“SO LONG”…”You Said What…?”

Today’s Listening Pleasure: THE DEAD KENNEDYS: “Rawhide” 

   Needless to say at 70 years old I am still a sucker for the old black/white 30 minute television westerns I grew up with, some got even better when the programs grew to one hour in “living color”. “Gunsmoke” was a true favorite of mine. In hindsight I would have to question the integrity of the characters as represented in each episode. First, the star is U.S. Marshall Dillon who regularly patrols the wooden walkways of Dodge City looking for miscreants, criminals, and those on the “most wanted” posters found in his office. Usually, the Marshal is drinking beer in the saloon with his trusted companion “The Doc” and also found at a table is “Miss Kitty” the owner/operator of the saloon and brothel upstairs. In today’s world, let’s just say the constant public drinking of the “Doc” and Marshall would be frowned upon, and to be hanging with “Miss Kitty” a “lady of the evening” at their side, enough said.

   In more than one episode the “guest” character when leaving the saloon table with some sage advice will say, “So long, Marshall” which got me thinking. What the hell does “So Long” mean…and why would someone in 1870 Kansas territory use that phrase?(Kansas Statehood January 1869)…Hmmmm…

   So here it goes, the etymology of the phrase as best I understand it. “So long” used as an interjection is a parting salutation mostly of unknown origin. Legend has it that it was a slurring of words, that is a “mispronunciation” of Scandinavian phrase “adjo sa ledge” literally  “bye so long” used by sailors, dock workers and prostitutes. The phrase turned up about the same time in 1860 America, Great Britain, and Canada. However, its first use in print was in the last poem in WALT WHITMAN’S “Leaves of Grass” (1860). It was commonly used in subsequent years by laborers and middle class in port cities of the Northeast America, and considered a bit vulgar by the upper class. Picked up in early into the “roaring twenties” by the literary and artists it was then “hip” to use in common vernacular as a proper salutation of departure…”so long for now”

to be continued…

PS: The Arizona Historical Society and The Wild West History Association, documented that Matt Dillon’s TV character was shot at least 56 times, knocked unconscious 29 times, stabbed three times, and poisoned once.

Oh, Ye, gentle mistresses and most distinguished gentlemen, and others… The opinions and observations are solely my own views, and I take full responsibility for any errors of fact, not to mention any predictions that prove to be wildly inaccurate.

MUSIC I NEVER HEARD UNTIL… 

Oh, Ye, gentle mistresses and most distinguished gentlemen, and others… The opinions and observations are solely my own views, and I take full responsibility for any errors of fact, not to mention any predictions that prove to be wildly inaccurate.

Today’s Listening Pleasure: HOWLIN WOLF-“Howlin’ Wolf”  

   Playing stick ball in the street with the fellows, we usually had a battery operated AM radio playing the Top 40 tunes of the day to keep us company. One hot summer day in 1964 I heard a strange sounding song, one that starts off with a guitarist plucking each string slowly, followed by bass, drums, and an organ. Then, the voice, and oh what a voice it was…“There is a house in New Orleans”… “Who is this?, What is this?” I awaited for the DJ to announce the tune. Finally, he said, “That’s THE ANIMALS with “House Of The Rising Sun”. I knew I had to find that single on my next trip to the record store.

   Being a very young teen record collector is a difficult hobby to have. Most of my friends collected baseball cards or stamps, me I needed vinyl. Having limited resources a record had to really kick me in the balls for me to buy it. A paper route helped but not by much so at this juncture in time my items were usually limited to the occasional album but mostly singles, aka “the 45”, hopefully one with a picture sleeve. Stored alphabetically in a small compact carrying case each item was also recorded in my “journal” as to where I bought it, who I was with when I bought it and mostly, why or how I became aware of the recording. Years later this journal would be a blast to read and laugh at. But I digress…

   I finally found “House of The Rising Sun” b/w “Talkin’‘Bout You” as it shimmed up the chart  becoming a #1 hit. A few months later The ANIMALS were on Sullivan, SHINDIG!, HULLABALOO, and again all over the radio with various hits “I’m Crying”,“Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood”, et al. All good stuff for sure. “House” was the only ANIMALS single I had, then mid 1966 I bought “The Best of The Animals” album. It was wonderful, gaining a heavy rotation on my turntable. One tune in particular blew me away, “Boom, Boom”. I needed to know more about this recording and who is JOHN LEE HOOKER, the songwriter. I take the bus to TSS which had a great record department. The older guy behind counter, somewhat of a blow hard, knew everything about only what he liked. He once said when describing an album to a customer “it gave me goosebumps on my toe nails, that’s how good that record is”. “WTF is he was talking about?”, I thought.  I searched the bins for HOOKER to no avail. There appeared to be no album nor single by JOHN LEE HOOKER. I was frustrated but determined to find something/anything.The guy at the counter just said, “Nope” when I asked. He obviously either didn’t know who JOHN LEE HOOKER was, OR saw a fourteen year old boy and thought, “get outta here, punk”. A few other less stocked record stores had no HOOKER either.

   Then, two years later while working as a summer intern on Wall Street, all of 16 years old, lo and behold in WALL STREET RECORDS I find the “Concert at Newport” album by JOHN LEE HOOKER. I couldn’t wait to get home to check it out. Amazing, just Mr. Hooker and a bassist, recorded live in 1963. Opening track is “I Can’t Quit You Baby Blues”. A few months later the same tune is on side two of LED ZEPPELIN’S debut album (not credited to JL HOOKER) and it was the opening number when I saw them at FILLMORE EAST, May of 1969.

   Another tune I heard on the radio was “Smokestack Lightning” by a band called SMOKESTACK LIGHTNIN’. I heard this particular song before (Yardbirds) but not like this version, this was slow and deliberate. I knew it was written by HOWLING’WOLF as was “Spoonful” but who was this HOWLIN’ WOLF. Oh my…I got the HOWLIN’ WOLF album (released 1962) aka “The Rocking Chair” lp, and that collection led me to WILLIE DIXON whose recordings were very hard to find. But, I did it…

   In short, the original or so I thought “original” recordings were great upon first listen but eventually I realized these Brits were only reinventing American blues music which me, an American, had never heard until…

to be continued…

Halfway to Saint Patrick’s Day:

   It’s almost that time of year again. With only 182 days and nights left until it is officially “St. Patrick’s Day”,  so I say, “Let the preparations begin”. This fabled day has truly become a part of Americana. But I ask why do we reserve the festivities for only one day a year? Other “holidays” have elite status, or are giving a “Monday” designation to extend a weekend and are big deals in retail circles, but not St. Pat’s. It’s wasn’t even Labor Day when the stores were already starting to sell Halloween decorations, while at the same time stocking up on their Thanksgiving supplies. Did I see Christmas lights going up? Many times merchants rush the holidays for the quick buck to be made. So I humbly ask, “What about adding St. Paddy’s Day to that list”?  The wearing of the green, sell some funny hats, a little green (in color) beer, and big discounts on corned beef and cabbage. Unfortunately, the corned beef and cabbage is not truly an Irish custom, but blatantly American.

    I hereby request that St. Pat’s should be celebrated year ‘round on the 17th of each month. Many stories are told about the man we fondly call Saint Patrick, some stories which are true, others just legend. One of the most often told is how as a young man, later to be the Patron Saint of Ireland,  he banishes the snakes from Ireland. Well, not to truly disappoint you but there were no snakes in Ireland, then or now. The origin of this story is most likely a reference to Patrick’s (his taken Christian name) attempts to drive Pagan Druids from Ireland, their symbol being a serpent. Bannavem Taberniae, his given name, was born about 385 A.D. and after being kidnapped at age sixteen and escaping his captors became a Christian missionary, probably the most successful in history. March 17, the day of his death, is celebrated both in and outside of Ireland, as both a liturgical and non-liturgical holiday. In the dioceses of Ireland it is both a solemnity and a holy day of obligation. The Isle of Ireland is associated mostly with the color green. This is due in part from the abundance of three leafed shamrocks which cover the landscape. These plants were used by the Catholic ministers in their teaching the concept of the Holy Trinity to the people, hence the symbol of Irish Christianity. The St. Patrick’s Day custom came to America in 1737. That was the first year St. Patrick’s Day was publicly celebrated in this country, in Boston. 

    Today, people celebrate “the day” with parades, wearing of the green, and drinking beer. One reason St. Patrick’s Day might have become so popular is that it takes place just a few days before the first day of spring, another reason to celebrate after a long cold winter. Corned beef and cabbage with green beer is an American thing. Beef was and is a rarity in Ireland. However, beef is not a rarity in America so every, without exception, Irish tavern or inn in the United States has it on its menu. As my grandmother was fond to say “If you are lucky enough to be Irish, well, then you are Lucky enough”. Happy Half-way to Saint Patrick’s Day. 

to be continued…

Oh, Ye, gentle mistresses and most distinguished gentlemen, and others… The opinions and observations are solely my own views, and I take full responsibility for any errors of fact, not to mention any predictions that prove to be wildly inaccurate.

Today’s Listening Pleasure:Anything and Everything by THE POGUES

BUT WHAT ABOUT THE OTHER THREE STANZAS…

Oh, Ye, gentle mistresses and most distinguished gentlemen, and others… The opinions and observations are solely my own views, and I take full responsibility for any errors of fact, not to mention any predictions that prove to be wildly inaccurate.

Today’s Listening Pleasure: THE STAR SPANGLED BANNER

   “The Defense of Fort McHenry” is a poem, four stanzas in length but one the first stanza can be recited or sung by most Americans. We learn it early on, usually in secondary school music class or when played over the public address system. We hear it at all sporting events and over the last few years the playing of the poem when set to music is met with some controversy…kneeling as a way of protest.

   What is this poem and how did it become the “National Anthem” in 1931?

 Let’s go back in time to what in European History is referred to the Napoleonic Age,(May 1804-April 1814…and again Napoleon returns from ELBA  March-July 1815 aka The Hundred Days) when Napoleon ruled France and said France was always having a go with England, Germany, Austria, Prussia and Russia.

   A few years prior to Napoleon, it is said that our American Revolution which led to THE WAR FOR INDEPENDENCE( they are two separate entities) inspired the French Revolution(1792-1799) which ultimately led to the rise of Napoleon as leader of FRANCE. As leader he conducted what is classified as THE NAPOLEON WARS (1799-1815) primarily against the British. Back in the (newly formed) US of A we had two political factions as GEORGE WASHINGTON and JOHN ADAMS were FEDERALISTS who supported The British sentiments while another bloc of THOMAS JEFFERSON and fellow Republican JAMES MADISON favored the French. If more background is needed: The JAY TREATY is signed November 1794, ratified by US and Great Britain in February 1796 which pissed the French off, then at war with England. They interpreted it as a violation of its own commercial treaty of 1778 with the US. The US and France engage in an undeclared naval war 1798-1800 which led to arbitration between the two nations. And it got nastier from then on as both England and France placed the neutrality of the shipping/trading rights of the U.S. in jeopardy.Then, 1801 THOMAS JEFFERSON becomes the 3rd President of the U.S. The relationships with England begin to deteriorate, and the conflict between France and England escalate, both countries throwing the U.S. mercantile fleets in disarray. Consequently, American ships that obeyed Britain faced capture by the French in European ports, and if they complied with Napoleon’s Continental System, they could fall prey to the Royal Navy. Neutral vessels (USA) were required to get trading licenses while submitting to search and seizure in ports. The British also impressed (kidnapped) our merchants, taking thousands of our sailors into their Royal Navy.  The United States responds with two horrible attempts to rectify our involvement: THE EMBARGO ACT followed a few years later with the NON-INTERCOURSE ACT, both which hurt our economy more than the British or French economies.

   The French needing some cash to fund their wars sold the LOUISIANA PURCHASE to the U.S. for a mere $18.00 a square mile ($15 million) thereby doubling the size of the USA and the USA gaining control of the mighty MISSISSIPPI RIVER, vital to commerce and security of the budding nation. Meanwhile, Americans were attempting to move westward and northward (Canada) while meeting resistance from the Native Americans who lived there.  With some assistance from the British the US was repelled by the Natives. Which in part leads us to the SECOND WAR FOR INDEPENDENCE aka THE WAR OF 1812-1815 as the British successfully  run a blockade our eastern seaboard ports. NAPOLEON is finally defeated in 1814 and the BRITISH through a Russian ambassador attempt a negotiation with the US while still engaged in warfare. 

   THE BATTLE OF FORT McHENRY, a important strategic fort protecting BALTIMORE HARBOR, occurs on September 14, 1814 After 25 hours of intense bombing from British frigates, FRANCIS SCOTT KEY ,a lawyer ,thought that when the morning came the BRITISH flag would be flying over Fort McHenry, but alas, The Stars and Strips was still flying proudly, becoming the turning point of the war. The poem was later put to a popular British song, its name changed to THE STAR SPANGLED BANNER and in 1931 a Congressional Resolution signed by President HERBERT HOOVER becomes our NATIONAL ANTHEM…

to be continued… 

Defence of Fort M’Henry

BY FRANCIS SCOTT KEY

O! say can you see, by the dawn’s early light,

    What so proudly we hail’d at the twilight’s last gleaming,

Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,

    O’er the ramparts we watch’d, were so gallantly streaming?

        And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air,

        Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there —

            O! say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave

            O’er the land of the free, and the home of the brave?

On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,

    Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,

What is that which the breeze o’er the towering steep,

    As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?

        Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,

        In full glory reflected now shines on the stream —

            ‘Tis the star-spangled banner, O! long may it wave

            O’er the land of the free, and the home of the brave.

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore

    That the havock of war and the battle’s confusion

A home and a country should leave us no more?

    Their blood has wash’d out their foul foot-steps’ pollution,

        No refuge could save the hireling and slave,

        From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave;

            And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave

            O’er the land of the free, and the home of the brave.

O! thus be it ever when freemen shall stand

    Between their lov’d home, and the war’s desolation,

Blest with vict’ry and peace, may the heav’n-rescued land

    Praise the power that hath made and preserv’d us a nation!

        Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,

        And this be our motto — “In God is our trust!”

            And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave

            O’er the land of the free, and the home of the brave.

STOLEN? NO WAY…(66.20%)

Stolen? No Way…(66.20 %)

Oh, Ye, gentle mistresses and most distinguished gentlemen, and others… The opinions and observations are solely my own views, and I take full responsibility for any errors of fact, not to mention any predictions that prove to be wildly inaccurate.

Today’s Listening Pleasure: RANDY NEWMAN “Sail Away”

  I have a hard time fathoming that folks, some folks I know, honestly believe that the “former reality TV host” aka #45 should still be seated in the White House. They claim that the Election of 2020 was “stolen”. To them I say, “If you believe that he won in 2020 as even he claims, well…that’s two terms and he can’t run again”. The Twenty-second Amendment (1951) to the Constitution of the United States effectively limits to two the number of terms a president of the United States may serve, therefore if “The Orange Guy” won in 2016 and 2020, that’s TWO. Sayonara,big boy.

   This last election has been scrutinized with a fine tooth comb by the judicial branch of government, the candidates and their supporters, all while being played out nightly on the media and social platforms from before Election Day to the present. Recapping 2020, BIDEN received 81,268,924 popular votes, TRUMP 77,406,150. What should be noted is… only 66.20% of eligible voters (239,247,182) turned out to vote (158,383,404) for one of the ten (not just two) candidates. More than 100 million votes were cast before Election Day (early voting OR mail in). I repeat, only 66.2 % voted…Let’s reverse that to 33.8% of the eligible/registered voters DID NOT cast a ballot for any of the ten candidates. However, this 66.2% is the highest turn out since KENNEDY/NIXON in1960. This is an embarrassing statistic which for discussion I will leave for another time. 

   Recapping the last two elections in popular votes cast,

Hillary Clinton(2016) had 2,864,903 more than TRUMP and

Joe Biden(2020) had 3,862,744 more than Trump, leaving “the former guy” down -6,727,647 in the last two popular votes. Where is the “steal”?  The numbers are substantially skewed in favor of a win, until…

   THE POPULAR VOTE is what many Americans believe elects the president. Many of those mistaken Americans are learning at least from the last few elections about a thing called the ELECTORAL COLLEGE which officially “verifies and elects” the president. Which will lead us to the debacle of January 6, 2021…that I’ll also save for a later blog.

   The 2022 SENATE is split evenly between 50 Democrats(48 Dems and 2 Indeps) and 50 Republicans. But according to IAN MILLHISER(VOX) the 50 Democratic Party senators represent 41 million more people than the 50 GOP senators. Therefore, based on that number of 41 million, there is a huge difference in red versus blue state ideology (or Trump supporters versus the Dump Trumpsters).

   Let’s pull back a few years and see what America was thinking while pulling the levers, filling in the dots, punching chads, etc, on Election Days:

2008: Barack OBAMA (#44) received 69,456,032 popular votes, more votes than any other presidential candidate in history, thereby defeating John McCAIN by 9.5 million votes. Obama had 365 Electoral College votes to McCain’s 173.(Difference of 192)

2012 OBAMA(332 Electoral Votes) is re-elected defeating MITT ROMNEY(206 Electoral Votes) by 4.8 million votes.(Difference of 126)

2016 Hillary CLINTON wins the popular vote by 2,864,903 more votes than the election winner Donald TRUMP (#45). TRUMP wins the Electoral College votes 304 to CLINTON’S 227.(Difference of 77)

2020 Joe BIDEN #46 (306) defeats incumbent Donald Trump (232) by 3,862,744 popular votes.TRUMP is the 4th incumbent president to lose an election in the last century. BIDEN received the most popular votes ever, 81,268,924.(Difference of 74)

   The Election of 2020 was the 9th consecutive presidential election where the victor did NOT win a popular majority by double digits (1980).

Overall, 1992-2020

Dem Pop Votes    53,398,839

GOP Pop Votes   47,579,244

Difference: GOP  -5,809,545

   As I see it, for the last 28 years the majority of the voting populace pulls the “Blue” lever (dots, chads, whatever) rather the the “Red” ones. However, some folks don’t like the actual results. Which leads us to the “The hanging chads of Florida”, the “irregularities “in Ohio (20 electoral votes) whereby John KERRY concedes costing him the Electoral majority, Obama receiving more popular votes than any candidate in our history until Biden recreates that causing the 4th incumbent  in the past century (Hoover, Carter, Geo H.W. Bush, Trump) to lose re-election.

to be continued…

DOMESTIC TRANQUILITY: WTF is that?

Oh, Ye, gentle mistresses and most distinguished gentlemen, and others… The opinions and observations are solely my own views, and I take full responsibility for any errors of fact, not to mention any predictions that prove to be wildly inaccurate.

Today’s Listening Pleasure: JEFFERSON AIRPLANE “Volunteers”

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

   The Preamble to the Constitution states that “We the People”, collectively, as THE UNITED STATES of AMERICA will “insure domestic Tranquility”. Yet, I question how can “domestic tranquility” be possible with today’s 24/7 news media outlets, where information, many times in its infant stages, is instantaneously diagnosed, most likely without having all the facts at hand and then thrown back at us in seconds as “truth/facts” with the broadcaster’s bias attached. Watching FOX NEWS (labeled as NEWS…seriously, dudes?) or MSNBC, “Caveat emptor”, I say to the viewers. Too many times a “news” report is taken as fact without all the facts. Said example is the FBI raid of Mar-a-Lago whereby FOX NEWS immediately classified the raid as a validation of the sense of persecution of “the former guy”.They continued this dialog for weeks now.

   Fact:The FBI raid was announced (leaked) by the “former guy” who was in New York at the time, not at Mar-a-Lago. The FBI had previously attempted to retrieve said materials from Mar-a-lago in a “less intrusive” way but were met with some resistance.

   FOX: How dare they, with a machine gun carrying militia enter the home of The President. (They still believe he should rightfully be President).

   FACT: DOJ  Attorney General Merrick Garland issued the order for the FBI to raid “the home” of a former president.

   FOX: Claim this action was in retribution for Trump blocking the nomination to the Supreme Court of GARLAND. This statement has NO merit and is completely false. Garland’s nomination by out going term expired PRESIDENT OBAMA, lasted 293 days as the GOP Senate refused to hear/vote on Obama’s nomination. Therefore, that nomination expired January 3, 2017 as did the 114th Congress.

   My questions are: What were these documents?Who saw them?Who packed the items? When were they moved? and WHY?  To most every question I add  “What was the “chain of custody”?, Were the custodial rights violated, and if so by whom? In other words did “Two Hunks With A Truck” move this shit?

   Originally there were the June 15 boxes appropriated by the DoJ. After researching what was contained in those boxes it was determined by DoJ that “there must be more” (my words and guess).The DoJ  asked for specifics about a possible trove of material and their request was met with resistance, hesitation and of course deflection. The “former guy” is great in controlling the narrative, he was and is the “Master of Deflection”. His fifth grade vocabulary is usually of a violent rhetoric and his MAGA Youth aka right/white wing conservative Christian zealots follow his every word as truth. Rather than face the circumstances and maybe saying “oops, I didn’t know it was wrong, first time being President” and let it play out he would rather lather up the troops about the deep dark state of Liberalism.  “Help, they out to get me, me your president.” The “former guy (FG)” has loudly (and inaccurately) complained about the “attack” on his compound at Mar-a-lago and made incendiary attacks about the FBI and DoJ as a loyalty check on his Republicans. He speaks about that attack of his compound in Florida but nothing about the attack of January 6. He speaks about the ‘shadow army’ aka the FBI.

   “You stole confidential documents, tried to overthrow your own government, instigated a riot at the Capitol, interfered with an election, obstructed justice, ran a scam charity, ran a scam university…”(Political Cartoonist:Dave W Hammond)

   Now, in FG’s defense, he will not be prosecuted by DoJ while he attempts to continue to tarnish the traditions of our democracy. The procedure and the “documents” confiscated both times will not be used to prosecute. It is difficult to prove justice if it (the raids and items obtained) is suddenly and selectively invoked to “Target” someone. If this “violation” of the Records Acts was routinely prosecuted then that would be a different story. I heard the chorus in the background singing “but what about”, there is no“Whataboutism” in law. 

   The former President “had a standing order that documents removed from the Oval Office and taken to the residence were deemed to be declassified the moment he removed them.”( John Solomon Aug 2022 )

   Kash Patel, a Trump ally and former national security official in the Trump administration — and also one of the former president’s designees to the Archives — told Fox that Trump “issued sweeping declassification orders on multiple occasions.” 

   “It can’t just be an idea in his head,” said David Laufman, the former chief of the Justice Department’s counterintelligence division who investigated Hillary Clinton’s handling of classified documents. “Programs and officials would have been notified. There is no evidence they were.”

   Speaking of HILLARY, she used a “private server” and had 113 documents containing classified information. Nothing stored in her “clubhouse” where FG had 300 documents. So, after 18 months of haggling, the DoJ had to use some force to get government records back, including some that contained government secrets.

   Records, I love collecting records…

to be continued…

“Where Do We Go From Here?”  The Election of 2024

The opinions and observations are solely my own views, and I take full responsibility for any errors of fact, not to mention any predictions that prove to be wildly inaccurate.

   Anyone who suffers with GERDS knows what it is like to be awaken about 4 in the AM with a coughing fit so bad that your lungs hurt. The next day or two you re-evaluate your eating habits and attempt to never recreate the scenario which brought on the attack: spicy foods or a combination of things. My GERDS effect the other evening had me up until 6 AM, giving me ample opportunity to think, which in my case is a dangerous thing.  Tonight’s thinking agenda besides the food dilemma had one additional item… Why we, THE AMERICAN PEOPLE have JOE BIDEN as President #46 ? My thinking is, “The Former Reality TV Host” aka “the former guy#45” left the voters with a bad case of GERDS and therefore we would vote for anyone who “wasn’t him” which I did. Maybe I was wrong for looking at the election of 2020 in that light but there was no way in hell I wanted to have another four years regretting the way the USA was going under his misguided leadership nor did I want to hear that pompous asshole #45 with his fourth grade vocabulary ever speak again.

   “Anyone but him” might not have been the best or most politically savvy way to go but it was the only way for me. Then the Democratic Party offered JOE BIDEN, “milk toast” at best. Both candidates were long in the tooth age wise while Biden offered years of experience.  #45 did nothing for me. As a businessman he was bankrupt many times over, divorced twice and now remarried to a trophy wife, a true looker I might add, who gained citizenship in a nefarious way. As President he surrounded himself politically with his family as advisors, fired cabinet members at will, and then when he lost the popular vote (again) AND this time the Electoral College totals, he claimed the “election was stolen” and refused to step down or go away gracefully.

   So now we are in the process of evaluating where we stand in the midterm election as well as preparing for the 2024 vote. Many shrewd pols are maneuvering in attempts to skew the elections by gerrymandering voting districts.  And those behind the scenes, well…Which leads me back to “Mr. MilkToast”, our current president. I ask myself the question almost daily, “What did Joe Do?” and I hear the response of “nothing” which is not true (follow up to come). Blame it on Congress, particularly THE SENATE, blame it on the Supreme Court, blame it whomever or whatever but truthfully, he did “nothing” good for me. Gas prices are directly attributed to the “robber barons” of old who are more concerned with profits that prices. Gas in Europe cost more than here in the US so JOE didn’t do that. Gas is up so everything else follows and the economy goes in the tank so to speak. Remember the early 1970’s when we rationed gas, odd and even days? The economy sucked and out goes the President. Which leads me to this thought,”Joe or No in 2024”.

   What will be my choice in 2024? Democrats must realize that #46 doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell to win the popular vote in 2024 and while tallying the blues versus reds I surmise he won’t win the electoral count either. The GOP must realize that most Americans found #45 to be a crass, arrogant asshole and voted him out for good reason. His chance of winning or lack thereof could only lead to #46 being re-elected for a second term. The only way for either party to win is to erase the slate, move past “the two” and offer some new blood. The GOP could find this easier than the Dems. “Dump Trump” and move to PENCE (or whom ever) and they stand a chance, a great chance if BIDEN is running. If The DEMS ask  BIDEN to “not seek or accept the nomination”, well, let the ball game begin.

   Let’s be honest folks, the last two presidency are not our greatest moments in history. We need a unifying President, one who can capture the true spirit of democracy, and make us whole again. Currently, I don’t see that candidate on the horizon but I only hope one will arise shortly. If it’s Biden V Trump well, God Bless The United States of America.

Today’s Listening Pleasure: ELECTRIC FLAG   “A Long Time Comin’”

to be continued… “Stolen? No Fxxxing Way”

SIX DEGREES OF SEPARATION from “No Matter What Shape (Your Stomach’s In)” 

PART 1: The Jingle, The Song, The Band, The Beatles…   

   What started out as a TV spot for Alka-Seltzer was later recorded as  a full length single“No Matter What Shape (Your Stomach’s In)” becoming  a hit for THE T-BONES in1966. And just like we can find  SIX DEGREES OF SEPARATION aka the KEVIN BACON GAME,as this one song will take us on a musical journey of the late1960’s and onward. 

   The original jingle was written by ALEXANDER BURLAND (The Nutty Squirrels) Producer JOE SARACENO turned the jingle into a full length instrumental recording using studio musicians credited to THE T-BONES (Tommy Tedesco guitar, Hal Blaine, drums;Carol Kaye electric bass; Lyle Ritz, upright bass). This studio band was actually part of THE WRECKING CREW, all “first call musicians” known for their exceptional studio chops for the hits of THE MONKEES, SONNY and CHER,THE RONETTES, THE TIJUANA BRASS and so many more. To tour as THE T-BONES would have cost them money as the  studio money was so much more profitable than touring money.

   The WRECKING CREW started in 1962 working at GOLD STAR STUDIOS on hits produced by PHIL SPECTOR (The CRYSTALS/THE RONETTES/IKEand TINA TURNER/THE RIGHTEOUS BROTHERS). As “first call” LA musicians they worked with producers as diverse as BRIAN WILSON, TERRY MELCHER, LOU ADLER, BONES HOWE, JIMMY BOWEN and MIKE POST.

LOU ADLER often seen court side next to JACK NICHOLSON at LA LAKER games or seen in the crowd behind the catcher at DODGER games LOU ADLER (with the signature white beret) was the originator of The Monterey Pop Festival, owner of DUNHILL Records and later ODE Records. He produced JOHNNY RIVERS, THE GRASS ROOTS, JAN and DEAN, THE MAMAS & THE PAPAS and won a GRAMMY AWARD for producing CAROLE KING’S “Tapestry” in 1972. He was Executive Producer of THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW and films for CHEECH & CHONG. Early in his songwriting days with HERB ALBERT they wrote “Wonderful World” a huge hit in 1960 for SAM COOKE and in 1965 became a hit for HERMAN’S HERMITS. LOU ADLER was married in 1964 to SHELLY FABARES and produced a few hit records for his then wife, along with one son

JIMMY BOWEN produced FRANK SINATRA’S “Strangers In The Night” (1967’s Grammy for RECORD OF THE YEAR)among other hits. “Old Blue Eyes” hired BOWEN as a record producer (using THE WRRECKING CREW) for his newly established (1960) REPRISE RECORDS, thus giving a new meaning to “CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD”. SINATRA garnered the fellowship of the RAT PACK by signing DEAN MARTIN, SAMMY DAVIS ,Jr ,also NANCY SINATRA, DINO, DESI and BILLY to the label. In later years BOWEN worked with GLEN CAMPBELL, KENNY ROGERS, HANK WILLIAMS,Jr, THE OAK RIDGE BOYS, REBA McEntire, GEORGE STRAIT, SUZY BOGGUSS, KIM CARNES, CONWAY TWITTY and GARTH BROOKS.

BONES HOWE originally was an engineer under ADLER. He later produced hits with THE WRECKING CREW for THE ASSOCIATION and the 5th DIMENSION.

TERRY MELCHER, the son of DORIS DAY, was a singer, songwriter and as a producer he helped develop the “California Sound” and “folk rock”. He sang as TERRY DAY, later in BRUCE(Johnston) and TERRY, and was also  in THE RIP CHORDS. MELCHER produced the first two BYRDS albums including the singles “Mr. Tambourine Man” and “Turn,Turn,Turn” as well as hits by PAUL REVERE and THE RAIDERS.Years later he produced the BEACH BOYS’ hit “Kokomo”. TERRY MELCHER is also known as the original target of CHARLES MANSON’S family attack on 10050 Cielo Drive the rented home that MELCHER shared with girlfriend CANDACE BERGEN and his friend MARK LINDSAY. They had moved out prior to that fateful day.

MIKE POST produced the 1964 hit by THE MURMAIDS “Popsicles and Icicles”(written by DAVID GATES). Got his first GRAMMY (age 23) in 1968 for Best Instrumental Arrangement on MASON WILLIAMS (backed by THE WRECKING CREW) “Classical Gas”.  At 24 he was Musical Director on THE ANDY WILLIAMS SHOW, then got his second GRAMMY for his theme song for THE ROCKFORD FILES, He was the “go-to guy” for many TV shows producers including The A-Team, Baa Baa black Sheep, The Commish, Doogie Howser, MD, Magnum, PI, and many others. To me he is best known for his “dun, dun” sound effect he created for the “Law and Order” franchises.

BRIAN WILSON:simply stated the genius of The Beach Boys.

PART 2: The Beatles???

   What started out as  a TV spot for Alka-Seltzer was later recorded as  a full length single“No Matter What Shape (Your Stomach’s In)” becoming  a hit by THE T-BONES in1966. And just like we can find  SIX DEGREES OF SEPARATION aka the KEVIN BACON GAME, this one song will take us on a musical journey of the 1960’s and onward.

   THE T-BONES as recorded was: Tommy Tedesco on guitar, Hal Blaine, drums;Carol Kaye electric bass; Lyle Ritz, upright bass. This studio band was actually the basis of THE WRECKING CREW, all “first call musicians” known for their exceptional studio chops for the hits of THE MONKEES, SONNY and CHER,THE RONETTES, THE TIJUANA BRASS. To tour as THE T-BONES would have cost them money as the studio work money was so much more profitable than tour money.

   It was suggested that a “tour” band of THE T-BONES would be compiled to tour, photos etc…sorta like THE MONKEES (but not as famous). The T-Bones were now identified as JUDD HAMILTON, DAN HAMILTON, JOE FRANK CAROLLO and TOMMY REYNOLDS none who played on the original record, nor the (previous of course and) subsequent recording until the last album “Everyone’s Gone To The Moon”.

   Years later (1971) HAMILTON. JOE FRANK and REYNOLDS have two huge hits with “Don’t Pull Your Love (Out)” and “Fallin’ In Love”.

   THE BEATLES are connected to our KEVIN BACON GAME, so bear with me on this one. “Red Rubber Ball” a silly hit written by PAUL SIMON and BRUCE WOODLEY of THE SEEKERS was recorded by THE CYRKLE in 1966 climbing the BILLBOARD Chart to #2.  Original called THE RHONDELLS, the band was managed by BRIAN EPSTEIN of BEATLES fame who changed their name to THE CIRCLE, JOHN LENNON re-christened the band THE CYRKLE. THE CYRKLE opened on numerous US dates for THE BEATLES and played THE BEATLES last live date ever in San Francisco.

   Here’s the connection.  In 1976, Alka Selter stops using “No Matter What Shape” and now rallies around a new jingle “plop, plop, fizz, fizz”. This jingle was written by musician TOM DAWES, a former member of THE CYRKLE…

   MUSHROOMS and OZZY…

   Recently, I read the article “Taking The Magic Out of Magic Mushrooms” (NYT 7/16/22) by Dr. Dana G. Smith a health and science writer and a former psychology researcher.Seems there has been clinical trials at NYU whereby large doses of psilocybin, the psychoactive ingredient in “magic mushrooms”, have been administered to patients dealing with anxiety and depression, especially those following a cancer diagnosis. The article describes in graphic detail what one patient experienced during his “trip”. That study found that psychedelic drugs like psilocybin are remarkably good at alleviating symptoms of depression and anxiety — even in many people who do not respond to currently prescribed medications.Hmmm…the article took me back to another time.

TICKETS TORN IN HALF: FEBRUARY 20, 1971:BLACK SABBATH/J.GEILS BAND/SIR LORD BALTIMORE:Three nights before I was out on a date viewing THE FACES, a snowy, cold night, overall a great show and date. Tonight I returned to FILLMORE EAST, orchestra seats toward the back of the hall, left side, to see a show with an acquaintance of mine, not necessarily a friend, but a nice guy nonetheless who had an extra ticket.  He called early afternoon asking if I wanted to go with him. Never one to say “No” away we went in my car. Taking my car was probably not the smartest move I’ve ever made but, hey, smart moves at 19 years of age isn’t the gold standard.This was a late show, scheduled for 11:30PM and since psychedelics were involved timing is of the essence. One could say in hindsight that taking psilocybin at a BLACK SABBATH show( my first and only) was probably my second mistake of the evening.

   The first act was SIR LORD BALTIMORE, a trio out of Brooklyn who had a drummer who was also their lead vocalist. Rumor has it that Bill Graham, after seeing this band perform that weekend decided that he had had enough. These guys were the pits, dreadful droning, a pathetic excuse for music.

  The J. GEILS BAND out of Boston was next, this their debut at FILLMORE EAST. I had wanted to see this band after hearing their record played many times by Bobby “Wizard” Wayne, the DJ on WCBS-FM. Most nights he played their stuff as often as he could. Strange occurrence seeing them tonight as lively as they were. The drummer had a few extra arms, the guitar player had greased back hair that shined brightly, and the singer moved like a gazelle. The harmonica player was huge, with hair exploding out of his head, almost touching the ceiling. The music was incredible, the visuals imagined, mere pleasant hallucinations. 

   Whew, while Geils was good, I still to this day did not know what to make of BLACK SABBATH except to say I was scared shitless the moment the lights dimmed. The music was unique, grinding, slow in pace, and very, very loud. The four piece ensemble was off to the right of the stage, seemed to be huddled together in close proximity. The rest of the stage looked empty to me. Then, the sound exploded from a wall of amplifiers. “N.I.B”, a song about Satan falling in love?, “War Pigs”, “Black Sabbath”, then the I AM IRON MAN intro to “Iron Man”…help me, what did I get myself in to?. I need to go home. I closed my eyes hoping it would end but alas, it did not. A few more tunes, a long guitar solo( he’s left handed) and the obligatory drum solo, whew…I was sweating profusely in February. Then, “Paranoid”, the place is going nuts, I’m shivering in my seat…”More, More”, the crowd is calling them back, me thinking,“Oh Lord, please make it stop, I’ll never do it again”… “Fairies Wear Boots”, Oh no, the singer is looking directly at me, pointing at me, taunting me, “Son, son, you’ve gone too far ‘Cause smokin’ and trippin’ is all that you do”. Finally, mercifully it ended.My partner for the evening loved it.

   Fortunately, I met a (sober) friend who needed a ride home so I tossed him my keys. My car was parked on a street by Astor Place, near “The Cube”. Some folks were having fun spinning it, sorta like my brain. After arriving home with the sunrise I went to bed but not immediately to sleep as the music was still ringing in my ears. 

   The next morning, more like early afternoon I was awaken by my mother’s voice calling up to my room informing me that a young lady, waiting in her car, wanted to speak with me. I thought, “What hell awaits me now?”…

to be continued…

JOHN MAYALL: “The Sun Is Shining Down”(Forty Below Records)

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   At 88 years old with countless recording dating back 60 years this collection of tunes by JOHN MAYALL is/was an adventure. 

   First the “was an adventure”.Back in January (28th,2022), I ordered as a package ($75.00) one color vinyl album autographed by Mayall along with a cd version also autographed by the 88 year old. The cd would be a birthday gift (March 18) for my friend who is a huge Mayall fan.Expecting swift delivery of both items on February 22nd I contacted the company asking about a possible delivery date. I was advised that due to a “vinyl shortage” the parcel would be delayed. My buddy’s birthday passes. April 29, I sent another request as to  “when?” and received this response, “Really sorry but the vinyl delays have been brutal. This will arrive toward the end of May. Thanks so much for your patience.”

   Me being oh, so tolerant, shot another e-mail about just sending the freaking cd, receiving no reply from the company. June 10th, ME: “any updates would be appreciated”.THEM: “Hi Michael. We’re at the mercy of the manufacturer…. The black arrived but the blue had to be repressed and is delayed until the end of June. Thanks for your patience”. July 5th: “Any update?”…“If you’re inquiring about the blue John Mayall vinyl, there was a problem with the pressing and it had to be repressed. It is delayed until early July. We’re very sorry about this and thank you for your patience and understanding”.

   I’m think JOHN MAYALL will be 89 by the time I get this in my grubby little hands.July 6: “Hi Michael. The vinyl is being delivered tomorrow and we will send orders out straight away. Really sorry about the wait”. And now, July 13th, here it is, arrived by mail, six months after placing the order. Thanks FORTY BELOW RECORDS, you guys are great (sarcasm).

   Okay, now the “is an adventure” part…I placed the blue vinyl on the turntable and cranked up the unit. The stylus hit the groove and, lo and behold, it played. I did have a moment where I thought, “What if it isn’t pressed correctly? Do I drive there and beat the shit out of someone?” Wait, wow… MELVIN TAYLOR singing and slinging on “Hungry and Ready” with MAYALL on harp.Great back beat supplied by (former BUDDY GUY bassist) GREG RZAB, drums JAY DAVENPORT and lead/rhythm guitar by CAROLYN WONDERLAND. and the horn section, WOW.This is good, very good.

“Can’t Take No More” featuring MARCUS KING is another gem. Then there is a fav of mine BUDDY MILLER playing a baritone guitar, followed by SCARLET RIVERA on a haunting violin “Got To Find A Better Way”, MIKE CAMPBELL  adds to “Chills and Thrills”…all in all these 10 songs are all gems, no clunkers here. Mayall’s vocals and keyboard playing, exceptional.

HIGHLY RECOMMEND this, not just for us old time MAYALL fans, this was well worth the wait…

to be continued…