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, December 7, 2022

The Snowball that Swallowed my World ( #IWSG & #BOTB Results )

       I was just hanging out waiting for the holidays when a massive snowball rolled up behind me.  I tried to get away, but then it just swallowed me up and kept on rolling.   And here I am now, rolling to who knows what... 


The Insecure Writer's Support Group


Join us on the first Wednesday of each month in Alex J. Cavanaugh's Insecure Writer's Support Group--a forum of writers who gather to talk about writing and the writer's life. For a complete list of participants visit Alex's Blog
     The co-hosts for the December 7 posting of the IWSG are Joylene Nowell Butler, Chemist Ken, Natalie Aguirre, Nancy Gideon, and Cathrina Constantine!






December 7 question - It's holiday time! Are the holidays a time to catch up or fall behind on writer goals?


         When November started I had little idea of what was to come.   Then, things started happening and the month started flying like no other November I can remember.  Unexpected things that were good for the most part, but very busy for my life.

         First, there was a surprise trip to East Tennessee courtesy of the son of my best friend who was to celebrate his 50th anniversary with his wife.  I had not planned on going for the anniversary luncheon, but my friend from my high school days really wanted me to come so his kids surprised him by bringing me there.  It was a delightful four day whirlwind that also allowed me to spend some very good time with my brother and two sisters.

        Then, a couple days after my return home, my oldest daughter and her family came for a week and a half visit for the Thanksgiving holiday.  They treated my wife and I to a mini-vacation in Scottsdale Arizona at a magnificent resort that was all decked out for Christmas.  It was spectacular!

         After that four day excursion, we had an enjoyable few days leading up to Thanksgiving.  I prepared a feast that included turkey, ham, and all sorts of sides upon which we all gorged ourselves.  I'll pat myself on the back for that achievement, which is something I hadn't done for the past few years.  Two of our daughters came with their families and we had a great time.

         Then after everyone had left, my wife came down with a mild bout of COVID (of course!).   As she was recovering I came down with a bit of an irritating cold that set me back a bit.  Fortunately I tested negative for COVID, but still I didn't feel like doing too much for several days.

        As we recovered, my wife's father went to the hospital and was diagnosed with COVID as was her sister who lives with their father.  My father-in-law has been in declining health for the past many months and going to the hospital didn't help.  He's still there as I write this post and my guess is that he will likely pass away today or soon after.  After all, he is 98 years old and was having a difficult time doing anything for himself.   He's had a long run in his life so I think we can be thankful that he made it this far.

      That's just November, and any writer goals I might have had didn't get very far for this busy month.  So, to answer the IWSG question for December, I think it's probably safe to say I'm going to be falling way behind on the writing plans that I had been considering and likely I won't gather much momentum in the weeks ahead.

       But who knows?  I don't need much more in my schedule, but I'm ready for anything.  I'm pretty sure there will soon be a funeral and family gatherings.  And next week my wife and I will be having our 25th anniversary.  What a combination of events and occurrences!  That's the way it goes sometimes.   I'm not even sure about Christmas and New Year.  I'm going to take it all as it comes.  I can do writing later I guess.


Battle of the Bands Results


         

         My most recent Battle was an example that goes against the grain of conventional BOTB thinking of not pitting a more unknown song version against a more known version that was a "hit".  My song choice was "Rock 'n Roll (I Gave You All the Best Years of my Life" using the relatively obscure version by Cajun fiddler Doug Kershaw up against the more known Mac Davis version that made it to  #15 on the Billboard charts back in 1974.  

        The Davis version hasn't aged too well and like a few noted it's kind of a lifeless schlocky tribute to rock music while sounding insipidly poppish.  Mac Davis tanked in this Battle with most of the votes going to Doug Kershaw's up tempo version.  Add my vote to this latter group.

Final Vote Tally

Mac Davis                2 votes

Doug Kershaw          11 votes



Next Battle of the Bands on ?????

          As I noted earlier, I've been busy and things might not let up too much for a while.  I'll decide about my next Battle in the weeks ahead, but I'm thinking it might be January 15.  I'll see what everyone else is doing as well.

        Have a wonderful Christmas and an excellent year to come!








Thursday, December 1, 2022

Rock 'n Roll (I Gave You the Best Years of My Life) ( #BOTB )


        This has been an extremely busy November for me with trips to East Tennessee and Phoenix AZ as well as visiting family members for Thanksgiving.  So much fun!  I'm tired and it's still a few weeks until Christmas.  Life is good!

       But I'm back on the blog and it's time for another...


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.


Rock 'n Roll (I Gave You All the Best Years of My Life

        Lately I've been doing a lot of reflecting on my life.  Housecleaning (and organizing) does that to me sometimes.  Looking at all of the stuff I own makes me wonder what I should continue to keep and what I need to get rid of.   The biggest part of my accumulation of stuff is my collection of music on vinyl, tape, and CD.  I've spent a fortune on those things over the years and now when I look at my music library I often think how I'd like to have back all the money I spent on this collection.

         However, all that music sure provided me with countless hours of listening pleasure.  There is a wide variety of musical styles in my audio library, but the preponderance of this collection is in the genre of rock and roll.  Rock music has provided me with so much listening pleasure since the sixties up until the present time.  The money spent would be nice to have now, but there could be no replacing those musical memories.

          The song for this Battle installment popped into my head the other day for some reason I can't recall.  I'd say most of you might not be familiar with "Rock 'n Roll (I Gave You the Best Years of My Life)" but it's likely that many of you might identify with some of the sentiments of the song which was written by Australian singer/songwriter Kevin Johnson.  The song is rarely played on radio or elsewhere even though it's been recorded by several artists over the years.

          Here are two versions for you to compare and decide which you like best...


Mac Davis     Rock 'n Roll (I Gave You the Best Years of My Life)  (1974)

         Mac Davis was a big star in the seventies and into the eighties.  He had several hit songs (including the ones he wrote for Elvis Presley).  For a while he often appeared in TV shows, movies, and onstage and continued working in show business until his death at 78 in 2020. 

           Mac's version of this song was the highest charting version in the United States reaching #15 on the Billboard charts in 1974.   Listen and then move on to the next version....




 Doug Kershaw      Rock 'n Roll (I Gave You the Best Years of My Life)  (1973)

          Doug Kershaw has had a long respectable career as a singer and fiddle player.  He never has reached superstar status, but he has secured a solid place in country music history.  His version of "Best Years of My Life" is the only one I ever knew until recently.  When I first heard it back in 1973 I went right out and bought the album which I discussed in my 'K' entry for this year's A to Z Challenge.  

          Kershaw's version picks up the tempo a bit from most other versions I've listened to.  Now you take a listen and tell us what you think about it...






Time to Vote!

           You don't have to give the best years of your life to play in this game.  It only takes a few minutes!  Just listen and appreciate.  Which song do you prefer?  
 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

  'MIKE'S RAMBLINGS'

'Curious as a Cathy'

Sound of One Hand Typing

Jingle, Jangle, Jungle 




Battle Results Wednesday December 7th

       You will find the results of this Battle on Wednesday December 7th.   I'm going to continue taking a bit of a blog break through the holidays.  I'll make a couple of Insecure Writer's Support Group posts, but other than that I'm going to do whatever it is I'll be doing.  I hope it's mostly fun and productive.  Be sure to stop back by for the results!




Monday, November 7, 2022

The Vote Is In--No, Not That Vote ( #BOTB Results )

       

          This week it's all about the vote and the results.  I've got some results, but not the big results much of America is waiting for.  These are the Battle of the Bands results....


Battle of the Bands Results



       My most recent Battle was one between songs about writers and writing in honor of NANO month (look it up if you don't know what I'm talking about).   This Battle found hippie dippy Donovan up against Lloyd Whoever-He-Is Cole.   Cole's song was a catchy tune that won the hearts of most of the voters.  I'd never of Cole before, but I liked his sound and his song seemed appropriate for a writerly song Battle.

        Donovan's song has been a big favorite of mine for over fifty years.  Even in my high school days I could appreciate Donovan's song portrayal of a writer past his prime and fading into his own memories.  I think it's a wonderful song and that's the one that got my vote in this round.  

         However as it is in the song market, the more poppy sound of Lloyd Cole won over the most listeners.  I guess that's what I should have expected.


Final Vote Tally

Lloyd Cole       11 votes

Donovan           6 votes


Next Battle on Friday December 1

        I'm going to be pretty much off line for a few weeks.  Maybe I'll pop on now and then, but I've got some busy times ahead.  Have a great and bountiful Thanksgiving!





Tuesday, November 1, 2022

Writers and Writing ( #IWSG & #BOTB )

         Time to write that novel you've been thinking about for--what, years?  decades?--well, if you've been dreaming about such things.  I have.  Still am.  What am I doing about it?  Writing a blog post...

The Insecure Writer's Support Group


Join us on the first Wednesday of each month in Alex J. Cavanaugh's Insecure Writer's Support Group--a forum of writers who gather to talk about writing and the writer's life. For a complete list of participants visit Alex's Blog
     The co-hosts for the November 2 posting of the IWSG are Diedre Knight, Douglas Thomas Greening, Nick Wilford, and Diane Burton!



November 2 question - November is National Novel Writing Month. Have you ever participated? If not, why not?


    Years ago I participated for two years in a row.  I was doing a lot more writing activity back then.  Now I've got excuses not to write.  Actual excuses.  Sometimes.  And this November especially I have some real life things going on that are likely to be keeping me busy until the end of the year.

     I'll hopefully be writing again soon, but this year no Nano for me.

      But since it doesn't take much of my time I will do this...

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.


Sing a Song of Writing

       Here's a couple of contrasting views of writing for you to think about as you ponder your own writerly dreams of a career of sorts as a writer.  Take a moment to listen to each and then vote on your favorite in the comment section. 

        

Lloyd Cole   "Writer's Retreat!"   (2010)

 



Donovan  "Writer in the Sun"   (1966)

 




Time to Vote!

           Nano or No-no, you don't have to have writing aspirations to enjoy the music in this song Battle.  Just listen and appreciate.  Which song do you prefer?  
 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

  'MIKE'S RAMBLINGS'

'Curious as a Cathy'

Sound of One Hand Typing

Jingle, Jangle, Jungle 

Streampebbles (Diedre Knight)



Winner of this Battle Announced on Monday November 7 

              Make your vote count!  Come back on the 7th to see if your pick was the top favorite.  After that I'll probably be taking the rest of November off.  And not because I'm writing a novel.






Saturday, October 22, 2022

The Wizard of Ozzie ( #BOTB Results )

 

 Halloween is creeping upon us!  What will you do?  Where can you hide?  How much candy will you be filling your cupboards with and how much will you give away to the little creeps who will be creeping your way at the end of the month?   Why don't we take our minds off of the dark days to come in order to indulge in some results--you know what I'm talking about...


Battle of the Bands Results



The Wizard Won!

      Common BOTB wisdom suggests that we should not pit the unknowns against the more widely known and more popular artists.   And yet I did it again!  But that's how I roll when it comes to Battle of the Bands.  I enjoy introducing readers to artists they may not have previously heard or even heard of.  So that gave us a Battle between the high profile heavy metal group Black Sabbath going up against the virtually unknown eclectic group The Troll straight from the cut-out bins to assail the ears of my BOTB voters.  

      In the early seventies I was a big fan of Black Sabbath.  Since I owned vinyl copies of the second and third Sabbath albums (Paranoid and Masters of Reality) I listened to those albums many times.  Likewise, my friend Vernon owned their first album on 8-track and we listened to that one countless times as we cruised about in his red 1969 Pontiac Firebird.  I eventually became Black Sabbath saturated and grew a bit weary of their music and never bought another one of their albums, although I do own a few of the later releases on CDs bequeathed to me by my late youngest brother.  I never listen to them, but I've got them if I ever feel inclined to do so.

     During that same period of the seventies, I acquired The Troll album from a cut-out bin selection and was quite pleased by what I heard.  Weird, yes, but crazy fun.   Their album is somewhat like the Beatles' albums from Sergeant Pepper on. Rock songs interfused with amusing sounding vaudevillesque ditties and odd psychedelia.  Just my thing.  I never played the album much when friends were around, but I spun the disc frequently during my own private listening sessions because I liked it.  And I still like it.

       Ozzie Osbourne has a real talent for what he does and Black Sabbath is still a group that I can appreciate.  However, the eclecticism of The Troll keeps me more interested in what they do.  Sabbath plays some brutally heavy rock and roll, but The Troll throws more into the mix and that holds my attention longer.

         I like Sabbath, but in this Battle my vote goes to "Werewolf and Witchbreath" by The Troll.  Not the trend with the voters though.  Whatever the reason, Black Sabbath handily won this Battle.


Final Vote Tally

The Troll                 4 votes

Black Sabbath        11 votes


        To give The Troll another chance, here is another "scary" Halloween song from their first and only album.   Happy Psychedelic Halloween!



The Troll   "Mourning of the Day"  (1968)




Next Battle on Tuesday November 1








Saturday, October 15, 2022

Heavy Halloween ( #BOTB )

/
Okay, time to get dark.  And I don't mean darkness coming earlier in the evening as our days grow shorter--although it helps set the mood.  I mean more songs for Halloween.   Dark songs...



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.

More Songs for a Halloween BOTB
 
          In my previous Battle the witches won in the guise of Jim Stafford's song "Swamp Witch".    In this Battle the witches return with werewolves and they go up against a powerful (and heavy) wizard.  Now, before you say it in your comment, I will admit that this music might not appeal to some of you--you might even hate it--but I hope you'll give it a chance.   

        So let the spell begin....     


The Troll    "Werewolf and Witchbreath"  (1968)

           This group was formed in Chicago in 1966 and released one rather eclectic album.  The strange music mix might be one reason the album didn't make a splash.  Or maybe the music was just too weird for some people.  I've got the vinyl album in my collection and I actually enjoy it quite a bit.  But most of you know by now that I enjoy some pretty strange stuff.   Here's some early heavy metal-or heavy something--to put you in a Halloween mood...


 


Black Sabbath   "The Wizard"  (1970)

       Unlike the previous group, Black Sabbath is likely a familiar name to most of you.  They are often considered to be pioneers of the Heavy Metal genre.  I listened to their albums frequently in my younger days.  You know how we crazy kids can be.  






Time to Vote!

         Now c'mon!  It ain't that bad.  Just give the songs a chance.    Which scary song do you prefer?  
 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

  'MIKE'S RAMBLINGS'

'Curious as a Cathy'

Sound of One Hand Typing

Jingle, Jangle, Jungle 

Streampebbles (Diedre Knight)



Winner of this Battle Announced on Saturday October 22
 
        Maybe I'll have enough votes to make for an interesting Battle.   No matter what though, I'm getting a kick out of listening to these old tunes.  Ah, the memories.

        Do you have any musical memories associated with Halloween?  What kind of music makes you think of autumn?   Have you checked out the price of Halloween candy this year?  (Now that's scary!)
















Saturday, October 8, 2022

A Scary Battle Outcome ( #BOTB Results )

    Ghosts, witches, and vampires came to the musical arena in a combat of fright in my most recent Battle of the Bands.  Who won?   Read on...


Battle of the Bands Results



Witches Win!

         A rather small assemblage came to vote in my most recent Battle.  Maybe readers were too scared to weigh in?   The outcome was heavily weighted in favor of witches, but vampires made a comparatively decent showing.  The ghosts were like a vapor disappearing in the darkness.

          I liked all three but in the end I was conflicted between Rebecca and the Sunnybrook Farmers and Roky Erickson.  Rebecca & Co was an immensely talented and eclectic group from Pittsburgh PA who recorded their only album in a matter of a week or less according to rock legend.  It didn't sell many copies but fortunately I snagged a copy from cut-outs in the early seventies.  After the group disbanded, members went on to appear on a number of other artists' albums as well as some of their own.  I like the song "Ghost" with the ethereal background voices, the eerie viola, and the breathy lead vocal, but just a tad less than I like Roky's song.

        Though I didn't know who Roky Erickson was back in the late sixties, I was a big fan of his group the Thirteenth Floor Elevators.  They faded away into the realm of psychedelia mythdom until Roky reemerged with a number of solo albums in the latter seventies and into more recent times.  He's kind of weird, but he did some great music before his passing in 2019.

         Jim Stafford is widely known by music fans since he actually charted with some hits.  I like Stafford's music and his "Swamp Witch" is an outstanding cut.  Very creepy and fun!  However, his song of this trio of spooky tunes came in third for me.

         My pick is Roky Erickson with "Night of the Vampire".  This is some great scary rock and roll.


Final Vote Tally

Rebecca and the Sunnybrook Farmers     1 vote

Jim Stafford                                              7 votes

Roky Erickson                                          4 votes



Next Battle???

      Maybe Saturday October 15, but definitely one will come on Tuesday November 1.  We'll see.




Wednesday, October 5, 2022

It's About Time ( #IWSG )

 

        My current Battle of the Bands has a Halloween theme.  Please visit this post so you can vote for your favorite songs and costume themes between ghosts, witches, and vampires.  Get in the spirit for Halloween!


The Insecure Writer's Support Group


Join us on the first Wednesday of each month in Alex J. Cavanaugh's Insecure Writer's Support Group--a forum of writers who gather to talk about writing and the writer's life. For a complete list of participants visit Alex's Blog
     The co-hosts for the October 5 posting of the IWSG are Tonja Drecker, Victoria Marie Lees, Mary Aalgaard, and Sandra Cox!




October 5 question - What do you consider the best characteristics of your favorite genre?


   All the Time in the World (or Wherever)

         As I've mentioned in past posts, I've grown more drawn to non-fiction than fiction.  Most of my reading these days is non-fiction because I prefer reading about reality rather than fantasy.   This also goes for my writing goals.  If I were going to write something these days I might be more inclined to stick with non-fiction--most likely memoir.   However this is not to say I'd never write fiction.  There are still a lot of ideas for fictional stories in my head.

          When it comes to fiction, my favorite go-to genre is time travel.  There is so much that can be done with time travel and stories in this sub-genre can fit into many other categories such as sci-fi, fantasy, romance, and so on.  The possibilities with time travel are endless which is the first big plus in writing, reading, or watching such stories. 

          What I especially like about the time travel genre is being able to tap into and speculate about real events and people in history.   I enjoy research and when writing about reality from a fictional perspective it is imperative to get the history right if the writer hopes to gain credibility with an audience.  Time travel can contain the elements of non-fiction while allowing the writer or reader to take a story into realms of imagination.

         Personally, I'd love to be able to travel through time, and imagining and speculating about the experience can be almost as good as doing it without any risk or having to leave ones safe place.  Fiction is all about the what-if factor and since it's unlikely we'll ever be able to actually travel through time then imagining the experience is as good as we can ever probably do.

          Maybe someday I'll be able to time travel, but more than likely it's going to be through my writing about it and stretching my imagination to far-off places and times.   Probably the best part of the time travel genre is it's versatility.   Like space, time is limitless and the story potential never ends.  Time travel is truly a genre that can encompass all of the other genres.

 

             Do you enjoy time travel stories?   What are some of your favorites?   If you avoid the time travel genre, why? 








Saturday, October 1, 2022

Ghosts, Witches, and Vampires ( #BOTB )

         It's October!  Time for Halloween and all the scary stuff that comes with that day of the year.  Are you ready for all the ghouls and other assorted characters who will be soon be tap tap tapping at your door in search of handouts?  But before that happens, are you ready for 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.


Halloween Inspired Battle

         Being as such that Halloween is such a popular time of each year--one of the biggest retail events of the year--why don't we have Halloween anthems and songs like we do at Christmas?   There are the traditional favorites like "Monster Mash" or "Thriller" but nothing that seems to equal the huge quantity of songs we get inundated with during the Christmas season.  And I can't think of any scary songs we sing as a group.  Isn't it time for some seasonal songs of Halloween?  With that in mind, I've decided to make this Battle about spooky songs that fit well into a Halloween theme. 

        Every year new innovations in costumes or character themes enter the marketplace.  Possibilities for dress-up run the gamut of every kind of superhero imaginable to all sorts of horror creations to career depictions like medical or law enforcement personnel.  You name it and someone probably will be dressing like it.

         Then there are those perennial favorites that have been around since the earliest times of dressing up for Halloween.  In this Battle I will focus on three of the biggies in costumes:  ghosts, witches, and vampires. I offer you one song for each character and you pick your favorite song and favorite costume.  Will they be the same choices or different?  It's up to you, so just have some fun and play along.  And even if you don't like any of the songs, hopefully you'll like one at least a little bit better than the others.

         Are you ready?  Let's go!


Rebecca & the Sunnybrook Farmers   "Ghost"  (1969)





Jim Stafford   "Swamp Witch"  (1973)





Roky Erickson   "Night of the Vampire"  (1981)







Time to Vote!

         You can be scared of these songs, but don't be afraid to vote!   Which scary song do you prefer?  
 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

  'MIKE'S RAMBLINGS'

'Curious as a Cathy'

Sound of One Hand Typing

Jingle, Jangle, Jungle 

Streampebbles (Diedre Knight)



Winner of this Battle Announced on Saturday October 8
         
           Are you ready for Halloween?   Will you be dressing up this year?   What has been your favorite costume that you have dressed up as in the past?