Tag Archives: music on mondays

Music on Mondays (3-13-17)—Five minor hits from 1987-1990

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

When I bought my 1989 Ford Mustang GT, it came with a CD player. Ever since that day, I have listened to very little radio, which also means that I have missed out on a lot of individual songs from American Top 40 and, later, the Billboard Hot 100.

For the most part it was never an issue because I hung out at the record stores and kept track of what my favorite bands were doing.

However, even my favorite bands occasionally released a single that was not on the latest album and did not make it to the next album. I completely missed out on those bands that I was not following but which released a single that I otherwise would have bought.

Those misses are why I am going through the songs which made the Billboard Hot 100 from 1955 (the year I was born and the generally accepted date of the beginning of Rock ‘n’ Roll) to the present.

Here are five songs that I discovered by doing that and which now are in my music collection:

“World Shut Your Mouth” by Julian Cope, 1987, #84

“Run To Paradise” by The Choirboys, 1989, #80

“Let The Day Begin” by The Call, 1989, #51

“Pride & Passion” by John Cafferty & The Beaver Brown Band, 1989, #66

“Time For Letting Go” by Jude Cole, 1990, #32

Thanks for stopping by! See you next time!

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Music on Mondays (11-21-16)—On the rebound with one way love

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I currently have 1,565 hours, 48 minutes, and 17 seconds of digital music in my non-classical music collection. I started piano lessons at the age of 2, violin lessons at 6, voice lessons at 10, and music collecting lessons at 11. Actually, though, I’m self-taught with music collecting.

When I left College Station, Texas, in the dead of night on April 15, 1993, I had 5,000+ vinyl albums, 500+ vinyl 45s, and about 400 CDs. I took 100 CDs with me and left everything else behind; I just needed enough music to get me to where I was going on a one-way trip. I never got there, instead winding up in San Diego where I would choose to live and start my music collecting all over. Those 100 CDs gave me a good basic collection to start with since I had a complete collection of Beatles, Led Zeppelin, The Who, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Black Sabbath.

I actually didn’t start my music collecting again until eight years later, mainly because, although I lived in San Diego, I was a consultant in the wireless telecommunications industry, so I was working in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Portland, Detroit, Philadelphia, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Tampa, Houston, Dallas, New Orleans, Boston, and 17 other cities. I was only home in San Diego two weekends a month for several years.

Fast forward to 2007. I had a room full of CDs, several thousand of them. I had a complete collection of all the #1 singles and #1 albums from 1955 to 2007. Since I was born in 1955 and the rock ‘n’ roll generation started in 1955, it was just something unique for me to do. I finally quit when I couldn’t take all the rap and hip-hop with cussing worse than my grandfather…. still collect music, though, always looking for something to add to my collection that makes me move.

Long-time readers here know that I have a method to everything in my life, and my method here is simply to go line by line through Joel Whitburn’s book “Top Pop Singles,” currently in its 15th edition, subtitled “1955-2015.” Checking out the pop singles sometimes leads me to an album that I like, which sometimes leads me to a new group that I like.

Currently I’m in the B’s. Following are two songs I recently discovered that are now in my collection, and, so far, each artist also now has at least one album in my collection. Might be more as I continue to listen to their albums.

On The Rebound by Russ Ballard (1980)
Peaked at #58 on the Billboard Hot 100

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

One Way Love Bandit (1979)
Peaked at #77 on the Billboard Hot 100

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

After I graduated from Texas A&M University and moved to Houston, I spent a lot of time touring the Gulf Coast going to concerts. Although I did get to see the Rolling Stones, Chicago, Fleetwood Mac, Paul McCartney & Wings, George Harrison, Bachman-Turner Overdrive, and many others, most of the concerts were small, local gigs by up and coming groups. Back in those days, every Friday and Saturday night was spent with friends at the local bars and venues playing pool and listening to music.

Then I moved to San Diego in 1993 and never got involved in the local music scene again….

Until these past two years. Many of you know that I gave Julian Rey Saenz his first job in the business world when he turned 16. Julian plays the guitar, and I sometimes went to karoke nights to hear him sing and play.

This past April, Julian invited me to a concert where he, Big Bad Buffalo, and Indio Romero were playing. Julian knew that I love music (except for Rap and Hip-Hop) but warned me that Big Bad Buffalo and Indio Romero were loud. He was right, and the ringing in my ears for the next month reminded me of why I quit the local music scene when I left Texas………lol

I liked all three performers, but one of Julian’s friends, Jordan, was the guitarist for Big Bad Buffalo. I didn’t know at that time what genre they considered themselves but they had great rhthym, a driving bass, and a guitar that wouldn’t quit. They had my attention.

Julian and Jordan graduated from high school this past June. Julian has taken off to Palo Alto CA where he has enrolled as a freshman at Stanford University (I told y’all two years ago that he was smart, but did you listen………..?). Although Jordan also graduated high school with honors, he desperately wants to be a musician. Since I used to play the piano and violin, as well as sing, and played professionally with the Corpus Christi, Houston, and Brazos County symphonies, I definitely understand that “wants to be a musician” thing.

Well, Big Bad Buffalo has just released their second album, this one eponymous.

Big Bad Buffalo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

There are 15 songs on the album, and although I have been listening to it for the past two days, I’m not quite sure which is my favorite, although “Transitland” and “She’s Just the Icing on the Cake” are up there. All of the songs except “Somewhere To Be” are fast, driving songs with drums, base, guitars that won’t quit, and words that I actually can understand without looking up the lyrics. Poor diction and enunciation, especially in loud rock ‘n’ roll music, has always been a pet peeve of mine.

The musicians of Big Bad Buffalo are:

  • Alex Staninger – Drums, Piano, Vocals
  • Silvio Damone – Bass, Piano, Vocals
  • Jordan Krimston – Guitar, Vocals

Tags from their web site indicate that the music is punk, alternative rock, beep boop, math rock, and “what’s in a genre?” I think they have a sense of humor, too!

I wanted to embed the album here but the embed code I got from their host, both for html and for wordpress.com, is not working; hey, they are musicians, not computer experts……..

So, following is a link to the album. Hope y’all enjoy it enough to buy it, download it, buy individual songs, check out all their music, perhaps donate to help them keep on keepin’ on.

Big Bad Buffalo

Once I figure out, or have someone show me, how to embed the album here, I’ll edit this post to do that.

I will be going to see them in concert this coming Friday, 9:00 p.m. at Lestat’s Coffee House; it’s an all ages concert so I’m pretty sure this 61-year-old with virgin ears will be allowed in.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Music on Mondays (9-21-15)—If you’re lucky, I’ll be there

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

My senior English teacher in high school was Edith Head, but not THAT Edith Head. She taught me to use the shortest words, the fewest words, and the shortest sentences possible unless I had a specific purpose in mind. When the class inquired why, she said it was because short and few would ensure that our writing was read by the largest audience possible. What she was saying was that people couldn’t read long words and long, complicated sentences.

The first literacy surveys were done in 1935 and showed that the average reader was an adult reading at a late seventh-grade level. Reading levels have remained roughly the same but at least have increased to a ninth-grade level in eighty years.

So I don’t know whether to be happy or sad with all the emails I’m getting recently with people reaching out to me….

  • “I am reaching out to you today….”
  • “I thought I would reach out to you to see if you are interested….”
  • “Would you like to reach out to hundreds of people each day?”
  • “We are a company that reaches out to our customers….”
  • “Reaching out to your customers is good for your business.”
  • “Do you use email to reach out to your customers?”
  • “I wanted to reach out to you to see how you liked our products.”

In the days of old, we used to contact someone, either call them or write them a letter.

“Reach Out, I’ll Be There” would work as “Call Me, I’ll Be There” but imagine if Blondie had sang “Reach out to me” instead of “Call me”……………….

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Music on Mondays (4-6-15)—Another day with me and you and a dog named Boo on the Indian reservation

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

Most of my readers probably know that I have a lot of music comprising many genres of which most is either in the pop category or classical. I call the pop category my non-classical music. Currently I have 1,670 hours, 32 minutes, and 10 seconds of non-classical music. I listen to an average of 11 hours, 10 minutes of music each and every day, which means that it takes me about 149½ days just to listen to the non-classical music. It takes me the rest of the year to listen to all my classical music.

Long-time readers also probably know that I listen to my non-classical music in chronological order. Today I’m in the year 1971. Of the many albums released that year, I have 58 of them. In the order in which I listen to them:

  1. Kongos by John Kongos
  2. First Album by ZZ Top
  3. Salisbury by Uriah Heep
  4. Chicago III by Chicago
  5. Paranoid by Black Sabbath
  6. Crazy Horse by Crazy Horse
  7. Love It To Death by Alice Cooper
  8. Ring Of Hands by Argent
  9. The Yes Album by Yes
  10. Percy by The Kinks
  11. Aqualung by Jethro Tull
  12. Manna by Bread
  13. Sticky Fingers by The Rolling Stones
  14. The Doobie Brothers by The Doobie Brothers
  15. Survival by Grand Funk
  16. Bloodrock 3 by Bloodrock
  17. Thirds by The James Gang
  18. Songs For Beginners by Graham Nash
  19. Ram by Paul & Linda McCartney
  20. L.A. Woman by The Doors
  21. Indelibly Stamped by Supertramp
  22. Tarkus by Emerson, Lake & Palmer
  23. Every Good Boy Deserves Favor by The Moody Blues
  24. Fireball by Deep Purple
  25. Master Of Reality by Black Sabbath
  26. Who’s Next? by The Who
  27. April Wine by April Wine
  28. Bark by Jefferson Airplane
  29. Future Games by Fleetwood Mac
  30. Harmony by Three Dog Night
  31. Look At Yourself by Uriah Heep
  32. Imagine by John Lennon
  33. Rock Love by The Steve Miller Band
  34. American Pie by Don McLean
  35. Other Voices by The Doors
  36. REO Speedwagon by REO Speedwagon
  37. The Morning After by The J. Geils Band
  38. UFO 2—Flying by UFO
  39. Distant Light by The Hollies
  40. Meddle by Pink Floyd
  41. Cold Spring Harbor by Billy Joel
  42. Funny How Sweet Co-Co Can Be by The Sweet
  43. Muswell Hillbillies by The Kinks
  44. Nazareth by Nazareth
  45. People Like Us by The Mamas & The Papas
  46. Sittin’ In by Loggins & Messina
  47. Year Of Sunday by Seals & Crofts
  48. Led Zeppelin IV by Led Zeppelin
  49. Nilsson Schmillson by Nilsson
  50. Fragile by Yes
  51. E Pluribus Funk by Grand Funk
  52. Madman Across The Water by Elton John
  53. Killer by Alice Cooper
  54. Trafalgar by The Bee Gees
  55. Straight Up by Badfinger
  56. The Electric Light Orchestra by The Electric Light Orchestra
  57. The Concert For Bangladesh by George Harrison & Friends
  58. Wild Life by Wings

So which is my favorite album? I couldn’t decide. Maybe there is a tie for first place:

Ram by Paul & Linda McCartney
Who’s Next? by The Who
Led Zeppelin IV by Led Zeppelin
Nilsson Schmilsson by Nilsson
Trafalgar by The Bee Gees.

If you know those albums well, you’ll notice that every song on the albums are quite singable, and I love to sing.

I also have 71 individual song files but I’m not going to list all of them here. I can’t choose my favorite among them, either, but following are ten that I love to sing along with. I hope they bring back some pleasant memories for someone.

Jeepster by T. Rex
Not released as a single

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Another Day by Paul McCartney
McCartney’s first post-Beatles single, a #5 hit

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Indian Reservation by Paul Revere & The Raiders
Their only #1 hit

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Me & You & A Dog Named Boo by Lobo
Lobo’s first single, a #5 hit

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Albert Flasher by The Guess Who
#29 hit

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Signs by Five Man Electrical Band
Their first single, a #3 hit

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Draggin’ The Line by Tommy James
A #4 hit a year after James said good-bye to The Shondells

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Saturday Morning Confusion by Bobby Russell
Russell wrote dozens of hits for others
but had only two hits himself
this his biggest at #28

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Where Evil Grows by The Poppy Family
A #45 hit, although until this blog post
I thought it made it much higher.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Rain Dance by The Guess Who
#19

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Music on Mondays (3-30-15)—Hear me roar (or see me sleep)

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

There are many babies at the San Diego Zoo and the Safari Park right now, including a baby hippo born a week ago, a baby lowland gorilla, and a baby jaguar.

This is not a baby:

African lion at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

That is a big cat, an African Lion, the King of the Jungle. Doesn’t look all that ferocious to me. In fact, he looks suspiciously like another cat I know:

Zoey the Cool Cat

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I have never seen the African Lions at the Zoo looking ferocious, only Zoey the Cool Cat:

Zoey the Cool Cat

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Every time I see lions sleeping, I think of Robert John and his 1972 hit, “The Lion Sleeps Tonight.”

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Robert John peaked at #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It’s the version I grew up with; I was a junior in high school.

The song itself, though, is actually quite a bit older, having originally been recorded in 1939 as “Mbube” by the South African Zulu group Solomon Linda & The Evening Birds. Mbube is Zulu for lion.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Whenever I think of Zulu and Africa, I think first of Ladysmith Black Mambazo, best known for singing with Paul Simon on his #1 album “Graceland” from 1986. Sure enough, Ladysmith Black Mambazo did a version of “The Lion Sleeps Tonight.”

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

(YouTube and Wikipedia by far are my favorite Internet sites but they do cause me not to visit libraries as often as I should…….)

The Weavers had a #14 hit in 1952.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I found The Weavers themselves to be rather interesting because one of their members was the incomparable Pete Seeger (1919-2014). Seeger was a prolific songwriter, having written “Where Have All The Flowers Gone?”, recorded by dozens of groups throughout music history and listed by New Statesman as one of the Top 20 political songs of all time. I am most familiar with the version by Peter, Paul & Mary:

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Seeger also wrote “If I Had A Hammer,” a #10 hit for Peter, Paul & Mary in late 1962, as well as a #3 hit for Trini Lopez in the summer of 1963.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

“Turn! Turn! Turn!” by The Byrds also was written by Seeger and was a #1 hit for them in late 1965. The Byrds were one of three groups performing at the first rock concert I ever went to, that concert being at The Yellow Rose of Texas dance hall in Corpus Christi in 1972. (Chicago & Dr. John were the other two groups.)

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

With that little side journey out of the way, let’s get back to “The Lion Sleeps Tonight.”

The Tokens’ version arguably is the best known, having spent three weeks at #1 in 1961.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I say arguably because younger readers probably know best the version by Timon and Pumbaa used in the Disney movie “The Lion King.”

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I feel like I just played a musical version of Six Degrees of Separation.

And with that, I return you to your regularly scheduled Monday programming.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Music on Mondays (3-23-15)—Let there be magic

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

Julian Rey SaenzThe one and only Julian Rey Saenz (y’all remember him, right? picture ►) says that he doesn’t like hippies.

That’s a pretty broad brush stroke there and certainly seems to summarily dismiss a whole group of people. I don’t even do that with Republicans and the fanatically religious!

About the only groups of people that I summarily dismiss are murderers, rapists, those who abuse women and children, and those who abuse animals.

Peace symbol in Ocean Beach stampIf one summarily dislikes hippies, one probably would never visit the San Diego neighborhood of Ocean Beach. It’s an enclave of mostly hippies who seem to be stuck enjoying the life that was the ’60s.

Ocean Beach is a great place to watch the waves crash ashore, and every time I’m out there, I drive the neighborhoods looking for the unique and interesting to bring to you, my readers.

When I was out there the first week of March, I found the Magic Bus, last seen in July 1968.

The Magic Bus in Ocean Beach, San Diego, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

“Magic Bus” was a hit for The Who in 1968, peaking at #25 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

That caused me to wonder about other songs with magic in the title. I found quite a few so I decided to limit songs here to those about a magic something, like that magic bus.

Following is what I found. If you think of any that I didn’t, leave the name in a comment. It would be really cool if you left a link to a YouTube video with your comment, too!

“Magic Carpet Ride” by Steppenwolf. A 1968 hit that peaked at #3.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

“Puff the Magic Dragon” by Peter, Paul & Mary. A 1963 hit that peaked at #2.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

“Black Magic Woman” by Santana. A 1970 hit that peaked at #4. I always wonder if this song is about a woman who does black magic, or about a magic woman who is black….

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

“Magic Man” by Heart. A 1976 hit that peaked at #9.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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