DRIFTING ALONG WITH THE TUMBLING TUMBLEWEED

ADRIFT IN THE WEST

I am retired which is, by definition, at least a little bit adrift. This is a good thing and the real reason we retire. After a life of deadlines and commuting, some drifting seems like a pretty good idea. So here I am. Just drifting along with the tumbling tumbleweed … with memories of those great cowboy movies of childhood.

Hi Roy! Hi Trigger! Hey, Bullet! Hope y’all are doing well. I miss you. All of you. You were the good guys. We trusted you. Where are you now, when we need you?

WHO’S SORRY NOW?

Top 10 Songs of Regret, Rich Paschall, Sunday Night Blog

OK, you have really messed up this time and you do not know how to say you are sorry.  After all, “I’m sorry” does not always work, especially if you have used it too much.  You may have thought of every clever way to apologize but it just is not working.  Even when you added in flowers and/or candy you are not getting the message across.  Our advice to you is to add music.

You have probably heard the saying that “music soothes the savage beast (or mate),” so there is no harm in giving it a try.  There are plenty of apology songs and if you are into Country and Western music, the possibilities may seem endless.  The C&W world has a lot to apologize for apparently.  There is a word of caution in our dishonorable mention, however.  Sometimes nothing works well with someone like Madonna.  She has “heard it all before.”

Here are my top choices to make up for your transgressions.  If you have been really bad, I suggest you bookmark this page so you can come back as often as necessary.  If one of these artists does not work for you, perhaps another will.  After all that you have been through, something ought to work.  And just as if I was planning it all along, that comment will help us to start our list off:
10. Hard To Say I’m Sorry, Chicago.  The Peter Cetera and David Foster composition was a 1984 hit for the band which oddly enough only had two band members playing on the record.  Foster elected to use studio musicians when recording the song.  Cetera and Foster may never had said they were sorry, but the band ultimately decided to return to horn driven rock and roll. The song made it to number 1.

9.  Purple Rain, Prince.  You may not have thought of this 1984 hit as a song of regret, but listen again closely to the verses before you start shouting your way through the chorus while someone does bad karaoke.  That karaoke person will be looking for an apology song soon, by the way.  Purple Rain won an academy award for original song for the movie of the same name.

8.  Sorry For The Stupid Things, Babyface. Kenneth Brian Edmonds, aka Babyface ( a nickname that stuck with him), had a big R&B hit with this 2003 release.  “Sometimes I do stupid things to you, When I really don’t mean it all,” he exclaims in his lyric.  His reason might not work for everyone, however. “Sometimes a man, Is gon’ be a man, It’s not an excuse, It’s just how it is.”  So, maybe you better move on to the next one.

7.  I’m Sorry, Brenda Lee.  Fifteen year old Brenda Lee was probably never sorry she recorded this number one hit in 1960.  There must be a lot to be sorry for in teenage love.  The song caught on quickly, despite the record label’s reluctance to release it.

6. Don’t Love You No More (I’m Sorry), Craig David. You might explain all night that you are sorry just to learn she “Don’t love you know more.” This 2008 song was a pop hit.

5.  Baby Come Back, Player.  “Any kinda fool could see” this was a number one hit for this band in 1977 and a great “apology” song.

4.  We Are Young, fun.  They may be trying to apologize in this 2012 hit, but they are young and might not have it quite right.  Still, they can set the world on fire (perhaps).

3.  Apologize, One Republic.  Sometimes it’s just too late to Apologize as explained by song writer Ryan Tedder along with David Archuleta in the popular performance from American Idol.

2.  Sorry, Justin Bieber.  I’m sorry to say that Justin has made another one of my lists, and I am sorry I could not use the silly “official” video.  Here Justin wants to know “Is it too late now to say sorry?”  I am sorry that he might be lip syncing this “live” performance of the catchy hit.

1. Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word, Elton John.  “It’s a sad, sad, situation and getting more and more absurd.”  That’s because “Sorry” seems to be the hardest word in the Elton John, Bernie Taupin hit from 1976.

Songs of Regret playlist  Play all ten here.

MECHANICS CONCERT HALL – BLACK & WHITE SUNDAYS

BLACK & WHITE SUNDAYS – MUSIC


I never have enough pictures of music “in action.” I’m one of those weird people who doesn’t like taking pictures during a concert. I’ll take some before the concert starts, and sometimes one or two in the middle.

I’m so worried I might disturb someone’s concert experience, I do as little as possible.  So …  mostly … it’s all about concert hall architecture.


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FINALLY WHAT?

When I saw “final” as the word of the day, I got a chill. In the past two weeks, I have lost at least three friends with more on the way. Not to mention that my email is full of warnings of: “This is the final hour! Send $3 now!”

Courtesy of Evil Squirrel, here’s the song that rocks it.

I fondly hope this isn’t the final hour for all of us, but it has recently been the final hour for more than a few friends and loved ones.  I don’t know how many more are on the special waiting line. I’m hoping that Death is like the guy in Terry Pratchett’s books. Pragmatic, friendly and most of the time, there to give you a hand to find your right place.

It is a strange feeling watching your friends grow smaller. My mother told me a long time ago that “You know you are officially old when you start to lose your friends.” I thought it was the creepiest thing she ever said. Later, I read versions of the same concept in various books. Mostly memoirs by “famous people.” Which is when I thought “There is nothing to prevent that final loss. No money, power, or fame can change it in any way.” It’s not that I thought money, power, or fame would stop the progression of life toward its ending, but I hadn’t given it much thought. That’s probably why I wonder how come the very richest people in the world are so obsessed with getting more and more money. What are they going to do with it anyway?

Many of these super rich folks already have more money than they could ever spend in a lifetime. Two or three lifetimes. So why is accumulating endless more so urgent that they will rob the poorest? I do not understand it and I hope I never will.

After all these years, I still don’t know how I feel about this ongoing march to a final hour, whether the end of the world or the end of me, but it is the way the world rolls. From opening day to final curtain, the play goes on.

Are we looking at the final days of the earth? Final years of democracy? Final end to everything in which I believed? Or just the inevitable shearing off of living people whose time is done?

If this is final, what does that mean? The final what?

A MOTHER’S WALTZ: MUSIC & PICTURES IN COLLABORATION

Mother’s Day – Sunday, May 14, 2017


FROM swo8 (Leslie Martel): Today is Mother’s Day. To commemorate this day, we have created a photographic montage of families together. It includes eight generations of my family and three of Marilyn and Garry Armstrong’s families.

The song is bittersweet because to be a mother, is indeed bittersweet. Our children bring us our greatest joys and our greatest sorrows. The first couple in the video are my great-grandparents. My great-grandmother died in childbirth leaving 3 babies and a husband.

When my great-grandfather remarried the children were sent off to their aunt to be raised. The aunt is the lady sitting by the fire-place. The first photo of children is of my grandmother and her twin sisters. My grandmother being the oldest would have missed her mother the most. In spite of her early losses she became an extraordinary person and had a huge influence on me and my thinking.

To be a mother has got to be one of the most difficult endeavours to under take in one’s life. We are given this helpless creature for a short period of time to nourish, educate and inspire before they disappear into the ether of adulthood.

As a tribute to mother’s everywhere we dedicate this song, “Mother’s Waltz” by swo8 Blues Jazz and Marilyn Armstrong. 


FROM Serendipity (Marilyn & Garry Armstrong): It has arrived. The melody of A Mother’s Waltz echoes in my mind. I feel as if it is something I remember hearing my mother sing a long time ago … but of course, it is brand new from swo8 Blues Jazz

The pictures of my family include my mother, me, much younger and my son as a toddler. Pictures of Garry’s family include his mother and father’s wedding, Garry’s dad back from WWII with little Garry on his knee. Garry’s mom as a young woman.

The pictures are family heirlooms that evoke strong and sometimes conflicted feelings.

Music by swo8 … with pictures from Leslie Martel (swo8) and Marilyn Armstrong. Memories in music for mothers everywhere.

 

YOU BELONG TO ME – GARRY ARMSTRONG

I guess it happens to all of us. You’re asleep, deep in a peaceful dream, when you hear the music. You start humming and can’t stop as the words rearrange themselves. You’re half awake as the song continues on a loop.

See the pyramids along the Nile 
Watch the sunrise on a tropic isle 
Just remember darling, all the while 
You belong to me.

Images form in my subconscious. It’s the 50’s again and Jo Stafford is singing.

See the marketplace in old Algiers 
Send me photographs and souvenirs 
Just remember, darling, when a dream appears 
You belong to me.

I’m listening to WNEW-AM,  Frank Sinatra’s favorite radio station in New York City. They play all the great standards from the 30’s, 40’s and early 50’s. It’s “The Make Believe Ballroom with Martin Bloch”.  I turn up the volume a bit as Jo Stafford continues.

I’ll be so alone without you 
Maybe you’ll be lonesome too, and blue

I see grainy black and white images of Snookie Lanson and Dorothy Collins — a folksy duet — on “Your Hits Of The Week.” It’s the show that followed Sid Caesar’s “Your Show of Shows,” 10:3o, Saturday night on WNBC-TV, channel 4 in New York.

That was one of our two “stay up late nights” during those long ago years. Snooky Lanson, Dorothy Collins, Giselle MacKenzie and Russell Arms sang the top “tin pan alley” hits of the week in countdown fashion. In-between, there would be a “Lucky Strike extra,” an unknown song being promoted by the sponsor, Lucky Strike Cigarettes. The “Hits of the Week” singers were nice, but merely pale imitations of the star vocalists of the day. Jo Stafford, Teresa Brewer, Rosemary Clooney, Tony Bennett, Guy Mitchell, Doris Day, Sinatra, and so on. When Elvis hit the scene, the “Hits” cast looked downright foolish trying to warble songs like “Hound Dog” and “Jailhouse Rock.”

But I digress. Jo Stafford is still singing in my head.

Fly the ocean in a silver plane
See the jungle when it’s wet with rain 
Just remember, till you’re home again 
Or I come to you
You belong to me!

I can’t shake the song. Jo Stafford sings louder and louder til I finally awake. I stumble out to the kitchen where our scrappy Scotties, Bonnie and Gibbs, are barking for breakfast biscuits.

I belong to them.

 

BRING BACK NATIONAL BROTHERHOOD WEEK

Way back in the dark ages, the third week in February (an otherwise dreary and neglected month) was designated National Brotherhood Week. As designated special weeks go, it was never a big hit with the general public. In the 1980s, it disappeared completely. Probably because it failed to sell greeting cards. Which is, I believe, the point of this kind of created event.

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The National Conference for Christians and Jews (NCCJ) came up with the idea of National Brotherhood Week in 1934. Given the current political climate, maybe we can agree more brotherhood year round would be an improvement. Sadly, we no longer have even that one, measly week.

February is now Black History Month which seems to mean movie channels run films featuring non-white stars, unless you watch PBS or the History Channel. There you might see a documentary or two. A man who took it seriously — back in the ever older days — as he took all politics seriously, was Tom Lehrer. He taught math at Hahvid (Harvard, if you aren’t from around here). He didn’t write many songs. Till his dying day (which hasn’t occurred — he’s alive and living in California), he thought of himself as a math teacher who wrote silly songs — not as an entertainer.

Despite this unfair self-assessment, I’ve always felt Tom got this celebration dead to rights. Ya’ think?

Check him out on YouTube. He only wrote about 50 songs and most of them are posted in some video or other. Me? I’ve got the CDs.

Remember CDs?

BONUS!


Given recent interactions with North Korea, I thought I’d add these two extra little ditties. They seem so … appropriate.