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I'm Bad, I'm Nationwide

I am going about 3 different directions at once with this blog so make sure you are coffee’d up and paying attention.

I have a ZUNE  music player from Microsoft that I got back in 2009 and it used to be the cat’s ass.  You know I have never been one to jump on the latest and greatest bandwagon because it makes my brain hurt. Give me comfortable and familiar every time. What was not to like about the ZUNE?  It held 120gb of data and it was built like a brick.  For about a hunnert bucks a year, I had usage rights to a bazillion songs and I could download 10 “free” songs a month that were mine, all mine.  Not a bad deal.  Over the course of years I built up a music library of primo stuff that exceeded 70 gigs of content.  I was loving it because music has always been a focal point for me and it was something I shared with BFF Cait.

Rockin' it - BFF Cait in the low single digits back in the day

Rockin’ it – BFF Cait, Age in the low single digits back in the day

But ZUNE never caught on with the Millenials who are the primary purchasers of music because they are consumed with all things lowercase ‘*i*’.  I don’t own any ‘*i*’ goodies because in my curmudgeonly and decidedly paleo viewpoint you might as well strap a movie camera to your head,  do a sound check, and then proceed to stream every single thing you do all the live long day live to the innerwebs.  Besides it all, I can’t stream diddly out here in the Puckerbrush.  Some days, I am lucky to download a single web page between cups of coffee.  So if you are of a mind to someday send me one of those youtubes – don’t even.  Downloading most youtubes is a half-day event so I generally don’t bother.  Then there is the fat finger thing – touch screens mess me up.  Imagine taking a vienna sausage and trying to swipe or scrunch the screen.  Yeah, it is about like that.

So I avoided the ‘*i*’ goods religiously.  (sigh).  Seems as my like minded ZUNE minions were few and of weak heart because we just didn’t buy us enough ZUNEs to make it profitable for Microsoft and last Fall they pretty much pulled the plug.  I lost all those usage rights; I even lost some of my supposedly free songs because Microsoft gave up the DRM rights or something. All I know is one day late last year I connected my Puckerbrush Zune to the Zune Mothership somewhere up north in the Land of Tree Huggers and the Mothership deleted 60 gigs of my hard won content……….  20,000 songs; that is thousand with a T and ~ 1800 albums.  Bastards!!!   Yeah, yeah,they told me they were gonna do it and all but when it come time to swallow the bitter pill, the pill was still F’n bitter. It turned my ZUNE into just a smokin’ hole.

So I called BFF Cait for advice and sometimes she can’t help being a Millennial because you know that ‘*i*’ Force is damned strong in the young ‘uns.  She jabbered millennial talk and said  I should get some sort of ‘*i*’ player or maybe even (gasp-choke) an ‘*i*’ communicator and then do some deal called Spotify or ‘*i*’ music.  I know enough to figure out this is just borrowin’ the music yet again and paying a little somethin’ to boot.  I already got my ass burnt on a deal just like that so not for me, thank you very much!  OK, OK she is my daughter and gets some slack  so instead of cussing on the phone I just said “Hey, I will call you later, m’kay?”  You never cuss your kids unless they exhibit ungodly rude behavior; like they grab the last cold beer or snatch the last slice of pizza.

I cogitated on what to do with my music for months and finally decided the best route was to just continue to use the ZUNE and purchase and transfer content that was mine; all mine  forever more, to the hard drive on the computer and eventually to my ZUNE.

Woodstock y'all

Woodstock y’all

In the process I have re-discovered that which had been lost.  One of the things I most enjoyed about the ZUNE software was that it tracked how many times you played a certain song.  I could generate an auto-playlist that contained all my songs that, say for instance, had been played 10x or more  – and it was dynamic and updated itself as the years went buy.  Man, I loved that.  Well sir, when the Puckerbrush Zune de-coupled from the liberal  Z Mothership up there in Yankee Land, I lost that and had to start over from square one.   My music listening fell into some Top 40 fugue that lasted for aimlessly drifting months.  It was not even remotely soul satisfying and when you factor in my profound hearing loss making some songs sound like they are being played over the speaker at the McD Drive-Thru you begin to understand why the ZUNE got all dusty and shit.

(….. about now is when you need to make sure you got the caffeine workin’…  Just sayn’)

This last week, BFF Cait did a major roadtrip and I guess she listened to beaucoup ‘*i*’ stuff.  She sent me this email titled ‘AmaZune’ – because she is smart like that.

 

 

 

If you’re hankering for new music, I have some suggestions. I also added some classic recommendations for Miz (classified) if you haven’t sent them along already!

For you:

The Good:
-“David” by Noah Gunderson (this was in a Sons of Anarchy episode, has some of the best lyrics of any song in the last 5 years)
-“Dresses” by Stoney LaRue (way different from Stoney’s regular MO of frat boy drinking songs, it’s a good FU song)

The Raucous:
-“Chattanooga Lucy” by Eric Church (don’t let the Trashville artist fool you, it’s really different from country radio and has lots of good ChattTown references)
– “Tell me Mama” by Kieran Kane (kinda got a creole bluesy feel, his voice reminds me of Chris Stapleton)

The Different:
-“Coal War” by Joshua James (out of all of these, the one you’re most likely not to like, hang with it. It’s got a little gospel, a little rock, a little everything)
-“Sleepin’ on the Blacktop” by Colter Wall (starts off real light and quiet, another great vocalist and then just comes in with a great beat and excellent guitar work)
-“Hurricane” by Band of Heathens (a tale of New Orleans weather with amazing vocals and flawless lyrics)

For Miz (classified):
-Gourds- Gin & Juice
-Steve Earle- Galway Girl
-James McMurtry- How’m I gonna find you now
-Fred J Eaglesmith- Pontiac
-Scott Miller- Freedom’s a stranger
-Civil Wars- I had me a girl
-and CHARLIE ROBISON- Lovin’ County

I went over to Amazon Music to get this BFF stuff and realized I had not visited there in several years and moreover,  I had some purchased music in the sky or on the clouds or whatever the hell they name it that was not on my ZUNE.   One of the selections missing was Tres Hombres by ZZ Top.  I disrember plenty of stuff from back in the day or back last month for that matter but one category that does stick in my brainpan is music.  I can remember the exact day in 1973 I bought this album at the Magic Mushroom (?? – correct me if that is not the right name Joel) in Oak Ridge, TN.  I can remember the weather as it was high summer, what I was driving and who was with me. Odd, that.   So while I was waitin’ on this new Cait music to download I punched in a track from Tres Hombres.

Then it happened………

But we gotta digress first before I get into what happened.   I have been at my OCD best the last few days trying to get back in the Music Game As I Know It.  Way back in 2010, BFF Cait was an AFN DJ at an Air Force Base in Europe and she was putting together a playlist for a special Classic Rock show she was calling ‘The Vault’ .  Back then the Air Force let the DJ’s pick their play lists and all  – now, not so much.  Hell, they trust the kids with M4s ,9 Mils or an A-10 but they don’t trust them to pick out songs because it might offend somebody somewhere somehow???   What a country, huh?  BFF Cait asked for my help with the play list.  Here is the brief post from over 6 years ago ……

BEGIN old moldy blog post..

The Vault promo poster

The Vault promo poster

My daughter did a radio show on AFN this past Saturday. Her theme was Classic Rock songs that you don’t hear on typical Top 40 classic rock stations.

She is gaining an appreciation of the music that shaped a generation and changed the world. Though it is not part and parcel of her very fiber like my fellow baby boomers, she is starting to get it. Not bad for one that has not seen her 23rd birthday.

Here is her playlist which I think encompasses some of the best music ever written:

 

 

 

 

BFF Cait

Elton John “The Bitch is Back”1974

Joe Cocker “Feelin’ Alright” 1972

Traffic “Rock & Roll Stew” 1971

The Who “Goin’ Mobile” 1971

Bill Withers “Ain’t no sunshine” 1971

Rare Earth “I just want to celebrate” 1971

T. Rex “Bang a Gong (Get it On)” 1971

Buffalo Springfield “For What It’s Worth” 1967

Blind Faith “Can’t find my way home” 1969

Humble Pie “30 Days in the Hole”1972

Stealer’s Wheel “Stuck in the Middle with You” 1973

The Doors “Love me Two Times” 1967

Allman Bros Band “One Way Out” 1972

Jeff Beck “I’m Goin’ Down” 1972

Grand Funk “Some kind of wonderful” 1975

Nillsson “Jump into the Fire” 1972

James Gang “Walk Away”. 1971

Neil Young “The Needle & The Damage Done” 1972

Bad Company “Shooting Star” 1975

Mountain “Mississippi Queen” 1970

Big Brother & The Holding Co. “Piece of My heart”

ZZ Top “Waitin’ for the bus/Jesus Just Left Chicago” 1973

Fleetwood Mac “Say you love me” 1975

Canned Heat “On the Road Again” 1968

Lynyrd Skynyrd “Don’t ask me no questions” 1974

Marshall Tucker “Can’t you See” 1977

Three Dog Night “Shambala” 1973

Rolling Stones “Tumbling Dice” 1972

Creedence Clearwater Revival “Susie Q” 1968

Led Zeppelin “When the Levee Breaks” 1971

Jimi Hendrix “If 6 was 9” 1968

CSNY “Woodstock” 1970

Rod Stewart “You wear it well” 1972

Cream “Sunshine of your love” 1967

Deep Purple “My Woman from Tokyo” 1973

Norman Greenbaum “Spirit in the Sky” 1969

End Note: See above

END old moldy blog post

BFF Cait was shocked when I told her I still had one of the promos for the show.  You can listen to it your ownself right here.

If you are one of those folks who have been reading along here for a few years, you probably remember me and BFF Cait started our musical odyssey in the summer of 2001 when she was about 14.  Man oh man, have we seen us some music since then.  If you need to catch up on the story, you can go here.  So for the last few days I have been mostly all music all the time since it is one-0h-five outside and I live in a tin can in the Puckerbrush – about the best I can do is hole up and wish for September.  When I mentioned to BFF Cait I was thinkin’ about a music blog post this Sunday she sent this note to me to include in the blog:

“I was born in 1987, the number one song when I turned 16 (in 2003) was “Get Busy” by Sean Paul, which I’m almost certain I’ve never heard or could tell you subject content or featured instruments. By contrast, if I had been born 30 years earlier in 1957, I would have turned 16 in 1973. That year, number one songs on the charts included Elton John’s “Crocodile Rock”, Grand Funk’s “We’re an American Band” and The Edgar Winter Group’s “Frankenstein”. I think I would have preferred the latter.

My relationship with music goes back farther than my first memories. Before we moved to Texas, I could pick “La Grange” out in the first 6 seconds. Before Dad told me stories about him and Danny Taylor driving around Oak Ridge drinking beer out of his Dodge Dart, I knew all the words to “Call me the Breeze”. And before I learned about the Vietnam War in school, I knew CSN&Y’s “Ohio” was about the Kent State shootings.

As a radio DJ nearly a decade ago, I was given free reign to establish my own weekend radio show. As a young 20-something, it was a daunting task to develop a show that would appeal to a varied audience of 6,000 on a sprawling military base in northern Italy. My musical guru has always been my father, and somewhere in the phone calls across the Atlantic, we developed The Vault. As we started coming up with songs and content, the show became three hours of forgotten classic rock. Somewhere along the way during the research, I put on ‘Black Water’ by the Doobie Brothers. Halfway through the song, I realized I was singing along to all the words without ever realizing I had heard the song before. Then it happened again with the Allman Brothers Band ‘One Way Out’…and then again with James Gang’s “Walk Away”. These songs were in my DNA, from my earliest unremembered memories of sitting in a bench seat Chevy S-10 riding through the Tennessee hills with my Dad and a handful of cassette tapes.

Music is the universal language– and I speak a foreign, forgotten tongue to my peers and younger troops. And that’s okay because I look in my rearview mirror quite often to see Henry singing along to Elton John or Lynyrd Skynyrd. When he is my age (in 2038), these songs will be 60 years old.

And I’m pretty sure he’ll know all the words and won’t remember why.”

So then it happened……… the ZZ Top song started to play and the wall of sound just washed over me –  like what was old is new again and I remember thinkin’ to myself ‘this is good, damned good!’  and the spark was re-ignited.  I think it is impossible to listen to music without associating that particular song with this specific memory; at least with me anyway.  I hear a song and remember when I heard it at some rowdy ass concert in Knoxville or when I would save it for just that right moment when we were cruising around acheiving some sort of altered state.  If you were lucky back then you had a cassette tape player in the car that you could fast forward or reverse to just that perfect song.  Maybe I was a sophomore in high school around 1972 when this fella named Johnny Pirkle came to visit our history class.  He was in the process of setting up the first FM radio station in the area and he wanted to know what we were listening to.  Christ on a cracker, the first FM station in a pretty large Metro area, can you even imagine?  Told ya my music memory is pretty good:

WOKI-FM 100.3 signed on the air on April 20, 1974 as an automated station. The station also had jingles from TM’s “Pacific and Southern” package. For the first few weeks when WOKI-FM was on the air, Johnny Pirkle spent 5 to 6 weeks loading the automation system with country one week, top 40 the next, and all rock the other. The station began as an automated top 40 station when the automation was in place. The only time WOKI was live was if they were broadcasting UT football or when the automation system was down. By 1976, WOKI-FM was airing top 40 music including southern rock, country, album cuts, soul and funk, etc.

In the early 1980s, WOKI-FM became a live top 40 station with jocks throughout the day and night. WOKI also began airing “American Top 40 with Casey Kasem” which once aired on WNOX-AM 990 when the station aired a top 40 format in the late 1970s. The station went by many names including “FM 100 WOKI”, “Hits 100”, and “I-100”.

Hell, Johnny had a good lookin’ classy step-daughter named Manette that I even dated for awhile.

Leavin' Yazgur's Farm - 1969

Leavin’ Yazgur’s Farm – 1969

Lest you think I am just being reminiscent of past glory days that will never be again let me school you up.  Music had never been part and parcel with living life like it was back in the ’60s and ’70s.  As far as I can tell,  it has not been like that since then either.  It is just damn hard to explain to somebody who is not part of the baby boomer crowd how the music was woven into everything we did and every thing we thought.  This was decades before social media but maybe it was our collective voice.

Rolling Stone explains it better than I ever could:

“Sixties rock also showed that it was capable of more than disruption — that it could unite masses for worthy causes and could actually bring about social and humanitarian change. That assertion helped pave the way for later philanthropic and political ventures like Rock Against Racism, No Nukes, Live Aid, Farm Aid and the anti-apartheid efforts. More important, in a time when countless conservative strategists claim credit for the rise of freedom and democracy movements throughout the world, it is important to declare that the protests of the 1960s youth culture — and the spirit of courage and defiance that those protests shared with rock music — have probably served as an even greater impetus for many of today’s brave revolutionists.

Finally, 1960s music not only deepened rock & roll’s ability to work as a music of rebellion, disobedience and disrespect — often worthy and noble impulses that were reenacted in 1970s punk and are still acted out in much of today’s best (and worst) rap and heavy-metal music — but also made plain that pop music had become capable of expressing emotional and thematic truths that were as rich and consequential as anything contemporary film or literature had to offer. In other words, the 1960s proved that rock is anything but a trivial music; it does have impact, and at its worthiest, it still aims to threaten, to draw boundaries, to defy and to win young people over to its view and its ethos.”

I really hate that she did not get to see some of these great bands live.  Live albums are good and so are the videos but it is nothing like bein’ there live.   I made the comment in email to her this week that “there has been no good music since 1978 – only variations on previous themes.”  I was being curmudgeonly and shit when I said that and to my surprise she agreed and added the opening guitar riff of CSN&Y’s Ohio was her all-time best fave.  I guess I did somethin’ right, huh?

Interestingly enough, she says it is common habit for her to download one or two tracks from a current CD she is interested because the rest of the tracks are crap.  With the old school stuff, she usually downloads the entire album because it is all good.  That led me to try to think of 3 classic rock albums that were true standouts and I came up with these:

Just Roll Tape – Stephen Stills

Collectybles  – Lynyrd Skynyrd

SUNY at Stonybrook 9/19/71 – The Allman Brothers

BFF Cait tells me that if the World Goes to Hell in a Handbasket that she is going to start a Pirate Radio Station and I best be gettin’ my library of classic rock up to snuff for her Pirate enterprise.  She goes on to say she is gonna be the Pirate DJ and Miz (classified) is gonna be the Pirate Sound Engineer  – and they are going to dress like real Pirates.  Suits me to a T seein’ as how I have put “part-time Pirate” down as my job on several Employment Applications in the past decade.

End Note: * I’m Bad, I’m Nationwide by ZZ Top from the Deguello album – 1979 or thereabouts.  Check out the Little Ol’ Band from Texas before they got MTV ruint.

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13 comments to I’m Bad, I’m Nationwide*

  • Joel

    Fun post.

    ” . . . the opening guitar riff of CSN&Y’s Ohio . . . ”

    One thing I actually know how to play!

    When I was in 6th grade, I won an 8 transistor radio in a contest. Nobody told me what to listen to, so I ended up with country-western. None of my contemporaries listened to C-W, so I was alone for a couple years. By the time I got to high school, I’d discovered rock, which is what they played at the armory dances after the home football games. In college, I discovered bluegrass and Southern string band music, and was good enough on the guitar to play some of the tunes. In grad school, I picked up banjo (three finger and clawhammer styles) and that pushed me more firmly into acoustic. Hooked up with a folk and blues band about 10 years ago, and still get paid for performing (sometimes money, sometimes moonshine).

    In the background, I also had 8 years of formal training on piano, which has allowed me to write music for my sibling’s weddings. This fall, my daughter gets married, and I’m writing arrangements for my sister (violin) and the father of Rebecca’s partner (viola) and me (guitar).

    Taste in music is personal, like taste in adult beverages. Chacun à son goût.

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    • Andy

      Good to hear from you Joel. I always wanted to play guitar but an early age farm accident left me with 2 fingers on my left hand that don’t work exactly right. You might want to check out that Still’s album I listed “Just Roll Tape”. He bribed the studio engineer for some left over time from a Judy Collins session and it is just him with guitar and dobro. The time frame was between Buffalo Springfield and CSN&Y. Many of the demos he played that day showed up on the group’s later albums. The tapes were lost for 40 years.

      i think it is some of his best work. The drugs in later years were quick to diminish his creative talents it seems. This album and the first CSN&Y may be Stills at his pinnacle. He was an immense talent.

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  • Joel

    Thanks for steering me to “Just Roll Tape.” It’s posted on youtube. You can even hear him open tuning for “Suite: Judy blue eyes.”

    I’ve always thought they made a mistake including Neal Young.

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    • Andy

      You and I agree on Neal Young. Stills was accomplished on the 12 string but I am not enough of a music guy to tell if he is playing that on this offering.

      For retrospection, the Still’s offering Live at Shepherds Bush recorded when he was 64 still shows the old man has some licks. I am trying to run down “Stills Alone” from 1991. That is a tough one to find in decent shape because it never made it to mp3.

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      • Joel

        It sounds to me like he’s playing 6 string on the “Just Roll Tape” version.

        Looks like there are several cuts from “Stills Alone” up on youtube.

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        • Andy

          My uneducated ear though as much. Youtube is such a pain for me, I might have to endure and check it out.

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    • Cait

      That’s my favorite part about Just Roll Tape, Joel. Halfway through Treetop Flyer, you can hear him stop and change the guitar riff like inspiration hit him. It’s glorious. I’d give a kidney to play like that.

      If y’all ever have another reunion- I’m comin’ and I wanna hear Ohio! 🙂

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  • David

    Hi Andy,

    Great post!

    Mike Gibbs introduced me to several artists including Jethro Tull. I remember buying “A Passion Play” at The Music Box” in Jackson Square.

    There was an FM station of some kind in Oak Ridge probably 69-71? I remember they played long cuts progressive album rock. Then it disappeared.

    My favorite was W149, a low power station out of Knoxville. I was working at Downtown American and rember the WOKI guy stopped by. I think he had a VW Bug. I suggested he make the station like W149. He didn’t follow my suggestion.

    People used to put up antennae to pick up WQUT from Johnson City. It was a great station for many years.

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  • Joel

    Ah, Mike Gibbs (RIP). I recall the Oak Ridge FM station, too, but not the call letters. They used to play whole album sides at at time.

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    • David

      Before Mike moved across from ORHS, he (still Kerns at the time) lived in the apartments across the creek from our house on Manhattan Ave. At the suggestion of the DE, Mike and I worked on our Eagle project together.

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  • Dee

    I know I am asking for a lot, but is there any way possible, you would provide a link to all those songs?

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