Time--2017 A to Z Theme

My theme for the 2017 Blogging from A to Z April Challenge is "Time". The posts will be more philosophical, contemplative, and even autobiographical than instructional. No time management tips planned, but you never know with A to Z.

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

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Saturday, February 28, 2015

Für Elise (BOTB)

     

Battle of the Bands!


         I'm excited about today's post.  After all it's time for the Battle of the Bands, the event where music loving bloggers offer up two different versions of one song and you the readers decide which version you prefer.   The Battle of the Bands blog event was founded by Stephen T McCarthy and Faraway Eyes.   After you vote on your favorite of the two selections I've offered, please visit the participants who are listed at the end of this post to vote on their Battles.

       Today and throughout this coming week I'll be presenting a very different approach to the Battle of the Bands.  I'll explain more at the end of this post so be sure to read all the way to the bottom so you don't miss what's to come.  But first let me introduce today's musical selection and then we'll listen to two interesting and outstanding recordings based on this very famous work of music.


Für Elise


      You're all undoubtedly familiar with the piano work by Ludwig Beethoven known as "Für Elise". You might not recognize this title, but I'm sure when you hear the opening notes you will have that a-ha moment of recognition.  This piece is one of the most famous piano compositions that nearly anyone who has taken piano lessons has played at some time or another.   Beethoven's "Für Elise" is among the most recognizable of all classical works.

       For the reference only, if you wish to hear the traditional classical piano version you can check it out at Fur Elise but PLEASE DON'T VOTE ON THIS VERSION.  Vote between the two artists who are featured in this Battle.  While the featured recordings aren't note by note covers of the Beethoven work, they are artist interpretations in updated styles.   Please give them a listen in order to give each a fair judgement.  I will refrain from commentary on either for reasons to be explained at the end of the post.

       Now enjoy!

Orion's Reign "Für Elise"   (2014)




For the alternate guitar duo metal version by George and Michael from Orion's Reign visit Fur Elise Duet.


Sebastian Sidi "Für Elise" (2008)

     



An alternate concert version by Sebastian Sidi solo piano with synthesized back-up can be found at Fur Elise Cover.


Time to Vote!

    For this round of voting I'm using a tandem system to help me with voting verification.  Please vote using the poll included below this red message and also leave your vote in the comment section with reason you chose the artist you did.  Use the "Anonymous" option ONLY if you are unable to vote using one of the other "Comment as" options.  If using the "Anonymous" option please include your name (first only is okay) and your city.  




Which artist's version of "Fur Elise" do you like best?
 
pollcode.com free polls





          Which do you prefer?    It's up to you to determine the winner.   Please vote on your favorite by letting us know your choice in the comment section and tell us why you prefer the one 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.





And don't forget the special news at the bottom of this post!

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

FAR AWAY SERIES’ 

 StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands

 ‘YOUR DAILY DOSE’ 

  'MIKE'S RAMBLINGS'

DC Relief Battle of the Bands

Special Coming This Week!     
   
       You'll want to check back here on Tossing It Out throughout this week. 

       Tomorrow Monday March 2nd  I'll be hosting Michael from Orion's Reign with an exclusive interview and some photos of the band.  You might be surprised by some of his answers to my questions about the band and their music.   

       Then on Wednesday March 4th I'll be assisted by Sebastian Sidi for a special Insecure Writer's Support Group post.
   
        Finally, the results of my Battle of the Bands post between the versions of "Für Elise" as performed by Orion's Reign and Sebastian Sidi will be announced on this coming Friday March 6th. 

        This should be an interesting week so I hope you stay with me at Tossing It Out!


         Which version of  "Für Elise" was your favorite in this Battle?   What did you like about the version you chose as your favorite?  Did you ever take piano lessons and learn to play this song?

  
If you have any questions about leaving a comment, please read message at the bottom of this page below the comment box which will appear if you click on "No. of comments" next to the posting time or you can click on main post title then scroll down to bottom of the page.




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Friday, February 27, 2015

Do You Enjoy Music?

English: One of the sled dogs listening to mus...
 One of the sled dogs listening to music coming from a gramophone. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


        Another Battle of the Bands is coming up this week-end--on Sunday March 1st to be precise.  A number of my readers regularly participate in this music appreciation event and seem to enjoy it or at least tolerate it.  I'm always pleased when I get enthusiastic comments indicating people have enjoyed the Battle that I've presented.  It's even fine when I'm offered intelligently reasoned comments that tell me what they didn't like about a musical piece.

        Occasionally, someone who stops by will comment that they decline to vote.  I'm glad that they let me know they stopped by, but it also indicates that my Battle posts could have an effect on their future visits to my site when they see a Battle of the Bands post.  If it's only a matter of not liking the genre of music I've used or not liking the song or artist then I feel that those readers will continue to return.  Others just might not like the Battle of the Bands and my continuing to do them could lose them as readers.  I hope that's not the case, but it's a risk I take.

       The biggest item of puzzlement for me though are the occasional comments from people who say they don't listen to music or those few who have said they don't like music.

        Say what?   Are there really people who don't like music?  At all?  Any kind?

         That's the one answer that I really would like to know more about.  Maybe it's the nature of any kind of aural stimulation and the effect that it has on those particular people.  Or something about their upbringing or sociocultural influences.   Perhaps the music hurts their ears or discombobulates their mental faculties in some way.   What exactly could it be?

          Are you one who doesn't like music?  Have you ever known someone who doesn't like music?  Do you know why some people don't like music or never listen to it?  If it's merely a matter of limiting the types of music you listen to, what are the types of music you do listen to?


        Please be sure to join me on Sunday March 1st for my next Battle of the Bands.  I'll be featuring two versions of a very classic piece of music by one of the greatest of all composers.  Then on Monday the 2nd I'll feature an interview with a member of one of the bands with some special photos.  On Wednesday March 4th I'll be joined by the other competing BOTB artist for a very special Insecure Writer's Support Group post.   This should be an interesting week so please show your support for BOTB and the featured artists by voting for your favorite version of a piece of music that you undoubtedly know.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Ask Arlee: Quality Content VS. Frequent Posting?



And now another episode of Ask Arlee...

M. J. Joachim asks...
Quality content vs. frequent posting? Obviously, it takes way too much time to do both!

       Does it?  Can we post with frequency and still have quality posts?   I see many blogs that I would judge to be accomplishing this, but the answer to this question might be a matter of opinion.  Let's try to define what each of these aspects of blogging actually means.

Quality Content

        "Content is king" is the well-known adage attributed to Bill Gates back in 1996.  However, does this really apply that much to all of us as bloggers?  For the most part the saying is more applicable to search engine accessibility based on originality of content.  Our content should be original and it should have good quality.  But "quality" can be a variable and rather selective term.

         We need to determine the purpose behind our blogging.  If we are striving to be pro bloggers with blogs that readers regularly follow or search engine researchers arrive at for specific information, the blog posts need to be of a unique informational content that is professional and authoritative.  This is the type of blog with quality content that is backed by good research and experience in a field and is suitable for quoting from or citing elsewhere as coming from a reliable source.

         If you are not a pro blogger who fits the above description then I think you can still maintain quality content but that quality would be of a different nature.  There is that level of quality that we would expect from any published work--proper grammar, correct spelling, engaging presentation, and so on.  If you are blogging to establish platform then your blog should be exemplary of what you are delivering or plan to deliver to your audience in your published work.

          Comments can tell us a lot.  If a blogger is doing all the right social networking and receives few comments or the very shallow "nice post" comments I think there is something wrong with the content.   I'd rather have four high caliber comments that tell me that the readers actually had read and responded in a meaningful way than 40 drive by comments.   If you see by your stats that your post got a lot of visits but few decent comments if any, then maybe you had bad content and visitors had no idea how to respond.

          Blogging is often an experimental endeavor.   If something does not seem to be working for you then maybe you need to try something else.   The assessment of the quality of a blog's content is ultimately up to what readers are looking for.   If you can't seem to hold onto readers who visit then they must not feel that your content delivers anything that they think they want.  

          If you are pleased with your posts and the traffic your blog gets then maybe you're doing all you need to do.  However if you don't like your traffic, your blog's ability to retain readers, and the lack of interaction from visitors then maybe you need to think a bit more about the content you are delivering.

Frequent Posting

        "Better to have too much than not enough."  That's a philosophy my mother used to have when it came to dinner gatherings and other social events.  This might not be the best idea for blogging though.  Unless you're operating a news blog or a site that requires frequent updates, more than one post per day is probably overkill--you're likely going to wear out your readers and drive them away.

          However it's important to have regular activity on your blog.  Once a month might be okay if you maintain a regular schedule.  Consistency is the most vital aspect to instilling audiences with a sense of expectancy.    If they know when you post then it's easier to turn your blog into a habit.  Random posting might work for some bloggers, but I would recommend a predictable schedule.  If you become accustomed to meeting deadlines then you are more likely to have a readership who knows when to look for your new posts.  When you go out of sight then it's possible that you'll go out of mind and have to make a greater effort to retrieve your lost readers.

         In my opinion, two or three days per week is best for most blogs.  Three of my blogs are only posted once a week and that works well since those are very limited niche blogs.   The key is to pick a regular posting day and time, then plan your posts to go up according to that schedule.  It's easier on your readers and in the long run I think it's much easier on you the blogger.

Should Your Blog Ever Post Daily?

         Yes, during April you should sign up for the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge.   There are some very good reasons for doing so as I outline in the following list:


  • The A to Z Challenge is a blogging event in which many other bloggers will participate.  You can gain greater visibility in participating with others.
  • You can hone your blogging skills in content creation, experimenting with new approaches to blogging, and testing your blog to see what works best for you.
  • There is an increased opportunity to get more feedback on your blog posts.
  • Blogging daily for a month can develop a habit of creating content and functional social networking.
  • The output resulting from participation will provide a good backlog of content for your blog.
  • Participating bloggers can develop strong bonds with others with common interests.  This in turn can be used to mutual future advantage for friendly support as well as business networking.
  • Daily blogging means more writing and more writing is practice that can help make you a better writer.
  • You might even end up with material for a book based on your A to Z content!
       There are many more reasons that you as a blogger should participate in the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge.   If you have never explored the A to Z Blog be sure to visit and read the helpful posts that appear on that site.   If you are having concerns about not having the time, the energy, or the ideas to join us in April I hope you will reconsider.  For every reason not to do the Challenge in April, the A to Z Team members and many other A to Z participants can probably counter with several reasons why you should join us in April.

         Once you've done a Challenge it's easy to get hooked.  It's really the best blogging event of the year!

         What other reasons can you think of to encourage others to participate in the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge?    What are the main benefits you've gotten from A to Z?     What do you think is more important in blogging--quality or frequency?


         




Monday, February 23, 2015

Just Another Day in L.A.

English: Shelves of packaged food inside a Ral...
 Shelves of packaged food inside a Ralphs grocery store in Los Angeles
. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


        The other day I needed some groceries so I went to the supermarket near my home.  It was still fairly early in the morning--a bit earlier than my normal shopping excursions--but I just wanted to get this grocery trip out of the way so I could go on to the other things I wanted to do.

       Grabbing a shirt that I'd tossed over a chair the day before, I put it on and plopped my cell phone in the pocket.  My mind was a jumble of the things I needed to buy at the store and the things I wanted to do later.  I rarely make lists, tending to instead think and rethink my list until I have it pretty well memorized.  What that sometimes means is that I not only occasionally forget an item or two that I meant to get, but I also end up getting a bunch of stuff that I hadn't set out to get.  That's the way I shop these days.

        Today seemed no different than most, a bit cooler and hazier perhaps, but still with every indication that it would be just another beautiful warm sunny Los Angeles day while back east folks were suffering record-breaking cold and snow.   And just a few days prior to this one we'd recorded a record-breaking hot day in the 90's.  I thought about those weather things while I drove half listening to the talk show on the radio and looking around at the urban world as I passed through it, all the while trying to drive carefully.  I looked into the other cars to see who I might see, not to think I'd see anyone I'd know, but just to see what kind of people were in those cars.

         After I pulled into my parking space at the Ralph's Market, I sauntered inside noting that at 8:30 in the morning there were less people at the market than at the normal 10 or 11 o'clock hour that I usually came here. A lady with a kid in her cart of groceries was heading to her car.  An elderly couple was heading into the store.  There would not be that many people shopping at this time of day. Easy in and out would be good and I didn't have that much to buy anyway so that would be fine with me.

         So I grabbed a cart and began strolling first through the produce department where I looked at the apples but didn't buy any and then grabbed a bunch of bananas that were on sale for fifty-nine cents per pound.  As I made my way through the aisles that mattered to me plucking what I needed off of the shelves, my mind wandered to things like a movie I had seen recently, blog posts that I planned on writing, and what I should have for lunch.   I considered buying some kind of chips but deferred on that purchase, but did pick up some coffee creamer that I remembered that I was running low on.

       Then finally done with the shopping I pulled into one of the two check-out lanes that were open, loaded the conveyor belt with the few items I had picked up throughout the store, and reached into my pocket for my Ralph's loyalty card to give to the cashier.  It was at that moment I made a horrifying discovery.   I was not wearing any pants.  There I was in my tighty-whities and a shirt I'd pulled off of a chair.  At least I had remembered to stick my feet into some shoes before I'd left the house.  How I ever forgot my pants was beyond me.

        Stunned, I stood for moment feeling utterly idiotic.  A lady behind me was unloading her cart onto the check-out belt seemingly oblivious to my presence.  From the customer service counter a store manager looked up at me and then returned his attention downward to some paperwork he'd been studying.

        "Do you have your Ralph's card?" the check-out clerk asked.

         For a moment I just stood there probably looking amazingly vacant and dumb until my feeling of stupidity turned into embarrassed humiliation.  "I'm sorry, I left my wallet at home."

         Avoiding looking at anyone, I left the store trying to appear as casual as I could but still be in a sort of hurry.  Fortunately, I had left my keys in my car and my car was not locked.  I got into my car as though nothing was unusual and began to drive back home.  This time I was not looking at other drivers.  I hoped that no one could see that I was driving without pants.  I especially hoped that I wouldn't see anyone who knew me.

        No neighbors were in sight when I pulled into the driveway and I scurried into the safety of my own home which is a verified no-pants zone if I want it to be.  Relieved to be inside, I heaved a deep breath and stood without thinking momentarily.  Then, slowly, like an old machine with giant gears and cogs, my mind started working again.

         I wouldn't go back to the store today.  We had plenty of stuff to last for days anyway.  I thought about what I should have for lunch later on and then for dinner that evening.  For now I'd go back upstairs and get on the computer.  Maybe there were some comments on my most recent blog post. I'd check on that.  Later I should probably vacuum since it had been a few days since I'd last done that.

       After the week-end I'd go grocery shopping. There would be more things I needed by then and this time I'd write an actual list.  Hopefully no one would remember about me having come in there before with no pants.  Come to think of it no one really seemed to notice that I wasn't wearing any pants.  I never heard a comment or saw anyone pointing and laughing or anything like that.  Probably no one even saw that I was not wearing pants.

       A man in the grocery store with no pants on.   Just another day in L.A.

   


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Friday, February 20, 2015

Let's Go to a Party!

Rave crowd shot from NASA Rewind in NYC 04-03-04.
Rave crowd shot from NASA Rewind in NYC 04-03-04. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Are You a Party Goer?

        What if you went to a party where a lot of people--friends as well as people you didn't know--were present and everyone was busily mingling and socializing.    As someone would come up to say hello, you'd tell them something to which they would respond and then as you were responding to continue the conversation, they would walk away to talk to someone else.  That would happen with most of the people you encountered, though a few of them might actually listen to your response and counter with their own reaction.  But for the most part people would be just seeing how many other people they could visit briefly only to move on until they'd visited everyone.

         Now let's say that party happened every day, never ending.

         Does this sound like any party you've been to?




Battle of the Bands News!


      The results from my February 15th Battle of the Bands post are now in.  This round got a bit ugly.  For the greater part of readers the song "Slip Inside This House" was not a favorite and there was perhaps even more dislike for the two song combatants The Shamen and Primal Scream.  

       My having given a label to the music genres that the chosen groups typically play might have not been the best thing for me to do since many voters I think went into the contest with preconceived notions of what they expected from previous listening experiences with the genres rather than just judging each song version on the basis of what was presented.   No matter though, since most visitors to the post did vote albeit with mostly reluctant votes.

         However there were those voters who did appreciate what I'd presented.  A Beer For The Shower said "Unlike some of the others here, I love electronica. It's probably one of my favorite genres.." My choices were not ones that were among the favorite bands but at least I was in the right genre.  


     Sheboyganboy 6 commented:  "Arlee, I think you get a bad rap.... I think this is a really intriguing and fun contest. ... I really like ALL THREE versions."

      Mark Clough offered, "I'm voting for Primal Scream. Screamadelica is a favourite album."

     There were also others who were more receptive to this contest pairing. but generally speaking it was one of those Battles where voters were mostly choosing the version they disliked the least.  That being said, this was nevertheless a pretty darn successful contest thanks to my great readers.  There were a total of 31 votes including my own.

       My vote goes with the majority opinion in favor of Primal Scream.  This group recreated their original studio version of "Slip Inside This House" with what I felt was an outstanding live performance.  I did enjoy the version by The Shamen, but the musical instruments trump the electronics for me.

Final Tally:

The Shamen         11 votes

Primal Scream      20 votes

       Maybe I'll avoid labeling certain genres in the future, though I may use techno/electronica again one day without naming what music genre I'm using.  Not in the next Battle of the Bands contest though.  My next Battle will appear at Tossing It Out on Sunday March 1st.   I won't say what style the recordings will be in, but I will say that my song pick is a hugely well-known piece by one of the most famous composers of all time.   The song title refers to a woman's name.

       Not only should you visit for that Battle, but you will want to stay with Tossing It Out throughout that week as I inject some added value and excitement to the contest. During the week prior to my announcement of the winner of the Battle, I will have special posts featuring the contestants with an interview complete with photos on Monday March 2nd and a Wednesday March 4th Insecure Writer's Support Group post where I will be assisted by the other Battle contestant.  You won't want to miss these posts!

           Would you be interested in hearing more about artists featured in the Battle of the Bands posts?   Any idea about the song or composer I will be featuring next Battle?   Are you comfortable at parties?



Wednesday, February 18, 2015

#AtoZChallenge Theme Reveal Networking Event


The Great and Powerful A to Z Theme Reveal Blogfest!

For those who missed the Theme Reveal Blogfest announcement earlier in the week or didn't sign up yet here's what's happening in March.

Sign-ups for the 2015 A to Z Blogging Challenge are already under way. If you have done it before, you know how much fun it is (good for you!) and if you have not, this is your chance to give it a try! You can sign up to participate here.

One of the most burning questions participants ask themselves every year is: "Should I have a theme?"

Themes are not mandatory, but definitely fun. They let your visitors know what to expect, and help you create posts that line neatly up from A to Z. They also have an added bonus: They let you participate in a whole separate blogfest!

Two years ago A to Z participant Mina Lobo started the Theme Reveal, and we thought it was such a great idea that we made it tradition. It is now our very own, grand and festive way of rolling out our themes together!

Here is how the Theme Reveal Blogfest works:

Sign up on the Linky list below, and on March 23rd (Monday) publish a post on your blog in which you reveal your theme, tell us why it is exciting, and give us a hint of what to expect from it! Then, once your post is up, use the Linky to visit all the other blogs announcing their themes. Enjoy!

This is a great opportunity for all of you to get a jump start on your A to Z experience. You can link up with fellow bloggers, scout out and bookmark themes that you look forward to, and set out delicious themed bait on your blog to lure in wandering participants! This way, by the time the frenzied posting begins on April 1st, you will already have an audience eagerly awaiting your posts.

The Great and Powerful A to Z Theme Reveal Blogfest!

Sign-ups for the 2015 A to Z Blogging Challenge are already under way. If you have done it before, you know how much fun it is (good for you!) and if you have not, this is your chance to give it a try! You can sign up to participate here.

One of the most burning questions participants ask themselves every year is: "Should I have a theme?"

Themes are not mandatory, but definitely fun. They let your visitors know what to expect, and help you create posts that line neatly up from A to Z. They also have an added bonus: They let you participate in a whole separate blogfest!

Two years ago A to Z participant Mina Lobo started the Theme Reveal, and we thought it was such a great idea that we made it tradition. It is now our very own, grand and festive way of rolling out our themes together!

Here is how the Theme Reveal Blogfest works:

Sign up on the Linky list below, and on March 23rd (Monday) publish a post on your blog in which you reveal your theme, tell us why it is exciting, and give us a hint of what to expect from it! Then, once your post is up, use the Linky to visit all the other blogs announcing their themes. Enjoy!

This is a great opportunity for all of you to get a jump start on your A to Z experience. You can link up with fellow bloggers, scout out and bookmark themes that you look forward to, and set out delicious themed bait on your blog to lure in wandering participants! This way, by the time the frenzied posting begins on April 1st, you will already have an audience eagerly awaiting your posts.

Sign up below, ready your theme, and post March 23rd on your calendar!




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Battle of the Bands News!

The results from my February 15th Battle of the Bands post will be announced this coming Friday February 20th. If you haven't voted yet please do so before Thursday evening February 19th.   This one has been somewhat of a tough Battle as it has not been the most popular song in a style that many do not appreciate.   Right now it's a tight race so cast a vote for the version you think is most deserving.   These versions and this song are really not as bad as some are saying.   Sometimes you need to learn to appreciate things.


        Do you have an A to Z theme decided for 2015?    Or are you going to go themeless?   What do you think would make the Battle of the Bands more exciting than it already is?  Or do you think Battle of the Bands is a big bore?
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Sunday, February 15, 2015

Slip Inside This House (BOTB)






         Had enough of sappy Valentine's Day?  Let get our feet back on the ground while keeping our heads in the clouds as we celebrate another Battle of the Bands, the popular event where music loving bloggers offer up two different versions of one song and you the readers decide which version you love the best.   The Battle of the Bands blog event was founded by Stephen T McCarthy and Faraway Eyes.     After you vote on my pairing, please visit their posts and vote on theirs. More possible participants will be listed at the end of this post.

Slip Inside This House

         There are some who might declare that "Slip Inside This House", the tour de force song penned by 13th Floor Elevators' Roky Erickson and Tommy Hall for their 1967 album Easter Everywhere, is one of the greatest rock songs ever recorded.  It's certainly one of the strangest most mystical songs.  Clocking in at eight minutes, the song has infiltrated the psyches of musicians ever since.

           Many people are unfamiliar with the song not to mention the group 13th Floor Elevators.  However the rock music community has an awareness of both as they have attained a cult status with a story that is the stuff of pop culture legendry.   The song "Slip Inside This House" has been recorded numerous times in a swirling array of stylistic approaches.

        I agonized over which two versions to choose since I didn't want to do another three way battle.  I finally opted to go with two in a more techno-alternative style.  Before listening to my choices you might want to check out the original if you are curious to hear what it sounded like, but please don't include that one in the voting options.  To hear that version click Slip Inside This House.

        And now on to the contest:



        This techno-electronica version pays a special tribute to the unique electric jug sound used by the Elevators.   Also the lyrics are very easy to hear in this version unlike many of the other versions including the original.  I get a special kick out of the Sprechgesang rap style interlude.  Go ahead and get up to dance for this one. 






Primal Scream "Slip Inside This House" (2010)

       Of all of the versions of "Slip Inside This House" the one by Primal Scream is probably the most well known and perhaps even more familiar with modern day listeners than the original recording done by the Elevators.  Primal Scream first recorded this song in 1990 for the Roky Erickson tribute album Where the Pyramid Meets the Eye.  The song appeared again the following year on Primal Scream's Screamadelica album.  There are numerous versions of this song by Primal Scream on YouTube but this live version recorded in 2010 is most interesting to me.  It's very similar to their original cover except it's live which is pretty cool.   Hope you enjoy this one:








Time to Vote!

          Which do you prefer?  I'm not revealing my pick until I announce the tally of votes on this coming Friday February 20th.   It's up to you to determine the winner.   Please vote on your favorite by letting us know your choice in the comment section and tell us why you prefer the one 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:

FAR AWAY SERIES’ 

 StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands

 ‘YOUR DAILY DOSE’ 

  'MIKE'S RAMBLINGS'

DC Relief Battle of the Bands

        The results of my Battle will be announced on this coming Friday February 20th.   No post this Monday since I've posted this and want to give this post more of a chance to allow for voting.  I will be here on Wednesday   Don't know what I'll talk about then, but I'm sure I'll come up with something.

          Do the modern techno style groups in this Battle do justice to this psychedelic rock classic?   Were you familiar with any versions of this song prior to today?   Are you curious to explore more of the music of 13th Floor Elevator after hearing this song?



Friday, February 13, 2015

13th Floor Elevators for Friday the 13th

The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators
The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Best Rock Band Ever?

         In honor of Friday the 13th (the day not the movie) I thought I might pay tribute to the incredible 13th Floor Elevators.  For those who recognize the name you may or may not agree when I suggest that arguably the Elevators were one of the greatest rock and roll bands to emerge from the 60's.   That's saying a lot when so many great bands came on the scene during that decade that produced so much revolutionary music that completely changed music history.  But I'm saying it--or if maybe not the greatest, the 13th Floor Elevators certainly wield an aura of influence over much of the rock music that came after them

Innovators of a Genre?

        They are often attributed as being the first psychedelic rock band and credited as being the first to even use the term "Psychedelic Rock".   This immediately becomes a turn off for many of you I know, but this may also be partly due to a lack of knowledge about the entire genre.   There has been some highly creative music connected with the psychedelic music movement.

          But then there's that drug thing.  The connection between mind-altering drugs goes hand in hand with the creation of music back to the earliest days of jazz and beyond.  The sixties saw the increased popularization of the hallucinogens such as LSD as well as the continued popularity of marijuana which was commonly used among earlier jazz and blues musicians.  The drugs may have influenced some of the creation of the music, but it also took talented musicians to actually create and perform that music.

What About the Band?

          Austin, Texas has given us many a fine musician, one being Roky Erikson, the guitarist/ lead singer for the Elevators and later as a solo artist.  In 1965 Roky combined forces with fellow Texan Tommy Hall to form the 13th Elevators.   Hall provided the unique sound of the electric amplified jug which provides the signature sound of the Elevators.  We've seen jugs used as a novelty in bands before this, but Hall gave jug playing a whole new dimension where the sound has often been mistaken for a synthesizer or some sort of electronic instrument.  The Elevators style is in the tradition of such bands as The Rolling Stones, Them (with Van Morrison), and The Animals.

          The group made an immediate impact on the music scene with a relatively minor chart single and their seminal album Easter Everywhere which some musicians and critics consider to be one of the best rock albums of all time.  Moving on from Texas to the San Francisco scene the band wowed the emergent bands from the hippie movement providing inspiration for such groups as Jefferson Airplane and Grateful Dead.  Sadly, though popular with the counterculture crowd, the very talented 13th Floor Elevators never gained widespread national fame.

           The group eventually fell apart due to internal strife, disillusionment, and drugs.  In one of the saddest stories of rock music, Roky Erickson, who had been struggling with mental illness, was busted in Texas for possession of a single joint and was eventually committed to a mental hospital for reasons of insanity rather than accept imprisonment.  During his stays in mental facilities the treatments with drugs and electroshock therapies only worsened his condition.   He recorded a number of albums as a solo artist for a couple of decades as he struggled with his mental condition.  The albums of the Elevators became difficult to find and the band became an anomalous footnote of modern music history.

The Resurgence of a Legend

         In 1990 a resurgence of interest in Roky and the Elevators with the release of the outstanding tribute album Where the Pyramid Meets the Eye.   Roky was back in the limelight albeit in a cult status.  With the help of his brother Sumner, Roky has returned to the music scene regularly touring and recording.   Roky's comeback story is documented in an outstanding documentary You're Gonna Miss Me--highly recommended for fans of rock music or anyone interested in the subject of schizophrenia and other mental illness.

        This post is as some of you might have already surmised is a lead in to my upcoming Battle of the Bands post that will appear this Sunday February 15th.   I will be featuring two covers of the most well-known song by the 13th Floor Elevators.   And before you avoid this Battle dismissing it as some kind of weird psychedelic song, it's one of my favorite songs and many rock artists would probably concur with my taste in liking this one.  I do hope you will listen to and vote on this Battle.  You might be pleasantly surprised--or not.

         My post tomorrow at Wrote By Rote will be about my discovery of the music of The 13th Floor Elevators and my decades long quest to obtain recordings by the band.

         Are you familiar with The 13th Floor Elevators or Roky Erickson?   If you don't like psychedelic music, what about it don't you like?    Do you think the traditional methods for treatment of mental illness often worsens the condition?

For more info about 13th Floor Elevators:


Eye Mind: The Saga of Roky Erickson and the 13th Floor Elevators, The Pioneers of Psychedelic Sound by Paul Drummond

http://funky16corners.blogspot.com/2004/11/1116-13th-floor-elevators-slip-inside.html

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