January rambling #2: Don’t Wanna Fight

Jeopardy! Contestants Present: “Get Well Soon, Alex!”, some of whom I know personally.

Doomsday Clock Now ‘2 Minutes to Midnight’

Amy Biancolli: life is huge

John Green: On emergencies

The Women’s Marches Could Have Lasting Consequences

How Arafat Eluded Israel’s Assassination Machine

Water run out: Days are numbered in Cape Town

Evangelical toadies are destroying the Christian brand and The death of Christianity in the U.S.

I Was a Successful Journalist When a Doctor First Handed Me Opioids

Good People Don’t Defend A Bad Man

How he convinced America that character doesn’t matter

His Racism: The Definitive List

How democracies die

Why Don’t Norwegians Immigrate to the United States?

More than 160 women say Larry Nassar sexually abused them; here are his accusers in their own words and It’s Time For Every Last Coward Who Enabled Nassar To Pay For Their Sins

When convictions are clearly wrong, these prosecutors don’t just hinder justice—they actively work against it

N.Y. gun violence costs state economy over $5.6B a year

An experiment involving monkeys watching cartoons shows how far Volkswagen went to manipulate research on the harmful effects of diesel fuel

FACEBOOK begins its downward spiral

“Keep going today. Keep moving amid every obstacle. Keep moving amid every mountain of opposition” – MLK, Jr.

The Reasonable Ineffectiveness of Mathematics

A Tiny New York Town With Not One, But 5 Indie Bookstores

10 Letters We Dropped From The Alphabet

Ursula K. Le Guin, acclaimed science fiction writer, is dead at 88; Le Guin on Tolkien

RIP Hugh Wilson (WKRP)

Connie Sawyer, World’s Oldest Working Actress, dies at 105

Comic strip creator Mort Walker, R.I.P. Beetle Bailey was the brother of Lois in Hi and Lois

Jeopardy! Contestants Present: “Get Well Soon, Alex!” and Alex Trebek returned to taping Jeopardy!

From Robert Waldo Brunelle Jr’s collection of vintage ephemera, circa 1912

How STAR WARS was saved in the edit and Star Wars’ infamous Holiday Special, explained

Some nice Albany photography

Hello Chuckthewriter.blog!

Now I Know: How Fire and Fury Fueled a World War II Revival and Now I Know: How Some Places are Beeting the Snow and When A Penny Saved is Ten-Thousand Pennies Earned and The A-Maze-Ing Solution to a Bar’s Legal Problems and Why Nike Makes Glowing Sneakers

Aristocrat, friend of royalty and cad and card cheat Sir William Gordon-Cumming


Holly Holy- Neil Diamond (live 1971)

Sunny Afternoon – the Rodford Files

Cry Like A Rainstorm – Bonnie Raitt

Don’t Wanna Fight – Alabama Shakes

John Knowles Paine Symphony No. 2: In Spring

Coverville 1201: Cover Stories for Pat Benatar and Shawn Colvin and 1202: Cover Stories for the Kaiser Chiefs and the Thompson Twins and 1203: Journey and Cheap Trick Cover Stories

The River Cam – Eric Whitacre

H.P. Lovecraft’s “Nemesis” has the same meter as Billy Joel’s “Piano Man”

Nights at White Castle

5 Songs You’ve Never Heard That You’ve Heard 1000 Times

Two Catskill HS Students to Perform at Carnegie Hall, one of whom I know well

Hugh Masekela, great South African jazz trumpeter, died at 78

Edwin Hawkins, Known for the Hit ‘Oh Happy Day,’ Is Dead at 74

Mark Edward Smith (1957-2018) of The Fall

Denise LaSalle, singer and writer of earthy songs dies at 78

Hormones appear to affect our musical preferences

Music Throwback Saturday: Grazing in the Grass

Grazing in the Grass was a vocal hit for a Los Angeles group called The Friends of Distinction in 1969

Masekela, Makeba 1964
Masekela, Makeba 1964

When I was trying to explain to someone what song I was trying to identify – it turned out to be Soulful Strut by Young-Holt Unlimited – more than one person took my description (soulful, horn-driven) and came to the conclusion the song I was thinking of was Grazing in the Grass.

It was a reasonable guess.

As it happens, I COULD easily recall the instrumental track Grazing in the Grass by South African performer Hugh Masekela, which was #1 for two weeks on the pop charts, and #1 for four weeks on the soul charts in 1968. It is one of the few songs for which “more cowbell” is NOT necessary.

Masekela had been briefly (1964-1966) married to his countrywoman Miriam Makeba, who I familiar with from her performing with folksinger Harry Belafonte, including on an LP my father owned. She had an unlikely hit with Pata Pata (#12 pop, #7 soul) in 1967.

Masekela and Makeba performed together on Paul Simon’s 1987 Graceland tour throughout South Africa. Miriam Makeba died in 2008, but Hugh Masekela is still with us.

Grazing in the Grass, written by Philemon Hou, was also a vocal hit for a Los Angeles group called The Friends of Distinction, made up of Harry Elston, Jessica Cleaves, Barbara Jean Love, and the late Floyd Butler (d. 1990) in 1969, #3 pop, #5 soul. I can dig it. (All chart action referenced was from the U.S. Billboard charts.)

Listen to

Pata Pata – Miriam Makeba HERE or HERE

Grazing in the Grass – Hugh Masekela HERE or HERE

Grazing in the Grass – The Friends of Distinction HERE or HERE


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