Willie’s 80th Birthday Party

1. Roll Me up and Smoke me when I Die

I first went through the whole post and put different videos in for each song before I added the CMT link which doesn’t actually appear in video form on this blog. Like links of yesteryear, you actually have to click the link which brings you to the site for this hour long concert in the Country Music Television’s Crossroads series. Someone suggested to my brother a while back that we had too many videos and not enough writing so here’s a post for you faithful reader. The above  jam also links back to a certain post my brother wrote about Willie’s favorite sacrament.  I agree with much of what the Elder J said, but at Nelson’s advanced age, I think he can do whatever. Snoop Dogg?

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(Re-Play) Songs of the Year 1996

Do you ever sit around and wonder what you were doing or thinking about a year ago? One of the things about the internet age is that you can almost always come up with some documentary evidence to discover if not what you were thinking, then at least what you were saying you were thinking (or something like that).

With a blog, it is a bit more official. last year, around this time, I was thinking about the songs of 1996. So, in the spirit of all things being cyclical, let’s go back there again.

She said it’s cold
It feels like Independence Day
And I can’t break away from this parade
But there’s got to be an opening
Somewhere here in front of me
Through this maze of ugliness and greed
–The Wallflowers

Songs of the Year: “Novocaine for the Soul”, the Eels; “One Headlight”, the Wallflowers

Runners Up: “What I got”; Sublime; “Bullet with Butterfly Wings”, Smashing Pumpkins

Honorable Mentions: “Old Apartment”, Barenaked Ladies;  “California Love” Tupac, Dr. Dre

1996 was the year that I dropped the transmission on the Ford LTD station wagon; but it is still filled with memories of music playing in that car. I can see the road I was turning on to when Sublime’s “What I got” was playing on the local radio station for the first time. I can remember where the snow was falling when I first heard the terrible and memorable lyrics “The world is a vampire / sent to drain …”

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They Had Me At Bel Biv Devoe (The Redz)

So last week, in a rare moment of spontaneity, my wife and I dialed up the babysitter and went out on the town without a plan. Now, “out on the town” means we went to a hookah bar five miles away from our subdivision and then kept looking at the clock because we were so tired. Yet, we felt way too lame to arrive home at 9:15 (because, you know, we’re afraid of the babysitter judging us) so we stopped at another exotic location–a bar called Sherlock’s, 1.5 miles from home.

golden tee

I convinced my wife to go in for some food. I really wanted to play Golden Tee. See, ironically or not, I hate golf but I absolutely love video game golf. Is this like hating sex but loving pornography? In any case, we were a little taken aback by the fact that the place was packed with birthday parties and the like and there was a band setting up.

We used to go see lives band a lot and my wife really didn’t want to play golden tee (even though she tricked me into going with the siren song of video golf!), so she begged me to have another beer and watch the band set up. As I surveyed the crowd I was skeptical–in the lone star state, you expect Jimmy Buffet wannabes and bad rock music at local bars. The crowd–mostly white and older–made me think that the coming band would be nothing but the same.

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Female Artists, Part 2: Mama can Rock

Brittany Howard from the Alabama Shakes gets the award for most bad-ass female of 2012. I listened to their record last year on a loop to the point where I can’t listen to it for a while. I went to four weddings that summer and it seemed it was always this or Otis Redding in the cd player. Mama can rock!

As promised, I’m finally bringing in the sequel to my post about Female artists and how we sometimes neglect to discuss them. The math test was a bitch and I am still working on that real job, but I must make time for this blog. So, here at 6:38 am on a day off from my other job, I will continue my exploration of females that I think rock. I foresee many future posts relating back to this topic until it’s just part of our natural discourse to write on the opposite sex.

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Bad Band Names (and good ones?)

The subject I am about to touch upon–and don’t be distracted by the brevity with which I treat it–is one that is close to my heart because I was in two bands for nearly four years each and both  had rather terrible names. How do I know that the names were bad? When people ask me what the names of my bands were, I am too embarrassed by them to even utter them. In fact, I often find myself saying a silent prayer of thanks for the fact that both of my bands disappeared before the full rise of the internet. It is very, very hard to connect my proper name with those terrible, awful names.

This band has some pretty good beats and a rather tough sound for some ladies. Where are they now? While a rose by any other name still sounds as sweet, words have intrinsic attractiveness based on their sound and that sound’s relationship to the language at large. If a thorned flower were called ‘turd’, would we have bands named the Stone Turds and Guns N’ Turds? The sound matters.

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Sunshine On the Radio: Variations on a Theme with Ron Carter

I was about to drive home today in the oppressive heat of my adopted state and when I flipped on my car the radio was set to the local jazz station. This station plays mostly instrumental pieces, heavy on standards and classics with some great programs that highlight new jazz, Brazilian jazz etc. from time to time. So, I was a little surprised when the piece playing was just an upright bass.

Ron Carter stretches, rocks, rolls and massages out of “You Are my Only Sunshine” a timeless lesson in the relationship between a standard, a musician, and the audience. I can’t stop listening to or thinking about this number.

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Music, Marijuana and Misery: A Case for Casualization?

Ok. I may be blowing up the blog with this one. But here it goes.

Wiz Khalifa featuring Snoop Dogg, “Young, and Wild and Free”

A few weeks back, my brother wrote a great post about dealing with his students’ attitudes about life and, in passing, things like substance abuse. He talked about their difficult lives and the way that music influences their views about the world. He self-mockingly provides a PSA when he writes:

I love the vibe of this song  and dislike much of the content. My one major problem with Wiz is the constant reference to and glorification of marijuana. I personally don’t care what he does on his own time. However, he definitely influences young folks all around to think that smoking pot is not only ok, but actually a good thing that will make you have fun all the time

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Re-blogged:Wax Stories #9: The Postal Service – Give Up

I love this album (I even claimed it was the best album of the decade). And I love the work this author does with memories and music. Sometimes my brother and I set out to to something similar, but we never do it quite so well.


So, read the post, and check out some others.

My Effin Life


Postal Service Give Up cover

I can remember distinctly an argument I had with my friend Brandon in junior high concerning the validity of electronic music.

“Techno is totally music dude,” Brandon said.

“Dude. It’s not. Literally. It’s just computer noises,” I said with confidence.

“What? Does every song need a guitar to be music?” he replied, trying to call my bluff.

“No! But it needs instruments. That’s what music is.”

“No way dude. Anything with a beat is music.”

“Is this music, Brandon?” I said as I started tapping a rhythm with my pencil on my desk.


“Then neither is techno,” I replied with a smirk. I like to imagine I put on sunglasses and walked away from an explosion after saying that, but in high school I just didn’t have the budget.

There’s a slight chance I might have been wrong about that one. When I first started getting into music, I…

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Female Artists, Part 1: Stop the Neglect

I wanted this jam to be the seamless transition from my latest entry which focused on a new female artist named Lorde and had an Aretha song as a conclusion. The guitar riff from the beginning hopefully clues you in that this track also includes the stellar licks of  Mr. Duane Allman during his studio session years. Not only does this song have one of my top favorite female artists, it also has my favorite guitar player. Aretha can make anything sound like church, but in a fun way.

I have slacked again on writing a response to my brother’s wonderfully written essay on female artists and why we don’t write more about them. For no one reason and certainly not consciously, we neglect to discuss female artists regularly. The Elder really summed up why it seems that we write so little about the opposite sex when we both respect and cherish the female race both in singular instances and as a whole.   We love the ladies and that is not in question here. I will rehash my brother’s arguments into salient points that best describe my own feelings on the the matter in as succinct a manner as possible.

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Happy Birthday America!

Many people have said this version is some type of protest song and is borderline disrespectful. I disagree wholeheartedly. I remember reading a quote that Jimi considered himself a patriot, that he loved America and he played it at Woodstock because that is what you do at American events. This song makes me love America more if anything. Regardless, have a great and safe day! Hope you break that grill in Brother!