Beatles – Rocky Raccoon

This coming weekend I’m going to attempt a Beatles album ranking post which I’ve never done… so I’ve been listening to the White Album. Rocky Raccoon is a  great way to start out the week

I bought the White Album in the winter of 1981 right after John Lennon was murdered. It has remained my favorite album ever by far. You have such a variety on this album and it gives you different glances at the Beatles without many studio tricks and sounds.

This song starts with a strumming guitar and then comes Paul talking/singing in his best western voice. Now somewhere in the Black Mountain Hills of Dakota
There lived a young boy named Rocky Raccoon. 

The main character was originally called Rocky Sassoon but McCartney changed it to Raccoon, as he thought the name was more cowboyish.

The original title of the album was going to be “A Doll’s House“… but the band  Family used the title Music from a Doll’s House for its debut album, so The Beatles scrapped the idea. The album’s real name ended up being “The Beatles” but the plain white cover nickname soon took over. From some accounts here is the original cover.

A Doll's House

In 1968, McCartney got the idea for it when he was playing guitar with John Lennon and Donovan Leitch at the Maharishi’s camp in India. Rocky in the song is a cowboy in the old west and challenges Dan when Dan ran off with Rocky’s girl. In the gunfight, Dan is too quick and shoots Rocky wounding him. When the song was recorded… Beatles producer George Martin played the piano in an old-west saloon style.

Rocky in this song is not a raccoon but a boy whose girl runs off with his rival, Dan. The song is set in the Old West, so Rocky does what any self-respecting cowboy would do: he challenges Dan to a gunfight. Unfortunately for Rocky, he Dan is quick on the draw and shoots him first, wounding Rocky and proving himself worthy of the girl.

The album peaked at #1 in the US, Canada, UK, and just about everywhere in 1968.

Paul McCartney: “Rocky was me writing (speaks-sings in a baccy-chewing old prospector voice), ‘It was way back in the hills of Dakota-or Arkansas-in the mining days. And it was tough, picking shovels, and we were underground 24 hours a day…’ I could have taken this serious route, researched it – ‘Take This Hammer’ (a prison work song recorded by British skiffle star Lonnie Donegan in 1959), stuff I’d been brought up on. But at that point I was a little tongue-in cheek. So I crossed it with a (British singer and banjo player popular in the 1940s) George Formby sensibility, where John and I would go (sings a bit of doggerel in a choppy rhythm) – Stanley Holloway, Albert in The Lion’s Den (the comic poem The Lion and Albert, written by Holloway’s creative partner Marriott Edgar in 1932). We were very versed in all that stuff (sings opening lines of Rocky Raccoon in the same choppy way). The scanning of the poetical stanza always interested me. Somehow this little story unfolded itself.

I was basically spoofing ‘the folk-singer.’ And it included Gideon’s Bible, which I’ve seen in every hotel I’ve ever been in. You open the drawer and there it is! Who’s this guy Gideon! I still don’t know to this day who the heck he is. I’m sure he’s a very well-meaning guy. Rocky Raccoon was a freewheeling thing, the fun of mixing a folky ramble with Albert In The Lion’s Den with its ”orse’s ‘ead ‘andle,’ ha ha.”

Many cover versions have been recorded. Some of the artists are Richie Havens, Ramsey Lewis, Jack Johnson, Andrew Gold, James Blunt, Phish, Jimmy Buffett, Maureen McGovern, Kingston Wall, Charlie Parr, and Andy Fairweather Low.

Rocky Raccoon

Now somewhere in the Black Mountain Hills of Dakota
There lived a young boy named Rocky Raccoon
And one day his woman ran off with another guy
Hit young Rocky in the eye
Rocky didn’t like that
He said, “I’m gonna get that boy”
So one day he walked into town
Booked himself a room in the local saloon

Rocky Raccoon checked into his room
Only to find Gideon’s Bible
Rocky had come, equipped with a gun
To shoot off the legs of his rival
His rival it seems, had broken his dreams
By stealing the girl of his fancy
Her name was Magill, and she called herself Lil
But everyone knew her as Nancy
Now she and her man, who called himself Dan
Were in the next room at the hoe down
Rocky burst in, and grinning a grin
He said, “Danny boy, this is a showdown”
But Daniel was hot, he drew first and shot
And Rocky collapsed in the corner

Now the doctor came in, stinking of gin
And proceeded to lie on the table
He said, “Rocky, you met your match”
And Rocky said, “Doc, it’s only a scratch
And I’ll be better, I’ll be better, Doc, as soon as I am able”

Now Rocky Raccoon, he fell back in his room
Only to find Gideon’s Bible
Gideon checked out, and he left it, no doubt
To help with good Rocky’s revival

Bruce Springsteen – Working On The Highway

I probably won’t be commenting today…yesterday I felt terrible and it seems I have the flu…just wanted to let you know.

This song has grown on me through the years. It was my least favorite on Born In The USA when it was released but I started to like it.

Springsteen has always been prolific…he picked 12 songs out of the 70 demos for the album and of course, this one made the cut.

This song is about the only song not released as a single off of Born In The USA. I’m being sarcastic but not really. There were 7 top ten hits off of this album. Springsteen hit the mass’s jackpot with this album. It’s not my favorite album by him by any stretch but it has a friendly radio sound.

Born In The USA was the album I listened to endlessly from 1984-1985. You heard it everywhere you turned. A friend of mine (a big Bruce fan from the old days) saw Bruce in 85 and he was depressed that Bruce was no longer a cult performer. The horse was out of the barn so to speak…The public knew and knew him well. Bruce and that bandana were all over the news and any magazine you read.

In 1985 I went on my graduation trip to Florida. The Born In The USA cassette tape was playing in my car where some buddies were riding with me on our senior trip. There are certain songs that take you back to a time. Walking On Sunshine, Glory Days, Working On The Highway, and Darlington County all connect me with that trip.

The album peaked at #1 in America, Canada, New Zealand, and The UK.

Working On The Highway

Friday night’s pay night, guys fresh out of work
Talking about the weekend, scrubbing off the dirt
Some heading home to their families, some looking to get hurt
Some going down to Stovell wearing trouble on their shirts

I work for the county out on ninety five
All day I hold a red flag and watch the traffic pass me by
In my head I keep a picture of a pretty little miss
Someday, mister, I’m gonna lead a better life than this

Working on the highway, laying down the blacktop
Working on the highway, all day long I don’t stop
Working on the highway, blasting through the bedrock
Working on the highway, working on the highway

I met her at a dance down at the union hall
She was standing with her brothers, back up against the wall
Sometimes we’d go walking down the Union tracks
One day I looked straight at her and she looked straight back
So I’m

Working on the highway, laying down the blacktop
Working on the highway, all day long I don’t stop
Working on the highway, blasting through the bedrock
Working on the highway, working on the highway, woo

I saved up my money and I put it all away
I went to see her daddy but we didn’t have much to say
“Son, can’t you see that she’s just a little girl
She don’t know nothing about this cruel, cruel world”

We lit out down to Florida, we got along all right
One day her brothers came and got her and they took me in a black-and-white
The prosecutor kept the promise that he made on that day
And the judge got mad and he put me straight away
I wake up every morning to the work bell clang
Me and the warden go swinging on the Charlotte County road gang
I’m

Working on the highway, laying down the blacktop
Working on the highway, all day long I don’t stop
Working on the highway, blasting through the bedrock
Working on the highway, working on the highway

Working on the highway, laying down the blacktop
Working on the highway, all day long I don’t stop
Working on the highway, blasting through the bedrock
Working on the highway, working on the highway, ooo ooo ooo

Doors – Hello, I Love You

In my teens, I got into the Doors. It happened at just the right time because their popularity rose in the 1980s. When I heard this song after listening to their other music…I thought wow this is very radio-friendly for The Doors. Some fans called them a sell-out…saying it was too top 40 which I don’t think is right…not their best song but a good one. Every song cannot have lyrics like “Don’t chase the clouds pagodas” in them.

I liked it and still do and I heard The Kinks All Day and All of the Night in the song. I wasn’t the only one that heard it. Morrison admitted it and would pay Ray Davies royalties after it hit. Morrison wrote this after seeing a beautiful woman in 1965 walking down a California beach. I also read that he helped popularize the pickup line…” Hello, I love you. Won’t you tell me your name?”  that probably hasn’t worked for anyone…ok maybe Jim.

This song was on their demo to shop for a record deal…I have it at the bottom of the post. They didn’t put it on an album until 1968 when they needed material for their third album Waiting for the Sun. They needed more material for that album and pulled up this one from their original demo to re-record it. Although you can hear the Kinks in there… Krieger and Densmore borrowed the finished version’s rhythm from Cream’s Sunshine of Your Love. Robby Krieger also ran his guitar through a fuzz box to get a distorted effect like Cream’s “Sunshine Of Your Love.”

The song peaked at #1 in the Billboard 100, #1 in Canada, #12 in New Zealand, and #15 in the UK in 1968. Waiting For The Sun peaked at #1 on the Billboard Album Charts, #3 in Canada, and #16 in the UK.

I always liked Ray Davies’s response to the song’s similarities to his All Day and All of the Night.

Ray Davies: “The funniest thing was when my publisher came to me on tour and said The Doors had used the riff for ‘All Day And All Of The Night’ for ‘Hello, I Love You.’ I said rather than sue them, can’t we just get them to own up? My publisher said, ‘They have, that’s why we should sue them!’ (laughs) Jim Morrison admitted it, which to me was the most important thing. The most important thing, actually, is to take (the idea) somewhere else.”

This would be the Door’s last #1 song…Light My Fire is the first one. The R.E.M. song “Pop Song ’89” is a play on this. Instead of talking about sex, they talk to the girl about politics and the weather. This song was also used in the movies PlatoonCasualties of War, and Forrest Gump.

The demo of Hello, I Love You. 

Hello, I Love You

Hello, I love you, won’t you tell me your name?
Hello, I love you, let me jump in your game
Hello, I love you, won’t you tell me your name?
Hello, I love you, let me jump in your game
She’s walking down the street
Blind to every eye she meets
Do you think you’ll be the guy
To make the queen of the angels sigh?
Hello, I love you, won’t you tell me your name?
Hello, I love you, let me jump in your game
Hello, I love you, won’t you tell me your name?
Hello, I love you, let me jump in your game
She holds her head so high, like a statue in the sky
Her arms are wicked, and her legs are long
When she moves my brain screams out this song
Sidewalk crouches at her feet
Like a dog that begs for something sweet
Do you hope to make her see, you fool?
Do you hope to pluck this dusky jewel?
Hello, hello, hello, hello, hello, hello, hello
I want you, hello, I need my baby
Hello, hello, hello, hello

Johnny Cash – Folsom Prison Blues

But I shot a man in Reno, Just to watch him dieJohnny Cash

It doesn’t get much better than that.

The man in black was The Man. Not many performers can cross genres like Johnny Cash did and still does. He first recorded this song in 1955 at Sun Records as the B side to “S3o Doggone Lonesome” but it was the live 1969 version that hit.

The At Folsom Prison album helped revitalize Cash’s career. Up to this point, his last Country top 40 entry was in 1964. This was recorded live at Folsom Prison in California on January 13, 1968, and that album came to define his outlaw image. The record company told him it wouldn’t work but Johnny recorded at the prison anyway.

Folsom Prison Blues peaked at #1 on the Billboard Country Charts, #1 on the Canadian Country Charts, #32 on the Billboard 100,  and #17 on the Canadian Pop Charts.  The song and album generated a lot of interest in the rebellious Johnny Cash, who made prison reform his political cause of choice. He started regularly performing in jails, doing about 12 shows a year for free mostly in Folsom and San Quentin.

The album peaked at #1 in the Billboard Country Charts, #13 in the Billboard Album Charts, and #27 in Canada.

Johnny Cash Flipping Bird

This iconic picture came from Folsom Prison. According to photographer Jim Marshall…he asked Cash to express what he thought of the prison authorities when he played the show. Marshall told Cash “let’s do a shot for the warden” and the picture was born. 

Cash saw Crane Wilbur’s 90-minute film Inside the Walls of Folsom Prison while stationed in Germany. It left an impression on Cash, who emphasized the tale of the imprisoned men, and inspired him to write a song. Johnny Cash: “It was a violent movie, I just wanted to write a song that would tell what I thought it would be like in prison.”

Cash’s first prison performance occurred in 1957 when he performed for inmates at Huntsville State Prison. The favorable response inspired Cash to perform at more prisons through the years. His next hit, recorded in San Quentin Prison, was the humorous “A Boy Named Sue,” which proved that he could be clever and funny.

Cash came off as a champion for the oppressed.  He got his own national TV show in 1969 and became one of the most popular entertainers of his era. His guests included Derek and the Dominos,  Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Linda Ronstadt, Kris Kristofferson, Mickey Newbury, Neil Young, Gordon Lightfoot, Merle Haggard, James Taylor, Tammy Wynette, and Roy Orbison.

Isn’t that list incredible? Cash was considered a Country-Folk artist but look at the range of performers. The late sixties and seventies were like this ….and it’s the reason I like them so much…all the generations intersected at that point in time. I mean you have Eric Clapton and then you have Tammy Wynette on the guest list.

The lyrics to this song were based on a 1953 recording called Crescent City Blues by a bandleader named Gordon Jenkins with Beverly Maher on vocals. After filing a lawsuit, Gordon Jenkins received an out-of-court settlement from Cash in 1969. I have to say it does sound really close.

Johnny Cash: “I don’t see anything good come out of prison. You put them in like animals and tear out the souls and guts of them, and let them out worse than they went in.”

Rosanne Cash: “He was a real man with great faults, and great genius and beauty in him, but he wasn’t this guy who could save you or anyone else.”

Folsom Prison Blues

(Hello, I’m Johnny Cash)

I hear the train a-comin’
It’s rollin’ ’round the bend
And I ain’t seen the sunshine
Since I don’t know when
I’m stuck in Folsom Prison
And time keeps draggin’ on
But that train keeps a-rollin’
On down to San Antone

When I was just a baby
My Mama told me, “son
Always be a good boy
Don’t ever play with guns”
But I shot a man in Reno
Just to watch him die
When I hear that whistle blowin’
I hang my head and cry (play it to the verse, yeah)
(Sue it)

I bet there’s rich folks eatin’
From a fancy dining car
They’re probably drinkin’ coffee
And smokin’ big cigars
Well, I know I had it comin’
I know I can’t be free
But those people keep a-movin’
And that’s what tortures me (hit it)

(Howdy-ho)

Well, if they freed me from this prison
If that railroad train was mine
I bet I’d move it on, a little
Farther down the line
Far from Folsom Prison
That’s where I want to stay
And I’d let that lonesome whistle
Blow my blues away

(yeah)

Arlo Guthrie – Alice’s Restaurant Massacree

Hello everyone and those of you who celebrate Thanksgiving I hope you have a great one with your friends and family! Those of you who don’t…have a great day and weekend coming up. I know Thanksgiving is an American holiday mostly but I have talked to a few who celebrate it from other countries…like Bruce my friend from New Zealand.

Every Thanksgiving I listen to Alice’s Restaurant and this is the fourth year in a row that I’ve posted it on the 4th Thursday of November. Sorry if you are tired of it but it’s not Thanksgiving until Alice’s Restaurant is played…and the Last Waltz is watched but that is a different story.

The movie that Arlo movie made called Alice’s Restaurant is a fun watch.

It’s not Thanksgiving without listening to this 1967 song. This song did not chart but he did have another version that did chart…it was called Alice’s Rock and Roll Restaurant that peaked at #97 in the Billboard 100.

Many radio stations play this on Thanksgiving. This is usually the only time they play it, since the song is over 18-minutes long.

There have been mixed reviews about the movie that was made…I’ve always found it enjoyable. It’s not going to be confused with Gone With The Wind but it’s a fun period movie.

In 1991, Arlo bought the church where this took place and set up “The Guthrie Center,” where he runs programs for kids who have been abused.

From Songfacts

Running 18 minutes and 34 seconds, this song is based on a true story that happened on Thanksgiving Day, 1965. Arlo was 18, and along with his friend Rick Robbins, drove to Stockbridge, Massachusetts to have Thanksgiving dinner with Alice and Ray Brock. Alice and Ray lived in a church – the former Trinity Church on Division Street in Stockbridge – and were used to inviting people into their home. Arlo and Rick had been traveling together, Arlo working his way up in folk singing and Rick tagging along. A number of people, Arlo and Rick included, were considered members of the family, so they were not guests in the usual sense. 

When Ray woke up the next morning, he said to them, “Let’s clean up the church and get all this crap out of here, for God’s sake. This place is a mess,” and Rick said, “Sure.” Arlo and Rick swept up and loaded all the crap into a VW microbus and went out to the dump, which was closed. They started driving around until Arlo remembered a side road in Stockbridge up on Prospect Hill by the Indian Hill Music Camp which he attended one summer, so they drove up there and dumped the garbage.A little later, the phone rang, and it was Stockbridge police chief William J. Obanhein. “I found an envelope with the name Brock on it,” Chief Obanhein said. The truth came out, and soon the boys found themselves in Obanhein’s police car. They went up to Prospect Hill, and Obie took some pictures. On the back, he marked them, “PROSPECT HILL RUBBISH DUMPING FILE UNDER GUTHRIE AND ROBBINS 11/26/65.” He took the kids to jail.The kids went in, pleaded, “Guilty, Your Honor,” was fined $25 each and ordered to retrieve the rubbish. Then they all went back to the church and started to write “Alice’s Restaurant” together. “We were sitting around after dinner and wrote half the song,” Alice recalls, “and the other half, the draft part, Arlo wrote.”

Guthrie, the son of legendary folk singer Woody Guthrie, greatly exaggerated the part about getting arrested for comic effect. In the song, he is taken away in handcuffs and put in a cell with hardened criminals. 

In the song, Guthrie avoids the draft and did not have to serve in Vietnam because of his littering arrest. In reality, he was eligible but wasn’t drafted because his number didn’t come up.

Guthrie performed this song for the first time on July 16, 1967, at the Newport Folk Festival.

This reflected the attitude of many young people in America at the time. It was considered an antiwar song, but unlike most protest songs, it used humor to speak out against authority.

After a while, Guthrie stopped playing this at concerts, claiming he forgot the words. As the song approached its 30th anniversary, he started playing it again.

Guthrie made a movie of the same name in 1969 which was based on the song.

Over the years, Guthrie added different words to the song. He recorded a new, longer version in 1995 at The Guthrie Center

Alice’s Restuarant

This song is called Alice’s Restaurant, and it’s about Alice, and the
Restaurant, but Alice’s Restaurant is not the name of the restaurant,
That’s just the name of the song, and that’s why I called the song Alice’s
Restaurant.

You can get anything you want at Alice’s Restaurant
You can get anything you want at Alice’s Restaurant
Walk right in it’s around the back
Just a half a mile from the railroad track
You can get anything you want at Alice’s Restaurant

Now it all started two Thanksgivings ago, was on – two years ago on
Thanksgiving, when my friend and I went up to visit Alice at the
Restaurant, but Alice doesn’t live in the restaurant, she lives in the
Church nearby the restaurant, in the bell-tower, with her husband Ray and
Fasha the dog. And livin’ in the bell tower like that, they got a lot of
Room downstairs where the pews used to be in. Havin’ all that room,
Seein’ as how they took out all the pews, they decided that they didn’t
Have to take out their garbage for a long time.

We got up there, we found all the garbage in there, and we decided it’d be
A friendly gesture for us to take the garbage down to the city dump. So
We took the half a ton of garbage, put it in the back of a red vw
Microbus, took shovels and rakes and implements of destruction and headed
On toward the city dump.

Well we got there and there was a big sign and a chain across across the
Dump saying, “Closed on Thanksgiving.” And we had never heard of a dump
Closed on Thanksgiving before, and with tears in our eyes we drove off
Into the sunset looking for another place to put the garbage.

We didn’t find one. Until we came to a side road, and off the side of the
Side road there was another fifteen foot cliff and at the bottom of the
Cliff there was another pile of garbage. And we decided that one big pile
Is better than two little piles, and rather than bring that one up we
Decided to throw our’s down.

That’s what we did, and drove back to the church, had a thanksgiving
Dinner that couldn’t be beat, went to sleep and didn’t get up until the
Next morning, when we got a phone call from officer Obie. He said, “Kid,
We found your name on an envelope at the bottom of a half a ton of
Garbage, and just wanted to know if you had any information about it. ” And
I said, “Yes, sir, Officer Obie, I cannot tell a lie, I put that envelope
Under that garbage. ”

After speaking to Obie for about forty-five minutes on the telephone we
Finally arrived at the truth of the matter and said that we had to go down
And pick up the garbage, and also had to go down and speak to him at the
Police officer’s station. So we got in the red vw microbus with the
Shovels and rakes and implements of destruction and headed on toward the
Police officer’s station.

Now friends, there was only one or two things that Obie coulda done at
The police station, and the first was he could have given us a medal for
Being so brave and honest on the telephone, which wasn’t very likely, and
We didn’t expect it, and the other thing was he could have bawled us out
And told us never to be seen driving garbage around the vicinity again,
Which is what we expected, but when we got to the police officer’s station
There was a third possibility that we hadn’t even counted upon, and we was
Both immediately arrested. Handcuffed. And I said “Obie, I don’t think I
Can pick up the garbage with these handcuffs on. ” He said, “Shut up, kid.
Get in the back of the patrol car. ”

And that’s what we did, sat in the back of the patrol car and drove to the
Quote Scene of the Crime unquote. I want tell you about the town of
Stockbridge, Massachusets, where this happened here, they got three stop
Signs, two police officers, and one police car, but when we got to the
Scene of the Crime there was five police officers and three police cars,
Being the biggest crime of the last fifty years, and everybody wanted to
Get in the newspaper story about it. And they was using up all kinds of
Cop equipment that they had hanging around the police officer’s station.
They was taking plaster tire tracks, foot prints, dog smelling prints, and
They took twenty seven eight-by-ten colour glossy photographs with circles
And arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one explaining what each
One was to be used as evidence against us. Took pictures of the approach,
The getaway, the northwest corner the southwest corner and that’s not to
Mention the aerial photography.

After the ordeal, we went back to the jail. Obie said he was going to put
Us in the cell. Said, “Kid, I’m going to put you in the cell, I want your
Wallet and your belt. ” And I said, “Obie, I can understand you wanting my
Wallet so I don’t have any money to spend in the cell, but what do you
Want my belt for? ” And he said, “Kid, we don’t want any hangings. ” I
Said, “Obie, did you think I was going to hang myself for littering?”
Obie said he was making sure, and friends Obie was, cause he took out the
Toilet seat so I couldn’t hit myself over the head and drown, and he took
Out the toilet paper so I couldn’t bend the bars roll out the – roll the
Toilet paper out the window, slide down the roll and have an escape. Obie
Was making sure, and it was about four or five hours later that Alice
(remember Alice? It’s a song about Alice), Alice came by and with a few
Nasty words to Obie on the side, bailed us out of jail, and we went back
To the church, had a another thanksgiving dinner that couldn’t be beat,
And didn’t get up until the next morning, when we all had to go to court.

We walked in, sat down, Obie came in with the twenty seven eight-by-ten
Colour glossy pictures with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back
Of each one, sat down. Man came in said, “All rise.” We all stood up,
And Obie stood up with the twenty seven eight-by-ten colour glossy
Pictures, and the judge walked in sat down with a seeing eye dog, and he
Sat down, we sat down. Obie looked at the seeing eye dog, and then at the
Twenty seven eight-by-ten colour glossy pictures with circles and arrows
And a paragraph on the back of each one, and looked at the seeing eye dog.
And then at twenty seven eight-by-ten colour glossy pictures with circles
And arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one and began to cry,
’cause Obie came to the realization that it was a typical case of American
Blind justice, and there wasn’t nothing he could do about it, and the
Judge wasn’t going to look at the twenty seven eight-by-ten colour glossy
Pictures with the circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each
One explaining what each one was to be used as evidence against us. And
We was fined $50 and had to pick up the garbage in the snow, but that’s not
What I came to tell you about.

Came to talk about the draft.

They got a building down New York City, it’s called Whitehall Street,
Where you walk in, you get injected, inspected, detected, infected,
Neglected and selected. I went down to get my physical examination one
Day, and I walked in, I sat down, got good and drunk the night before, so
I looked and felt my best when I went in that morning. ‘Cause I wanted to
Look like the all-American kid from New York City, man I wanted, I wanted
To feel like the all-, I wanted to be the all American kid from New York,
And I walked in, sat down, I was hung down, brung down, hung up, and all
Kinds o’ mean nasty ugly things. And I waked in and sat down and they gave
Me a piece of paper, said, “Kid, see the phsychiatrist, room 604.”

And I went up there, I said, “Shrink, I want to kill. I mean, I wanna, I
Wanna kill. Kill. I wanna, I wanna see, I wanna see blood and gore and
Guts and veins in my teeth. Eat dead burnt bodies. I mean kill, Kill,
Kill, kill. ” And I started jumping up and down yelling, “kill, kill, ” and
He started jumping up and down with me and we was both jumping up and down
Yelling, “KILL, KILL.” And the Sargent came over, pinned a medal on me,
Sent me down the hall, said, “You’re our boy.”

Didn’t feel too good about it.

Proceeded on down the hall gettin more injections, inspections,
Detections, neglections and all kinds of stuff that they was doin’ to me
At the thing there, and I was there for two hours, three hours, four
Hours, I was there for a long time going through all kinds of mean nasty
Ugly things and I was just having a tough time there, and they was
Inspecting, injecting every single part of me, and they was leaving no
Part untouched. Proceeded through, and when I finally came to the see the
Last man, I walked in, walked in sat down after a whole big thing there,
And I walked up and said, “What do you want?” He said, “Kid, we only got
One question. Have you ever been arrested? ”

And I proceeded to tell him the story of the Alice’s Restaurant Massacre,
With full orchestration and five part harmony and stuff like that and all
The phenome… – and he stopped me right there and said, “Kid, did you ever
Go to court? ”

And I proceeded to tell him the story of the twenty seven eight-by-ten
Colour glossy pictures with the circles and arrows and the paragraph on
The back of each one, and he stopped me right there and said, “Kid, I want
You to go and sit down on that bench that says Group W…. Now kid!! ”

And I, I walked over to the, to the bench there, and there is, Group W’s
Where they put you if you may not be moral enough to join the army after
Committing your special crime, and there was all kinds of mean nasty ugly
Looking people on the bench there. Mother rapers. Father stabbers. Father
Rapers! Father rapers sitting right there on the bench next to me! And
They was mean and nasty and ugly and horrible crime-type guys sitting on the
Bench next to me. And the meanest, ugliest, nastiest one, the meanest
Father raper of them all, was coming over to me and he was mean ‘n’ ugly
‘n’ nasty ‘n’ horrible and all kind of things and he sat down next to me
And said, “Kid, whad’ya get?” I said, “I didn’t get nothing, I had to pay
$50 and pick up the garbage. ” He said, “What were you arrested for, kid? ”
And I said, “Littering.” And they all moved away from me on the bench
There, and the hairy eyeball and all kinds of mean nasty things, till I
Said, “And creating a nuisance.” And they all came back, shook my hand,
And we had a great time on the bench, talkin about crime, mother stabbing,
Father raping, all kinds of groovy things that we was talking about on the
Bench. And everything was fine, we was smoking cigarettes and all kinds of
Things, until the Sargeant came over, had some paper in his hand, held it
Up and said.

“Kids, this-piece-of-paper’s-got-47-words-37-sentences-58-words-we-wanna-
Know-details-of-the-crime-time-of-the-crime-and-any-other-kind-of-thing-
You-gotta-say-pertaining-to-and-about-the-crime-I-want-to-know-arresting-
Officer’s-name-and-any-other-kind-of-thing-you-gotta-say”, and talked for
Forty-five minutes and nobody understood a word that he said, but we had
Fun filling out the forms and playing with the pencils on the bench there,
And I filled out the massacre with the four part harmony and wrote it
Down there, just like it was, and everything was fine and I put down the
Pencil and I turned over the piece of paper, and there, there on the
Other side, in the middle of the other side, away from everything else on
The other side, in parentheses, capital letters, quotated, read the
Following words:

(“KID, HAVE YOU REHABILITATED YOURSELF?”)

I went over to the Sargent, said, “Sargeant, you got a lot a damn gall to
Ask me if I’ve rehabilitated myself, I mean, I mean, I mean that just, I’m
Sittin’ here on the bench, I mean I’m sitting here on the Group W bench
’cause you want to know if I’m moral enough join the army, burn women,
Kids, houses and villages after bein’ a litterbug. ” He looked at me and
Said, “Kid, we don’t like your kind, and we’re gonna send you fingerprints
Off to Washington. ”

And friends, somewhere in Washington enshrined in some little folder, is a
study in black and white of my fingerprints. And the only reason I’m
singing you this song now is cause you may know somebody in a similar
situation, or you may be in a similar situation, and if your in a
situation like that there’s only one thing you can do and that’s walk into
The shrink wherever you are, just walk in say “Shrink, You can get
Anything you want, at Alice’s restaurant. “. And walk out. You know, if
One person, just one person does it they may think he’s really sick and
They won’t take him. And if two people, two people do it, in harmony,
They may think they’re both faggots and they won’t take either of them.
And three people do it, three, can you imagine, three people walking in
Singin a bar of Alice’s Restaurant and walking out. They may think it’s an
Organization. And can you, can you imagine fifty people a day, I said
Fifty people a day walking in singing a bar of Alice’s Restaurant and
Walking out. And friends they may think it’s a movement.

And that’s what it is, the Alice’s Restaurant Anti-Massacre Movement, and
All you got to do to join is sing it the next time it comes around on the
Guitar.

With feeling. So we’ll wait for it to come around on the guitar, here and
Sing it when it does. Here it comes.

You can get anything you want, at Alice’s Restaurant
You can get anything you want, at Alice’s Restaurant
Walk right in it’s around the back
Just a half a mile from the railroad track
You can get anything you want, at Alice’s Restaurant

That was horrible. If you want to end war and stuff you got to sing loud.
I’ve been singing this song now for twenty-five minutes. I could sing it
For another twenty-five minutes. I’m not proud… Or tired.

So we’ll wait till it comes around again, and this time with four part
Harmony and feeling.

We’re just waitin’ for it to come around is what we’re doing.

All right now.

You can get anything you want, at Alice’s Restaurant
Excepting Alice
You can get anything you want, at Alice’s Restaurant
Walk right in it’s around the back
Just a half a mile from the railroad track
You can get anything you want, at Alice’s Restaurant

Da da da da da da da dum
At Alice’s Restaurant

Fats Domino – My Blue Heaven

Fats Domino (Antoine Dominique Domino Jr.) was a one-of-a-kind artist. He wasn’t wild or flashy like his peers but he was just good or better. When I think of the fifties…this is just me personally…I think of Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, Buddy Holly, Everly Brothers, Elvis, and last but not least… Fats Domino. Vastly different styles but all are great.

Domino was the youngest of eight children in a musical family, he spoke Creole French before learning English. At age 7 his brother-in-law taught him how to play the piano. By the time he was 10, he was already performing as a singer and pianist.

My Blue Heaven was released in 1956. It peaked at #19 on the Billboard Charts, #5 on the R&B Charts.

My Blue Heaven was written by Walter Donaldson and George A. Whiting in 1924. The lyrics were written by George Whiting and the music was composed by Walter Donaldson. The music was published by Leo Feist Inc. of New York, New York in 1927. The song was used in the Ziegfeld Follies of 1927.

Gene Austin released this song in 1928. It charted at #1 including one million sales of sheet music. This has been covered by the Smashing Pumpkins, Frank Sinatra, Glenn Miller, Al Jolson, and Dolly Parton to name a few.

There are two different movies called My Blue Heaven, and both used this song. The first was a 1950 musical where it was performed by the stars, Betty Grable and Dan Dailey. The second was a 1990 comedy starring Steve Martin and Rick Moranis. Fats Domino’s version was the theme song in that one.

My Blue Heaven

Day is ending
Birds are wending
Back to the shelter of
Each little nest they love

Nightshades falling
Lovebirds calling
What makes the world go round?
Nothing but love

When Whip-poor-wills call
And ev’ning is nigh
I hurry to
My blue heaven

I turn to the right
A little white light
Will lead you to
My blue heaven

You’ll see a smiling face,
A fireplace,
A cozy room
A little nest
That’s nestled where
The roses bloom

Just Mollie and me
And baby makes three;
We’re happy in
My blue heaven

doo doo doo doo doo
da da da da da

You’ll see a smiling face
A fireplace,
A cozy room
A little nest that’s nestled where the roses bloom

Just Mollie and me
And baby makes three;
We’re happy in
My blue heaven

We’re happy in my blue heaven

Jonestown … 44 years ago

November 18, 1978…A  man who was a complete waste of oxygen started one of the most terrible tragedies in history. What I hate is that some of the media described it as a mass suicide which it was not.

When I think of evil human beings…Jim Jones checks off every box. When people think of Jonestown or the Peoples Temple they probably remember the horrible images and disbelief that blanketed the news from Guyana. Interviews with people who happened to be out of Jonestown that afternoon or one of the very few who escaped (36) who started their day there.

The death toll kept rising daily on the news…200, 400, and then 800 or more. The reason was that the bodies were on top of each other and the more they were moved the more they realized some were 3 deep. There seems to be a misconception that all of these people committed suicide which is not true.

918 children and adults died on November 18, 1978, in Jonestown, and most were murdered not suicide. It was either drink the poisoned Flavor-Aid or get shot by the guards or injected right after watching the kids poisoned. According to the Guyanese court which had jurisdiction in the matter, all but three of the deaths in Jonestown were ruled to be the result of murder, not suicide. Source: The New York Times, 12/12/78

The Peoples Temple was a microcosm of society.  Some people joined for socialism, religion (ironic since Jones was a non-believer), or just to belong somewhere. There were young naive members, elderly vulnerable members, drug addicts, drunks, lawyers, doctors, rich, middle class, poor, black and white. Like many organizations…it started off good in the 50s but soon he got too much power. They did good things for people but it soon fell off a cliff. It started before the move to Guyana.

They were kept hungry with no sleep with Jones waking the entire compound in the middle of the night. He had everyone’s passport locked up so if they escaped it would be hard to get out anywhere.

I always wanted to know more about what happened. There are some good books on this. The best one I’ve read is Raven: The Untold Story of the Rev. Jim Jones and His People by Tim Reiterman (I just provided the link…I get no money if you buy it). Tim was there for two days including the last day when Congressman Leo Ryan was killed…Reiterman was also shot but survived.

The event, of course,  inspired the phrase “Don’t Drink The Kool-Aid”…although it was really a cheap knockoff…Flavor-Aid.

The more I read the more I was imagining being held prisoner in that jungle under his totalitarian rule…what a helpless feeling…and I was wanting the impossible to happen…a different ending. It’s so puzzling that today with all the info we have there are still cult leaders out there playing by the Jim Jones playbook.

If Jones would have allowed the people to come and go they could have made a good go of it in Guyana. The people developed a town that had a post office, daycare, a cafeteria, and everyone had a job. When it started Jones wasn’t down there all of the time and people were working hard and for the most part happy. When he settled in…that was over. He took control and it all went to hell.

Jones didn’t drink the flavor aid… he had one of his helpers shoot him…something I wish would have happened a day earlier.

A good abbreviated version of Jonestown and Jim Jones can be found here on the History Channel website. https://www.history.com/topics/jonestown

A documentary of Jonestown and Peoples Temple.

YOU WILL HAVE TO CLICK ON THE LINK BELOW BECAUSE IT’S AGE-RESTRICTED. 

Chuck Berry – Nadine

Any Chuck Berry song is a good song. This one is from the sixties and you can tell with the smoother production.

Berry was in jail between October 1961 and October 1963 for bringing a 14-year-old Apache waitress across a state line. During his time in jail he wrote some future hits. You Never Can Tell, Promised Land, No Particular Place To Go, and this song. Nadine was released in February of 1964, the month the Beatles hit America. The Rolling Stones would follow soon after. Both bands would cover Berry’s songs and boost his catalog.

In the UK, his popularity was helped by two compilation albums released in 1962 and 1963 that peaked in the top 10 there to keep his music alive when Berry couldn’t record or tour.

Marshall Chess, who was the son of Chess founder Leonard Chess was Chuck’s road manager when he got out of jail. Marshall said that Berry looked rough when he got out and Leonard gave Marshall $100 and told him to buy Chuck some clothes. When they got back from that, Berry recorded Nadine.

Chuck Berry 1964

The lyrics to this song and most of Chuck’s songs flow so easily. If you want to know what American teenage culture was like in the 50s and early sixties…listen to Chuck Berry.

I remember Bruce Springsteen commenting about Chuck Berry. He said Chuck influenced him because Bruce started to write songs like he was really talking to people and the words flowed naturally like Chuck’s did. He mentioned the lyric:

I saw her from the corner when she turned and doubled back
And started walkin’ toward a coffee-colored Cadillac

Springsteen had said he never had seen a coffee-colored Cadillac but he knows what one looks like now because of Chuck’s description. The song peaked at #23 on the Billboard 100, #23 in the R&B Charts, and #23 in Canada in 1964.

Nadine

I got on a city bus and found a vacant seat,
I thought I saw my future bride walking up the street,
I shouted to the driver hey conductor, you must slow down
I think I see her please let me off this bus

Nadine, honey is that you?
Oh, Nadine
Honey, is that you?
Seems like every time I see you
Darling you got something else to do

I saw her from the corner when she turned and doubled back
And started walkin’ toward a coffee colored Cadillac
I was pushin’ through the crowd to get to where she’s at
And I was campaign shouting like a southern diplomat

Downtown searching for her, looking all around
Saw her getting in a yellow cab heading up town
I caught a loaded taxi, paid up everybody’s tab
With a twenty dollar bill, told him ‘catch that yellow cab

She move around like a wave of summer breeze,
Go, driver, go, go, catch her balmy breeze
Moving through the traffic like a mounted cavalier
Leaning out the taxi window trying to make her hear

Rolling Stones – Midnight Rambler

Sorry if you have seen this already today but it vanished in the reader so I’m republishing it. it…thank you.

Today we look at a song that is best known by the live version. Midnight Rambler is up there with Sympathy For The Devil for setting an eerie atmosphere. I’ve always liked this one…partly because it’s not worn out like many other Stones songs of this era.

The Boston Strangler was the likely inspiration for this song. As for the song, while the lyrics do not directly relate to the case, Jagger implies it when he sings, “Well you heard about the Boston…” before an instrumental stab cuts him off.

n 1965, Albert DeSalvo (the Boston Strangler), who was serving time in a mental institution on rape charges, confessed to the murders and was later sentenced to life in prison. There was no clear physical evidence that DeSalvo committed the crimes, however, and his confession has been questioned, with some forensic experts stating that there may have been multiple killers. DeSalvo died in prison in 1973; new evidence has come up in the case from time to time.

This song was on their great Let It Bleed album released in 1969. But the version that is more known is the version on what I think is their best live album… Get Your Ya Ya’s Out…it was released in 1970. They recorded the version in Madison Square Gardens on their 1969 tour. The sound they had with Mick Taylor was fantastic. His guitar tone was raw and fat and it is instantly recognizable. When he joined the Stones onstage recently…the Stones had that great sound again. Since Mick Taylor left they sound really thin live…to me.

Brian Jones is credited with percussion on the studio version. Even though he died before this album was released, a few of the songs were recorded during the Beggar’s Banquet sessions in 1968.

Keith Richards: “When we did Midnight Rambler, nobody went in there with the idea of doing a blues opera, basically. Or a blues in four parts. That’s just the way it turned out. I think that’s the strength of the Stones or any good band. You can give them a song half raw and they’ll cook it.”

Mick Jagger: “That’s a song Keith and I really wrote together. We were on a holiday in Italy. In this very beautiful hill town, Positano, for a few nights. Why we should write such a dark song in this beautiful, sunny place, I really don’t know. We wrote everything there – the tempo changes, everything. And I’m playing the harmonica in these little cafés, and there’s Keith with the guitar.”

Studio Album Version

Midnight Rambler

Did you hear about the midnight rambler
Everybody got to go
Did you hear about the midnight rambler
The one that shut the kitchen door
He don’t give a hoot of warning
Wrapped up in a black cat cloak
He don’t go in the light of the morning
He split the time the cock’rel crows

Talkin’ about the midnight gambler
The one you never seen before
Talkin’ about the midnight gambler
Did you see him jump the garden wall
Sighin’ down the wind so sadly
Listen and you’ll hear him moan
Talkin’ about the midnight gambler
Everybody got to go

Did you hear about the midnight rambler
Well, honey, it’s no rock ‘n’ roll show
Well, I’m talkin’ about the midnight gambler
Yeah, everybody got to go

Well did ya hear about the midnight gambler?
Well honey its no rock-in’ roll show
Well I’m talking about the midnight gambler
The one you never seen before

Oh don’t do that, oh don’t do that, oh don’t do that
Don’t you do that, don’t you do that (repeat)
Oh don’t do that, oh don’t do that

Well you heard about the Boston…
It’s not one of those
Well, talkin’ ’bout the midnight… sh…
The one that closed the bedroom door
I’m called the hit-and-run raper in anger
The knife-sharpened tippie-toe…
Or just the shoot ’em dead, brainbell jangler
You know, the one you never seen before

So if you ever meet the midnight rambler
Coming down your marble hall
Well he’s pouncing like proud black panther
Well, you can say I, I told you so
Well, don’t you listen for the midnight rambler
Play it easy, as you go
I’m gonna smash down all your plate glass windows
Put a fist, put a fist through your steel-plated door

Did you hear about the midnight rambler
He’ll leave his footprints up and down your hall
And did you hear about the midnight gambler
And did you see me make my midnight call

And if you ever catch the midnight rambler
I’ll steal your mistress from under your nose
I’ll go easy with your cold fanged anger
I’ll stick my knife right down your throat, baby
And it hurts!

Hank Williams – Jambalaya (On the Bayou)

Hank Williams only lived to be 29 years old. It’s hard to believe because he wrote so many classic songs during his short recording career. “The Hillbilly Shakespeare” was one of his nicknames.

He had not been in a studio for 6 months but this song brought him back. He recorded it on June 13, 1952, in Nashville. There was speculation that Hank Williams co-wrote the song with a gentleman named Moon Mullican. Williams had the sole credit but it has been said that Williams’s publishing agent Fred Rose stepped in and wanted William’s publishing company to get the credit and the money. It has been said that Rose possibly paid Mullican so he wouldn’t have to split the publishing with Moon’s label King Records. Williams got the inspiration for the song while listening to Cajuns talk on a bus trip.

The melody is based on the Cajun song “Grand Texas.” The song peaked #1 on the Country Charts for fourteen, non-consecutive weeks. The song also peaked at #20 on the US Billboard Most Played By Jukeboxes. Hank Williams was born with spina bifida occulta, a disorder of the spinal column and he killed the pain with narcotics and alcohol. If you look at pictures of Williams he looks much older than in his twenties, especially in the last year of his 29 on earth.

Before his death, he had been known to take morphine and drink heavily. On New Year’s Day 1953, he took his seat in the back of his 1952 powder blue Cadillac. As his driver, college student Charles Carr, headed toward a New Years show in Canton, Ohio, Williams’ health took a turn for the worse. Finally, after not hearing from the singer for two solid hours, the driver pulled the car over in Oak Hill, West Virginia, at 5:30 in the morning. Williams was pronounced dead a short while later.

Hank Williams was a genius when it came to songwriting. He influenced so many genres of music from Johnny Cash, The Beatles, Bob Dylan, and many more. He left a huge mark on the world in such a short time.

Williams was among the first class of artists inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1961, and in 2010, the Pulitzer Board awarded him a special citation for songwriting.

Charles Carr, the teenager who was driving Williams to his concert:

“Hank’s song ‘Jambalaya’ was just out on the radio and he asked me what I thought of it, I told him I didn’t care for it, that it didn’t make a bit of sense to me. Hank laughed and said, ‘You son of a bitch, you just understand the French like I do.

“We were just a couple of young guys on a car trip having fun.”

My favorite version of this song was by John Fogerty.

Jambalaya (On the Bayou)

Goodbye Joe me gotta go me oh my oh
Me gotta go pole the pirogue down the bayou
My Yvonne the sweetest one me oh my oh
Son of a gun we’ll have big fun on the bayou

Jambalaya and a crawfish pie and filé gumbo
Cause tonight I’m gonna see my ma cher amio
Pick guitar fill fruit jar and be gay-o
Son of a gun we’ll have big fun on the bayou

Thibodaux Fontaineaux the place is buzzin’
Kinfolk come to see Yvonne by the dozen
Dress in style and go hog wild me oh my oh
Son of a gun we’ll have big fun on the bayou
Settle down far from town get me a pirogue
And I’ll catch all the fish in the bayou

Jambalaya and a crawfish pie and filé gumbo
Cause tonight I’m gonna see my ma cher amio
Pick guitar fill fruit jar and be gay-o
Son of a gun we’ll have big fun on the bayou

Later on, swap my mon, get me a pirogue
And I’ll catch all the fish on the bayou
Swap my mon, to buy Yvonne what she need-oh
Son of a gun we’ll have big fun on the bayou

Jambalaya and a crawfish pie and filé gumbo
Cause tonight I’m gonna see my ma cher amio
Pick guitar fill fruit jar and be gay-o
Son of a gun we’ll have big fun on the bayou

Little Richard – Ready Teddy

Ready, set, go man go, I got a girl that I love so.

What else do we need to have a great rock and roll song? Not exactly Shakespeare but Shakespeare couldn’t write Gonna kick off my shoes, roll up my faded jeans, Grab my rock ‘n’ roll baby, pour on the steam. The song was written by John Marascalco and Robert Blackwell with probable help from Little Richard. Most Little Richard songs are like a shot of adrenaline…this one is no different.

This was originally a B-side to Rip It Up. Little Richard claimed to have helped write this song but he said he didn’t have the business sense at that time to demand credit. He said: “They brought me the words and I made up the melody, and at the time I didn’t have sense enough to claim so much money, because I really made them hits. I didn’t get the money, but I still have the freedom.”

The song peaked at #44 on the Billboard 100 and #8 on the R&B charts.

The song is about a girl who wants sex… a ready teddy. Like most of Little Richard’s songs, this contains a lot of innuendoes but most people were too busy listening to the music to notice or didn’t get the reference. If sex had a voice…it would be Little Richard.

This song was covered by a lot of artists including  Buddy Holly, The Tornados, Elvis Presley, Tony Sheridan, and others. Elvis did this song on one of his Ed Sullivan appearances.

My dad told me about Little Richard before I ever heard him. He said he had the biggest voice he ever heard. He talked about a song called Long Tall Sally. I first heard it…it blew me away. Such a raw emotional power in that voice. He would take us to the edge of the cliff and then at the last minute pull us back.

His voice was one of a kind…

Ready Teddy

Ready, set, go man go
I got a girl that I love so

I’m ready, ready, ready teddy
I’m ready, ready, ready teddy
I’m ready, ready, ready teddy
I’m ready, ready, ready to a rock ‘n’ roll

Going to the corner, pick up my sweetie pie
She’s my rock ‘n’ roll baby, she’s the apple of my eye

I’m ready, ready, ready teddy
I’m ready, ready, ready teddy
I’m ready, ready, ready teddy
I’m ready, ready, ready to a rock ‘n’ roll

All the flat-top cats and the dungaree dolls
Are headed for the gym to the sock hop ball
The joint is really jumpin’, the cats are going wild
The music really sends me, I dig that crazy style

I’m ready, ready, ready teddy
I’m ready, ready, ready teddy
I’m ready, ready, ready teddy
I’m ready, ready, ready to a rock ‘n’ roll

Going to the corner, pick up my sweetie pie
She’s my rock ‘n’ roll baby, she’s the apple of my eye

I’m ready, ready, ready teddy
I’m ready, ready, ready teddy
I’m ready, ready, ready teddy
I’m ready, ready, ready to a rock ‘n’ roll

All the flat-top cats and the dungaree dolls
Are headed for the gym to the sock hop ball
The joint is really jumpin’, the cats are going wild
The music really sends me, I dig that crazy style

I’m ready, ready, ready teddy
I’m ready, ready, ready teddy
I’m ready, ready, ready teddy
I’m ready, ready, ready to a rock ‘n’ roll

Gonna kick off my shoes, roll up my faded jeans
Grab my rock ‘n’ roll baby, pour on the steam
I shuffle to the left, I shuffle to the right
Gonna rock ‘n’ roll to the early, early night

I’m ready, ready, ready teddy
I’m ready, ready, ready teddy
I’m ready, ready, ready teddy
I’m ready, ready, ready to a rock ‘n’ roll

Lynyrd Skynyrd – 45 Years Ago Today

As I was writing my Jimmy Page post today… I noticed the date and knew I had to add this.

It’s been 45 years since Lynyrd Skynyrd’s plane crashed in a swamp in Gillsburg, Mississippi. The band had just released the album “Street Survivors” and it was probably their best well-rounded album. With new guitarist Steve Gaines, they were primed for commercial success but on October 20, 1977, they lost singer-songwriter Ronnie Van Zant, guitarist Steve Gaines, backup singer Cassie Gaines, and road manager Dean Kilpatrick. The plane crash also claimed the lives of pilot Walter McCreary and co-pilot William Gray Jr.

I believe that if the crash had not happened they would have moved into the most successful stretch of their career. They were leaving the “southern rock” label behind and into one of the top rock bands in the world.

A year earlier Steve Gaines joined the band and he was pushing them in directions they never had gone. Listening to “Street Survivors” you can hear his influence with the songs I Never Dreamed and I Know A Little. Steve was a super-talented guitarist, songwriter, and singer and I have to wonder where his career would have gone.

On this tour, they were headlining and moving up in status after years of touring as mostly an opening band.

Below is a good Rolling Stone article on the crash. The song below that is “I Never Dreamed,” a song heavily influenced by Gaines.

https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-features/remembering-lynyrd-skynyrds-deadly-1977-plane-crash-2-195371/

Image result for lynyrd skynyrd 1977

Slade – Far Far Away

I’ve become a fan of this band. I only heard them second-hand through Quiet Riot in the 80s until they finally had a couple of hits in the 1980s with Runaway and My Oh My. This song was a bit of a departure from the high-octane songs they had been releasing. They veered off the formula on purpose with this song.

I love watching old Slade videos on youtube. They were a lot of fun to listen to and watch. Slade was a hard-rocking glam band that somehow never made it in America until the 1980s. Their golden period was in the early to mid-seventies in the UK. Noddy’s voice is extremely strong and the melodic structure of their songs is very catchy but not in a bad way.

Slade was at the height of its success and their manager Chas Chandler suggested they make a movie. So they made a movie called Slade In Flame. The movie itself got good reviews and so did the soundtrack. BBC film critic Mark Kermode called it the “Citizen Kane of rock musicals.” I’ve never watched this film but I am going to now.

This was the first single to be taken from the soundtrack. The movie follows the history of a fictitious group in the early 1970s called Flame who were played by the members of Slade.

Singer Noddy Holder wrote the song after a long period of touring when he was thinking of home. He was looking out of a hotel window overlooking the Mississippi river with Slade’s manager Chas Chandler. The singer was thinking how far the band had come when a big paddle riverboat came down the river, all lit up. Holder had mentioned to Chandler that he saw the yellow lights go down the Mississippi …Chandler seeing the inspiration asked him to write something about it and he wrote Far Far Away with bass player Jim Lea.

The song peaked at #2 in the UK in 1974.

I found this description about the movie. A pretty gritty story of the formation of Flame, a fictional band played by the four members of Slade. In the movie, Flame were to hit the big time quickly, only to be hit by violence, and off-stage legal and financial battles, eventually leading them to split. It’s a hard-hitting look at the less glamorous side of the music biz.

Far Far Away

I’ve seen the yellow lights go down the MississippiI’ve seen the bridges of the world and they’re for realI’ve had a red light of the wristWithout me even gettin’ kissedIt still seems so unreal

I’ve seen the morning in the mountains of AlaskaI’ve seen the sunset in the east and in the westI’ve sang the glory that was RomeAnd passed the hound-dog singer’s homeIt still seems for the best

And I’m far, far awayWith my head up in the cloudsAnd I’m far, far awayWith my feet down in the crowdsLettin’ loose around the worldBut the call of home is loudStill is loud

I’ve seen the Paris lights from high upon MontmartreAnd felt the silence hanging low in No-Man’s-LandAnd all those spanish nights were fineIt wasn’t only from the wineIt still seems all in hand

And I’m far, far awayWith my head up in the cloudsAnd I’m far, far awayWith my feet down in the crowdsLettin’ loose around the worldBut the call of home is loudStill is loud

I’ve seen the yellow lights go down the MississippiThe grand Bahama island stories carry onAnd all those arigato smilesStay in your memory for a whileThere still seems more to come

And I’m far, far awayWith my head up in the cloudsAnd I’m far, far awayWith my feet down in the crowdsLettin’ loose around the worldBut the call of home is loudStill is loud

And I’m far, far awayWith my head up in the cloudsAnd I’m far, far awayWith my feet down in the crowdsAnd I’m far, far awayBut the sound of home is loudStill is loud

The Super Fight ….Rocky Marciano vs Muhammad Ali

Does anyone remember this? I saw this as a kid in the mid-seventies. It was filmed in 1969. It was released on January 20, 1970, and it grossed 5 million dollars in 1,500 theaters across North America and Europe. This is a fun piece of pop culture. In accordance with the conditions laid down by the distributor, bonded guards collected all prints after a single showing and took them to be incinerated. Obviously, that didn’t happen because prints were found in the mid-seventies.

By the time this was filmed…Rocky had been retired for 14 years and he lost around 60lbs to look the part. Ali was in his prime at the time but this wasn’t a real boxing match…it was fought by a computer and the two boxers mimicked what the computer said would happen.

They filmed two different endings with each winning. The one that was released in The United States, Canada, and throughout Europe showed Rocky winning. A small group in Europe showed the version in which Ali won.

Ali was critical of some people in his career but he never said a cross word about Rocky Marciano. Both boxers respected the other.

Marciano became the only heavyweight champion with a perfect professional record, undefeated in 49 fights, who successfully defended his title six times before retiring on April 27, 1956. He won 43 of his pro bouts by knockouts.

He would never see this film released. Marciano died on Aug. 31, 1969, in a small plane crash near Des Moines, Iowa, the day before his 46th birthday. It was only three weeks after he finished this boxing match with Ali.

Loretta Lynn 1932-2022

Very sad news that Loretta Lynn passed away at the age of 90. I met the lady one time and she was wonderful. She was the definition of the word classy.

When I was eight years old, my mom took me to Loretta Lynn’s ranch. I actually had breakfast with Loretta Lynn. My mom knew someone who knew her… we were at her Ranch that was just opened to the public. She saw us and pointed and said “come in here” and we sat at the table and ate with her. She was very nice. She kept asking if I needed anything and if I was having a good time.

She was one of the nicest human beings I’ve ever met. Even though I was young, she didn’t talk down to me…she talked to me. It was a wonderful experience and even I knew at that age it was special…that this didn’t happen all of the time.

She wrote about real-life situations with women during her career. Her songwriting was honest and pure.

It saddens me that she just passed away. She is up there with Dolly Parton, Patsy Cline, and a host of other country legends. I was happy back in 2004 when Jack White of the White Stripes produced her album Van Lear Rose.

Jack White of the White Stripes is a huge fan of Loretta Lynn. The White Stripes dedicated their 2001 album, ”White Blood Cells,” to her and invited her to share a bill with them at the Hammerstein Ballroom in Manhattan.

Jack White produced her album “Van Lear Rose” and he asked Loretta to write all 13 songs for the album. The title refers to the Van Lear Coal mines from her youth. White said he would have been happy just to play tambourine on the album as long as he got to work with her.

Country radio snubbed “Van Lear Rose,” and the album received no CMA Awards nominations but it still reached #2 on the country charts and #24 on the Billboard 200. Lynn notched five Grammy nominations for her new music. In February 2005, she and White won Grammy awards for best country album and best country collaboration.

The album is great and this is the song that I liked best. If modern country music was this…I would actually listen! As I type this…I get mad all over again by the way country radio treated this album.

Van Lear Rose

One of my fondest memories
Was sittin’ on my daddy’s knee
Listenin’ to the stories that he told 
He’d pull out that old photograph
Like a treasured memory from the past 
And say child This here’s the Van Lear Rose

Oh how it would bring a smile 
When he talked about her big blue eyes
And how her beauty ran down to her soul
She’d walk across the coal miner’s yard 
Them miner’s would yell loud and hard 
and they’d dream of who would hold the Van Lear Rose

She was the belle of Johnson County
Ohio river to Big Sandy
A beauty to behold like a diamond in the coal
All the miner’s they would gather ’round 
Talk about the man that came to town
Right under their nose 
Stole the heart of the Van Lear Rose

Now the Van Lear Rose could’ve had her pick
And all the fellers figured rich
Until this poor boy caught her eye
His buddies would all laugh and say
Your dreamin’ boy she’ll never look your way
You’ll never ever hold the Van Lear Rose

She was the belle of Johnson County
Ohio river to Big Sandy
A beauty to behold like a diamond in the coal
All the miner’s they would gather ’round 
Talk about the man that came to town
Right under their nose 
Stole the heart of the Van Lear Rose

Then one night in mid July
Underneath that ol’ blue Kentucky sky
Well, that poor boy won that beauty’s heart
Then my daddy would look at my mommy and smile
As he brushed the hair back from my eyes and he’d say
Your mama
She’s the Van Lear Rose

[Chorus]

Right under their nose
Stole the heart of the Van Lear Rose