Tag Archives: fleetwood mac

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 (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 (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 (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

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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

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Don't try suicide

Music on Mondays — Junior Seau, Bob Welch, and me

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

At the time I disappeared — that’s the correct word — from College Station, Texas, in April 1993, I owned over 5,000 vinyl records and over 1,000 CDs. About 100 CDs accompanied my disappearance in my highly customized 1989 Ford Mustang GT — Beatles, Who, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Simon & Garfunkel, Doobie Brothers, Bread, Queen, Fleetwood Mac — music to which I could sing along as I was driving down the highway.

I didn’t know where my trip would end but I knew how it would end — at least I thought I did — in suicide. I left College Station on April 15, 1993, and drove north with the intent on ending my life in Canada. I was too patriotic to do it in the United States. Weird and sick, I know. Sick, mostly. How I wound up in San Diego — alive! — is a story for another time.

This past month we here in San Diego have had to deal with the suicide of a popular and successful former professional football player, Junior Seau — 10-time All-Pro, 12-time Pro Bowl selection, and named to the NFL 1990s All-Decade Team. Suicide? And no friend or family had any clues? Probably not. I wasn’t leaving clues either.

Earlier this month, Bob Welch committed suicide. Welch was a member of Fleetwood Mac from 1971-1974. Shortly after Welch left Fleetwood Mac, the group rocketed to international supergroup status with the 1975 release of “Fleetwood Mac.”

I want to share two songs in today’s Music on Mondays from the Music Chronicles of Russel Ray. The first is “Ebony Eyes” from 1977, Welch’s most successful hit after he left Fleetwood Mac. The second is “Sentimental Lady,” a 1972 hit for Fleetwood Mac that was written by Bob Welch. The last is “Don’t Try Suicide,” a song off of Queen’s 1980 album “The Game.” Seems like life is, indeed, a game, but don’t try suicide. If you’re reading this and having thoughts about ending it all, find a way to call me or email me. I’ve been there. I’m not a professional counselor but at least give me a chance to help you first…………

Don't try suicide

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