The other night I had the most overwhelming desire to hear “Faithless Love,” that splendid JD Souther song that he and Linda Ronstadt sing together. I needed to hear it so much I had to clear all the CDs I’ve been accumulating in the past year from the top of the record player. Please don’t be on Silk Purse. Please don’t be on Silk Purse. Because it’s a really swell album cover, and I have it, record inside, framed and sitting on a shelf. I thought and hoped as I looked through the albums not designated in the Ram 20 or framed that it would be on Heart Like a Wheel, and thankfully I was right. I removed Benny Goodman, who had been sitting on the turntable since I discovered I couldn’t live or exercise without my dose of Sly and the Family Stone, and turned the CD player that’s hooked up to the turntable to AUX. I listened to “You’re No Good,” sang along with Ronstadt’s country version of Paul Anka’s “It Doesn’t Matter Anymore,” wondering how I remember all the words and the notes, though I couldn’t hit a few of them, then played “Faithless Love” twice. It’s a sweet song, kind of simple, but Ronstadt’s voice makes it seem more monumental and the harmony with Souther, particularly at the very end, is enough to make one swoon. As a matter of fact, I believe I did.
It was a good warm-up, but the rest of the album is not workout-worthy. As I have found that the Santana/Thomas collaboration “Smooth” just inspires mindless movement, and lots of it, I have been playing it over and over, dancing around the apartment, chasing Max who I believe thinks that when the song starts, so starts playtime, and kind of getting too exhausted to complete all three sections of my usual workout routine. I have been slacking off, I’m sorry to say, blaming the long winter for being back in the size 12s, so I’ve been trying to up the ante by combining my three current passions (Faithless Love, Smooth and Sly), extending the aerobics, adding a few cobras, making sure I get those legs up the wall (that reference goes back to the very beginning of the blog), and rather than increasing the number of repetitions as I work the arms with the pair of three pound weights, I’ve been doing them slower and much more deliberately. And it’s working. The batwings, I’ve no doubt, will stay forever, but I am developing a nice set of guns, that will jiggle. But I barely have to flex to show a nice firm muscle, and I look forward to again having that cut along the biceps without twisting. So once more I am feeling more motivated and optimistic. Props to the sun.
Nice weekend, weather-wise, and nice day today as I had brunch with Vicki’s sister followed by a walk to Washington Square where we sat and watched some people playing petanque1 while we chatted and soaked in some of that sun as if we were English (you have to know something about the weather in England and its people’s reaction to the sun making an appearance). We then headed uptown a bit where we had a mini and brief high school reunion with my friend who runs a bar in Chelsea.
Note to self: Get heavier weights.
1 The French form of bocce ball – Vicki’s sister knew the difference, not I, and I trusted her judgment as I heard one of the players say something in French but not in Italian.
Last Thursday night I saw my first fireworks display off Liberty Island in a long time, considering that they are not so infrequent down this way. It was so terribly overcast that the works burst low and the larger ones got cut nearly in half by the clouds. It wasn’t the most brilliant display, but it was very welcome and needed, and reminds me why I live down here.
Pat St. John, disc jockey from back in the old WNEW-FM days and who has been with the New York “oldies” station WCBS for a long time, said goodbye to New York radio today after more than 40 years as a fixture on the airwaves. He’s not a big memory for me, not like Vin Scelsa and many of the other NEW radio personalities, but he’ll be missed nonetheless.
Max got a new mouse and a bag of catnip the other day. I think he’s quite pleased. We’ve been chasing each other around the apartment so he can lose some of his 22 pounds. I’m still exercising to Sly and the Family Stone, and now I’ve thrown “Smooth” in because it makes me feel good.
I’m thinking of cutting back to blogging once a week. So, if I don’t post on Wednesday, you’ll know why.
A few years ago I’d never heard of Gotye. And I wasn’t one to peruse YouTube, but I came across that video, the Five Peeps on One Guitar version of Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used To Know” by Walk Off the Earth. So that one video introduced me to a group of unusual and unusually talented musicians that started and continue on YouTube, and also to Gotye. But I only knew that one song. And it’s a really good song. I liked what I had heard him say about writing it. He wrote the song from his point of view, then had nothing left to say. So he wrote the female response, sung by Timbra. What was really cute though was when “Somebody That I Used To Know” won the Grammy for Best Song that year. Prince was the presenter and after reading the names of the nominees, he opened the envelope, looked at the name inside and before reading it out loud he said “I love this song.” Gotye and Timbra rushed up to the stage, very excited, both of them, and seemed to be more excited at having Prince be the artist presenting them with the award, than the award itself. They mentioned it on and backstage and were absolutely enthralled.
Now, I’m not a big Prince fan, I like some of his stuff, but him… eh. But I could relate if I were a musician and oh, say Bruce Springsteen or Bonnie Raitt or Melissa Etheridge or Linda Ronstadt, and let’s not forget Paul McCartney, if anyone of them or any of the artists too numerous to mention whose music I love and respect, handed me an award, AND even before announcing my name professes his or her pleasure at doing so. How cool is that?
Now that I hear Mirror Mirror I recognize “Eye’s Wide Open” as something I have heard and something that made me listen a little closer. Basically, I like this CD and Gotye’s style, which is nicely varied and at times makes me think of ’60s English Pop Beck. It made for an interesting workout.
I don’t know how to handle the comments that are left by readers of my blog. Obviously. I don’t get many, except for all that spam stuff, which can be very amusing at times. However, now and then I do get more legitimate comments. I told you about the Kinks guy back in September I think, who was so perturbed that The Kinks Kronikles album didn’t bowl me over that we wrote to me twice. He did refer to me as a “smart music reviewer” so I won’t hold a grudge, but I’m not a music reviewer. The Walrus Was Paul is not really a blog, it’s a journal, and I just hit post when I’m done sending out into the world.
And don’t start a comment by writing something like “I totally disagree with you.” I’m not debating. These are my memories, my stories, my feelings about the music, much of which I’d not heard in a long time or had yet to be explored. Besides, how many times could I write that I love Laura Nyro. I do! She was just a better songwriter than performer.
And then there was that nice young man, – and you are young sweetie, I’ve seen many more Februaries than you – who in a bit of a lengthy response paid his condolences on the loss of my friend, and shared with me that he lost his grandmother one February as well, but then went on to scold me for being too harsh for wanting to abolish the whole month.
So, I don’t know how to handle the comments. I’m not saying to stop, mind you. I like seeing them, reading them, and along with all those who have hit “like” or even “follow” I have gone into your sites to learn what you are up to and where you’re coming from. (I was not so lucky with the enigmatic me and Razoo Kelley.) I like having my small band of followers and my mystery Brazilians, and I think I’m a good blogger. I hope I’m entertaining and at times thought provoking. I am consistent. But I do seem to be in my own little world and don’t reach out to others as much as I could. So at the risk of sounding too maudlin or manipulative (there is an element of both), I do appreciate being able to share my thoughts and stories and music, and knowing that there are some out there that take an interest.
Btw – Happy Anniversary to my cousin on one whole year of our re-cousining!
You know I really love seltzer, but I’ve got to stop drinking it before exercising.
You know what’s a good song to move to? “Smooth.” I can play it over and over and over again and dance to it like I was a lithe 30 year-old (30s were good, but as I age I find that all eras in my life have their merit, even now. Especially now). And I do play it over and over, three to four times before I start on a Sly portion, when I modify the exercise routine to suit my mood. “Smooth” blends great lyrics “I’d change my life to better suit your mood” has obviously had an effect on me, or the opening line, “It’s a hot one. ‘Bout seven inches from the midday sun,” with a perfect Latin arrangement with Santana’s guitar leading the way. And Rob Thomas’ gritty breathlessness, or vice versa.
This CD has come out a couple of times for company. Mind you, it won several Grammys and Latin Grammys for 1999 including Album of the Year. Yet I haven’t really heard the whole thing yet, because with company you’re always chatting and personally, I just want that mindless trip in the Wayback machine to where “Smooth” takes me, with rhythm. There are many collaborations on the record, including one with Dave Matthews. My friend, the city friend who had to move to Connecticut, is a huge, huge Dave Matthews fan, so I made sure I played it for her last time she was over. Did I mention that she works in the City a couple of days a week and about once a month she sleeps over in my bed while I take the couch? I don’t mind sleeping on the couch, not at all. But I do like my solitude, my space. And I don’t like that battle for the bathroom in the morning. But it is working itself out, I just needed to get used to it, still do. But you know what? I really, really like that she makes the bed in the morning. I never make the bed. Sure, I make it look better. When company is coming, I make sure the comforter is smoothed and any piece of sheet sticking out gets tucked away. But it’s a nice feeling, sliding into a made bed, sheets all smooth and sleek, no wrinkles, nothing pulling out that later you have to try to correct with your toes. It’s comfortable, and comforting.
I got a message, two actually after the last post about New York DJ Vin Scelsa, from someone claiming to be the real me and Razoo Kelley. Do I believe it? Well, it had all the right nuances from what I remember. So maybe, could be, but it’s probably just someone messing with me who was also fortunate enough to be a Vin Scelsa fan way back then.
Last night there were three consecutive posts on the WNEW-FM Fan Club Facebook page passing on the news that legendary radio personality Vin Scelsa had just announced his retirement. One stated that his last day on the air would be May 2nd, another said it would be May 1st, and the third had it at April 30th. I haven’t heard Vin’s voice in many, many years, but there was a time when his presence on the radio was important to me and to my Sunday mornings. I wrote about it, here on this very blog last July 19th. One of my fellow WNEW club members poked fun at me because I had thought the letters from Me and Razoo Kelly were real. Real in the sense that they were actually from listeners and not the creation of Scelsa, which I only learned while writing that article that they apparently were of his hand. Scelsa’s on-air reaction to the letters would lead anyone to believe they were new to him. And yes, I still have the kazoo I won from his show and the typed letter that came with it long, long ago.
I remember when Andy Rooney retired from 60 Minutes. After a long fascinating career as a journalist and as a fixture on the Sunday evening staple, he said of his leaving the show – “Writers don’t retire.” It’s not relevant that he passed away shortly after. He was 92 after all. So at the mere age of 67, I think I can reassure Vin Scelsa’s longtime devotees that he is not retiring, but going on to the next chapter in his life, and rather than saying goodbye to him, it would be more fitting to say “So long. See you later.”
If I would ever get around to taking my scanner out of its box, in which it has been sitting for a year, give or take, I could have shown you the letter on WNEW-FM stationary and signed by Vin. You should know however what I went through to find the kazoo, still in its envelope with the letter folded just as I had gotten it. It was actually only in the third place I looked, but with each peek inside a container, it was like opening a Pandora’s Box, only out rushes a series of memories that I must fend off to continue my search, for which I was triumphant.
The letter reads:
December 12, 1978 [please excuse the noise – that’s the screaming in my head as I realize how long ago that was – twwp]
You won! I told you you would win this silly contest. No Billy Joel tickets, no Rolling Stones records, no trips to California – KAZOOS!!
Now you too can play along with the Bayonne Butch-Rockin’ Robin Kazoo Band. Welcome aboard!
A friend shared a post on Facebook recently about drummer Viola Smith, who at 102 swears by drumming, wine and reading. Think about it, in the early part of the last century, nearly 100 years ago, she was a pioneer. A drummer. A pioneer in not only the music industry, but for women in general. And I didn’t even know it until now. Well the 1920s were wild times, so I heard. Anything goes?
I found this interview from 2013 to be particularly interesting as at 100 she is fit, lucid , has interesting stories and looks fabulous! So, because today I’m playing hooky, please enjoy the interview, articles and great video of Frances Carroll and Her Coquettes featuring Viola Smith. http://tomtommag.com/2014/12/life-long-drummer-viola-smith-turns-102/, http://loudwire.com/americas-fastest-girl-drummer-viola-smith-best-of-youtube/
Fitness update: While I still have to take off the weight I put back on throughout the past few months, my upper arms are getting toned.
Thanks to Carol.