Tuesday, April 21, 2015


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.


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

~ Stephen T. McCarthy


  1. I like The Highwaymen and the song 'Highwayman'. You say it was off their first album, I thought there was only one.

    On reincarnation - if we remembered everything from a 'previous life' wouldn't that pretty much defeat the purpose. I believe, like karma, and I mean 'real karma', not the one everyone jokes about, reincarnation is for our own good and not any sort of punishment. The purpose is to help us grow, to be as perfected as this or any other mortal life will allow. As in all things ordained by a loving Heavenly Father and His Son it is to be a means for us to work out the necessary details in our lives. Or maybe that's just me.

    1. Well, I know there were at least 2 HIGHWAYMEN albums, but I think there was also a third. I only ever owned the first. (I prefer my Waylon and Willie without Johnny and Kris.)

      Yes, FAE, you're right. Karma is always for our own good. It's been said that there's really no such thing as "bad karma", and when one understands the whole purpose of it, it's easy to see that's true - even if bad acts come back to the bad actor.

      It's all about cause, effect, and learnin'. But God don't want no Pavlov's dogs. We're supposed to gain understanding at a soul level, not just run when the whip gets cracked.

      Speaking of cracked... I think I'm off my meds. I need to go buy six more. [;-)}

      ~ D-FensDogG
      'Loyal American Underground'

    2. All you jocularity aside... It is about understanding on a soul level and not a Pavlovian response. I think that's a big part of my problem with organized religion; a place where for the most part, that's exactly what they want and expect - salivation at the ringing of a bell.

    3. FAE ~
      Yeah, I agree with what you're saying. I don't want to get TOO deep into it here, but...

      (Although I'd be pleased as spiked-punch to discuss it in great detail with anyone at one of the two sites I linked to above - see the linky words "Reincarnation" and "Man" in my original text.)

      However, YES, to what you're sayin'. People in "organized religions" tend to wanna scale it way back for the benefit of their flock. (You know, their flock? Who're watching 'Dancing With The Kardashians' when they're not at work or church.)

      It's like... keep it simple... follow these simple rules and you will go to the Great Nursery School in the sky when you die.

      But if you study the complexity of a single human cell, or the way water is utilized by and in the human body, it starts to seem pretty silly to believe that there is ANYTHING simple about God and what He creates.

      There is more complexity in any given chapter of The Bible than anyone can fully grasp. But I'm supposed to believe that if I say "I believe" and get my arse dunked into a tub of water I'm... good to go?

      I don't think so. Others can think what they want, but... I don't think so.

      ~ D-FensDogG

  2. They certainly were a dream team, The Highwaymen, and that Jimmy Webb song was befitting of their stature and evokes powerful images throughout. Thank you for posting the song and explaining how it relates to you and this new series The Soundtrack of My Life.

    While I have your attention, Stephen, I ask that you place SDMM on your BOTB blog hop list. As a rule, I refuse to join any group, club or organization that would have me as a member, but your gang has been so kind, welcoming and supportive that I would like to participate. I will have a BOTB post ready by May 1. Thank you, good buddy!

      Yeah, I think that 'Highwayman' song is pretty good, regardless of whether or not a person believes in the concept (or some of it, as in my case).

      The mid-'80s Country folks sure liked it, obviously. And there's some tasteful electric guitar work going on there, behind all them deep, masculine voices. (Well... Willie doesn't qualify, but I still like his voice.)

      My friend, it is MY GREAT PLEASURE to add you to the BOTB links. Thanks for playing along with us. I have no doubt that you will contribute some excellent "Battle" song choices, and will even bring in a few new voters. So, this should be a Win-Win situation for ever'one!

      Normally, I charge a milkshake for entry into the BOTB Blogfest, but you are such a nice, likeable guy, I am going to waive the milkshake fee and let you in free. (If Cherdo ever joins us, I'll just charge her two milkshakes and make up the loss there.)

      ~ D-FensDogG
      'Loyal American Underground'

      A sincere thanks for accepting the invitation. And remember, you can come in and go out whenever necessary. There are no contracts to sign and no salesman will visit your door - EVER! (Because we use saleswomen exclusively.)

    2. << Because we use saleswomen exclusively. >>

      That seals the deal, pardner. I'm all in!!!

    3. This is some great news; No not that Shady Del Knight is a depraved or should that be as deprived as you, but that he will be joining BOTB.

    4. Well, I don't know about depraved or deprived, but I know Shecky Shady Shaft is quite... entertaining. ...And on top of that, he's a bad muhtha-- shut my mouth!

      ~ D-FensDogG

    5. I wanted to express this to you last night, Stephen, but it slipped my mind. You are a class act all the way for leaving such a superb comment on my blog for 103 year old Margaret and her daughter Kathleen. They were both overjoyed and so was I. Thanks a million, good buddy!

    6. S-3 ~
      No trouble at all. I enjoyed reading it, I liked the photos, and I was very pleased to be able to (in some small way) help a nice lady celebrate such a long and full life.

      I will be back to read and comment again the next time, too!

      ~ D-FensDogG

  3. That is a wonderful song and I normally don't listen to country but it doesn't sound typically country and the words are so...deep man. OK I went all groovy on you:) I know what you mean about being reincarnated-that people always pick they were some queen or king. Why not a kitchen gal or a tramp? Now as for the great, great film..."I am ready for my close-up Mr. De Mille." I think the pictures have gotten small since this film! I actually saw the other beginning of the film-you see bodies in the morgue and then William sits up and starts talking! I like the beginning Wilder chose better:) Every aspect of this film is full of greats and an homage to the silent...or maybe a slight. I know Mayer thought Wilder should be tarred and feathered. I love the "wax works" which were H.B. Warner, Anna Q Nielsen and Buster Keaton who refused to see the film after. The wonderful Mae Murray (who would probably have her own reality show if she were alive today) said, after seeing the picture, "None of us floozies was ever that nuts!".

    1. BIRGIT ~
      I should have added, "But Birgit is not allowed to answer the famous quote question".

      Not a shred of doubt in my mind that YOU would have the right answer.

      Are you an American expatriate? Or Canadian by birth?

      I'm just wondering about your intense interest in movies, and especially your knowledge of old Hollywood classics "IN GLORIOUS BLACK & WHITE".

      >>... I think the pictures have gotten small since this film!

      Well, I know one thing for sure: The performers "had faces" then. ;-) (You're one of the few who would "get" that.)

      >>... I actually saw the other beginning of the film - you see bodies in the morgue and then William sits up and starts talking!

      That sounds really familiar. I'm not sure if I've seen that or maybe just read about it. Was the movie originally released with that beginning, and it got edited out later? Or was it filmed but ended up on the cutting room floor before release?

      There's NO QUESTION but that the movie should have begun the way it did, with Joe's disembodied voice narrating. Had his body sat up and started talking it would have seemed really corny and cartoon-y.

      OK, lemme ask you a question:

      I am a big fan of Film Noir. (In fact, according to Blogspot's record of "Page Views", the most popular blog bit I've ever published - and by far - was my list of Top Ten personal favorite examples of Film Noir, with plot descriptions. Although a few of my favorites are not normally ranked really high by the so-called experts.)

      I'm sure you're aware of the on-going debate about whether or not 'CASABLANCA' should be categorized as Film Noir. In which camp are you, and why?

      And one last question:

      If you were forced to select your #1 all-time favorite Film Noir, which one would it be?

      ~ D-FensDogG

    2. Oh I am all Canadian and grew up on a sawmill! My dad was born in Barry's Bay Ontario in 1913! He is the one who instilled the love of movies in me. I mean my dad actually went to the flickers in the 20's! I could ask him all tons of questions and that is why I write my A to Z in this style. I would ask my dad, "Who is that? Are the alive? When did they die? How did they die? Did they marry? " etc... To me the old films and actors were the best! I have this film bit of Holden in the morgue on my DVD extras. They showed this to a preview audience who most thought was gross and some giggled. Wilder knew it was not good and thankfully changed it. In regards to Casablanca-I can't call it a true film noir. Yes it has Bogart and the usual suspects:) but it does not have that same feel. It is much more metropolitan, intrigue and spy. The girl is not a true double edged sword. She is just caught between 2 men. To me this is my kind of romance film because it is intelligent and has more than just the romance (Love means never having to say you're sorry...bleccchhhhhh). As for picking my all time film noir-are you kiddin??? My head is swirling with all sorts of great films from "The Maltese Falcon, the Bogie and Bacall films, Gun Crazy, Ladd and Lake. I have to think on this one:)

  4. This is one of the couple of dozen or so country discs I own. Webb is one heckuva songwriter, and the variety of tunes he has penned and artists who have covered them is quite impressive.

    I, too have lived four different incarnations. Currently I clean out a cat litter box.

    In my last life, I picked up after a Great Dane.

    Before that I was a stable boy cleaning up after horses.

    And before that I cleaned the elephant pens outside the Taj Mahal.

    So while I have been shoveling shit throughout eternity, the upside is, at least it is getting smaller.


    1. LC, that is the funniest comment you ever left ANYWHERE! I kid you not, I was laughing out loud for a full five minutes!

      ~ D-FensDogG

  5. I've always liked the song, Waylon, and Wille.
    It will be interesting to see where you go from here.

    1. DIXIE POLKA ~

      From here... I plan to... "fly a starship across the Universe divide".

      Either that, or just to post another very competitive BOTB installment (smile).

      ~ D-FensDogG

    2. Take your cell phone because in space no one can hear you scream. (So I'm told)


    3. "Real Men" don't scream, they just order another beer.

      ~ D-FensDogG

  6. I think I'm too lazy to become reincarnated. I could picture you as a classic film noir legend, or a former Hollywood stuntman. You'd sure make one heckuva Highwayman too. I'm glad Robin convinced you to join in, Stephen! Oh, and if you haven't already seen it, you should find Carol Burnett and Harvey Korman's spoof on Sunset Blvd.


    1. GEM JULIE ~
      I gotta tell ya, I'm pretty lazy, too, but that hasn't prevented me from coming back again and again. (If you're really able to stay off the carousel, I'd sure love to learn your secret.)

      I loved The Carol Burnett Show with Harvey Korman and Tim Conway. Thanks for the tip! I don't think I've ever seen that skit but I'm now gonna try to find it.

      ~ D-FensDogG

  7. I love this introduction (even though I'm feeling horribly ashamed at not knowing the quote for Sunset Boulevard --thank you Birgit for that reveal--) because I haven't given much thought about the things I believe and how they define me (but now I will!).

    Reincarnation. I'm trying to recall exactly when I started to believe it was true. I think it was in the early 90s. Well, back up there, sister... I've always believed in stuff like ESP. That was the first book I bought out of the Scholastic reader (with my own allowance, no less) in 1980 or thereabouts. It was all just short stories of people "knowing" unknowable things. I remember one story of a woman breaking down in her car and calling her husband from a pay phone. She was upset and he, of course, became upset and said, "I'm coming for you," and hung up. She's standing there holding the phone when she realizes she didn't tell him where she was (and she wasn't somewhere she'd normally be, so he could make an educated guess). Despite that, he drove right up to her. It remained one of the greatest mysteries of their lives since neither could explain it. The book was full of stories like that. And I KNEW right then that there was so much we didn't have a clue about (mostly the ways God works in our lives).

    On to the 90s. I started reading about reincarnation. There was one story that 100% convinced me (and nothing I've read since has turned me around the other way). This woman as a child FULLY REMEMBERED her past incarnation. She'd had a lot of kids and died after giving birth to the last one. Before she died, she was absolutely panicky about what would happen to her children. She knew her husband couldn't manage all those kids. So, in this life she remembered. She knew the place where she lived before. She found it on the map. She knew the entire town. And she remembered her children. It was in another country, btw. Ireland? Wales? I can't remember. Too long ago. Anyway, as an adult, she went there. And she found some of her children. (Which would be strange at best.) They were, of course, skeptical... but she remembered everything. And they talked and talked and talked about the time you did this, and your brother did that, and I made this for you. She reconnected with all the kids she could find (and that were still alive... they were pretty old, though she reincarnated very quickly, which I think is unusual). It was just this amazing story.

    If I were to find out it wasn't true, would it change my mind? Nope. Even The Bible references reincarnation more than once. After reading the book I told you about, I remember lying in bed talking to God and asking to be shown (or help me remember) a reincarnation experience of my own. That night I dreamt it. It was one of those VIVID dreams that I can still remember each detail of and I was me, but not me, and I know it was God showing me a past life. Of course, I was a nobody. A pioneer. And oddly enough... wait for it... a man. I've never dreamt myself as a man before. Ever. I think God chose an experience that was so foreign to my own experience that I had to recognize it for what it was.

    Now, the song. I loved it. Just loved it. And I couldn't help but think of my dad as I listened. And wondered if this was one of those times he was right here beside me listening too. He loved The Highwaymen. So I know he knew this song. Thank you for that!

    1. GIRL WONDER ~
      Thanks! I'm glad you liked 'Soundtrack - Blog Bit 1'. I figured if I'm going to do this, I might as well make it a little different from the old one, so I started with something completely different. We'll see where it goes from here.

      Right now, I can think of only one song that I DEFINITELY plan to use this time around that I didn't use the last time. But there may be a few more.

      Speaking for myself, if I didn't find reincarnation so clearly confirmed in The Holy Bible, it's not something I'd be compelled to consider. It's certainly in The Good Book, but it's only really "spelled out plainly" once, because knowledge of reincarnation is not essential. It's just a law created by God - like gravity is a law - and they work whether or not anyone even thinks about them.

      There are countless stories of reincarnation that have been confirmed over centuries. (One very scholarly, scientific - and thus somewhat "dry" - book that's incredibly convincing is '20 CASES SUGGESTIVE OF REINCARNATION' by Ian Stevenson, M.D.)

      I don't really think about reincarnation too much anymore, but at one time, during the many years I studied it, I had it on my mind constantly. But having reached the point of "KNOWING" and understanding WHY it happens, there's no point in me spending any more time studying it. That would be time better spent elsewhere... like in my favorite saloon. (I jest.)

      There are in fact a number of stories very similar to the one you described about the reincarnated mother and her children. But there's one in particular that has become quite well known. I'd be willing to bet that the one you have in mind is THIS...




      Your story about the dream was very interesting. I didn't mention this in the blog bit, but I also believe I was a female in another life, and also a Black man who may have been a Christian preacher living in the area where I'm now residing sometime shortly after the end of the Civil War. I'm not "SURE" about those I've just mentioned, but I have strong suspicions about 'em.

      >>... Now, the song. I loved it. Just loved it. And I couldn't help but think of my dad as I listened. And wondered if this was one of those times he was right here beside me listening too. He loved The Highwaymen. So I know he knew this song. Thank you for that!

      Very cool. Very, very cool, GIRL WONDER. Did you already know this song, or was it new to you?

      ~ D-FensDogG

    2. First, I didn't know the song, but I really liked it.

      Second, I'll check out those links and get back to you. It was a long time ago that I read that book (1993 maybe?).

      Third, since I've been doing my own Bible reading I've noticed how much dream material is in there. People having dreams. People interpreting dreams. Makes me believe even more fully in my own dreaming and that they are very, very real.

      As for your own ideas about your past lives... very interesting. I know you can't prove it, but I'm curious how these ideas even came to you. You can include it in that rEply you still owe me if you don't want to yak about it here. :)

    3. I do believe that was the story. Wow... you're good. Or I'm exceptional with the description. Either way... One or both of us is outstanding.

  8. I knew the famous quote, but oddly enough I have never watched Sunset Boulevard in its entirety. I've seen snippets when I've happened to find it on TV, but then never finished since I want to see it from the beginning. I guess if I don't see it in this life maybe I'll catch it in my next one.

    "Highwayman" is a good song and an interesting pick, but I can see the connection between the song and what you've written here. Not sure that I'd agree with everything you claim to know, but no surprise there I guess. Our disagreements don't just come down to music you know.

    This will be an interesting series to follow. Not sure that I'll join in since in a way I've done so many life soundtrack posts on all of my blogs. Have to think about it after April is over.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Tossing It Out

    1. BOIDMAN McLEE (aka '180-Degree Lee') ~
      Thanks for checking in here, my friend.

      >>... I guess if I don't see it in this life maybe I'll catch it in my next one.

      Ha! Yep. Well, it'll probably still be available for viewing, having been selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the National Film Registry.

      >>... Our disagreements don't just come down to music you know.

      You're kidding, right? Because I have no idea what you're referring to there. I mean, I think I'm a great guy; you think I'm a great guy. I think I'm the sexiest man on the planet and have strong, white teeth; you think I'm... a guy with strong, white teeth.

      What do we disagree about?

      ~ D-FensDogG

  9. Soundtrack of my life needs a graphic! I said I'd start doing them after the A-to-Z, but I have to get some art in there, too. What do you think should be on the SOML logo for Cherdo?

    1. If you're going to make a graphic, get busy girlfriend! I'm clicking away with these posts and I want the Too Cool For School Graphic, too.

    2. CHERDO ~
      As for a 'TSOML' graphic, I'm actually OK with what Girl Wonder has already been using: I like the pastel colors and the songbirds (musical notes) singing from the communication wires (a la a written music chart).

      However, I've seen what you can do, and if you want to create your own personal graphic for TSOML, I think you should. And if it turned out even better than what's already in use, and if you'd allow me to use it to, I would adopt it for my TSOML blog bits, also.

      You're the graphic artist here, so yer askin' the wrong guy for a suggestion, but... since you axed, one thing did come to my mind (whether it's a good, bad or mediocre idea, I couldn't say). How about if you incorporated this... C♯ ...into your graphic?

      Get it? A "C-sharp", because you're name starts with C and you're mentally sharp. You could even use it like C♯ E R D O, and then just add some extra stuffs and special colors and... VOILA!

      Oh well, that's the best this old drunk can come up with. Feel free to use or ignore. But please don't call me late for Happy Hour.

      ~ D-FensDogG

  10. Highwaymen is one of my all time most favorite songs in country music. Waylon and Willie are my country idols next to Johnny. I wish I would have seen Johnny Cash in concert. I've seen Waylon before he passed, I've seen Kris and Willie numerous times. Great song and very very interesting post.

    1. Howdy, HOLLI ~
      Yeah, that's a purdy dern good song - I likes it too! I like a lot of Country music - older Classic Country and Outlaw Country (not much of today's Country). Waylon was always my favorite - saw him live on stage 4 times and he was terrific.

      It was my Pa who got me into Willie's music with 'On The Road Again' and later Willie's fantastic 'Stardust' album.

      But even as a small child, my Pa always had Roger Miller playing around the house, and I rode with Roy Rogers and The Sons Of The Pioneers, so I've definitely got certain types of Country music flowing through my veins.

      Thanks for stopping by! Nice to hear from ya. I've seen yer comments here and there around the Blogosphere, but this may be the first time we've ever interacted.

      I like yer name, and... are you the one who's into motorcycles? I think I checked out your Profile Page once long ago, but I may be confusing you with someone else.

      ~ D-FensDogG
      'Loyal Amerrican Underground'

  11. I'll make the admission that I haven't seen Sunset Boulevard. But it's on my to-see list, honest!

    1. MICHAEL ~
      You won't regret it. It's an absolutely CLASSIC example of Film Noir, and one of the most famous.

      ~ D-FensDogG


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