Sunday, November 22, 2009

Baker Street and The Year of the Cat

I almost ruined an hour of my limited social life.

So we're on our way to Jockamo UC Pizza and Stuck in the Middle With You by Stealer's Wheel pops onto one of the XM Radio stations. It's not bad for a pop song that was whelped in the early 70s, so I didn't wish it to the cornfield by punching another preset. Instead I offered one of my music challenges to my dear wife about the song. The offer usually is for a sizable cash prize in line with the difficulty of the question. I pride myself in my knowledge of American music and the wife was sequestered in a Baptist home for many years and has, despite a ongoing effort to bring herself up to speed, no more than a cursory knowledge of such things

The question: Who is the lead singer / front man for Stealer's Wheel? This was for $10, because it is relatively easy. Nonetheless, she gives up after making a who-gives-a-shit guess of Chuck Berry. She wanted to listen to the song. After it ended she said, "Well, who was it?"

"Who was what?"
The Stealer's Wheel guy.
"Oh, that was _______________..." My mind goes blank as we arrive at Jockamo.

We greet our friends, but I'm preoccupied with coming up with the singer's name." I appear to be in some sort of snit. giving distant and terse answers to questions thrown my way. I apologize explaining I have something on my mind. When I divulge just exactly what is on my mind, I get puzzled looks. I am assured that I can look it up when I get home and should let it go. I try, but can't stop rolling around names in my head as I hopefully give the impression that I am engaged in the conversation. Al Stewart? Criss Cross? Edward Bear? Gilbert O'Sullivan? All the leisure suited lightweights of the era when Top 40 radio was nearing its death were considered.

"His last name begins with an "R". ", I blurt.
Eyes roll.

After sucking back 11 ounces of Fat Tire, the synapse fires. "Rafferty."
The table is mildly happy for me; more happy that I am done with this nonsense.

"But what was his first name?" John? James? Something with a "J".
I'm alone in my conversation by now. Can hardly blame the people.

More Fat Tire then BANG. "Jerry Rafferty!" - "no Gerry Rafferty with a G"

The Pizza arrives. I come back from the ionosphere just in time to enjoy my pizza and join the party. Later, we come back to our place to play Dominion and I catch a little teasing about having my cards in plastic sleeves. I'm refereed to as Monk for the rest of the evening for my OCD behavior.

Gerry effing Rafferty.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Apple ][ 48K

30 END

Waxing nostalgic for days when life was supposedly simpler afer an all day migration from Vista to Windows 7, I took note of all the expensive geeky "must have" hardware items that have been purchased and subsequenty trashed. I sold my old Apple ][ setup for $2000 for a leg up on a IBM 286 Machine running at 6mz. I remember my first hard drive, all 20 mb of it. That's mb, folks, about the size of 7 or 8 MP3s. There were EGA monitors, dual-sided 5 ¼" floppy disks, zip drives, dot matrix printers with tractor paper, 2 mb memory expansion modules , 300 baud modems ...


Friday, November 20, 2009

One Two Three Four

On XM Radio, Sirrius XM Radio, or whatever the hell they call it now, I was tuned into the Underground Garage Band station and heard the gawd awful but catchy tune by The Grass Roots entitled Let's Live for Today. The hook, "na na na na na na live for today." is preceded by a count of "one, two three, four" that is probably finest segment of the record.

People (I consider myself one) seem to be sucked in by "1234" being sung or spoken in a song. Take Feists's appropriately titled 1234. Like it or not, it can get into your head. Is it a need to get our minimal daily allotment of mathematics or the need for those with no sense of rhythm to be guided into the proper beat? I don't know but there are maybe hundreds of tunes that feature 1234. Mostly it is found at the start of the track. like in the Ramones' Rockaway Beach.

I particularly like Sam the Sham's Spanish intro to the start of the Tex-Mex classic Wooly Bully.

Don't forget Springsteen's Born to Run.

Gee, wouldn't it be cool to compile a play list of the best songs that have 1234? No? Then bite me. Otherwise, comment here or on Twitter with your submissions and I will put together a play list on this very blog with your entries. Promise.