Sunday, May 20, 2012

...contemporary musicians are starting to drop like flies, and it's sad...

Yeah, I know there are all kinds of tragedies in life, but for me it's different when a musician who's meant something to me passes away. I hear one of their songs and for three or four minutes, I'm entertained and I reminisce about what I was doing when that song came out. I've always liked my music on Vinyl. Unlike mp3's or computer files, you can pick up a record, hold it in your hand and then put it on the record player and it's magic, how the music goes from turntable to speaker. I've just always felt that way about records. I also feel that way about the artists who made them and it's sad when they pass away. And they're not that much older than me. Shiverrr....

DONNA SUMMER, in my mind, was The Disco Queen. "Hot Stuff", one of her big hits, was a great song, the way the rhythm pumps out as she puts her vocal touches over it. Now, wait, a minute, I can feel your disdain. "Disco, you say???" And yes, I thot disco music choked off a lot of rock and rollers, who hid in the bunkers until the Disco Era had passed. But I remember liking Disco before that label got attached. It all began with an instrumental called "TSOP" ("The Sound of Philadelphia", by MFSB (Mother, Father, Sister and Brother). But the record was and is still great. And I felt that way about "Love's Theme" by the Love Unlimited Orchestra. They were fun songs to hear. "Pick Up The Pieces" by the Average White Band was another case of "Disco before Disco". Back to Donna Summer, she was infamous for her sighs and moans on "Love To Love You Baby", but she really hit her stride with "Bad Girls", "Hot Stuff" and even took a disco version of "MacArthur Park" all the way to #1. Then she duetted with Barbra Streisand on "No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)", and that was a big hit too. I didn't hate disco. Why should I? It kept me entertained for a while. After the Disco Train left the station, Donna resurrected her career with "The Wanderer" and especially on "She Works Hard For The Money", a tune of hers I really like. She had staying power. But Cancer got her. So sad.

ROBIN GIBB, formerly one of the Bee Gees, passed away today due to Cancer. He'd been in and out of hospitals the last few years, and he grew weak and gaunt, and mercifully exited This Life. He was a great singer, though. He absolutely shone on older Bee Gees songs like "I've Just Gotta Get A Message To You", "I Started A Joke" and many others. The Bee Gees were another case of "Disco before Disco"; "Jive Talkin'" and "Nights On Broadway" were both burnin' up the charts before anyone had danced under big Mirror Balls in Leisure Suits. But it was due to Disco that the Brothers Gibb couldn't buy a hit from the end of disco until 20 years later when "Still Waters Run Deep" began getting airplay. They'd recorded quite a few albums during that time, but people would reject them outright just because they'd sung Disco Songs in their past. But the Bee Gees go way back; in the early '60s, they scored hits in Australia and even hosted a TV show. In the mid-'60s, they migrated from Australia to England, and scored Really Big with "Massachusetts", "How Can You Mend A Broken Heart", "Run To Me", "New York Mining Disaster 1941" as well as "Message" and "Joke" mentioned above. His is a voice that will be missed.

Of course, Whitney Houston passed away; I most definitely not was a fan or hers, although she had talent. People are still talking about Amy Winehouse, and these two ladies had a rather strange parallel; their controversial husbands led them both way, way astray. In every case here, they're all "Gone Too Soon". Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr are still with us, though. Neil Young is still around, and I always look forward to his albums. But I guess one day, It All Stops and That's It. As I type this, Steven Tyler of Aerosmith is goofing around in a Burger King commercial. He looks as if he's had several facelifts. Aretha Franklin is coming back from medical problems she's had. I'm grateful for musicians of my era who are still around.

You know, when I first began going online in 1998, I never thought I'd be writing about musicians dying off, but all of a sudden, those who entertained the Baby-Boom generation are increasingly falling by the wayside. Call it 'age', I guess. And maybe for my next post, I'll be able to think of a happier subject. One can only have so much pathos in a blog, after all. I'll just hope another one of "my" musicians doesn't die off between now and then.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

...and what a life he's had...

Now that's quite a milestone, and he'll reach it on June 18th.  It's a milestone for all of us, really. Who would've thought he'd still be (sort-of) rockin' all these years later? It's certainly far removed from The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan show. Paul's done some dumb things, he's said some dumb things, but we've all done and said dumb things. I've built up a theory that Paul is such a musical genius that everything else (including his common sense) has taken a back seat sometimes. He's put out some truly awful music since The Beatles broke up, but he's written more than his share of good stuff, too. He's played concerts all around the world several times, he's appeared at The Super Bowl a few years ago (I made a video copy of that performance); heck, he's even played at the White House. He's been a big part of our lives. Live Long Paul! And please Rock a bit on your next record...I'd really appreciate it.

TELL US LIKE IT WAS: I'm reading a Book about the George W. Bush Presidency by Scott McClellan, who was his press secretary. In the book, McClellan goes into great detail about all of the spin, miscommunications and back-alley dealings members of the administration took to wage all-out war in Iraq, when in fact, there was no reason to be fighting over there. I've learned a lot more about the outing of Valerie Plame, who worked as, and was "outed" as a government agent who dealt with things in the Middle East. Her name was linked to a supposed deal between an African Country and Iraq to sell uranium to Iraq, which in fact Did Not Happen At All. It's a crime to reveal agents' identities, you know. Bush didn't think he was going to win a second term in office and was fairly surprised he'd won. McClellan admits that a lot of people thought Bush was Downright Stupid. Turns out that Bush operated with a general agenda, but he wasn't an "Ideas" type of guy. And, its fascinating to learn how the Bush White House did its level best to sell the idea of a "war on terror" to the American People. When Hitler came out and said all kinds of mean and nasty things about the Jews, he blamed them for all of Germany's faults and annihilated them like they were the Enemy. The German Citizenry were totally duped by Hitler. And he got what he deserved. I'm not comparing Bush (or Vice President Dick Cheney) to Hitler. But all used government machinery to put across their deliberate misconceptions about things to an uninformed electorate.

SEATTLE MARINERS, SO FAR THIS YEAR: I said last year that the Mariners would have to improve in order to achieve a .500 record (losing as many games as they won). That didn't happen last year, and it's going to be a long season. They'll probably finish third in their division, and so what we have is yet another "rebuilding year", trying to find players (trying to afford them, actually) who can go out and win us some games. Right now the M's in New York City, taking on the Yankees, and our ace (Felix Hernandez) wasn't very much of an ace in the first game. The Yankees bats pounded him, and if yer ace can't win, it doesn't make the prospects for all upcoming Yankees/M's games all that bright for the M's and their fans. After this series, the M's go to Boston. And they're gonna have a tough time there too. If you're an M's fan, it's definitely watching baseball with your fingers crossed. Gonna be a long year. Right now, the M's are under .500 by just a few games. Will things get worse or better? Break out the tarot cards, I guess...

FINALLY, EXPECTING THE WORST: I usually try to make sure to take the digital camera with me when I'm out and about, but the other day I forgot it, missing an immortal photo opportunity. As I approached Wal-Mart, standing at the intersection were a young couple, the girl sitting down with a bedroll nearby, and the guy she was with, holding up a sign for everyone in passing cars to see. The Sign read, "Will Take Verbal Abuse for $1.00". Truly a sign of the times.

STREAMLINING MY BLOGGING APPROACH: As you've probably noticed, this blog post is a lot more streamlined than the stuff I was doing before. I'm trying to simplify things. One photo, a few fairly short paragraphs, and I'm done. It took me under half an hour to write what you've just read here. I don't want this blog to die, but I don't want to spend two and a half hours wresting with numerous photos each time I post. This website, "" has fixed some things which Weren't Broken. You'd think the blogsite would be on your side as a blogger. Hah! I lost a couple of posts earlier this week, when I tried to post. A lot of it had to do with the so-called improvements that know-nothing nerds made. Well, I guess they have to keep earning their checks somehow.

So, this post comes to an end here. I worry about quality, sure. But I've tried to be too much of a know-it-all which has just bogged me down and reduced my posting. I'm sure my posting activity will remain reduced, but I'd thought about just Letting This Blog Die. Not yet, though. There's a little bit o' life remaining in 'er. And so I press onward...and, not counting the two postings I lost, trying to figure things out...this has been and is the 1100th posting on this blog! Yaay! Celebrate!