What A Wonderful World, Pt. 2

No, IZ is not actually one of “the five” chosen for this week, but I love his take on these two songs, and thought it to be the perfect tie-in between last week’s post and this. Give it a listen. I’ll wait.

S’good, right?

So, week two in the 00’s (and to my knowledge, still no clear consensus as to how to pronounce that). The end of the decade found my musical knowledge reawakening somewhat, but this time not of my own accord. No, these new ear worms came from (3) primary sources, all of whom were nonexistent in my life previous to this decade.

1) My online tribe. Most of whom I have never actually met, many of whom I never will, a small number of whom I might, all of whom refuse to let me simply sit on my musical laurels, while the world continues to careen madly out of control, voice modulators be damned. It’s through good folks like these that I “discovered” a little known Hasidic Jew with a penchant for beat box…

They also introduced me to two upbeat kids with a small budget, big talent, and bigger dreams. DIY for the new century…

And speaking of kids…

2) The kids, AKA My Lovelies. Old enough now to form their own tastes, they’ve begun to fill my head – and my life –  with all sorts of new sounds. Sounds I would have never found on my own, or if I had, wouldn’t have appreciated nearly as much as I do. All because the very people I was blessed to have a part in creating, and am now responsible for raising, thought enough of me as to share their new-found treasure with. Treasure like Pink…

And treasure like these two newer players. Two who could very well, if they’re not careful, shortly turn the music (and video) world on its ever-living ear once again. A turn that, in my humble opinion, is much needed right about now. If you listen-watch to only one song in this post, make it this one…

3) The world-wide interwebs. Sorry, but these days I do rely on it much more than I do simply strolling the aisles of the record store. Partially because I’m lazy. Partially because I don’t have anything even close to the time required any more. And partially because – in Buffalo anyway – libraries even have more new music by lesser known artists, than the brick and mortar record stores do. It was online that I discovered that one of the few remaining members holding a piece of my youth is still recording. And as it turns out, doing a damned fine job of it as well…

So now we’re here. And tomorrow beckons. Will I be on-board? Most likely not. But that’s OK. I had my time, and my time was good. Tomorrow beckons as it always did, for the young people to stand up and have their voices heard. Voices that they are only now learning how to create. My prayer is that they will be more influenced by folks like The Clash and Public Enemy, Matisyahu and Macklemore, then they are by the Disney Machine.

They’ve the power to do either, and only time will tell.

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Another Tuesday, another Twisted Mix-Tape. This one rounding out our stroll through the decades. I’d like to thank Jen for pushing me into dredging up these musical memories, and I hope you enjoyed them as much as I.

Oh, and before we leave the decade, let’s take just a moment to celebrate the rebirth of Rick, through the 00 introduction of the “mash-up.” I knew you’d do it, Mr. Astley. I mean, after all, you DID say that you would never let me down, right?

Arms Aloft (Where To Now?)

You see, Sherman done moved on up.

sherman-hemsleyBut there’s no need to worry about that any longer.

And I think maybe Weezie had done so before him, but I can’t be certain. And that’s not the point at any rate, now is it? No, the point is that Sherman done kicked it in the 21st century, and when he left, he took a piece of my childhood with him. Now to be sure, it was a piece I gave freely, but still, a piece forever gone as a result of his departure.

Seeing as I had mentioned last time that I had pretty much “checked out” musically by the end of the 90’s, in lieu of immediately addressing new acts for the new century, I thought I would take a moment to breathe. Instead, devoting Part One to the those individuals who I entrusted a piece of my youth with, and who then took it with them as they rushed up unannounced to Saint Peter’s gate.

As far as a “mix” goes, this will most likely be shaky at best, but as far as a confession of unadulterated devotion and love goes, this is about as close as I’ll ever get, Again, musically speaking that is…

Joe. I still miss you. I never met you, but still I miss you. Honest to God! You really did help to make me the man (?) I am today, and you showed me that it’s not about “them,” or their actions – it’s about Me. It’s about Me, and what I do with that knowledge that counts…

Alan Meyers, you and the other Spud Boys taught me that it was OK to be “less” and still achieve more. You taught me that even plugs without sockets, still get theirs from time to time. Human Metronome, bang on my brother…

Adam. Dear peaceful Adam – I’ve been told all too often (most usually by a certain someone I used to know) that I was far “too white” to ever truly grasp the genius of rap. Thank you for opening that door to me, all while playing a mean-ass bass, to boot…

Back to post-punk in a second, but I do have to take a moment to say goodbye to Dave. God bless Dave.

Say what you will. Pontificate on any number of given topics, but you must admit, without Jazz, you have no rock and roll. Without jazz, you have no punk. Without jazz, you have no Two Tone. Without jazz, there is no black people playing with white people in harmony. There is no Jew playing with Christian. There is no musician simply looking at another while saying, “Let’s jam, man.” Without jazz, you don’t have modern music. And – in my humble opinion – without Mr. Brubeck, well man, you just don’t has jazz…

OK, so that was that, and this is this. I end Part One of the 00’s with Joey. Because of all the musical family members lost in the 21st century, his was to me the first. And as such, it hurt the worst. His death forever stole from me the idea I had long-held that there could somehow ever be pieces of my youth that would never die, nestled as they were gently in the arms of my Rock Gods.

A lot more would eventually die for me in the 21st century, and a lot more most likely will. But it was these musical nuggets of my past – my serenity while growing up, really – that have eventually proven the hardest to truly say good-bye to.

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mixtape-jenkehl1-300x300Jen’s Twisted Mix-Tape Tuesday is Phat with a “P. H.” (I’m in the right decade for that, correct?) and I really wish you would play along to show me your musical memories. Next week we conclude the 00’s to date, and I’ll try to show that I at least have somewhat of a grip on the current goings on…

The Final Scene

When first tasked with writing about the musical 90’s, I was a little depressed to realize that I could no longer speak of The Clash. And then I remembered, I began the 90’s in Okinawa. And in Okinawa was where I first heard this:

The Blue Hearts were termed by many as “the Japanese Clash,”and while they’ll have no further say in this post, I just couldn’t leave the 90’s – or Okinawa – without a shout out to them.

As we discovered last week, not all were part of the club kid scene of the decade. But there were others to choose from, and it could be safely said that there wasn’t one singular breathing person on the planet’s face – sans a certain Richard and Judy Stover – who did not at least dip a toe into a little known scene coming out of the Seattle…

Now did I just use the same band there twice? I believe I did. But in all honesty, I never felt as if the Mother Love Bone end of their existence received its proper due. So there.

Of course, if that scene didn’t tickle your musical funny bone (or if you simply preferred over-sized rain gear and floppy hats, to flannel and torn jeans), you only needed to look to Manchester, England to find a slightly more refined sound…

The “Madchester scene” as it came to be known, opened the door just enough to allow for yet another British invasion of sorts. An invasion that. also never really received its proper due…

Of course, telling people in the U.S. to kill their television is akin to going to India and asking for a cheeseburger. So while all this madness was being thrown at us from without, we were busy at work creating a bit of it from within as well. In addition to grunge, the indie scene kicked it up a notch in the 90’s, with the aid of some pixies and a chick named Jane…

“So t, did you actually get into all these scenes?” You bet your sweet parachute pant-wearing booty I did! And then some!  But as the 90’s drew to a close, I was back in the states, and I was busy making babies. Babies that would quickly eat up my time, my attention, my love, and – sure as hell – any budget I had previously had in place for new music. As such, I had just one last scene to attend to, before the decade drew to a close.

It was a scene that incorrectly gave the credit to The Mighty Mighty Bosstones. It was scene that would throw its creator, Fishbone, firmly under history’s bus one last time. It was a scene that would eventually die under No Doubt’s steadfast removal of any semblance to what made it fun in the first place. And it was a scene that would give birth to the SKAturday’s I still occasionally make my babies suffer through till today. It was a scene that followed two others like it, (Jamaican and Two Tone), and it was as a result called simply “3rd Wave…”

It would prove to be my final scene, but no worries. It was a good place to hang up my hat of music snobbery, especially when considering what the next decade would eventually bring – or more succinctly – take away from us.

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Another Tuesday over at Jen’s Twisted Mix Tape Tuesday, and yes, I did take full advantage of the “two for Tuesday” clause buried deep within the contract. So this week saw a total of (5) scenes, (2) songs per. Plus a helping of Blue Hearts to help make the whole thing go down real smooth-like. Next week we walk into the 00’s, so you’ll be able to see my knowledge of the topic drop to levels lower than the IQ of the average Kei$ha fan… See you then!

Have You Ever Had It Blue

Another Friday, another Friday Fictioneers (sorry kids, but I can only submit these when the pictures tell me the story, as this week’s did.) As always, I hope you enjoy what today’s muse whispered into my ear…

Copyright -Anelephantcant

Copyright -Anelephantcant

The chain – well, you could hardly call it that, now could you? – Would’ve never been left draped around his neck in days of old. No, back then he was prized, needed, secured.

He remembered the lad who’d rode him, screaming together down blown-out streets to get messages to the front.

God, he loved that boy. So handsome, so gentle, so fast!

The lad had a good eye, failing him only on that day where “Jerry” had hid in the bell tower.

Lying beside his dying love, he wept while his seat slowly absorbed the blood.

A lifetime ago of course, it was now a mere cherished memory as he sat idly – unloved, unneeded, and most decidedly unchained.

•••

Justified & Ancient – a 90’s Dance Party

I think that if we’re honest with each other, we can all admit that the 90’s really came down to just (2) little words:

Mu, Mu.

This decade saw a one-time club kid (solely in an effort to increase his already robust instances of getting laid – look – I had an issue, OK?), step off the dance floor to take up residence behind “the booth,” replete with my oversized headphones wrapped loosely around my neck, and my mini flashlight clamped firmly between my teeth.

I went by “DJ Mimizu” (Japanese for “worm,” as all the girls said I danced like one) and much like The KLF, along with my partner DJ Kero Kero Keroppi, I tried desperately every night to kick out the jams, sometimes even asking Tammy Wynette to help…

Of course, when your main focus was to get the kids dancing and grinding (sweat + prospect of sex = increased booze sales), you sometimes had to step back half a decade or so, and slap something onto the turn table that would make them feel “Divine…”

In general, the songs were chosen for the girls. Because every good DJ knew that wherever the girls went, the boys would follow. That being said, hip hop was beginning to invade even the most alternative of scenes, and this sort of music seemed to have both sexes jumping from their seats, hitting the floor in unison…

As the lines continued to blur, it became harder for DJ’s (both the good and the not-so) to discern which scene a particular act was “romancing” with their sound, and this confusion would help to bring about an almost delicious musical crossover…

The blend was upon us, the confusion as to where the musical lines now lay were driving some of us to distraction, as scenes merged and begat wholly new scenes as a result. In short, the world was as it always was, and as it always would be – forever changing and new.

And then this happened…

Good DJ’s everywhere realized that James Brown was dead, and that the game had just changed. Possibly forever, and regardless of whether or not they happened to be getting laid robustly at the time…

•••

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Yes, we’re up to the 90’s already over at Jen’s Twisted Mix-Tape Tuesday, and while I thought I was going to struggle through this decade, by closing my eyes and clenching down once again upon an imaginary flashlight, the above track list came flooding back to mind. Next week we’ll get a little edgier, and discuss why some roses are stone, why the best jelly comes from pearls, and how it is that pixies can sing without moving their mouths. Until then kids, remember…