Time--2017 A to Z Theme

My theme for the 2017 Blogging from A to Z April Challenge was "Time". The posts are of a more philosophical, contemplative, and even autobiographical bent. No time management tips in this theme, but stuff intended to make you think.

Always a work in progress--welcome to my blog...

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Monday, January 15, 2018

Hammond Song (#BOTB)

           My wife and I have been gone for 24 days and it's good to be back.  It was a fun trip back east.  We only put about 6200 miles on our van and it was about the most perfect trip we've had yet.  I had been apprehensive about my solo portion of the trip in which I would drive from Houston to New Jersey.  It was a breeze and I found the entire journey to be relaxing.

          I spent one day at my sister's house in Maryville, Tennessee.  From there I took an extended trip to New Jersey.  Friday-my first night was spent at an old restored hotel in Marion, Virginia.  For so many years I had been intrigued by that town so I finally figured I'd stop.  It was too cold to enjoy the town, but the room was comfy and I enjoyed a peaceful evening of TV.

         Saturday was a meandering day that ended up in Winchester Virginia.  There had been a sizable snow so things were a bit of a mess. After settling into a very nice hotel I went out to a nearby Italian restaurant and had some pizza before returning to the room at about 8 PM.  Scrolling through the television channels I discovered that YouTube was available and that was the final word for me.

         My request went for a relaxing song from the seventies.  At the end of that video a recommendation came up for "Hammond Song" by the Roches.   I'd heard of the group but didn't know that much about them other than they were strange--at least from what I'd heard. I dismissed them as a novelty folk group.  I figured that maybe I should listen to this "Hammond Song" to see what I've been missing for the past forty years. 

         Talk about obsessions.  This song cast a spell on me as I spent the next three hours listening to every version of "Hammond Song" that I could find on YouTube.  They were all good in some way--or least  interesting.  I'd fallen into one of those black internet holes.  As I descended into the world of song versions, two versions kept showing up.

          Forget that Battle that I'd had scheduled ahead of time.  That one can wait as a new Battle shoves to the forefront.  I'm not sure why I became so engrossed in this song on that Saturday night.  Perhaps it reflected the mood that I was in on that evening.   Or did the song express something I could relate to?  To me there is an ethereal quality to the music with good story-telling lyrics. 

          This has become my new favorite song.  Is it just me or do you feel it too?  In any case let's get down to the business of Battle...

Battle of the Bands

Battle of the Bands is the blogging event started by Far Away Series and now hosted by StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands.   This event happens each month on the 15th and on some blogs there is also a Battle on the 1st of the month.  My blog is one of those with a second Battle on the 1st of the month.   The premise is simple:  Listen to the songs presented below and then in the comments vote for your favorite and tell us why you liked it.  Then visit the links listed near the bottom of this post for more Battle action.



The Colourfield  "Hammond Song"  (1985)

        This English New Wave pop band was new to me, but on hearing this cut I'm interested in hearing more from them.  This exquisite cover of "The Hammond Song" comes from their album Virgins and Philistines.

          A YouTube sampling of this group's work as well as videos by artists related to the group tells me that I like the talent behind this.  How did I miss them back in the 80s?   See what you think...




The Roches  "Hammond Song" (1979)

        I've had an awareness of The Roches since the release of their first album in 1979.  I'd just never listened to their music other than catching their appearance on Saturday Night Live in that year of their first album's release.  I own a couple of compilation albums on which the Roche sisters appeared, but can't recall what songs they sang.  They have a sometimes quirky sound, but using their voices as instruments they can create amazing sounds.

      "Hammond Song" tells a story that could come from true life--probably did in fact.  The intricate vocals with a steady rhythm backing of guitar and triangle are interlaced with tasteful synthesized guitar work by King Crimson's Robert Fripp who also is the album's producer.  The following is the first version I heard of this song...





Time to Vote!

    
    This song might not be your cup of tea, but hopefully you can pick a version that you like better than the other.
  Which song version do you like best?   You don't have to know about music to have an opinion since it all comes down to your own personal taste.  

        Please vote on your favorites by letting us know your choice in the comment section and tell us why you prefer the version you chose. Then after you've finished here, please visit the other blogs listed below who may or may not be participating this time around. And if you've put up your own BOTB contest let us know that as well so we can vote on yours.


Here are some other places where you might find BOTB posts:

 StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands

 ‘YOUR DAILY DOSE’ 

 'MIKE'S RAMBLINGS'

'Curious as a Cathy'

Sound of One Hand Typing

The Doglady's Den 

Angel's Bark  

Jingle, Jangle, Jungle 


Cherdo on the Flipside 



Winner of this Battle Announced on Monday January 22nd.

         No posts on this blog until next Monday.  Please vote and leave whatever other comments you'd like to make.  I've had a long break and I'll have to get back into the swing of this blogging thing.  Your comments will help.

            Have you ever gotten obsessed with a song to the point that you play it repeatedly?    Why do you think certain songs stand out for us?   Do you enjoy traveling alone?  






Thursday, December 21, 2017

What was, What is, What Will be (#BOTB results)


There's the first thing, then the next thing, and whatever things come after that.   That's the story of life and everything else...



Battle of the Bands Results


        In this round my Battle of the Bands was between two different songs with both videos shot in Los Angeles.  There wasn't much of a contest between the two opponents.

        I thought that the Postino video might have won some votes with it's clever sense of humor.  That what happened for me.  At first I had an adverse reaction to the music though I'll admit it started to grow on me to where I like it now.  I especially liked the video which I found to be unique, quirky, and funny though it took a couple views for me to start catching all of it.  As far as my video vote (which I guess most voters missed) I gave my vote to Postino as did a couple of you.

         Like the majority of the voters my music/song vote went to Jenny and the Mexicats for best song performance.  I really like this group so it's always possible that you might see another future Battle featuring this group.

Final Vote Tally

Jenny & the Mexicats           16

Postino                                    1

Next Battle on Monday January 15th 2018

        Another year come upon us.  I can only shake my head in pondering the fact.  This holiday season I'll be doing something on this blog that I've never completely done in the past--I'll be taking a break.  Oh, I might get on the internet now and then and maybe drop in on a blog or two, but I'm finding that a lot of bloggers are already on break.  Seems like a good time for me to do it too.   My return will be with the January 15th version of Battle of the Bands.   Now I'll need to decide which Battle I'll be using.

Have a Merry Christmas and completely wonderful days beyond that!~~

         




Friday, December 15, 2017

Fun in Los Angeles (#BOTB)

Montage of Los Angeles pictures on Commons
Montage of Los Angeles pictures on Commons (Photo credit: Wikipedia)



Are You Ready for Some Fun?

      
          I've been living in the Los Angeles area for over 26 years now and rarely go many places.  There are several places like Venice Beach, La Brea Tar Pits, Griffith Park or Hollywood that I've been to many times.   Those are places I know from repeated visits having taken out-of-town folk there.  Everybody goes to those kinds of places.  And they're not overly expensive like going to Disneyland which if anyone is going, they can go without me.  

         Then there are those places you pass through or pass by.  Sometimes I'll linger in those places if I'm looking for some restaurant that I've heard about. But looking out as I drive through I see a lot of those nondescript urban areas of mysterious factories, an assortment of businesses, and clusters of older housing.  That's where a lot of people live and this is their neighborhood.  I'd say my neighborhood might look strange to some people just passing by.  But I think it all looks pretty normal.

         That's where you'll usually find me--home in my neighborhood where everything seems pretty normal. Still, there are plenty of  people who are getting out and about.  Some are tourists seeing the highlights.  Some are just people doing the everyday stuff that they as people do. In my Band Battle today I'll be looking at both groups from two different musical perspectives.

Battle of the Bands

Battle of the Bands is the blogging event started by Far Away Series and now hosted by StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands.   This event happens each month on the 15th and on some blogs there is also a Battle on the 1st of the month.  My blog is one of those with a second Battle on the 1st of the month.   The premise is simple:  Listen to the songs presented below and then in the comments vote for your favorite and tell us why you liked it.  Then visit the links listed near the bottom of this post for more Battle action.

          
Filmed in L.A.

          In this Battle I present two music videos filmed in Los Angeles but from very different points of view.  This Battle was inspired by Stephen T McCarthy's post with a Los Angeles theme.  Though the songs I'm using are not geographically specific the videos are most definitely filmed in the Los Angeles area.  The perspectives are very different as are the musical styles.  Hope you enjoy these...


Jenny and the Mexicats   "Verde Mas Alla"  (2012)

     Trumpet player Jenny Ball from the United Kingdom was eighteen when, while touring with an orchestra, met up with a couple of Mexican musicians at a flamenco bar in Spain.  After some "let's start a band" dreaming, the trio joined up with a Spanish cajón player to begin producing a delightful mix of traditional and pop music styles.  Jenny learned enough Spanish to begin writing songs in the language and the band began recording.  Now based in Mexico City, Jenny and her Cats continue to make great music in English as well as Spanish.

       Over the past couple years Jenny and the Mexicats has become one of my favorite bands.  These highly talented musicians play an eclectic mix that ranges from traditional flamenco to rock and a bunch of styles in between.  Many of their songs appearing on YouTube have as many as two or three video versions with additional live videos shot by fans.  The band has chosen to remain independent, recording under their own Mexicat label.

      The song "Verde Más Allá"  or "Green Beyond" is about a woman who has apparently extricated herself from a relationship and is enjoying her life.  She prefers not to work, but to spend her days dancing and drinking pints of Caguama beer and just having the best time that she can have.  As to the "green" in the title there is some controversy about what it means, but taking Jenny's word for it she would rather the listener come up with their own interpretation.  It makes me think of the old expression "The grass is greener on the other side" which fits with the rest of the song story.

      This video version of the song is basically a tourist view of Los Angeles with stops in Venice Beach, Griffith Park, and Hollywood.  These are some of the places I typically would take visitors who had not been to Los Angeles before.  In fact, the guitar player at the 1:06 mark in the video is a guy who I've seen in most of my own visits to Venice Beach.

       Enjoy the music and take in some of the sights here in Los Angeles. This is pretty much where I'd take you if you were visiting me...






Postino   "I Love It"  (2013)

       Not much in the way of lyrics to this song--the title says it all. This bit of crazy jazzy electronica was devised by the South Korean music producer Junho Lee who is based in London.  There is some hot playing in the soundtrack and what can one say about the visuals?   Guff.com says it well I think:  "For those who have never been to LA, this is actually normal. This isn't even a music video. It's just a typical Thursday here."

        No tourist spots in the video, but there are the typical things one might see while driving in Los Angeles--or walking around town dressed like something out of Where the Wild Things Are.  I particularly get a kick out of the scene in the convenience store and later on the bridge when the little boy tries to hold the girl's hand.  Watch for those bits because they are a hoot.

         If this song doesn't get you moving on the first hearing then play it a few times and I can almost guarantee you'll be moving with the beat if not dancing outright.  Maybe I'm weird--okay I'll admit it:  I'm weird.  I like this one.






Time to Vote!

    
    
You got songs and you got videos.   Which song version do you like best?   Which video did you enjoy the most?   You don't have to know about music to have an opinion since it all comes down to your own personal taste.  The videos are both relatively shosrt.

        Please vote on your favorites by letting us know your choice in the comment section and tell us why you prefer the version you chose. Then after you've finished here, please visit the other blogs listed below who may or may not be participating this time around. And if you've put up your own BOTB contest let us know that as well so we can vote on yours.


Here are some other places where you might find BOTB posts:

 StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands

 ‘YOUR DAILY DOSE’ 

  'MIKE'S RAMBLINGS'

'Curious as a Cathy'

Sound of One Hand Typing

The Doglady's Den 

Angel's Bark  

Jingle, Jangle, Jungle 


Cherdo on the Flipside 



Winner of this Battle Announced on December 21st

         Since I'll be taking some time off starting next Friday December 22nd, I'll be posting the winner of this Battle on Thursday the 21st.  That gives you plenty of time to vote.  And if you're obsessive like I am then you might be listening to both of these videos a number of times between now and then.  Please vote and then come back on Thursday to see if your choice came out on top.   I'll also be telling you then what is in store for Tossing It Out after that.

     Do you have any favorite tourist attractions near you where you would tend to take house guests?   When you visit someone do they usually take you to places they consider highlights?   Do go out to visit attractions near you?