A Lazy Afternoon Spent With Queen (Sunday Song Series)

Welcome to Week #11 of our Sunday Song Series. This time, we’ll be giving a listen to Queen’s Lazing On A Sunday Afternoon.

Considering its (approx) one minute tracking time, everything will all be over so rapidly that you might even opt to hang around to check out the following companion video… one which relates this song’s fascinating backstory and reaffirms that the groundbreaking influence of engineers / producers Roy Thomas Baker and (the late) Mike Stone, had both been every bit as vital to Queen’s sound / success as (the late) Sir George Martin’s innovative impact on the Beatles.

The Backstory to Queen’s “Lazing On A Sunday Afternoon”

If you can spare a scant minute more, also check out The Diamonds’ lead vocalist Lucie Halamikova… her performance enhanced by some really cool CGI and vintage video clips.

The Diamonds cover Queen’s “Lazing On A Sunday Afternoon”

I now thank you and invite you to return for installment #12 of our Sunday Song Series… a mere seven days from now.

 

 

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No Crickets Were Harmed During This September BlogCast

 

Welcome to our monthly musical get-together. Before we PB the tunes, I’d like to briefly state how the inspiration behind each BlogCast’s musical selections can come from many different sources. However, this month in particular, has involved the most serendipitous occurrence, to date. Here’s how this evolved…

Since this past week’s Michigan weather has been on the sultry side, I’ve been keeping my windows wide open long after sundown. So, in addition to welcoming in the somewhat cooler night air, I’ve also been treated to the seasonal serenade of crickets… these lovely creatures even lending some “lyrical” ambiance to my twilight piano playing. Well… that was when my free-associating mind started recalling some recording artists, who’ve deliberately mixed cricket sound effects into their own tracks.

Naturally… this became the “angle” to this month’s musical presentation.

I even test segued these three tracks through my stereo system’s mixer last night… and wound up even more impressed by how the in-real-time crickets blended in so perfectly with their prerecorded colleagues… especially the cricket soloist, who has somehow managed to set up residence in my cellar.

BTW, as much as I do admire his singing, I do hope to return him, soon, to the great outdoors. Working towards that happy, humane ending, my strategy involves capture and release. If I spot him, I’ll carefully slip a glass jar over him, slide a piece of cardboard under the jar and then carry him out to my backyard to set him free.

Some may say that my making such a fuss is inordinate. But… I think not. You see, my quick Google Search has turned up three cultural reasons for nonviolence…

“In Asian culture, it is considered bad luck to kill crickets because for thousands of years, crickets have been referred to as ‘watchdogs’, guardians that chirp and make noise when danger approaches. The Native American culture believes that crickets are a sign of good luck, and it is considered disrespectful to mimic their chirping. In Western culture, killing a cricket inside the home is considered bad luck because a chirping cricket symbolizes a future windfall.”

So, my listeners, you can trust me when I claim: No crickets were harmed during the production of this BlogCast.

On a technical note… whenever YouTube commercials pop up, they do ruin my segues. Of course, you can just play them back “as is”… OR… if you’d prefer to don your DJ cap… the following brief tutorial could come in handy. Check it out.

To ensure these segues are seamless, it’d be advisable to “audition” the 2nd and 3rd tracks in advance. That way you can either PLAY or SKIP any YouTube Ads that may appear from time to time. I mean, Madison Avenue jingles do jangle this BlogCasts’ aesthetics. However, once the Ads are out of the way, just click PAUSE and confirm the counters are “ZEROED OUT”. If your reflexes aren’t quick enough, the songs may start too soon. If so… re-cue the tracks by simply dragging that “RED DOT” backward to 00:00.

Well my listeners… we’re now in biz!

On a musical note… if you’re fortunate enough to have your own cricket population residing in your “corner” of our world, I highly recommend that you have them sing along with these cricket enhanced tunes…

 

Leon Russell ~ My Cricket

Beatles ~ Sun King

John B. Sebastian ~ I Had A Dream

I thank you for your listenership and cordially invite you to click back here for my next monthly BlogCast, which typically features anywhere from 3 to 5 songs that, when segued, transform everything into a variety of appealing themes. My next program is slated to hit the www during the first week of October 2018.

 

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

If you’ve enjoyed this post, don’t forget to like, follow, share and comment (click onto this blog’s headline to access the “LIKE” and “Reblog” buttons and “Comment Box”).

 

 

August BlogCast ~ 4 Tracks in 4 Minutes Flat!

 

Welcome to our monthly musical get-together. Hey… I can dig it! In our get everything done yesterday world, who even has time for music, anymore? Right?

Problem? No Problem!

Even if U think my playlist sucks, it’ll all B over B4 ya know it. That above headline is NO lie! Hell… the only way this could possibly B a drag is if YouTube tacks on some of their 4 minute ads! YIKES! I mean… who doesn’t click the skip button when that happens? Right?

Crunching the PB Nos.

trk. 1 = 02:01
trk. 2 = 00:45
trk. 3 = 00:50
trk. 4 = +0:24
G Tot = 04:00

 

Blur ~ Song 2

Bush ~ X Girlfriend

White Stripes ~ Little Room

Beatles ~ Her Majesty

I thank you for your listenership and cordially invite you to click back here for my next monthly BlogCast, which typically features anywhere from 3 to 5 songs that, when segued, transform everything into a variety of appealing themes. My next program is slated to hit the www during the first week of September ’18.

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

If you’ve enjoyed this post, don’t forget to like, follow, share and comment (click onto this blog’s headline to access the “LIKE” and “Reblog” buttons and “Comment Box”).

 

Could this be the Perfect Song for Imperfect Times?

As a virtual DJ on the www, I’m here to plug the perfect song for our imperfect times… Frédéric Chopin’s Piano Sonata No. 2! This catchy little ditty (a.k.a. the Funeral March) does have crossover appeal, too! It could be a Billboard EZ Listening chart topper! A night-clubber’s let’s fall in love, dance floor fave! The ultimate sports arena, pregame tune that’ll get fans off their asses and standing to salute the flag… AND MORE!

By now, some of you may be asking…

“Hey, hold your horses Mr. DJ, don’t they already play that ‘oh-say-can-you-see’ thingie?”

So true! So true! BUT… if all goes wrong… we’ll soon be needing to replace the Star Spangled Banner. Hey, don’t blame me, it’s not my fault. I voted for Hillary! So, just who should we point the (middle) finger at?

Well, in case you haven’t kept up with the front page news, Bad Vlad Putin and You-Know-Who’s Helsinki Summit is now one week off! You’ve just gotta know… or at least suspect… that this is the venue where they’ll be colluding to finalize their wretched plot to overthrow America… to bump off and bury Lady Liberty.

Hence, the all too real need for Chopin’s Funeral March. What better tune to play once that Russian puppeteer and his puppet… once that Russian ventriloquist and his dummy deep-six America.

Now, don’t look so glum… maybe we can even persuade pianist Sir Elton John to play at Lady Libby’s memorial service? Of course, from that point forward… no… strike that… from that point backward… long sigh… it’ll all be downhill.

But hey… let’s turn our frowns upside down! This is where the crossover appeal aspects to Piano Sonata No. 2 really start to kick in… full force! Considering this dirge’s Putinesque, dreary, Dark Ages, dystopian “feel”, it could easily catch on as the new national anthem for The-Nation-Formerly-Known-As-America!

Of course, wherever / whenever this dirge winds up getting played… be it on your home or workplace device… be it spun by some nightclub disk-jockey… be it blasting over a sports arena’s loudspeakers… be it tracking out on the late Lady Libby’s graveside boombox… this tune is practically screaming out for some lyrics.

I mean… doncha think it’d be kinda-sorta lazy and lame… at times even insensitive… to just hum or whistle along? Even orchestrating this with a kazoo and/or harmonica section could never do it full justice! And let’s not forget that Sir Elton is the consummate vocalist, too!

Perhaps some of you WordPress wordsmiths, poets and songwriters… who are able channel the spirit of Francis Scott Key… could step up to home plate? Yes? No? Maybe?

I can almost hear you objecting…

“Hey man… this is YOUR premise! Why should you make US do all the heavy lifting? Compose your own damned lyrics!”

Uh… so sorry. I’ve become so geeked about this track, I momentarily failed to realize how unfair of me it would be to put you on the spot like that… and on such short notice, too! Hell I cannot even offer you any monetary compensation!

I can almost hear you asking…

“Why are you making such a fuss over an 1840 Chopin composition?”

Well, here’s why. Now, while I’d never blame the messenger, NPR’s All Things Considered… it’s the Trumpian messages / stories, which they have little choice but to report, which have been rendering me disgusted, disconsolate and disillusioned. So much so, that one afternoon, this past week, I just had to sit down. My piano bench being handy, I parked my butt there. Slumping over in woe-is-me mode, I cradled my head in my crossed over forearms… just in time to hear the fake prez’s soundbite featuring his gleeful outburst / announcement of his intent to “rob the judicial cradle”… i.e., just to ensure his handpicked wretched SCOTUS judge’s decisions could lay waste to my homeland for the next 40 to 50 years!

Now, be your “political party hat” hued blue, red or purple, to smell such extreme partisanship stench anywhere near the Supreme Court bench should disgust you! The mere notion of that sure as hell disgusts me!

Shortly thereafter, once my nauseous feelings subsided a bit, something totally unexpected happened. My limp body shot upright into a sitting position. The heat from the brightly glowing, metaphorical lightbulb hovering over my noggin was almost palpable. The voice in my head was now offering up what I believed to be a brilliant suggestion.

“Hey Tom, what this endless barrage of bad news is sorely lacking is you coming up with a clever way to marginalize it.”

Free association (and the fact that I was already seated at my piano) did the rest. I then brainstormed along the following lines. “Hmmm… how about an editorial comment / musical statement… to reflect your mood? Naturally, it’d have to be loaded with minor chords! But, what oh what should I play? As I positioned my ten fingers on my piano keyboard… EUREKA… in a flash, Chopin came to mind. I’d transform Piano Sonata No. 2‘s first eleven notes into a riff. By the time NPR aired (out) the next DC disaster, I played that dirge and actually found myself chuckling! But laughter? Why laughter I wondered?

I then realized that, subconsciously, I’d been channeling the schtick of my newest keyboard hero… Jon Batiste. For the benefit of my international readers, I’ll briefly mention that Batiste is frontman for Stay Human… Stephan Colbert’s Late Show house band. During many a show opening Colbert monologue, Batiste’s keyboard comedic timing is just as flawless and funny as the wisecracking Colbert’s routine. Both the scripted and improvisational performances… indeed the genius… of both of these super-talents truly compliments one another. True, I’ve yet to hear Batiste play this Chopin riff… but it would not surprise me were he to… someday… do so. Additionally, I do plan to continue my own musical accompaniment of the bad news stories which are sure to follow… as the days drag on and On and ON!

Suffice to say, I’ve only partially explained away my chuckling. But, the following two quotations might help complete this layperson’s introspective, psychoanalysis… as well as complete this post…

Said Erma Bombeck

“There is a thin line that separates laughter and pain, comedy and tragedy, humor and hurt.”

Said John Lennon and Paul McCartney in a lyrical couplet…

“And though the news was rather sad. Well I just had to laugh.”

Folks… I’m only human. There’s no telling how a steady diet of head-on pain, tragedy, hurt and sad news will impact this caring soul… impact any caring soul. Now… more than ever before…maintaining my / our sense of humor is a literal life or death matter. Forgive me for permitting my sarcasm and gallows humor to kick in. In venting both in this post I can only hope I’ve prevented my body and/or sanity from kicking off.

 

 

McCartney’s Carpool Karaoke ~ Vid of the Day

On a cold, wintry Sunday evening, February 9, 1964, I was amongst the estimated 73 Million TV viewers on hand to ear and eyewitness the Stateside Birth of the Beatles… courtesy of the “CBS Delivery Room’s” “Ol’ Doc” Ed Sullivan.

To have been there almost from the dawn’s earliest light of JPGR’s brilliant musical careers, is what played a significant role in my forming an instantaneous, nearly lifelong, long-distance, musical mind meld. As for that approximately 12-year age gap between us? It didn’t really matter… the rapport we were building was inevitable.

All of their music that was to follow… recorded both as bandmates and solo artists… dominated… still dominates… the soundtrack to my life. Since I’m familiar with every tune the Fab 4 ever commercially released, I can attest to the fact that there’s not one turkey (cold or otherwise LOL) to be found throughout that entire discography.

Transitioning to the Vid of the Day… My first order of biz is to thank CBS Late Late Show star James Corden for presenting and participating in such innovative, quality, TV programming. In comparison, many competing TV networks’ shows aired in the wee hours are not much more than 4-watt “nightlights”. Hell, I’ve even seen some overnight, music infomercials that dim those “nightlights”… put them to shame. But, I digress. Getting back on track…

In this video we find singer / songwriter / performer Sir Paul McCartney still at the top of his game… at the Mt. Everest apex… providing ample proof that age 76 is the new 26 (btw… my best, belated Happy Birthday wishes to Sir Paul — dob 06/18/1942). To continue to hear him delivering his trademark clever / playful / cheeky / dry wit… his uniquely-Beatle banter… easily elicits smiles and laughs. To ear and eyewitness him rocking on as if he’s still that young Liverpool Lad debuting on the Ed Sullivan Show is nothing short of a rejuvenating experience.

As for the affable ex-Beatle and chat show host’s actual interview / conversation, one can sense the strengthening mind-meld and rapport with each passing syllable. Like life itself, Sir Paul and James’ conversation touches base with a wide range of emotions. Their mutual, genuine feelings of joy flow… as do their shared tears of sorrow. For those who have chosen to read this prior to viewing, I’ll avoid relating both the specifics and concurrent need to issue spoiler alerts. Suffice to say… these real life moments are what breathe even more life into this autobiographical sketch / music video… virtually add that missing third dimension to our flat screens.

Perhaps this is just my sentimentality talking, but, to merely categorize Paul McCartney’s Carpool Karaoke as a Vid of the Day just doesn’t seem to cut it.

How about re-titling it to read: The Feel Good Vid of the Century… of the Millennium!

Oh… to hell with all the wordplay… if you haven’t yet done so… just play and enjoy the video! Don’t allow that 23:42 PB time to be of any concern to you. As soon as McCartney and Corden start rockin’ and rollin’… once the tunes are rockin’ and the car is rollin’… you’ll tap into that Sixties spirit, the time will surely fly by… and then… by video’s end…

You may even catch yourself “grousing”… “Oh NO! Over so soon?”

 

BlogCast: Tom’s Top 20 Countdown “2” Christmas: Song 4

Throughout 2017… as has been the case from time immemorial… too many of the good people of our world have been and still are being treated badly. And if there never, before, was a more perfect example of an understatement, you’ve just finished reading it.

As a human being and a humane blogger, who hardly ever holds his political and social commentary “cards” close to his chest… hardly ever pastes on a “poker face”… rather than giving into the temptation to elaborate further re our world in turmoil… in this rare instance, I’ll be “folding”. Even more amazingly… I’ll even be attempting to turn my frown upside down. So, just what is it that just might get me… hopefully you, too… smiling?

Today’s BlogCast feature track… that good ol’, hold nothing back, feel good, sing-along, toe-tapping, hand clapping music… namely… Chicago’s performance of Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree.

The only thing “bad” about this track is its too short runtime. But that problem can easily be overcome.

Since one can never smile too much, I’m also providing you… my listeners / readers… the opportunity to keep (y)our mood soaring and flying high. How so?

By following the links and giving a listen to five other recording artists who’ve turned in some great performances. Listen to one or to ‘em all… that’s for you to decide. Personally, I’ll be running down the entire…

 

Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree Menu

Brenda Lee (B.L. was the original vocalist to commit this tune to vinyl)
LeAnn Rimes (Country Music Superstar turns in her fine rendition)
Brian Setzer Orchestra (Ex Stray Cats rocker turned Big Band Cool Cat)
Fab Forever (Beatles Tribute Band performs their I Saw Her Standing There mashup)
Fab Four (Beatles Tribute Band performs their Got To Get You Into My Life mashup)

BONUS TRACK (A Feel Good Non-Holiday Tune)

Sir Paul McCartney (P.M.’s Got To Get You Into My Life, KICK ASS LIVE Performance)

 

I now thank you for your listenership and cordially invite you back for the remainder of my Top 20 Countdown “2” Christmas… where I’ll be presenting select holiday classics… one-a-day… from now until we reach #1 on the 25th.

You’re also cordially invited to click back here for my regular monthly BlogCast… one that typically features anywhere from 3 to 5 songs that, when segued, transform everything into an appealing theme… this program slated to hit the www “airwaves” on Sunday, December 24, 2017.

Till next time…

 

Keep on Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree!

Or anywhere else you may opt to Partay!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

 

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

If you’ve enjoyed this post, don’t forget to like, follow, share and comment.

 

November BlogCast ~ Feast Your Ears on 5 Fab-4 Covers!

Welcome to my Thanksgiving Day BlogCast. My thanks to The Northmen for their too brief rendition / arrangement of Over the River and Through the Woods. Now, admittedly, while I am musically knowledgeable, finding other tunes tailor-made for this American holiday did prove to be a bit of a challenge. I realized that I was rapidly getting lost… deep in “those woods” as it were… and would need to come up with a new BlogCast theme.

So, free associating my thoughts wound up going along these lines…

Hmmm… Thanksgiving… what am I thankful for? Well I am thankful to my late, loving parents for having gone into debt to purchase a piano and pay for my music lessons and… hmmm… I am thankful that I had been born at just the right time to have eye and ear witnessed the birth of the Beatles and… hmmm… that band did provide the soundtrack to nearly my entire life and… hmmm… I do include dozens of Beatles songs in my keyboard repertoire and… well… that’s when everything suddenly fell into place!

Why not devote my entire monthly show to the Fab Four? However…

I then realized that this, too, could prove problematic. You see, mainly due to copyright issues, Beatles videos are too frequently yanked from YouTube. Yet, not being one to give up easily, I did find a cool way to circumvent this issue… namely… feature both big name and not so famous musicians’ superb covers of Beatles tracks.

About the only other comment I can add, here, is that the songwriting genius of John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison, as presented below, is not only timeless, it also leaves their compositions wide open to interpretation by a diverse community of musicians… all of which you will notice immediately as you click onto each of those play buttons.

So… the time has arrived to feast your ears and eyes on these music videos and have a Happy Turkey Day!

 

Stevie Wonder ~ We Can Work It Out

(Oh, BTW… Paul McCartney is in the audience)

Annarin ~ Revolution

Amy Winehouse ~ All My Lovin’

Santana ~ While My Guitar Gently Weeps

Phil Collins / George Martin ~ Golden Slumbers / Carry That Weight / The End

 

If you LIKE what you heard here this day, click back here for my next BlogCast on Sunday, December 24, 2017.

Past programs are archived in my BlogCast and Music categories.