Thursday, August 18, 2016

The Show of (LT) Shows


THE LLOYD THAXTON SHOW!!


Man, when I knew that program was coming on (I believe) my hometown's Channel 9, I'd sneak into the bedroom (where my folks had a second -- much smaller -- TV) about twenty minutes ahead-of-time just so I could "lay claim" to the set (we had a rule in the Hinson household: Whoever got to the TV set first got to choose the program! And, with two brothers, there was a constant battle.) Couldn't've cared less about the dancing, as such ... I had two left feet, anyway, and no dancing partner ... but that little guy with the suit that ran the show was a total nut, and he made that show lively and fun to watch!

His interaction with the kids was amazing ... and a great influence on my own desire to be behind a mike someday ... but it was Lloyd's banter with the acts that was the real kick! When he interviewed the Knickerbockers, danced with the Godfather of Soul, or chatted with Bill and Bobby (the Righteous Brothers), I got a sense of the true performer: artist, talent, serious, comic ... but human. As for the stars, Lloyd could get past any shell that said "STAR" and brought out the part that said "...ALSO A HUMAN BEING LIKE ANYBODY ELSE!"

The most hilarious segment was when he grabbed a guitar and, with the stage darkened and just a spotlight on him, began to lip-synch to Dylan's Desolation Row (the song, itself, is about eleven minutes and change). He had the plaintive, faraway look of a folk singer at Cafe Wha?, and was doing a good job.

Then they cut for commercials.

Coming back, there was Lloyd ... still "singing," but with the studio "empty", the random newspaper blowing past him as though he'd been left, abandoned, to finish the ultra-long (at that time) tune. Having just listened to the song again on the "Highway 61 Revisited" LP, I laughed so hard that my sides hurt for a good 24 hours afterward ...

Then, there were the Byrds ... the live performance. It certainly made me "feel a whole lot better" about what my folks called the "frammin' away" I did on the Sears Silvertone. Though they'd bucked the set's system, the fivesome gave me the confidence to hit the stage myself ...

It was a tragic day when I tuned in just to learn that Lloyd's show was no longer on the schedule ... but, somehow, I knew that, whatever The Man did, he'd be rockin' while he was doin' it!

He's been gone from us for almost eight years now but, somewhere up there in Rock-and-Roll Heaven, I know Lloyd's still got the music in him ... the pure spirit of what it was all about ... and the very thing that will make him "number-one-with-a-bullet" on this writer's Top 40 List for years to
come.

Rock on, my friend!!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Beatles vs. Monkees

Okay ... we already know the effects of the Beatles' first appearance in America, right (hey ... if not, how long were you under that rock?)? And, natch, there were thousands of stateside boys who began puttin' together groups in hopes that, somehow, some of JPG&R's success would rub off on them.

The first group that successfully copied the British Beat was The Beau Brummels. These guys had all the elements: harmony, strong rhythm, good backbeat, and cool stage presence. To this day, Sal Valentino -- the leader of the group from the get-go -- is performing with the same cool sounds he made way-back-when. It's a real relief from the crazy, slap-together "music" found everywhere nowadays. (Waitaminnit. The dude provides relief by singing his group's old tunes? Does that make him a "BRUMMEL-Seltzer"?)

But the US group that made the most lasting impact was probably The Monkees (WHAT?!? Has the Relic lost his everlovin' mind?? Read on, oh shocked ones ...)
Okay, it's true: the "preFab Four" only sang on their first records, while a different group did the music. But, eventually, they got really ticked off about not being allowed to play their own instruments (remember Mike putting his fist through a wall?) and forced the producers' hands to let 'em do it.
And, rockers, that's when change started to happen.

Lemme give ya just a taste of the impact these four guys had:

They introduced the Moog Synthesizer (the predecessor to today's overused synthesizer) to rock audiences (they had the second one here in America. The first went to Buck Owens' C&W group!).

They pretty much sacrificed their career to promote a guy who joined them on tour back in '67. Although he didn't last through the entire tour due to his wild and eccentric playing (having been booed off stage by the teenyboppers who came to see the main act), Jimi Hendrix went on to superstardom in his own right.

Another group needed a hand in financing their stage act, and the Monkees were quick to oblige. The fact that they were three guys backed with a tremendous wall of sound intrigued them. So they scraped up their nickels and dimes ... and Three Dog Night became a mega-hit of the late Sixties to the mid-Seventies.

Of course, where would we be if we didn't mention "Wool Hat" Michael Nesmith? His collaboration with Todd Rundgren (he of the Bang The Drum All Day and Hello, It's Me fame?) and inspiration from the videos done on the Monkees TV show gave them the germ of an idea:
take the $26 million his mom left him (she created Liquid Paper) and invest it in a TV production company that would specialize in rock-related videos!

Thus, the original MTV was born (definitely not the clap-trap you see on there today.  In fact, I don't even think a Kardashian was even born yet!!).

And there ya have two of the most influential US groups ... one fab, one prefab ... both instrumental (pardon the pun!) in the construction of the group-rock scene, USA-style ...

QUIZTIME: Okay ... here's the Relic's Q-without-the-A for ya:

Although they sang, The Monkees didn't perform their own music on the first two LPs they released. For 1,000 points (I don't wanna put this thing in Jeopardy, though!), What was the name of the "group" that did the actual music?  (Yes, they were given a name!!)  First one that answers right gets a mention on the blog. If no one gets it, I'll publish the answer in about a week, right here.

So, that's it for now, troops. 'Til next time, remember:

Keep your eyes on the skies, your feet on the ground, your heart with the music ...
and I'll see ya on the flip side

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Workin' For A Livin'



All right ... you obviously know that I'm a blogger as well as rock journalist. But I've also been privileged to write a number of reviews for great businesses around the nation.  They're really on the ball because not only are they customer-friendly and provide the best product for your money, but they also really know how to get the most out of their advertising dollar!

That's why they turn to  Triangle Direct Media for their exposure.  Not only is TDM marketing cost-efficient but it also utilizes some of the best bloggers in the business to promote their product!

Why not check out the vid behind that link and see what Triangle Direct can do for your business?  Trust me, you'll be among friends as you map your advertising campaign - amazed at how little it costs - and totally pleased with the results.
If you're a blogger, you can sign up and join the fun - and make money in the process! Sign up today, and they'll walk you through the process. By the way, they've always been faithful in paying (and I've been with them for about nine years!).

Now ... I've got to get the cat and dog off the computer up there so I can publish this ...

Stay tuned ...

Monday, July 25, 2016

Rockin' The 2016 (Vote!)

A few days ago, an LT fan wrote in and asked, What do u think we would be like if Lloyd hd run for congress?"

Uncle LL for Congress?? Hmmm ... never thought much about that. I mean, we've had stars like Sonny Bono, John Hall (guitarist for Orleans [You're Still The One]) and Fred Grandy on Capitol Hill, and others like Jeff "Skunk" Baxter (Allman Brothers, Doobie Brothers) to run.

But Lloyd?? Naaaah ...

In fact (and I think Cuzzin Gary can back this up) he never talked much about politics (which, I've heard, is a combination of "poly" [meaning "many"] and "ticks" [meaning "bloodsuckers"]).
He was a man of all people, and always wanna be accessible to us. (Try to email your Congressman. How soon do you think he'd reply? Uncle LL was always willing to share, one-on-one, with his fans)

He was the author of smiles and optimism. I couldn't see him trying to push a bill through Senate (unless they had an automatic bill-changer in the foyer). Shoot -- he couldn't sit down long enough to get through a session. The man was constantly busy ...

Most of all, Lloyd was a family man. Anything that took him away for long stretches from Barbara and the kids would be voted down!

We were honoured to have Lloyd Thaxton as one of us -- and doubly so because he really, honestly had a no-strings-attached heart. He didn't serve a set group of "constituents", and would be honest and above-board about everything.
And it was for all of us; not just for L.A., not just for California, not just for Americans.

And, Mousers, that's why I couldn't see Uncle LL as a Congressman.

But he would remind us all to vote if we have 'em in November ... it's the VoP (Voice of the People) that's gonna make or break change (and not the jingly kind ...)

stay tuned ...

Monday, July 11, 2016

FEEDBACKING

All right, Mousers -- who remembers Reality Rule #8 from Uncle Lloyd's Stuff Happens? (ie the Pretty Good Book [the other name's been taken. Sorry ...)
It's "Feedback -- The Breakfast of Champions" ...

Whilst re-reading the book (I'm on my 43rd read now, btw! It's got more dog-ears than a big-city animal shelter ...), I was reminded how we're giving more feedback now -- and to more people -- than ever before thanks to a little wonder called Facebook® ...

Natch, you're gonna read a bunch of replies or comments or whatever they're called -- but remember: The only feedback you get is that which is positive: something from which you can learn, in order to better yourself or broaden your mental or emotional base ...

But how many of us are willing to accept feedback? LL called it "criticism" -- which, according to Mr. Webster (Noah, not the dude in The Monkees' track ...), means "the art of evaluating" (to which Cuzzin Relic adds "constructively"). It pertains to a specific task or venture, and is done so in order to improve your work or product.
People, we can't really improve without it. From the time we learned to walk, we've gotten feedback from someone in order to improve what we're doing (I had the "walking" thing down pat by the age of 19. Then I was drafted ...).

But Lloyd (and John Alston. It was a joint effort, remember. Don't know the name of the joint they were in when they wrote it, though ...) also reminds us of something else. Remember that little box with the analogy of the chef? He had to taste his recipe himself to determine if anything was missing ...).
So we also need to give ourselves some feedback ... and that comes from taking a step back and doing a bit of self-evaluation. Is what we're doing productive? Profitable (and I'm talking, here, about more than just "financially")? Are we doing it the right way? What can we add or lose to make it better?

The "Exercise" section of the chapter was my favorite part. Lloyd says, in essence, to "loosen up" (he called it "Body Lock") by getting on your feet, lifting your leg and really shaking it, then putting it down, doing the same with your arm and hand.
It worked so well (especially when I started shouting, "HEP muh! HUAH!! AH FEEEEL GOOOD!" and the strains of "Papa's Got A Brand New Bag" started pouring through my speakers ...) I'd recommend it to everybody (though my dogs are still a bit nervous, being around me).

So, when you're faced with a dilemma, or want some positive evaluation of your work, listen to the feedback. And, if you've got to give it yourself, remember the PPP Principle: Make it Plain, Positive and Productive.

Stay tuned ...

Monday, July 4, 2016

Hold Your Head Up!

In my opinion, one of the greatest rock bands ever to grace the stage/radio/.mp3s/video is the legendary quintet, The Zombies.
With a tight sound fronted by Rod Argent and Colin Blunstone and a catchy name (hey ... it's good to see the word and not envision flesh-eating undead, right?), these lads have produced mega-hits like She's Not There, Tell Her No and Time of The Season.

But one of the most-requested songs in their repertoire isn't actually a "Zombie" song at all - but one that Rod and Chris White wrote for his band, Argent, while he and the Z-people had parted ways (they're solidly back together now, btw).

The song: Hold Your Head Up!

It had the elements of a monster hit from the get-go (including one of the best rock organ solos ever recorded), but there was infinitely more to this tune,
It was said that the song was actually inspired by a young girl who was verbally bullied by others, and was near suicide.  It pleaded with her to "hold her head up".
Since then, the song has helped literally thousands of young people stand strong - to "hold their heads up" - when they're taunted, mocked, ridiculed or otherwise bullied verbally (I've known some personally who've said this!).  And, yes, I'm saying it saved countless children from suicide!!

Musically, it had the elements that made rock a success back then: repetitive lyrics in the chorus, simple, churning rhythm and a great backbeat.  But the message was the greatest "sell" point of the song itself.

Today, HYHH is part of The Zombies' set wherever they're playing (Rod, of course, has rejoined them.  Co-writer Chris was still with the Z-band when he helped create the hit).

Their message in the song was echoed time and again by Uncle Lloyd, whether on his Lloyd Thaxton Show or, with John Alston, in his book Stuff Happens (and then you fix it)!  He was a true hero of teens - all teens, of every shape, size, religion or color; that they should be respected as well as heard!

And if there's any time in American (or world, for that matter) history that this song needs to be played again and again, it's today!  Here's the long version of the hit:





Stay tuned ...






Thursday, June 30, 2016

Rock Music's Independence

EDITOR'S NOTE: This post actually ran on this blog a few years back. But, with the Independence Day celebrations coming up (and the Big Day following on Monday), I thought it'd be an appropriate time to run it again.
It will also be simulcast on the two other blogs I have:




This weekend, Americans are celebrating events heading up to Independence Day (which falls on a Monday this year). And, while most are celebrating it as the day the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776, others are using the holiday to reflect on other revolutionary movements that brought freedom.



A few of you might be thinking, "Okay ... but what does that have to do with ROCK music?"



Answer: EVERYTHING!!



You see, the very theme of rock-n-roll, even before it first hit the charts, was freedom! From the Chuck Berries and Elvis Presleys in the states to the amazing bands that covered England from coast to coast (and, beginning in February, 1964, changed the course of rock music forever), the sound was raw, unchained, and thumbed its nose at censors and strict performance rules.



From T-Bone Walker and his wild splits and Hendrix-like guitar playing, to the Good/Parnes management team and their stable of singers named after their sexual prowess, the world was seeing a brand new, liberated movement.

 Elvis had his gyrations, Faron's Flamingos had Bill Ruffley (Faron) doing splits and his drummer somersaulting over the drumkit. Of course, we had Jerry Lee Lewis while the UK had Keith Moon and Screaming Lord Sutch. So, on both sides of the Atlantic, we were truly seeing a revolution occurring.



This independence was no more strongly felt than when The Beatles landed at LaGuardia Airport in New York City on February 7, 1964. When young people around the U.S. saw the Fab Four in performance, and followed the antics of the "moptops" -- especially the brash, outspoken and witty John Lennon -- they began forming bands of their own, and mimicked the boldness that this band from England exhibited.



The Beatles, along with other "British Invasion" acts, not only revitalized youth in the states but also influenced them to openly protest the status quo that had been set by a previous generation. They began rebelling against inequality, prejudice -- and a war going on in Southeast Asia.



By 1969, they began seeing minute changes and, eventually, these small breaks for independence in civil and women's rights eventually became larger. The voting age eventually was lowered. And, by 1975, our involvement in the war was over.



Today, the rock world is seeing a reversion to the sounds that, actually, were the soundtrack to the amazing drama that young people unfolded in the name of independence. We're seeing the "baby-boomer" segment of America in our Congress, witnessing the results of their labour so many years ago, and actually help each other long before any state or national assistance comes.



So, if anything, rock music is independence-in-action ... and what more fitting day to honor it than on this Fourth of July weekend ...