Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Friday, August 23, 2013
"50 Years On: The Albums Of 1963 That You Should Have In Your Collection" by Lisa Plumtree
1963 was a simply great year for music lovers. Automatically, our thoughts might turn towards some of the more well known records of the time – particularly the Fab Four’s album “Please Please Me” (more on that later), but alongside this release, as important as it was, it was a musical year of great contrasts and interests. You may be someone who was brought up in the era, who knows and loves the sounds, but equally you may be someone who is coming to the music as a youngster, with a keen ear and willingness to learn. Here are just a few of the wonderful albums released during that year and why you should have them in your collection.
Dave Brubeck Quartet – Live At The Carnegie Hall
Undoubtedly the live setting suited Brubeck and his musicians more than a studio one. This album showcases the best of their sound and is unusual in that it is a full and complete recording of an entire concert, in one take, with hardly any edits applied afterwards. The band were worried that no-one would turn out to see them play. There had been a newspaper strike in New York so advertising for the concert was few and far between. The fears never came to fruition as the hall was packed and this performance rewards the listener with a taste of pure jazz that’s hard to beat.
Davy Graham – The Guitar Player
This virtuoso guitarist and folk hero is someone that everyone who loves to tinker on the guitar or play more seriously should add to their collection. This album is a prime example of a shining talent. Worth it just for the glorious sound of “Anji” alone, Graham’s technique is something that many musos aspire to and his mastery of the folk guitar is rarely equalled or bettered.
Lee Hazelwood – Trouble Is A Lonesome Town
This is included due to the recent reworking of the songs for an album entitled “Thriftstore Masterpiece Presents Lee Hazelwood’s Trouble Is A Lonesome Town” which includes many new acts recreating his original country masterpiece (albeit in a more modern style) from 1963. The original record though was Hazelwood’s first solo effort and came to fruition after a partnership with Duane Eddy and work with Nancy Sinatra was completed. It’s a record of stories and tales rich in folk history, containing many meandering ambles through dark subject matter, but one that should be a great collectible intro to country music for anyone that is not sure or doesn't know where to start. A worthy peer of Johnny Cash, but a musician who rarely gets mentioned.
The Beatles – Please Please Me
An album that still sounds as fresh today as it ever did; this is an astonishing work, full of energy and vibrancy. The original works show how the Fab Four took simple ideas and made them sound complex, whilst the cover versions inject a raw rockiness to the proceedings. Coincidentally, this album is now proving to be a hugely coveted collectible item, particularly in vinyl. For any lover of the band it would make a great collectible gift or present, though be prepared to stump up as much as $4,000 for a copy in stereo sound, whilst a mono copy of the album will still be worth $1,200! Copies of the record with a gold and black label on them are also sought after by fanatics. This is because they were pressed shortly before Parlophone records changed their branding to different colors. After these initial pressings, the labels were changed to yellow and black, therefore earlier ones are always going to be worth much more.
Never Grow Old – The Maytals
Ska was a genre that had found its roots in Jamaica during the 1950s and The Maytals capitalized on a US market’s increasing thirst for it during the 1960s. “Never Grow Old” is a worthy addition to your collection – with lyrics written by the legendary Toots Hibbert and back up from The Skatalites, this is worth it alone for the wonderful “I’m Gonna Sit Right Down And Cry (Over You)”. Many favour The Wailers over The Maytals, but they shouldn’t be forgotten.
The Beach Boys – Surfin’ USA
Surf-rock, a genre that intrinsically makes you think of The Beach Boys and this album, a collection of twelve all-American songs inspires nothing but thoughts of hot sunshine, good friends and wonderful times. It’s notable for it’s unique use of harmonies and the use of a technique called Double Tracking, which made the vocals sound all the more rich and varied. At the time of its release it spent seventy eight weeks in the Billboard chart and is still regarded by many music critics as one of the greatest albums of all time.
It truth, this is all about loving music of an era that produced so much rich and varied talents, genres and styles. Starting or adding to your collection is something that can give a great amount of joy, with treasured memories being rekindled and forgotten sounds remembered.
Tuesday, July 09, 2013
"My Summer on Haight Street," a novel by Robert Rice Jr.
The story follows a recent high school graduate from Milwaukee in his final year of high school and his trip to San Francisco to the Haight Street district after graduating. The story is a fictional account woven around real events and real people as we get to enjoy those promiscuous times of the sixties and the memories of the music of the era.
The Vietnam War was raging and gearing up and as many did faced the probability of being drafted and with the undecided choice of attending college for a deferment. This entire book is an adventure during the summer of love that you don't want to miss. It was page turner for me which I didn't want to end.
I recommend you read it and discover as I did what I missed during the sixties. Definitely add this one to your summer reading.
Tuesday, May 07, 2013
Inside the Songs of the Sixties
Tuesday, April 09, 2013
And Then It Is Winter
As heard on the Good Stuff with Jim ThompsonYou know, time has a way of moving quickly and catching you unaware of the passing years. It seems just yesterday that I was young, just married and embarking on my new life with my mate. And yet in a way, it seems like eons ago, and I wonder where all the years went.
I know that I lived them all...
And I have glimpses of how it was back then and of all my hopes and dreams... But, here it is..the winter of my life and it catches me by surprise... How did I get here so fast? Where did the years go and where did my youth go? I remember well...seeing older people through the years and thinking that those older people were years away from me and that winter was so far off that I could not fathom it or imagine fully what it would be like... But, here it is...my friends are retired and getting gray...they move slower and I see an older person now. Some are in better and some worse shape than me... but, I see the great change... Not like the ones that I remember who were young and vibrant... but, like me, their age is beginning to show and we are now those older folks that we used to see and never thought we'd be. Each day now, I find that just getting a shower is a real target for the day! And taking a nap is not a treat anymore...it's mandatory! Cause if I don't on my own free will..I just fall asleep where I sit! And so, now I enter into this new season of my life unprepared for all the aches and pains and the loss of strength and ability to go and do things that I wish I had done but never did!! But, at least I know, that though the winter has come, and I'm not sure how long it will last...this I know, that when it's over...its over....Yes , I have regrets.
There are things I wish I hadn't done ,,,,,things I should have done, but indeed, there are many things I'm happy to have done. It's all in a lifetime....So, if you're not in your winter yet...let me remind you, that it will be here faster than you think. So, whatever you would like to accomplish in your life please do it quickly! Don't put things off too long!!Life goes by quickly. So, do what you can today, as you can never be sure whether this is your winter or not! You have no promise that you will see all the seasons of your life...so, live for good today and say all the things that you want your loved ones to remember...and hope that they appreciate and love you for all the things that you have done for them in all the years past!!'Life is a gift to you. The way you live your life is your gift to those who come after. Make it a fantastic one.
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
I Remember Charley Conrad's Barbershop
After reading the article my mind wandered back to Circleville, Ohio to that small barber shop on South Pickaway Street just across the street where the Nazarene Church was once located. I do remember the haircut was $1.50 or $1.75 for a flat top. Now I pay $20.00 including tip. As I look back to the 60s, it seems those little things back then really seemed so insignificant at the time but turned out to be a great memory today.
I had my first haircut at Charley's when I was probably 8 years old and continued to have him cut my
hair when I was an adult even after returning home from my tour in Vietnam. He also gave us kids some double bubble chewing gum after cutting our hair. I remember receiving that chewing gum even while in high school.
It seems like it was just yesterday when I would sit and wait for my turn and watch in awe as Charley cut the hair and chewed the fat with all the customers. Many like me listened to every word while others' faces were embedded in the magazine they were reading. Charley was a devout Christian so no foul language was ever heard from anybody even though the customers were all men. Today not too many barber shops are men only establishments as they are disappearing quickly.
From a small boy to a teenager I could not wait for Charley Conrad to feel I was old enough to get that razor trim around the ears and back of the neck. It seemed to me that was a sign you have finally grown up. I don't think I ever received one of them at Charley's until right before I left for the Army. I guess I was old enough to serve my country so I now get the razor cut.
I still can remember Charley Contrad's smiling face, as he gestured for you take the seat in the chair.
Tuesday, March 05, 2013
Looking Back at March 1967
I still remained convinced that I will find what I am suppose to do with my life. At that time I was working at Big Bear Supermarkets in Circleville. I was the full time frozen food/produce guy, responsible for stocking, ordering, rotating stock and assisting customers. I also doubled as a carry-out service as needed. A great job with decent pay for 1967. I was paid $2.25 an hour. The minimum wage at that time was $1.25 which I was received at J.C. Penney's before I took this job. I definitely was going to be a store manager one day as I started ruling out college as the war in Vietnam continued to escalate. For those of you who do not anything about Big Bear Stores, Big Bear was a regional supermarket chain operating in Ohio and West Virginia. The company was founded in Columbus, Ohio in 1934, and was headquartered there until its acquisition by Syracuse, New York-based Penn Traffic in 1989. For nearly 75 years, the chain was a Central Ohio institution. A few years later it went under as a result of poor management and competition.
I worked hard and was paid well but as more and more of acquaintances from my hometown felt the twang of the draft, I was convinced by my manager to try to join the Reserve but it was difficult as everybody else had the same idea and none of the units close to home had any open positions.
On March 25 The Turtles hit #1 with "Happy Together" as I was getting more and more apprehensive and in September 1967 I enlisted in the United States Army. I guess I found my destiny.
You can listen to the hits of March 1967 this month only on Soundtrack of the 60s with Neal Stevens to relive those times that was to me just the other day.