Sunday, January 23, 2011

Alex Cavanaugh’s THE TOP TEN TUNES Blogfest

[Forewarning: Currently I am suffering from a cold that I caught from a woman where I work. So, read this blog bit at your own risk. If you proceed anyway, you might want to spray your eyes and your computer monitor with disinfectant afterwards.]

Hey, look, it’s a square record. It must be a polka!

‘I won’t be able to participate in this blogfest.’

That was my first thought upon learning of Alex Cavanaugh’s upcoming ‘TOP TEN TUNES’ blogfest.

You see, I love such a wide variety of music that I figured it would be virtually impossible for me to narrow my choices down to a mere ten songs or musical selections. But just to prove I couldn’t do it, I sat down with a pen and a piece of paper and in no more than five minutes I had done it – without even once looking at my compact disc collection!

And, actually, I think that was probably the trick to it. The songs that a person loves the absolute most, the person doesn’t need to be reminded of – they spring right to mind immediately.

Now, to be sure, any list of my all-time favorite songs and musical compositions is preposterously incomplete if it doesn’t include anything by The Carpenters, Waylon Jennings, Howlin’ Wolf, Tom Waits, the song ‘The Same Thing’ by Muddy Waters, the instrumental ‘If Ever I Would Leave You’ by Richie Cole, ‘Sarah’s Crime’ by Toshi Hinata, nor ‘Good Vibrations’ and ‘Long Promised Road’ by The Beach Boys.

Nevertheless, below is my preposterously incomplete list. Every song title is a link to a video for the appropriate musical piece. I couldn’t possibly rate these songs in order of preference, so my Top Ten Tunes list has been alphabetized by title:

BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S by Henry Mancini And His Orchestra / Chorus
2:48 (Instrumental)

What a sublime piece of music. It flows like a wistful, lonely, melancholy stream emanating from some ancient, half-remembered dream. It always breaks my heart.

BUMPIN’ ON SUNSET by Brian Auger’s Oblivion Express
10:07 (Instrumental with a few lyrics)

I first heard this on AM radio (yes, AM!) circa 1979, and this was the song that initially made me sit up and take notice of Jazz – later to become my favorite musical form. Previously, all I had cared about was the Rock music of my day.

‘Bumpin’ On Sunset’ was written by the great Wes Montgomery (and I own his original version, also), but Brian Auger gave it his Hammond B-3 treatment and it became Auger’s “signature tune”. This particular live version is my favorite, and I’ll bet I have whistled this melody more than any other in my entire life. The drummer on this track was Steve Ferrone. Remember that, you’ll need it later.

HOW I GOT OVER by Mahalia Jackson
6:26 (Song)

Holy God Almighty! I can’t believe I found a video of this! Despite poor picture quality and a few audio glitches here and there, if this doesn’t give you chills, you’re dead, my friend, you’re just dead!

In my opinion, this is the most Divinely-inspired, and hence the most powerful, intense vocal performance of all time - EVER! Mahalia’s face is just so beautiful and there’s an almost unearthly, spiritual light that can be discerned shining in her eyes as this song just pours out of her! The moment you see Mahalia start in with that odd, non-rhythmic clapping at the four minute and eight second mark (4:08), you know it’s on, baby, IT’S ON!!! Scoot over, The Holy Spirit’s drivin’ now! Oh, my God!!!

I AM WOMAN by Helen Reddy
3:04 (Song)

This one is sort of a personal anthem for me. I can’t listen to Helen Reddy’s ‘I Am Woman’ without feeling very empowered!

OK, I jest! I jest!

Alright, m-m-m-ove along now. Th-th-there's nothing left to see here. That's all folks. Hmmm... I like the sound of that... Th-th-th-that's all, folks!

7:30 (Song)

The song title is a link to a video of Bob Dylan playing the first two minutes of this seven and a half minute song.

In 2008, I rediscovered this song from my youth and was amazed to suddenly realize what an impact it had on my writing and whatever capacity I have to think creatively. When I was in my very early twenties, Bob Dylan’s album “Bringing It All Back Home”, and this song from it especially, really opened my mind, almost as if they were some sort of creativity-expanding drug.

These are some of the greatest lyrics ever penned; a song loaded with bons mots and a remarkable rhyming structure unlike any I’d found before or have encountered since. So great are these lyrics, that I’m posting them below. Had he written nothing else but ‘It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)’, this one alone would have marked Bob Dylan as a songwriting genius:

It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)

Darkness at the break of noon

Shadows even the silver spoon
The handmade blade, the child’s balloon
Eclipses both the sun and moon
To understand you know too soon
There is no sense in trying

Pointed threats, they bluff with scorn

Suicide remarks are torn
From the fool’s gold mouthpiece the hollow horn
Plays wasted words, proves to warn
That he not busy being born
Is busy dying

Temptation’s page flies out the door

You follow, find yourself at war
Watch waterfalls of pity roar
You feel to moan but unlike before
You discover that you’d just be one more
Person crying

So don’t fear if you hear

A foreign sound to your ear
It’s alright, Ma, I’m only sighing

As some warn victory, some downfall

Private reasons great or small
Can be seen in the eyes of those that call
To make all that should be killed to crawl
While others say don’t hate nothing at all
Except hatred

Disillusioned words like bullets bark

As human gods aim for their mark
Make everything from toy guns that spark
To flesh-colored Christs that glow in the dark
It’s easy to see without looking too far
That not much is really sacred

While preachers preach of evil fates

Teachers teach that knowledge waits
Can lead to hundred-dollar plates
Goodness hides behind its gates
But even the president of the United States
Sometimes must have to stand naked

And though the rules of the road have been lodged

It’s only people’s games that you got to dodge
And it’s alright, Ma, I can make it

Advertising signs they con

You into thinking you’re the one
That can do what’s never been done
That can win what’s never been won
Meantime life outside goes on
All around you

You lose yourself, you reappear

You suddenly find you got nothing to fear
Alone you stand with nobody near
When a trembling distant voice, unclear
Startles your sleeping ears to hear
That somebody thinks they really found you

A question in your nerves is lit

Yet you know there is no answer fit
To satisfy, insure you not to quit
To keep it in your mind and not forget
That it is not he or she or them or it
That you belong to

Although the masters make the rules

For the wise men and the fools
I got nothing, Ma, to live up to

For them that must obey authority
That they do not respect in any degree
Who despise their jobs, their destinies
Speak jealously of them that are free
Cultivate their flowers to be
Nothing more than something they invest in

While some on principles baptized

To strict party platform ties
Social clubs in drag disguise
Outsiders they can freely criticize
Tell nothing except who to idolize
And then say God bless him

While one who sings with his tongue on fire

Gargles in the rat race choir
Bent out of shape from society’s pliers
Cares not to come up any higher
But rather get you down in the hole
That he’s in

But I mean no harm nor put fault

On anyone that lives in a vault
But it’s alright, Ma, if I can’t please him

Old lady judges watch people in pairs

Limited in sex, they dare
To push fake morals, insult and stare
While money doesn’t talk, it swears
Obscenity, who really cares
Propaganda, all is phony

While them that defend what they cannot see

With a killer’s pride, security
It blows the minds most bitterly
For them that think death’s honesty
Won’t fall upon them naturally
Life sometimes must get lonely

My eyes collide head-on with stuffed

Graveyards, false gods, I scuff
At pettiness which plays so rough
Walk upside-down inside handcuffs
Kick my legs to crash it off
Say okay, I have had enough, what else can you show me?

And if my thought-dreams could be seen

They’d probably put my head in a guillotine
But it’s alright, Ma, it’s life, and life only

3:25 (Instrumental)

I think this is probably the most beautiful melody ever composed, and it is the very essence of “romance”. Quite likely my favorite musical piece of all time.

MY FAVORITE THINGS by . . . just about anyone - which only goes to show what a great song it is! This Jazzy version, however, is by Diana Ross And The Supremes, and it would be very hard to beat.
2:52 (Song)

When the dog bites, when the bee stings
When I’m feeling sad
I simply remember my favorite things
And then I don’t feel so bad

Very clever lyrics married to a very clever melody. In fact, to my ears, this is the catchiest melody ever composed. I can’t hear it once without it bouncing around in my head for days. And after every Christmas season has come to an end, it takes a month or more before I can stop whistling or humming it. For example: Christmas 2010 is now four weeks behind us but I’m still whistling this tune on nearly a daily basis. No, seriously!

SLEIGH RIDE by Leroy Anderson
2:50 (Instrumental)

There have been a zazillion versions of this tune recorded, but my favorite remains the 1948 original instrumental conducted by the composer himself, Leroy Anderson. This is such an inventive arrangement. And how about Anderson’s imagination? Did he have one? I should say so! From the files of Believe It Or Not: Did you know that Leroy Anderson composed ‘Sleigh Ride’ during a July heat wave in Woodbury, Connecticut? Perhaps he was just trying to make himself feel cooler.

SPIRIT IN THE SKY by Norman Greenbaum
4:01 (Song)

This was my favorite Rock song when it was getting played about once every hour on AM radio in 1970, and it’s my favorite Rock song today. It features one of the most immediately recognizable guitar riffs ever and a fabulous fuzzed-out howling solo. What’s not to love? I could NEVER get tired of this one. Well, heck, I haven’t so far, and it’s been 41 years!

9:30 (Instrumental)

I know this isn’t what Pat Metheny had in mind when he composed this masterpiece, but to my mind, this is a musical retelling of the crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is an extraordinary piece of music that slowly builds in power, layer by layer, with the most majestic sounding strings and horns eventually added. And then at the five minute and forty second mark (5:40), Metheny “winds up” his guitar and just lets it SOAR and SOAR!... And that, my friends, is the moment when our Savior is being Resurrected from the dead!

Although Metheny, it seems, is a non-believer, somehow or other God used him as the instrument by which one of the most spiritual pieces of music ever written came into being.

Steve Ferrone. I told you to remember that name, because you’d need it later. Well, it’s “later”. Ferrone was the drummer on Brian Auger’s ‘Bumpin’ On Sunset’. He’s also the drummer on Metheny’s ‘The Truth Will Always Be’. What’s Steve doing these days? He’s a Heartbreaker – the permanent drummer for Tom Petty’s band.

2:51 (Song)

The finest harmonizing by the world’s finest harmonizers.
The sad news that President Kennedy had been assassinated prompted The Boys to capture their feelings in song, resulting in the gorgeously melancholy ‘The Warmth Of The Sun’. [Click the title and check out the YouTube video. Beautifully appropriate photos make this video a treat for both the ears and the eyes. Nice. Very nice!]

So, those are my all-time Top Ten Tunes.
Thanks for stopping by, y’all.

~ Stephen T. McCarthy

YE OLDE COMMENT POLICY: All comments, pro and con, are welcome. However, ad hominem attacks and disrespectful epithets will not be tolerated (read: "posted"). After all, this isn’t, so I don’t have to put up with that kind of bovine excrement.


Jessica Bell said...

And how did I know Bob Dylan would be on here? I 'know' a lot of these but have never listened whole-heartedly to them. And yes, I participated :o)

iZombie said...

what a great selection of music
thanks for the melody's,

Lydia K said...

Dylan really was a poet, wasn't he?
It's so hard picking ten. You have a great list!

Arlee Bird said...

Sorry about the cold. Don't you know better than to stay away from women? They carry germs.

A wide ranging list as I would expect. At least you mentioned "Good Vibrations" which puts us almost to have matching one song and I seriously considered "Spirit In the Sky".

I didn't do anything prior to 1965 or any jazz or pop standards, otherwise my list would have taken a different turn and been a far more difficult thing to do.

Good stuffs. I especially like Brian Auger.

Make sure you check my Wednesday post!
Tossing It Out

DiscConnected said...

I'm still crackin' up over Helen Reddy being on your list.

What a maroon!

Clarissa Draper said...

Spirit in the Sky is so cool!

Lola Sharp said...

Definitely a diverse list! :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I knew your lists would be unique! And knew you'd be able to select ten.
Thanks for participating.
Off to locate some disinfectant...

DiscConnected said...


I must say, I'm surprised by your list. Not just by the inclusion of a Helen Reddy song, although since that got so much airplay when I was a yewt I'm not surprised it made someone's list...but I sure didn't expect it on yours.

I was expecteding more of a rock representation just because I thought lyrics might play a bigger role in your choices.

And neither of us with any Tom Waits or Bruce Springsteen on our lists-I think that may be one of the signs of an Apocalypse.

I know why you're not posting comments-you're out celebrating them gambling winnings! Well I'm halfway to Mexico, my friend-makin' a run for the border to get out of paying you!


M Pax said...

I have to go look some of those up. Thanks for sharing such great music.

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

Just a lucky guess on your part!
Glad to learn you've participated. I'm just now finally out of bed for the day (trying to sleep out this cold). I'll be checking out your list soon... though I probably won't know a single one of your chosen songs.

Thanks, Brother!

Thanks! Yeah, if this had been a list allowing more selections, Dylan's song "You're A Big Girl Now" would have also been included at some point.

>>.....Sorry about the cold. Don't you know better than to stay away from women? They carry germs.

Yeah, well I've always tried to avoid them as much as possible for a variety of reasons - only one of which was the Cooties they carry. But I thought they outgrew the Cooties by about the age of ten. Guess I thought wrong (what else is new, eh?)

Went to a local Natural Food Store to get something for this cough. She sold me something called "Old Indian Wild Cherry Bark Syrup". I took a big swig and - man! - I wasn't at all prepared for THAT!

It really does taste like Old Indians and Bark (don't axe me how I knowz that!) Looking at the ingredients, I see this sh--, er... "stuffs" is 25% grain alcohol! Hokey-Smoke! That's 50 proof!

After recovering from the initial shock of the punch and that wholly unexpected "flavor", I got to thinking: Ya know... pour that on the rocks and I'll bet I could acquire a taste for it. :o)

Hardly anyone knows of Brian Auger, but I'm not surprised that YOU do! The Hammond B-3 Organ is my favorite musical instrument, and although a lot of musicians have played it brilliantly, I like Brian's B-3 style best of all!

"Maroon"? Daz me! ;o)

I want my Blizzards! Someone stop that man!

Actually, Bro, that second game - Steelers vs. Jets - I was truly hoping I would lose that bet! Since I'd won the first game, the bets would have been a push, and I could happily surrender a Blizzard in exchange for a Steelers loss.

Ain't THAT the truth!

I'm a diverse maroon!

I wasn't at all convinced I could select just ten and was genuinely shocked to see how easily I managed to do it.

Thanks for hosting this Blogfest. It's a good one, Brother!

It's been a pleasure!

~ D-FensDogg
'Loyal American Underground'

Ella said...

Great variety; Fun list! I hope you feel better, soon!

Anonymous said...

Hey Stephen, thanks for stopping by today. Great to see you again. Yeah, I love Helen Reddy too. I cry every time I hear Delta Dawn.

Budd said...

I thought you meant the other breakfast at tiffany's. Moon River was great too.

Chris Phillips said...

love the guitar in that dylan song.

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

Thanks, ELLA!

Ha! :-O

No, I meant THIS "Breakfast At Tiffany's".
(What "other" Breakfast At Tiffany's you talkin' 'bout, Willis?)

Yeah, that AND the lyrics! ;o)

~ D-FensDogg
'Loyal American Underground'

VR Barkowski said...

Excellent tracks. Lots of instrumentals, which I haven't seen on any of the other lists. I don't know why everyone is surprised by Helen Reddy, it was Sleigh Ride that gave me pause.

I agree The Truth Will Always Be is a masterpiece. But then, Metheny's had more than a few over the years.

Melissa Bradley said...

Wish I would have thought to include Dylan. Damn! This is a wonderful list of faves, Stephen. And thank you for the Mahalia video. She was extraordinary.

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

VR ~
Well, Helen Reddy was, of course, my big joke in this blog bit. But "Sleigh Ride" - no, that's NO joke! Just one of my Top Ten favorite melodies of all time!

And you're exactly right about Metheny. I could go on and on naming Metheny songs I have adored for decades! The entire "Letter From Home" album just for starters...

Mahalia = "Extraordinary".
That is precisely the right word!
Mahalia: often copied, never equaled.

~ D-FensDogg
'Loyal American Underground'

Liz Fichera said...

So glad to meet another fellow Carpenter fan! :-)

Your blog is hilarious, btw. LOVE it. And very nice to meet you, Stephen!

DEZMOND said...

never heard any of these songs, but I love those lyrics you've put in the post ;)

Gregg said...

Great list. I didn't know most of them, however, the Beach Boys are absolutely genius. I also loved Spirit in the Sky! Thanks for sharing!

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

Hey, thank you! :o)
And yes, absolutely, The Carpenters have always been one of my big-time favorites. It hurt not to be able to get "We've Only Just Begun" on this list, but I can assure you that if this had been a "Top Eleven Songs" blogfest instead of a "Top Ten Songs" blogfest, The Carpenters would have made it.

Last year when we did the "15 Desert Island Albums" blogfest, The Carpenters did sail with me!

Yup. When it comes to meaty lyrics, it just doesn't get any meatier than "It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)". Heck, even the title alone is outstanding!

Thanks for stopping by. Couldn't agree with you more about The Beach Boys. Now THAT'S "music", eh?!

~ D-FensDogg
'Loyal American Underground'

Jennie Bailey said...

What a great list! My Favorite Things sung by Julie Andrews has to be my fave. I Am Woman - a classic. I can't believe I didn't even think about that one!!

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

Thanks! Glad you thought highly of it.

But... uh... you do realize, don't ya, that I was being none too serious with the inclusion of "I Am Woman"?

I was trying to decide between Helen Reddy's anthem and Paul Anka's "(You're) Having My Baby". Went with "I Am Woman" because it was an even bigger stretch for me.

But I think it would look better on your list than mine. Feel free to take it with ya. ;o)

~ D-FensDogg
'Loyal American Underground'

Anonymous said...

Hi Ya, Stephen:

I like most of the songs on your list, but I am with DiscConnected. I Am Woman? Really? I can never think of that song without thinking of Paula Poundstone. She is a huge Helen Reddy fan and in one of her standup routines, she said that she likes to go out to her backyard, crank up “I Am Woman” and bounces on her trampoline so that she pops up and down over her neighbor’s fence, staring at them and freaking them out. She also had this interesting Helen Reddy crime theory in one of her recent comedy appearances:


Do we have any Helen Reddy fans here?

OK, now I think that's weird.

I'm the only Helen Reddy fan in the whole room?

That scares me, 'cause I don't believe her popularity has waned so much as I believe that many of her fans have been killed.


That could be the case, you know, because they don't ask that when someone's killed.

You know the cops say, "Who were his enemies? Who did he owe," they never say, "Did he like… "


So as far as we know the Helen Reddy killer could still be at large.


That's kind of scary isn't it?
You're all looking at me like you're not scared at all.

I dare one of you to walk down the street right now whistling "Ruby Red Dress".


Okay, my friend, you asked for my list since I don’t Blog, so here goes. I used your method of just jotting down the ones that came immediately to mind and, while I am sure this is only a drop in the bucket, I think I can stand behind this list.

1. Running Down a Dream, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers. This song just always makes me happy and Mike Campbell’s incendiary guitar playing isn’t too shabby either.

2. Sway, Dean Martin. I like any number of versions of this lovely song but Martin’s is my favorite.

3. Secret Agent Man, Johnny Rivers. Loved it in my youth. Love it still.

4. Going Out West, Tom Waits.

5. My Little Runaway, Del Shannon. Another golden oldie.

6. Town Without Pity, Gene Pitney. OMG!!!! I am so freakin’ OLD.

7. Spirit in the Sky, Norman Greenbaum. What do you know, we share a fave!

8. Operator [That’s Not The Way It Feels], Jim Croce. Lovely sad tune, poignant lyrics and soulful vocals from Croce.

9. Twilight Zone, Golden Earrings or Blue Oyster Cult. Love both the original and the cover by BOC. Do you remember that BOC story I told you way back when we first met?

10. Smoke on the Water, Deep Purple. Another fave from my youth. Do you know that Deep Purple once had the dubious distinction of being known as the World’s Loudest Rock Bank? (Sounds like something out of the movie “Spinal Tap,” doesn’t it?)

Well, there she is. I know I will regret not putting some Beach Boys, Billie Holiday, Count Basie or AC/DC on there, but those were the 1st ones that came to mind -- and I’m goin’ with ‘em.

Later, Pal.

~The Aard~

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

Thanks so much for playin'!
I don't really know who Paula Poundstone is, but that's not a bad bit. I think I'll compose a song about that idea: "Where have all the Helen Reddy fans gone? Long time pa-ass-sing..."

In truth, there is one Helen Reddy song I really DO like. It's called "Candle On The Water" and it's from the Disney movie Pete's Dragon. That song is as good as "I Am Woman" is silly.

>>.....Running Down a Dream, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers.

Hey, and just think, I bought that one for ya! Yay, Stephen!

>>.....Sway, Dean Martin.

Dean Martin?! Hey, wait a minute! Just how old are you...REALLY?!?!

>>.....Going Out West, Tom Waits.

You tossed this one in just to hurt me.
Don't deny it! ;o)

>>.....My Little Runaway, Del Shannon.

Good song! Ya know, in a sense, Del Shannon's "Runaway" got on your list twice, because Tom Petty mentions Del and that song in "Runnin' Down A Dream".

>>.....Spirit in the Sky, Norman Greenbaum. What do you know, we share a fave!


>>.....Operator [That’s Not The Way It Feels], Jim Croce. Lovely sad tune, poignant lyrics and soulful vocals from Croce.

Yes, yes. Nuttin' wrong with THAT song. And it's only right that you should have a Croce song on your list, considering that little story you once shared with me.

He was one of the very best songwriters, and his "Photographs And Memories" could make me cry. I think that's one of the saddest songs ever composed.

>>.....Do you remember that BOC story I told you way back when we first met?

No, I don't think so. Tell me again. Or at least the beginning of it and see if it rings a bell. I'm sure I'll remember it if you just tell me what it pertains to.

>>.....Smoke on the Water, Deep Purple.

Like "Spirit In The Sky", this features another one of the heaviest, most distinctive guitar riffs ever!

>>.....Deep Purple once had the dubious distinction of being known as the World’s Loudest Rock Bank?

Oh heck, I knew that. I always deposited my rocks at the Deep Purple Bank. And it WAS loud, with all those autograph seekers always crammed into the lobby.

>>.....I know I will regret not putting some Beach Boys, Billie Holiday, Count Basie or AC/DC on there...

AC/DC? Really? Had no idea you were such a "wild thang".

What surprises me is: No Robert Johnson tune, nuttin' by The Doors, and especially... no "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" by George Harrison - considering you once wrote, "The song still gives me goose bumps when I hear it - even after all these years."

Good list, Aard, with a variety of the old and the new(er). Thanks again!

~ D-FensDogg
'Loyal American Underground'

Anonymous said...


>>I don't really know who Paula Poundstone is, but that's not a bad bit.<<

I really like her sense of humor a lot and have seen her perform live. Her delivery is very dry and the material tends to be somewhat whimsical. There is also no profanity (very unusual for comedians anymore).

[>>.....Running Down a Dream, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers.]

>>Hey, and just think, I bought that one for ya! Yay, Stephen! <<

That is probably one of the reasons the song makes me so happy when I hear it (very pleasant associations). ;-)

>>Dean Martin?! Hey, wait a minute! Just how old are you...REALLY?!?!<<

Ha! I’ll never tell. Actually this one pops up in the soundtracks of movies from time-to-time and that’s how I became familiar with it. It must be a fairly popular song as I have noticed it in A LOT of movies (even movies where you wouldn’t think a song like that would fit, i.e., “Dark City” – a hardcore sci fi movie).

[>>.....Do you remember that BOC story I told you way back when we first met?]

>>No, I don't think so. Tell me again. Or at least the beginning of it and see if it rings a bell. I'm sure I'll remember it if you just tell me what it pertains to. <<

Well, it was a number of years of ago. I was working at my old office when one of my young co-workers came into the lounge. He was quite upset because his grandma had just called him and she had the dirtiest trick played on her and a friend when they went to NYC for the Christmas holidays. Both ladies were in their 80’s and wanted to see the Rockettes perform while they were there, but the shows were completely sold out for the day they wanted. A scalper nearby offered to get them excellent seats. Being quite elderly and trusting, they didn’t really LOOK at the tickets they bought. When they arrived at the venue, they found they had been sold second row seats to see Blue Oyster Cult and Ted Nugent. BOC opened and the ladies were completely confused and thought perhaps that they were just performing before the Rockettes came out. I seem to recall he said that one of the audience members clued them in before Nugent came on and they left. Meanest trick to pull on two elderly ladies ever! I hope that crapweasel scalper got a lump of coal in his stocking that year.

>>What surprises me is: No Robert Johnson tune, nuttin' by The Doors, and especially... no "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" by George Harrison - considering you once wrote, "The song still gives me goose bumps when I hear it - even after all these years."<<

Yes, you’re probably right. I just sat down and thought about the songs I loved and those are the ones that immediately sprang to mind. (Forgive me, George!) I think I included the Gene Pitney song because I just heard it a couple of days ago when I went into a Trader Joe’s and it was playing over the sound system. The song was still fresh in my mind and I was overcome with nostalgia when I heard it.

~The Aard~

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

>>.....Being quite elderly and trusting, they didn’t really LOOK at the tickets they bought. ...they found they had been sold second row seats to see Blue Oyster Cult and Ted Nugent.

Ha!-Ha! Oh yeah, yeah, sure I remember you telling me that story! How could I foghat that?

"Welcome to New Yahwk City, Ladies!"

>>.....There is also no profanity (very unusual for comedians anymore).

How refreshing! I like her already, Helen Reddy fandom notwithstanding.

>>.....the Gene Pitney song...I just heard it a couple of days ago when I went into a Trader Joe’s and it was playing over the sound system.

Speaking of Blue Oyster Cult... I'll never forget hearing "Godzilla" being played over the sound system of a Safeway grocery store while I was shopping. Honestly, I think that was the very moment when I first realized I'M OLD!

I mean, when the rockin' counter-culture music from your youth is now so "safe" and mainstream that it can be played in a major grocery store, your youth is gone, baby, GONE! What's left but the elevator and then the grave.

~ D-FensDogg
'Loyal American Underground'

Sheboyganboy #6 said...

TOP TEN SONGS: A blogfest addendum.

My friend Stephen invited me to toss in my two cents on this issue as I did in last year's 15 Desert Island Discs blogfest. I am uncomfortable with posting this. Nobody knows me, I am late to the game, very few will read it, and fewer still will care... but StMcC asked me to, so here it is:

(YouTube links for each one)

Paul Simon: Diamonds on the soles of her shoes

Joy, joy, joy emanates from this song. I am not a huge fan of Paul Simon, but I do love this album, and I love the happiness I hear from Ladysmith Black Mambazo backing up Simon. The fantastic bass player adds 50% to the value of this song. This version live from Zimbabwe goes on a bit long at the end with instrumentals, but pretty cool anyway if you like percussion.

Quadrophenia - "Bell Boy"

The Who: my favorite song from my favorite rock band of all time.

Joni Mitchell (Live At The Carnegie Hall 1972) The Circle Game

A thoughtful songwriter who really is able to capture a certain bandwidth of people's emotions as well as anyone. The Circle Game is poignant, intelligent, and just lovely.

Ed Ames - Try To Remember

My dad was an excellent operatic bass. He sang this when I was a kid, and he passed away in 2003. Last year we played a recording of his version at my daughter's wedding. It was special.

Cat Stevens - The Wind

His conversion to Islam and name change notwithstanding, The Wind is a beautiful piece, and one of my favorites. Another one that almost made it was "Father and Son", a song that StMcC used once years ago as the basis for a song he wrote.

James Taylor - Go Tell It On The Mountain

This is a joyous traditional Christian song. Taylor's perfect version of it has been playing in my non-stop since the 1st of December.

JOE COCKER / Leon Russell - Girl From The North Country

Great Dylan music interpreted by Joe Cocker and The Master of Space and Time. From Mad Dogs and Englishmen.

We are now getting into what we'll call "Stephen's Favorite Part of Paul's List"

Third Eye Blind - Never Let You Go

Alternative-pop. Great song!

Melt with You - Modern English

This one means a lot to Jeanette and I, as this was one of our favorites early on in the relationship. This might be my favorite song on the list.

Franco Corelli sings Nessun Dorma by Puccini

Perhaps the best thing on this list. Greatest male opera aria ever, in my book. Corelli IS Italian... though not fat.

Jethro Tull - Nothing Is Easy

This is a great blue-rock number, with great drumming. My favorite of Tull... one of StMcC's favorite bands.

That's it. Thanks for reading!
Mr. Paulboy
AKA Sheboyganboy 6

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

Thanks for participating!

And hey, it ain't about how many will read or care. Hardly anyone reads my blogs anyway, and now that this blogfest has ended, 39 of my 41 "Followers" will disappear until the next blogfest.

It was all for ME! ME! I wanted to know what your 10 Favorite Songs are, and I wanted a record of it.

It's close to 1 AM and I gotta fall into bed now. But I'll be back tomorrow-- er... "later", to check out the links. Or at least the links to the ones I don't know.

Only one fat Italian, eh?
(Not fat? C'mon! Don't hand me THAT! If he's Italian and he sings opera, he's FAT! Whaddaya think I jus' fell off-a da linguini truck?!)

Thanks, Bro!

~ D-FensDogg
'Loyal American Underweight'

Arlee Bird said...

Yay Jethro Tull! Yes, Stephen knows a good band doesn't he!

I don't think Ed Ames was on anyone's list in the past 30 years. I always liked old Mingo's singing. "Try to Remember" is a beautiful song. I really like "My Cup Runneth Over" as well--sometimes I get that playing in my head and it stays there for a long time.

Tossing It Out and the Blogging From A to Z April Challenge 2011

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

I've watched 'em all now . . .

>>Paul Simon: Diamonds on the soles of her shoes

I've always liked his stuffs with Garfunkel and his earliest solo stuffs best, but I admit I enjoyed this song much better seeing it performed live like that.

>>Quadrophenia: "Bell Boy"

A bit of a surprise. I'd have guessed you would go with something more like "Love, Reign O'er Me" or "Won't Get Fooled Again".

>>Joni Mitchell (Live At The Carnegie Hall 1972): The Circle Game

I learned from the YouTube comments that she wrote this in response to Neil Young's "Sugar Mountain". Never knew that. And I was just discussing "Sugar Mountain" with Arlee Bird via Email a couple of days ago.

>>Ed Ames: Try To Remember

At first, this struck me as an odd choice. But on second thought, the vocal style is so "fat Italian-y" that it makes sense. ;o)

Hey, aren't Ed Ames, Robert Goulet, and Roger Whittaker all the same person?

Cool story about playing your Dad's singing at your daughter's wedding.

>>James Taylor: Go Tell It On The Mountain. "This is a joyous traditional Christian song."

Hey, what's with all this "Jesus" talk? Don't you know Americans read this blog? You're liable to offend someone!

>>Third Eye Blind: Never Let You Go

Not bad, really. I'd consider it catchy Pop-Lite, but when you used the word "alternative" to describe it, I feared it would be something more akin to the talentless Green Day.

>>Franco Corelli sings Nessun Dorma by Puccini

Needs more cowbell!

>>Jethro Tull: Nothing Is Easy
"This is a great blue-rock number, with great drumming".

Ian Anderson is SO uncoordinated! See him almost fall flat on his face on the stage at 4:10-15?!

It's a good thing Ian made it as a Rock musician because he definitely wasn't gonna make it in professional sports! :o)

But, hey, I found what he had to say in the interview segment at the end of the song to be pretty interesting.

But speaking of drumming and cowbell, DiscConnected and I were talking the other night when I told him that one of my very favorite Rock 'N' Roll drummers, whom I feel is way underrated and overlooked, is THIS guy:

He was also the drummer on Eddie Money's "Drivin' Me Crazy".

Please check out the videos above when you have a chance and pay special attention to the drummer's style; Brock pounds like thunder and comes in with perfect, interesting fills, but still manages to play with what I consider to be the proper amount of restraint.

Mr. Sixboy, I neglected to mention him when we were discussing drummers awhile back, but he is a real favorite of mine. Possibly my VERY favorite in the realm of Rock. I can't believe I forgot to name him. (Wish I'd died before I got old! :o)


~ D-FensDogg
'Loyal American Underground'

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

>>.....Yes, Stephen knows a good band doesn't he!

Of course I do!
THIS was a good band [bad name; good band!]:

I was hoping to find a video for the song "Dying Man" but there's nothing posted at YouTube for it. Too bad.

But, dang, this guy's drumming always makes me think of "ROLLING THUNDER"!

In the first video, there's a picture of The Whisky's marquee on the Sunset Strip when they played there. Sponsored by the long defunct station KMET ("The Mighty Met") - my Rock station of choice back in the 1970s!

I saw them play at The Whisky once, and I'll bet it was one of those three shows being advertised. How cool is THAT?! Man, those were the days. I practically lived on the streets of Hollywood back then! Nights on The Strip or at The Troubadour.

~ D-FensDogg
'Loyal American Underground'

Arlee Bird said...

Good band for sure. I'm not too familiar with the Baby's--it's a group that I never really ran across back then, but they have that great 70s sound.

John Waite's "Missing You" is a favorite song of mine and would probably make my top 20 list. I did not know who he was prior to the release of that song.

I'm always learning that despite how much I kept up with music back then, there were still a lot of great artists that I totally missed.

Tossing It Out and the Blogging From A to Z April Challenge 2011

Sheboyganboy #6 said...

Da BABYs???? Did you like the Babys, or just the drummer? He was an excellent drummer!

I love the Babys! I listened to them in the day and they were a favorite that hardly anyone remembers. I continue to follow John Waite, though I did not track the other guys, including the drummer.

I liked Bad English with John Waite and Neal Schon too, and saw them in a small club in San Diego.

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

Totally understandable, Bro. There have just been sooo many bands and performers that keeping up with even just the good ones is a nearly impossible feat... not to mention expensive!

Of course you know their first big hit, "ISN'T IT TIME?" If you don't recognize the title, enter it in the search window at YouTube and you'll remember it immediately. That was the tune that first made me aware of them.

[Incidentally, I gave it further thought and I believe I was mistaken about seeing The Babys at The Whisky. I think it was at The Roxy. Still on Sunset Strip, but down a few blocks. It was The Police I saw at The Whisky, back when "Roxanne" was just starting to get some airplay.]

Yeah, da BABYS! I liked/like the whole band, but especially Tony Brock, the drummer, and Wally Stocker, the lead guitarist.

Yes, Brock was such a solid, solid drummer with a heavy bottom sound (as I said in my earlier comment, he sounded like ROLLING THUNDER!) And Stocker had a great style and tone, reminiscent of Paul Kossoff (I'm crazy about his lead lines in the song "Dying Man" from their first album).

I thought their third album was pretty weak and it was the last one I bought. But I still have their first two (on CD) and still dig 'em despite a drastic overall change in taste toward Jazz and Blues.

I think their awful name was primarily responsible for them being underappreciated and not taken seriously, but they could flat-out ROCK ("Read My Stars") or craft a perfect POP single ("Isn't It Time"), and they are one of only a handful of bands from my teenage years that I find I still enjoy cranking up.

I'm glad you like the drummer too, 'cause homeboy could really bang those skins!

~ D-FensDogg
'Loyal American Underground'

Sheboyganboy #6 said...

Very interesting.

Once again I am finding out what I don't know. I need to investigate the Babys' first two albums, because I really only started listening at the 3rd and 4th ones, which I really liked a whole lot.

I totally agree about the name holding them back. One reason I paid no earlier attention to them was the name. I wanted zero association with it. What red-blooded 20 year old male wants to say: "I love the Babys?"

My son's metal band has a similar problem: they are quite good at their studded leather screaming head banging genre... and their name is "The Walrus Effect." It was named by a now deceased band member when they were 13, and now nobody has the heart to change it.

Arlee Bird said...

I do vaguely remember "Isn't It Time?". That song never really captured me--it was a little too poppy for me at that time. If I had heard the other songs that you previously put clips of then I would probably have sat up and listened more. Also, in all fairness, due to my musical inclinations after 1970, I essentially stopped listening to top 40 commercial radio and was listening to 8 tracks, records, and cassettes.

Nice discovery for me years later.

Tossing It Out and the Blogging From A to Z April Challenge 2011
Isn't It Time?

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

Well, if you liked all the songs I posted YouTube video links for, you will definitely like The Babys' first two releases because ALL of those songs came from those sources.

>>.....What red-blooded 20 year old male wants to say: "I love the Babys?"

Right! I've always considered my ongoing fondness for The Babys' first two albums to be "a guilty pleasure", not because I'm embarrassed by their music (I mean, it ain't like I'm listening to Helen Reddy or The Captain And Tennille), but it's the name ALONE that classifies it as a guilty pleasure.

Yeah, "The Walrus Effect" doesn't exactly speak to me. But I think I have the answer for your son and his bandmates: They should change the name to whatever they want, but have someone design a Walrus character that will serve as the band's symbol. And then they could paint it on the front of the bass drum.

The Walrus symbol doesn't need to make sense in relation to the band's name, and in fact, if it doesn't, it might just add an intriguing or mysterious element to their overall presentation. The public doesn't necessarily need to know that the Walrus represents their deceased friend.

But this way, in the form of The Walrus, he will ALWAYS be a "member" of the band.

They could even play all gigs with a stuffed Walrus on the stage somewhere. Maybe even move it around, so the band's following will always wonder when they go to a gig, where they will find The Walrus THIS time. It could be hiding, peeking out from behind an amplifier or some other equipment.

That's how I'd want to handle it anyway.

"I am The Walrus, goo-goo-g'joob."

~ D-FensDogg
'Loyal American Underground'

Sheboyganboy #6 said...

Good idea re: The Walrus Effect. I'll pass along the suggestions.

Deniz Bevan said...

Love that Dylan song!

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

In my opinion, the best of the best of Bob.

Thanks for stopping by.

~ D-FensDogg
'Loyal American Underground'