Friday, April 27, 2012

Geez ... My First Blog Post:

Whilst looking up the second section of the "Background" post I did (and is long overdue), I found the HTML markup for my first rock blog, back on what was called Rock, Rhythm and Rimshots back then in 2005.
So, without further ado, I want to share it here in the Mouse House, just for memory's sake... and with a few embellishments:

Now, Lemme kick this off by throwing one of my OWN on the turntable:

While being heavily influenced by Gene Vincent and the Bluecaps ("Who Slapped John?" being the first actual R&R record I heard that clicked), Buddy Holly ("Not Fade Away" -- who could deny that beat?), the Beatles, Raiders and strong coffee, I credit two acts with changing my attitude:

First, the Knickerbockers, with their powerful "B" side to their hit, "Lies", called "The Coming Generation." These Beatle/Righteous Bros/Beach Boy soundalikes kicked a few gears into motion in my head, especially about the impact of young people (of which I was one, I think) and their effect on our future.

Next up: The Barbarians, with drummer "Moulty" Moulton ... who showed the music world (and me) that, if you've got the drive, determination and talent, not even a "disability" can hold you back from success. More later, if ya want ... but this'll give ya an idea how it works here.

Now ... time to add your own:

Simple, wasn't it??  Now, it's grown into a gabfest and read by thousands throughout the UK, US and California.  We've included vids on occasion, contests, and other goodies ... and NOW tailor it to go BEYOND THE ROCK and look at the baby-boomer phenomenonandonandon with abandon (as well as words).  So, whilst you stay tuned to THIS blog, be sure to tune us in at least three times a week to Beyond The Rock, okay?

(Oh .. by the way:  Who were YOUR first rock heroes??)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Boomer Purpose

I had just gone in to the local coffeeshop this morning to get a cuppa my regular, caffeinated two-sugars-no-cream joyjuice. You always need two of those to kick-start your day (remember this bird's motto concerning coffee, kiddies: "The first cup clears the fuzz, the second one brings the buzz.")
And then it happened. AGAIN!
I overheard a young, bespectacled woman whose-name-I-did-not-know-nor-want-to talking with a friend about "boomers". She said: "I don't know what they're trying to prove now. I mean, they did all right in their day, but what useful purpose do they have now??"

What purpose?? To quote the legendary Batman (aka Bruce Wayne, aka Adam West), "Poor, deluded child!"

Yes, we did change a few things back-in-the-day. The same kids who watched or were in the studio for Uncle Lloyd's show also fought for (and succeeded in bringing to pass) civil rights, respect (and voter-age change) for 18-year-olds, women's rights and some little, tiny thing you might've missed: an end to a terrible war!
Oh ... and, according to Tom Brokaw's excellent report, the popularization of blue jeans, without which 99.44% of American teens would be walkin' around nekkid today.

Many of them created bands that influenced the entire spectrum of rock, while others, whose bands didn't quite make the cut, went on to greater things (such as Gary Busey, upper left in photo, of Carp).

Today, those self-same "kids" are still active -- in fact, possibly more than any other generation -- in helping others. Remember Hurricane Katrina? The wildfires of L.A.? The earthquakes of Haiti and Chile? Tornadoes in Joplin and West Liberty?
Guess who was there, lending a hand (often, before the Washington Suits could de-committee themselves to help)?
Uh-huh. The boomers.
And who's making the most noise about ending the wars that are going on in the Middle East?
Yep ...
Oh, and for Ms. Skinnie Minnie at the coffee shop: Ummmm, since she looked to be about thirtyish, guess which generation her folks belonged to? "Now, Miss Minnie, do your biological parents pay, or have they ever paid, any of your bills?" (Gee .. for a moment there, I felt like Perry Mason!)
Case made, right??

So don't knock the boomers, people! One thing that LT said in one of this Relic-targeted, eloquent emails is that (quote) "We're all in this thing together, and there's only one way out. So we've got to pull together and make the best of it ...


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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Baby-Boom Bonanza

Ah, the 1960s! With the present world in turmoil over situations as diverse as missiles in Korea, trouble in Syria, increasing gas prices and the latest celeb's release from jail, we long for a return to those thrilling days of yesteryear.
It was certainly a simpler, more relaxing era for most Americans… at least until mid-decade, when a remarkable group of youngsters that soon became known as “longhairs,” “hippies” and “peaceniks” began appearing in American society. Considered “freaks” by many in the older, often stodgy and hawkish, generation, they believed in such absurd ideas like peace, love and equality. Sit-ins, peace rallies and even a Woodstock wouldn’t change the opinions of the “establishment”. But little did that generation know that the actions of these mid-1960s “freaks” would create a much better world for all of us here in the 21st Century..

To prove the point, we have to go back in time for a quick history lesson. Now, we know the Beatles, the Byrds, Sonny and Cher, Righteous Brothers, Woodstock, Jimi, and a zillion other musical talents marked the landscape of those years. But who'd ever forget the great #1-with-a-bullet (or more) hit called VIETNAM? While the fighting and subsequent death toll seemed to escalate, there was no real strategy for lasting peace from either Washington or Saigon.

We were apprehensive about a foreign country having “the” bomb, and its apparent capacity to use it on us. Various parts of the country sweated through near-famine heat waves, and New York City went powerless at one point. Other areas were well-lit, but by fires started in the heat of racial violence and riots that seemed to be endless. Parents wrestled with their kids about the dangers of “experimenting” with various drugs, but it seemed as if they were turning a deaf ear. For many, the lure of the illegal street meds was just too strong.

But, just as it seemed that Washington had turned its back on the voice of mainstream America and we were heading for an enormous, collective breakdown in society, the youth of America showed its collective power. From flower children to serious scholars, their voices helped to influence the end of the Vietnam War. As they gathered together for philosophical lectures and rock concerts, one could see the beginning of voluntary racial integration. Whether living in communes or small communities, they worked together to build houses, plant and harvest gardens and more. Their burgeoning interest in religion (Christian or not) influenced young and old alike to either look within or to the heavens for support and protection. Through it all, the older generation still thought it all repulsive; how dare these young upstarts, with their long hair and peace symbols, to challenge what was happening in “their” America?

Today, the “old fogies”, for the most part, have passed on. And these same “upstarts” – now part of an elite group known as “baby-boomers” – are working through the establishment they once spurned to bring an end to a not-so-different war. They work side-by-side -- Americans of all colors and creeds -- as friends, associates and peaceful neighbors. These same people act, often spontaneously, for the good of others, whether it’s helping to get someone’s car running or lending their hands to rebuild a city destroyed by a hurricane. Their faith has passed the test of time and has spawned a number of today’s most dynamic evangelists and preachers.

They use the experience of their own past to teach their children and grandchildren the dangers of substance abuse, the wholesomeness of nature and the warmth felt by having a true fellowship with mankind, no matter what color or creed is represented. They empathize, sympathize and counsel more readily and with more impact than their predecessors because that’s what they learned by true communion with each other.

Whether they’re in Congress, a seat of a local town council or just a voting citizen, they know that to listen to one’s conscience is the better way to handle things if that conscience is acted upon. Gone are the days of siding with someone simply due to party affiliation or favoritism. Thanks to them, this country has a fighting chance to shine, once again, on the world stage – and bring peace, once more, to its people.

That’s pretty good for what was once considered a bunch of “long-haired” freaks, right?

Saturday, April 7, 2012

If You're Down, GET UP!!!

Over 2,000 years ago, a miracle happened that changed our lives forever (no, I'm not talking about Larry King's birth ... that's another story. And also an overused joke ...).
The Lord Jesus Christ rose from the dead ... a humongous stone rolled away from the entrance of that borrowed tomb ... and He's still with us today!!

Who would've thought, on that Thursday afternoon (yes, I said "Thursday". In the Hebrew calendar, it was Passover ... the 14th of Nisan) all those years ago, that a crucifixion and burial would result in such a momentous event?

But it did, and, with so many of his followers (even one doubter named 'Thomas' who actually felt the nail and spear scars) attesting -- and with their witness surviving for these two millenea and more -- we can be assured that Jesus did exactly as He said ...

So, whilst some of you will be digging into hard-boiled eggs, chocolate bunnies and the like, just take a moment to reflect on the true importance of this day ... and that, like Him, we can triumph over things that have crucified us!
Whether it's abuse of some kind, someone who's put you down or deceived you, or a combination of all those things that can make you feel down, remember the lesson of that resurrection:  When you have been knocked down, GET BACK UP!!!  Jesus didn't let the devil get ahold of him ... so why should we??  

Now, we'll get back to our regular nonsense by Monday .. but for now and to all of you, I wish a very Happy Easter ...

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

... and In The Background (Pt 1)

Have you ever wondered who the female chorus was that backed up Mary Wells on "My Guy" ("what you'd say?"... "tell me more") or the great almost-operatic crescendo of voices on The Four Tops' records? Who sang with Frank Sinatra on his classic hit "That's Life"?

These songs, among many others, were all augmented by the backup singer or group. They sing in harmony with the lead vocalist, other backing or backup singers, or alone, but not singing the lead There are notable exceptions).

In bands or groups, sometimes the members alternate between singing lead or backup (The Temptations, The Beatles, and Three Dog Night, for example).

Phil Spector (yes, the one that's now behind bars ...) and Brian Wilson (of The Beach Boys) were two pop/rock music pioneers with backup vocals-Spector added lavish orchestration to create a bombastic "Wall of Sound"-Wilson composed some of the most intricate vocal harmonies in pop music.

In the recording studio, some lead singers choose to create their own backing vocals (Ian Gillan of Deep Purple, Les Paul and Mary Ford, Neil Sedaka, and Gene Pitney are examples).

The Andantes were a female session singing group on Motown during the 1960s. The trio of Jackie Hicks, Marlene Barrow, and Louvain Demps sang backup vocals on over 10,000 (!) recordings by virtually every major (and minor) act on the label. They're the female chorus you hear on "My Guy" and that fantastic crescendo of soaring voices prominently featured on all of The Four Tops' Holland-Dozier-Holland written/produced hits.

In addition to "My Guy", you'll hear them on "Baby I Need Your Loving", "I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)", "Reach Out, I'll Be There", "Ask The Lonely", "Standing In The Shadows Of Love", "Bernadette", (They did the great background vocals on this in one take!) and others by the Tops.

They're featured on "Laughing Boy" and other songs by Mary Wells, "How Sweet It Is To Be Loved By You" and other songs by Marvin Gaye, "What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted" by Jimmy Ruffin, and "Don't Mess With Bill" by The Marvelettes (They were use to overdub and "smooth out" the group's background vocals; the producers did this without the Marvelettes' knowledge. The final Marvelettes album, "The Return Of The Marvelettes", was actually recorded by Marvelette lead singer Wanda Young with The Andantes ).

more coming in Pt. 2 tomorrow so ... stay tuned ...

Classic Thoughts ...

Just wondering: have you ever taken time to yourself, just to think? Doesn't matter about "what" -- it's just to think ...
(No, we already know that that dude on the left is thinking: "Now, let's seeeee ... which washing machine did I use?? And how long will it be before they throw me out of this laundromat for sittin' here naked and waitin' for my clothes to dry??")

Actually, we all do a lot of thinking ... and some of those thoughts (shared here courtesy some of our readers) make a lot of sense:

For example, J.B. in Pensacola (PS love the soft drink, but kinda 'iffy' on the town) asked: "Why aren't there teenage dance shows like Lloyd's and Dick Clark's anymore?"
Well, J.B., it's partly because most of the music today sounds too much alike! Whether it's hip-hop, rap, alt or (now over-synthesized) R&B, it's too redundant. Back in teen heyday, we had fresh material with names like Hollies, Beatles, Byrds, Searchers and Beach Boys providing sounds that, whilst just a tad similar, were largely of their own sound and tempo.

But there's another reason, and it's summed up in two words: Lloyd Thaxton.
You see, Uncle LL had a number of things going for him: He was spontaneous. Like a little kid in a toy store, he seemed to wanna try out everything to pump life into his show.
He was also genuinely interested in both teens and superstars who appeared. No cookie-cutter, business-suited TV "personality" was this guy! He built the enthusiasm to fever pitch, then absorbed it to give, once again, to his audience in-studio and at home.

Today, we mostly see our "heroes" on video channels or special music awards shows (and, honestly: aren't there a few too many of 'em already??). It's called "overplay" ... and there's way too much glamour in them; most kids want to see their faves as human beings, like themselves -- not Macy's window models!



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The best thing about these amish tables is that you don't have to spend an arm-and-a-leg to have their beauty accenting your home! In fact, if you click on that link you just passed, you'll find a wide selection of beautifully-crafted pieces -- and you can even choose the woods and stains that would match your home decor!
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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Stay Tuned ....

Now, for all of you who followed Uncle Lloyd's blog for so long, you know he always signed off with those tagwords,
"Stay tuned ...".
It simply meant, "More to come ..."

That's what's happening here at the Mouse House (located deep within RockCentral here, right below the coffee pot on the counter) right now.

We're undergoing some changes here that you'll be seeing over the next few, not the least of which is a new-and-improved (or so I've been told) location! Now, I'm gonna keep this under wraps until the t's have been dotted and the i's are crossed (???? So that's what's held up everything??? Well ummm, lemme seeee ...
Okay ... you're right: According to Funk & Wagnalls ...)
i's are dotted and t's are crossed. At that time, I'll introduce ya to the new digs ...
And that, as the old circus barker used to say, is "onnnly the beginning, folks ... onnnly the beginning!"

But think about those two words for a minute:

Everywhere we go, we're actually carrying those two words with us! People who see us in restaurants, in Wally World or wherever are seeing those written in our faces, our walk, our talk ... it shows the world "THIS IS WHO I AM ... THIS IS HOW I FEEL ... THIS IS WHAT MY FUTURE'S GONNA BE ... SO STAY TUNED!"

So what are we showing the good folks in everydayland?? Are we showing a brighter future that we're building, positive, determined and with the Master Builder guiding us?? Or are we saying "Ho-hum ... stay tuned for the downhill slide, where I give in to the same old shStuff I've had for years??"

It's up to us, right?? Yep ... wellllll,
which do we want?? Are we brave enough to go for it?? Are we willing to take that first humongous, bold step ... then another ... then another ... until, finally, we find ourselves on firm, steady and independent ground??

If we're willing -- then leave the dotted "i's" and crossed "t's" (got it right that time! HA!!!) to the Man Upstairs and (forgive me, Nike® ...) just do it!! It takes chutzpah ... it takes intestinal fortitude ... it takes faith, both in Him and ourselves. It takes sayin' I'VE HAD ENOUGH OF THE B.S. I'VE BEEN HANDED, AND AIN'T GONNA TAKE NO MORE!"

That way, when people take a look at us -- heck, when we look at ourselves in the mirror in the morning -- that person looking back will be beaming with a strong, confident and positive message:


Oh ... (ahem!!) in case ya thought I forgot:

Stay tuned ...

Sunday, April 1, 2012


People, we've heard how powerful music can be to soothe everything from babies' cries to frazzled parents' raw nerves. We've also seen how it can be a deterrent (remember the airport that ran Tina Turner hits over their loudspeakers to keep birds off the tarmac? Or the police in England who forced heavy-metal ruffians to listen to Barry Manilow music when they were caught??).

Well, here's an amazing story about the power of music ... and how it actually saved a man's life! This is from a chat I had this morning with UK country great Mike Lane (I'll be quoting him here):

"Last year a guy called ... to thank me for his life!

It seems he was in hospital in a coma. The nurses said 'Play his favourite music, or we are going to lose him as he is slipping away.' Well, HE SAID TO ME he could in no way communicate to anyone but could hear, and when they started to play my CDs ... he told me he had to try and come back to get the next CD!! All this he told to me, crying all the time on my doorstep and thanking me for his life!
He is a big man as well!
I have more things like that, so I count myself as very lucky to have been able to help!

Also, in the time of the New Zealand earthquakes, I got a nice message from a fan, telling me that they played my CD help calm them down while waiting for the tremors to stop!

Now, we've heard from The Barbarians' "Moulty" Moulton in an earlier interview, telling us how his autobiographical hit, "Moulty", even saved kids from committing suicide (click the gold link for the story). There have been many others (I'm reminded of my late friend, drummer and rock historian Pete Dintino and how the music helped him defeat leukemia!), and Mike's amazing stories only go to prove, once again, the tremendous power of music!!


Okay ... here are some quotes from rockers past. Now, what I want you to do is tell me, in 1500 words or less, who said them. First one to get them all right will be announced here (with his/her kind permission):

1. "My mother likes our music, so if I can please her, that means we're doing something right."

2. "I haven't been to church in thirteen years, but I'm better prepared for heaven than most of those that haven't missed a day."

3. "Our society is run by insane people for insane objectives. I think we're being run by maniacs for maniacal ends and I think I'm liable to be put away as insane for expressing that. That's what's insane about it."

4. "Truth is like the sun. You can shut it out for a time, but it ain't going away."

5. "I opened the door for a lot of people, and they just ran through and left me holding the knob."

Got 'em?? Okay, then let's see what you've come up with ...

Stay tuned ...