JOHN FROM BROOKLYN

 Sometimes our wheels slide off the rails in life. But when we get back on track we are stronger than before.  So was it with my cousin, John. When I was in high school many years ago I had an assignment to write two separate letters to two people: 1) To whom I loved but never told I love him/her. 2) To someone I idolized and why I idolized him/her…I thought it was a stupid assignment AND since I was a lazy student I thought…”Why not find one person who I loved and did not verbalize that to AND one who I  also idolized?” I wrote a letter to my (older) cousin John.Years later, he told me he saved the letter and what it meant to him.( I got a B+)

   Every Sunday for the past 24 plus years John faithfully called me, never missed, even when he was in Istanbul. Yankees, Giants, Knicks, Nets, music, friends, and family all open for discussion. Laughs abound every time .Now, “all things must pass” so today I play JOHN COLTRANE’s “Alabama” as he requested this emotional song to be his “exit piece”. Rest easy, John

Your broken-hearted cousin,

Michael

BLOOD,SWEAT & TEARS: Part 2,3,4,5,…99

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   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. Mucho thanks and kudos to AL KOOPER’s book “Backstage Passes and Backstabbing Bastards: Memoirs of a Rock ‘N’ Roll Survivor” , STEVE KATZ’s “Blood Sweat and My Rock n Roll Years” ….. and most importantly BRUNO CERIOTTI for his decades of research on BS&T which provided a timeline to refresh my memories. 

   Just prior to the pandemic outbreak a husband/wife couple I have known for at least 50 years told me about their purchase of tickets to see BLOOD, SWEAT & TEARS (2019). They were extremely excited as they very rarely, if ever, go to concerts and thought that their purchase would entice me/my bride to attend the show with them.  I didn’t have the heart to tell them their evening would be a “Night of Blood, Sweat & Tears” music played by guys who were probably not born when the first/second album hit the stands as BS&T has no “original” members since 1976. Besides the “Original Eight” there has been 161 different members of BS&T with one, the retired drummer BOBBY COLOMBY, holding the rights to the name, the band and the  music.

   Years ago I read an interview with BUTCH TRUCKS, drummer/founder of THE ALLMAN BROTHERS BAND where he said he could envision in years to come musicians traveling and performing the music of a band to which they had no prior relationship, like THE DUKE ELLLINGTON ORCHESTRA, continuing on in name without THE DUKE or any original members. That now appears to be the case for some bands but certainly fits the bill for BS&T.

   July 8, 1967 is the last BLUES PROJECT performance (THE WHO and RICHIE HAVENS on the bill) at the VILLAGE THEATRE…. BS&T (#1) starts as an off shoot of THE BLUES PROJECT when AL KOOPER(guitar, organ, vocals) asks STEVE KATZ (guitar, vocals-BLUES PROJECT), BOBBY COLOMBY (Drums-Odetta), and JIM FIELDER (bass-Mothers/Springfield) to join him as his backing band for a one-oft project to raise money for KOOPER’s move to England. (Un)-Fortunately, the evening did not make the money expected but the vibe was good and the band decided to give it a go as a legit ensemble. August of 67 FRED LIPSIUS (sax/piano) joins the band for the scheduled (September 16, 1967) AL KOOPER/STEVE KATZ billed gig at the Village Theatre as a support act with KINGDOM COME for THE JAMES COTTON BLUES BAND. (Note: The Village Theatre will become FILLMORE EAST). By October, the band numbers eight members by including DICK HALLIGAN (trombone, organ, flute, vocals), RANDY BRECKER (trumpet, flugelhorn), and JERRY WEISS (trumpet, flugelhorn). Practicing and gigging at CAFE AU GO-GO the new band gets recognition and signs with COLUMBIA RECORDS (November 67). The first (and only album featuring AL KOOPER) was released February 26, 1968. April 11 of that year was the last BS&T gig for AL KOOPER,  with RANDY BRECKER and JERRY WEISS leaving a few weeks later.(BS&T #2)

   Rumor has it that everyone from ALEX CHILTON (BoxTops) to STEVIE WONDER was offered the job as BS&T lead singer. LAURA NYRO was considered/auditioned for the spot of lead singer, wisely turning it down. (Note:Blood, Sweat & Tears would go on to have a hit with a cover of Nyro’s “And When I Die”). CHUCK WINFIELD (trumpet), LEW SOLOFF (trumpet), JERRY HYMAN (trombone) and the new singer DAVID CLAYTON-THOMAS round out the ensemble now a nine piece(BS&T#4) while the first album from the ORIGINAL EIGHT reaches #40 on BILLBOARD.

   BS&T (#4) plays FILLMORE EAST supporting The Amboy Dukes and headliners THE CHAMBERS BROTHERS September 13/14 1968. Two weeks later they are recording the second album with producer JAMES WILLIAM GUERCIO who previously added horns to hit singles by THE BUCKINGHAMS at the helm. He also produced for CHICAGO (TRANSIT AUTHORITY). The second album, simply titled “BLOOD SWEAT & TEARS” is released December 11,1968. The band headlines FILLMORE EAST January 24/25 1969 (JETHRO TULL opens).The album gets major radio play, climbs the charts, offers a few Top Ten hits and wins a Grammy. The band is a featured act (July 4, 1969) in the NEWPORT JAZZ FESTIVAL’s “An Evening of Jazz-Rock) and later that summer plays WOODSTOCK.

   This is the band’s period of rapid success as music stars but it is also the time where I questioned what I heard and saw. I thought it was “pop-jazz” and I was not a fan. September 1969 the album “BS&T 3” produced by BOBBY COLOMBY and ROY HALEE (Simon and Garfunkel) is a bust to me. January 1970 JERRY HYMAN leaves as DAVE BARGERON (trombone/tuba) joins (BS&T #5).

   New Years Eve 1971-72 DAVID leaves as does FREDDIE LIPSIUS and BS&T#6 is born with the usual core (4) of COLOMBY, KATZ, FIELDER and DICK HALLIGAN with CHUCK WINFIELD, LEW SOLOFF, DAVE BARGERON and adding JOE HENDERSON (tenor sax), Joiie WADENIUS (guitar/vocals) and (a blind) BOBBY DOYLE (lead vocals/piano).

    BS&T #6 last two months as in APRIL of 72: BOBBY DOYLE (lead vocals) and JOE HENDERSON (sax) are fired. A few weeks later original member DICK HALLIGAN decides to leave.

   BS&T#7 is a 10 piece unit featuring the “originals” now numbering three of KATZ, COLOMBY, FIELDER with LEW SOLOFF, DAVE BARGERON, Joiie WADENIUS, CHUCK WINFIELD and adding

“Blue Lou” MARINI (sax), LARRY WILLIS (KEYBOARDS) and JERRY FISHER (lead vocals). FISHER preferred the band do new material, not all DAVID CLAYTON THOMAS stuff. He lasted five years.

   BS&T #8: January 1973: Original member STEVE KATZ leaves the band as now a 9 piece unit. COLOMBY(drums) and FIELDER (bass) are the only two original founding members with veterans LEW SOLOFF, DAVE BARGERON, Joiie WADENIUS, CHUCK WINFIELD, LARRY WILLIS (KEYBOARDS), JERRY FISHER (lead vocals) and new comer “Blue Lou” MARINI,Jr (sax).

   BS&T # 9:March 1973: Still a 9 piece but  Chuck Winfield is out with Tom MALONE (Trumpet, flugelhorn, trombone, flute, bass) replacing him.

   Original bass player JIM FIELDER leaves in 74 but BOBBY COLOMBY hangs in “retiring” in 1976 owning the name, the music, and all rights to BS&T to this day.

   To Recap: from WIKI…

Original eight

CURRENT MEMBERS (BS&T)

  • Keith Paluso: vocals
  • Brad Mason: trumpet
  • Jonathan Powell: trumpet
  • Ken Gioffre: saxophone, flute
  • Mike Boscarino: trombone
  • Dylan Elise: drums
  • Ric Fierabracci: bass guitar, vocals
  • Julian Coryell: guitar, vocals
  • Glenn McLelland: keyboards

PAST MEMBERS:(161)

  • David Clayton-Thomas: vocals, guitar (1968–1972, 1974–1981, 1984–2004)[12]
  • Lew Soloff: trumpet, flugelhorn (1968–1973) †
  • Chuck Winfield: trumpet, flugelhorn, backing vocals (1968–1973)
  • Jerry Hyman: trombones, recorder (1968–1970)
  • Dave Bargeron: trombone, tuba, horns, bass, backing vocals (1970–1978)
  • Bobby Doyle: vocals, piano (1972) †
  • Joe Henderson: tenor sax (1972) †
  • Lou Marini Jr.: tenor & soprano sax, flute (1972–1974)
  • Larry Willis: keyboards (1972–1978) †
  • Georg Wadenius: guitar, vocals (1972–1975)
  • Jerry Fisher: vocals (1972–1974)
  • Tom Malone: trombone, trumpet, flugelhorn, alto sax, bass (1973)
  • John Madrid: trumpet, flugelhorn (1973)
  • Jerry LaCroix: vocals, alto sax, flute, harmonica (1974) †
  • Ron McClure: bass (1974–1975, 1976)
  • Tony Klatka: trumpet, horns (1974–1978)
  • Bill Tillman: alto sax, flute, clarinet, backing vocals (1974–1977) †
  • Luther Kent: vocals (1974)
  • Joe Giorgianni: trumpet, flugelhorn (1974–1975)
  • Jaco Pastorius: bass (1975–1976) †
  • Steve Khan: guitar (1975)
  • Mike Stern: guitar (1975–1977)
  • Keith Jones: bass (1976)
  • Danny Trifan: bass (1976–1977)
  • Forrest Buchtel: trumpet (1975–1977)
  • Don Alias: percussion (1975–1976) †
  • Roy McCurdy: drums (1976–1977)
  • Jeff Richman: guitar (1976 fill in for Stern)
  • Randy Bernsen: guitar (1977)
  • Barry Finnerty: guitar (1977–1978)
  • Neil Stubenhaus: bass (1977–1978)
  • Gregory Herbert: saxophone (1977–1978) †
  • Michael Lawrence: trumpet (1977) †
  • Chris Albert: trumpet (1977–1978)
  • Bobby Economou: drums (1977–1978, 1979–1981, 1994–1995)
  • Kenny Marco: guitar (1979)
  • David Piltch: bass (1979–1980)
  • Joe Sealy: keyboards (1979)
  • Bruce Cassidy: trumpet, flugelhorn (1979–1980)
  • Earl Seymour: sax, flute (1979–1981) †
  • Steve Kennedy: sax, flute (1979)
  • Sally Chappis: drums (1979)
  • Harvey Kogan: sax, flute (1979)
  • Jack Scarangella: drums (1979)
  • Vernon Dorge: sax, flute (1979–1981)
  • Robert Piltch: guitar (1979–1980)
  • Richard Martinez: keyboards (1979–1980)
  • Wayne Pedzwater: bass (1980–1981)
  • Peter Harris: guitar (1980–1981)
  • Lou Pomanti: keyboards (1980–1981)
  • Mic Gillette: trumpet (1980–1981) †
  • James Kidwell: guitar (1984–1985)
  • Jeff Andrews: bass (1984–1985)
  • Taras Kovayl: keyboards (1984–1985)
  • Tim Ouimette: trumpet, horns (1984–1985)
  • Mario Cruz: sax, flute (1984–1985)
  • Ricky Sebastian: drums (1984–1985)
  • Steve Guttman: trumpet (1985–2005)
  • Dave Gellis: guitar (1985–1990, 1996, fill in – 1998, 2005–2016, 2017, 2018)
  • Ray Peterson: bass (1985–1986)
  • Scott Kreitzer: sax, flute (1985–1986)
  • Teddy Mulet: trombone (1985–1986), trumpet (2005–2013)
  • Barry Danielian: trumpet (1985–1986, 2013–2014)
  • Richard Sussman: keyboards (1985–1987)
  • Randy Andos: trombone (1986)
  • Tom Timko: sax, flute (1986–87, 1995, 1998–2001, 2005–08, 2009–10)
  • Tom DeFaria: drums (1985–1986)
  • John Conte: bass (1986–1987)
  • Steve Conte: guitar (1986, 2013)
  • Jeff Gellis: bass (1987–1990)
  • Charley Gordon: trombone (1987, 1988–1994, 2001, 2013–2014)
  • Dave Panichi: trombone (1987–1988, 1997–1998)
  • Glenn McClelland: keyboards (1987–1993, 1998, 2005–present)
  • Dave Riekenberg: sax, flute (1987–1990, 1995–1998)
  • Jerry Sokolov: trumpet (1987–1994)
  • Graham Hawthorne: drums (1987–1988, 1989–1991)
  • Van Romaine: drums (1988–1989)
  • Nick Saya: drums (1991)
  • Neil Capolongo: drums (1991–1993)
  • Peter Abbott: drums (fill in – early 1990s)
  • Wayne Schuster: sax, flute (1990–1991)
  • Larry DeBari: guitar, vocals (1990–1997) †
  • Gary Foote: bass (1990–1994, 1996–2004, 2005–2012)
  • Jack Bashcow: sax, flute (1992)
  • Tim Ries: sax, flute (1992–1993, 1993–1995)
  • Matt King: keyboards (1994–1998)
  • Mike Mancini: keyboards (fill in – 1980s/1990s)
  • Henry Hey: keyboards (fill in – mid-1990s)
  • Cliff Korman: keyboards (fill in – mid-1990s)
  • Mike DuClos: bass (1994–1996)
  • Jonathan Peretz: drums (1995–1997)
  • Craig Johnson: trumpet (1994–1998)
  • Matt Milmerstadt: drums (1995, 1998)
  • Tom Guarna: guitar (1997–1998)
  • Jon Owens: trumpet (1998–2000)
  • Charles Pillow: sax, flute (fill in – 1998)
  • Brian Delaney: drums (1997–1998, 2001)
  • Dave Stahl: trumpet (fill in – 1995–1999)
  • Winston Byrd: trumpet (fill in – 1998)
  • Dave Pietro: sax, flute (fill in – 1998)
  • Dale Kirkland: trombone (1995–96, 1998, 1999–2001, 2002–06, fill in – 2007)
  • Pat Hallaran: trombone (1998–1999)
  • James Fox: guitar (1998–2000)
  • Dan Zank: keyboards (1998–2000)
  • Zach Danziger: drums (1998–2001)
  • Joe Mosello: trumpet (2000–2002)
  • Gil Parris: guitar (2000)
  • Gregg Sullivan: guitar (2000–2004)
  • Phil Magallanes: keyboards (2000–2001)
  • Andrea Valentini: drums (2001–2012)
  • Darcy Hepner: sax, flute (1999 fill in, 2001–2004)
  • John Samorian: keyboards (2001–2003)
  • Nick Marchione: trumpet (2002–2004, fill-in – 2015)
  • Eric Cortright: keyboards (2003–2004)
  • Leo Huppert: bass (2004)
  • Steve Jankowski: trumpet (2005–2013)
  • Rob Paparozzi: vocals, harmonica (2005–2011)
  • Scottie Wallace: vocals (alternating with Rob P. – 2005–2006)
  • Thomas Connor: vocals (fill in – 2006 & 2007, 2012, early 2017)
  • Tommy Mitchell: vocals (fill in 1 show 2007)
  • Jens Wendelboe: trombone (2006–2013)
  • Chris Tedesco: trumpet (fill in for Mulet – 2007)
  • Brian Steel: sax (fill in – 2008)
  • Bill Churchville: trumpet (fill in – 2008)
  • Ken Gioffre: sax (2010–2015, 2016–present)
  • Jon Pruitt: keyboards (fill in for McClelland – 2010)
  • Ralph Bowen: sax (fill in for Gioffre – 2011)
  • Dave Anderson: bass (fill in for Foote – 2011, joined 2012–2013)
  • Jason Paige: vocals (2011–2012)
  • Bernard Purdie: drums (sat in for 1 tune 2011)
  • Tom Bowes: vocals (2012, 2018)
  • David Aldo: vocals (2012–2013)
  • Joel Rosenblatt: drums (2012–2015, fill in for Elise – June 2017)
  • Bo Bice: vocals (2013–2018)
  • Jon Ossman: bass (2013–2014)
  • Michael Davis: trombone (2013)
  • Carl Fischer: trumpet (2013–2015, 2016)
  • Dan Levine: trombone (2014 & 2015 – fill in, 2016–2018)
  • Dillon Kondor: guitar (fill-in – 2014-2016, 2017–2018)
  • Buster Hemphill: bass (2014–2016, 2018 – fill in)
  • Trevor Neumann: trumpet (2014–2016)
  • Brandon Wright: sax (2014 – fill in)
  • Dylan Elise: drums (2015–present)
  • Mike Cottone: trumpet (2015–2016)
  • Mike Boscarino: trombone (2015–2016, 2018, 2019)
  • Ric Fierabracci: bass vocals (2016–present)
  • Brad Mason: trumpet- MD (2015, 2016–present)
  • Leonardo Amuedo: guitar (2016)
  • Jonathan Powell: trumpet (2017-2019)
  • Mark Miller: trombone (2017, 2018 – fill in)
  • Adam Klipple: keyboards (2017 & 2019 – fill in)
  • Frank David Greene: trumpet (2017 – fill in)
  • Anibal Rojas: sax (2017 & 2019 – fill in)
  • Bryan Davis: trumpet (2017 – fill in)
  • Brian Bonvissuto: trombone (2017 – fill in)
  • Greg Mayo: guitar (2018 – fill in)
  • Julian Coryell: guitar vocals (2018, 2019 – fill in)
  • Ozzie Melendez: trombone (2018 – fill in)
  • Chris Rodriguez: guitar vocals (2019)
  • Keith Paluso: vocals (2019-present)
  • Sam Ryan: vocals (2019 – fill in)

DISCOGRAPHY:

From STEVE KATZ

When the Blues Project broke up soon thereafter, Katz found himself working with Al Kooper, the member of the old band with whom he had fought most often. The new band, called Blood Sweat & Tears, would go on to sell millions of albums, win several Grammys, including one for Best Album (beating out “Abbey Road”) and tour the world, playing everything from festivals to Las Vegas.

But that was all in the future. Their debut album, “Child is Father to the Man,” was recorded in late 1967 with the mercurial Kooper, and it’s still considered by some to be the band’s finest hour. Yet Kooper departed soon thereafter, and his place was filled by the big-voiced, barrel-chested David Clayton-Thomas, who became, for Katz, “the Canadian albatross” and made Kooper seem like Gandhi by comparison.

The band’s second album, called “Blood, Sweat & Tears,” with Clayton-Thomas singing “Spinning Wheel,” “And When I Die” and “You’ve Made Me So Very Happy,” soared to the top of the singles and album charts and stayed there for months. In an irony that only rock music can produce, when Katz was at his most successful commercially, he was most miserable personally. The band was for him now more a business consideration than a musical entity.

“Part of my problem was that the band did not have the family vibe that Blues Project had,” said Katz. “Mainly, I didn’t like the direction the band was going in, which was deeper and deeper into jazz. Plus, David was beginning to sound like Sammy Davis Jr. But once we had the hit singles, we had no choice. You have to deal with lawyers and accountants and you have to trust them but, unfortunately, there was nobody you could trust in those fields back in those days.”

Nonetheless, the band did have some exciting times, such as playing a muddy, late-night set at Woodstock that was not included in the movie. They had happier experiences at the Atlanta and Toronto pop festivals, and toured Eastern Europe at the behest of the State Department. Katz hung on through four albums and even outlasted Clayton-Thomas, but eventually left in 1973.

CHILD IS THE FATHER TO THE MAN/BS&T

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CHILD IS FATHER TO THE MAN

   Christmas 1966 my folks gave me the only gift I truly wanted, an AM-FM portable AC powered radio with a battery backup.They got me one of the best, a PANASONIC which lasted until 1976 when my friend, Bobby T. threw it against the wall after a NY Yankees loss. Not one of his best tantrums but close as his best was throwing an ashtray through the TV after losing at a game of “Spades”. But I digress. My portable radio had a pull out antenna and in the gift box was a strange looking wire. I asked my Dad if he ever saw this kind of wire as he was an electrician for the NYTA. He laughed, went to his workbench downstairs and came back with a small spool of the identical wire. He told me when the wire is attached to the pull out antenna the clarity of sound of distant stations would probably be clearer. Clearer I could not imagine as the sounds emulating from this radio was already amazing.  Pulling in distant stations was intriguing. So I got a ladder, climbed up the tree next to my upstairs bedroom window, shimmied up to the upper branches, as high as I could go (remember, I am afraid of heights) and attached the wire to the tree bark with a few heavy duty staples. The other end of the wire was attached to the side of my night table which when needed I would hook to my radio. WHEW…I could pick up all sorts of stations, especially at night when I could get the Canadian station CKLW (The Big 8). One night I heard ITCHYCOO PARK (Small Faces) on that station.

   My neighbor across the street, an older guy by 4 years, had an eclectic taste in music and occasionally would lend me albums like The Blues Project, Paul Butterfield Blues Band, and such. I nagged him about taking me to see The Lovin’ Spoonful to which he said he would but my Dad nixed it before it got any further. What’s this got to do with “Blood Sweat and Tears”? Well, one night (Spring of 68) while reading a book under the lamp in my bedroom with the radio playing softly in the background I heard something that caught my attention…”I Can’t Quit Her”, a nice little ditty, piano leading with horns. “WOW”, I thought, “This is good, who is it?” ROSKO, one of the Dj’s on the new WNEW-FM format announced it was “BLOOD, SWEAT and TEARS”. I thought, “That’s a weird name for a band”. A few weeks later while perusing the record department in TSS Stores I saw a strange looking album cover with an even stranger title ,“CHILD IS FATHER TO THE MAN” by BLOOD SWEAT & TEARS, needless to say I purchased it.

   As per my usual procedure I awaited until evening for the darkness and comfort of my bedroom before partaking of the sounds recorded on that 12 inch vinyl. I lit up my Marlboro Red, dropped the stylus down and …”The Overture” to which I thought, “What’s with that laughing?” … and then, “I Love You More Than You’ll Ever Know” an amazing song, all 5 minutes and 58 seconds of it. Then, the cacophony of horns as intro to “Morning Glory” (with what later in another incarnation of BS&T the organ/arrangement becomes “You Made Me So Very Happy”). I was mesmerized sitting there, then NILSON’s song “Without Her”, Side 2 with “I Can’t Quit Her”, “Something’s Goin’ On” and all the others.  This album is a keeper.

     As things turned out AL KOOPER the originator of the band was “fired” from his own band due to “creative differences” leaving BS&T to chart a different course, hit making pop music, as the second album BLOOD SWEAT and TEARS released at the end of 68 soared up the charts and included three (3) Top Ten singles. Critics hated the new version of the band but the record buying public loved it. Meanwhile, Alan Peter Kuperschmidt aka Al Kooper  Summer of 68) had a TOP TEN album on the charts with “Super Session” featuring MIKE BLOOMFIELD and STEPHEN STILLS.

Led Zeppelin: February, 1969



IRON BUTTERFLY at FILLMORE EAST January 31 and February 1, 1969,  Pete my buddy at work attended one of those shows that weekend. He raved about this new band who blew Iron Butterfly off the stage, leaving Iron Butterfly to play just one song, their hit IN A GADDA DA VIDA, and according to Pete, Led Zeppelin the other band came back out due to the booing of Butterfly and the calls from the crowd for more Led Zeppelin. I have never been able to verify that but Pete said it, so…it must be true. 
   A few days later while at work Pete asked me to join him to see LED ZEPPELIN at THE SCENE a club in Manhattan. With little provocation I agreed to go to the Wednesday night show. But alas, the shows were cancelled due to John Bonham’s son falling at home in England and Bonham was needed there. So, I made due by purchasing LED ZEPPELIN and listening to the debut album, over and over again. And waited for their return to NY.

Animal Collective/ Time Skiffs

Today: Animal Collective

   It’s a cold Saturday morning, in fact its a freezing cold morn in New York, but I am armed with my second cup of coffee as I finish my routine of online newspaper readings. In one paper I found a review about the newest ANIMAL COLLECTIVE album. Intrigued I do something I haven’t done in many months, I downloaded music, specifically the afore mentioned band’s “Time Skiffs”. Usually I would search out the album in the local record store (they still exist folks) and buy the vinyl copy but as I said it was freezing outside so I remain in my comfy chair with my coffee.

   Now some will not know of this band let alone the fact that this is their eleventh (11th) album.  I had one of their previous recordings “Meriweather Post Pavilion” and gave it many spins a few years ago so I thought, “Why not again?”

   These new songs are somewhat thematic based around folks being isolated and confused for the last two years, something we all can relate to. Also, the fact that time passes too quickly, “Treatin’ every day, as an image of a moment that’s passed.”as sung on the tune “Prester John”.

   The band’s live performances have been described as telepathic and dreamlike, with a 3-D, modern Beach Boys like harmonies laid over a Grateful Dead groove, aka neo- psychedelic. I’m in, I’m more than ready for another trippy recording. “Let’s say tonight, you and me, we’ll watch the sky fall into pieces!” from “Strung With Everything”

   Now, the only problem is it is Saturday morning and I’m not in my stained-glass work space where normally this music would be playing on my stereo. Its playing on my Mac Book where others having breakfast can enjoy. And I hear from the nearby other room, “What is that?” and not in a good “What is that?” kinda way… more of the “Get that shit off” kinda way. Oh well, to each his/her own. I still like it. Worth a listen, 3 1/2 stars on first listen (out of 5). 

THE NERD IN ME…aka February 2: The Centenary of ULYSSES

   Covid-19 aka two years isolation gave me the opportunity to “get my nerd on”. Some who read my blog know I am on a quest to revitalize, resurrect, rejuvenate, and renew myself with the ultimate goal of being “the better man” not just a better man when I fully get back out in society. Truthfully, it ain’t going so well but I can tell you that I did have the time to revitalize, to resurrect, and to renew two obsessions I have which can be well…nerdy.

   It goes without saying that I am a collector or as my lovely bride would say, a “hoarder” of memorabilia, vinyl records, autographed books and the like, but since I document and categorize every item, and since the “stuff” is neatly stored I call it “collecting”. Many years ago, over 60 to be closer to the truth, I started collecting coins. Then, my paternal Grandmother gave me two Whitman’s books for collecting pennies and nickels, filled mostly with the entire set. Well, the collection grew and grew. About the same time she gave me my Dad’s stamp collection started in the 1930’s. Now these stamps were used not mint (new) but great to look at. Needless to say I started my “mint” collection of stamps.

   Over the years I would take a few hours to review what I had in stamps/coins and search out what I needed. During the Great Covid Hibernation I went full out in search of newer items and started to collect stamps from other nations, especially if the issue involved a person from/of literature, art, music, science, etc. which leads me to this: February 2 ,the Irish postage company An Post have released two new stamps, “The Ulysses 100″, to celebrate the centenary of the publication of James Joyce’s acclaimed novel “Ulysses”. The colors of the stamps are in direct correlation to “Gilbert Schema” which makes it more interesting. The photographs used on the stamps are said to “offer a glimpse into James Joyce’s Dublin at the turn of the last century.”

   The question is, How many folks, (English majors need not apply”) actually read all 700 plus pages of “Ulysses” and if so did you understand what was happening? For those who don’t know, the novel takes place in Dublin on an unremarkable single day in the lives of LEOPOLD BLOOM and MOLLY BLOOM. – June,6 1904, and is widely regarded as a masterpiece on parallel with Homer’s Odyssey. 

to be continued…

OPINIONS and OBSERVATIONS: THE PAST EIGHT PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS 

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.It’s time to prepare for the MID-TERM elections.

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.This is my take on the “popular vote” and how the people nationwide actually pull the levers (Or fill in the dots, or chads, or whatever). 

Of the last eight (8) Presidential elections (1992,1996, 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012, 2016, 2020) more Americans have voted for a DEMOCRATIC candidate than the REPUBLICAN counterpart.The exception was 2004 when GEORGE W. BUSH beat his opponent JOHN KERRY by@3 million votes. Of those eight (8) elections the DEMS have won the PRESIDENCY only five (5) times 1992 and 1996 (Bill Clinton), 2008 and 2012 (Obama) and now Biden (2020). The overwhelming popular vote for one candidate while  that candidate did NOT obtaining the office is an interesting statistic to consider.

The Dem v GOP Psyche:

The 1980 Presidential election was a landslide victory for the Republican Party under RONALD REAGAN. The incumbent JIMMY CARTER (D) faced strong opposition in seeking the nomination from his own party with TED KENNEDY actively seeking the nod, up to and including during the convention. Fearing a deadlock at the Democratic Convention, a “draft Mondale” cry was initiated but did not come to pass. The DEMS send the incumbent CARTER/MONDALE slate against the former governor of California RONALD REAGAN and former CIA Director GEORGE H.W. BUSH. The REAGAN/BUSH ticket wins 489 electoral votes to the incumbent’s 49 (538 total). 

The REAGAN/BUSH team seek a second term (1984) continuing with their conservative thoughts of supply side economics, strengthening the military, etc. The DEMS offer the ticket of WALTER MONDALE (former VP under Jimmy Carter- a one and done president) and a woman GERALDINE FERRARO as vice president. JESSE JACKSON was also in the mix. Needless to say, the Reagan /Bush team easily won re-election, securing the Electoral College 525 to 13 (538 total) an even larger victory that 1980. The Democratic party has had two consecutive disastrous runs for president as well as losing house and senate seats. 

THE REAGAN ERA continues with the win by GEORGE H.W. BUSH and DAN QUAYLE, the 1988 GOP Presidential ticket running against MICHAEL DUKAKIS and LLOYD BENTSEN, the Democratic slate. Dukakis is too much of a “liberal northerner” for the taste of the neoconservatives of the Reagan Era. The GOP easily move into a third term with a 426 to 111 electoral vote with BUSH stating “read my lips” when asked about raising taxes which he promised would not happen.

During his term BUSH did raise taxes, the economy was in a recession and all the hopes and dreams, the goodwill of Ronald Reagan was not continuing. The American people questioned Bush’s ability to lead and as well the future of the Republican party. 

Enter BILL CLINTON as the Democratic candidate, he being an unknown from Arkansas and ROSS PEROT an independent third party candidate in a challenge to George HW Bush for the presidency in 1992. ROSS PEROT’s popular vote (19,743,821) should be noted that despite  him obtaining zero electoral college votes Perot’s popular numbers did have a substantial influence on the election. The two major candidates were separated by 5.8 million votes. However, after three GOP presidents the office was ceded in 1992 to CLINTON 370-168 electoral votes. A huge victory for the Democratic party as they would control the House and The Senate with overwhelming numbers, a plus for any president on his first day of office.

1996 Clinton (379 electoral votes) defeats BOB DOLE (159) by 7,774,396 popular votes. In his two campaigns CLINTON defeated his challengers by a total of 13.5 million votes.

2000 Al GORE(266), Democrat received 543,596 more popular votes than the victor George W. BUSH (271).

2004 George W. BUSH received 3,011,595 more popular votes than his opponent John Kerry who quickly conceded the election despite the fact that there were irregularities in OHIO (20 electoral votes) costing Kerry the election.

2008 Barack OBAMA (365) received more popular votes (69,456.032) popular votes than any other presidential candidate defeating John McCain (173) by 9.5 million votes.

2012 OBAMA(332) is re-elected defeating MITT ROMNEY(206) by 4.8 million votes.

2016 Hillary CLINTON (227) wins the popular election by 2,864,903 more votes than the election winner Donald TRUMP (304).

2020 Joe BIDEN (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.

Overall, 1992-2020

Dem Pop Votes    53,398,839

GOP Pop Votes   47,579,244

Difference: GOP  -5,809,545

According to Election lore, The incoming president will usually see a decline in his party’s Congressional seats at the midterm elections. So we await 2022.(Opinions and Observation soon)The 2021 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.

The statistics for the Presidential Election of 2020 have been scrutinized with a keen eye by the media, the candidates, their supporters and distractors, and ultimately the judicial branch of government. 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 parties, folks ) candidates. More than 100 million votes were cast before Election Day (early voting OR mail in). 2020 is the 9th consecutive presidential election where the victor did NOT win a popular majority by double digits (1980).

So be it.

FEBRUARY 1: La Fheile Bride…

Today, the first day of the month of February is known as “La Fheile Bride” in IRELAND, that is THE FEAST OF ST. BRIGID, with St. Brigid of Kildare being the second most popular Saint in all of IRELAND, just behind you know who. I try to explain to my non-Irish acquaintances the significance of BRIDY but sometimes they lose interest. Heathens they are. But when I show them the “cross” they say ,“I’ve seen that”. DUH.

   St. Brigid was one of four “fire” god/goddesses in Ireland before becoming a saint. The “fire” was a term for the changing of a season, the midpoints of the year, seasons. She represented IMBOLC which was an ancient festival marking the beginning of spring.Today St. Brigid is the patron saint representing many factors of Irish life including sailors, poetry, learning, healing, protection, blacksmithing, livestock and dairy production, teens, unmarried mothers, and children without fathers. She takes care of them all and  also had a reputation as an expert dairywoman and brewer, was reputedly could turn water into beer. She is my kind of goddess.

   To celebrate, on the eve of Her day, folks leave a piece of cloth outside their doors awaiting St. Brigid to come by and bless the cloth with the powers to heal and protect.That cloth is then woven into clothing, used in  drapes, or left hanging conspicuously around the home. On the first of February, a feast honoring her is held with a parade through town and later she is celebrated at homes with family activities culminating in the making of St. Brigid’s Cross.

   Next year, 2023, ST. BRIGID’S DAY will be a national bank holiday in THE REPUBLIC OF IRELAND but not the six counties to the north to which I say “Fxxx The Crown, Hail, Muire na nGael” (Mary of The Irish).

   Next year, 2023, ST. BRIGID’S DAY will be a national bank holiday in THE REPUBLIC OF IRELAND but not the six counties to the north to which I say “Fxxx The Crown, Hail, Muire na nGael” (Mary of The Irish).

THE RUSSIANS WERE COMING…

  Forget the UKRAINE, the REDS are screwing with IRISH FISHERMAN and that ain’t too cool.The Russian Naval Flotilla was planning a “war games” exercise in International waters, waters extremely close to Ireland’s maritime Exclusive Economic Zone. This exercise would have involved “live fire” 160 miles off the coast of Cork lasting for five days.This type of activity would be a threat to marine life and fish stocks in the area, the life’s blood for the Irish fishermen. As many as sixty Irish trawlers are planning to fish in the waters where the Russian exercises were being planned, as they do every year on February 1 when the fishing quota begins. However, this would have been the first time that Russian’s had sought to do a naval exercise in the area. Perhaps the Russians are being deliberately provocative.After much negotiations the Russian’s decided to change their plans. Let’s keep an eye on it.

to be continued…

Bloody Sunday @ 50

BLOODY SUNDAY: 50 Years Later

January 30, 1972…

January 30, 2022…

   Most times while holding my first pint of Guinness in a pub I look skyward, nod in silent tribute to my relatives from the “old sod” and softly mumble, “Fuxx The Crown”. One asks,“Why would you curse out The Crown?”. Here’s just one of many,many reasons. Fifty years ago,13 innocent Irish civilians of County Derry were shot dead by members of the British Army’s Parachute Regiment (The Crown) at a march protesting internment without trial. A 14th victim died months later.

   This past Sunday, January 30, the 50th Anniversary of “Bloody Sunday” a “Families’ Walk of Remembrance “was held starting off from Creggan shops and ending at the Bloody Sunday Monument. Children in the procession were holding a white rose for each of the 14 victims, while other family members carried photographs of their lost loved ones. At the monument a ceremony was held and  the cathedral bells tolled 14 times at 4:10pm — the time the killings began 50 years ago.

“We pledge to honour the memory of those who died on Bloody Sunday by standing with all victims of the Troubles and continuing to work for permanent peace on our shared island.””Very painfully, the Bloody Sunday families were denied for too long the truth about what happened to their loved ones,” said Archbishop Martin.”Sadly, they are not alone — a whole legacy of heartbreak and with it a dark shadow of secrecy still hangs over much of our troubled past.”

In total twenty-six (26) unarmed Irish citizens were shot, 14 of the 26 died. The British Army’s Parachute Regiment said those shot were armed or were “bomb throwers” which proved to be totally false during two separate investigations into the Bogside Massacre. It was proven that  NOT ONE WAS ARMED.The casualties are listed (Wiki) in the order in which they were killed. R.I.P.

  • John “Jackie” Duddy, age 17. Shot as he ran away from soldiers
  • Michael Kelly, age 17. Shot in the stomach while standing at the rubble barricade on Rossville Street.
  • Hugh Gilmour, age 17. Shot as he ran away from soldiers near the rubble barricade.
  • William Nash, age 19. Shot in the chest at the rubble barricade. Three people were shot while apparently going to his aid, including his father Alexander Nash.
  • John Young, age 17. Shot in the face at the rubble barricade, apparently while crouching and going to the aid of William Nash.
  • Michael McDaid, age 20. Shot in the face at the rubble barricade, apparently while crouching and going to the aid of William Nash.
  • Kevin McElhinney, age 17. Shot from behind, near the rubble barricade, while attempting to crawl to safety.
  • James “Jim” Wray, age 22. Shot in the back while running away from soldiers in Glenfada Park courtyard. He was then shot again in the back as he lay mortally wounded on the ground. Witnesses, who were not called to the Widgery Tribunal, stated that Wray was calling out that he could not move his legs before he was shot the second time.
  • William McKinney, age 26. Shot in the back as he attempted to flee through Glenfada Park courtyard.
  • Gerard “Gerry” McKinney, age 35. Shot in the chest at Abbey Park. A soldier, identified as ‘Private G’, ran through an alleyway from Glenfada Park and shot him from a few yards away. Witnesses said that when he saw the soldier, McKinney stopped and held up his arms, shouting, “Don’t shoot! Don’t shoot!”, before being shot. The bullet apparently went through his body and struck Gerard Donaghy behind him.
  • Gerard “Gerry” Donaghy age 17. Shot in the stomach at Abbey Park while standing behind Gerard McKinney. Both were apparently struck by the same bullet.
  • Patrick Doherty, age 31. Shot from behind while attempting to crawl to safety in the forecourt of Rossville Flats.[2][66]
  • Bernard “Barney” McGuigan, age 41. Shot in the back of the head when he walked out from cover to help Patrick Doherty. He had been waving a white handkerchief to indicate his peaceful intentions. 
  • John Johnston, age 59. Shot in the leg and left shoulder on William Street fifteen minutes before the rest of the shooting started.

“Give Ireland back to the Irish”…

26+6=1

The “Six” counties of the North held hostage by the British: Fermanagh, Derry, Antrim, Tyrone, Down, Armagh.

DAYS AND NIGHTS OF MY MISSPENT YOUTH aka TICKETS TORN IN HALF: January 30, 1996: JOHN ENTWISTLE @ Tramps

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DAYS AND NIGHTS OF MY MISSPENT YOUTH aka TICKETS TORN IN HALF: January 30, 1996: JOHN ENTWISTLE @ Tramps

   One of the best part about having friends who are so into music is the ability to get them to join you on any musical journey at a moments notice. It’s even better when your phone rings and the other party ask, “Watcha doin’ ? How about seeing John Entwistle with me?” While we are/were both fans of THE WHO, my partner accumulated the entire recorded collection, including some “live bootlegs” of THE WHO and most of JOHN ENTWISTLE records. He also said the backing band would be “Rat Race Choir” a band we saw numerous times out on the Island years ago. I’m game for this and to go to TRAMPS on West 21s Street for this show made it even better.I loved that place. A LIRR train ride in, a short walk over from Penn, a few drinks at the bar next door, and in we go.

   Having seen THE WHO a few times since 1968, especially once in 1969 at FILLMORE EAST when they used 45 amplifiers,I learned that THE WHO could be loud but I was not too sure how loud ENTWISTLE as a solo act would be until I saw the set up. I knew this was not a “let’s get as close as we can” in this very narrow standing room only hall. Over to the left of the stage against the wall would just be perfect.

   LOUD as a word does not do justice to what I heard. Loud, yes but clear as a bell also. It was pretty amazing and very good. Four guys up on the small stage with enough equipment to be heard over in Jersey, they were a joy from the opening “Heaven and Hell” right through to the encores. Later, on West 21th heading back on Seventh Avenue to Penn, lighting up a Marlboro Red my friend, with a huge smile on his face said something which sounded like, “Coo shop ,huh” to which I responded, “Yes, and very loud”.

Set List:

HEAVEN AND HELL

HAD ENOUGH

SUCCESS STORY

TRICK OF THE LIGHT

BRIDGES UNDER WATER

THE REAL ME

LOVE DOESN’T LAST

BORIS THE SPIDER

LIFE AFTER LOVE

LOVE IS A HEART ATTACK

YOU

LAST SONG

MY WIFE

LONG LIVE ROCK

encore

SUMMERTIME BLUES

WON’T GET FOOLED AGAIN

 John Entwistle: Bass, Vocals; Steve Luongo,Vocals, Drums; Alan St.John, Keyboards; Godfrey Townshend: Vocals,Guitar

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