Tag Archives: queen

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 (9-7-15)—Stuck in Suburbia in a Nowhere Town

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

Many decades ago, probably on October 26, 1974, I was a sophomore at Texas A&M University sitting all alone in my apartment. All my friends were gone for the weekend so I had nothing to do other than play my records (vinyl records on a turntable!) and do the laundry.

Our apartment complex laundry room was directly across the street and whenever I went over there, I took my portable radio with me. That was when I heard a little song titled “Killer Queen” by a group I had never heard of: Queen.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I listened to the song, thinking to myself, “I don’t know who this group is but I think they are going to go somewhere.” Well, they did go somewhere. Yes, indeed.

As soon as I finished the laundry, I jumped on my bicycle and rode over to Northgate to the record store I patronized. I found the 45 single, bought it, took it home, and played the heck out of it. By the time all my friends came back on Sunday night, I had the song memorized and was walking and biking everywhere singing to the music in my head.

I put Queen on my “To Watch” list, and a few weeks later Queen’s second album, “Sheer Heart Attack,” was released. That might be the first album I ever bought where I showed up before the store opened to be the first in, to make sure that I got a copy of the music I wanted.

Yesterday morning I was chatting online with a home inspector about a hundred miles north of me. As we were chatting I was checking out his Facebook profile and found a music video of his son’s band, Stuck in Suburbia. Of course, I had to listen since the text indicated that it is their first single from their soon-to-be-released EP. Here it is:

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

As I was listening to “Nowhere Town,” I thought to myself, “I don’t know who this group is but I think they are going to go somewhere.”

Memories….

I think the group as a whole really do an awesome job, but as a singer myself, I really like Johnny’s voice. It’s clear and smooth, and his diction is great. Beautiful singing.

Back in June I started singing Muse’s “Psycho” and have had problems getting that music out of my head. Yesterday I found myself playing “Nowhere Town” over and over, and now it is the new music in my head.

Stuck in Suburbia is now on my “To Watch” list, and in today’s world it’s much easier to watch someone simply by friending or following them on Facebook, connecting with them on LinkedIn, or being a Twit and following them on Twitter!

Following are two other songs of theirs, both cover versions, which I also found on YouTube. My only complaint is that both of these cover versions—remember that they were composed by other people—use the F word in each song. Not a lot, but it’s there. I think Stuck in Suburbia is good enough not to have to rely on whatever shock value comes with the F word. Their dad tells me that the EP “is clean.”

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Music on Mondays (5-11-15)

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

At the beginning of each day, I check in with history.com and wikipedia.com to see what happened on this day in history.

Since I currently am listening to music from my music collection for 1978, I thought I would see what happened on this date in 1978. Here are three events that stood out for me:

Sweden became the first nation to ban aerosol sprays because of their damage to the earth’s protective ozone layer.

Cult leader Jim Jones convinced over 900 members of his church, “People’s Temple,” to commit suicide.

Karl Wallenda, founder of the Flying Wallendas, dies after falling off a tight-rope.

Those three events stood out because they reminded me of specific songs. Sweden reminds me of ABBA, and ABBA reminds me of their great song “Fernando,” one of only 39 singles that has sold over ten million copies.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Whenever I hear the word “suicide,” I think of Queen’s 1980 song, “Don’t Try Suicide,” one of the few Queen songs that Queen has never performed in concert. It was the B side of their single “Another One Bites The Dust.” Hmmmm. Another one bites the dust but don’t try suicide….

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Anything about the Wallendas and tight ropes remind me of Leon Russell and his song “Tight Rope,” a #11 hit for him in 1972.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Morning glory

Photoshop can make old pictures new again!

My wise old grandmother

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I’ve been cataloging some of my older pictures taken in the early digital camera days, early point & shoot days, and well before I got my Canon 550D. Although they are not the best quality, I saved them hoping that some day Photoshop would help me clean them up, add contrast and clarity, and make them presentable for you to enjoy.

So on with the show, including musical interludes by Three Dog Night, Queen, Pink Floyd, and Moulin Rouge.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Many of us are familiar with the ubiquitous brown tumbleweeds tumbling about in the John Wayne and Clint Eastwood western movies, but have you ever seen a field of growing tumbleweeds? Here’s a field from right here in San Diego:

Field of growing tumbleweeds

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

When I was a juvenile delinquent in Brigham City, Utah, my first grade teacher lived next door to me. She was the first one to get me interested in plants. She had a beautiful garden in her back yard full of nasturtiums. I took such a love to nasturtiums with their beautiful flowers and round leaves.

Nasturtium flower

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Nasturtium leaf

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

One day when she wasn’t home I went over to her garden, dug up a plant to make it mine, and then destroyed all of her plants, making mine the only nasturtium on the street. Yes, I got caught and punished severely.

Am I the only one who likes dandelions?

Dandelion flowers

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Dandelion seed head

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

My wise old grandmother had many flowers in her gardens, but I think her favorites were morning glories for year-round blooms, crowns of thorns, which also bloomed year-round and reminded her each and every day of her commitment to her faith, and poinsettias for Christmas.

Morning glory

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Crown of thorns

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Poinsettia

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

My wise old grandmother’s poinsettias were the tallest I had ever seen until I came to San Diego. It seems plants grow taller out here. Here’s the tallest one I’ve seen here:

Poinsettia 15' tall

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I despised my wise old grandmother’s poinsettias because I was the one who had to prune them each September so that they would bloom in December. Poinsettias are in the Euphorbia family, and I now know that I am sensitive/allergic to Euphorbias. A great general rule of thumb is that if the sap is a sticky, milky white, it’s a Euphorbia of some kind. The sap can cause severe dermatitis and other allergic reactions in many people and can be dangerous for our wonderful cats and dogs, so be careful! The funny thing is that I don’t generally have any poinsettias around the house because of the sap and Zoey the Cool Cat, but I have lots of Euphorbias, such as the Crown of Thorns, all outside where Zoey the Cool Cat cannot get to them.

Speaking of plants growing taller out here, plants that would never bloom for me in Texas are prolific bloomers here in San Diego. The umbrella tree is a great example. I bought a small umbrella tree when I was in tenth grade. It was only about six inches tall. It graduated from high school with me, went to four years of college at Texas A&M University, and lived in Houston and College Station until 1993. When I moved to San Diego, it was about six feet tall and one of my office managers claimed it. Here is a blooming one here in San Diego:

Umbrella tree flowers

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

You’ll probably recognize the leaf because they are used as houseplants throughout the world:

Schefflera leaf

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I can highly recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor
Century 21 Award, DRE #01458572

If you’re looking for a home inspector,
I recommend Russel Ray — that’s me!Real Estate Solutions

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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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Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I can highly recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor
Century 21 Award, DRE #01458572

If you’re looking for a home inspector,
I recommend Russel Ray — that’s me!Real Estate Solutions

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Music on Mondays — #4: I walk the line

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

#4
I walk the line

I don’t remember much about my father because he killed himself in 1961 when I was just six years old. One thing I do remember is that he loved Johnny Cash. Cash’s music was always playing around the house.

I remember one time when I was laying on the floorboard in the back seat of the car, dad was driving, and mom was in the other front seat. Not sure where my older brother and younger sister were. As we were going wherever we were going, “I Walk The Line” came on the radio and I started singing along with it. To this day it’s my favorite Johnny Cash song.

“I Walk The Line” was originally released on May 1, 1956. Cash wrote the song in 20 minutes and recorded it in one day, tasks that take much longer in today’s world.

“I Walk The Line” became Cash’s first #1 country hit on the Billboard charts and crossed over to the pop charts to peak at #17 (some sources say #19), selling over two million copies. The song was originally on his album With His Hot and Blue Guitar.

Cash re-recorded the song four times after its initial release: for the I Walk the Line album in 1964, for the At San Quentin album in 1969, for the I Walk the Line soundtrack in 1970, and lastly in 1988 for the Classic Cash: Hall of Fame Series album. The original recording is still the best, as original recordings often are. It’s hard to compete with that initial surge of enthusiasm and creative genius.

This post is dedicated to Michele Miller, Executive Assistant and Realtor for Keller Williams in Worcestor, Massachusetts. At the site where I had been hanging out for the past three years, Michele was instrumental in my Music on Mondays series. She also has a Music on Mondays series, but she started hers a good nine months or more before mine. I copied her, a fact which she didn’t mind. If you are needing the services of a Realtor in the Worcestor, Massachusetts, area, I can highly recommend Michele as I have known of her excellent work for the last three years through my interaction with her on the Internet.

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Music on Mondays — #3: You’re my best friend

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

#3
You’re my best friend

See my initial post about Music on Mondays from the Music Chronicles of Russel Ray.

One of my favorite groups when I was in college at Texas A&M University was Queen. When their song “Killer Queen” came out in November 1974, I correctly predicted that they would become a killer supergroup. They did. They are still in my Top 3, behind only The Beatles and Led Zeppelin.

Following is their song “You’re My Best Friend” from their greatest charting album (and my favorite) “A Night At The Opera” released in December 1975. The song was released as a single in 1976, spending 16 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and peaking at #16. It was their third single and the follow-up to their well-known single “Bohemian Rhapsody” which was featured many years later in the film “Wayne’s World.”

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