Category Archives: Music on Mondays

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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This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

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

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

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

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Music on Monday (1-16-17)—Voting is open for the 2017 San Diego Music Awards!

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I turned 18 in 1973.

Suddenly I was intelligent enough to vote.

I have never missed an opportunity to do just that.

I like to encourage others to vote, too.

So today I want to encourage YOU to vote for our favorite Indie band, Big Bad Buffalo, in the 2017 San Diego Music Awards.

vote now vote right here this is where you can vote
Big Bad BuffaloPictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

After you vote—yes, AFTER you vote—you can listen to Big Bad Buffalo, buy their music, even buy a T-shirt, over here at their music site.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Zoey the Cool Cat normally approves my WordPress posts.
That did not occur today because she’s in peaceful bliss listening to
Big Bad Buffalo.Zoey the Cool Cat in peaceful bliss listening to Big Bad Buffalo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

However, she did leave a message for me to post:
Vote for Big Bad BuffaloPictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

And this is what she thinks of those who don’t vote:
Pfffffft

Music on Mondays (1-9-17)—Touch it, stroke it, and undress it

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

A birthday yesterday reminded me of one female singer whom I have always liked even though I only have three of her songs. She was born in 1937 and is the only person to have been honored by being chosen to sing the main title theme for three James Bond movies: “Goldfinger” (1964), “Diamonds Are Forever” (1971), and “Moonraker” (1979).

She sang “Goldfinger” at the 2013 Academy Awards to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the James Bond movie franchise. It was her first appearance at an Oscars ceremony as a performer. She didn’t miss a beat, and she received a well-deserved standing ovation.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I started voice lessons when I was 10 and sang in competitions, church choirs, and community choruses and ensembles from 1965 to 2003. I was always a first tenor. Maybe my high voice caused me to think women singers were competitors, so I took a subconscious disliking to them for so many years………….LOL

Click here for my previous post about female singers.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Music on Mondays (1-2-17)—Hit me with a shot of Black Velvet

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

A couple of years ago one of my employees asked me who my favorite female singers were. He had noticed that my huge collection of music was pretty much devoid of female singers other than the occasional hit, such as “The Wayward Wind” by Gogi Grant.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Since that time I have continued adding to my digital music collection by going through “Top Pop Singles” by Joel Whitburn. Page by page. Song by song. Listening to those songs on YouTube. If a song doesn’t make a hit with me within 30 seconds, I move on. Occasionally I find a song that I really like, such as “Black Velvet” by Alannah Myles.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

When I find something I really really like, such as “Black Velvet,” I will go to Wikipedia and look up that artist’s discography and listen to more of the artist’s music. I bought Alannah’s first album, “Alannah Myles,” but that was it.

This process has resulted in me adding some female singers to my collection.

I discovered The Bangles beyond “Manic Monday” and “Walk Like An Egyptian.” I now have a complete collection of The Bangles’ music.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I also discovered Bananarama, beyond “Venus,” which I had never liked anyway because it was a cover of the #1 hit by the Shocking Blue in 1970. I was 15 in 1970 and big into music, so a cover of that song 16 years later didn’t make it with me.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Listening to Bananarama’s version of “Venus” in 2016 with more of an open mind caused me to actually like it, and that caused me to check into Bananarama’s discography, of which I now have a complete collection, too.

They are not my favorite favorite female singer(s), though. That honor still belongs to Joan Jett.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Other favorite female singers that always have been well-represented in my music collection: Grace Slick (Jefferson Airplane & Jefferson Starship), Karen Carpenter, Stevie Nicks & Christine McVie (Fleetwood Mac and as solo artists).

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Other female singer(s) that I have discovered using my new technique: Bonnie Tyler, Laura Branigan, Adele, and Pat Benatar.

I have several songs and albums by the first three but not a complete collection of any of their music.

With Pat Benatar, however, I now have a complete collection of her music. She might be my #2 favorite female singer now behind Joan Jett.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat