Have an absolutely beautiful rest of your life.
Many years ago Lee Michaels released a great album called "Barrel" that I played to death. A song from that record has been going through my head on a loop for the last few weeks of this contentious and ridiculous Election Season and it keeps getting louder, "What Now America?" The song was about getting out of the War In Vietnam, but the tone and message and especially the repeated lyric on the fade ("You know you're losing now") delivered with resignation and desperation perfectly illustrates my mood as I write this. What now, America? What now indeed.
The first Presidential Election I had the ability to vote in was 1976 and I proudly cast my ballot for Jimmy Carter and joined the Democratic Party. A brilliant, compassionate man that I felt was exactly what the country needed after the buffoonery of Ford and the evil of Nixon, oh to be 20 years old again. We all know how that worked out, but I remain proud of that vote as Jimmy Carter has gone on to prove himself one of our finest ex-Presidents. And not a single shot was fired on his watch.
For the next two decades I remained a registered Democrat and suffered though Reagan and Bush 1 as trickle down economics and the dumbing down of our society took root. I was elated in 1993 when Bill Clinton was elected and hoped for a return to education and compassion being central components of our leadership and future. I didn't care that Bill apparently had difficulty keeping it in his pants, after all JFK was certainly no saint, but I got off the Democratic bus once the Telecommunications Act of 1996 was passed on his watch. This legislation resulted in the complete dismantling of the industry that put food on my table. Yes it was personal, but I still gave him credit for turning around the economy and marvelled at his public speaking ability.
The only positive element of the 8 years of Bush 2 I could relate to was that he was a Baseball fan and it goes without saying that I am not alone in considering he was perhaps our worst President... ever. He couldn't get out of office fast enough for me, especially with puppetmaster Dick Cheney pulling his strings.
Finally in 2009 Barack Obama was elected and managed to not only clean-up the mess he inherited, but restored intelligence, class and humanity to The White House. No President has ever had to endure the level of disrespect, obstruction and let's face it... racism that President Obama has received. Yet he remained steadfast, committed to making things better for all Americans and never sinking to the level of his detractors. In this opinion he would win a third term in a landslide and will go down in history as one of our finest Presidents.
So...What Now, America?
Just for a minute, tune-out the never ending onslaught of noise that overwhelms us all these days. Regardless the number of names on the ballot there are really only two choices.
One of them has never been elected to any public office, never shown compassion or concern for anything other than accumulating personal wealth, yet refuses to reveal his tax returns. That is something no candidate has ever done. He has spewed forth a steady stream of hate, fear and lies, denigrating any and all opposition with the zeal and temperament of a schoolyard bully. The fact that he is even on the ballot is an embarrassment to our country around the world, except perhaps Russia and North Korea. He has revealed no plan to "make America great again" and has no experience whatsoever in Public Service. He is reality TV and if like me you were concerned with someone like Al Haig or Dick Cheney having "the button" in reach, how will anyone get a good night's sleep with him possessing the nuclear codes?
Hillary Clinton has been training for this her entire life, which has been spent in Public Service. Is she perfect? No. But she is prepared, smart and has the necessary skill set and experience for the position. My initial choice was Bernie, but given the choice we are left with, I'm with her.
The start of 2016 has delivered a blistering level of heartbreak and loss to the world of music. My ears have been filled with tributes and specials trying to bring some sort of closure, not to mention a flurry of special programming that needed curating. A few weeks ago I received the news that my Mother's time on the planet is rapidly approaching the end. Hopefully that explains the silence lately on this blog, although perhaps I saved you from weeks of "sad-bastard" music posts by keeping my keyboard quiet. Here are some new sounds I'm enjoying at the moment.
Sorry for the silence here lately but I've been up to my ass in alligators, as the saying goes, rebuilding the home music server due to a very untimely "blue screen of death" which resulted in 6 TB (yes that's 6 terabytes) of music files rendered unreadable. Talk about a panic attack... I've been working on digitizing my music collection for nearly a decade and the initial shock was akin to walking into my music rooms and finding all the shelves empty. Thankfully, nothing was lost and everything is completely back to what constitutes as normal in my little world. Whew!
In the not too distant future I expect building a digital music database that you can access from anywhere will be a lot more common, but if you were to start now all the tools you need are readily available. Here's a handy checklist for anyone interested:
That aside, let's get to the tunes. We'll start with 3 discs of Cheap Trick goodies.
And here's a couple of new Christmas Tunes!
I have been deeply immersed in a new 12 CD box of genius from one of my favorite bands, King Crimson. For full information and complete track list click here. It also comes with a DVD, DVD-A and 2 Blue Ray discs. An absolute must own for any King Crimson fanatic. Here's a few samples.
We are running out of true musical giants here on planet Earth. It seems we toss out platitudes like "legend" with ease and discuss ad nauseam who belongs in whatever "hall of fame" or "all-time greatest" list that grabs our increasingly short attention span. However, the depth and breadth of longevity, innovation and spirit that left us this week is a hole that may never be filled. Allen Toussaint may not be a household name, but in the world of music he belongs in the same conversation as Louis Armstrong, Jimi Hendrix, Charlie Parker, The Beatles, James Brown, Miles Davis and Cole Porter, to name a few. Rarefied air... and a very funky beat.
This isn't the place for a history lesson as his story, stats and accomplishments can be found quite easily on the web, and I would urge you to do just that. I can't think of many artists that touched as many different styles of music, wore as many creative hats or crossed as many boundaries. And certainly none that did it with the impeccable grace, humility and passion of Allen Toussaint.
Rest In Peace, Mr. Toussaint. We will never see your like again.
What follows is a mere drop in the bucket when you look over his discography but are among my favorites.
Here's a few things that you should investigate..
Here's some stuff from the archives that have been pulled out for a spin recently.
For PLAYLISTS from my shows on The Loft at SiriusXM
don't be a jerk