Take A Number

Jun 23
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We lived to see the yellow orb again. We lived, fellow mossy people. Go outside and lay in the grass. Sit on a deck and drink a beer. Throw your dog a Frisbee. Do all of the above, but not for more than 9 or 10 minutes because remember, you’re pasty and will fry faster than bacon in a deep fryer.

So, how about some numbers. It’s been 272 days since we topped 75 degrees in Seattle. I threw those numbers into the Playonatron 20.10 Super Computer and asked it to translate it into a day. The day was September 23 (the 272nd day of the year), 1975. At the top of the Billboard’s Hot 100 chart on September 23, 1975 was…

“Fame” – David Bowie – “Young Americans” (1975)

Fame, “Nein! It’s mine!” is just his line
To bind your time, it drives you to, crime
Fame (fame)


“Whiskey In The Jar” – The Dubliners – “More of The Hard Stuff” (1967)

Jun 22
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Just like I don’t think that you really need to be of African origin to really feel yesterday’s song – I mean, if you are a white boy from Iowa and you happened upon a festive scene somewhere in Johannesburg this week and announced yourself “African”, I’ve got to think you would have been handed a vuvu and the party would continue – if you’re feelin’ today’s groove, you’re Irish. Of course, you don’t want to try and be too slick in trying to assimilate with your new ethnic brothers and sisters. In other words, you can’t be one of those faux Irish guys from Boston, who is so NOT Irish, and will undoubtedly be called out right before you’re tossed out of the pub.

Make sense? Probably not, but you know what it’s the second day of summer and the sun actually showed in Seattle so I’m a little fuzzy headed from the scalding hot 73 degrees that bore down on the Emerald City today. It’s now been over 270 days since Seattle has had a 75 degree day.

Congratulations to Graeme McDowell on winning the US Open over the weekend.


“African” – Peter Tosh – “Equal Rights” (1977)

Jun 21
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Maybe all of the World Cup that I’ve been watching has saturated my mind with the cacophonous din of vuvuzuelas and other things African. Or, maybe it’s that this is the first day summer and reggae is in its natural environment when the temperature goes up. Of course, it’s still only in the low 60’s at best in Seattle so mostly I must be hoping that playing a lot of one of the genre’s standard bearers will trick the endless supply of low pressure systems into backing off for a week or two so that Western Washington can pretend like it’s actually summer.

Tosh died prematurely at the age of 42 as he was murdered in the course of being robbed in his home in Jamaica. His career and song book mirrored former band mate Bob Marley’s as they both advocated for the social issues that were close to their hearts.


Pet Peeves

Jun 20
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The contents of this blog are good proof that I like a pretty wide variety of music. Opera, hip hop, outlaw country, metal, school fight songs, top 40, alt country, etc. I’ve covered a lot of different stuff and I’m only getting started. That being said, I always feel sorry for the musically deprived when I read comments from, let’s say a Face Book friend, who says, “I like everything, but hip hop.” Everything? You down with Gregorian chant, my music tolerant FB friend? Do you bob your head to a little Slip Knot or Drowning Pool while chillin’ with your Juggalos homies? Come on, “I like everything” is just not a very well thought out answer. It’s okay to not like everything. Here, I’ll go first:

“I hate Anne Murray.” Not Anne Murray the person. I’m sure that she is a fine human being, but her music makes me want to ram Q tips dipped in ghost pepper chili water through my ear drums. Be warned, if we’re ever at a party and I’m in charge of the tunes, if you give me the “everything” answer, I’ll be cueing up the long version of “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” as performed by a quintet of mimes.

And then you have the music lover who is more specific about their tastes and thinks they have all of their bases covered with their loaded IPod. In an article about MLB clubhouse music in the latest ESPN Magazine, LA Dodger James Loney had his to say:

“I’m the best deejay here. My iPod has everything. It goes from John Legend, to T.I. to Stevie Wonder.”

James, James, James… James, dude you didn’t even manage to cover the full spectrum of black male artists that are on the shelves of Wal Mart, you totally whiffed on the women, and didn’t squeeze in any salsa, metal, or country for you teammates, and yet you think that your iPod bookends your other 24 teammates?

Back to the music…

I went for a long drive this morning and heard a good unplugged version of today’s song in the car.

“Maps” – The Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Fever to Tell” (2003)


“Expecting to Fly” – Buffalo Springfield – “Buffalo Springfield Again” (1967)

Jun 18
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I heard a very respectable version of this song the other day while attending my niece’s high school graduation. A trio of the Class of ’10’s finest consisting of a flutist, a singer/strummer, and a piano (young) man played it from the heart. Their classmates probably gave it a C- at best as they were saving for their good grade for the Gaga backed senior slide show. Some of the parents and teachers probably gave it a C+ as their ear is accustomed to the original. To be honest, I’m not very familiar with the song, but as I’m kind of prone to upping a grade based on effort and sincerity, I will give it an A-.

Good job, young people of the world. Go forth and be happy, and do what you want to do with your lives, your parents advice be damned (can you tell that I’m not a parent?).

I tried so hard to stand
As I stumbled and fell to the ground.
So hard to laugh as I fumbled
And reached for the love I found,
Knowin’ it was gone.
If I ever lived without you,
Now you know I’ll die.
If I ever said I loved you,
Now you know I tried,
Babe, now you know I tried.
Babe, now you know I tried,


“Hawai’i ’78”- Pearl Jam (2006)

Jun 11
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Today’s post represents a rather unexpected confluence of themes and events. Each June 11th, Kamehameha Day is celebrated in Hawaii. The day is a celebration of the life of Kamehameha I also known as Kamehameha the Great, who was the first Hawaiian king to unify the Hawaiian Islands around the turn of the 18th century. So, I thought that it was impeccable timing when I got my present from the Ten Club yesterday with the B side being “Hawai’i ’78” which was first released on Israel Kamakawiwo’ole’s (aka Bruddah Iz) 1993 album, “Facing Future.” The song is a mournful tale of the old Hawai’i that was lost long ago when Europeans and then Americans arrived leading to the eventual annexation of the islands.

Eddie and the boys do a heartfelt rendition that Iz would surely be proud of. The song is a perfect fit for the band given their penchant towards lending their voice for righteous social causes. Of course their good friend and band mate Boom Gaspar was born and raised on Oahu and the message of the song is no doubt near to his heart.

I said that today things just kind of merged together, well, there’s more. Today is also my mom’s birthday. My mom passed away 6 years and 9 months ago but if she was still alive she would have been 71 today. My mom is also half Hawaiian which is obviously special because of Kamehameha Day. So in honor of my mom, today is the first time I am posting two songs in one day. My mom’s favorite song was “E Ku’u Morning Dew.” Every time I hear this song at a luau, in a restaurant, or on the radio, I think of my mom. Considering how natural and authentic PJ does “Hawai’i ’78”, maybe I’ll hear it in concert one day as done by my favorite band.

“E Ku’u Morning Dew” – Israel Kamakawiwo’ole


“Turning Mist” – Pearl Jam (2010)

Jun 10
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Within the last month, I said a few words in a post about the fact that I do not have, really want, and (as of today) critically need a phonograph.

It’s so rare that there is ever any “good” mail waiting in the box when I get home. I mean, if I buy something from Amazon – just bought an expensive World Atlas that I’m anxiously awaiting – that’s “good” mail but I still had to buy it and it’s not exactly a surprise when I get it.

I have been a member of Pearl Jam’s Ten Club for a couple years now. They send cool stuff on occasion like a cool little paperback magazine/booklet that was kind of an extended and condensed set of line notes. But today, PJ and their saintly collaborators sent me a good old fashion 45 RPM single. Side A is today’s song, “Turning Mist.” The attached vid is an acoustic performance with Mike McCready on vocals. Is this what the waxy version that’s sitting right next to me sounds like? I DON”T KNOW BECAUSE I’N AN IDIOT TRAPPED IN THE TECHNOLOGICAL PRESENT AND UNALBE TO GET BACK TO THE BASEMENT AT MY MOM AND DAD’S HOUSE AND THE RECORD PLAYERS THAT WOULD KEEP ME FROM TOSSING AND TURNING ALL NIGHT…. I’m sad….. very sad…. check out dude’s ‘fro from the back of the 45 cover.

Okay, I’m not quite as sad anymore.

If you’re not already a member of Ten, why not? Check it out, fork over the nominal fee and get cool stuff from the benevolent souls that are: Pearl Jam.

Be ready for more cool stuff from PJ tomorrow on Play On in what is perfect timing for a certain state holiday.


“Furr” – Blitzen Trapper – “Furr” (2008)

Jun 8
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Friday, July 23rd is the day that I have circled on my calendar for mandatory attendance at The Capitol Hill Block Party. Friday night brings MGMT, Yeasayer, and Macklemore among others that I want to see and hear. I can see myself not making it down on Saturday but if I do make it across town, Blitzen Trapper will be one of the main attractions for me.

The band’s brand new album was released today. Check it out in its entirety on their website. If you’ve never heard them before, they’ve a bit of a throwback. There is a tinge of southern rock, lots of classic rock guitar, some well placed organ, and nicely harmonized vocals. This band should definitely draw in a nice crowd for their set. Interesting band with lots of real original material.


“The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” – Gil Scott-Heron – “Pieces of A Man” (1971)

Jun 7
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In ways that I’m not fully able to expand upon on this, rapidly turning into a late Sunday night, this song seems fitting at this time of year when we welcome a fresh wave of graduates into what us older folks like to call “the real world.” Personally, I remember feeling that the world seemed pretty real when I was in every level or grade of school beyond about the 6th grade. But, all of those adults, or older kids, love to try and make the soon to be grads nervous by threatening of the soul crushing, man and womanhood testing thing known as “the real world”…. “Welcome to the real world, junior” BS to all of that.

The world is the world. Everyone’s is different. Some of us make millions and act like everything is perfect. Some of us smoke a lot of week, can’t pay the rent and act like they couldn’t care less. Some of us get saddled with mountains of responsibility and face obstacles at every turn and act like they’re at the end of their rope. Some of us overachieve at everything from fantasy football to medical school and act like it comes naturally. Some of us do all of the things above without the acting. Life and the real world bring endless possibilities and eventualities and we deal with the events that effect us in six billion different ways.

Whatever the soon to be grads, and the rest of us immerse ourselves in, we need to come up for air once in awhile and make sure we’re still headed in the right direction. Then proceed, and participate.

The revolution will be no re-run brothers:
The revolution will be live.


“Forget Myself” – Elbow – “Leaders of The Free World” (2005)

Jun 5
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It’s amazing that a band with such an original, interesting, resourceful, poetic, perfectly aged (in a nice single malt kind of way) sound doesn’t attract the ears of the masses. Although, I try not to be too judgmental, I know that the masses listen to smoldering heaps of land fill ready crap, but come on, Elbow seems like the kind of band that should turn more heads. It’s not as if they don’t know how to create a pop hook or two.

We’ve got some touches of Peter Gabriel, I’m picking up some Gomez (yeah I know, consumers don’t like them either) U2 (they’re cover of “Running to Stand Still” on one of the War Child albums is sublime) but they mostly have their own sound. It’s not like nobody is paying attention though. This album went to # 12 on the UK charts. Maybe the lack of too much mainstream success will keep them true to their core. A new album is due out soon, but until then, I’ll keep listening to the first four.