Monday, December 28, 2015

HoF Does It Again w NWA

I think everybody knows that, in the wild world of rock and roll, some things are just inexplicable ...
For example: the 2016 Hall of Fame inductees. Now, among them you have true legends like Chicago, Deep Purple and Cheap Trick.

But will somebody please explain to me how NWA got into the mix? Granted, they are legends, too - but only of rap and hip hop; not of rock and roll!!
There's no denying that Ice Cube and Dr. Dre went on to greater successes, but not as rockers!!

Seems that Mr. Wenner needs to get an education about our genre and leave the rap wrapped!

Now, today, hip hop and rap genres are largely "techno". Fortunately there are still many artists who prefer to use actual instruments like keyboards, saxophones and guitars.
But often they can't find the deals they want in high priced streetside stores
So I did a little research and the best place that I have found is at the online music instrument store that's a virtual mecca for serious musicians!
You'll find unbelievable savings from keyboards and woodwinds to gig bags and awesome guitar bundles. When you click the link I just gave, a new musical cornucopia will open up to your sound delight!

So give them a visit today, okay?? Okay!!


Sunday, December 20, 2015

What''s In A Word?


Of course, it's not always that way. Sometimes, the slang can be innocent -- and actually evoke memories of a remarkable period in our history. Here's a prime example:

As everybody who lived through them already knows, the Sixties weren't just about fantastic music, peace movements, wild clothes and a war we'll never forget. For many teens and above, there were certain drop-words that made you hip (P.S.: now that we're old[er], "hip" doesn't mean "cool", but a certain nagging point of arthritis). Some examples:

1. "Fab" was formerly the name of a laundry detergent. When the Beatles appeared with their British slang, it became the faddish abbreviation for "fabulous." Here at the tail end of 2015, it's the name of a laundry detergent again.

2. "Gear" once meant something that helped machinery work. In a way, it meant the same thing in rock: if something was "gear," it meant it was "groovily happening."

3. "Groovy" was a term used to describe the surface of LPs and 45s. Then it became our equivalent of "cool." Today (with vinyl being "out"), who knows what it means??

4. "In" and "Out". Either you were accepted into a certain crowd or not. Today, just a door sign ... or directions disregarded by the Obama Administration.

5. "Uptight". If you were "stressed out" (millennium phrase) about something, you were "uptight".

6. "L7" was one of the most cryptic, and didn't really catch on in the Sixties (originally used by the Greenwich Village crowd back in the '50s) until Sam the Sham's "Hattie" warned "Mattie" not to be that way, but learn to dance in "Wooly Bully". If you put an "L" and a block-print "7" together, you've got ... a SQUARE!

7. "Outtasight" -- a word supposedly derived from the space program -- meant the same as today's "awesome" or "off-the-charts." The best of the best.

8. "Chick" -- okay, this one's been around for ages, and was inspired by W.C. Fields' My Little Chickadee. Meant "lovely, vivacious girl". Of course, that was followed by "babe, doll" and, by the Seventies, "fox". Seems like every woman except Hillary Clinton has been called that at some time or another.

9. Now, there are others that I probably missed out on, and if anyone remembers others, give me a shout-out, okay? Okay!!

Friday, December 11, 2015

"Countdown" to Trouble!

Many of our British readers are familiar with the TV show "Countdown". And they may be familiar with Richard Brittain, a former champion on the show.
What you may not realize is that he is also a published author with a book called "The World Rose."
But you can forget about seeing him at book signings in the future because - well, he apparently can't take criticism.

You see there was a young lady who happened to write a scathing review of his book. Now, we writers have to realize that we'll get bad reviews from time to time. But, in this case ...

he checked the Web to find out where she worked ...
then drove to the supermarket where she worked ...
FIVE HUNDRED MILES AWAY!!
He went into the store,
found where she was,
picked up a wine bottle ...
and
KNOCKED HER OUT WITH IT!!

Then he walked out, while she was taken to the hospital

She's going to be okay.
He's not. He just pleaded guilty at Glasgow (Scotland) Sheriff's Court.
So he'll be doing some time behind bars.

How well can YOU take criticism? It usually doesn't take long to hear - but if it's constructive, its beneficial to absorb. If not, it's easy to walk away from.

Either way, it's nothing to lose your head over ...





Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Dear Old Ads

Some time back -- after finding an old Sixties ad for Go Gay™ hairspray for women -- I began searching for other print promos that stick out like a sore thumb in today's world.

But the one you saw at the top of this post -- published in a 1904 issue of Harper's Weekly™ -- really takes the cake. I mean, can you imagine any newspaper or mag printing that??

Or this one??



No doubt, it would stop your toothache -- along with your brain activity.
The main reason I've brought these to your monitor screen, though, is their relation to today's main topics: gun control and drug use

It's amazing that two ads would come back to haunt us in different ways today - but rampant cocaine use and, especially with the increase in domestic terrorist attacks,  gun control are two of the major topics blaring from front pages of newspapers now.

Now, if I can just find an old ad promoting PEACE as a commodity, we'd be set.


Monday, December 7, 2015

It's In The Mix


Everyone who's ever handled a mixing board, whether onstage or in a studio, knows how limiting it can be when you're trying to get just the right sound.
But now there's one that really hits home when it comes to what you want the end-result to sound like. It's called the acoustica mixcraft and, believe me, it has all you need to create that Wonderwall of music you're looking for!

It not only has standard features like a graphic equalizer, compressors and limiters, but (are you ready?) ...
it has a 31-band EQ and a tremendously sophisticated delay!  And it even ships with the Acoustic Instrument collection, which includes guitars, bass, drums, synthesizers, organs and pianos ! 
You can use this with almost any VST effect - and, with Acid being popular with loops, it even works well with them!

There's so much more you'll find just by clicking their link - including a pricetag that's very easy on the budget! 
But, wait - there's more!!

If you spend $149 or more on their software, you'll even get select plug-ins for just 99 cents! 
Now ... given all I've told you (and I'm a former musician myself), plus all you'll read on the site, order your new Mixcraft today!!
And get ready to revel in the best sounds you've ever produced!! 


Friday, December 4, 2015

THE ULTIMATE CD??




INTRODUCING THE LATEST CD RELEASE from the innovative Matmos duo!

It's called Ultimate Care II - which, ironically, happens to be the name of a Whirlpool washing machine you see in the picture up there.

It's because the CD is actually 38 minutes with the sound of ...
The Ultimate Care II's wash cycle!!

Nothing more, nothing less ...

Though it's been sampled and processed to lighten the original sound, what you're hearing in this CD comes directly from the washing-machine!

Of course this isn't the first time something like this has surprised the world of music. In 1963 iconic music legend Frank Zappa played two bicycles (that's right: TWO!!) on Steve Allen's early version of The Tonight Show.


And, in 1968, the Beatles were urged to go into a cluttered studio and tap on, tinker with or play whatever was in front of them. Meanwhile, they'd be recorded and, as one source tells me, producers were then to blend, sample and mix the sounds into some kind of listenable product.

Now, I said all that to say this:  Music is and always will be the universal comfort that we need to satisfy our souls. And whether it be the metallic sounds of some bicycle, the preditable churning of a washing machine or brilliant harmonies from a great band, these pitches and tones keep us from going off the deep edge.

No there's no way of knowing whether the Ultimate Care 2 album will turn the Tide for some attitudes or bring Cheer for others. It may not be as Fab (their Gain, perhaps) as people would like, but as long as someone is happy with it and the rhythm of the washing cycle makes him or her a little more secure, why not?

Monday, November 30, 2015

In The Background

Have you ever wondered who the female chorus was that backed up Mary Wells on "My Guy" ("what 'd you, 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 in the news) 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 ).

The Blossoms were another of the top backup groups during this decade (and in rock and roll history), particularly on the West Coast.

This group's career actually started in 1954 as The Dreamers. Darlene Wright (later known as Darlene Love) joined in 1958 upon a member's leaving. By this time, the group not only did backup work, but were actively recording and seeking their own group success.

In 1962, The Blossoms would finally achieve chart success, but unfortunately their effort was credited to The Crystals, an already established group produced by Phil Spector.

Problems between Spector and his Crystals prompted him to record the new song without them. The Blossoms only received a meager session fee, nothing more. The song? "He's A Rebel" (written by Gene Pitney) one of the year's biggest hits, establishing Spector's career.

Over the next three years, The Blossoms became the favored singers on all of Spector's California sessions. That's The Blossoms you hear on "He's Sure The Boy I Love". Darlene and group member Fanita Barrett sang with Bobby Sheen as Bob B. Soxx and The Blue Jeans ("Zip-A-Dee Doo-Dah" and "Why Do Lovers Break Each Other's Heart?"). The Blossoms were also
doing all the backup by The Crystals, The Ronettes, and the newly renamed Darlene Love (Spector gave her the last name change). Chart success as The Blossoms still eluded them.

By 1964, the group were a trio (There were originally six members) consisting of Darlene, Fanita, and new member Jean King. They then became the featured female backup group and regulars on a new rock and roll show-"Shindig", and had their own spot, covering popular songs of the day. The group were also kept busy doing more recording backup work through the decade. That's The Blossoms you hear on Frank Sinatra's "That's Life" and on Shelley Fabares's "Johnny Angel". They also backed Sam Cooke, The Beach Boys, Dionne Warwick, Sonny and Cher, and Elvis Presley (They were also his backup group on his '68 comeback special).

Love left the Blossoms in 1974, and took time off from the music industry, but returned in the early 1980s (As a solo act again). And she's never looked back, doing singing AND acting. She'd even become an annual Christmas tradition (since 1986) for David Letterman!

The Ray Conniff Singers were founded in 1959 (consisting of 12 women and 13 men) by Joseph Raymond Conniff. Ray Conniff larned the trombone from his father and arranging from a course book! After serving in World War II, he was hired by Mitch Miller as home arranger for Columbia Records, where he worked with several artists backed by his orchestra (and eventually a male
chorus).

"Just Walkin' In The Rain" by Johnnie Ray, "Chances Are" and "It's Not For Me To Say" by Johnny Mathis, and "A White Sport Coat" by Marty Robbins are just a few of the articles and songs that Conniff and his orchestra backed.

The Johnny Mann Singers provided backup vocals for Gene McDaniels. They may have also provided backup for Lloyd Price.

The Sweet Inspirations were the East Coast equivalent of The Blossoms, also in high demand as a backup group.

The group was founded by Cissy Houston (born Emily Drinkard) mother of future star Whitney and sister of Lee Warwick (herself the mother of Dionne and Dee Dee Warwick). Cissy and Lee were members of The Drinkard Singers, a family group that recorded the first gospel album to appear on a major label.

The original lineup included Judy Guions (who later became Judy Clay , who sang some duets with Billy Vera. They were rock 'n' roll's first interracial singing couple).

The original Sweet Inspirations in the early '60s included Doris Troy ("Just One Look") and Dionne and Dee Dee Warwick. By 1963, Judy Clay's sister, Sylvia Shemwell, replaced Troy and Cissy Houston replaced Dionne. The group continued doing backup for such stars as Wilson Pickett, Solomon Burke, Esther Phillips, and Aretha Franklin, among many more.

Dee Dee left in 1965; Myrna Smith and Estelle Brown joined, This was the lineup that recorded at Atlantic.

In 1968, The Sweet Inspirations began working with Elvis as both backup and his warm-up act. Thy also did occasional concerts with Aretha Franklin. And they had a no. 18 hit, "Sweet Inspirations".

Group member Houston left in late 1969. There were numerous personnel changes through the '70s, '80s, and the '90s.

Did you know that the Sweet Inspirations did the backup vocals on the Frankie Valli smash, "Grease"?

Some backup singers who later became famous on their own (besides some of the abovementioned) were: The Originals-They provided male backup for Jimmy Ruffin ("What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted"-The Andantes were also on this), his younger brother David Ruffin -"My Whole World Ended (The Moment You Left Me)", and others. With the help of fellow Motown artist Marvin
Gaye,(who co-wrote and produced the songs) the group broke through this year, 1969, with "Baby I'm For Real" and "The Bells".

The Dells were already R & B legends, but they also did backup for many Chicago-area singers. Probably their most notable backup effort was for Barbara Lewis on her 1963 smash, "Hello Stranger". (I believe they did backup on several of her records. Maybe not, but it sure sounds like them!)

The Ray Charles Singers (Not THE Ray Charles; this group was founded by Charles Raymond Offenberg) sang backup on Perry Como's records from 1950 on through this decade, and beyond. Legend has it that years later, it was Offenberg that sang the "Three's Company" TV show theme-"Come and Knock On Our Door"-with Julia Rinker Miller.

The Shindogs were the house band on the '60s TV show "Shindig": Several members of this group included Leon Russell, who was the keyboardist and band leader, Delaney Bramlett (later of Delaney and Bonnie), and Glen Campbell.

 I resurrected the unpublished draft of this post and published now because it a pears that girl groups are coming back in style!
So, for them and their legions of fans, I decided to add a little "bachground" of my own.

Stay tuned  ...

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Thanksgiving 2015

Okay, Mousers - you know what tomorrow is, right? Thanksgiving Day (aka the dieters nightmare) is almost upon us. And we do have so much to be thankful for but ...
What?!? You don't BELIEVE me??
Well, let's see:
You woke up this morning. That's always a plus. 
Did you shuffle into the kitchen and get some coffee or a little something to eat from the fridge? Maybe you took in  a little TV.
Okay so you have your health,  food and you have your utilities.
Any gunfire or some kind of bombs going off outside your window? Wait ... what is that sound out there? 
Peace??
Need to go to the store but can't get out because the state police or wardens are keeping you from it?
You mean you have ... freedom??
But do you have to go to the store immediately - or can you stop by your mom's first, go by Goodwill or someplace like that? 
So you can choose what you do and where you go??
Hmm ...
You see, you have more to be thankful for than you think.
After all, you could be in another, war-torn area like Syria, Afghanistan or Washington ...

So GIVE A LITTLE THANKS ... okay??  Okay!!!

Friday, November 20, 2015

TECHNO-PRISONERS!

As many of you know I'm writing these blog posts by way of a smartphone (at least until I can get another laptop).

Of course  that name's debatable I mean after all look at who's using this thing!)

And I'm also doing it by way of something called a "speech-to-text" engine - something  that was unheard of 20-30 years ago.
You know it's really interesting what these little rascals can do. From news to video games, music to social media, it can bring you just about anything you want
Oh - and you can even call on them, too!

Ah, but, Houston, we have a problem:

People are spending so much time looking down at their cell phones that they're actually becoming prisoners of their own devices I guess you call them "techno prisoners"; they get so hooked on those contraptions that their kids are invisible to them.
Of course, so are sidewalks, telephone poles and walking on ...

and, sadly, other drivers

But we're also becoming prisoners of techno music. Whether in elevators department stores or restaurants, we're surrounded by that stuff. Anything that can be plugged in and make a noise is considered music these days.

 Jim McGuinn of The Byrds once said that if you want to tell whether an act is good, unplug them and see if they can do just as well on acoustic.
But we're being force-fed that stuff no matter where we are. And it just doesn't work.






Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Goin' MAD ...

Awwww, who couldn't love that adorable little face on your left? Kind of cross between Alfalfa and George Bush, isn't he??

But Mr. Alfred E. Neuman (who looked a lot like me when I was young except for the freckles) headed up the (and teeth ... and hair ... and eyes ... ) great MAD Magazine™ -- and, along with parodies and spoofs, it had some of the craziest recordings you ever heard!

Sure, they were flimsy, paper-thin records that were stuck in the pages of special issues (remember, anyone?). My favorite was one whose backing track was a rip-off of a guitar instrumental called The Stinger, but was interrupted at times by ... loud BURPS! (and the EPA didn't say a word about their contributions to global warming!) It was really (hold on ... here it comes:) a GAS! (hey ... you were warned!)

More than that, though, came out of those inserts! In a 1968 issue, you could find fake record labels that you could stick on 45s to fool your friends: I AM A ROACH by "Slimy & Garfink" (on a realistic-looking Capitol Records label) and STRANGLERS IN THE NIGHT by "Frank Sinister" (same, but with Reprise Records!). Tres cool ...

While the "records" were cool, the entire magazine was considered "rock music set to cartoons." (This isn't to be confused with Archie or Josie and The Pussycats, which were cartoons set to rock music. Or Justin Bieber, which is both ...).

Of course, there were other "MadNesses" within its pages --  but one of publisher Bill Gaines' trademarks was that he wasn't afraid to confront issues of the day in a humorous way. The magazine was clean and upbeat - sort of a print version of Uncle Lloyd (in fact, we joked a bit about their similarities).

Today, you have so-called "humor" magazines, both in hard copy and online, that resort to the risque, filthy language, the gruesome or even violence - and they end up being anything but funny.

Considering all we've been going through lately (according to the news media), isn't it time we got back to the lean, clean, rib-tickling that drove us all pleasantly MAD??

Lord knows, we need it!!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

We Won't Stoop So Lowe ...

This past week the world experienced cowardly attacks that broke the hearts of millions upon millions of people around the world.
No, Rob Lowe, there's no humor in this (did you read his idiotic Twitter post?). In fact, the attack on Paris has only brought grief. And there's not much more we can say that hasn't already been said about this.
But for some B-list actor who's had his share of run-ins with the law and mocked them all, it's pretty sick to try and make a cheap joke just to get his name in lights again.
The French are a valiant and resilient people. Sure, they've had their downs as well as ups, but they've always come back strong.
They don't whimper or try to pass hard times as tasteless jokes like you've  been known to do.
As a result of this, they're flexing their collective muscle ... are showing their determination to rise above this.
In other words, terrorism is about to hear France ROAR!!
(Note to Obamanites: ARE YOU LIONS??  Or just a bunch of weak willed kittens on this?
Don't tell us ... SHOW us!!!!!!!

Friday, November 13, 2015

Friday the WHAT?!?

Wait a minute ...
I've just been informed this is Friday the 13th!!
All right ... all together now:

SOOO WHAT????

Normally it's a time reserved for black cats, spooky bats and Democrats. But how did we come up with it scaring the Dickenson out of all?
Read on, oh faithful frenzied followers of Fridays:

According to legend, the fear of Friday the 13th (proper name: friggatriskaidekaphobia) came about as a result of the Bible.
When the 12 apostles gathered for the Last Supper, Jesus appeared as the 13th person - and as we all know, He was marked for death.

In a similar Norse legend the 12 guests had a feast for the God Odin - one that was interrupted by an unwelcome 13th guest: Thor's mischievous and not-so-low-key brother, Loki.

Then in 1881 an organization called the 13 club started to dispel any negative association with the number. They did it by walking under ladders and throwing salt over their shoulders (I believe it wasn't until 1910 that they decided to take the salt out of the shakers before they threw it so nobody'd get clobbered!)

Besides it can't be all bad:
the accordion was patented on January 13th 1854, thus giving g employment to greats like Lawrence Welk and "Weird Al" Yankovic;
the Hollywood sign - one of the most famous symbols of moviedom - was unveiled on July 13th 1923;
,
And Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen were born on June 13th 1986. Who've been to Tinseltown.  And like "Weird Al" Yankovic ...

who plays the accordion.

Stay tuned.










Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Lloyd, Have Mersey!!

Anybody who knew Lloyd Thaxton also knew he had an affinity for rock acts from the U.S. side of the Atlantic. He dug Astronauts, Challengers, Raiders and Knickerbockers.
But he understood the boss sounds coming from Jolly Olde England and began to include some of their acts on his stage roster. (*Those guys on the left weren't on the show, though. See, he only wanted name bands on the show ...)

But, from Herman's Hermits to Yardbirds to Donovan, he made sure his kids frugged to the best of the UK.

There was no doubt that Uncle LL showed Mersey upon the crowd; even his antics seemed to mimic them (or did they mimic his? I'll get to that in a few mimics if I can ...)

Nonetheless, he was very keen on the era (natch!) and, later, became a fan of The Fore. See, he realized that Merseybeat was more than just music - it was actually good-time fun!
It's something that, a few months before his passing, we talked about. Of course, much of the field was going techno, with all kinds of doodads from synths to loops to AutoTunes and such. It just didn't seem like today's music ... well, was music!

He'd like some of today's sounds, though. In Liverpool, a band called The La's was building a tremendous fanbase until about four years ago, when they disbanded. Of course, there are others that are beginning to make headway on both sides of the drink who are beginning to show the same spunk and liveliness of the Merseysiders years ago.

Maybe we Auto Tune the autotune out, desensitize ourselves to de synthesizers, and make music a lot less loop-y. In other words, get back to the basics of it all ...

Whatcha think, yardbirds? (PS Those in the pic on the right were The Yardbirds, who appeared on The Lloyd Thaxton Show.)

Well, that's it for the moment, so ...





Monday, November 9, 2015

Lloud Byrds (aka Lloyd's BYRDen!)

Now, what we're going to do here is bring in some all-new material while kind of threading in some of the classic posts from TMC (the Mouse Clique - not The Movie Channel.  So don't touch that dial!!).
We kicked it off last time by whining ... er, telling you what happened to keep us off the air for awhile.  So, now, we're going to put it alll back together and into action:
Starting with ... the LLOUD BYRDS (aka LLOYD's BYRDEN)!!

Take our llivelly lleader LLoyd, mix in (one of my all-time fave groups) Jim (now Roger), Mike, Gene, Chris and David -- collectively known as The Byrds, and you've got yourself a story for the ages! Now, remember: those dudes loved to play it loud and live. And the show was set in a slightly-bigger-than-a-breadbox studio, so ... Wait a minnit. Here ... let the Man tell ya about it, in his own write (actually, it was on one of his own blogposts, but bears repeating). It's wild:

"As you know, most artists did lip-syncs to their songs on the show. It was easier than carrying loads of equipment around with them from show to show. However, the Byrds didn't know how to lip-sync and wanted to do their song live.
Now doing a song "live" on the show was difficult. Our show was live itself and being as we only had one stage (dance floor), we had limited time to set up a full band with all of their electronics.
Actually we had to do it all during a two minute commercial break. Now live set-up means (1) Clearing the stage of all the teen participants. (2) placement of the act on platforms (3) setting up the HUGE speakers (4) Doing a sound check for the audio person in the TV booth. During the two-minute break everything was going well until I noticed that all the group's amps were turned full UP. The Byrds looked like reasonable people so I told them it would be better if they turned the volume down. I said that this was not a auditorium but a small TV studio and their amps at full volume would overload our system, blow out the kid's ears and either knock us off the air or, in the least, make them sound over modulated and, to put it more simply, "AWFUL."
After a few, "But Man, we gotta have loud man," and "We won't be able to hear it Man," I did convince them that it would be to their best interests to 'TURN THE F------- VOLUME DOWN!!!!'
Sheepishly they complied. By that time the two minutes were up, we were back on the air and everyone was ready. I picked up my mike and said, "And here they are ... THE BYRDS!"
At that point each musician turned to their amps and cranked them up full volume and away they went.
I looked up at the engineer in the booth and saw his hair standing straight up. The show was live and I've always wondered how it sounded."


I appreciated the PS he included when he sent this story to me: "You wrote, 'It was when I decided to make music on my own ... man,' So I guess it turned out pretty darn good after all."

Groovy, huh? Lloyd, crew and kids survived ... and the sound came through the tubes like a dream!

Okay ... starting with our next visit, what do you say we start making the Mouse House a little more interactive?  Here's how we can do it, gang:
Just send in your fave moments from the show, meetings or coversations with  LL, or even comments on ThaxThings like Stuff Happens, Dawks or whatever (c'monnnnnn ... you can do it!). Let's get this blog all over the globe and North Dakota, okay?? Let's make it one that everybody can contribute to ...
You can send your comments in a plain, unmarked envelope or send them to me at the new chuck.hinson@zoho.com , okay?  (No, Cuzzin Gary ... you take them out of the envelope if you email them. Remember?)

Stay tuned ...

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

LOOOSELY!! I CAN 'SPLAINNNN!!!!

Taken from an old episode of "I Love Lucy", this title says it all ...
or some ...


ahem ...


maybe a little bit???




Anyway ...




You all know by now that I was the victim of a pretty bad theft and vandalism awhile back.  I've been trying to recoup (as opposed to initially couping, which I don't think is allowed online without a license ...), but it's been a little rough.


So far, making some pretty serious headway ... but still missing that one all-important piece of the puzzle:  a labtop (hey ... that's Uncle LL's way of putting it, not mine!).


But I do believe I'll have one by the time Windows 13 is released in 3-D ...




(seriously, it'll probably be the first of next week ...)






ANNNND ....




I've decided to cut down on the number of blogs I've had percolating for awhile.  Gotta trim things down so I can streamline it all ...






Howsomever (again, Uncle LL's word), this is the one I'm keeping intact ...


in honor and memory of a best friend, mentor and hero ...











(Yes, there's be more pictures, too!)




Anyway, thanks for hangin' in there with me.  It's all starting to smooth out now ...
and I'll be back in a few days to resume production ...
soooooooo ....








Friday, September 25, 2015

Okay, Here's What Happened ...

Gotta be brief with this because I'm usng a (gulp!) library computer!!

You see, on Sept 17, I was robbed of laptop, cash, files - the whole enchilada!
So I'm off-line for awhile, except for this LC (library computer, natch!). Just found out about this one yesterday.

But hang in there, folks ... as Beethoven once said, "I'LL BE BACH!!!!"

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

No Doubt About It ...


Nope. There's no doubt about it.

Anybody who knew Uncle LL could tell you that he had fun with the acts that appeared on his show (well, maybe except for The Byrds, but that's another story for another time ...).  Here he is, on the left, catterwaulin' with some up-and-coming singer from the 1960s (wonder whatever happen to him?  Did he ever have a hit record or something?)

Of today's acts, though, I've gotta give the nod to a young dude who would be right up Lloyd Thaxton's alley.  I mean, he has talent, charisma, presence, style and 50 cents in his pocket.
Nope.  There's no doubt about it:  Uncle Lloyd would book him in a heartbeat (so would the police, but that's another story ...) if he and his show were around today.

Take a look at this video coming up.  You people will have the time of your life, and go mad like the rest of us over the verve and musical genius of the great ... Nathan Persad (of the Persad Brothers.  Cheap plug ...)
You'll maybe even notice that I used the name of six magazines in the first sentence of this here paragraph!

So, without further ado (or adon't, or amight ...) here's the new clown prince of rock (the initials of which spell CPR, which it seems our over-technoed and over-loopy-looped music needs now) doing his hit from 1946, Clean Up My Act(actually, from 2004 - but who's counting?):


See what I mean? He would've been perfect for the show!
Heck ... he's perfect for music today!

Okay, that's it for now. Until next ish, 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!!


Sunday, July 19, 2015

By Request: NOTES FROM THE CHIEF

BY REQUEST, I have been asked to repeat one of the most popular posts - partly written by Unclle Lloyd himsellf. Honestlly, I wish allll of you had known LL, because he was trully the epitome of coollness (why the doublle ll's? Ask and ye shallll receive, y'allll! You see, it was a running gag with us: why was he bllessed with a name that had two "LL's" at the top, and what if the wholle worlld used doublle consonants instead of singlles?). So, without further ado-or-don't, here 'tis. Enjoy:

Y'know, when my own readers found out that I knew Lloyd Thaxton, their first response (after the obligatory "Soooo WHAT?" They weren't brushing me off ... they just remembered his famous teaser) was "He's still ALIVE?!?" (and, brother, he'll always be alive in our hearts. Can I get an AMEN?!?)
But, then, I told 'em about Uncle LL's blog, and told 'em that, for the mere price of an imaginary car, they could come on over and join in the fun and memories.

And many of 'em did! And, thus, they did enjoy the verbiosity that emanated from the inner being of one Lloyd E. Thaxton, Esq.

But, how did the original Mr. T. actually start blogging?
Here ... let 'im tell ya in his own words:

"I’m constantly asked why I spend time writing a blog. Who’s going to read it? By last count, there are over 23 million blogs on the web. 23 MILLION! Insurmountable odds? I’m optimistic. I Look at it this way: There are about 300 million people in the United States alone. Do the math. Divided equally, that computes to over 10 million readers for each blog. And, I’m just out to get my share.


Actually, I think my chances are pretty darn good. According to LA Times writer Patrick Goldstein, we are now a nation of niches. “Today’s action is with the country watching cable shows … that play to a specific audience.”
Specific audience? That’s my fans. The Lloyd Thaxton Show was always kind of a “niche.” It certainly played to a specific audience. And that makes me a real “son of a niche.”


It is said that the reason “American Idol” is such a big hit is because there is a huge niche out there that wants to be a member of a group, encouraged by their peers. What the “Idol” audiences love to see are others like them up there competing for fame and fortune. They see how they dance, sing, how they dress, and how they are treated with great respect. They even accept the occasional put-down from judge Simon Cowell as meaningful. “That could be me” is most likely the “Idol” fan’s mantra.

That, if you think about it, is what The Lloyd Thaxton Show was all about. We had our lip-sync contests, dance contests and each show was a showcase for the latest dances and “what-to-wear” on a date. Young people watched because they saw themselves up there joining in the fun. And, everyone was treated with great respect.

Still doing the math, I’ve figured that in the years the show was on the air, we had over 45 thousand dancing and performing teens on the show. And that was just the ones who were actually there, in person, live. Add to that the millions who were watching each show and we had a pretty substantial niche going for us.


According to Princeton University’s WordNet, niche is “a position particularly well suited to the person who occupies it.” In other words, a “clique.”
There is no doubt that the 60s represented a very unique period in history. Think about it. Civil Rights demonstrations and legislation, the Vietnam War, the draft, Woman’s Lib, the assassinations of John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Flower Children, Students for a Democratic Society, and Sex Drugs and Rock & Roll. The country has never been the same since.


Throughout this tumultuous time, The Lloyd Thaxton Show was there pumping out The Twist, The Beatles, James Brown, Surf music, Motown music, Top Forty and Rock and roll. And millions of kids were dancing to the music. It was the oasis in the midst of chaos; The calm during the storm. And according to the many letters I’ve received from the show’s fans, it gave a lot of people the confidence that everything would turn out OK. I, myself, am completely awed and humbled by it all.


So, back to the original question: why am I writing a blog? The answer is quite simple. I have a niche I just have to scratch. And so far I feel I have only scratched the surface. Judging by the hundreds of emails I have received, there is a substantial niche out there that wants to hash over a lot of cool memories."


So there you have it, Mouskiteers ... and it couldn't've been said any better than that ...


Hey, listen! Do you have any vids, .mp3s or memories you'd like to share about the boss? Just send 'em in to therockrelic@yahoo.com and we'll get 'em on here! Heck ... we'll even pay the postage for ya ...

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

HOLIDAY FOURTHCOMING!! Make it a sweet one ...

FOURTH OF JULY COMING! And, along with the cookouts, fireworks and everything that comes with it, how about adding a beautiful and scrumptious Holiday Cake to the festivities?? You'll love the extra touch!

That's what Mindy over at Got What It Cakes  will prepare for you! Imagine how good one of those cakes on your left would look on your table! And they're so meaningful! 



Here's what she has to say about it:



 WHO NEEDS A 4th of JULY CAKE?!!

If you're hosting a BBQ, attending a party, having friends over for fireworks, at the pool, etc., this cake is for you!!! 



You can pick from these three flavors:

Chocolate peanut butter cup

Caramel Apple Pie

Strawberries & Cream



You can choose from these three sizes:

6 inch (feeds up to 12 for $50)

7 inch (feeds up to 16 for $65)

8 inch (feeds up to 24 for $95)



And then choose your topper:

A "USA" (let us know the color, Blue or Red)

A blue star

A red flag



The cake will be covered in buttercream with red, white and blue sprinkles around the outside.

Pickup is on Friday July 3rd 10-3!



Email me at mandie@gotwhatitcakes.com

Got What It Cakes

www.facebook.com/gotwhatitcakes

www.pinterest.com/mandie_cakes







Now ... any questions?  Then, order today and have a fantastic (and very delicious) Fourth!!  Believe me, you'll appreciate its meaning and really love its look ... and taste!

You'll have a July 4th that you'll remember for years to come!!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Getting the Wool Cut ...

Now, there are a lot of shops where we guys can get our hair cut this summer (and who wouldn't like a cooler hairstyle during these sweltering days?), but there's one that just stands head-and-shoulders above the rest.

You see, there's more than just a "shave-and-a-haircut" at All-American Barber Shop in downtown Pineville - and their service is worth a lot more than "two-bits"!
Let me tell you a story that'll put this into perspective:

JUNE 1965: A teenager hesitantly walks into "McCoy's Barber Shop" in Pineville for a decent haircut. After all, it was getting too hot for his now collar-length hair to stay.

As he walked into the shop, he heard some of the townfolks chattering in the leather chairs on the left. Soon, "Bo" McCoy told him he was next and, while getting him prepped for the haircut, started a light conversation with him, smiling and reassuring him that he was going to look absolutely fine.
The down-home ambiance of the spacious barber shop, coupled with the friendliness of the barbers, just made it an enjoyable experience all the way around. When they were finished, that teen had a perfect haircut - and it didn't cost much at all!

JUNE 2015: The man who was that teenager had just returned to his hometown of Pineville and noticed that the old barber shop was open! He just had to go back in for a visit (though he'd had his now-balding scalp shorn a bit earlier).

Mr. McCoy was long gone, and the shop had gone through a few other hands over those fifty years. He wondered how the shop had changed.

But, as soon as he walked through the door, he felt the down-home ambiance still there! Sure, there were new leather chairs adorning the left wall, but everything else - even down to the black-and-white-checkered floor - was just as if it had been nearly frozen in time.

There was chatter from those chairs as new owner Anthony Williamson beckoned his next client up for a nice trim. While he was cutting the young man's hair, he started into a friendly banter with the client.

By the time he was finished, his client had a magnificent haircut that no other barber could even close to matching!

And the price? Unbeatable!!


So, if you need to get a good haircut - even just a trim - just come on by All-American Barber Shop at 319 Main Street (on your left, the first shop in the historic downtown district) and let Anthony provide you with the best one you'd ever hoped for. And be sure to check out and "like" them on Facebook, too!

You'll end up being a regular customer, for sure!!

SUMMERTIME BLUES-BEATERS

Okay ... who, in this magic land of the USofA, isn't half-melted by this ginormous heat wave that many of us (especially here in Charlotte) are having??
Everywhere I turn, I'm hearing people complain about the heat (in a way, it's funny ... they're the same ones who, just six months ago, were complaining about the cold! lol). But, as long as there are power grids and central cooling, air conditioners and ice cubes, we're going to be fine, right??

I have to admit it's a bit harder for us bald(ing) guys. You see, at least you furry folks have  something that'll absorb the sweat. All of us with only memories of hair have it harder, because that stuff comes straight down our foreheads and skis down our snoots -- leaving us with half-baked heads!

A few years ago, a local, big-name family restaurant realized their summer patrons were worn out by the heat -- and that meant smaller orders or just Coke or tea and nothing else.
So how to put the customers at ease so they'd order more, thus building the store's daily receipts? Simple:

They put winter music over their speaker system! Sure enough, people started feeling cooler (ahhh, the power of a brain! Or so I'm told ...), thus becoming friendlier and more at ease, which meant more (and bigger) orders!

Now, Uncle LL was one of ... no, he was the coolest teen host on television. Despite the lighting, the small nearly closet-sized studio (his words), all the equipment (from cameras to amps) and so many people on the set, he still made every home viewer feel relaxed and refreshed -- even on those sweat-stained days of summer!

Among the acts he'd had on the show were his musical counterparts, Paul Revere and The Raiders. Again, despite temps that could be so hot they could fricassee birds while in flight, Paul, Mark, Phil, Fang and Smitty made everything cooler and more enjoyable with their perfect blend of music and often-improvised humor.

Someone once asked "Why does it seem hotter now than it did back in the old days? Was Al Gore right after all, when he said our weather pattern's lost its rhythm?" Well, I never learned about Al Gore rhythm, so I can't figure that one out; but, you know, it wasn't so much that we were meteorologically cooler (and I'm still trying where "logically" fits into that weatherwise word);
we just had cooler times, acts ... and a teen-show host who kept it that way each weekday! Of course, when you feel more comfortable in your actions, you start reflecting that "coolness" physically! (so says Dr. Who and McDreamy, Ben Casey and Dr. Pepper -- and some real doctors, as well!)

They really knew how to beat these Summertime Blues -- and it's a shame that, in today's rock world, very few know how (or even care) to learn from those who made our lives so "cool" back then!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

It Can Suit You To A Tea!

TOTAL TEATIME PERFECTION IS FINALLY HERE!

Nestled among the shops in historic downtown Pineville, NC is one that offers pure, aesthetic teatime perfection! 

I've been there a few times before, and it is incredibly enriching and relaxing!

From the time you open the doors of Unwind Tea and Coffee Beans - where you're cordially greeted by Wendy (the owner) and with the relaxing aroma of exotic tea wafting around you - you'll realize you're in a special and welcome respite from the hectic everyday world. 

Unlike so many places these days, you'll find Unwind a simple, down-to-earth store where you can actually sit and relax for awhile (yes, they have sofas and chairs!).
They carry so many different kinds of tea (and take my word for it: you'll love their Madagascar Coconut.  Why, it actually tastes like coconut cream pie!), but they have special teas that can either pick you up or calm you down.


Honestly, with so many flavors (like Vanilla Mint Sencha or Sweet Orange), you'll think you've gone to tea heaven.

You'll find wellness teas (and these really work, too!), Relaxation Elixir, Detox and Digestion Tonics (and these are some of their favorites!) and so many more! 

In fact, she has a spot where you can even sample the tea of the week (this time, it was Passion Fruit Black Tea Iced - and it was sooo good that I had to sample it twice! lol  Her teas are totally delicious!!)

Of course, they carry a variety of coffees, too (hence the "... and Coffee Beans" in their name). 

You'll love the light-to-medium roast of "Happy Dog" (gotta love that name! lol), Hazelnut for those who like flavored coffee, decaf, half-caff and even Espresso! 

And did you know you can even have your child's birthday tea party there? Girls can make a tiara or jeweled necklaces and enjoy cupcakes and tea (like Strawberry Lemonade, Summer Berries, Root Beer or Vanilla Wafer). Why, Wendy will even host small bridal or baby showers, and the guest of honor can choose a combination of tea and cheese to share with attendees! 

Now, these showers are about one-and-a-half hours, and up to twelve guests (including the guest of honor) can be invited! She just asks you call the store at 704-889-TEAS (8327) for available days and times or send her an email (just check the "contact" page on Unwind's website).

Wendy also carries a line of very beautiful purses as well as lovely handmade jewelry items!

She really has an amazing and exotic line - and everything is priced to go easy on your wallet!

And she's on Facebook now, so be sure to follow Unwind Tea and Coffee Beans there! 

WHERE TO FIND THEM

You can get to this magical store by just going down Main Street in historic downtown Pineville and, just before you get to the railroad tracks, turn left on Dover Street.  It's at 109 Dover (you can't miss it!  Just look on the left for the logo on their blue awning):

So come on down and give your taste buds - in fact, your whole being - a treat, and visit them today!  Pick up some delicious tea or coffee while you're at it.  I guarantee you'll be refreshed, renewed - and will want to come back time and again!



Friday, June 12, 2015

Building On A Dream (It's Not Hard)


WELL, IT SEEMED LIKE A GOOD IDEA, SO ...

You know, one thing that Lloyd Thaxton believe in was the power of the "idea". He told me once that, when you get a solid, constructive idea, run with it - especially if it's something that will benefit others.

And that's exactly what a young lady in Pineville, North Carolina did!  Mandie Miller learned to bake at an early age, honed her skill by making delicious cakes for her friends' birthday parties and, in time,  crafted it into one of the best cake businesses in America!

Got What It Cakes  is actually located in a shopping strip called the Out Back Shops on Main Street, just a block from the historic downtown district of Pineville  (for you outsiders, it's just a mile south of Charlotte).  But her business has sparked the imagination of young cake-bakers nationwide and has earned the respect of thousands of others.
You see, if you scroll about a third of the way down her webpage, you'll find that she's been featured on TV shows like Katie Couric's, newspapers like the New York Times and magazines like Redbook and Better Homes and Gardens.
Through the videos and articles, you'll also find how she initially marketed her business and began to grow:  a tiny little, "blink-and-you'll-miss-it" place on the internet called ... Facebook!  (Have you ever heard of it?)

Now, while the company has gotten a lot of media exposure, you'd really appreciate the fact that Mandie and her workers are some of the friendliest, most humble people you'd ever want to meet!  Even though they're picking up a lot of wonderful clients, they make a point of making you feel like you're the most special of them all!
Set in a small but cheery little pink suite (or, considering their product, should I say "sweet"?) in the Out Back Shops, they're constantly busy creating their masterpieces (look at the one on your right.  Kind of makes you want to go back and have that first birthday again, just to get a piece of that creative-but-delicious cake, doesn't it?)  Imagine how remarkable your cake will be - whether it's for a wedding, birthday, new baby or any other occasion!

I mentioned Facebook a little earlier (it's where Mandie actually got her start with the business!).  But, if you want to know and see more of their beautiful cakes, just go to their Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest pages!
Any questions?  Then please go to their FAQ page - because, along with answering them, she'll also give you the best way to contact her (you see, besides being a dynamic baker and businesswoman, she's also a busy mom and wife.  But she wants to give you her undivided attention when it comes to discussing your order).  So be sure to visit that page too, okay?

So click on her page and links now, feast your eyes on the awesomeness of delicious perfection, and then place your order with Got What It Cakes!

She's just what Uncle Lloyd was talking about ...




Friday, June 5, 2015

Remember, We Have Been Warnered

Now, I've heard some crazy things that have gone on in music over the years, but this one really takes the cake!
No, I mean literally - or, if the Warner-Chappell music conglomerate has its way, will in the future.

You see,  they're trying to get one of our most-loved song - a 125-year-old ditty that's been in public domain (meaning, nobody has a copyright on it) for years - and buy its rights.

That means they could get somewhere in two million dollars in royalties.  Every time we sing it or download it for a very special occasion, we'll have to pay them royalties (or, at least, get their permission to use it, which means paying a nominal fee.  In other words, pay them royalties anyway ...) to use the song.

But it's just fourteen words, not counting two that you can personalize. And it's so repetitive!

Okay, so what does that have to do with cake?  Well, think about it for a minute:  When do you normally give a celebratory cake?  At weddings?  Retiree parties?  Or ... or ... birthdays??
Now, one of these cakes is usually presented while the partygoers sing a special song to the honoree.  For 1,000 points and the game,  tell me the name of the song.

(cue "Jeopardy" theme)

Right ... the big Warner group is trying to buy the rights to ... "Happy Birthday To You"!  

And, of course, that means a drop in birthday-cake sales in restaurants and served at parties.  Because nobody's going to dole out big bucks to that music org just for the privilege of singing/playing it/hearing it played.

If they succeed with their plan, just remember: You were warnered here first!

TRIBUTE TO A KING

As many of you know, we lost two great Kings of music recently: the great blues legend, B.B. King - and the popular blues/pop icon, Ben E. King.
Ben E. was one of Uncle Lloyd's favorite guests when he appeared on the Lloyd Thaxton Show.  In fact, LL gave me an inside look at what he was like between show segments (and, back then, they were always broadcast live!).  He said that Ben E. was one of the most courteous, humble and fan-friendly acts he had on the show!
Though he was best known for his megahit, Stand By Me, he also sang lead on the Drifters' hit, Save The Last Dance for Me and also charted with Spanish Harlem (which became a standard with a lot of early groups).
That was the man that Uncle LL respected and enjoyed - as well as millions of other fans.





Sunday, May 31, 2015

The Origin of the Mouse Clique

EDITOR'S NOTE:  This is a post that I ran a long while back - but, since we've just opened the doors to the Mouse House again, I thought it'd be cool to introduce newcomers to The Origin Of The Mouse Clique.

Well, somebody had to ask it, and it just happened to be Mousekateer-in-training Josh out of Schennecti ... um, Schenetic ... uh, Great Neck, NY. He wrote in and asked "Why do you call it the 'mouse clique' anyway?"

Well, Josh, the idea (and name) actually came from LL himself. But it started a little differently. Here ... pull up a chair, grab your Fritos and lemme tell you what happened:

You see, Uncle Lloyd had gazillions of fans who (rightfully) loved him. And, let me tell ya, he loved every single one of them back! In fact, he wanted a way to interact with this amazing fan base.

Sooooo, it came to pass that the Great Blog, Spot, smiled upon him, thus he created his own space, appropriately named Lloyd Thaxton, upon the Blog, Spot's, grounds (in other words, he had a blog here in the Blogspot network).

As the mighty webside powers-that-be publicized his name-and-blog, he saw that, from hither and yon (two small towns outside Schenectady Hey! I learned to spell it!!) came fans who read his writes with fervor. Or a soda. And they began to leave "comments", to which he happily replied.

So many came, in fact, that he decided to call them his "Mouse Pack". But, since that was reminiscent of the famed Vegas Rat Pack of Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford, Joey Bishop and a guy named Sinatra, he changed the name to The Mouse Clique; after all, you got to his site by the click of your computer's mouse, and the fans were fast becoming friends one with another, thus: a clique!

Though Uncle Lloyd left us a few years ago, his story and legacy continues! Since Aunt Barbara (LL's loving wife) gave me her blessings to manage the mouse menagerie, it's been my privilege and absolute honor to keep the Mouse House open for all his fans and friends (with encouragement from the Great Co-Cheeser himself, Gary Belich). Its goal is to not only run stories about LL and his fab Lloyd Thaxton Show but to also touch on other topics, just like he did.

Now that you know, how about going out and telling your friends about this blog, okay?? If you've got an interesting story, thought, remembrance or $20 in unmarked bills, just send them in (just kidding about the twenty, btw. I don't have change. Mouses don't have pockets, remember?) and we'll be glad to print them here.

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You see, they take a lot of pride in creating the home of your dreams - and to your exact specifications. We offer eye-pleasing, professional painting of interiors, exteriors, cabinets and decks - and all at budget-friendly prices. (That includes quality pressure-washing and gutter-cleaning, by the way.)

So, if you live in the Charlotte/Pineville, NC area, be sure to make the Nu-Visions decision today! You'll find us just down the street, where price, quality and neatness meet. Or simply call (704) 605-7897 to schedule a free consultation and estimate today!

Now, more in just a bit, so ..



Stay tuned ...

The Psychology Behind The Beatles

They were just four moptop lads from Liverpool, making some rock-n-roll with their guitars, drums and a lot of hair-shaking, huh?

But wait ... maybe there's more to The Beatles than we thought!

Recently, studies were undertaken that show the Fab Four's early rockers are excellent remedies for non-clinical depression (of course, we Beatlemaniacs already know that. Still, it's nice to have some high-falutin' 'studies' confirming that for us, right??)

Here's what they found:

Whenever someone is feeling down and out-of-sorts -- maybe due to a job loss, broken relationship, misunderstanding or just the everyday "blahs,"-- listening to Fab Four rockers like Please, Please Me, Little Child, A Hard Day's Night, Back In The USSR and others help to release the endorphins necessary to relieve the stress and negativity within us.

But what qualities within their songs actually trigger this relief? Largely, repeated phrases or lyrics, a specific and steady rhythm guitar, vocal tone (especially, for some reason, John Lennon as opposed to the others), consistent song speed (4/4 is better than 2/8 or fragmented) and, of course, liveliness of the tune.
Of course, the volume with which these are heard, and their frequency are of importance. Usually, listening to them first in the morning, then at the pinpoint times of 11 AM, 2, 7 and 11 PM (according to some psychologists, these are the times when emotions become more intense), can be of tremendous help.

Gotta throw in a warning here, though: if you're feeling consistently down, it's best to consult your doctor, as there could be a physical or chemical problem behind it.

UPDATE: Here's a key to the Beatles' mesmerizing rhythm: John would intentionally keep his low "E" string slightly out-of-tune (partly out of respect for his mum, Julia, who tuned it that way when he was a lad), so the resulting (slight) dischord was more quickly absorbed by the subconscious. That accented the entire song pattern and caused our subconscious (which is normally trained to accept the norm) to perk up, notice and respond to the entire song.

This is just to help out a bit. The Beatles -- forty+ years after their official split -- breaking new ground.

Imagine.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Heyyy, Bo Diddley ...


It’s inevitable:

Almost every week, I either get email or someone stopping me to ask how a band got a specific beat. And, whether it's in the Strangeloves' I Want Candy, Deep Purple's Hush or Iggy Pop's Lust of Life, there's one that stands out in everyone's minds.

You see, the famed Bo Diddley Beat came from the artist himself, blues legend Bo Diddley (Elias McDaniel), who passed away in June of 2008.

Many of his signature songs were known by their jungle-like rhythm pattern. And, since he introduced that rhythm in 1955, it seemed hundreds of artists (in country, hip-hop and even gospel) began patterning some of their material after this man and his beat.

HERE’S HOW HE GOT IT: The style actually stems from early forms of Latin and Afro-Cuban rhythms (clave) that came from their respective countries.

To drive home the actual sound of the beat: This rhythm was also used for years as the playful music knock, “Shave and a Haircut”,… “Two Bits”.

HOW TO PLAY IT:

It's a simple beat to learn but, most important, you gotta make it swing!

Play singles from hand to hand on the floor tom accentuating the clave (top line) below. Bass drum can match the clave or play “4 on the floor” (bottom line). Guitarist and/or bass player will play simultaneous lines so it is important to keep a steady tempo to be in sync with them.
Use the afro-cuban son clave below as your foundation. For those that don’t read, it’s:

23clave
1 (2) and (3) 4 - (1) 2 3 (4)

Variations:

Many drummers play this beat on the floor tom as mentioned above.
Others play it as a rudimental snare groove (New Orleans style) and still
others play the Bo Diddley beat within a standard, syncopated rock groove on drums.

Examples (Songs)

Not Fade Away - Buddy Holly, Rolling Stones
Willie & the Hand Jive - Johnny Otis Show
I Want Candy - Strangeloves
Women are Smarter - Grateful Dead
Magic Bus - The Who
She’s the One - Bruce Springsteen
Faith - George Michael
Desire - U2