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October 19, 2014 / thackersam

October 19 – Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits (1967)

DylanThis was one of the $10 albums I found recently in a little consignment shop in Northport called Helga’s. I am now the proud owner of a Bob Dylan album that consists of the best known songs from his first seven records. While I was a little young to appreciate Dylan to his fullest back in those days, I could pick up on each song immediately, sort of. Funny thing about Bob Dylan is that you can be talking to a colleague at the office and telling her how the blog thing is going and/or how your previous trip out to The Island was, one or the other that led you to mention that you couldn’t remember which song “Rainy Day Women” was until the needle hit the recently purchased album and started playing the first song, which in your mind has always been “Everybody Must Get Stoned,” and simultaneously you and the colleague sing “I would not feel so all alone. Everybody must get stoned,” in fairly recognizable Bob Dylan voices – in a hallway – not even outside either of your offices, or the kitchen. I’ll bet money that this is not an uncommon occurrence.

Anyone can do a decent Bob Dylan imitation. I recommend starting with “Just Like A Woman,” just that phrase followed by “Yes she does,” before you go for the whole song. It’s kind of like how I learned to do Ethel Merman, not that there’s much of a call for a singular talent like that, but I started with the word “why” belting it out with vibrato and eventually burst into “Everything’s Coming Up Roses,” though the word and the song are unrelated. I think we’ve discussed this before during one of the many posts that mentioned Ed Sullivan, another easy person to imitate.

Anyway, Mr. Zimmerman provided for a couple of very enjoyable workouts, which I’m sure was what he was going for all those decades ago when he wrote songs like “Blowin’ in the Wind” and “Positively 4th Street.”

October 15, 2014 / thackersam

October 15 – Patti Smith Group – Wave

Patti SmithAlthough she is an odd person, and as we know, I like odd, I was never into Patti Smith. She was labeled as punk but she actually is a poet, and that’s just how I like my poetry – set to music. This was another of those finds in the Barnes and Noble $5 CD rack, and starts with three very familiar Patti Smith songs: “Frederick,” “Dancing Barefoot” and her fantastic version of The Byrds’ “So You Want To Be A Rock ‘N Roll Star.” All the rest of the stuff I don’t know. However, some of it is worth exploring further. I like Smith for living her life the way she wanted, or so it seemed. She fell in love, got married, had a family and then her husband died. Then, as these things seem to happen, two more deaths hit her. She’s remained active in music, and is an inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I know, big deal, so’s Kiss. But she is Patti Smith and needed no makeup whatsoever to be the icon that she is.

October 12, 2014 / thackersam

October 12 – Vanilla Fudge

Vanilla FNo matter what I say, the fact remains that Vanilla Fudge’s version of the Supremes’ hit “You Keep Me Hanging On” is, in my humble opinion, the best cover song ever. A moment of the song performed by the band was shown on the WLIW Ed Sullivan rock ‘n roll fundraising special that I mentioned previously, and it was funny. The psychedelic background, and the excruciating look of angst on the bass player’s face as he sang, and he was just singing backup. So it must be another act of fate that brought this record into my hands, and thus brings us to another story, for which I apologize, but you know I just can’t help myself.

This past Thursday was a near-perfect day, and that’s only because I don’t believe there is any such thing as perfect. It was movie with the ex day, which always starts with breakfast at a diner, me giving the waitress or waiter my very specific order of two eggs over easy, well-done potatoes, crispy bacon and buttered rye toast, and the ex saying he’ll have the same. And always coffee. We then had more than two hours to kill before the movie, Gone Girl was to start, and as I had gone out to The Island this time, we took a drive to Northport. I did warn the ex that I was looking for a new jacket, something between the denim jacket I was wearing on this beautiful and warm early Autumn day, and the heavier jacket I would be hauling out in about 20 degrees before I got to my winter coat. He’s actually always been good to shop with, not for himself, but for me. If it were not for the invention of blue jeans, he’d have no self-style at all. Almost immediately we came to a shop on Main Street called Helga’s which turned out to be a great new consignment shop, with lots of good stuff at pretty reasonable prices, unlike some of the snooty-poots consignment shops in Manhattan. First I found a jacket that is not precisely what I was looking for, but for the price, condition and fit, it is not bad at all and resolved that issue. Then, and this is the reason for me taking you to Helga’s in Northport, there was a small vinyl collection from which I was able to select three albums including tonight’s workout choice. The rest of Thursday went well. I enjoyed the movie, though much more than the ex did, we had burgers and beer at an Irish pub, the moon which had been blood red the previous morning was still full and visible on this cloudless night, and I got home in time to see a production of Abingdon Theatre’s Hellman v McCarthy on WLIW (note to self – remember to make a donation), with Dick Cavett playing Dick Cavett.

The Vanilla Fudge album was a whopping $5. The other two were $10 each, but are much more essential to anyone’s collection. I didn’t know what to expect from my $5 find, I only knew them from the one song. My first impression, which was confirmed by the second and third impressions, is that they were heavy on everything, so heavy that they drowned out the crackles on the record. They were kind of an experimental, psychedelic group that had a similar sound to The Hassles (now remember we talked about The Hassles before so don’t be acting all confused). This, their first album out in 1967 was all covers, with “You Keep Me Hanging On” the cream, and the rest sludge. They covered The Beatles’ “Ticket to Ride” and “Eleanor Rigby,” The Zombies’ “She’s Not There” and Sonny and Cher’s “Bang Bang,” to name most, in a consistent Vanilla Fudgy style that actually had me laughing. They also did a version of Curtis Mayfield’s “People Get Ready” that would induce sleep rather than motivate. However, the listening experience and now having a record with my favorite cover song on it, is more than well worth the five bucks.

October 9, 2014 / thackersam

October 8 – Walrus Anniversary

walrus partyI’ve been doing this for a year now, more or less. More, because I started the project of working out to my old albums from A to Z and journaling about it in August of 2013, and less because I didn’t start the blog until later in October. But as I couldn’t decide on which date to choose for the anniversary, the start of the project on which this blog is based or when I went live over the world wide web. So I decided to make October 8 my anniversary, the day I plunked down the money and became The Walrus Was Paul. Well one of them anyway. And as of today, I am renewed as until October 8th rolls around again.

So much has happened in just a year. Four months before we lost Vicki, she had called to tell me that our friend Amy had died. And, of course I finished the project, a little delayed due to bouts of funkiness. Got to ZZ Top this past spring, and I’m not sure exactly what I’m doing these days, just sort of flying by the seat of my pants. Which by the way, there is now plenty of room in.

After Joan Rivers died they showed tons of clips of her more recent poignant observations. I wish I could find the quote, but this one was something like, the best thing about aging is that your eyesight is so poor, when you look in the mirror you think you look good. And I think I look good, and I’m okay with that, even if I am aware of how bad my eyes have gotten.

I can fit into a couple of size ten pants and shirts, and a pair of size 10 jeans, which I won’t wear yet because, while I don’t look ridiculous, I wouldn’t be able to function in them for more than 17 minutes. It’s slow going, but it’s going in the right direction and feels right for me. I’m under 145 lbs, have lengthened my stride so I walk faster these days, which feels great cause I love to walk. I keep ramping up the exercises here and there, and sometimes I ramp down. I get to listen to some great old music, explore stuff that I hadn’t before and write about it. I have 79 official followers (hi), and I know some of my Facebook friends look in now and then. And then there’s my mystery Brazilian (shhh – don’t speak). Of course tonight we celebrate with the walrus himself and the album that started this whole thing – Paul McCartney’s Ram.

October 5, 2014 / thackersam

October 5 – The Young Rascals – The Very Best of the Rascals

RascalsThis was not what I had planned for this evening, but I was having a tough day of it yesterday. I was just damn testy. It was a grey day, I didn’t get out because I didn’t feel like it which only enhanced the testiness, and Max was being a pain in the butt. And there was nothing distracting on television… until, I settled on watching a PBS fundraising special that WLIW dragged out again about the rock ‘n roll acts that appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show. You know, the one during which Paul Shaffer was promoting his book and did the worst impression of Ed Sullivan, repeatedly and without embarrassment. I learned that the Beatles #1 CD that I purchased recently is part of their bonus pack giveaway with a $250 donation, which if I had the extra bucks, I may just consider going for it. It’s got lots more than just the CD.

The special, which is a good teaser for what’s being offered in the package contains the first performance by the Young Rascals on the Sullivan show, in which they do “Good Lovin’”. I had to get closer to the TV and put my glasses on. I had forgotten about their drummer, Dino Danelli, who was not only the looker in the band, bearing a resemblance to Paul McCartney, but his performance was with a stone-faced almost Devo-like precision plus a touch of contained wildness, and perfectly effortless drumstick twirling. Picture perhaps a meeting between Charlie Watts and Keith Moon, in which they morph and wind up looking like McCartney. If he never did one other thing for the rest of his life, Danelli has this clip of just a couple of minutes of it, of this amazing kick-ass performance in which he totally stole the show, on Ed Sullivan no less. And so it was kismet that I went to the Barnes and Noble today and found this CD in the $5 rack, to which I had very lovely time exercising.

Btw – I have a new appreciation for the smoldering sexuality that oozed from Jim Morrison that added to his appeal. I was just too young back then, but I so get it now.

Once again, rock ‘n roll has lifted me from my doldrums.

October 2, 2014 / thackersam

October 1 – Happy Rocktober!

RocktoberI think Amy Winehouse is going to come out only when company is over. It’s good for that, but playing it while alone, whether exercising or not, is getting a little depressing.

So what have I been exercising to that I haven’t been telling you about? I’m still limited tape-wise and will be for some time. The Beastie Boys, as you may remember me saying, make for a mighty fine workout, as does the Beatles #1 CD. I do get back to the Ram 20 albums and have been listening and working out to Bob Seger’s Stranger in Town, but for the past two nights it’s been that reliable standby Hot Rocks. You can always depend on old Rolling Stones to get you moving. Plus, as I haven’t returned the borrowed albums yet, I’ve thrown in a little American Beauty by the Grateful Dead. I’ve been very pleased with my $5 finds of late, but I think I’ve exhausted my local Barnes and Noble’s CD collection. However one never know what may turn up.

So here’s what happened yesterday. After procrastinating for more than one year and ten months, I finally renewed my driver’s license. I keep it on me at all times, but haven’t had the chance to use it in years. No surprise that I got lax. I thought I had a year, so last early November, I got new glasses that came with an eye exam, and thus had the proper paperwork from the optometrist to submit to the DMV. Then I found out I had up to two years in New York State to renew the license after the expiration date. I don’t know why I just didn’t get it done, and neither did a friend at work. Then something hit me, and I just went on the DMV website and did it. Having had previously changed my address for my license, the whole thing took me all of three minutes, and that included making the payment. I was so majorly pleased with myself, I went to my friend’s office and said “guess what I just did,” thinking he’d guess right away. He didn’t want to guess but I prodded him. “You got job offer,” he said. Oh, I could hear that bubble pop. “No,” I said as I felt my whole face sink. “You got something published,” he guessed again, and wouldn’t you know, another bubble burst. When I told him I finally renewed my license he too was very pleased, but it was too late. “Not as monumental as it was a moment ago,” I said. No, not near as great as the other two would have been, but it was a big check off my to-do list, that I don’t have to worry about again for another five to seven years.

This post was supposed to be published yesterday. But Time Warner Cable’s internet service sucks. They know this too as they recently offered customers new high speed modems. So today, I got off my procrastinating butt and called to order mine. It should be here by late next week.

September 29, 2014 / thackersam

September 28 – Alanis Morissette – Jagged Little Pill

alanis mWe had reached that age when you hang on to the music you know and are getting to the point where you don’t understand the music of kids today. I remember that time in the car when one of the songs from this album came on, and the ex and I confessed that we liked not just the song, but the music this young woman, who, if we had started early could be our daughter. It was less of a confession and more a gleeful appreciation of enjoyment. Or somewhere in between.

Jagged Little Pill was another $5 find. I’ve never heard it in its entirety, and uncensored till now and I like it. I like the backstory, what I know about it. Alanis Morissette was a teen Canadian pop star, who came out with this amazing rock album, and a really good video. Even though I did like her, I always thought that the part of God at the end of the movie Dogma, which would probably be on my list of top 100 movies, should have been played by someone like Grace Slick. But after listening to this, which could well be considered her debut album, I kind of appreciate the casting of Alanis Morissette more now. There is kind of a wise beyond her years quality to her songs. Of course, who didn’t love the choice of Bud Cort as God’s pinball bum persona in the movie?

In any case, I like the imagry of Alanis Morissette’s music, and working out to it. I don’t know what she’s been up to in the last dozen years or so. I know she put out an album a couple of years ago, but I don’t think I heard any of it. However, I predict that we’re going to get something mighty impressive from her sometime soon. She just seems like that kind of artist that will pop up and wow you now and again.

Getting home from the market is a little roundabout in my area of the City, and today it was a bit more tricky due to the post-Tunnel to Towers run celebration. It’s cool, I can see the people running by from my window. I went out this afterward and came back as the festivies that I had to pass through were winding down. I heard Southside Johnny’s voice, but because it sounded exactly as I remember Southside Johnny sounding, oh so many years ago, it took me a bit to realize it was live music, and not until I neared the stage to be sure that it was indeed Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes. The crowd had already dissipated, all but the few people dancing to “We’re Having a Party,” so I got to get up close for the minute and a half left of the song before they bid us farewell. I’ve never seen Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes live before, and even though it was for a mere few moments, it was great!


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