Wednesday, January 28, 2009


I realize that not all who read this blog live in the northern hemisphere, and thus may not feel the need to get out from under winter's fat white chilly thumb, but if you do, want you to kick up your heels a little, I have the perfect mental health solution. It was actually suggested to me by a fellow blogger at my other blog, The Cloud Messenger, but it’s the very thing to share here.

1) Turn the thermostat way up and get the place nice and toasty.
2) Dig your freakiest wild summer vacation clothes out of the bottom drawer and put them on.
3) Turn up your speakers to the max.
4) Tune in to the following YouTube video, Come Dancing, by The Kinks.
5) Dance like you did when you were a little kid.

If you don’t live in the north, and are already warm and toasty, then add and extra Step 6 – pour yourself a tall cool one.

Here’s lyrics in case you want to add some karaoke to the fun! Don’t we all have fond memories of a local Palais (or some kind of fun hangout) from our youth? Mine was only a McDonald's drive-in, but hey, don't knock it...

They put a parking lot on a piece of land
When the supermarket used to stand.
Before that they put up a bowling alley
On the site that used to be the local Palais.
That's where the big bands used to come and play.
My sister went there on a Saturday.

Come dancing,
All her boyfriends used to come and call.
Why not come dancing, it's only natural?

Another Saturday, another date.
She would be ready but she'd always make them wait.
In the hallway, in anticipation,
He didn't know the night would end up in frustration.
He'd end up blowing all his wages for the week
All for a cuddle and a peck on the cheek.

Come dancing,
That's how they did it when I was just a kid,
And when they said come dancing,
My sister always did.

My sister should have come in at midnight,
And my mum would always sit up and wait.
It always ended up in a big row
When my sister used to get home late.

Out of my window I can see them in the moonlight,
Two silhouettes saying goodnight by the garden gate.

The day they knocked down the Palais
My sister stood and cried.
The day they knocked down the Palais
Part of my childhood died, just died.

Now I'm grown up and playing in a band,
And there's a car park where the Palais used to stand.
My sister's married and she lives on an estate.
Her daughters go out, now its her turn to wait.
She knows they get away with things she never could,
But if I asked her I wonder if she would...

Come dancing,
Come on sister, have yourself a ball.
Don't be afraid to come dancing,
It's only natural.

Come dancing,
Just like the Palais on a Saturday.
And all her friends will come dancing
Where the big bands used to play.

Video by YT member sundaegirl12004
Photo at

Saturday, January 24, 2009


I can't say that I remember exactly what I was doing back in 1983 when I learned that Beach Boy Dennis Wilson had died - not like I do with the Kennedy and King assassinations, and when John Lennon was killed - but I do remember the feeling of shock, and loss. I mean, he was only 39. I never knew much about the private lives of the Beach Boys. I didn't read the music mags or seek out any of the gossip rags. My appreciation was strictly for the music back then, but that all changed with time. A person would have to be a total hermit not to pick up BB trivia along the way, and I've researched the band for both my music trivia books. Yet somehow, I never managed to discover that Dennis had recorded a solo album, and a very well-respected one at that. It wasn't until I got my hands on the January 8, 2009 issue of Rolling Stone, wherein Dennis Wilson's 1977 release heads the list of Rolling Stone's picks for the 10 Best Reissues of the Year. I think I put the magazine down immediately and went straight to and ordered a copy of Pacific Ocean Blue.

The album is described in RS as Dennis' "personal masterpiece" - his own Pet Sounds. Dennis was kind of the diamond-in-the-rough, the Beach Boys' best kept secret, a rare talent, and a person most likely, by many accounts including his own, to live fast and die young. I'm just beginning to delve into the gems on this album, but I'm liking it a lot. It seems to me that Dennis Wilson was an original, with much more talent than he was possibly given credit for, and, for all the talent, he sometimes got in his own way by living on the edge, a little scattered, without the discipline to work the business. In that sense he kind of reminds me of Tim Buckley (who also died far too young) although Denny's rugged vocals are very different from Buckley's soaring tenor. The Pacific Ocean Blue reissue contains all the original tracks, plus some material from his follow-up album, the unfinished Bambu - rather like his own lost Smile, if you want to stretch out the comparisons to the breaking point. But brother Brian finally did put Smile together, while with Denny's untimely death, all we will ever have is his small output, and this wonderful reissue.

Here's a video of a cut, Thoughts of You, from YT memberIsobelRivers. I hope it doesn't get removed before you get a chance to listen to it!

Photo at

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


My friends sent me an email recently, maybe you've seen it, if you are of a certain (i.e. old fogey-ish baby boomer) age and your firends send you stuff like this, too. Anyway, I thought it was kind of cute so I'm posting it here. Besides, it gives me an excuse to play some summer put-the-top-down music by the Beach Boys. Never a bad idea!

I came across this phrase yesterday 'FENDER SKIRTS'.

A term I haven't heard in a long time and thinking about 'fender skirts' started me thinking about other words that quietly disappear from our language with hardly a notice like 'curb feelers'

And 'steering knobs.' (AKA) suicide knob

Since I'd been thinking of cars, my mind naturally went that direction first
Any kids will probably have to find some elderly person over 50 to explain some of these terms to you.

Remember 'Continental kits?'
They were rear bumper extenders and spare tire covers that were supposed to make any car as cool as a Lincoln Continental.

When did we quit calling them 'emergency brakes?'
At some point 'parking brake' became the proper term. But I miss the hint of drama that went with 'emergency brake.'

I'm sad, too, that almost all the old folks are gone who would call the accelerator the 'foot feed.'

Didn't you ever wait at the street for your daddy to come home, so you could ride the 'running board' up to the house?

Here they are, the Beach Boys, singing "I Get Around" Promise me you'll turn you speakers WAY up, okay? You get extra points if you open the windows, too, even if it's freezing cold!

All photos except for the bottom one came with the email, so I don't know who to credit. The running board car is used with permission of Wendimages.
Video by YT member whitegp2008

Sunday, January 18, 2009


Oh I'm just so proud of you all! For the two previous posts you did a terrific job with your New Year's Resolution workouts! First you did the Hokey Pokey warm up, then on to the cardio, with the Dear Lady Twist. You are all looking fit and simply fahb-yoo-luss! Now it's time for a well earned bit of relaxation, time to cool down, kick off your leg warmers, stretch those tired muscles, and listen to the soft strains of Johnny Rivers. Maybe you could even have yourself a little libation while you're at it. Why not pop a beer, you've certainly earned it. And hey, how about a some pizza to go with? Just a medium, that can't hurt, right? And then you may as well finish off the Haagen Dazs after that. Oh, this losing weight and getting in shape is going to be fun and easy!!

Video by YT member classicpoprock
Flashdance poster from MySpace

Thursday, January 15, 2009


In the previous post, we got started on our path to improvement in the New Year with the Hokey Pokey. Well, now that we’ve mastered that, I can tell you it was just the warm-up. We now move on to the cardio portion of our program. We all remember Gary U.S. Bonds for his great NOLA-based hits, “New Orleans” “Take Me Back to New Orleans.” and his smash hit “Quarter to Three.” He had another big hit with a song (that owed much of it’s success to Chubby Checker’s blockbuster dance craze) called the “Dear Lady Twist.” So come on, kiddies – get up off from your chair and let me see you workin' it. Go for the burn!!

Video by YT member JBauder1948
Photo at

Monday, January 12, 2009


Here we are not even halfway through January and you say you’re already slacking off on your promise to get on the treadmill every morning before work? You tired of that hamster wheel feeling already? Well, I have just the ticket. Remember that dance we all did as kids at our little birthday parties and brownie meetings? Come on, I know you guys even did it a few times, too – the Hokey Pokey. What better way to get a little variety in your routine than to shake some body parts and jump around?! Here we have the original Hokey Pokey, recorded by Ray Anthony and his Orchestra, who also gave us that other party staple, the Bunny Hop, as well as the theme to the classic TV show, “Dragnet” (dum dum dum dum DUM!) back in the 1950s. Ray was a terrific trumpet player (and still active as of 2006) and also did some acting, notably along with his then wife, 50s sex symbol bombshell Mamie Van Doren. But today we want to enlist Ray in our effort to keep with the program. So, come on everybody – if you’re in a group, form a circle; if you’re by yourself, then be a circle of one (until you lose the weight, at least). Here we go!

Hokey Pokey sign from Mental Floss, a website, blog and magazine you really should be reading. You have to be mentally fit, too, you know...
B/W photo from another terrific trivia blog, TYWKIWDBI. Go there!
Video from YT member gramophoneshane

Friday, January 9, 2009


I must apologize, I really meant to get this posted yesterday - the actual "day-of" but you know how it goes, some days it's like Mr. Murphy and his annoying Law just seems to follow you around all day. You feel like Wile E. Coyote. Every place you go, it's as if the Roadrunner is sneakily sticking his foot out in the aisle, metaphorically speaking. Well, enough about my troubles. I'm sure you don't want to hear about the container of ACME carpet cleaner solution on the shelf that leaked all down inside the closet and into the catbox. You definitely don't want to hear about the world's biggest lump of clumping cat litter either. So let's just get on with it.

If you watched Larry King last night, you saw the special footage of Priscilla Presley, and thus already know that yesterday, January 8th, was Elvis's birthday. This year, he would be (if you're one of those who think he's dead) a whopping 74 years old! Kind of makes you wonder what he might look like, doesn't it. Would he have aged like Brando (who got pretty expansive) or Peter O'Toole (trim to the end)? Yeah, that's where I'd put my bets, too.

Anyway, to celebrate the occasion, even though a day late, here's a nice little YouTube video (hope it doesn't get yanked like the Gene Autry in my Christmas post did!) of one of my very favorite Elvis songs, "(Let Me Be Your)Teddy Bear"

Oh, I should also mention that this year Brad Pitt will turn 46, and Leo DiCaprio will be 35. How old does that make you feel?! You can look up the exact dates if you want to. Maybe celebrate with a nice cake from the ACME Bakery.

Video by YT member nighthawk57
Photo at

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


Okay, this will be quick. Just one last post about the Wall of Sound before we move on to other things. I found this video in my travels around YouTube, and if you haven’t seen it, it’s worth the viewing just for the old photos, not to mention the music. See how many your can guess, the link will take you to the answers on the More Info drop-down.

Graffiti wall photo from WIkimedia commons
Video by YT member olmerpictureshow

Monday, January 5, 2009


Continuing with the theme of the previous post, we’re going to look again at the Wall of Sound (WOS) phenom. As with any new musical discovery, it really started to catch on. In the same era, WOS-style numbers can be heard from the Beach Boys (God Only Knows, Wouldn’t It Be Nice, Pet Sounds), some of the hits of Dusty Springfield – called the “Anglicized Wall of Sound” (You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me) and The Walker Brothers (The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Any More), Harry Nilsson (Everybody’s Talkin) and even some early ABBA hits, (Waterloo, Dancing Queen)! And the list doesn’t end there. It’s obvious the Baby Boomers artist and producers of the 60s weren’t the only ones who understand the grandeur, the import of this sound. Wikipedia has a whole article on the WOS, but we'll just sample the following:

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band's landmark 1975 Born to Run album — which includes more than thirty guitar tracks — is perhaps the most extensive and faithful updating of Spector's early-60s "Wall of Sound" production style.

The list goes on, but we’ll stop here so we can have ourselves a retro-listen to a couple of these vintage greats. Just listen to the Wall!!

The Beach Boys - God Only Knows, from the album Pet Sounds

The Walker Brothers, The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Any More

Photo from Wikimedia Commons
BB video by YT member Alixx2
Walker Bro video by YT member garageband66

Saturday, January 3, 2009


Yesterday’s playlist for me was even more eclectic than usual. I started out with the Chambers Brothers, “Time Has Come Today” in a video I saw on somebody’s blog (and unfortunately didn’t bookmark it, and now can’t remember which of you it was, so can’t credit you, sorry!!) Anyway, from there I bounced around the later 60s, a little Iron Butterfly (In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida) a little Deep Purple (Hush) and little Scott McKenzie (If you’re goin’ to San-Fran-cisco… After that, a big leap pover to Berlioz, and then some Canadian talent – Cape Breton’s finest, Jimmy Rankin. I ended the day listening to the oldies station on my dish, and was lucky to catch a string (unintentional, I’m sure) of 60s Wall of Sound hits, produced by Phil Spector.

Phil has fallen on hard times of late, but back in the 60s he was the Boy Genius of the music industry. His signature sound was really something to behold – still is. The Wall of Sound (WOS) was a little something he whipped up using huge conglomeration of multiple musicians, unorthodox combinations of instruments, a whole swack of tracks and an echo machine. The resultant music hit you like a wall…well, of sound. And while he denounced stereo in favor of mono, after he got through with it, it sounded like a tsunami of sound that enveloped the listening in pop splendor that stereo just can’t touch. The studio musicians became famously known as The Wrecking Crew. Here, from Wikipedia:

In the 1960s, Spector usually worked at the Gold Star Studios in Los Angeles because of its exceptional echo chambers, essential to the Wall of Sound technique. Microphones in the recording studio captured the sound, which was then transmitted to an echo chamber—a basement room outfitted with speakers and microphones. The signal from the studio would be played through the speakers and would reverberate around the room, being picked up by the microphones. The echo-laden sound was then channeled back to the control room, where it was transferred to tape. The natural reverberation and echo from the hard walls of the room gave his productions their distinctive quality and resulted in a rich and complex sound when played on AM radio, with an impressive depth rarely heard in mono recordings.

WOS number came in two basic speeds: slow and mellow and here-we-go. Here’s one of each. I purposely picked selections from YouTube that don’t have live footage or other distracting videos. Not this time. So turn up your speakers, and listen to that fullness of sound, that great big wall of it, and remind yourself how lucky you are that you born at the right time...

Ike and Tina Turner “River Deep, Mountain High”

The Righteous Brothers “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling”

Videos by YT memeber tinturnerfan84, vwestlife
Album cover at

Thursday, January 1, 2009


Greetings music lovers! Here’s hoping you had terrific holidays, and aren’t nursing too big of a hangover this morning. Today is a day of reflection, of resolution, of charting a course for the new year ahead, and of course, a day for Neil Sedaka.

I know that Neil’s 1960 hit, Calendar Girl is a well-worn favorite on all the oldies stations, and so everybody knows the words. We can have a little New Years karaoke while playing this delightfully dated video from YouTube. Neil will sing for us and maybe play a couple of notes on the piano (but I think it’s mostly there as a prop to give the girls a place to dance) and Neil will kind of shakes it up a little, too. Don’t laugh, that was pretty cool stuff back then, I can vouch for that. I really wish I knew the exact when and where of this video. I’m guessing that it could actually be 1960, and maybe even prior to the bombshell release of Chubby Checker’s “The Twist” because there is not a hint of a twist in any of the girls’ dance moves.

As for the girls, well, you will see that some of the costumes try to match up with the lyrics. Miss February is in a bunny suit with big ears, and Miss July has a weird firecracker headdress that looks borrowed from Mardi Gras. Why the choreographer didn’t follow through and put Miss March in a wedding dress (I’m gonna march you down the aisle) or Miss November in a nice little shortie (adult stores probably have them!) pilgrim dress is a mystery. And Miss August, who is supposed to be at the beach looks, well, I won’t spoil it for you, but I don’t think even Cher wouldn’t wear it!

So, here you go. I’m off to enter all the important dates for this new year in my brand new 2009 daytimer – birthdays, oil changes, the premier of LOST…

Photo from Wikimedia Commons
Video by YT member tuggle