Posts Tagged ‘birthday’

Robert PlantIn February 2018, I came across an article about Robert Plant and his current group, the Sensational Space Shifters, who’ve been together since 2012! My, I’m behind in tracking his post-Led Zeppelin career trajectory.

I’ve written at some length about my love/hate affair with Led Zeppelin, who were innovative thieves. I have more than half of their albums in one format or another, as well as the boxed set. FWIW, ten folks answered this Quora question: Why did Plant and Jimmy Page treat John Paul Jones like dirt after Led Zeppelin disbanded?

I own at least four of the first six solo albums of Robert Plant. I have the Honeydrippers one-off from 1984, with Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck, on cassette, if I can find it. I also bought a Page/Plant CD.

My wife is a big fan of bluegrass star Alison Krauss, who we saw play live in 2003. So I got her the Raising Sand CD with Plant and Krauss for Christmas in 2007. She thought it was too loud – I disagree – so I stole it back.

My fascination with his group Band of Joy from 2010/2011 is that there’s a cover of a song my father used to sing.

Plant said in that newspaper interview that he keeps in shape by falling “in love about every 18 months. I do my best to be in love with life. I like to see the sparkle that exists and the kindness and the charm of the world, as well as the mess.”

Listen to songs by Robert Plant:

Big Log (#20 in 1983)

In the Mood (#39 in 1984)

Little by Little (#35 in 1984)

Sea of Love – the Honeydrippers (#3 in 1985)

(Good) Rockin’ At Midnight – the Honeydrippers (#25 in 1985)

Tall Cool One (#25 in 1988)

Ship of Fools (#84 in 1988)

Hurting, Kind (#46 in 1990)

29 Palms (#111 in 1993)

Darkness Darkness (2002)

Rich Woman – with Alison Krauss (#118 in 2009)

Please Read The Letter – with Alison Krauss (#120 in 2009, Record of the Year award at the 2009 Grammy Awards)

Cindy I’ll Marry You One Day – Band of Joy (2010)

Carry Fire – Sensational Space Shifters (2017)

Bluebirds Over the Mountains – Sensational Space Shifters (2017)

Heaven Sent – Sensational Space Shifters (2017)

Sister LeslieI had this post about my sister Leslie converting to Roman Catholicism this year pretty well constructed in my mind. It’d have been how it was surprising it was – she did it as a secret from virtually everyone – but how it was fine by me.

Then she had this serious bicycle accident on June 4. To recap, she had been on vacation the previous month in Europe seeing her daughter Rebecca Jade sing on a cruise, but also spending a few days in Copenhagen, Denmark on her own.

She went back to San Diego and decided to start riding her bicycle partway to work. Since she is a safety official, she thought she ought to wear a helmet, so she bought one on June 1; wearing it almost certainly saved her life.

While I was in San Diego July 9-14, her friend Cathy managed to recover Leslie’s stuff that had been in storage at the first hospital she went to, Scripps Mercy. The distinct smell of dried blood remained on the helmet even days after being aired out. She’s keeping it, certainly not to wear again but possibly as a prop, along with her mangled bike, about the importance of bicycle safety.

Sister Leslie was semi-liberated from the SECOND hospital, Kaiser Permanente, on July 4, but she had a hospital bed in her bedroom at home because she still had a feeding tube attached. She was getting 1500 calories via it every night, but we – Leslie, her wonderful friend Leilani, the nutritionist, and i – agreed to start cutting back incrementally.

My primary task while I was out there was to get her from the bed, where she was not comfortable enough to sleep through the night, to a reclining chair. I became moderately competent at detaching and reattaching the “food” line when she needed to walk around.

I went to a couple of her doctors’ visits, notably to a heck and neck guy who removed the eight screws that had aligned her teeth to her jaw but were no longer necessary. Remember the worst pain you ever had at the dentist? Double that and add another 30%. That’s what the removal of the metal appeared to feel like, despite six shots of Novocaine, and I was in the room when it happened.

The good news is that, absent the metallic taste and feel in her mouth, she was more inclined to eat on her own. Then the feeding tube was removed on June 20. Leslie’s tribe of friends had wanted it gone much earlier, and I understood their feelings. I said, and she agreed, that it made her LOOK sick.

A couple of her friends asked me if her cognitive ability had been hampered. She took a test, and not only did she ace it, she explained the flaws in the testing instrument: “If Jill is taking off from her stockbroker job to raise the kids, what money are they living on?”

One of the words she’s had trouble remembering was “morphine,” which she was on during her first two weeks in hospital. It was probably just as well, as she had four broken ribs, but it really disoriented her. Except for that period, she was unfailing polite to everyone.

Given how she appeared in photos a month and a half ago, I note that she looks pretty darn good, i.e., more like herself. She has this little Harry Potter scar, and another hidden by her glasses.

The primary concern now is her left, dominant hand, which is still wrapped. Her friends need to exercise her fingers, lest they atrophy. She also likes lotion, especially between the fingers.

I’ve known sister Leslie longer than any living person and I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to help her a little, even though I never did figure out all that long-term disability paperwork.

There’s an article in the September 15, 2017 New Yorker entitled The Unlikely Return of Cat Stevens. That’s the truth.

“In the years since he formally retired from the popular music world, in 1978, his name has popped up in the media from time to time… It was difficult to… reconcile this cold, humorless, unhappy, and severe-looking man with the joyful, understanding, goofy, wise songwriter whose music we’d known and loved.

“For a long time, the man who’d changed his name to Yusuf Islam had completely disowned his artistic output as Cat Stevens—a confusing, dispiriting slap in the face to those it once meant a great deal to.”

A GREAT deal.

Steven Demetre Georgiou, born on 21 July 1948 in the Marylebone area of London, was the youngest child of a Greek Cypriot father, Stavros Georgiou (1900–1978), and a Swedish mother, Ingrid Wickman (1915-1989). “They lived above the family’s restaurant, Moulin Rouge, and everyone, including the children, helped out with the business.”

His interest in music began as a young teen, playing piano and guitar by 15, inspired by the Beatles, folk music, and show tunes such as West Side Story. He also took up drawing, “a skill later displayed in the purposely naive paintings that adorned the covers of his best-known albums.

“By 1966 he had chosen the stage name Cat Stevens because… his girlfriend said his eyes had a feline shape and allure.”

He had some early success on his first two albums. But he made a major change in both his music and his philosophy after contracting tuberculosis, which nearly killed him.

Tea for the Tillerman, which became a Top 10 Billboard hit, sold over 500,000 copies within six months of its release. Teaser and the Firecat (1971) was equally successful.
“Many more hits followed, in an increasingly broad range of styles and arrangements…

“By that time, the singer had already started his religious sojourn… Stevens almost drowned off the coast of Malibu, California [in 1975]. The trauma sharpened his quest for a more spiritually focused life. He found his way into Islam, changing his name to Yusuf Islam in July 1978. The singer’s next album, Back to Earth (1978), would be his last pop record for decades.”

He was embroiled in a long-running controversy “regarding comments which he made in 1989 about the death fatwa on author Salman Rushdie.” He believes he was misunderstood, but 10,000 Maniacs removed his Peace Train from one of their albums. In perhaps a confusion over a similar name, he was on a No-Fly list into the United States in 2004.

He started making music again in the 1990s, “though, at first, it was of an entirely religious nature… He didn’t start exploring secular music again until the new millennium, leading to the release of An Other Cup in 2006, by which point he was again allowed to fly into the US.

Listen to:

The First Cut Is the Deepest from Mona Bone Jakon

Tea for the Tillerman
Where Do the Children Play?
Hard Headed Woman
Wild World
Sad Lisa
Father and Son

Teaser and the Firecat
The Wind; a great description of this song on his Rock and Hall Hall of Fame 2014 induction page
Morning Has Broken
Bitterblue
Moonshadow
Peace Train

Oh Very Young from Buddha and the Chocolate Box (1974)

Boots and Sand, about his 2004 exclusion from the US, recorded in 2008, featuring Paul McCartney, Dolly Parton, and Terry Sylvester

Yusuf / Cat Stevens – CBS Sunday Morning Interview, 2014

Saturday Sessions (CBS)- His most recent album re-covers some of his earliest music (2017)

Coverville: 599: The Cat Stevens Cover Story (August 5, 2009) and 1179: Scrambled Cover Stories for Don Henley, Carlos Santana and Cat Stevens (July 19, 2017)


One morning in June, the Daughter needed $50 to go on a field trip to New York City. The earlier she turned it in, the more likely she could go. Oh, and it had to be in cash.

I almost never have such bills on me. Nor did my wife, but she DID have some envelopes with cash for her hairdresser, and for the groceries, that she could borrow from.

She generally pays for the groceries with cash because writing a check is too expensive, and it surely is. I pay with my credit card – where IS my checkbook? – because I like getting my rewards dollars and hate carrying a lot of cash.

When we first started going out, she had several envelopes filled with bills of various denominations, for every expenditure in her life at the time. I found this most unusual.

She also never uses an ATM card, which I still don’t quite get. If I had needed to get money for the Daughter that morning, I would have just walked over to my bank branch, a block and a half away, and just taken out three $20s.

I should note that her cash economy isn’t as rare as most of us would think. According to Pymnts, “an estimated 24 percent of U.S. citizens make all their purchases using cash.” Moreover, “in the U.S., cash usage grew by 4.7 percent per year between 2000 and 2015.”

When she does pay with a credit card, she often goes to the store to pay off the balance, usually in cash. I used to do that at Sears when I shopped there in the 1980s and 1990s, but I forgot that it was still an option.

As Dustbury pointed out, when the electronic systems go kablooey, operating with cash is a great way to go.

This is why we have three checking accounts, hers, mine, and ours, which I almost never use. It insures domestic tranquility.

Did I mention it’s her natal day? Maybe I’ll give her a couple $20s, a $10, and… some miscellaneous other bills.

One of those albums I have only on vinyl is Beaucoups of Blues, Ringo Starr’s second solo album, which was recorded in Nashville in late June 1970, and released about three months later.

From the Wikipedia: “While playing on sessions for George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass, Starr – a long-time country and western fan – met Pete Drake in May 1970. Starr had to pick up Drake from the airport so that the pair could record with Harrison; Drake noticed the number of country albums Starr had in his vehicle… Starr asked him if they could collaborate on an album together. Drake told Starr his musician friends could compose more than an album’s worth of material in a week, which Starr thought was ‘impossible.'”

But they did, and some of Nashville’s finest performed on the album.

Ringo, of course, recorded some country-related songs with the Beatles: Act Naturally, by Buck Owens, on the UK Help! album; What Goes On, attributed to Lennon-McCartney-Starkey, on Rubber Soul in the UK; and Don’t Pass Me By, which he wrote, and which appears on the white album. The first two songs were both on the US Yesterday and Today LP.

I liked Beaucoups of Blues quite a bit, actually. John Lennon told Rolling Stone it was “a good record”, but “qualified that comment by saying he ‘didn’t feel as embarrassed as I did about [Starr’s] first record,'” the sappy Sentimental Journey, released in March of 1970. Reviewers at the time, and especially in retrospect, have said it was a solid effort, one of Ringo’s best.

“In his combined review of all the former Beatles’ 1970 solo releases, Geoffrey Cannon of The Guardian rated Beaucoups of Blues as his favourite.” That would be in comparison with Sentimental Journey; McCartney, Paul’s solo debut; John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band; and even the aforementioned All Things Must Pass.

Listen to:

title track, #87 pop on the Billboard charts
Love Don’t Last Long
Fastest Growing Heartache In The West
Without Her
Woman Of The Night
I’d Be Talking All The Time

$15 Draw
Wine, Women and Loud Happy Songs
I Wouldn’t Have You Any Other Way
Loser’s Lounge
Waiting
Silent Homecoming (my favorite)

Coochy Coochy, B-side of the title track single

Meet the Beatle: A Guide to Ringo Starr’s Solo Career in 20 Songs

Happy 78th birthday, Ringo!

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