Schingle's Blog

June 12, 2018

Something for Nothing

Filed under: Folk tales and songs, Reminiscneces — Tags: , , — schingle @ 2:16 pm

So, I have been terrible about writing.  I call myself a writer and, sometimes, even when the brain is frozen, you just gotta write.  So, a quickie true story for you for no real reason–for what it’s worth.

I drive for Uber.  Now, no matter where you live in the world, I’m sure you’re familiar.  It’s like a taxi service without the price gouging.

When I’m driving, I keep the radio on a little known, independent radio station, here in Tucson.  I like them because they’ll play anything.  You’ll hear a song by the Ramones followed by a song by Louis Armstrong.  Odds are you won’t like everything they play, but odds are equally likely that, if you listen long enough, you’ll hear SOME thing that you’ll like.  I usually keep the volume down low if I have a customer.  Big lead up for a small story.

Anyway, so this guy gets in my car the other day.  He was noticeably younger than me—doubt if he was 30, yet.  As typical, when a new fare jumps in I turn down the volume.  So, a song comes on (“Ripple” by the Grateful Dead) and my fare says “turn it up.”  Well, the customer is always right, so…

After a couple notes, he starts singing along with Jerry Garcia.  Then, after a short while, he stops.  I tell him, “Dude, you’re free to sing Grateful Dead in my car,” and he resumes.  After a couple more notes I join him.  We end up singing the whole song and after it’s over we laugh and thank each other.   Hey, it helped kill the time and next thing we knew, I had him home from a long day’s work.  As he got out of my car, we shared a high five.

Moral of the story?  Probably isn’t one.  You just never know who you’re going to meet.  Thanks for reading/listening.

Peace to all.

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April 23, 2018

why not? concluded

Filed under: images — Tags: , , , — schingle @ 2:24 pm

So, over the last ten days or so I’ve posted album covers without explanations.  That was the rule as set forth by someone who started the whole thing in facebook.  However, this isn’t facebook and I haven’t been blogging much so i figured why not?

The ten covers posted were not necessarily my ten most favorite albums of all time though all ten probably fall somewhere in the top fifty.  But each of them represent some sort of first for me, so I’m going to do a quick blurb on each of the ten to explain their particular meaning to me.  Since blogs are supposed to stay short, I’ll do it over three days.

Yes, I know this is self serving, but I haven’t been writing and I had to think of something.  Apologies to all, but hopefully there will be some who find this of some interest.

8) Frank Zappa Overnight Sensation.  Now, this one is a bit of a cheat.  I suppose you’d put FZ and the Mothers of Invention into the avant garde, but with a humorous twist, category.  The cheat part is, this isn’t the FZ album that turned me on to him.  My first two were “Just Another band from LA,” and “Sheik Yerbouti,” both of which are live albums.  This was Frank’s first studio album that turned me on.

9) Rusted Root When I Woke.  Before we were lovers, my significant other had given me a couple of the songs from this (their debut) album.  Since then, I’ve played this disc countless times.  If you ever get a chance to see RR in concert, do so.  You’ll dance your ass off, even if you’re not a dancer.  (I have numerous times, and I’m not).

10) Richard Thompson— Across a crowded Room.  Some time in the middle ’90’s RT usurped Jethro Tull as my favorite musical artist.  This may not be his best album, but it was the one that turned me on to him.

And there you have it, for what it’s worth.  10 album covers by 10 artists that have influenced me and my reasons for choosing them.  Thanks for taking the time to read.  Peace to all.

April 22, 2018

why not? continued

Filed under: images, Reminiscneces — Tags: , , , — schingle @ 4:04 pm

So, over the last ten days or so I’ve posted album covers without explanations.  That was the rule as set forth by someone who started the whole thing in facebook.  However, this isn’t facebook and I haven’t been blogging much so i figured why not?

The ten covers posted were not necessarily my ten most favorite albums of all time though all ten probably fall somewhere in the top fifty.  But each of them represent some sort of first for me, so I’m going to do a quick blurb on each of the ten to explain their particular meaning to me.  Since blogs are supposed to stay short, I’ll do it over three days.

Yes, I know this is self serving, but I haven’t been writing and I had to think of something.  Apologies to all, but hopefully there will be some who find this of some interest.

4)     Johnny CashWhen the man comes Around.  I was never a fan of country music but this one changes everything.  The title song was written by Cash but the rest are all covers including Depeche Mode, Roberta Flack and the Beatles.  Gave me an even greater appreciation for Johnny Cash and country music in general.

5)     Joni MitchellLadies of the Canyon.  This was the first one to turn me on to Joni Mitchell, specifically and to folk stuff, in general.  People who know me now, and realize that three quarters of what I listen to now is acoustic would be surprised that it took Joni Mitchell to turn me on to the joys of acoustic music some thirty years ago.

6)     Jethro TullThick as a Brick.  Since i did an entire series on the band probably no one’s surprised to see this one.  It was a toss up between this and the Who’s Tommy as albums that showed me that rock music can be intelligent.  This one is an all time classic.

7)     John ColtraneA Love Supreme.  It was John Coltrane who turned me on to more traditional jazz but with his own off beat twist.  I once answered a survey asking if I was on a desert island and could only have one album what would it be.  This was my answer.  It just NEVER gets old.

Thanks for reading.   I’ll finish up tomorrow.

April 19, 2018

Day ten of ten

Filed under: images — Tags: , , , , — schingle @ 1:56 pm

My significant other  nominated me to do this on facebook.  I saw my friend Steph (scrichmondblog.wordpress.com) doing the same here, so I’m posting my ten album covers from facebook here as well.  No explanation—just the covers.  Enjoy.  Here’s day ten.

thompson image

April 17, 2018

Day eight of ten

Filed under: images — Tags: , , — schingle @ 2:52 pm

My significant other  nominated me to do this on facebook.  I saw my friend Steph (scrichmondblog.wordpress.com) doing the same here, so I’m posting my ten album covers from facebook here as well.  No explanation—just the covers.  Enjoy.  Here’s day eight.

zappa image

April 15, 2018

Day six of ten

Filed under: images — Tags: , , — schingle @ 5:24 pm

My significant other  nominated me to do this on facebook.  I saw my friend Steph (scrichmondblog.wordpress.com) doing the same here, so I’m posting my ten album covers from facebook here as well.  No explanation—just the covers.  Enjoy.  Here’s day six.

brick image

April 10, 2018

Day one of ten

Filed under: images — Tags: , — schingle @ 2:45 pm

My significant other  nominated me to do this on facebook.  I saw my friend Steph (scrichmondblog.wordpress.com) doing the same here, so I’m posting my ten album covers from facebook here as well.  No explanation—just the covers.  Enjoy.  Here’s day one.

banatyne image

August 20, 2017

JT Rankings #1

Filed under: Folk tales and songs — Tags: , , , , , , , , — schingle @ 4:06 pm

#1 Warchild

 

Undoubtedly, this will be an unpopular choice for number one.  Granted, this is certainly one person’s sentimental pick as it was the album that turned him on to the group, as a whole.  The critics from “Rolling Stone” panned it immediately, but the record still jumped to a number one rating in the album charts, even with RS’s admonitions.  Even hard core Tull fans will likely have a problem with the choice, but it is what it is.  And where does one begin to categorize this disc into a genre?  There are some acoustic moments, but one couldn’t use the term “folk” accurately.  “Bungle in the Jungle” was a top 40 hit, but to label the album “pop” would be unfair.  (Again, just ask the folks at “Rolling Stone”).  There are enough saxes and other horns as to give this an almost 40’s style big-band sound, but anyone would disagree that the album is of that genre.  In short, this album is all over the map.  Perhaps that’s the reason it was disliked by the critics at the time.  Oddly, in addition to “Bungle” the song “Skating Away on the Thin Ice of the New Day” also got some air play on, what was then called, “underground” stations and today would be called “alternative.”  With the exception of the “Aqualung” LP, the group almost never got two songs from the same album to get radio play.  The title song opens the album and is kind of a slow one but sets the tone with, as always, intelligent lyrics (“No unconditional surrender: no armistice day; each night I’ll die in my contentment and lie in your grave”).  “Queen and Country” almost sounds like a war era song and tells the story of pirates who risk life and limb to bring gifts to her majesty.  “Ladies” is an acoustic song which deals with the world’s oldest profession.  “Only Solitaire” is Anderson’s retort to the critics who had, by this time, turned against the group with razor sharp teeth, while only three years previously lavishing them with praise.  “The Third Hoorah” reprises some of the lyrics from the title song, but has a more upbeat, almost march-like, rhythm.  The disc closes with the tune “Two Fingers,” which was, reportedly, an outtake from “Aqualung” with slightly revised lyrics and tune, and deals again with Anderson’s views towards organized religion.  This was the band’s third album in a row with the same personnel:  Ian Anderson (vocals, flute, acoustic guitar and some sax), Martin Barre (Lead guitar), John Evan (Keyboards), Jeffrey Hammond (Bass) and Barrie Barlow (Drums/percussion).  Is this truly Jethro Tull’s “best” album?  Most would likely disagree.  However, if a person had never heard anything by the band, and chose this one to listen to first, they likely wouldn’t be disappointed, if for no other reasons than “Skating Away” and “Bungle in the Jungle.”  And, by hearing this one first, would likely want to go back through the catalogue and hear more.  At least, that’s one guy’s opinion.

August 18, 2017

JT Rankings #2

Filed under: Folk tales and songs — Tags: , , , , , , , , — schingle @ 1:57 pm

#2 Songs From the Wood

In 1977, Jethro Tull put out their 10th studio album, “Songs From the Wood.”  To this day, it remains one of their very best efforts ever.  This was the first of three in a row by the group that had a decidedly folky feel.  The disc’s title song is the opener and begins with the first verse sung a capella in four part harmony.  A fan who was already into the band by this time could tell less than one verse in that the group was veering some from their previous rocking material such as “Too Old to Rock n Roll…” and “Aqualung.”  This was the second disc in a row with the same (and many believe, best) lineup.  Of course, Ian Anderson maintains as lead singer, flute and acoustic guitar player and is joined by Martin Barre (lead guitar), John Evan and David Palmer (Keyboards), Barrie Barlow (Drums) and John Glascock (Bass and backing vocals).  (On a side note: Anderson plays all instruments on the record’s second offering called “Jack-in-the-Green”).   While the music has a rustic feel throughout, the lyrics deal with a number of different themes.  “Hunting Girl” depicts the story of a naïve working class lout who is taken advantage of (and abused?) sexually by a rather kinky (though refined?) woman on horseback.  “Velvet Green” similarly details a fellow who takes advantage of a young lady sexually then leaves her (wanting more?). “The Whistler” got some airplay in its day and the title pretty much tells the story.  “Ring out Solstice Bells” had come out as a single in time for Christmas (1976) before being included on the early January album release.  As always, the lyrics are well written and with a humorous tone (from “Hunting Girl” we get the line, “…whilst I appreciate, you are no deviate, I might come to some harm…”).  A word or two should be mentioned about the song “Pibroch (Cap in Hand).”  There is some searing guitar work by Barre which shows his amazing, yet understated, talent with an electric guitar.  That was one of the things that JT could do.  As a whole, they put out this simple, largely acoustic and definitely folk-oriented, disc but managed to include some amazing, rocking electric guitars and, yes, included synthesizers for musical effect rather than sounding like canned, computer driven, pre-programmed music.  Oh yeah, if you want to get turned on to one of the best albums this group ever put out, go ahead and give “Songs from the Wood” a try.  No disappointment—-guaranteed.

August 16, 2017

JT Rankings #3

Filed under: Folk tales and songs — Tags: , , , , , , , , — schingle @ 2:47 pm

#3 Aqualung

 

For music fans who are only vaguely aware of Jethro Tull, this may be the only album with which they are familiar.  “Aqualung” (1971) was so successful and popular that for the rest of their touring years, the group inevitably played a minimum of three songs from the disc.  The title song and “Locomotive Breath” were almost always played towards the end or as encores.  Any of the following could be heard on any given night:  “Cross-eyed Mary,” “My God,” and/or “Wind Up.”  All five of these songs are rockers, but most forget that there are quite a number of acoustic pieces as well on the LP and any of these had the potential to be played live.  It’s just that good and well-known of an album.  Among the acoustic favorites are: “Wond’ring Aloud,” “Mother Goose,” and “Cheap Day Return.”  Anyone, fan or not of JT, anyone would find this album an enjoyable listen.  It could easily be assumed that this would be ranked number one by a good percentage of long time JT fans.  Again, there really isn’t a bad song, a bad note on the album.  This was the group’s fourth studio album and the fourth different lineup.  Jeffrey Hammond joined the band as bassist and background vocalist to replace the departing Glenn Cornick.  The rest of the personnel remain the same as those on 1970’s “Benefit” with Ian Anderson as front man, flute and acoustic guitar player; Martin Barre on lead guitar, John Evan on Keyboards and Clive Bunker playing drums on his last album with Jethro Tull.  Ian Anderson got into some degree of trouble with critics at the time.  Critics insisted that “Aqualung” was a “concept album,” while Anderson claimed (and still claims to this day) that it was not.  There are a couple of running themes throughout the album.  Side one deals with shady characters in a less-than-upscale neighborhood (“Aqualung,” “Cross-eyed Mary”), while side two deals with Anderson’s rather naïve and negative(?) views towards organized religion (“My God,” “Wind Up”).  Still, the album isn’t meant to tell one consistent story, so most who truly pay attention would likely side with Anderson.  So, is “Aqualung” a concept album?  The best answer is probably: “What difference does it make?”  Aqualung is just a great conglomeration of songs from start to finish.  Very few fans of JT, or fans of rock/pop music would disagree at all.  Give it a listen, if you haven’t already.

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