Archive for the ‘Music that doesn’t suck’ Category

Up on the roof

February 6, 2023

On the roof, the only place I know,
where you just have to wish to make it so.

Every day you are above the sod is a good one.

I was a little further above the sod than is my custom this morning, filling up four 39-gallon Hefty bags with the pine needles carpeting the northernmost corner of our roof.

Ordinarily this would give me some worthy topic for complaint (“Flat roofs are stupid,” and so on). But we don’t live in Turkey, or Syria, so we still have our stupid flat roof intact above our heads instead of in pieces smack dab on top of them.

Plus, we had a roofer take a look-see up there the other day, and he said he thought we didn’t need a completely new roof, just a few precautionary touchups here and there. And maybe someone should rake up that shaggy carpet of pine needles on the north side, he mused.

This roofer worked for the company that installed our roof back in 2007, and shortly thereafter launched his own operation with a lot of the same people from the previous outfit, which is no longer with us (due to personal matters rather than personnel matters).

So we’re inclined toward optimism, which regular visitors know is not Your Humble Narrator’s natural state of being.

Below the roof, down there where the sod lies, a landscaper whose work we have admired has had a walkaround — like the roofer, The Big Boss Man of his outfit — and one of his people just popped by to take some measurements. So we’re expecting a design proposal and cost estimate directly.

Maybe, just maybe, since it seems we might not have to put a new bonnet on El Rancho Pendejo, we can afford to have its grass skirt hemmed. Use a little less of our imaginary Colorado River water. Encourage the lawn-gobbling deer to browse elsewhere, which would endear us to our gardening neighbors.

Flat roofs are stupid, though. Just sayin’.

Symphony for Voices in the Head

January 20, 2023

And a-one, and a-two. …

Maybe it’s time for a stroll down Musical Memory Lane.

What/who were you listening to while growing up, or at least older?

My folks were into the big bands, so we had Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey, Benny Goodman and the like blaring out of the stereo whenever they were in the mood (ho ho ho).

I liked that just fine, and still do. But we all chart our own musical courses, and mine led into some very different waters.

The Beatles hit “The Ed Sullivan Show” in February 1964, and while my sister was wowed, I snorted and thought, “These guys will never be as big as Elvis.”  This was the first installment in our “I Will Never Be Smart” series, which continues 59 years later.

I eventually got into the Fab Four, like everyone else, but early on I leaned toward the Animals, The Rolling Stones, The Doors, The Byrds, the Beach Boys, Simon and Garfunkel, The Sir Douglas Quintet and just about any act coming out of Motown — the Temptations, the Four Tops, the Supremes, Marvin Gaye, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles.

This goes to show the power of TV and AM radio in the mid-Sixties. Randolph AFB, Texas, was not exactly a multicultural paradise. To be blunt, it was light on Brits, Blacks, and surfers. But Ed Sullivan, Dick Clark, and AM radio helped us find them anyway.

If AM was the gateway drug, FM was the hard stuff. When we got transferred to Bibleburg in 1967 I discovered KKFM, and later KILO; the family console stereo had an FM receiver built in, and so did my mother’s 1962 Mercedes-Benz 220S.

So shit got loud, is what. Led Zeppelin. Black Sabbath. Iron Butterfly. Steppenwolf.

But along about the same time I was stumbling across Bob Dylan and Arlo Guthrie, David Bowie and Jimi Hendrix, Sly & the Family Stone and Jethro Tull, Pink Floyd and Moody Blues, Cream, Traffic and Mountain. Then it was The Allman Brothers and Elton John, Leon Russell and Santana. The Stones were still hanging in there, but the Beatles were off the back.

There was a long stretch of country-hippie during my second tour in college — Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Flying Burrito Brothers, New Riders of the Purple Sage, Charlie Daniels Band, Jimmy Buffett, Jerry Jeff Walker, etc. — which made about as much sense as soul and surf, as I was a middle-class white boy from the ’burbs.

John Prine, Emmylou Harris and Bonnie Raitt made the cut too, for obvious reasons. And the shapeshifting outfit George Carlin once called “Crosby, Stills, Nash, Young, Merrill, Lynch, Fenner, Pierce, Sacco & Vanzetti” was always warbling in the patchouli background wherever dope was smoked.

Tom Waits stumbled into my playlist somehow, after the Eagles covered his “Ol’ 55.” Los Lobos, too, possibly because I was running around with a crew of San Luis Valley vatos. Where Parliament-Funkadelic came from I have no idea, but suddenly they were there and they stayed and wasn’t nothin’ we could do but put a glide in our stride and a dip in our hip and head on up to the Mothership.

Rockers like ZZ Top and Bob Seger proved invaluable for road trips, which I undertook regularly, being indifferent to long-term employment.

I tiptoed into jazz via the back door — fusion combos like Crusaders and Return to Forever, and smooth-jazz dudes like Grover Washington Jr., Stanley Turrentine, and George Benson — and kept one ear tuned to classical because I had played piano and flute as a sprout.

This was a breeze, thanks to NPR. In Corvallis I could pick up three different NPR affiliates, each with its own specialty — jazz, classical, and whatever. Samey same in Bibleburg, with its excellent stations KRCC and KCME, and Denver with KUVO and KVOD.

I was late to punk, which may explain the Green Day discs in my collection. The Cars, Stray Cats, and Brian Setzer Orchestra are in there too, as are Stevie Ray Vaughan, James McMurtry, Planxty, Elvis Costello, Miles Davis, Steve Earle, The Pogues, Warren Zevon, Neville Marriner and the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, Frank Zappa, Lyle Lovett, The Bueva Vista Social Club, Dire Straits, and Half Man Half Biscuit.

Good God awmighty. Each of the voices in my head likes a different kind of music! No wonder they’re arguing all the damn’ time.

Happy Friday the 13th

January 13, 2023

The whole album, from 1974, is a treat. Here’s another cut. And another. And another.

Heart full of soul

January 12, 2023

Jeff Beck has left the building.

I seem to remember catching him and Foghat at the City Aud in Bibleburg when I was a Mad Pup, not yet gone full Dog. But I was usually full of those gosh-darned old drugs back then and often saw and heard things that other people swore up and down were not really there.

The Yardbirds were definitely a part of my teenage playlist. And you have to tip your sombrero to a fella who’s down to punch it with Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones, Keith Moon, and Nicky Hopkins (“Beck’s Bolero”) or slow it down with Harold Arlen and Yip Harburg (“Over the Rainbow”).

But that train was comin’. And Jeff had to get on board.

It never rains, but it pours

January 11, 2023

We got a drive-by from that cloud over by the Sandias.

Thanks to everyone who has dropped a dime in Charles Pelkey’s GoFundMe tip jar.

As of 8:30 a.m. Dog time the fund was approaching $18,000, which as organizer David Stanley notes represents “a phenomenal level of love, affection, and admiration” for our old Live Update Guy pal.

I’ve added a widget to the sidebar for anyone who missed the memo. And it was delightful to see so many former VeloNews types in the list of donors.

Meanwhile, here in The Duck! City this morning we got a wet little kiss on the cheek from the gods; just enough rain to rinse some dust off the cacti. Thank you, sir or madam, may I have another?

I expect Herself and her pal Leslie are glad they canceled their trip to Southern California, where the rain is washing away the dust, the cacti, the hillsides the cacti are rooted to, and damn nearly everything else. Especially since the FAA developed a hitch in its gitalong, an IT failure of some sort that buggered about 4,600 flights.

That’s a surfin’ safari you can keep, is what. Nobody likes this drought, but who wants to hang ten on their front door while rocketing down a diversion channel to the Rio Grande?

Papal bull

December 3, 2022

If you live long enough, despite the flu’s best efforts, you’re bound to learn something.

Knights in white satin.

For instance, in my ignorance, I always thought that the phrase “Kill ’em all, let God sort ’em out” was of comparatively recent coinage. It sounds like something U.S. Col. John “Nits Make Lice” Chivington might have said at the Sand Creek Massacre. Or maybe Lt. Col. Allen “Islam is Not a Religion” West while torturing a captive in Iraq.

But according to Charles P. Pierce, who recently took note of a New Republic piece on a fondness among the right-wing intelligentsia for the good old days of medieval Catholicism and other European niceties — “Constitutionalism, Enlightenment rationality, religious freedom, and republicanism are out. European aristocracy, crusading holy orders, and mysticism are in,” — writes Graham Gallagher — the phrase has its roots in the 13th-century papal crusade against the Cathars in southern France.

Here’s Charlie:

Back in those days, of course, Roman Catholicism had armies and its temporal power was unsurpassed. Theological disputes were conducted at the point of a sword. The crusade against the Cathars in the south of France killed more than a million people, many of whom died simply because of where they lived. It was this latter sanctified savagery that gave us the infamous battle plan explained by Arnaud Amalric, a Cistercian monk and the official ambassador from Rome to the armies arrayed against the Cathars. Before the crusaders massacred almost everyone in the town of Beziers, Amalric is reputed to have said, “Kill them all. God will know his own.”

And you thought it was an inconvenience when the Jehovah’s Witnesses came calling, brandishing their Watchtowers. Just wait until a flying squad of these new warrior monks rings your bell. I’m gonna go out on a limb here and suggest that the intellectual heirs of these ring-kissing brigands might not be fans of Tom Lehrer.

A friendly gesture

November 24, 2022

We’re taking out the garbage, but we’ll be back later for some observations and a Thanksgiving dinner that couldn’t be beat (if Officer Obie doesn’t get us en route).

While you wait, walk into the shrink, wherever you are, and sing a bar of “Alice’s Restaurant.”

Here comes the night

November 7, 2022

Trumpkin.

When did The New York Times add a Dire Portents section?

This morning, Mother Times hit me with this:

“During the early hours on Tuesday, darkness will slip across the face of the moon before it turns a deep blood red. No, it isn’t an Election Day omen — it’s one of the most eye-catching sights in the night sky.”

Not an omen. Ho ho ho, etc. As if. Fake news!

Then why was the moon a decadent orange during the early hours of this morning as it slipped behind a neighbor’s house?

And why were there Trumpkins scattered along my hiking route this afternoon? I saw at least three, among them the one leering at you from the top of this post.

And finally, why is KUNM bitch-slapping me with “Here Comes the Night?” right this minute? And not the good one, by Them, but some two-bit tosser’s take on the 1964 classic (featuring Van Morrison).

“Well, here it comes … here comes the night.”

So soon? I’m not ready for the night. What else you got, Ma?

“How to Follow the News Without Spiraling into Despair?”

How quintessentially capitalistic of you, Ma. Sell me the disease with one hand and the treatment with the other. A mindfulness methadone clinic for the hopeless news addict. This morning’s shaman is this afternoon’s snake-oil salesman.

Here comes the night? Got a news flash for ya, Ma. It’s already here.

Goodness, gracious. …

October 28, 2022

One step beyond

August 31, 2022

Your money’s no good here, and neither is anything else.

Mikhail Gorbachev has died and gone to Commie Hell, which looks a lot like Walmart.

Capitalist Hell, of course, looks more like Bed Bath & Beyond.

If I cared to visit a BB&B, which I do not, I could wander right on in with my face hanging out as in days of yore, and not just because there would be no other customers (and possibly no employees).

No, it seems that overnight Bernalillo County has switched from Condition Red on the Bug-O-Meter to Go-Anywhere Green, for reasons which elude me.

Oh, wait, just thought of one: The Labor Day Drive Far and Spend Heavily While the Gas is Still Cheap(ish) Holiday Extravaganza. Get out there and buy something, you sissies!

I suppose it beats hanging out in the castle with Prospero, waiting for the Red Death to come knocking despite the “No Solicitors” sign on the door.

And if worse came to worst one could always bunker up in a Bed Bath & Beyond, which has to be the closest thing to a sterile environment outside the Wildfire lab near Flatrock, Nevada.

But still, it all seems a bit one step beyond. Madness!