Van Morrison is 70

Irish Heartbeat (1991) is an album of Van Morrison with the Chieftains.

vanmorrisonGeorge Ivan ‘Van’ Morrison is one of those artists who’s been around practically as long as I’ve been listening to music.

The Northern Irish singer/songwriter has released over three dozen albums. I have his second solo album, Astral Weeks, and his 2012 album, Born to Sing: No Plan B, but only about a half dozen in between, so there are definite gaps in my Van awareness.

Incidentally, Legacy Recordings has just acquired most of his catalog, and Rhino Remasters, Expands His “Astral Weeks,” “His Band and the Street Choir”.

I dare say if I listened to the entirety of his oeuvre, I’d likely find 25 more songs, but these are the ones that struck a chord with me today. And while the top 7 are probably my favorites, the order is fairly arbitrary.

25. When That Evening Sun Goes Down, from Tupelo Honey (1971) -TH
24. Cleaning Windows, from Beautiful Vision (1982)
23. I’ve Been Working, from His Band and The Street Choir (1970), noted as SC. This was the third solo album he put out, but the first one I owned, so it will be over-represented here.
22. Spanish Rose, from Blowin’ Your Mind! (1967) – BYM
21. Have I Told You Lately, from Avalon Sunset (1989)

20. Close Enough for Jazz, from in Too Long in Exile (1993). There’s also a version, with lyrics, on Born to Sing.
19. Gypsy Queen, from SC
18. Wonderful Remark, from the soundtrack album for The King of Comedy (1983) and The Best of Van Morrison (1990); I have the former, but not the latter
17. Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child, from Poetic Champions Compose (1987)
16. Tupelo Honey, from TH; single went to #47 in 1972

15. Bright Side of the Road, from Into the Music (1979)
14. Call Me Up in Dreamland, from SC; the single went to #95 in 1971
13. Wavelength, from Wavelength (1978); the single went to #42 in 1978
12. Here Comes the Night, from the eponymous first album by the group Them; the single went to #24 in 1965
11. Be Thou My Vision, from Hymns to the Silence (1991). This is actually from a double CD I have never owned, but have played, and there may be songs on here I like even better.

10. Street Choir, from SC
9. Marie’s Wedding, from Irish Heartbeat (1991). This is an album with the Chieftains.
8. Wild Night, from TH; the single went to #28 in 1971
7. Blue Money, from SC; the single went to #23 in 1971
6. Jackie Wilson Said (I’m in Heaven When You Smile), from Saint Dominic’s Preview (1972); the single went to #61 in 1972

5. Brown Eyed Girl, from BYM; the single went to #10 in 1967
4. If I Ever Needed Someone, from SC
3. Moondance, from Moondance (1970); the single went to #92 in 1977, but the song was a staple of FM radio
2. Gloria, from Them; the Them single went to #93 in 1965, and #71 upon reissue in 1966
1. Domino, from SC; the single went to #9 in 1971
Coverville 1090: That brown-eyed girl is gonna getcha good. Cover stories for Van Morrison and Shania Twain!

August rambling #2: artificial – flowers and televangelists

A Marvin Gaye/Ramones mashup.


How a ’50s-Era New York Knife Law Landed Thousands in Jail.

Jeff Sharlet interviews Black Lives Matter activist Shaun King.

No matter how sincerely we think we get it, we don’t really get it. “A personal epiphany about race and gender, to my fellow white males.” And Please Stop Being a Good White Person (TM).

Donald Trump Just Stopped Being Funny. “Win or lose, Trump’s campaign threatens to unleash the Great American Stupid.”

About Josh Duggar’s Ashley Madison Account. Am I the only person who had never HEARD of Ashley Madison until this summer?

USA network postpones ‘Mr. Robot’ finale due to parallels to Virginia murders, in which two people were murdered on live television, a reporter and cameraman. Postponed a whole week, to September 2!

Apocalypse Now – Washington state’s climate change.

How to Be Polite.

The difference between Latino and Hispanic, in one mini comic strip.

Dustbury notes men who are boobs.

Stop the Jared Fogle “footlong” jokes: Why do we still find prison rape acceptable, let alone funny?

John Oliver Exposes Shady Televangelists Fleecing Americans For Millions. Or watch here. And he sets up his OWN church Our Lady of Perpetual Exemption. So, will the IRS respond? Over 30 years ago, Frank Zappa sang about this.

Ken Burns, on the Civil War: It’s about ‘slavery slavery slavery’.

Julius Rosenwald is The Philanthropist Who Built Over 5,000 Schools for Black Students in the Jim Crow South.

Arthur wonders: expat or immigrant?

In Defense of Saggy Pants by Miriam Axel-Lute.

After first treatment, Jimmy Carter and family returned home to see the streets lined with support.

Chuck Miller’s son turns 30. Plus he links to some fine posts, plus one of mine.

The English language, we all know, is in decline. “‘The average schoolchild can hardly write’… said William Langland, author of ‘Piers Plowman’… who died in 1386.”

Banksy’s ‘Dismaland’ in England: It’s a Strange World, After All.

Amy Biancolli explains How to cross the street in Albany.

Jaquandor gets interviewed by Jon Stewart, kinda, sorta.

Rebecca Jade sings the National Anthem at Petco Park on August 8, 2015. Also featuring #1 niece: Under New Management from Tom Antl and Team Groovy, MATURE audience, Winner Best Film – San Diego 48 Hour Film Project 2015.

Born to Run and the Decline of the American Dream.

A Marvin Gaye/Ramones mashup.

Artificial Flowers by Bobby Darin, an unlikely hit, given its subject matter. An interpretation by New York stage performer Ciro Barbaro more in keeping with the lyrics.

The Rolling Stones for Rice Krispies.

This actually came up in conversation at church last week: I Love To Singa- Owl.

Dean Martin Knocks the Beatles out of the #1 Spot on the Charts.

One Toke Over The Line – The Lawrence Welk Show (1971).

Fillyjonk: Lorde have mercy.

Now I Know: Making Sense of Dollar Signs.

The Spiedie Is A Perfect And Important Sandwich: It is high time this nation recognized Binghamton, New York’s beloved culinary mascot as the God-Level Foodstuff that it truly is.


Chuck Miller and I had an idea for some Times Union bloggers to get together. I jokingly suggested having it at Ken Screven’s place. Chuck actually pursued it, and it was so.

Absurd Flag Flapping, New Zealand style, and When the ‘good guys’ are wrong.

TWCQT #4: The Nine-Panel Grid.


Lubbock (TX) ISD baseball field home to district’s llamas. “Tina has been here the longest,” Monterey Agriculture teacher Roger Green said.

Music Throwback Saturday: Turn Back the Hands of Time

Tyrone_Davis_oct_1970As I have alluded to in the past, there are lots of different popular music charts put out by Billboard magazine, and other music publications. For instance, some songs might be a hit on the charts geared towards black music, but do far less well on the pop charts, or occasionally better.

The black charts were known as race records, rhythm and blues, soul, et al, since they were begun in 1942. It’s currently Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs.

Tyrone Davis (ne Tyrone Fettson, May 4, 1938 – February 9, 2005) was a successful soul singer for over four decades. He had THREE #1 soul singles, and 43 in the top 100, whereas he had 15 top 100 pop hits, none reaching #1.

His obituary in the Guardian reads: “Tyrone Davis, who has died aged 66, was an American soul singer whose voice, between low tenor and baritone, had a blues tinge. He commanded a large, loyal black following, but was denied a mass audience.”

BTW, this phenomenon is hardly specific to Davis. James Brown, e.g., had 17 soul #1s, and over 110 top 100 soul tunes. He had zero #1 pop tunes and about 95 top 100 pop hits.

Of Tyrone Davis’ soul #1s, Turning Point (1976) didn’t even chart on the pop charts. Can I Change My Mind went to #5.

Turn Back the Hands of Time, which was based on the relationship problems of co-writer Jack Daniels (no relation to the drink) got to #3 in 1970.

Listen to Turn Back the Hands of Time.

The death of Emmett Till

In January or February of 1986, I saw the Capitol Repertory Theater’s performance of Toni Morrison’s Dreaming Emmett, based on his life and death.

Emmett Till disappeared 60 years ago today; his mutilated body was found three days later. His mother allowed photos to be taken of his open casket, and the horrifying pictures helped galvanize the Civil Rights movement, including the “I Have a Dream” speech eight years, to the day, later.

But that’s not what I wanted to talk about. I want to know why it is that I can see that photo in my mind’s eye when the event took place when I was but two years old when it took place. I’m guessing that on the fifth anniversary in 1960, Ebony and/or Jet magazines reran the photos, I saw them, and the image seared in my mind to this day.

When I was in high school, a bunch of us raised money for some poor, rural folks in Tennessee. One day, I was (foolishly) walking alone down some dirt road down there. I see a sign indicating that I was about to enter the state of Mississippi. I crossed into the new state, my mind screamed, “Emmett Till!” and I literally jumped back into Tennessee.

In January or February of 1986, I saw the Capitol Repertory Theater’s performance of Toni Morrison’s Dreaming Emmett, based on his life and death. I don’t remember if was particularly well-acted or -written. All I remember was that I felt again the pain that was Emmett.

The last time I had seen the picture in print was when his mom, Mamie Till-Mobley, died back in 2003.

In 2005, the case had been reopened by the FBI, with the exhumation and re-examination of Emmett’s remains, based on advances in DNA testing, followed by a reburial in June. After the gravesite was disturbed in 2009, the Smithsonian’s African American History Museum, which will open in 2015, acquired the Emmett Till casket.
Emmylou Harris : My Name Is Emmett Till from her 2011 album Hard Bargain.

This is an edited version of my blog post of August 28, 2005.

I♥NY: to vote in 2016 Presidential primaries, register in a party NOW

In New York State, one must be registered and affiliated in a party by OCTOBER 9, 2015 in order to BE ABLE TO VOTE for that major party’s candidate for President in April 2016. .

votingI came across this website via Facebook, It does not appear to be authorized by the Bernie Sanders for President campaign. But it had some useful information.

Among other things, it notes whether one had to be a registered Democrat in one’s state in order to vote for Sanders (or Hillary Clinton, or whomever) in next year’s primary/caucus season. And it would likewise apply to Republicans’ ability to vote for their candidates.

Some states allow for Open Primaries. One could vote for, say, Bernie Sanders, regardless of party registration. In Iowa, caucus voters are able to change party affiliation easily.

Others have Semi-Closed Primaries or Caucuses. These states allow people NOT enrolled in a party to participate in either the Democratic OR Republican primary/caucus, but not both.

The rest, such as New York, are Closed Primary or Closed Caucus states, which means only Democrats can vote for Democratic candidates, and only Republicans for the GOP roster.

The VoteForBernie site also indicates when one must register in order to be eligible to vote in the primaries or caucuses. For most states, it is 30 days or less before the balloting, though, e.g.., it’s two months beforehand in Colorado, and three months in Connecticut. (As of this date, there is one obvious error, which I requested be rectified.)

What is it in New York State, I wondered? The primary is tentatively scheduled for April 19, 2016; when I called the state Board of Elections this week, the person couldn’t say definitely, because of some state action that had not yet happened. But REGARDLESS of the voting date, in order to vote in either the Republican or Democratic Presidential primary in 2016, one must be REGISTERED in THAT party by 25 days before the 2015 general election.

In other words, one must be registered and affiliated with a party by OCTOBER 9, 2015, six full months before the primary. This is, by far, the earliest cutoff date in the country. New Yorkers, you have a little more than a month to register for a party. If you miss the deadline, you WILL NOT BE ABLE TO VOTE for the major party’s candidate for President.

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