Thirty questions, thirty songs

Arlee Bird recently did a meme on his blog, Tossing It Out. It asked the participant to come up with the names of thirty songs based on thirty questions. Since I love music, and I love memes, I’m going to do it, too. Wherever possible, I’ll add a link to the song.

So here we go…

  1. A song you like with a color in the title:Red Rubber Ball” by The Cyrkle. I think it was everybody’s first record in my neighborhood.
  2. A song you like with a number in the title:Swing 42” by Django Reinhardt. I recently heard Tommy Emmanuel and Frank Vignola do a backstage version of it, and it just blew me away.
  3. A song that reminds you of summertime:In the Summertime” by Mungo Jerry. It was popular in the summer of 1970. That was the summer between grammar school and high school for me.
  4. A song that reminds you of someone you would rather forget about:The Cry of the Poor” by John Foley, SJ and the St. Louis Jesuits. Reminds me of a relationship that got out of hand.
  5. A song that needs to be played LOUD:Locomotive Breath” by Jethro Tull. It’s a great song when you’re pissed off.
  6. A song that makes you want to dance:You Make Me Feel Like Dancin’” by Leo Sayer. That was too easy.
  7. A song to drive to:Green Onions” by Booker T. and the MG’s. Remember the drag race scene in “American Graffiti”?
  8. A song about drugs or alcohol:Hey Bartender” by the Blues Brothers. Koko Taylor did a version of it, too.
  9. A song that makes you happy:Moonlight Feels Right” by Starbuck. I love the marimba solo.
  10. A song that makes you sad:The Dutchman” by the late Steve Goodman. The story of an old man and his loving and patient wife. (Recorded live with Jethro Burns.)
  11. A song you never get tired of:The Girl From Ipanema” by Astrud Gilberto and Stan Getz. Bossa nova was popular in the early Sixties, and I’ve always loved the sound.
  12. A song from your preteen years:She Loves You” by The Beatles. I was seven when it was released.
  13. One of your favorite ‘80’s songs:Never Gonna Give You Up” by Rick Astley. I love a lot of songs from the ‘80’s, but I wanted to have the pleasure of Rick-rolling you.
  14. A song you would love played at your wedding: I’ve been married since 1978, but I would have loved to have heard “Reminiscing” by The Little River Band at my wedding. It came out a few months after Mary and I tied the knot. I worked third shift when this song was popular, and I wouldn’t go to bed until I’d heard this.
  15. A song that’s a cover by another artist: Carl Perkins’ “Matchbox” by The Beatles. They did a couple of other Perkins covers (“Honey Don’t” and “Everybody’s Trying to Be My Baby”) that are definite runners-up. They did a lot of covers on their older albums, all of which are worth hearing.
  16. One of your favorite classical songs: Ravel’s “Bolero,” especially the way Joe Walsh played it with The James Gang. It’s part of “The Bomber” medley at the end of the first side of the vinyl LP, “Rides Again.” It was on the album originally, then one of Ravel’s relatives raised a copyright fuss, so they took it out. When said relative died, they added it back. (It starts at 3:29 of the video.)
  17. A song you would sing a duet with on karaoke:I’m Gonna Make You Love Me” by the Supremes and the Temptations. Another one is “To All The Girls I’ve Loved Before” by Julio Iglesias and Willie Nelson. I can do a reasonable impression of both of them, so I can do that duet all by myself.
  18. A song from the year you were born: I found out that the #1 song the week I was born (last week of March 1956) was “The Poor People of Paris” by Les Baxter. It’s one of those songs that you’ve heard a thousand times but never knew its name.
  19. A song that makes you think about life:Beyond The Blue Horizon” by Lou Christie. I had never heard it until Julie at Story A Day gave it as a prompt this past May.
  20. A song that has many meanings for you: “Mack the Knife.” Different versions by different artists mean something different to me. The version by the Dick Hyman Trio was used by a Chicago “Beautiful Music” station (WFMF, if you remember the station) that my mother and stepfather used to listen to all the time as part of their station ID. My stepfather would whistle it to the dog to let him know it was time to take a walk. (I miss all of them, my mother, stepfather, and even the dog.) Bobby Darin’s version reminds me of his tragic life. Lotte Lenya, the wife of composer Kurt Weill, did it to remind people of her husband’s work. Steve Martin’s (which I cannot find, sorry), complete with shadow puppets, was a riot.
  21. A favorite song with a person’s name in the title:Walk Away, Renee” by The Left Banke. Recorded in 1966, and just a good oldie.
  22. A song that moves you forward:The Atholl Highlanders/Johnny Cope” by the Tannahill Weavers. Nothing like some “tunes of glory” to get you moving.
  23. A song that you think everybody should listen to: “As One Unknown,” Cyprian Consiglio. Consiglio took Timothy Dudley-Smith’s anthem “He Comes To Us As One Unknown,” added a chorus and Catholic’d it up. (It’s a word now.) The lyrics are some of the most amazing poetry I’ve read.
  24. A song by a band you wish was still together:Wake Me, Shake Me” by The Blues Project. A band that I discovered in my high school days.
  25. A song by an artist no longer living:Got My Mojo Workin’” by Muddy Waters. His signature tune. He would play this at the end of every concert, and would get up off the stool he was sitting on and do a little dance during the piano and harmonica solos.
  26. A song that makes you want to fall in love:Show and Tell,” Al Wilson. Funny story about this: I was doing some work at Atlanta City Hall a few years ago, and there was a McDonald’s across the street where I would eat. They would play old soul and R&B as their background music. One day, this came on, and a guy (probably a street person) started singing this. Loud. And hearing him got me going, as well as a few other people. It’s a great song.
  27. A song that breaks your heart:Night Fever” by the Bee Gees. Actually any of the tunes from the “Saturday Night Fever” soundtrack. I had a good friend who committed suicide, and I had the dubious honor of cleaning out his apartment. Among his possessions was this soundtrack.
  28. A song by an artist with a voice that you love:Kentucky Rain” by Elvis Presley. Just a beautiful song, and Elvis’ voice was perfectly suited to it.
  29. A song that you remember from your childhood:The wheels on the bus go ‘round and round…” Always my favorite kindergarten song.
  30. A song that reminds you of yourself:Take Five” by the Dave Brubeck Quartet. As I said back when Dave Brubeck died, it really changed the way that I listened to music.

And now, it’s your turn. How would you answer these questions?


#ROW80: Last update of August

So, how’s my week been?

  • Write 1000 words a day. Done. I’m still playing with the novel idea and will at some point decide if what I’ve written so far will make it into a novel or if it’s just an elaborate back story leading into said novel. I’m also in the midst of writing a non-fiction piece. Not sure where I’m going to try to sell it yet, but I’m getting it written. It’s something that I’ve wanted to write about for some time.
  • Master Scrivener. I’m using it with both projects, as it so happens. It really does help organize my thoughts.
  • Learn to write left-handed. I haven’t been as faithful to this as I should be. Got to get back on the ball.
  • Produce an article for publication every week. Hmmm… I heard from several of you last week that this is easier said than done. While it’s a good long-term goal (and something that I definitely want to do in the future), I need ideas. As I said above, I had one really good idea which I’m developing now. Time to get more ideas.
Success Baby, my new mascot
Success Baby, my new mascot

On the job search front, I completed my first week requirements for unemployment and sent my resume to three companies, two of which are full-time work-at-home jobs, the third a position at the local university. I have faith that I’ll find a job that will allow me to work remotely (i.e. from home) and that won’t involve spending eight hours every day on the phone.

Have a good week, and thank you for your comments and words of encouragement.

Two For Tuesday: Dick “Two Ton” Baker

Something a little off the wall this week.

I grew up in Chicago, as many of you know, home of the legendary Riverview Park. Sadly, I never got there, but I do remember the ads for it. Many of the ads at the time were done by a man named Two Ton Baker, who for years had been a radio personality in the Chicago area. In fact, his show went out over the Mutual Broadcasting radio network, of which WGN radio was a big part in those early days.

You know how things get filed away in the back of your mind and stay there until one day they pop out and you just have to find out more about them? Well, I was tooling around the Internet one day, and suddenly the name “Two Ton Baker” made its way to the front of my brain, and I just had to Google him. And, as luck would have it, a wonderful person named Dick Baker (no relation) has built an entire website dedicated to two Ton and his music. And what great music it is! Two Ton was an excellent piano player and singer who recorded not only songs for adults but for children as well. I encourage you to go visit the site, which has a full biography, a discography, a huge collection of Dick’s recordings, including a few recordings of his shows for WGN.

Here are a couple of songs that are representative of Two Ton’s musical mastery. The first is a recording of “Civilization (Bongo Bongo Bongo)”, a song written by Bob Hilliard and Carl Sigman that has been recorded by many others, including Louis Prima and the Andrews Sisters and Danny Kaye.

The second is “Bert The Turtle,” also known as “Duck and Cover,” a Cold War song primarily taught to kids to teach them how to survive a nuclear explosion.

Hope you’ve enjoyed the music of Two Ton Baker; if you did, visit the website.

#ROW80: zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz……….

We never made it to the Georgia Department of Labor last week. Instead, we went first thing this morning… and when I say “first thing,” I mean we left for the place at 6:30 this morning. Mary was worried that she wouldn’t get a handicapped parking spot, and the last time we were there four years ago, it was insane. They’ve rearranged the office, though, and I guess there aren’t as many people applying for unemployment as there were four years ago. That’s not necessarily an indication that things are getting better: it’s possible that people have given up looking for work, or their unemployment benefits have run out. Georgia’s unemployment is at 8.8%, meaning that 8.8% of the population is unemployed and actively looking for work.

Some appropriate music, from BTO:

So, while I comb the job boards and brush up my resume, I continue to write, and ROW80 is a good place to keep track of what I’m doing.

  • Write 1,000 words every day: Going quite well, actually. Still hitting the minimum every day, and in some cases, such as yesterday, exceeding it. I’m playing with the idea I had a couple of months ago, and it’s become nothing short of an obsession with me. When I’m not writing, I’m thinking about what to write next, how to adjust the story, what might be a better direction for the story, etc.
  • Learning and using Scrivener: I’ve managed to get the first portion of said story into Scrivener, and had fun yesterday breaking it into scenes. After that, I added another thousand words and another using Scrivener’s text editor. I can see why people like it so much. If there’s a scene I know I need to add somewhere, I can set up a placeholder for it and write it at some other time, or if a scene is out of place I can shuffle it wherever I need it, ot take scenes out and put them back in where they make more sense. In short, I’m having fun.
  • Writing with my left hand: It’s coming along. I am doing all right with the printed capital letters and numbers. They still look like my worst efforts in first grade, and I’m having nightmares about Miss Disselhorst, my first grade teacher. I guess that means that I’ll be having nightmares about Mother Amadeus (second grade, when I learned cursive) and Mother Juanita (third grade, when I used a fountain pen for the first time). Hey! Maybe I should get one of those real thick first-grade pencils. Remember them?


  • Producing an article for publication every week: Eh, not so good. I might need to do more research on that.

So, that’s the scoop here. Hope everyoine has a good week.

Two for Tuesday: Seatrain

You might remember from a couple of weeks ago that The Blues Project had virtually disbanded after the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival. The only two original members were Andy Kulberg and Roy Blumenfeld, and Verve Records was demanding one last Blues Project album. 1968’s Planned Obsolescence featured, in addition to Kulberg and Blumenfeld, guitarist John Gregory, violinist Richard Greene, saxophonist Don Kretmar, and lyricist Jim Roberts. Having completed the contract with Verve, they renamed the band Seatrain. They released the album Sea Train in 1969. By the time the released their eponymous second album in 1970, Blumenfeld and Gregory had been replaced by Larry Atamanuik and Peter Rowan, respectively, and the band added Lloyd Baskin on keyboards. Seatrain’s one hit record, “13 Questions,” reached #49 on the Billboard Hot 100. Legendary record producer George Martin produced that album and 1971’s The Marblehead Messenger, after the band relocated from Marin County to Marblehead, Massachusetts. After that, Peter Walsh replaced Rowan, Bill Elliot replaced Lloyd Baskin, Julio Coronado replaced Atamanuik, and Richard Greene departed. This group recorded 1973’s Watch (which featured Kulberg’s “Flute Thing”) before disbanding.

Our first selection is Seatrain’s one and only hit, “13 Questions.”

The second is the title track from their first album, “Sea Train.”

Hope you’ve enjoyed the music of Seatrain, your Two For Tuesday, August 20, 2013.