Keys to the Heart

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Quote-worthy PC / Mac; noteworthy piano / organ
Distinct, yet divergent, devices of keyboard configuration
Modernity’s brain child coexists with bygone convention
Assuring an antiquity to contemporary times connection
Both offering limitless liaisons with the human condition

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QWERTY “OS” advancing; enhancing academicians’ lectures
And storytellers’ – screenwriters’ – bards’ brainstorms, alike
Veritable alphabet soup groups into lexicons’ words – expressions
Comprising all works published; from time immemorial; onward
Affording readers windows to the soul, mind’s eye perspectives

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The 88’s advancing; enhancing songsmiths’ note dotted, dual clefs
And instrumentalists’ – vocalists’ eventual, inevitable performances, alike
Each sheet music’s page guidepost to ebony – ivory hued key playing
Composing all songs circulated; from time immemorial; onward
Affording century – geography – culture spanning, music to our ears

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Be humans Vaxxed OR Unvaxxed, We
can still shed and spread the batcrap
crazy contagious coronavirus which,
in turn, spawns new variants; which,
in turn, could, eventually, render the
available vaccines worthless; which,
in turn, will drag out the pandemic’s
needless suffering, illness and death!

HENCE… this easy as pie, cover your
nose and pie-hole/hole-up heads-up:

Stay Publicly / Properly Masked!
Stay Safe at Home!
Stay Healthy!

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Genesis 36:129? Huh? Say What?

“When I find myself in times of trouble
Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom
Let it be”

Songsmiths: Paul McCartney / John Lennon [Full Lyrics Here]
Owing to John’s agnostic politics, it would be fair to note how
Let It Be’s sentiments have a distinctive Sir Paul quality to ’em.
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Throughout my nearly seven decades, I’ve relied on the Soundtrack of my Life‘s selections to ease me thru my own times of trouble; be these playbacks, PASSIVELY, via vinyl 45s / LPs / half-speed masters, analog / digital cassettes, minidiscs, CDs, I-tunes, VHS / DVD film scores; be they, ACTIVELY, via my piano keyboards.

And, btw, to the best of my knowledge, my post’s headlined numerical notation appears in no known version of any Bible; and, with good reason, too. When typed out more correctly / completely, SD 36 – 129 has a decidedly secular spin; for it then becomes the official catalog number for A Trick of the Tail; the vinyl album released on 20 February 1976 by the Phil Collins fronted, art / progressive rock group, Genesis.

No sooner had I added this pièce de résistance to my record library on 28 May 1976 than I discovered how easily one could become mesmerized by Tony Banks’ CALMATIVE, compelling synth strings; how taking this disc out on its first spin and attaining the speed of sound fully revealed this keyboardist, extraordinaire’s penchant for drifting off into entrancing, instrumental, unabridged bridges; involving 3 out of Trick’s 8 tracks; namely: Entangled / Mad Mad Moon / Ripples.

Considering how, I’m no stranger to those times of trouble (the particulars to follow momentarily), this is why I had made Trick my go-to album to cop that CALMATIVE effect. Indeed, so powerful was/is this effect that one would almost expect raiding narcs, with search / arrest warrants in one hand, drawn guns in the other, busting down the door and bursting thru the splintered frame; bleating out in unison, “FREEZE!” Guess CALMATIVE can only go so far, eh?

Anyway, it’s that Moon selection, in particular, that still inspires entire album playbacks; oft synchronized with the fullest of the lunar phases. Post twilight time is when I’ll shut down all artificial lighting; making the streaming down moonbeams, filtering thru the sheer, gently swaying in the breeze, curtains, the only light I’ll see.

Well, as promised, let’s now take a moment to flesh out my times of trouble…

In the beginning… that all followed an honest self-reevaluation of my prospects for ever landing a radio station / DJ gig. Alas, assessing my chances at slim-to-none, certainly did seem incongruous, too, considering how, one scant spring earlier, at the completion of my Junior College studies, I had accrued a 4.00 GPA; even experienced the Graduation Day pomp and circumstance, where Da Dean shook my hand, handed off my Associates Degree in Broadcast Arts, and promptly shoved me onto the real world stage; to either sing… or sink.

Suffice to say, that “sink” did necessitate trading off variety for monotony; forsaking the creation of cheery audio art for the retail cash register’s dreary racket; sorta reminiscent of R2-D2-esque beeps.

In the here and now… I’ve discovered how most of my bygone disappointments have paled in comparison TO / in the wake OF the yet to be resolved (perhaps impossible to resolve) multiple disasters; such ecological, microbial, ideological and sociopolitical / socioeconomic catastrophes all playing out, concurrently and unchecked, in real time.

Needless to say, I’ve not been awaiting the full moon’s arrival to frequently revisit Genesis 36:129.

My recommendation to all, who may be feeling similarly troubled, DO seek out your own CALMATIVE effect. Embarking on such a life journey is totally possible; wherever your own head, heart and musical tastes may lead you.

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Be people vaxxed OR unvaxxed, We
can still shed and spread the batcrap
crazy contagious coronavirus which,
in turn, spawns new variants; which,
in turn, could, eventually, render the
available vaccines worthless; which,
in turn, will drag out the pandemic’s
needless suffering, illness and death!

HENCE… this easy as pie, cover your
nose and pie-hole/hole-up heads-up:

Stay Publicly / Properly Masked!
Stay Safe at Home!
Stay Healthy!

-30-

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The Fragile Fragile CD

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Up till two days ago, “scratching” had two musically oriented connotations; namely, the vinyl spinning, hip hop DJ artists’ technique AND (as any audiophile can attest), how those very vinyl LP and 45 “platters” oft serve up a multiple course meal’s worth of scratchy anomalies akin to the “Rice Krispies” snaps, crackles and pops (especially perceptible whenever the stylus starts tracking thru lower dB, acoustic movements.

Well, I now know of an entirely new, third meaning of “scratching” and that’s got me scratching my own noggin in wonderment. Check out how this etymological expansion played out…

Upon cuing up the progressive rock band, Yes’ 4th album (titled Fragile), I had no sooner engaged the CD player’s PB button than my ears were besieged by a scratchy din; worse than anything I’d have ever expected from its distant, vinyl ancestor.

Having totally bought into that eons old “CDs Are Forever” vow and utterly disbelieving what my own ears were telling me, I actually began troubleshooting everything; starting with a visual inspection of the disc for fingerprints. With none evident, next came the entire systems check; my sleuthing the cable “spaghetti” for any breaks / loose connections between amp, audio board and speakers. Again, no probs.

A few quick tests of some randomly selected CD’s all netted crystal clear playbacks; leaving me with the only possible conclusion. In essence, this Yes disc was a No go. Somehow, it had been corrupted; but by what?

Well, all it took was one Google search to instantly reveal an eerily similar account…

“Michele Youket, a Library of Congress preservation specialist, plays a CD of classical piano rhapsodies by Erno Dohnanyi. It crackles, and eventually the sound just cuts out. This is a variant of what’s called ‘CD rot’, Youket explains. In this case. it’s what’s called ‘bronzing’. The outer coating of the CD erodes, leaving a silver layer exposed. And when you leave silver exposed, it tarnishes.”

NPR Reporter Laura Sydell • August 18, 2014 / 5:21 PM ET • [Read Full Article] [access Podcast, too.]

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“So it’s actually changing the composition, and that’s why you hear the scratching there.”

Michele Youket

The odd thing, here, is, in spite of this Yes Fragile album’s 1971 release date, I’ve only owned the CD reissue for a short time and, consequently, there have not been all that many playbacks. Even odder is how there’s no noticeable “bronzing”. There’s got to be some other, at yet to be discovered, damaging agent in play.

While it’s true that I’m a staunch champion of truth in advertising, this is the one rare exception where I wish that a disc titled Fragile had not wound up so fragile.

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Stay Publicly / Properly Masked!
Stay Safe at Home!
Stay Healthy!

-30-

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A Stuck in the Grooves Stylus

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The resurgence in popularity of the vinyl record, at least, will spare this oldie-but-goodie man the task of writing an extensive blog opener re what this music delivery system was… correction… is all about. And what it IS all about transcends the obvious. More about that by blog’s end.

And oh, what a particular vinyl recording was… correction… is the Song is Over; penned by Pete Townshend; performed; recorded, and released by the Who on 14 August 1971; yep, just four scant torn off 2021 calendar pages beyond that half century mark.

Townshend’s song title (oft repeated within the lyrics) can either directly address the beyond repair romantic relationship or serve as metaphor to describe the capitulation one typically (m)utters when confronted by some it’s-too-late, no-win scenario; either playing out in real time or just as the aftermath’s fallout apparently buries that last glimmer of hope; the disheartening realization that one has likely reached this temporal roadblock:

• The PAST is inaccessible because the Laws of Physics say so.

• The PRESENT is insufferable due to the triple threat of feverish
global warming, corona-variants and hot headed insurrectionists.

• The FUTURE is… WHOA… wait a sec… future? WHAT FUTURE?

Which cycles us back to Townshend’s Song is Over. Or, more to the point, an actual, not all that long ago playback of my own vinyl recording; only to discover that 5:55 into that 6:16 long track, with a scant 21 seconds away from Song is Over being over, the needle got stuck in the groove (not due to any permanent damage; just a temporary, tiny glob of randomly positioned schmutz that decades of Michigan summer humidity had transformed into a barely seeable “roadblock”.

I literally busted out in laughter upon the realization that sans any intervention on my part, the Song was NOT only NOT OVER, it could NOT possibly ever BE OVER; this all playing out (uh, all not playing out) serving as metaphor to the read between the lines message from within (or was it from above?)…

The Song is NEVER Over if you hang in there, my friend!

Words of wisdom for me… indeed, for all of us… to take to heart.

Who says old school tech, even the stuck stylus, cannot teach us anything anymore, huh?

BTW, my kudos to KD; seeing how her 12/16 post inspired my 12/16 post.

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Stay Publicly / Properly Masked!
Stay Safe at Home!
Stay Healthy!

-30-

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Sighs: Not a Good Sign

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It’s rarely a good sign when any new day begins with a long sigh; nonetheless…

Long sigh…

What other reaction can there be, when this involves this multiple choice question:

“Where were you on __________?”

  • a. 11/22/1963
  • b. 04/04/1968
  • c. 12/08/1980
  • d. 09/11/2001
  • e. 01/06/2021

All five of those torn off calendar pages represent my own and untold others’ profound, undying sorrow. These points in time distill down to…

  • Assassins’ premature burials of John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King.
  • Anarchists’ (fortunately thwarted) attempts to bury liberty & democracy.
  • An Asshat “offing” John Lennon (how could anyone blow away a Beatle?)

The deep-sixing of Kennedy’s New Frontier and King’s Dream, in part, wound up establishing a societal upheaval and a spiritual void that, to this very day, make al-Qaeda and Proud Boys terrorist recruiters’ jobs much easier.

As for the resultant societal chaos, it’s safe to say that were Lennon here today, he’d be reacting in his own inimitable way, in real time; on both social media and (especially) in the recording studio. One can only imagine all the music world lost due to his tragic untimely death.

Yet another long sigh…

It was with heavy heart that mere hours ago, at daybreak, I threw the curtains open and took a seat at my piano; wound up playing a musical tribute to John (both his compositions and collaborations with McCartney); namely, Imagine, Penny Lane, Love and In My Life.

Throughout that brief musical interlude, I could not help but entertain the notion that cult leaders (such as Osama bin Laden and Donald J. Trump) would’ve been laughed / booed off the world stage had King, Kennedy and Lennon lived out their natural lifespans; been on hand to lead the raucous chorus of chortles, guffaws, catcalls and jeers.

My far from final, long sigh…

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Stay Publicly / Properly Masked!
Stay Safe at Home!
Stay Healthy!

-30-

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Rosalie Trombley’s Power and Tower

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Preface: Today, we’ll be revisiting a rough stretch of my life’s path. But worry not, I’m only doing so to illustrate how an insufferable situation can morph into something far more transcendental and (quite literally) upbeat.

Some six decades prior to the coronavirus pandemic, elementary and middle school bullies (and adolescent acne) had introed me to social isolation.

Picture this bygone boy entering such a pivotal stage of life; yearning for peer acceptance, yet, instead, discovering how, to a fault, ex-chums had alienated him from the student body (inclusive of kids who hadn’t even known me and vice versa). My only means for avoiding their verbal and physical assaults had become feigning viral assaults; my allergies to airborne irritants oft making my symptomatology so indistinguishable from that of the common cold / bronchitis that unless my folks had taken my temperature, I knew I’d be home free.

It was on one of those very skip school sick days, circa early 1963, when my father had lent me his pocket transistor radio; i.e, to cheer up his son / make his “illness” more bearable. His favorite station being WJR a.m. 760 and my serendipitously advancing its tuner 40 kilocycles had become the two key factors in spurring one helluva a life changing, eureka event.

It was at that precise moment when I first heard the Canadian station CKLW (later known as “The Big 8”); their format more attuned to a much younger listenership. Their captivating new music was getting spun by DJs Bud Davies (6-10 a.m.), Joe Van (10-3), Dave Shafer (3-7:30), Tom Clay (7:30-midnight) and Ron Knowles (midnight-5).

That morn, music had become my very salvation; my lifeline / means of escape. In essence, recording artists and disc jockeys had become my surrogate peers. In time, the songs, themselves, had taken on that very role, too; so much so, that, to this very day, when a beloved recording that I haven’t heard in “eons” gets aired / streamed, I oft react in a manner one would expect during chance encounters with long absent loved ones.

Unbeknownst to me, 1963 was also the very year that Ms. Rosalie Trombley had applied for a receptionist / switchboard operator position at CKLW. And once hired and, toot sweet, promoted to musical director, she had also successfully cracked and shattered the glass ceiling of that male dominated field.

Trombley’s keen ear for what is and what isn’t great music, eventually, earned her, her “hit maker” reputation and I fully credit this wonderful woman for opening my own mind and ears to our vast, worldwide, musical spectrum; nearly every life enhancing concept that the dotted treble and bass clefs have to offer humankind.

She had presented the robust diversity of Sixties / Seventies Top 40 music, itself; e.g. Motown, Folk, Psychedelic, Surf, Garage, Blues, Progressive, Bubblegum, the British “Invasion”, Latin, Japanese, etc.

Case in point… Trombley had turned us on to Kyu Sakamoto’s track, Sukiyaki – Ue Wo Muite Arukou, which he sang entirely in Japanese. I mean, few, if any of us dummy, monolingual Americans could understand even one syllable of song composer Toshinobu Kubota’s lyrics; yet, we loved this vocalist’s soulfully delivered rendition all the same [read lyrics and hear original and cover performances HERE].

It was approximately a decade later when Michigan’s native son and hard rocker / recording artist, Bob Seger, in his (futile) attempt to get his early songs aired on CKLW, even composed his aptly titled track, Rosalie; where one of his couplets acknowledges…

“She’s got the power
She’s got the tower”

Bob Seger • From the LP Back in ’72 • [Read full lyrics HERE]

That power and tower, of which Seger was referring to, involved CKLW’s 50,000 Watt transmitter, which, once the ionosphere did its post sundown shift, dramatically increased “The Big 8’s” audience, who resided within the vast expanses east of the Canadian / American Rockies.

In a sense, that atmospheric anomaly, had been radio pioneer Trombley’s early brush with something akin to a scaled down version of today’s World Wide Web.

Alas… long sigh… it was soon after the Canadian powers-that-be had passed legislation requiring more Canadian musical content on their nation’s stations, that Trombley’s airwaves wound up suffocated. Big government had silenced “The Big 8’s” / her We are the World spirit. Consequently, CKLW’s turntables took a turn for the worse.

Mind you, I’m not bad mouthing the vast legions of know-no-limits, talented Canadian musicians / singers / song writers. I’m only saying that nationalism, when taken to such extremes, SUCKS!

But, let’s end this post on a more positive note.

Tho I never actually met Ms. Rosalie Trombley, the way her tower had so powerfully influenced my life makes it seem as if I had. For as long as my consciousness exists, I’ll deem her my primary musical mentor. What a unique opportunity, privilege and honor it has been for this once-upon-a-time, loyal CKLW listener to have played a small role an entire bygone radio era; to have experienced, in real time, her success story.

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Stay Publicly / Properly Masked!
Stay Safe at Home!
Stay Healthy!

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The Sunshine in Our Name

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Bass guitarist-singer-songwriter-recording artist Andy Fraser certainly wound up “painting” a lyrical / melodious masterpiece back in 1978 and aptly titled it: Every Kinda People (EKP).

Most people who’ve spent their formative years in the presence of parents, mentors and anyone else in possession of a dust-free conscience, will find themselves instantly aligned with / drawn to Fraser’s lyrical advocacy for human equality / peaceful coexistence and his championing on behalf of everyday people, everywhere.

If you’re in accord with what you’ve read, so far, Every Kinda People, most assuredly, will strike a responsive chord.

Singer-songwriter-musician-recording artist-record producer Robert Palmer (b. 19 January 1949 / d. 26 September 2003) owed much of his mega-success story to his recording / releasing of EKP in March of that same year.

It had been his full throttle, impassioned vocal delivery, in tandem with an unpretentious musical arrangement, which, indisputably, had driven (and still drives) home these magnificent lyrics; the primary reasons why EKP wound up becoming his very first hit record. While this track’s upward momentum did halt at #16 on the Top 40 chart, in my book, his primo interpretation shall forever be a #1 chart topper.

It’s Fraser’s utilization of so few words to say so much; the universality of all he speaks of, which continues to wow folks fortunate enough to give ‘er an honest listen (or two or more). In my own case, such insights have been known to well up my eyes. I’ll elaborate further once we’ve taken a closer look at the final stanza which, in particular, from my very first listen of EKP and onward, I’ve always viewed as the epitome of his virtuosity…

“You know that love’s the only goal
That could bring a peace to any soul
Hey, and every man’s the same
He wants the sunshine in his name”

Andrew McIan Fraser (b. 3 July 1952 / d. 16 March 2015) • [read full lyrics here]

As for ‘splaining myself further… there have been way too many instances where the rolling in, metaphorical storm clouds have occluded my corner of our world; i.e., excluded love and peace of mind from my life. And once life’s essentials, such as these, fly south for the winter (too oft the spring, summer and fall, too) so goeth that sunshine.

But how, indeed, fortunate we all are that not all in life is one hundred percent; for that sunshine doth become all the more precious when, somehow, some way, it manages to afford each of us that rare glimmer of hope.

Granted, Mr. Fraser could’ve been less gender specific. On the plus side, it’d not take much effort to rework his final couplet, thusly…

Hey, and everyone’s the same
We want the sunshine in our name

There’s not much more to add, save to say…

No matter how long it may last, make sure to cherish the sunshine wherever, whenever it may appear.

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BlogCast: Have a Happy Healthy `21!

So much has changed in our world / our lives this past year. If the musical selections, which follow, uplift your spirits even half as much as they’ve elevated my own, I will consider my New Year’s Eve, DJ stint a resounding success.

As we will soon eye and ear witness, dozens of our human family, whilst sheltering at home, have virtually assembled to cheer us up. Until the vaccines are available to every member of our global community, it is our responsibility to help save lives / save humanity by following the pandemic protocols set by our world’s finest scientists, epidemiologists and health care professionals; by emulating the exemplary behavior of our featured star quality, musically talented, selfless souls, too.

This DJ’s Rx for 2021 and beyond: Give these inspirational tunes a listen; 1, 2, as many times as necessary. They are sure to be habit forming, but, this will only be in the best way imaginable.

Have a Happy, Healthy `21!

Raph and Friends ~ Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate The Positive

The Rookies ~ Sunny Side Of The Street

Virtual Choir ~ We’ll Meet Again

Stay Publicly Masked!
Stay Safe at Home!
Stay Healthy!

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Past programs are accessible from my homepage’s Category Menu. Click onto either BlogCasts or Music

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Christmas Karaoke (Parody)

Let’s consider the above clip’s supplied, original song lyrics our incentive. We’ll have a good shot at getting our lives back to normal IF we pandemic-proof our holiday parties, NOW; as suggested by my parody, below:

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Have yourself a social distanced Christmas
A-void Covid’s blight
Zoom your parties
Keep Corona out of sight

Have yourself a sheltered little Christmas
Keep “droplets” at bay
At that point
Our troubles will be miles away

Here we are in pandemic days
Unlike golden days of yore
Faithful friends who are dear to us
Can’t be near to us; no more

Come next Christmas we’ll all be together
If vaccines allow
Till then stay in tune with public health knowhow
And have yourself a sheltered little Christmas now

Here we are in pandemic days
Unlike golden days of yore
Faithful friends who are dear to us
Can’t be near to us; no more

In one year
We all will be together
When vaccines allow
If we hang tough, we’ll get thru this mess, somehow
So, have yourself a levelheaded Christmas

Have yourself a social distanced Christmas
Have yourself a sheltered little Christmas now

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Stay Publicly Masked!
Stay Safe at Home!
Stay Healthy!

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The People v. Rudy / Randy Wins Case!

In re The People v. Rudy it’s an open and shut case! Randy presents his closing arguments against Rudy to us, the impaneled ladies and gentlemen of the jury. In the process, Rudy becomes the butt of the joke and we get to laugh our asses off! Following deliberations we rule against Rudy; return our unanimous, guilty as charged verdict.

Case Closed! Court Adjourned!

Watch the clip above or over @YouTube.

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Stay Publicly Masked!
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