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shuggieotisFor a birthday some years back, I was given this CD of songs by Shuggie Otis, born Johnny Alexander Veliotes, Jr. on November 30, 1953, son of the really cool musician, rhythm and blues pioneer Johnny Otis. The album featured his song Strawberry Letter #23.

From the Wikipedia:

“George Johnson of the Brothers Johnson was dating one of Otis’ cousins when he came across the album Freedom Flight.

“The group recorded ‘Strawberry Letter 23′ for their 1977 album Right on Time, which was produced by Quincy Jones, and the album went platinum. They recorded the song in a funkier, more dance-oriented vein than the original Otis version.
“Their rendition hit the Hot 100 and peaked at number five and reached number one on the Soul Singles chart in 1977.

“Studio guitar player Lee Ritenour recreated Otis’ original guitar solo for the Brothers Johnson cover.”

Here’s the Shuggie Otis original version.

Here’s the Brothers Johnson cover version, which I have on vinyl.

Very trippy lyrics:

Red magic satin playing near
Rainbows and waterfalls run through my mind
Purple shower, bells and tea
Orange birds and river cousins dressed in green
Blue flower echo from a cherry cloud
Feel sunshine sparkle pink and blue
Strawberry Letter #23 by the Brothers Johnson has been sampled several times, including by Beyonce, and covered by Kevin Campbell and others.

Michael Jackson used bassist Louis Johnson on his Off the Wall and Thriller albums.

Before that, The Brothers Johnson sang on this 1976 Lesley Gore number Sometimes, from her Love Me By Name album, produced, like her early hits, and Michael’s albums, by Quincy Jones. (Hat tip to Dustbury.)

Sadly, Louis Johnson passed away at the age of 60 on May 21, 2015.

Danny_Collins_Official_PosterI pretty much HAD to see the movie Danny Collins, which is based, sort of, on a message John Lennon sent to a budding musician named Steve Tilston, interviewed in a magazine back in 1971. Lennon saw the piece and sent a letter to the Tilston, care of the magazine, inviting Steve to call John, complete with his phone number. But the young musician never saw the letter until years later.

That actually happened, and it is the jumping off point of this fictional piece Read the rest of this entry »

mailboxI have noted that this past winter was tough. The cold. Attending four funerals in the first ten weeks of 2015. One of my library buds leaving work at the end of January. Black History Month stuff. Friends of the Library stuff.

Plus the family sickness chain. The last week in February – the Daughter, the week before her church play. By March 1, she was better, but I felt awful. Yet I had an adult education class to teach, scripture to read during the service, and needed to attend that aforementioned play.

I said, OUT LOUD, that day, “If I didn’t have all these things to do, I would have stayed home.”

So you would think I’d have listened to myself Read the rest of this entry »

filesThe always entertaining Alan David Doane wrote on Facebook this month: “I’m curious what my favourite librarian, Roger Green, makes of this argument.” Rick Falkvinge stated that one cannot defend public libraries and oppose file-sharing because “they are one and the same phenomenon. One is just vastly more efficient.”

I’ll have a caveat that I shared this with several librarians, and none of them were 100% sure exactly what he meant by file sharing. I’m assuming he’s talking bit torrent, though the exact model of what this theoretically might look like in a library setting is a little fuzzy to me.

Still, if I am understanding the argument correctly, the real problem is that he’s wrong, in three specific ways Read the rest of this entry »

townshend_pete_best_of_pete_townshendAs I’ve noted, I really enjoyed the Pete Townshend autobiography, Who I Am. It was a warts-and-all look at his family and other relationships, his music, and especially his not-always-appropriate behavior.

I’d previously noted my favorite songs by the Who. Here’s just a few Townsend solo songs, mostly from two albums, though I own at least eight of them, mostly on vinyl.

6. Give Blood, from White City – A Novel. As a long-time blood donor, I approve of the title, though that’s not what it’s about. In fact, the song’s construction was quite peculiar. From my second-favorite Townsend album.
Read the rest of this entry »

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