Tag Archives: the beach boys

Music on Mondays (10-5-15)—Decades of music

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

My musical life seems to run by decades, give or take a year or two:

Decade 1—1955-1965: My mom played the piano and organ, and her parents played the flute and violin. My musical life began with me playing the piano and violin.

Here is a video of a young lady playing a Fritz Kreisler (1876-1962) variation of “Tambourin” by Jean-Philippe Rameau (1683-1764). I include this piece because I won a solo medal for my performance of it in sixth grade Texas violin competition.

Decade 2—1965-1973: I discovered The Beatles, The Who, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, The Beach Boys. These were my junior high and high school years, so I had only my allowance with which to buy music. Since there was so much music I wanted, I had to resort to stealing music. Remember that I have freely admitted that I was a juvenile delinquent!

This probably is my most important music decade because of the formative years. I cannot pick a favorite song from this decade although The Beatles definitely are my favorite group. So here’s one of my favorite Beatles songs which I sang to my girlfriend, Lynda, at school on Valentine’s Day in 1973:

Decade 3—1973-1983: My first decade after high school graduation, and I was flush with money, almost all of it being spent on music and music equipment. My college years were spent at Texas A&M University in College Station, and the years after that were spent in Houston. By the time I left Houston in 1983, I had over 5,000 vinyl albums and the best stereo system money could buy.

Following is “Photograph” by Ringo Starr, another song that I sang to the Lynda, this time at Thanksgiving 1973. The Beatles as solo artists were important to me during this decade.

Decade 4—1983-1993: This decade was spent back in College Station and the music collection continued to grow. By this time, though, CDs were in the marketplace, and CD players were in the home and in the car. I did a lot of driving during this decade, so I forsook the home music system in order to have a booming car music system. The vinyl album collection stagnated at about 5,500 but the CD collection grew by leaps and bounds.

The Police probably take top honors for favorite song from this decade with “Every Breath You Take.”

Decade 5—1993-2003: This is my lost music decade. My life pretty much was in limbo and without any direction or will to live, I didn’t see a need for acquiring more music. When I left College Station in 1993 with the intent on suicide in Canada, I left behind a vast vinyl and CD collection, taking only 100 CDs with me to listen to in the car as I drove to Canada. Only about 50 CDs were added to the 100 CDs during this time.

I have been adding music to this decade for the past couple of years so I’m not completely familiar with all it has to offer. Smash Mouth is one of the groups from this decade that I recently discovered. Here is their song, “Walking On The Sun.”

Decade 6—2003-2013: My life took on a new direction and, with that new direction, a new interest in music. Vinyl and CDs were losing favor with the public in preference for digital downloads, which made it very easy to sit at home and buy music. During this time I ripped all the CDs and sold them, so my music now is all digital.

I discovered that Sir Paul McCartney’s son, James, had grown up and was doing a little music here and there. Here is his song, “Angel”:

Decade 7—2013-present: My music collection is divided into classical and non-classical. I bought over 20 hours of non-classical music this weekend so that collection currently stands at 1,707 hours and 48 minutes of music and takes me about 170 days (almost 6 months at 10 hours a day) to listen to it all. I do listen to it all, in chronological order.

I have been following Black Sabbath ever since the beginning back in 1970. They released “13,” their nineteenth studio album, in 2013, their first ever to hit #1 on the Billboard 200 album chart. Considering that back in the ’70s they were considered anti-religious, anti-Christ, anti-everything, I thought it interesting that one of their singles from “13” is titled “God Is Dead?”. Note the question mark at the end of the title. Here it is:

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Music on Mondays (9-14-15)—Lost in stereo in a nowhere town stuck in suburbia

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

True story about “Fun, Fun, Fun” by The Beach Boys: Brian Wilson and Mike Love wrote it about a rich girl whom their bandmate Dennis Wilson was dating. Said rich girl would tell her father that she needed to borrow his Thunderbird to go to the library. What she actually was doing was hanging out with Dennis at his apartment. Then the inevitable happened: Daddy found out and took the T-bird away. Ah, yes. Parents. It’s a love/hate relationship when you’re a teenager.

Many decades ago I used to tell my wise old grandmother that I was going to the library to study. We had two libraries within blocks, the Kingsville city library three blocks in one direction and the Texas A&I University library six blocks in the other direction. I was like a kid in a candy store.

Although we were not rich, I confess that I didn’t always go to the library to study when I told my wise old grandmother that I was going to the library to study. Sometimes I would go to my other grandparents’ house (the two families were estranged at the time) or go out with friends whom my wise old grandmother approved of not.

When I did make it to the library, my favorite books were in the reference section, books like the Guinness Book of World Records and the Encyclopedia Britannica. (Yes, I was a nerd….) My favorite book in today’s world is online and is called Wikipedia.

One of the things I like to do whenever I discover a new musical group is go to Wikipedia to read about the group. Even though anyone can edit or add to Wikipedia, there are many volunteers like me who check the edits and additions to ensure that they are legitimate. In many cases, that requires appropriate credit, sourcing, and references. Sure, you’ll occasionally hear about people editing Wikipedia inappropriately, such as recently when edits were revealed to be by the Koch Brothers editing information that portrayed them negatively. Yes, you might get away with your edit for a day or two but ultimately volunteer editors will edit your edit!

New San Diego Central Library on February 2, 2013The cool thing about references is that they can be looked up at your local library (picture►). Within the text of the articles are various links that take you to other articles and sources. So when I find a new group, I’ll see if they have a Wikipedia page. Sometimes they don’t because of the Wikipedia notability guideline which states that the group has to be notable. That guideline prevents daddy from creating a Wikipedia page about his son’s newly formed band. So Stuck In Suburbia will have to get a little more notability before being eligible for a Wikipedia page; I’m rootin’ for them!

You can help them get that notability by following them on Facebook and Twitter, and listening to their new single on YouTube. I believe the single will be available at iTunes but since Apple lost me as a customer back in 1983 (and they’ve done nothing to encourage me to return), I don’t patronize iTunes. Thus, their single is only on my YouTube playlist right now.

After listening to Stuck In Suburbia‘s music last week, I had a lot of fun in Wikipedia reading about All Time Low and The 1975 and then clicking on links to take me to related articles. I also now have a complete collection of music by All Time Low and The 1975.

Following is “Lost In Stereo” by All Time Low. It’s from their 2009 album “Nothing Personal” and is one of my favorites of theirs. Listen to it with headphones to get the full effect of being lost in stereo.

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The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

Music on Mondays—Add some music to your days

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Since Jim and I canceled cable television in October 2013, I have had more time to listen to more music. I seem to get more done each day now, and with that, I’m a much happier person.

I did notice very early on in my life that I’m actually a much happier person when I have music playing. My wise old grandmother couldn’t understand how I could study, and maintain straight A’s, with my little clock radio tuned to KTSA AM out of San Antonio, KLOL FM out of Houston, or the new (1975) KZFM out of Corpus Christi. Those were the three stations that my little transistor clock radio picked up best.

I have music in my collection that can put me in any mood, and bring me out of any mood, too. On the other side of the coin, there simply is too much violence and foul language on television, and I think I’m better off by not subscribing to it.

If you’re having difficulties or need some motivation, try adding some music to your day.

Put on some headphones, turn the volume up, and listen to the words and music from “Add Some Music To Your Day,” by The Beach Boys, from their album “Sunflower,” released in February 1970. There’s not much that can compare to harmonies from The Beach Boys—Hollies, Beatles, and Crosby Stills Nash & Young are the only others that come immediately to mind. Words are below the YouTube video.

The Sunday mornin’ gospel goes good with a song
There’s blues, folk, and country, and rock like a rollin’ stone
The world could come together as one
If everybody under the sun
Add some music to your day

You’ll hear it while you’re walkin’ by a neighbor’s home
You’ll hear it faintly in the distance when you’re on the phone
You’re sittin’ in a dentist chair
And they’ve got music for you there
To add some music to your day

Add some music, music everywhere
Add some, add some, add some, add some music
Your doctor knows it keeps you calm
Your preacher adds it to his psalms
So add some music to your day

Music
When you’re alone
Is like a companion
For your lonely soul

When day is over
I close my tired eyes
Music is in my soul

At a movie you can feel it touching your heart
And on every day of the summertime
You’ll hear children chasing ice cream carts
They’ll play it on your wedding day
There must be ’bout a million ways
To add some music to your day

Add some music to your day

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The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

Music on Mondays—Heavy metal?

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I started collecting music when I was just eleven years old. My very first album was “The Best of The Beach Boys, Volume 3.” It was an album that my older brother left when he moved out. I liked it so much that I bought Volumes 1 and 2. After that I started collecting The Beatles and The Who.

When I turned 18, my friends threw a surprise birthday party for me and albums were the gifts of the day: “Ram” by Paul & Linda McCartney, “Made In Japan” by Deep Purple,” “The White Album” by The Beatles, “All Things Must Pass” by George Harrison, and the most unusual of all, “Black Sabbath Vol. 4.” My wise old grandmother wasn’t thrilled with my friends, especially after she listened to Made In Japan and the first side of Black Sabbath Vol. 4. She didn’t even like the name Black Sabbath, and forbade me from getting Black Sabbath Volumes 1, 2, & 3. Of course, there was no Volume 1, 2, or 3, but I soon bought “Black Sabbath, “Paranoid,” and “Master of Reality,” and kept them hidden behind books on my bookshelf. Ultimately she found them but didn’t have time to listen to them right then, so I played one short song for her, which she liked. Here it is, from Master of Reality.

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Whaddaya think? Is that heavy metal, doom metal, satanic metal?

Here are a couple of others from Black Sabbath, not what you would expect:

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Not quite what you were expecting, eh? A softer sound from one of the founders of heavy metal music. Don’t judge a book by its cover………….lol

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The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

Music on Mondays (8-5-13) — I need good music

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

My wise old grandmother always told me that music was the international language. She grew up in the days of orchestras and big band music. I think sure she knew exactly what she was walking about, and I imagine what could be accomplished by politicians in countries throughout the world if all of them would negotiate with each other with some calming music playing in the background. That’s definitely not how I imagine their meetings being conducted.

If you’re having a bad time, try adding some music to your day.

The Sunday mornin’ gospel goes good with the soul
There’s blues, folk, and country, and rock like a rollin’ stone
The world could come together as one
If everybody under the sun
Add some music to your day

You’ll hear it while you’re walkin’ by a neighbor’s home
You’ll hear it faintly in the distance when you’re on the phone
You’re sittin’ in a dentist’s chair
And they’ve got music for you there
To add some music to your day

Add some music everywhere
Add some music
Your doctor knows it keeps you calm
Your preacher adds it to his psalms
So add some music to your day

Music
When you’re alone
Is like a companion
For your lonely soul

 When day is over
I close my tired eyes
Music is in my soul

At a movie you can feel it touching your heart
And on every day of the summertime
You’ll hear children chasing ice cream carts
They’ll play it on your wedding day
There must be ’bout a million ways
To add some music to your day

Add some music to your day
Add some music to your day 

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Just make sure it’s not bad music about death, destruction, rape, murder, violence…. Rap and Hip-hop come immediately to mind. Even bad music is part of the international language, and all those negative thoughts and words under the guise of music are sure to add stress and other negativity into your life.

Everyone that I can see is gettin’ right in tow
Changin’ songs to be on the radio
Now there are things that I believe in
I’d never sell my soul
It always feels so good to hear good music

I need good music, good good music
It always feels so good to hear good music

How can I get back with you if I’m so far from home
In any port or foreign shore alone
So many ways to be betrayed believe me when I say
I think that I would die without good music

I need good music, good good music
It always feels so good to hear good music
I need good music, I need good music
I know that I would die without good music

And even though you might think it’s funny
I couldn’t care if there ain’t no money
I’m a little mixed up but I’ll be alright
If I can hear a loud guitar all night

 I need good music, good good music
It always feels so good to hear good music 

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I think someone at some university somewhere should do some detailed research about what kind of music all these killers, rapists, and thugs listen to. What music was blaring from the stereo in Nathan Campbell’s car that he purposefully drove onto the Venice Beach Boardwalk this weekend that killed one and injured eleven? I’d be willing to bet that it wasn’t good music.

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

little drummer boy

Music on Mondays — The little drummer boy wants it straight, no chaser

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Merry Christmas Eve to everyone everywhere.

I thought I’d share with you some of my favorite Christmas songs, renditions, and videos for today, starting off with my favorite Christmas song, Little Drummer Boy. My favorite version of Little Drummer Boy is also my favorite Christmas song video, performed by my favorite all-female ensemble, Celtic Woman, accompanied by chorus and, of course, the Little Drummer Boy (who is anything but little):

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Then there’s Joan Jett & The Blackhearts’ version of Little Drummer Boy, substantially Joan Jetted up, from their 1981 album I Love Rock ‘N’ Roll:

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One of the more interesting versions of Little Drummer Boy was performed by Bing Crosby and David Bowie. Actually titled Peace On Earth/Little Drummer Boy, the counterpoint was written and performed by David Bowie specifically for Bing Crosby’s 1977 TV special Bing Crosby’s Merrie Olde Christmas:

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In surfing through the YouTube videos, I found this snare drum performance from Church of Southland in Anaheim, California. I’ve always been infatuated with snare drums and this reaffirms my infatuation. Take five minutes and watch this.

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My all-time music favorite, Sir Paul McCartney, wrote Wonderful Christmastime back in 1979, and it’s become a staple of Christmas radio airplay to this day:

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The first Christmas song I can remember hearing on rock radio was by The Beach Boys, Little Saint Nick, from 1963:

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Lastly, we couldn’t possibly forget The 12 Days of Christmas. Let’s have a little fun with it with Straight No Chaser, a messed-up version as only Straight No Chaser could mess it up:

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If you ever get a chance to see Straight No Chaser in concert, take it. You’ll have a lot of fun and come away absolutely amazed at what they do, how they can take beautiful songs and mess them up beautifully.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

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