Thank you very much for music

Sly is especially thankful

Thanksgiving is coming. To the degree that I have maintained sanity this year, it’s been from listening to recorded music. A lot.

One of my friends envies how invested I am in music. It’s not as though I made a choice. It has always been omnipresent. I still remember chunks of my father’s singles collection. I sang in school, in church, with my father and sister. I’m appreciative of that, but there’s never been a point when it wasn’t a big part of my life.

Thank you very much for music.

Some songs about thanks

Sam and Dave – I Thank You  (“I want everybody to get up off your seat And get your arms together, and your hands together And give me some of that o-o-old soul clapping.”)

Led Zeppelin – Thank You   “If the sun refused to shine, I would still be loving you.”

Sly and the Family Stone – Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin) –  I was a sucker for songs by artists who refer to their other songs. See Creeque Alley by the Mamas and the Papas, Glass Onion by the Beatles. This includes Dance to the Music, Everyday People, Sing a Simple Song, and You Can Make It If You Try. Thank You For Talking To Me Africa  A stoned version of the above.

Boyz II Men – Thank You. The first song on their second album, and my favorite

Andrew Gold – Thank You For Being A Friend. The late son of the late, great Marni Nixon. This is the theme of the TV show Golden Girls 

The Beatles – Thank You, Girl. The perennial B-side, of the single From Me to You in the UK, of the single Do You Want to Know a Secret in the US

Alanis Morissette – Thank U  

John Denver – Thank god I’m a country boy 

Neil Diamond – Thank the Lord for the Nighttime.  My absolute favorite Diamond song.

U is for Unique: Sly & the Family Stone

Sly-family-stone(The second, and final, letter for which I couldn’t find a musical family group.)

Sylvester Stewart was a record producer and DJ in the San Francisco Bay Area; I have a very early Billy Preston produced by him. He changed his name to Sly Stone, and started a band, as did his brother Freddie. The groups merged in 1967 to become Sly & the Family Stone, with sister Vaetta as one of the background singers. The band as unique, in part because it was racially mixed at a point when that just wasn’t done. Their songs, especially by their third album, Life, was infused with themes about unity and integration.

Sly’s music was so good that it would be sampled years later. Continue reading “U is for Unique: Sly & the Family Stone”

Song: Hot Fun in the Summertime

A song from the summer of 1969, Hot Fun in the Summertime by Sly & Family Stone entered the Billboard charts on August 9, remained there for 16 weeks, and got up to #2 for two weeks, blocked from the top spot by the Temptations’ Can’t Get Next To You.

It also entered the soul charts on August 23, and got up to #3.

In a clever bit of marketing, the first time this song appeared on an album was the greatest hits collection. Unless you owned the singles, and you wanted this song, Everybody is a Star, and Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin), you needed to buy the LP. And so I did.

The song.

A religious experience.

X is for Xenophobia

How do you feel about your own racism and xenophobia? Are you confident enough to declare “I’m not racist”?


So I was looking up xenophobia in the Wikipedia, which lists this definition:
Xenophobia is the uncontrollable fear of foreigners. It comes from the Greek words ξένος (xenos), meaning “stranger,” “foreigner” and φόβος (phobos), meaning “fear.” Xenophobia can manifest itself in many ways involving the relations and perceptions of an ingroup towards an outgroup, including a fear of losing identity, suspicion of its activities, aggression, and desire to eliminate its presence to secure a presumed purity. Xenophobia can also be exhibited in the form of an “uncritical exaltation of another culture” in which a culture is ascribed “an unreal, stereotyped and exotic quality”…

A xenophobic person has to genuinely think or believe at some level that the target is in fact a foreigner. This arguably separates xenophobia from racism and ordinary prejudice in that someone of a different race does not necessarily have to be of a different nationality. In various contexts, the terms “xenophobia” and “racism” seem to be used interchangeably, though they can have wholly different meanings (xenophobia can be based on various aspects, racism being based solely on race ethnicity and ancestry). Xenophobia can also be directed simply to anyone outside of a culture, not necessarily one particular race or people.

Well, OK. I’m not sure if it is xenophobia or racism (or both) which led to offensive characterizations against the Republican candidate for governor in South Carolina. Or the renaming of food so as not to invoke people we don’t like. Or the absurd truthiness of this Comedy Central bit about Obama and his emotions.

At some level, I suppose I had gotten to a point where I had hoped xenophobia and racism was some thing of the past, such as one segment in this TV show from 1964, which like the Daily Show segment, is parody. But I realized I was being silly. Xenphobia has lasted for millennia; why should modernism destroy it? Continue reading “X is for Xenophobia”

30-Day Challenge: Day 6 – Favorite Song

I own the vast majority of the music released in the 20th Century on the Rolling Stone magazine list, but did only so-so on this past decade.

If you had access to the soundtrack of my mind – my, that’d be VERY scary, and you don’t know how lucky you are – you would know that picking a favorite song is nigh unto impossible. I did select 100 songs that moved me, with my #1 pick here a couple years back, but such a list is highly fungible.

Besides, that doesn’t mean any of them are my favorites. I’m always thinking, “How could I forget THAT one?” Experienced that phenomenon just recently when I was watching an episode of Glee and hear the song “A House Is Not A Home” and thought, “I’m very fond of the Dionne Warwick version of that song; should have made the list.”

So, I decided to pick a list of three of my favorite songs that namecheck other songs by that same performer:

3. Creeque Alley by The Mamas and the Papas, with the final line, “And California Dreamin’ is becomin’ a reality…

2. Glass Onion by the Beatles with references to Strawberry Fields Forever, I Am The Walrus, Lady Madonna, Fool on the Hill, and Fixing a Hole
Continue reading “30-Day Challenge: Day 6 – Favorite Song”