Wednesday, November 30, 2022

R.I.P. Christine McVie

 Fleetwood Mac's Christine McVie passed away today (11/30), after a short illness.  She was 79.

McVie joined Fleetwood Mac in 1971 for their Future Games album, one of the key additions as they transformed into the massive popularity of the later 70's.  I always liked McVie more than Stevie Nicks, but both were key members of the band.

I have a playlist on my iPod of Christine McVie songs, here's 2 of my favorites:

Heroes Are Hard To Find

Spare Me A Little

Monday, November 28, 2022

November 1972 on the Music Charts

Well, it is still November, so I'm not TOO late!  Close, though.  Here's  the continuing series of Top music hits of the month.  November 1972, almost done with one of the greatest years in popular music!.  Fifty years ago (Yikes!)

There were 4 weeks in November 1972, and there were 54 songs that spent time in the the Top 40.  Over those 4 weeks, there was only one song that topped the charts: Johnny Nash's I Can See Clearly Now.  A true classic.

Here's the top 10 songs of the month, ranked by average chart position over the 4 weeks of the month. 

  • I Can See Clearly Now - Johnny Nash - 1
  • I'd Love You To Want Me - Lobo - 3.75
  • I'll Be Around - The Spinners - 4.5
  • Nights In White Satin - The Moody Blues - 4.5
  • Freddie's Dead (Theme From "Superfly") - Curtis Mayfield - 6.75
  • I Am Woman - Helen Reddy - 7
  • Papa Was A Rollin' Stone - The Temptations - 10.25
  • If I Could Reach You - The 5th Dimension - 11.75
  • Garden Party - Rick Nelson  - 12
  • Witchy Woman - Eagles - 12.5

Meanwhile, Twenty-One(21) songs made their Top 40 debut. Here they are, ranked by debut chart position:

  • I'm Stone In Love With You - The Stylistics - 25
  • Convention '72 - The Delegates - 26
  • You Ought To Be With Me - Al Green - 31
  • Funny Face - Donna Fargo - 31
  • Crazy Horses - The Osmonds - 32
  • Something's Wrong With Me - Austin Roberts - 33
  • Walk On Water - Neil Diamond - 34
  • Operator (That's Not the Way it Feels) - Jim Croce - 35
  • Rock 'N Roll Soul - Grand Funk Railroad - 36
  • Clair - Gilbert O'Sullivan - 36
  • Corner Of The Sky - Jackson 5 - 36
  • Living In The Past - Jethro Tull - 36
  • Ventura Highway - America - 37
  • Rockin' Pneumonia - Boogie Woogie Flu - Johnny Rivers - 38
  • Dialogue (Part I and II) - Chicago - 38
  • Sunny Days - Lighthouse - 38
  • It Never Rains In Southern California - Albert Hammond - 39
  • Me And Mrs. Jones - Billy Paul - 39
  • All The Young Dudes - Mott The Hoople - 40
  • Sweet Surrender - Bread - 40
  • Superfly - Curtis Mayfield - 40


Thursday, November 24, 2022

Ban-hammered!

 Well, maybe ban-hammered is overstating it, but I received an email today that one of my blog posts has been "put behind a warning for readers".  

My first thought is SPAM!  After all, I don't post sensitive stuff, nothing political, or anything that I'd expect to justify a "Sensitive Content Warning".  Ant, the post in question is from May 2009, 13+ years ago!  Naturally, I don't click on links, so I went to the offending post straight form the blog.  And yep, that specific post is replaced with a text warning "This summary is not available. Please click here to view the post.", which leads to a page that carries an "are you sure you want to continue" type warning.

So now I was curious, accepted the warning and pulled up the offending post,  It is a copy-paste of a spam email I received way back when (no links or anything) offering me an opportunity to join a "who's who" type organization.  With some kind of mocking commentary about me feeing special to have received such a prestigious offer. Seems pretty benign to me, and didn't bother anybody for a rather long time.

I suspect my real failing was now "xxx"-ing out the name of the organization and the (apparent) name of the sender.  Perhaps somebody googled the company (or their name) and was offended to find my mocking blog post.  And reported it.

So now I'm conflicted about what to do.  I could modify the post and "appeal" the decision.  I could delete it altogether, which might not resolve the warning.  Or I could just leave it behind a warning.  I mean, we're talking about a 13 year old post with a total of 5 views.  I'll probably removed everything and resubmit just to clear the warning...

Saturday, October 29, 2022

October1972 on the Music Charts

 I'm late, but at least it is still October, so here's  the continuing series of hits -of-the-month.  top music hits of October1972.  Fifty years ago (Yikes!)

There were 4 weeks in October 1972, and there were 51 songs that spent time in the the Top 40/  Over those 4 weeks, there were 3 songs that topped the charts.  October started with Baby Don't Get Hooked On Me by Mac Davis, in the last of its 3 week run at #1.  Michael Jackson's Ben took over for 1 week, giving way to Chuck Berry's My Ding-A-Ling for the last two weeks.  I've always thought it odd, and a little sad, that Chuck Berry's only #1 song was a silly novelty song, released more than a decade after his last Top 40 song.  He had 6 Top 10's in the 50's, but no #1s.  Meanwhile, Ben was Michael Jackson's fist #1 as a solo artist.  A song about a boy's friend rat....  Yep, a sort of odd month at the top of the charts,

Here's the top 10 songs (11 with a tie) of the month, ranked by average chart position over the 4 weeks of the month. 

Some pretty wonderful songs in that list...

Meanwhile, Seventeen (17) songs made their Top 40 debut. Here they are, ranked by debut chart position:

  • I Can See Clearly Now - Johnny Nash - 33
  • Summer Breeze - Seals and Crofts - 34
  • I Believe In Music - Gallery - 35
  • I'd Love You To Want Me - Lobo - 35
  • Midnight Rider  - Joe Cocker - 36
  • I Am Woman - Helen Reddy - 36
  • If You Don't Know Me By Now - Harold Melvin And The Blue Notes - 36
  • Geronimo's Cadillac - Michael Murphey - 37
  • Elected - Alice Cooper - 37
  • Rock Me Baby - David Cassidy - 38
  • Papa Was A Rollin' Stone - The Temptations - 38
  • Loving You Just Crossed My Mind - Sam Neely - 39
  • Spaceman - Nilsson - 39
  • American City Suite - Cashman and West - 39
  • I'll Be Around - The Spinners - 40
  • Don't Do It - The Band - 40
  • From The Beginning - Emerson, Lake and Palmer - 40

Boy, do I miss the music of 1972.....


Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Concert Review - PPL / ARS / MTB - Part 4, Marshall Tucker Band

 Time for the 4th and final installment of my reviews of last Saturday's concert.  Today, I'll discuss the headliner, The Marshall Tucker Band (MTB).


The Band:

MTB is certainly one of the best know of the 70's era southern rock bands.  At least in mycircle of friends back then.  The first 3 southern rock bands I had in my record collection were MTB, CDB (Charlie Daniels Band) and Lynyrd Skynyrd.    [my first Allman Brothers album was 1975's compilation].

MTB released 11 albums in the 1973-1982 time frame, the same basic windo as PPL and ARS.  But they continued to release new albums through 2007, with 22 studio albums over that 34 year span.  But their success was primarily during that 70's into 80's period.  But while they were staples of AOR Radio, they weren't really a singles band.  They only had 3 songs make the Top 40, with "Heard It In A Love Song" their highest charter, at #14.  But their "Can't You See" is one of the best (and most well known) songs of the genre.  I have their first 8 studio albums, and a live album that was based on a King Buscuit Flower Hour broadcast (that I used have recorded from the radio to cassette).  I've seen the band several times, including working backstage when they played at my college (January 1982).

The band had a very stable lineup, unchanged over their first 9 albums ('73--80),  And the first change was due to the death of Bassist Tommy Caldwell.  They've had quite a few changes since then, Wikipedia list s a whopping 36 current and former members!  As with PPL, and ARS (technically), MTB has only one original member:  Singer songwriter Doug Gray.

The Show

The band was great, really great.The playing was great, the band was super tight, and the sound was good.  So odd that PPL and MTB sounded good, while ARS was pretty muddled... Really great muscianship, which they brought out through extended jamming.  That said, Doug Gray was not is good voice.  I don't know if it was just his age, or if he was unwell, but he struggled quite a but.  He is 74, after all (as he pointed out).  But the rest of the band chipped in singing, so it was fine.  I was a little disappointed when they turned Heard It In A Love Song into a sing along, but that's just one of my "things"   They played a solid set, about 90 minutes, and only 8 songs (did I mention jamming?).

As far as the playlist, there was only one surprise, but it was a nice one.  They opened the set with a song by guitarist Chris Hicks, from his 2008 solo album.  

The setlist:

All in all, we had a great time, enjoyed an evening reliving the music of my teens.  Even and the players have changed, the music is still great

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Concert Review - PPL / ARS / MTB - Part 3, Atlanta Rhythm Section

 Continuing to Part 3 of the series, today I'll look at the second band of the trio, Atlanta Rhythm Section


The Band:

As noted previously, this concert was promoted as a night of "Southern Rock", and Altlanta Rhythm Section (ARS) certainly qualifies.  The boys from Doraville, with Atlanta in their name, are solidly southern.  ARS released 10 studio albums between 1972 and 1981, when they were mainly active.  They had 7x top 40 hits, and two more that stalled in the 40's.  And they were regulars on the AOR radio circuit.

I actually have 8 of those 10 early albums, including the first 6.  And I saw them a couple of times in the 70's, both times as opening act.  I really like them, but they were always a little mixed.  Several great albums, and lots of good ones.  Unlike PPL, they were pretty stable during that main run.  They switched lead singers after their 1st album, but then had no changes for the next 7, and only changed drummers for the next 2.  

Since 1981, though, they've had a lot of changes, Wikipedia lists 25 total band members.  teh only "original" member at this point is singer Rodney Justo, and he was the singer on the 1st album, not the ones that are well known.  But 3 of the 6 current members have been with the band at least a decade.

Like with PPL  I wasn't real sure how they would sound, as they're sort of an "official" tribute band.  After the 10 albums through 1981,   with only 4 albums of new material in 40+ years And none since 2011.


The Show:

The sound for ARS was pretty disappointing.  PPL preceded them with a very clear sound, and so was MTB (review pending).  By contrast, ARS seemed very muddy.  Noticeably louder, and noticeably more "wall of sound".  The drums were a bit dominant, and it was often hard to tell which guitarist was playing.  Hard to hear the keyboards...  Not horrible, but noticeably worse than the other 2 bands. That's always a head-scratcher for me.  Example:  Te bass player did the solo from  "Champagne Jam", but I really couldn't distinguish the notes, just thumping.  By contrast, the bass solo in MTB's set was quite clear.

All the musicians played well, but they were not nearly as "tight" as the other two bands.  I noticed a couple of s when they were just a little out of sync.  Not enough for normal people to notice, but I did.  As far as stage presence, they were fine, good interaction with the fans and each other.  Just that muddled sound.

Like PPL, they played for about 45 minutes, which is about right for a middle act in a 3 band slate. I was also pleased with the setlist.  I was worried they would focus on their hots, which would be understandable, but not my preference.  They played 4 of their hits, and mostly well known songs.  But also one of my favorite deep cust, "Boogie Smoogie".

None of that is meant to say  ARS was "bad".  Just ant as good as I'd hoped, and nit as good as the other two bandsAgain, for this concert, I did something new for me:  I logged the playlist (using the Note ap on my phone.  so, here's the playlist:

  • Champagne Jam
  • Spooky
  • Doraville
  • Large Time
  • Boogie Smoogie
  • I'm Not Gonna Let It Bother Me Tonight
  • So Into You
  • Jukin'
  • Imaginary Lover


BetterPhoto Winners, August 2022

Another month with no winners, and another month struggling for inspiration.  Again, no real gripes, It wasn't my most inspired month.

I did have 2x Finalists, 2x Staff Favorite, and 13x  Editor's Picks.  Through August 2022, ost 20% of my entries have been Finalist or above.  yay me, I guess.

Anyway, here's my two finalists for August:



- - -








Monday, October 10, 2022

Concert Review - PPL / ARS / MTB - Part 2, Pure Prairie League

 Continuing from yesterday's Part 1, today I'll look at the first band of the trio, Pure Prairie League.


The Band:

This concert was promoted as a night of "Southern Rock", but I never really considered Pure Prairie League to be part of that genre.  They have a lot more in common with bands like Eagles, Firefall and Poco thanLynyrd Skynyrd, The Allman Brothers and Charlie Daniels Band.  That's not a bad thing, just clarifying the misnomer.  I mean, the band started in Ohio, around Columbus & Cincinnati!  Anyway, they were mainly active from 1972 through 1981.  They're best know for the song Falling In And Out Of Love / Amie, which made the top 40 in 1975 and was a staple of AOR Radio back in the day.  They had 3 other Top 40 songs in 1980/81, only one of which I know.

Hits aside, I have their first 3 albums, and one more of their 70's releases.  And I've seen them a couple times (before this show), but always as an undercard.  I've always thought they were a bit under-rated, partially because of the name, and partially because of instability in the line-up.  During their 10 year original run, they had 15 different members. By the time of this show, they've had 27 different members....  There was only 1 original member *John David Call), and he was only on 3 of their first 9 albums.  The longest tenured of the other 4 members is the drummer, who's been with them since 2013.

I wasn't real sure how they would sound, as they're sort of an "official" tribute band, with only 1 album of new material in 40+ years (2005).

The Show:

First and foremost: the band sounded really good.  Yes it wasn't the original band (mostly), but they were solid.  The playing, the singing, the stage presence...  all good.  And the sound was good, which is especially nice in a challenging venue.  They played for about 45 minutes, which is about right for an opening act in a 3 band slate. I was pleased with the setlist, which included a few deeper cuts, and one song I wasn't familiar with (from their 1980 album Firin' Up).  I wouldn't have minded something from 1978's Just Fly, but I wouldn't have dropped anything they did play.  They didn't play an encore, again, not shocking starting off a 3 band show.

For this concert, I did something new for me:  I logged the playlist (using the Note ap on my phone.  so, here's the playlist:

All in all, a most satisfying way to open the evening. I'd certainly recommend them.




Sunday, October 09, 2022

Concert Review - PPL / ARS / MTB - Part 1, Overview

 


The night of the TLA's (three letter acronyms)!

Last night (110/08/2022) my wife and I saw a Souther Rock throwback show at the Family Arena, in St. Charles, MO.  A trio of bands from for the '70's/:  Marshall Tucker Band, Atlanta Rhythm Section and Pure Prairie League. All bands I've seen before (but 40 yrs ago), and all bands that I are well represented in my music collection.  

I had seen the show advertised, and decided not to drop the dough.  Primarily because of the dramatic turnover in the bands, and the fact that the Family Arena is;ne an outstanding venue.  It's not bad, just a a ty[ical (smaller) soccer / arena football type venue.  Reportedly about 10k capacity for sports event, and 6,500-ish for "half-house concerts".  And 35-40 minutes drive (each way).  But  I've seen at least 5 shows there, and it is entirely adequate.  Anyway, I had decided to take a pass on this show, and then I got an email that one of the local radio stations was giving away 2 front row seats, and some number of other pairs of tickets.  Can't beat free, so we decided to give it a shot.  And we won a pari of the runner up seats.  Well, you can't beat free!

Predictably, the free tickets weren't greatm up near the rafters and raght along the front edge of the stage.  The biggest problem with the upper deck seats at Family Arena is there is absolutely no leg room.  But, there crowd was pretty sparse, so we (and our fellow nose-bleed folk) were able to shift around a bit and dangle our legs into the seats in front of us.  So it was fine.  I'm sure my bad kness would not have been able to tolerate it if it had been crowded.  

But crowded it was not. I'd guess the arena was less than 1/2 full, the floor was maybe 3/4 full.  I was pretty surprised, since these are well known bands.  The image below is 20+ minutes before the show started, so not a good judge f the crowd....  


I'll post individual reviews of each of the bands, stay tuned!


Saturday, September 24, 2022

Dry Spell

 September has been a bad month for my photo-mojo.  I've only taken a few photos, and posted fewer.  Oh well, I've been taking pictures for a long time, this is far from my longest dry spell.  Longest in a while, though.  No excuses, just haven't been feeling it.

Maybe this little shot will kick start my muse.  Just a cell phone shot, processed on the iPad.  But I kinda like it. thanks for hanging in there, those of you who have!



One of the crosswalks in downtown Edwardsville, IL.  It was just starting to rain, and I saw these ladies crossing Main Street.  


Wednesday, September 21, 2022

September 1972 on the Music Charts

 Moving into the last third of 1973, the continuing series of hits -of-the-month, moving to September1972.  Fifty years ago (Yikes!)

There were 5 weeks in September of 1972, and there were 60 songs that spent time in the Top 40.  That's a tick up from the past couple of months, for what it's worth. And over those 5 weeks, there were 3 songs that topped the charts: Gilbert O'Sullivan's  "Alone Again, Naturally" rebounded to #1, after ending August with a week at #2.   It spent 6 weeks total at the top1.  matching Roberta Flack and "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" which was #1 for 6 consecutive weeks in April and May.  Three Dog Night took over the #1 spot for 1 week, with "Black And White", and "Baby Don't Get Hooked On Me" by Mac Davis topped the last 2 weeks.

Here's the top 10 songs (11 with a tie) of the month, ranked by average chart position over the 5 weeks of the month. 

  • Baby Don't Get Hooked On Me - Mac Davis - 2.8
  • Black And White - Three Dog Night - 5.6
  • Alone Again (Naturally) - Gilbert O'Sullivan - 5.6
  • Back Stabbers - The O'Jays - 5.8
  • Saturday In The Park - Chicago - 7
  • Go All The Way - Raspberries - 12.6
  • Rock And Roll Part 2 - Gary Glitter - 12.6
  • Honkey Cat - Elton John - 14
  • Long Cool Woman (In A Black Dress) - The Hollies - 14.2
  • Brandy (You're A Fine Girl) - Looking Glass - 14.6
Very solid Top 10 this month, I have 9 of the 10 in my collection.

Meanwhile, Twenty-Four (24) songs made their Top 40 debut. Here they are, ranked by debut chart position:

  • My Ding-A-Ling - Chuck Berry - 31
  • Everybody Plays The Fool - The Main Ingredient - 32
  • Ben - Michael Jackson - 32
  • Play Me - Neil Diamond - 33
  • Use me - Bill Withers - 33
  • Garden Party - Rick Nelson And The Stone Canyon Band - 33
  • Tight Rope - Leon Russell - 34
  • Thunder And Lightnin - Chi Coltrane - 34
  • Speak To The Sky - Rick Springfield - 35
  • Witchy Woman - Eagles - 35
  • The City Of New Orleans - Arlo Guthrie - 36
  • Freddie's Dead (Theme From "Superfly") - Curtis Mayfield - 36
  • Get On The Good Foot-Part 1 - James Brown - 37
  • Starting All Over Again - Mel And Tim - 37
  • Listen To The Music - The Doobie Brothers - 37
  • If I Could Reach You - The 5th Dimension - 37
  • Why/Lonely Boy - Donny Osmond - 38
  • If You Leave Me Tonight I'll Cry - Jerry Wallace - 38
  • Don't Ever Be Lonely - Cornelius Brothers and Sister Rose - 38
  • Nights In White Satin - The Moody Blues - 39
  • You Wear It Well - Rod Stewart - 39
  • Burning Love - Elvis Presley - 40
  • Easy Livin' - Uriah Heep - 40
  • Good Time Charlie's Got The Blues - Danny O'Keefe - 40



Monday, September 05, 2022

The Museum Of Me - 001

 We spent some time this weekend cleaning the basement, trying hard to be ruthless and purge decades of accumulation.  One of the hazards of living in one house for 33 years, I suppose

Anyway, I came across some old Major Matt Mason toys.  Major Matt Mason was a toy linein the late 60's, smallish "action figures" (don't say dolls!) with a space theme.  And my brother and I had pretty big collections.  Many years ago, when cleaning out my parents' house we found all the old "MMM" stuff, and sold most of it on eBay (back when eBay was fun!).  Some of it drew pretty big dollars,

Anyway, in this weekend's cleaning I found a few pieces that didn't get sold back then, and have been in our basement for probably 20 years.  Here's some photos which I sent to my brother.  None of this is museum quality, a;; of it was well used by my 7 or 8 year old self.Here's the pics, a glimpse into my youthL

Major Matt Mason, and his Jetpack



Some sort of vehicle, couldn't find a name

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"Museum Of Me" is a cool concept, borrowed from a song by Savory Flakes.  Check 'em out on Bandcamp!





Saturday, September 03, 2022

BetterPhoto Winners, July 2022

 Well...  no winners this month.  I've had a good run, 5 month in a row with 2nd place winners.  I have no gripes, I tend to struggle in July (and August)., and have been struggling with my photo-mojo recently.  It'll came around, though.


I did have 3x photo make "Finalist", shown below:










Check out the Better Photo winners here:




Grass growing on a fallen tree


 

Almost, but not quite...  I was feeling pretty good about this one when I spapped the shutter...  But once I pulled it up on the computer, it just didn't quite make it.  Oh, I think it;s OK, but just OK.  O think the muck in the water distracts from the scene, it would've been better if the water was clear.  But you take what you're given and try to make the most of it.

There's acyually quite a lot of post processing here, more than I'd normally use.  The last but was sort of happenstance.  I had processed, and saved the image, and was posting to Instagram.  I was resetting for 1:1 sizing (in instagram), and mis-clicked 16:9 ratio.  And I decided I liked that a lot better.  So I went back to Photoshop (Elements) and re-cropped to 16:9.  

Anywat, what do YOU think?  Is it garbage, a secret masterpiece, or just "meh"?  Let me know in the comments.


-----------------------------------


And, here's the original straight Out Of Camera (SOOC) version.




Friday, August 26, 2022

Spam Spam Spam Spam

 Every once in a while, I check my spam folders to make sure nothing got misplaced.  It's been ages since I've seen that happen, but still easy enough to check.

Lately, I've noticed an uptick in the good-old Nigerian scam.  With a 2022 twist:  Now they've upgraded from a Nigerian Prince to a woman, a victim of the "Russian civil unrest in Ukraine ",,,,  The wife of a contractor.  Sadly, the poor woman has "already lost [her] family, [her] husband, son and daughter to the cold hands of death"....  Fortunately, her husband transferred a "reasonable" amount of funds to a Security Company in France" 

Well, since life in Ukraine is so risky these days, this woman has decided to entrust me, a random stranger, with the care and custody of the funds for investment purposes in my country!  A mere 8.5M euros. She adds "I know that a million words would not make you help me,nor would a million tears but I want you to bear in mind that I'm sending you a strong message as a widow which I have come to plead with you to please help me in this situation."

I will say that the spelling and grammer are much better than the old Nigerian scams used to be. 

It is an interesting twist that there is no actual mention of what's in it for me.  Just a request that I claim the funds "as a good business partner" to her late husband and I provide "care and custody" of them.  Maybe the scam has determined that people are catching on to the reality that nobody is just going to give a fortune to a random stranger?  I guess I could reply and see what my cut of the 8.5 Million would be.....   But that would be stupid, since it is a transparent scam.

The sad thing is they send out millions of these queries, and it only takes a handful of people to fall for it to be worth their time.  Maybe I'll buy a couple of lottery tickets, at least I know how much I'l lose, and there is an actually chance (miniscule, but >0) I might win a few bucks.