September 30, 2008

"Only the Young"

I was never a big fan of Journey back in their heyday (the 80's). For some reason I hated groups like Journey, Styx, REO Speedwagon, Kansas, etc. No doubt whatever music mags I was reading at the time brainwashed me into believing there was something wrong with those types of groups, usually labeled as being "corporate rock." As if there was something wrong with those groups earning a living. Today, obviously, pop music is clearly just about making money, and making it quickly before the audience grows tired of it. But, back to Journey...

The soundtrack to Vision Quest (1985) was released the February of my senior year in high school. Anyone my age who is reading this should be able to recall how frequently (relentless pounding) MTV played Madonna's Vision Quest videos ("Crazy for You" and "Gambler"). But the really great song from that soundtrack was Journey's "Only the Young." I clearly remember thinking it was an anthem for my generation, which it was/is. And with graduation three months away, we were indeed "free to fly away." Ah, good times.....sorry to wax nostalgic, but the world's gone nuts, and the past stays just as it was. In fact, it gets better with age!

The MTV video (actually the film's credits):

And in 2008 with Arnel Pineda, the Vietnamese Filipino singer Neil Schon discovered via a YouTube video:

Not Steve Perry, but an incredible facsimile!

September 27, 2008

These Are the Days

How strange it is someone at ABC thought a Saturday morning cartoon modeled after the hugely successful TV program The Waltons would appeal to the same audience (kids) that was into Super Friends. These Are the Days, from Hanna-Barbera, was originally broadcast on ABC from September 7, 1974, to September 27, 1975. I have a very faint recollection of its existence, primarily because I would have been watching the animated Star Trek on NBC at the same time. It was one of the few dramatic series done by Hanna-Barbera, along with the cartoon Devlin. Like Devlin, These Are the Days featured the vocal talents of Monkee Mickey Dolenz. I just don't know how someone thinking clearly could have believed this would appeal to children. Most kids aren't exactly into nostalgia:

The audience for this would have been beaten up on the playground and bullied incessantly.

UPDATE: Thanks to commenter Amy for reminding me of two things I, as a boy, would have tried to ignore back in '74 - Holly Hobbie (which looks to have been remade as one of the Bratz dolls) and Little House on the Prairie. The existence of both certainly could have allowed ABC executives to believe These Are the Days would have an audience.

September 25, 2008

"Autumn Leaves"

A story about man's most desperate need...and woman's

From the Wikipedia entry:

"Autumn Leaves" is a much-recorded popular song. Originally a 1945 French song "Les feuilles mortes" (literally "Dead Leaves") with music by Joseph Kosma and lyrics by poet Jacques Prévert, English lyrics were written in 1947 by the American songwriter Johnny Mercer. It has become a pop standard and a jazz standard in both languages, and as an instrumental. "Les feuilles mortes" was introduced by Yves Montand in 1946 for the film Les Portes de la Nuit.

The film Autumn Leaves (1956) featured the song, which was sung by Nat King Cole over the title sequence. The French songwriter Serge Gainsbourg wrote "La chanson de Prévert" as a tribute to this song.

"Autumn Leaves" offers a popular way for beginning jazz musicians to become acquainted with jazz harmony as it consists almost solely of II-V-I and II-V sequences which are typical of jazz. For example, in the key of G minor it opens with Cm7 (II) - F7 (V) - Bbmaj7 (I). The bridge contains the same sequence as well as Fm7 (II) - Bb7 (V) - Ebmaj7.

Here is Nat King Cole from (I assume) an episode of The Nat King Cole Show:

And finally, a live performance by The Oscar Peterson Trio in '65:

September 19, 2008

Morning in Minden

Minden, Louisiana, was one of the locations for the film The Longshots, which just came out, recently. So knowing this, and having been to Smithville, Texas, and Mansfield, Louisiana, I was a little wary about "vintage authenticity," so to speak. Despite this, I think most of what I've captured was genuine, and has been around at least since the 1940's.

minden coca-cola sign from the 1940's
c. 1943

sign in minden
I think this just has to be a leftover prop. But I don't really know.

western auto sign in minden

drake building
The Drake Building, where the A&P used to be. I like the burnt orange satellite dish that says "Electronics Unlimited." I wonder if that's a leftover prop.

crichton hardware sign
the cab stand
former bank of webster
Former Bank of Webster, c. 1910

bank of minden
Former Bank of Minden, c. 1901, Romanesque Style

webster parish courthouse
The contemporary Webster Parish Courthouse, c. 1953

the american legion in minden
c. 1950

Main Street
main drive through downton minden other side of minden main street
main street, minden

And back alley
view down minden alley

The Shat on the new Trek

William Shatner (and daughter) talks about why he won't be appearing with Leonard Nimoy in Star Trek, while at the same time promoting one of his books and raising the prospects of a Captain Kirk appearance in future movies (if this new Trek franchise takes off):

Well played, sir.

September 12, 2008

Galveston, oh Galveston

See you on the other side.

"Ike waves crash into 1900 Storm statue"

Storm surge breaks on top of the Galveston Seawall around the statue honoring the victims of the 1900 Storm on Friday.

-- caption from The Galveston County Daily News, photo by Jennifer Reynolds

Return visit to Athens

I went back to Athens for a shot of Henderson County Courthouse, which last time I was there, inexplicably, I did not photograph. Due to the fullness of the oak trees and the location of the sun, this was the best I could do:
henderson county courthouse
c. 1913, Classical Revival

I'll go back again during the winter, when all of those leaves are gone. There were a few other things I didn't get before:

faulk-gaunt building
Faulk-Gauntt Building

faulk-gaunt building entrance
north prairieville street
North Prairieville Street

building in athens first national bank
henderson county jail
Former Henderson County Jail, c. 1925

former gas station in athens
carpenter-francis drugstore
texan theatre in athens

Robert Plant's solo stuff

Robert Plant

Pictures at Eleven (1982)

"Burning Down One Side"

Principle Of Moments (1983)

"Big Log"

"In the Mood"

The Honeydrippers: Volume One (1984)

"Rockin' at Midnight"

Now and Zen (1988)

"Heaven Knows"

"Tall Cool One"

Vintage 1988-era MTV

September 11, 2008

"September in the Rain"

Written in 1937 by Harry Warren and Al Dubin, when leaves would actually turn brown as early as September on the North American continent, "September in the Rain" is probably the best song on one of my favorite Sinatra albums, Sinatra's Swingin' Session!!! (I love the exclamation points!!!). It is the centerpiece of the album and a great example of Nelson Riddle's style as an arranger.

Kudos to the creator of this video for the inclusion of that first Ava Gardner picture - nice (and surprising) touch!

And as a bonus, here are the Silver Beetles (John, Paul, George, and Pete Best) doing a version that can't even begin to compare with Sinatra/Riddle's, but at least it's an original interpretation. This is supposedly from an audition the group did for Decca Records. Yep, guitar groups were on their way out:

September 10, 2008

"September Song"

Continuing the cheerful mood of yesterday's post, for some reason I'm presenting Sinatra's interpretation of "September Song," from his September of My Years (1965) album, although I'm no longer sure to whom I'm presenting it, or even why. Pathetic habit, I suppose. Arranger Gordon Jenkins' trademark lush strings are present, as with the other tracks on the album. In fact, I don't think there's a single brass instrument to be heard on any of the songs. But I could be wrong, I haven't listened the entire album in a while. The instrumental intro is devastatingly beautiful. So, enjoy(!), faceless, lurking strangers, I guess....

September 9, 2008

McCartney reacts to Lennon's death

Paul McCartney took a lot of flak after John Lennon's death for saying (when asked for an opinion about it from a reporter) it was "a drag."

From McCartney's Wikipedia entry:

On the evening of 9 December, as McCartney was leaving an Oxford Street recording studio, he was surrounded by reporters and asked for his reaction to Lennon's death. He replied, "I was very shocked, you know—this is terrible news," and said that he had spent the day in the studio listening to some material because he "just didn't want to sit at home." When asked why, he replied, "I didn't feel like it." He was then asked when he first heard the news, McCartney replied "This morning sometime," and one of the reporters asked "Very early?" McCartney said "yeah" and then asked the reporters if they all knew, they added "yeah." McCartney then said, "drag, isn't it?" When published, his "drag" remark was criticized, and McCartney later regretted it. He furthermore stated that he had intended no disrespect but had just been at a loss for words, after the shock and sadness he felt over his friend's murder.

Here is footage of that evening of 9 December:
Can you imagine the profound paranoia McCartney had to have been feeling, just generally, but specifically at the exact moment? He wasn't in America, but still. Only McCartney haters (of which there were probably many at the time) would even have remotely entertained the idea of Lennon's death being only a "drag" to him.

Here is McCartney on the BBC's Desert Island Discs program in 1982. He and the program's host first listen to what sounds like an early Liverpool home recording of him, George Harrison and John Lennon doing the Coasters' song "Searchin'." Then it cuts to McCartney playing his "Desert Island Disc," Lennon's "Beautiful Boy," from the Double Fantasy album. If anyone ever had any doubts as to McCartney's feelings for John, just watch as Lennon starts to sing:

September 4, 2008

A Beatles reunion mix

All together now - circa 1980

If I weren't so lazy (mainly, if I believed people actually gave a flippin' flip about my opinion), I'd do what this blogger spent time doing and thinking about. He came up with a track listing for a theoretical, one time only, Beatles reunion album. If you are interested, you can read about the reasoning behind the song selections at his site. Without a doubt, McCartney, Harrison, and Starr (yep, even Ringo!) each have better songs from their solo careers than the ones he included, but his rationale appears to have been to use things each of them did after Lennon's death in December 1980, leading primarily up to the 1995 Anthology release (Paul apparently wrote much of Flaming Pie in '95), with the exceptions being a George and Ringo tune, or two. Anyway, I think it's an interesting mix:

Disc 1

1- "The Songs We Were Singing" (Flaming Pie, 1997)

2- "(Just Like) Starting Over" (Double Fantasy, 1980)

3- "This Is Love" (Cloud Nine, 1987)

4- "Woman" (Double Fantasy, 1980)

5- "Somedays" (Flaming Pie, 1997)

6- "Free As A Bird" (Anthology 1, 1995)

7- "King of Broken Hearts" (Vertical Man, 1998 - it may be slightly Beatlesque and feature George on slide guitar, but goodness it's bad)

8- "When We Was Fab" (Cloud Nine, 1987 - this would be the title track)

9- "Watching the Wheels" (Double Fantasy, 1980)

Disc 2

1- "Flaming Pie" (Flaming Pie, 1997)

2- "Rising Sun" (Brainwashed, 2002)

3- "What In The World" (Vertical Man, 1998 - features Paul on bass and backing vocals)

4- "Real Love" (Anthology 2, 1996)

5- "Calico Skies" (Flaming Pie, 1997)

6- "Pisces Fish" (Brainwashed, 2002)

7- "All Those Years Ago" (Somewhere in England, 1981)

8- "Here Today" (Tug of War, 1982)

9- "Beautiful Night" (Flaming Pie, 1997)

Hidden Track - "Grow Old Along With Me" (Milk and Honey, 1984)

September 2, 2008

3:47 EST

From the Wikipedia entry:

3:47 EST is the first album by the Canadian group Klaatu released in August 1976. The album was renamed Klaatu when released in America by Capitol Records. It is regarded as one of the band's greatest albums, using the same kind of Beatlesque psychedelic rock (in the style of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and Magical Mystery Tour), with a few new additions; most notably vocal distortion, more backwards instruments, and some obscure musical instruments such as electric sitars.

Not Beatles - faces clearly meant for radio

For a variety of reasons, rumors spread in the wake of the album's release that Klaatu were, in fact, a secretly reunited Beatles. Although many of the album's songs bear no resemblance whatsoever to anything in the Beatles catalog ("California Jam" and "True Life Hero," for instance), several other numbers — particularly "Sub-Rosa Subway" - are dead ringers for the Fab Four. The album was surprisingly successful in the United States; at least partly a result of the Beatles rumors.

From the group's own website, here are some of the "clues" that led people to believe 3:47 EST was a Beatles album:

  • The record was on Capitol records, the American record company that had released most of the Beatles' records in the US.
  • The record had no names of band members listed on it anywhere.
  • The record had no producer name on it anywhere. It simply said, "Produced by Klaatu."
  • The record had no songwriter credits other than simply, "All selections composed by Klaatu."
  • The record had no pictures of band members on it anywhere.
  • On a couple of songs ("Calling Occupants," "Sub-Rosa Subway") the vocals sound like Paul McCartney & John Lennon.
  • The name Klaatu is taken from the movie The Day the Earth Stood Still in which the alien named Klaatu tells his robot Gort to stop hurting people with the command, "Klaatu barada niktu!" On Ringo Starr's Goodnight Vienna (1974) album, Ringo is seen coming out of the spaceship from that movie and is standing next to Gort.
  • Beetles are heard to be chirping and buzzing at the start of "Calling Occupants." (Sounds more like Crickets and some birds to me.....)
  • The song title, "Sub-Rosa Subway," was thought to be a take off on Paul's Red Rose Speedway.

    And proving anything can be found on the vast Interwebs (truly amazing), here are the songs that made a world clearly yearning for the return of the Beatles to think it had actually happened:

    “Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft” (covered, of all people, by The Carpenters)

    "California Jam"

    "Anus of Uranus"

    "Sub-Rosa Subway"

    "True Life Hero"

    "Dr. Marvello"

    "Sir Bodsworth Rugglesby III"

    "Little Neutrino"

    Nope, not the Fab Four, they'd never really come again....The world would need to wait at least another nineteen years for a sad contrivance of the digital age (which I love - the background vocals during the guitar solo have been known to make me weep, gently):