To Die Rag” and it’s now legendary audience involvement, I did hear something that I don’t remember being on the albums.  Before I get to that let’s mention a few of the other performances. 

Richie Havens opened the show, 3 ½ hours late. He was scheduled fifth on the bill on the opening day. Problem was, all the acts for that day were stuck several miles away at the area motels reserved from them.  The roads were blocked by cars that had just parked in the street since there was no other place to go, so the bands couldn’t get their gear nor themselves to the concert area.  Richie had the least equipment, one guitar for him, one guitar for his lead guitarist, and a set of conga drums for the percussionist, was all that was needed, so they were the first to be helicoptered in.  Richie was a bit afraid to be the first one on.  Since the show started so late, he was worried that the crowd would be angry and hostile. Needless to say, that was anything but the case.  

Joan Baez closed out the fist day (the “folk” day), she was 6 months pregnant! Her set was from roughly 1 – 2 AM.

Santana did a 45-minute set on day 2, and Carlos Santana was totally tripping the entire time.  The video of that entire set is electrifying!

John Sebastian (best known as part of the Lovin’ Spoonful) was not on the bill but was there enjoying the show (he had a house in the area). He played a short set while, again, other performers were delayed in arriving.

And who can forget Joe Cocker’s physical rendition of “With A Little Help From My Friends”? This single performance catapulted him into the US conciseness. Also giving John Belushi a new act.

Crosby, Still, Nash & Young doing an hour at 3AM. I still get chills listening to their set. To produce such vocal harmonies, live, and at that time of night, blows me away.

Let’s get to what is stuck in my head.  I heard just the end of this yesterday.  (I have SiriusXM streaming while at work) I wasn’t exactly sure just what I was listening to, and there was no mention, that I heard, of the performer.  I recognized the song, but not the artist.

Another thing that was interesting, was that I had just finished reading an article about the song which was written by John Lennon.  This song stunned all The Beatles when John first played it.  The entire band, George Martin (producer) and everyone in the studio all thought it was “stunning”. And then I hear it again on the way to work this morning.

Here is Richie Havens’ “Strawberry Fields Forver”.

Enjoy!

Peace,
B

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What’s Stuck In My Head – 17 July

This is day 3, of 5, in my Certified Ethical Hacker class. It’s been 2 days of review for me, so I’m bored. But that has nothing to do with what’s stuck in my head.

When Cracked Rear View came out in 1994, I was immediately taken in by the group’s sound. It was a great blend of acoustic and electric pop rock and the emerging new country sound. But was so different that the “grunge” style that was just gathering steam. To me, it was an updated Loggins and Messina.

Contrasting with the sound of their grunge contemporaries, the band’s music was described as “a mainstream pop variation of blues-rock” with “equal parts of jam band grooves and MOR pop.” The band’s sound was also described as heartland rock, roots rock and jangle pop.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hootie_%26_the_Blowfish

I also found the band name silly; Hootie and the Blowfish. I remember seeing front man Darius Rucker on an interview and he said that the name came from the nicknames they had given two guys while in college. It wasn’t exactly a nice nickname either. May not be a “nice” nickname, but it makes for a great band name! And it proves that something good can come out of USC. (That’s the University of South Carolina, not the University of Southern California).*

So here ya go!

Peace,
B

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(*) I have have no dog in any fight over any college, sports team, or whatever. I only says this because my SC family seems to think that Clemson is the only university in the state, maybe the country. I have no idea why. Not a single one of them have attended any college, in any state or country. But I do have one nephew that graduated from Clemson, so I guess that’s it.

What’s Stuck In My Head – 27 June

This one got stuck yesterday morning. They played a demo version on SiriusXM’s Deep Tracks channel. I had never heard this version, and it was beautiful. I cannot find any media to play here of that demo.

This track is usually viewed as George’s statement of the breakup of The Beatles;

All Things Must Pass” is a song by English musician George Harrison, issued in November 1970 as the title track to his triple album of the same name. Billy Preston released the song originally – as “All Things (Must) Pass” – on his Apple Records album Encouraging Words (1970), after the Beatles had rejected it for inclusion on their Let It Be album in January 1969. The composition reflects the influence of the Band‘s sound and communal music-making on Harrison, after he had spent time with the group in Woodstock, New York, in late 1968, while Timothy Leary‘s poem “All Things Pass”, a psychedelic adaptation of the Tao Te Ching, provided inspiration for his song lyrics.

The subject matter deals with the transient nature of human existence, and in Harrison’s All Things Must Pass reading, words and music combine to reflect impressions of optimism against fatalism. On release, together with Barry Feinstein‘s album cover image, commentators viewed the song as a statement on the Beatles’ break-up. Widely regarded as one of Harrison’s finest compositions, its rejection by his former band has provoked comment from biographers and reviewers. Music critic Ian MacDonald described “All Things Must Pass” as “the wisest song never recorded by The Beatles”, while author Simon Leng considers it “perhaps the greatest solo Beatle composition”. The recording was co-produced by Phil Spector in London; it features an orchestral arrangement by John Barham and contributions from musicians such as Ringo Starr, Pete Drake, Bobby Whitlock, Eric Clapton and Klaus Voormann.

Although the Beatles failed to formally record the song, a 1969 solo demo by Harrison appears on their compilation Anthology 3 (1996). An early version from the All Things Must Pass sessions was released on Harrison’s posthumous compilation Early Takes: Volume 1 in 2012. Paul McCartney performed “All Things Must Pass” at the Concert for George tribute in November 2002, a year after Harrison’s death. Jim James, the Waterboys, Klaus Voormann and Yusuf Islam, and Sloan Wainwright are among the other artists who have covered the song.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_Things_Must_Pass_(song)

The main reason I truly love this song is the lyrics. The words combined with the beautiful musical arrangement show a view of optimism over fatalism. It’s not an overly religious song, although George was the most spiritual of the Beatles. But when taken along with all the songs on this three-album set you can see where George “finds hope and meaning only in God, who does not pass away”.

Normally I don’t like videos with lyrics, but I’m using one this time so that you can read the poem at the heart of this song. But George’s vocal is clear enough that you don’t really need to read, just listen. And enjoy!

Peace,
B

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What’s Stuck In My Head – 9 June

(A.K.A. The longest post ever!! In start to finish time)

So, yes, I started this post about 5:30 AM this morning, and it right at 8:30 PM now. I had this song in my head (as the title implies) for several days. I just couldn’t come up with anything to say about it other than how much I enjoyed the song.

The song is a beaut. In its album version, the song segues from “Have A Cigar” (A wonderful semi-true story) as such;

In the original album version, the song segues from “Have a Cigar” as if a radio had been tuned away from one station, through several others (including a radio play and one playing the opening of the finale movement of Tchaikovsky‘s Fourth Symphony), and finally to a new station where “Wish You Were Here” is beginning.[5] The radio was recorded from Gilmour’s car radio. He performed the intro on a twelve-string guitar, processed to sound like it was playing through an AM radio, and then overdubbed a fuller-sounding acoustic guitar solo. This passage was mixed to sound as though a guitarist were listening to the radio and playing along. As the acoustic part becomes more complex, the ‘radio broadcast’ fades away and Gilmour’s voice enters, becoming joined by the full band.[6]

The intro riff is repeated several times, before Gilmour plays further solos with scat singing accompaniment. A third verse follows, featuring an increasingly expressive vocal from Gilmour and audible backing vocals. At the end of the recorded song, the final solo crossfades with wind sound effects, and finally segues into the second section of the multi-part suite “Shine On You Crazy Diamond“.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wish_You_Were_Here_(Pink_Floyd_song)

I really loved the “AM Radio” sound of the 12 string with the overlay of the full on six string acoustic.

The song is often thought to be tribute to Syd Barrett, one of the founding members of Pink Floyd. But as Co-writer (along with David Gilmour) Roger Waters said, and as the best music always is;

Waters later adds that the song is nevertheless open to interpretation.

Ibid

And, of course, that’s not what I came here to talk to you about. Today has been a bittersweet day for Wifey and I. Son-The-Elder is once again deploying with his National Gauard unit overseas. Do not ask me where is is going, I will not tell you. As an Army retiree I strongly believe in Operational Security policies. “Loose lips sink ships” was an old military poster, and it still is the truth today. I will only tell you, he is not going to a war zone. So family members can rest easy.

Although he may not have left yet, we already miss him. Here is Wish You Were Here. This is for any and all service members the world over that are seperated from family and loved ones for any damn reason. Hopefully one day there will no longer be any armies and we can all live in peace.

Peace,
B

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What’s Stuck In My Head – 31 May

While this song has been a favorite of mine since I first heard it many years ago, it only bubbles up to my conscience now and then. But we heard it several time during our visit to Scotland earlier this month. (We’re ready to go back too!)

It’s not surprising that the song was featured during our trip. The Proclaimers are a set of Scottish twins, they sing in a thick Scottish accent, and the song has been featured and covered by lots of folks, including a Comic Relief 2007: The Big One version for the BBC. It took it’s inclusion on the Johnny Depp movie Benny & June for the song to take off in America. It reached #3 on the Billboard Top 100 in 1993.

Not everybody on our tour knew all the words, in fact I don’t think any of us Americans knew them all, but everybody sang along on the chorus! Almost all of us could sing along when Puff The Magic Dragon came on. Out tour director claims that Puff is actually about Nessie. And while I never thought of that connection, it kinda makes sense!

So, here is I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles). Enjoy!

Peace,
B

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Scotland 2019 – Days 7 & 8

Full disclosure:  We are now home safe and sound. The reason for the late post will be explained in a day or two.  Let’s just say that British Airways and I are not on friendly terms right now.

No map today, you should know where we are by now! Day 7 was a no travel day. We took a nice city bus tour of the city of Edinburgh. Then it was up to the castle.

The Cowgate in Edinburgh

The castle is very imposing. It sits atop a rock that is eons old. There has been a royal castle at this location since the reign of David I in the 12th century. Archeological finds have dated human occupation on Castle Rock to the Iron Age in the second century BCE.

The view from the castle is quite spectacular.

Looking out from the Argyll Battery.

Back in the 17th and 18th centuries, they would fire a canon everyday at 1300 (1 PM) so that folks could set their timepieces, but more importantly, so the ships could set navigation.

The One O’Clock Gun
Another shot of part of the castle.

Alas, were not allowed to take photographs of the crown jewels nor the Stone of Scone. But it was amazing to view them.

A graveyard for all the dogs that belonged to soldiers or other folks that were living in the castle.

After our visit to the castle, we had a free day to explore Edinburgh. Before we headed off to the Royal Mile to shop, we had to stop at the grass market area for lunch. The grass market was exactly what the name implies. It served as the city common area. Everything was done here centuries ago, the market, offical announcements, and even the hangings of those sentenced to die. Today, there is no longer a grass area, it’s been paved and it’s lined with shops and pubs.

After a very nice lunch (and local beer) we headed to Greyfriars Kirk. The church was originally started in 1602. We didn’t go into the building, but instead walked among the old cemetery.

I was looking for a particular tomb. This is said to be haunted! I’ll leave it to you to read about Bloody MacKenzie.

And no visit to Greyfriars is complete with a vist to the statue of “Greyfriars Bobby“.

I have to admit that as beautiful as the Royal Mile is, it has become a tourist trap. The majority of shops that claim “Authentic Highland Tartans” have the same mass produced crap. It took some doing to find a shop with quality product without having to go over to the “expensive” street. So I didn’t take any pictures of the buildings. Besides all you’d be able to see were the tourists anyway!

But I did find this:

We own this country!

As the saying goes, all good things must come to an end. As so we had to say goobye to Bonnie Scotland. Day 8 was an early morning cab ride to the airport and some interesting flights home. That will the subject of another post.

The sun was shining when we arrived and again when we left. The days in middle were not bad either!

The traditional highland goodbye is “Hasten ye back!” And that we shall.

Peace,
B

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Scotland 2019 – Day 6

Our view at breakfast

The ever present map

This was another short coach trip day. I’m really happy about that as the cramped seats are starting to get to me.

Stop number one was Glamis Castle. Ian, our braw tour director says this castle always wins the unofficial voice poll of favorite stops. Not for me, I prefer Blair Castle (day 5) simply because of the extensive grounds. But I will say, Glamis does look more like the storybook castle. I blame Disney. Photography was not allowed inside the castle, so this is it.

Next up was St. Andrew’s. The home of golf. My dad and older brother would have enjoyed the old course and other sites in that area. I’m not a duffer so while it was interesting,and i do watch enough golf to recognize the important places, I had other plans.

We were dropped off about the center of town for a free afternoon. After a good meal of fish and chips (I can’t believe that it took me until day 6 to get fish and chips), we headed to the ruins of St. Andrew’s Cathedral.

Legend has it that St. Rule brought some of the bones of Andrew, one of the twelve apostles, to the “end of the earth” from the Constantinople. And in the 8th century or so, Scotland was on the western edge of the know world. The cathedral was built around 1158, but there has been a church at this location at least as back as 748 CE. It was abandoned after the Scottish Reformation of the 16th century.

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We ended the night with some (cheesy) planned entertainment The Spirit of Scotland. The best I can say is the piper was excellent.

Edinburgh castle and a free afternoon to explore the city awaits!

Peace,

B

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Scotland 2019 – Day 4

Only two stops today, and a much shorter coach ride.

The reference map.

I will admit that as of tonight, last night’s hotel was the worst. The room was hot. It may been 50°F outside, but the windows would barely open, there was no fan available, and the down filled duvet was so damn thick and heavy that sleeping was next to impossible.

But we are Scots so we put it behind us. Our first stop of the day would be the Culloden Battlefield. I will admit that I had some major trepidations visiting this battlefield. I had the same feelings when I visited the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington DC some years ago.

I have always read that the Argyll Campbell’s were loyalists to the British crown. According to my sources the Argyleshire men were stationed on the left flank of the army. They’re mission was to pull down a wall and stop the Jacobite cavalry from entering the fray. And history tells us, they were successful. So I expected to find a marker of some sort that backed this up.

To the left of this point stood Cobham Fir Earra Ghaidheal – the Argyleshire Men.

So Campbell of Argyll was here. But what about the other Campbell houses? Argyll may have become the big house, but there are others. Loudon, Cawdor and Breadelbane. We’re they there? And if so, we’re they Jacobite or loyalists?

There were Campbell Jacobites as well. I am strong enough to admit that I was overcome with emotion when I found this memorial. I knelt down and poured a dram of single malt out over the ground to honor the men of the Clan on both sides of this conflict.

I also saw a restoration of part of the wall as well.

It’s a bit hard to see, but what’s left of the wall is just in front of the trees

Culloden has a very nice cairn commerating the battle.

There is also a now restored cottage on the field that was there in 1746.

But the day was not all doom and gloom. Our other stop for the day was at a working sheep farm for a demonstration of border collies. Wifey had been looking forward to this. We have seen sheepdog demonstrations before, but not of this size. This farm has about 3000 sheep on about 11000 acres. The shepard has 18 border collies working with him, and several puppies from 8 months or so, to a new litter only one week old!

Dog momma (wifey) and one of the bigger puppies.

Then it was a quick trip to the Atholl Palace Hotel. A Victorian Era “spa” hotel. We can only hope that tonight is more comfortable.

We are here for two days. Tomorrow is a visit to Blair Castle and the Blair Atholl Distillery. That will be interesting.

Peace,

B

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Aye! We found a piper! In Scotland!