Friday, August 4, 2017

When Things Get Squirrelly

THINGS GET A LITTLE SQUIRRELLY in this world, and our schedules often reflect it.
Lemme 'splain:

Y'see, besides running the Mouse House (ie, this blog), I also publish an online newspaper, work as music publicist, am preparing to launch a new set of podcasts, and am proud proprietorial pet parent to a pair of pampered pooches and precocious puddy-tats.

Between and betwixt that, keeping my house livable as I prepare to move (pets, MH, business and all) to a new abode and, on occasion, eating and sleeping, I've been a little busy lately.

Yep, it's been a little "squirrelly" over here (not to besmirch the honorable name of the actual near-rodents.  They've worked hard to keep their little reputations clean ...).  But, at least once a week, we can get together here for new and improved! kaffeklatsches (fancy furr'n word for "get-togethers-over-coffee").  So stay tuned ...

Now ... let's get on with the news and stuff:

DANCE CRAZE TURNS 21:  Yep, it's now old enough to stand on its own (and, to many of us, should, since we don't do it anymore!!).

It was August 3, 1996 when, according to Neilsen Soundscan, "Macarena" was on top of the pop charts (do you remember dancing it when you were younger?). It was a little cheesy. Everybody who ever danced it knows that!

By coincidence:

August 3, 1986: According to  mysons' Fridgescan, "Macaroni" was on top of the food charts (do you remember eating it when you were younger?). It was a lot cheesy. Everybody who ever ate it knows that!

Actually, the full name of the song was "Macarena (Bayside Boys Mix)" and was performed by an act called Los Del Rio (the stage moniker of two middle-aged guys named Antonia Romero and Rafael Ruiz).  It was written to honor the Flamenco dancer Diana Patricia and ... wellll, the chorus' lyrics were a little suggestive (probably why it was sung in Spanish?):

“Give joy to your body, Macarena, for your body is for giving joy and good things.”  

By the way:  She was originally called Magdalena in the song (hey ... there were already songs with "Diana" in the title, remember?) but the dudes changed it to the name of a neighborhood in Seville, For those who don't know, Seville is a province in Spain.  It's to the right of Brooklyn ...

And, no, I never personally tried the dance.  It's too easy for me to make a fool of myself without its help ...

More coming up this weekend, so stay tuned, campers ....

Friday, July 21, 2017


There's a young country performer - new to many of us in America - that is definitely chart-bound here! He's got it all: charisma, stage presence, great pipes, dynamite songs -
 and, yes, girls, he's single! 
While y'all know me as (mostly) rock-n-roll, I dig a lot of country-rock, too; and this guy just knocked my size 10 Rockport Westerns (yeah. I know.  Smallish feet. But big heart, though ...) off when I first heard him!
You're bound to become a quick fan once you hear his music (which, by the way, you oughtta be hearing on CMT, GAC or RADIO regularly soon!).

Here's part of an article about him:

Steve Eales (Driftin' On) is one of Australia's leading Country Rock artists. - one whose energetic performances are already beginning to make an impact in both the United States and England.
As both performer and songwriter, Steve has led the way with some of his nation’s  harder hitting music and grittier rural stories. And he comes complete with all the charm of an authentic country boy. 

He's collected a huge swag of awards during his years as lead vocalist and songwriter including:

•2001 Song of the Year at the Victorian CMA 
•2004 2x Golden Guitar nominations for Country Band as well as Best New Talent of the year for Tooraweenah Cowgirl and It’s My Town
• 2004 Male Vocalist of the Year for Tooraweenah Cowgirl
• 2004 Album of the Year Award for Wild One
• 2008 Tamworth People's Choice Awards for The Battler
• 2008 Album of the Year award Vic CMA
• 2008 Vocalist of the Year Award Vic CMA
• 2010 APRA Country Song of the Year Award
• 2010 Fifteen-time World Championship Performer Awards in LA

He’s already played festivals and major venues, both in Australia and the United States, such as:

• Rod Laver Arena
• SydneyMeyer Music Bowl
• Gympie Muster
• Tamworth Town Hall
• TREC (Tamworth)
• Adelaide Festival Theatre
• Boyup Brook Festival WA
• Deni Ute Muster
• Grand Ole Opry TN USA

Now, I had the chance to interview Steve recently, and you'll get that interview in our next post (Saturday.  This puppy's gonna bark more often after this post).  But, for now, here's Steve doing his hit, Driftin' On.  Enjoy:

If you wanna know more about this awesome superstar, just click onto his website (behind that link you just saw).  You're really in for a great country treat!

Stay tuned ...

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Memories Are Made Of This ...

Think you dread going back to work tomorrow?? Think about these guys ... and be thankful ...

Now ... where were we?? AHHHH, yes ...

Y'know, it seems that, as we get older and wiser, we're more apt to hark back to those thrilling days of yesteryear, when things were groovy, innocent and cool (Ah, I remember them well: I was a wild, crazy kid with tremendous sex appeal and a head full of lavish hair.)


This little dude showed up almost every Sunday night with the rrrrrreally-big-shhhhhhhewwwman himself, Ed Sullivan.
I understand he's still around, but, having been passed over for the role of "Mr. Jingles" in The Green Mile, he's a bit despondent these days.
Hey ... got an idea here, Mousers. LET'S DRAFT HIM AS OUR MASCOT!! I mean, this is the Mouse House, right??

Think of the clout it'd give us! Topo Gigio  was an icon (okay, he was a mouse. But stretch it a little, okay?), and everyone who camembert him would come. It'll do us gouda, I think ...

These flash bulbs (remember the old blunderbuss of a camera that used them?) were never fully appreciated until you'd step on one in your bare feet! And, just after the shot, you'd hear a little "sizzle", followed by a loud cussword when you tried to take 'em out (they were blazing hot!!).

When my mama was moving from Morrow Ave. to Park Ave. back in Pineville (this was just after daddy passed away), we were packing up some boxes from the top shelf of her closet, and these fell out!
S&H Green Stamps were the coupons of the day! Saving those up could buy a 1966 Cadillac (not really. Just wanted to see if you're still with me here). Actually, it'd open a whole new world of merchandise (read: salt and pepper shakers and the occasional toaster) to your mailbox!


And who could ever forget those little Clacker Balls? The trick was to move 'em back and forth until they started knocking against each other, making a terrible racket in the process.  Sort of like your own personal protest movement.

Of course, sometimes a clacker would break off and clobber someone in the vicinity of the clackee (how do ya think I got the nickname knot-head back in 1965?).

Then there was the "story" game.  You knowwww: one person would make up a crazy story but leave words out of it.  Then, without reading them the story, they'd ask somebody to give them a noun or adjective to fill in the blanks?  The resulting "story" would be far-fetched and often hilarious!
Today, that technique is called "Newsbreak" on CNN, I think ...

Stay tuned ...

Monday, June 19, 2017

GRRRAND (okay, pretty good ...) RE-OPENING!!

Hey ...
welcome back to the Mouse House! Sure, I've been away for awhile, but there are some pretty cool reasons.

FIRST, A QUICK UPDATE: Since our last confab, I've opened the new RockRelic Music™, where I promote some of the best new acts on the planet annnnnd scout for new, undiscovered talent in the rock, country, Americana (or any mix thereof!) genres.

Now ... that being said, lemme introduce ya to one of the gang.

Hailing from Liverpool, England - and fronted by Keith Xander, a young guitarist that some have called "England's answer to Stevie Ray Vaughn" - are Xander and The Peace Pirates. Already in-demand all over the British Isles (and points east), they also have a unique backstory.

Y'see, Keith (lead guitar and singer) was born without a right arm, so he plays his axe with a hook! But the licks that he makes on that six-string machine is nothing less than awesome!

Now, over the next posts, you'll meet more of the roster, including Australian country music superstar Steve Eales, amazing Americana belter Robert Vincent and one of the very best undiscovered voices in rock, period: A Liverpudlian chap named Gary Brown!
But, for now here's Xander and the Peace Pirates with the official vid of their hit, THIS CITY:

These. as well as the other mic heroes you'll be enjoying, really deserve the breaks and exposure that today's Top Acts already are digging! And your fanship can definitely help! So come back early-and-often, and be sure to make some noize in our "comment" section, okay? (I'll be watching ....)

Natch, I'm also gonna continue spotlighting the Master Mouser himself - the dude who actually started this Clique about ten years ago or better: the late legend himself, Lloyd Thaxton!

So stay tuned, at least once a week, for more. Til then, I'll see ya on the flip side!!

Monday, April 24, 2017

The Day The Beatles (Almost) Reunited!

APRIL 24, 1976 - Forty-one years ago from the date of this here blogpost, the greatest band that ever hit the airwaves, stadiums and our earpans were presented with an offer they couldn't refuse:

Play a three-song set on NBC's new Saturday Night Live ... for three thousand dollars!!

The Beatles were offered, on the live TV show, the certified check from NBC by SNL producer Lorne Michaels himself.

As he held up the check for a camera shot, he said,

“Now, we’ve heard and read a lot about personality and legal conflicts that might prevent you guys from reuniting. That’s something which is none of my business. That’s a personal problem. You guys will have to handle that. But it’s also been said that no one has yet to come up with enough money to satisfy you. Well, if it’s money you want, there’s no problem here. The National Broadcasting Company has authorized me to offer you this check to be on our show. A certified check for $3,000.”

Sure, it was played up for comedy - but it got the attention of two guys who were visiting each other that night and had tuned in:
Paul McCartney and John Lennon!
Michaels continued:

“All you have to do is sing three Beatles songs: ‘She Loves You,’ yeah, yeah, yeah — that’s $1,000 right there. You know the words. It’ll be easy. Like I said, this is made out to ‘The Beatles.’ You divide it anyway you want. If you want to give Ringo less, that’s up to you. I’d rather not get involved.”

Well, both Lennon and McCartney decided, just for the heck of it, to take them up on their offer. According to Paul:

“John said, ‘We should go down, just you and me. There’s only two of us so we’ll take half the money.’ And for a second. But it would have been work, and we were having a night off, so we elected not to go. It was a nice idea – we nearly did it.”

Since they ultimately backed away from it, on May 22 Michaels sweetened the deal:

"John, Paul, George and Ringo, we are now prepared to up the original offer to $3,200!”

But there's more!!  In a tongue-in-cheek attempt to sway the lads, they were offered free lodging as well! Famed SNL announcer Don Pardo then described the amenities at the Cross Town Motor Inn with the same verve as he did on The Price Is Right: “round-the-clock elevator service,” water glasses that have been “sanitized for their convenience,” “48-hour dry cleaning” and free room-to-room calls.
Unfortunately, it wasn't enough to tempt The Fab Four to reunite. Wonder what it would've been like if they'd taken him up on the offer?

Imagine ...

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Keep Your Fan Base ...

Yup ... I'm back.  Just had some work to catch up on (y'see, I also publish a new online newsmagazine now), run errands, write a few articles, and trim my toenails.  But I ain't about to let the Mousers (or Uncle Lloyd's memory) down ...

Besides, we of the rock persuasion have to stand united, right? (er, no, not ... that ... "United". er ... ahem! ... different story ...). 

So let's kick this off (UNH-unh!! I'm still not referring to ... awww, fuhgidabouddit ...) with a brand new post:

One of the first things that every musical act knows is that, no matter where they are in their career, they have a fan base they need to consider and stay in touch with.  Unfortunately, a lot of those on the "oldies" circuit seem to forget that.
I mean, sure, they work their jobs, collect their pay, but go slip-slidin' away into anonymity until the next show.  No "one-on-one" with fans beyond the actual gig itself.  And, if they do, it's for a little PR to hype their next show.

But there are exceptions:  superstars like Mike Lane, Spencer Hannabuss and John Ford Coley (of solo act, The Fore and The 286 and the legendary England Dan and John Ford Coley fame respectively) are lads that, I know for a fact,  take time for any and all of their fans.  All three of these are on Facebook, btw, so you can follow and even chat with them there.

Basically, troops, it's like this:  If they ain't gonna forget you, then don't you forget them (NOTE: the preceding statement does not apply to tax men, bill collectors or telemarketers ...).

But, y'know, it's really the same thing in norml, everyday life with norml, everyday, non-musicminded people.  If they are of the mettle (not heavy mettle, but I digress. I'm not discriminatory ...) that they've stood with you since your salad days, they deserve you being there for them even though you've had a taste of the entree!!
As one singer out of Charlotte, NC told me once:  "Some singers act like their fans don't really exist.  But, without them, their records wouldn't really exist; their shows wouldn't really exist; and the only popularity they'd get would be if the papers ran their obituary.  Or wedding announcement, whichever comes first." 

It doesn't matter if you're in the music business or a dishwasher, the same thing holds true, right?


If you are a guitarist (or just have a hankering to play one), you know that there's more to those stringed wonders than just a fingerboard, frets, strings and a soundhole (or pickups).
You need quality!
And today's guitarist requires more than just the ax itself (ax=slang for "electric guitar"; down South, they're often called "gitfiddles"!).  From capos to tuners, cables, effects and more, guitars often require more equipment to produce a better sound.

To get just the right effect you want, all you need is to shop for your pedal board at . For the best effects at unbeatable prices, just click that link you just saw.
You'll be able to shop by brand, condition, savings, new arrivals and more! So visit them now - and find out why they're truly the "Musician's Friend"!

Friday, March 24, 2017

Don't FIX Somethin' (If It Ain't Broke!)

Ahhhh, the good old days ...
It was my very first car -- just like you see it here. Except green. And dull. And with rust spots. And with someone's cigarette burn in the back seat.

But it ran great ... until the day my family told Ol' Fimblefingers (now known as me ...) to go out and put the oil and water in it!
Now, I knew more about brain surgery than I did about cars, but ...

Chuck, circa 196something: "W-well (gulp!), h-here goes: First, ummm, open the hood. Okay, now (tremendous crash, followed by searing pain) ... RAISE the hood and extract my fingers from the front."
A few hours later ...
"The doc said they're alright, just bruised. Now ... where were we? Ahhh, yes! Up with the hoodANDPUTUPTHATBARTOHOLDIT THERE!
Now ... ummm, that ... that fan in front can't afford to rust, soooo ... the oil goes ... I guess in ... that radiator hole! THERE! That'll keep it from jamming up!"
"And since the motor gets hot -- wellll, it'll have to cool down, and what better than water, right?? So the waterhose goes into that shiny-capped hole on the engine block!"

After a few minutes, Curly ... er, Shemp ... er, I went into the house and proudly announced that I'd done it! I'd filled it with water and oil!

(HEY!! Stop snickering, okay?? I'm older now and know better. Besides, you get a lot of fresh air by walking!)

Yeah, I took it for a spin. Of about fifty yards ...
and after the laughter subsided (a few hours later), my dad told me, Son, if it ain't broke, don't FIX it!"

And, Mousers, that's why I look so studious and pensive whenever I watch The Three Stooges now. I can identify!!

In a way, it reminds me of when some stations wanted Uncle LL to make his show more "sophisticated" (read: uppity). According to the MetTimes, they also meant cutting the lip-synching and "goofing off". Fortunately, Lloyd just kept on doing what he did best -- being himself -- and never changed what he did!

Y'see, just like my daddy said about the now-deceased BoltBucket, If It Ain't Broke, Don't FIX It!" Our Head Cheeser proved, time and again, that if you've got a winning combination in your career, life or both, stick with it! Don't let anybody tell you how to change it! Maybe they're good at their thing, but that doesn't mean they're experts at yours!
And Lloyd -- well, if anybody knew how to bring good vibrations to both the KCOP stage, the small screen and to hearts around the country, it was him!

Stay tuned ...

Monday, March 13, 2017

TODAY IN ROCK (It's March 13, btw)

Beginning with this post, we're gonna add some new segments to keep it fresh (now, if I could just do that with my store-bought bread, I'd be set ...)

Actually, I've cranked up the Way-Back Machine to (awww. if ya don't remember, I'll refresh your memory in a minute) to see what happened in R&R decades (or so) ago.

On this date in 1971, for example, a controversy surrounded one of the most tightly-harmonic top-charters of the decade.  Michael Brewer and Tom Shipley (collectively known, of course, as Brewer & Shipley) released a fantastic folk-rock tune called One Toke Over The Line.
Almost as soon as the song was released, a lot of ultra-conservatives (read: older folks) said that they were talking about drugs (ie, "toke" being slang for a hit from a marijuana joint).

But, people, I'd been bus/train human-cargo for some time, and can tell ya "'Tain't so!!"  You see, when you were thinkin' about going somewhere by either conveyance, you were coming close to "drawin' the line".  When I was actually sittin' in the railway station, got a ticket for my destination (whoops!  Heh-heh ... sorry.  Wrong song ...), I'd already gone (ready?) "over the line".  Meaning: I'd gone beyond deciding, and was on my way, having already bought the ticket!
Here .... listen for yourself, then I'll be back with more:

Now ya see? btw, if you hear a little steel guitar in the mix, thank the musician - a chap named Jerry Garcia!

DANCIN' WITH THE BB's: On this date in 1965, the Beach Boys released a cover of "Do You Wanna Dance?", the Bobby Freeman classic that hit #12 in the Billboard charts. The lead singer on this one was drummer Dennis Wilson. In his place on the skins was Wrecking Crew member Hal Blaine - with Leon Russell on organ and future Bread winner Larry Knechtel on bass.

OH, WHAT A NIGHT: And coming in at #1 on this date in 1976 was The Four Seasons with their hit December 1963 (Oh, What A Night) - a song originally written about the Prohibition era (ergo, "1963" was to be "1933". The producers thought it'd flop, though, so the crew got new lyrics and did a date-change on it). Unfortunately, it was the last hit of the FS.

THE WAYBACK MACHINE? Okay ... who remembers Rocky and Bullwinkle? Then you probably know about the eclectic, professorial and smart-as-all-get-out bowwow Mr. Peabody who, along with his hyoo-min sidekick Sherman, rode the time-space continuum (man, I love those Trekkie words!) to wherever they wanted. Preceded Marty McFly''s Delorean by a quarter-century!

Oh ... one more thing: In England, a chap by given name Peter Blair Denis Bernard Noone decided to take that hyoo-min's name and call himself Herman. Then he hooked up with a fledgling band known as The Heartbeats and, voila - Herman's Hermits came to pass!
So now ya know!

Okay ... more coming up in a day or two, so stay tuned ...

Friday, March 3, 2017

High "Noone" At the HH Corral

Awhile back, I had the distinct privilege of talking at length with Peter Noone (he of Herman's Hermits, who, you might remember, played The LT Show). An amazing young man (well, he is! I'll explain in a minute ...), he still retains the lively, witty personality that made him a star to begin with.

But wait ... there's more!

"Herman" (named after the cartoon dude "Sherman" of Mr. Peabody's "way-back-machine" fame) has grown into quite a rock historian as well as savvy philosopher. He still has the looks that charmed millions of girls and some rabbits back then.

The last I'd heard of the other four: Karl Green (bass and left-handed, bless him) is now doing sound and keyboard installations; Keith Hopwood (rhythm guitar) is still performing and producing; Derek ("Lek") Leckenby (lead guitarist), sadly, lost a battle with cancer back in 1994.
Now, I'll share some of my interviews with him soon, but, for now. I'll ...

wait! I forgot their drummer, Barry Whitwam ...

Barry's now fronting the band, Herman's Hermits!

Ummmm ... WHAT?!?!?

Actually, there are two HH bands making the circuits! One is Barry's band, which is pretty much limited to UK (Britain, not that Kentucky university) gigs, and the other is Peter's band, which is actually a group of very coordinated and talented backing musicians.
The dig is that Herman Himself can't use the name of his old band over in England and, if Barry wanted to bring his troupe to America, he can't use the Hermits moniker.

But there's only one real Herman ... and, when you look at his "spunk" (that's allowed here in the states. Dunno about the UK ...), his creativity, his fan-friendly personality, and the fact that he's kept his hair, you'll see a guy who was more like Uncle Lloyd than most other rockers (Freddie Garrity excepted. More about this amazing "court jester of rock" later. RIP, mate ...).

And he and LL had one other trait: Due to their lively, optimistic and creative personalities, their fame has lasted lonnnnnnng after the British Invasion. In other words, they proved Andy Warhol wrong when he said that everybody has their 15 minutes of fame.
They took that "15 minutes" ... and extended it to fit a lifetime!

I'm checking the old Relic-box to find the interview I had with Peter himself. As soon as I find them, I'll post the gabfest (actually, more a Q&A) right here ... so

Stay tuned ....

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Not EXACTLY A "Masterpiece"!

Sometimes, ya just have to wonder about this "music" business ...

Just a couple of hours ago, I was listening to the radio when, suddenly, a song by the popular British performer Jessie J blasted across the speakers.  Granted, she has an amazing voice ... some pretty good looks ... but a potty mouth!!  Her song, "Masterpiece", could've been a pretty inspirational number - except that it blantantly included the "sxxt" word in the lyrics a couple of times!
After checking the lyric sheet, I was kinda glad that's the only slime-word they let in it!  There was another one ...

Y'know, for years, the broadcast media had standards that kept obscene junk like that off our radio and TV. (Sigh) but, of course, this is the age of "hip-hop" (not my cat; the "music"), rap and all sorts of attorneys who'll go to bat for composers and performers (they whine that their "First Amendment" rights are being breached). Fortunately, I had a young heavy-metalist from N.C. explain it to me: "Man, it all comes down to the money!  If they can make more by rattling some brains and shaking a few hormones, they'll do it!"

Now, back-in-the-day - when there was a moral code (remember??) - we were hoppin' and boppin' to the best music on the planet.  We didn't need the nasty-talk to make a hit, and the censors were pleased with that.  But there were some acts they could pick on - and, my, look how nasty these songs were (??? yes, I'm being sarcastic!) . For example:

Wear My Ring (Around Your Neck Elvis' song was panned and banned by many Catholics because -- it promoted "going steady"! (by the way -- do kids do that anymore?? Ya never hear of it ...)

D. O. A. Bloodrock's 1971 (and only) hit was banned almost across-the-board, because it described the death of a teenaged girl in a plane crash - despite the fact that it described an actual news report!  (But J. Frank Wilson's  Last Kiss and Ray Peterson's Tell Laura I Love Her were alright, right? And Dickey Lee's Patches as well?).

ROCK MUSIC The BBC banned the whole genre from its airwaves until 1966 (partly. 1971, fully). Part of the reason: Promoters Jack Good and Larry Parnes promoted a stable of performers whose stage names were based on their ... ahem! ... sexual performance.

BAD BOY The Beatles' rocker (from Beatles '65 here in the States) was banned from AOR stations because it promoted "juvenile delinquency."

was banned in some markets because the original dealt with teenaged pregnancy. So Van Morrison recorded an alternate version to please the stations.

Listen to this: In El Paso, a radio station stopped playing all records by Bob Dylan because ... they couldn't understand his lyrics! (hey ... what's so hard about understanding peace??)

PICTURES OF LILY by The Who was banned in most markets because execs said it referred to masturbation. Funny ... years later, those same execs freely played Imaginary Lover by the Atlanta Rhythm Section.
What's the diff?

Record mogul Mike Curb, who was president MGM records in 1970, cancelled the recording contracts of 18 of the label's acts because he believed they promoted hard drugs in their songs. Among them: Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme! (sure ... and I guess his hit, Don't Be Afraid, Little Darlin', was a tempting lure into the psychedelic world! L-O-L!!)

In the aftermath of the Kent State shootings in 1970, the Ohio governor banned Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young's OHIO from being played. He was afraid it'd cause more violence (ummm ... wasn't it ... the National ... Guard ... that brought on the shootings?).

So, does it make sense that some of these songs (and their legendary artists) would be banned, while a song with open vulgarity, from a singer who few know yet, can not just be admitted to the airwaves, but promoted so heavily it became a favorite in some markets?

UPDATE:  I have just been informed that Jessie J has "cleaned up" the live version of the song, reducing the vulgar words to "sh" and "effing" rather than the full version.  I'm gonna take it as truth; the girl's still young, and has too much talent to mess up her career (ya don't see Adele doing that, do you?   Point made ...).

It's a weird world ...

Stay tuned ...

Friday, February 10, 2017

The Beatles and Hinson TV

February 9, 1964 - It really was a day like any other day in the old Hinson bunkhouse.
The family had gone to church in the morning, as most of us did down there in Pineville.  Mama'd fixed a great Sunday dinner of fried chicken, mashed potatoes and green beans (fresh from the garden).. And (I meant the beans and 'taters.  The chicken was store-bought ...) we knew that (I ... think ...) there was going to be something rrrrreallybig on the Ed Sullivan shhhhewwww that night.

Sure, we'd heard about a popular band from England - one calling itself "The Beetles" or something (my mind went directly to Buddy Holly's Crickets when I first heard of them) - coming into LaGuardia Airport in New York on Friday.  But what, exactly, were they like?

Well, we kids wanted to stay home and watch it - just because we heard they sounded really cool. Oddly enough, daddy was in total agreement!!  He wanted to know what all the fuss was about.

Sooooo,  at 8:04 PM on that magical evening, Ed introduced, "And now .... THE BEATLES!!" to an audience full of screaming youngsters.  Daddy broke out laughing at it, while Mama gave her quizzical "What-in-the-FARRR....???" and went back to the kitchen.

Sure, they looked kinda neat - and almost impish with that long hair and .... wait: that guy on the left?  Why ... he ... he's left-handed, just like me!!  Extra cool, to me!
Wish I could hear 'em better, though.  Those girls screamin' like that made it hard to hear.
The song, All My Loving?  Sounds sorta average.  I mean, Buddy could've done that one.  Kinda sounds like his style.
She Loves You?  Man, I'm swaying with it and, for some reason, my hands are gettin' sweaty!!  I'm watching that guy in the middle working the fingerboard of his guitar.  God, I want to play one of those things so bad  (read my guitar story).  And why does that guy on the end look like he's chewing gum or something?  Can you do that and sing, too??

They did a couple more songs (meanwhile, I was tugging at the hair over my ear, hoping it would grow like that.  Today, I'm tugging at my ear-hair, hoping it will stop growing), then Daddy reached over and, while laughing sort of like he was making fun of 'em, turned off the set.
At that time, he made his famous comment:
"Boys if I ever see you try to look like that, I'll get with you like Karo got with syrup!"  He never thought they'd get anywhere - just a "flash-in-the-pan" that Sullivan had dug up to get a rise out of his viewers.  Mama thought they looked silly ...

But ...

it wasn't long before Daddy got me an old guitar to practice on.  He'd take us to K-Mart to buy records from The Beatles and bands like The Dave Clark Five, The Kinks and others.  My favorite at the moment, next to these, was Del Shannon.  And he was (gulp!) American!!  When I started performing, Mama even arranged for my first two gigs.  A family friend, James White, arranged for me to audition for a talent scout.  And three men - Marshall Lemmond, our laundryman; Rick Tucker, who used to play with Chet Atkins (guitar I mean) and my Uncle A.L. Hinson - taught me more about the guitar and how to work it onstage.  But (referring to the link above), Daddy was the one who taught me the real meaning of the guitar.

Still, it all started on a Sunday night .... 1964 ... February 9 ... on an old Zenith black-and-white TV that was infested with ... Beatles!!

Friday, February 3, 2017

Remember? Oh, What A Feeling ...

He was my own little DAWK® ...

Actually, I bought this little number for my son, Mike, on his tenth birthday. The kid was wild about the Star Wars phenomenonemoennon and just had to have one of the little green dudes. Little did I know that I'd grow up to look like that character (minus the green skin. I'd stopped smoking ...)!
But, upon hitting the local toy supermarket and finding this much-in-demand squirt, I thought of Uncle Lloyd's famed mini-protester and figured, "One day, Mike'll be allll grown up ... and this little gem's gonna be MIIIIIIINE!HAHAHAHAHAAA!!"

Or so I thought ...

Years later, when Mike had discovered girls and turned sixteen (I'm not sure which came first), he hit me up with the same request. But, for some reason, the name had changed: gone was the Toy Yoda, the little Gremlin character from SW (a toy Yoda/Gremlin? Don't they call that a hybrid now??). The second "Y" was dropped, the "d" turned into a "t", it grew four wheels and a V6 engine, and was wayyyyy more expensive.
Yup ... he got it. And I've got my little DAWK® wannabe.

Guess which one's gonna be recalled??

Now, this little dude was the main-eventer in rock dolldom! Let's face it ... he (it ... was a "he", wasn't it?? Never bothered to check ...) actually epitomized everything about Uncle LL, his fans -- and, really, our generation in general: Lively, outspoken, a little rebellious/a little impish, cute-as-a-bug's-ear.
WE INTERRUPT OUR REGULARLY-SCHEDULED MADNESS FOR AN E-MAIL UPDATE: Dateline: RockVille -- We received word no less than two minutes ago that one reader considers baby-boomers too old to act like a bunch of (quote), "overexcited teenagers on, as you said in your last post, 'Gerital'"!
Ummm, careful with how you spell that last word, pardner! You came mighty close to ... well, it sounded like you were spellin' something else.
Mr. Fancy Pants continued, "At your age, you are all dichotomies."

Look: You can't tell what we, as boomers (including a few pre- and some pro-), have by just looking at us anymore than you can tell the value of a gift by looking at the box it came in.
What Lloyd Thaxton did was plant a few seeds of inspiration, happiness and hope within us. He knew how to push just the right buttons to get our creative engines started. His zaniness influenced our own attitudes. We felt that we really had a friend there on the screen -- and we did!
We carry that -- and memories of him -- inside us ... and we're all the richer for it.
So it shows up during those 1440 minutes of every day. After the bill-paying, timeclock-punching, drivetime madness of everyday life, we deserve the break that remembering Lloyd Thaxton gives us! Unlike you, Mr. Poison Pen, he really cared and appreciated us!
Okay, so we, in our minds, still have the liveliness we felt as "overexcited teenagers". To borrow from a very familiar phrase: "SOOOOOO WHAT??"

TICKLING THE IVORIES (kid version) ...

While a number of us still remember the piano lessons that our mothers signed us up for, we still love those videos of little kids tickling the ivories (aka playing the piano) for the first time.  And, when we see them on shows like America's Got Talent and the like, we're spellbound by how well they've learned their craft.
Today, there's a renewed interest among youngsters in learning how to play the keyboard.  Chalk it up to its domination on their favorite Top 40 hits, the actual sound of the pianos themselves, or even their awe at the sounds created by synthesizers, but children are turning to the "88's" again.
Of course, if a child in your family is interested in learning how to play, the very best place to start is just behind the link you're about to see.  First, you have a magnificent and affordable kids keyboard selection at MF .  But there's more!  They also teach you how to shop for the best one - the keyboard that could be tailor-made for your child!
So why not click that link now?  You never know - your child/grandchild could be an impresario one day, and it could start with that one little step!!

Stay tuned ...

Thursday, February 2, 2017

The Bonanza of Baby-Boomers

Ah, the Sixties! With the present world in turmoil over situations as diverse as war in Sudan, immigration bans and Madonna wanting to bomb The White House, we long for a return to those thrilling days of yesteryear. It was certainly a simpler era for most Americans…
at least until mid-decade, when a remarkable group of youngsters that soon became known as “hippies” and “peaceniks” began appearing in American society. Considered “freaks” by many in the older, often hawkish, generation, they believed in such absurd ideas like peace, love and equality. Sit-ins, peace rallies and even a Woodstock wouldn’t change the opinions of the “establishment”. But little did that generation know that the actions of these mid-1960s “freaks” would create a much better world for all of us here in the 21st Century.

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

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

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

Today, the “old fogies”, for the most part, have passed on. And these same “upstarts", now part of an elite group known as “baby-boomers”, are working through the establishment they once spurned to bring an end to a not-so-different war. They work side-by-side, Americans of all colors and creeds, as friends, associates and peaceful neighbors. These same people act, often spontaneously, for the good of others, whether it’s helping to get someone’s car running or lending their hands to rebuild a city destroyed by a hurricane or tornado. Their faith has passed the test of time and has spawned a number of today’s most dynamic evangelists and preachers.
They use the experience of their own past to teach their children and grandchildren the dangers of substance abuse, the wholesomeness of nature and the warmth felt by having a true fellowship with mankind, no matter what color or creed is represented. They empathize, sympathize and counsel more readily and with more impact than their predecessors because that’s what they learned by true communion with each other.

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

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

Ah, Sweet Memories (Goin' Retro) ...

For just a few minutes or longer, let's forget about the Trumpification of social media and relive the thrilling days of yesteryear ...

Like most people my age, on occasion I take a trip down Memory Lane and relive the good old days -- especially those surrounding the debut of the Lloyd Thaxton Show.
Remember? We'd just lost one of the most popular U.S. Presidents to an assassin's bullet a few months before; television had that marvelous color scheme of black-and-white; and the British Invasion was stealing American rockers' thunder.

Well, awhile back, I noticed the following memory-jogger in the MH mailbox -- and found myself back in that amazing way-back machine we call "memory". Formatted to sound like an old fogey fussing at a young, Brylcreemed, acne-troubled whippersnapper, see how many of these you remember (btw, thanks to Vicki Ritchie for her fab email, though I added a little at the end:)

" ... when I was a kid we didn't have the Internet. If we wanted to know something, we had to go to the darn library and look it up ourselves, in the card catalog!!

There was no email!! We had to actually write somebody a letter - with a pen! Then you had to walk all the way across the street and put it in the mailbox, and it would take like a week to get there! Stamps were 10 cents!

There were no MP3's or Napsters or iTunes! You had to hitchhike to the record store with a couple bucks that you had to beg from your folks, or use your allowance, to buy a 45 or LP!
Or you had to wait around all day to tape your favorite song off the radio with a little reel-to-reel recorder, but the DJ would usually talk over the beginning and screw it all up! There were no CD players!
There weren't any freakin' cell phones either. If you left the house, you just didn't make a darn call or receive one. You actually had to be out of touch with your "friends". OH MY GOD, think of the horror... not being in touch with someone 24/7!! (Texting?? Let me refer you to the second paragraph above ...)

We didn't have fancy stuff like Call Waiting, either. If you were on the phone and somebody else called, they got a busy signal, that's it! And we didn't have Caller ID either! When the phone rang, you had no idea who it was! It could be your school, your parents, your boss, the collection agent -- you just didn't know! You had to pick it up and take your chances ...

We didn't have any fancy PlayStation or Xbox video games with high-resolution 3-D graphics! By the late Sixties, we had the Atari 2600! With games like 'Space Invaders' and 'Asteroids'. Your screen guy was a little square. You actually had to use your imagination! And there were no multiple levels or screens, it was just one screen... FOREVER! And you could never win. The game just kept getting harder and harder and faster and faster until you died! Just like LIFE ...
You had to use a little book called a TV Guide to find out what was on! You were screwed when it came to channel surfing! You had to get off your keister and walk over to the TV to change the channel. NO REMOTES!!

There was no Cartoon Network either! You could only get cartoons on Saturday Morning. We had to wait ALL WEEK for cartoons! But it was well worth it (by the way, they had more "frames per second", so it really DID look like Tom was gonna catch Jerry! SO much smoother ...)

Oh, yeah ... and we didn't have microwaves, either. If we wanted to heat something up, we had to use the stove! Imagine that!

And forget about these rock shows on MTV, with their flashy, eccentric emcees trying to act cool in front of million-dollar sets. Those are a dime a dozen!
We had a guy who, in just a suit and tie but with carloads of imagination, humor and plenty of records, pranced around a low-budget TV studio like an elf on Christmas Eve and made rock and roll fun. He didn't have a script to go by, just a bunch of teenagers in that little studio -- and some of the best stars in the business.

But he could beat YOUR hotshot emcees in a heartbeat because, while they're struggling to stay on the air, THE LLOYD THAXTON SHOW was the most popular teen show in America for about six years straight!

Ahhh, those were the days!


There's been a remarkable increase in the number of young people who want to take up instruments and express themselves musically rather than in a verbal manner.  It's a really good thing, too, because not only will they be cultivating a talent they can enjoy for years to come, but music really does have "charms to soothe the savage breast" (Shakespeare said it)!
Of course, they'll need the best store from which to buy the accessories for their instruments.  Naturally, it should be one that has reasonable prices and the best selection at the same time.
That being said, there's no better place to go than wwbw band stores. When you click on that link, you'll find a vast array of items that will assist them in every step of their musical journey.
And, get this: you even have low-price guarantees and, for the music teacher, educational discounts!  So click that link now and enjoy the melodious mix of quality and savings!


Think you dread going back to work today?? Think about these guys ... and be thankful ...

Now ... where were we?? AHHHH, yes ...


This little dude showed up almost every Sunday night with the rrrrrreally-big-shhhhhhhewwwman himself, Ed Sullivan.
I understand he's still around, but, having been passed over for the role of "Mr. Jingles" in The Green Mile, a bit despondent these days.
Hey ... got an idea here, Mousers. LET'S DRAFT HIM AS OUR MASCOT!! I mean, this is the Mouse House, right??

Think of the clout it'd give us! "Topo Gigio" was an icon (okay, he was a mouse. But stretch it a little, okay?), and everyone who camembert him would want this little guy. It'll do us gouda, I think ...

These flash bulbs (remember the old blunderbuss of a camera that used them?) were never fully appreciated until you've stepped on one in your bare feet! And, just after the shot, you'd hear a little "sizzle", followed by a loud cussword when you tried to take 'em out (they were blazing hot!!).
Of course, the pics were always top-notch (what??  They ... they weren't?  Tell ya what: Do ya have any of those old photos made when you were a youngster?  Maybe of your mom or dad or Uncle Festus?  Brings back great memories, right?  Sooo, going back to my original ??:  In your opinion, are the pics "top-notch"??  Uh-huh ... thought sooooo ...)

When my mama was moving from Morrow Ave. to Park Ave. back in Pineville (this was just after daddy passed away), we were packing up some boxes from the top shelf of her closet, and these fell out!
"S&H Green Stamps" were the coupons of the day! Saving those up could buy a 1966 Cadillac (not really. Just wanted to see if you're still with me here). Actually, it'd open a whole new world of merchandise (read: salt and pepper shakers and the occasional toaster) to your mailbox!
Today, the WalMarts, Targets, cable TV pitchmen and zillions of specialty magazines have taken the thrill of shopping and made it into something more mechanic, with less anticipation than what these little green stamps brought.  The only downside?  They tasted yuckky when you licked 'em, though.

Stay tuned ...

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Inauguration Frustration

In a little over 24 hours from when I signed, sealed and delivered this post to the GBS (Great Blog Machine), we're going to have a new head honcho here in America (gee ... didn't you hear the news??  Well, now you know, anyway ...).

Actually, from all the bickering and cat-clawing going on in Washington and beyond, this whole election has been more of a comedy than anything else.  I mean, we'd probably just as well have had Archie Bunker and Rosanne in place of Trump and Clinton.
Nonetheless, Donald Trump will become the next POTUS, and we need to accept that.
But ... but what does that mean for us, pray tell?  Are we gonna see everything collapse at our feet (or defeat on our laps)?

Naaaah ...

You see, this country is made up of you and me (oh ... and 310,999,998 other folks just like us) and, just as we've done under all the other POTUSES (or should that be POTII?) we've had, we'll continue to live, work and enjoy life.

Here's how it works: what the cable news conglomerates feed us is news that's gussied up and sensationalized to keep us glued to their programs.  When we do that, then they get better Nielsen numbers which, in turn, means more ad revenue (layman's terms: MONEY!).
In reality, before anything can really reach and affect us, the D.C. decisions have to be picked through like a ripe pecan by various bigwigs on and off the Congressional screen.  Then it goes through Congress and their yea/naysayers,
By that time, any huge tidal wave of trouble has been reduced to nothing more than a big drip.

Or should I say "by big drips"?  But we'll cover Congress some other time ...

So don't worry about the new President and all the hubbub surrounding his election.  We'll make it! We always have.  You see, we're survivors ...

because we're Americans!!

Monday, January 16, 2017

Adding New Material and ...


Actually, gang, I've let the Mouse House fall into a little, er, disrepair for awhile, so I put on the old thinking cap (anything to cover up this baldness ...) and decided to add a few perks to the blog:
First, you'll be seeing things like:

THIS DAY IN ROCK:   January 15, 1969: Wanna know why The Beatles never performed again?
Well, on the 15th, George Harrison said he was quitting the band ... and didn't show up for their recording sessions for almost four days. Of course, John, Paul and Ringo pleaded with him to come back.

He finally agreed, provided ...
they give up on the idea of doing any more live performing ..

and move the filming of Let It Be to the band's new Apple studios!

ON JANUARY 16, 1988,
George saw his hit (Got My Mind) Set On You, reach the #1 position on the Billboard charts. The video also starred a stuffed squirrel, chainsaw, stag head and warthog, as well as George who sang and played guitar to the break, then gently put his instrument down, did a back flip and busted some serious dance moves (all done by a stunt double, of course)!

EXACTLY EIGHT YEARS LATER, we nearly lost two legends, when Jamaican authorities opened fire on a seaplane carrying Jimmy Buffett and U2's Bono! They mistook it for a drug trafficker's plane. Island Records producer Chris Blackwell was also on-board. Fortunately for all of us (especially the plane's passengers!), the Jamaicans missed ,and nobody was hurt.

AND ON THE SAME DAY TWO YEARS AGO:  (also qualifies as "Weird News"?) A woman had filed suit against Rick Springfield, claiming that (now, get this!!) his butt caused her lasting injuries when he fell on her during a concert over ten years earlier!  Well, the jury ruled against her - and it took only an hour for them to make that decision (and I'll bet it only took that long because they had to stop laughing ..)

Anyway, that's one part of the new material you'll be reading here.  Along with the anniversary memories, I'll be including some interesting rock music facts and other material coming up in new posts, as well as special reruns from the Chief himself, Lloyd Thaxton.

So stay tuned ...