The Musical Bucket List QUESTIONS

I wrote: “Regret not seeing the Who in Albany in ’95.”


Eddie, in his tribute to Doc Watson, wrote:

“Never, ever pass up a chance to see a true musical legend. Every year we lose a few, and they can never be replaced. A few years ago, a mailing list I belong to started a “bucket list” of acts people want to see before they (the musicians, not the people making the lists) are gone. I’ve been lucky enough to have seen many of mine: [list, including Watson]. There are already more than a few that I’ll never get the chance to see again. And several others I never got the chance to see: [list]. I still need to see [list].”

I wrote: “Regret not seeing the Who in Albany in ’95.” I’m not positive about the year, but the venue was only six blocks from where I worked at the time. Also wished I’d seen James Brown (pictured) in the 1980s, though his erratic performances were what kept me away.

“Saw Billy Joel, Elton John, Dylan [though in fact, I didn’t love the show], Elvis Costello, Lyle Lovett, Joan Baez, Bruce Cockburn, Bruce Springsteen, John Hiatt, Talking Heads, the Temptations in their near-prime, Four Tops, Go-Gos, Joan Armatrading, Pete Seeger (numerous times).] Also Neville Brothers, Tony Bennett, Herbie Hancock,Crosby, Stills & Nash…

Probably should see [Paul] McCartney.” There are no doubt others.

What artists would be on your bucket list?

Summer Song: Summertimes Blues

I’m not positive, but I believe the first version of Summertime Blues I heard was by The Who from their Live at Leeds album; the single hit the pop charts on July 11, 1970, got to #27, and remained on th charts for nine weeks. THe song had been part of their live show for three years before that.

It was only then that I heard the original by Eddie Cochran, who co-wrote it; the song charted 8/4/1958, stayed for 16 weeks, and got to #8. I really like it, especially this rendition where Eddie giggles a couple times.

Another wonderful version is by Blue Cheer. From the Wikipedia: “The American psychedelic blues-rock band …recorded their version…in 1967…The single peaked at #14 on the Billboard Hot 100…While not as widely played or recognized as The Who version, it certainly is more distorted with a far more intense guitar sound. This version was ranked #73 on the list of ‘The 100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time’ of Rolling Stone. This version omits the responses and instead has each band member do a quick solo.”

A less-than-great iteration appears on the Beach Boys’ first album, Surfin’ Safari, released October 1962. “Lead vocal on the track was jointly sung by lead guitarist Carl Wilson, not yet 16, and rhythm guitarist Dave Marks, just turned 14. Never released on a single in the US, it gained enough popularity in The Philippines early in 1966 to post no. 7 on that country’s hit parade as listed by Billboard in its weekly ‘Hits of the World’ charts.” This was new to me.

I don’t listen to enough country, evidently, because I was also unfamiliar
with the Alan Jackson rendition, which went to #1 on the country charts in 1994.

MOVIE REVIEW: The Kids Are All Right

Metroland critic Laura Leon: “These are the kind of real-life stories that everybody deals with…”

After my wife and I had our almost weekly summer date and saw the movie The Kids Are All Right, she noted that it was, in many ways, a very conventional, slice-of-life, film about the travails of family life. And I realized, that, at the core, she was absolutely right.

It’s a story about a long-time committed couple. They deal with the universal rigors of relationship, which was described as a marathon, not a sprint. It also involves their teenage kids, a girl just turning 18, and a boy, 15, dealing with sexuality, bullying, alcohol, and identity, just like many people.

OK, so not every movie involves a lesbian couple who were each artificially inseminated by an anonymous donor, who becomes less than anonymous when the boy gets the girl to find out who their common father is. And gay men’s porn is not always a family talking point.

What makes this an intriguing story was the script and direction of Lisa Cholodenko, creator of High Art and Laurel Canyon. Like those two films, as film critic Mick LaSalle noted, features “somebody from a world a little less structured who seduces someone from a world a little more regimented.”

The film is also blessed by the casting of Annette Bening, as a Type A doctor, and Julianne Moore, as her more bohemian partner. Their “unexotic, unglamorous and totally routine” lives are upended by the bio-dad (Mark Ruffalo); how (and why) he changes the family dynamic is an important part of the tale. A few critics carped that, in the end, conventionality, of a sort, is restored, but I think that’s the point.

If you’re looking for non-stop, wall-to-wall action, do not see this film. But if you want to see an interesting look at basic truths of family dynamics, check this out. As Metroland critic Laura Leon put it: “It’s kind of ironic that, finally, a movie about how long-term relationships change and transform over time—in short, what happens to just about everybody—has come out and it’s very wonderful…these are the kind of real-life stories that everybody deals with, and why aren’t we seeing more of them, instead of Clash of the Cyborg Mutants in 3D, in cinemas?”

The movie trailer.

The only downside to the movie: no music by the Who.