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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Sunday And Me ~ Sunday Song Series

 

For week #48 of our Sunday Song Series, we’ll be checking out Sunday and Me… composed by Neil Diamond and recorded by Jay and the Americans. This selection is a.k.a. the track that launched Diamond’s uber-successful, half century spanning, songwriting career.

For anyone who’s been a regular listener, here, you’ll likely recall that Diamond, himself, became our Week #22 featured recording artist by turning in his performance of Hey Sunday Sun.

For anyone interested in playing or replaying that particular selection… or any of our other past Sunday Songs… you’ll find this entire, nearly yearlong, genre-generous mix neatly filed under the brand new to this site category…

1-SundaySongSeries

Thanks for clicking by. Our musical adventure will continue… seven days from now…

 

 

Want to smile? (Sunday Song Series)

Our Sunday Song Series… now at week #22… just keeps on rolling along…

This time we’ve got some warm, feel good vibes going courtesy of Neil Diamond’s Sunday Sun. To sample the overall lyrical mood check out the chorus…

Sunday sun, when you’re ’round
Get to feelin’ like I want to smile
Weekday strings, tie me down
But this one day, baby, I can fly,
I can fly… I can fly… I can fly…

If you haven’t done so already… be sure to click the PB button to check out the rest of the lyrics, too… maybe even lower your BP a bit further by zoning out on the kaleidoscopic imagery… all courtesy of YouTuber janettsue.

See you back here next Sunday?

 

 

Relighting America’s Beacon ~ Vid of the Day

 

Programming the human brain is not unlike programming a computer…

Garbage IN = Garbage OUT

Even though the un-American, fake prez has a head that’s akin to a massive landfill… a wasteland overloaded with ideological garbage… he’s still fully aware of that above equation. As a garbageman / programmer his singularity of purpose is to install malware… e.g., his zero tolerance immigration policy.

He ceaselessly exploits / plays into his constituents’ preexisting unreasonable and unfounded prejudices and phobias. And just prior to clicking onto “restart”… just to further fan the flames of their racial bias and fears of cultural differences… his programming also involves his BOGUS claim that undocumented immigrants are “stealing” employment opportunities from Americans.

Hmmm… let’s update our minds, instead, with the installation of this reality based “software” (version 6.20)…

Job loss is far more about bad business practices such as the upward redistribution of wealth, outsourcing and automation… far more about bad governance, which perpetuates the abysmal status quo… e.g. the sky high cost of higher education.

In the end, our undereducated society is ill prepared / ill equipped to apply for and fill the high tech and highly specialized job openings of the 21st century.

In short… it’s far easier for reckless businessmen and feckless, elected leaders to blame illegal immigrants than to offer up meaningful societal changes. To further clarify this, let’s also install this IF/THEN scenario…

IF avaricious CEOs (playing out their real life game of Monopoly) weren’t demanding exorbitant annual salaries and obscene perks… IF they truly believed in providing pleasant working conditions and paying a living wage / offering vital benefits to each and every industrious, average Jane and Joe worker… IF affordable college education and vocational training were both readily available…

THEN a symbiotic relationship would develop between labor and management…THEN full employment would become possible… THEN poverty would be eradicated… THEN immigrants would be welcomed… THEN political, emotional, ideological and national boundary lines would first blur… next vanish… THEN a genuinely global society / community could bloom and flourish.

THEN Neil Diamond’s America would become far, Far, FAR more than exquisitely delivered, pride inspiring song lyrics. As I type… as you read the final four lines of this post… keep in mind this song’s repeated, spirited, joyous rallying chants of “TODAY!”

 

Let’s restart our minds! “TODAY!”
Let’s restart our search for benevolent leadership! “TODAY!”
Let’s restart America! “TODAY!”
Let’s restart our entire World! “TODAY!”

 

 

Four-Play (Week #2)

My blog experiment to feature a four track long musical set per week per post continues… this being Week 2 of my projected 13 week run. If you missed last week’s post, it’s archived in my “music” category.

As for today’s post, I’ve segued some music specifically themed to celebrate this Independence Day here in America.

Oh… btw… I had a rough time deciding which YouTube clip to choose from for Neil Diamond’s track… so… if you’d like to view the alternative version’s imagery, my typed in artist/song title headline, below, is also a clickable link.

Don’t expect any in depth musical analysis because I present the selections you hear, here, purely for the enjoyment of great music.

I do realize that tapping into my vast musical library can involve genres, which cannot possibly please all the people all the time. So… if today’s selections are not your “cup of tea”… do click back again… you never can tell what you’ll be listening to next week.

Blog response will act as my Arbitron / Nielsen “radio ratings”… so… if you’ve enjoyed my “show”, click that “Like” Star. Of course, comments are always welcome, too!

 

Chuck Berry / Linda Ronstadt / Keith Richards ~ Back In The USA

Chicago ~ Saturday In The Park

Simon & Garfunkel ~ America

Neil Diamond ~ America

Going to California… in my mind (pt. 1)

Just as James Taylor sings about going to “Carolina In My Mind”, I now find myself blogging in a similar state of mind. The differences beyond the fact that J.T. is famous and I am not? Well… the state I’m longing for is California AND I’ll be blogging my words, not playing musical notes, to tell you just how homesick I am for the Golden State… but wait a moment…

Maybe it is possible to set my blog to music. After all… I did train to be a DJ. Folks, we’ll get those tunes spinning… after this brief message…

Here’s the backstory to my homesickness. It’s been ten+ years since I last set foot in La La Land to attend a family reunion for two… yes… essentially… my sister and I represent our entire family census… not counting distant relatives (who I could walk right past on any city street on any given day… and never know it).

By now I can hear you ask, “Ten+ years? Why wait any longer? Why not simply book a flight, pack up your bags and board the next westward bound jet?” Long sigh…

Well… since my last trip to the Left Coast… so much has happened… and not all those events would get entered into the plus column of my Life’s Ledger. To CliffsNotes it… there’s been a reversal of my good fortune… both money-wise and otherwise.

Naturally, I am thankful for reasonably good health, the roof over my head and the bare essential furnishings, devices and supplies under that roof… but… nonetheless… another long sigh… I do miss California. And I don’t feel it odd for this lifelong Michiganian to consider the greater Los Angeles area to be my home away from home.

Now… I do have one regret re my past visits… that I had only done my en route sightseeing from my widow seat at an altitude of 38,000 feet… instead of through my car’s windshield while traveling America’s highways and byways. But… what’s done is done.

And so… I’ll just have to settle for going to California in my mind ~ To be sure, no trip would be complete without first producing a “mix tape” featuring great road songs. To that end… I recently produced two C-90 cassettes to enhance my imaginary western journey… and at this time… there’s also a third project in the works (Volume 3 to feature a more hard driving rock genre).

As for this blog… I’ll be sharing my Volume 1 soundscape with you. Whether or not a similar posting for Volume 2 and 3 will occur is highly dependent on the number of hits and comments this blog receives.

A brief heads up… since this music is all courtesy of YouTube… from time to time there are bound to be interruptions of musical service.

For starters… these videos do frequently get deleted due to artist objections / copyright issues. Lastly… there are all of those commercials, which YouTubers tack on. But… what the H… “To dance to the music we must pay the piper”… right?

BESIDES… would not these gaps also enhance the realism of the road trip? Imagine this as if your car radio has temporarily lost a drifting, low wattage AM signal… something easily remedied by switching stations… i.e., clicking onto the next link. Also consider each commercial interruption as being akin to what we hear on AM top-40 formatted stations… as we all know… they’re oft forced to overbook advertisers… simply to pay for the electricity to stay on the air.

On a more positive note… since some of these YouTube videographers have poured a vast ocean’s worth of their talent into the visual aspects of their productions… it’s easy to trip out while viewing these scenes… thus making our going to Carolina OR California in our minds all the better… OR for that matter, anywhere else our l’il ol’ hearts may desire.

Replicated below is my liner notes printout, which I cut out and inserted into my “Volume 1” cassette’s case.

Well, that about covers the preliminaries… Without any further ado… everyone pack your bags, lock up your home sweet homes, kick the tires, adjust your rear view mirrors and car seats, buckle up, turn the key in your ignitions, get ‘er in gear and KICK OUT THE JAMS!!! We’ll soon find out if the Moody Blues gents got it right… that “Thinking is the best way to travel.”

To now paraphrase a Lennon/McCartney sentiment… let’s  listen to the music playing in my head… and… hopefully… in yours, too!

 

Hit The Road Tracks – Volume 1

SIDE A: 02/29/16 ~ DOLBY B ~ 46:30

01 2:51 Canned Heat – Going Up The Country

02 2:42 Vanity Fair – Hitchin’ A Ride

03 4:27 Janis Joplin – Me & Bobby McGee

04 4:13 Judy Collins – City Of New Orleans

05 2:41 Boz Scaggs – Waiting For A Train

06 3:16 Norah Jones – The Long Way Home

07 2:26 Roger Miller – King Of The Road

08 3:00 Natalie Cole – Route 66

09 1:09 Nelson Riddle – Route 66 TV Theme

10 2:11 Ray Charles – California Here I Come

11 4:15 James Newton Howard / Kenny G. – Driving North

12 3:56 Roy Orbison – California Blue

13 3:36 Led Zeppelin – Going To California

14 2:11 James Newton Howard – San Francisco

15 2:58 Scott McKenzie – San Francisco

16 1:09 Nelson Riddle – Route 66 (Reprise)

 

SIDE B: 02/29/16 ~ DOLBY B ~ 46:30

17 5:38 Refreshments – Interstate

18 4:23 Eagles – Ol’ 55

19 3:42 Bob Seger – Wait For Me

20 2:59 Lobo – Me And You And A Dog Named Boo

21 3:46 Gordon Lightfoot – Me & Bobby McGee

22 4:06 America – A Horse With No Name

23 3:28 James Taylor – Country Road (Single Mix)

24 3:35 Simon & Garfunkel – America

25 2:44 Lovin’ Spoonful – Never Going Back

26 4:33 Arlo Guthrie – City Of New Orleans

27 4:17 Neil Diamond – America

28 3:36 Ray Charles – America The Beautiful