October 3, 2017

I had to grow up in a lot of ways. If you do this all your life, you don’t have a normal experience. The rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle does not encourage you to be responsible. I’m still sorting it out, but I’m on better ground.

-Tom Petty, 2006

It was true then it wasn’t true then was true again but you don’t want it to be true. Damn. RIP Tom Petty

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Poetry Games: David Bowie

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From DavidBowie.com

It’s been well past 18 months since this great man’s passing. I’m at the point where I can listen with only minimal tears forming, so better late than never here’s a game out of David Bowie’s songs!

 

You sure are

a “Space Oddity”

Mr. “Starman”.

Why spend a

“Life on Mars”?

You’ll only be

“Under Pressure”

to survive the night

like the “Heroes”

of yesteryear.

Does your desire

for “Fame”

mean that much?

 

Mr. “Starman”,

you’re willing

to overthrow

the “Queen Bitch”

and her “Cat People”

to be nothing but a

“Rebel Rebel”

in a

“Suffragette City”.

 

Why do you

constantly question

my “Moonage daydream”

for “Modern Love”

Mr. “Starman”?

I dream of

“Dancing in the Street”

to the “Sound & Vision”

of the “Golden Years”.

 

You sure are

a “Space Oddity”

Mr. “Starman”.

Please don’t commit

“Rock & Roll Suicide”

in “Five Years”.

Let’s settle down,

talk it out.

“Let’s Dance”.

 

 

Poetry Games: The Head and the Heart

“Honey Come Home”

to “All We Ever Knew”

where the “Library Magic”

“Sounds like Hallelujah”.

 

“Oh My Dear”

all this was a

“False Alarm”.

Follow the “Signs of Light”

through the “Rivers

and Roads”, past

the “City of Angels”.

You’ll find me

“Down in the

Valley”,

“Lost in My Mind”

dancing away the

“Winter Song”.

 

Honey, “Let’s be Still”,

let’s “Turn It Around”.

so that I’m no longer

“Chasing a Ghost”.

Happy birthday Joe Strummer

Happy 65th birthday John Graham Mellor (aka Joe Strummer). Even though you are no longer with us (15 years!!!! 😦 ), that doesn’t mean we can’t stop celebrating you and your musical talent.

All around the world, folks are celebrating the great frontman’s life. Here are a couple articles from different corners of our globe for your recommendation:

Rolling Stone Italia (Italy) – “Joe Strummer, l’ultima intervista”

Concierto (Chile) – “21 de agosto: Recordamos el nacimiento de Joe Strummer”

Champion (England) – “Town to hold first Strummer Jam Festival”

Irish Examiner (Ireland) – “Remembering Joe Strummer’s early visits to Ireland”

WROR (Boston, MA, USA) – “A Tribute To The Only Frontman Who Matters”

Youtube – “The Clash – Police and Thieves (Live in Munich 1977)”

Zelly & Ol’ Hem’s (Austin, TX, USA) – “Poetry Games: The Clash”

Help honor and celebrate Strummer’s life by checking out The Joe Strummer Foundation and donating to help support musicians.

 

Poetry Games: The Cure

First: Happy Friday!

Today’s turning out to be a real crappy day, as you can tell by today’s Quote of the Day post. I heard “Friday I’m in Love” on the radio just now. It’s my silly sign that things will be okay. Haven’t done a “The Cure” poem yet, so this should be fun. 🙂

 

It’s Friday and on

“Friday I’m in Love”.

 

It’s “A Strange Day”

to be in “A Forest”

wandering through the “Purple Haze”.

Wish you were “Close to Me”

again so I’m not trapped

in my memories with

these “Pictures of You”.

Alas, you are

“Jumping Someone Else’s Train”

“In-between Days”

Watching a “Strange Attraction” at a

“Freakshow”

 

Quick!

Quit being “The Perfect Boy”

for once in your life and

meet me at “10:15 Saturday Night”

on “Fascination Street” by the

“Hanging Gardens.”

If we make it in time,

we can catch “The Lovecats”

perform their “Lovesong”.

 

We’ll laugh and party

for old time’s sake

and it’ll be “Just Like Heaven”.

We’ll stay up ’til morning

before we part ways.

You’ll start crying like mad

and I’ll stop you and say

“Boys Don’t Cry”!

We’ll take “The Walk”

to the train station.

You’ll hum my “lullaby”

and promise we’ll

meet again

soon.

Poetry Games: The Beatles

 

The trumpets sound.

The officers send their demands:

“Let’s ‘Come Together’!

Go away to the ‘Revolution’

on the ‘Long and

Winding Road’

where the ‘Blackbird’

‘Twist and Shout’

in the ‘Norwegian Wood’!”

And you go.

 

 

You escape without so much

as a “‘Hello, Goodbye”.

You’re “Here, There, Everywhere”

in my view.

 

On my doorstep on “Penny Lane”

You called for “Help!”.

I come running out

surprised to see your face.

You tell me,

“‘I Want to Hold Your Hand’

so close your eyes

 

and let me kiss you!”

“‘Hey Jude’,” I say,

“This isn’t ‘Yesterday’.

You’re too late.

This ‘Elanor Rigby’ is not for you.

Take your ‘Yellow Submarine’

‘Across the Universe’ because

‘Here Comes the Sun’ and

You ‘Can’t Buy Me Love’.”

 

 

Downtown Travels Mixtape Vol. 4

The last Downtown Travels Mix Tape was about exploring different groups from around the world. For Volume 4, it’s more about traveling through time. We start off with a trip five years ago before high-tailing it to the 1980s with a song about an event that occurred in the 1960s after which we jump back to last year with the Avett Brothers who sing a cover song written back in the early 1910s. From there we jump around this decade and last century before taking a trip with the 1980s again (because who doesn’t want to be part of the 1980s music scene?). Enjoy!

  1. Now Is the Start – A Fine Frenzy

Got this song for free on iTunes around 2012-2013 [does iTunes still do that? I get all my music from the radio stations (Radio is not dead!)]. It’s a nice way to start a playlist, not because of the title, but because it’s fun and dance-worthy. It’ll get you in a happy mood by mid-way, not matter how hard you try to resist.

2. December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night) – The Wonder Who?/The Four Seasons

3. In the Garden (Charles Austin Miles 1912 cover) – The Avett Brothers

It’s a 2016 folk band singing a 1912 song. You can’t get better than that.

It wasn’t until recently I learned that the song The Avett Brothers sing was a hymn. As in gospel music. It totally makes sense when you actually read the lyrics. I’m not one for gospel music, but I will happily make an exception for this song.

4. Hourglass – Catfish and the Bottleman

Hourglass. Time. Think about it.

It’s a great song. A sad song when you think about it (he wants his girl to come back), but sung in a pretty catchy tune.

5. Closer – Tegan and Sara

I think of the pilot episode of Young & Hungry where Gabi (Emily Osment), the feisty chef, and Josh (Jonathon Sadowski), the ridiculously rich tech guy, sing their own rendition. It’s adorable, it’s funny, it’s amazing.

6. Bitter Heart – Zee Avi

The time aspect with this one comes in the second verse where Zee Avi says “it’s been two hours now / and you’re still somewhere in town”. It’s an angry song (not even angry…more like annoyed) sung in a such a catchy, sunny tune you can’t help but sing along.

7. Bend & Break – Keane

Going to the early years of the millennium with this Keane hit (at least I consider it a hit. It’s the best song on that album). Timothy James Rice-oxley said back when the song came out that “Bend & Break” was about getting past the darker state of mind and into the light. It’s a song of overcoming the paid and suffering and meeting on the other side where peace is to be found.

8. Wild – Royal Teeth

Royal Teeth, a band from New Orleans, came out with this song in 2012. It’s one of my favorite songs on this mix tape. It’ll put a smile on your face and lift you into a blissful state. The song, though it’s open to interpretation, is about the band leaving their normal routine to pick up their instruments and heading on tour. Rather than growing up, it’s about living in the present and enjoying everything that is heading their way.

9. Run-Around – Blues Traveler

Let’s jump back 18 years to 1994. Since this mix tape is time-themed, it would be rude not to add a song that is from the year I was born. I could have put Céline Dion or Mariah Carey, but they just don’t fit the rhythm of this mix tape (or my music taste in general). Hence, the Blues Traveler! Have you heard of them? Yes? No? They’ve been around for over 20 years. I think they’ll make it. xD

10. Danny, Dakota & the Wishing Well – A Silent Film

Yes, there are a lot of songs from 2012. 2012-2013 was the enlightenment period for my music taste. New group of friends, college, and the ability to break the spell that trapped my head in the “super big corporate radio” (yes I mean you KISS-FM!) were all big influences in exploring the not so mainstream music (and the classic hits).

This song goes through a passage of time. It starts off with two kids who have feelings for each other but the boy never admits it. They grow up and grow apart and somehow find each other years later. It’s a great song. It’ll make you dance and feel sad at the same time. Gotta love the Brits.

11. Everybody Wants to Rule the World – Tears for Fears

Of course everybody wants to rule the world! Power and money and control? I find this song fitting to be at the end of the playlist since it was the last song on Tears for Fears’ album, Songs from the Big Chair. According to the Take Two podcast, Roland Orzabel, the band’s co-founder, thought the song was too “light” for the album, wanting to change the lyrics to “everybody wants to go to war”. Luckily for the band (and us fans), he was convinced out of that idea.

Poetry Games: Louis Armstrong

"Hello, Dolly!"
Why are you such in a folly?
Darlin' quit your shenanigans
And come see "La vie en rose".
Stop and look around you 'cuz
We got "All the Time in the World"!

Darlin' Dolly you're a silly girl
Wanting to dance "Cheek to cheek"
In the rain on "Blueberry Hill".
The world lights up "When You're Smiling" and "What a Wonderful World" that is!

Come with us, come with me,
Give me "a kiss to build
a dream on".
Everything will fine because
"Nobody knows the trouble
I've seen" (except for those
"Jeepers Creepers" at "St. James infirmary!).

Hun, let's be real.
You ain't "On the Sunny Side
of the Street".
So quit your "Muskrat Ramble"
And go back to your
"Rockin' chair".
You've had your chance
To come to the rain to dance.
Face the truth and
All that comes with it.
Hun, you ain't "That Lucky
Old Sun" anymore.
You'll just have to settle and
"Dream a little dream of me".

Johnny Mercer

I was reading an article from Country Living on the film Breakfast at Tiffany’s the other day. I had some vague idea who Johnny Mercer was, so I decided to do a little research project on him.

Mercer was born in Savannah, Georgia on November 19, 1909 to a prominent attorney and a daughter of a Croatian immigrant. It’s been known that Mercer’s family tree is chock full of war fellas. He is the distant cousin of George S. Patton, known best as the leader of the US Third Army post-Normandy in World War II. On his father’s side runs Confederate General Hugh Weedon Mercer, the great-great-grandfather who built the Mercer house in Georgia, though he never finished it. Before him comes a Scottish soldier-physician who served as an American Revolutionary War General, Hugh Mercer. On his mother’s side, Mercer’s grandfather ran a Union blockade during the American Civil War. All these connections to military and war provides a clear picture to his inspiration for creating and performing the 1944 hit “G.I. Jive”.

Mercer moved to New York City in 1928 when the jazz age was booming in areas like Broadway and Harlem. He lived out as a starving artist in Greenwich Village before pairing up with Hoagy Carmichael in 1933 to create “Lazy Bones”, which according to both Mercer and Carmichael, only took 20 minutes. The song became a hit one week after it aired on the radio waves. It is said they made $1250 off of it on royalties (for point of reference, after inflation it’s $23,511.92 in 2017 money). He became a recognized brother of the famous Tin Pan Alley, a group of musicians and songwriters that resided on West 28th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenue during the early 20th century.

Unfortunately, the movie business was hitting it big in the 30s, decreasing the demand for revues and stand alone songs, which was Mercer’s specialty. Movies and musicals required songs that emphasized the plot, lighten or darken the mood, and create a deeper level between the characters, the surroundings and the audience. Mercer was no fool. In 1935, he followed the money (and Bing Crosby over to Hollywood.

In 1936, inspired by a road trip through Texas (eyyyyyyy!), Mercer wrote “I’m an Old Cowhand (from the Rio Grande). Crosby sang this in Rhythm on the Range. The ironic part is the fact he wrote this on his way back to Georgia from failing in Hollywood and Hollywood ate every lyric up, despite the fact the song had some satirical jabs at Hollywood. This bankrolled his career and he returned to the Hollywood scene.

The 1940s was a major success for Mercer. In 1942, Mercer co-founded Capitol Records (yes, the Capitol Records) with record-store owner Glen Wallichs and investor Buddy DeSylva. Wallichs was the brains, DeSylva was the guy who gave the $15,000 check as start-up capital, and Mercer was the visionary, handling the artists. Four years later, Capitol sold 42 million records and cemented its reputation as one of the “Big Six”.

The 1950s brought rock’n’roll to the public. People like Chuck Berry and Elvis dominated the radio waves. This cut Mercer’s audience and opportunities to showcase is jazzy/blues talent. This didn’t stop him though. He continued writing songs for MGM and wrote a few for Broadway musicals.

The 1960s was a shining light for Mercer. In 1961, Mercer’s “Moon River” was written and performed on Breakfast at Tiffany’s. You know the scene: Audrey, wearing a white towel wrap on her head, sitting on her window sill next to a fire escape, lazily singing while playing the guitar. For years people believed “Moon River” referred to the Hudson River. Turns out it refers to a river in this South! The song was a nostalgic trip to Mark Twain’s visions of the Mississippi River. It definitely fits the film considering Holly Golightly is really a Southern girl.

In the same year, Mercer also wrote lyrics for Days of Wine and Roses with the help of his partner, Henry Mancini, who also assisted with composing “Moon River”. The duo won Oscars back-to-back for Best Song, the first time in Oscar history.

The rest of the 1960s consisted of writing songs for the greats such as Tony Bennett (“I Wanna Be Around”) and Frank Sinatra (“Summer Wind”). The 1970s was a slower time for Mercer. In the mid-1970s, Mercer was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. He died on June 25, 1976 in Bel Air. He’s buried in his hometown, Savannah, Georgia.

Mercer was a creative fella. He wrote what he knew and when the industry changed, he adapted in a snap. He wasn’t a sellout. He was an artist who drew inspiration from his surroundings. Personally he had some tough times, partying too much and all that, but he never truly strayed away from the beats and sheet music.

Poetry Games: The White Stripes

Because why not The White Stripes? Enjoy!

Let’s grab our “Seven Nation Army”

And head over to the “Hotel Yorba”

Because “I fell in love with a girl”.

Let’s sneak out of the rooms

“In the Cold, Cold Night” to 

Hear the “Icky Thump” rant away.  

Let’s see the “White Moon” rise

As the “Little Ghosts” draw 

a “Blue Orchid” on the walls.