Today! Today! Today! (A 9/11 Memorial BlogCast)

It’s been quite awhile since the self-imposed suspension of my monthly BlogCasts. But, seeing how the content, herein, engenders the spirit of community, not unlike that felt during 9/11 memorial services…

Today! Today! Today is the day to hit the comeback trail!

For those who may be new to this site, these BlogCasts, typically, feature anywhere from 3 to 5 musical selections that thematically, visually, instrumentally… sometimes even tonally… all tie together quite nicely to make a more impactful impression.

As for the specific music, at hand, we’ll get a snapshot of where America was, is, and (if we’re lucky) can be all about.

For starters, our blog topper vid, America, melds Neil Diamond’s emotionally driven, lyrical sentiments with YouTube videographer Johnny Kim’s smartly edited photo montage.  My mega-thanks to Kim, for I could ALMOST envision the (circa early 1900s) Ellis Island arrival of my own maternal and paternal grandparents.

Suffice to say, this emotionally uplifting vid offers up a welcome breath of fresh air. And that’s no easy task, considering the gloomy, funky, stale storm clouds of intolerance which hang over the White House these days. If only restoring America’s image… as a welcoming nation… were as easy as clicking onto that playback button, right?

Let’s now move along to Simon and Garfunkel’s performance of America. This track takes on a dramatically different meaning when accompanied by YouTuber Eric Schantz’s skillful edits, which reveal Saginaw, Michigan’s urban decay. Suffice to say…  we’re viewing a textbook case of greed ruining a once grand city and state. If left unchecked, it can only metastasize nationwide. Sorry to say, no matter how frequently roaring political rally throngs chant “Make America great again”, this cannot possibly come true until that hollow mantra gets backed up by substantive actions of a green nature.

BTW, be sure to keep an eagle eye out while playing back this vid. Amidst the drab scenery, you’ll discover all of the song lyrics appearing as graffiti, spray-painted on buildings, fences, vehicles, overpasses… and everything else in between.

With Michigan being my lifelong home state, I’ve felt a strong bond with this song ever since its April 1968 release date. Additionally… I’m pretty sure that, as a little boy (road tripping with my parents and sister) we did pass through Saginaw on our way to Minnesota to visit my above-mentioned grandparents.

For this BlogCast finale, I’ll also be making my own cinematic statement. You see, not unlike the B&W Kansas cross-fade to the technicolor found within the Land of Oz… less dreary / more cheery times are ahead… all courtesy of the late great Ray Charles’ rendition of America the Beautiful… visually enhanced by YouTuber 12mulligan.

Their combined creativity provides us a view of The Real America. Wow! I really do get a sense of being home, again. And, to quote one of the most memorable lines from that Wizard of Oz flick…

“There’s no place like home! There’s no place like home! There’s no place like home! There’s no place like home!”

I now thank you for stopping by and cordially invite you to check out my Sunday Song Series presentation that hits the www… when else… each Sunday… usually between midnight and six a.m. in the U.S. Eastern Time Zone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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BlogCast: Billboard Chart Topper Mood / Moon Music

 

Full disclosure, I still am a diehard NASA geek. My fascination gets backdated to their Projects Mercury, Gemini and Apollo. So… yes… once again… this blog will rehash Apollo 11’s Golden Anniversary. But, try not to yawn and/or nod off… by blog’s end there’ll be an unanticipated, sonically / visually enhanced twist. That said, let’s blast this BlogCast off the launchpad…

This past Saturday evening, my primary mission became recreating 07/20/1969… inclusive of synchronizing my main timepiece to that half century old NASA timeline. And that countdown clock readout was telling me T-Minus 59:00 (OK… it was actually a red LED, forward moving digital alarm clock… so sue me!). Anyway, that meant I could fit in the playback of a mood enhancing compilation CD (featuring… what else… 1969’s pop songs). Yep, there was plenty of time before Neil Armstrong’s 10:56 p.m. EDT EVA, where he’d be taking his first “small step” onto the lunar surface.

By disc’s end it had suddenly dawned on me that I had heard two futuristically themed tracks, which had actually rocketed to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 Singles Chart during lunar missions… the 5th Dimension’s Aquarius / Let the Sunshine In syncing to the May flight of Apollo 10 AND Zagar & Evans’ In the Year 2525 matching up to the Apollo 11 odyssey.

However… it’s the two contrasting, lyrical story-lines that are even more compelling… namely… Aquarius’ conjecture re humankind’s better days ahead versus 2525’s prophecy of a stark dystopian society… inclusive of humanity’s end.

That got me wondering… was a group hug for humanity in order? After all, an astounding half-century had somehow managed to elapse sans some itchy trigger fingered, foolhardy prez insanely spiking nuclear WMDs planet-wide… to be followed by that dunce’s “victory dance” in the irradiated end zone. Apparently… we had successfully averted morphing the 5th Dimension’s Aquarian dawn into a premature Zager & Evans, In the Year 10K dusk.

Of course… the day is still young! Lest we forget, the current nuclear saber rattler / little boy does want to play with his nuclear toys. He’s also so drunk on fake patriotism that, in all likelihood, he can hardly wait to see the “rockets’ red glare” and nuclear “bombs bursting in air”.

Well before Mister Ballistic gets a chance to dust off the cover of the nuclear launch code book, we had better launch this BlogCast’s two song set.

All you need do is “push the button” on each of these vids. I’d recommend first experiencing Aquarius’ elation before taking the plunge into the deep end of 2525’s despair.

5th Dimension ~ Aquarius / Let the Sunshine In

Zager and Evans ~ In the Year 2525

 

Hmm… now that we’ve tracked through both songs, maybe we should track down 7+ billion lead-lined Hazmat suits? Might the manufacturer cut us a sweet deal if we buy in bulk? Hey, it can’t hurt to ask, right?

 

 

 

 

Many Moons Ago ~ A July Lunar BlogCast

PREFACE: For this BlogCast, playing back these two YouTube clips simultaneously allows Neil Armstrong to become an astronaut / DJ doing the talk-over intro to the Police track, Walking on the Moon.
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On Sunday, July 20, 1969 at 10:56 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, Neil Armstrong became the first (known) human to ever set foot on the Moon… and moments later, Buzz Aldrin joined him to become the second.

This “giant leap for (hu)mankind” had been the attainment of John F. Kennedy’s goal… that young visionary giant’s dream fulfilled… AND the culmination of a team effort involving an estimated 400,000 engineers, scientists and technicians… many of them having taken their President’s message to heart.

My own memories of this night center on the combined sense of heartfelt awe, thrills, and yes, even a bit of national pride… heady emotions, which managed to shadow me wherever I wound up. And there had been an abundance of brilliant light to create those shadows… be that the Apollo 11 crew’s beamed back to Earth lunar “Reality Show” (accompanied by CBS journalist / anchorman Walter Cronkite’s own play-by-play) OR during my own repetitious “small step” ventures into the great outdoors to naked-eye gaze upward at the waxing crescent phased Moon… lazily arcing SE to SW across Michigan’s after dark skies.

This past half century has not diminished my own wonderment one iota. I only wish that all who, alongside me, had eye-witnessed this event of the millennium could say the same… and that we… who never lost that rush… had better communicated our feelings to posterity.

Humankind needs an Apollo magnitude sense of accomplishment to transcend the daily drill. If for no other reason, that does keeps us out of trouble. But there really is one far greater reason, too. Without such adventure, humanity risks being reduced to droids… maybe even the Borg magnitude drones that inhabit Sci-Fi’s Star Trek universe.

 

 

Ashes to Ashes… StarDust to StarDust… May 21st BlogCast

My thoughts…

Ancient stardust are we, ashore oceans and shoals
Our love eternal, soars skyward, to departed souls
They live on in our hearts, we, too, feel their pure love
Interwoven with starlight, from the heavens above

 

PianistaItaliano covers Hoagy Carmichael’s Stardust

Rob Steinberg covers Joni Mitchell’s Woodstock

Ms. Mitchell’s lyrical thoughts…

We are stardust
We are golden
And we’ve got to get ourselves
Back to the garden

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4 Sax Songs… Correction… Only 1 ~ February BlogCast

I’ll be suspending my regular format of seguing multiple tracks into one theme. That’s because I’m giving the top billing / the only billing to saxophonist, extraordinaire, Richi Jones. Why?

Because of the rude inattentiveness of… uh… dare we even call them his audience? How could they so brutally, blatantly ignore him while he’s pouring his heart out? Worse yet… unless there had been some sort of a delayed reaction… i.e., after the vid’s cut off point… not even one person applauded him.

I’m not the only one who noticed how nobody was noticing. They just kept on milling about and yackety-yakking. Had he walked off the stage it’s likely it wouldn’t have even fazed them then. So self absorbed were they, it wouldn’t surprise me a bit if some of them are still present… nearly nine years after the production of this video.

A few examples from the YouTube comment section…

“I think that this video is a statement about the [sic] our post-modern world in which aesthetic quality is overlooked in place of other things such as material value. It’s very symbolic in this video as the crowd fails to recognize the aesthetic value and true expression coming from the stage right beside them.”

“So pisses me off that the people there weren’t paying attention to the virtuoso performance of this difficult piece. I hope he stuck with it… at least we have this to preserve and remember him by in any case.”

One commentator even worked in composer Gerry Rafferty’s Baker Street lyrics to make the spot on observation…

“People in the background: ‘It’s got so many people but it’s got no soul.’”

I’m outta here!

 

Happy 2019! January BlogCast

Welcome to our first BlogCast of 2019! I extend outward my Happy New Year wishes to all who reside within the WordPress community and throughout our world.

Of course, merely wishing happiness does not make it so. And such happiness does not come easy considering how… year in / year out… far too many of my homeland’s and home world’s compatriots have been empowering leadership unwisely… or far worse yet… have little to no choice in the matter.

Even so, there’s still reason for hope. This post’s videos amply prove there are still plenty of us who do envision the possibility for a better day… a better world. And just knowing of their existence does act as my own mood elevator. Hopefully, once you experience the clarity of their minds and passion within their hearts… you’ll feel the same way, too?

 

Sheryl Crow covers Nick Lowe’s
What’s So Funny ‘Bout Peace, Love & Understanding

Broadway for Orlando covers Burt Bacharach and Hal David’s
What the World Needs Now is Love

(be sure to follow this link, too)

156 countries unite to cover John Lennon and Paul McCartney’s
All You Need is Love

 

I thank you for your listenership and cordially invite you to click back here for my next monthly BlogCast… slated to hit the www during the first week of February 2019.

FYI, my past musical presentations are archived within my BlogCast and music categories.

 

 

 

ADDENDUM: Corrections / clarifications to assign proper song accreditation were made on 01/01/19 (approximately 7 hours since the original posting time).

Ode To Joy To The World ~ A Don’t Miss Holiday BlogCast

It was at this same time last year that I found myself wondering if anyone within our vast world had ever thought about performing a musical mash-up of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Ode to Joy and George Frideric Handel’s Christmas carol Joy to the World?

Back then, I instantly realized the “A” to my “Q” actually existed… just mere clicks and typed in search parameters away over @YouTube where one’s wish is (almost always) their command. Indeed, The Piano Guys had performed my sought after musical medley to which this post’s lead video will… beyond a shadow of a doubt… attest.

Well… I did wind up featuring this extraordinary, uplifting Piano Guys performance last December and since my replaying it this early a.m. has not lessened, one iota, the welled up tears of joy in my eyes, I’ve decided to play it again in this post… in fact to transform their rendition of Ode To Joy To The World into this blog site’s tradition.

Since not many WordPress residents and visitors are all that familiar with me… well… to introduce myself and familiarize yourself with my POV… let’s just say that as a harsh critic of narcissistic and capricious leadership… which isn’t leadership at all… I do find it my constant struggle to see our world from a “glass half full” perspective.

That said… there is compelling evidence to refute such skepticism. Indeed, once more, humanity has squeaked on by to survive another year… to add yet another chapter to our human story. And that, in itself, is no minor miracle. Our getting another opportunity to “get it right” is also reason enough for us to express our shared feelings of gratitude and joyousness.

Alas… long sigh… if only finding peace of mind and establishing world peace were mere clicks and typed in search parameters away.

Perhaps this concluding video provides us a clue? Yeah… I think so.

You see… it all begins with good intent, a song in one’s head / heart and resolve… that person stepping forward and then another and another… until it all coalesces / snowballs into a flash mob.

Flashmob Flash Mob ~ Ode an die Freude (Ode to Joy) Beethoven Symphony No. 9

However you choose to celebrate the December holidays… and even if you harbor a more secular view causing you to opt out from such festivities… my wish is for our peaceful coexistence. If we can manage to accomplish this, the joy will flow outward quite naturally to reach all corners of our world.