The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced the nominees for 2018:

Bon Jovi
Kate Bush – first time
The Cars
Depeche Mode
Dire Straits – first time
Eurythmics – first time
J. Geils Band
Judas Priest – first time
LL Cool J
MC5
The Meters
Moody Blues – first time
Radiohead – first time
Rage Against the Machine – first time
Rufus featuring Chaka Khan
Nina Simone – first time
Sister Rosetta Tharpe – first time
Link Wray
The Zombies
“To be eligible for nomination, an individual artist or band must have released its first commercial recording at least 25 years prior to the year of induction which means the 2018 nominees had to release their first official recording no later than 1992.”

Since we can vote for these folks, I cast my ballot for these:

The Moody Blues: #1 on Culture Sonar’s Top Ten Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Snubs. Commercial and critical cred, evolving in musical styles.

Nina Simone, the high priestess of soul – listen to Feeling Good

Two artists I think they should just plop into the Hall as early influencers are Sister Rosetta Tharpe, The Godmother of Rock & Roll, and Link Wray, the father of the power chord.

One band that should be in via the Musical Excellence route, and that’s the Meters, who defined New Orleans funk. And on the subject of Musical Excellence, I restate my case for Billy Preston and a slew of the Wrecking Crew, starting with bassist Carol Kaye.

Again, I’m pushing for Estelle Axton, the AX of STAX Records, as a non-performer. Her brother and business partner Jim Stewart has been there since 2002.

Chuck Miller made the case for Neil Sedaka; I’ll buy that, and would suggest that they include his longtime writing partner Howie Greenfield. Like Mann and Weil and Goffin and King, they were successful Brill Building creators.

If I knew the Meters, Tharpe, and Wray would get in another way, I probably would vote for Culture Sonar’s #9 pick The Cars, plus Dire Straits and Eurythmics.

I’m guessing that Bon Jovi, the Cars (high on the fan ballot in previous years) and the Moody Blues will make it.

High on my disappointed they weren’t even nominated:

Emerson Lake & Palmer – while I’d like to see King Crimson, Greg Lake’s previous band, go in first, I’d take whatever prog rock I could get

The Doobie Brothers- oddly enough, the death of Steely Dan’s Walter Becker has made me, even more, a fan of this choice. Only Becker and Walter Fagen are in the Hall, which means original Dan guitarist Jeff Baxter is not. Neither is Michael McDonald, who had a stellar solo career after singing and playing for Steely Dan then reviving the Doobies.

Warren Zevon – yes. a critical darling, whose songs were heavily covered.

Three Dog Night – yes, they didn’t write their own songs. But they made credible recordings covers of a wide range of artists, including musicians that people didn’t know at the time, including Harry Nilsson, Randy Newman, Elton John and John Hiatt. I really enjoyed their early stuff. And they had 21 consecutive Top 40 hits.

Jaquandor asks: Do you have an opinion of Guy Fieri? I’m pretty sure I’m supposed to hate him, but…I don’t.

Oh, THAT guy? No, I don’t have any impression. I mean I know what he looks like, the fellow who seems as though he were in a boy band a quarter of a century ago and never changed his look.

But if I’ve seen him on one of those cooking shows, I don’t specifically recall. Collectively, I tend not to watch them because they tend to want to stress out their contestants – here are ten random ingredients; make something delicious in an hour – which I don’t enjoy watching. Seeing people stressing out stresses ME out.

OH, I just saw him feeding people on northern California who are dealing with the massive fires. He seems to be a decent fellow.

And that is my general feeling about most reality shows, whether it be those HGTV home improvement shows (the hosts find rot in the foundation AFTER the contestants’ home is purchased!) or dance competitions or other talent events. It’s just not my thing.

My wife watches some HGTV shows and Dancing with the Stars. I did managed to catch Darcy Lynne on America’s Got Talent, which my wife also views, and was suitably impressed.

Then again, I’m not watching many current comedies or dramas either. I’m so glad I went on JEOPARDY! when I did, back in 1998. Recently there was a category on current TV that I totally bombed on. I was at least familiar with House of Cards (I know Kevin Spacey from the movies) and Breaking Bad (Bryan Cranston was in Malcolm in the Middle, which I didn’t watch either, now that I think of it), but obviously not well enough. Yet I got a question the next day about Orange Is the New Black, which I’ve also never seen.

There are a bunch of shows in the new season that, even a decade ago, I might have tried out. I even bought the Fall Preview Issue of TV Guide. But after having a whole bunch of that Vietnam series recorded but unwatched – since rectified – I realized that even shows starring people I used to watch (Kyra Sedgwick in The Closer) isn’t enough for me to view a new series (Ten Days in the Valley).

Clockwise from top left: Zappa, Cocker, Crosby, Clapton

The book Never A Dull Moment by David Hepworth notes a photo display in LIFE magazine in the fall of 1971 called “Rock Stars and their parents.” Among those families represented: the Jackson Five, Frank Zappa, Ginger Baker, Joe Cocker, Grace Slick, and David Crosby.

“Eric Clapton was pictured with his grandmother Rose Clapp, who had raised him on behalf of her sixteen-year-old daughter. There was no mention of his actual birth mother. the public wasn’t ready for the complexity of a nonnuclear family.”

While photographer John Olson noted that the rock stars were “uniformly” well-behaved around their parents, they weren’t temperamentally suited for domestic life, having spent years on the road. Moreover, unannounced fans would try to show up on the doorsteps of Bob Dylan, Pete Townsend and others. Paul McCartney was the exception, as he and Linda lived in rural Scotland.

Often even these musicians of means still thought of themselves as creators first, people with homes second. Among the folks with studios actually in their abodes were George Harrison, James Taylor and Graham Nash. Other musicians were impulsive buyers of eccentric structures. Keith Moon’s house had five pyramids. Jimmy Page and John Lennon both needed others to stay in their residences.

As for musical families, the Kinks put out my favorite of their albums, Muswell Hillbillies, Donny Osmond and his brothers were strong on the charts all year since One Bad Apple copped the style of the Motown family’s J5.

The Beach Boys made the cover of Rolling Stones, a wildly successful singles band in the early ’60s who, aside from Pet Sounds, were not particularly successful album artists in the latter part of the decade. They were perceived as uncool.

Fortunately, they pieced together the often magnificent Surf’s Up, in a way a tribute to the band’s aura. “Van Dyke Park, who had co-written the title song five years earlier correctly predicted if they used that title, they could pre-sell 150,000 extra copies.

Eventually, though, it was the old songs, first with the Who’s 1971 Meaty Big and Bouncy, then the defunct Beatles, followed by the Beach Boys, post 1973’s American Graffiti, that showed that nostalgia could sell quite well, thank you.

Listen to:

Surf’s Up – the Beach Boys
Coat Of Many Colors – Dolly Parton
Superstar – Carpenters
Old Man – Neil Young
Muswell Hillbilly – The Kinks
Peaches En Regalia – Frank Zappa
Will the Circle Be Unbroken – Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
Tired of Being Alone – Al Green

When we were in Binghamton, NY, my sister Leslie and I went to the Orzio Salati Studio & Gallery at 204 State Street, part of a block of artist venues downtown. We went because our late father knew a guy named Charlie McGill. Charles McGill, who graduated from high school in Binghamton in 1982, must have been Charlie’s son or nephew. The statue, BTW, is a rather good likeness of the artist.

“For the 18 years [Charles] wrestled with the golf bag. He found it to be a ‘very political object due to its its historical associations with class inequality and racial injustice.” The country club had been so long the dominion of people of a certain demographics that, more than once, McGill, an avid golfer, was mistaken for a caddie.

We know all of this this because Salati, the curator, but also McGill’s friend and fellow artist, told us. He explained that McGill’s work was both a physical and mental struggle. Physical because the golf bag is generally well constructed, with leather, steel reinforcement, hard plastic form and rivets. The piece below is Tondos (from the Italian rotondo – round).

Sometimes, he didn’t deconstructed the golf bag, but amplified the message, such as the Three Kings bag with images of Martin Luther King Jr., Rodney King, and King Kong.

Unfortunately, the planned show for Charles McGill in his hometown became a memorial exhibit, as the artist died from metastasized kidney cancer in July 2017. The pieces are all on loan from various galleries.

And, as is often the case, his work was increasingly being recognized for “making a bold statement” and going for far more money than it had just months earlier. Rondos, for instance, is now going for $30,000.

The show continues through the end of October 2017, Saturday from 11 a.m to 3 p.m. and by appointment (607 772-6725).

The primaries in New York State are over. I must admit a fascination with all the yard signs in people’s lawns‘ we have three in ours, a new record. How do they do their designs so they don’t look like everyone else’s? A lot of them use red, white, and/or blue.

Generally speaking, I give points to anyone’s signs that didn’t fall in that category. Although: a candidate for city auditor named Susan Rizzo had an orange sign; from a distance, it looked red to me, and one doesn’t want red in a sign for someone in charge of the money. Her opponent, Glen Casey, had a picture of himself with a pale orange background, which, also from a distance, made him look as though he had clown hair.

I came across this state manual Municipal Control of Signs. Interesting geek reading. “Sign controls applicable to residential areas must therefore be carefully drawn to respect free speech while protecting the community’s appearance.”

The Capital District and north got a new area code in the 518 this summer, which is 838. It’s an overlay, which means that the new area code would cover the same geography as the old one when new numbers are assigned. Some folks are whining complaining that now they have to dial 10 digits rather than seven, but it is no big deal to me.

This is MUCH better outcome than if they had split the area code, with everyone in Albany and Troy, e.g., having to get new phone numbers, which would mean new business cards, new signs, and the need to spend advertising to promote that.

My church got a new sign, welcoming immigrants and refugees, around Labor Day. It fits in with the position of our Session, which is the local governing board, adopted at its meeting on Tuesday, September 19:

“As Christians, we are committed to stand with all who are oppressed, marginalized, or persecuted and to do all in our power to protect and defend. We boldly assert that God’s creation is universal and is a reflection of God’s own self, those of every race, color, ethnicity, of every gender, sexual orientation or sexual identity, speaking every language and born in every place, following every religious tradition. Every one of these is created in God’s own image and rejection of any is a rejection of God. We especially invite those in positions of leadership and power to restrain any injustice and to avoid at all costs any pandering or use of prejudice for political gain. We seek a world as God envisions, a world of justice, mercy, and love.”

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