Have you evah? (Swell party)

Now I probably never will

Have you evahHave you evah? is a meme done by ADD. Here’s the Cole Porter song, performed by Bing Crosby & Frank Sinatra and Debbie Harry & Iggy Pop.

Driven 100 mph — No, I doubt I’ve ever done 65.

Ridden in a helicopter — No. BTW, there are scenes in the movie Catch-22 and the YV show ER that freak me out.

Gone zip lining — Heck No.

Been to an NFL game — Yes, on October 13, 2002, in San Diego, the Chargers against Kansas City. Also, sometime between 1964 and 1969, probably towards the latter, the New York Jets v. the Houston Oilers at Shea Stadium. The home teams won.

Been to Canada — Several times. To the Toronto area for five days, to Montreal twice (1991/1992), to Windsor for about five minutes, and to Niagara Falls at least a dozen times.

Visited Florida — Twice, both times to ASBDC conferences. Once in Miami; there was flooding on the first floor. And Orlando. Both in the 1990s.

Visited Mexico — Once to Guadalajara in 1987, once to Tijuana in the mid-1990s.

Visited Vegas — Never.

Eaten alone at a restaurant — Many times.

Ability to read music — A fair amount.

Ridden a motorcycle — I’ve been on the back of someone else’s once or twice.

Ridden a horse — I did. The first time was June 9, 1976, after I had suffered a hangover. Not recommended.

Stayed in a hospital — A few times. At five and a half – a nosebleed that wouldn’t stop. At 19, after a car accident. And at least one other time.

Donated blood — 170-odd times. Far less frequently in the past two years because of the increased scar tissue at the injection sites.

Been snow skiing — No.

Wishing upon a star?

Been to Disneyland — no Disney anything. Pricey!

Slept outside — My family used to go camping, Not my idea of a good time.

Driven a stick shift — My college girlfriend tried to teach me. Then she screamed because I was burning out her clutch.

Ridden in an 18 wheeler — Yes, a few times in the 1970s, when I used to hitchhike.

Ridden in a police car — Yes. In college, writing a story for a college newsletter. When I got arrested in 1972, I think we were put in a van.

Driven a boat — In the past two or three years in western Massachusetts.

Eaten escargot — If I did, I don’t recall.

Been on a cruise — No. And now I probably never will.

Run out of gas — Once, in Speculator, NY with my father when I was about 11.

Been on TV — Technically, several times. My church choir used to sing at telethons when I was a kid. I was on a kids’ show thrice. Ken Screven interviewed me for a benefit called Rock for Raoul in 1985.

There was an anti-racism workshop in the 1990s and I was asked some questions. When the Underground Railroad History Project used to give tours, I could hear me singing in the piece. I was interviewed about a 1987 snowstorm in 2017.

Probably a couple other times. Oh, yeah, I was on JEOPARDY! twice. Also, I was interviewed by the local TV affiliate before the shows aired.

Eaten sushi — A few times. At least once in 2020, at a restaurant in downtown Schenectady.

Seen a UFO — I think so, a couple times, though my recollections are fairly vague.

Been bungee-jumping — Not on your life. Or mine.

A song that reminds me of myself

It could make you wonder why

KermitTheFrogTo a greater or lesser degree, LOTS of the songs I’ve linked to in the past several weeks remind me of myself. Certainly, the ones that made me happy or sad fall into that category.

Still, Having been Green my whole life, I know the wisdom of the song first sung by the great philosopher Kermit the Frog.

It’s not that easy bein’ green
Having to spend each day the color of the leaves
When I think it could be nicer bein’ red or yellow or gold
Or something much more colorful like that

Having been around flashy people, I know that’s just not me.

Bein’ Green was written by Joe Raposo and was originally performed by Jim Henson as Kermit on both Sesame Street and The Muppet Show.

It’s not easy bein’ green
It seems you blend in with so many other ordinary things
And people tend to pass you over ’cause you’re
Not standin’ out like flashy sparkles on the water
Or stars in the sky

It has been covered by a number of performers such as Ray Charles, Van Morrison, and Frank Sinatra.


But green is the color of Spring
And green can be cool and friendly-like
And green can be big like an ocean
Or important like a mountain
Or tall like a tree

In particular, being friendly-like is important to me, particularly at church, where I see myself as an ambassador of the membership to guests and relative newcomers.

Bein’ Green was sung by Big Bird (Caroll Spinney) at the two memorial services for Jim Henson in 1990.

When green is all there is to be
It could make you wonder why
But why wonder, why wonder?
I am green and it’ll do fine
It’s beautiful
And I think it’s what I want to be.

That’s the end of the 30-Day Music Prompt thing I’ve been participating in this year.

Tom Waits

Tom Waits, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame musician, turns 70 today. Chuck Miller wrote about him recently.

Someone posted these Tom Waits lyrics as condolences to a friend’s loss: “As we scramble on our wheels each day with lights and horns blinking blowing. the loss of such a ray of hope does cause us in our tracks to slow. reflect and remember, recall and assemble.” As was noted: “You may not like his voice but the man has a way with words.”

Songs I remember from my childhood

I was appalled by the double negative

Farewell to the First Golden EraIf I were to list the songs I remember from my childhood, it would number about a half a jillion. Still, these stood out.

Twist and Shout – The Beatles, #2 for four weeks in 1964; #23 in 1986 upon reissue.
Not only is this the best cover version by the group, I consider this to be one of the greatest cover songs EVER. It was a revision of a song recorded by the Top Notes in 1961, and then a hit by the Isley Brothers in 1962. It was kept out of the #1 slot by Can’t Buy Me Love.

The story goes that when the group recorded the Please Please Me album, they saved this song for last because John Lennon’s voice had only one or two takes in him. They got it on take #1.

Summer in the City – Lovin’ Spoonful, #1 for three weeks pop.
I could play a VERY rudimentary version of this on my grandmother’s piano. At the time, the sound effects were revolutionary.

(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction – Rolling Stones, #1 for four weeks pop, #19 RB in 1965.
It seemed as though every other band would end their live version of other songs with the hook from this one. As a child, I was appalled by the double negative in the title, but I’ve gotten over it.

Uptight – Stevie Wonder, #3 for two weeks pop, #1 for five weeks RB in 1966.
I have a couple of Stevie compilation albums from the period. Most of the songs before this one sounded “old-fashioned”, but this was fresh and new.

Love Is Like An Itching In My Heart – the Supremes, #9 pop, #7 RB in 1966
This is my favorite Supremes song, and I don’t know why it did so relatively poorly on the pop charts when lesser songs – The Happening, for one – fared much better.

I Saw Her Again– Mamas and the Papas, #5 pop in 1966
There’s an album called Farewell To The First Golden Era which came out in 1967. It contained their hits from the first three albums, plus Twelve-Thirty (Young Girls Are Coming To The Canyon).

For some reason, when I played I Saw Her Again, and no other track, Denny Doherty’s lead vocal would often drop out, leaving the harmonies of Cass Elliot and Michele Phillips. You’d think this would be annoying. It was not. It was fascinating to hear the harmony vocals with the instrumentation. If I wanted to hear the song as it was intended, I’d just play their second album.

An artist whose voice you love

I’m leaving off the Beatles and Motown…

Judy Collins.Wildflowers
Judy Collins.Wildflowers
I’ve come up to the prompt, “A song by an artist whose voice you love.” This is intriguing.

What makes the human singing voice appealing? There are plenty of vocals by artists whose sounds are not “pretty,” yet I like to hear them sing. Bob Dylan falls into that category.

Somewhere – Tom Waits. I heard this song for the first time near the end of the 1997 movie Afterglow with Julie Christie and Nick Nolte. I saw it on the February 2018 holiday weekend. In the context of the movie, I wept.
Lay Down (Candles in the Rain) – Melanie with the Edwin Hawkins Singers. I think it’s the juxtaposition of her rough sound with the majesty of the choir.

I had an office mate some years back, and there were only two artists she wouldn’t allow me to play because she absolutely HATED their voices. Naturally, I need to link to them here:

Old Man – Neil Young
Always on My Mind – Willie Nelson

There are countless rockers and soul shouters who’d be on the list:

Black Dog – Led Zeppelin (Robert Plant)
Star – David Bowie
Respect – Otis Redding
I Got You – James Brown

I’m leaving off the Beatles and Motown and the Beach Boys…

The first songs I thought of, though, were these:

Stand by Me – Ben E. King, a great song written by him, Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller.
Maybe – Alison Krauss. I’m a sucker for the harmony vocals.
Dimming of the Day – Bonnie Raitt. There are LOTS of versions of this song, and I love most of them.
A Case of You – Joni Mitchell. From the great Blue album.
A Ballata Of Francesco Landini (ca. 1335-1397) Lasso! Di Donna – Judy Collins. When I think of my favorite Judy Collins album, it bounces between Wildflowers, from which this song comes, and Who Knows Where the Time Goes
Rolling in the Deep – Adele. I’m old; she the only artist whose first release was in the 21st century whose whole body of work (that’s more than one album) I own.

Songs: fall in love, break your heart

The first QoS song I ever owned

Here are some songs of romance and heartbreak. Finding the latter is FAR easier for me.

Songs that make you want to fall in love

I Only Have Eyes For You – the Flamingoes

That’s about it. Everything else seems more wistful and uncertain, such as:

God Only Knows – the Beach Boys, from Pet Sounds

and especially

Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow – Carole King, from the Tapestry album

Songs that break your heart

Whereas the “melancholy quartet” of songs were pretty much codified by 1980, played in this specific order:

Sweet Bitter Love – Aretha Franklin. The first QoS song I ever owned. It appeared on some Columbia Records compilation in 1965 or 1966, before she was signed to Atlantic. This was eventually covered by Roberta Flack.
My First Night Alone Without You – Jane Olivor. My old friend Pam gave me the First Night album in error for Christmas; she mixed up a couple presents. This song was also performed by Bonnie Raitt.
Gone AwayRoberta Flack. From my sister Leslie’s copy of Chapter Two, which I eventually had to buy for myself. This song destroys me more than almost any other. T.I. sampled this on What You Know in 2006.
Stay With Me – Lorraine Ellison . I heard this on a Warner Brothers Loss Leader and was immediately blown away. It’s been covered a few times.

Sometimes, I’d add other break your heart songs, such as:
Remove This Doubt – The Supremes. This is from The Supremes Sing Holland-Dozier-Holland. It was covered by Elvis Costello.
Down so Low – Linda Ronstadt. From Hasten Down the Wind, this Tracy Nelson/Mother Earth song was also covered by numerous other artists, including Etta James, Maria Muldaur, John Lee Hooker, and Cyndi Lauper.

Hmm, I suppose I need a song by a guy.
Can We Still Be Friends – Todd Rundgren. In an interview, Todd said, “It’s really a song about the best possible way to end a relationship.” Ha, I don’t believe that they CAN stay friends.

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