Now It’s Time For Our Short Distance Dedication

A listener in Missouri writes:

Brian, we recently adopted two little boy kittens, almost twin brothers, who are the cutest things. We decided not to declaw them, and they’re growing up nicely, but they have one habit I’m not fond of: They sleep all day, curled up in a chair next to each other, but when their internal clocks strike midnight, they’re very playful, pouncing on each other in the bed, bringing their favorite cat toys into the bed and batting them around, and pouncing on any part of me that I move under the blankets. I am getting up way too early to hide from them, or at least to put myself in a more defensible position for their rambunctiousness.

Can you play a song for us, preferably a feline lullaby?

                –Induced Insomnia in Battlefield

Well, II, all I can recommend is that you take those little boys to the vet to get tutored which will calm them down and make Brook and Amy Dubman happy. In the meantime, here is “Needles in the Dark” by Pretty Maids to get you through the long day and onto another sleepless night of cat games.

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Good Album Hunting, Saturday, December 17, 2022: Ozark Treasures Antique Mall

Ah, gentle reader, you know how I operate: I go “Christmas shopping” at a local antique mall and end up with a stack of records.

Well, this year was going to be different. It’s not so much that I’ve straightened up as I’ve run out of space to store records as well as new books–so I skipped the autumn Friends of the Springfield-Greene County library book sale. We have one or two boxes of sixties folk records that we herited when my mother-in-law downsized that are under the desk in the parlor. I have a box of records in the store room yet, my sainted mother’s pop hits of the 60s and 70s. And I moved the two boxes of books I received from my mother in law into my closet so it’s out of sight until I can clear space on the to-read shelves. Friends, reading paperbacks is not making that space. I shall have to read bigger books in 2023.

So I was minding my own business, dragging a bored teenager, when I found a box of $1 records at a booth. A booth which was having a 20% of sale. These records were eighty cents each. It seemed a moral imperative that I take them.

I got:

  • Songs of Leonard Cohen by Leonard Cohen. (Discogs marketplace price: $5.11)
  • Silk Degrees by Boz Skaggs. I confused him with Ricky Skaggs for a long time; however, WSIE plays Boz Scaggs since he’s not a country singer, so I got this, my first of his. (Discogs: .18)
  • Command Performances by The Ray Charles Singers ($1.00)
  • Golden Rainbow: The Original Broadway Cast Recording. I’m not going soft on you, gentle reader: This is a Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme record. ($ .50)
  • The Year of the Cat by Al Stewart. Fun fact: When I heard this on the radio, I thought it was the Pet Shop Boys. So it’s the second in four bullet points so far where I’ve confused the artist with someone else ($ .43)
  • Doris Day Sings Her Great Movie Hits by Doris Day. For a guy who listens to death metal, I sure have a lot of Doris Day records. ($1.00)
  • Doris Day’s Greatest Hits by Doris Day. And I have even more now. ($1.00)
  • Friendship by Ray Charles. A lot of Ray Charles in the two bins I looked through. ($ .95)
  • Get Closer by Linda Ronstadt. ($ .50)
  • Hometown Girl by Mary Chapin Carpenter. You know, gentle reader, I have seen her in concert (with Shawn Colvin) within the last decade. When I showed this album to my beautiful wife, she said, “Thank you.” So I am not in trouble for this set of records. ($ .99)
  • Can’t Buy a Thrill by Steely Dan. My beautiful wife already has several Steely Dan albums, but not this one. ($2.51)
  • Great Jazz Pianists of Our Time. Includes Oscar Peterson, Errol Garner, and Art Tatum. ($9.48)
  • Hey There! Here’s Fran Warren! by Fran Warren / arranged by Marty Paich. No idea who this is, but Pretty Woman on Cover. ($1.22)
  • The Genius Sings the Blues by Ray Charles. ($7.51)

So the dollar pricing tracks pretty closely with the Internet prices for the records–the jazz pianists and one Ray Charles album were the big scores. As we went to other booths, I pointed out to the youngster why I felt compelled to look through these bins. Here are $20 records, here the prices start at $5 for bands you’ve never heard of, and so forth. I have to wonder if the records at antique malls are priced for the casual collector who doesn’t go to discogs and who isn’t serious but is a casual or fashionable collector. That is, someone following the fad of liking vinyl. The kind of person who buys new records for $25 when the CD is $15. Ah, what does it matter–I am not a collector, I am an accumulator, and I favor accumulating records from an era where the records were the only format available and hence have lots of copies, and they’re from an era not really enjoyed by the casual collector, who wants vinyl renditions of things they hear on the 80s, 90s, and now radio stations.

I won’t listen to this batch until after the holidays–we’re on all Christmas records here, and the two Nogglestead radios are tuned to the Christmas music station, but in a little over a week, we will be back to regular programming, and I will listen to these records whilst I read my many adopted hometown newspapers.

Although who knows whether I will buy other records in the interim. After all, the trip to Ozarks treasures did not yield all the gifts I need to yet buy.

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Citation Provided

Yesterday, Stephen Green asserted It’s Time to Rehabilitate ‘Baby, It’s Cold Outside’.

Last night, my boys’ high school band had their winter concert, and it featured a duet of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” with just a hint of bowdlerization–removing references to alcohol and cigarettes–but with the interplay and flirtation intact.

So whatever this next generation is going to be called, it’s already over the Gen Z/millennial crap.

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The Songs That Bring Me Back

As you might be aware, gentle reader, a myriadic plethora of radio stations play the modern equivalent of the “Jack” format, billing themselves as the best of the 80s, 90s, and today, but their playlists are really only an inch deep and reflect whatever catalogs of song rights are cheap at the moment–and they tend to play the same songs from the 1980s year after year, and have for a long time.

Suffice to say that none of those songs that I’ve heard, if not constantly since the 1980s, at least in the last decade or so since the 80s hits have taken over the airwaves again. I mean, Bon Jovi’s catalog from the Slippery When Wet era gets heavy rotation on both the Jack and the Classic Rock stations, so they’re not pinned in my memory to the time. Or Simple Minds’ “Don’t You Forget About Me” from the Breakfast Club soundtrack. That runs regularly on the radio.

But the 1980s programs like the American Top 40 replays or Nina Blackwood’s syndicated program play songs that were on the radio all the time in the 1980s but have not been on the radio all the time since, so those songs pin me like a butterfly on a display board to the moments when I was young and wishing that the DJ would stop talking so I could record the whole song from the radio even though they were talking in and talking out to keep me from recording on the radio.

I recognized one such song on the radio during one of the aforementioned radio programs, but not enough to identify it. Apparently, it was Simple Minds’ “Alive and Kicking”:

It pulled me back to the 1980s when I heard it even though I could not name it. My beautiful wife could, as she had (or maybe has) the record.

Yeah, “Jesse’s Girl” doesn’t do that. “Jesse’s Girl”, who is on Medicare now, has been a staple through the decades. Which makes it common. And not evocative of the time of which it is the product.

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They See Me Coming

Billy Joel, Stevie Nicks to perform at Arrowhead Stadium

Things I would have thought it impossible to say twenty years ago: It’s been over twenty years since I saw Billy Joel in concert. Which is true: It was his 2000 Years tour. Back when I was a technical writer and worked at DRA. He played at the arena in St. Louis, Savvis Center I think it was called then.

But 20 years have passed, and I’m not sure how keen I am to drive three hours to sit in a stadium to watch him. Which is more a testament to my aging and getting to be nearly a senior citizen in that time.

Of course, all bets are off if Herb Alpert comes within a three hour drive of me. But that would be at a more intimate venue. I think I’m just out of the age of stadium concerts. Not that I’ve ever been to a concert in a big stadium anyway. Perhaps I never was of that age.

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Hidden in Plain Sight

Some Facebook entity wants me to click through to a quiz of some sort:

Obscure 80s lyrics, these?

She was a fast machine
She kept her motor clean
She was the best damn woman
That I’ve ever seen

AC/DC’s “You Shook Me All Night Long”, obscure?

The song is still on heavy rotation on the radio, both on “80s, 90s, and Today!” stations and the classic rock stations.

Oh. On the radio. Where the kids today don’t hear it because they don’t listen to the radio.

When I wanted actually obscure, I could listen to the replays of American Top 40 from the 80s, with Casey Kasem. The top hits still pop up on the radio when they’re part of a cheap rights package for radio stations, but when you get down to the 20-something hottest song from July 1985, you’ll hear songs you haven’t heard since then.

But AC/DC’s biggest song? Not obscure.

Also, why is 80s music “World History”? Oh, because we’re a shallow and foolish populace in the 21st century. Never mind, I did not ask.

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Amongst the music-themed sponsored posts I see on Facebook, I have learned that David Gilmour, of Pink Floyd and solo projects, is apparently a Dallas Cowboys fan:

Well, he’s British, so maybe he thinks Dallas is really America’s Team.

Here’s the last song on his 1984 album About Face–my favorite of his solo albums. I got it on cassette, about wore it out, and now have it on CD. The song is entitled “Near the End”:

I quote it a lot. Well, relative to other songs.

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Another Entry in the “Is That The Name of the Song or the Band?” List

I briefly mentioned a thought game four years ago to think up bands who have songs that are another band’s name.

Back then, I had such suggestions as Fozzy’s “All That Remains” and Alice Cooper’s “Poison”.

To these I should like to add Bad Company’s “Shooting Star”:

In the early 1990s, listening to AOR on QFM in Milwaukee, one would also hear the band Shooting Star, generally “Last Chance”:

I bought greatest hits collections on cassette by both bands, Shooting Star on the weight of the song above and Bad Company’s based on “Feel Like Making Love” which I’d first bought as a cassette single.

Bad Company might win this game, as the band also has a song “Bad Company”:

I am not sure you can get more recursive than that.

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The Clues in the Songs

One does not have to go all The Da Vinci Code or National Treasure to find clues that will lead to some treasure. I have discovered some sort of conspiracy or puzzle in popular music across the generations.

So a recent (2019) song from Four80East, “Cinco Cinco Seis” has played a bunch on WSIE and DirecTV’s smooth jazz station many, many times:

In it, they repeat like an electro-jazz numbers station, “Uno dos tres quatro cinco cinco seis.”

Yesterday, on the radio, I heard “Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)”, the 1998 hit from The Offspring, and it, too, says that number:

1-2-3-4-5-5-6. What does it mean? Some people might say it’s counting to get the beat before starting music, but the music has already started.

It’s coordinates. Or something.

Does the number 480 and the direction East mean anything?

The beginning of “Pretty Fly (For a White Guy” samples the beginning of 1983’s “Rock of Ages” by Def Leppard:

According to the official account (if you can believe the “official” story), this made up bit of German-sounding language was, again, designed to be the count for the music to begin–in this case, the music does begin after the words.

But are the words a pass phrase? An indicator that one must start at some point in Germany (a rock?) and go east 480…. something? Is 1234556 the password, proving that the people who have hidden vast treasure in Germany or Eastern Europe were as bad at passwords as people on the Internet?

The clues came out in 1983, 1998, and 2019. Will the next clue come out in a little over 20 years? I cannot wait that long.

If anyone needs me, I will be in a room in the basement, posting photos and text and drawing arrows between them until I solve this mystery.

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Wherein Brian J. Gets Confused by the Smooth Jazz

Ya know, when I hear Bona Fide’s “Coupe de Ville” come on WSIE, I think, “Ah, that’s ‘Minneapolis, 1987’.”

Here’s Bona Fide:

Here’s Brian Bromberg doing “Minneapolis, 1987”:

I guess Bona Fide is sampling Brian Bromberg.

Which is weird, because Brian Bromberg has a song called “Coupe de Ville” on Thicker than Water, the same album as “Minneapolis, 1987”:

Is Bona Fide mashing up the two Bromberg songs/riffing off of “Coupe de Ville” with the sample from “Minneapolis, 1987”? I don’t know.

But in researching this post and listening to the two songs, I’m pleased to learn I’m not crazy or that musically challenged. It’s not like when I confuse two singers who sound nothing alike.

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Soon, We Will Not Think The Modern World Is Creepy

On May 28, I posted The Jazzy Pajamas of Nogglestead and mentioned KHTR, which was Top 40 radio in St. Louis until it switched over to oldies one night. I mean, we went to bed listening to the radio on Sunday, and on Monday morning we awakened to oldies. I thought it was a gag or something on the morning show. Oh, but no. I am pretty sure that the oldies station is gone–I see on an Internet search that it’s now like all the other radio stations that play 70s, 80s, 90s, and now–omitting, apparently, 20 years of crap, although today’s music is tomorrow’s crap.

But Facebook showed me a photo from a group or page it thinks I might be interested in, and it’s the KHTR top hits report, presumably printed in the Post-Dispatch, although the Globe-Democrat was still wheezing along in 1984:

I can actually still recollect most of those songs. The ones I do not remember are:

  • “Love Somebody” by Rick Springfield
  • “Tonight” by Kool and the Gang
  • “Breakdance” by Irene Cara
  • “A Fine Fine Day” by Tony Carey
  • “Illegal Alien” by Genesis
  • “Show Me” by the Pretenders

Of course, if I heard them, I might remember them. It helps that the local 70s, 80s, 90s, and now stations are replaying the hit countdown programs from the 1980s. No fooling; although I did not hear Casey Kasem within the last week (the Springfield station shifted American Top 40 to Sunday evenings instead of Sundays returning from church time), we did hear both Shadoe Stevens and Rick Dees replayed at different times on our trip to and from Wisconsin.

The list includes, what, four songs from the Footloose soundtrack (yes).

Also, Tracey Ullman would later be known as the comedy sketch show where the Simpsons first appeared. And then forgotten.

Holy cats, Generation X is really the last gasp for radio, ainna?

At any rate,

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Misremembering Leads To Errant Music Purchase

In April, I bought a Pat Travers Band album:

Crash and Burn by the Pat Travers Band because someone, I think it was Jack Baruth, posted about him once upon a time recently, although a quick search of his blog does not come up with a post about the band.

Today, while trolling through my archives (sorry, gentle reader: I do not write for you, but I write for me sometime in the future trolling my archives), while trolling through my archives, I discovered a different Pat entirely:

I guess the world wants me to look for Pete Metheny records at book sales.

Clearly, I need a Know The Difference post on these guys.

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Thankfully, It’s Not Musical Theatre

As I have mentioned, gentle reader, I support friends’ and acquaintances’ artistic endeavours. I mean, I will buy books, I will buy CDs, and I will even go to see friends in musical theatre productions. I prefer CDs and book because I do not like musicals, and musicals tend to cost several hundred dollars instead of $10 or $20.

I mentioned I bought Connor Fiehler’s CD Generation Flee in 2020 because I used to work with his parents. When his mother posted on Facebook that he had a new band, I gave it a listen.

She linked to this performance:

Wow, okay, a soul/funk band with a horn section. That’s better than Generation Flee, and the one lead singer can really wail.

The band, The Pitch Pockets, has a single, “Out My Mind”, available on Amazon.

I have bought it, of course, and hope they’ll release more. They’ve got some other things on YouTube worth watching as well.

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Wreckification of Names

So as I was driving to the dojo this morning, “The End of the World (As We Know It)” by REM came on the radio, and it struck me that the song names three people with similar names: Lenny Bruce, Leonard Bernstein, and Leonid Brezhnev.

And I thought, are those all forms of the same name?

Lenny is short for Leonard, of course, but apparently Leonid is not the direct Slavic equivalent–it comes from a shortened form of Leonidas. However, all three do derive from the Greek for lion (Leon). So is there any meaning in this within the song?

I have no idea; however, in reviewing the actual lyrics, apparently a fourth man is named, Lester Bangs, a rock critic who died in 1982. Lester, apparently, comes from Leicester, the English city, and referred to a person from the town. So I got nothing as far as a grand revelation. And I’m not enough of an REM fan to write a treatise on it.

(Name meanings from Behind the Name, the first result in a search for the meaning of Leonid. Hey, since its search engine optimization is on-point, you can take it to the bank.)

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You Will Never Hear It The Same Again

Facebook showed me this ad, which spurred a revelation.

“Moon River” is a cult song.

So it really is about worshipping the moon and offering sacrifices to achieve one’s goals. I didn’t know it, but I know it now, and I’ll never here the song the same way again. Also, I will make a gesture warding against il malocchio whenever I hear Andy Williams from now on. Just to be safe.

Here is Émie Morissette doing her invocation:

Apparently, she is only 22 years old. So I checked to see if she is Alanis Morissette’s daughter. Because the math would work out, old man. But she is not. She must be part of the same Céline Dion cloning project that gave us Alanis Morissette. And Justin Bieber and Michael Bublé. I am pleased to see that the Canadian government is getting better, as Morissete2 is better than the others.

AND JUST LIKE THAT, instead of a single gag with a music video, this has turned into a “Know the Difference” post. During the course of the research in this post, which was mainly making sure I got the accent marks correct on the French Canadian names above (Fun fact: I am one-eighth French Canadian–it’s the second most pure line in my blood after German, which gets one-eighth on one side and smaller fractions elsewhere–but I never earned an accent mark in my name, and my surname is actually Welsh), as I was saying, during my research, I discovered a one-name artist Morissette:

Although she also goes by Morissette Amon, and probably now Morissette Amon-Lamar, her married name.

She falls between the other Morissettes in age and might be better than them both. More research is needed.

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The Jazzy Pajama Pants Of Nogglestead

Every Christmas, I give the family warm pajamas in their current sizes (which will sometime soon be settling into their permanent sizes, as the boys are finta stop growing soon). This year, I gave everyone kinda fuzzy pajamas, which we soon learned should be line-dried instead of run through the dryer, where they started to deteriorate with one or two tumbles. So we hang them in the bathrooms of Nogglestead to dry. My beautiful wife’s garments get hung in the master bath, and the boys’ things get hung in the hall bath. As they are now using the hall shower, we can no longer use the shower curtain rod as a clothesline, so I’ve put the top on the towel hook and the pants on the towel bar.

Which leads to some motion when the air conditioner cycles on.

I can’t walk by that and not here the synth keyboards of Herbie Hancock’s “Rockit”:

You know, that music video creeped me out when it came out. I was but a wee lad of eleven with a vivid imagination for things that go bump in the night, and the discombobulated mannequins tripped my switch. The song, and video, was popular when we lived in my aunt’s basement; we saw it on KHTR’s Hot Hit Video television program which came on after the news on Saturday nights (we could stay up that late, but not late enough for Friday Night Videos on Friday nights). That’s how kids who did not have access to cable and MTV watched videos. Unlike today, where kids with or without access to cable go to YouTube because MTV started playing its original, insipid, and cheaper, content instead of music videos.

At any rate, to sum up, if you don’t click either of the above videos to play them, the pants move a little when the air conditioner comes on and the vent below them starts blowing cool air, and the Herbie Hancock video has pants kicking in time with the music at various other parts.

I don’t have any Herbie Hancock records, and I assure you, Future Shock, which I assume has similar pre-electronica stylings, will not be my first. Unless, of course, I find a vinyl copy for a dollar.


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Earworm Adjacency

If you can say the name of this flavor without using Tone Lōc’s diction, you’re a better man than I am, Charlie Brown.

Frothy Capp-uccino.

Here, let me help stick it in your head.

There. Now you won’t. Although whether you ever see Gevalia Frothy Cappuccino in the wild is chancy at best.

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Know the Difference!

Somehow, lately, I’ve been getting into Japanese jazz, so allow me to help you not make the big mistakes.

For example, Hiromi is a jazz pianist with clear classical influences:

Note to self: There’s a Blue Note in Tokyo? I shall have to add that to my travel plans.

Harumo plays the saxophone, sometimes with Tokyo Groove Jyoshi, but sometimes independently:

Hiroshima is an American band with many members who were Japanese-American or Japanese and who get a lot of play on WSIE:

I have mentioned once or twice before my favorite Hiroshima song is “311”.

If you’re keeping score as I am, know that I own several Hiroshima albums on CD and vinyl and two Hiromi CDs. But I only have the one Tokyo Groove Jyoshi EP upon which Harumo appears–she does not seem to have any albums or EPs of her own available yet.

(Further public service posts explain the differences between Nazes and Misa/Maysa and also Misia and Messa; only two of these are Japanese.)

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