Delta variant and other COVID news

Luciferian Globalists

By Harold Jessurun and Aníbal Quiñones, the prominent creators of the popular Pepito comic in Puerto Rico. Instagram had deleted the image on some sites, citing that it violated its Community Guidelines.

The Delta variant doesn’t give a flying #@$% if you’re tired of hearing about COVID-19.

From the  Boston Globe: “This is not the worry-free summer many envisioned as recently as Memorial Day, full of long-awaited travel, family reunions, and evenings in favorite restaurants.

“Since July Fourth, there’s been a steady drumbeat of discouraging COVID-19 news: Infections are climbing across the country. Hospitalizations in several Southern and Western states are spiking, too. Vaccination rates have dwindled. And communities from Cambridge to Los Angeles County are advising or mandating a return to mask-wearing, even for vaccinated people.”

An old friend of one of my sisters has been sending me stuff such as how some doctor says there is no Delta variant of COVID. But the “logic”, alas, fails me. Then she sent me something about the Luciferian Globalists Implementing the New World Order. Er, no.

Speaking of which: In southwest Missouri, the coronavirus Delta variant and “freedom” collide. Our guest pastor made a credible link between American individualism in this crisis and sin.

Right-Wing Vaccine Lies Are Tearing the Country Apart.

My daughter asked me if I’d ever heard of Eric Clapton. Er, yeah. Apparently, he was trending on Twitter because of some reportedly racist thing he said in 1978; IDK why it was notable decades later. But then I came across this article from 2021 noting that he says he won’t play venues that require COVID-19 vaccinations. I find that… disappointing.

Masking up

Someone asked me, “Are you going to watch the Olympics?” And I was surprised that I answered, “I don’t know.” The COVID surge in Japan has taken away some of the luster from the games in my mind. Ken Levine hit on it.

Except for a few restaurant visits, I tend to wear my mask indoors, even though I’m fully vaccinated. So it’s not onerous for me if it’s mandated.

Oh, and it IS required on the local CDTA buses, as it is on most mass transportation. At a bus stop where I was getting on, two potential passengers were arguing about whether masks were required. I butted in and agreed with the one who said yes. Then the bus driver refused to allow the unmasked person on, so the other one declined to get on too. The two were still squabbling as the bus pulled away.

The Department of Justice decided not to probe COVID deaths in state-run nursing homes in four states, including New York. I can’t speak about the other states, but I was hoping for such a probe in my state. It’ll be investigated at the state level, but federal juice has more impact.

Canada to Open to Fully Vaccinated Americans on August 9.

I read that the morally bankrupt Congressman Madison Cawthorn, who lied about a major aspect of his biography, is bloviating that if the GOP retakes the House, it’ll be prosecuting Dr. Fauci to the “full extent” of the law.

Music Throwback Saturday: Theme from an Imaginary Western

Theme from an Imaginary Westerns was never recorded by Cream because Eric Clapton is said to have hated it.

mountain climbingI started getting reinvested in Disraeli Gears, the classic second LP by the group called Cream, when I came across this 48-minute video on the making of the album from 2012 a few months ago. It includes interviews with the band members Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker and the late Jack Bruce.

Clapton talks about how the album’s producer Felix Pappalardi took him to a New York City music shop to buy his first wah wah pedal in April of 1967, which he then played on Tales of Brave Ulysses. Felix was like a fourth member of the band.

Subsequently, Pappalardi produced an album by guitarist Leslie West titled Mountain. Then Pappalardi and West formed a band called Mountain, described by Rolling Stone magazine as a “louder version of Cream.” The band’s best-known song was probably Mississippi Queen [LISTEN].

Another song from that 1970 album Climbing! was Theme for an Imaginary Western, written by the aforementioned Jack Bruce, and Pete Brown. The song was never recorded by Cream because Eric Clapton is said to have hated it.

Some of the LYRICS:

When the wagons leave the city
For the forest and further on
Painted wagon of the morning
Dusty roads where they have gone

Sometimes travelin’ through the darkness
At the summer comin’ home
Foreign faces by the wayside
Look as if they hadn’t known

All the sand was in their eyes
And the desert that’s dry
In the country town
Where the life was found

When Pappalardi, who died in 1983, left Mountain, West and Bruce were in various groups together over the years.

LISTEN to various versions of Theme for an Imaginary Western, a/k/a Theme from an Imaginary Western:

Jack Bruce, Songs for a Tailor album, 1969, produced by Felix Pappalardi.

Mountain, at Woodstock, 1969, Felix Pappalardi on vocal; it’s on the Woodstock 2 album that was released in 1971.
Mountain, 1970, Felix Pappalardi on vocal. This is the first version I heard.

Leslie West’s Theme album, with Jack Bruce on vocals, 1988.

Jack Bruce on piano, n.d.

Eric Clapton is 70

Despite the fact that it directly led to Clapton’s departure from the band, I’ve always liked this song.

Clapton2010CoverEven before singer-bassist Jack Bruce died in October 2014, guitarist Eric Clapton had nixed the idea of a Cream reunion with those two plus drummer Ginger Baker. In fact, he suggested that retiring from the road would be his 70th birthday present to himself, though he might record an occasional album.

No reunion was just as well. Over nine years ago, I received The Royal Albert Hall album, and while it was quite good, it could never measure up to my expectations.

Cream represented my first awareness of “Slowhand,” whose guitar prowess had generated “Clapton is God” messages all over England, even when organized religion there was on the wane.

Certainly, I knew of his Beatles connection, with him playing on While My Guitar Gently Weeps. And of course, there was the fact that, at different points, both George Harrison and his good friend Clapton, wrote songs about, and were married to, Pattie Boyd.

This is more about retailing than Clapton: I went to a store in the Binghamton area and bought 461 Ocean Boulevard, Clapton’s second album, from 1974, though I probably bought it the following year. As soon as the sale was completed, the sales clerk told me what a lousy album it was. I took it home, decided that I liked it, particularly Motherless Children, I Shot The Sheriff, and Let It Grow. Suffice to say, I never bought a record from that store ever again.

Here are some of my favorite songs featuring Clapton. The order, other than the top five, is rather fluid.

20. Why Does Love Got to be So Sad? – Derek and the Dominos. Clapton and Duane Allman licks, with a solid foundation from Jim Gordon on drums and Carl Radle on bass
19. Let It Rain. Written by Clapton, with Delaney and Bonnie Bramlett and Eric Clapton, it was the last song on his first solo album.
18. We’re Going Wrong – Cream. I loved Cream’s second album, Disraeli Gears, from its fanciful cover, to its reference to a 19th-century British prime minister. I created in my mind a harmony vocal for this chorus.
17. Politician (live) – Cream. Politician was recorded by the band for the Wheels of Fire album. But it’s the live version on Goodbye Cream which really shows its lyric cynicism.
16. Those were the Days – Cream. Those trippy lyrics, changing rhythms, and the bells. I owned three different songs with this title, and still do: this one (the B-side of White Room, one of the few singles I owned), the Mary Hopkin hit, and the opening theme to the television show All in the Family.

15. Little Wing – Derek and the Dominos. A cover of the Jimi Hendrix song, showing the greatness of Duane Allman.
14. Sea of Joy – Blind Faith. This was the group that rose from the ashes of Cream with Clapton and Baker, plus Ric Grech, bassist with a band called Family, and the distinctive vocals of Steve Winwood, formerly of the Spencer Davis Group and Traffic.
13. I Feel Free – Cream. LOVE the a cappella opening. From Fresh Cream. I recall that my 7th-grade history teacher referred to the group as The Cream, and one of my classmates sternly corrected him.
12. Cocaine. One of many J.J. Cale songs covered by Clapton, this one for the 1977 Slowhand album. I used to sing “this go better with Coca-Cola” in counterpoint to this song; it DOES fit.
11. I Ain’t Got You – the Yardbirds. I love the stops in this song.

10. Strange Brew – Cream. First song on Disraeli Gears.
9. Can’t Find My Way Back Home – Blind Faith. A song written by Winwood that speaks to a basic tenet of my 20s and 30s
8. White Room – Cream. This is one of my favorite Jack Bruce bass lines.
7. For Your Love – the Yardbirds. Despite the fact that it directly led to Clapton’s departure from the band, I’ve always liked this song. Clapton was upset that the band was moving from R&B to pop, and left to join John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers.
6. Tales of Brave Ulysses-Cream. Naturally, from Disraeli Gears.
And you see a girl’s brown body dancing thru the turquoise
And her footprints make you follow where the sky loves the sea
And when your fingers find her, she drowns you in her body
Carving deep blue ripples in the tissue of your mind

5. To Tell The Truth (single)- Derek and the Dominos. This was, according to the Clapton box set I own, the first Derek and the Dominos’ single, but it was withdrawn as not in keeping with the band’s sound. I loved this more frantic version from the first listen, far more than the album version.
4. Badge – Cream. This sounded Beatlesque even before I knew George Harrison co-wrote this with Clapton and plays guitar under the pseudonym L’Angelo Misterioso.
3. Layla – Derek and the Dominos. When the Okie and I lived in Colonial Arms Apartment in New Paltz, NY, our neighbors Howie and Debi had a cat named Layla who was a sister to our cat Doris. Incidentally, this song was re-covered by Clapton in an unplugged version, which The Wife prefers.
2. Sunshine of Your Love – Cream. This was about a perfect pop song: great trading vocals, and harmonies; tremendous playing, especially that tom-tom beat. The Blue Moon guitar solo on the bridge. Of course, from Disraeli Gears.
1. I’m So Glad (live) – Cream. Still, my favorite Clapton performance is on the live version of a Skip James tune from Goodbye Cream. The studio version was on Fresh Cream.

Favorite cover by original artist QUESTION

I’m really struck by Lesley Gore’s remake of You Don’t Own Me from the 2005 Ever Since album.

Sometimes, an artist will cover his/her/their own song. Frank Sinatra, among others, did it quite a bit over his long career.

What are YOUR favorite songs by the same artist? I’m not going to get too strict here. If you want to pick Layla, originally done by Derek and the Dominoes then subsequently unplugged by Eric Clapton, that’d be acceptable, since Derek WAS Eric. Speaking of Clapton, I prefer the live version of I’m So Glad from Goodbye Cream to the studio version on Fresh Cream.

I had this cassette of Procol Harum’s greatest hits and it included a live version of Conquistador, with an orchestra. Years later, when I got a similar CD, it had the studio version; not nearly as impressive.

Listen to Crying by Roy Orbison, a fine song, but the version by Orbison with k.d. lang makes me, well, cry.

I always preferred the remix Mustapha Dance by The Clash to its antecedent, Rock the Casbah.

Just listened to a Ladysmith Black Mambazo album. They do a couple songs from Graceland, Homeless and Diamonds on the Souls of Her Shoes, sans Paul Simon, but with Sarah McLachlan and Melissa Etheridge, respectively. Can’t find these online, unfortunately.

I’m really struck by Lesley Gore’s remake of You Don’t Own Me (this is a live take, not the version I really wanted from the 2005 Ever Since album), recognizable as the same song as the classic original, but different.

Robert Johnson QUESTION

Eric Clapton, formerly of the aforementioned Cream, recorded a whole 2004 album of Robert Johnson songs.

I recently noticed that tomorrow would have been the 100th birthday of Robert Johnson. Don’t think you know him? I suspect that, if you listen to music, you probably do. He’s the guy who over a reasonably short period wrote and recorded a number of songs that became staples of rock and blues artists.

Probably the first Johnson song I heard was Crossroads by Cream a song a/k/a Crossroads Blues.

There’s also The Rolling Stones’ Love in Vain and Travelling Riverside Blues by Led Zeppelin. One standard is Sweet Home Chicago, here performed by Robert Lockwood Jr. Here’s a list of Johnson songs. My favorite may be Walkin’ Blues by the Paul Butterfield Blues Band; unfortunately, I can’t find a direct link, though if you follow this link, you can join some website for free for a week, which will let you hear it.

Eric Clapton, formerly of the aforementioned Cream, recorded a whole 2004 album of Robert Johnson songs called Me and Mr. Johnson. A version of a song from that album, They’re Red Hot.

This week’s cover story edition on Coverville features the songs of Robert Johnson, including a couple I’ve mentioned.

What are your favorite Robert Johnson recordings or covers?

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