I was afraid of this. I really liked the first song released a few months ago off the new White Reaper album, except for one little part. I’ll explain later, but here’s “Pages” from White Reaper’s Asking for a Ride.
They grabbed me with the acoustic guitar right from the start, and their transition from acoustic to rocking hard is seamless and organic. But for me, there is a little problem with the song and a big one with the album.
After the 12th vote, it’s becoming apparent that Kevin McCarthy will eventually become Speaker of the House. It may take one more vote. It may take twenty more votes. I have no idea, but I’m pretty confident that Republicans will eventually legitimately control the US House and the Speaker’s position, just like they tried to do violently and illegitimately two years ago. In the meantime, Republicans have occupied my mind. They have put a song in my head, and it controls my thoughts every time I see them roll out McCarthy to nominate him for another vote. This one …
It’s a lesser-known REM song, and the lyrics are quite political. But it’s not the lyrics or melody that the Republicans have stuck in my head. It’s the title. After each vote, I imagine Kevin McCarthy being dragged out of the House dead and then buried. When the new round of nominations start, I envision Republicans exhuming McCarthy and propping him up in the House for yet another vote.
It’s not my favorite REM song, probably because I don’t understand all the political lyrics. But I do understand the prescient lyrics at the end of the song that may be a glimpse into life in a Republican-controlled House the next two years.
“Exhuming McCarthy (Meet me at the book burning) Exhuming McCarthy (Meet me at the book burning)”
I had heard this newish 2022 song from Mt. Joy before, and my reaction was always, “Meh.” It’s fine, but a little loose and messy for my taste. Now if it was a pie, then that would be a different story. I do like Mt. Joy music, and I have enjoyed seeing them perform live in concert. My fave Mt. Joy song, especially live, is “Astrovan.”
But this recent Mt. Joy song never really caught my attention until I watched the video at the urging of a local radio DJ. I call this post “The Office Edition.” Not because the video takes place in an office, but because the video features a former employee of The Office.
Yep, the music video stars Creed Bratton who played Creed Bratton on the US television series The Office. That’s also the same Creed Bratton who was a member of 60’s rock band the Grass Roots. I love how Mt. Joy pays homage to a former rocker by featuring him in their video. And is Creed announcing a return to his musical (Grass) roots at the end of the video?
For all you youngsters who have never heard of the Grass Roots, here’s a great video with, of all people, Jimmy Durante introducing the Grass Roots. Try and spot Creed Bratton as the Grass Roots lip-sync through my favorite hit of theirs.
I’m considering a new blog feature of plays that are shorter than one-act plays. I think they’ll be a great fit for actors with memory challenges or audiences with short attention spans. See what you think.
A Friend Named Gwen
Curtain opens as a daughter approaches her father to ask a favor.
Daughter: Dad, can I have Gwen over?
Father (sarcastically): Stefani?
Daughter: No Doubt!
Curtain closes to hearty laughs and thunderous applause. By the way, my 14-year-old daughter who is having a friend named Gwen come over didn’t understand this. Choose your actors and audience carefully when presenting “A Friend Named Gwen.”
It’s been seven straight days of blogging about my favorite songs for each day of the week. I know how you feel. I’m sick of it, too. I really thought it would be easier. Well, we’ve reached Sunday, the final day, and I have a conundrum. I know, I should see a doctor about getting it removed. But seriously, my preference for a favorite song with Sunday in the title is this one.
I love Morrissey’s plaintive crooning backed with orchestral strings. But I can’t end a week of musical posts with Morrissey’s wailing. I feel the need to go out on a higher note. So, I’ve got one last song for you. It’s got an upbeat sound paired with a very snarky lyrical message about suburban life. Here it is, direct from the hit TV series …
I was thrilled to see the sun rise and shine this morning, just as I am on every cold day. If we can’t have heat, at least give us some sun. I knew immediately what song with Saturday in the title I was going to feature. Not since Monday was I so confident in a song. I am possibly suffering from recency bias as this is a newer song, but I just love the upbeat sound and the easy, uncomplicated lyrics. This song requires 0% thought to 100% enjoy it. It’s just a joy to listen to. So, here’s some musical joy from Vance Joy on a Saturday.
As I write this post, the sun is fading and I am reminded that’s it’s almost Saturday night and reminded of another great song with Saturday in the title.
After having a dreadful time finding favorite songs with Wednesday and Thursday in the titles, I am relieved to be at Friday with a plethora of songs from which to choose. Why are there so many songs about Friday? Well, it’s the start of the weekend and time to party, so people want to sing about it. I may be humming a tune myself as I clip my fingernails later on a Friday night. Now that’s a party!
Back in my younger days, I knew it was the weekend and time to party when Chicago radio station WXRT 93.1FM played Another Drugland Weekend by local band The Hounds at 5PM on Fridays. If not for that song, I’d probably still be in the church choir today. If you missed The Hounds in the 70s, don’t fret. You can catch them later this month playing in a bowling alley just across the border in Madison, Wisconsin. Really!
Who’s up for a short road trip? I know the promotional blurb above suggests ordering a cheeseburger, but when I eat at the Bowl-A-Vard Lanes, I prefer their coq au vin or lobster thermidor to satisfy my palate. Highly recommended!
But this isn’t supposed to be a post about songs with weekend in the title. I need to have Friday on my mind as I write this post, which leads me to …
There are some popular songs about Thursday like this link to a Jess Glyne tune with over 53 million views. But I promised a deeper dive into the music. Just like on Wednesday, I’m heading back to the mid-60s for my Thursday song. As I listen to this tune now, I can imagine some new age, indie artist named Noah in 2022 singing this. Instead, it’s a new age, indie dude named Donovan from almost 6 decades ago.
It’s just a mere wisp of a song, but so pretty with a timeless vibe to it. I think people in the 1500s would have dug it, too.
I’ll end this post on a sad note with an RIP for Christine McVie of Fleetwood Mac fame. She had a voice like an angel and was a songwriting genius.
Despite having easy choices for Monday and Tuesday song faves, I find myself with no obvious choice for a preferred Wednesday tune. I do recall really admiring the political lyrics to this Macklemore creation post-2016 election.
But it’s not a song I would choose to listen to for enjoyment. I think my Wednesday song would have to be this one, if only for how beautiful it sounds.
Oh, those harmonies! Not my favorite S&G song, but it will have to suffice for my Wednesday tune. Back tomorrow with a strong song for Thursday … I hope.
I have a very busy week planned with doctor’s appointments, a trade show, dinner with a German business supplier, an off-site business meeting, my birthday, my wedding anniversary, and a Christmas party. Whew! I’m tired just typing all that. Despite adding a new Mite Be Funny placeholder post, I may not have much time to blog. So, my plan is to reveal my favorite “Days of the Week” song every day this week in short blog posts. I will try and dig a little deeper than obvious choices. For example, my fave Monday song is not the excellent “I Don’t Like Mondays” by the Boomtown Rats, but this gem from The Jam.
Isn’t that a great Jam gem jam? Start thinking of Tuesday songs. I know I am.
Winter has arrived way too early in Chicagoland. I should be in the yard blowing leaves. Instead, I am watching a flurry of snow outside my window on an unseasonably cold day. I guess it could be worse. I hear that Buffalo, NY has received 66 inches (167 cm!) of snow so far with maybe another 10 more inches to go. Here’s a posted pic from the Buffalo blizzard which is still going strong.
Our Chicago weather today reminds me more of some of the winter scenes in this music video.
I hope you all had a fun Halloween. We started celebrating the scary holiday by attending Halloweensteen, a Bruce Springsteen tribute concert performed annually by Chicago native singer/songwriter Michael McDermott. It appears to be a beloved Chicago tradition that I had never heard of before with many repeat attendees. Now I know why. The show exceeded our expectations. There’s a big difference between a bunch of local musicians forming a tribute band to mimic an artist’s music and a professional musician like McDermott assembling other professional musicians to interpret and perform another professional’s songs.
Our seats were outstanding. The last time my wife and I were at the excellent and classy Park West concert hall, we stood and swayed through a show by Brit pop-rocker Dave Edmunds. However, my wife has knee issues worse than me, so I called ahead to check and see if we could be guaranteed seats. Well, not only were we provided seats, but they were just off to the side of the stage on a padded bench in a handicappped section. We had a great view.
There was a bit of a problem as drinking progressed at the 2+ hour show. I’ll explain.
Back in the early 1990s, Chicago native Michael McDermott was being hailed as the next Dylan or Springsteen or mutant hybrid Dylsteen with a harmonica for a mouth. Even author Stephen King was quoting McDermott lyrics in his books while calling him “possibly the greatest undiscovered rock and roll talent of the last 20 years.” Was he? Take a listen to this rocker from 1993’s Gethsemane album.
Pretty strong tune that one can still hear from time-to-time on WXRT in Chicago. I’ll fight anyone who disagrees with my assessment. Alas, initial fame was not kind to him, and he ended up having to rebuild a broken life and career. He now lives in the Chicago suburbs with his family while making new music in his home studio. And he still plays live shows, one of which I will be seeing tonight! But I’m not sure he will perform “West of Eden.” Here’s why.
There was a time when I thought nothing of going out at 10PM to start my night out. These days, if it is dark out, regardless of the actual time, even during a solar eclipse in the middle of the day, I want to go to bed. Last week, I was experiencing some anxiety about heading into Chicago on a work night to go see a punk rock concert with my son. It seemed so wrong on so many levels for someone my age.
But I sucked it up and drove to Chicago during rush hour. To my surprise and relief, I made it on time! My son advised me we were going to take a bus. I had never ridden a Chicago Transit Authority bus. In fact, we were supposed to take the very bus that was half a block away and about to leave. We ran, and I felt young and fast once again as we caught the bus. My balky left knee not only held up, but it felt better than ever after the short sprint. As we entered the bus, I wondered how many altercations I would be in as we rode. I had prepared for the evening by not shaving for a few days in a futile effort to look tougher. As it turned out, we didn’t get in even one scrape, although I swear a matronly grandmother gave me the stinkeye as I snagged the last open seat before she did.
We had a casual, relaxing meal before the concert, but my anxiety rose again as we walked to the concert hall. This would be a concert by the Australian punk trio The Chats. If that name sounds familiar, you may have been one of a couple people who read my post about their latest release. I figured I would be the oldest in the concert, but it turned out there were plenty of olds at the show. Being a senior with hearing loss was probably good. The Chats were loud. Take a listen.
It was the early 80s and punk music was fading fast. Even The Clash had evolved into incorporating more diverse genres in their music as evidenced by 1981’s “This is Radio Clash” and 1982’s “Rock the Casbah.” Did they sell out? No, but they did change with the times … except not so much in concert. They were still a nasty punk band live. I recall my boss at the time telling me about attending a Clash concert in 1982 at the Aragon Ballroom, affectionately called the Aragon Brawlroom by Chicagoans. Back then, you would want to wear old shoes to any concert there as there would be puddles of beer and urine throughout the space. Anyway, my boss told me that he was close to the stage and was spat upon by The Clash. My reaction at the time was, “Lucky.”
Fast forward to the 2020s, and I swore punk was dead and buried. Oh, sure, there were supposedly some punk banks still around, but I didn’t think they really had embraced the punk sound as defined by Iggy Pop, Patti Smith, The Ramones, and early Clash. For me, punk was RIPing, until I heard The Chats.
Well, that’s certainly a confusing title. Let’s start with eagle and work right to left. No, I didn’t see a bus hit an eagle, but I was planning on seeing an Eagle. Specifically, Don Felder, who was thrown out of the Eagles, was set to play a free concert promising lots of Eagles music about a half hour away. I kinda, sorta planned to go in a very noncommittal type of way. That was, until I heard about the bus. There would be no parking at the venue. We would park off-site and take shuttle busses to and from the concert area. Ugh! The thought of cramming into a shuttle bus with potential Coviddy people was abhorent to me. So, I applied some critical thinking to the situation to understand if I really wanted to go to the concert. The critical part was easy. The thinking part? Not so much.
I started with an analysis of the Eagles. The headliners were always Glenn Frey and Don Henley. I’d go see them perform solo. Well, maybe not Glenn Frey these days. RIP. Next up is Joe Walsh, perhaps known more for his solo work and his time with the James Gang. Wait, what? Are you telling me you are unfamiliar with the James Gang? In that case, my advice is to “Walk Away.” If you click that link, you get the original album version of the song. Here’s a cool, stripped-down, liveish version where Walsh and his cohorts define power trio with their performance.
I haven’t done one of these posts in almost a year. Why? Well, these posts tend to be wildly unpopular, and not much new music has grabbed me by my ears and dry-humped my auditory cortex. I haven’t liked a lot of what I have heard until just recently. So, I have lumped some recent favorites all together in one post here for your listening enjoyment.
If you are indeed an old rocker with 1960’s musical memories, this first song may musically transport you back to that era. The following video was made with an intentionally nostalgic feel by a new UK band called The Heavy Heavy.