This Is Me--2019 A to Z Theme

My A to Z Theme for 2022 was My Vinyl Record Collection. For the 2023 Challenge I'll be doing something similar with my home book collection. Lots of book stuff from A to Z

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Whirlwinds and Hurricanes ( #BOTB Results )

 

    California is still here despite all the hype giving us expectations of doom.  Maybe still being here is the biggest doomsday scenario.

       On the day of my most recent Battle of the Bands posting, I embarked upon four days of a whirlwind trip that covered over 1000 miles and three states.  It was somewhat unexpected for me, but I took on the role of chief driver and tour planner.  It was hot, but that's Las Vegas in the summer.  I hadn't been to Vegas in several years--November 2015 it had been.  

       With the coming of COVID went the departure of the famous Vegas buffets.  I suspected this was the case but my party still had expectations of dining at the buffet at the Mandalay Bay, where we had eaten often in the past. The buffet was gone so we settled for some bad over-priced Mexican food.

      That was basically the story of the trip.  Restaurants there are way high-priced and often not that great of quality.  But that seems to be the case everywhere these days.  Since we hadn't made any reservations like I normally would have (that's another story that I won't go into here), I got a room at Harrah's for the same low price I had paid last time I was there.  Oh, except for the $45 resort fee and $18 parking.  Vegas nickels and dimes the visitor every chance it gets and that's not even mentioning the gambling.  At least my wife came out ahead $135 on the slot machines.  She's usually pretty lucky like that.

     The next morning we were anxious to get back home to Los Angeles (which seems strange, but it's home and not Las Vegas).  This was a long desert journey with a side trip to Hoover Dam.  We didn't take any tours but we walked across the dam in the 112 degree heat.  Then it was homeward.  I filled up before I left Arizona and paid $2 less per gallon than I would the next day in Los Angeles.  

     Friday as I was looking up an address where I was going to drop off my wife's cousin who had come to visit us from Ecuador, hence our road trip of the previous days, I received an alarm message about an impending hurricane.  What?  California doesn't get hurricanes, or at least I thought, but there it was all over the news.  This past weekend the hurricane came and went.  It was what we used to call back East a "rain storm".  I guess there were some problematic areas with flooding and such, but where I live it just rained and that was good news for my lawn. 

       Oh, then there was the earthquake in the middle of the hurricane.  You might have heard about it. It was a 5 or so on the Richter scale with no real significant damage. We are always expecting earthquakes out here in Southern California, but never hurricanes.  Guess we're trying to keep up with Florida.

      And now....


Battle of the Bands Results



       This Battle had a small turnout with a very decisive outcome.  And really, this one did not turn out like I anticipated.  I figured The Band probably had more of a fan base and Crazy Horse would be too nasally or country or whatever.  For me, Crazy Horse being a particular longtime favorite my vote goes to their song, but listening to this Band cut after many years gave me a new appreciation for it.

Final Vote Tally

The Band             1 vote

Crazy Horse         9 votes



Next Battle on Friday September 1

        I'll be continuing with my series of "Songs from Lee's Basement" and hopefully will have some pictures I took back in those days.









Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Songs from Lee's Basement ( #BOTB )

 

      When I contemplate past days, my thoughts frequently go to my parents' basement--or as my friends might have called "Lee's Basement".  It was the end of the sixties and a dawning of a new decade.  The seventies started my foray into adult life.  What times we had!


       With some inspiration from Stephen T McCarthy's Silver Dollar Saloon Song Challenge, I decided to do something similar but using songs frequently heard when the basement at my parents' house was a party place to be in Maryville Tennessee.  That basement was a comfortable and safe place for my friends to gather in my young adult days.  I lived at home during my college years until I moved out at the end of 1974.  My parents allowed me pretty free reign of their basement at that time.  We were generally well behaved and didn't stir up much of a ruckus. My stereo was usually spinning sound and I was the house DJ.

       Record collecting had been my passion since 1964 when I was in 8th grade.  The collection grew slowly in those days, but after high school and I began working then some of my money would go into regular vinyl purchases.  When I started hosting parties my record collection had grown to a modest size, but was nevertheless pretty eclectic.  I tried to pursue records that not everyone else might already have and still be appealing to many ears.  There was always plenty to choose from.

        When thinking back on those days and nights listening to music in that basement, my memories take me to The Beatles, Cream, Iron Butterfly, and so many other groups that emerged in the late sixties with sounds that were often radical and musically exciting.  A typical evening in Lee's Basement might include some classical and jazz as well as mainstays such as Jethro Tull, Neil Young, or Jefferson Starship.  We all loved music and maybe my picks for the turntable weren't everyone else's first choices, I was the master of the music of my domain and rarely did I hear any complaints about my music choices.

        So now, with a trip down memory lane, we embark on 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.

Songs from Lee's Basement

       In this Battle I will offer up two bands that got frequent play in the early seventies on my basement turntable.  Both artists are some early examples of the Americana rock genre, but the greater commonality that they share is that they were both back-up bands for some notable artists who are known for being singer songwriters and later both bands recorded and toured as their own bands.

      Here they are---take a listen and decide which recording you enjoy the most...

          

The Band   "When I Paint My Masterpiece"  (1971)

        Before going out on their own, this band--The Band--was the back-up group for Bob Dylan.  They recorded a few Dylan songs as well as many written by their members, primarily Robbie Robertson, who recently passed away at age 80.  In this Battle we have The Band performing their rendition of Bob Dylan's "When I Paint My Masterpiece"...



Crazy Horse   "Dance, Dance, Dance"   (1971)

        In 1968 L.A. group the Rockets released an interesting album that never really made much of a splash on the music scene and they reorganized into Neil Young's back-up band Crazy Horse.  Over the ensuing decades they went through a number of incarnations as Young's backing group as well as a band recording and touring on their own.   In their debut album, 1971's self-titled release Crazy Horse, they included the Neil Young song "Dance, Dance, Dance".  The band's line-up at this time also included Nils Lofgren before he moved on to his own solo work and eventually as part of Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band.   How does the Crazy Horse song stack up against The Band's song?  You decide...







Time to Vote!

           You might
 remember these songs--or not.  Either way you might or might not like them.  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. I don't know if anyone else will be doing a Battle this time around, but you can still check out these sites.


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 







Next Battle on Friday September 1st
   
           There should be some results of the current Battle coming in a week or so, but the next Battle will come as long as life continues as expected.   I'm going to continue with the Songs from Lee's Basement theme.  I got some doozies ahead.  And songs that mean a lot to me.   See ya!










Tuesday, August 8, 2023

The Eyes Have It ( #BOTB Results )

     I'm not late.  I'm just not posting this when I originally suggested I would.  It's summer.  It's hot.  I guess it doesn't matter that much.  But at least here I am now with...



Battle of the Bands Results



     My most recent Battle put "Girl with No Eyes" by It's a Beautiful Day up against the song "Lost a Number" by Nils Lofgren and Grin.  Both songs come from the amazingly musically diverse period spanning the latter sixties to the early seventies. Some of my most favorite music comes from this era and these songs, while quite different in sound, represent some of the best music in my opinion. 

      Having played violin I was drawn to It's a Beautiful Day since it's principal artist was vocalist/violinist David Laflamme.  Their first two albums got a lot of play back in the days when many of my friends would congregate in my parents' basement rec room.  However an even bigger favorite amongst most of our circle was Nils Lofgren and Grin.  Their second album was oft requested for a spin on my turntable with "Lost a Number" being a particular favorite.

      Even though Beautiful Day featured the violin as well as some really fine songs, my personal favorite between the artists was Lofgren and his group.  I thought they recorded some excellent songs that were very accessible to music fans.  Unfortunately, Nils and his groups didn't have quite the commercial success I would have anticipated, but still they managed to put out some excellent albums before Nils went on to become part of Bruce Springsteen's band.

      In this Battle my vote goes to "Lost a Number" by Grin and that was what the majority agreed with.  It was a pretty close race nonetheless.  

Final Vote Tally

It's a Beautiful Day       6 votes

Nils Lofgren & Grin       9 votes


Next Battle on Tuesday August 15th

         Yeah, I'm still planning to do this one.  But you know what they say about mice and men and whatever.







Tuesday, August 1, 2023

Eyes on the Wall ( #BOTB & #IWSG )

The primary rule of time travel is that one cannot change the past.  But what about reediting what one has written in the past?   Is it fair?  Or is that a rule breaker?  Time for...

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 August 2 posting of the IWSG are Kate Larkindale, Diane Burton, Janet Alcorn, and Shannon Lawrence.




August 2 question: Have you ever written something that afterwards you felt conflicted about? If so, did you let it stay how it was, take it out, or rewrite it?

Changing Our Past

       Decades ago when my second wife and I were looking for a cheap apartment in the University area of Richmond VA, we settled on an old place that had seen many students and the like dwelling within its walls.  One of those past tenants had begun sketching a mural on the bedroom wall that was a very fine reproduction of a Frank Frazetta work depicting some fantastical scene that I seemed to remember seeing on the cover of a fantasy novel that I had once owned. Apparently, though the walls were badly in need of repainting, the landlord had chosen not to cover up the unfinished artwork, probably not because he thought it was so beautiful, but because he didn't want to spend the money to repaint.  Whatever the case, my wife and I were okay with the artwork.  It just seemed appropriate to have on the wall of our "new" bedroom.  

        It was like the artwork that I had adorned my parents' basement with when I was in high school.  I had spent hours painting the entire basement and for years afterward it had been a party place for me and my siblings.  Everyone seemed to enjoy my artwork.  Then, years after I had moved out, my mother decided to paint over the art and cover the walls with wood paneling.  I was saddened to see my masterwork hidden away like some ancient fresco from Roman times perhaps to be rediscovered by someone in the future.  My mother was happy with the new look and that was fine because it was her house so she could do as she liked.  After my mother's death, we sold the house.  I don't know that my art will ever be uncovered, but if it is I wonder if those explorers/renovators would be interested or amazed or indifferent.  Probably the latter.  They didn't spend hours painting those walls and in reality there was not any great artistic effort involved.

        Painting a wall is one thing, but should one go back to rewrite something that has already seen publication?  I think not.  But that's the author's decision I guess.  Since I've not published anything of significance I have little input about this.  However, I see writing as a capture of one's state of mind at the time something is written.  Going back to change the essence of what had been said seems to me like going back and changing one's own journal or diary entries.  Does the writing offend?  Maybe by current sensibilities it might not seem right, but how did it seem at the time it was written or what was the intent of the author when that writing was done?

        We live in some peculiar times I think.  Writers should not have to worry about being cancelled or diminished in any way because of what they wrote in some past time as long as the intent of the message was purposeful and in keeping with the subject matter of the written work.  If the work has already been published and recognized for any merit it may have had at that time, then I don't think an author or anyone else has a right to alter it.  If not published (or only published in some limited run) then change away if that's what one wants to do.  The story belongs to the author, the book belongs to the readers.  

        

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.


Eyes on the Wall

        Back to my story about the painting on my bedroom wall, here are a couple of songs about rooms with pictures on their walls.  The first song poses a mystery of a painting of a girl with no eyes.  Where are her eyes?   Maybe the answer is in the second song.

         Please listen to both songs and then tell us in the comment section which song you like the best.  Let's go...



It's a Beautiful Day  "Girl With No Eyes"  (1969)




 Nils Logren & Grin   "Lost a Number" (1972)






Time to Vote!

           Two songs that tell stories--
 Which song version 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. I don't know if anyone else will be doing a Battle this time around, but you can still check out these sites.



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 







Next Battle on Tuesday August 15th
  
        Sure, why not.  My last midmonth Battle didn't amount to much, but it's content for the blog.  Who knows, I will probably even have results for this current Battle on August 7th.  Stay tuned and see for yourself.