I’m Boarding Up the Joint Until September 2, 2022

Hello everyone. As much as I hate to… I’ll be taking a small break from posting after today because of work, home projects, and just to recharge my batteries. I started this blog on September 18, 2017. I’ve been posting regularly since May 2018. WordPress has just told me that I have posted for 1,112 straight days going back to July of 2019…that needs to be broken now.

I had a few more posts scheduled to go, but I will save them for when I return. I genuinely love posting about pop culture and commenting with every one of you…if you agree with me or not. The last time I took time off I was in the hospital for a kidney stone…this time it’s my choice. Hope to see you all when I get back! I figure a good date to return would be Friday, September 2, 2022. Yep…just grabbed that out of the air! I’ll have some good posts lined up. 

I want to say a huge THANK YOU for all the comments in the past and those yet to come…that is what I like about WordPress most of all…the interaction with all of you. That makes it worth it all. 

Thank you to all my regular readers and the newer ones. I wish all of you a wonderful August! See ya in September!

I will be back soon Message Stock Photo by ©stanciuc1 67298191

Kinks – Set Me Free

The Beatles, Who, and Stones are the most famous bands that came out of the British invasion. The Kinks should have been one of them but an American ban on touring in a big chunk of the sixties hurt their career. Instead of sounding like their American influences like the Beatles and Stones…Ray Davies didn’t hide his roots at all.

They came back strong in the seventies and eighties though. On May 17, 1983, I was able to see The Kinks in concert. Ray Davies was 39 years old and was all over the stage like a 20-year-old. That remains one of the best concerts I ever attended. It’s up there with The Who, McCartney, and Stones…in fact maybe a little better because they were still in their prime and releasing new material.

Set Me Free peaked at #23 in the Billboard 100, #2 in Canada, and #9 in the UK in 1965. Set Me Free was heard in the Ken Loach-directed Up the Junction, this marked the first appearance of a Kinks song on a film or TV soundtrack.

When you listen to their discography it’s amazing the ground they covered. There are tons of different musical styles, which the group has explored throughout their career. Starting with the pre-punk rock of You Really Got Me, acoustic anthems like Victoria, the beauty of Waterloo Sunset, the concept albums, music hall influences, hard rock, and even some new wave in the 80s.

The band seemed to be always on the brink of breaking up but they stayed together until 1996. In 2021 it was reported that the Kinks were at work in the studio once again.

Ray Davies: “the trouble is, the two remaining members — my brother Dave and Mick [Avory, the original drummer] — never got along very well. But I’ve made that work in the studio and it’s fired me up to make them play harder, and with fire.”

Dave Davies: “This has really been going on for a couple of years, we keep going backwards and listening to a lot of old stuff. Some of that is very good, and some of it needs a bit of work.”

Set Me Free

Set me free, little girl,
All you gotta do is set me free, little girl,
You know you can do it if you try,
All you gotta do is set me free, free,
Free.

Set me free, little girl,
All you gotta do is set me free, little girl,
You know you can do it if you try,
All you gotta do is set me free, free,
Free, free.

I don’t want no one,
If I can’t have you to myself,
I don’t need nobody else,
So if I can’t have you to myself,

Set me free,
Set me free.

Oh set me free, little girl,
All you gotta do is set me free, little girl,
You know you can do it if you try,
All you gotta do is set me free, free,
Free, free.

I don’t want no one,
If I can’t have you to myself,
I don’t need nobody else,
So if I can’t have you to myself,

Set me free,
Set me free.

Oh set me free, little girl,
All you gotta do is set me free, little girl,
You know you can do it if you try,
All you gotta do is set me free, free,
Free.

Set me free,
Oh, set me free

Beatles – She’s Leaving Home

I got this album when I was 10 years old and they even included the cutouts 10 years after it was released.

This song was on the Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band album. The album was probably the most influential rock album ever released. Other bands followed with psychedelic albums with varying results. The Zombie’s Odessey and Oracle was a great one but the Stones’ Their Satanic Majesties Request disappointed many fans. Sgt Pepper worked well but The Beatles would completely move on after their next EP – Album Magical Mystery Tour.

Not only were the songs different but the sound was different than their last albums. The two that stood out were Ringo’s drums and his use of toms on songs like A Day In The Life. Paul’s bass playing was brilliant. His bass on the album and especially Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds stands up to anything today…the sound of the bass also was crystal clear.

She’s Leaving Home took me a while to appreciate but when I got older I was blown away. This song was inspired by a real runaway named Melonie Coe. She had been on the television show, Ready, Steady Go, and won a prize for a miming and dancing contest. The Beatles were performing on the program and it was Paul who presented her with her prize.

Fast forward a couple of years and Melanie ran away from home in the afternoon leaving a note for her mother to find when she returned.  Melanie was running away with her boyfriend because she was in the early stages of pregnancy. She ended up breaking up with the guy.

The story of her disappearance was reported in the British newspaper, The Daily Mirror, and when Paul McCartney read it, he began to write the song She’s Leaving Home. The headline read: A-Level Girl Dumps Car and Vanishes.

It’s doubtful if Paul remembered Melanie from their brief encounter.

In the article, her father said “I cannot imagine why she should run away, she has everything here … even her fur coat.” And Lennon and McCartney turned that into “We gave her everything money could buy.”
Melanie moved to Los Angeles, having decided to become an actress. She didn’t make it and her only claim to fame was that she dated Burt Ward…a.k.a Robin in the television series Batman. She moved back to England and then on to Southern Spain where she became a real estate agent.

Melanie Coe 3

Paul was excited about this song and rang George Martin up to do it NOW. George couldn’t record when Paul wanted to so Paul recruited  Mike Leander…another producer. That didn’t sit well with Martin and he was hurt but there wasn’t much he could do.

George Martin: “It was the song that got away, It was the song I wanted to do…It was just one of those silly things. He was so damned impatient and I was up to my eyes with other work and I just couldn’t cope. But Paul realizes now, though he was surprised that I was upset.”

Melanie Coe: “The amazing thing about the song was how much it got right about my life, It quoted the parents as saying ‘we gave her everything money could buy’ which was true in my case. I had two diamond rings, a mink coat, hand-made clothes in silk and cashmere and even my own car. Then there was the line ‘after living alone for so many years,’ which really struck home to me because I was an only child and I always felt alone…I heard the song when it came out and thought it was about someone like me but never dreamed it was actually about me…I must have been in my twenties when my mother said she’d seen Paul on television and he’d said that the song was based on a story in a newspaper. That’s when I started telling my friends it was about me.”

Melanie Coe: “I first heard the song when it came out and I didn’t realize it was about me, but I remember thinking it could have been about me….I found the song to be extremely sad. It obviously struck a chord somewhere. It wasn’t until later, when I was in my twenties, that my mother said, ‘You know, that song was about you!’ She had seen an interview with Paul [McCartney] on television and he said he’d based the song on this newspaper article. She put two and two together.”

Paul McCartney: “We’d seen a story in the newspaper about a young girl who had left home and not been found. There were a lot of those at the time, That was enough to give us a story line. So I started to get the lyrics: she slips out and leaves a note and then the parents wake up and then…It was rather poignant. I like it as a song, and when I showed it to John, he added the Greek chorus, long sustained notes, and one of the nice things about the structure of the song is that it stays on those chords endlessly. Before that period in our songwriting we would have changed chords but it stays on the C chord. It really holds you. It’s a really nice little trick and I think it worked very well.”

“Greek chorus” entails by adding: “While I was showing that to John, he was doing the Greek chorus, the parents’ view: ‘We gave her most of our lives, we gave her everything money could buy.’ I think that may have been in the runaway story, it might have been a quote from the parents.”

John Lennon: “Paul had the basic theme for this song, but all those lines like ‘We sacrificed most of our life…we gave her everything money could buy,’ those were the things Mimi used to say to me. It was easy to write.”

She’s Leaving Home

Wednesday morning at five o’clock as the day begins
Silently closing her bedroom door
Leaving the note that she hoped would say more
She goes downstairs to the kitchen clutching her handkerchief
Quietly turning the backdoor key
Stepping outside she is free

She (We gave her most of our lives)
Is leaving (Sacrificed most of our lives)
Home (We gave her everything money could buy)
She’s leaving home after living alone
For so many years (Bye bye)

Father snores as his wife gets into her dressing gown
Picks up the letter that’s lying there
Standing alone at the top of the stairs
She breaks down and cries to her husband “Daddy our baby’s gone
Why would she treat us so thoughtlessly?
How could she do this to me?”

She (We never thought of ourselves)
Is leaving (Never a thought for ourselves)
Home (We struggled hard all our lives to get by)
She’s leaving home after living alone
For so many years (Bye bye)

Friday morning at nine o’clock she is far away
Waiting to keep the appointment she made
Meeting a man from the motor trade

She (What did we do that was wrong)
Is having (We didn’t know it was wrong)
Fun (Fun is the one thing that money can’t buy)
Something inside that was always denied
For so many years (Bye bye)

She’s leaving home
Bye bye

Humble Pie – Natural Born Bugie

This band contained the singer who I thought was one of the best if not best of his generation…Steve Mariott.  Mariott doesn’t sing this song but it’s a nice rock song. Bass player Greg Ridley took the lead vocals on this one. They had a nice guitar lineup going on… Steve Marriott and Peter Frampton.

Humble Pie had some great songs but nothing really caught on with the masses. That’s not always a bad thing but they never had a big song identifiable to them as some other bands do. They did have four top twenty albums but were more known as a live band…check out Performance Rockin’ the Fillmore that put them over the hump.

Natural Born Bugie was their debut single, which did well on the UK singles charts in the summer of 1969 becoming a #4 hit and was quickly followed by the album As Safe As Yesterday Is, which didn’t include the song.

After their debut hit, Humble Pie never became a singles act. None of their other British singles reached the charts. Hitting big in America, they were an album band that concentrated on the live experience. In the US their most successful single was “Hot ‘n’ Nasty,” which peaked at #52 on the Billboard 100 and #35 in Canada in 1972.

Steve Marriott had left The Small Faces and Peter Frampton had left The Herd and they formed Humble Pie. Marriott had bad management with the Small Faces and also throughout his career. After Humble Pie toured the US in 1969, they returned to England to discover that their record label (Immediate) had gone bankrupt. They were stalled for a time, trying to find a new manager and label. They eventually signed with A&M Records.

Later on, Frampton left but Humble Pie kept going. In the mid-seventies, their manager was Dee Anthony who had connections with the Mob. Everything was ok until Steve wanted to know where the money was at. Marriott began openly questioning Anthony’s business practices, and the singer was summoned to a meeting at a social club in New York’s Little Italy. According to Marriott’s ex-wife, among those in attendance were John Gotti and several other members of the Gambino crime family. Marriott was quietly persuaded to forget about any money he thought he had coming to him.

Jerry Shirley: “‘Natural Born Bogie’ was written after we had completed the album. If we had been smart we would have put it on the album. It was the first song that Andrew Oldham heard that he said had single sensibilities. I remember Steve at a rehearsal saying, ‘Here, I’ve got this, what do you think? I’m pretty sure he had the whole song. Funny thing was, we hardly ever played it live.

Natural Born Bugie

There she is again
Steppin’ out of her limousine, well
Looking like the cover of a twenty-dollar magazine
She’s got it made and branded
If you know what I mean

She’s a…natural born woman
Natural born woman
She’s a…she’s a natural born woman

There she is again watch her stop the Main Street in its tracks
Looking like Creole queen
Hair hangin’ down her back
I say, don’t look too long, boy
She’ll make your glasses crack

She’s a…natural born woman
Natural born woman
She’s a…she’s a natural born woman

Get your track
Yeah, natural born woman
Yeah, yeah…
Natural born woman
Yeah, yeah…
She’s a natural born woman

Well, I’m sweatin’ and I’m shakin’
When I’m bringin’ you the news
You can do anything
But lay off of my blue suede shoes
That’s why I’m standin’ here today
Preachin’ natural born woman blues

Well, she’s a…natural born woman
Well, yeah…
Natural born woman
Well, yeah…
Natural born woman

Well, I’m looking out my back door
Wonderin’ which place to go
Think I’ll move on down to Memphis
Pay my money to see a rock ‘n’ roll show
Find me a sweet-heart Susie
Together we can lose control

Ooh, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
She’s a…natural born woman
Yeah, yeah…
Natural born woman
Yeah…
Natural born woman
Yeah, ooh…
Ooh…
All right…

CSN&Y – Carry On

Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young were making their second album…the 1970  Déjà Vu and Graham Nash realized something was wrong. He told Stephin Stills they needed another song like Suite: Judy Blue Eyes on this album. Stills was listening, he went back to his hotel room and put together two unfinished songs, and came up with another suite…Carry On. 

He took the song back to Graham Nash and he could not believe it. They had the song the album needed. 

The album was hard to make because of the state that David Crosby was in. His girlfriend at the time, Christine Hinton, was taking their cat to the Vet and died in a car crash. Graham and others have said that Crosby was never the same after that accident. It started his slide into harder drugs that would end up with jail time and his liver replaced. 

“Carry On” has the distinction of appearing on three different US #1 albums. It was first released on Déjà Vu, which hit the top spot on May 16, 1970. Then it appeared on the CSN&Y live album 4 Way Street, #1 on May 15, 1971. Finally, it showed up on the compilation So Far, the #1 album on November 2, 1974.

The second part of the song is taken from Questions, a song Stills wrote for his band Buffalo Springfield. 

Stephen Stills:  “I went back to my room in this horrifying hotel and the next morning I knocked on Graham’s door and said, ‘OK, how’s this?’ And I played him ‘Carry On’ and he went nuts. So we got everybody together in the studio and recorded it.”

Graham Nash: After that tragedy, we somehow continued to make Déjà Vu, but David often wound up in tears in the studio. Drugs helped him mourn—or so he thought—but, of course, they only made things worse. He was inconsolable, falling apart. The love and sunshine that was in the first Crosby, Stills & Nash album had disappeared from Déjà Vu because, in one way or another, we were all tormented, all miserable, all coked out of our minds.

Drummer Dallas Taylor: “The song was written in the middle of the Deja Vu sessions, when Nash told Stephen they still didn’t have an opener for the album. It was something of a message to the group, since it had become a real struggle to keep the band together at that point. Stephen combined two unfinished songs and stuck them onto a jam we’d had out in the studio a few nights before, me on drums and Stephen on a Hammond B-3 organ. As the track begins I’m playing bass drums and high hat, and Graham is playing congas. Then we go into a 6/8 groove, which is rather obscure – Stephen loved to change gears that way. The sessions would go on all night, sometimes three or four days non-stop. The thing I loved about the studio was you could never tell if it was day or night, and we hid all the clocks so no one knew what time it was.”

Carry On

One morning I woke up and I knew
You were really gone
A new day, a new way, and new eyes
To see the dawn.
Go your way, I’ll go mine and
Carry on

The sky is clearing and the night
Has cried enough
The sun, he come, the world
To soften up
Rejoice, rejoice, we have no choice but
To carry on

The fortunes of fables are able
To sing the song
Now witness the quickness with which
We get along
To sing the blues you’ve got to live the dues and
Carry on

Carry on
Love is coming
Love is coming to us all

Where are you going now my love?
Where will you be tomorrow?
Will you bring me happiness?
Will you bring me sorrow?
Oh, the questions of a thousand dreams
What you do and what you see
Lover can you talk to me?

Girl when I was on my own
Chasing you down
What was it made you run?
Trying your best just to get around.
The questions of a thousand dreams
What you do and what you see
Lover can you talk to me?

John Mellencamp – Just Another Day

This song and “Key West Intermezzo (I Saw You First) came out around the same time off the album Mr. Happy Go Lucky in 1997.

This album was his first album released after his 1994 heart attack and some of the music dealt with his brush with death. The cover artwork caused some controversy with Walmart. They didn’t like that it depicted Jesus and the Devil with Mellencamp holding what looked like to them to be a dead boy. He told them that no…that was his son Hud and he was asleep at the time. The artwork was changed because Mellencamp didn’t care since he didn’t design it. Jesus and the Devil were taken off. As long as the music didn’t have to change he was alright.

The song peaked at #46 on the Billboard 100 and  #1 in Canada in 1997.

Some trivia about Mellencamp. Mellencamp’s first manager, Tony DeFries, gave him the name “Johnny Cougar.” He started using “John Cougar Mellencamp” in the early ’80s and eventually dropped the “Cougar.” DeFries is the same guy who persuaded David Jones to change his name to David Bowie. With Bowie I understand because of Davy Jones…but Cougar?

Mellencamp released the album “Strictly a One-Eyed Jack” this year and it contained three songs with Bruce Springsteen… “Wasted Days, A Life Full of Rain, and Did You Say Such a Thing.

John Mellencamp on the song: “That was what the record company wanted to put out as the first single. They said, ‘It sounds familiar.'”

Just Another Day

Bobie Doll and Big Jim Picato
Call me up every single day
They don’t work and they don’t want to
Come on down to some damn café

Bobie Doll tells me, “Live in the moment”
Don’t get too far ahead, don’t live in the past
I blink my eyes and the moment is over
I guess another day has passed

But it’s just another day
It’s just another day
Watching girls on the street
Well, that’s alright with me
And it’s just another day

Bobie Doll and Big Jim Picato
Always there with their free advice
They’ve got pearl-handled pistols under their vests
They want me to go out drinkin’ with them tonight

But it’s just another day
It’s just another day
Watchin’ girls on the street
Well, that’s alright with me
And it’s just another day

You’ve got clean white sheets in the mornin’
Conversation all afternoon
Bobie Doll and Big Jim Picato, baby
And me and you

But, it’s just another day
Just another day
Watching girls on the street
Well, that’s alright with me
And it’s just another day

Well, it’s just another day
It’s just another day
Watching girls on the street
Well, that’s alright with me
And it’s just another day

Allman Brothers – Trouble No More

Gregg Allman sounded like an old man in his early twenties and when he WAS an older man. He could sing like he lived every bit of the blues he was singing about. This was the first song the Allman Brothers ever played in front of an audience.

It’s hard to believe that their first two albums didn’t go anywhere in the charts. The first two were made up of many of their classic songs. Their first album The Allman Brothers Band contained Whipping Post, Trouble No More, It’s Not My Cross To Bear, and one of their signature songs Dreams.

Their second album Idlewild South contained In Memory of Elizabeth Reed, Midnight Rider, and Hoochie Koochie Man. It took their third album At Fillmore East to kickstart their career to the top. Many of those songs on the first two albums would be classic now thanks to the live treatment they were given on the double live album.

After Duane was killed on a motorcycle on October 29, 1971 the band finished up the album that was started a few months before. Eat A Peach was released in 1972 with studio cuts and some live cuts that were left over from the At Fillmore East album including Trouble No More. The album was a massive hit and a perfect followup to At Fillmore East. The album had radio-friendly songs plus great live versions of songs they had been playing in their set.

This was a popular Muddy Waters song. It’s based on a 1935 song called “Someday Baby Blues” by a country-blues singer named Sleepy John Estes. Waters transformed the song with his Chicago blues style, adding a much more prominent guitar. On the Muddy recording….Little Walter played the harmonica and Jimmy Rogers played the guitar.

The Allman Brothers did their own interpretation of blues songs and usually with an extra charge. The first time they played the song was on May 11, 1969, when they played at Piedmont Park in Atlanta at a free festival sponsored by an underground newspaper… the paper gave them a glowing review and put them on the map outside of Macon.

On October 28, 2014, the band played their final show, the farewell concert at the Beacon Theater in New York City. Their final song was Trouble No More.

Trouble No More

Don’t care how long you gone
I don’t care how long you staying
But, good kind treatment
Gonna bring you home someday
But someday baby
You ain’t gonna trouble poor me anymore

You just keep on betting
That the dice won’t pass
Well you know, darling
You are living too fast
But someday, baby
You ain’t gonna trouble poor me anymore

I’m gonna tell everybody
In your neighborhood
That you’s a sweet little girl
But, you don’t mean me no good
But someday baby
You ain’t gonna trouble poor me anymore

Well, I know you’re leavin
Well, you call that gone
Well, without love
You can’t stay long
But someday baby
You ain’t gonna trouble poor me anymore

Well, goodbye baby
Come on, shake my hand
I don’t want no woman
You can have a man
But someday baby
You ain’t gonna trouble poor me anymore

David and David – Boomtown

Out of the Blue… What are some great debuts that probably took you by surprise? I wrote this for Dave’s site a while back.

I thought about the question that Dave proposed. There were some great debuts that I loved in my lifetime. I wanted to take a debut album out of the 80s… that decade has always been a bit dodgy for me. I thought about The Georgia Satellites or The Black Crowes but I wanted something that wasn’t automatic for me…that really caught my attention and sounded a little different from the usual things I liked.

I came up with David and David. Their album was called Boomtown. I’ve always thought of this album as a lost classic of the 1980s. I bought the cassette the minute I heard Swallowed By The Cracks. I had heard and liked the Welcome to the Boomtown single a little earlier. This album has an eighties sound which I usually don’t like but the synth here creates an atmosphere not a dominate force and it fits. These are some really good songs that the slick production doesn’t bring down.

The two Davids were David Baerwald and David Ricketts. They were a good team that would prove successful outside of this album. Both of them helped write Sheryl Crow’s debut album (Tuesday Night Music Club)…Baerwalk ended up co-writing 7 songs and Ricketts co-wrote 4.  David and David broke up after their only studio album which really disappointed me because I was really looking forward to their follow-up. Many years later…in 2016 it was reported that they were working on their second album but that seem to stall.

The reason I liked the album was their storytelling songwriting and Bearwald’s voice. It wasn’t the usual monotoned singing voice that was popular in the 80s. Bearwald doesn’t have the greatest voice in the world… but it has so much character that he is inside the people he is singing about.

The album was not a collection of pick-me-up songs. The songs reflect a grim reality of a cast of characters struggling to get by in mid-1980s America. The characters in Boomtown clearly aren’t in places where they thought they’d be. I was just 19 in 1986 and I was afraid I would be able to relate to these characters in a few short years to come. I worked with these people every day while taking a year off after high school graduation…waiting to go into college.

The album dwells on dreams and broken promises. Don’t think this album is in any way a downer to listen to though. These are the stories of real life and real people. You can feel the Springsteen vibe with all of the self-contained story songs but without sounding like Springsteen.

Let’s look at the first single from the album…Welcome To The Boomtown. It starts off with a killer line: Ms. Cristina drives a nine four four and goes on with a tale of decadence. That first line caught me and never let me go. You have the popular guy everyone knew in school…in this case, Kevin: Handsome Kevin got a little off track, Took a year off of college, And he never went back, Now he smokes too much, He’s got a permanent hack
Deals dope out of Denny’s, Keeps a table in the back.

“Deals dope out of Denny’s”… is pure Americana in a warped way…but Americana all the same. I knew a Kevin or two that fit this description. The song peaked at #37 in the Billboard 100 in 1986.

Now for my favorite song on the album and the one that hit home more than any other. The song Swallowed By The Cracks had me thinking…this could easily happen to me and my friends…and some of it did. It carries the theme that things don’t always turn out as you thought they would. I was an old soul at 19…I really thought I was old so these songs not only seemed possible…it seemed probable.

You get a little optimism going and then it falls back to the reality of what really happens.

Maybe it ain’t over I can see it’s up to me
You only out when you stay out you stay out when you don’t
Believe we could drive around in circles getting nowhere
All night long getting drunk with strangers telling lies
And singing along with the jukebox baby

Now for the last single, that was released…Ain’t So Easy.

The album was successful. It peaked at #39 on the Billboard Album Charts, #39 in Canada, and  #33 in New Zealand from 1986-87. It wasn’t just a 3 single album…there is not a track that I don’t like. They cover a lot of ground with the reggae inflections of Being Alone Together, funky grooves of Swimming In The Ocean, and even a slightly country twang to the closer Heroes.

An album that deserved to do better and still stands up today in our times.

Sam Cooke – Bring It All Home To Me

I started this post out as an Animals post but I had to switch the headliner to Sam Cooke. Cooke could sing the phone book and sound great. The man was unfair… he had everything. He was a terrific singer, writer, and this track shows that his skills as a producer and arranger have been undervalued.

I first heard the song through the Animals. They took the song and made it sparse with Burdon’s voice carrying it. This was the gritty B side to House of the Rising Sun. I bought the single for House of the Rising Sun and I turned it over and loved what I heard. I bought the single sometime in the early eighties.

The Animals version peaked at #32 on the Billboard 100, #7 in Canada, and #7 in the UK in 1965.

Cooke’s version was released as the B-side of “Having A Party,” and both songs became hits. Both tracks featured background vocals by Lou Rawls, who does the call-and-response with Cooke. Both songs were written while Cooke was on tour for Henry Wynn.

This song has a gospel feel to it and I love the call and response parts with Lou Rawls. The song peaked at #13 on the Billboard 100 Charts and #2 in the Billboard R&B Charts in 1962 for Sam Cooke.

In 1964, Cooke was shot and killed by the manager of a motel (Hacienda Motel) in Los Angeles, California. After a police investigation, courts concluded that his death was a justifiable homicide, though Cooke’s family never accepted the conclusion, nor the alleged circumstances around his death.

Bring It On Home To Me

If you ever change your mind
About leaving, leaving me behind
Oh, oh, bring it to me
Bring your sweet loving
Bring it on home to me
Yeah (yeah) yeah (yeah) yeah (yeah)

I know I laughed when you left
But now I know I’ve only hurt myself
Oh, oh, bring it to me
Bring your sweet loving
Bring it on home to me
Yeah (yeah) yeah (yeah) yeah (yeah)

I’ll give you jewelry and money too
That’s not all, all I’ll do for you
Oh, if bring it to me
Bring your sweet loving
Bring it on home to me
Yeah (yeah) yeah (yeah) yeah (yeah)

You know I’ll always be your slave
‘Till I’m buried and buried in my grave
Oh, honey bring it to me
Bring your sweet loving
Bring it on home to me
Yeah (yeah) yeah (yeah) yeah (yeah)

One more thing
I tried to treat you right
But you stayed out, stayed out at night
But I forgive you, bring it to me
Bring your sweet loving
Bring it on home to me
Yeah (yeah) yeah (yeah) yeah (yeah)
Yeah (yeah) yeah (yeah)
Yeah (yeah) yeah (yeah)
Yeah (yeah) yeah (yeah)

Grateful Dead – Ripple

Ripple is one of the best-known songs by the Dead and just a beautiful song to listen to. A big brother to a friend of mine was a pure dead head so I got a full education in the 80s. At that time I hardly ever heard them on radio. I do remember this song in the movie Mask in the scene where Rocky dies. Lately, I’ve been reading and listening to their discography again and I’ve listened to them a bit closer.

The song was written by Robert Hunter and Jerry Garcia. Hunter was not a performing member of the band but wrote the lyrics to many of their songs. Many of them were framed by Garcia’s wonderful melodies. His words can be poetic and lend themselves to interpretation…much like some of Dylan’s lyrics.

The song was on their album American Beauty album. The album peaked at #30 in the Billboard Album Charts in 1971. It was reissued for its 50th anniversary and peaked at #19 in 2020.

I’ve been wanting to post this song for a couple years after seeing Jim cover it. The post is here. The Grateful Dead was primarily known as a live band for good reason. Sometimes live versions sound better than their studio cuts. This one though, I don’t think anyone can top the studio version of this song including them. They only performed the song around 40 times in their career.

While playing softball with members of Jefferson Airplane in 1970. Garcia saw his musician friend David Grisman and asked him to play mandolin on Ripple. Grisman agreed and is on the final studio version. He also plays mandolin in Friend Of The Devil.

They performed an electric version of Ripple in Landover, Maryland, on September 3, 1988. According to the book A Long Strange Trip,  Bob Weir got a request for Ripple from a man who was dying of an illness. Upon getting the request, Weir bet Garcia $10 that he wouldn’t be able to remember the lyrics. Garcia took the bet and won. Weir, however, never paid up.

Dennis McNally the author of Long Strange Trip also notes that about 30 friends and neighbors, all untrained singers, were brought in to sing the final chorus, “just like a church service almost anywhere.

Ripple

If my words did glow with the gold of sunshine
And my tunes were played on the harp unstrung
Would you hear my voice come through the music
Would you hold it near as it were your own?

It’s a hand-me-down, the thoughts are broken
Perhaps they’re better left unsung
I don’t know, don’t really care
Let there be songs to fill the air

Ripple in still water
When there is no pebble tossed
Nor wind to blow

Reach out your hand if your cup be empty
If your cup is full may it be again
Let it be known there is a fountain
That was not made by the hands of men

There is a road, no simple highway
Between the dawn and the dark of night
And if you go no one may follow
That path is for your steps alone

Ripple in still water
When there is no pebble tossed
Nor wind to blow

You who choose to lead must follow
But if you fall you fall alone
If you should stand then who’s to guide you?
If I knew the way I would take you home

Journey -Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin’

This band is not in my usual wheelhouse.  I do however like some songs and I liked Journey up until their mega album Escape. This coincided with the addition of ex-Babys keyboardist Jonathan Cain and the departure of singer/keyboardist Gregg Rolie.

After Cain joined…the songs had an obvious radio-friendly sound and they lost some of the bite of their earlier songs. Cain favored a then-modern synthesizer sound versus Rolie’s Hammond B-3 which had a lot to do with it. I just couldn’t connect to them after that and I was in the minority with my peers.

Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin’ was the highest-charting single from Journey’s fifth studio album Evolution, and the group’s first-ever single to break into the top twenty. The song was on Evolution and it peaked at #20 in the Billboard Album Charts and #37 in Canada.

When I heard this song I loved it. In the mid-eighties, our band covered this song. Our singer was the only singer around who could sing this one and any AC/DC song… with Bon Scott. We would always close with this song and people were amazed because the vocals excluded most other bands from covering it.

I have to admire these guys. They slowly built their popularity. I’ve listed their albums up to Escape and see the slowly rising chart success of each one. Journey, #138, Look into the Future, #100, Next, #85, Infinity, #21, Evolution, #20, Departure, #8, and Escape, #1.  My personal favorite is Departure.

Steve Perry wrote Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin’and it peaked at #15 in the Billboard 100, #12 in Canada, and #37 in New Zealand in 1979.

Gregg Rolie on why he left: “Everyone thinks it was because Perry came in and started singing all the leads. My God! Again, I was spread so thin with all these keyboards parts and singing leads, he was a welcome sight to me. And he could sing like a bird! It wasn’t too hard to figure out. I was never against it.”

“And by the way, my family was my best work, it truly is. My son and daughter, my wife, it’s extraordinary. I did the right thing, but it just doesn’t play well with the guys on Facebook.”

Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin’

You make me weep and want to die
Just when you said we’d try
Lovin’, touchin’, squeezin’ each other
When I’m alone all by myself
You’re out with someone else
Lovin’, touchin’, squeezin’ each other
You’re tearin’ me apart
Every day, every day
You’re tearin’ me apart
Oh what can I say?
You’re tearin’ me apart

It won’t be long, yes, till you’re alone
When your lover, oh, he hasn’t come home
‘Cause he’s lovin’ who he’s touchin’, he’s squeezin’ another

He’s tearin’ you apart
Ooh, every day, every day
He’s tearin’ you apart
Oh girl what can you say?
‘Cause he’s lovin’, touchin’ another
Now it’s your turn, girl, to cry

Na na na na na na
Na na na na na
Na na na na na na
Na na na na na
Na na na na na na
Na na na na na
Na na na na na na
Na na na na na
Na na na na na na
Na na na na na
Na na na na na na
Na na na na na
Na na na na na na
Na na na na na
Na na na na na na
Na na na na na
Na na na na na na
Na na na na na
Na na na na na na
Na na na na na
Na na na na na na
Na na na na na
Na na na na na na
Na na na na na
Na na na na na na
Na na na na na
Na na na na na na
Na na na na na

Turn It UP! My years with Lynyrd Skynyrd…. by Ron Eckerman

Not long ago I had to fly somewhere and I’m a nervous flyer. I usually dread getting into a plane but I was determined I would enjoy this flight to Texas and then Colorado. We got into the air with my right ear-popping like crazy and I decided to listen to an audiobook once we were flying. I opened my audible library selection and just picked one at random. Well, needless to say, I picked this one. I was 30 minutes into the book before I discovered the irony of the situation. I quickly picked another book (Grateful Dead bio) and listened to that but…I finished this one on the way back while… driving safely on the ground.

This is not an autobiography of the band… it is an account of their mid to late-70s tours. The book was written by an insider (the road manager) book from 1974 to the 1977 plane crash. Lynyrd Skynyrd was a wild bunch who was ruled by lead singer Ronnie Van Zant with an iron fist. It was partly about babysitting a bunch of up-and-coming rock stars and yes…very entertaining. These guys learned from the best… they had opened for The Who on the Quadrophenia tour in 1973. Keith Moon showed them the path to destruction in hotels across the globe. They took it to a new level though…not only fighting with people who annoyed them…they fought each other. Contrary to popular belief…most of them were well-read and intelligent men but with a wild side. 

The band was managed by Peter Rudge who was known to be very cheap with bands. He also managed the Stones and The Who. It was Ron Eckerman’s (tour manager) job to collect the money and figure out the most economical way of traveling. In early 1977 he saw that traveling by plane would be cheaper than by bus. The band toured constantly and was rarely at home adding to the short tempers. They lost their guitar player Ed King in 1975 because of that plus madness exploding out of pure exhaustion. Keeping a road crew together while you are not touring was near impossible unless you play over 200 – 250 shows a year. 

Reading this book is truly like being transported in time back in the seventies rock world. It was back to a time when bands had to build up an audience. It didn’t happen with a youtube video or a Facebook page. There were no auto-tune or backing tracks to save you in concert. Lynyrd Skynyrd was one of the best live bands around. They played at Knebworth in 1976 and were heralded in the press as the next great band in league with the Stones and Who. They never got that chance and were different than most bands. They had no production values at all…just a mirror disco ball. Ronnie Van Zant did not dance around like Mick Jagger or Steven Tyler…he was more like a field general directing his troops to conquer the audience. 

After losing Ed King, a great California guitarist… they picked up Oklahoma native Steve Gaines who would have had a chance to be a huge star. Gaines was an absolute phenom on guitar and had he not died at 28 in the plane crash, he might well be a guitar legend now. The book is hilarious in places but you know what is coming. They climbed the rock ladder and the new album Street Survivors showed what they might do. The album was not a “southern rock” album…it was a rock album by a band from the south. 

They never would get a chance to fulfill their promise. The new album was their biggest yet and in two weeks’ time, they would have headlined Madison Square Garden for the first time. It really did look like they were about to be elevated to the top bracket of touring rock bands.

I was a kid when all of this was going on but I am amazed at how much the world has changed since then. If a band, no matter how successful, would do what they did in today’s world…the band would be in jail and shunned. Not only Lynyrd Skynryd but Led Zeppelin, The Stones, The Who, and a host of other rock bands. The book will truly transport you back to that time. Even if you are a fan or not…it’s worth a read. Ron Eckerman was in the plane when it crashed and his description is truly chilling. 

Eckerman took the blame for the crash but it wasn’t one man’s fault. A short while after releasing the book he died of acute myeloid leukemia. His wife said he never got over the guilt for the crash and he died three years after the book was published. 

Doors – The End

There is one thing I think of when I hear this song, and that is Apocalypse Now. The intro to the song really sounds like the end is coming. Robby Krieger’s use of slighty off notes adds to it.

Ray Manzarek: “To sit back in an audience and hear ‘The End’ come on at the beginning of Apocalypse Now, it’s absolutely thrilling.”

The song was on their self-titled debut album released in 1967. It ranked at number 336 on 2010 Rolling Stone magazines list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

The Doors developed this song during live performances at the Whisky a Go Go, a Los Angeles club where they were the house band in 1966. They had to play two sets a night, so they were forced to extend their songs in order to fill the sets. This gave them a chance to experiment with their songs.

They always played The End as the last song, but Morrison decided to play it early in the set, and the band went along. When they got to the part where he could do a spoken improvisation, he started talking about a killer, and said, “Father, I want to kill you. Mother, I want to f–k you!” The crowd went nuts, but the band was fired right after the show. The Doors had recently signed a record deal and they had established a large following, so getting fired from the Whisky was not a crushing blow.

Morrison sang this live as F–k the mother, rather than “Screw the mother.” At the time, the band couldn’t cross what their engineer Bruce Botnick called “the f–k barrier,” so they sanitized the lyric on the album. When Botnick remixed the album for a 1999 reissue, however, he put Morrison’s “f–k”s back in, which is how the song was intended.

Jim Morrison's Heartbreaker: Mary Werbelow's Abandoned Notebook - GonzoToday

“The End” began as Jim Morrison’s farewell to Mary Werbelow, his girlfriend who followed him from Florida to Los Angeles. It developed into an 11-minute  epic. Doors drummer John Densmore has said that Morrison wrote Crystal Ship about Mary also. That song was another goodbye song also. Werbelow and Morrison broke up in 1965 but saw each other off and on until she moved to India in 1969. He reportedly told her that the first four Doors albums were about her…Manzarek has said that parts of them were.

Mary Werbelow is a mystery to many. People still want to know if she is still alive. She gave a short interview in 2005 but has not been heard from since. She said in that interview that she never wants to talk about Jim again. Mary says she is tired. She has trouble sleeping. She says she’s not sure if she has done right by talking so much. She’s worried that others will seek interviews that she does not want to give. She wants that made clear: She does not want to talk about Jim anymore.

On July 3, 1971, Pamela Courson reported that she found him dead in the bathtub of their apartment in Paris. The cause of death was listed as heart attack; drugs were suspected. There was no autopsy. The coffin was sealed before his family or the American Embassy were notified. It was not until six days later that the Doors’ manager announced Morrison’s death to the world.

The End

This is the end
Beautiful friend
This is the end
My only friend, the end

Of our elaborate plans, the end
Of everything that stands, the end
No safety or surprise, the end
I’ll never look into your eyes again

Can you picture what will be?
So limitless and free
Desperately in need
Of some stranger’s hand
In a desperate land

Lost in a Roman wilderness of pain
And all the children are insane
All the children are insane
Waiting for the summer rain, yeah

There’s danger on the edge of town
Ride the King’s Highway, baby
Weird scenes inside the gold mine
Ride the highway west, baby
Ride the snake, ride the snake
To the lake, the ancient lake, baby
The snake, he’s long, seven miles
Ride the snake
He’s old and his skin is cold
The west is the best
The west is the best
Get here and we’ll do the rest
The blue bus is calling us
The blue bus is calling us
Driver, where you taking us?

The killer awoke before dawn
He put his boots on
He took a face from the ancient gallery
And he walked on down the hall
He went into the room where his sister lived, and then he
Paid a visit to his brother, and then he
He walked on down the hall, and
And he came to a door
And he looked inside
“Father?” “Yes, son?” “I want to kill you”
“Mother? I want to…”

Come on baby, take a chance with us
Come on baby, take a chance with us
Come on baby, take a chance with us
And meet me at the back of the blue bus
Doin’ a blue rug, on a blue bus, doin’ a
Come on yeah
Fuck, fuck-ah, yeah
Fuck, fuck
Fuck, fuck
Fuck, fuck, fuck yeah!
Come on baby, come on
Fuck me baby, fuck yeah
Whoa
Fuck, fuck, fuck, yeah!
Fuck, yeah, come on baby
Fuck me baby, fuck fuck
Whoa, whoa, whoa, yeah
Fuck yeah, do it, yeah
Come on!
Huh, huh, huh, huh, yeah
Alright
Kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill

This is the end
Beautiful friend
This is the end
My only friend, the end

It hurts to set you free
But you’ll never follow me
The end of laughter and soft lies
The end of nights we tried to die
This is the end

Rock Star Hologram Tours

It’s gone past simple holograms…they are now avatars (the ABBA reunion). For the sake of this post… I’ll call them holograms. This post is basically me arguing with myself and wanting some input.

I’ve thought about the subject of the dead rock star hologram tours off and on. I apologize for putting it so bluntly but that is what it is. Something in me just tells me there is something inherently wrong about this. So I hate to ask myself this…but would I want to go to a Jimi Hendrix show playing near me? Uh…yes I would and I feel bad about saying that. I would probably go and then hate the decision later. How could they capture Jimi Hendrix? I don’t see how someone could capture a performer like him…who was different every time he played.

I was surprised at my answer that I would even go. On the other hand, we have laser shows with bands’ music…so what is the big difference? We also have duets with Paul McCartney singing with John Lennon right now on Paul’s tour. When I saw The Who, there was Keith Moon singing “Bell Boy” in a film from a concert in the 70s while the current Who was playing. I also got to see Beatlemania with artists dressed up as The Beatles…somewhat different than this but is it really?

It’s something that I think will happen in the near future for different stars no matter if we like it or not. Holograms have been around for a while. In 1977 The Who presented a promotional event just for their fans with this Keith Moon hologram (with the real Keith Moon in attendance) and in another event in 2009…obviously without the real Keith in attendance.

Keith is near the end of his life in this version…you can tell it’s older with the greenwash all around. The big difference is now …the holograms sing, move, and play their instruments or rather they appear to do that. There have been shows now built around Buddy Holly, Roy Orbison, Elvis, Ronnie James Dio, ABBA (who are very much alive),  Whitney Houston, Tupac, Billie Holiday, Wilson Pickett, and more.

The families are in control now and will decide. I’ll ask myself again…would I want to see the Hamburg or Cavern Beatles? The 1972 Rolling Stones? the 1969 Who? The 1950’s Elvis? AC/DC with Bon Scott? 1970 Janis Joplin? The Doors?

Yes to all the questions I asked but…I’m not sure how I would feel.

What do you think? Would it be unsettling to see a long-gone performer in their prime again a few feet from you? Would you go see a show (not really a concert) of your favorite deceased performer?

Now, on the other hand, there is another angle. If Bob Dylan, who is very much alive, would announce tomorrow that a 1966 version of himself was going on tour…would I go? Oh yes, I would and I would not feel bad at all. ABBA just did this also. So why do I think I would feel different about seeing Jimi, Lennon, Janis, or someone else that has long been gone?

Before you answer…now, current bands can play in Washington and be projected as holograms in London simultaneously…so it’s taken a huge jump. See the bottom video. No traveling in stuffy vans….just play at your local pizza joint and be somewhere else also. So our band could play in my garage and be on stage at Carnegie Hall and interact with the audience. I have to wonder how far it will go?

Georgia Satellites -Hippy Hippy Shake

I have to give Deke credit for this post. He did a review of “LIGHTNIN’ IN A BOTTLE” …a live Satellite show in 1988 that was released in 2002. This song was in a movie called Cocktail…I wasn’t a fan of the movie but it did have some good music. Deke mentioned Hippy Hippy Shake and I’ve always liked this song.

The Georgia Satellites came out of nowhere with a number 2 hit in 1986 called Keep Your Hands To Yourself. At the time of Madonna and synth-driven songs, it was great to hear this band out of Georgia that played raw roots rock and roll without the big production.

I remember being a senior in high school and watching one of my buddy’s band play in a talent show right before us. They played “Keep Your Hands To Yourself” and it sounded great. That song was made for a rock band…any rock band and I asked him if they wrote it. He said no they had an advance copy of the song or bootleg. I’ve liked this band ever since. They were a no-frills raw rock band in the middle of the sometimes overproduced 80s…a band I followed until they broke up.

I always thought their timing was a bit off. If they would have come out in the late eighties along with the Black Crowes and Guns and Roses… they could have had more staying power.

This song is a little different for them. Their lead singer Dan Baird didn’t sing it. The lead guitar player Rick Richards did the vocals on this one as well as their hit  Battleship Chains.

Chan Romero was just 17 when he wrote this song. According to his entry in the Rockabilly Hall of Fame, he was inspired by the song “Come On, Let’s Go” by Ritchie Valens. The Swinging Blues Jeans cover was a hit in 1963 when the song peaked at #2 in the UK, #2 in Canada, and #24 on the Billboard 100. The Beatles covered it on their Live At The BBC album.

The Satellites version peaked at #45 in the  Billboard 100 and #65 in Canada.

Some of the movies this has appeared in include Uncle Buck, Austin Powers International Man of Mystery, and Cocktail. 

Hippy Hippy Shake

For goodness sakes
I got the hippy hippy shakes
yeah I got the shakes
I got the hippy hippy shakes
I can’t sit still
with the hippy hippy shakes
yeah I get my fill now
with the hippy hippy shake
yeah it’s in the bag
the hippy hippy shake

well I’ve been shakin’ to the left
shakin’ to the right
you do the hippy shake shake
with all of your might
oh baby yeah come on shake
oh it’s in the bag
the hippy hippy shake

well I’ve been shakin’ to the left
shakin’ to the right
you do the hippy shake shake
with all of your might
of baby yeah come on shake
oh it’s in the bag
the hippy hippy shake
the hippy hippy shake
the hippy hippy shake