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Welcome back, my friends, to the "Battle" that never ends.
We're so glad you could attend. Come inside! Come inside!
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This is 'BATTLE OF THE BANDS' ('BOTB') where you listen to different recordings of the same song and vote for the one you like best. A new Battle gets posted on the 15th of each month and six days later, on the 21st, I place my own vote, tally 'em all up and announce the winner.
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Friend? Foe? Stranger? No matter, ALL are welcome. So pull up a chair, pour yourself 24 oz. of 'DOG BITE High Gravity Lager' (or the poison of your choice) and turn it up to Eleven!
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[NOTE: Links to the first year of 'BOTB' (#1 - #24) can be found at the very bottom of this page.]

Thursday, April 30, 2015

SOMETHING FOR GEM JULIE, DOCTOR CHERDO AND GIRL WONDER

GEM JULIE ~

I just woke up 32 minutes ago (10:03 AM my time ) and I wanna tell yaz my dream, because it started with you. (Peoplez already think I'm crazy - some might even say I "drive the Crazy Train" [HA!] - so I probably ought not to be doing this publicly, but the show must go on, and so... here goez)...

As I told CHERDO (in a comment) and Robin the GIRL WONDER (in an Email) shortly before going to bed last night, that I wasn't feeling well. My stomach has been bothering me for several days. (It couldn't be the rotgut corn liquor, could it? Maybe it has eaten away my stomach lining. If so, at least I've lost a little weight, and no one sees the stomach lining anyway.)

I haven't been sick as a dog, but I've felt nauseous as a... [this is where your alliteration skills come in, Julie, 'cause I can't think of an 'N'-word to go with nauseous.]

So, I thanked Cherdo for the "medicated milkshake" (milkshakes having been an ongoing joke between us during 'A To Z') and I went to bed. Cherdo had gone with "Z Is For Frank Zappa". I told her I had been
CERTAIN that "Z" was going to be for Charles Mingus. Truth is: I had been listening to a classic Charles Mingus album late last night. (This illustrates that sometimes, even when I say what seems to be totally abstract, off-the-wall stuffs, there's a kernel of truth to be found therein, but I just don't usually bother to 'splain it. It's good for the mystique - keeps the folks down on the farm guessin'.)
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I toss and turn and finally fall asleep. The dreaming starts and you're in it, GEM JULIE. Don't worry - nuttin' weird, creepy or strange. I was very touched by your 'Yearning For Yesteryear' post which I read late, so I think I was just dreaming that I was on some old vacation from my youth and you were on vacation with us. Something like that. FUN! Think of all the swimming and all-we-can-eat buffets (a big attraction on my family vacations in Las Vegas and Reno).

So, I slept for awhile, but then I woke myself up by turning over in bed. First thing I noticed was that my stomach still seemed upset. I leaned over to look at my clock radio, and the bright, red digital display said 4:44 AM. But at that very second I'm looking at it, it changes to 4:45.

I roll over and fall back to sleep. But what feels like not-too-long-later, I'm awakened by the sounds of someone walking in my house, maybe opening some drawers. I look to the clock radio but there's no digital time display! I reach under my bed and drag up the .38 revolver that used to belong to my dear departed Grandpa when he was a cop-guy. (I don't ever expect to need this gun except for perhaps shooting it to start the potato sack races at the county fair, but I like having it as a souvenir of my Grandpa, whom I love and who was one of the greatest "characters" I've ever known.)

I get out of my bed and go to switch on the bedroom light but... NUTTIN'! The light doesn't come on, and I can clearly hear someone moving around in my house (which I live alone in, by the way). So, in the dark, I find the doorknob and turn it. I begin feeling my way down the hallway, pushing the light switches as I go, but no lights are coming on. This intruder has obviously somehow cut the electricity to my house. And I'm thinking: How am I going to shoot this guy in the dark if I can't even see him? I'm in the living room now, where I can hear him just some feet away, but again the light won't turn on.

Then I turn in bed and wake up. Oh, sheesh! I was dreaming that whole thing. I can see a red glow from the clock radio's digital time display, but I don't even bother looking at it, because I know the electricity is on, the gun is under my bed and all is right with the night. So I roll over and fall back to sleep.

After what feels like a long, deep sleep, I wake up again because there's this funky Jazz riff that keeps playing over and over and over in my mind. I mentioned that I'd been listening to a classic Charles Mingus album just before retiring for the night. Well, the first track on that album is a legendary instrumental titled 'BETTER GIT IT IN YOUR SOUL' which contains a certain memorable riff that gets played and replayed during the track




https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hpZTtaWqxsQ

With that addictive riff still playing in my mind like a broken record, I realize that I need to visit the "little boy's room". My first thought is: Wow! I slept a lo-ooo-ng time. I'll bet it's about 10:00 AM right now. I lean over to look at the clock radio and I smack my forehead against the wall. You see, the way I have my bed positioned, one side of it is flush against one wall, and sometimes I wake up on the wrong side of the bed.

So, I roll over and lean over the other way and the clock says... 4:33 AM.

Hokey-Smoke! All those many hours ago when I first looked at the clock and it changed from 4:44 to 4:45, I was dreaming THEN TOO!

I get up and visit the "little boy's room". And, yes, I'm REALLY awake this time!

Then I go back to bed. I toss and turn for about 45 minutes and fear I'll not fall back to sleep. But at some point I do fall asleep... and dream:

I'm at some school with God, my Sister, and a jovial, old Black man (Charles Mingus?) who is either the superintendent of the school district or the principal of this particular school. As I'm walking across the grassy playground, I stoop down and notice that there are Books all over the place, underneath the grass. I think to myself: If anyone wants a Book they can just pull back a section of the grass and grab one. So I grab two copies of the same Book.

Then I notice in the grass an old pair of black, high-top tennis shoes. And since I need some, I pick them up and start putting them on my feet. I figured these shoes had been there in the grass since the 1970s but I want them, so I start lacing them up. Meanwhile, my Sister keeps singing the Bee Gees song 'STAYIN' ALIVE' ["
Well, you can tell by the way I use my walk..."], which is starting to really irritate me. ("Walk" = black, high-top tennis shoes?)

Meanwhile, God and the old Black man are kind of joking around with each other, saying funny things, and sometimes yakking to me. And I'm struggling to get these shoes laced up properly. The left shoe was fine but the other didn't feel secure. That's when I noticed that the right shoe doesn't have shoe laces, but it's a long, sheer strand of nylon ribbon (like you'd use as the finishing touch on gift wrapping), and whoever had laced it up in the past had missed quite a number of the eyelets. Plus, the shoe was kind of ratty and the leather was ripped badly in a few places.

But I needed and wanted the shoes, so I just tied up the ribbon, telling myself that later, when I had some time, I would start from scratch and re-lace that right shoe properly with that ribbon.

At that point, God walked away across the grassy playground (exit, stage left) and just then, my Sister interrupted the jovial, old Black man with a question. The man, in a friendly, joking way replied to her, "Can't you see that I'm talking here to God and tennis shoe boy god?" (Interestingly, last night, I signed off on my Email to Robin the "Girl Wonder" as
"~ Boy Woeful". One shoe was woeful, and the man referred to me as "tennis shoe boy god". Not sure, but that might be some sort of clue.)

And that's the exact moment when I woke up (again), rolled over to look at the clock (without smacking my head on the wall this time) and it was 10:03 AM. And for the first time in several days, my stomach feels fine.

So, Gem Julie, now that 'A To Z' is over and you have more time, would you please interpret my dreams for me and then pass your interpretation on to my psychiatrist. 

He needs all the help he can get.

~ Stephen T. McCarthy

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

THE SOUNDTRACK OF MY LIFE (Or, PRELUDE TO AN INTRODUCTION - Blog Bit 1)

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My friend, Robin (the Girl Wonder), yakked me into doing this 'THE SOUNDTRACK OF MY LIFE' project with her. Although I had already done something very similar 5 years ago on a long defunct blog o' mine, I got to thinking that I would put together an updated version, utilizing some of my older stuffs and adding a few different songs and a wee bit o' new text.

I will be posting these 'SOUNDTRACK' blog bits off and on between my 'BATTLE OF THE BANDS' contests.




There's a storytelling technique where you start at the end and then explain what led up to that ending by using the flashback format. One of my very favorite examples of this is found in my choice for "Best Hollywood Film Noir" picture:

'SUNSET BOULEVARD' begins with Joe Gillis (William Holden), a Hollywood screenwriter, floating face-down dead in a swimming pool while the police department photographer is taking pictures of the corpse. Cops are gathered around, prepared to fish Joe out of the water. 



Then suddenly we hear the voice of Joe Gillis, narrating the movie from "the great beyond" and he tells us:

“The poor dope - he always wanted a pool. Well, in the end, he got himself a pool.”


And from that point, Joe goes to the beginning of the story and explains how he wound up in the wet and dead situation he's in.

[
‘Sunset Boulevard’ is Hollyweird self-criticism, black comedy, and Noir at its “noirest”. It’s also an absolute classic, a genuine masterpiece that was selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the National Film Registry due to its being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant". And if you can't tell me what is the single most famous line of dialogue from 'Sunset Boulevard', shame, Shame, SHAME on you!]

Anyway, rather than begin with a song that 'splains li'l ol' me as a youngster, I've decided to begin with an overarching theme - a sort of prelude to an introduction.

Reincarnation is not something I "believe" in.
Reincarnation is something I know to be a fact of life.
 

Now, as soon as anyone says they believe in reincarnation, the first question a listener will ask is, "Who were you in a past life?" And a fool will answer with some famous name from history. They'll say, "I was Henry the Eighth, I was, I was", or "I was Marilyn Monroe", or "I was the great Irish tenor Yoey O'Dogherty" - as if everyone who's lived before was someone famous.

OK, OK... I can hear you. You wanna know RIGHT NOW who I was in a past life!


Well, to begin with, I don't know how many lives on Earth I've had, and if I was ever anyone you've heard of, that's news to me, too! I do feel confident in saying I was once a Jewish writer whose name has been lost to history. However, as that unnamed Jewish writer, I also believe I once saw, in the flesh, the most famous Man who ever lived. ...No, not Muhammad Ali. ...No, not Elvis Presley either.

Reincarnation is greatly misunderstood by many people. In the first place, Reincarnation and Soul Transmigration (where one thinks they could return as "a single drop of rain") are two different concepts that are often confused and mixed up together, like gin and vermouth. For the record, I do NOT believe in Soul Transmigration. You ain't comin' back as a raindrop, a tree, or a rock. I KNOW, however, that Reincarnation sometimes occurs.

In fact, I feel fairly certain that the world's most famous Man also reincarnated a number of times. But that's all another story and a discussion for another time in another place; this project is all about music. 

So, with my first 'The Soundtrack Of My Life' post, I am going to highlight a song that references one of the foundations of my Spiritual worldview. (The song also mixes up Reincarnation and Soul Transmigration, but that's because the songwriter didn't consult me before putting pen to paper. I would have gladly set him straight but... alas. Regardless, it's a pretty cool song that does speak of reincarnation.)

From Wackypedia:

"Highwayman" is a song written by American singer-songwriter Jimmy Webb, about a soul with incarnations in four different places in time and history: as a highwayman, a sailor, a dam builder on the Hoover Dam, and finally as an astronaut. ... In 1985, the song became the inspiration for the naming of the supergroup The Highwaymen, which featured Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, and Kris Kristofferson. Their first album, Highwayman, became a number one platinum-selling album, and their version of the song remained number one on the Hot Country Songs Billboard chart for twenty weeks. Their version earned Webb a Grammy Award for Best Country Song in 1985.



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fPHuQFN7L70

That's it for installment #1 of 'THE SOUNDTRACK OF MY LIFE'. See ya next time, Peoples.

~ Stephen T. McCarthy

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

2015, APRIL 15: BATTLE OF THE BANDS (Or, HERB ALPERT & THE TIJUANA BRASS VS. BOBBY DARIN)

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Republican Vs. Democrat, Male Vs. Female, War Vs. Peace, Light Vs. Dark, Good Vs. Evil, Man Vs. Machine, Love Vs. Hate, Dog Vs. Cat, Sun Vs. Moon, Brain Vs. Brawn, Oscar Vs. Grammy, Angel Vs. Demon, Laurel Vs. Hardy, Beer Vs. Wine, TV Vs. Radio, Pitcher Vs. Batter, Paper Vs. Plastic, Reality Vs. Fantasy, Yeshua Vs. Beelzebub, Conservative Vs. Liberal, You Vs. Me, House Vs. Senate, Offense Vs. Defense, Kramer Vs. Kramer, Spy Vs. Spy, Fischer Vs. Spassky, W.C. Fields Vs. Sobriety, Harold Gimpy, Jr. Vs. Sheldon J. Pismire, Rock Vs. Paper Vs. Scissors, Islam Vs. Everything, Singer Vs. Singer, Band Vs. Band...
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THE BATTLE OF THE BANDS! (‘BOTB’)
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Shoop-Shooby –
Shooby-duh-Dooby-Doop-Dooby-Dooby-Doo-Wah –
Buh-Doo-Wah!
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Yes, it’s time once again for ‘Battle Of The Bands’ (‘BOTB’)
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Alright, let’s get on it...
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EUGENE  MARTONE  VS.  JACK  BUTLER
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Here's what Wackypedia sez about today's "Battle" song:

"A Taste of Honey" is a pop standard written by Bobby Scott and Ric Marlow. It was originally an instrumental track (or recurring theme) written for the 1960 Broadway version of the 1958 British play A Taste of Honey (which was also made into the film of the same name in 1961). Both the original and a cover by Herb Alpert in 1965 earned the song four Grammy Awards. A vocal version of the song, first recorded by Lenny Welch (and released on 17 September 1962), became popular when it was recorded by The Beatles in 1963. ...

We aren't using the Lenny Welch or the Beatles' versions today. We are, however, using the instrumental recording by Herb Alpert And The Tijuana Brass. My Grandpa used to have their album 'Whipped Cream & Other Delights', and that's how I first heard the song as a little kid... while staring holes through the whipped cream on that album cover. Here's Wackypedia again:

Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass recorded the most popular instrumental version of the song with a cover on their 1965 album, Whipped Cream & Other Delights. This recording won four awards including Record of the Year at the Grammy Awards of 1966. The instrumental spent five weeks at number one on the easy listening chart, reached number seven on the Billboard Hot 100.

'A TASTE OF HONEY' - HERB ALPERT & THE TIJUANA BRASS




https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NC38-qqiVgg 
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GODZILLA  VS.  KING  KONG
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If you didn't dig that Soulfully Latin version by Herb & The TJ Brass, I just don't know what to say for you!

But I don't mind telling you that I flat-out LOVE both versions of 'A TASTE OF HONEY' here, and this is one of the most difficult BOTB votes I've ever had to cast. Now let's hear the competition for The TJ Brass:

'A TASTE OF HONEY' - BOBBY DARIN



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PAz2k198dkY

HOKEY-SMOKE and HOO-WEE! I absolutely HATE that I'm going to have to vote AGAINST one of these versions. How 'bout you?
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RIDDLER  VS.  BATMAN
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Alright now, “you know the gig”... I welcome EVERYONE to vote for their favorite of these songs in the comment section below. And feel free to tell us WHY you chose one song over the other.
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After voting here, I suggest - actually I insist - you pop over to the blogs of the other 'BATTLE OF THE BANDS' participants to see which songs they have chosen and vote there also. (If their ‘BOTB’ blog bits aren’t posted yet, pour yourself two shots of ‘Grand Marnier’ over ice – do it twice – and then return to their blogs to vice your voice ...vote your vice ...voice your vote.)
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Voice Your Vote @ ‘FAR AWAY SERIES’ by clicking HERE.
@ ‘TOSSING IT OUT’ by clicking HERE.
@ ‘YOUR DAILY DOSE’ by clicking HERE.
@ ‘DISCCONNECTED’ by clicking HERE.
@ 'BOOK LOVER' by clicking HERE.
@ 'MIKE'S RAMBLINGS' by clicking HERE.
@ 'CURIOUS AS A CATHY' by clicking HERE.
@ 'THE SOUND OF ONE HAND TYPING' by clicking HERE.
@ 'DCRELIEF - BATTLE OF THE BANDS' by clicking HERE.
@ 'THIS BELLE ROCKS' by clicking HERE.
@ 'ALEX CAVANAUGH' (when BOTB falls on a Mon., Wed., or Fri.) by clicking HERE.
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As I've done in the past, I will continue to return to my 'BOTB' blog bits on the 7th and 21st of each month to post my own votes and announce the winners in the comment sections.
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~ Stephen T. McCarthy
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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

IT FEELS LIKE A BRAND NEW DAY... THAT THE LORD HAS MADE

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"This is the day the LORD has made"

That's a very popular, often quoted verse from The Bible.

I don't like it. Never have. And I don't really know why. I think it sounds too... I dunno... childish. It's like something you might find in some book of 'Sing-Along Bible Tunes For Kiddies' or sumpin'.

Here's sumpin' from The Bible that I has always enjoyed more...

“Your hair is like a flock of goats going down from Gilead. Your teeth are like a flock of sheep which have come up from the washing...Your neck is like an ivory tower...Your nose is like the tower of Lebanon which looks toward Damascus. 

"How fair and how pleasant you are, O love, with your delights! This stature of yours is like a palm tree, and your breasts like its clusters. I said, I will go up to the palm tree, I will take hold of its branches."

Not only do I appreciate the poetry of those words, but they has served me well in picking up womens in many bars, saloons, and gin joints. Ya just gotta know how to lay it on them dogs chicks. Never met a womens yet who wasn't a sucker for great poetry like that.

Anyway, I wanna respond to a couple of recent comments and share a special song with y'all, so... keep readin', alright?...

I love your review style! I am trying to find the time to get my own music site up and running -again. A friend and I run the place pretty much on our own - after a bunch of people expressed interest, I got the blog going and everyone but myself and my friend bailed. Time is so not my friend these days.

And I definitely need to be listening to more Howlin' Wolf.

RING IN A BELLE ~
Thanks so much for the kind compliment. I was recently reading some of my old stuffs (like that Howlin' Wolf review you've referred to, and an old blog bit titled 'Notes From An Unnoteworthy Vacation' from my defunct 'Stuffs' blog) and I've come to realize that I can't write that well anymore. Whatever writing ability I may have had at one time (a debatable thang), I've since lost it.

I can't play chess like Bobby Fischer, I can't dance like Fred Astaire, I can't run like Barry Sanders, I can't drink like W.C. Fields. "I can't sing, I ain't pretty, and my legs are thin". And now... I can't even write like me anymore. 

Nevertheless, some kind folks like you and FAE, and Girl Wonder, Dixie Polka, a few others, and (especially) Sheboyganboy Six have been complimentary 'bout my writin', and I 'preciate it! In fact, SBB-6 has been SO complimentary over the years that he's probably destined to someday share a room in a mental hospital with me. So long as it's just a room and not a bed, I'm lookin' forward to it. 
[;-)}

Kim, as long as you're bloggin', I'll be visitin'. I hope you'll be with us tomorrow for 'BATTLE OF THE BANDS'. I'll be posting a "normal" one this time. Shocking, I know.

You look awfully cute on your eighth birthday, but I hope you were kidding about the drinking part. Sadly, I know more about Andy, Barney, Gomer, and the Darling's music, then I do about Howlin' Wolf. Though I really appreciate your interesting intro, Stephen!

Julie

Ha! Thanks, GEM JULIE! I'm sorry to report that after my eighth birthday, it was all downhill in the 'Looks Department'. But I made up for it by finding a buried... sense o' humor. 

Julie, drinking is NUTTIN' to kid about, my friend! ...But I don't even recall ever mentioning drinking. Are you sure it was me?

Oh, I may have mentioned Mammoth Brewing Company's beer 'IPA 395' once (brewed with hops, malt, sage, and juniper berries)...




...but I don't remember saying much (if anything) about drinking.

I'm gonna be honest right now and clear up any misconceptions about me that may be floating around out there in the Blogosphere:

Despite all the "jocularity! jocularity!" I really DO NOT encourage, recommend or even condone the consuming of alcoholic beverages at all. Not AT ALL! I mean, I do imbibe huge quantities of booze, hooch, rotgut, "The Evidence", "The Recipe", and "Rub-Of-The-Brush" daily, but... I don't encourage, recommend or condone it.

While I drink my third cup of "dirty water" this morning (it's not really "coffee" until you add the whiskey), I wanna close this blog bit with a song that I feel especially close to this morning.

Some decades ago, I was riding my bike one cold morning on the beach bike path between Venice Beach and Marina del Rey. I was bundled up in a heavy sweatshirt and sweatpants and listening to Van Morrison's album 'Moondance' on my Walkman. Suddenly the song 'BRAND NEW DAY' came on and I was so inspired by it that I parked my bike, took off my Walkman, and ran into the surf fully clothed, tennis shoes and ever'thin'. (Yes, I was sober at the time.)

In a way, I sorta baptized myself in the Pacific Ocean.

This morning, I was listening to that same song and felt the inspiration yet again. There's no ocean at this trailer park mobile home park to run into, so I decided to just post the song on my blog. And now that I've done this, I'm gonna go take a shower. Haven't decided yet whether or not to take off my pajamas first.

Enjoy, friends...

'BRAND NEW DAY' by Van Morrison:



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7DR0g6oOLwM

~ Stephen T. McCarthy

Sunday, April 12, 2015

'SCARY MALES AND THEIR MALENESS' (Or, 'THE DREAM OF EVERY STRONG WOMAN')

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Well, I guess 'FAT BOY' just ain't gonna come out to play...



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NwwY9y6O3hw

So, first...

The BONUS MATERIAL:

Years ago, my dear friend the ~Flyin’ Aardvark~ presented me with a really cool gift: The 4-episode, 2-DVD boxed set titled AMERICAN ROOTS MUSIC. If you haven’t seen it, you oughta. In episode #3 called 'The Times They Are A-Changin’, there’s a great interview segment with singer Bonnie Raitt in which she says of Howlin’ Wolf:

“I’ve never gotten over seeing Howlin’ Wolf and I never will. I listen to his records and it makes me feel the same feeling of eighteen: Oh my God, this is what men are about? And I haven’t really gone there yet and I’m just, you know-- ...to watch him and listen to his voice – there’s nobody that can live up to the promise of that much scary maleness.

“And he just laid it on; he’s sweaty, he’s out of control, he’s playin’ it like he’s-- he’s workin’ you like he’s-- ...I’m a pretty powerful person and I was in his power. And the dream of every strong woman is to be overcome by a strong guy, and that guy gets me. From the moment I watched him, I said I’m – take me!, take me!, take me! – and I’ll be in love with him for the rest of my life”.
~ Bonnie Raitt

One of the very first Blues albums I ever purchased, circa 1983...



STMcC still loves him some Howlin' Cat Dog Wolf!

[From the STMcC archive; 2006, May 21]


Don't listen to the so-called Blues purists! 'THE LONDON HOWLIN' WOLF SESSIONS' will rock your socks off. And if you go barefooted, then you'd better hang onto your hat!

I remember when the eponymous 'Van Halen' album was released in 1978 and some writer for a music magazine reviewed it and criticized the song 'You Really Got Me' for being spunkless. "Spunkless"? There's a lot of things one might say about that song, but "spunkless" damn sure ain't one of them.

Similarly, this Howlin' Wolf album has been frequently denigrated by Blues fans who like to appear highbrow and above the "adulterated" late-period Blues that found White wannabes collaborating with the genuine Black articles. It doesn't seem to matter to these people that the songs here are so hot they're smokin'!

In the very early 1980s when I was first considering buying this album (in the vinyl form), I saw a review in which the writer said that the tepid playing from the famous English Rock instrumentalists backing Howlin' Wolf (Chester Arthur Burnett, 1910-1976) on this recording suggested that the young White boys were intimidated by the huge, old, Black Bluesman (Wolf was six feet three inches tall and weighed two hundred and seventy-five pounds). I nearly passed on this record because of that asinine comment. (Yeah, the playing is "tepid"... just like Van Halen’s 'You Really Got Me' is "spunkless"!)

Fortunately, curiosity got the best of me, I purchased the "licorice pizza" (now in the CD format), and I've been happily rockin' out to this bad boy for about twenty-one years now. And although I am well-educated in The Blues (I was probably drinking heavily late at night to Robert Johnson's, 'King Of The Delta Blues Singers' before you were born) this is still one of my most frequently spun Blues sets - and when I do spin it, I crank it up LOUD because it scares the Jehovah's Witnesses and the Mormons off of my front porch!

Sure, Wolf was old and ill when these tracks were cut (1970), but can you find one young White or Black contemporary rebel singer who sounds even half as ferocious as the Wolf does here? Don't bother answering - that was a rhetorical question because "NO" is the obvious reply.

From the opening track, 'ROCKIN' DADDY', with its thick rhythm, Eric Clapton's fiery guitar licks, and the Wolf singing enticements to a woman (trying his best not to scare her off), it's clear that this quasi-Blues/Rock amalgamation is going to kick rump. And boy does it ever!




https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F1LCKlFNRM8

"YES, THEY CALL ME 'THE ROCKER'; I CAN REALLY ROCK YOU ALL NIGHT LONG. I CAN LET YOU DOWN EASY WHEN I THINK YOUR MONEY'S GONE."

'Rockin' Daddy' moves right into the slightly slower, but no less rhythmically chunky and no less ferocious, 'I AIN'T SUPERSTITIOUS'. The one-two punch of the piano and horns is enough to frighten the fainthearted, and that's without even mentioning the menace in Wolf's deep howl and the "sexual" tension throughout.

"WELL, THE DOGS ALL HOWLIN' ALL OVER THE NEIGHBORHOOD. THAT'S A TRUE SIGN THINGS AIN'T NO GOOD... PLAY IT ON! GO 'HEAD AND HOWL UNDER THE MOONLIGHT, 'CAUSE I GOT MY BABY BY MY SIDE; BOYS, SHE THE SWEETEST THING YOU EVER SEEN. YOUR DOGS IS HOWLIN', AND THE HOUNDS. --PLAY!!!-- LISTEN, BABY, HAVE YOU EVER BEEN LOVED BY A MAN THEY CALL THE WOLF?"

"I'M WORRIED ABOUT YOU, BABY. AND YOU'D BETTER BE WORRIED ABOUT ME!"

"I'M GONNA LEAVE YOU, WOMAN, BEFORE I COMMIT A CRIME."

The dialogue between Wolf and the White Rockers before they launch into 'THE RED ROOSTER' is classic: Trying to get Wolf to play the acoustic guitar on the track, Clapton feigns an inability to grasp his part unless he can visually follow the Wolf's fingering. After some cajoling, Wolf - indisputably the alpha in this pack - puts an end to the discussion when he emphatically says, "Alright, let's get on it!" And do they EVER! And borrowing from the Wolf's command, I've been continually using that phrase, "Alright, let's get on it", for the last twenty-one years.



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qFMDmSglfc0


"SOME FOLKS BUILT LIKE THIS; SOME FOLKS BUILT LIKE THAT. BUT THE WAY I'M BUILT, DON'TCHA CALL ME FAT. BECAUSE I'M BUILT FOR COMFORT; I AIN'T BUILT FOR SPEED. BUT I GOT EVERYTHING, OH, A GOOD GIRL NEEDS."

"WE GONNA PITCH A WANG DANG DOODLE ALL NIGHT LONG. LET ME HOWL TO YA: WA-OOO! WA-OOO! WA-OOO! ALL NIGHT-- WA-OOO!"

If you're already a Blues enthusiast, there's no reason for you not to own the Wolf's early, rawest material found on the "Twofer", 'Howlin' Wolf / Moanin' In The Moonlight'. That collection includes his standards, 'Spoonful'; 'Smokestack Lightnin''; 'Evil'; and 'Goin' Down Slow'. But if you're coming straight from the Rock genre, then 'THE LONDON HOWLIN' WOLF SESSIONS' is a perfect place for you to be introduced to this mountain of a man and one of the true giants in Blues.

Either way, this album should be kept within reach of everyone who wants a surefire way to answer the door when the proselytizers show up on the porch. At the first knock on your door, crank up the Wolf and then watch how fast they skedaddle. One time, two women dropped their 'Watchtower' pamphlets on my porch and outran their undergarments - left 'em right there in an indecorous heap on my stoop. And I had one Mormon man bolt so fast that his toupee was still hanging in midair when I opened the door!

No doubt about it, ya simply MUST have this Wolf album in yer collection. "ALRIGHT, LET'S GET ON IT!"

~ Stephen T. McCarthy

POSTSCRIPT LINK:
I loves me some Howlin’ Wolf! Wolf is not only my all-time favorite Bluesman, but he’s a person I admire for the many good personal qualities he possessed. (The story of his relationship with his devoutly religious Mother and that episode when he last saw her alive is truly heartbreaking. HEARTBREAKING! THAT is the Blues in real life!)

Muddy was genuinely GREAT; Wolf was the best.



STMcC on this 8th birthday, Monkee-ing around on the guitar & wishin' he was Howlin' Wolf

If you haven’t read enough words yet about The Wolf, and you wish to read mo’ stuffs I’ve written ‘bout Wolf (not to mention a small excerpt from my unproduced screenplay), click the link below:

AW-WOOO! WEREWOLVES OF MISSISSIPPI

~ Stephen T. McCarthy
'Loyal American Underground'

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

'VAN MORRISON AND CLEANING WINDOWS' (Or, 'PAUL HARVEY AND THE REST OF THE STORY')

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Some folks probably still don't know that I first met Arlee Bird and Sheboyganboy Six at BigBitch.com in early 2008, where I had started a discussion thread speculating on what might be the one song that all (or the most) Americans like.

Boidman and Six have both become good friends. It was even Sheboyganboy Six who found the place where I am currently living and where I'm composing this blog bit. (SBB-6 also turned me onto the fantastic comedy of Bob & Ray, with their classic skits about 'Tippy The Wonder Dog', 'Matt Neffer, Boy Spot-Welder', and too many others to mention... not to mention the song 'Mention My Name In Sheboygan'... which I may have to BOTB someday.) And Arlee Boidman has probably done more than anyone else to promote my blogging activities over the years.


"CENTRAL PARK" in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. Previous photo: DAIRY QUEEN in Sheboygan, WI. "Mention My Name In Sheboygan's Dairy Queen"

It seems EVERYBODY likes Cleaning Windows.

Wait! What I mean is that it seems everybody likes the SONG 'Cleaning Windows'.

FAE's most recent BOTB installment (won by Van Morrison) reminded me of another possibility in 'The Great Debate About The One Song That All (Or The Most) Americans Like'.

How about Van Morrison's 'Cleaning Windows'? It's a relatively unknown song, having never been a hit. But curiously, after over 3 decades I have never yet found anyone who would say they didn't like it. As a matter of fact, I have known a couple o' folks (one of them being an old girlfriend's youngest brother) who were decidedly NOT Van Morrison fans - didn't like him at all! - and yet they too admitted that they did, for some reason, like 'CLEANING WINDOWS'.

So, let's put this to the test right now and see if we can eliminate it as a contender in this Great Debate. Please listen and then let me know in the comment section if you can HONESTLY say you dislike 'Cleaning Windows'...

'CLEANING WINDOWS' - VAN MORRISON



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FgAf0Rjfm5s

OK, on to new business...

Some of you will remember Paul Harvey, the radio commentator who had a very popular series called 'The Rest Of The Story'. He would begin by telling the audience some interesting facts about someone or something. Then he would come back from a commercial break saying, "And now... the rest of the story", when he would finally reveal who or what he had been referring to earlier. It was always a surprising twist to have learned something about a person or event that you would never have imagined beforehand.

Now, since Paul Harvey has moved on to a less physical place, I'm going to reveal "the rest of the story". But first, I'd like to dedicate this next song to a very special "Special" someone. No name necessary because he knows WHO he is, and I know... WHAT he isn't.

This "Special" BIG fella is currently resting on the backs of four huge elephants which are in turn standing on the back of an enormous turtle named 'Turdle', or 'Turd' for short.

Take it away, Bruce 'N' Boys...



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J-OAi74f8i4

Well, thanks for stopping by, my friends. And I hope to see y'all again on April 15th, when I will offer up a sweet 'n' bitter 'Battle Of The Bands' blog bit which you just might find to be a real challenge when it comes time to decide which of the two great recordings (as dramatically different as they are) is the better one.

~ Stephen T. McCarthy
'Loyal American Underground'

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

'2015, APRIL 1: BATTLE OF THE BANDS' (Or, 'MAHALIA JACKSON VS. JUBILANT SYKES')

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Republican Vs. Democrat, Male Vs. Female, War Vs. Peace, Light Vs. Dark, Good Vs. Evil, Man Vs. Machine, Love Vs. Hate, Dog Vs. Cat, Sun Vs. Moon, Brain Vs. Brawn, Oscar Vs. Grammy, Angel Vs. Demon, Laurel Vs. Hardy, Beer Vs. Wine, TV Vs. Radio, Pitcher Vs. Batter, Paper Vs. Plastic, Reality Vs. Fantasy, Yeshua Vs. Beelzebub, Conservative Vs. Liberal, You Vs. Me, House Vs. Senate, Offense Vs. Defense, Kramer Vs. Kramer, Spy Vs. Spy, Fischer Vs. Spassky, W.C. Fields Vs. Sobriety, Harold Gimpy, Jr. Vs. Sheldon J. Pismire, Rock Vs. Paper Vs. Scissors, Islam Vs. Everything, Singer Vs. Singer, Band Vs. Band...
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THE BATTLE OF THE BANDS! (‘BOTB’)
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Shoop-Shooby –
Shooby-duh-Dooby-Doop-Dooby-Dooby-Doo-Wah –
Buh-Doo-Wah!
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Yes, it’s time once again for ‘Battle Of The Bands’ (‘BOTB’)
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Alright, let’s get on it...
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EUGENE  MARTONE  VS.  JACK  BUTLER
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It was on April 6 in 1994, in my apartment in Los Angeles, that I had an unexpected Spiritual experience and became a fool for Christ as mentioned in 1st Corinthians 4:10. In celebration of that day, I've decided to use the Gospel classic 'HOW I GOT OVER' for this "April Fool's Day" BOTB installment. And away we go... 

First, let's hear it from "The Queen Of Gospel". This old 1961 footage is in poor shape but we're just lucky to have it:

'HOW I GOT OVER' - MAHALIA JACKSON



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l49N8U3d0Bw
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GODZILLA  VS.  KING  KONG
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OK, this 1997 recording is by Jubilant Sykes.

Fun Fact: In junior high school, I was in 'Boys Chorus' with Jubilant. I think it's fair to say that I pretty much taught him everything he knows about singing. Take it away, Jubilant!...

'HOW I GOT OVER' - JUBILANT SYKES



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kLGUpXKolwo
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RIDDLER  VS.  BATMAN
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Alright now, “you know the gig”... I welcome EVERYONE to vote for their favorite of these songs in the comment section below. And feel free to tell us WHY you chose one song over the other. 
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After voting here, I suggest - actually I insist - you pop over to the blogs of the other 'BATTLE OF THE BANDS' participants to see which songs they have chosen and vote there also. (If their ‘BOTB’ blog bits aren’t posted yet, pour yourself two shots of ‘Grand Marnier’ over ice – do it twice – and then return to their blogs to vice your voice ...vote your vice ...voice your vote.)
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Voice Your Vote @ ‘FAR AWAY SERIES’ by clicking HERE.
@ ‘TOSSING IT OUT’ by clicking HERE.
@ ‘YOUR DAILY DOSE’ by clicking HERE.
@ ‘DISCCONNECTED’ by clicking HERE.
@ 'BOOK LOVER' by clicking HERE.
@ 'MIKE'S RAMBLINGS' by clicking HERE.
@ 'CURIOUS AS A CATHY' by clicking HERE.
@ 'THE SOUND OF ONE HAND TYPING' by clicking HERE.
@ 'DCRELIEF - BATTLE OF THE BANDS' by clicking HERE.
@ 'THIS BELLE ROCKS' by clicking HERE.
@ 'ALEX CAVANAUGH' (when BOTB falls on a Mon., Wed., or Fri.) by clicking HERE.
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As I've done in the past, I will continue to return to my 'BOTB' blog bits on the 7th and 21st of each month to post my own votes and announce the winners in the comment sections.
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~ Stephen T. McCarthy
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