Wednesday’s Theme Music

I didn’t recall when today’s theme music came out. I guessed about 1966, ’67. I was wrong. It was 1969. I remembered it the other day, when I was reading about Oregon’s marijuana glut a few days ago. Oregon has grown about one million pounds of surplus weed.

“Little Green Bag” by the George Baker Selection sounds weirdly like it’s from several different eras of pop-rock. Its beginning is often used to define cool in a movie or television show. A group moves in slow music, typically turning toward the camera as the music plays. This was done in Reservoir Dogs and the BBC television show, Red Dwarf. That song’s beginning, with its  bass line and isolated percussion, is cool.

I always remembered the next lines, though, thinking, hey, he’s looking for a bag of grass, as in marijuana. It sounded like he dropped it and has gone back for it, except he wasn’t singing bag, he was singing back, like, greenback. Which, I realized in one history leson in school, was dollars. So he was looking for dollars, not grass. That amused me, but perplexed my friends, who didn’t know what the hell song I was singing.

I’d never seen the video before today. They look very uncomfortable to me, like they’re self-consciously cringing inside.

Here it is, though. This is how we used to roll.

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Monday’s Theme Music

Discussing my dreams with the cats as I fed the coffee maker and overfloofs, we went out for the paper and agreed, yep, just another day.

Paul McCartney’s song, “Another Day” (1971), squirted into my stream. Milliseconds later, I’m singing, “It’s just another day. At the office where the papers grow, she takes a break,
drinks another coffee and she finds it hard to stay awake, do do do dit do do. It’s just another day.”

The song is an observation of a woman’s life as she cleans, dresses, and works. Under that melody and the surface word, as they sing, “So sad, sometimes she feels so sad,” is a sense of milieu ringing through other pop-rock songs of that era, is this it? Is this life? And accepting that, yes, this is life, people hunt escape. It’s just another day, over and over and over, going through motions while looking and hoping for some unspoken other thing.

 

Sunday’s Theme Music

I’d heard about friends breaking up as a couple, and the difficulty one was experiencing afterward. Their story prompting Neil Sedaka’s song, “Breaking Up Is Hard To Do” to stream into my mind. I wasn’t thinking of his bouncy original from 1962, but the slower 1975 ballad that he released. I thought the latter showed a more adult approach to the lyrics and sentiments of breaking up. Anyone who’s gone through it knows how hard it can be.

Thursday’s Theme Music

Reading the news yesterday and today, I was shaking my head, partially laughing while crying. You know, it was the same old story.

That led to me streaming Aerosmith.

It’s the same old story
Same old song and dance, my friend
It’s the same old story
Same old story
Same old song and dance

It was an easy song to identify with when I was a teenager and the song was released. When you asked questions, you often heard, “That’s just how it is. That’s how it goes.” It was always the same old song and dance, no matter what you were asked.

It’s a song and dance I’m getting tired of now with politics. It’s always one thing or another. Back in the military world, you tired of hearing you must do more with less — same old song and dance. Hurry up and wait — same old song and dance. In the corporate world, it became doing more with less, and then cut expenses and increase profits, or we can’t give you a bonus or pay raise, little boy, while they spread some B.S. about us being a family, or a team, and how much they care. Same old song and dance.

“Same Old Song and Dance”. Only the voices change.

 

Wednesday’s Theme Music

I started streaming this song today, and then started flipping between various versions that I knew.

“Route 66” by Bobby Troup seems to capture or convey something elemental that people like to sing. He wrote the song while driving cross-country with his wife. His lyrics are the foundations for multiple interpretations, from Nat King Cole to John Mayer, with a chunk of people in between. I happened to start with the Depeche Mode cover today, and then popped into the Mayer version before jumping back to Nat King Cole and then then the Stones. It’s intriguing how each performer adjusts it to their style and era of music. As fascinating as all of that, Route 66 features powerfully in the Steinbeck novel, The Grapes of Wrath. 

Enjoy them all, a celebration of a classic road and a classic song, “Route 66”, about a road that barely still exists.

Nat King Cole

Bobby Troup – the composer.

Chuck Berry

 

The Stones

 

Depeche Mode

 

John Mayer

Monday’s Theme Music

Today’s theme music comes via my cat, Boo. Boo is a large black cat with a minute white triangle on his chest and two long, white whiskers. Tailless, he came to us as a stray few years ago. We tried to find his people but failed, so he became part of the household. Although big and smart, Boo has issues, and it’s clear that someone mistreated him.

So, I was singing to him last night as I stroked his head and back, “Say it loud. I’m black and I’m proud.” That brought to mind the James Brown song from 1968, of course. Hell, it’s the title.

James Brown’s song is a powerful and affirmative statement of identity and clarity. I used to get goosebumps when I heard a large group of blacks singing it and clapping to the beat. It was amazing to witness.

Look a’here, some people say we got a lot of malice
Some say it’s a lotta nerve
I say we won’t quit moving
Til we get what we deserve
We’ve been buked and we’ve been scourned
We’ve been treated bad, talked about
As just as sure as you’re born
But just as sure as it take
Two eyes to make a pair, huh
Brother, we can’t quit until we get our share

h/t to A-ZLyrics.com

Here’s “Say It Loud (I’m Black and I’m Proud)”.

Sunday’s Theme Music

Today’s theme music is “(If Loving You Is Wrong) I Don’t Want to be Right”. Humming along with it as it flowed through my stream this morning during the routines, I thought about the song’s complex, grown-up nature.

I was sixteen when the song was released in 1972 and going through the standard processes involving discovering love and sex. Little did I know how complicated it could all be. The big lie still held about finding someone and falling in love, marrying for laugh, and growing old together. Big cracks were appearing in the big lie. Love and sex, as well as gender identity and sexual orientation are all more complicated than the big lie’s straightforward depiction. Then religion society gets involved – a black man and a white woman? Social norms add new pressures and dimensions.

That’s behind the song. He’s in love with another woman, having an affair and cheating on his wife. And the woman is having an affair with a married man. Both of those are taboo. The man understands that he has commitments. Needs change.

I’m not trying to defend him so much as think about how complicated love, sex, society, marriage and life can be. It’s not as clean and simple as the big lie leads us to believe.

Am I wrong to fall so deeply in love with you
Knowing I got a wife and two little children
Depending on me too
And am I wrong to hunger
for the gentleness of your touch
knowing I got somebody else at home
who needs me just as much

And are you wrong to fall in love
With a married man
And am I wrong trying to hold on
To the best thing I ever had

h/t to songfacts.com

Of course, the other part of this is what it would do to his wife if she discovered his betrayal, and what could result from that, nor what the guilt can do to him and his thinking and psyche.

Many performers and groups have covered this R&B classic, but that original voice and music is seared into my brain. Luther Ingram didn’t write it, but he delivered the sound.

 

 

Friday’s Theme Music

Freddies dead
That’s what I said
Let the man rap a plan said he’d see him home
But his hope was a rope and he should’ve known
It’s hard to understand
There was love in this man
I’m sure all would agree
That his misery was his woman and things
Now Freddie’s dead
That’s what I said

Read more: Curtis Mayfield – Freddie’s Dead Lyrics | MetroLyrics

I was reading about another unarmed black man killed by another white man with a gun. In this case, the black man was killed by a Walgreen’s security officer as he was walking away, shot in the back, after the two exchanged words several times.

Reading about the man’s death as the holidays are fading and the decorations are taken down and put away inspired weariness about change’s creeping nature and questions of why so many others seem eager to kill someone because they’re a different color, or the things they said. Growing up in 1960s America, race riots and violence were a nightly news staple. I keep hoping for peace, equality, and justice.

From all that, I began streaming Curtis Mayfield, “Freddie’s Dead” (1972).

Monday’s Theme Music

A simple song today, streaming an old favorite. This came out in ’72, when I was just getting my driver’s license, still in high school, and living with dad. Don’t know what kicked it into the stream this morning, but I’ve always liked its sound and energy.

Let’s enjoy some Led Zeppelin with “Rock and Roll”. Rock out 2018, rock in 2019.

Cheers

 

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