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.

So I’ve Read That Metal Is Family

I read in Metal Hammer magazine that metal is family, but I found that hard to believe. When I was growing up, the kids who listened to metal in our trailer park certainly didn’t treat the awkward, small younger version of me like family at all. So I’ve been skeptical of the claim even as I’ve outgrown being small.

However, stories like this make me reconsider: After a fan’s death at Milwaukee show, metal band Ghost coming back to finish concert in his honor:

Theatrical metal band Ghost’s sold-out show at the Riverside Theater in Milwaukee on May 31 came to an abrupt and tragic end when fan Jeff Fortune collapsed at the venue and died that evening.

* * * *

The band also will be selling an exclusive shirt at that show, with an illustration of band frontman Cardinal Copia and Fortune wearing Michael Myers costumes from “Halloween,” with all proceeds being donated to Fortune’s family.

Ghost recently came to my attention because the local radio station has been playing their new song “Rats”, and I liked the sound of it:

I recently considered picking up their latest album Prequelle, but I opted for Apex from Unleash the Archers instead.

But you can bet that Prequelle will find its way to my mailbox soon.

Wait For It

I’ve got a new pun I can’t wait to ad lib.

It’s calling someone who loves felines a real Catsanova.

Wait, an Internet search indicates that I did not invent the pun.

Ah, well, when I blurt it out as though I just made it up, I’ll assume the person I was speaking to won’t think immediately to search the Internet to see where I found it, or that it was a pre-meditated drop-in pun.

Where did I get it? Well, I was listening to Paulina Rubio…

…and then I encountered a cat, which is easy to do at Nogglestead.

So I came by it honestly, through my own synthetic thought, rather than piggybacking off of someone’s established humor.

Or maybe I saw it somewhere before.

Being “quick-witted” is awfully hard work sometimes.

Brian J. Learns the Guitar, Update

As I mentioned earlier this year, I bought a guitar with the intention of learning to play it.

I took some lessons for a couple of months, but eventually, it turned into me boring my instructors who wanted to teach me more advanced things than I could process as I was still learning the basic fine motor skills involved in placing my fingers in the proper position on the fret board and striking the right string with the pick.

I suspended the lessons until I could at least do the basics.

How’s that coming?

Well, I can almost, almost change between a third chord in time, which means when I’m strumming or picking an open chord, I can sometimes do it without a noticeable gap in the playing. So it’s improving, but slowly.

I only have a couple minutes to practice most days, so it will take me a while. But that’s all right; one of the things I’ve learned is patience.

It’s different from learning a martial art, though, where you continuously improve from gross motor skills to the fine motor skills. In guitar, though, you have to develop the fine motor skills right off the bat, so I don’t see improvement or even basic competence right away, or even now six months later. Has it only been six? Has it already been six?

It’s looking more and more like I’ll be Inge Ginsberg’s age when I make my debut in my metal band.

Metal’s Finest Hour Is Not In The Past

On one of the listicles that they’ve started running on PJMedia entitled Top Five 1980s One-Hit Wonders to Rock the Midterms, we have this gross mischaracterization:

Grim Reaper would seem to have had it all, a catchy Sabbath-esque riff, one of the most piercing song-ending screams in the history of headbanging, Satan on a stick. It’s a one-hit masterpiece, but GR only got marginal traction at a time when metal was selling like Garbage Pail Kids.

The problem? They were rightly or wrongly perceived as poseurs. Seen to be cashing in on metal’s finest hour while dispossessed of some undefinable, dues-paying authenticity.

Here’s the song, which I don’t remember:

I mean, they’re no Danger Danger.

But the problem lies in asserting that metal’s finest hour was sometime in 1983.

My friends, metal’s finest hour is, and ever shall be, now.

Because the memories of metal past is nothing compared to metal blasting out of your windows right now.

Here’s something from now called “Awakening” by a band called Unleash the Archers whose latest CD will soon make an appearance on my music balance posts:

I’ve determined that the local radio stations have not been feeding me a steady enough diet of new music, so I’ve joined the 21st century and have started prowling YouTube and then listening to a band on Spotify if I like them. So YouTube keeps suggesting metal bands fronted by women, which makes me wonder how this will affect the balance of heavy metal and jazz songbirds in my musical taste. Time and scientific experimentation will help me understand, I suppose.

Book Report: Emotional Memoirs and Short Stories by Lani Hall Alpert (2012)

Book coverI bought this book after I attended the Herb Alpert / Lani Hall concert last year. I didn’t have enough cash to buy it at the theatre, but I ordered it promptly after I got home.

It’s a collection of short memories from Ms. Hall-Alpert’s life growing up in Chicago interspersed with short stories inspired by some of those memories–or perhaps the recollections are prompted by the short stories.

Regardless, it’s a collection of ten short stories (“Come Rain or Come Shine”, “Standing Appointment”, “Mr. Belmont”, “Something in Common”, “The Professor”, “The Ringing Bells”, “The Cleaning Lady”, “Curiosity”, “Coonfrontation”, and “Inland”). They’re mostly mainstream, slice-of-life style fiction you used to find in women’s magazines or in Colliers and sometimes Short Story magazine. They’re not self-consciously literary, which is nice. They deal often with men’s and women’s relationships and/or a woman’s, particularly an artistic woman’s, self-doubt. They’re nice little stories, and I cannot pooh-pooh them even though I have an English Degree® because I’m not having a lot of luck in writing my own short stories these days even though I’m gathering a little box full of ideas.

So they’re worth reading, especially if you’re a fan of her music.

You’re probably more familiar with her singing “Mais Que Nada” with Sergio Mendes and Brazil ’66, but she did the theme song for the Bond movie Never Say Never Again which my boys and I will watch after Octopussy which is next in our queue, so it seemed the thing to include in this book report.

Good Morning; Or, How Charity Silent Auctions Upset My Musical Balance

I go on and on about how my musical purchases tend to fall neatly into two camps: Heavy metal and jazz songbirds (or maybe three if you include “Pop Music Recommended By Mr. Hill. But the truth is much more complicated.

Okay, it’s not. I will also buy CDs of local artists when I find them in silent auctions, and sometimes I do not include them in my balance tallies simply because I use my Amazon order history to build those lists. Which is why I don’t mention the Liz Moriondo self-titled CD I bought at a trivia night silent auction last winter, although I did mention her parody “All About That Bass” (which is not on the album) here.

Well, friends, I confess: I did it again.

On Friday night, I went to the Republic Pregnancy Resource Center for its annual Bluegrass and BBQ fund raiser which features bluegrass music from local bands and a silent auction. I behaved myself this year and did not bid the face price on every gift card and buy a bunch of Branson shows and attraction gift cards since the summer is winding down, and we won’t be traveling an hour to the south much this year. But I did bid on two CD auctions.

The first was for a single CD from Lily Belle called The Sunshine Projects.

The has a video for the catchy song “Good Morning”, which would I guess be the first single from the album if anyone still thinks in those terms:

It’s a little poppier than what I listen to, but darn, if it doesn’t kind of make me want to smile. Which is about as close to smiling as I get.

I just assume that she’s local, so I’d like to think I recognize the park as Sequita Park, but I’m likely mistaken. My Springfield park knowledge is pretty limited, although I did visit Nathaniel Greene park yesterday.

The second auction I bid on was a lot featuring CDs from the two performers that played at the event, That Dalton Gang and Lonesome Road:


I’ve listened to the That Dalton Gang CD, but not yet the Lonesome Road album. Bluegrass. You know. I actually have a number of bluegrass CDs bought in this manner, but I don’t tend to listen to them a lot. It’s not my bag, but supporting the Republic Pregnancy Resource Center is.

So, yeah, I paid more than the asking price for these CDs.

Now, before you get to worrying about me, I also did get a No Grave But The Sea by Alestorm and From Birth to Burial by 10 Years on the heavy metal side (and I’m looking closely at Prequelle by Ghost to pick up when I next buy Christmas gifts on Amazon according to the One For You/One For Me protocol). I’ve also picked up another disc from Natsumi Kiyoura, Hodo Auko.

So on the whole, I’m still in balance, but the silent auctions throw me out of whack a bit.

Where Do I See Myself In Twenty Years?

Aside from somehow wasting vast amounts of time culling and curating thirty-five years of MfBJN archives, probably here:

A pair of elderly German men escaped from their nursing home to go to a heavy metal festival, it was reported.

After the home reported them missing, police found the two at 3 a.m. at Wacken Open Air, the world’s biggest heavy metal festival.

The Wisconsin Word for Adele

is Abby, as in Abby Jeanne.

She’ll be at the Wisconsin State Fair this year, which is another festival I’ll miss in Milwaukee for the twenty-somethingth year in a row.

To be honest, she falls outside of my preferred poles of songbird or heavy metal. The paper calls her rock, and maybe some of her live music rocks harder than the samples I find on YouTube, but she’s more bluesy rock with the F word kind of like Adele or Bonnie Raitt.

Road Trip Averted Due To Typo

Herb Alpert shared on Facebook that he’s got some upcoming shows, so I clicked through to see if he’s going to be anywhere nearby.

“Whoa!” I thought, “He’s going to be in St. Louis…Michigan. Never mind.”

Oops. That’s a mistake on Herb Alpert’s Web site.

Herb Alpert sells out the Grandel.

Apparently, the Grandel Theatre is a new venue up by St. Louis University that opened in 2017, which explains why I was not familiar with the name.

Well, I always have the concert I saw last year if nothing else.

I’ve already booked our annual concert with a septugenerian. However, as it is a birthday gift for my beautiful wife, I will not divulge its exact nature in case she stumbles upon this blog in the next nine days.

As Though She Were A Normal Person

As you might know, gentle reader, I like to flip through the society pages of the local slick and browse through the equivalent gallery pages of the Springfield News-Leader because Springfield is a relatively small city, and I’ll often see someone I know attending some event.

So yesterday, I’m scrolling through the gallery of people attending a recent Alison Krauss concert, and there, just like she were a mere mortal, was Erin Bode.

That is jazz vocalist Erin Bode. I’m not sure the photographer from the News-Leader knows it.

I’ve seen her twice in concert. Once at a little club in Clayton called Finale where I dragged my beautiful wife on a date night sans our only son at the time. The other was at the Old Trees annual musical festival, where I walked up without the family to catch a bit of her set. I got her 2006 album Over and Over and listened to it, well, over and over in the office where I worked five flights above Washington Avenue.

Strangely enough, I don’t have any of her other albums. Which might mean that my musical purchase might become unbalanced in the coming months.

What A Difference Thirty Years Makes

In 1986, I might have been sympathetic to the youngsters’ point of view in this video:

Thirty years later, however, I’m reviewing the parents’ accused behavior to see what I can learn from it and apply it to my own children.

(Full disclosure: Even at fourteen years old, I thought this song was puerile and obnoxious. To be clear, I had what they might call an “old soul,” were they calling it an “old man’s soul” which I might have to this day, fixation on metal music and comic books not withstanding.)

A Perfectly Balanced Few Months

Not that you’re keeping track, but my musical purchases have, in fact, remained in balance the last few months. As I’ve pointed out (originally here), my music purchases tend to be two types of music: Jazz songbirds and heavy metal. Over the last year and a half, this balance has been remarkably consistent. Sometimes, the balance shifts if I hear more metal or more new jazz, but it always seems to return to equilibrium. At the end of March, I last provided an update on my music purchases.

Well, I’ve bought essentially ten albums since then (with some asterisks).

Here’s what I’ve gotten:

Forget the buying, you might say. How’s the balance in listening?

Well, to be honest, the metal songs by Leo get the heaviest rotation. They’re among the oldest selections on the list, and I burned them to CDs and listen to them in the car, so they get a lot of play then. I only just got the Jessy J album this weekend, and the Natsumi Kiyoura CD has yet to arrive. So it’s mostly Leo.

Internet Musical Taste Setters Strike Again

So I ordered an LP off of the Internet.

As you might know, a pretty woman singing in a foreign language falls into my songbird wheelhouse.

Where did I hear about this LP?

Dustbury. Again.

If you’re keeping track, Dustbury is responsible for my buying the following artists: Against the Current, Pier Angeli, Rebecca Black.

Blackfive: Danger Danger.

Kelley of Suburban Light, some years after the blog ended: Electric Six.

Unknown: Arctic Monkeys.

I am easily led.

A Trip to the Record Store, 1981

Tucked into a paper LP sleeve, I found a receipt from Waxie Maxie’s, which was apparently a record store chain on the east coast.

Before Christmas in 1981. Perhaps it was a Christmas gift. In my life, it was the first Christmas without my father in the house. I couldn’t tell you what I got–I know one year I expected an Atari because my mother hid one of the neighbor’s gifts in our basement so her son wouldn’t find it, and we found it, but we got Donkey Kong and Frogger tabletop electronic games instead, but that might have been 1982.

At any rate, this little sales slip has traveled quite a ways, as I bought the LP in which I found it in southwest Missouri. Also, the LP purchased that day was apparently Conway Twitty’s Heart and Soul, and I found it in Stargard’s self-titled debut album.

Well, the Internet is the place for floatsam like this, so here you go. When I complain about the cost of a $15 CD, remind me again of how much this LP would have cost in today’s dollars.