African Music Tanka

African music
Soulful shouts of life’s anguish
What is he singing?
No matter his wail is clear
Pain and emotions translate

Greatest Hits List

Last week, I did a post about my all-time favorite albums. The criteria were simple, I usually listen to the albums start to finish and I like them. This time around, I’m going for my favorite “Greatest Hits” albums. Honestly, I think greatest hits albums are a bit of rip, especially for groups that have them with very little to offer, but I’m a consumer, so I must be gullible. Hopefully, I’m not that way as a voter. I rest with a clear conscience after our last election…

Once again, feel free to share your greatest hits album favorites in the comments. I’ll check them out, but please play nice, I realize there may be limitations to my choices.

1. Chicago IX (Chicago): For me, it’s the summer of ’83 and I’m jamming with the windows open in my bedroom, the smell of boxwood shrubs outside, and a cool breeze coming off the James River before I head to Busch Gardens for work.

2. Crossroads (Eric Clapton): Don’t get snippy with me, it’s my list. I realize this is a box set, but if it had not be for this set, I might not be where I am today. If everything happens for a reason, I was meant to sit in my Philadelphia apartment listening to this for hours as I contemplated moving back to the South. Thank goodness for Sam Goody’s. Anyone for Tennis…

3. Dreams (Allman Brothers): Yada, yada, yada…I get it, you’re not a fan of box sets. See Crossroads… These two sets are my 1990-1991 year. Without them, who knows where I’d be.

4. Legend (Bob Marley and the Wailers): There is more to reggae than Bob, but I bet this album is the one the allowed all the other reggae artists to get paid. You can go wrong with any of the songs on this album and “Three Little Birds” might be my favorite. Many years after a reggae summer, I saw Ziggy Marley in concert. It was cool getting just a hint of the Bob vibe.

5. Eagles Vol. 1 (Eagles): My first album as a fifth grader was Already Gone. It was a gift from my sisterish aunt. The song, “Already Gone,” is one of those anthem songs for me. I think that the Eagles are the first band that I became aware of and this album is full of great songs. [Vol 2 came a little too soon for me. Okay, the more I think about, the more I think it should be on the list. Let’s include it without making it official.]

6. All the Great Hits (Commodores): After taking a rocket fuel ride in a lime green Monte Carlo, circa 1976, with Brick House blasting, I was a Commodores fan. I still wish Lionel Richie has stayed with them, but at least there’s this collection.

7. The Best of Earth, Wind, and Fire Vol. 1 (EWF): Nothing screams middle school like the Commodores and EWF. Where the Commodores faded away, EWF tightly held its grip on me. They are a big part of my second act and I once rode an escalator with one of the guys in the band. It was about twenty minutes before a show at the Borgota and I wasn’t sure, but when I saw him on stage, I knew. The energy of their show is awesome, just be prepared to stand up because everybody knows all the words and everyone wants to dance.

8. Greatest Hits 1974-78 (Steve Miller Band): All of my friends in high school had trucks. They were very different than the one I drive now as they only had the one bench seat. We would cram three or four into the cab and head down the road. All of my friends also had this album on cassette. We listened to it a lot. Thank goodness it’s a keeper.

So there you have it, eight greatest hits albums that left a lasting impression somewhere within my musical soul.

Oh, no, I forgot “Hooligans,” by The Who… It’s got to be on there somewhere…

Rolling Trumpstones

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Note: This is a bit of a political rant… Just saying…agree or don’t, but be nice.

How great is that the President of the United States is planning his defense for potential charges that go against everything America stands for and then disinvites a championship team that is named after a national symbol, E-A-G-L-E-S because they believe in a person’s right to protest?

It’s not great at all, but that is the way of things in our country today. The Philadelphia Eagles, who won the Super Bowl, will not be attending the White House as has been the tradition for championship teams for some time now. The reason was that too few of the team members were going to show up, so Trump bailed. It’s great that the team, by standing up for what it believed and backing it up with several players planning to do charity work in DC rather than bow to the minister of deceit, have shown that we must stick up for what is right within ourselves. Further, the country is not about Republican, Democrat, or Trump, it’s about our laws and beliefs that we have certain inalienable rights, one being freedom of speech.

The President has shown again that he doesn’t believe in that right unless it’s about him.

Funny, I started writing this while listening to a suggestion by a fellow blogger that Some Girls by the Rolling Stones is a great album to listen to start to finish. Having never done it, I put my headphones on and started pounding away on the keys wondering if I stepped over some proper boundary in expressing my opinion about the idiocy that is happening in the ever-deepening swamp in my nation’s capital. Have I gone all rock and roll on this thing and put my invite to the White House in jeopardy? My first book of poetry is coming out soon and I’m sure I’ll get an invite or an offer to do an open mic in the White House. Yeah, right…

Let me say, I hope I haven’t ruined that opportunity if it even was a chance. I’d love to make a profit off the White House, it’s in vogue right now. Additionally, I have a great deal of respect for the office of the President. I know that the job is a no-win servitude, kind of like the Rolling Stones singing “Just My Imagination.” (Some acts should not be covered… All say, “NIXON.”) At least, however, the Stones’ version is acceptable, not an embarrassment, and catchy in that garage band-country crossover Rolling Stones way. 1600’s replay of the early 1970s political games, however, is far from respectful. The President seems to want to erase the slate of Nixon’s malfeasance, by rising to a higher level of whatever may or may not be Constitutionally allowed. And why, who knows, ego?

As it goes, the Eagles are probably better off. They don’t have to put up with ridicule for not being themselves. They don’t have to be associated with Russian diplomats and North Korean emissaries/spies as those two groups have been invited to chat with the Manhattan monarch. The Eagles should just be proud of being American and standing by their values and respecting the tenets of our country.

Hey, Congress…

BTW: Some Girls is worth a start to finish listening…Interesting that I like “Respectable” the best… I also realize that I’m late to the RS party. Unfortunately, in 1978, I was in the throws of a disco detox. Thank goodness for middle school, The Who, and The Eagles (coincidently).

A List Post

List posts can be lazy or fun, it all depends on your perspective, I suppose. I’ve been in a music mind lately. My son, a guitar player, has me thinking about the rhythms of writing and how words can be musical or just abstract avenues to greater understanding. He and I also have been talking about what makes something interesting and I have to say, “I don’t know.” So, from him, I’ve got a music thing going.

An old high school friend reached out today and we messaged back and forth about Bonnaroo which was the focus of a recent post. He and I have not seen each other since maybe 1986-87, but music became a connection today as it did with a fellow blogger and super writer “Copper Cranes.”

While the vibes are high, I’m going to lay down my favorite albums. Not all of them were huge critical or commercial successes, but for whatever reason, they resonated with me. These are “start to finish” albums which means that I listen to them in full and without skipping any songs. There may be others, but for now, this is it. Feel free to add your own in the comments as I’m always looking out for albums I should check out.

Sorry, MT, I left Sting off the list, although that was a good show back in our college days.

1. The Way It Is, Bruce Hornsby: Bruce is a local guy for me and this first album has carried me through all these years. It’s serious, sentimental, and soothing. A great combination…

2. The Final Cut, Pink Floyd: Don’t kill me on this one, Floyd fans. I know that it doesn’t resonate with many, but I find the emotions to be deep and the story to be so important.

3. The Joshua Tree, U2: The second CD I ever owned (The Wall…). For me this album is about The Edge and his biting guitar. The more I listen to it, the better it sounds.

4. Yell Fire, Michael Franti and Spearhead: This album came to me at an important time in life. I would take long walks in the evening with this blasting on an iPod Classic. There was enough happy pop to mask the serious nature of the album so it could move me past angry yet satisfy my need to be “causey.”

5. No Alibis, Eric Clapton: I grew up in a southern museum town and moved to a major east coast city. To say that there was a little culture shock would be an understatement. Truth is, the city has taken over my heart and Clapton through many songs helped foster that change. This album, though, was there every day during that first year of urban living.

6. Born In the USA, Bruce Springsteen & the E-Street Band: There is so much to choose from with Bruce, Atlantic City and The Rising nearly making this list as well, but this album is about a 1976 maroon Pontiac Grand Prix and more high school shenanigans than my mother would want me to write about in a public forum.

7. On the Road, Lee Roy Parnell: My earliest years were spent in a small Texas town. Lee Roy is from that town and this album helped me break my phobia of country music. It’s the background noise to my writing of this post and as retirement gets closer I think about that “gold plated watch.”

As with any list, there will be criticisms, but remember, this is a “me” list and not some kind of statement as to the absolute nature of any of these albums. They all speak to me today, but the list could easily change tomorrow. (See LA Women, Hotel California, Sweet Baby James, Thriller, Kind of Blue…)

Yelling Fire

Trapped in a theater of misery
The voices in my head
Talking over the frown lines
All over my face.
Loneliness, pity, and loss of me was
Nothing but a way of life
Back in the mid-2000s.

Friends picked me up
Taking me to Tennessee
To stand in the dust
Before rains turned it all to mud
Just so I could listen
To the plaque-clearing sounds
Of protest songs about the war in Iraq.

The rain fell with great effect on my mood,
I jumped with all the others,
Most twenty or so years younger than me,
But I didn’t care,
I was free, away from the chatter, sold on the idea
That I could move on.
I owe Franti that one.

Chach’s Bday

Hanging with my kids
Waiting for Charlie Hunter
Sweet sounds all around

Friday Jamboree

A transient crowd is passing through

The kingdom’s one and only food court

While the band puts their journey’s on pause

With jazzy, jammy, and bluesy effects

Meant to ease the week away.

The patrons nosh on a variety of foods,

Brisket, burritos, burgers, and pie

Kind of in shock at the range

The band has brought to their home.

I’m taking it in,

Proud to have contributed to the show

As my son is playing guitar,

Killing it with his band mates

Dropping the notes and beats

I love hearing.

It’s kind of crazy

When people walk by

And I brag a little about the guitar guy

With a Hawaiian shirt and bending strings

That fits so well with the popping drums,

And massaging bass.

Ah, Friday…

Once

A photo by Thomas Curryer. unsplash.com/photos/Zss1s9df5AQ

A song came on the other day
Making me think of you.
The music was slow
And I could feel you close,
Your curves, your hair,
How warm you are.
The rhythm swayed
As we did so long ago
In the darkness of uncertainty.

So many years later
Just the first few bars of this song
Brought a smile to my face and
A feeling that you were right there
Making things right
With all that you are.
The beat goes on
Today as it did then,
Only now, with a lightness of permanence.

 

Photo Credit: Pexels.com

Songs

It’s funny how songs
Do whatever it is that they do,
Creeping into our psyche
Bringing a rush of calm
To unexpected moments
All the way from their far away places.

Maybe it’s “Sometimes,”
A happy Franti song
Letting us know that potential rests
Within our spirit
If only we take the time
To believe.

Maybe it’s “The Things We Do,”
A serious Indigenous song
Letting us know that we are from somewhere
And should never forget
That place
Ever.

Maybe it’s “Give It Away, Hard Times,”
A hard driving Blue Mother Tupelo song
Letting us know that life is tough
And we should be there
For those who need
Help.

It’s funny how songs
Do whatever it is that they do,
Creeping into our psyche
Bringing the rush of calm
To unexpected moments
All the way from their far away places.