Tuesday’s Theme Music

News stories stayed with me late yesterday as I finished walking and headed home. Too many tales about murders and suicides, impeachment and politics, wars and disease. It all felt a little heavy.

Some lyrics stole into my stream:

Been a long, a long time coming
But I know a change gonna come, oh yes it will

It’s been too hard living, but I’m afraid to die
‘Cause I don’t know what’s up there beyond the sky

I couldn’t remember more of the song, and worked on that as I reached home and made lunch. Other pieces came in but not enough for attribution. It seemed like an old song. I was finally forced to Google to find it.

There it was, Sam Cooke, “A Change Is Gonna Come”, from 1964. It’s dismaying to think of that song being written in the early sixties because of what he endured in Shrevesport, LA, one night. How humans treat others because of their differences remains a sad situation. We’ve made some progress on this, but we’ve also slid backwards. At times like these, I fall back on Parker’s quote, “The arc of the moral universe is long but bends toward justice.” Parker was a clergyman in the 1800s. I always thought the quote belonged to Martin Luther King, Jr., but I found in reading that he was quoting another.

No matter who first said it, it endures. As Sam Cooke wrote and sang,

It’s been a long, a long time coming
But I know a change gon’ come, oh yes it will

I’m indebted to Metrolyrics.com, Songfacts.com, and Wikipedia.org for refreshing my memory.

Tuesday’s Theme Music

Today’s music is owed to a cat. I opened a new can, put it in his bowl, and set it down in front of it. He took a step toward it, bent his head, sniffed it, looked up at me, and meowed.

“Looks fine to me,” I said. “Whatcha see is whatcha get.”

That naturally triggered the 1971 Dramatics’ song, “Whatchat See Is Whatcha Get”.

I gave another cat the rejected food. The other cat wolfed it down and then washed itself. The first cat, Boo, found kibble in the always there kibble bow.

Thinking about the song, I thought that it’s not only effective for telling the cat this is his breakfast choice this morning, but can hold to our politics with Trump. What you see, an ignorant, self-absorbed person and known cheat with a first-graders’ maturity level, and nursery-school knowledge of history and the U.S. Constitution, is what you get. That seems fine with the Trumpettes, but the rest of us are not pleased.

The song’s first words:

Some people are made of plastic
And you know some people are made of wood
Some people have hearts of stone
Some people are up to no good

h/t to Genius.com

Yes, I think that’s apropos for Trump and the Trumpettes.

 

Monday’s Theme Music

Today’s choice arrived in the stream because of a chance encounter with a friend.

I’m retired military, 1974 – 1995. He was in the Army for almost five years. Most of that time was in Vietnam. May, 1969, was his one year anniversary of being in country. It was a bloody year for him. He lost many friends. He was also nineteen.

We guessed that it was just a juxtaposition of insights that brought about the darkness dragging him down this weekend. This is twenty nineteen, which kicked off the memory of being nineteen, when he was in Vietnam fifty years ago. It’s probably because of Memorial Day, and the many men walking around with Vietnam Vet hats on their heads, and the television shows talking about different military campaigns. It could be his sense of mortality. He’s getting older, as he reminded me.

He never cried when he spoke but he did a lot of sniffing, some quick eye wipes, and sometimes coped with a trembling voice with some deep breaths. Vietnam offered some hairy days, and he was grateful to have survived without too much damage, get home, go to college under the GI Bill, marry, and have a family.

After we shook hands and went our separate ways, and I was walking under the lush green trees, past beautiful beds of colorful flowers as cars rolled by and people pursued their celebrations of Memorial Day, I started streaming an old favorite song.

Here, from nineteen seventy-four, is William DeVaughn with “Be Thankful for What You Got”.

 

Wednesday Theme Music

Today brought me another Aretha Franklin classic. She didn’t write it, but she sang it with power — of course. We’re talkin’ ’bout Aretha Franklin.

Don’t know what prompted it to enter my morning stream and dance around the kitchen. I tried coaxing the housefloofs into singing and dancing with me but they were havin’ none of it, preferring to sit down and disparage me with judgmental stares.

Here we go, “Chain of Fools” (1967). It’s good hump day music, ya know?

 

Tuesday’s Theme Music

My spouse was busy making Christmas crockpot candy, which involves melting a lot of almond bark and chocolate together with some nuts, and then spooning it out into balls and letting it cool.

Christmas music was on, but this was a Christmas blues album. We have it on a CD that we picked up for a dollar about twenty years ago. The album was probably recorded in the sixties. It hasn’t been remastered.

Anyway, that CD ended, and a Motown Christmas album was launched. A CD of Motown hits from 1971 followed. A twelve minute version of “Papa Was a Rolling Stone” by the the Temptations stayed in my stream overnight.

What can I say? It’s great music, cool music, telling a story through voice, lyrics, and instruments.

Sunday’s Theme Music

Sly and the Family Stone gave us a lot of awesome music when I was young. Today’s theme song, “Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin) is a favorite. This song’s deliberate mondegreen in its title delighted me. I always knew it as just “Thank You.” When I bought the greatest hits album (actually, on an eight-track tape that the machine ate within a year, but not before torturing the sound into a strange warbling), the full title baffled me. I’d always heard the lyrics correctly, not something that always happened with songs, but did happen at the time. That’s when I was first introduced to mondegreens.

That greatest hits album deserved that title, and that’s why it was worn out. That was common for that time, to wear music out because of its medium, whether it was tape or vinyl. Digital has made a huge difference.

Onward.

Saturday’s Theme Music

Aretha Franklin’s death and the service held to honor her reminded me that I grew up in a privileged time and place. Pop, rock, soul, R&B, punk, psychedelic, rockabilly…these were just a few of the emerging sub-genres of music developing. Reaching audiences like me were aided by advances in the recording, duplicating, and broadcasting media. As people, we were forced in earlier eras to travel to bars, clubs, and other venues to enjoy performers’ offerings. Radio and television changed that, and the Internet has expanded that ability.

I was lucky. I had radios and television, food, a roof, decent schools, and relatively stable home life. I was lucky, too, because great producers, musicians, and entrepreneurs were bringing us the sounds. And I was lucky because there were people and groups like the Stones, the Who, the Supremes, CCR, Led, Santana, Aretha, Elvis, Stevie Wonder, the Jacksons and Osmonds, Eric Clapton, John Mayall…what a list could be made. But that’s what wikipedia is about.

I have my favorites. Guitar heroes and keyboard masters remain my weakness, but great voices and song-writers always turn my head, too. Or, give me a beat…yeah, you know.

Thinking of all that, and the riotous eternal summer that was my youth, I remembered Diana Ross & The Supremes. The catalog of their songs is stupendous, and their hits are cherished as classics of an era and the Motown Sound. Was it the end of the innocence, the beginning of the awakening, or the age of Aquarius?

Here is “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”, written by Ashford and Simpson, and recorded by many, but the cover streaming to me today is the one by “Diana Ross and the Supremes”. It’s powerful stuff to stream.

Overheard 3

“I was in my Mom’s room with my sister when Mom died. Mom and Dad lived in a remote area, surrounded by cedars. It was quiet. Mom had been ready to die. She’d actually done checklists. She’d written pages of very precise notes that she wanted done before she died. My sister and I had to do these things, and check them off, and show them to her, to show her that they’d been done.

“When they were all done, Mom said, “Okay, I’m ready to go now.” And she died that day.

“And I remember sitting in the room, and watching this soft blue glow rise from her body and drift out the window, and up into the trees, and on into the sky. It was like watching a puff of smoke, but I’m sure it was her soul.

“When it was gone, I turned to my sister and said, “Did you see that?” She said, “No, but I wish I did, because I could see you watching it.””

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