Halloween Night To Do List: Candy in the big bowl by the door - check. Porchlight on - check. Spooky music in the background - wait...what to play!?! Well, here's a fun Halloween compilation I found on YouTube, to give you some ideas, and get everybody get in the spirit (pun intended) of things. What do you bet there's going to be a lot of little Palins and Obamas out there this year?
DISCLAIMER: This video is labeled Top 10 Halloween songs, but does not necessarily represent the picks of Papa Do Run.
Video by YT member yankee0412 Candy corn photo from Wikimedia Commons
It's hard to comprehend that it's been almost twenty years since we lost Roy - he passed away on December 6, 1988. The other day I heard "Blue Bayou" on the oldies station, and that got me thinking about all the other great songs he did that don't get played often enough. "Pretty Woman" gets played all the time, but great as that one is, I'm always glad to hear stations break out of their familiar programming ruts and play more variety. In the same spirit, I decided it was high time we listened to some here at Papa Do Run. The info on the video doesn't say so, but this footage is from the HBO concert, as described in Wikipedia:
In September of 1987, Roy Orbison and Friends, A Black and White Night, a black-and-white HBO television special was recorded at the Coconut Grove in the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. Orbison was accompanied by a who's-who supporting cast organized by musical director T-Bone Burnett. All were fans and all were volunteers who lobbied to participate. On piano was Glen Hardin, who played for Buddy Holly as well as Elvis Presley for several years. Lead guitarist James Burton had also played with Presley and Ricky Nelson. Male background vocals, with some also playing the guitar or piano, came from Bruce Springsteen, Tom Waits, Elvis Costello, Jackson Browne, J.D. Souther and Steven Soles. A "million-dollar" trio of Jennifer Warnes, k.d. Lang and Bonnie Raitt provided female background vocals. He was also joined by keyboardist Michael Utley, a long time member of Jimmy Buffett's Coral Reefer Band. All members of this first-class group of supporting artists displayed great respect and admiration for Roy. This TV special performance brought Orbison to the attention of a younger generation.
So without further ado, here's the great Roy-O and "Blue Angel"
Video from YT member youralone Photo at www.meanspeed.com
This is one of those posts where we take a really big leap out of the vintage years, all the way into the 80s –oh my! But there’s a subtle connection, if you’ll humor me a little. Let me set it up for you. Back in the 1980s, I was working in the fine arts biz in Alberta, Canada. The oil boom was well underway, corporations were moving their head offices from Toronto (aka Hog Town) to the Calgary (aka Cow Town). It seemed like every third person you met was from Houston, and money was practically falling out of the sky. And with that much money, things that would not have mattered as much under different economic conditions became all the rage. The downtown bristled with building cranes, and all those big shiny new office towers had lots of bare walls. A corporate art collection became a must-have. In the uptown area of the city, it seemed like there was an art gallery on every corner. It also seemed like every company that had more than six employees had it’s own official art collection. Oil companies and legal offices led the charge, but even the hospitals were getting into the act. And of course, all the private citizens had collections, too. That was the community I worked in, and it was quite an experience. There was so much money to be had, that there was only a modest competition between galleries. Usually everyone knocked off work around the same time and headed down the street to the local cantina for happy hour. That's when I got my introduction to the music of Doug and the Slugs, a Canadian band out of Vancouver. One of the fellows from a friendly rival gallery, who knew of my taste for the oldies, said, “You should check out this group, I think you’d like them – it’s kind of 50s/80s music.
That was a good way to describe it, although I just looked them up in Wikipedia, and they are now being labeled as “alternative pop.” Well, that fits, too. Doug and the Slugs were a pretty zany bunch, musically, but were also very musically solid. They has a good run for close to ten 10 years, after which lead singer Doug Bennett continued to tour with a revolving set of musicians until his untimely death in 2004. I had the good fortune to hear them live once, and it was something to behold!
I hope you are ready to have some fun. If this sounds familiar to you, then you get points for being a real TV trivia fanatic. This song, “Too Bad,” from D&TS first album, Cognac and Bologna, was the theme song on The Norm Show (1999-2001) starring comedian Norm MacDonald (also of SNL anchor desk fame). Okay, let’s dance!
Video from YT member mojofilter02 Photo from Wikimedia Commons
Last night I was channel surfing among several of the music stations on my dish, trying to avoid all the election coverage, while waiting for the SNL Thursday spoof of the election coverage. Like many people at this late stage of the game (and I do mean game) I’d much rather watch a spoof than the real thing. I’m a real political junkie, but the US election crossed over into the rather-have-a-root-canal category for me some time ago. As someone who has lived and voted in both the US and Canada, I can tell you, Canada is waaaay easier. For example, how many of you even knew Canada just had an election – hands? I thought so. Once it was announced that an election was coming, the whole thing took a mere 37 days and cost just over 300 mil. I kid you not. Anyway, I’m digressing again. What I really want to tell you about is that, as I surfed, I happened to catch the old ABBA song, “Chiquitita.” Well, have to stop for that one. And wonder of wonders, as I listened to the old familiar lyrics…I suddenly heard…something different! Yes, it’s true. Thanks to the wonders of crisp new digital sound, I discovered another bit of misheard lyrics I’d been living with in my head since…hold on a sec, let me go look it up…1979! There’s that one part where they sing:
“Chiquitita you and I know / How the heartaches come and they go /________________”
Okay, here’s where my revelation comes. The actual words that go in the space above are “and the scars they’re leaving.” Maybe you always knew that. Maybe you had the album with lyrics. Maybe you have a better ear. But to me, that missing phrase was always “on the Champs-Elysees.” I mean, why not? After all, ABBA was a European group, with all the continental stuff that implies. They could have been to the Champs-Elysees many times, for all we know. And, don’t forget, we’re talking Paris here. Not only that, we’re talking about of the most famous romantic spots in town. Trysting in the cafes, meeting clandestinely in the cinema. I’m sure people get their hearts broken there all the time. Plus, the instrumentation has a kind of a turn-of-the-century Folies Bergere feel to it, even if the title is Spanish. Hey, Spain is in Europe too! Come on, you know it makes a certain sense. No? Well, it doesn’t matter; it’s all behind me now.
And now that I know what the real lyrics are, I suppose I should be happy, but somehow I’m not. Sometimes what you incorrectly imagine can be preferable to what is actual. It’s always going to look like a Toulouse-Lautrec painting in my head. So, have a listen and see what you think of my musical misadventure, and try to be kind...
Video by YT member kamy876 Photo from answers.com/cancan
Another famous song about the color black – this time it’s “Paint It Black” by the Rolling Stones. This particular one was a hit in 1966, right at the beginning of the “Pallenberg years” when the Stones wrote many of their most memorable (to me anyway) songs. Anita Pallenberg, for those who may have missed it (easy to do) was a sort of combination muse and figurehead of the Stones for a while. She had two documented relationships with Stones members, and at least one rumored/unattested hook up with another. Some people think Paint It Black was inspired by Pallenberg, and others say it was Marianne Faithfull. Well, I don’t really want to get into a dissertation on the Rolling Stones love lives here, it would take up way too much time and space, and you can easily find all the info you might want at Wikipedia, so I’ll just sum it up and say that I don’t think the timeline works for either of those ladies.
Basically, this song seems to be about a guy who has lost his girlfriend –lost as in dead – and features all kinds of bleak imagery, including a funeral procession. For this reason, Paint It Black has been used to set a certain dark mood in many pop culture sectors, most especially movie soundtracks and TV episodes: Full Metal Jacket, Tour of Duty, For Love of the Game, Nip/Tuck, Stir of Echoes, The Sopranos. And, just as you might expect, a lot of people see a lot of different themes in it: depression, war, drugs, nihilism, even race relations (hey, I didn’t say they made any sense). Speaking of sense, or make that nonsense, I very briefly tried to find out if Weird AL had done a parody of Paint It Black, with no luck. My attention span just wasn’t up for anything in depth, so maybe someone out there knows and will tell us. Anyway, if he didn’t write one, he should. Paint It Black is just about sitting up on its hind legs begging for Al to pat it on the head.
For those who like their music trivia really small, there’s the matter of the comma in the title. You can see it on several album releases as “Paint It, Black” but Keith Richards has stated that the comma was a later addition by the record label, and not intended to be in the original title. That’s why I don’t use it here. Beside, I don’t like it myself, either. It sounds a little stuffy, like the way James Bond might request something painted. “My name is Bond, James Bond, and I wanted it painted, black. Painted, not papered.” I could probably think up a few more bad Bond puns, but you’ll be relieved to know that I’m not going to try. So let’s have a listen, and let the pounding drums and winding sitar take us back.
This video provides lyrics, including some inaccuracies, typos, and grammar glitches, but it has decent audio.
Photo from www.curust.ie Video by YT member emilyrose6894
The other day I was listening to the oldies station on my satellite dish, and they played “Black is Black” by Los Bravos. What a great song that is, and sounds surprisingly contemporary for something that was a hit all the way back in 1966. Anyway, as I was contemplating this song, I realized that I know nothing about Los Bravos, but if you had asked me, I probably would have said they were an American band, from maybe the West coast. Also, I was pretty sure that Black is Black was a one-hit-wonder (OHW) and that was about it. So I Googled Los Bravos, and then I Wiki’ed them. And what a surprise!
It turns out that I was right about the OHW thing, but beyond that, I could not have been more wrong. The group Los Bravos is what the Wiki writer calls a Spanish beat group. They are all Spaniards, from Spain except for their Gene Pitney dead ringer sound alike lead singer, who is a German, from Germany. As Jack Benny used to say, “Well!” While they charted a couple more modest hits in the UK, Black is Black was their only charting US Billboard hit (all the way to #4 in the Top Hot 100).
So, here is the group singing their famous song, and a little Gene Pitney tune for comparison. I just love Gene’s voice, and all of his songs, but I picked this one, Mecca, because the similarities are easy to hear. It occurs to me, though, how times have changed. I wonder if anyone these days would see releasing a song about Mecca as a risk, given the way things are. A question without an answer, for sure.
Los Bravos video by YT member lauuu Gene Pitney video by YT member Brent441 Photo from www.sassyscrubs.com (really!)
The Motown legend and lead singer of The Four Tops (photo front) died peacefully in his sleep today, at his home in Detroit. His soulful voice warmed Tops hits like "Sugar Pie Honey Bunch" "Reach Out, I'll Be There" and my personal favorite, the 1964 hit "Baby I Need Your Loving." Back then I was a junior in high school, looking forward to my senior year and then to graduating. Now, so many years later, it's hard any time we lose one of the classic greats, but this one really knocked be back when I read about it. It's not only the loss of a talented musician, but I think it puts all us baby boomers in touch with our own mortality. Our class is beginning to graduate in a different sense of the term. Well, that's the way it always goes. And now it's time to say good-bye to Levi, with thanks for all the music.
Video by YT member HauntedStudios Photo from blackamericans.com
As I've mentioned before, I'm not a big Bee Gees fan. I like the early ballads just fine, but am not too keen on their disco era stuff. It's fine with me if you like it; it's all about personal taste, right? Anyway, under normal circumstances, I probably wouldn't be selecting this song to feature, but after last night, when the Red Sox fought back from the brink of the abyss, I just have to do something in recognition of their accomplishment. Now, you may also recall me saying I am a big Tigers fan. Well, that's true, but my close second team to cheer for is the Sox. Of course, this time with the Tigers out of it, I hope the Sox go all the way. I'll even be optimistic and start thinking about a song for that possibility. For now, the Sox are Stayin' Alive...
Before I close, I just have to give a shoutout to fellow music blogger Kat, over at Keep The Coffee Coming, who is a mondo Sox fan, and who is probably still recovering from last night. Sorry this video is filmed in New York, Kat!
Video by YT member Ichnos71x Photo from www.kmmm.net
My fellow baby boomers, is it just me, or was this song a harbinger of things to come, and we didn’t even know it? I mean, think about how frequently these days we hear of female teachers who massively overstep their professional bounds and have ‘affairs’ (that’s putting it politely!) with their young male students. How could such a thing come to pass? Well, it just so happens that I have my own (totally tongue-in-cheek, naturally) theory.
Think about the photos you’ve seen of some of these offending teachers. I can think of at least three who all looked to be in their mid-to-late twenties, all had long sleek hair, all looked appealing in a reality TV cookie-cutter blonde sort of way. Just the very thing an adolescent boy in the throes of a hormonal high tide would find distracting at the very least. Now think about the teachers you remember from your own high school days. Uh-huh. Even the younger female teachers looked middle-aged back then. It was the hair and glasses and styles. You could probably give those 1950s and 60s teachers a 21st Century makeover, and they might even look…dare I say it…hot? Well, maybe so, but that’s not my main point. What I'm saying is, here we have a song about a younger teacher in the 1960s, who roars into the faculty parking lot in a Jag, wears a sloppy sweater (what??) and a pony tail (seriously??) to teach in, and who makes the local policeman blanch. She can teach the required subject all right, but she throws in a couple of popular teen dance crazes, too. That’s not any teacher I ever saw. Furthermore, it seems that between classes, Ms Beecher is out in the halls playing guitar in sunglasses instead of monitoring student activity. And she showed up at a PTA meeting with a red surfboard! Well, no wonder the kids all dug her, but you have to think that it’s just a matter of time before she…oh let’s not even contemplate going there. It’s obvious that no one put a stop to this kind of thing, and now we are reaping the results today. For the most part, I like to stick up for vintage oldies. I don’t think of rock and roll as a social or moral evil. But there’s always that one exception
Video by YT member JBauder1948 Photo from http://ocw.mit.edu
Okay,this one is going out to all the Canadians who ate too much Thanksgiving turkey and other goodies over the weekend. Time to get up and start working it off - and what better way to do that than to dance to some Fats Domino - in this case I've selected something I think is very appropriate, "The Fat Man." Come on now, let's go shake the floor!
Just a bit of extra info here - this is one of Fats' earliest hits, dating back to 1949. Ho-lee! I was only two years old then! Of course you're never too young or too old to boogie woogie.
Video from YT member checkingmail Photo from Wikimedia Commons
I'm happy to announce that my computer is once again up and running, and for that I am truly THANKFUL!! Not only that, it's Canuck Turkey Day, so a lot of people north of the 49th (or the 42nd I my neck of the woods) are being thankful. So, before you tuck into that big meal and eat your faces off, don't forget to say grace. Here's a little something from those Masters of Soul, Sam and Dave, to get you in the mood. Don't forget to turn up your speakers...
Photo from Wikimedia Comons Video from YT member jameycruz
I’m in the mood for a little Connie Francis this morning, so I found this terrific video on YouTube. Not only is it a great montage of still and footage of Connie singing, but also it’s a real trip down memory lane ending up in my old clothes closet. Granted, Connie is a little older than me, but styles didn’t change all that radically until the late 60s, so I remember pretty much all of this, except maybe the ‘cocktail’ dress she’s wearing in her performance. Ladies, here’s a quick checklist of 1959 fashion; see how many you remember wearing, just like Connie:
1) shirt-waist dresses 2) Capri pants 3) crinolines and petticoats 4) pumps 5) pointy bras 6) sweater clips (you can’t actually see them, but you know she’s got them, at 1:05 ) 7) halter-top sundresses 8) checkered gingham 9) pearl choker 10) bouffant (aka bubble) hairdos 11) spaghetti straps 12) chiffon dresses
The photo at 1:01 is about as close to a “wardrobe malfunction” as anyone ever got in those days; it was probably pretty daring back then. And don’t miss the guy with the flat-top at 0:58
Video by YT member JBauder1948 Photo is of a picture sleeve from my 45-rpm collection
Sadly, we have lost another member of the doo-wop extended family with the passing of George (Wydell) Jones this Saturday, at age 71. You may not know the name, but you surely will remember the song he famously penned, a snappy tribute to one to those saddle-shoe boppers, a little gal by the name of Rama Lama Ding Dong. Jones not only wrote the song, he sang it as part of the doo-wop group, The Edsels. Rama Lama's song was recorded in 1958, but didn't come into its own until a few years later when a New York DJ started playing it. Then it reached #21 on the Billboard chart in 1961, the year I graduated from elementary school and was gearing up for the big leap to high school. I loved Rama Lama Ding Dong back then, and have been dancing, listening and singing along for over 40 years, and counting. So thanks, George, we won't forget you!
This has been one of those mornings: a cup of coffee, a few white caps on the lake, and some quiet time before I start my day. What goes better with that than a little Arthur Alexander? So I went over to YouTube to browse around and see what was new. I’ve been waiting for someone to put up a video on Arthur’s hit song, “Where Have You Been” so we can enjoy it here. I got excited to see that one was finally there, but alas, it’s only a homemade cover. It may be a nice cover – I didn’t really listen to more than the opening bars, because today I wanted the real thing. While looking at what else was there, I found something unexpected: Arthur’s cover of the Neil Diamond song, Solitary Man. And it’s wonderful. If you don’t know Arthur’s voice, you’re in for a real treat.
Well, of course right away I wanted to know more about this song, especially where I could get my hands on it. Apparently, while I wasn’t looking, the CD (which I have) titled Arthur Alexander – Lonely Just Like Me, with a 12-song tracklist, has been reissued with 21 tracks, including some interviews (it's called Lonely Just Like Me - The Final Chapter, if you go looking for it) I wasted no time ordering it from Amazon already, and will be counting the days and hours til it gets here. Arthur Alexander never had the career and recognition he should have. Today he is best remembered for writing songs covered by the Beatles, The Stones, Dusty Springfield, and other 60s giants. He was a prolific singer/songwriter, and that’s what makes his cover of Solitary Man such a find. I also really like Neil Diamond; I’ve always liked his upbeat treatment of Solitary Man. But Arthur put the hurt into it as only he can.
Here's the Amazon notes: Amazon.com Admired as a songwriter but overlooked as soul singer, Alabama-born Arthur Alexander was in the early stages of a career revival in 1993 (the year he released Lonely Just Like Me on Nonesuch Records) when he died unexpectedly, aged 53, shortly after a performance. Believed to be the only songwriter whose songs have been covered by the Rolling Stones ("You Better Move On"), the Beatles ("Anna"), Bob Dylan, and Elvis Presley, Alexander abandoned music at age 40 after he grew disillusioned with the music industry after publishing deals yielded little return for him. He worked in Cleveland at a center for disadvantaged kids and drove a bus, which explains the disc's cover art. Musician/producer Ben Vaughn coaxed Alexander to record again and served as producer for Lonely Just Like Me, a warm, understated collection of storytelling tunes, mostly hard-luck tales of upright men struggling to find a niche in an unfair word. This disc includes the entire '93 Nonesuch recording plus an enlightening interview/live performance (tracks 13-20) originally broadcast on NPR's Fresh Air. Here, Alexander's genuineness and sincerity are memorably chronicled, and for Alexander devotees its inclusion makes this recording an especially inviting package. Alexander's voice did not have the broadest range, he rarely used backup vocalists, and he kept his instrumentation (often accented with a subtle country lilt) quite simple. His most endearing quality as a vocalist was the earnestness, clarity, and dignity of his singing, which deepened the poignancy of his songs' prevailing theme of heartbreak. Also included are five lo-fi hotel-room demos, a live version of "Anna," and liner notes from Vaughn. --Terry Wood
Video from YT member boogie2w Photo from www.rhapsody.com
I'm a baby boomer who grew up dancing in the streets of Detroit during the classic Motown years, lived beside the Rocky Mountains for many years, now retired and living (and writing full time) in S. Ontario. I have one blog for rock 'n' roll oldies, and one for nature, poetry and life along the Lake.