Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Tuesday Tuneage
Funkadelic - "Friday Night, August 14th"

I turned fifty last week and it was the best sort of birthday. Not only did I not work AT ALL (though working wouldn't have been completely horrible - I'm self-employed and mostly work from home - but I am still in the mindset from having an office job many many years ago where working on your birthday meant spending it with the annoyances/semblances of human beings that are coworkers …), my day consisted of: 1) Biking over to Our Kitchen for a Denver sandwich (their Denver = solid) and hash browns, 2) Biking to Lake Street Spirits for some Summit Saga, 3) Coffee at home with the Common Man Progrum and backgammon on my iPhone, 4) BIGGEST DEAL: Took the bus to Target Field to watch the Twins. Awesome seat (ticket provided by my Dad, still taking care of me when I'm a senior!), Premium stand close by, and fireworks after the game. Twins lost, but I was emotionally prepared for that with Corey Kluber on the opposing nine's mound.

With fifty being a Landmark Birthday, I keep thinking I'm supposed to write something profound, something poignant, something BIG about being around a half-century. I don't have much to say, but I can proudly offer this on Me Being Fifty:

No wife, no kids, no house, no car, no boss, no Facebook account. To quote some of the best lines in Watchmen: "What's happened to The American Dream?" "It came true, you're lookin' at it."

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Tuesday Tuneage
Little Anthony & The Imperials - "Hurt So Bad"

Towards the end of many a calendar year over the past twenty, I have said to myself: "Next year is the one I start listening to a lot of soul music" and every time I'd chump out and end up listening to BTO, ELO, BOC, etc. with a vague promise to "get into soul when the next calendar year starts." (Why it has to be a January 1st start I think is because soul artists have recorded so many classic Christmas songs that the pump would be primed in December, unless Greg Lake's "I Believe In Father Christmas" got me sidetracked …) But signing up for Apple Music last month has allowed me to listen to a whole slew of classic soul artists that in the past I was too cheap/white/lazy to delve into before. So hell yeah, 2015: A Second Half of a Year of Soul.

"Hurt So Bad" isn't the tough type of soul that I generally prefer, but it's haunted me since I was a tyke and Mom would take me with her when she ran errands in her Ford. She would play Fargo's WDAY-AM and "Hurt So Bad" was in regular rotation along with the likes of Simon and Garfunkel and "I Never Promised You A Rose Garden" and "Love The One You're With" (the lyrical content of that one confused the six-year old me … free love wha?) and "Those Were The Days". Tracking this song over and over and over again on Apple Music has been a blast. Now I see why little-kid me had such a weird fascination and jitters over this song: The "like needles and pins" line is incisive, masterful (don't play with sharp objects, Billy) while the production of Teddy Randazzo - the sharp sound, the almost-subversive "Hurt! Hurt so bad!" of the background singers -  elevates the tune out of pathos.

And how bad did Linda "The Butcher" Ronstadt carve up this one? After listening to Little Anthony & The Imperials, her version is schmaltz, a mailed-in affair, an afterthought. Be careful which oldies station you listen to, folks.