Series

What’s Stuck In My Head – 31 July

10CC…  What comes to mind when you hear that?  A measurement of volume (10 Cubic Centimeters – although Milliliters is a better term), or maybe, for techies a Carbon Copy on an email send to 10 addresses?  Well, in this case, I’m referring to the English “art” band, 10cc.

I won’t use their two American airplay hits, “I’m Not In Love”, (from the 1975 album The Original Soundtrack) or from the 1976 album Deceptive Bends, “The Things We Do For Love”.  Both are excellent songs with “I’m Not In Love” reaching number one in the UK and number 2 in the US, and “The Things We Do For Love” making it to number 6 and number 5 as well.

10cc is an English rock band formed in StockportGreater Manchester in 1972. It initially consisted of four musicians – Graham GouldmanEric StewartKevin Godley and Lol Creme – who had written and recorded together since 1968. The group featured two songwriting teams. Stewart and Gouldman were predominantly pop songwriters, who created most of the band’s accessible songs. By contrast, Godley and Creme were the predominantly experimental half of 10cc, featuring art and cinematically-inspired writing.

Every member of 10cc was a multi-instrumentalist, singer, writer and producer. Most of the band’s records were recorded at their own Strawberry Studios (North) in Stockport and Strawberry Studios (South) in Dorking, with most of those engineered by Stewart.

From 1972 to 1978, 10cc had five consecutive UK top-ten albums: Sheet MusicThe Original Soundtrack (1975), How Dare You! (1976), Deceptive Bends (1977) and Bloody Tourists (1978). They also had twelve singles reach the UK Top 40, three of which were the chart-toppers “Rubber Bullets” (1973), “I’m Not in Love” (1975) and “Dreadlock Holiday” (1978). “I’m Not in Love” was their breakthrough worldwide hit and is known for its innovative backing track. Godley and Creme quit the band in 1976 due to artistic disagreements and became a duo act. Stewart left the band in 1995. Since 1999, Gouldman has led a touring version of 10cc.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/10cc

Gouldman was also an amazing writer penning such hits as “Heart Full of Soul” and “For Your Love” for The Yardbirds, as well as “Look Through Any Window” and “Bus Stop” for The Hollies.

For today’s entry I’m going with “Dreadlock Holiday”, a wonderful track that didn’t get much airplay in America because as Gouldman says;

When asked why he thought the song didn’t do better in the US, Gouldman said that reportedly some radio stations would not play reggae of any kind.

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

I always enjoy it more when the song is based on an actual event;

The song was based on real events Eric Stewart and Moody Blues vocalist Justin Hayward experienced in Barbados. Stewart changed the location to JamaicaGraham Gouldman commented: “Some of the experiences that are mentioned are true, and some of them are … fairly true!”[3][4] Stewart recalled seeing a white guy “trying to be cool and he looked so naff” walking into a group of Afro-Caribbeans and being reprimanded, which became the lyric “Don’t you walk through my words, you got to show some respect.” Another lyric came from a conversation Gouldman had with a Jamaican, who when asked if he liked cricket replied, “No, I love it!”.

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

While this catchy reggae rhythm is what’s stuck today, I also recommend their 8+ minute opus “Une Nuit A Paris (One Night in Paris)” also from the Original Soundtrack album. But I have to ask what exactly that album was a soundtrack for….

And I’m not going to get into other meanings of the band’s name. See also: The Loving Spoonful. I seem to remember another band name or song title along this line, but it won’t come to mind right now. Leave a comment below if you know of others that fit!

Enjoy!

Peace,
B

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Singer-Songwriters – Chapter One

Before we begin this series, I need your input; what exactly (in your most humble opinion), is a “Singer – Songwriter”?  Does one have to be a solo act, or are band members in amongst this talented group?

Case in point – Paul Simon (you can read my thoughts on Paul here).  He is most definitely a singer – songwriter, but does he qualify for his solo work only, or does his work recorded under the Simon and Garfinkle duo count as well?  The same could be asked of any of The Beatles or Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.

As per my usual, I asked my brother his thoughts.  He says, and I tend to agree with him, that anyone that has written the song that they’re singing qualifies. In that way, any of the gentlemen in The Beatles or CSN&Y qualify.  For the most part, I will limit myself to solo artists for now, with some exceptions such as Mr. Simon and maybe a few others.

So, I ask you, dear reader, to leave a comment with your thoughts.  I won’t guarantee I’ll take your advice, but let your vote be counted anyway.  Also, please let me know any folks you would think qualify for this list (or any other of my series).  As with my other list, Guitar Gods (in the process of being expanded to Guitar Gods & Wizards), this list is in my head only.  As such names are likely to be forgotten (hey – I’m old!) and a reminder now and then would be helpful.

One last note on suggestions.  Please leave all comments here on the blog.  Anything placed on the various social media sites are not likely to be seen quickly.  I have become very scarce on most social media, and Facebook particularly.  Now, on with our first of the “Singer – Songwriters”.


Carole King Klein (born Carol Joan Klein; February 9, 1942) is an American singer-songwriter who has been active since 1958, initially as one of the staff songwriters at the Brill Building and later as a solo artist. She is the most successful female songwriter of the latter half of the 20th century in the US, having written or co-written 118 pop hits on the Billboard Hot 100.  King also wrote 61 hits that charted in the UK, making her the most successful female songwriter on the UK singles charts between 1962 and 2005.

King’s major success began in the 1960s when she and her first husband, Gerry Goffin, wrote more than two dozen chart hits, many of which have become standards, for numerous artists. She has continued writing for other artists since then. King’s success as a performer in her own right did not come until the 1970s, when she sang her own songs, accompanying herself on the piano, in a series of albums and concerts. After experiencing commercial disappointment with her debut album Writer, King scored her breakthrough with the album Tapestry, which topped the U.S. album chart for 15 weeks in 1971 and remained on the charts for more than six years.

King has made 25 solo albums, the most successful being Tapestry, which held the record for most weeks at No. 1 by a female artist for more than 20 years. Her record sales were estimated at more than 75 million copies worldwide. She has won four Grammy Awards and was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for her songwriting. She is the recipient of the 2013 Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, the first woman to be so honored. She is also a 2015 Kennedy Center Honoree.

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

As most young kids of the time, my musical introduction to her was the Tapestry album.  I bought a pirated 8-track (told you I was old!) at a flea market, and promptly wore it out.  I was lucky enough to see Ms. King live on Halloween night, 1975.  It was a David Crosby and Graham Nash concert and she joined them for a couple of songs.  It was spectacular. 

As the quote above mentions, along with her then husband she wrote so many songs that other artists recorded.  I remember how surprised I was when I learned that they wrote “The Loco Motion”.  As far as I was concerned that was a Grand Funk Railroad tune, not to mention the Herman’s Hermits hit “I’m Into Something Good” or Aretha Franklin’s monster hit “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman”. I could go on and on.

Enjoy!

Peace,
B

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Guitar Gods – Chapter Three

For us music geeks the sad news this weekend that Peter Green had passed away came as a real blow.  May folks may not know who he was, so here’s a quick recap.  He was the guy that replaced Eric Clapton in John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers.  Still not ringing a bell?  He was a founding member of Fleetwood  Mac.  Surely, you’ve heard of that band!

Of course, the version of Fleetwood mac you probably recognize is not the original group.  Seems that back in 1966 (I won’t mention who young I was) Peter left the Bluesbreakers taking drummer Mick Fleetwood and bassist John McVie, who had only been with the Bluesbreakers for a few weeks to start Fleetwood Mac as a blues band.  Fleetwood Mac didn’t really become the commercial juggernaut of rock/pop fame until Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham came along a bit later.

Peter Green (born Peter Allen Greenbaum; 29 October 1946 – 25 July 2020) was an English blues rock singer-songwriter and guitarist. As the founder of Fleetwood Mac, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998. Green’s songs, such as “Albatross“, “Black Magic Woman“, “Oh Well“, “The Green Manalishi (With the Two Prong Crown)” and “Man of the World“, appeared on singles charts, and several have been adapted by a variety of musicians.

Green was a major figure in the “second great epoch” of the British blues movement. B.B. King commented, “He has the sweetest tone I ever heard; he was the only one who gave me the cold sweats.” Eric Clapton praised his guitar playing; he was interested in expressing emotion in his songs, rather than showing off how fast he could play[8] and used string bendingvibrato, and economy of style.

Rolling Stone ranked Green at number 58 in its list of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time”. His tone on the instrumental “The Super-Natural” was rated as one of the 50 greatest of all time by Guitar Player. In June 1996, Green was voted the third-best guitarist of all time in Mojo magazine.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Green_(musician)

Peter was featured on the Bluesbreakers album A Hard Road in 1967 with two of his songs making the album.  One of which is featured below.  I have also featured one of my favorites of his originals here.

It seems that Peter may have really messed his head up with a bad acid trip in March 1970 while in Munich.  Most reports say this was the beginning of his mental illness issues.  He did spend time getting treatment and managed to get back to playing about 1979.

In 1988 Green was quoted as saying: “I’m at present recuperating from treatment for taking drugs. It was drugs that influenced me a lot.  I took more than I intended to. I took LSD eight or nine times. The effect of that stuff lasts so long … I wanted to give away all my money … I went kind of holy – no, not holy, religious.  I thought I could do it, I thought I was all right on drugs.  My failing!”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Green_(musician)

He was 73 when he died in his sleep on the 25th of July, 2020.  He will be missed.

Peace,
B

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Guitar Gods – Chapter Two

Today is a 3 for 1 blue light special!

No, I’m not trying to get through my list quick.  I thought it would be cool to combine several of the gods in one post.  There is an exceptionally good chance that all these gentlemen will appear here again.

This is a song written by George Harrison, and the lead guitar on the original recording (on The Beatles AKA “The White Album”) is played by Eric Clapton, and here is Peter Frampton doing it live.  I also saw covers by lots of other guitar wizards, but I went with this one mainly because as I was starting this post, as only a 2 for 1, with George and Eric. Then I heard Peter’s cover playing on the radio.  So, I changed the video and went with this one.

As I mentioned this was originally on the White Album; 

While My Guitar Gently Weeps” is a song by the English rock band the Beatles from their 1968 double album The Beatles (also known as “the White Album”). It was written by George Harrison, the band’s lead guitarist. The song serves as a comment on the disharmony within the Beatles following their return from studying Transcendental Meditation in India in early 1968. This lack of camaraderie was reflected in the band’s initial apathy towards the composition, which Harrison countered by inviting his friend and occasional collaborator, Eric Clapton, to contribute to the recording. Clapton overdubbed a lead guitar part, although he was not formally credited for his contribution.

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

I have featured this song here and here.

Enjoy!

Peace,
B

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What’s Stuck In My Head – 18 July

On one of the (too many) news feeds I read, Far Out Magazine has been posting a look back at some early songs by The Beatles. The web site (linked above) covers a very wide range of music and other artsy things.

This particular track was mentioned a few days ago and although the song itself hasn’t stuck with me the way John intro’s the song has. The video has a little bit of an interview that isn’t really all that interesting. The good part starts about 50 seconds in.

Enjoy!

Peace,
B

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Guitar Gods – Chapter One

So…  Happy anniversary to me!  Today marks the 3rd anniversary of this here silly assed blog, AND the 12th anniversary of me on Twitter, which is even more silly assed!  So, I got that going for me.

But of course, that’s not what I came here to tell you about (been a while since I’ve used that line and thank you Mr. Guthrie).

For those of you that have been paying attention you may have noticed my every now and then mentioning a certain list of guitar gods.  On this most auspicious day (see paragraph one above) I feel it’s time to start honoring those gods (and goddesses).  As a reminder, this list has not been written down, it’s all in “me ‘ead”.  As such, it is a very fluid list.  Any ranking on said list is purely whimsical and is subject to change depending on my mood and/or alcohol consumption.

For those that know me best the artist I’m using to start this series off may come as a surprise.  Those that have been reading this blog (and thanks to each and every one of you) know that my “top three” guitar gods, both chronologically and favoritism are Mike Nesmith, George Harrison, and Eric Clapton.  I have featured each of those artists many times, so I went with someone else this time.

I guess it’s not all that surprising that my favorite songs by this gentleman are instrumental. After all, Carlos Santana doesn’t sing on his recordings. He is first and foremost a guitarist.  I can’t say for sure, but I would think the name Santana, as a band, first hit me with Black Magic Woman/Gypsy Queen. After all the AM radio stations didn’t play tracks like Soul Sacrifice it just wasn’t radio friendly. Along with the aforementioned Soul Sacrifice, the other great instrumentals I can dig are Samba Pa Ti and Europa (Earth’s Cry Heaven’s Smile).  

I remember the first time I heard Europa. When that track hit the stylus on my turntable everything else stopped. The sustain Carlos gets out of his guitar then followed by the machine gun like riffs just blew me away.

To see a young Carlos and band, check out the footage from Woodstock.  Rumor has it that Carlos was tripping on LSD while on stage.  Their set was delayed by a rain storm and Carlos was hanging out with Jerry Garcia (he of course is on the list as well) in the artist trailer and well, you can imagine what happened.

Major rock music promoter Bill Graham, a Latin Music aficionado who had been a fan of Santana from its inception, arranged for the band to appear at the Woodstock Music and Art Festival before its debut album was even released. Its set was one of the surprises of the festival, highlighted by an eleven-minute performance of a throbbing instrumental, “Soul Sacrifice”. Its inclusion in the Woodstock film and soundtrack album vastly increased the band’s popularity.

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

Here is a live video with two my favorite instrumentals.  Enjoy!

Peace,
B

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What’s Stuck In My Head – 29 June

Coronavirus Edition Part 8

So… Yesterday we celebrated Father’s Day.  Yes, we were a week late (for the USA), but this was the first time in about 4 years we’ve had both of our sons together.  We are a military family.  For new readers, I am a retired US Army and son-the-elder is active Army.  So, we are very used to celebrating holidays that don’t match everyone else’s calendar. We really don’t give a rat’s ass. We celebrate when we want to.  Get over it, we don’t care if it messes with your calendar. My son and I have dedicated over 30 years to protecting your way of life.  We understand that you may not agree with either of our outlooks.  But understand that we have protected your right to have a difference of opinion.  If you don’t like that fact – go the fuck away. Plain and simple.

So anyway, while over-imbibing on various adult beverages, this silly assed clip came up. Between the several veterans in attendance (although this clip had nothing to do militarily with this post), all felt this was worthy of a post.  It does bear to note that we are all of Scots descent, and that does bear to mind this post.

Wifey and I are just over a year since our trip to the homeland, Scotland, just in case that hasn’t jumped out at you yet. One thing that stands out for me, is that it’s funny that I have problems with TV shows with characters with any kind of accent, be it British, Scottish, Spanish, etc., I have major problems understanding the dialog.  But while in country, I had no problems at all.  Therefore, I blame it on TV. My ears are fine (no, not really).   But still, TV sucks.

Enjoy!

Peace,
B

P.S. Next weekend is Granddaughter-The-Elder and Wifey’s birthdays. Just and wait and see what happens then!

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What’s Stuck In My Head – 16 June

Coronavirus Edition Part 7

Before I get into the music, let’s do a quick catch-up since it’s been awhile since my last post.

Wifey starts her new job today.  She was laid off due to the coronavirus on St. Patrick’s Day (17 March for those that don’t have a calendar handy). She’s back in a law office, which is what she was doing for the last 5 years or so.  And trying to claim unemployment here in #Floriduh has been a pain.  But we made it work (again).

Obviously, I made it through the cardiac ablation fine.  I haven’t had a follow up with the cardiologist that did the procedure yet, but I did have a follow up with my regular cardiologist and have a tele-medicine call with my family doctor tomorrow. No big warning signs have popped up, although my blood glucose is trending a bit high as well as my blood pressure.  I’m blaming the blood pressure on the fact that I have had the anti-arrhythmia drugs stopped.  Plus the fact that I am more than a bit overweight, which adds to both the blood pressure and glucose issues.  Neither of the “problems” are serious at this time.  Wifey and I are trying to maintain a better diet and now that my heart is beating normal again, we have restarted our walking in the mornings.  The biggest issue I have from the procedure is the itching from where they shaved my groin for all the catheters they used.  By my count I had one catheter in my right femoral vein, four in my left femoral vein and one in the left femoral artery.  Even though I had stopped the Eliquis (blood thinner) two days prior to the procedure, I still bruised badly.

Other good news is that son-the-younger also has found a new job, and son-the-elder has finally made it back stateside from his Europe deployment, but back home quite yet.

Now, on to the music.

I have no clue why this is stuck in my head.  I am not that big of fan of Mr. Springsteen.  It is notable that the line “Well I got this guitar and I learned how to make it talk” is what keeps repeating.  Realizing of course, that “talk” rhymes with “walk”, I’m more used to hearing that guitarists strive to make their instruments “sing”.  But then again, Bruce doesn’t really sing all the well either.  Not that I do any better, but still.  In retrospect, it’s no worse that Eric Clapton and George Harrison using the line “Then I told ‘bout our kid / Now he’s married to Mabel”.  Mabel rhymes with “table” the last word of the previous verse.  Artistic license as it best/worst?

I picked this version of the song simply because of Melissa Etheridge.  I had a cassette tape of her first album when I was stationed in Korea.  I wore that tape out.  I love her voice!

Enjoy!

Peace,
B

P.S. I had blood work done yesterday and I just got the results. My glucose is firmly in the normal area. So disregard the above!

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What’s Stuck In My Head – 26 April

Coronavirus Edition Part 6

Not too long ago (I can’t really remember exactly when – the days here in self-isolation just blend together), I watched the ZZ Top documentary on Netflix.  A very enjoyable show it was.  It gives a good background on how they got started and had bit and pieces of lots of their music scattered throughout the show, as well as the band playing live.

One line that stuck with me, but I can’t remember who said it (not a band member), was “ZZ Top took the blues and turned it into party music”.  That’s a very true statement.  It goes right along with front man Billy F. Gibbons’ reply when asked why fans still come to see them play live; (paraphrasing here) “I don’t know.  We’re just the same three guys playing the same three chords”. 

I hope they keep those same I-VI-V chords going!

This song has been stuck in my head off and on since I watched that show.

Enjoy!

Peace,
B

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What’s Stuck In My Head – 24 April

Coronavirus Edition Part 5

So just yesterday, or maybe the day before, or was it last week, son-the-younger hit me up with one of his questions. It was a very good question. 

Would Jimi Hendrix be just as famous if he had had a lead singer?”

In my (not so humble) opinion, no he would not have been as famous.  Generally speaking only the front man of the band get’s the headlines. Without “googling” it, name the lead guitar player for The Doors, Jefferson Airplane, or The Animals.  See?  Not that easy.  (Robby Krieger (The Doors), Jorma Kaukonen (Jefferson Airplane), and The Animals was a trick question, they had more guitarists wander in and out you’d have to read the Wikipedia page for all the names).

Not that Jimi didn’t deserve his fame.  He was a brilliant musician, and is a member of my “Guitar Gods” list (I really, really need to actually put that list in writing).  My thought was since he died so young (a founding member of the 27 Club), he would not have had enough time to get out of the shadow of a really good front man.  Of course, we’ll never know.  Feel free to leave your response to the question as a comment!

Before you go thinking that this is a Hendrix post, read on.

The next (semi) logical step in our conversation was who else fit in this category.  We threw lots of names around.  Naturally, the whole discussion started looking for a rabbit hole.  As we were on our second Tequila drink (not sure exactly what we were drinking, something from son-the-younger’s warped mind) it didn’t take long to find said rabbit hole. 

We ended up discussing front men that really couldn’t sing.  Sometime during the course of the back and forth of throwing out names and laughing, I mentioned Roger McGuinn.  Since Earth Day and Arbor Day is right around now, this song has been getting a bit more airplay.  And when I played it for the boy, he had never heard it.  But we both agreed that Roger is not a singer.  A great song writer and guitar player, but we’ll leave it at that.

Enjoy!

Peace,
B

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