Monday, December 26, 2016

In Lennon's Own Words ....

NOTE: While everybody's still recovering from Christmas (and I've been bogged down in other work), I thought I'd replay this "golden oldie" about how the Fab Four actually became the most celebrated band in the universe.  And who better to tell it than John Lennon himself?:

(In other words, here's the story of the rise of The Beatles, as actually written by John Lennon many years ago):

"And so it was that the John (he of Lennon ancestry) wrote upon the magic tablets of FatBoy the storied story of Beatledom (as was told by him):"

"Once upon a time there were three little boys called John, George and Paul, by name christened. They decided to get together because they were the getting together type. When they were together they wondered what for after all, what for? So all of a sudden they grew guitars and fashioned a noise.
Funnily enough, no one was interested, least of all the three little men.
So-o-o-o on discovering a fourth little even littler man called Stuart Sutcliffe running about them they said, quite 'Sonny get a bass guitar and you will be alright' and he did - but he wasn't alright because he couldn't play it. So they sat on him with comfort 'til he could play. Still there was no beat, and a kindly old man said, quote 'Thou hast not drums!' We had no drums! they coffed. So a series of drums came and went and came.

Suddenly, in Scotland, touring with Johnny Gentle, the group (called the Beatles called) discovered they had not a very nice sound - because they had no amplifiers. They got some.

Many people ask what are Beatles? Why Beatles? Ugh, Beatles, how did the name arrive? So we will tell you. It came in a vision - a man appeared on a flaming pie and said unto them 'From this day on you are Beatles with an 'A'. Thank you, mister man, they said, thanking him.

And then a man with a beard cut off said - will you go to Germany (Hamburg) and play mighty rock for the peasants for money? And we said we would play mighty anything for money.


But before we could go we had to grow a drummer, so we grew one in West Derby in a club called Some Casbah and his trouble was Pete Best. we called 'Hello Pete, come off to Germany!' 'Yes!' Zooooom. After a few months, Peter and Paul (who is called McArtrey, son of Jim McArtrey, his father) lit a Kino (cinema) and the German police said 'Bad Beatles, you must go home and light your English cinemas'.
Zooooom, half a group. But before even this, the Gestapo had taken my friend little George Harrison (of speke) away because he was only twelve and too young to vote in Germany; but after two months in England he grew eighteen and the Gestapoes said 'you can come'.
So suddenly all back in Liverpool Village were many groups playing in grey suits and Jim said 'Why have you no grey suits?' 'We don't like them, Jim' we said, speaking to Jim.

After playing in the clubs a bit, everyone said 'Go to Germany!' So we are. Zooooom Stuart gone. Zoom zoom John (of Woolton) George (of Speke) Peter and Paul zoom zoom. All of them gone. Thank you club members, from John anf George (what are friends)."


Gee ... does anybody have an idea of what happened next??

Actually, what we're lookin' at, yardbirds, is exactly what real rock 'n roll (y'know, just for once, I'd like to hear Elmer Fudd say those words!) is all about: ENTHUSIASM! Ya can't imagine John sittin' back in some fancy, cushioned chair, pipe in hand and a cuppa Earl Grey beside him, pondering "What shall I include to properly convey the evolution of blahblahblah?"

Nope. John Lennon (he who gave up WInstons for another brand. Should I speak of what is was? OOOONo!) just had fun with it ... energized it ... made it interesting. Those traits, combined with the musical ones I've given over the past few posts and John's bit of "history" above, came together, right then, over him, to form the greatest band the world has ever known:

Monday, November 28, 2016

Lessons Learned from Lennon

It's sad, really ...

I just heard a reporter say, "It only took a few shots from a madman's gun to destroy the dream of John Lennon".

Is he kidding??

Look ... while we all remember that fateful Monday night in December, 1980, we also realize that, though Chapman killed the man who was Legend, he completely missed the legacy ... one that lives on to this day. And lessons that we learned thanks to Lennon's short life:

From the Fab Four's pre-fame days, we learned the value of perseverance -- don't give up on your dream, your goal -- ever! Oh, you might have to tweak them a little to get what you want, but, if it's an honorable goal, don't give up!

From his days as a Beatle, we learned to make our own kind of music. Okay, maybe it doesn't sit well with some hard-nosers -- but, if it's honorable, if it makes a point -- and if it's you, go ahead and play it, no matter what you do in life.
We've learned to develop a sense of impish humor. After all, it is LIFE we live -- so show it. I don't know of anyone who was harmed by Lennon's wit ...

He also showed us to be honest, even if it costs you a little. He said (and rightly at the time) that The Beatles were "more popular than Christ", and society bristled. Beatle bonfires were everywhere -- and even a faux assassination "prank" occurred during their show in Memphis, Tenn. in 1966. But, as we all know, John recovered from that (as did Paul, George and Ringo) and created a new and exciting chapter in rock music with the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club album. They only became greater ...

While he had his troubles in the Seventies, he also taught us to speak up -- become an activist for change! Sure, he got Nixon's attention -- but he also inspired young people from around the world to stand up and be counted -- and not back down!

He taught us about the importance of dads being as involved in raising their children as the moms are (his five years as "househusband" to help raise Sean); how to finally beat an addiction (preferring -- behind Yoko's back, he would jest -- chocolate to cocaine); and how to change for, reconcile with and truly love your spouse!

John was truly a "Working Class Hero" -- an Everyman who'd made his mark on the world with fame given by millions of fans, and paid them back with the ultimate compliment -- by becoming one of them rather than another untouchable celebrity darling ...



Thursday, November 24, 2016

HAPPY EVERYBODY, THANKSGIVING ... or something ...

Had a little trouble getting to this blog's edit page, so everything's running just a little behind. But, since it's Thanksgiving and just now was able to get onboard again, I just wanted to share this with you. HAPPY THANKSGIVING, EVERYBODY!!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

It's Gotta Be Said ...


Well, looks like someone’s finally decided to study it:

According to a recent research by extra-marital dating site IllicitEncounters.co.uk (geez … they’ll have anything on this internet these days!) sex and rock’n’roll really do go hand in hand.

Basically, it says that rock fans are more likely to … er, “step out” on their partners (somehow, I’m faintly hearin’ the strains of Paul Revere and the Raiders’ Steppin’ Out ...). A poll of their 310,000-strong membership showed that 37% of their male and female, er, philanderers called rock their favorite genre of music.

In comparison, 20% of them dig pop and R&B,
19% favor dance music (how could you if Lawrence Welk is runnin’ through yer mind?  You’d be asleep before ya even tried …) and
17% are fans of blues and jazz.

And (get this!) three percent said their favorite was … Christian or Gospel music!

“This shouldn’t come as a surprise, really.” says site representative Sarah Hartley. “Rock music has been associated with sex since the 50s. Lots of prominent rock stars - Mick Jagger, Debbie Harry - oozed sex appeal.

“Many of our members in in their late 30s/early 40s, so would have grown up listening to pioneering bands like Aerosmith, Blondie, AC/DC and Fleetwood Mac. This may explain why so many of them are rock music fans.” (obviously, she was a child of the '70s)

Suuuuuuuure … blame it on the music, why dontcha?
Anyone ever hear of that little word "hormones?" 
Hey … get some married dudes with money in a dimly-lit bar late at night, half-crocked, with some very well-endowed young floosies who are equally drunk, and it wouldn’t matter if they were listenin’ to cats throwin' up hairballs — someone’s gonna end up … er, wellll … you know the answer …

Now, since this research was done, there's been a new format introduced to listeners (though I hesitate to call it "music").  Filled with autotunes and synthesizers to enhance the voice or fake an instrument, and with "sampling" to make the whole recording process cheaper and quicker, this "techno" nonsense is about as legit as Ben Franklin's pic on a one-dollar bill.  It's still just worth pennies.

Enhanced presentation.  Fake parts.  Cheaper and quicker.
Sounds like those "young floosies" I mentioned ...
Wonder what kind of music they listen to?

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Baby-Boomer Blamin'

EDITOR'S NOTE: We'll return to SOUND EFFECTS - the true history of rock in the next post. For now, let's take a breather and do some ciphering:

Didja read in the USA Today™ where some of the other generations -- fore and aft -- are blaming the "baby boomers" (aka "us") for the problems we're having in the world??

According to a recent Gallup Poll of 1,011 adults who were reached by phone (I ask you: have you ever been contacted by these number-crunchers? Thought so. Neither have I ...), 39% say we've made things worse for our kids; 37% say we're "selfish" and 41% say we're too idealistic.

But, wait a minute: Isn't that the same as saying a Yugo (remember those? The cars that shoulda been called Itmightgo? The ones who come with replacement hamsters for the motor?) failed because "after all, it's a ... (nose stuck up in the air) CAAAAAR!!"?

Let's take a closer look at the stats, okay?:

Ummm ... didja notice that this graph came from the same source as the article that dissed us?? And, somehow, it seems the graph reflects the positive we've accomplished!

Gee ... for a generation that witnessed the assassinations of JFK, Robert Kennedy, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King, Jr., caused the political unrest that changed a country's thought-processes, saw men walk on the moon, risked the draft into the Vietnam War, fought in the War as well as fought against it in anti-war protests, brought civil, environmental, women's, youth voting and other rights to the forefront, saw President Nixon's resignation, went to Woodstock and similar music festivals, rocked to the sounds that changed music history, from The Beatles to Jimi Hendrix, I think, all-in-all, we've done pretty good, Mousers. So hold your heads up proudly and ...

stay tuned ...

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Protesting Opinions

Okay, so it's been less than a week since Mr. Donald J. Trump was elected to be our next President.

Since then, there have been protests - even full-scale riots - in the streets of major cities, all because people aren't pleased with the outcome of the election.

Now, whether it's due to a dislike of the President-elect or media involvement (and it did seem they were more pro-Clinton, didn't they?  Witness the reporter who, upon her exit from an early voting post, asked an  Hispanic voter "Did you vote for Clinton or against Trump?"  Yes, the old "trick" question that schoolkids played on each other to bully them.  The poor lady got confused but answered "against Trump".), the protests are the most ridiculous knee-jerk displays of ignorance this writer has ever seen.

Why?  

Wellll ...

(1)  They're responding only to what they've heard on the media (Chicken Noodle Network, Messy NBC, and, er, Fox) - all of whom were obviously supporters of Hillary Clinton (some have even said her campaign paid them off to promote her).

(2) No matter how large or violent these protests become, none of them will be big enough to change the situation and bring Mrs. Clinton into office! Besides, it's a little premature to start all the "protesting" hullabaloo.  After all, Mr. Trump hasn't even taken the oath of office yet!  Geez ...

(3) We have a system of checks and balances in Washington (actually, it starts at the state level) that helps to keep our President and other politicos in tow.  That being said, it's highly unlikely that Trump will become the "dictator" that some expected (by the way: didn't they think the same thing would happen with Obama?  Or with Bush?  But it never happened, thanks to the c&b I mentioned.)

For decades now - and through good Presidents and those we've condemned for whatever reason - we've sidestepped the Armageddons, apocalypses and widespread destruction that so many had foreseen.  We still wake up in the morning, have our coffees and breakfasts, go to work, pull a decent wage, then come home to relax.  On Sundays, we go to church or visit families.  And all this without being stopped for random ID checks or with gunfire going on around us.

So count the blessings you do have ... embrace the freedom going on around you ... and give the new Trump Administration a chance to show us what it can do!  Who knows?  With the checks and balances mentioned in (3) above, it's very possible that the tide will change and this country will benefit more ...

Just goin' to haveta see ... so be patient, okay?

Monday, November 7, 2016

Something To Think About ...

TOMORROW, millions of Americans will be heading to the polls to vote for the person they hope will make the better President.

Now, what if we learn (worst case scenario) that the other party won ... and we're stuck with him or her at the helm for the next four years?

As Lloyd Thaxton would say, "Sooooo WHAT?!?"

Beginning with THE VERY NEXT MORNING,
we'll still awaken, free and with no restraints ...
the sun will still peek over the horizon ...
there'll still be no violence or gunfire outside our windows.
We'll still enjoy our morning coffee ...
have breakfast, go to work as we always have.
Gas and grocery prices are still (roughly) the same,
the traffic's normal ...
We can still chat on social media ... even (gasp!) by phone if we want.

On Sundays, we can go to church and worship as we please,
then drive out to visit a relative in another county or state
without being stopped and asked for travel permits ...

In other words: Whether Clinton or Trump or the man-in-the-moon wins, life is gonna go on just as it always has!!  

Listen ....
we're Americans here ...
a free, innovative, fearless people ...
and xx candidate isn't going to change
what we do on a daily basis ...
what we're thinking ...
who we're close to ...
or anything else.

So, if your candidate doesn't win, don't let it get you down!  THERE WILL BE NO APOCALYPTIC "DOOM-AND-GLOOM!" Your everyday business will continue as usual ... your friends and family will still be there for you, and you for them ... 

AND WE, FOR EACH OTHER ...













Tuesday, November 1, 2016

SOUND EFFECTS - the first records


Inspired by that invention, Emile Berliner created the first marketable record player – the gramophone – in 1887. This machine made it possible for different acts to record their music on flat discs. Now anyone who purchased a gramophone could listen to their favorite artists whenever they wanted.
While the actual invention itself sold for $200, the records were relatively cheap: just one to four dollars, depending on the artist. Of course, today’s music is recorded and transferred by newer, more portable methods, so the old 78 RPM gramophone records have become collectors’ items. Some, from recording artists like “The Hillbilly Cat” (an early Elvis Presley), are said to be worth thousands of dollars!


In 1907, Thaddeus Cahill, an inventor from Ohio, created a contraption called the telharmonium. Without question, this was the first true electronic instrument and could mimic and amplify different orchestral sounds. Though it was big and bulky (7 to 200 tons, depending on the version), it was seen by many as the wave of the future. Of course, something like this couldn’t go unnoticed, and soon musical bands of all sizes wanted their guitars or pianos amplified like Cahill’s invention. But, due to its size and heavy power consumption, interest in the huge instrument itself had all but died out by 1912.

By the late Twenties, both country and Hawaiian music had become popular, but bands noticed their acoustic centerpieces – the steel guitars – couldn’t be heard over the other instruments.
So, in 1932, inventors George Beauchamp and Paul Barth tinkered with putting electronic "horseshoe pickups" on an a portable model of the instrument. The result was the “frying pan” lap steel guitar – so-called due to the round shape of its aluminum body. Then, with the help of their partner, Adolph Rickenbacker, they began commercially producing the first electronic model. Soon, these guitars began to carry their company’s new name – Rickenbacker – as their brand.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

SOUND EFFECTS of a generation


Mousers, I began introducing this book on my other site - but, since we have so many visitors to the Mouse House with every update, I decided to continue it here.
Besides, Uncle Lloyd was so interested in the makin's of the music, that it oughtta be in tribute to him, anyway.
That being said, stay tuned here every few days for the continuing story of rock's SOUND EFFECTS:


INTRODUCTION

By 1965, rock and roll was criticized as being "white bread music" - tasteless, a little bland and mostly for white audiences.

"White bread music"?

If you want to stick with the analogy, this book will prove that our music was more like whole wheat - more substance, better ingredients (a mix of brown and white ones) and also more filling. It also stayed fresh longer!

While I intended Sound Effects to be a serious look at rock history, along the way it also turned into a musical archaeological dig – during the research, I uncovered some new and surprising facts about the creation of the music. Most you’ll see here, and in the following posts, for the first time, but these tidbits have all been checked and re-checked for authenticity.

No one can dispute that the evolution of rock and roll caused a complete change in the way we look at music. But it did more – much more – than that. In fact, it was the music's fan base that contributed to lowering of the voting age from 21 to 18 and breaking down racial barriers. It was even partly responsible for the end of a devastating war in Southeast Asia.
But the whole shebang started over seventy years before The Beatles first set foot on American soil!

And that’s where the story begins …

Rock and Roll didn't start in the 1950's – or even in the 20th Century!

Actually, it was a lot earlier than that. You see, rock's first seeds were planted some sixty years earlier, in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Ships would rock and sway during fierce storms, and sailors would have to combat panic as they secured their cargo. As you can imagine, this made for a hot topic whenever they’d write home.
Now, among the sailors were African-American recruits who would tell their families about it in a particularly creative way. The words they most often used were that the ships were "rocking and rolling"!
When their tours of duty were over, they would go back home to their Spirit-filled churches, where congregations would sway and move to the music of the choirs. This surprised the sailors, who saw the resemblance to their ships' turbulence: they said they were ...“rocking and rolling”!
 Before long, it became a catchphrase to describe the music of spiritual and Pentecostal services.
So the basics that have followed the growth of the rock beat for over a century were established in those little churches of 120+ years ago: Movement, inspired by the lively vocal and instrumental music, made the congregations do just as it did future audiences: rock and roll!!

The first vocal recording was made before the Civil War!

Surprisingly, the first recording of a human voice occurred in France on April 9, 1860. A few words from the folk song “Au Clair de la Lune" were sung into what was called a “phonautograph". It engraved sound waves onto a sheet of paper that was blackened by the smoke of an oil lamp. Seventeen years later, inventor Thomas Edison created the phonograph cylinder, a tube-like recording that could be played on a “graphophone”.

Here's what the very first recording sounded like:


More to come in a few days (including the first electronic instrument - all 200 TONS of it!), so ...

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.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Not Exactly HITS, But Close ...

Got a question:  Have you ever run across an old rock-n-roll ditty, so bad that, whenever you'd put it on the turntable, the stylus left the record of its own accord? Okay, then ... consider this a request test:

What's the worst rock song that you've ever heard?

To get you started, here are a few of my all-time non-faves: (EDITOR'S NOTE:  This does not reflect on the performers themselves.  Certainly, they were nice people - but their choice of material wasn't the greatest here)

 IT'S NICE TO BE ALIVE by Kip and Ken (the "B" side of the Righteous Brothers' soundalike, Trouble With A Woman). Geez ... it just sounded goofy: "The way you look, the way you smell-mell-mell/ the way you make me feel so well-well-well ..." It was like our parents wrote it to get back at us for listenin' to the good stuff ...

DECK OF CARDS by Wink Martindale. Now, Wink's a great guy and fantastic announcer, but there are some who say he had no business being in the recording studio for this one! Noted by many polls as being "the worst rock record of all time."

TURKEY TROT by Ian and the Zodiacs. This fab Liverpool group, who gave the world Livin', Lovin' Wreck, a cool version of Gershwin's It Ain't Necessarily So and was once touted as the only British band that could've given The Beatles a run for their money, really screwed up with this old rag. The bridge was "Shoo, shoo, gobble-gobble-diddley". Sheesh ... how long did it take to write that filler?

SOMEBODY'S BEEN MESSIN' (WITH MY THING) by The Isley Brothers. A song that was never heard on mainstream radio (though they were true icons of rhythm-and-blues), it had lyrics that were a little ... uh, suggestive, to put it mildly. They were simple, a bit redundant ... but made a lot of teen boys think about ... welllllllll, you knowwwwwwww ...  (soul legend Maxine Brown covered this, and the flip side of her 45 was the instrumental backing to the song - which, I'll admit, was totally solid!)

DOWNTOWN by Mrs. Elva Miller. Though she was considered a "novelty" act (according to author Amy Wallace, her singing voice was compared to "roaches scurrying across a trash can lid."), this song actually made it into the Top 100! Still, she should've been "Nearer, My God, To Thee" and "Farther Away from Rock Music than ever". Nonetheless, she sang for US servicemen in Vietnam, performed at the Hollywood Bowl and guest starred on numerous television shows during her career.

Any others out there? I'm lookin' for "tunes" between the years of 1956 and 1969, mostly. Give me a shout-out if you've got one to get outta your head ... and I'll print 'em here.



THIS WAS WRITTEN before the age of rap and techno hit us.  Considering today's music (or an unreasonable facsimile thereof), we now have a vast selection of songs that make ya shake your heads, block your ears and scream "TURN IT OFF!!!!"







Monday, October 24, 2016

The Greatest Teen Show



Beyond any/all doubt, Uncle Lloyd's show was the greatest of its kind on terra firma (ie, "earth".  Look out your window for an example ...)
Man, when I knew that program was coming on, 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 mic 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 saw something remarkable:  Unlike so many other interviewers, Lloyd could get past any shell that said "STAR" and brought out that part that said "...ALSO A HUMAN BEING LIKE ANYBODY ELSE!"

To me, 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!

I know for a fact that, though Lloyd's been away from us for awhile, the magic that he spun here on earth has influenced countless thousands with the pure spirit of what life itself was all about ... and that will make him "number-one-with-a-bullet" on this writer's Top 40 List for years to come.

Rock on, my friend!!

TUNING UP

Just about everyone who's played an electric guitar knows that, occasionally, it'll get out of tune - the most embarrassing time is when you're onstage and heading into a solo.  You have a choice of providing some kind of "quick fix" or wincing as you play, stretching the string to fit the rest of the chord.
But if you need to know how to tune an electric guitar in a flash, just click the link you passed a second ago. At the push of a button, you'll be able to play in perfect pitch - and give the audience the sound it deserves while you're basking in the satisfaction of a perfectly-tuned guitar.
So, if you're a musician, what are you waiting for?  Check out the site that will put your worries and on-stage jitters to rest - and order your AT-200 today!

Breaking News ...

Now, most of you know that it's not my bag to report the news on this little blog of ours. But even an old Relic has his opinion on things that go "bump" in the night, so we're gonna give it a quick shot here ...

but with a twist!
(Btw, speakin' of "twists":  Remember the old dance by the same name?  Today, they have some kind of doohickey on the market that you have to stand on and "twist" to make it work.

Anyway - before Chubby Checker popularized it, the dance was promoted by the song's writer, Hank Ballard, after watching his band's members grinding out cigarette butts with their shoes!

Hey ... he put two and two together and figured "This would make a nifty dance!")
Thus, you had the song ... and the craziness that followed.

ON TO BUSINESS:

Election selections:  This year, we have a couple of high-strung names running for the top office here in America.  And, in one of the craziest moves we've heard in forever, some celebs are saying that if a certain candidate wins (not gonna call names here, but it's a man ...), they'll move to Canada.

To paraphrase a quote from Batman (Adam West variety): Poor, deluded children!

Look ... it doesn't matter whether Trump, Clinton, Johnson or Vermin Supreme won the election, it should never be a reason for people to give up their citizenship. I mean, this is the land that's provided them the freedom, peace, dignity, affordability and opportunity (in some cases, even fortune and/or fame) that 100% of people want.
Besides, running away from what you perceive to be a problem never, ever solves it!  And you sure as the dickens can't solve it on someone else's turf ...

The Matter of Life:  Man, I've heard the slogans until they've come out my not-so-little ears: (FILL-IN-THE-BLANK) LIVES MATTER!

To paraphrase a quote from Homer Simpson: D-UH!

That statement (no matter which group, race, creed, color or musical taste uses it) is as obvious as saying "rain is wet" or "it's dark at midnight."
Mind if I give just a little bit of advice on this one??  Thanks:

If you believe in that "Such-and-so Lives Matter" movement, then show it:
SHOW SOME RESPECT FOR EACH OTHER!
STOP KILLING THOSE OF YOUR OWN, NO MATTER WHAT YOUR COLOR OR BELIEF!
TALK IT OUT, RATHER THAN FIGHT IT OUT!!
BE CONSTRUCTIVE, NOT DESTRUCTIVE!!


It goes back to what we talked about in the first section of this post:  We're all Americans, for cryin' out loud!!   And it's a team effort that keeps us together;

So let's make the best of it, okay?

Stay tuned ...



Sunday, October 23, 2016

A,D,E,C,F,G



AIN'T NOTHIN' BUT THE BLUES  

Awhile back, I had the privilege of getting a post response from an old friend of mine who reminded me that Rock N Roll really started with the blues.

And he’s 100% right!! Here ... let me take a second to tie it in with what Matt said:

From the Mississippi Delta to the streets of Chi-Town (Chicago), the hard, mournful chords of a plain “box” (acoustic) guitar served as a backdrop to the plaintive, soulful wails of streetcorner blues artists. Their songs would echo the sadness, sweat, strain — and sometimes tragicomedy — of a hard-workin’ life.
After the Second World War, the euphoria we felt gave birth to a new, more upbeat style called "jump blues".  That, Mousers, was the direct ancestor of our genre.

A few decades ago, I had a friend who played with legendary bluesman Big Bill Broonzy, and asked him what the basic blues chords were.

He looked at me like “I don’t believe you just asked that!” then burst out in a booming laugh.

“Chuck, there ain’t no “basic chords” in the blues, man!” He picked up an old Kay guitar he was using and continued,
“Look a-here … you feel kinda good, ya might do a little sweet stuff, like this!” And he played some soft, almost angelic chords.

“But,” Sammy continued, “let’s us say yer wife done left ya for some UHHH-gly man. Whatcha gonna do?” He immediately hit the chords like he was gonna break ‘em! A “G”, an “A”, a “C” …

Then he put the guitar down, pulled out a toothpick to suck on, and said, “If they’s any ‘chords’ you could call ‘blues’, jus’ stick with them ‘big three’. Yep … ‘A, D, E’ or … ‘C, F an’ G’. Ever’thang starts from there!“

Now, I know this is sorta getting away from our regular posts, but Matt’s comment triggered this memory. Sammy died shortly after I talked with him that afternoon, but he knew the blues like “maple” knows “syrup”.
And it was just as smooth …

GOING ELECTRIC

If you dig the rockin' bands of today, you'll know they have a stronger, crisper guitar-based sound than many of their predecessors had.  For that, you can thank not just the guitarists themselves but, for many,  guitars of the washburn x series . The "green anarchy", for example, has two humbucker pickups that provide clean tone and solid distortion, dual tone and volume controls, chrome die-cast tuners - and all in a very snazzy body emblazoned with the famous "A" (for "anarchy") symbol.,
Click on the link I gave you and check this beauty out for yourself!  Oh ... and remember: Christmas is coming up, and this would make a totally awesome gift for the rocker in your family!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

REMEMBERING UNCLE LLOYD ...


Sort of a sad day here at the Mouse House ...

You see, it was eight years ago today that we lost our fearless leader and Mouse Extraordinaire, Lloyd Thaxton.  But this particular post isn't meant to mourn his passing but to celebrate the life of a man who meant so much to so many - and, through his work and humor, touched the life of every person who knew or viewed him.
To say that Uncle LL was a friend was an understatement - and I'm speaking, not just for myself, but for millions around this nation who tuned in to his terrific teen show (The Lloyd Thaxton Show), 
or his dynamic consumer-conscious Fight Back! (with David Horowitz)
or his vignettes on the Today Show 
or read his book (co-written by John Alston) Stuff Happens (and then you fix it)!
or heard him speak at his many engagements
or got to know this Pied Piper of Rock personally.

LL had an appreciation for his fans that most media personalities don't.  He relished the fact that they were the ones who "brought him to the dance", so to speak.  This Prancing Powerhouse shared so much with them through his blog (which his adoring wife, Barbara, has graciously decided to keep online in his memory), lloydthaxton.blogspot.com which not only gives everyone a look inside the man himself but a glimpse or two inside the media industry.  He shares some hilarious memories with the inimitable Thaxton style that viewers came to know through his appearances on and offscreen.

Why did he write a blog? He sent me the following explanation (the words are his; the formatting is mine):


So, after you read this, everybody pour a glass of your favorite drink; then, as a toast to this Rin-Tin-Tin of Rock ... the Pied Piper of Mirth and Merriment ... the Hungry Heart that spread Hope ...
Lloyd Eugene Thaxton ...
and, as your glasses are raised to the heavens, look up and yell ....

"SOOOOO WHAT????" 

I just know that Lloyd will be watching from the heavens, with that sweet, wonderful smile of his ....

(heck ... he'll be grinnin' like a possum, people!!!!)

Stay tuned ...


Sunday, September 18, 2016

Don't Knock The Boomers!!

I had just gone in to the local coffeeshop awhile back to get a cuppa my regular, caffeinated two-sugars-no-cream joyjuice (see?  It wasn't Starbucks!!). Incidentally, you always need two of those to kick-start your day (remember the Relic'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 recent hurricanes - including Katrina? The wildfires of L.A.? The earthquakes? Those in need after terrorist bombings?
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, the ISIS Crisis?  The shootouts here in America?
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 ...
 
Stay tuned ...

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Learning from JPG&R (or, The Beatles)

Okay … so I couldn’t sleep …

Listen … we’ve got a lot of industrial-strength challenges hittin’ us in the social face, thanks to those wars goin’ on overseas (ISIS? Taliban? What’s the difference? Same machine-gun tunes, just different political verses …), prices skyrocketing and political bickerin’ over here. We’ve turned just about everywhere for answers, but there doesn’t seem to be an end to the madness.
Maybe it’s time we took a few “hidden” lessons from the Beatles … and other groups of the Invasion.

For example: John, Paul, George and Ringo were active in search for new and innovative ways to do things. They weren’t satisfied with the “status-quo” or the traditional.
Perhaps our political leaders, worldwide, could combine heads (rather than bash them) and think of other ways of ending the troubles (we’re already doin’ that on the home front, with things like hybrid cars that don’t use as much gas).
Maybe … awww, I know it’s a dream, but … maybe, someday, they’ll think of other ways to end their squabbles rather than point the traditional guns at each other and pulling triggers. That never works in the long run …

They arrived onstage (whether for a gig or an interview) with good-natured spunk.
Can you imagine what an upbeat attitude could do on Capitol Hill? Geez … we might get some positive action for the people if they had it.

Of course, before their gigs, they’d rehearse. Think what would happen if the Big Meanies got together somehow and just painted mental pictures of worst-case scenarios, thus “rehearsing” the outcomes. Nobody’d want to go to war …

Then, when they were onstage, the Fab Four would attack each song, playing like they mean it! How often do the politicos (and, here, I mean local as well as in DC!) waffle, or give a vague answer or action?
They had a strong rhythm section in John’s Rickenbacker. It gave a good, solid backing to everything. When you’ve got the people in one steady rhythm, you’re more likely to see something pass … something change …

The guys used a lot of harmony.
Man, if there’s one word that’s lacking in this old world of ours, it’s that one! Yet, it lends flavor, tone and beauty to a song; why can’t we use it in our daily lives? All it takes is hearing others’ voices and incorporating them into something that’ll be suitable for everyone to hear.

A good backbeat is necessary to keep tempo. Ringo was the master of this. The backbeat of America is its working class. When you’re listening to them, you’ve got a surefire way of makin’ the right decision.
 

And they knew when a song was finished. They didn’t drag it onandonandon … they moved on to the next one in their set … and the next … starting, using the qualities I mentioned before, and stopping it. Can’t we do that in our sociopolitical doings?

There are many other lessons we can learn … “hidden” because we’ve been so caught up in the music and individual personalities. We’ll discuss those later.

So stay tuned …

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 ...

Sunday, June 26, 2016

The Weekly New Spaper


The Wayback Machine takes us to 2006, when my old hand-held newspaper (ie, one you buy from a news rack) had just folded and I was planning a new one: "Let's Rock!" It was to be dedicated to the oldies (music, not people).

I discussed the concept with our Mouse-In-Chief, Lloyd Eugene Thaxton, Esq., who dug the idea and provided some fab ideas for it.

We both knew that hard-copy newspapers were giving way to online versions that would reach a greater cross-section of America. So it was decided that LR would be an online read. And, since it was new, Uncle LL even came up with a new word for it:

It would be thus-and-hereafter dubbed .... a New Spaper! (No need to create a new-fangled name when the word "newspaper" is already composed of two words, right?)

Well, with life happening while I was busy making other plans (gee ... that Lennon guy was smart, wasn't he?), that particular New Spaper never made it to press (er, online).   But, after a few false starts (hey ... computers are 'search engines', right?  So it's appropriate), yours truly, with my business partner and good friend Darryl Worley, came up with a new New Spaper called Webside Weekly.

The cool part about this little webside wonder is that most of it's actually composed of contributions from our readers.  But it also has a fab music page - and even those new-fangled, readily-installable videos (for you older folks, they're like little animated coloring books set to music).  In our first issue, we feature a dynamic UK country star named Mike Lane, and include some cool videos of his music.
More acts - including a few flashbacks - will be coming up in future ishs, so stay tuned.

We've also learned an invaluable lesson:  If you want a New Spaper done right, don't try editing on one of those supposedly-smart phones.  You'll be faced with the dreaded ... autocorrect!  Then a simple sentence like Dave Davies could be the Kink's singer in a push could turn out Dave Davies could kick a sinner in the tush.
He might.  I don't know.  But this has nothing to do with religion or anatomical parts, thank you (PS I really like and respect Dave, Word is that he and brother Ray are trying to work the kinks out so they can get The Kinks out on the road again.).

(Just a thought:  If these new computerized cars are so great, why don't they come with "autocorrect"?  Would save us a lot of roadside trouble if they worked ...)

Anyway, we do hope you'll visit the site early and often. Remember, though: Don't put this New Spaper down on the floor for your pups to use when you're finished! If you do, you'll end up with a shorted-out computer and a fricaseed pooch!

Remember, it's published every week on Saturday, so ....

stay tuned ...




Thursday, June 16, 2016

The Return of The Clique

I know ...
for a long time, it seemed the Mouse House was in turmoil (actually, it was in Charlotte, but there's very little difference for a small-town guy). So, after a lot of wishing and hoping and thinking and praying (sounds like a song, doesn't it? May be a little Dusty in singin' it, really ...), I've brought it back home, made the necessary improvements, added new cheese and voila! THE MOUSE HOUSE (aka the house that Thaxton built) is back in business!! And it's gonna have the mark of the LL all over it. He taught me and my cousins how to continue his blogwork style, and we're not straying from that this time!!

A (HAIR)CUT ABOVE THE REST Most of us remember Uncle LL with that playful, impish grin and wavy brown hair when he manned the studios of KCOP for his show. But, by the time he left us, he was sporting a shock of white hair that would make a well-groomed pekingnese jealous (and here I was back then, with longer hair on the sides and nothing on top. Hair, I mean ...) We had a barber here who offered to help me change that. Perry (his first name) said I could grow it super long on my left side, then he could comb it over, shellac it - he had a fancy exotic concoction just for barbers (I guess) called ... "kra zee glu" that would certainly keep it in place.

But I'm no fool (okay ... it's debatable). Whilst he was a great singer, I was in no mood for a Perry comb-over! Last I heard, he gave up the business to go somewhere and catch falling stars ...


SPEAKIN OF HAIR AND LL's LLOOKS:
They say "everybody has a double," and that even applied to LL. But his doppelganger is a bit taller. Otherwise, he talks, looks - even has that same white shock of hair - like Lloyd.

He lives in Ashland, Kentucky - and his name is ...



Michael Thaxton!!

I mentioned him to Uncle LL once and (wouldn't ya know it?) he said his dad was born in Kentucky! He didn't know where but, chances are, Mike and his family found their way up to Ashland one way or another.
Actually, he said they were probably second or third cousins or something.
Still, there were so many similarities that I sometimes (and inadvertently) called Mike "Lloyd" at times!

Would've been so much better if he hadn't called me a "Dawk" and showed me the tallest of the finger people ...

Stay tuned ...



Thursday, May 26, 2016

RePost by Request: Return of AM Rock!!

If you noticed, we've got a little spot where you can leave your comments at the bottom of each post. Once, Uncle Lloyd and I were discussing "comments" that people leave. He emailed:

"Speaking of comments, I got this nice one from Mike McCann. Mike is a New York DJ, rock music historian and publisher of a Rock Newsletter that goes out to radio stations all over the country. I met Mike while in New York on a book tour:

'Lloyd, your comments on being true to your mission (and ignoring the outside suits whenever possible) ring so very true.
Look at what the broadcast industry has done to oldies radio -- made it blander, tighter, less creative, less quirky and less localized. Oh yeah, also lower rated with smaller ad revenues.
Now, oldies are allegedly dead for traditional radio, while mega-chains Clear Channel and CBS have jock-free but deep playlisted jukeboxes playing on the new HD2 feeds.
I predict those will last, without significant promotion of the programming and availability of affordable receivers, months not years.'
"


Now, I would've agreed with that -- except that "oldies rock" is starting to swing back into the mainstream of radio. A number of the old AM stations are reviving their original formats and playing more of the feel-good rockers of yesteryear.

For example, KLMS 1480 AM in Lincoln, Nebraska, dropped their ESPN-based sports talk format in favor of a return to classic rock ... and all just two weeks before the start of 2007 Super Bowl (remember ... they were sports radio!).

The reason? Well, people are wanting to hear the 4/4 sounds that made our feet tap, our bodies move, our lips synch and our attitudes soar! And they want it loud, local and lively, just like we had it back-in-the-day.

Sooooooo, because the big corporate suits have seemed to taken the music and made it just a big, impersonal playlist without any "hometown" touch; because the revenue is higher and there's a "hometown" support for local AMs, and because ... well, people are just wanting their music back, the AM rock is starting to roll once again!

And, as Martha Stewart would say, "That's a good thing ..."

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Just "Dragon" It On


The crazy infighting in Carolina over gender is nothing compared to what you are about to read, folks.
You see, awhile back, a 55-year-old Arizona dude named Robert Hernandez decided to become ... er, a ... "woman."

No big deal, I guess. Recently, we've read too much about guys crossing the gender line, right?

But being "transgender" wasn't enough for him. Oh, nooooo!!

Now he wants to be a tran-SPECIES!! More specifically, a human LIZARD!
You can read his\her\its story here.
(Can't wait to see which bathroom THIS thing wants to slither into!)

By the way: concerning the Great Carolina Bathroom Wars (aka HB 2):
Here's a perfect solution:

PORTA-POTTIES!!!
For decades, they've been unisex and based on need, right??
Problem is: Who's gonna CLEAN 'em??

Stay tuned ...

Monday, March 21, 2016

Go FYGure ...



Go FYG-ure: The license plate had the name and official nickname of New York state.
It was the familiar orange and blue.
And a blue silhouette of the state appeared in the middle of the number “FYG-3925.”


It all seemed to perfectly legitimate.  Nobody questioned it as the vehicle tooled down the highway.


So why did an Erie County sheriff’s deputy stop the car?
 
Look at it closely.


It might have had something to do with the fact that the “plate” was made of cardboard and painted by hand to imitate an actual New York license plate.
 
For her troubles, Amanda Schweickert, 28, was charged with, along with other things, possession of a forged instrument (yes, it's against the law to have an intricately hand-painted, fake license plate - and it's a felony at that!
While they set bond for her, she hasn't been able to make it and is still in jail (maybe it takes a little time to fake $100 bills?? Who knows??)


IT'S IN THE MIX  We all know that the greatest recorded music comes from the mics and amps to the mixing boards.  The engineer blends the sounds together perfectly for the most listenable and enjoyable of rock, country, etc.
But, for so long, they used analog mixers - and, in today's world, they need to go digital!  Not only is the production perfect and crisper, but the digital mixers can last a lot longer than analog.
And for the best of the digital mixers, all you need is the x-32 . Not only do you get the best in quality o- but the price is very budget-friendly as well! And all you have to get that quality in your studio is to click on the link you just passed.
So do it today, and get ready for some dynamite sounds tomorrow!




Tuesday, February 23, 2016

You Could Be A WINNER!!

Hey ... remember those old contests that your local AM disk jockeys would run during their drivetime shows? They went something like this:

"ALRIGHT! We're lookin' for the THIRD CALLER ... that's the THIRD caller, not the first ... who can identify this sound:", then they'd play a couple of seconds from some way-out spaceship-sounding whatever (usually something like a blender or electric razor recorded at half-speed). "If you're the THIRD CALLER to CORRECTLY identify that sound, you'll get two FREE tickets to ... (whatever rock concert was coming up in your town)!!!"

Somebody once said that those contests (and our local Big WAYS 61 had plenty of 'em!) were a throwback to the old "secret decoder" messages and contests that ran during 1940's radio. Of course, with the introduction of the mega-stations and their satellite feeds, webside radio and more, this has, sadly, become a thing of the past.

Or ... has it??

With the return of local A.M. stations (these are slowly coming back into play in response to the "FM Oldies" only covering the late '70s to the 1990s), plans are being formulated to bring back some of the fun and zaniness (along with the music) that we enjoyed back-in-the-day.

And I can hardly wait ...

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

The Great Beatle Weapon

A few years ago, I (and a lot of other musical pundits) had my thought process in overdrive when Ocar-winning producer, Milos Forman, said: "It sounds ridiculous but I'm convinced The Beatles are partly responsible for the fall of Communism."

His claim is backed up by Dr. Yury Pelyushonok, a Canadian based Doctor of Soviet Studies in Medicine and author of "Strings For A Beatle Bass" who grew up in the former USSR in the 1960s: 

"The Beatles had this tremendous impact on Soviet kids. The Soviet authorities thought of The Beatles as a secret Cold War weapon,"
 he said. "The kids lost their interest in all Soviet unshakable dogmas and ideals, and stopped thinking of an English speaking person as the enemy."

As the interview progressed, Forman also added in: "That's when the Communists lost two generations of young people ideologically, totally lost. That was an incredible impact." Rolling Stone Keith Richards suggests that the music of the 1960s played a big part in bringing about the end of Communism: "After those billions of dollars, and living under the threat of doom, what brought it down? Blue jeans and rock 'n' roll."

It's interesting, isn't it? I mean, the very thing that the Communist regime was so militantly against was what brought it to its knees: freedom of expression ... freedom to be individuals! And the catalyst? The music it despised so strongly!

Listen: when music is strong enough to even bring a nation to its knees, it's time for us to give it - no matter what genre it may be - the respect it deserves!