Category Archives: Music

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

Music on Mondays (9/18/2017)—You’re my best friend but I’m never going back again

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

I often get asked what my favorite songs, albums, and artists are. My usual response is “Any song, album, or artist that is in my collection.”

However, in my next pass through my collection of non-classical music, I will be paying close attention to those songs which really get my foot stomping.  I will be making a list of them and then creating an SD card that I can play constantly on my little SoundBlaster Roar 2. Roar 2 accompanies me to the yard for gardening and the garage for storing, and since I like music on when I sleep, it will accompany me to the bedroom and help me sleep.

SanDisk now has 512GB SD cards which cost about $275. The SD Card is so small that it could be easy to lose or damage, making that an expensive $275…. The rumor mill says they have a prototype 1TB SD card but that rumor is 366 days old now. It will take me a little over six months to make this last pass, so maybe six months from now that 1TB card will be available.

Meanwhile, I have started my list with a few songs off the top of my head. Here are five of them so you can hear what makes my foot stomp.

“You’re My Best Friend” by Queen, 1975

“Never Going Back Again” by Fleetwood Mac, 1977

“Generation Clash” by Accept, 1989

“Hunting Humans (Insatiable)” by Rainbow, 1995

“Hot Rod Heart” by John Fogerty, 1997

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Music on Mondays (9/11/17)—Digital editing allows us to delete album songs

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

It takes me about five months listening to music for ten hours a day to make a complete pass through my non-classical music collection. On this last pass, though, I have been taking advantage of the fact that I can edit my digital music and delete music that just doesn’t get me movin’. Here are a couple of “songs” that I deleted:

“Interlude: The Story of the Hare Who Lost His Spectacles” by Jethro Tull
from “A Passion Play,” 1973

“Star Star” originally titled “Starfucker” by Joan Jett & The Blackhearts
from “Album,” 1983
The cassette had “Starfucker” as a hidden bonus track while the
song did not appear on the vinyl album. I’m not a big fan of vulgarity
in music, and I never liked this song.
Written by Mick Jagger & Keith Richards and showing up on
“Goats Head Soup” by The Rolling Stones.
I knew there was a reason why I don’t have “Goats Head Soup”
in my collection. I have not listened to the Stones’ original version.

Coming up next: Surf Dog Surf-a-thon

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Music on Mondays (9-4-17)—Banana pancakes for Labor Day!

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray     My wise old grandmother

Several years ago I was on hold on the phone, probably to a customer service representative based in India, and instead of elevator music they were playing some song about banana pancakes. I didn’t know who the artist was, but one thing I have learned about pop music is that the title of the song often is sung many times in the song, and with the Internet, it’s possible to Google lyric lines and find both the song and the artist. The song was, indeed, titled “Banana Pancakes,” by Jack Johnson. I had never heard of him but I now have a complete collection of Jack Johnson’s music. Here’s “Banana Pancakes”:

My wise old grandmother used to make pancakes every Sunday morning. I used to cut up bananas, sometimes strawberries, and spread them on the pancakes. That was 55 years ago. Throughout these ensuing decades, I have also made pancakes on Sunday mornings. Holiday mornings, too, quite often.

The problem I have always had is that I couldn’t make consistently good, and beautiful, pancakes. I think I can now state definitively that my problem is that I always had crappy frying pans or griddles, and I was using electric stoves.

For our new home, we bought a Samsung gas range with a griddle. Looks like this:

Samsung gas range

My first attempt at cooking pancakes on that thing was a huge success. Wondering if it was just luck, I tried again this morning. Success again! The most beautiful and consistent pancakes ever!

Banana pancakes

The griddle is quite heavy. My wise old grandmother’s griddle was cast iron, and I always was the one who had the privilege of washing and drying that thing. I hated it. I don’t know whether or not this griddle is cast iron because it definitely is non-stick. I don’t remember my wise old grandmother’s being non-stick; she always melted real butter in the griddle to keep the pancakes from sticking. Nonetheless, I’m pretty happy.

I always celebrate success and happiness with a margarita….

Got margarita?

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Music on Mondays (8/21/17)—I don’t believe in the sun

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

With all the fascination about the eclipse today, I couldn’t help but wonder why so many Republicans and Regressives didn’t call predictions about the eclipse’s path and its totality as fake news like they do with climate change, vaccines, evolution. Even at the age of 62, I always find myself amazed at people….

Here are seven sun & moon songs from my music collection:

“Eclipse” by Pink Floyd, 1973
When the sun is eclipsed by the moon

“Silver Age” by Pet Shop Boys, 1999
Earthquakes predicted and someday soon,
a total eclipse of the sun and the moon

“Total Eclipse” by The Alan Parsons Project, 1977

“Here Comes The Moon” by George Harrison, 1979
Everybody’s talking up a storm

“Bad Moon Rising” by Creedence Clearwater Revival, 1969
I see trouble on the way. I see bad times today.

“I Don’t Believe in the Sun” by The Magnetic Fields, 1999
I don’t believe in the sun.
How could it shine down on everyone and never shine on me?

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Music on Mondays (4-10-17)—This isn’t what the governmeant

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

Currently in my non-classical music collection I have 1,438 hours 18 minutes and 17 seconds of music. I listen to it in chronological order and average about 10 hours a day, which means it takes me just over 143 days to listen to it all. Just after midnight 13 hours ago, I started listening to 1972. Here are the 1972 albums in my collection in the order in which I will sing along:

  1. Bang by Bang
  2. Mother/Bow to the King by Bang
  3. America by America
  4. Loose by Crazy Horse
  5. Baby I’m-A-Want You by Bread
  6. Paul Simon by Paul Simon
  7. Harvest by Neil Young
  8. Rockin’ by The Guess Who
  9. Bare Trees by Fleetwood Mac
  10. Joy by Apollo 100
  11. Thick as a Brick by Jethro Tull
  12. Machine Head by Deep Purple
  13. On Record by April Wine
  14. Rio Grande Mud by Z Z Top
  15. Mardi Gras by Creedence Clearwater Revival
  16. Demons & Wizards by Uriah Heep
  17. Exile on Main Street by The Rolling Stones
  18. Honky Chateau by Elton John
  19. Blue Oyster Cult by Blue Oyster Cult
  20. Foghat by Foghat
  21. School’s Out by Alice Cooper
  22. Living in the Past by Jethro Tull
  23. Toulouse Street by The Doobie Brothers
  24. Eagles by The Eagles
  25. Obscured by Clouds by Pink Floyd
  26. All Together Now by Argent
  27. Straight Shooter by James Gang
  28. Chicago V by Chicago
  29. Trilogy by Emerson Lake & Palmer
  30. Seven Separate Fools by Three Dog Night
  31. The Slider by T Rex
  32. Summer Breeze by Seals & Crofts
  33. Black Sabbath Vol 4 by Black Sabbath
  34. Phoenix by Grand Funk
  35. Close to the Edge by Yes
  36. At Crooked Lake by Crazy Horse
  37. Barnstorm by Joe Walsh
  38. Fresh by Raspberries
  39. Loggins & Messina by Loggins & Messina
  40. Guitar Man by Bread
  41. To Whom It May Concern by Bee Gees
  42. Can’t Buy A Thrill by Steely Dan
  43. Homecoming by America
  44. Seventh Sojourn by The Moody Blues
  45. The Magician’s Birthday by Uriah Heep
  46. They Only Come Out at Night by The Edgar Winter Group
  47. REO-TWO by REO Speedwagon

When I turned 18 on March 11, 1973, 33 of my friends gave me a surprise birthday party. All of them knew that I played the piano and the violin, and sang, and that I loved music, so many of my birthday gifts involved music. Some of them went together to pool their money and buy me albums. Previously all I had were 45 singles. The first three albums in my collection came from this birthday party: Black Sabbath Vol 4 by Black Sabbath, Machine Head by Deep Purple, and Seventh Sojourn by The Moody Blues. Those three albums were the start of the beginning of the end; I was off to the races collecting albums instead of singles.

So which is my favorite? Whichever one I’m currently listening to.

I do have some many favorite songs, though. Here are just five of them:

“This Isn’t What the Governmeant” by Bread

“Duncan” by Paul Simon

“Listen to the Music” by The Doobie Brothers

“Witchy Woman” by The Eagles

“Abaddon’s Bolero” by Emerson Lake & Palmer

Thanks for stopping by! See you next time!

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Music on Mondays (3-6-17)—Angie and Roxanne on wild horses singing do do do da da da

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

In today’s world of YouTube, Spotify, etc., I often wonder how musical artists make a living since you no longer have to buy a full album to get just the one song that you like. Just set up a playlist on YouTube or Spotify.

I’m one of those who still buys songs for my collection, although I must admit that it is nice not having to buy a complete album to get just that one song I like. What I do is go to YouTube and listen to the songs on an album and then buy the songs I like. Occasionally, the complete album is less expensive than buying the songs individually so I’ll buy the album and then delete the songs I don’t like.

I listen to my non-classical music collection in chronological order, and during this last pass, I also have been deleting those songs on old albums that I never liked. Here are four songs that I always have hated but I liked the albums so I put up with the songs. No longer. Right here in this blog post will be the last time I ever listen to these four songs.

“Wild Horses” by The Rolling Stones, 1971
Peaked at #28 on the Billboard Hot 100
Ranked #334 in Rolling Stone’s 2004 list of “500 Greatest Songs of All Time.”

“Angie” by The Rolling Stones, 1973
Peaked at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100

“Roxanne” by The Police, 1978
Peaked at #32 on the Billboard Hot 100
Ranked #338 in Rolling Stone’s 2004 list of “500 Greatest Songs of All Time.”
Voted #85 by VH1 on its list of the “100 Greatest Rock Songs.”
Inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2008.

“De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da” by The Police, 1980
Peaked at #10 on the Billboard Hot 100
Featured in the film “The Last American Virgin”
and in the pilot episode of the medical drama “St Elsewhere.”

Thanks for stopping by! See you next time!

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Music on Mondays (2-27-17)—Black Velvet if you please

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

I didn’t have anything specific for today’s Music on Mondays post so, since it’s February 27, I thought I go back 27 years and see what the #1 hits were for 1990 and how many of them I have in my collection. There were 26 hits that made it to #1 in 1990:

  1. “Another Day In Paradise” by Phil Collins
  2. “How Am I Supposed To Live Without You” by Michael Bolton
  3. “Opposites Attract” by Paula Abdul and The Wild Pair
  4. “Escapade” by Janet Jackson
  5. “Black Velvet” by Alannah Myles
  6. “Love Will Lead You Back” by Taylor Dayne
  7. “I’ll Be Your Everything” by Tommy Page
  8. “Nothing Compares 2 U” by Sinead O Connor
  9. “Vogue” by Madonna
  10. “Hold On” by Wilson Phillips
  11. “It Must Have Been Love” by Roxette
  12. “Step” by Step” by New Kids On The Block
  13. “She Ain’t Worth It” by Glenn Medeiros Featuring Bobby Brown
  14. “Vision Of Love” by Mariah Carey
  15. “If Wishes Came True” by Sweet Sensation
  16. “Blaze Of Glory” by Jon Bon Jovi
  17. “Release Me” by Wilson Phillips
  18. “(Can’t Live Without Your) Love And Affection” by Nelson
  19. “Close To You” by Maxi Priest
  20. “Praying For Time” by George Michael
  21. “I Don t Have The Heart” by James Ingram
  22. “Black Cat” by Janet Jackson
  23. “Ice Ice Baby” by Vanilla Ice
  24. “Love Takes Time” by Mariah Carey
  25. “I’m Your Baby Tonight” by Whitney Houston
  26. “Because I Love You (The Postman Song)” by Stevie B

Of those 26 songs, I have five in my collection:

“Another Day In Paradise” by Phil Collins

“How Am I Supposed To Live Without You” by Michael Bolton

“Black Velvet” by Alannah Myles

“It Must Have Been Love” by Roxette

“Blaze Of Glory” by Jon Bon Jovi

Of those five, “Black Velvet” by Alannah Myles by far is my favorite. Although the song is from 1990, I first heard it in 2003 when one of my employees was playing it in the office. He even told me that one could buy Black Velvet at Costco. I can confirm that. Ever since then I no longer drink virgin Sprite because Black Velvet is an excellent additive.

Black Velvet, Canadian Whiskey

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