Friday, February 16, 2018

Solid Gold Memories (wk of 10-16 Feb)

Since shelving the old RockRelic Music blog, I thought it'd be a cool idea to transfer our This Week In Rock over here to the Mouse House.  We'll have a brand, spankin' flashback every Friday ... and we're gonna start rollin' with a few of the memories today, okay?  Okay!!

Now, we're gonna start with the very first gold record, which appeared on Feb. 10 in 1942 for Glen Miller (and His Orchestra)'s swingin' classic, Chattanooga Choo Choo. Some of you youngsters in the audience might remember this hit as it was covered by Harper's Bizarre (best known for Feelin' Groovy), The Muppets, Bill Haley and His Comets and/or Herb Alpert (he of the Teeny-Weeny .. er, Tijuana Brass) 
By the way, it was just a master copy of the record that was sprayed with gold lacquer, The first actual gold record was given in 1958 for Perry Como's Catch A Falling Star. 

On February 11, 1967, a song that was rejected by a lot of other "name" artists was put into the hands of some animated, musical reptilian creatures called The Turtles, who proceeded to make it a #1 hit. Superdudes Howie Kaylan, Mark Volman and their five-piece ensemble released the ultimate love-rocker, Happy Together.  
Some fans are confused by the lines "So happy together ... so happy together ... how is the weather?". Well, here's the story (and, Howie, correct me if I've left something out): Actually, the song is about a guy trying to his poetic best to get a girl to date him.  Ahhh, but realizing he wasn't getting anywhere with his plea, he changes the subject to (what else?) asking about the weather!  So that's where the words fit into the song ...

February 12 of 2007 gave us something to scratch our heads about, as an album of R&B classics began to get some serious airplay - especially the song Papa's Got A Brand New Bag.  Sounds groovy ... so why would we be scratchin' our heads (exceptin' maybe for dandruff?)/  The album - and the James Brown classic - were all covers performed and recorded by the legendary Christian crooner ... Pat Boone!!  (Yes, this was a decade after he'd released his cover of  heavy metal hits, No More Mr. Nice Guy!)

On the 13th of that month in 1971, The Osmonds hit #1 on Billboard Charts with "One Bad Apple". Though a major hit, the song (and its singers) was considered a rip-off of The Jackson Five's sound. For years afterward, rumors persisted that the brothers copied The Jacksons to cash in on their new sound, that they were jealous of Michael and his brothers, or even that they were racist.  The final word: They just wanted to break away from their reputation as "crooners" and adapt a more modern persona - one they could easily do then with little brothers Donny and Jimmy.

In a tragic twist, this date - in different years - served as the beginning and sad ending of superstar Whitney Houston's career. February 14, 1985 saw her debut album (which included the classic "Saving All My Love For You") released - an album that skyrocketed her amazing career.  Then, on the same day in 2012, that all came to a screeching halt in a bathtub in Beverly Hills ...

On February 15, 1969, excited fans crowded a Fort Myers, Fla. venue to hear the legendary Aretha Franklin.  They weren't disappointed by her hits like R-E-S-P-E-C-T, (You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman and many others.
However, they were a bit disappointed that ... it wasn't Aretha at all, but someone who pretended to be the Queen of Soul!  But (get this!) the fans were so satisfied with Vickie Jones' performance that nobody asked for a refund!!

Tune in next week to take a walk through Feb. 16-23 in the halls of Rock-N-Roll!

Friday, February 9, 2018

Internet-ionally Dating

As most of you know by now, I spend most of my work hours behind the wheel of a mouse that takes me down this internet freeway. Whether it's articles, blogs or promoting an act, there's at least one part of my business that demands the keys be in the ignition at all times ...

Of course, among the emails, pop-ups, requests and more, there are the all-too-common offers from some web-side "lonely-hearts-club".  And each one boasts I can find my "perfect mate" through them (and, this, to a guy who can rarely find the mate to his one black sock!).

Sorry, but I ain't buyin' it!  Been there, done that, got stung humongously ... and there's no way I'm goin' that route again!

Y'see, more often than not, it works like this:  Some years ago I heard, from a couple of receptionists in clients' offices, they'd "found someone on the internet", and were eagerly anticipating a future of love, contentment and roses ...

ahhhhh, but ...

a few weeks later these same excited young ladies looked somber and disillusioned. I innocently asked how their new relationships were going, but they mumbled something like "aw-it-didn't-work-out" and then avoided the subject.

You see, they were so enthused about finally meeting someone that they become susceptible to the alibis and lies so many use in their dating profiles. And these lies can range from relatively harmless (face it ... most men are not 'George Clooney lookalikes') to potentially lethal (hidden police records, sex offenders, etc.).
More often, these lies cause the lovestruck to eventually come back home with tears in her eyes, dejected and mad because she's been lied to ...

Now, I suppose a person can find a truly honorable and loving person on the other end of their web connection (but, then again, I suppose there's a real Santa Claus, too) ... and nice things could  grow from it. But bear in mind: according to the National Institute of Health, 42% of LDRs (long distance relationships) break up in approximately six monoths.

You see, it's important that you take time to really know the person before setting up a first date. And, by "taking time", I mean like "slow as molasses".  It's very possible that your newfound "love-interest" could be doing just like  Bob Kuban and the In-Men's classic "The Cheater" says, "He's gonna build you up ... just to let you down." 
Here are some things to watch for:

When that "wonderful" person arrives online to chat, are there any long lapses between his/her responses?
Does he "beat around the bush" rather than answer a question directly?
Does he push for an immediate commitment?
Begin to talk more about sex and his loneliness?
Want to come and see you immediately?
Try to coax you into taking explicit pics of yourself?
Suddenly need money from you for some "emergency"?

These are just a few of the "red flags" to look for before you even think about getting closer. In fact, the biggest "red flag" could be that you did met him or her via an internet dating site! You see, these things are supposedly set up with "romance" in mind.  But c'mon .., let's call it like it is: more often, they're used for sexual or even controlling or abusive encounters!

There are so many other legitimate ways to meet and know someone on this information superhighway: Here's just one: if you're in a specific group or forum, on Facebook® or elsewhere, you're in an already-moderated environment (so he'll have to watch his step!).
But remember: the key is take your time to really know the person you're interested in! Listen to your intuition, take it as slow as sorghum molasses.  If even the slightest question arises in your mind; if anything doesn't "feel" right about it, back away from it as quick as you can!
Use common sense - watch your values like a hawk - and back away from anyone who's giving you even the slightest doubts, okay?

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Remember: We're All In This Together

Looks pretty tricky, doesn't it??

No, it's not done with Photoshop but by an ingenius kid with time on his hands. He took a pic of the area behind him, converted it into desktop wallpaper, then placed his laptop so it'd look like a Windows window.
But it's more than a pic; to quote from The Cyrkle's Red Rubber Ball, "There's a lesson to be learned from this ..."

Whenever we find ourselves in a bind (read: quandary, conundrum, hog-sloppin' mess), we tend to panic a little -- maybe even throw up our hands in utter disgust, wondering if we'll ever find a way out of it. We start getting some serious blues that take over our thoughts and, consequently, everyday life.

Now, years ago, the Pied Piper of Rock himself, Uncle Lloyd (he of "Thaxton" fame.  Still so highly-missed.  We need more like him ...) sent me a copy of his book, Stuff Happens (and then you fix it!). Yardbirds, this man was the epitome of optimism and positivity (I love the tribute someone sent me shortly after his passing: "Mr. Thaxton was the Keebler Elf of Rock").
Throughout the book (co-written with the incredible motivationalist John Alston), he reminds you time and again that We're All In It Together. It doesn't matter what "It" is ... we're not alone when it comes to the troubles and rigours we face. Whatever we face ... no matter what it is ... from toothache to holy terror ...SOMEBODY has faced the same thing ... and conquered it!

Which brings me back to the pic at the top.

When we're faced with any dilemma, we can go to our computers, get online, pull up our Google or Bing (Crosby had the name first), type in our problem, and find someone to help us with it.
Then we can line it up with what we're going through and -- voila!: We have a window that'll complete the picture and help us see through whatever's blocking our view!

One of my favorite bands of the Sixties was The Pirates. Though they're history now (due to the passing of supreme guitarist Mick Green - the dude to the left in the pic.  The others were Frank Farley -drums, now deceased - and bassist/vocalist Johnny Spence), their music will stand as some of the gutsiest, rockin' blues ever created by man.
In 1978, they released a song called We're All In It Together. If you listen to the album cut's intro, you'll hear a unique instrumental arrangement that some have said reminds them of a baby eagle first peering out of its nest, then hopping to its edge -- then jumps ... to spread its magnificent wings in resplendent glory as an adult!

When we search for answers to our problems (btw, let's get Mr. Webster to trash that word, okay? From now on, let's call them challenges! Same thing ... less hassle ... more noble ...), we're peering over the nest edge. When we finally find someone who can show us how to overcome, we're on that edge. Finally, we're ready to try them ourselves. We jump -- and, as we find they work, we begin to grow ... and spread our wings magnificently!

So, have fun with your flight. It's beautiful up there -- above the troubles!

Stay tuned ...

Sunday, January 28, 2018


Yup ... one of the first things that every musical act knows is that, no matter where they are in their career, they have a fan base they need to consider and stay in touch with.  Unfortunately, a lot of those on the "oldies" circuit seem to forget that.

I mean, sure, they work their jobs, collect their pay, but go slip-slidin' away into anonymity until the next show. No "one-on-one" with fans beyond the actual gig itself.  And, if they do, it's for a little PR to hype their next show.

But there are exceptions:  superstars like Steve Eales, Mike Lane, Spencer Hannabuss and John Ford Coley (of solo acts, The Fore and The 286 and the legendary England Dan and John Ford Coley fame respectively) are lads that, I know for a fact,  keep their fan bases loaded at all times.
Their fan friendliness is second only to the dynamic performances of each one of these acts.  And their fan bases grow in direct proportion to the amount of appreciation, care and concern they give each member of that base.  As the old saying goes, they haven't forgotten who "brought them to the dance" (in other words, who actually made them musical mavens to begin with).

You see, troops, it's like this:  If they ain't gonna forget you, then don't you forget them (NOTE: the preceding statement does not apply to tax men, bill collectors or telemarketers ...).
But, y'know, it's really the same thing in norml, everyday life with norml, everyday, non-musicmindedpeople.  If they are of the mettle (not heavy mettle, but I digress. I'm not discriminatory ...) that they've stood with you since your salad days, they deserve you being there for them even though you've had a taste of the entree!!

As one singer out of Charlotte, NC told me once:  "Some singers act like their fans don't really exist. But, without them, their records wouldn't really exist; their shows wouldn't really exist; and the only popularity they'd get would be if the papers ran their obituary, or an article that they committed a serious crime.  But, even then, after a few weeks, pfthfthfthp!! (his word, not mine.  Imagine the sound made when you spit out something tasteless or Democrat.  Now ya got it ...) You're forgotten about! "

Look ... Uncle Lloyd kept us all up-to-date with his blog and emails; Lady Gaga makes sure her "little monsters" (fans) are kept in the loop; Donald Trump ... well, Uncle Lloyd really made us all feel important, didn't he?

LL took an idea and ran with it.  Because he loved his fans and his work, he became the Renaissance Man of Rockdom, a powerhouse of entrepreneurship, and a master motivator.  In return, the fans gave him love  - which only seemed to make him stronger and happier.  Lady Gaga came from a bullied childhood and, today, is battling fibromyalgia.  But, because she directs her power and prowess toward pleasing her fans rather than turning it inward in self-pity, they pay her back a thousand-fold.  Again, a lady who can cross any genre and teaches her "monsters" they can overcome any barrier if they just believe in themselves.

And, really, that's what it's all about, right?  They (your fan bases) believe in you, so you show your belief in them.  Then, by being acquainted with you, they start believing in themselves! The more appreciation you show your fans (also, read: friends, acquaintances, etc.), the more you'll get in return ... which means you can give more ... thus, receive more ... etc. etc.

Stay tuned ...

Sunday, January 7, 2018

2018 ... so SOON??


No, we're not advertising the newest wheels to make it off the Chevy assembly-line (though they're pretty darned good).

We're talking about this shiny, new (or, by now, like-new; after all, it's been with us a week now) year we're calling 2018!!

Now, while a few of us are still set on keeping whatever resolutions we made before the ball dropped on Times Square, there are others who are wondering what (1) the President, (2) Kim Jong-Un and (3) society, in general, is gonna do.  Oh, some will say "he'll do this to that guy and they'll rise up and stage protests that'll be reported in a way that'll scare us half to death."  And we start to worry about it all.

But, as Uncle Lloyd's millions of fans know, "SOOOO WHAT??"

Look: What's been happening or will (allegedly) happen, news-wise, really won't change what we're doing now. I mean, think about it:

We'll still wake up every morning without all kinds of gun-and-mortar fire going on around us.
We'll still have our homes, complete with warmth, cable TV, internet service and food in the fridge.
We'll still be able to drive to wherever we're going without being stopped by the gendarmes (cops).
We'll still be able to go to church, synagogue, mosque, etc. and freely worship as we choose.

In other words, it ain't changed a blessed thing we've done yet, and you can bet your sweet bippy that it won't here in the New(ish) Year!!

So why all the hubbub, bub?

It's because the montage of myriad media is trying to steer our attention away from those issues that are supposed to be most important to us: (1) Love of and sustenance for our families; (2) work that's not only productive but pays a pretty decent salary; (3) worshipping our God in the manner we see fit; spending quality time with (1) and (3), thanks, in part, to (2).

But, knowing me ... knowing you (uh-huuuuuuh! [don't tell me you forgot that 1976 hit by ABBA!]), we're gonna bypass that nonsense for once and build, for ourselves and our loved ones, a dynamic year.  It's a showroom-fresh canvas on which we can paint the life we want!  We don't need any input by some slanted peanut gallery!
So go for it ... and make this the best year you've had yet!

Got it?? Good!!

Stay tuned ...

Saturday, December 30, 2017

1960s Attitude

Ahhh, yes: ATTITUDE -- the breakfast of champions (and rockers worldwide)!

It made our world back in the mid-to-late Sixties (and, brother, did we need it: a President dying "under the Western sun" [from a tribute by the late Kate Smith], his brother shot in L.A. just moments after flashing the "peace" sign to supporters, Dr. Martin Luther King gunned down in Memphis, Vietnam and race riots).
We spoke and believed in "peace and love"; from traveling light around the country to shows and more, we learned about the vast openness of America. We didn't have to be "cooped up" in one setting -- we were, in fact, freeborn men (and women); from the huge rock festivals, we learned that we weren't alone in this world! No matter what we believed, there were others, in fact, who would relate to us and our feelings in the world.

When Uncle Lloyd first started his show, it was at the time when we really needed his zaniness; not just "wanted" but "needed"! You see, not many adults seemed to realise (or even care) that we kids were being impacted by all that was happening around us, just like they were. Only ours seemed a bit worse, because we were beginning to wonder if there really was a future for us!

Well, LL came onstage with his crazy antics and one of the friendliest, most positive attitudes ever seen on the tube! That's Reason #157 (collect 'em all!) that kids loved him so much. They felt he really understood us (and, guess what? He did!). Whilst providing an hour of great music and fun, he also exuded assurance that things were gonna be alright.

Of course, there was the fab music of the era! From Animals to Zombies, Billy Fury to Wilson Pickett, the acts not only gave us the best music to jump, jive and wail to, but it actually lifted our spirits! And, when we saw them on TV or (better yet) in concert, we saw they played live, with instruments, and were more animated than any Bugs Bunny cartoon!

Today ... well, it's just not the same, musically. Somehow, the synthesizers, taped drum loops, computerized music samplings and Auto-Tunes just don't provide the same effect as the live acts of yesteryear.
And, after hearing all that noise today (just think: all it takes is one scalawag to unplug the power strip and WHOOSH!! .... there goes an act's set), but knowing that we're in much the same shape as we were then in many ways (e.g.: Afghanistan? Vietnam? Same tune, just different lyrics; hating Arabs? hating Blacks? The song's remained the same) why don't we take a look back and recapture what we had then? We can do it with our music ... our media hotshots can do it if they just plug into and copy Cronkite's, Huntley's and Brinkley's style ... and we certainly can do it if someone in TV would step up to the plate and emulate the man who helped make the feel-good attitude of the 1960s: Lloyd Eugene Thaxton.

Nuff said? Then stay tuned ...

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Twas The Night ... (revised and updated)

I first produced and published this piece a few years ago … but, considerin’ the Christmas season is here again (and what an ingenius idea it was, time-stamping it to refresh every 365 days! WOW!!), I thought it’d be apro … apropri … cool to play it again today for yer readin’ pleasure. So, enjoy if ya can:

Hey, little mousers … how ’bout gatherin’ ’round and let me read a real good Christmas story to y'all, okay??
Now, the original one was called "A Visit From St. Nick", but this ren-disshun is, ummm ...  "souped up" a little, just for fun.

THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS (skeptic’s version)

(NOTE: These remarks are, in no way, a reflection of this writer’s feelings.  I think this was passed down by CNN through MSNBC then ABC, then the NATIONAL ENQUIRER made a fuss about it …)

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
(Wait!!  They have MICE? THAT’S not good! Why can't they go down to the hardware store and get some D-Con™ traps? Oh, yeah ... it's Christmas Eve; the store's closed ...)

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
(I'm guessing these folks don’t even have a working washer-dryer!)

In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
(Hmmm ... maybe the last name of the washer repairman?)

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
while visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
(Awww. while MOST kids go to sleep thinkin’ of cars, games or sex, they’re thinkin’ FOOD! Tsk … poor, starving waifs …)

And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
had just settled down for a long winter’s nap,
(Man and wife, kids in bed, naked except for kerchief and cap. To sleep. Uh-huh...!!)

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
(Probably just a stray dog. And about that "sprang from the bed" nonsense? Hmph ... his wife probably kicked his butt out to see what it was ...)

Away to the window I flew like a flash,
tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
(Now, why
“breast”? Why not “mantle” or “lawn”? Why does everything have to sound sexist these days?  And why am I sounding like an overcritical CNN interviewer?  Let's move on ... )

Gave the luster of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
(Yeah … right. “Little old” drivers are rarely “lively and quick”. Seen the HIGHWAYS lately?)
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
(YESSS! The washer-dryer repairman has ARRIVED!)
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
(Now, what exactly IS a "courser?")
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;
(Awww, geez ... he’s gonna wake up the kids, who are dreaming of “sugar plums” …)

Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! Now, Prancer and Vixen!
("NOW" what?!?)
On, Comet! On Cupid! On, Donder and Blitzen!
("ON" what??)
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
(Now, why doesn’t he use the driveway like everyone else?)

Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!
(Dash away all of what? Man, you better park that rig and get to fixin’ that washin’ machine!)

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
(Umm, dude?  It's, like, SNOWING out there??  Hurricane season's passed ...)
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
(can anyone explain this line?)
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew
(I ask ya again: what’s a friggin’ courser?? Thoughtcha had "reindeer", bubba …)
with the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.
(Forget the toys; fricasee those REINDEER! Remember ... the kids are HUNGRY!)
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
(Come ONNNN! They’re gonna wake the kids, I tell ya! An’ who’s gonna replace those shingles??)
As I drew in my hand, and was turning around,
(He was probably drawin’ it back to bust that dude for makin’ all that racket ...)

Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
(waitaminnit. Isn’t that “entering without breaking”? And why was he carrying a “bound”? Is that, like, a weapon or somethin’??)
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
and his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
(Awwww, CRAP! There goes the clean carpet! Well, except for the mouse droppings … )
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
and he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.
(It’s late … strange dude looks like a peddler, breaking in through chimney with some weapon called a "bound" … yep: five to ten at San Quentin at least!)

Donald Trump
(no, he doesn't have anything to do with this story, but somebody's expecting it, right?  Besides, it'll look spiffy on my keywords ...

Now ... on with the story:
His eyes — how they twinkled! His dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;
(WHOA! Sounds like daddy was gettin’ turned ON by the dude in red!)
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
(Man, this cat’s gonna set off the smoke detector!! An’ if the wife hears that, she’s gonna hit the roof… and that'll knock off all those tiny reindeer! And then PETA will be on their backs and …)

He had a broad face and a little round belly
that shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
(almost sounds like some weird PORNOGRAPHY, doesn’t it??)
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;

A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
(like HECK it didn’t … didn’t Linda Blair do the same thing in “Exorcist”?)
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
and filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
(WAIT!! What … what was the “jerk” doing with him? When’d he come into the picture?)
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;
(oh …)
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
(hmph — earlier he called 'em by name. Now he just whistles for ‘em?)
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
(what the heck?? Since when does a thistle have 'down'??)
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight, 
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!”

So, here, we have the tragic story of an impoverished, fairly uneducated family who lives in unsanitary conditions. Then, one night, upon lying down after a questionable meal — and with his precious children so hungry they’re dreaming of food — the man of the house comes face-to-face with an intruder. The perp made his way into the house in unconventional fashion, and proceeds to make a mess. Strangely, the man becomes attracted to him … and doesn’t stop him or his accomplice (aka “a jerk”) from their crime.
Pity, isn’t it??
Awww, the heck with it … MERPYSONS CHROLIDINGS!

ROCKNOTE: The above greeting was one coined as a collaboration between this writer and Lloyd Thaxton in 2006. As so many “politically correct” people wanna downplay the “CHRISTmas” , and others don’t see it as a HOLIDAY, we just combined “Merry Christmas”, “Happy Holidays” and “Season’s Greetings” all in one.

See ya on the flip side, when we get back to norml … normle ... ummm, something like that ...

Hillary Clinton (yeah, I'm required to give her equal time ... but that's all, thankfully!)