Time--2017 A to Z Theme

My theme for the 2018 Blogging from A to Z April Challenge is "Cleaning the Clutter"--I might literally be cleaning my closets or figuratively clearing the excess from some other part of my life. I'm sure you can think of other things this could mean for you as well.

Always a work in progress--welcome to my blog...


Monday, September 24, 2018

In the Middle of the Road (#BOTB results)

   Going someplace is often the best part of a journey, but heading back home can be mighty nice as well...

Me, Arlee Bird, in 2006 in my sister's living room when she lived in New Jersey

In the Middle of the Road

         Whenever I travel I prefer to drive.  There's that thing about being in control that I like.  If I want to stop somewhere I can.  If I want to take a side trip I can do that as well.  Driving to me represents freedom.  But freedom isn't really free and driving requires time and money.  That's what I liked about my job managing a theater company. 

           Entertainment is a risky business that has left many in heartbreak and disappointment.  When you have an offer that provides several months of a guaranteed route of bookings and all expenses paid then it's like getting a vacation funded.  I've never understood these rock stars who lament their heavy tour schedules.  But maybe they don't have the road in their blood like I do. 

           At this point in my life I no longer think of a road that goes on forever.  There is a destination ahead that I'm taking my time to reach. And there is so much more along the way that I want to savor.  I'm going to keep taking chances as though there is a lot of future ahead of me.  After all, time is relative...

Battle of the Bands Results

Taking a Chance on Love

         The Battle for this song was between two recording artists from the past--June Christy and Ethel Waters.  It looks like I presented a good match with these choices as this was a close result. 

          My favorite video would definitely be the clip with Ethel Waters.  Her rendition of the song is fantastic, but I do prefer that cool jazz style of June Christy and her band.  If my vote had gone to Ethel Waters then this contest would have been a tie.  My vote going to Christy gives her a marginal win.

Final Vote Tally

June Christy           11

Ethel Waters            9

Next Battle on Monday October 1st

         I am really pondering some stuff these days.  I won't say what it is right now because it's a lot of things.   I'm not just aimlessly stuck in the middle of the road, but I am at a crossroads.

        Do you like to drive when you travel?  Have you ever had a job that required travel that was paid by your employer?    What has been your most impactful crossroads decision so far in your life?

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Taking a Chance on Love (#BOTB)


Step right up and play the game!   If you don't take a chance you don't win a prize...

Taking Chances

         Life is filled with opportunities which in themselves are filled with chances.  We don't know for sure what will happen unless we try to pursue our dreams.  Any dream has the potential of failure, but the reward of success should be the focus of our purpose in life. If we enjoy what we are doing and think that our endeavors can be fruitful then we should push forward.  We will have to take some chances.

         In my previous Battle I debuted "Let's Run"--a song that I had written and, with a lot of help from my friends, managed to get three different recordings made.  The response from my comment section was favorable to very nice so that gave me a better feeling about the risk I took in releasing these songs on YouTube.  Eventually I hope to get some even better recordings and do something with the song.

         Since childhood, music has been a bit of a passion for me.  Writing songs is something that inspires me and helps me to think more creatively.  Music has been something I've taken chances with before in other stages of my life.  Now that I'm being drawn back to music, I might as well be prepared to take some more chances...

Battle of the Bands

     Battle of the Bands is the blogging event started by Far Away Series and now hosted by StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands.   This event happens each month on the 15th and on some blogs there is also a Battle on the 1st of the month.  My blog is one of those with a second Battle on the 1st of the month.   The premise is simple:  Listen to the songs presented below and then in the comments vote for your favorite and tell us why you liked it.  Then visit the links listed near the bottom of this post for more Battle action.

Taking a Chance on Love

         The current Battle is actually a sort of a part two of my Battle from May 15th of this year.   In prefacing that Battle I told about how I'd seen an episode of The Jack Benny Show that featured Frankie Avalon singing a song mash-up that had initially confused me.  At first I thought it was one song, but I couldn't decide what the song was.  Then I realized that Avalon's rendition was a clever blending of "I'll Never Say 'Never Again' Again" (which I used in that May Battle) and "Taking a Chance on Love" (which is the song I am featuring today).

        "Taking a Chance on Love" first appeared in the all-black cast musical Cabin in the Sky.  The stage play was later turned into a film which is where the video clip below came from.  In fact, both video clips in this Battle are musical shorts that were shown between films shown in the theater.  These would be the predecessors of the music videos like we more frequently see today.

         The two videos present a rather stark contrast, but both are quite good in their own ways.  But you be the judge:   Which performance of the song do you like best?  and Which short film do you like the best?

         Take a listen and do tell...

June Christy   "Taking a Chance on Love"  (1950)

       Jazz singer June Christy started in the big band era and for a few decades was active in the cool jazz genre.  Though she had the chops as a singer, she never achieved the recognition that maybe she should have.  In her final stage appearance in 1988 she shared the stage with the legendary Chet Baker.  Here she is with a pretty decent band of players...

Ethel Waters    "Taking a Chance on Love"  (1943)

         You might have seen "Cabin in the Sky" on TCM as it is shown often.  The film has a great cast and wonderful musical numbers like "Taking a Chance on Love."  One of my favorites in the film is Eddie "Rochester" Anderson who was Jack Benny's sidekick for many years. By the way, if you are a fan of Jack Benny like I am, reruns of his show are often played on Jewish TV (it's some cable network that I get on Direct TV).  Just thought I'd drop that bit of info, but let's get on to the song...

Time to Vote!

There's no right or wrong answers here so take a chance and vote.  What's your favorite between these two choices? Which song version do you like best? Which film clip do you prefer?  You don't have to know about music to have an opinion since it all comes down to your own personal taste.

         Please vote on your favorite by letting us know your choice in the comment section and tell us why you prefer the version you chose. Then after you've finished here, please visit the other blogs listed below who may or may not be participating this time around. And if you've put up your own BOTB contest let us know that as well so we can vote on yours.

Here are some other places where you might find BOTB posts:

 StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands


'Curious as a Cathy'

Sound of One Hand Typing

Angel's Bark  

Debbie Doglady's Den

Jingle, Jangle, Jungle 

Cherdo on the Flipside

Winner of this Battle Announced on Monday September 24th

      That gives you an extra couple days to vote.  No excuses this time!  If I get anymore personal song updates I'll be dropping them here.  In the meantime, I'm waiting...

        What was the biggest chance you ever took?  When did you fully expect success only to be countered with not-so-successful outcomes?   How much do the outside voices hinder the inner voice of your dreams?  


Monday, September 10, 2018

The End of a Run (#BOTB Results)

        After one race has been run then the next thing is to start getting ready for the next race.   Never give up!  Keep running on...

The End of a Run

         If you haven't been following my past several posts, I wrote a song called "Let's Run" back in April/May.  Not being a runner, using the subject of running for a song seemed odd at first.  Still as I began writing my song the lyrics went from the actual act of running to the metaphorical marathon of life.  My song "Let's Run" was inspired by the metaphor more than the act.   You can find the lyrics to the song at this link.

        As fortune would have it, a couple of my neighbors helped me record a rough version of the song.  Schemer that I am, I asked for other covers of the song from anyone who might be interested. A friend of mine from Tennessee, Lonnie Carver, offered his version.  Then I came up with my own experimental version.

         Voila!   A Battle of the Bands was at hand.  If you need reference then here is that link.

        This past week the Battle has been running and votes have been decent.  Now it's the end of the run and time to announce the verdict...

Battle of the Bands Results

         The Battle of "Let's Run" was between versions by:   1)Arlee Bird, Ricardo Palma, & Nathan Lucero   2) Lonnie Carver  and 3)Arlee Bird/Take Too

           There were many nice things said about all participants and I do appreciate the many very nice and helpful comments.  Even my wacky experiment got a few votes and honorable mentions.  But the real horse race was between BPL and Lonnie Carver.  I'm not voting on this Battle because I just can't--I like all the versions for different reasons.   Thanks to everyone for one of the best voter turnouts I've had.

Final Vote Tally

Bird, Palma, & Lucero             22   

Lonnie Carver                          19

Take Too                                     5

Next Battle of the Bands post on Saturday September 15th

         I'd better get started putting this one together since I don't have my Battle picked yet.  I will keep everyone posted on anything that happens about "Let's Run".   If anyone wants to go give me likes on YouTube and maybe even share then I leave video links below.  And if you do go there, please subscribe to my YouTube channel.  I'm sure that would help some.

Let's Run   by BPL

Let's Run   by Lonnie Carver

Let's Run by Arlee Bird

I'm still accepting cover versions of "Let's Run" for anyone who'd like to be included in a future battle with that song.   I think a couple may be on their way to me soon!