Category Archives: Music

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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Music on Mondays (2-20-17)—I once was a choir boy

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

Each day after I have accomplished 90% of my goals for that day (I always was an A student), I reward myself by exploring the book “Top Pop Singles” by Joel Whitburn. I’m looking for music that I like but don’t have in my collection.

Radio used to be my preferred method of discovering new music but I haven’t listened to radio since CD players started appearing in cars back in the late ’80s. However, with YouTube, Spotify, and various music sites like discogs.com, it’s not difficult to have a listen to music without buying it. Now, with car stereo systems accepting flash drives, bluetooth, and Wi-Fi, I don’t see me ever going back to radio.

Here are five of the individual songs I added to my collection this past week:

“Wild Women Do” by Natalie Cole, 1990
I always liked this song from “Pretty Woman” but not enough to buy the Soundtrack back in 1990. Over the years I forgot about it. Last week I re-discovered it and bought it.
It spent 10 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, peaking at #34.

“Time for Letting Go” by Jude Cole, 1990
Jude Cole had 5 minor hits from 1990-1993. This was his second.
I had never heard of him or his music before last week.
“Time for Letting Go” spent 15 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at #32.

“Shelter Me” by Joe Cocker, 1986
Although I knew of Joe Cocker because of his covers of Beatle songs
(“With A Little Help from My Friends” and “She Came In Through the Bathroom Window”), I never really liked his music enough to buy it.
I knew just enough about him to have an intelligent conversation
about him and his music. This song doesn’t sound like Joe Cocker.
“Shelter Me” spent 4 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at #91.

“C’mon Everybody” by Eddie Cochran, 1958
Eddie Cochran was was just 21 when he died in 1960 in a car accident.
I was 5, and living in northern Utah,
so this type of “devil music” never made the radio stations there.
I’m only now discovering his music.
“C’mon Everybody” spent 12 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at #35.

“Run To Paradise” by The Choirboys, 1989
The Choirboys had one hit. This is it.
It spent 7 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at #80

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Music on Mondays (2-13-17)—Sweet dreams in a mad world

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

All my life I have been a catnapper, never getting more than 4 hours of sleep at any one time, and getting that much sleep at one time usually meant that I was drunk. The last time I was drunk enough to get 4 hours of sleep was somewhere around 1980. I decided that getting an extra couple of hours of sleep didn’t justify the effects of being drunk. I just don’t like being drunk.

I spent tens of thousands of dollars at the UCLA Medical Center, Houston Medical Center, and Boston Medical Center trying to find why my circadian rhythm was all wacko. Nothing. Until about five years ago when I tried to get involved in a sleep research study right here in San Diego. I failed the entry questions because I was diagnosed as a “polyphasic sleeper.” Since the mid-1990’s that has been the official medical term for catnappers.

Being a polyphasic sleeper means that I rarely dream, and I never reach REM sleep which is where those really active dreams occur. Lately, though, since November 8, 2016, I have been getting more sleep, and much more REM sleep. I have been dreaming for the first time in my life.

Active dreams.

Some might even call them nightmares.

I have been dreaming about dictators, dystopian worlds, battered and abused women and children, the disabled, LGBTQ people, sexual assaults, racism, the Holocaust, Nazi Germany, Hitler, Mussolini, Putin, nuclear war, animal abuse…. Everything that our current President represents has appeared in my dreams. It hasn’t been pretty.

I think I want to go back to a time before November 8, 2016….

With that said, here are some of my favorite songs about dreams:

“Mad World” by Tears For Fears, 1983

“All I Have To Do Is Dream” by The Everly Brothers, 1958

“Dream On” by Aerosmith, 1973

“Don’t Dream It’s Over” by Crowded House, 1986

Sweet Dremas (Are Made of This) by Eurythmics, 1983

“Dreams” by Fleetwood Mac, 1977

“Dream Weaver” by Gary Wright, 1975

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Music on Mondays (2-6-17)—Normal people don’t

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

When I get sad, depressed, and suicidal (my dad committed suicide), I try to do something unusual, or I sleep, or I read, or I shop, or I disappear.

Yesterday, I disappeared. I’m back.

I drove 573 miles yesterday in search of unique locations in which to take pictures and videos of trains.

Here’s a cool railroad tunnel that I found yesterday, used by Metrolink on its journey from Los Angeles east to Lancaster and Palmdale.

Metrolink railroad tunnel

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I had a lot of music with me, as always, but I didn’t have any train songs. Interesting.

Since I was on a search for interesting, unique locations, I thought I’d post a couple of interesting, unique songs about trains.

First up is “The Carrollton March” by Philip Antony Corri. He was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, began composing in 1802, helped found the London Philharmonic Society and the Royal Academy of Music, and by the 1820s, had adopted the name Arthur Clifton and settled in Baltimore, Maryland.

“The Carrollton March” is the earliest known “train song,” having been copyrighted on July 1, 1828. Clifton composed it to commemorate the July 4 groundbreaking of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad. It’s a solo piano piece here but I don’t know if it was originally solo piano or if it was transposed by the pianist here.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This next one, “Cross Tie Walker” by Creedence Clearwater Revival, was very much me in my youth. I still walk the cross ties occasionally although getting caught doing so can be a significant fine.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Here’s a picture I got last month in a lonely, forsaken place where I was talking the cross ties. I was out near the border with Mexico, so I got stopped five times by the Border Patrol. After all, normal people don’t walk abandoned railroad tracks out in the desert near the Mexican border………..

Walking the ties

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Music on Mondays (1-30-17)—Hatred is the only thing that lasts forever

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Twitler has re-ignited my interest in dystopian, apocalyptic, and war movies and music.

I just started listening to my 1993 music collection last night, which includes an album by The Kinks titled Phobia, their last studio album. I have had the album for many years, but seeing the title pop up on my music list caused me to double check because I just didn’t remember the name. I secretly wondered if Big Brother was in my computer and had changed the name of one of my digital files.

Here are some of the songs on the album: Wall of Fire, Phobia, Only a Dream, Over the Edge, Surviving, It’s Alright (Don’t Think About It), The Informer, Hatred (A Duet), Scattered.

Hatred (A Duet) really caught my attention as the singing started:

You keep on accusing me
Of making your life misery
But if that’s not abusing me, what isn’t
You wanna be my friend, well it’s too late

My love for you has turned to hate
And I think that it’s a permanent condition
You say you wanna make the peace
Smile and turn the other cheek

I can’t put myself in such a weak position
Now I’m willing to accept this fate
You and me just can’t cohabitate
We agree to hate and that’s our fast decision

Hatred, hatred
Is the only thing that keeps us together
Hatred, hatred
Is the only thing that lasts forever

Driven by hate, driven by hate
Driven by hate, driven by hate
On the surface I’m a mild mannered person
That’s until you scratch the animal inside

Then you bring out all my animal aggression
I gotta hatred for you that is never gonna die
Driven to hate, driven to hate
Driven to hate, driven to hate

Hatred, hatred
Is the only thing that lasts forever
Hatred, hatred
Is the only thing that keeps us together

While races try to integrate, nations try to gravitate
Towards equal rights, regardless of religion
Politicians might decree for the sake of humanity
Love and peace instead of a collision
You and me accept reality, there’s no way that we can agree

The world can’t make us alter this position
At least you and I know where we stand
We can’t be friends, walk hand in hand
My hostility for you defies description

Hatred, hatred
Is the only thing that keeps us together
Hatred, hatred
Is the only thing that lasts forever

Driven by hate, driven by hate
Driven by hate, driven by hate
Hate’s the only thing we have in common
There’s no escape, we’ll always be this way

So we might as well just learn to live together
‘Cause we’re gonna be this way till our dying day
Driven by hate, driven by hate
Driven by hate, driven by hate

Hatred, hatred
Is the only thing that lasts forever
Hatred, hatred
Is the only thing that keeps us together

If you keep on putting me down, rub my name into the ground
I’ll drag the dirt all over town about you
And if you spread the filth on me, I’ll only have one remedy
I’ll spill the beans, you’ll see I’ve got a mouth, too

Hatred, hatred
Is the only thing that lasts forever
Hatred, hatred
Is the only thing that keeps us together

Hatred, hatred
Is the only thing that lasts forever
Hatred, hatred
Is the only thing that keeps us together

Yeah, hatred, your attitude is downright rude
Your jokes appall me, they’re so crude
Why don’t you just drop dead and don’t recover
I’m the mirror to your mood, you hate me and I hate you
So at least we understand each other

Hatred, hatred is the only thing that lasts
What is it? Hatred, hatred
Hatred, hatred
Is the only thing that lasts forever
Hatred, hatred
Is the only thing that lasts forever

The song, written by Ray Davies, is about a sibling love/hate relationship. In this case, though, the sibling love/hate relationship is with fellow Kinks member, guitarist Dave Davies. The two of them were going through a bad time in the early ’90s.

Take a moment, though, and read through the lyrics again—could be talking about political hatred, skin color hatred, religion hatred, country hatred, gender hatred, sexual orientation hatred……….on and on.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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