One Asterisk Guarantee

So I was looking at the Smooth Jazz Cruise 2021 because Keiko Matsui lists the 2020 cruise on her tour dates page, and my beautiful wife has been jonesing for a cruise for about a decade now. Unfortunately, the 2020 cruise with Keiko Matsui is sold out, and she does not appear on the 2021 roster.

But, Brian J., aren’t you more of a 70000 Tons of Metal cruise kind of guy? To be honest, they have not announced their 2020 music lineup yet, and I’ve already mentioned this as a possibility to Mrs. Noggle, and she was so hungry for a cruise that she entertained the possibility.

But the Smooth Jazz 2021 Cruise includes a number of artists I wouldn’t mind seeing, including:

I recognize some of the other names, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to see them.

Given the confluence of the aforementioned circumstances (wife wants a cruise, jazz acts I like to see are on the cruise), I clicked through to the pricing information, and I noted that, in addition to prices that made me go, “Erm,” we have this “guarantee”:

It’s billed as a No Fee Guarantee, but it says it’s really only one fee of $350.

It’s been a while since I took a logic class, but one fee is the direct opposite of no fee.

Ah, well. It’s not as though I was really going to book this cruise. Fortunately for me, my wife does not read this blog and will not be disappointed with this revelation at the end.

The Other Poetry Man

I’m not referring to my cousin-in-law; I’m referring to this cover of the Phoebe Snow song by Jessy J:

It loses a bit without the lyrics, but it’s still a pleasant melody.

I have not been listening to the DirecTV streaming music stations as all the remotes from the entertainment center have been confiscated until the males in the household behave themselves. Instead, I’ve been listening to music from my music library, and I’ve really started to enjoy Jessy J’s Tequila Moon which means that I’ll have to get some more Jessy J albums in the future.

(As a reminded, I have spoken about Phoebe Snow’s rendition of “Poetry Man” here, and I actually touched the album once.)

Brian Fact-Checks Country Music

The other day, I found myself behind an International Harvester on Highway FF, and I thought of the Craig Morgan song.

This vehicle managed a speed of 15 mph along the state highway, but the song says:

Hoggin’ up the road on my p-p-p-p-plower
Chug a lug a luggin’ 5 miles an hour
On my International Harvester

However, this particular unit was a harvester, not a plower, so my experience does not counter the song.

I do, however, wonder what the combine was doing down by us. Most of the “crops” grown around here are hay. I can’t think where we have a field of wheat or corn big enough to warrant a combine.

Although perhaps that means I should get back into the habit of driving around exploring. I did that a bunch when my children were really young; we’d hop into the car to go for a ride and just drive around. Now that they’re older, we’re busy and don’t go driving around almost aimlessly. Which is a little sad.

(Previously, I mentioned this song in 2008.)

In The Neverending Series Of “They Don’t Sound Alike At All….”

Perhaps I should make a category of this since I note parallels between voices that apparently don’t sound alike at all.

This morning, as I was talking with my beautiful wife, something came on WSIE. “That sounds like Mary Chapin Carpenter,” I said.

It was Heather Newman.

“No, it doesn’t,” she [my beautiful wife] said.

I dunno, they sound kind of alike to me. But years of metal might have dulled the finer bits of my discernment, if I ever had any.

(Previously in this series. Coming soon: Anastacia and Taylor Dayne.)

Country Stars in the Movies

I’ve talked about how old football players in movies, and as I was just thinking about Jerry Reed’s role in The Waterboy, and I thought about what country stars made pretty good names for themselves in films.

I mean, we do have Jerry Reed, of course, who played major characters in The Waterboy and the Smokey and the Bandit movies (all three), but his other roles seem smaller and on television. So if the threshold is five, Jerry Reed isn’t on the list.

Dwight Yoakum, in addition to singing songs that stick with one, was in a plethora of movies as a major character, including Sling Blade, Panic Room, and many more. So he would be on the list.

Kenny Rogers was in a number of television movies based on his songs, notably The Gambler (series) and Coward of the County. But does television movies count?

George Strait, stretching himself in playing a country singer in Pure Country is not.

Nor is Trace Adkins, known at Nogglestead mostly for An American Carol where he played a minor role, although he has an ouevre that is growing.

Johnny Cash was in a number of television roles, but they were bit parts.

Dolly Parton was in 9 to 5, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Rhinestone, and Steel Magnolias. And she’s been on television a bunch. Does that count? She’d certainly be above some of the others on the list.

Reba had a successful television show and appeared in a couple of films. Should we call her a television or movie star on the basis of her credits?

Of course, Kris Kristofferson is at the top of the list. He has been in A Star Is Born, Blade (the series), Payback, and so much more. He’s probably the patron saint of country stars who became movie stars.

So who am I missing? Who from country music has moved into movies and had success playing roles other than bit roles and other than himself/herself?

Twenty-Some Years Later, The Truth Is Revealed

So Mr. Hill posts a story about Fiona Apple, and I’m about to leave a comment that I can hear the first song from her album because my office mate at the time played it all the time.

But I wasn’t sure which album it was: Tidal or When the Pawn…. So I did some research, namely, hitting Wikipedia to see which album it’s on.

I remember that I learned the song is called “Not an Addict”, which was a bit of a downer; I thought she was singing “I’m automatic,” not “I’m not an addict.”

But what I have learned today is that the she who was singing was not Fiona Apple but Gert Bettens of K’s Choice.

It’s entirely possible that we discussed that she sounded a little like Fiona Apple but was not, in fact, Fiona Apple. But that would have been twenty-some years ago, and I cannot be expected to remember that conversation.

I’m not even sure I’m going to remember that this is a K’s Choice song instead of a Fiona Apple song. Or, if my tricky memory is feeling clever, perhaps I will think it’s a song by Vitamin K, confusing it with Vitamin C‘s song “Graduation (Friends Forever)” from the same era.

Truly, I have a dizzying intellect.

When All You Listen To Is Metal, All The Headlines Are About Metal

Chevelle show comes home to Springfield:

Apparently, not that Chevelle:

The longest-running Chevelle show in the country is coming back to its roots in Springfield this week.

The 32nd Midwest Chevelle Regional Car Show will be held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Oasis Hotel and Convention Center, 2546 N. Glenstone — the very site where the show got its start, back when the property was a Howard Johnson Hotel.

DED releases May jobs report:

Whoops, wrong DED:

May jobs report highlights:

• Missouri non-farm payroll employment increased by 2,500 jobs in May.
• Missouri’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained at 3.3 percent.

I think I like my interpretations of the headlines better.

When Your Run Suggests Its Own Playlist

So I went out for a run last night, which makes it sound like I’m a runner, which I am not. I am not the sort of person who’ll take off from my driveway and go for a little run, mostly because I don’t really like to run and also because I live in the country, and a run from my house is likely to include near-misses by trucks on two-lane highway-speed farm roads and the threat of loose dogs of dangerous size.

I mean, I did do this, once, when I was in college and under the influence of Spenser novels, but I didn’t like running then, either, so I only ran around the neighborhood in northwest Milwaukee once even though I was impressed when my military friends would come back and run to the mall and back because it was only ten miles.

At any rate, my boys’ cross country coach tries to keep his kids in shape by holding voluntary fun runs twice a week in the summer, and I try to take them as often as possible because, for some reason, it seems that every year my exercise goes to hell after the Y Not Tri, and this year is no exception. I end up about a month away from the Republic, Missouri, Tiger Triathlon wondering how I’m going to get into shape enough to endure it.

So when I take my boys to the fun run, I try to get in a little running on my own. Last night, we went to Sequiota Park, which has a pretty straight line trail leading out of it north and south. If you run north out of the park, though, you run across a road where the trail walkers, runners, and bikers have a stop sign.

Lacuna Street

Which probably suggests some Lacuna Coil on the running playlist.

Or it would if I used Spotify or something. I don’t actually own any Lacuna Coil.

But perhaps you’ll see it on one of my musical balance posts forthcoming.

How was the run? you might ask if you’re interested in that sort of thing. 1.8 miles in 18 minutes, keeping with my base pace of about 10 minutes per mile. I’d like to see that go up, but you know what I’d have to do to get better? Run more.

The Various Clubs I Have Attended

So I’m watching the video for Herb Alpert’s 1987 hit, “Diamonds”, from his album Keep Your Eye On Me which is the only Herb Alpert album I own on cassette (which is okay, because I have a cassette player in my new-to-me truck and get to listen to the album all the time).

At any rate, the track not only features Janet Jackson, but the story of it is set at a dance club of the 1980s:

So I got to thinking, “How prevalent was the dance club culture, actually?” I mean, if you watch the movies and whatnot, a lot of scenes take place at clubs, but I didn’t go to clubs a whole lot when I was young. I am pretty sure I can count them on one hand:

  • By George in Columbia, Missouri, when I was dating this hot chick in the area who loved to go there and dance.
  • Excalibur in Collinsville, Illinois, where I took said hot chick because it was the only dance club I really knew because they advertised heavily on the radio.
  • Fallout, a gay dance club that a friend (not that kind of friend) took me to in college, perhaps to make me uncomfortable. But I didn’t get hit on; everyone could see by my lack of dancing prowess that I was straight.

I was always more of a music festival kind of guy, being a native son of Milwaukee.

So I really cannot judge based on my experience how prevalent clubs were. In my coffee house days, whenever I hung out late at the Grind coffee shop in the fashionable Central West End, a lot of the people there would decide to go to Velvet, a club down on Washington. I never did though, as it had a dress code, and I attired myself pretty much in dark jeans and sneakers in my pre-going Grant days. But the people hanging around at the Grind included a lot of college students, many of foreign birth, and au pairs. So I don’t know how that segment of the population counts.

It’s just as well; I’m not very good at dancing. Most likely because I’m very self-conscious.

I have, however, been to music clubs, with seating to enjoy music.

Heavy metal clubs include:

  • The Thirsty Whale in Chicago to see Lillian Axe.
  • The Haven in Milwaukee, where I saw Ript.

I’ve also been to a couple jazz clubs:

  • Finale in St. Louis to see Erin Bode.
  • Yoshi’s San Francisco which I went to because it was Yoshi’s, and we saw the Gospel Gators, a local college’s gospel choir.
  • The Blue Note in Columbia, MO, to see one or more folk acts favored by that hot chick who became my beautiful wife even though I cannot dance.

There are probably a couple more if I really plumb the depths of my memory.

Of all of the ones I listed, only the Blue Note and, apparently, Excalibur are still around. Coupled with yesterday’s post about poetry slam in St. Louis, and suddenly I realize how old I’m getting.

It also doesn’t answer a question I often have about how different the depictions of life and youth in culture, even that of the time or the new retro nostalgia costume dramas, vary simply from my life or do they vary from the experience of the majority of my generation? I suppose I could ask someone my age if I get to talking to them.

Good Album Hunting, Saturday, June 8, 2019: SEAS Sale and Relics Antique Mall

So yesterday, I found myself at the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton annual sale, and they had a couple of boxes of records. I found a couple that looked interesting and bought them along with a couple of glass vases to etch.

Then, I found myself at Relics Antique Mall as my wife is looking for some wall decorations for the guest room that we painted three years ago and have had bare walls since. While she looked for something to match her tastes, I flipped through some bins of records. Some of the bins are getting nuts as far as pricing goes–one of my go-to end caps had some priced at $14 or $24 dollars (although the sign said half off of everything, that’s still a little much for my taste). However, another stalwart end cap still had records for $3 each, and I’m getting more comfortable with buying records at that price.

So here’s what I got:

  • The capstone is Blow Your Own Horn by Herb Alpert. After the 1970s, his music was selling more on cassettes, I guess, so it’s rare to find something of his from the 1980s. Unfortunately, it skips a bit on the first song.
  • Knock on Wood by Amii Stewart.
  • Stephanie by Stephanie Mills, best known around these parts for singing “Bit by Bit” on the Fletch soundtrack.
  • Uptown by the Neville Brothers. I just got an Isley Brothers album, and I sometimes confuse the two acts. By building my collection, I’ll get them straight.
  • Welcome Back by John Sebastian. I’ve seen this on this end cap before and thought I’d buy it someday for his rendition of the Welcome Back, Kotter theme song. Today was that day. I also noted some albums that I’ll buy later, someday, but I’d better make it sooner rather than when the prices go up to $5 each and I won’t be so inclined to explore.
  • Fred Astaire’s Greatest Hits. I’m not sure what his greatest musical hits are, actually, and the album cover itself does not say (and, like a fool, I did not look at the album itself, so I hope it’s in there).
  • Today’s Romantic Hits / For Lovers Only vol. 2 by Jackie Gleason. Someday, I might have a pretty comprehensive collection of these.
  • Jackie Gleason Plays The Most Beautiful Girl in the World. Ditto.
  • I’m Looking For A Four Leaf Clover by Jo Ann Castle. It features a comely lass on the cover, so I expected a songbird from the middle 1960s. Apparently, the artist is the ragtime piano player from the Lawrence Welk show and is not the young lady on the cover.

So it was about $20 total.

I also bought a new circular saw so I can continue on my construction of the new record shelves today. Unless I spend the whole day blogging, I guess.

A Downside of Nogglestead

If I still lived in Old Trees, I could walk to two jazz festivals this year.

There’s the Old Webster Jazz and Blues Festival, which I visited a long time ago and saw a set of Erin Bode’s show. She’s not there this year, for some reason, but trumpeter Jim Manley is.

And due to a dispute with the local parks, the U[niversity] City Jazz Festival has moved to Old Orchard this year.

You know, sometimes I wonder if moving to the country really was best.

When In Ridgedale, Drink As The Norwegians Sing

Book coverI cannot understand why this is not an aphorism. Perhaps it’s better as a koan: What does it mean?

It means that, when choosing a wine to go with our meal at the Devil’s Pool restaurant at Big Cedar last week, I selected the wine that goes best with Norwegian heavy metal covers: Frog’s Leap Zinfandel.

Frog Leap Studios, of course, is the name of Leo Moracchioli’s venture. Here’s a recent song of his, a cover of Madness’s “Our House” that advertises Leo’s house for sale:

I looked into it; the house is roughly $300,000 in real money. Located in the balmy southeastern part of Norway, if I lived there, I’d expect to bump into Morton Harket, Pal Waaktaar-Savoy, and Tine Thing Helseth all the time.

But, alas, I am a man of modest means and cannot afford tiny little houses with awesome recording studios in the shed. Or castles closer by.

Where was I? Oh, yes, the wine. Very nice.

Apparently, I have a thing for wines that remind me of heavy metal bands. Or just a thing for wine.

Triple Effect Narrator

So I might have mentioned that the country and western station that I can get on my lawnmowing headphones has gone back to playing older country songs as well as a couple beach or bro country songs, so I just spent an hour and a half marinating in country.

I heard a Kenny Chesney sing “I Go Back”:

and I heard what I thought was a Lee Ann Womack song, but it turns out was Pam Tillis singing “Shake The Sugar Tree“.

But they got me thinking about a post I did just a little while ago about Kenny Chesney’s “Young”, Lee Ann Womack singing “Mendocino County Line” with Willie Nelson, and Eric Church singing “Springsteen”.

Except that little while was almost seven years ago.

As I said then:

The strangest thing about it is the double-effect nature of it (I am Mr. Double Effect Narrator right here). When I first heard it ten years ago, I was a little wistful appropriately for my teenaged years (although briefly and only at a surface level, of course, but that is the will o’ the wist).

Now, of course, I can be both wistful for its content and wistful for the time when the song was new.

I think I have achieved the rare condition of triple effect narrator. Because I’m now nostalgic for the time when I wrote the post, the time when the song came out, and my younger days.

I need an emergency infusion of Toby Keith, stat.

Okay, maybe not that Toby Keith.

More likely I should step away from the YouTube and spend some time with my family.

Other Repeats in Brian J.’s Life

Yesterday I mentioned films I had seen more than once in the theater, and it got me thinking (but not right before bed) about other things I have seen more than once.

Plays

  • Table Manners, one of the three in Alan Ayckbourn’s The Norman Conquests. When I was at the university, the Milwaukee Rep played all three on a rotating basis (Table Manners one night, Round and Round the Garden the next, and Living Together the next, and repeat), so I decided I would go to each of them with a different girl. However, because I misread the schedule, I had to go see Table Manners a second time. I actually saw it a third time when the Chesterfield Community Theatre in St. Louis played it by itself.
  • A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I think I’ve seen this a couple of times, but I might be conflating the play with the symphony, both of which I’ve seen.

Musical Acts

  • Richard Marx (twice on the Repeat Offender tour: once in Milwaukee, once in St. Louis).
  • Poison
  • Warrant
  • Dar Williams
  • Ani DiFranco

The last two were under the influence of my beautiful wife, naturally.

The musician I’d like to see most again: Herb Alpert. The play I’d like to see most again: Sight Unseen.

Eydie vs. Keely: The Musical Smackdown

A poor unenlightened soul refuses to acknowledge the primacy of Eydie Gorme in all things musical, so I feel the need to offer a direct comparison.

We’ll take Keely Smith on her home turf, with “I Wish You Love”, the title track from her 1957 debut album.

Here is Eydie Gorme doing what she does best, which is everything:

As I had said to Friar, I’ve got another Keely Smith album (Be My Love) that hasn’t really stood out, and I think it’s because Keely sounds like a lot of other female big band vocalists I’ve heard, where the delivery is flat and a bit projected since there’s generally an orchestra behind them whereas Eydie is more pop/jazz influenced, where the notes are rounder and the presentation more intimate.

Your actual mileage may vary, but understand that no matter what scientific measurement you apply, Eydie Gorme is always the best. Because no matter what your subjective understanding of reality is at any given time, reality is as it is.

A New Jazz Crush Has Entered The Arena

WSIE played Ashley Pezzotti’s version of “We’ve Only Just Begun”, and I was taken with it, so I bought her debut album of the same name.

I was a very low order number on her Web site.

Here she is singing her own composition “That Way”:

She’s already learned the secret to not losing head-to-head musical competitions with Eydie Gorme here on MfBJN: Write your own material.

So, how many times have you listened to that CD so far, Brian J.? you might ask. I shall simply say “More than once.”

I Know Where That Background Vocal Line Comes From

So I was doing the evening chores, and I found myself singing a bit of “Ew wah ew wah ew wah ew wah.”

Unlike when I found myself ruminating on the melody of Marty Balin’s “Hearts” in February, I knew where this came from.

Dwight Yoakum’s “Pocket of a Clown”.

Although I did have to search for it to make sure I wasn’t crazy (“Pocket of a Clown”? No way that’s a real song.).

I had Dwight Yoakum’s This Time album when it was fresh. It’s weird; I think of my college years as mostly steeped in pop music, but I listened to my share of country at the beginning of the 1990s as well.

Why it came up in my mind’s rotation, I have no idea. I am pleased, though, that the radio station that I can listen to while mowing the lawn has, after a couple of years, backed off of the all-bro-country format and returned to a mix of today and oldies. And by “oldies,” I mean things current when I was an adult.

Good Album Hunting, Saturday, May 4, 2019: Friends of the Springfield-Greene County Library Book Sale

Friends, somehow this spring’s book sale sneaked up on me, so I only found an opportunity to visit it on half price day today. Which worked out all right for me, as I only spent thirty some dollars on records.

Which is 61 LPs, double-albums, and boxed sets.

I got:

  1. Asilos de Abandonados Miguel Aceves Mejia
  2. Entre Copa y Copa Miguel Aceves Mejia
  3. Canta…Los Huapangos de Oro Miguel Aceves Mejia
  4. Con Mariachi Los Panchos
  5. Midnight Time The Three Suns
  6. Help Is On The Way Melissa Manchester
  7. Romantic Jazz Jackie Gleason
  8. Trumpet A Go Go James Last Band
  9. El Nuevo Trio Los Panchos Trio Los Panchos
  10. Greatest Hits Boots Randolph
  11. Court and Ceremonial Music of the 16th Century Roger Blanchard Ensemble with the Poulteau Consort
  12. Songs of Italy 101 Strings
  13. Sings Spanish and Latin American Favorites Connie Francis
  14. 1100 Bel Aire Place Julio Iglesias
  15. The Sound of Boots Boots Randolph
  16. The Best of Vicki Carr Vicki Carr
  17. The Yakin’ Sax Man Boots Randolph
  18. Heart Like A Wheel Linda Ronstadt
  19. Songs of the Seasons in Japan 101 Strings
  20. The Manhattan Transfer The Manhattan Transfer
  21. Maynard Ferguson Maynard Ferguson
  22. Forever Gold The Isley Brothers
  23. Fall Into Spring Rita Coolidge
  24. Love Me Again Rita Coolidge
  25. Everything Under the Sun The Three Suns
  26. Men of Brass Massed Brass Bands of Foden’s, Fairey Aviation and Morris Motors
  27. 1980 Gil Scott-Heron and Brian Jackson
  28. Como Swings Perry Como
  29. Miriam Makeba Miriam Makeba
  30. Lead, Kindly Light The Three Suns
  31. Cocktail Piano Frankie Carle
  32. So Early in the Spring Jackie Collins
  33. 30 Hits of the Tuneful ’20s Frankie Carle
  34. Look to the Rainbow Al Jarreau
  35. El Gallo Colorado Miguel Aceves Mejia
  36. A Treasury of the Award-Winning Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass The Longines Symphonette Society
  37. Lo Mejor De Miguel Aceves Mejia (box set) Miguel Aceves Mejia
  38. Lo Mejor De Amalia Mendoza (box set) Amalia Mendoza
  39. Lo Mejor De Jose Alfredo Jimenez Jose Alfredo Jimenez
  40. It Must Be Him Vicki Carr
  41. Le Monde Musical de Baden Powell Volume 2 Baden Powell
  42. Ecos de Cuba Trio Matamoros
  43. Even in the Quietest Moments Supertramp
  44. Sweet Talk Boots Randolph
  45. Spanish Fly Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam
  46. Love Is A Season Eydie Gorme
  47. Louis and Keely Louis Prima and Keely Smith
  48. Cocktail Time Frankie Carle
  49. The Fantastic Boots Randolph Boots Randolph
  50. Portrait of My Love Steve Lawrence
  51. Golden Saxophones Billy Vaughn and His Orchestra
  52. Come Waltz with Me Steve Lawrence
  53. Cantos de Amor Campriano Miguel Aceves Mejia
  54. Para Cantar Yo Naci Miguel Aceves Mejia
  55. Classical Cats
  56. A Man and a Woman (Un Homme et Une Femme) Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
  57. Die Große Stereo-Starparade – Folge 3
  58. Soulful Dionne Warwick
  59. The Road to Romance Dorothy Lamour
  60. Bourbon Street Pete Fountain and Al Hirt
  61. Also Sprach Zarathustra Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra

Honey, I didn’t buy 100 LPs, I told my beautiful wife via text message to soften her up.

I am not sure it worked.

I jumped on someone’s former collection of Miguel Aceves Mejia; on first listen, it’s more traditional Mexican music than the pop that I have tended to favor. I got a couple of other box sets akin to his that will likely prove similar.

I got some more Frankie Carle, The Three Suns, Boots Randolph, and Vicki Carr to add to my catalog of their LPs.

I’ve also started the slide into 80s pop (Supertramp and Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam) since that music is coming on 35 years old now. As close to today as Sinatra was to us. You might hear a song or two on the radio from these bands, maybe, but I really need to pick up the source material because the stuff on radio playlists is so shallow in breadth. Can you be shallow in breadth? On this blog, you can!

I also got some books, but you’ll have to wait until tomorrow to see what I got.

A Triple F Musical Throwdown

Harold Faltermeyer was quite the instrumentalist for movie soundtracks in the 1980s, including two from that movie that had a Saturday Night Live alum portraying the title character, an investigator who assumes various comic roles as part of his investigation.

I’m talking about Fletch, of course.

I’m talking about Axel Foley, of course.

I prefer the former due to racism, of course. Also, because it is a little more than the synth progressions of the “Axel F Theme”.

It also made me start enumerating the films where a Saturday Night Live alum starred as a wise-cracking cop or investigator. Between the Fletch and Beverly Hills Cop movies, we’re already up to five. Throw in Taxi, and we’re up to six. Surely there are more, which I’ll give far too much thought and investigation to.