In Memory Of Gregg Allman

 

As stated on his official website… on Saturday, May 27, 2017, musician Gregg Allman, age 69, “passed away peacefully at his home in Savannah, Georgia.”

In 1969, Gregg and (brother) Duane Allman, along with Dicky Betts, Berry Oakley, Johanny “Jaimoe” Johanson and Butch Trucks had co-founded the Allman Brothers Band.

This ensemble’s unique sound had boasted a tasty blend of southern rock, blues, jazz and country music… the two main songwriters being G. Allman and Betts. And oh what amazing songs they had written! “Revival”, “In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed”, “Melissa” and “Midnight Rider” are just a few that instantly come to mind… that last listed tune featuring a lyrical sentiment, which every dedicated, touring musician can identify with…

“And the road goes on forever.”

Tragically, during the band’s early history, death had been no stranger to these men. Motorcycle accidents in 1971 and 1972 had claimed, respectively, the lives of both Gregg’s brother and Oakley.

Fast forwarding to the present, I spent the better part of yesterday, Sunday, giving a listen to the ABB’s considerable and durable discography, which could only confirm what I’ve known all along…

It matters not if you’re tracking through their toe tapping rock, a ballad of love lost or anything in between… these songs still sound as fresh and invigorating today as they had on their original release dates.

I also played back “Laid Back” Gregg’s 1973 solo album featuring the disc finale… his interpretation of “Will The Circle Be Unbroken?”… the 1907 Christian hymn originally penned by Ada R. Habershon and set to music by Charles H. Gabriel.

“Circle” having since lapsed into public domain, there has been no shortage of lyrical revisions… now inclusive of mine… which, of course is in memory of Gregg Allman…

 

Will The Circle Be Unbroken?

 

I was standing by my window,

On one cold and cloudy day.

When I saw that, hearse come rolling,

For to carry our brother away.

 

Chorus… Will the circle be unbroken?

By and by, Lord, by and by.

There’s a better, home a-waiting,

In the sky, Lord, in the sky.

 

I said to that undertaker,

Undertaker, please drive slow.

For this body, you are carrying.

Lord, I hate to see him go.

 

Chorus…

 

Oh, I followed, close behind him,

Tried to hold up, and be brave.

But I could not, hide my sorrow,

When they laid him in the grave.

 

Chorus…

 

I went back home, our world was lonesome,

Missed our brother, Gregg was gone.

Fans, friends, family, were all crying,

What a home so sad and lone.

 

Chorus…

 

We sang songs of, five past decades,

Rock and blues that made us strong.

Ones that brothers Gregg, Duane taught us,

Hear the angels sing along.

 

Chorus… Will the circle be unbroken

By and by, Lord, by and by.

There’s a better, home a-waiting,

In the sky, Lord, in the sky.

 

Perhaps our sorrow can lift just a bit? After all, in all likelihood, for Gregg Allman, “the road goes on forever” in the realm better known as eternity… he’s now reunited with loved ones and band mates who preceded him and… for we, who survive him… his vast, impressive body of work still lives on.

My outward bound, heartfelt condolences go to the family, friends and fans of Gregg Allman.

 

 

 

Musical BlogCast ~ Just Going Through A Phase

 

A “leader”, who shall go nameless, has been going on a rampage from Day One… posing a major threat to humanity’s very survival. If not an outright, treasonous, political puppet or “just” pure evil, might we categorize him as a terrible two tyke experiencing a major meltdown… exhibiting a YUGE temper tantrum to our horrified, global community?

Would a spin-doctor’s diagnosis be, “Oh… he’s just going through a phase?”

If so… WTF would it take for “junior”, to stop blowing up and start growing up? A go stand in the corner time out would seem rather pointless docha think? After all… in his oval digs, there are no such architectural structures.

But… even in a rectangular setting that would still be a moot point. Very few of his running amuck, fellow political party, party animal enablers seem willing to trot out the inter-branch, governmental checks and balances. And if they cannot muster the maturity and courage to administer the necessary Constitutional tough love to discipline this tyrant… what’s left?

Well folks, how about a much needed (albeit temporary) musical diversion?

How about an unscheduled, mid-May BlogCast where I’ll be going through a phase? More to the point… phasing the music.

One of the really cool “tricks of the DJ trade” involves taking the two turntables, at hand, to the outer limits; especially if they have pitch controls, which does greatly facilitate such phasing.

But even if the available tech is not sufficiently fancy schmancy to allow the jock to slightly vary the speed… i.e., so one turntable plays infinitesimally faster than the customary 33 1/3 and 45 RPM… not all hope is lost.

Now, let’s say we’re dealing with the less sophisticated tech scenario. As is often the case, even when comparing the performances of two “identical” model numbered turntables, manufacturing tolerances (i.e., variances in speed) will handily come into play. That’s the key element! (Oh…btw… CD players are also subject to similar, unintended speed variables… ergo… this makes phasing compact discs possible, too).

What the DJ does is cue up two identical copies of a recorded song and then start up the slightly faster player a few “microseconds” AFTER the slower one. (S)he’ll then keep the faster player’s sound “off the air” while monitoring its progress with a pair of headphones… awaiting the ideal moment… that point just before it catches up with the slower one. At that juncture, (s)he’ll gradually increase the volume of the off-the-air turntable… mix that audio output into the over-the-air signal.

The sound waves between the two will then start to “duke it out” as they get closer and closer to synchronization… thereby producing those hippie, trippy, nearly otherworldly sound effects.

Seeing that I don’t have the ability to actually demonstrate this, I now present four recordings where no timing rigmarole is required…

That’s because similar audio wizardry was employed at the recording studio level to permanently incorporate these spacy effects into the master tape.

Of course in playing these tracks back, we’re bound to encounter some ads, which, regrettably, will disrupt our ability to directly segue this special music… but… after all… YouTube’s “paying the piper” is also a fact of life in the DJ trade.

 

Arbors ~ The Letter

Small Faces ~ Itchycoo Park

Bloomfield, Kooper & Stills ~ You Don’t Love Me

Doobie Brothers ~ Listen To The Music (Drum Cover by Sina)

 

If you liked what you heard today, click back for my June 1, 2017 BlogCast.

 

Lessons From Kent State University

For anyone old enough to have lived through the turbulent 1960s and 70s, the Kent State massacre was one of American History’s darkest, most tragic, “where were you when” moments.

For me, that “when” was early evening on this very day, May 4, 1970. That’s when, as a 16-year-young high school sophomore, I first became aware of how 29 American soldiers (members of the Ohio National Guard) had fired off approximately 67 rounds in the short span of one minute (or less) to kill 4 American students and wound 9 others.

That death toll and casualty list had been the end result of a demonstration by Kent State University college students pissed off by President Richard M. Nixon’s escalation of the Vietnam War… i.e., his invasion of neighboring Cambodia. It was during their antiwar rally that things got ugly… protestors wound up setting fire to the campus’ ROTC building and repeatedly pegging rocks at the armed troops.

Basically, what we had here was the troops overreacting… using bullets to defend themselves against stones and assessing a higher value to that charred real estate than to their own compatriots’ precious lives.

It’d be hard not to conclude that the very presence of these troops had needlessly escalated an already overly tense situation. Even Nixon’s own President’s Commission on Campus Unrest concluded (and I concur MOST EMPHATICALLY)

“The indiscriminate firing of rifles into a crowd of students and the deaths that followed were unnecessary, unwarranted, and inexcusable.”

Students suspected of arson and assault could’ve later been arrested, charged, arraigned, tried and, if found guilty, been duly punished. In a situation such as this, troops are NEVER supposed to act in the roles of judges, juries and executioners!

Also worthy of mention is that both warring factions on this Kent State campus battlefield could’ve benefited immensely from the following wisdom.

William Shakespeare’s “Henry IV” character, Fallstaff, said…

“The better part of Valour, is Discretion; in the which better part, I haue saued my life” (oft paraphrased… “Discretion is the better part of valor.”)

Sun Tzu, author of “Art of War” opined along similar lines, thusly…

“The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting” and “The greatest victory is that which requires no battle.”

The sagaciousness of some superb song composers also comes to mind…

Check out a couple of lyrical couplets…

From Stephen Stills’ “For What It’s Worth”

“There’s battle lines being drawn,

Nobody’s right if everybody’s wrong.”

From John Lennon/Paul McCartney’s “Revolution”

“But when you talk about destruction…

Don’t you know that you can count me out.”

Were not all of the above wordsmiths emphasizing the need for orderly conduct by all parties involved in any dispute… were they not all on the same page as the U.S. Constitution’s 1st Amendment (note the qualifying word, “peaceably”)?

“Congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Fast forwarding to our troubled present-day world… political and social unrest has only grown worse… especially since the installation of #45.

Now, more than ever, all protest movements must always be conducted peaceably. Nobody should ever give that Oval Office entity even the slightest excuse to overreact… to roll out the tanks… to order Americans troops to open fire on American citizens in a way that is equal to… or exceeds the actions taken by the Ohio National Guard in Kent State…

On this very day… May 4, 1970.

 

May BlogCast ~ Swan Songs(?) For a Troubled World

Welcome to my BlogCast… this installment is focused on May themed lyrics and song titles.

Admittedly, I’m posting this content a day later than originally intended… my excuse for this tardiness being the difficulty in getting motivated to blog much of anything here @WordPress… not while we’re all standing by, helplessly, eye witnessing Tweetie so thoughtlessly… so gleefully… bullying other likeminded, mindless “leaders”… and then… to add injury to insult… punctuating his 140 characters by casually and callously firing off missiles and dropping the MOAB (Mother of all Bombs).

We might categorize what has transpired within his first 100 days as nuclear brinksmanship, but that would imply that he would know when it’s time to back down (many doubt he does). Left unchecked by sounder minds, all his daring (and double daring) winds up accomplishing is inculcating absolute zero respect (for him) and boundless enmity (towards America)… from whomever he trains his antisocial media crosshairs on.

IN THE END that can only escalate us / the US towards WW-III.

In all honesty… if (when?) Tweetie pushes the button… given my druthers… I’d much prefer residing smack, dead center of some soon-to-be, ground zero bull’s-eye than winding up condemned to becoming either a buried alive, fallout shelter dweller or a staggering, irradiated, rotting corpse existing within his zombie apocalypse.

Sorry to start off on such a downer, but having this discussion is relevant. You see, it was my somber, reflective, angst-ridden mood that got factored into the emotional mix… and played a significant role in what became this month’s musical mix.

True, the lead song qualifies as upbeat… but after that? Well… I found it impossible to maintain this mood… as is evident re the concluding two tracks.

There is one additional noteworthy aspect… the stunning visuals accompanying these tunes… which draw our attention to the natural beauty and fragility of planet Earth and our DNA… which should serve to remind all of humanity of all we stand to lose if (when?) Tweetie loses his temper… and of how, once, in the thick of that post WW-III nuclear winter… “survivors” will soon long for freshly rain-washed air, clear skies, sunrises and sunsets… will soon discover something as primal as falling in love to be complicated and (perhaps in this cataclysmic context) even pointless.

And that all duly noted, it’s time for the music to do the rest of the “talking”…

Temptations ~ My Girl

Bee Gees ~ First of May

Michael Bublé ~ End of May

My props to the inestimable, inexhaustible talents of the YouTube videographers who have made possible all viewed and heard here, this day.

If you’ve liked what you’ve heard, stop by for my next BlogCast on (or in the temporal vicinity of) Thursday, June 1, 2017… i.e., if humanity survives that long.

Musical BlogCast ~ No Foolin’… April Or Otherwise

My greetings go out to music lovers everywhere and my thanks go out to GWB… the biggest fool to ever hit the big time… for his so “adeptly” setting up this month’s BlogCast theme.

Considering the diversity of musical genre and wealth of compositions with the word, “fool” incorporated into the title/lyrics, distilling a playlist down to a scant five songs was one tough task… no… strike that… a much-welcomed labor of love.

Had I the opportunity to actually broadcast on the air or stream online, I could’ve easily maxed out an hour’s worth of programming… if not longer… no foolin’.

Since my BlogCasting philosophy / focus, as always, has been to keep the chitchat to a minimum… i.e, to let the music do all the talking… let’s get these tunes a’trackin’…

 

Aretha Franklin ~ Chain Of Fools

Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers ~ Why Do Fools Fall In Love

Quarterflash ~ Find Another Fool

A bit of a downshifting in the musical gears… that’ll permit Patti, Tegan and Sara to cool things musically and emotionally… like only they can. Enjoy…

Patti Smith ~ April Fool

Tegan and Sara – I Was A Fool

Mega thanks to all who stopped by to listen. If you found the mix to your liking, do stop by again… my next BlogCast will be on Monday, May 1, 2017.

 

March BlogCast ~ Don’t Touch That Dial!

I swear to my Creator that there’s not a speck of narcissism involved. Just for the pure fun of it, this DJ is about to spin five tunes about DJs, radio stations, radio static, etc.

Synopsis: As our story begins Chuck Berry’s intent is to request a song… to “write a little letter” and “mail it to (his) local DJ”… followed by Bob Seger listening intently to the Heavy Music on his radio “when the big bad beat comes on.” btw, the song title below is a link to a video which features Fred Astaire dancing to Seger’s Heavy Music. A bit of a caveat, while the visual aspects are excellent, regrettably, the sound quality is poor… in DJ parlance the off center vinyl pressing created a mild case of the “wows”.

Soon after that, the Kinks supersonic rock sends us soaring up, Up and Away on our musical journey Around the Dial… however… at this juncture, there’s a bit of mystery unfolding… Ray Davies’ lyrical reportage claiming “one of our DJs is missing.”

Perhaps an alien abduction is afoot… as suggested by David Bowie’s Starman… lyrics about the late night ambient lighting set low and the listener leaning back on his radio… more to the point… “That weren’t no DJ that was hazy cosmic jive”. Oh, btw, many of you Sci-Fi aficionados will likely recognize this Bowie tune from the film soundtrack: The Martian.

Coming full circle… once again we’re back on terra firma, where the earthly static reasserts itself ala Ten Years After rockin’ ‘n’ rollin’ us to wrap up this March BlogCast.

 

Chuck Berry ~ Roll Over Beethoven

Bob Seger ~ Heavy Music

Kinks ~ Around The Dial

David Bowie ~ Starman

Ten Years After ~ Baby Won’t You Let Me Rock ‘n’ Roll You

If you’ve liked what you’ve heard, my next blogcast will be on April 1, 2017… no foolin’!

 

Donny Downer… Dandy?

 

 

Below, you’ll find some new lyrics to update a song dating back to the first American Revolution… Yankee Doodle Dandy.

Most of us will be able to “hear” the song playing in our minds without an assist from the above video… but if you do opt to hit the playback button, be advised that it will only cover the first four verses… obviously requiring a restart to accompany all eight.

 

1. Donny Downer came to town,

Fraudulent and phony,

Fills folks’ heads with racist crap,

And other acrimony!

 

CHORUS… Donny Downer walls it up,

‘Long the Rio Grande,

Boots out non-wasps P-D-Q,

Of this he doth demand-dee!

 

2. Donny Downer came to town,

For sexist swill he’s wishin’,

Sticks his nose in women’s biz,

He’ll beat them to submission.

 

CHORUS… Donny Downer gets keeps it up,

Donny Downer randy,

Spews forth his misogyny,

And GRABS whatever’s handy!

 

3. Donny Downer’s billionaires,

All squealin’, wheelin,’ dealin’,

Upward redistribute wealth,

From poor folks they are stealing!

 

CHORUS… Donny Downer sucks up wealth,

Donny Downer greedy,

Cronies toast, “To Donny’s health!”

Next exclaim, “Screw the needy!

 

4. Donny Downer came to town,

He’ll wipe out all the wise rules,

Best buds are his Wall Street pals,

To us they’re selfish fools… FOOLS!

 

CHORUS… Donny Downer, screws it up,

When things CRASH, no doubt… doubt,

He’ll then force poor Janes and Joes,

To bail the banksters out… OUT!

 

5. Donny Downer came to town,

Thinks he’s our Big Brother,

His surrogates use double-speak,

To suffocate truth, smother!

 

CHORUS… Donny’s claqueurs whoop it up,

Don shouts / shuts down free press,

Takes down Lady Liberty,

While peeking up her gowned dress?

 

6. Donny Downer came to town,

Disputes with defiance,

Climate change, he calls a hoax,

To nix established science.

 

CHORUS… Donny Downer, know-it-all?

Donny Downer’s swagger dagger,

Kills free speech at E-P-A,

Can’t breathe, can’t speak through gag… GRRR!

 

7. Donny Downer came to town,

His high horse is no pony,

Plots to take out our whole world,

And folks, that’s no baloney!

 

CHORUS… Donny Downer mucks it up,

Brash nuke Tweets he’ll bandy,

Deems each bad-assed mushroom cloud,

Akin to cotton candy?

 

8. Donny Downer’s peeps did vote,

But so did Bad Vlad Putin,

Attacked the Net, sank Hillary’s boat,

Of that there’s no disputin’!

 

CHORUS… Donny Downer won’t fess up,

Donny Downer cocky,

Did Vlad help him? Don neighs, “NYET!”

Yet skeptics say, “Horse Hockey!”