Tag: music

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Fishing bores me. I hate the taste of fish, so I would just be torturing the critters. Sure, I could sit in a boat or on the shore all day, maybe with a book. But fishing? It reminds me of Mark Twain’s description of golf, “A good walk spoiled.” And movies? Generally I had rather […]

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ДДТ/DDT is a musical institution in Russia and the former Soviet Union, perhaps second only to Кино/Kino in international fame as a outstanding representation of the Russian language rock scene. New bands and fads (and political regimes), have come and gone, but DDT remains, and has chronicled the last 40 years of Soviet/Russian history with […]

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If you’re looking for a book of sheet music for Star Wars or Lord of the Rings in Wasilla, Alaska, you aren’t going to find one. No way. But if your father is a drummer residing in Los Angeles who loves any excuse to hit a music store, you may be in luck — quarantine […]

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Not nearly as nice as Christmas in July, but here we are. July 15 became Tax Day this year as part of the national panic theater. After all, if the IRS employees were all essential and tax returns absolutely positively had to get through on time, the great shutdown would have been an even more […]

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Sammy Walker was “discovered” by Phil Ochs and taken under his wing during Ochs’ turbulent last years. I was put in touch with Sammy by Woody Guthrie’s sister, of all people, over twenty years ago, and we have been in regular correspondence. He lives in rural western North Carolina. Preview Open

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So, being a safety professional involves lots of paperwork.* A truly insomnia-curing amount of paperwork, actually. All of my safety jobs involve lots of taking information, analyzing it, and turning it into something worthwhile. This requires some music to keep me going, along with generous application of caffeine. Not just any music – music with […]

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If you’re a Bob Dylan fan of any period, I HIGHLY recommend his new album, “Rough and Rowdy Ways, a thoughtful, beautiful, down and dirty record. Was listening to it tonight, and this bit from “Mother of Muses” jumped out at me…like a timely….jumping out thing: Mother of Muses sing for my heartSing of a […]

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Group Writing: Music To Bury My Mother By

 

June 24, 2020 would have been my mother’s 92nd birthday. She died in September 2014, at the age of 86 after a long struggle with the effects of fronto-temporal dementia. Her death was, in the eyes of her children and others who loved her, a release and a blessing. And for her, peace at last.

She’d fallen away from the faith of her childhood decades before, and her children wished only a celebration of her life, and to say farewell to Mum with words and music that she’d have enjoyed. (I’ve often thought that, in an earlier time, Mum might have lived as a wise woman, or a white witch, in a pretty little cottage in the middle of the forest primeval. She’d have liked that, I think.)

Her interment was my first experience with a “green” funeral. She was buried in a biodegradable coffin painted with the wild birds of England that she so loved, in a lovely and peaceful place (an experience which felt so “right” that it inspired my stepson’s green burial a few years later.)

Music That Makes Me Answer the Phone

 

Once cell phones began to move beyond merely being able to place calls and became able to store more and more data, we began to see the rise of ringtones.  Beyond the novelty ringers, now everyone could have a ringtone for different callers.

My first phone allowed custom rings, but you had to program in each note.  This was difficult for someone who is close to tone-deaf.  I eventually got a better flip phone that had a decent system for downloading low-quality ringtones, but the selection was very limited.   Once I got my first smartphone (a Palm Pre +) I could really innovate.  All of my most common callers would get their own ringtone.  It took some work because, by default, my phone was unable to play them at sufficient volume.  I had to boost the volume with audio editing software, which hurt the dynamic range and sound quality, but they were loud enough to get my attention.  Some uploading later, I had an ample array of ringtones.

Volume Up, Windows Down

 

Driving around with the volume up and windows down is requisite every summer. Preferably on a wide, open road headed to the canyon, lake, mountains, anywhere except home. Ok, sometimes in town. Here are some of my favorites to listen to.

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A questionnaire of sorts. Your favorite way to drink coffee, beans, pre-ground or instant, and brewing method. And, your favorite coffee songs. Me: Always iced, either immersion cold brew, or the “Dutch” coffee extreme slow cold drip that is popular in Korea. I don’t have a really picky palate, but I like whole beans, either […]

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I Was a Teenage Rock ‘n’ Roller

 

I’m in my dotage now, so old and out of touch that young people look right through me, an invisible man. But there was a time when I was opaque. That was in the 1950s and I was a teenager in Compton, CA, about the same time that teenagers were being invented.

I did my part toward that invention. I put a lot of pomade on my hair and wore a ducktail for a while, and I used teenage slang; words like “made in the shade” (doing well), “going Hollywood” (wearing sunglasses), and “bitchin’” (something that’s good).

But it was music where I helped the most to shape that definition. I listened to Elvis, The Everly Brothers, and Buddy Holly on the radio. I talked smugly about the guitar licks of Les Paul and the shuffle rhythms by Bo Diddley (Bo Diddley). I knew the lyrics, and still do, of “Chantilly Lace” (The Big Bopper) and “Yakety Yak” (The Coasters). And I actually shelled out some of my pinsetting money for a couple of Fats Domino albums. Loved the Fat Man.

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There are plenty of songs from the late 1960s to early 1970s about urban unrest that turned to looting and street violence. There are lots of songs about fire. That is not this list. This list is about beauty and human excellence.  Here’s we get a break in the storm clouds and a clean shot […]

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