Friday, February 3, 2023

American Pie by Don McClean - For the 64th Anniversary of a Tragic Plane Crash

 


It is hard to believe that 64 years ago today there was a plane crash in Iowa that killed Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper (J.P. Richardson), and Richie Valens.  I discussed this tragedy on its 50th Anniversary so it's not necessary to repeat it.  I will say that the expression "The Music Died" is not appropriate and has been overused by Don McClean and others over the years.

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Charlie Thomas of The Drifters Passes Away at 85

 


Since the beginning of 2023, several entertainers have passed away.  Yesterday we found out about the death of Charlie Thomas one of the lead singers of the Drifters.  That group had many personnel changes over the years, Charlie sang lead on Sweets for My Sweet which peaked at #16 on the Billboard chart.  May Charlie rest in peace.

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Barrett Strong -Songwriter and Producer for Motown Passes Away at 81


Barrett Strong's only hit was Money (That's What I Want) which hit the charts in 1960.  The Beatles, Rolling Stones, and Led Zeppelin covered it.  Barrett was best known as a songwriter and producer for Motown as he wrote the lyrics for many of the Temptation's hits.  He teamed up with Norman Whitfield to write many other hits by numerous Motown artists.

Sunday, January 29, 2023

St. Johns 75 Georgetown 73 at Madison Square Garden

 


The game was pretty close as St. Johns led for most of the first half, but the Georgetown Hoyas were in command for most of the second half.  The only score that counts is the final after 40 minutes of play.  David Jones led St. John’s with 17 points and AJ Storr scored the game-winning 3-pointer with four seconds remaining as the Red Storm took down Georgetown 75-73 on Sunday.

St. Johns is now 14-8 overall and 4-7 in the Big East Conference.  I don't think St. Johns has had a nationally ranked men's basketball team since the legendary Lou Carnesecca retired.

Don't Hang Up by The Orlons - Oldie of the Day

 


I was thinking about this song last Saturday night when I waited for 3 1/2 hours to talk to Cousin Brucie.  It paid off eventually as I spoke to him for 4 minutes about the Facebook Page and the Oldies Meet and Greet.  I never phone sports talk shows as the caller is usually limited to one minute or less with the host.  It is frustrating when put on hold when calling customer service for a bank or retailer.  At times you will get a message asking for your phone number for a callback.  I think radio shows should do the same thing.

Friday, January 27, 2023

Bob Dylan's Fragments, Time out of Mind - Bootleg Series #17 Was Released Today

 


My delivery of the deluxe 5CD set has not yet arrived (4:30 PM) but I am listening to it courtesy of Amazon Prime Music.  If one orders a CD, he gets the electronic version with it. Time Out Of Mind, released in 1997) is one of Dylan’s most commercially successful and critically acclaimed albums and won three Grammy Awards, including Album Of The Year. It includes such iconic songs as “Love Sick”, “Not Dark Yet” and “Make You Feel My Love”,  This CD set includes alternate versions, studio outtakes, and concert recordings of the songs in the original album.

I suggest my readers look at this review by Anne Margaret Daniel, a distinguished Dylan scholar.  She is more qualified to analyze these recordings than I am.

I wish that a future Bootleg Series include a sampling of recordings from the Never Ending Tour emphasizing songs that Dylan didn't write.

Dylan will be 82 years young in May.  Hopefully, the Never Ending Tour will resume within the next few months.  Rough and Rowdy Ways, his last album of new recordings, is now two years old.  Is a new CD in the works?

Thursday, January 26, 2023

Random Thoughts of the Day


Nothing has yet been said about Bob Dylan Tour Dates for 2023.  I am speculating that it will resume in the Far East.  Bootleg Series #17, Fragments, will be released tomorrow.  Amazon.com states I will get it tomorrow before 10 P.M., but it has not been shipped as of 12 noon today.  Speaking about Dylan, thus YouTube Video about his lead guitarists is excellent.

The maintenance charges for my co-op went up 20%.  That almost eats up the increase in Social Security benefits,

I wonder if Cousin Bruce Morrow will actually come to the next Oldies Meet and Greet as he said in his conversation with me.  We'll see.

 

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Follow-Up About My Conversation with Cousin Bruce

 


I was annoyed that I had to wait over three hours to talk to Cousin Brucie. He should take callers on a first come first served basis.  The Cuz should also ask people to phone in only once a month so all his avid listeners should get a fair chance to talk to him.

Will he come to future Oldies Meet and Greet?  He still has an apartment in Greenwich Village but spends most of his time in his house in upstate New York where he does his Saturday night show.  He could travel to Ben's Deli as the show ends at 4 PM, giving him plenty of time to get to the WABC studio in Manhattan to start his show at 6 PM.  We usually hold our event on the second Saturday in November but could change the date to accommodate him.  If he does come, we will have to discuss how to publicize the event.

Sunday, January 22, 2023

I Waited for 3 1/2 Hours but I Finally Spoke to Cousin Brucie Last Night


Yours truly with Cousin Bruce at the WABC Cruise in June 2007

I very rarely phone radio stations as I don’t have the patience to stay on hold for long periods.  I tried to phone Cousin Brucie a few times when he was on SiriusXM, but I got busy signals. When he moved to WABC, his listenership increased as anyone with an internet connection can hear the show, so I presumed it would be more difficult to get through.  When I listen to his show, I hear many regular callers.  To be fair, he should limit callers to once a month, but some people must talk to him every week.  I sensed that one must call very early in the show to get through.  I usually eat dinner at 6 PM, when the show begins, and usually finish the dishes by 6:40, so I never tried to get through.  Last night we ate dinner out and returned home at 5:30. At 6:10 I phoned in and reached the screener.  I requested him to play Turn Turn Turn by the Byrds since David Crosby passed away a few days ago.  I waited and waited and at 7:30 he featured a special on Crosby and played that song.  I kept waiting and heard Brenda, a Facebook friend talk to the Cuz.  I had a chat with her and she said she only had to wait 25 minutes.  I was somewhat annoyed at that point since I thought to be fair caller should be heard on a first come first served basis.  Anyway, at 9:30 the screener came on and said the Cuz would take my call but didn’t want to play anything by the Byrds again.  He suggested Mickey’s Monkey by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles.  I spoke to the Cuz about the Facebook page that I set up as a fan site.  I also discussed the Oldies Meet and Greet that we have held over the years.  He actually said he would like to come but was afraid to be in an enclosed area because of the COVID situation.  I had to wait 3 ½ hours, but it was worth it.




 

Friday, January 20, 2023

Today is National DJ Day

 


I thank all DJs for all the hard work they have done over the years.  Let me see how many I can remember in just a few minutes;
  • Cousin Bruce Morrow
  • Harry Harrison
  • Dan Ingram
  • Ron Lundy
  • Herb Oscar Anderson
  • Dan Daniel
  • Jack Spector
  • B. Mitchell Reed
  • Ed Baer
  • Murray the K
  • Wolfman Jack
  • Corny O'Connell
  • Darren De Vivo
  • Don K Reed
  • Bill Brown
  • Bobby Jay
  • Pat St. John
  • Broadway Bill Lee
  • Famous Amos
  • Gary Walker
  • Phlash Phelps
  • Jerry Blavat
  • Cool Bobby B
  • Chuck Leonard
  • Richard Neer
  • Jim Kerr
  • Ken Dashow
I am sure there are many more radio personalities past and present who were not mentioned.

Thursday, January 19, 2023

Remembering David Crosby (1941-2023)

 

David Crosby when he was with the Byrds

I heard the news today of the passing of David Crosby today at age 81, I first knew of David Crosby in 1965 when he was one of the five original Byrds who hit the #1 spot on the charts with a cover of Dylan's Mr. Tambourine man.  He has appeared several times in this journal  I didn't even remember that I read his autobiography Since Then: How I survived Everything and Lived to Tell About it.  Three and a half years ago I saw a documentary about him titled David Crosby Remember My Name.  He certainly had a very difficult life as she had a chronic drug problem and even spent some time in jail.  He had a liver transplant in 1994 and lived over 28 years after that operation.

He was fired from the Byrds and formed the "supergroup" Crosby, Stills, and Nash (sometimes with Neil Young). He later performed as a solo artist.  He was elected twice to the Rock n Roll Have of Fame with the two groups.

I cannot detail his entire life here so I will refer my readers to the Wikipedia article.

I will complete this journal entry with two songs that he wrote.


Everybody has been Burned



Almost Cut My Hair

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Is Polarization in America Leading to a Second Civil War?


 The Republicans have a razor-thin majority in the House of Representatives while the Democrats have a similar majority in the U.S. Senate.  Thus, it will be difficult to get important legislation passed.  Will the Republicans try to impeach President Biden on a petty charge?  The states of the union have been labeled as "Red" or "Blue".  In my opinion, this polarization results in a "Cold Civil War."

This conflict heated up with the tragic events on January 6, 2021.  It is not necessary for me to repeat the details here.  IMHO Donald Trump should be indicted and brought to trial.  If convicted, he should serve jail time.  But will Republican jurors vote for acquittal?

The New York Times reports Solomon Peña, who lost his bid for a State House in New Mexico seat last November, was behind a series of recent shootings targeting Democratic elected officials. The police report that Peña was“the mastermind” behind a conspiracy in which four other men were paid to shoot at the homes of two county commissioners and two state legislators.

 Peña has not conceded the election even though he lost in a landslide.  I guess he is New Mexico's version of Donald Trump.

What is this world coming to?  What is next?


Monday, January 16, 2023

Toronto Raptors 123 New York Knicks 121 in Overtime

 


For the second time this season, the Knicks lost in overtime when Lee and I were in attendance.  The Knicks held a small lead for most of the game and led 101-92 with 5 1/2 minutes to play in regulation, but Toronto surged back with a 12-3 run, capped by five straight points from Fred VanVleet to tie it at 104 with 1:30 remaining. VanVleet then nearly made a costly mistake, fouling Brunson purposely in the backcourt with 18 seconds left. The Knicks were two points down with 6.6 seconds left in regulation, but R.J.  Barrett went all the way up the middle of the floor and no Raptors stepped in to stop him before his dunk made it 110-all sending the game into overtime.

Toronto pulled ahead 121-115 with 1;23 left in overtime.  The Knicks nearly erased that lead, but Toronto held on for a two-point victory.

Box score

Saturday, January 14, 2023

E-bikes and E-Scooters are a Menace to Pedestrians

 

If the chart above is too small to read you may see it at https://www.newyorkbikelawyer.com/bike-crashes/e-bikes/.

E-bikes and E-Scooter have become very popular in recent years, but are a menace to pedestrians and car drivers.  If you read the regulations in the chart they are not legally allowed to ride on sidewalks, but I see them all the time.  Since their motors are very quiet, you don't know they are approaching you from the rear.  I have yet to hear a rider say excuse me to a pedestrian.  Few riders of e-bikes and e-scooter pay attention to stop signs and red lights.  I say that larger e-bikes, especially those used for deliveries, be registered and required to carry insurance.

I am pleased to read that the 109th precinct in Flushing is active in confiscating e-bikes illegally operating on a sidewalk.  However, there can't be a police officer on every block.

My best advice to walkers is to look back occasionally to see if any e-bike are coming.

Thursday, January 12, 2023

Jeff Beck Played with the Yardbirds

 

 
Yesterday we heard the sad news that classic rock guitarist Jeff Beck died of bacterial meningitis at age 78.  There is a detailed obituary in the New York Times.  Before he led his own band, he was a member of the Yardbirds.  One of my favorite hits of theirs was Over, Under, Sideways, Down. I remember buying it as a 45 rpm single.

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

The British Royal Family and the American Public

 


I just don't understand the American public's fascination with the British royal family.  Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are getting the most publicity even though they are not in line for the throne.  Harry has just written a memoir and is being interviewed by several American news organizations.  Why should I care if he doesn't want to associate with the rest of the family or if he disapproved of the marriage of King Charles to Camilla Parker Bowles?

The most important royal is King Charles III, but he gets little media coverage. He seems to be dour and not photogenic.  Whenever a story about the royals appears on TV, I either change the station or shut it off.  I am just not interested.

Sunday, January 8, 2023

Saturday, January 7, 2023

How Detailed Should Biographies Be? Paul McCartney for Example


I took out the biography shown above from Queens Library.  It took me almost three weeks to read the 800+ pages that cover Paul's life from birth to 2016.  Philip Norman is a noted British writer who has written biographies of Buddy Holly, Elton John, Mick Jagger, and John Lennon.  He states that during the three years of researching the book he had access to McCartney's family, close friends, and associates who otherwise would never have spoken on the record.  I enjoyed reading the book since I stuck with it for 800 pages.

I am aware of another biographer of Paul covering only 1969-73, the beginning of the post-Beatles era.


Kozinn is a former reporter and critic for The New York Times, while Sinclair is an English documentarian.  I have not read this 700-page tome that covers only five years.  I question whether this book includes many minutiae that would only be of interest to Beatles scholars. I obviously don't know since I have not read the book.  I suggest my readers consult the book review in the New York Times.



 

Thursday, January 5, 2023

1977 Revisited Briefly

 

1977 was not a very good year for me.  To make a long and painful story short I worked at a major pharmaceutical company in Groton, Ct. Things didn't work out, so I moved back to NYC.  A few days ago, ABS who was a co-worker at that company contacted me via Facebook Messenger.  I told him that things eventually worked out for me.  He retired from that company and now spends part of his year in Florida and still maintains a residence in Connecticut.  We chatted about some of the people we knew there.  A few had passed away, while others relocated.  After 46 years, I presume that everyone I knew there retired.  It is time to live for today and not be concerned about yesterday.

Tuesday, January 3, 2023

Dr. Vitaut Kipel, Former First Assistant of the New York Public Library Science and Technology Division, Passed Away at Age 95

 


Dr. Vitaut Kipel, a renowned scholar of Byelorussians in America, passed away at age 95.  Until 1985 he was Assistant Chief of the York Public Library Science and Technology Division.  He hired me as a reference librarian in 1983.  I wrote a tribute to him in 2013 in my companion blog devoted to professional library issues.  His obituary may be found at My Central Jersey.  My condolences to his family.

Monday, January 2, 2023

Clinton Heylin and Covers of Bob Dylan Songs

 


Clinton Heylin is a distinguished scholar and researcher of Bob Dylan.  He has already written six books about Dylan.  The main topic of this interview (1 hour and 46 minutes) is his new book, The Double Life of Bob Dylan, Volume I, 1941-1966, Volume II covering 1967 to the present will be released later this year.  The discussion with the interviewer leads to several tangents, including Heylin's opinion of the covers of Dylan's songs.  He states that with few exceptions the Dylan version is better.  He believes that the version of Knockin' on Heaven's Door by a group called Television is better than Dylan's.  I must respectfully disagree.  Below are the two versions.  You decide.





Sunday, January 1, 2023

Ding Dong Ding Dong by George Harrison - A New Years Day Message

 


Ring out the old.  Ring in the new.

This is my first blog entry of 2023. May it be a healthy and prosperous new year for all.  May all problems and conflicts of the past be forgotten.  Let's look ahead to the future, not back upon the past.
 
Personal-Journals blog