Welcome back, my friends, to the "Battle" that never ends.
We're so glad you could attend. Come inside! Come inside!
This is 'BATTLE OF THE BANDS' ('BOTB') where you listen to different recordings and vote for the one you like best. A new Battle gets posted on the 1st of each month and on the 7th, I place my own vote, tally 'em all up and announce the winner.
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!
[NOTE: Links to the first year of 'BOTB' (#1 - #24) can be found at the very bottom of this page.]

Monday, June 8, 2015


My friend Robin the Girl Wonder has started a blog series titled 'The Soundtrack Of My Life'. A few of us bloggers have decided to participate. This is my third installment in the series.
According to my Ma,...

I was conceived on her wedding night at the El Cortez Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Here's the man what caused all the trouble:


In August of 1959, three weeks after the “sell by” date, I entered “this world” kicking, screaming, crying and fighting at the ‘University of California, Los Angeles Medical Center’:


The first song that I can remember being aware of and being entertained by is Home On The Range by The Sons Of The Pioneers. I was about five years old then and I had a yellow plastic Colt .45 that made a clicking sound when the trigger was pulled.


I used to put my ‘Home On The Range’ .45 on to my children’s record player and run around my bedroom shooting my .45. It’s hard to believe, but I actually still have the single:


Home, home on the range,
Where the deer and the antelope play.
Where seldom is heard
A discouraging word,
And the skies are not cloudy all day . . . 

‘Home On The Range’
by The Sons Of The Pioneers

My previous blog bits pertaining to 'The Soundtrack Of My Life' (TSOML) can be found by clicking the links below:


For more TSOML participants, visit the blog of GIRL WONDER ('Your Daily Dose') by clicking HERE.

~ Stephen T. McCarthy


  1. Funny...you were three weeks late...I was almost three months early!

    I think it had to do with the number one song that week...."Hit the road, Jack!"

    Did your parents get married by Elvis?

    1. LC ~
      Nearly 3 months early? Hokey-Smoke! You couldn't wait to get here. Me, I fought it as long as I could.

      Ha! No, Elvis definitely did NOT marry my parents. The night my parents got married, Elvis was no doubt doing "the nasty" with some girl who had sneaked onto the Army base for that express purpose.

      ~ D-FensDogG
      'Loyal American Underground'

    2. I've been told it is every girl's dream to be married by Elvis (or a Vegas Elvis impersonator)...

    3. ...and then to go back to their trailer park for the honeymoon.

      ~ D-FensDogG

  2. Wow, three weeks late! Your mom sounds like she was quite a trooper! Your parents were a great looking couple, and you were a mighty adorable young cowpoke, Stephen! I'm sure your parents loved hearing you play Home On The Range over again and again!


    1. GEM JULIE ~
      On top of the three weeks late, 40 hours of labor! Seriously, I must have been yelling, "Hell NO! I won't GO!"

      Of course the medical community isn't too likely to let a mother-to-be go through 40 hours of labor anymore. At least that's my understanding. But, again, it just shows that I pretty much wanted NO PART of "this world". (And I still feel largely the same.) You'd think I was a giant baby after all that but I was just average sized.

      You always say the nicest things, Julie.

      My Pa probably didn't have to hear 'Home On The Range' over and over and over again too often because he was at work, but I imagine my Ma must have sometimes wanted to PUT ME in the range and padlock the door. :-)

      Well, at least when she heard 'Home On The Range' playing in my room, she knew where I was and that I couldn't get into too much trouble there. Ha!

      ~ D-FensDogG

  3. I guess just about every middle class kid used to have a cowboy outfit at sometime in their lives. I even remember my brother and sister, who were twins, had matching cowboy and cowgirl outfits when they were about 7 or eight--they looked so cute in those matching outfits. Nowadays I don't think that many kids care about cowboys.

    When I was small I don't know if 45's were on the market yet or not. I always had 78's to spin on my little bedroom turntable. I had some Disney records like "Davy Crockett" and "Yo Ho Ho and a Bottle of Rum", but mostly I used to like to listen to my parents' records. That's probably the roots of my love of classical music and they had a couple discs of "Claire de Lune" and "Sabre Dance" that I enjoyed listening to.

    It's pretty cool that you still have that record. Is it the original copy that you used to listen to? I'm sure I'd heard "Home on the Range" numerous times in movies and cartoons, but it never hit my radar until I was around 9 and my father bought me a harmonica. That was one of the songs I learned to play. I think anyone who got a harmonica back then was required to learn "Home on the Range". I think back on me playing that and I feel like a movie cliche of a cowboy sitting by the campfire or some guy in prison.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Road trippin' with A to Z
    Tossing It Out

    1. LEE ~
      >>... Nowadays I don't think that many kids care about cowboys.

      No. Cowboys seem to have gone the way of Indians and the buffalo. Kinda sad, because playing games like that really strengthened a kid's imagination. We invented all kinds of games back then. Today, there's no imagination needed by kids, just a couple of working thumbs.

      We were more like, Lower, Lower Middle Class, I would guess, but after my parents lost their Orange County home, we moved into a house in Santa Monica that my Grandpa owned. That helped a lot, as I'm sure the rent was really minimal.

      Also, my Brother, Sister and I had toys that were often outside of our economic class because my Ma had been destitute as a little girl in the Great Depression and she didn't want her kids to know the same sort of needs and wants. She'd charge all of our Christmas presents and just barely get 'em paid off before it was time to charge up the next year's Christmas presents.

      Yeah, we had both 45 and 78 rpm singles (see my comment to Robin below), and yes, the 'Home On The Range' 45 is the original I used to Whoop 'n' Holler to. I checked the serial number and it was actually produced in (as I recall) 1957.

      My Pa really loved "Claire de Lune", too, and we had an LP with that one and some other Classical compositions on it. But "Claire..." was the one my Pa played the most.

      ~ D-FensDogG

  4. As a fellow 1959 baby, I can tell you we are the best bunch o' boomer babes. I was born on a Sunday ("...but a child that's born on the Sabbath Day, is fair and wise and good and gay." I'm not gay.)

    Nothing significant happened on that particulary day in 1959, but there have been some important things that happened on my birth date of Feb. 8:

    1. 1587 - Mary Queen of Scots is beheaded

    2. 1926 - Walt Disney Studios is formed

    3. 1931 - James Dean is born

    Yep...those all make sense and I fit right in.

    Come on Stephen, we have to go back to the future.

    1. CHERDO ~

      >>... As a fellow 1959 baby, I can tell you we are the best bunch o' boomer babes.

      No doubt! That is an objective fact that has been verified time and time again.

      >>... ("...but a child that's born on the Sabbath Day, is fair and wise and good and gay." I'm not gay.)

      "Not that there's anything wrong with that."
      I hope you're at least a little bit happy though.

      "James Dean is born"... Well, that's definitely a good one. Must have been some rebelliousness in the air.

      Back to the future? But I'd rather go back to the back... of the room... where teacher won't notice me and I can slip out the classroom door the very second the bell rings.

      ~ D-FensDogG

  5. Your mother looks so pretty in a great dress sitting on the car. I have pictures of my mom sitting on a car or leaning on it too. Must have been the thing to do. Love these old photos because it brings back "simpler" times especially with the bright gun and you dressed up in cowboy gear-very cute:)

    1. BIRGIT ~
      I'm not sure which is prettier, my Ma or... the car. (That is a fabulous car! They sure don't make 'em like THAT anymore. One could probably run that car head-on into a train and derail the train!)

      Like you, I'm wild about old photos. Not just of my family but old photos in general. And old business signs. When I see old style rusting business signs, it always stops me dead in my tracks.

      Where I live now, there are some really old sections of town where the signs have survived from the '40s, '50s, and probably some even later.

      Love old style motel (or motor lodge) signs, bar and gas station signs. There are a some really cool ones near where I live. There's 'ABBY'S HWY. 40 BAR' and 'ALTURA'S BAR' sign on 4th Street. The bars themselves aren't really my type (not dark enough) but the signs alone got me to have a beer in one and to just poke my head into the other.

      Thanks! I was kinda cute in that cowboy getup, wasn't I? ...Don't know what happened to me though. The years have been rough. (I especially like how I've got the wrong eye open when trying to aim that cap gun! That's so kid-like to get it wrong. Aiming down the SIDE of the barrel. Ha!)

      ~ D-FensDogG

  6. That picture of you in your western get-up is so gosh darn cute. The word "precocious" comes to mind when I look at it.

    Your dad looks like he could be a firecracker. Something about that glint in his eye. And your ma looks like a sweet young thing who had no idea what she was getting into!!!

    I had a record player, too. I remember the days of the 45 well. My mom went to a garage sale when I was about 7 or 8 and bought up a whole passel of 45s. They must have given the whole crapshoot away for next to nothing. They were mostly 50s and 60s tunes. She then bought me a plastic yellow holder to keep them all in. It looked very much like this one:


    That was a sweet memory. Thanks for sharing it with us. So, when you hear that song now, does it make you went to play dress up and fire your gun?

  7. I think I said "went" and I mean to say "want" on that last question. Egads.

    1. GIRL WONDER ~
      Yeah, put me in a full-blown cowboy outfit and I was pretty cute. Don't know what happened in the ensuing years. (Maybe I should go back to dressing like that and hitting the pick-up bars just to see if my luck would change?:-) Think I'll rename myself "Midnight Cowboy".

      Yeah, your assessment about my Pa and Ma were pretty sharp. I will add though that my Pa, despite being a true man's-man type (which I think is pretty obvious in that photo) had a really wacky sense of humor (you know, Roger Miller, Louis Prima, etc.) He was a very low-key guy who was a lot of fun to be around.

      Don't let my Ma's appearance fool you too much though. Now THAT was a firecracker! She'd make 3 friends just standing in the grocery line waiting to check out, but wrong one of her kids, or even some underdog stranger, and LOOK OUT! Mama Bear on the attack!

      I picked up ALL those qualities from both of my parents, which is probably why I sometimes seem to be 8 different people at once.

      I've seen those plastic record holders before but never actually owned one myself. However, another record from my youth (78 rpm) that I still have today is THIS one:


      Got nuttin' to play 'em on though. They just sit around on bookshelves collecting dust.

      >>... So, when you hear that song now, does it make you went to play dress up and fire your gun?

      It makes me want to grab my real gun and ride my horse (bicycle) to downtown Reno and shoot a man just to watch him die. (So far, I have managed to fight off the urge but... ultimately, I'm a weak man and the time is probably coming.)

      ~ D-FensDogG

  8. Given your love of Westerns I'm not at all surprised to find you listening to that song and dressed as a cowboy when you were little. You was a cute little fella I must say.

    The first song I clearly remember was "Come Out, Ye Black and Tans" I must have been around four or five and would roar that song out at the top of my lungs feeling all fierce and dangerous. I'm betting the only thing I scared was the field mice.

    1. ANNE ~
      Back then, I think just about all little boys liked cowboys, but for some reason, it really stuck with me all my life. Too bad I couldn't have stayed cute!

      'Come Out, Ye Black And Tans'... I had to look that up and listen to it. Gotta love an anti-establishment rebel song! I really am kind of like a dog: don't like a uniform. ;-)

      ~ D-FensDogG

    2. It wasn't so much that we were upset about them wearing uniforms, it was about them occupying our country for over 700 years and killing us by the millions that pissed us off.

      I'm mostly over it as some of my best friends are Englishman :0)

    3. Oh, yes, I read about it and understood that.

      By my reference to uniforms, I primarily meant to imply that uniforms generally mean conformity, indoctrination, etc. And all the armies wear uniforms and make war, and "War Is A Racket". And I don't care if they're American uniforms, "War Is (still) A Racket".

      Had I been born in Ireland, I probably would have been singing "Come Out, Ye Black and Tans" at the top of my lungs, too.

      ~ D-FensDogG

  9. I was born in 1959. The early soundtrack of my life was screaming.


    1. JANIE ~
      For me, the screaming tracks come a bit later in my Soundtrack.

      ~ D-FensDogG

  10. A lot of fun and interesting details here!

    First: that 1947 Oldsmobile convertible. I assume that it is your dad's car and that your mom is not leaning on someone ELSE'S car! If that shot was taken when they got married, then the car would have been about 11 years old at the time... but still an awesome ride. They'd have looked quite a couple tooling down the highway with the top down and the wind in their hair!

    In the corner, the pic says: "love, Steve". What's up wid that? Who is Steve, and why is HE wishing love to the recipient of the photo?

    Next, your Pa: he DOES have a bit of a smirk going there. Like he knows something that you don't. Why does the photo say "Diamond Jim's" on it? Did he work there? Was it taken by their photographer?

    Next, you: you DO look a cute little bugger! You are ALMOST as cute as my son Alex in a remarkably similar picture we have of him. Same pose, same outfit, same age... but with the gun to one side enough to show his incredibly mischievous grin on his face. Hands up, pardner!

    Too bad none of us are as innocent now as you were then, McBuddy!

      I'm not sure whose car it is, but I think it likely was my Ma's Pa. And that would make sense, because I seem to remember her telling me the photo was taken in the Venice part of Los Angeles, and he lived there for years.

      That's definitely before my Ma married (or had probably even met) my Pa.

      Great attention to detail, Bro! It actually says "Love, Stevie". Stevie was my Ma's nickname when she was young. She acquired it as a girl living in Cincinnati, and it was based on the fact that she had a crush on a Cincinnati Reds baseball player named Steve (or maybe he too was called Stevie, I can't remember all the facts anymore).

      I'm glad you asked the question about DIAMOND JIM'S because it caused me to look into it further:

      Many years ago, I tried to research that but all I came up with was that it was a casino in downtown Las Vegas during the 1960s. But now, with this miracle called "the Internet" (thanks again, Al Gore!), I was able to Google it and come up with lots more information such as...

      (Link:->) DIAMOND JIM'S NEVADA CLUB - 1

      (Link:->) DIAMOND JIM'S NEVADA CLUB - 2

      (Link:->) DIAMOND JIM'S NEVADA CLUB - 3

      My Pa was definitely married to my Ma when that photo was taken, and based on his youthful appearance, I would guess it was probably 1962, soon after the casino opened. I just took a look at my all-time favorite family photo (Easter Sunday, 1964) and my Pa looked slightly older than in the Diamond Jim's photo, so I'm going to say it was taken no later than '63.

      Great Q's, man, thanks for asking 'em!

      ~ D-FensDogG

    2. I don't know for sure, but from looking at the other photos (located at one of the links you provided), I'm guessing that Diamond Jim's had a guy (or scantily-clad gal) that went around snapping shots (Polaroids?) of people and handing them to the folks immediately as souvenirs. All the shots have their logo in unexposed white along the bottom of the photo, which probably was done in the camera itself. Good way of promoting the place... though it obviously wasn't enough, given that DJ's went out of business in 1969!

    3. Good detective work, and you may be right. Comparing the various similar photos, I too noticed that the backgrounds seemed different. (There was only one in which I thought the background was somewhat similar to the one with my Pa in it.)

      So I considered that perhaps they had several of these kinds of "Photo Spots" throughout the casino and remodeling over the years accounted for background differences. (Casinos are all CONSTANTLY remodeling things. For example, in that 7-year-old blog bit 'Notes From An Unnoteworthy Vacation' where I wrote about the McCarthy Brothers vacation in Reno, I mentioned a Keno lounge in Circus-Circus and a Sports Book at the Eldorado. Well, today, that Circus-Circus Keno lounge is a Sports Book and the Eldorado Sports Book is a Keno lounge.)

      That Diamond Jim's logo looked to me like it was on a pane of plexiglass that people were posing behind, but you may be right that it's actually a small plastic strip connected to the camera itself that gets developed right onto the photo.

      Again, good attention to details, McSix!

      ~ D-FensDogG

  11. 'My Heros Have Always Been Cowboys'


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