Tag Archives: music on mondays

Love the dang horse

Music on Mondays (8/12/19)—Love the dang horse!

Music has been a significant part of my life throughout my life.

I started piano lessons at the age of two under the tutelage of my mother who played piano and organ.

At the age of six, I started violin lessons.

At the age of ten, I started voice lessons.

For 25 years I have been married to a pianist who has bachelor and master degrees in piano performance, accompanies voice and instrument students in private practice, has served as accompanist at San Diego State University, and has been in a chamber music trio for the last decade.

In my retirement years, I listen to music for 10-18 hours a day. For the past several years, I have been creating a “Desert Island” flash drive just in case I’m ever lost lost on a desert island—think Gilligan’s Island, or even Lost In Space. Currently there are 1,053 songs on my Desert Island list, but I haven’t added any songs since May 2017 when I added Dig Down by Muse.

I guess I should modify my previous statement: “I haven’t added any songs since May 2017….” until yesterday when I added Love the Dang Horse by Band Argument. “Slides” below is their 2-song release from a couple of days ago. Love the Dang Horse is track 2. Hopscotch is not bad, either, so give both of them a listen. Hopefully, Band Argument will get credit (and royalty money!) by me embedding their music here using their embedding code.

Slides by Band Argument

Band Argument is a local San Diego group.

Sil Damone – Bass / Vox
Jake Kelsoe – MIDI / Guitar
Alex Simonian – MIDI / Guitar
Jordan Krimston – Drums / Samples

I think they were founded in late 2018. I met their drummer, Jordan Krimston, through Julian Rey Saenz, a former employee of mine in 2014 whom many readers might remember. I might also note here that Jordan is an awesome guitarist and quite a good vocalist, too. A multi-talented musician. Look out, Paul McCartney!

Jordan and Julian graduated high school together in June 2016. Julian went off to college while Jordan eschewed college to follow his music passion. I understand both going off to college and following a music passion, so I support them both. Secretly, though, and with 20/20 hindsight, I wish I could have/would have followed my music passion. Anyways….

In reading reviews of this song and Band Argument, I discovered a music genre called math rock. According to the Wikipedia entry,

math rock is a style of indie rock that emerged in the late 1980s in the United States…. Math rock is characterized by complex, atypical rhythmic structures (including irregular stopping and starting), counterpoint, odd time signatures, angular melodies, and extended, often dissonant, chords.

My only complaint about everything I have heard in the math rock genre is that it is difficult to understand the words, ergo making it difficult for a singer like me to sing along. I would love it if the mixer would put just a little more ooomph into the vocalist. They have published the lyrics, so here they are:

good morning how’s mother? do we still know each other?
the paper tears and they post a notice telling you I see clearly
sinking down through the bedding
a new world under my room
a new world inside my womb

this ink, it flurries. wash the milkshake off
friendly and free strawberries at the scene
hey boyo! operator press the green
I can’t see why you can’t read me thorough and quick
questing to be fuck naturally and sing
123 pickin out ticks suture me to that there cliff

we sink, in flurry
hope she can wake to rise in time for the dew
hey honey! operator tie my shoe
I can’t see why you can’t read me thorough and quick
questing to be fuck naturally and sing

suture me too I’ll say add some salt oh no

I’m thinking that the definition in Wikipedia of math rock needs to be updated, perhaps something like “Vocals are difficult to understand and make no sense.”

Apparently there is a large math rock culture here in San Diego. I’m rooting for Band Argument to rise to the top.


Love the dang horse

Music on Mondays (12-18-17)—Ram on

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

As many readers will remember, I listen to my non-classical music collection in chronological order. My earliest recording is from 1903: March of the Toys (Babes in Toyland) by Victor Herbert & His Orchestra. My most recent recording is Full Circle, released by Great White in June 2017.

When it comes to my Lost on a Desert Island CD, my earliest recording that I’m taking with me is I Walk the Line, released by Johnny Cash in 1956. It was the first song that I could sing along with on the radio because I knew all the words. I was one year old in 1956. Don’t worry. They were still playing it on the radio in 1961, which is when I remember singing it in the car in Palestine, Texas.

Singing is a significant part of the music on my Lost on a Desert Island CD. That doesn’t really surprise me because I love to sing. It’s hard to sing along to Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture or The Nutcracker.

Part of my reason for creating my Lost on a Desert Island CD is because I thought it would help me determine what my favorite albums are, and if I could identify my favorite albums, I’m pretty sure they would point me to my favorite groups.

When I started this project, I was pretty sure that The Beatles and The Who were my top two groups. Although I’m in July 1982 right now, I’m questioning whether or not my assumption about The Beatles and The Who is true.

I can definitively tell you that the year that will have the most songs on my Lost on a Desert Island CD will be 1971. Although I have more hours of music from later years, the songs were much longer so I probably have fewer songs on fewer albums, but they happen to be long songs on long albums.

Here are the years and the number of songs on my CD:

1956 – 2
1958 – 1
1959 – 2
1960 – 3
1964 – 2
1965 – 18
1966 – 35
1967 – 28
1968 – 36
1969 – 22
1970 – 53
1971 – 68
1972 – 59
1973 – 42
1974 – 48
1975 – 53
1976 – 34
1977 – 36
1978 – 36
1979 – 50
1980 – 21
1981 – 42

So far the top album is Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, released by The Beatles in 1968. There are 13 songs on the album; 12 are on my CD. The only song missing is the reprise of the title song.

Interestingly, the #2 album so far is Ram, released by Paul & Linda McCartney in 1971. There are 12 songs on the album; 11 are on my CD. The only song missing is the 56-second reprise of “Ram On.”

I can definitively state that no other album will come close to those two.

So, for Lost on a Desert Island, 1971, part 1, following is the complete Ram album by Paul & Linda McCartney. I could not find any YouTube videos that allowed embedding, so you’ll have to click on the link and listen to it on YouTube.


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Music on Mondays (5-8-17)—You should bring me flowers

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

This is NOT the San Diego that I’ve come to know and love.

It’s cold and wet outside.

It even got so cold yesterday that it snowed in the mountains.

The mountains are only 4,000 feet high.

It only snows a couple of times out there each winter.


I should be outside in 76°F sunshine taking pictures of May flowers!

Well, if I can’t take pictures of flowers, perhaps songs about flowers, yes?

“You Don’t Bring Me Flowers” by Neil Diamond & Barbra Streisand

“Every Rose Has Its Thorn” by Poison

“Where Have All The Flowers Gone” by The Kingston Trio

“Wildflowers” by Tom Petty

“San Francisco (Be Sure To Wear Flowers In Your Hair)” by Scott McKenzie

“Flowers Never Bend With The Rainfall” by Simon & Garfunkel

Yellow wildflowers in San Diego

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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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