Category Archives: Music on Mondays

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

Music on Mondays (12-19-2016)—When people run in circles

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Up until the age of 18 I had always wanted to be a history teacher. Then I  found out how much money teachers made and decided that I wanted more. I still love history, though, so each day at midnight or shortly thereafter, I head to Wikipedia to see what happened on this day in history. I continue to learn some interesting things, and I post my favorites over on my Facebook page.

For example, today is Jake Gyllenhaal’s 36th birthday. I first became aware of him in 2005 when he starred with Heath Ledger, Anne Hathaway, and Michelle Williams in Brokeback Mountain, a movie which I could identify with since I had been a closeted gay male growing up in the wild, wild west of South Texas.

While at Wikipedia, I clicked on the link to Jake Gyllenhaal to see what he’d been up to and discovered that he starred as Donnie Darko in the 2001 movie Donnie Darko. I have not seen Donnie Darko for some strange reason because it sounds like my type of movie. I was familiar with it, though, because of the soundtrack. One of the songs from the soundtrack, “Mad World,” was made famous by Adam Lambert on the 2009 season of “American Idol.” I had already been familiar with “Mad World” because it was written and sung originally by Tears for Fears on their 1983 album, “The Hurting,” and I had a complete collection of Tears for Fears’ music. Adam Lambert, however, said that he didn’t know about Tears for Fears’ version, instead having heard the Gary Jules version from Donnie Darko. Thus I had to go have a listen to the Gary Jules version.

I like all three versions. Each has a unique something that makes it work. So here they are. Have a listen. Later today, I’m watching Donnie Darko.

Tears for Fears, 1983

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Gary Jules, 2001

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Adam Lambert, 2009

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Music on Mondays (12-12-16)—This thing called sleep

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Until a couple of years ago I called myself a catnapper. I have been one since at least 1966 that I can remember. I used to wake up after a couple of hours of sleep and then toss and turn for a couple of hours trying to get back to sleep. Finally I realized that instead of tossing and turning, which pretty much accomplishes nothing, I could do something constructive, like read a book, or learn a new word out of my dictionary, or read an entry in the Encyclopedia Britannica. I couldn’t practice the piano, the violin, or sing, though. Not at 3:00 in the morning.

Then I went off to college at Texas A&M University. I used to schedule all my classes in the morning, 8-12, come home and take a nap, do homework, and then party. My roommates thought I was crazy for scheduling morning classes but then when 7:00 p.m. rolled around and I went out to party, leaving them to do their homework, they were just a wee bit jealous. Not jealous enough to start scheduling morning classes, though. Their sleep was too important to them.

A couple of years ago I was doing some research and discovered that there now is a medical term for people like me. Instead of being called catnappers, the medical profession calls us polyphasic sleepers. I get about 8 hours of sleep a day, but it comes in phases instead of all at once. And because I rarely enter REM sleep, I rarely dream. Maybe once every five years I have a dream, or maybe those are daydreams. Hmmmmm.

During the years right after college, I discovered that with just a 30-minute catnap, I could work for 4 hours. So when one of my early employers needed after hours help, I was only too happy to volunteer, especially since after hours also meant extra pay.

Over the years, I have used my polyphasic sleep (dis)order to make myself available 24/7 to my clients. People thought I was crazy until I explained to them that I don’t work 24/7, I only make myself available 24/7. So if I go to bed and the phone rings, I answer it, self problems, work for another 3 to 4 hours, and take another catnap. It created a unique selling point to set me apart from my competition.

One of my businesses in the late ’80s and early ’90s was a computer store. Since the personal computer industry was still quite new, I advertised “CONSULTANTS AVAILABLE 24/7 AT NO EXTRA CHARGE.” My business boomed.

When I got into real estate full time, I advertised, “REAL ESTATE DOESN’T SLEEP! NEITHER DO WE! AVAILABLE 24/7.” Business boomed.

With that said, here are four of my favorite songs about this thing called sleep:

Tossin’ and Turnin’ by Bobby Lewis

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Dream On by Aerosmith

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Dream Weaver by Gary Wright

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

(Last Night) I Didn’t Get To Sleep At All by The Fifth Dimension

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Music on Mondays (12-5-16)—Why don’t you ask him?

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

As I make it through my digital music collection this round, I’m trying to pay greater attention to albums and songs that I really like. My intent is to actually determine which album and which song might be my favorite of all time. I’m out of the ’60s and have been able to determine my Top 3 Beatles albums:

  1. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
  2. Rubber Soul
  3. Abbey Road

I finished 1979 yesterday and am pretty sure that “Tusk” is my favorite album by Fleetwood Mac. That reminded me of an incident back in early 1979. On May 25, 1979, I took my wise old grandmother and my only two female cousins from Kingsville TX to Los Angeles CA to see my grandmother’s oldest living son (my dad was the oldest but was 18 years deceased at that time). We would be staying for nine days. Grandma usually stayed at her son’s house while my two cousins and I went touring throughout the Los Angeles area. We were typical tourists, not missing anything and all of us having our own cameras.

One day we went to the University of Southern California and walked around. Being the musician that I was at that time (piano, violin, and voice), I never missed an opportunity to visit a quality music department like that at USC. The Trojan Marching Band was practicing and we were going to watch them play and march for a few minutes. They starting playing a song that really piqued my interest, and it took a week for me to get the song out of my head.

Fast forward to late September 1979 and I started hearing a song on the radio that I thought I had heard before, but that couldn’t be because it was a new single by Fleetwood Mac. “Tusk.” It wasn’t I bought the album, also titled “Tusk,” that I realized what was going on. Fleetwood Mac recorded “Tusk” with the Trojan Marching Band at Dodger Stadium. I don’t know the date of that recording, but what we had heard at USC was the band practicing “Tusk.” It is my favorite song from the album. Here’s a video of a practice at Dodger Stadium. Not all of the music from the video made it into the final edit for the album but you can hear all of what we heard that day on the USC campus.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Music on Mondays (11-28-16)—My Maserati does 185

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

1978 was the first year where I had my own apartment and a good-paying job, and could buy whatever music I wanted, when I wanted. No having to wait for sales or hoping someone would give me an album for my birthday or Christmas.

In looking back at 1978 now, I don’t think it was one of the best years in the history of rock ‘n’ roll music. The Bee Gees might disagree with me….

I have 40 hours, 29 minutes, and 10 seconds of music from 1978. Many of my favorite artists released albums in 1978:

“Rarities” by The Beatles
“London Town” by Wings
“Street Action” by Bachman-Turner Overdrive
“Heavy Horses” by Jethro Tull
“But Seriously, Folks” by Joe Walsh
“Double Vision” by Foreigner
“Octave” by The Moody Blues
“Who Are You?” by The Who
“Skynyrd’s First & Last” by Lynyrd Skynyrd
“52nd Street” by Billy Joel
“Jazz” by Queen
“Minute By Minute” by The Doobie Brothers
“Never Say Die” by Black Sabbath

A few groups caught my attention with debut albums, follow-up albums, or albums in the very early years of their careers, and have become favorites of mine over the years: Quiet Riot, Rainbow, AC/DC, Foghat, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Dire Straits, The Cars, Whitesnake, Boston, Midnight Oil.

Two groups that I never really liked released albums that I did like: The Rolling Stones with “Some Girls” and The Police with “Outlandos d’Amour.”

By the slimmest of margins, I believe I would have to choose The Cars eponymous debut album as my favorite from 1978. There’s not a bad song on it, and I can sing all the songs, in order, while sitting on the beach.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The list of #1 hits from 1978, according to the Billboard Hot 100 chart, looks like this:

Jan 7 – “How Deep Is Your Love” by the Bee Gees
Jan 14 – “Baby Come Back” by Player
Jan 21 – “Baby Come Back” by Player
Jan 28 – “Baby Come Back” by Player
Feb 4 – “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gees
Feb 11 – “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gees
Feb 18 – “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gees
Feb 25 – “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gees
Mar 3 – “(Love Is) Thicker Than Water” by Andy Gibb
Mar 10 – “(Love Is) Thicker Than Water” by Andy Gibb
Mar 17 – “Night Fever” by the Bee Gees
Mar 24 – “Night Fever” by the Bee Gees
Mar 31 – “Night Fever” by the Bee Gees
Apr 7 – “Night Fever” by the Bee Gees
Apr 14 – “Night Fever” by the Bee Gees
Apr 21 – “Night Fever” by the Bee Gees
Apr 28 – “Night Fever” by the Bee Gees
May 5 – “Night Fever” by the Bee Gees
May 12 – “If I Can’t Have You” by Yvonne Elliman
May 19 – “With a Little Luck” by Wings
May 26 – “With a Little Luck” by Wings
Jun 2 – “Too Much, Too Little, Too Late” by Johnny Mathis & Deniece Williams
Jun 9 – “You’re the One That I Want” by John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John
Jun 16 – “Shadow Dancing” by Andy Gibb
Jun 23 – “Shadow Dancing” by Andy Gibb
Jun 30 – “Shadow Dancing” by Andy Gibb
Jul 7 – “Shadow Dancing” by Andy Gibb
Jul 14 – “Shadow Dancing” by Andy Gibb
Jul 21 – “Shadow Dancing” by Andy Gibb
Jul 28 – “Shadow Dancing” by Andy Gibb
Aug 4 – “Miss You” by the Rolling Stones
Aug 11 – “Three Times a Lady” by the Commodores
Aug 18 – “Three Times a Lady” by the Commodores
Aug 25 – “Grease” by Frankie Valli
Sep 1 – “Grease” by Frankie Valli
Sep 8 – “Boogie Oogie Oogie” by A Taste of Honey
Sep 15 – “Boogie Oogie Oogie” by A Taste of Honey
Sep 22 – “Boogie Oogie Oogie” by A Taste of Honey
Sep 29 – “Kiss You All Over” by Exile
Oct 6 – “Kiss You All Over” by Exile
Oct 13 – “Kiss You All Over” by Exile
Oct 20 – “Kiss You All Over” by Exile
Oct 27 – “Hot Child in the City” by Nick Gilder
Nov 3 – “You Needed Me” by Anne Murray
Nov 10 – “MacArthur Park” by Donna Summer
Nov 17 – “MacArthur Park” by Donna Summer
Nov 24 – “MacArthur Park” by Donna Summer
Dec 1 – “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers” by Barbra Streisand & Neil Diamond
Dec 8 – “Le Freak” by Chic
Dec 15 – “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers” by Barbra Streisand & Neil Diamond
Dec 22 – “Le Freak” by Chic
Dec 29 – “Le Freak” by Chic

22 of the 52 weeks were topped by people with the last name Gibb, and I spent a lot of time at the dance clubs dancing to their music.

Of the 1978 singles, I’m going to go with “Kiss You All Over” by Exile as my favorite.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Probably my favorite song for 1978, single or album cut, is “Life’s Been Good To Me” by Joe Walsh. Just can’t stop singing it whenever I hear it.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat