January rambling #1: Tower of Terror

50 Years Ago, the Wah-Wah Pedal Was Born

2016: The Movie

First BLOTUS Press Conference, Annotated

‘Gaslighting’ all of us

FLATUS Dossier Spotlights Russian History of ‘Kompromat’ – Diplomats, politicians and bureaucrats have been embarrassed by leaks of compromising material

The body language of FLATUS, and the 20 best nicknames; are you sorry yet?

FLATUS plan to keep his business is national embarrassment

How Populism Goes Bad

Gun silencers are hard to buy. Donald Trump Jr. and silencer makers want to change that

Regarding Simon & Schuster, Milo Y., and Booksmith

Nazis Celebrate As Ann Coulter Cites White Supremacist Code

The US has been hacking elections for more than a century

Transcript of Face the Nation book panel with Isabel Wilkerson (“The Warmth of Other Suns”; JD Vance (“Hillbilly Elegy”); actor Diane Guerrero (“In the Country We Love”); Amani Al- Khatahthbeh (“Muslim Girl: A Coming of Age”

Full Text Of Obama’s Farewell Address, or you can watch it

President Obama Awards the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Vice President Biden

ObamaWhiteHouse.gov is the future home of President Obama’s WhiteHouse.gov. This site will be maintained by the National Archives and Records Administration and will serve as an historical archive of Obama Administration content.

Decency Is Not a Dirty Word

This way to the egress

Our brain does not process information, retrieve knowledge or store memories. In short: your brain is not a computer

We don’t need Uber

The Prank of the Face: Unmasking the “Droeshout” Portrait of William Shakespeare

Actors seek posthumous protections after big-screen resurrections

RIP William Christopher; I watched him as Father Mulcahy for 11 seasons on MASH

Lord Snowdon dies aged 86; Anthony Armstrong-Jones was the first “famous” person who I knew shared my birthday of March 7

The Mysterious Virus That Could Cause Obesity


Shelterforce takes an in-depth look at the summer 2016 Sheridan Hollow mosaic project in which 3,000 City School District of Albany art students contributed their talents to help transform a city neighborhood.

Announcing a New Folger Fellowship in Honor of Margaret Hannay

The Waxhaws, on the border between the Carolinas

Arthur answers my questions about pop culture and Arthur, plus writes about his mom, who would have been 100

How Not To Write Like An Archdruid

Disney’s Twilight Zone Tower of Terror has taken its final plunge before it gets a Marvel Studio makeover

They surveyed Americans to see how familiar they were with the ten shows that were nominated for Best Comedy and Drama for the Golden Globes

Richard Thompson and the comic strip CUL DE SAC

Jim Cummings provides the voices for many cartoon characters

Now I Know: Selling a Better Way to Shop and Top Billing and The People That Have No Rights and McRefugees and The Lobster War

Obit: Mr. Oliver Larry Rickard, better known as “Paw Paw” the Clown, age 81, of Rome “Survivors include… a brother-in-law, the late Roger Green.”

Music

2016 Coverville Countdown of the best cover versions, Part I and Part II

Kubo and the Two Strings – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Highlights from “Bring It On: The Musical”

To Russia with Love – Matt Monro

If Moby Accepted Trump Inauguration Invitation, This Would Be His Playlist, plus Trump Is on Your Side – Moby and the Homeland Choir

Station to Station – David Bowie

Nat Hentoff, renowned columnist, jazz critic, free speech advocate, died at 91. I used to read him in the Village Voice for about 20 of his 50 years with the paper

Patti Smith Never Wanted to Be Famous (interview)

David Byrne on not being afraid to fail

The Kinks’ Ray Davies receives knighthood in New Year Honours List

50 Years Ago, the Wah-Wah Pedal Was Born in a Hollywood Hills Garage

Vinyl sales in UK reach highest level in last 25 years – with more than 3.2 MILLION LPs sold last year

A Fancy Guitar to Sell, but Hard to Play in Handcuffs

Why did CNN air a documentary about the band Chicago produced by band members?

Ray Davies of the Kinks is 70

The Kinks Ultimate Collection showcased the songs I always associated with other bands: Dandy, which I own by Herman’s Hermits, and Stop Your Sobbing, covered by the Pretenders;

ALSO for ABC Wednesday, Round 15, D is for Davies

Kinks-Ultimate_collectionI loved the early Kinks hits, but I didn’t buy many singles, of anyone. After buying Muswell Hillbillies and the subsequent Everybody’s In Show Biz LPs, I STILL had no Kinks hits collection, and I just don’t know why, because there were plenty of them out there. Got a couple albums from the early 1980s (Give the People What They Want and State of Confusion), and Lost & Found, a live album from 1991.

It wasn’t until early in the 21st century when I finally got The Ultimate Collection. Not only did it have the hits I knew, but it also showcased the songs I always associated with other bands: Dandy, which I own by Herman’s Hermits, and Stop Your Sobbing, covered by the Pretenders; the Pretenders’ lead singer Chrissie Hynde was going out with the chief singer/songwriter of the Kinks, Ray Davies, for a time, and they had a daughter together.

He was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame just last week.

Here’s my post about Ray Davies from five years ago. Listen to the first 75 minutes of Coverville 1034 for 19 Kinks covers, a couple featuring the birthday boy himself.

Favorite Kinks songs

The ones cited as MH were linked previously; the ones starred (*) are linked here.

25. Skin and Bones, from MH

24. Give the People What They Want, from Give the People What They Want (1981) – a kicking song about consumerism, and how the people get harder to please.

23. Holiday, from MH

22. Better Things from GtPWTW – an optimistic ending to an angry album.

21. (Wish I Could Fly Like) Superman, from Low Budget (1979) – hey, I had to have the comic title on here, did I not?

20. Complicated Life, from MH

19. Where Have All the Good Times Gone, from The Kink Kontroversy (TKK) (1965)

18. Who’ll Be the Next In Line, b-side of Ev’rybody’s Gonna Be Happy single.

17. Oklahoma U.S.A., from MH

16. Don’t Forget to Dance, from State of Confusion (1983). I think this is quite the sweet song.

15. I’m Not Like Everybody Else, b-side of Sunny Afternoon single (1966). I didn’t know this song until I bought the greatest hits collection.

14. Destroyer from Give the People What They Want (1983). Story is sequel to Lola, and borrows from a couple more Kinks songs as well.

*13. Tired of Waiting for You’ From: Kinda Kinks (KK) (1965)

12. Apeman, from Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One (1970). There’s a song called The Monkey, by Dave Bartholomew, and in different ways, it seems to be the same message.

*11. ‘Till the End of the Day’ from TKK

10. Come Dancing, from SoC.

*9. Lola, from LVPatMPO

*8. Waterloo Sunset, from Something Else by the Kinks (1967)

7. Alcohol from MH

*6. Victoria, from Arthur (Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire) (1969)

*5. Sunny Afternoon, from Face to Face (1966)

*4. You Really Got Me, from Kinks (1964)

*3. A Well Respected Man, single (1965)

*2. Celluloid Heroes, from Everybody’s in Show-Biz (1972)

*1. All Day and All of the Night, single (1964)

Will the Kinks re-form? Maybe.
***
Gerry Goffin died. He wrote a lot of songs you know.

K is for the Kinks: Muswell Hillbilles

For WAY too long, I used to go around saying, “Why is life so COM-Plicated?”

Kinks_-_Muswell_HillbilliesThe Kinks, commercially, went from being a rather successful rock band, to not so much, several times in its career arc. One of the latter was the 1971 album Muswell Hillbillies, “named after the Muswell Hill area of North London, where bandleader Ray Davies and guitarist Dave Davies [his younger brother] grew up and the band formed in the early 1960s.” I have alluded to this album so often I figured I must have written about it before, but I had not.

It was their ninth album, but their first for RCA. It was also the first one I ever bought. Even though it came from a particularly English POV, there was something quite universal about the feelings of alienation. It’s also sonically quite diverse.

Also in the band at that time were original drummer Mick Avory, bassist John Dalton (who had replaced Peter Quaife off and on for years), and pianist John Gosling, who joined the band in 1970, a year before the album’s release. Also new, the brass section, “The Mike Cotton Sound, which included Mike Cotton on trumpet, John Beecham on trombone and tuba, and Alan Holmes on clarinet.”

Side one starts with 20th Century Man [LISTEN], “I’m a 20th century man, but I don’t want to be here.” That’s followed by Acute Schizophrenia Paranoia Blues

But it’s five of the next six songs that really sold me. A more eclectic bunch of songs I’ve seldom heard: the out of time Holiday [LISTEN]; the swing of Skin and Bone [LISTEN] (“stay away from carbohydrates”); Alcohol [LISTEN] (a boozy “Oh, demon alcohol”); and Complicated Life [LISTEN]. For WAY too long, I used to go around saying, “Why is life so COM-plicated?”

Side two starts with Here Come the People in Grey, and that’s followed by the very proper-sounding Have a Cuppa Tea [LISTEN]; my sister sells teas currently, and that’s a bonus for my enjoyment. After Holloway Jail comes Oklahoma U.S.A., which I DID write about before. Then Uncle Son and the title song. The 1998 CD re-issue bonus tracks were Mountain Woman and Kentucky Moon, which did not particularly enhance the enjoyment for me.

There was a 2CD extended package that came out in 2013, which I won’t get because what I already have is just perfect.

More about the Kinks and some of the Kinks’ better-known songs around June 21, when Ray Davies turns 70.


ABC Wednesday – Round 14

The day they knocked down the Palais

Around 1987-1989, I was living in this nifty apartment in the West Hill section of Albany. I loved this building.


I’m listening to the Kinks recently, not surprising since Ray Davies’ birthday was June 23. The song Come Dancing came on, and, oddly, I got all melancholy.

The lyrics begin:
They put a parking lot on a piece of land
Where the supermarket used to stand.
Before that they put up a bowling alley
On the site that used to be the local Palais.

It reminded me of things as they once were, which are not anymore. My elementary/junior high school, where I spent ten years of my life, was torn down years ago to build some housing that just didn’t mesh with the character of the neighborhood. My grandmother’s house, a few blocks away, where I came home for lunch every day for a decade, is also long gone. My high school merged with the other public high school; I get these nostalgia solicitations to remind me that I went to Binghamton High School. Except that I didn’t; until 1982, it was Binghamton CENTRAL, the Bulldogs, not the Patriots. There are actually a LOT of those places that used to be in my hometown, replaced by highways, or nothing at all.

But what triggered this nostalgic wave occurred considerably later, around 1987-1989, when I was living in this nifty two-family apartment in the West Hill section of Albany. I loved this building. It had two apartments, and when I walked down the hall and inside, I was in the kitchen! The bedroom was next to it. The living room, and the spare room, where I kept my comic books at the time, were in the front of the building. The best thing, though, is when I moved in, I could put all my books and records on the enclosed back porch, taking my time to unpack them without having to trip over them. The landlord, Steve, was pretty OK, too, now that I remember. It was my favorite place living by myself for a lot of reasons.

I’ve been riding my bicycle partway home, and I always ride down North Lake Avenue, but I decided to veer off to pass by the old homestead. It was all boarded up, with the grass around it all overgrown. My heart sank a bit. I know the neighborhood had deteriorated since I was there; still, this made me more than a bit sad. I suppose I could buy it for $31,300, but I fear what renovation would be required.

And that Kinks song, imperfect match though it was, ran through my head. Though I was in my thirties by then, it was as though “Part of my childhood died.” It was, if not my best self, a period when I was quite contented.

Listen to Come Dancing by the Kinks.