Haunted By A Melody, Briefly

So last evening as I folded some laundry, I was humming a bit of a song that I remembered from my youth. I didn’t know much of it, but I repeated a motif of it over and over again.

I wondered if I could find it on the Internet. I was not sanguine; I was not even sure if the lyrics I remembered were correct, and, besides, I’m used to liking a song and not knowing anything about it for years.

But I typed “is everything alright i just called” into Bing, and it started auto-suggesting the next words, and the song is obviously (to the computers of the Internet) “Hearts” by Marty Balin:

Sometimes, this worldwide computer amazes me.

The song is from 1981, the year my parents’ marriage broke up. In my unreliable memory, we heard this song in heavy rotation on the way to and while at my grandfather’s cabin in the upper peninsula of Michigan not far from the Wisconsin state line. I relate a couple of different songs to that venue because the cabin had an old cathedral radio in it, and on rainy days we didn’t have much to do but listen to it and the hiss of rain outside. If I remember correctly, this must have been in the summer before the bottom dropped out.

The song sort of fits my mood. As some of you know, I just celebrated a birthday, and, if I make it to next January, I will have lived longer than my father did. So I’m ruminating and marinating in a blend of nostalgia and melancholia. The song and melody fit right in.

Good Album Hunting, February 18, 2019: Relics Antique Mall

Because President’s Day was a holiday for only some of us, I took the boys out for the day so my beautiful wife could work in peace. We went bowling and to the (relatively) new Wonders of Wildlife museum and aquarium where I basically paid $50 to see a museum of things I try not to hit with my car.

To cap the day, we stopped at Relics Antique Mall to extend her worktime by another forty minutes or so.

I found the end cap where I’d spotted an unpriced Phoebe Snow album last year no longer had any albums, so I just picked through a couple bins on the middle row.

I spent less than $20 and got:

  • City Kids by Spyro Gyra. Now that I know they’re Buckwheat Zydeco, I’m picking their stuff up here and there.
  • Hero by Clarence Clemons, the E Street Band saxophonist. Apparently, the first song, “You’re a Friend of Mine” with Jackson Browne, was a hit, but I don’t remember it.
  • Quincy Jones Plays Hip Hits
  • Swing Along With Jonah Jones; he’s a jazz trumpeter who sounds like he might be trying to imitate Louis Armstrong a bit too strongly to stand out on his own. Still, it’s cool jazz. I saw another of his albums that I did not pick up this time, but I’ll look for it next time.
  • She Works Hard for the Money by Donna Summer. So now that we’re almost to forty years past disco and thirty some years past the Eighties Sound, apparently I think they’re old enough to buy on vinyl.
  • Hall of Fame featuring The McGuire Sisters and the De John Sisters.

It’s enough to keep my burgeoning record collection accumulation from seeming stale. For a couple of weeks.

When You’re Tired Of Backspacing

Sometimes, I have to type a word, backspace over some possible misspelling, and then type it two different ways a couple of times until I’m sure it’s right, which is often after I look it up.

Like devestated devastated.

Well, I’m not going to play that particular game any more.

From now on, it’s devostated in my writing.

I’m pretty sure those of us of a certain age will get the point even without embedding a music video every time it appears.

A New Musical Crush Is Heard From

I really enjoy the samba beat in this single, “You or Me”, from Janet Evra’s new album, Ask Her To Dance.

Although I’m only guessing samba; although it was briefly covered in Elements of Jazz: From Cakewalks to Fusion, I’ve already begun to forget what I might have learned from the course.

Janet Evra is also from the Saint Louis area (which explains why I saw her mentioned on WSIE’s Facebook page). I expect to get her new album when I feel comfortable just ordering new CDs on a whim again. Or for my upcoming birthday, since I did spell her last name to my beautiful wife. I spelled Janet Evra‘ last name to my beautiful wife. Although I guess I did spell my last name to my beautiful wife at some point before I made her practice writing it over and over.

The Source Of That One Thing Daddy Always Says At 4:30

This would be a case of what Daddy always says, except my boys are past calling me Daddy, and this particular utterance only occurs in the very specific circumstance when someone asks Dad (as he is now known) what time it is at 4:30.

In this case, Dad always says, “4:30. It’s not late. Naw, naw, it’s just early, early, early.”

Because of a relatively minor hit for the Spin Doctors some 26 years ago, old man.

I don’t remember that it was a hit at the time, but Wikipedia says it went to #26 on the charts.

The Meme Makes Me Remember When

Well, I’m butchering an unrelated country song title, but I saw this meme on Facebook:

And I immediately thought about the song “The Bird” by Jerry Reed:

And I remembered when it was on the radio:

It was 1982. I was freshly ten years old; my parents were separated for probably a year. My mother listened to country and western on the radio when we lived in Milwaukee before shifting to oldies when we lived in St. Louis, which explains my listening habits as I grew up (I didn’t learn I could change the station on the radio and did not have a radio of my own until I was about thirteen, which explains why I was so pressed to think of a pop song as a favorite song on a questionnaire when I was chosen as Student of the Week in eighth grade and had to go with “Ghostbusters” as both my favorite song and movie). We spent a lot of time with the Odya boys, and I remember singing along with them when “The Bird” came on the radio.

I’m not sure I had heard the song between then and looking it up on YouTube to post as a comment on Facebook.

But now I have, and I feel all thirty-six years that have passed.

The Best French Language Disco Record With A Lesbian Intrigue Subplot I’ve Ever Heard

So yesterday morning, I needed to stop by the Ozark Treasures antique mall to pick up some jams and jellies for Christmas gifts (new ones, not antique ones–I hope). I also found a booth that had LPs for a dollar each, which explains why I took a flyer on this album:

The band is Saint Tropez. The album (five songs, so more of an EP), is Je T’aime. Here at Nogglestead, we were talking French the other night, and I tried out the French I know, including “Je t’aime” and “je t’adore,” which, coupled with “Parlez-vous français, “Après moi le déluge,” and the contents of Billy Joel’s “C’etait Toi” are all I know of the language (and I pronounce none of them right). So this looked like a good pickup for a dollar.

I didn’t open the foldout cover at the antique mall. The back cover is just the track list and credits in French, but the foldout cover (and, apparently, the back cover on the CD) is a little more titillating:

According to Discogs, there’s a story running through the group’s three studio albums about a woman who falls for another woman wanted by the Paris police and Interpol. The story was supposed to conclude on the fourth album, but that one never materialized.

Well, that’s curious, Brian J. But how does it sound?

The title track is a little breathy and moany:

But the other four tracks are more straightforward disco-y.

Which is weird. Suddenly, I’m buying disco records because I relate to them as easy listening from the 1970s.

Given that the other Saint Tropez records are mostly in English, this quite well might be the only French language disco record with a lesbian intrigue subplot that I ever hear. Unlike the best disco flute record I’ve ever heard, whose artist released other similar records (which are good, too, but not the best).

Saint Tropez cannot be my favorite French singer as they’re probably Americans singing in French. They’re not my favorite singer in French/singer in France. They’re not even Stargard. But they’re okay for a couple bucks.

What other records did you get, Brian J.? you probably aren’t asking. Well, I got George Benson’s Give Me The Night, Vikki Carr’s For Once In My Life, Lou Rawls Come On In, Mister Blues, and Dionne Warwick’s Heartbreaker.

If anything, you’re asking What booth still has $1 R&B records?, and I’m not going to tell you.

Good Album Hunting, November 30, 2018: “Christmas Shopping” at Relics Antique Mall

On Friday afternoon, I led my reluctant boys out “Christmas shopping” to Relics Antique Mall mostly to get them out of my beautiful wife’s hair as she finished her work day.

Not surprisingly, this led to little actual Christmas shopping and a whole lot of record browsing. Which leads me to my first lamentation: The price of records at the antique mall is going up. Whereas the floor for album prices was a dollar, with a few going for five or eight bucks, now the floor is essentially three dollars with some titles of recognized bands from the 1970s or 1980s (or beyond) going for over ten dollars each. Which is a little rich for my blood. Which means I find it impossible to justify a stack of them such as I can with records that are only a buck.

Now, my second lamentation. The record I did not get? Phoebe Snow:

The first record I saw that I was excited about (the first I picked up was a two dollar Latin compilation album with a saucy woman on the cover). But the Phoebe Snow album…. Well, all right. I said in September that I was going to keep an eye out for this LP, and here it is!

Except: It had no price on it. No price tag that had fallen off that I could find. As it’s an antique mall, the people running the registers have no idea about the pricing set by the individual booth renters. This particular booth sold LPs for between two and ten bucks. I think I would pay ten bucks for the album, but I was not in the mood to take it to the registers and tell them I’d pay it; they’d think I’d taken off the tag which was priced higher yet.

So I set it on top of the record display, hoping that the owner of the booth will see it has no price tag and will price it (at $2, I hope) so I can pick it up in a week. When I will return to see if the album has been priced and I can buy it when I return for more “Christmas shopping.”

But I did console myself with a few other things.

I got:

  • Elvis’ Christmas Album by Elvis Presley. You hear a number of selections from this album on the radio from time to time, but he didn’t make it onto the compilation albums of the era.
  • The Beat of Brazil by Sergio Mendes.
  • Confetti by Sergio Mendes.
  • Homecooking by Sergio Mendes and Brazil ’77.
  • London Underground by Herbie Mann.
  • Voyeur by David Sanborn.
  • Straight to the Heart by David Sanborn. Jeez, button your shirt, brah. I almost needed to buy two albums with saucy women on them to compensate.
  • Too Tough by Angela Bofill.
  • Let Me Be The One by Angela Bofill. Compensation: Complete. Also, I like Angela Bofill, as you probably know if you read these posts all the way through.
  • Shangri-La by Jackie Gleason.
  • Riff Jass by Jackie Gleason.
  • Breakout by Spyro Gyra. I’ll pick them up when I find them now that I’m straight on who Spyro Gyra is and is not.
  • Monument Proudly Presents Boots Randolph with the Knightsbridge Strings & Voices by Boots Randolph, presumably, and the Knightsbridge Strings and Voices.
  • Second Childhood by Phoebe Snow. Her second album, which went Gold (Wikipedia tells me).
  • Latin Escapade by The George Shearing Quintet, the aforementioned Latin compliation platter.

Okay, I’ve said the last was saucy. Here’s what I mean:

I don’t know whether my calling that saucy tracks with your idea of saucy or not, this being the Internet and all, but I do buy an extraordinary number of platters by artists/groups I don’t know/normally buy when they have a fetching lass on the cover. Or a saucy woman. Which must mean that the people who designed the cover art of said things were onto something.

If Only I Had Consulted Dustbury First

Yesterday, “Der Kommissar” came on the radio, and my oldest child asked what a kommissar was.

I gave a lengthy explanation, as is my wont, but I blundered when he asked who sings it. “Falco?” I said.

“After the Fire,” my beautiful wife corrected me.

If only I had read this Dustbury post beforehand. I would have known and not made a fool of myself.

“They sound like that band that sings….” and then he spit out some lyrics that I recognized as “The Boys Are Back In Town”.

“That’s Thin Lizzy,” I said. “No, they [After the Fire] sound British or European. Thin Lizzy is American.”

Wrong again! Thin Lizzy is an Irish band. Although I did peg After the Fire right: They’re British.

Maybe I should not expound on any music at all unless I’m merely parroting Charles. Or amusing Friar, who apparently likes humor in poor taste. Which explains why he’s a regular reader here.

WAIT A MINUTE.

As I decided to add YouTube videos to this post, I discovered Falco did indeed do the song “Der Kommissar”:

It was, in fact, the After the Fire version, which is in English, that came on the radio.

And I still botched the nationality of Thin Lizzy. Like I once told the boys Lou Gramm of Foreigner was Canadian.

No wonder they don’t trust a thing I tell them, like “It’s time to go to bed.”

That Will Suck The Cool Right Out Of It

So the other evening, we were driving back from a basketball game in Avilla, Missouri. My sons attend a small school, and as such, their sports teams have to travel to a number of exotic small towns in southwest Missouri to find worthy competitors teams small enough to match their own.

So the day of the game, I’d had a bit of oral surgery. I’m sure it has a scientific name, but it’s the thing where they cut open the gums to get at the roots of your teeth, clean it out, and maybe grind off a tooth root if it’s cracked (as it was in my case). It’s a little bit bigger of a deal than a scaling-n-planing or a root canal, so my beautiful wife wanted to baby me and drive for the day.

But the two-lane Missouri roads (well, just one, Missouri 96) at dusk and after dark stressed her out, so I offered to drive home. Well, it was not all to benefit my wife. I overheard that one of the girls on the middle school basketball team was playing despite having had a root canal earlier in the day, and that made me feel like a wuss. Also, the driver has control of the sound system according to Anglo-Saxon law, so, since I was not on any pain killers aside from Advil (it doesn’t hurt, and if it did, I wouldn’t admit it to you), I slid into the driver’s seat.

But I was underway when my beautiful wife asked me what I wanted to hear, and my phone with its choice selections of music from varied tastes (well, heavy metal and jazz songbirds) was in my pocket. So she asked me what I wanted to hear from Spotify, and I was a little bedeviled with what to choose.

So my oldest son asked if he could pick a song, and he did, and so people in the car took turns picking songs. The youngest, on his turns, picked Imagine Dragons songs. The wife picked folk songs that amused her and that she had mentioned in recent weeks. I picked a couple of driving songs (“Don’t Look Back” by Boston and “Roll On Down The Highway” by BTO).

The oldest son, though, picked a couple of more modern tracks that he watches on YouTube on his school computer when he should instead be learning. He picked a couple of tracks by The Fat Rat, including “Monody”:

In a stunning departure that is sure to convince the young man that The Fat Rat is played out, his (antecedent: the young man, my son) mother liked it, although his (antecedent: The Fat Rat) mother probably claims she likes it, too, even if she doesn’t because her son made it.

But what my young son might not realize is that his mother is OG EDM.

Given that his father listens to heavy metal and jazz and that his mother likes EDM and folk, clearly we’re backing this poor child into rebelling against his parents by listening to bro country.

As to me, I am fine, thanks for asking. I’m in no pain (not that I would admit), but given that I should eat soft foods for a couple of days, I’m cleaning Nogglestead out of ripe bananas mashed in milk, decade-old instant oatmeal, and couscous of dubious provenance.

When You Send Brian J. Into The Nogglestead Wine Cellar

Book coverI grilled a couple of steaks last night, and I asked my beautiful wife if she would like me to pick out a bottle of wine.

What, then, are the odds that I would select something named for a song by the band Unleash the Archers?

To be clear, I did not buy a bottle of The Matriarch because it shares a name with the song, although I would have if I had the chance. The bottle came as part of a Random Number Generator Wine Club that my wife joined on a lark which sent a number of remaindered bottles from various California and Missouri wineries to our house. The Matriarch here is actually one of the better selections from the wine club. It’s a red blend, a little Malbecky, but pretty good for a Missouri wine.

If I see it at the local shops, I might pick it up. After all, I am the sort of man that dresses his whole family up as heavy metal fans for the church’s Trunk or Treat just so I have an excuse to buy an Unleash the Archers shirt.

Which I wear almost every day.

Apparently, Brian J. Favors The Bizarre Hits Of The 1970s

It’s one of the listicles that PJ Media is trying to become famous for, but here at MfBJN, it’s a quiz: The 10 Most Bizarre Hits of the ‘70s.

How many does Brian J. have on vinyl?

  • “Seasons in the Sun” by Terry Jacks
  • “Pop Muzik” by M
  • “Playground in my Mind” by Clint Holmes
  • Star Wars Theme / Cantina Band” by Meco (on vinyl and CD)
  • “(You’re) Having My Baby” by Paul Anka and Odia Coates
  • “A Fifth of Beethoven” by Walter Murphy and the Big Apple Band (twice: once on the Saturday Evening Fever soundtrack and on the album of the same name, although it’s credited simply to the Walter Murphy Band there)
  • “The Streak” by Ray Stevens (also on the videocassette of his greatest hits)
  • “Muskrat Love” by The Captain and Tennille
  • “Convoy” by C.W. McCall (although I might have this on an album or single, but it’s not what I listen to on the turntable, so I’m not sure)
  • “Disco Duck” by Rick Dees and His Cast of Idiots

I thought I did better because one of the entries mentions the Chipmunks’ “Christmas Song” which I have on single and probably on a Chipmunks or Christmas album somewhere.

So that’s 33%, or better than I do on coffee house-based album cover quizzes.

Even Better Than My Favorite .38 Special Toto Song

So I was listening to the radio in the car the other day, and I announced to my children that the song on the radio was my favorite .38 Special song.

The song? “Hold the Line”. The problem?

That’s Toto, not .38 Special.

In my defense, my favorite .38 Special song is “Hold On Loosely“:

A defense such as it is.

At any rate, it comes to mind because today is Friday, which is a holiday (albeit different from the Friday holiday celebrated at Dustbury). On Friday, Leo at Frog Leap Studios releases a new metal cover.

This week, he improved on my favorite Toto song:

Previously, of course, he had done Toto’s “Africa”.

In my defense, I have not (yet) mistaken Toto or .38 Special for Poco, but that time is coming, no doubt.

The Classic Rock Coffee Album Cover Quiz (II)

Yesterday, I had a second opportunity to kill some time at the Classic Rock Coffee shop after dropping my kids off at school, so I sat at another booth and snapped a picture of the album covers on the walls.

How well did I do?

Well, let me bold the ones I have:

  • Riptide Robert Palmer
  • Dream Police Cheap Trick
  • Rockin’ Into The Night .38 Special
  • Get the Knack The Knack
  • Bachman-Turner Overdrive Bachman-Turner Overdrive
  • Led Zeppelin II Led Zeppelin
  • 4 Foreigner
  • Brothers in Arms Dire Straits

Okay, so that’s a whopping 0 out of 8.

Apparently, I am a classic rock poser. I didn’t even recognize two of the covers and couldn’t make them out. This would probably be easier in any month but October without the fake spider-web decorations.

In my defense, I once saw BTO in concert at Summerfest. Also note I do have greatest hits collections from Foreigner and BTO, so I have the hit tracks from each album in my personal collection.

As I mentioned, 25% is likely to be the ceiling for my scores in these quizzes. If you recognize one of the album covers I couldn’t identify, leave it in the comments, and I’ll correct it in the list above. I won’t likely correct it in my music collection, though.

(The first in this series of quizzes here.)

UPDATE:Thanks be to Friar for supplying the missing album titles. In unrelated news, he titled his post today after another classic rock album.

The Classic Rock Coffee Album Cover Quiz (I)

I had a couple of minutes to kill after dropping my children off at school and before I was scheduled to help set up the Friends of the Springfield-Greene County Library book sale (I’m not just a messy patron; I’m also, sometimes, a volunteer). So I stopped at the local outpost of Classic Rock Coffee for a cup of joe.

If you’re not familiar with it, Classic Rock Coffee is outfitted more like a rock club than Starbucks (and this particular location has a music venue off to the side). There are black lights and music memorabilia on the walls. And several of the booths have a collection of classic rock album covers beside them.

So, because I’m bored (or was during that interim), I’ve decided to make it a quiz. Which of the albums beside the booth do I own?

I was sitting today at the western most booth, which features these album covers:

I’ll bold the ones I own:

  • Sticky Fingers The Rolling Stones
  • Now and Zen Robert Plant
  • Chicago 13 Chicago
  • 52nd Street Billy Joel
  • Crimes of Passion Pat Benetar
  • Night Moves Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band
  • Private Eyes Hall and Oates
  • Wheels are Turnin’ REO Speedwagon

25%. Not very good. Given my other experiences at the coffee shop, this is about what I get for every booth.

Note that the albums I own from the above list I first got on audiocassette, but I have since upgraded the Billy Joel to CD.

A New Album To Look For

So WSIE played this song called “Poetry Man”, and I thought, hey, it’s like she’s singing to me!

So I researched it, and, as you might already know, Phoebe Snow’s song is not new at all.

It’s from 1974. Which means it’s newer than I am, but not by much.

Phoebe Snow’s self-titled debut LP went platinum, so there’s a decent chance I’ll find one in the wild for a couple of dollars. I’ll be on the lookout.

As Though She Were A Normal Person (II)

You know, Springfield is not Milwaukee. In Milwaukee, you can find more than one church festival on any given weekend, even the weekends where Summerfest is or one of the heritage festivals is running down on the lakefront and drawing tens of thousands of people.

No, in Springfield, only two churches through proper church festivals with food, music, and whatnot. St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic church and St. Thomas the Apostle Greek Orthodox church are about a mile apart on the southwest side of Springfield, and they both have their festivals on the same weekend.

Given that I’m half Catholic and went to a “Catholic” university (Catholic in quotations because it may have been founded Catholic, but it’s all modern university), you can probably guess which I attended.

I am half Catholic, but all Milwaukeean. I went to both: St. Elizabeth Ann Seton on Saturday and St. Thomas Apostle on Sunday.

As my boys and I were entering the festival on Sunday, I saw a man with a camera, and I briefly thought he might be for the News-Leader, but I dismissed it. Most of the time, the faces in the crowd photos are taken by Brenna Stark or Karen Bliss, who you might remember was following me around a couple weeks ago. The photographer took a pass on taking a picture of moi, but it turns out it was the News-Leader‘s photographer.

Instead of me, he captured jazz vocalist Kristi Merideth:

Kristi Merideth, unlike Erin Bode, is a local performer who does shows individually and with a band called 83 Skiddoo. I’ve meant to catch her live, but her performances don’t tend to coincide with the date nights my beautiful wife and I infrequently enjoy.

Here she is singing “Rhode Island Is Famous For You” from her self-titled EP which I picked up a couple years ago:

More Stacey Kent than Sacha Boutros.

Full disclosure: Our children go to school together and, dare I say it? play in jazz band together. But I don’t know Ms. Merideth other than to say “Hi” and “How are you?” a couple times over the years.

Frank Versus Perry: A Musical Throwdown

So I listened to Perry Como’s By Request, and it has the song “Once Upon A Time” as the lead song on side 2.

And I thought, You know who else does this song? Frank Sinatra.

You know, I think Frank Sinatra is best when he does songs of reminiscence and regret; this song appears on my favorite Sinatra album, September of My Years, a platter full of reminiscence and regret.

You know, Sinatra’s got that that pathos going on, but on balance, the richness of Como’s voice outweighs it in this instance, at least as far as I’m concerned.

I’ve no evidence that Eydie ever did this song, so I must give the MfBJN Musical Throwdown award to Perry Como on this one.

I must be getting so old now that I’m passing out of Sinatra appreciation into Como appreciation or something.