This Is Me--2019 A to Z Theme

My A to Z Theme for 2022 is My Vinyl Record Collection. This will be about the music I still have on my shelf. Be sure to check the links for samples of the albums and music I'll be talking about. There will be a lot of interesting music ahead for your listening enjoyment.

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Summer Considerations & Meaningless Musings ( #BOTB Results )

       According to the activity on my blog, summer has officially arrived.  The date is one indicator of summer as is the hotter weather.  But drop-offs in blog comments might mean summer is definitely here.  They might also mean something else, but I'll blame them on summer...

           Some might say that blogging is dead or dying.  I say it's cyclical in part.  Since I don't know the status of all blogs and all bloggers, I can't really say for sure that people are losing interest in blogging.  I don't think so.  I'd say blogging is a phase for some while others conform the activity into some sort of lifestyle.  We plunge into the blog world to either sink or swim.  I've been swimming for a while now and doing a respectable job of keeping my head above the water.  And I'm a lousy swimmer when it comes to the actual water activity.  Otherwise I can metaphorically swim okay.  

          For me, blogging is writing and since I've always been inclined to write then blogging is a fine way to crank out something on a regular basis.  I'm writing if for no other reason to entertain myself.  The fact that my writing actually does go into a public realm means somebody might read and might enjoy.  And if it is true that things on the internet stay there forever then maybe in some distant future someone will read my blog posts and think, "Wow!  What a creative genius!"

         Or, more likely, they will skim through my words and scratch their heads distractedly as they move on to the next arcane internet thing they can find.  

        For now that next thing in the story of my blog is, "What happened in my Battle of the Bands of June 15th?"

        Since all of you are so fervently waiting, here is the answer...

Battle of the Bands Results

Young Lynyrd Skynyrd

        My most recent Battle of the Bands installment featured Canadian artist k d lang singing the Neil Young song "Helpless" against artist Laura Cox singing the playfully anti-Neil Young anthem "Sweet Home Alabama"--it was a girl against girl contest (I think). 

       I like both songs and I think both artists did a tremendous job.  Laura was new to me, but I've been a k d lang fan since the eighties.  I went back and forth with this match--could have gone either way.  But "Sweet Home" is definitely more of a pick me up rousing fun tune.  And I wouldn't be the only one admiring Laura Cox's talent as well as her looks.  k d has a fantastic voice in my view, but so does Laura.

       I'm giving my vote to Laura Cox!

       Still, though a couple of voters agreed there is a melodic similarity between the song, there was not much argument one way or another about this.  An internet search yielded me nothing else to show agreement to my theory about the two songs and their similarity.  Oh well, it was a thought.

Final Results

k d lang                 5 votes       

Laura Cox            4 votes

Next Battle on Friday July 1st

        I think I'll follow Stephen T McCarthy's plan to use a summer themed Battle on that day. Sounds like a good time to do it since it will be Fourth of July weekend and all that.  Personally I'm hoping we have a cold spell in the weather where I am, but I'm not going to count on that.

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Young Lynyrd Skynyrd ( #BOTB )

       After I had finally decided to get out of bed to start another day, I thought to myself, "I was just here yesterday--and the day before that and the day before that."   Was my life becoming a stagnant humdrum pattern of repetition?  

         Each day seems very much like the last one.  Typically that's my life these days.  It's a matter of routine for the most part.  We all have one.  A daily schedule is a vital human need in some ways.  Sure, a variety in life spices things up, but a certain sameness allows us to get through each day without trying to figure out where we are going or why.  

         "Where" should be a breeze for the most part.  "Why" can be a bit more perplexing.  Some whys are obvious enough, but the bigger why is the stuff of philosophy.   Officially, I'm not a philosopher and I don't even play one on TV.  But like any typical human I philosophize even when I don't think of it as doing so.  The meaning of life is quite the philosophical undertaking while the meaning of "why did I sit down and eat breakfast?" is simpler.  The smart ass answer is "because it was easier to eat while sitting rather than standing", but the most obvious answer is "I ate breakfast because I was hungry and this is what I do just about every day at this same time.

         It's my routine--my schedule--my life as it is now.  

         So adhering to routine, here I am back on the blog with another Battle of the Bands...


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 there is also a Battle on the 1st of the month.  My blog is one of those with a second Battle excepting over these summer months.   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.

Did I Hear Correctly?

      Sometimes I think I have a mild case of  prosopagnosia, an inability to recognize faces.  It's not a severe case, but sometimes if I'm watching a movie with a lot of characters I have a difficult time keeping track of who is who.  My wife says the same so that's why I'd say I might have a mild case.  It could be that this is common for many of us.  Then, perhaps, I just don't pay attention to people's faces that much.  It's even worse when I have to remember a name to go with the face.  

       The situation is a bit better when it comes to my hearing.  I can easily recognize specific voices or sounds.  At times I feel like I can hear things others don't immediately hear,  When I call attention to the sound, after listening with more intent others might begin to hear it as well.  I think I have a fairly acute sense of hearing.

       As far as music is concerned, we all listen to these sounds in different ways.  Some of us might hone in on the vocals while others listen more intently to the instruments.  Some are more drawn to beats while others might be more attracted to the melodies and still others might focus more on harmonies or the intricacies of the musical arrangement. 

       With music I remember more details and tend to recognize differences as well as similarities.  Those similarities often are a matter of musical quoting (using part of one piece purposely integrated into another with the intent that listeners will recognize the quote), parody, mood setting, or theme and variations of old works blended into new works.  And then there is copying, whether unconsciously or purposely plagiarized. 

       This latter musical replication is what I'm considering in this post.  A number of lawsuits have passed through courts due to a belief that one artist stole the music of another.  Famously, one might think of the court case regarding the similarity between George Harrison's "My Sweet Lord" and the old hit by The Chiffons "He's So Fine".  Though the songs sound similar, I would say they are two distinct songs with one sounding in a similar vein as the other.  There's enough difference to my ears for me to distinguish the two, but the court decided that Harrison "subconsciously plagiarized" the older song.  Personally, I'd say he paid homage to "He's So Fine" with no malicious intent involved.

         Music is music and nearly all music flows from music that preceded it.  If it didn't we'd probably think it sounded weird and might not like it so much.   After all, music is repetition of certain notes, words, musical phrases, and beats that are used in many other songs.  There is a sameness within an artist's work as well as the genres in which they play.
         On Neil Young's 1974 live album Time Fades Away, an audience member shouts out, "The songs all sound the same!"  To which Young replied, "It's all one song!"  This might be the history of music in a nutshell.  One song continues to another until we have one giant symphony of a song that never ends.  It's the grand soundtrack of the history of music and the story of our lives.

        But enough philosophizing.  Let's go to the subject of songs that might sound similar.  And since I brought up Neil Young, let's look at two different songs that I think sound similar in melody, though quite different in rhythm.   This is my argument and I hope you will indulge me by listening and making some judgments of your own.   

         First we have a slow moody Neil Young song about place (North Ontario) followed by a raucous southern rock song about place (Alabama) that famously mentions Neil Young.  If you can, listen and try to substitute the lyrics of one into the other format.  Are they similar?  Or am I just hearing things?   If you have musical knowledge feel free to compare whatever can be compared to prove me right or wrong.

         Personally, I think Lynyrd Skynyrd created a sort of sped up parody of "Helpless" in order to jab Neil Young in a playful way.  I like both songs.  What do you think?   And most of all, which of these performances do you prefer?   Which song do you like best?


k d lang   "Helpless"  (2004)

Laura Cox   "Sweet Home Alabama"  (2013)

Time to Vote!
         Which of these songs do you prefer?   Are you a Southern Rocker or a Joe Rogan blocker?    
 Hopefully you have an opinion of some kind.  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

Jingle, Jangle, Jungle 

Winner of this Battle Announced on Wednesday June 22
           Hope you vote and then I hope you'll stop back to see who came out as a crowd favorite.  I think I know which one I'll pick, but I could change my mind when it's time for results.  Mostly though, I'm interested in what you readers have to think.   Tell us about it.

           What do you do if you feel stuck in a rut?    Do you have a difficult time keeping track of people?    Would you say that you have a decent sense of hearing? 



Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Now Let's Face the Outcome ( #BOTB Results )

    Yeah, yeah, yeah--I'm a bit late posting this, but I said I'd do it on the 8th so maybe I'm not all that late.  I'm here ain't I?


            Typically. I'll tally my votes the night before the scheduled post and compose the whole deal and, voila, the post goes up in the wee hours while I'm still sleeping.  Except this time I just couldn't stay awake to do it.  Or, should I say, I just didn't feel like staying awake to write this short post.

       So without further blah blah, I'm whipping this together on the morning of and let us get down to the business of....

Battle of the Bands Results

         My recent Battle was an example of the risky tactic of putting up a classic performed by the original artist against a later version by a cover artist.   In this potentially misguided Battle I had the original movie version of Fred Astaire singing "Let's Face the Music and Dance" while dancing with his most famous dance partner Ginger Rogers.    On the opposing side I had singing the same song the electro-pop eighties artist Taco with his own dance version from fifty years after Astaire did his number.

        I knew I was going to vote Astaire and I felt sure at the beginning that he would win this match.  In fact I almost didn't use the Astaire version just for that reason.  But then, after listening a few times to Taco's version, I actually felt lured by the more modern sounds.  I was tempted to vote Taco, but the grand sweep of the orchestra and Astaire's classic phrasing of the lyrics called me back to my first appreciation of this great song.  Astaire owns this song, but Taco wasn't bad at all.

        The outcome was interesting to me and somewhat unexpected.  Astaire is still King on this song, but Taco was a worthy contender.  This is the kind of outcome I like to see.

Final Vote Tally

Fred Astaire      10 votes

Taco                  9 votes

Next Battle on Wednesday June 15th

      I guess I'll do a midmonth Battle this time around.  Anyone going to join me?   I'm not doing much else.  I might even be on time next time.  Time will tell.