Tuesday, July 07, 2020

Meh, Nice, So Close!

2 fantasies and 1 mixed collection of short stories.

1st up, "The Raven Tower" by Ann Leckie, 2019, 402 pages, 109k words. I enjoyed Leckie's Ancillary sci-fi trilogy, I figured I'd give this a go. So this world has gods, which are potentially immortal beings who can make things happen by the force of their will if they have enough power from prayers and offerings stored up. They can also eat one another and acquire power that way. Interesting, I guess.

The narration of the book is odd. The main character of the book is a warrior aid of the heir to the throne. They present as a man but may or may not be a woman. This has nothing to do with the plot. The narrator is an apparently somewhat omniscient being who we later find out is a god who addresses itself to the main character??? There's a meandering plot, and a somewhat abrupt conclusion. So overall, meh.

Next up, "Sooner Or Later Everything Falls Into The Sea" by Sarah Pinsker, 2019, 357 pages, 97k words. A very enjoyable collection of 13 stories. Several have music themes, Pinsker is also a musician. A story about a generation ship dragged a little, which made me remember how the 1st date I went on with my wife of 44 years was in June 1968 to see "2001: A Space Odyssey", and we were so proud to have figured out that the trip to Jupiter dragged in the movie because a trip to Jupiter would be a boring, drug out journey. So 100x that for a generation ship.

The last story was particularly clever, a murder mystery at a convention of 1000 or so of the different multiverse versions of the inventor of the multiverse gate, a lot of whom are named Sarah Pinsker. Nice!

3rd and last, "The City We Became" by N.K. Jemison, 2020, 479 pages, 130k words, "The Great Cities Trilogy #1". I read 1 of her fantasy trilogies years ago, and recently gave a short story collection of hers 5 stars, which I almost never do.

I had read the prologue to this book I think on tor.com and like the premise: cities that reach a certain size and/or complexity and/or je ne sais quoi become sentient and exist on many planes in the multiverse. This is the story of New York's birth. But there is an Enemy who opposes the cities, whom it up to the cities' avatars to fight. Very fast paced, very hip characters, very New York, was going for another 5 star rating but then - Jemisin did something that just didn't seem right to me. If you want to know what, read past the spoiler alert. Still, very enjoyable, I went on and bought her other recent trilogy, each volume of which won the Hugo Award, 3 years in a row - unheard of. Fun new word: "broccoliesque". So close!

****************** SPOILER ALERT *****************
At one point, Jemisin brings H.P. Lovecraft into the mix, in a painting sent by the Enemy which portrays a scene from Lovecraft and outs his horrible racism and xenophobia. But then at the climax of the book, it is revealed that the Enemy is a city from a different dimension - it is fact Lovecraft's sunken city R'lyeh, trying to overlay New York and thus establish a bridgehead into our universe.

That just struck me as wrong. After rightfully and righteously calling out Lovecraft's racism and xenophobia, to then borrow one of his best known memes as a major plot element seemed totally incongruous.

Maybe it's just me. Still, a great read.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Music Mostly In

3 new things with Music Out:
  1. Based on a recommendation in a blog (Walter Jon Williams maybe?) I started watching "Peter Gunn" on Amazon Prime. 1/2 hour detective show, 1958-61. Not too bad. He's not too smarmy. Produced by Blake Edwards, music by Henry Mancini, including the famous theme. Anyway, his "office" is a restaurant named "Mother's", which has a jazz band. The band's female singer is Peter Gunn's girlfriend. So I've been harvesting old standards that they perform. The 1st 4 episodes, I harvested 2: "Don't Get Around Much Anymore", and "How High The Moon", the Les Paul & Mary Ford version of which was number #1 on the day I was born, June 8, 1951. Then went 12 episodes - some of which don't have any scenes in Mother's at all - before getting "Day In, Day Out", which is still in the queue.

  2. My friend Lexington live music legend Tom Jordan is 78 YO today, Tuesday, June 23. He always wanted to do "Pennies from Heaven" at jams, and I would always tell him, no way, that is a hard song, 1936 jazz. I went on and worked it up - it is indeed a hard song, 19 different chords in it. I recorded it and sent it to him for his birthday. Here it is:

    I also recorded "Don't Get Around Much Anymore" and tweeted it - it is definitely a pandemic song. Here that is:

    If I get any response, I may do more. I released it yesterday, crickets so far. I really increasingly seem to be irrelevant online, I'm wondering more frequently if I should just go on and give it up.

  3. When I bought OnSong I also purchased a lifetime subscription to Ultimate Guitar, for $29.99 maybe. This site is a very good source for guitar chords for songs. As I wanted songs they didn't have, I have started adding such songs there after I figure them out. I think I've added about a dozen songs at this point.


Oof, no Music In since December. My music library, currently at 21,210 tracks, 61.7 days, lives in iTunes on my PC in my home office in Lexington. I wound up hunkered down in Naples FL, where I just have my MacBook Air. I can add new music to it, and then merge it back into the main library - which I finished yesterday. So now I can rate & review it. Most of the new music here comes from bandcamp. Interesting, the latest Andrew Bird was there. Here goes.

  • Half Moon Run, "A Blemish in the Great Light", 2019, 10 tracks. Nice alternative rock. Out of Montreal, been around ~10 years. Vocals remind me a little of The Jayhawks. 4 stars. Here's "Favourite Boy".

  • Various artists, "French Disco Boogie Sounds Vol.4", 2019, 13 tracks. Upbeat and poppy, what's not to like? I've started a "disco" genre in my song book, quite often these are fun to play. And of course you can dance to them. 4 stars. Here's "Georgy Porgy (Disco Version) by Dwight Druick.

  • Various artists, "The Best of Fado: Um Tesouro Português, Vol. 1", 2003. Just after New Year's I talked to my old friend Jon Packer. He said one of his son-in-laws was Portuguese and a fan and player of Fado music (I think). So I decided to check it out. Per the Wikipedia article it goes back to the 1820s, and:
    fado is a form of music characterized by mournful tunes and lyrics, often about the sea or the life of the poor, and infused with a sentiment of resignation, fate and melancholia.
    Fado music also features a special "Portuguese guitar" which I think Jon said his son-in-law plays.

    The 1st thing I tried wound up being a soundtrack CD: "Focus", by Ennio Morricone & Dulce Pontes, who was listed in the Wikipedia article. It was really dull, I decided not to include it in the library.

    Next I tried the collection above. Decent tunes. I'm not sure about the "mournful" part, they don't particularly sound too mournful to me, but maybe the (Portuguese) lyrics are real mournful. None of the tunes are particularly catchy. I'll take Bossa Nova music for Portuguese vocals any day. 3 stars.

  • Nubiyan Twist, "Portraits", 2 tracks, 2019. Per their website, "Future Jazz, Afro-Dub". From Leeds, England, maybe? 4 horns, 3 vocalists, guitar, bass, keys, percussion, so 11 piece. Catchy stuff, more to come. 4 stars. Here's "If Only (feat. Ruby Wood)".

  • INEZ, "Voicemails And Conversations", 2019, 21 tracks. The debut album of "Pittsburgh Songtress INEZ". Kind of done in the style of "Miseducation of Lauryn Hill", with short spoken interludes, a radio talk show, children's voices - annoying when they come up on shuffle play out of context. A good 1st album if a little gimmicky. On the fence, but wound up going with 4 stars - I want to hear it more. Here's "Show Me".

  • Various Artists, "Two Syllables Volume Sixteen", 2019, 10 tracks. Some chill electronica / dance / jazz instrumentals. I must be getting old, but I love stumbling across this kind of stuff. 4 stars. Here's "Itaru's Phone Booth" by Myele Manzanza.

  • John Lennon & Yoko Ono, "Double Fantasy", 1980, 14 tracks. The wedding I played in January I had a request for "Beautiful Boy", by John Lennon. It went in the list and when it came to the top, I found it on this album. This was Lennon's last album before his death. Lennon and Ono alternate songs. I mostly remember Yoko Ono songs, maybe from the Plastic Ono Band, to be pretty sucky, the ones on this album are all pretty good - although "Kiss, Kiss, Kiss" is pornographic. Lots of good tunes, but I took this out of rotation before the other new stuff because I did know a number of the songs: "(Just Like) Starting Over", "I'm Losing You", "Watching The Wheels", "Woman". I think that this is a must-have album for any fan of The Beatles or classic pop music. 4 stars. Here's "Beautiful Boy". I recorded a video of this song and sent it to my grandsons, my daughter already played the song to them.

  • John Fogerty, "Blue Moon Swamp", 1997, 14 tracks. I've never been much of a Credence or John Fogerty fan, but somebody told this was a fantastic album and I had to check it out. So I did, songs are OK, but, "I've never been ...". 3 stars.
  • Joe by the Book, "100 Years", 2020, 8 tracks. An indie 3 piece from Leeds UK. Kind of a noir feel. 4 stars. This track is a little slow, but it's the only one on YouTube. "Sleep".

  • LouReed, "Magic And Loss", 1992, 14 tracks. A concept album. All the song titles have a title and then a parenthetical title? Interesting stuff. 4 stars. Here's the short 1st track overture "Dorita (The Spirit)". I always like a good overture.

  • Z.Z.Hill, "Greatest Hits", 1986, 11 tracks. A couple of bands in Naples are doing "Someone Else Is Steppin' In", which led me to this album. Listening to it I remembered I also had "Down Home Blues" in my book - someone had requested it a few years ago. It was 1 of the biggest blues songs of the 1980s. 4 stars,

    Interesting, Willie Miller, an excellent drummer in Naples told me the song was "Steppin' Out, Steppin' In", which caused me to take me longer to find it. Listening to it, it has the lines "I'm a brand new woman" and other female gender references. Turns out it was written by a woman. The great line "I got a new way of wearing my hair." definitely makes more sense.

    I used to transpose gender pronouns to male as necessary when I performed songs. I decided, if Z.Z. can do the song and leave the feminine references in, so can I. I've been working up some girl group songs, particularly Martha and the Vandellas, and it makes things much easier.

  • Omar, "The Anthology", 2020, 33 tracks. 2h26m of music for only £10! Never heard of Omar Lye-Fook before, apparently he's been a British neosoul fixture since 1985. 9 albums, 1st 2 in the UK top 20; the highest any of his singles got was #14 in 1991 for "There's Nothing Like This". Many guest artists, not a bad track, dance, dance, dance! I looped it for a week after I got it & every time I got up to go somewhere in the house I wound up dancing there. I bought gift copies for 2-3 people, tweeted about it as the best album value ever, no else seems to like it anywhere near as much as I do. Oh well. 4 stars. Here's I think my fav track, "I Don't Mind the Waiting", and "Feeling You (feat. Stevie Wonder)". Both of these are in my book (and added at Ultimate Guitar). He also does a a cover of "Be Thankful (feat. Erykah Badu)" - this song has been ruined for me by the great version done by SW Florida band Mudbone, video here, which I have appropriated.

  • Soccer Mommy, "color theory", 2020, 10 tracks. The 2nd album of hers I have. Chill, laid back female vocalist with nice alternative rock backgrounds. Good stuff, 4 stars. Here's "circle the drain".

  • AGBEKO, "D.O.D.", 2020, 6 tracks. Another 11 piece world band, out of Manchester, UK. This shit is so strong. I think I bought a couple of people gift copies of this album, again, no one liked it near as much as I did. The 2 bar, 8 beat pattern David Byrne called "the clave" is featured prominently. Hah, tried to google DuckDuckGo that up and failed, found it in my most excellent review/summary of Byrne's most excellent book! Here's the title track. I thought "D.O.D." was "Death of Disco". Bzzzz, wrong! Apparently it's "Death of Discourse".

  • Quincy Jones, "Back On The Block", 1989, 14 tracks. Something told me this was an album I should check out, so I did. It is a good album, but nothing really stood out. 3 stars.
  • Giant Swing, "Terra, 2020, 1 track. My Lexington friends Jeff Adams on guitar, Logan Lay on bass, & Keith Halladay on drums add Will Phillips on trumpet for a nice, jazzy, upbeat number. I think I may have played with Will before. 4 stars.

  • Van Morrison, "Wavelength", 1978, 11 tracks. I definitely like Van's early rock period and later blues period better than his middle rock period. 3 stars.
  • John Prine, eponymous, 1977, 13 tracks. I bought this after his death from COVID in April. I was surprised that the orchestration is very country, complete with a pedal steel. He was definitely a great songwriter. 4 stars. I'd heard people do this song, I didn't know it was 1 of his - it's in the list to go in my book now. Here's "Spanish Pipedream".

That's it through mid-April. Next album needs more listens, so I guess I'm done for now. 14 albums in the unrated queue, I think I need a more aggressive listening program.

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Understanding Comics

For my birthday, my oldest daughter Erica the Brooklyn software designer/geek got me "Understanding Comics" by Scott McCloud, 1993, 215 pages. He has a great website.

It is of course a comic book. Very interesting stuff - the science of comic books. If you've ever been a fan of comics or graphic novels, I recommend it to you highly. I'm going to highlight a little of the science.

[I had ~1000 DC comics when I was 12 (1963). My favorites were Flash, Green Lantern, Atom, Justice League, and Adam Strange in "Mystery in Space" comics. Periodically I try to figure out how to read these old comics online and so far have always failed.

I must have wanted some other toy in 1963 because I had a big sale and sold all my comics.

In high school I started reading Marvel, and continued through college. I had 6-7 straight years of Fantastic Four, Thor, etc. Doctor Strange was my fav. I sold those all off to a comic store for $40 when I was preparing to move from Cambridge MA back to Jeffersonville IN in 1974. None of these comics would have been worth much if I had kept them - they were all very well read, never stored in plastic envelopes.]

Definition of "comics":
Juxtaposed pictorial and other images in deliberate sequence, intended to convey information and/or to produce an aesthetic response in the viewer.
A shorter version: "Sequential Art".

Comics have been around for most of human history. Who knew?

Chapter 2 introduces us to The Big Triangle. There is a sequence of 10 slides explaining it on his website - but, too bad, not 1 good image of The Big Triangle. Here's a screenshot of 1 of them; I'll try to explain the missing stuff.

The lower left corner contains photo-realistic images which become more "iconically abstract" as you move to the right. Finally you cross the dotted line and are in the land of text. As you move up you increase non-iconic abstraction - dadaism, cubism, etc. Very instructive.

In Chapter 3 we learn that playing "peek-a-boo" as kids teaches us closure: "the phenomenon of observing the parts but perceiving the whole". This leads to defining the 6 types of transitions between panels in a comic strip:

  1. Moment-to-moment
  2. Action-to-action
  3. Subject-to-subject
  4. Scene-to-scene
  5. Aspect-to-aspect
  6. Non-sequitur
Various schools of comics use widely varying amounts of the transition types.

The discussion of "motion lines" is fun. Plus "smoke lines" and "smell lines".

Chapter 6 is "Show and Tell". Again McCloud uses a common childhood occurrence as a teaching tool. This chapter is about how words and images are combined in comics. Oh boy, another numbered list!

  1. Word specific
  2. Picture specific
  3. Duo-specific
  4. Additive
  5. Parallel
  6. Montage
  7. Interdependent
I was surprised that he never mentioned the conventions regarding speech bubbles vs. thought bubbles vs. telepathic bubbles vs. ...

Chapter 7 explores the Six Steps in the creation of art in any medium:

  1. Idea/Purpose
  2. Form
  3. Idiom
  4. Structure
  5. Craft
  6. Surface
McCloud's exploration of the paths that different artists take through these steps is really interesting.

As you would surely expect, there are so many striking images in this book. Reading it is definitely 2-3 hours well spent.

Friday, June 12, 2020

Ending With A Bad Taste

1st up, "Interference", by Sue Burke, 2019, 400 pages, 108k words. This is the sequel of "Semiosis", blogged here. I stumbled across that review and noted that I had liked that book, so I decided to read this sequel. A good read. Plotting a little choppy tho. There is almost a prequel, maybe 20% of the book, developing a character who then doesn't play that much of a role in the rest of the book. Then in the main story line, after the narrative thread switches somewhat frequently between various humans, it then switches to the mostly immortal sentient bamboo for most of the last 1/2 of the book. Kind of like having the narrator suddenly become god. Plus the ending didn't seem strong.

2nd, "Iron Council", by China Miéville, 2004, 593 pages, 161k words. The last book of the Bas-Lag Trilogy. After reading the 1st book years ago, I read the 2nd in January and figured I'd finish the series off. Miéville has quite an imagination, very surreal stuff. Kind of a slog, but a (not particularly?) satisfactory conclusion to the trilogy. He uses a lot of interesting words, and some of them are real words, not just stuff he has made up. I should have captured them. I keep meaning to do that, to harvest new words from the books I'm reading. Hopefully I'll get consistent about it at some point here.

3rd, a quickie, my Patreon story of the month from Tobias S. Bucknell "Where the Glass Winds Blow". Set on an extrasolar planet with very little metal, a simple and memorable story.

4th, "Oath of Fealty", by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle, 1981, 313 pages, 90k words. A definite page turner, but ...

On twitter, I have been replying to or retweeting tweets involving covidiots with the tags

#DarwinAwards #EvolutionInAction #MotherNatureBatsLast
"Darwin Awards" goes back to the mid-80s. "Mother nature bats last" I would attribute to Kim Stanley Robinson in "New York 2140". But where did "Evolution in action" come from?

I thought John Brunner from the late 60s to mid-70s: "Stand on Zanzibar", "The Sheep Look Up", or "Shockwave Rider". So I purchased these (I am looking forward to rereading these), searched them, no dice. I tracked it down to "Oath of Fealty". Per the Wikipedia article:

Notable Quote: "Think of it as Evolution in Action"
The book is a quick read, a page turner - but painful. It definitely left a bad taste in my mouth.

I remembered Pournelle as being a libertarian - worse, his wikipedia page says he was a "paleoconservative". He was born in 1933 in Louisiana and grew up around Memphis, and was a man of his times. He died in 2017, age 84.

The book revolves around the huge arcology sitting in a burned out area of LA, and the conflict between the genius ubermensch in the arcology and the mud people outside in LA. The book is dedicated to Robert Heinlein - warning. One of the main characters is the genius ubermensch designer of the arcology, last name Rand - warning. There is a fair amount of sex in the book, a lot of it between the executives, and 1 assistant, in the uber-corporation that owns the arcology - no #MeToo moments involved I'm sure.

White privilege, fascism, patriarchy, white grievance, general hate and smugness. And the female corporate executive gets raped. I really don't like reading about rape. Ugh, I'm tired of writing about this. Here's some quotes:

welfare was a lot less popular than power plants.

...

This whole project could go down in bureaucratic regulations. The way the rest of the country’s going.

...

As long as welfare and food stamps and aid to dependent children and social security and all the other benefit programs pump in money, there’ll be something to steal.

...

The way she dressed would be enough to drive most men nuts if they had to work closely with her, and she must know that.

...

legally he was conceived out of wedlock, and I don’t have any claim on him at all.

...

A dozen hostesses circulated through the crowd; long-legged, pretty girls in their best party dresses, obviously models hired for the luncheon.

...

Half the government is lawyers, and when they make laws they don’t write them in English.

...

The night four of us lucked into a Beef Wellington [That is some fine, fine white folk food!]

...

The TS [arcology] guards might or might not turn you in to the LA cops, but more important they might hurt you. A lot.

...

Did you think we’d leave you for the eaters?

...

then it’ll be my turn with that sadistic bitch. She’s probably a Lesbian.

I was amused by the anachronisms. I guess Pournelle thought they added authenticity, but they definitely didn't age well. And this story was presumably set in the future of 1981??? And Pournelle was a technology writer???
He’s got his office, a DEC computer [I worked for DEC 1977-1980.]

...

It’s a role-playing game. MAN FROM UNCLE hunt club.

...

thankful for the touch-typing course his father had made him take in high school. [Ha ha, my mom made me take it in HS night summer school.]

...

Dump it for them at 300 baud.

...

Makes a pretty big file—” MILLIE, what is the total stored in Rand’s directory?
23,567,892 bytes.
[Wow, 23 meg! LOL!]

...

He took a Xerox from his desk

...

the car had a powerful relay system, good anywhere in line of sight to the large antenna on top of Todos Santos [Ha ha, pre-cell phone!]

"Evolution in Action" occurs in the book 21 times - definitely its catchphrase. "Think of it as evolution in action" is 1st quipped by Rand in reference to the deaths of an 18 and a 20 YO who had broken into the arcology and were pretending to be terrorists with bombs, who were executed by arcology security with poison gas. Ugh. Ugh, ugh, ugh.

So #EvolutionInAction is outta here. I have replaced it with #RealtimeNaturalSelection, from the 5/31/2020 Doonesbury cartoon.

I will go out on a limb here and say, I find lots of the current gay/trans/non-binary foo annoying/boring/lame. But at least it is not totally offensive, as this old libertarian white man crap is.

Monday, May 25, 2020

Rastas In Space

I posted about the Tobias S. Buckell short story collection "Tides from the New Worlds" here. I mentioned that I had tweeted to Buckell that I couldn't find his Xenowealth novel trilogy to purchase, and he emailed me the ePubs! I love living in the future!

Anyway I finally got around to reading them:

  1. "Crystal Rain", 2006
  2. "Ragamuffin", 2007
  3. "Sly Mongoose", 2008
This is a great space operatic universe which Buckell has created. Various generations of galactic civilizations interacting and superseding each other. Our humans characters are mostly from the Caribbean and as such are mostly black, FTW! There's a bit of a red herring in the 1st novel as to who the main character is - it is not John, it is Pepper! Pepper is a great SF character: a centuries old cyborg Idris Elba channeling Samuel L. Jackson with dreads and a long coat filled with weapons - the rasta John Wick. But with a good heart.

Feeling like binging, I then read another short story collection, "Xenowealth: A Collection", 2016, 195 pages, 56k words. Definitely a good follow up to the novels, filling in lots of Pepper's backstory.

Per the Wikipedia article, he did a 4th Xenowealth novel "The Apocalypse Ocean" via a Kickstarter in 2012. The Kickstarter was closed, so I contacted him again, and emailed me the ePub, FTW! Thanks again, Tobias!

He also pointed me at his Patreon page, where I signed up to get 1 new story/month for $5/month. A bargain! It's nice to be able to subscribe to artists you like this way.

I started writing this post and noticed I had another of his I had not read: "Mitigated Futures", 2013, 225 pages, 65k words. A couple of duplicate Xenowealth stories, the rest varied and interesting. I particularly liked the story he wrote with Karl Schroeder, who is another of my fav new authors of the last 5-10 years.

I had a little gap before starting "The Apocalypse Ocean" that I filled with "The Last Emperox", the "thrilling conclusion" of John Scalzi's "The Interdependency" trilogy, 2020, 295 pages, 80k words. Maybe 2 chapters to go and I'm like "No way he can wrap this up", but - he wraps it up very nicely! A very well plotted series, and Scalzi definitely wants this one to go to video. Name actresses will be seriously vying to get the part of the female character whose every other word is "fuck".

Monday, May 11, 2020

Another Comment in the Washington Post

Ho hum. Another clueless, old school article in the Washington Post, "The national debt is out of control", by Robert Samuelson. [snark]Samuelson has the same last name as a famous economist.[/snark] Where did they get this guy?

Note, I have an electronic subscription to the Washington Post, the article may be behind a paywall.

A "run against the dollar"? Not likely. The rest of the world can't get enough of the US Dollar. As the holder of the world's default reserve currency, it makes total sense for us to take on all this debt. It's an ugly job, but somebody's gotta do it. Meanwhile, as is mentioned, interest rates are incredibly low, and may go negative - which means the debt pays itself off over time. If you're really, really worried about the deficit, how about some big tax increases on the 1%? Wealth taxes? Sumptuary or luxury taxes?

Or, following the creative proposal of Mike Broihier, who is running for the Democratic nomination to oppose Mitch McConnell for Kentucky Senator, have the Treasury mint 25 $1 trillion platinum coins - of course bearing Trump's profile. [Come on Donnie, $1T coins with your face on them!!! Obama doesn't have those, no sir!] The Fed is required to buy these. National debt is gone, yay!

Seems silly, doesn't it? And it is silly. And the reason it is silly is that money is imaginary. All US Dollars are created by keystrokes at the Fed. Period. The fiat currency of a sovereign country is entirely a software construct. The Fed can always print more Dollars. Show me the national debt.

The only thing that is real, that is not silly, that we do need to worry about, is resources. If the Fed printed enough Dollars and distributed them to every US citizen such that each citizen could afford to build a mansion like Jeff Bezos has, I doubt there are enough resources to handle it. So it would definitely be inflationary and a bad idea. Printing enough Dollars to cover the COVID-19 shortfall of every US citizen, business, city, and state is just replacing what was there already and is a good idea.

Please read a primer on Modern Money Theory (MMT). We need to start living in the 21st century, not the 18th.

Tuesday, May 05, 2020

More Songs

I hit a nice milestone on Saturday, May 2: I am caught up on working up the songs in the list on my phone! Yay! And on the day after I got the MMT review/summary posted! 2x yay!

I used to keep lots of lists in my pocket exocortex iPhone. But then I would forget what lists I had. So I started keeping 1 list. I create a new 1 on January 1, so the current active list is named "2020" (duh). I started putting month names in at the beginning of the month in ALL CAPS.

80% of what's in the list is songs to be worked up. Everything else, I have started placing a category name after the entry, like "movie" or "music group".

A new song, which is not already in my songbook - the OnSong app on my iPad - can come from a variety of sources:

  • it can come up on my "hit parade" - the music that is always playing in my head - and I'm like "Oh, that's a good song, I should do it."
  • 1 of my bandmates says they want to play it.
  • someone at a gig or a jam requests it.
  • someone else at a jam calls the song and I don't totally hate it.
  • the house band at a jam, in which I might be called to fill in, plays it.
  • I hear it on the radio, TV, etc. and go, "That's not a bad song, it goes in the list."
  • I kept reading, prolly in the Rolling Stone daily email newsletter, where everyone and their brother was posting their recording of "In My Room" for the pandemic. So it went in the list. Not particularly a fun song to play.
Last winter, on January 4, 2019 I was in a bicycle collision with my wife and I went down. I was like, "OK, that wasn't too bad, a few scrapes." - and then I noticed that I could not move the tip of my left ring finger. I had popped the tendons, giving myself a "mallet finger".

I was very relieved when, after 10 weeks with the finger splinted, the tendon did reattach itself, and I regained close to 100% of the finger's function. Really not bad for 67 years old.

During the 10 weeks in the splint, I could not play guitar. Actually, after the swelling on my left pinky finger went down to where I could fit a steel slide on it, I practiced slide guitar every day for 9 weeks. I don't suck quite as much at slide as I used to. The main thing I learned, and put into muscle memory, was that your right hand has to deaden the strings you aren't playing.

But as soon as my finger healed, I went back to regular guitar - chords, FTW! Eat your hearts out, sax players! I've only played slide maybe 2x since then.

While I couldn't play chords, songs were going onto the list, but they weren't coming off. The last step of working up a song is playing it, and I couldn't do that. So I got months behind.

Hunkering down from the pandemic has its up side. Starting March 28, I started taking 2-5 songs off the list per day, and, as mentioned, finished Saturday, May 2. 93 more songs.

The 1st 3 are from Coral Stone Band practice March 12. I played at the Beach Box jam Sunday, March 15; Coral Stone Band (sans moi) played there Monday, March 16; our gig Tuesday March 17 at North Naples Country Club was cancelled, as were all gigs thereafter - the pandemic had arrived.

So here's the 93 new songs, in the order they were added.

  1. mony mony by tommie james & the shondells in E
  2. hang on sloopy by the mccoys in E
  3. land of 1000 dances by wilson pickett in A
  4. maniac by michael sembello in Bm
  5. don’t leave me this way by thelma houston in Am
  6. counting blue cars by dishwalla in Am
  7. suffragette city by david bowie in A
  8. kashmir by led zeppelin in D
  9. josephine by the wallflowers in A
  10. unchained melody by the righteous brothers in G
  11. waiting on the world to change by john mayer in D
  12. blue and lonesome by stones; memphis slim; little walter in Dm
  13. in spite of ourselves by john prine; iris dement in C
  14. put your lights on by santana in Am
  15. long tall texan by murry kellum; lyle lovett in C
  16. learning to fly by tom petty in C
  17. cheap sunglasses by zz top in G
  18. oh well by fleetwood mac; joe walsh in E
  19. lean on me by bill withers in C
  20. just the two of us by bill withers; grover washington jr in Em
  21. keep on smilin’ by wet willie in G
  22. stuck on stupid by ronnie baker brooks in A
  23. jungle boogie by kool & the gang in G
  24. rock and roll woman by buffalo springfield in D
  25. too many dirty dishes by albert collins; tab benoit in G
  26. forever man by eric clapton in Bm
  27. i can’t stand it by eric clapton in Am
  28. it makes no difference by the band in G
  29. eminence front by the who; pete townsend in Fm
  30. dear john by norah jones; ryan adams in F
  31. back to louisiana by delbert mcclinton in C
  32. maybe by alison krauss in C
  33. i want a new drug by huey lewis & the news in A
  34. the power of love by huey lewis & the news in C
  35. i can see clearly now by johnny nash; jimmy cliff in A
  36. you don’t love me by allman brothers in A
  37. one of these nights by eagles in Em
  38. to love somebody by the beegees in G
  39. rye whiskey by tex ritter; woody guthrie in G
  40. beautiful boy (darling boy) by john lennon; yoko ono in D
  41. big boss man by grateful dead; elvis presley in G
  42. the same love that made me laugh by bill withers in Dm
  43. tuff enuff by the fabulous thunderbirds in B
  44. she’s got everything by the kinks in G
  45. she caught the katy by the blues brothers; taj mahal in A
  46. victoria by the kinks in G
  47. can’t take my eyes off of you by frankie valli in D
  48. nite owl by dukays; gene chandler in A
  49. riot in cell block no. 9 by the blues brothers; the coasters; johnny winter in G
  50. betcha by golly wow by the stylistics; prince in D
  51. running on empty by jackson browne in G
  52. dancing in the dark by bruce springsteen in G
  53. beyond the sea by bobby darin in F
  54. god bless america by irving berlin in G
  55. north to alaska by johnny horron in C
  56. when it’s springtime in alaska it’s 40 below by johnny cash; johnny horton in A
  57. whispering pines by the band in A
  58. porcelain by red hot chili peppers in A
  59. politician by cream in C#
  60. the first time ever i saw your face by roberta flack in G
  61. i ain’t gonna stand for it by stevie wonder in A
  62. misty by johnny mathis; ella fitzgerald in D
  63. get back by the beatles in A
  64. sweet emotion by aerosmith in A
  65. have i told you lately by van morrison in E
  66. fly me to the moon by frank sinatra in C
  67. american girl by tom petty in D
  68. breezing by george benson in D
  69. feeling you by omar; stevie wonder in Ebm
  70. the joker by steve miller in G
  71. you oughta know by alanis morissette in F#
  72. get down tonight by k.c. & the sunshine band in F
  73. good man gone by coco montoya in D
  74. i will always love you by dolly parton; whitney houston in C
  75. this is how we do it by montell jordan in Em
  76. give it to me baby by rick james in C#m7
  77. that’s all right, mama by elvis presley; the beatles in E
  78. a long december by counting crows in G
  79. i don’t mind the waiting by omar in Bb
  80. love rollercoaster by ohio players in A
  81. moonlight feels right by starbuck in Em
  82. you’ve lost that lovin’ feeling by the righteous brothers; hall & oates in C
  83. i’ve just seen a face by the beatles in G
  84. helpless by csny in D
  85. on my own by patti labelle; michael mcdonald; burt bacharach in G
  86. i knew you when by billy joe royal in C
  87. never ending song of love by delaney & bonnie in C
  88. under the bridge by red hot chili peppers in E
  89. i won’t dance by fred astaire; frank sinatra; ella fitzgerald; jerome kern in G
  90. dream a little dream of me by the mamas & the papas in G
  91. baby (1971) by os mutantes in E
  92. in my room by the beach boys in G
  93. let’s face the music and dance by irving berlin; fred astaire in Am