Errols Weekly Music Update.

April 15, 2011

Weekly Update – 04/15/2011

Sully Erna at the Hammerstein Ballroom on Thurs. May 19. Tickets on sale today at 10:00 a.m. $48.50.

Stevie Nicks at Webster Hall on Wed. May 4. Tickets on sale tomorrow at noon. $99.50.

Lucinda Williams and Amos Lee at the Wellmont Theater on Wed. July 20 and at the Beacon Theater on Thurs. July 21. Tickets on sale today at noon. Wellmont: $40; Beacon: $39.50, $44.50, $59.50 and $75. (If you have an American Express card you can purchase “pre-sale” tickets for the Beacon up until 10:00 a.m. this morning).

Alison Krauss & Union Station at the Beacon Theater on Tues. Aug. 2. Pre-sale tickets begin this morning at 10:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. this Sun. night Apr. 17. Password is: HEAIRPLANE. General public tickets on sale Mon. Apr. 18 at 11:00 a.m. $49.50 – $69.50.

K.D. Lang and the Belle Brigade at the Beacon Theater on Mon. June 20. Pre-sale tickets begin this morning at 10:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. tonight. Password is: HESING. General public tickets on sale Mon. Apr. 18 at 9:00 a.m. $39.50 – $89.00

Levon Helm Band with Emmylou Harris at the Central Park Summerstage on Mon. July 18. Tickets on sale today at noon. $40 ($50 day of show)

Happy Together Tour featuring The Turtles, The Grass Roots, The Association and The Buckinghams at the Oakdale Theater in Wallingford, CT on Sat. July 9. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $39.25 and $61.60.

Rock Star Energy Drink Mayhem Festival featuring Megadeth, Godsmack and Disturbed at Comcast Theater in Hartford CT on Sun. July 24. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. Lawn seats: $32.25; $52.10, $62.60 and $73.75. Also appearing at the PNC Bank Arts Center on Wed. July 27. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $33, $58 and $68.50.

Ke$ha at Mohegan Sun on Fri. Aug. 12. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $53.55. Also appearing at Jones Beach on Sat. Aug. 20. Tickets on sale tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. If you have a Citi card you can purchase “pre-sale” tickets until 10:00 p.m. tonight. $34, $52 and $62.50

Journey with Foreigner and Night Ranger at Comcast Theater on Thurs. Aug. 25. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $32 and $162. (again total rip off, how is there no “in-between” price?)

The Goo Goo Dolls with Michelle Branch at PNC Bank Arts Center on Fri. July 22 and at Jones Beach on Sun. July 24. Tickets on sale this morning at 11:00 a.m. PNC: Lawn-$25; $38.50, $51.85, $62.35 and $116.30; Jones Beach: $40, $52, $62.50 and $116.65.

Hot Tuna at the Beacon Theater on Fri. Dec. 9. Tickets on sale this morning at 9:00 a.m. $63.15 and $73.35.

Further at Jones Beach on Sun. July 17. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $47.35 and $84.20.

Other items:

Wow… last week Iggy Pop is on American Idol, then this past Wednesday night the legendary Zakk Wylde comes out on the stage to play guitar alongside James Durbin who did a blistering cover of Sammy Hagar’s “Heavy Metal.” Zakk said that he came on because of his friend-Chris Jericho (of WWE fame) -who is still alive and doing well on “Dancing with The Stars.”I have to say I am kind of shocked that the punk/metal world have accepted the invites to American Idol. You know both Chris and Zakk have to be taking some big time ribbing from their friends but hey they are opening themselves up to a much bigger audience. I have no problem with it at all and wish others would follow suit-c’mon if Zakk can appear then all the walls have been taken down. By the way, James Durbin has a shot to become the winner of American Idol.

Bret Michaels will release his sixth solo album named-“Get Your Rock On”- and states that this effort will be “harder” than past albums. He cites Aerosmith and Metallica as his influences for the upcoming disc to be released on June 14.

Kiss Army, I apologize in advance for not knowing this but I just learned that Paul Stanley was born deaf in his right ear-I did not know that-Paul appeared on the TV show-“The Doctors” to discuss this topic. Go to http://www.thedoctorstv.com/main/home_page?init_type=Feature&init_id=3993 to see the clip.

Speaking of Paul, he has already stated that the new album by Kiss, which they are currently recording, “will leave Sonic Boom in the dust.” He claims we will all be hearing it soon. Adds Gene-“this is straight up rock songs, no ballads, no keyboards.” I’m in again!!

After being informed by the IRS that they owed back taxes of $1.7 million, Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne just wrote out a check this week and they are now Paid In Full. It must be nice to be able to write a check for $1,700,000.00-that’s more zeroes than I will ever write down in my check book.

The case of slain Virginia Tech student, Morgan Harrington, the student who disappeared and her remains were found months later, after attending a Metallica concert in Charlotte will be profiled this Monday Apr. 18 on the Discovery Channel’s “Disappeared” show.

The Kings of Leon have taped an episode of the VH1 show-“Story Tellers”- which they recorded in Franklin, TN near their home in Nashville (show is usually done in NY) and it will air on Fri. May 13.

Evanescence is back in the recording studio and they brought along guitarist-Troy McLawhorn-who rejoins the band after just leaving Seether. Shaun Morgan, lead singer for Seether, wasn’t too happy because he had dated Amy Lee (singer for Evanescence) from 2003 to 2005 but it ended badly. Morgan tweeted-“Little Anti-Shaun club…so good luck to Amy Lee and Troy, they deserve each other.” Ahh “As the Metal Turns.”

Did you see that Tommy Shaw has released a “blue grass” country album? “The Great Divide” was released on Mar. 22. I was shopping in the last CD store alive-“J&R Music”- in lower Manhattan and I saw this stand of “bluegrass” music and there was Tommy Shaw. I did a triple take and grabbed the CD to see if it really was him and it is. Tommy gets help from some big names and the album is getting “pleasing” reviews. I listened to the free samples on I-Tunes and it sounds pretty good. Very interesting.

TV on the Radio has released “Nine Types of Light” and the reviews have been very positive. This type of “progression” music just may grow on me, I just need to give it more time, I think.

Album Review – “Wasting Light” by The Foo Fighters released April 12, 2011

Wasting Light

Just imagine a reality show called “Being Dave Grohl” and let’s suppose that this show started back in 1995. Most of us would say-“Who is this guy and why does he have his own reality show?” Think back to when the Foo Fighters first started out, we all heard that there was this guy from Nirvana that started a new band and even though there was only three of them (and sadly one was no longer was with us) most of us probably still didn’t know who he was. I thought they were talking about the tall guy who played bass. Yeah he used to play drums for Nirvana but now he plays guitar and is the lead singer- what?? How does a drummer just become a guitarist? He sings too? Is he the Deion Sanders or Bo Jackson of rock bands? And just like the “Fonz” on the Happy Days sitcom, he grows on us with each passing album and eventually becomes the star out of nowhere. Following in the footsteps of the Fonz, he is also dedicated to his band to the very end but he knows how short life can be, so we have all seen this multi-talented musician & singer lend his hand into so many projects that I would say there probably would not be too many “repeats” on the channel that is showcasing “Being Dave Grohl.”

He takes his time putting together a monstrous effort with “Probot” highlighting his passion for heavy metal music and utilizes almost every one of his boyhood heroes to join the experience which results in complimentary reviews from the metal world (no small feat because there is much cynicism in this circle-just ask Metallica). On another “episode” he is making beautiful music with Norah Jones. (Did you see them perform this past December at the “Kennedy Honors” show with the tribute to Paul McCartney?) C’mon how many artists do you know that can go from Lemmy to Norah? Little by little, Dave Grohl becomes a rock superstar with the Foo releases of “There is Nothing Left to Lose” and “One By One.” Then out of the blue he releases a double album-‘In Your Honor”- and the second disc contain all acoustic songs? (which included the aforementioned Norah Jones) What?? How can a rock star do this? People are going to start whispering that he is “getting soft.” Did that matter to him? Of course not, he takes the Foo’s out on a national acoustic tour across the States and releases a very successful –“Skin and Bones” live CD that captures the magic. Then comes “Echoes, Silence, etc.” and if I may say this album did take a while to grow on me and if I remember correctly, some of the reviews were less than stellar.

So here it is, the build up for “Wasting Time” as Dave has now firmly established himself as a rock “Icon”-never mind superstar-and with that has to come unbelievable pressure. The viewing audience of this “make believe” reality show is now in the millions after starting out in the hundreds. Will he “jump the shark” just like the Fonz? Not a chance. Dave and the Foo Fighters went back to the basics and recorded this album in his basement. The result is a staggering production of straight up rock music that has eclipsed every other effort previously released in the form of melodic mastery. Now there has been much touting on how “heavy” this album is but this is far from “Probot” as all the early reviews would have you believing that your neighbors were going to start disliking you because of the loud ruckus that were shaking their walls. Your walls will still shake but again not in a Probot sort of way, this is an edgier Foo Fighters with a taste of Them Crooked Vultures (hey he had to get something from Josh and John) and the one thing that stands out to me is how melodic this album really is. I do agree with the synopsis that there are “arena anthems” in the waiting for their tour to support this production. This reality show is still going in full force with no end in sight and would’ve given “The Simpsons” a run for the money.

“Wasting Time” begins with a “morse code” sound effect alarming the masses that there is a “Bridge Burning” as the slick guitar hook is amplified by Taylor Hawk’s blazing drums that creates the controlled chaos vibe and Dave gets it going right off the bat by screaming to the top of his lungs- “these are my famous last WOOOORRRDDDDSSSS!!! And with that the journey begins on this melodic core of an album which is covered with hard rocking grooves. The musicianship has stepped it up with their seventh studio release but maybe that is the additional guitar we are all hearing as Pat Smears is now back in full force with the Foo’s. This song is very tight, controlled, has “heavy” parts but also utilizes their familiar “sing-ability” effect where one can no help but rock out and sing along to every word of the chorus. I bet you on the upcoming tour (I’m assuming) they will open with this roaring tune, this get the juices flowing. The second track-“Rope”- has gained much momentum for me personally as I knew it would eventually grow on me to the point where I can’t wait to listen to it. I still stand by my original assessment that Dave picked up a few pointers from his time with “Them Crooked Vultures” because the “stop & go” effects are reminiscent of “Them” and I also maintain that this song could have one of the best guitar solos out of any song that the Foo’s have recorded. This song has many layers.

“ Dear Rosemary” is one of the highlights of this album, in my opinion, a sense of calmness enters the fray-didn’t say it lost it edge-and I would point to this song as an example of how far Dave (and rest of the Foo’s) has come in his song writing ability as well as constructing an fascinating arrangement. The backing vocals sound exactly like David Bowie and I thought for a second it was him but it is not. He is telling a heart felt story and the music behind it is pure perfection, I can see this song becoming a fan favorite real soon. “White Limo” is the closest track to “Probot” and has a real “punk” edge to it. This is the blistering track that I thought was going to happen on every track with all the “pre-game” hype about how heavy this album is. My analogy to this song is Aerosmith’s “Draw The Line” because if you can tell me what Dave is screaming (with out looking for the lyrics on line) throughout most of the song, then you are good. This is going to be a hard song for Dave to put on the set list every night when the tour begins because it sounds like it is taking a toll on his vocal chords. But you know what-this is friggin’ great “metal-punk” that will get you out of your seats and look for the nearest mosh pit.

The fury comes down a bit with “Alandria” which is also destined for stardom. This song highlights Dave’s ability to sing, we all know he can scream with the best of them, but when he just does what he can do naturally, the result is tremendous. “Alandria” has that familiar Foo guitar hook as the arrangement is top notch and also highlights Taylor’s drumming skills-the man has talent. “These Days” sort of reminds me of “The Crow & The Butterfly” by Shinedown (just the beginning) and again showcases Grohl’s tremendous vocal ability. This song is similar to another Foo’s song but I can’t put my finger on it. There is a catchy hook that keeps your interest for the entire length, this is a “mature” Foo Fighter song meaning it shows their elevated progression as a band. “Easy for you to say…your heart hasn’t been broken!!…one of these days”-you’ll be singing this song for days. Track #7-“Back & Forth” utilizes his experience with “Crooked Vultures” as the musicians take it up a notch with the “herky jerky” effects that give it the flavor and of course the chorus will lead to this being on the radio very soon. It’s “back to the basics” with this song as this is the pure rock that I think the Foo fans want every time. Folks, this is sixteen years later and to be able to produce quality songs like this is no small feat. “A Matter of Time” sounds like rock and roll that one would make in the garage (which it was!!) where there are bikes lying on the driveway with a stray basketball as Dave is sticking half-way out of the garage but still inside. Meanwhile, Taylor is way in the back up against the wall where the car’s nose usually touches and the other musicians are crammed but loving it and the music that is streaming out of them is pure rock and roll. The song has a driving beat with an addictive chorus but the guitar work leads the charge, nice work!!!

The album goes out on a high note with the last three songs as each one progressively gets better and that is usually not the case with many other albums. “Miss the Misery” has a big guitar sound reminiscent of the classic rock bands in the 1970’s filled with the contemporary touch that will make you state that this is what rock has been missing lately. Recently, there was an article floating around that rock was dying; well folks here is the lifeline. “I Should Have Known” is the track where Dave’s old buddy-Kris Novoselic-(the “bassist from Nirvana) lends a hand. It starts off a bit slow (actually the beginning sounds a lot like “The Black Keys”) but slowly builds into a passionate “epic like” production where I can picture an orchestra leader feverishly waving his baton to each section of musicians as even string instruments pitch in to create this atmosphere where it seems like everyone is doing their own thing but it all comes together in a majestic way. This would have been the best song on the album, in my opinion, if not for the last track-“Walk.” I think they took the approach that Sabbath did on “Technical Ecstasy” where the last track leaves you thirsting for more and just like a Fonzie season ending cliff-hanger (jumping over the cars with his motorcycle), one can not wait for the next chapter. “Walk” is destined for stardom and could ultimately end up as their best, if not one of their greatest songs ever recorded-again my opinion. Funny thing is when I came home this past Tuesday, I spoke to my oldest son about this album and informed him that “Walk” was the best song on the album and he quickly told me that this song has been the most popular (“downloaded”) song on I-Tunes. Just when you think the song is over it comes back-“learning to walk again…I believe I’ve waited long enough….learning to talk again…” This is passion folks that can’t be taught-again this comes from within-I feel it, do you?

“Wasting Light” will most likely end up being named as one of their best albums when all is said and done. There is not one “filler” song on the entire disc and I immediately liked it after the first listen (unlike “Echoes” which had to grow on me). Dave and the boys went back to the basics by recording in the basement (where it all starts, right?) and even though these guys are now “veterans” they play with the enthusiasm of a 17-year old. My uncle asks me all the time when I am going to grow up and stop listening to groups that appeal to the 17-year olds and albums like this make me never want to grow up-if I haven’t done it by now, there is a pretty good chance it is not happening any time soon. This band has the skills of those ball players (think Jeter and A-Rod) that never seem to get old. I wish I could have produced that reality show -“Being Dave Grohl”-because after this piece of work, the show has been picked up for another three years (or however long it takes them to make another album).

Workout Songs

Don't Quit Music: Bootcamp Burn (Exercise, Fitness, Workout, Aerobics, Running, Walking, Weight Lifting, Cardio, Weight Loss, Abs)

I received a request this week from one of my brother’s friends, Brandon, who was looking for some good workout songs and knew that I have put some CD’s together over the years for both “Spin” and “Boot Camp” classes during my time at MBIA. Creating playlists for boot camp classes are much harder in my opinion than Spin classes because, in my opinion, with “boot” every song needs to be able to move you, psyche you up and there really can’t be any “lull” in the action because it will deflate a class in a matter of seconds. I had so many “boot” and “spin” playlists but when my old computer died-every list went with it. I did not lose the songs but with I-Tunes you have to create “playlists” once you purchase a new computer or I-pod. Long story short, there was one playlist that was saved because I had put it on a blank CD and I named it “Audio” CD so I-Tunes picked it up. Now this is my absolute favorite “boot” camp playlist (and my good friend Taxter also saved it for me as well as some others for which I will have to pull out and download). This set list was utilized so many times at MBIA for Dave’s 6:00 a.m. Tues. & Thurs. classes that I think he, Taxter, CIC, Doreen and Nick could probably name all the songs before I list them. So here is to the former gym rats at MBIA, I salute you and Dave-“How do you like your whiskey???!!!”

Rough Housing.38 Special – I used to scour my CD collection for hours upon hours to always try and come up with the best songs as well as creating a nice flow. I also did not like to repeat songs (meaning if they appeared on one list, then don’t put it on the next). Now with this .38 Special song-it is probably not one of their more well known songs but after careful consideration I felt this song should kick off the class because it served two purposes-good warm-up song with enough of a consistent beat to get the juices flowing. I think this will get you moving.

Lawless and LuLuBuckcherry – This is really probably the only song that I like from this band. It is straight up rock and roll with such a great groove that you can’t help but move, dance or “air-guitar” like I used to do during the classes. Of course you can head-bang while you workout to this track. I can picture Taxter in the beginning trying to get used to all the loud guitars from the songs I chose but after a while I changed her opinion of “modern” rock and she has this song now in her music library.

Smokin’Boston – This has to be one of Taxter’s favorites as well-I can picture her head bopping up and down to the consistent head-banging groove. Is there a better song to get you psyched up? I think not. Even CIC and Doreen, who didn’t know who these bands, were rocking out because this song keeps you moving, even during the long organ solo. I would say that this would have to crack out Top Ten MBIA boot camp songs. Nick? Dave? Agree?

Doll Dagga Buzz BuzzMarilyn Manson – I wish I had a video for when we first played this song for that particular class. Not only were the people in the “boot” room scared but all the folks enjoying their morning workout with the weights or on treadmills were scratching their heads on this “crazy” music coming out of the room. But do you want to move or what? Do you need a song that will pulverize you? I think this also cracks the MBIA top ten boot camp class songs. Sometimes you need something like this-think Tequila without applying the lemon or a “chaser.” You’ll make a face but you’ll eventually like it.

Bad ReputationHalf Cocked – Taken from the soundtrack of the first “Shrek” movie-this is a remake of when Joan Jett was in “The Runaways.” This is a powerful song and I will be the first to admit that this could become annoying if you don’t like consistent earsplitting guitars and loud screaming. But if you need it this song is asking you to “come get some.”

Son of DetroitKid Rock – Ok without a doubt this is the number one MBIA boot camp song of all-time. From the first time I threw this song on to a setlist, Taxter became polarized and she loves this song so much that as soon as I hear it I think back to the expressions on her face as we were working our way up to 6:00 minutes per station, with no breaks!!! Dave and I would toss the football, basketball or heavy ball as we all “air-pianoed” and rocked out to this track like no other. Then I would scream out Dave-“How do you like your whiskey”- and he would shout back- “I like my whiskey straight up…daiquiris make me ill…” Oh man those were the greatest days; I never had so much fun in an exercise class. Again gym rats, I salute you!!! \m/ \m/

FaintLinkin’ Park – Now this song took a long time to grow on Taxter and the other ladies in the class. I can picture them holding their ears and screaming for Dave to skip over this track. This is not for the “faint” of heart-you may get so mad that your workout will increase in intensity as you probably will want this song to end quickly. But if you like the heavy metal/rap genre then you will have a blast with this song like I do. I feel like dropping now and doing those annoying push-ups. (That was my least favorite station as they all knew).

A Little Less ConversationElvis Presley – Whew I had to take the class down because I didn’t want people going around wanting to punch anyone in their way after “Faint.” Ahh the atmosphere is much less tense but still kicking it. I love this remix, it is pure fun. I will forever associate this song to the episode on “Everybody Loves Raymond” where Robert and Amy danced to this as their first wedding dance together as husband and wife. Great workout song.

House Is A RockinStevie Ray Vaughn – Pure rock and roll is the best work out music in my opinion and look no further than this SRV classic. Piano solos are the best when the songs are jamming and of course you will be air-guitaring in no time as you let Stevie take you away. Man this song is so easy to go wild and crazy to, there is no way you will not be moving when you hear this. Awesome.

Kids Wanna RockBryan Adams – By the time this song used to come on we were more than half way through our boot camp class and you could become real winded. But once this song came on, it was like a jolt of lightning that caused you to get back on that intense effort that you were putting in during the first few songs. This is a great song to jump rope to or “shadow box.” “Around the world or around the block…every where I go…the KIDS WANNA ROCK!!!” \m/ \m/

Monkey WrenchFoo Fighters – Ok it’s back to the “anger” part of the workout-this is a GREAT song to workout to. By this time, I literally was a human sweat ball (everyone stayed at least one station away from me in both directions around the room) but I didn’t care because I was possessed once this song came on. Dave used to get a kick when I would scream along with Mr. Grohl as he vented his rage-“One last thing before I quit I never wanted any more that I could fit into my head I still remember every single word you said and all the s**t that somehow came along with it still there’s one thing that comforts me since I was always caged and now I’m FREEEEEEEEE!!!!” Whew this is the best.

SheGreen Day – This is the best (I know I say that about every song, right?!). I was totally out of my mind when this would come on. This could get me going like no other song (until the next one). My only complaint is that it’s too short. Green Day packs a wallop of a punch-if this doesn’t get the juices flowing, then just go back to the couch. “SCREAM AT ME UNTIL MY EARS BLEED!!!!”

Geek Stink BreathGreen Day – Since their songs are so short I put two in a row. There is no other time I had done this with any workout CD but these guys are so good I had to put it them back to back. And you can ask the rest of the class, as soon as this song ended I ran over to the CD player and put the songs back two spaces to start “She” and “Geek Stink Breath” all over again. \m/ \m/

Young LustAerosmith – Love the way Tyler screams in this song (sensing a theme?) and Joey Kramer’s drumming send me over the top. How freakin’ great is this song? Even when you want to give up and go back to the couch, this song will not let you. Again it is like a jolt to your system. “always getting stronger…never getting weaker…” –you see even the lyrics are tied to your work-out. “sneaking out the back way…sneaking down the alley way!!!” Simply the best!!!

Top Ten

Best of Simon & Garfunkel

This week’s I-pod shuffle landed on “A Hazy Shade of Winter” by Simon & Garfunkel and I immediately thought of making them this week’s “top ten” theme. You’d be hard pressed to find a superior recording duo in the history of music- in a short six year span they created some of the most exceptional songs that few others have come close to matching. (Think the Beatles or Jimi Hendrix). Now of course, I was not even born into to this world yet when their career began and was only five years old when they parted ways in 1970 after the release of one of the greatest albums ever recorded-“Like A Bridge Over Troubled Water” so I do not know all there is to know about them. But I do know that there would be a void in my life if they did not record these wonderful songs that I have come to love and cherish.

Can you imagine a world without Simon & Garfunkel? C’mon you know you can’t-there has to be at least one song that you know and love (I would venture to say there should be more than one). I would profess that the song-“Mrs. Robinson”- has to be considered one of the most popular songs in the history of music and that the lyrics-“where have you gone Joe DiMaggio…our nation turns its lonely eyes to you”- are probably the most recognized words in any song ever written. Think about what our nation was going through during the turbulent times of the late 1960’s and you can get a sense of the “desperation” meant in those lyrics. I know they wrote many other songs with deeper meanings but for some reason this one line gets me thinking all the time-when times are tough we usually look for that something special that brings us back to a better time. I believe their music was therapeutic for a large portion of the population back in those days and served as a priceless outlet as their music has to make you feel good all over.

Even their “sad” songs quench your soul with a feeling of “comfort” while filling your heart with the love that it needs to move forward. For instance, after my mother passed away on May 20, 2004, the first song I heard on May 21, 2004 was their “The Sound of Silence” and even though the opening lyrics of –“hello darkness my old friend…I’ve come to talk with you again…” brought more tears to my eyes, I couldn’t turn the song off. Even though it was painful, it made me go back and think of all the great times I had with my mother. Now I am not going to tell you I was smiling by the end of the song but I would say that maybe it was the beginning of my healing process and every time since I have heard this beautiful track, I think of my mother.

Simon & Garfunkel songs make you reflect, don’t they? Their lyrics have a way of making you stand still while your mind races to the things they have written about-think about that for a second? How many other artists do that to you? (Dylan quickly comes to mind). Even the “simplest” of their songs are priceless and timeless; they fit into every generation’s heart & soul, in my opinion. Their harmonizing vocals are astonishing and even though many of their songs are “short” in terms of time, they have a “lasting” effect in ways that again, few others have come close to bringing to the table.

So here it is, I am on an island and have been informed that I can only have ten songs by the terrific duo of Simon & Garfunkel. “These Are Them:”

10.     Homeward Bound – They had me on the opening lyrics-“I’m sittin’ in the railway station…got a ticket for my destination”- and I was forever hooked. My assumption is that song took on so many meanings for some many different people during the late 1960’s as they all tried to get “homeward bound.” We had men & women involved in civil unrest as well as the Vietnam War and again my assumption this song had to hit much of the general population right in the heart. Who knows maybe I am wrong but that is what the song means to me. (I know the lyrics tell a different story but I’m speaking to the meaning). It’s has a melancholy melody but picks up the pace at certain points and is just an all around wonderful arrangement that has to make you sing along.

9.     Old Friends/Bookends Theme – I love the way “Voices of Old People” precedes the beautiful “Old Friends” song on the album “Bookends”-to me, it makes perfect sense. The exquisite melody of this song gets me all the time, the arrangement is pure perfection and as you listen to the lyrics you can visualize what is happening as one drifts off into a world where you remember your “old friends” who may or may not still be here today. The string section accentuates the dramatic flair as it seems the friendship, which has become solidified to the point where you can’t wait to spend that time on the park bench, is now in peril as the dramatic playing seems to indicate something has gone wrong. But then the “bookends” theme takes it back down as you settle in and realize that you will always carry that old friend in your heart.

8.     The Dangling Conversation – I think this is one of the best vocal performances by Paul and when Art joins him at certain points in the song, they have created one of the greatest harmonies on any song ever recorded. Talk about being lifted off the ground and brought to another stratosphere?I feel like an eagle that is flying high above the world with nothing but the clear blue skies and sun on a beautiful spring day. This is one of the most eloquent songs’ that has ever been recorded-stupendous!!!

7.     The Only Living Boy in New York – Wow what a song. Like I have mentioned, these two gentlemen craft songs that force one to reflect on life-either by their words or through the composition of the music. I love the acoustic guitar playing behind Paul’s vocals-“…half of the time we’re gone but we don’t know where, we don’t know where…” For those of you who don’t know, the “ahhh” background vocals are being utilized by the Honda Corporation in current commercials on television now to sell their vehicles. I guess I am OK with it (after the Mighty Led Zeppelin “sold out” to Cadillac, what else is there?) and don’t begrudge them because I feel it is another outlet for the younger generation to recognize greatness-that’s if there is someone there to let them know that the background music is by Simon & Garfunkel-consider this a public service. This song has to make you drift off into another world, no? Art’s background vocals are mesmerizing and what else can be said about Paul’s crystal clear voice on this track? Picturesque song.

6.     Mrs. Robinson – I was almost going to leave this song off the list because I have heard it so many million times here on earth that I figured I could hum the words while I am stuck on that island. But then I thought to myself, are you kidding? How can I leave this off my list-I think I could be locked up and thrown in jail if I didn’t include it. Think of how popular this song is-starting of course with “The Graduate” and as I mentioned above the lyrics about Joe DiMaggio? If you listen very carefully you can hear the bass lines doing a wonderful job of following along to Paul’s vocals. I don’t think I have ever encountered anyone that does not like this song because it brings you back-back to a time where things were settled, calm and feels like home. We all have wonderful memories and in my opinion this song nudges one to recall those events, so you have to drift off. I think of my childhood while growing up on 46th street in Brooklyn playing “triangle” when there was alternate side parking in effect two days a week; engaging in a game of “stoop” ball (and if the ball was stuck up on the top step, you had to hop on one foot to get it); or gathering teams to play manhunt (but we called it-“Caw-Caw-Caleave-ee-ohh” in Brooklyn) or “kick the can.” Rooting for the Mets with the “Hammer” at first base, Seaver, Matlack, and Koosman pitching; Cleon in left and Rusty & Kranepool… Ahh so many memories-this is what this song does for me, what about you?

5.     El Condor Pasa (If I Could) –I was recently in a restaurant with my bride and this song came on and you know me-I was trying to get everyone to stop talking- no not just because I wanted to hear it but I wanted the entire audience to listen to this wonderful song. Of course you know that wasn’t happening-some people just don’t get it. Granted it is a very low key song and even the cooks would have had to stop making food to hear it-but that is not the point. You also know I was able to follow along and I sang it to my wife. “I’d rather be a hammer than a nail…yes I would…if I only could…I surely would…”- I absolutely love the “flute” like instrument that accentuates this breathtaking tune. The one thing I don’t like about this song is that it is over before you know it-I could see a “jam” band turn this into a 15-minute excursion-but only if Paul and Art were able to able more lyrical verses. “I’d rather feel the earth beneath my feet…” I can picture Art and Paul strolling along a long country road with the musicians playing this song with hundreds of kids following them as they joyfully sing along.

4.     The Boxer – This is another song that hits me right in the heart-not only the lyrics but again the music. Is it melancholy? Yes. Is it kind of sad? Yes. But you have to admit that it is astonishing, no? I don’t know how these two gentlemen came up with these songs but I am certainly grateful for supplying us with life-long songs that we can forever treasure and pass on down to future generations. There is certain “calmness” to their songs that make you feel that everything is going to be alright. The “big production” towards the end of the song gives it that grandiose feel to it-almost like you are watching a gripping ending to a movie and then it calmly ends-which makes me think of an ocean that has finally relaxed and the water coolly works its way up the beach sand and then quietly goes back. This is a masterpiece, in my opinion.

3.     The Sound of Silence – As mentioned above this song will forever resonate with me because of my mother, I loved it before my mother passed away but it has risen to another plateau since 2004. My whole body becomes still and I can’t move when I hear it, stops me right in my tracks and I have to listen with my heart and reminisce about the times I spent with my mother-so many things go across my mind. She did everything for my brothers and I while never complaining. I can remember her taking us shopping all along 5th avenue (in Brooklyn) when we were kids and she always took us to the “five and dime” store (or “Woolworth’s”) for an ice cream float. Sitting on the circular red stools next to my mom is something I will never forget. Mom, this “float” is for you. Fantastic song.

2.     7 O’Clock News/Silent Night – Whew…this is another “tough” song to listen to without shedding a tear, at least for me. There is something so touching about this song, it’s an absolute Masterpiece in my opinion, and even though it seems like a very “simple” arrangement-Simon & Garfunkel singing the same verse over and over, while an actual news cast, voiced by Charlie O’Donnell, a radio host, gradually becomes the focal point as he informs the world of the days’ events which occurred on Aug. 6, 1966-but sometimes the simplest of structures can become the most striking example of pure genius. One can get a sense of the gripping events that had a stranglehold on the United States during that time and even though the “despair” of what was occurring must have been overwhelming, there is Art & Paul soothing our worries with their beautiful harmony and the magnificent piano playing by Mr. Garfunkel. This song is so nostalgic and reminds me of days gone by. Again, this simple arrangement is brilliant.

1.     Bridge Over Troubled Water – Wow… this song is a national landmark that few other songs have ever matched in notoriety, stature and importance. In my opinion, it is the most definitive song about love, commitment and loyalty. Think of your loved ones, wouldn’t you “lay me down” and become their bridge if they were in troubled waters? It is real ironic that Simon wrote this but it is sung by Art and went on to be their biggest song ever, in my opinion. But you have to feel good for Mr. Garfunkel because he “seemed” to take a back seat to Paul (just like Mr. Oates, right?) and he did such a masterful job that no other version of this song can even come close to the original. He put all of his blood, sweat and tears into this one. Sorry I didn’t mean to diverge away from the song and I meant no disrespect to either Paul or Art- this song has to rank up there in the top ten songs of all-time. It is filled with so much raw emotion and its meaning is beyond powerful-could be the greatest arrangement of any song ever recorded.

Trivia Questions

Answers from last week:

1.     R.E.M.

2.     Mickey Thomas

3.     Steve Clarke

4.     The Village People

This week’s trivia (Random)-

1.     I was known as the man in black. My career started in the 1950’s and I was known as a rebel. I had my own TV show for a while in the 1970’s and one of my first guests was my good friend Bob Dylan. My career was resurrected by Rick Rubin right before I passed away and I played my guitar till the day I died. Who am I?

2.     I am the guy who loves to shock the world every chance I get with either my “evil” lyrics or my appearance. I have been banned in certain States around the U.S. at certain parts in my career. Who am I?

3.     Our band was formed in the late 1980’s and it contained the lead singer of the Baby’s and the lead guitarist from Journey. What was our name?

4.     I was the lead singer and probably the “leader” of a very popular band in the 1970’s. I absolutely loved the music of the Beatles. I have produced albums with Tom Petty and was part of a “super” group of five guys but after one of our guys passed away, we only did one more album together. Who am I?

Name That Tune

Answers from last week:

1.     Just the Way You Are – Billy Joel

2.     Something – George Harrison (thanks Chris!)

3.     Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen

4.     Should I Stay Or Go – The Clash (Living Colour does a blistering cover)

Can you guess the title from the following lyrics from part of the song?

1.     “…ever since I met cha…seems I can’t forget cha…the thought of you keeps running through…the back of my mind…”

2.     “…with a friend to call my own…I’ll never be alone…and you my friend will see… you’ve got a friend in me…”

3.     “…you take an average guy…he can’t identify…and there’s a short supply…of the fine, fine stuff…let me get on…”

4.     “…sometimes I sleep…sometimes it’s not for days…the people I meet…always go their separate ways…”

Back on this Day

Sadly back on this day in 2001, Joey Ramone, passed away from lymphoma at the young age of 49. He was listening to the U2 song-“In a Little While” when he passed.

Sadly back on this day in 2005, John Fred (“Judy in Disguise”) passed away after being hospitalized with kidney problems.

Back on this day in 1966, Buffalo Springfield made their concert debut in the U.S. by performing in San Bernadino, CA, opening for the Byrds..

Back on this day in 1971, Rolling Stone magazine reported that the Illinois Crime Commission had issued a list of songs that were “drug oriented” and among them were “Yellow Submarine” by the Beatles; “Whiter Shade of Pale” by Procol Harem and “White Rabbit” by Jefferson Airplane.

Back on this day in 1971, The Beatles received their only Oscar award for the “Best Original Score” for “Let It Be.”

Back on this day in 1982, Billy Joel was hospitalized for a month after the motorcycle he was driving was broadsided by a car on Long Island.

Back on this day in 1996, a portion of Jerry Garcia’s ashes were scattered in San Francisco CA near the Golden Gate bridge. Eleven days earlier another portion of his ashes were scattered in the Ganges River in India.

Back on this day in 2003, Fleetwood Mac released “Say You Will” which featured for the first time in 16 years a Fleetwood Mac album with Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham on it.

If it is your birthday today, you share the same birth date with Dave Edmunds and Roy Clark.

Advertisements

1 Comment »

  1. Great summary and memories of Boot Camp-those were great times and yes ‘Smokin’ is Top 10!

    Comment by Nick — April 15, 2011 @ 7:19 am


RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: