• Tag Archives Classic Rock
  • Rock & Roll Excellence ~ Lynyrd Skynyrd

    Time for another post on an exceptional Classic Rock/Southern Rock/Blues band.

    I finally went through my CD travel holder and removed all the Springsteen CDs. I thought I was safe.

    I had been enjoying other favorite bands in the car, and except for the occasional unexpected song on the radio, which I hear for approximately 5 seconds until my husband turns the station, I had managed to put him out of my mind.

    But then I made the mistake of attempting to access music stored on my phone. I was making a video of my grandkids, and the app allows people to use their own music. (It never works. Never. I should not have even bothered trying).

    Sigh. All my music appeared on the screen. Too many Springsteen songs to count are in my phone, which is why I use my iPod shuffle when running. It is loaded with Springsteen’s music, too, but it’s very easy to shuffle, and I barely notice when I’m running. I just hit the button until I get to a different artist.

    So…another chore awaits me–getting all that music off my phone, and replacing it.

    When I get smacked in the face with Springsteen, I always think about other great artists to get his music out of my mind, so I decided to write a post on Lynyrd Skynyrd, a band that seems to be the polar opposite of Mr. Springsteen and the E Streeters.

     

    Lynyrd Skynyrd are down to earth, and love America, God and freedom of expression. They are truly an example of Rock & Roll Excellence.

     

    My husband went to one of the last concerts Lynyrd Skynyrd performed with Ronnie Van Zant.. The show was on June 11, 1977 at the old JFK Stadium in Philadelphia.

    My husband was 17 years old, and I hadn’t yet met him. He told me it was a great show. I believe Skynyrd opened for Peter Frampton, whom I idolized back then. Tom wasn’t overly fond of Frampton, though–he went to see Skynyrd.

    The following October, a plane carrying the band to a show in Baton Rouge, Louisiana crashed outside Gillsburg Mississippi. The pilots, the road manager, and three band members were killed in the crash. The rest of the band was seriously injured, but they survived.

    Ronnie Van Zant, lead singer, songwriter and founding member of the band, was one of those killed. After the crash, the group disbanded. They reunited 10 years later, with Van Zant’s brother, Johnny, taking his place as vocalist.

    (I saw Skynyrd perform with Johnny Van Zant seven years ago. It was a great show. Still I wish I could have seen them before the plane crash.)

     

    Street Survavors

     

    Pictured above is the album Street Survivors, released three days before the October 20th plane crash.

    My husband bought the album on the left back in 1977,  and has kept it all these years. He found the one on the right recently on eBay, and has never played it.

    The right hand cover was the original, but was replaced out of respect for the survivors, since two members pictured engulfed in flames had perished in the crash. It’s quite a shock to see the flames and know that they died right after the record was released.

     

    All right… now to some fun stuff.

     

    One of my favorite songs is Sweet Home Alabama. It’s the best song for parties and dancing and just having a good time.

     

    Watch the above if you like. I love the lyrics, especially when Van Zant disses Neil Young, whom I have always regarded as a smarmy Leftist tool who doesn’t appreciate America.

     

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    Skynyrd has a large and diverse catalogue. There are ballads, some Country-sounding songs, Rock and Blues. I love the background singers. I have many favorite songs, including some that may be unfamiliar to casual listeners.

    Free Bird is a work of art, but it isn’t among my favorites, some of which include: Coming Home, White Dove,  Down South Jukin, Gimme Three Steps, Saturday Night Special, and Tuesday’s Gone.

    The song Ain’t too Proud to Pray, from The Complete Muscle Shoals album, written and sung by Ricky Medlock, is a beautiful song about an encounter with Christ.

     

    I heard the voice and saw the face
    And I know he was there
    The robe it floated around my bed
    And I felt no pain

    You can talk about the help you need
    He’s a friend indeed
    Just open your heart and live again
    And he’ll set you free

    Well, he took them away
    All the troubles and the pain
    Whoa, you can call me a fool
    But I know he was there
    Yes, I know he was there

    The night I had, has long since gone
    But the memories stay
    And now Mr. Trouble when you come my way
    I’m not too proud to pray

     

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    Our collection of Skynyrd CDs. We also have vinyl, cassette and 8 track tapes.

     

    The Seasons is another favorite.

     

     

    Last but not least, is Simple Man. I have loved this song for years.

     

    Mama told me when I was young
    “Come sit beside me, my only son
    And listen closely to what I say
    And if you do this it’ll help you some sunny day”

    “Oh, take your time, don’t live too fast
    Troubles will come and they will pass
    You’ll find a woman and you’ll find love
    And don’t forget, son, there is someone up above”

    “And be a simple kind of man
    Oh, be something you love and understand
    Baby be a simple kind of man
    Oh, won’t you do this for me, son, if you can”

    “Forget your lust for the rich man’s gold
    All that you need is in your soul
    And you can do this, oh baby, if you try
    All that I want for you, my son, is to be satisfied”

    “And be a simple kind of man
    Oh, be something you love and understand
    Baby be a simple kind of man
    Oh, won’t you do this for me, son, if you can”

     

    Seems like good advice, and timeless. I usually play this song on Mother’s Day.

    I have been slacking off on my vow to search out newer artists, and find that I still rely on old favorites, however, my friend Marina told me of this cover of Simple Man, by Shinedown.

    I think they did a phenomenal cover. Here it is.

     

     

    My other favorite Rock & Blues band is the Allman Brothers Band. I’m not writing a post on them, but wanted to mention the band. Duane Allman, (deceased) was a talented guitarist. My husband has top 10 list, and Allman is on it.

    Following is a guitar solo by Allman. The song isIn Memory of Elizabeth Reed, (Instrumental). YouTube is a godsend for me–I can find rare performances and enjoy them. I stumbled across this and bookmarked it.

     

     

    I love the above music, which brings back memories of happier times. Music is a gift from God. Find your favorites, and spend time listening every day.

    Related Posts:

    Rock & Roll Excellence ~ Led Zeppelin

    Drunks and the Music they thought the Enjoyed throughout the Years

    Dear Republican Hating Musicians: Get Over Yourselves


  • Rock & Roll Excellence ~ Led Zeppelin

    Since I can’t mourn Springsteen forever, I have decided to be thankful for what I have, and also for up and coming stars and new music.

    I’m not saying I’m over my hurt and disillusion. Just last night, while looking for a Fleetwood Mac CD in my car, I had to flip through sleeves & sleeves of Bruce CDs. I began to cry, and then… I cussed Springsteen. And yes, I forgive him, and no, I cannot just get over it and listen to his music already.

    But that’s my problem and no one else’s, ( and yes, I know I sound bitter. Oh, well.) so I’m writing some short blogs featuring the greats of Classic Rock, and also featuring new music I have discovered.

     

    Here’s to Led Zeppelin.

     

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    Crowd surfing aside, you will never be as cool as the above photo. Ever. You will never hold a dove in one hand and a beer and a smoke in the other, looking like a… I don’t know… um… a sexy S.O.B.? Maybe that covers it.

    Plant did this… nobody else. And though I will never see Zeppelin in concert, I did see Plant, and I hope to see Jimmy Page someday.

     

     

    And… no one will ever replicate the sound above. It is also unique, and excellent, and deserving of my respect.

     

     

    And, no one else will ever play a guitar solo like the above. Stairway to Heaven is the most played song on the radio of all time. That’s something quite unique.

     

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    Again, I am eagerly waiting for news of Page, and a possible tour. If there is any chance whatsoever to see Page live, I will be there unless I am incapacitated or without funds.

     

     

     

    And… no one else’s music will be quite as right, IMO, that it can feature clips from Lord of the Rings, like Zeppelin’s Battle of Nevermore. (Cadáin’s  song, from my upcoming novel).

     

    So, I give you Led Zeppelin, a phenomenal force of Classic Rock.

    And we must not live solely in the past. Everyone knows how many musicians and actors we have lost in 2016. Each has been a blow… but we must understand that this is life. And there are other musicians and artists up and coming.

    My friend Marina told me about Thousand Foot Krutch. I am not much of a metalhead, but that may change. I am not unwilling to try new music, and I like the sound of this band. The following song, Incomplete, reminds me of my novels. The sharks are in this song, and this band seems to be on the same page I’m on, at least in this one song.

     

     

    So, we can remember and appreciate the artists of the past, while progressing and trying new music. Progress is not a word that we should cede to the Regressive Left.

     

    Krutch

     

    We are not the ones stuck in the 1960s. They are.

     

     

    Related Post:

    Drunks and the Music they thought they Enjoyed throughout the Years.


  • My Semi-Breakup with Classic Rock

    What a sad situation I find myself in as I write this. I’m listening to Bachman Turner Overdrive’s Greatest hits, many of which remind me of the days when my husband and I first met.

    As far as I know, no one from BTO has weighed in on American bathrooms or the Republican Party, of which I am a member. And this is not necessarily because I agree with the party on many things. It’s strictly a matter of necessity, since I cannot vote in primaries in my home state of Pennsylvania if I’m registered as an Independent, the way my husband used to be.

    This post will consist of many photos. Here are a few.

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    Part of our music room. As you can see, we are Classic Rock addicts.
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    1970s stereo system. Springsteen and Clarence Clemons hang in the background. On right, Frank Zappa.
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    A few of my husband’s guitars. Led Zeppelin poster in background.
    Pierre Robert, beloved Philadelphia Icon DJ at WMMR, poses with my husband at The Eagles concert at Wells Fargo Center in 2013
    Pierre Robert, beloved Philadelphia Icon & DJ at WMMR, poses with my husband at The Eagles concert at Wells Fargo Center in 2013

     

    So, you see, we are immersed in Classic Rock. This is not strictly for weekends, but a way of life. For my husband, the music begins at 6 am, continues through the workday while listening to WMGK, Philadelphia’s other Classic Rock station, and ends at bedtime, unless we are with our family, working outside, or watching TV or a movie.

    My husband’s interest in Rock began in his teen years.

    He was born in 1959, and always said that if he were born three years earlier, he would have found a way to get to Woodstock. And I have no doubt in my mind that he would have. He was 10 during the summer of ’69 (Thank you, Brian Adams, for ruining that song for me), but if he had been 13 or 14, he would have been in New York state, wandering around with the hippies who are running our government today.

    My love affair with the genre began at approximately age 13. (I would never have dreamed of going to Woodstock. My father would never have allowed it, and I was too afraid of defying him to even begin to think of such a thing). Before that, I liked pop hits and top 40. I believe the first vinyl I ever owned was Aerosmith’s Rocks. My sister and cousins and I liked their sound.

    This continued. We liked the artists of the 1970s, many songs of which play in my mind when remembering fun times at the beach with my family. This includes the band Boston, who just disrespected their fans in the state of North Carolina by canceling a show without sufficient notice for ideological reasons regarding bathrooms.

     

    Our history with the Classic Rock band, Boston. Extensive vinyl collection, including Springsteen's Born In The USA, bottom left.
    Our history with the Classic Rock band, Boston. Extensive vinyl collection, including Springsteen’s Born In The USA, bottom left.

     

    They also dissed every citizen in America who dissents from their pronouncement that men should be able to walk into a ladies room for whatever reason, thereby turning convention, tradition and reasonable safety applications for women and girls upside down, without regard for the feelings of older ladies or anyone else not ready for such a change.

    My mother, an 80 year old widow, does not want to see a man in a ladies room when she has gone inside for the usual reasons. Neither do I, or my sister, cousins or nieces. We don’t have to give any explanation as to why.

    We just don’t want it. And we do not want our grandkids to have to deal with such a thing, either. That’s for safety reasons.

     

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    The above, IMO, is true. Others may be of a different opinion, but this is my blog, and I have a voice. And, BTW, having spoken to many people who differ politically and ideologically on many different issues, more people agree with me than not.

    Since there is no way, at this point in time, to measure the number of Americans who want men to pee next to their daughters, wives, sisters and mothers, I’m just going to throw out a number which seems, to me, to err on the side of the proponents for shared bathrooms.

    I think their number is probably less than 17% of Americans in total. I came to my conclusion based on a few facts.

    1) Transgendered Americans make up less than 1% of America as a whole.

    2) Homosexual Americans make up roughly 3% of America as a whole. (Yes, I know this is hard to believe, given the fact that almost every television program or movie contains a gay character, but rest assured my info is correct. I’m not going to bother to look up stats to link to here. Google is available to everyone, and Gallop or Pew has done the counting for us.

    3) I know for a fact that some in the LGBT community do not agree with shared bathrooms, and resent being used as pawns by American Progressives.

    4) The very, very far Left in America is a minority. We only have to hear about them every day because they have all of entertainment and mainstream news bleating their talking points for them. And also one filthy rich rockstar, Bruce Springsteen, who began this entire cluster of unbelievable overreach and bullshit when he started this misguided crusade to fiddle with the lives of those whom he believes are inferior to him.

    In case you aren’t aware, Springsteen’s name is now mud in America to all but his hard core fans, progressive activist Leftists, and himself. His little stunt backfired on him, but good. He has lost fans without number, including me. I saw comment threads all over Facebook where former fans voiced their disgust and vowed to never support him again.

    I cannot list or picture the extent of my Springsteen collection here. There is too much stuff to photograph or list. Suffice to say that including shows, my husband has probably forked out at least 4 thousand bucks over the years, simply on Springsteen. That’s a lot of money. And for what? To be insulted by him, his band, his Tramp fans and anyone else who disagrees on bathrooms?

    Even his guitarist, Stevie Van Zandt, seems to have caught on that this latest stunt might not be working out the way the E Streeters theorized, since one of his latest tweets asked people to “forget about politics (the fun’s over anyway)” (paraphrase). The fun is over. Stirring up a crazy hornets nest with regard to the lives of the little people is, to Miami Steve, “fun”. For the rest of us, not so much.

    So, though I can’t be positive, my estimated number of less than 17% of Americans wanting shared bathrooms is probably reasonably accurate.

    Now, back to Rock & Roll.

    I now find myself in the unfortunate position of having to research every artist whom I might like to see play a show live, just to make sure they won’t insult me from the stage after I have forked over hard earned money to buy a ticket to hear them play music.

    I must do this because we, my husband and I, are fighting back now. We are boycotting all proponents of shared bathrooms, and all who slander us unfairly, for the foreseeable future. This includes the retail chain, Target. And we are not the only Americans boycotting. Many people are doing what we’re doing.

    As for the Rockers, what the hell happened here? How in God’s name did musicians who were supposed to be all about free expression get such big heads? How can they not know (or care) that at least half — if not more — of their audience does not agree with them, and have actually swallowed more insults over the years than anyone would if we were dealing with any other business?

    I’ve heard people say that these musicians are simply too stupid to know what they are doing, but that, I’m afraid, is not true. People who can play music naturally the way these bands and their members do are far from stupid. In fact, they most likely are highly intelligent. Their IQs are probably higher than average.

    This is because it is a gift to be able to play guitar the way they do, or piano, or to vocalize while doing both. Most people can’t do such things. You cannot be stupid and still have the ability to play music by ear, without reading it, the way I suspect Springsteen may. As far as I know, Springsteen was not trained classically, though his wife, Patti Scialfa was.

    My son has the gift of playing guitar without reading music. He doesn’t know how to read music–he plays by ear. This is not the mark of a stupid human being.

    So upon reflection, I suspect that in the case of Springsteen and others, the issue is not stupidity, but arrogance.

    For more in this vein, please read the article, The smug style in American Liberalism, by  Emmett Rensin  of Vox.com, a Liberal website. The article is a rare moment of self awareness by a Liberal, regarding Liberals as a group, by one of their own. It is also a stinging indictment of American Liberals, their arrogance, their refusal to tolerate any dissent from their ideology, their hateful name calling tactics, and other unpleasant facts.

     

    There is a smug style in American liberalism. It has been growing these past decades. It is a way of conducting politics, predicated on the belief that American life is not divided by moral difference or policy divergence — not really — but by the failure of half the country to know what’s good for them.

    In 2016, the smug style has found expression in media and in policy, in the attitudes of liberals both visible and private, providing a foundational set of assumptions above which a great number of liberals comport their understanding of the world.

    It has led an American ideology hitherto responsible for a great share of the good accomplished over the past century of our political life to a posture of reaction and disrespect: a condescending, defensive sneer toward any person or movement outside of its consensus, dressed up as a monopoly on reason.

     

    The above speaks volumes to me, as does much of the rest of this article. Below is another example from the above article of the smug style of the American Liberal:

     

    In November of last year, during the week when it became temporarily fashionable for American governors to declare that Syrian refugees would not be welcome in their state, Hamilton Nolan wrote an essay for Gawker called “Dumb Hicks Are America’s Greatest Threat.

    If there has ever been a tirade so dedicated to the smug style, to the proposition that it is neither malice, nor capital, nor ideological difference, but rather the backward stupidity of poor people that has ruined the state of American policy, then it is hidden beyond our view, in some uncool place, far from the front page of Gawker.

    “Many of America’s political leaders are warning of the dangers posed by Syrian refugees. They are underestimating, though, the much greater danger: dumbass hicks, in charge of things,” Nolan wrote. “…You, our elected officials, are embarrassing us. All of us, except your fellow dumb hicks, who voted for you in large numbers. You — our racist, xenophobic, knuckle-dragging ignorant leaders — are making us look bad in front of the guests (the whole world). You are the bad cousin in the family who always ruins Thanksgiving. Go in the back room and drink a can of beer alone please.”

     

    Dumbass hicks. Stupid fools, clinging to God & guns. Ignorant. Stupid Republicans. All the same shit I’ve been reading and hearing and listening to for 15 years.

    The latest outrage, that of insisting that my daughter or granddaughter should welcome strange men into the bathroom just backfired, though.

    The talking points aren’t working anymore. I’ve seen them over the past week. In this particular instance there approximately 12 variations on the 3 main Leftist talking points which must have been issued from the top echelons of this bathroom scheme, which I keep seeing over and over and over on different forums: If you feel that a person who still possesses a penis should not be permitted to enter a bathroom where your wife, mother, sister or child has retreated to pee in relative privacy, you are:

    1. a bigot
    2. a stupid bigot
    3. a right wing Republican bigot
    4. A hick who has sex with your daughter
    5. a KKK member
    6. You are worried about the wrong people; you should worry about men in your own family, since Republican men are much more likely to abuse women or molest children than any other group.
    7. you are discriminating
    8. you are against human rights
    9. you are backward
    10. you are a knuckle dragger
    11. you are dumb
    12. you are stupid.

    Though there may be others, those were the ones that were repeated, over and over and over again, on twitter and Facebook. So, I assume that is the argument and basis for the case for shared bathrooms.

    Compare the above talking points to the quote from the Vox article above. Does anything stand out? Do you see any similarities? Any differences?

    Think about it.

    The same scenario plays out each time there is any incident which might help Leftists advance their various causes, like gun control, or abortion on demand, or whatever.

    Let’s say there is a shooting somewhere in America. The talking points begin before the bodies are cold, before anyone knows who the perpetrators were, or any other information on the case. The Leftist talking points re a shooting are usually a bit different, yet still the same. They usually begin by throwing out a point that “It was probably a tea bagger” or some such insult. And then it goes on from there, with the addition of the words “stupid” “hick” “uncaring”, etc.  I’ve seen it all, over and over again.

    What terrible times we find ourselves living through. But we must struggle on, and continue to fight for our way of life. And we will.

     

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    As the quote above illustrates, we have no choice. And whether we prevail depends solely on God, in whom I trust. I pray daily for a resolution, and I refuse to despair, but I can’t un-see what I have already seen.

    Knowing we are in an ideological war with smug Liberals doesn’t mitigate the hurt. I have come to a  very sad and hurtful conclusion. Though I have known this for awhile, I was hoping we could heal in some way, and perhaps coexist, as those Liberal bumper stickers are always saying we should.

    But, I no longer believe we will be able to come together, unless, by a miracle of God, Liberals become self aware, and decide to respect the views and beliefs of other Americans.

    I hope it happens, and pray that it will.  But at this point, the ball is in their court. Only they can change things. And as long as Liberals believe themselves to know what is best for everyone, I’m not sure things will get better.

    Liberals do not believe that my Republican husband knows what is best for himself and his family. They believe my husband is more dangerous than a terrorist. A decent, hardworking family man, who has never done anything wrong except to believe that he, himself, has the right to his own views and opinions.

    But to the smug Liberal, he has no value, unless as that of a conscript who works to pay taxes for the smug Liberals to spend on social programs, like shared bathrooms in public schools.  Outside of his contribution as a “worker”, he has no value, and must be silenced, marginalized and driven out of any and all public discourse.

    After all… he’s a Republican. And so was my father.

    Leftists, as a group, consider any American who disagrees with them on any issue whatsoever  a second class citizen, one who may and should be used as punching bag via cell phone and chased off of all public forums, shut down and shoved into a closet.

    This has come home to me over the past two weeks as it never has in the past.

    We don’t have rights. We are not permitted to run our own lives anymore, all because a very small segment of Americans, including beloved Rock icons, believe they know best.

    So, here we are.

    Back to my dilemma. WMGK is sponsoring a summer concert in July, featuring Bad Company and Joe Walsh. My husband wanted to attend the show, but now that we know for sure that a Rock star’s politics and ideology come before playing music and entertaining the people who pay to see them, we needed to check out the latest news on these bands.

     

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    The Eagles. Glenn Frey, whose death was a blow, is center. Joe Walsh is on the far left.

     

    This task falls to me, since my husband is a very busy working man, and has no time to do the research. And it didn’t take long for me to have the answer to the question.

    No, we can’t go. We cannot pay hard earned money to see Joe Walsh, one of our favorites over the years, because he has stated that the Republican candidates, and, by default, their supporters, are spiteful, vitriolic, fear mongering bullies. Which, as I can attest, is simply projection, pure and simple.

    Please click here.

     

     

    “I am very concerned about the rampant vitriol, fear-mongering and bullying coming from the current Republican campaigns,” the 68-year-old rocker said. “It is both isolationist and spiteful. I cannot in good conscience endorse the Republican party in any way.”

    Walsh is also co-headlining the One Hell of a Night Tour with Bad Company, beginning May 12. There’s currently a tour date on June 30 in Charlotte, North Carolina, a state that has seen several entertainers cancel concerts and other performances in protest of the state’s newly passed Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act. It’s unclear, at least for now, if Walsh will also nix his upcoming performance in North Carolina.

     

    So you see, we cannot go to this summer show, which we would have loved.

    It doesn’t bother me that Walsh pulled out of the concert. He did it with plenty of notice, and if he didn’t know it was related to the Republicans, he has every right to decline to play.

     

    My issue is with the following statements:

    “I am very concerned about the rampant vitriol, fear-mongering and bullying coming from the current Republican campaigns.”

    “It is both isolationist and spiteful.”

     

    The above are the reason we are boycotting Joe Walsh. My husband and I are Republicans. We support Senator Ted Cruz, whose campaign is in no way hateful, or fear mongering, or bullying, or in any way whatsoever vitriolic.

    The idea of Joe Walsh passing judgment on Ted Cruz, a man of integrity, whose record is stellar and in no way hateful, is completely unacceptable to me, as a fellow Conservative and supporter. It is also unacceptable to my husband.

    In fact, I have already tweeted Senator Cruz himself, and also his campaign, asking respectfully that they please refrain from playing any music from any Leftist Rocker or other Leftist musician if Cruz is the nominee.

    These bands love it when Republican politicians play their music. They enjoy asking the Republican second class citizens to cease and desist. They like the publicity, and as an added bonus, they get to watch the feeding frenzy on social media, as these candidates and their supporters are trashed, slapped down and degraded by their smug liberal minions and foot soldiers.

    But… if I were Joe Walsh and Bad Company, I’d think long and hard about the upcoming scheduled show in North Carolina.

    Joe, if you happen to see this post (which I know is impossible) you may want to be sort of careful.

    Look at what happened to Springsteen. If you’re gonna cancel, do it soon. Don’t wait until 2 days prior, as others in this movement seem to be doing, in order to hurt more fans by hitting them with travel and lodging costs that can’t be recouped. And maybe you should give another reason for the cancellation. Just say you overbooked or something.

    I’m sure that as smart and savvy as you are, you’ll think of some reason that will allow you to cancel without shitting on your fans. If you want to keep what fans you have that aren’t to the left of Mao, you better not pull a stunt like those of Springsteen, Boston or Pearl Jam.

    Just a word of advice from a second class citizen and lover of your music.

     

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    As of now, I cannot bear to listen to Bruce. And up until two weeks ago, I listened almost daily. When I begin to miss listening to my favorite album, and perhaps reach to play it, my hand won’t move. I can’t listen.

    I’m looking forward to time when I can listen again, and not be hurt. I hope it happens, and I’m sure it will at some point. I’m just not sure when.

    And again, I must understand that Bruce does not want me to listen. I am not worthy, in his narrow mind, of the slightest bit of consideration. Knowing this for sure is rather difficult, but I will get used to it.

    No Republican is worthy. The honest Liberal at Vox.com admitted this himself.

    And if you are a Liberal who is reading this and snickering, and saying, “Oh, such drama. She’s overreacting. She was never a real fan. No real fan of Bruce disagrees with his politics. The very idea is idiotic,” listen up.

    You, yourself, are a smug Liberal. The description of you is contained in the linked article by Vox. You may not believe it, but it describes you to a T. If you don’t like it, I can’t help you. If you are saying the above about me, all I have to say to you is this:

    The Eagles. Glen Frey, center, Joe Walsh, far left.

    And around midnight on November 8th, when you are sitting on your sofa in shock, wondering what the hell just happened, and how in the hell those stupid hicks won in a landslide, I hope you will remember every cheap shot, nasty remark, eye-roll, and insult you hurled at us.

    As for me, I will go on as I have been. I’ll listen to the music of the artists who haven’t slapped me yet, and turn off the radio when those who have slapped me are played, as a protest of my own. So will my Republican husband.

    And I will look for new music as well. There are plenty of bands out there who appreciate their fans.

    Maybe someday, we can get back together, but as I already stated, the ball is the court of the Liberals. It’s up to them, now. They can choose to bring about healing, or they can choose to keep the hate going.

    We other Americans are just trying to get by.

    Related posts:

    The Bathroom Dilemma: Cans in the USA

    Rock & Roll Fantasy

    Cruzing to Schadenfreude


  • Review ~ The Ties That Bind: The River Collection (CD/Blu-ray) by Bruce Springsteen

    I rarely review anything other than books. However, I wanted to review The Ties That Bind: The River Collection (CD/Blu-ray) (Audio CD) for the simple reason that Bruce Springsteen is my favorite artist, despite being my polar opposite in ideology.

    I simply adore the man’s music. And, at times, the man himself. I don’t want to get into the particulars. Part of it is explained below, and the rest? Well, let’s just say that I don’t feel comfortable among his “biggest” fans after being run off of a comments thread by some of them in 2012, because I disagreed with their interpretation of the events of 9/11/12, in Benghazi, Libya.

    There’s very little common ground between me (a person who will look at facts no matter where they point me) and certain people very far Left of center, who won’t. Unless, perhaps, some of the people who called me a liar, a right wing nut job, and then insinuated that I (and by association, my family) are unworthy to take a ride on the train to the Land of Hope and Dreams have seen the proof. No point in rehashing this. Hillary Clinton lied and covered up the events of the attack. It’s proven beyond a doubt now. Perhaps some folks will take the evidence into account, but others simply won’t. It doesn’t matter to me anymore. Hillary Clinton will be the Democrat Party nominee for President of the United States. People can vote for her or not, as they choose.

    None of this affects my love of Springsteen’s music. There’s just something I’m drawn to. Perhaps it’s the similarity of the characters in the title track of The River to myself and my husband. Maybe it’s the deep down feeling in my gut when I listen to lyrics that describe hard work, prayer, love, heartbreak and fighting to hang on to what you’ve earned. This is what I hear when listening to The Boss.

    So, despite online abuse from Leftists, and my tendency to stay away from Springsteen forums, I still love the artist and his music. Think of it this way. What’s your choice in reading material? Let’s say you’re a lover of Science Fiction, Fantasy and, perhaps Thrillers. You love these genres. What happens when you pick up a Harlequin Romance?

    This is what happens to me when I become disgusted at a foolish remark or a downright insulting one from the Boss, and vow that I will listen to more Country music, because the artists don’t usually insult my sensibilities like Bruce does sometimes. Example: Springsteen made a statement endorsing Barack Obama in 2012, stating a woman’s reproductive rights, etc. In other words, he endorsed abortion on demand. This statement was on Springsteen’s official FB page accompanied by a photo. In the photo, Bruce was wearing a Miraculous Medal. (You know… that medal depicting Mary, Mother of Jesus? A mainstay of Catholics? You know, those Catholics… the ones whose catechism states that abortion is murder? That medal.)

    So… I just compartmentalize this seemingly mind bending hypocrisy, and pray that the medal is something that will help Mr. Springsteen at some point. Then I pop in another Springsteen CD, and get lost in the music. I do listen to other genres, and even some Country Music, but… it’s just not my favorite. My favorite is Classic Rock, mainly Springsteen. However, when reviewing a product, I must be honest. See below.

    The Ties That Bind Boxed Set

    Following is my review. (4 stars on Amazon). The boxed set is pictured above.

    My husband gave me The River boxed set for Christmas. I’m really enjoying it, for the most part. I love the music, and The River is my 3rd favorite Springsteen album, after DOTEOT and BTR. I really am not much of a collector, and certainly don’t own every song Springsteen ever released, so I’m positive I will love all the songs included. I love Bruce’s voice, his enthusiasm, his obvious love for the E Streeters, and the energy of each performance. His music has gotten me through numerous hard times. He’s easily my favorite artist, and this comes from someone who has listened to all the Classic Rock greats since the mid 1970s.

    I enjoyed looking through the pictures, and the notebook. I like looking at Bruce’s beautiful, artistic handwriting. Handwriting tells so much about a person. I really enjoy seeing the creative process of this artist.

    The Tempe concert is terrific. I’ve only been to 3 shows, all in Philly, 2 of which were during the Wrecking Ball Tour. I seriously doubt any more shows are in my future, so I will watch this Tempe DVD often. My only issue, and folks can agree or disagree as they so choose, is that I was blindsided while watching the concert. Mr. Springsteen has always felt the need to share his political views with his paying audience. I understand that, and accept it. But I must admit that to me, it’s a turn off. I’ve never understood the need for any artist to alienate parts of their audience. The fact that I heard him say to the students in Arizona that he considered the election results of the previous evening “frightening” wasn’t a great moment. More than half the country felt otherwise, and some of them were probably in the audience. I have always found this behavior rude, and I’m entitled to my opinion.

    I had to shut off the TV. I made a note of exactly where in the show this statement occurred, so I can FF through next time. This is the only reason I’m not giving this collection 5 stars. For me, a 5 star review is reserved for material that doesn’t broadside me with insults. Other than this I love the collection, and I would recommend it to people like me, who haven’t seen shows in double digits and don’t own a lot of rare songs.

     

    You may also enjoy:


    I may be Old, but I got to see all the Cool Bands.

    Rock & Roll Fantasy

    Drunks and the Music they thought they Enjoyed throughout the Years


  • 15 Favorite Classic Rock Halloween Songs

    If you’re a habitual reader of this blog, you may know that I’m a Classic Rock fan. I thought it would be fun to choose some favorite songs that put me in a dark or spooky mood.

    I’ve mentioned before that my husband and I both adore Classic Rock. He’s been a serious fan since the early 1970s, and I’m not far behind him.

    Agents Of Fortune
    Blue Oyster Cult, Agents Of Fortune

     

    The above photo was taken this morning. The pictured album, Blue Oyster Cult’s Agents of Fortune, was purchased by my husband when he was 17, and kept carefully through all the years since then. So of course we both have our favorite spooky or dark songs. I’m going to list them here, in order of my preference.

    Disclaimer: I am not a particular fan of Ozzy Osbourn, or the group Black Sabbath, though I was as a teen. But their music fits the Halloween theme, and I do admit the group was talented, so one of their songs is included.

    Disclaimer 2: When it comes to music, I care zero for politics. There are songs here from both ends of the political spectrum and some in between. For my own peace of mind, music must be separated from the antics of the artists unless, of course, they commit actual treason. And I know of no American artist that has actually been treasonous, unless draft dodging is considered treason. With regard to the Vietnam conflict, my opinion is simply this: I have more love, respect and gratitude to the GIs who went than I can possibly express in words.

    Not all of the songs listed have traditional Halloween style horror themes. Some are just extremely sad, and others are my own personal vision of horrors that others may not even consider worth thinking about. So, here goes:

    15. Sympathy For The Devil ~ The Rolling Stones

    The above lyrics explain everything.

     

    14. Riders On The Storm ~ The Doors

    My thoughts on Jim Morrison: A very sad and disturbed individual. I make zero judgements; perhaps he was suffering from depression. His end was sad, but not unexpected. His drug use killed him, like so many other talents.

     

    13. Welcome To My Nightmare ~ Alice Cooper

     

    I like the title track to this album, though the album itself is rather disturbing.

     

    12. The Wizard ~ Black Sabbath

    One of Black Sabbath’s better songs. Reminds me of a ghost train, and the lyrics aren’t ghoulish.

    Misty morning,clouds in the sky
    without warning, the wizard walks by
    casting his shadow,weaving his spell
    funny clothes,twinkling bells
    never talking…just keeps walking…spreading his magic

    Evil powers disappear
    demons worry when the wizard is near
    he turns tears into joy
    everyone’s happy when the wizard walks by
    never talking…just keeps walking…spreading his magic

    Sun is shining,clouds have gone by
    all the people,give a happy sigh
    he has passed by,given his sign
    left all the people,feeling so fine
    never talking…just keeps walking…spreading his magic

     

    11. Stranglehold ~ Ted Nugent

    The name says it all…

     

    Mother Should I Trust The Government

     

    10. The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald ~ Gordon Lightfoot

    Sad and eerie true story. How must those men have felt? May they rest in eternal peace.

    The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down
    Of the big lake they call Gitche Gumee
    The lake, it is said, never gives up her dead
    When the skies of November turn gloomy
    With a load of iron ore twenty-six thousand tons more
    Than the Edmund Fitzgerald weighed empty
    That good ship and true was a bone to be chewed
    When the gales of November came early

    The ship was the pride of the American side
    Coming back from some mill in Wisconsin
    As the big freighters go, it was bigger than most
    With a crew and good captain well seasoned
    Concluding some terms with a couple of steel firms
    When they left fully loaded for Cleveland
    Then later that night when the ship’s bell rang
    Could it be the north wind they’d been feelin’?

    The wind in the wires made a tattle-tale sound
    When the wave broke over the railing
    And every man knew, as the captain did too
    ‘Twas the witch of November come stealin’
    The dawn came late and the breakfast had to wait
    When the gales of November came slashin’
    When afternoon came it was freezing rain
    In the face of a hurricane west wind

    When suppertime came, the old cook came on deck
    Sayin’ “Fellas, it’s too rough to feed ya”
    At seven PM a main hatchway caved in
    He said, “Fellas, it’s been good to know ya”
    The captain wired in he had water comin’ in
    And the good ship and crew was in peril
    And later that night when his lights went out of sight
    Came the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald

    Does anyone know where the love of God goes
    When the waves turn the minutes to hours?
    The searchers all say they’d have made Whitefish Bay
    If they’d put fifteen more miles behind her
    They might have split up or they might have capsized
    They may have broke deep and took water
    And all that remains is the faces and the names
    Of the wives and the sons and the daughters

    Lake Huron rolls, Superior sings
    In the rooms of her ice-water mansion
    Old Michigan steams like a young man’s dreams
    The islands and bays are for sportsmen
    And farther below, Lake Ontario
    Takes in what Lake Erie can send her
    And the iron boats go as the mariners all know
    With the gales of November remembered

    In a musty old hall in Detroit they prayed
    In the Maritime Sailors’ Cathedral
    The church bell chimed ’til it rang twenty-nine times
    For each man on the Edmund Fitzgerald
    The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down
    Of the big lake they call Gitche Gumee
    Superior, they said, never gives up her dead
    When the gales of November come early

     

    Desperado

     

    9. Witchy Woman ~ The Eagles

    Cool, witchy song.

     

    8. Frankenstein ~ Edgar Winter Group

    Great use of organ, synthesizers, guitar, saxophone and percussion in this instrumental.

     

    7. Spooky ~ Atlanta Rhythm Section

    Fun song about love.

     

    6. Hotel California ~ The Eagles

    This is a deep and dark song. I’ve loved it since I was 15 years old. The lyrics are laden with meaning.

    Mirrors on the ceiling,
    The pink champagne on ice
    And she said “We are all just prisoners here of our own device”
    And in the master’s chambers,
    They gathered for the feast
    They stab it with their steely knives,
    But they just can’t kill the beast

    Last thing I remember, I was
    Running for the door
    I had to find the passage back
    To the place I was before
    “Relax, ” said the night man,
    “We are programmed to receive.
    You can check-out any time you like,
    But you can never leave.”

     

    5. Thriller ~ Michael Jackson

    Though not Classic Rock, I couldn’t leave this one out. It brings back memories of better times.

     

    4. I Put A Spell On You ~ Creedence Clearwater Revival

    Simply put, great music. Bluesy and dark toned.

     

    3. Ghost Riders In The Sky ~ Stan Jones ~ Performed by The Outlaws

    Creepy presentation of this song.

     

    2. Rhiannon ~ Fleetwood Mac

    When introducing this song in the video above, Stevie Nicks says: “This is a song about an old Welsh Witch.” According to Celtic legend, the goddess Rhiannon rode a white horse and traveled with three birds that had healing powers. The birds appear in various Celtic symbols.

    “It wasn’t until 1978 that I found out about (Welsh medieval prose tales) Mabinogion and that Branwen and Rhiannon are in there too, and that Rhiannon wasn’t a witch at all; she was a mythological queen. But my story was definitely written about a celestial being, I didn’t know who Rhiannon was, exactly, but I knew she was not of this world.” ~ Stevie Nicks

    This song is from Fleetwood Mac’s album, Rumors, which has been a favorite of mine since its release in 1975. Read more about Rhiannon’s origins in Medieval Welsh mythology here.

     

     

    I don’t look at this as a song about death or as something to be afraid of. But is does bring to mind the Grim Reaper.

    All our times have come
    Here but now they’re gone
    Seasons don’t fear the reaper
    Nor do the wind, the sun or the rain… we can be like they are
    Come on baby… don’t fear the reaper
    Baby take my hand… don’t fear the reaper
    We’ll be able to fly… don’t fear the reaper
    Baby I’m your man…

    La la la la la
    La la la la la

    Valentine is done
    Here but now they’re gone
    Romeo and Juliet
    Are together in eternity… Romeo and Juliet
    40, 000 men and women everyday… Like Romeo and Juliet
    40, 000 men and women everyday… Redefine happiness
    Another 40, 000 coming everyday… We can be like they are
    Come on baby… don’t fear the reaper
    Baby take my hand… don’t fear the reaper
    We’ll be able to fly… don’t fear the reaper
    Baby I’m your man…

    La la la la la
    La la la la la

    Love of two is one
    Here but now they’re gone
    Came the last night of sadness
    And it was clear she couldn’t go on
    Then the door was open and the wind appeared
    The candles blew and then disappeared
    The curtains flew and then he appeared… saying don’t be afraid
    Come on baby… and she had no fear
    And she ran to him… then they started to fly
    They looked backward and said goodbye… she had become like they are
    She had taken his hand… she had become like they are
    Come on baby… don’t fear the reaper.

     

    So, you see, death is not to be feared. Seasons don’t fear it; the seasons change, and the leaves, after showing their greatest glory in the fall, die and turn brown on the ground.  But spring always arrives again. It’s a sign of hope, not a sign of fear or death. The wind and the sun and the rain will always return, even if they leave our human sight and perception for a time.

    As a Roman Catholic I put my complete faith in Christ. He, and only He will choose the time I leave this earth. And He, Christ, is Love. So do not fear death, because death in Christ is Everlasting Life.

    As the fun of Halloween turns into the seeming darkness of November, remember this. 

     

    Halloween is the eve of the Feast of All Saints. 

    So here’s one more video, The Litany of The Saints. May all the Saints in Heaven pray for us here on earth.

     

     


  • Drunks and the Music they thought they Enjoyed throughout the Years.

    IMG_3575 copyLast night my husband and I saw Steely Dan and Elvis Costello at Susquehanna Bank Center in Camden NJ. Steely Dan has been on our bucket list for years, and we were really excited about the show. Unfortunately, for reasons that will be explained at the end of this post, the night was sort of a drag.

    Take a look at my ticket stub from last night. You will notice the price of our 7th row seats. Still, my husband paid it. We told ourselves all of the usual things we tell ourselves these days: Bucket list. Worth the price. May never see them again if we don’t go this time. They’re getting old. Etc. So, we went. (Parking was $20.00, gas, about 10.00, toll for the Ben Franklin Bridge $5.00 and other assorted stuff $6.00. (I really needed that 12 0z cup of lemonade).

    My husband and I have been to many, many shows since our first show at the Spectrum in the summer of ’78. (The Alice Cooper Show. My parents, for some strange reason known only to them, allowed Tom and I to take my 14 year old sister along with us. We two were 18 & 16, respectively).

    IMG_3572 2Here are just a few of the shows. There are pages of other ticket stubs. As you can see, the prices have changed in the past 35 years.

    During our years of concert going we have encountered many rude and unpleasant people. That’s pretty much a given at these venues, especially back in the day when you could cut the smoke, both weed and tobacco, with a knife if the show was inside.

    But my husband, with a very few exceptions, tends to limit drinking, etc. so he can watch the show and remember it. He doesn’t take it kindly when the people nearby are disrespectful and ruin his enjoyment of the music. As you can see from the stubs on the left, we saw Aerosmith at the Spectrum in 1987. However, this was not our first attempt to see Aerosmith. We were in the stands on Nov. 25, 1978, when someone threw a beer bottle at the band. Having suffered such idiocy in Philly a year earlier, the band walked offstage & didn’t come back. I don’t blame them. But because of some POS in the pit, we missed out on the show.

    We don’t go into the pit. Never have. But that night, my husband wished we had been down there. He would have taken great pleasure in beating the living crap out of the bottle thrower if he had known who it was. Like I said, he has zero patience with jerks. At another Spectrum show (I can’t remember which one, only that it was sometime in 1978), a guy in front of us was smoking weed. He was being a jerk, blowing clouds of smoke up and behind. My husband asked him to pass the joint back our way and was told, “no, this is the last of it.” Fifteen minutes later another joint had been lit, and this guy bent his head back at a 45 degree angle to blow smoke right in our faces.

    Well, that was enough for my husband. He was working back then, either in construction or a mushroom house, I forget which. Anyway, we went up to Philly after he had worked all day. He picked me up that night after he’d showered and changed, but he was still wearing steel-toed boots. One of the boots was resting on the back of the smoker’s seat, and, well, the boot? It sort of slipped, and the  steel toe connected with the joint smoker’s head. After that the smoker was more polite.

    Rudeness of all kinds continued through the years. In 1981 we went to a show called The Roundup at the old JFK Stadium in Philly. (We saw the Rolling Stones there as well). Anyway, The Roundup was sort of a dream show for us back then. Five Southern Rock Bands played that day, The Outlaws, Molly Hatchet, 38 Special, Marshall Tucker and The Allman Brothers.

     

    IMG_3570 2My husband saved his ticket stub. He had an awesome time. There was lots to see from our vantage point, like people with Confederate flags (oh, the horror!) and some guy who brought a rooster into the stadium with him. This guy strolled the field below with a giant nasty looking rooster perched on his shoulder. I wouldn’t have wanted to be on that guy’s bad side, because that rooster could have done a lot of damage if it was set on somebody.

    Anyway, at the Roundup, a drunk was sitting in front of us. As the day progressed he got drunker. After a few hours, this drunk, who was about 6’5″,  climbed up on the bench in front of us. My sister was with us that time, too. We sat quietly, not wanting to mess with a drunk. My husband was getting more pissed by the minute. I think I told him to go get me a drink, so he could cool down. Lucky for the drunk dude, my husband wasn’t in the stands when he slipped off the bench and landed with full force on my foot. He was wearing cowboy boots. He must have weighed at least 225 lbs.

    It hurt. I was in terrible pain, but the drunken loser merely sat down without comment. I warned my sister to keep quiet until we left, so my husband wouldn’t start a fight. We both kept quiet until we were well on our way home, and it was too late for Tom to kick the guy’s ass. (Or maybe he would have gotten his ass kicked).

    IMG_3573 2Throughout the years, we’ve been to many shows where no one acted like a jerk. (Except lately, when some of the artists onstage make fools of themselves over politics, but that’s for a different post.

    We had a lot of fun listening to the Kings and Queens of Classic Rock for the past 35 years. In fact, the only artists/bands left on my personal bucket list are Jimmy Page, Pink Floyd, and U2.  I seriously doubt if we’ll see Pink Floyd or U2. Money is tight. One big name a year is all we can afford now. However, if and when Jimmy Page gets something going, I would kick myself if I didn’t at least try to see him. He’s one of my favorite guitarists.

    This brings me back to last night’s Steely Dan show, where we were subjected to the same kind of drunken, selfish and nasty behavior I’ve described above. We entered the forum at 6:30, found our wonderful seventh row dream seats and sat down to wait for Elvis Costello, who was opening. We spoke to the people seated in our row, preparing to enjoy a fun evening. Elvis Costello opened at seven sharp. He played for an hour and was very entertaining, however, I was really waiting for Steely Dan.

    Finally it was time. The band began to play, and Donald Fagen and Walter Becker entertained us and introduced other members and back up singers.

    That’s when the three drunks stumbled in and sat down behind us. If I’m not mistaken they were all over 50, and were unaccompanied by any women. (No wonder. Any woman who would be seen with these losers would have to be out of her mind).

    At first they were quiet in their rudeness. A few shouts, a couple of comments, no biggie. But they kept drinking. By 9:00 the worst of the three was standing behind me screaming. I mean, literally screaming and shrieking what he assumed were the lyrics. (They weren’t). My head began to ache from the screams. Click here to see this guy in action.

    This went on and on for an hour before we decided to get up out of our great seats and move away from them. The couple next to us had already gone, after the screamer dumped beer on them. He was also holding a beer over my head, and I noticed my pissed off husband. He looked about to blow his stack. He was ready to stand up and start something. But he’s 55 years old, and only wanted to enjoy a concert, not get in a fight, so we moved. We went back a few rows, leaving our nice seats, the ones we paid big bucks for.

    After that, the fun kind of dissipated, and since all of my favorite songs had already been played we decided to leave. We went to the restrooms and headed out. The three idiots were outside hanging around the bathrooms. We hurried on our way before my husband’s fist connected with the one who sloshed beer.

    As we walked back to the truck we discussed possible scenarios we hoped would happen to them. I wanted the screamer to trip off the curb and fall on his face, since my head still ached. My husband wanted them to be stopped for public drunkenness and arrested. We hoped they weren’t going to get behind the wheel of a car, but since the Susquehanna Center bouncers were aware of them and their behavior, it wasn’t our problem.

    Anyway, I doubt anything happened to them. They’re probably already planning their next night out.


  • Rock and Roll Fantasy

    Music is extremely important to me. I have blogged about this before. Music inspires me every day.

    For the past six months, I’ve been compiling a list of songs to describe the characters in my books. It hasn’t been an easy task. I love music so much, and listen to so many different artists while writing, that several songs came to mind for each character. It was hard to narrow it down.

    My genre is Classic Rock, heavy on the Springsteen, so naturally, Springsteen dominates the following list. I listened to his album, Darkness On The Edge Of Town, almost every day during the formation of my first book. I also listened to other Springsteen works, but DOTEOT was, and remains, my favorite. This is due to the undeniable fact that the stories that come through the songs describe characters who fight to hang on to what they have.

    This is a major theme in The Storms Series, and, to an extent, America at this time. Americans are flailing. There’s no denying this. Each day another freedom comes under attack. Sometimes it’s the freedom to worship according to he tenets of one’s Faith. Other times it’s the freedom to speak the truth. Still other times the freedom to defend one’s self and one’s family comes under attack.

    It’s very difficult to absorb everything. DOTEOT tells tales of running, fleeing, dreaming of a Promised Land. It speaks of work and prayer. Human weakness is acknowledged. One of the songs, (Candy’s Room) tells the story of a boy who is in love with a prostitute. The overall theme seems to be that of trying to emerge from smothering darkness. It seems, to me, that the characters in DOTEOT never emerge from the darkness, try as they might.

     

    From “Badlands”

    Poor man wanna be rich,
    rich man wanna be king,
    And a king ain’t satisfied,
    till he rules everything,
    I wanna go out tonight,
    I wanna find out what I got

    I believe in the love that you gave me,
    I believe in the hope that can save me,
    I believe in the faith
    and I pray, that someday it may raise me,
    Above these badlands

    Badlands, you gotta live it everyday,
    Let the broken hearts stand
    As the price you’ve gotta pay,
    We’ll keep pushin’ till it’s understood,
    and these badlands start treating us good.For the ones who had a notion,
    A notion deep inside,
    That it ain’t no sin to be glad you’re alive
    I wanna find one face that ain’t looking through me
    I wanna find one place,
    I wanna spit in the face of these Badlands, you gotta live it everyday,
    Let the broken hearts stand
    As the price you’ve gotta pay,
    We’ll keep pushin’ till it’s understood,
    and these badlands start treating us good.

    These lyrics speak volumes. I could go on, but I can’t really explain what I mean in words. It’s simply an overall theme of struggle.

    Since The Storms Series tells of ordinary Americans from the Vietnam era up through the present and into the future, there are songs from each era. Not all are Classic Rock. There are also examples of Bluegrass, Pop, Blues, Gospel, Alternative and Opera. Each was chosen carefully to describe my perception of a given character.

    Following is the list. When possible, I will embed videos. If I happened to have attended a live performance, I will link to the video of the song.  In certain instances I will link to live performances that I find speak to me, and in others I will link to the studio version of the songs.

    These songs will not be arranged chronologically. Rather, I will begin with Jason’s song and move on from there. I plan to get my husband to compile these songs as a playlist soon.

    You’re born with nothing,
    and better off that way,
    Soon as you’ve got something they send
    someone to try and take it away,
    You can ride this road ’till dawn,
    without another human being in sight,
    Just kids wasted on
    something in the night.
    I was lucky enough to be at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia for the concert above, where Springsteen and the E Streeters performed a mini Darkness concert. Five songs from the album were played. I was in the nosebleeds. (H/T Somewhere In Jersey 75).
    Michelle ~ The Scarlet Tide  ~ Written by Elvis Costello and Henry Burnett. Performed by Alison Krauss.
    Well I recall his parting words
    Must I accept his fate
    Or take myself far from this place
    I thought I heard a black bell toll
    A little bird did sing
    Man has no choice When he wants every thing
    We’ll rise above the scarlet tide
    That trickles down through the mountain
    And separates the widow from the bride
    Man goes beyond his own decision
    Gets caught up in the mechanism
    Of swindlers who act like kings
    And brokers who break everything
    The dark of night was swiftly fading
    Close to the dawn of day
    Why would I want him just to lose him again
    We’ll rise above the scarlet tide
    That trickles down through the mountain
    And separates the widow from the bride
    Michelle & Jason’s songThe FeverBruce Springsteen

     

    The above video is one of my favorite performances of the Fever. I wish I could have been there.

    Baby Boy Wallace ~ ParadiseBruce Springsteen, The Rising
    The Rising was released in 2002. The songs are reflections on the 9-11 attacks. The entire album is compelling, but this song in particular makes me ache. According to what I could find online, it’s the story of a Middle Eastern suicide bomber who blows himself up, hoping to find “Paradise.” It also speaks of a Virginia widow whose husband was killed in the Pentagon. The song speaks of victims. The fictional Baby Wallace never received a name. He was an innocent victim, as are the millions of children who die each year in abortions. These children are most assuredly in Paradise right now.

    Nicole & Brad’s song Black Dog ~ Led Zeppelin, 1971. Performed by Alison Krauss & Robert Plant.
    Michael Sean ~ It’s Hard to be a Saint in the CityBruce Springsteen, Greetings From Asbury Park, NJ, 1973

    With my blackjack and jacket and hair slicked sweet
    Silver star studs on my duds like a Harley in heat
    When I strut down the street I could hear its heartbeat
    The sisters fell back and said “Don’t that man look pretty”
    The cripple on the corner cried out “Nickels for your pity”
    Them gasoline boys downtown sure talk gritty
    It’s so hard to be a saint in the city.
     Michael Sean, Jason’s long lost father, was an Irish Catholic boy from a blue collar family. Though the character earned a college degree, he has a murky past, some of which may come to light in book three. At any rate, he’s no saint, and this song fits him. Again, I was privileged to be In Philly for the above performance. (H/T Biggboss Rivertunes).
    Eileen Gold Dust Woman ~ Fleetwood Mac, Rumors, 1977

     

    Eileen, Jason’s witch of a mother, was the most difficult character to assign a song. Nothing really fits her, including Gold Dust Woman. However, I chose this song for the simple reason that the Miss Gulch instrumental from The Wizard Of Oz would not really fit into this playlist. The above video was taken last fall. I was in the nosebleeds that night, and my video didn’t turn out well. The entire concert was absolutely phenomenal. (H/T Jim Powers).

     

    The Old Man Gloria ~ Van Morrison, 1964

     

     

    I chose the above video because it features scenes from The Outsiders. I liked the movie as well as the song.

     

    Marie Davis Someday We’ll Be TogetherDiana Ross and The Supremes

    Aunt Rosie I’ll Be Around ~ The Spinners, 1972

    The Sophomore (Jill) Candy’s RoomBruce Springsteen, DOTEOT, 1978

    In Candy’s room

    there are pictures of her heroes on the wall

    But to get to Candy’s room

    you gotta walk the darkness of Candy’s hall.

    Reese ~ Gimme Back My Bullets ~ Lynyrd Skynyrd, 1976

    Jeremy The Stranger ~ Billy Joel, 1977

    Johnny Hotel California ~ The Eagles, 1976

     

     

    My husband and I were lucky enough to be in the audience at Wells Fargo Center on 7/16/13. We had great seats. The Eagles were phenomenal. If you get a chance to see them, do it. (H/T Salvatore Bellamo).

    Cindy Baby Mine ~ Alison Krauss

    Junior The Man Who Sold The World ~ David Bowie, 1971. Performed by Nirvana.

     

     

    Jamie It’s Not My Time ~ 3 Doors Down, 2008

    CJ Midnight RiderAllman Brothers Band, 1970

     

     

    Mrs. CJ Jessica Allman Brothers Band, 1973

    Bella Only The Good Die Young ~ Billy Joel, The Stranger, 1977

     

     

    Patty Ode To Billy Joe ~ Bobbie Gentry, 1967

     

     

    Adela Down In The River To Pray ~ Traditional Hymn of the South. Origin Unknown. Sung by Alison Krauss.

     

     

    Clydie  ~ Wayfaring Stranger ~ Traditional Folk Song. Origin Unknown. Sung by Jack White.

     

     

    Brian No Quarter ~ Led Zeppelin, Houses Of The Holy, 1973

    Melanie Ironic ~ Alanis Morissette, Jagged Little Pill, 1995

     

     

    Mark Long Train Running ~ The Doobie Brothers, The Captain and Me, 1973

     

     

    The Doobies are another band I’ve had the privilege of seeing, live. Go if you get the chance.

    Sandy Summer Breeze ~ Seals & Crofts, Summer Breeze, 1972

     

     

    The above song is one of my all time favorites. I never get tired of it. The character Sandy, though minor, is one with whom I identify strongly, which is one reason I chose this song. Summer is my favorite season.

    There are three priests in the Storms Series — Father Gallucio, the town priest who counsels the main characters, and James and Richard O’Neill, brothers who aid them in their rebellion against the government, i.e. “The Sharks” and the “new way of doing business.” Following are their songs.

    Father Gallucio ~ Con Te Partirò  Performed by Andrea Bocelli.

     

     

    Father Richard O’Neill ~ The Weight ~ The Band, Music From Big Pink, 1968 (RIP Levon Helm).

     

     

    Father James O’Neill ~ The Promised Land ~ Bruce Springsteen, DOTEOT, 1978

     

     

    I was in the back of Wells Fargo Center that night. I had no video camera. (H/T TapeheadToo) It was sad to see the E Streeters without Clarence Clemons, but Clarence’s nephew, Jake Clemons, did a superb job on the saxophone.

     

    The Battling Angel (Cadáin) ~ The Battle Of Evermore ~ Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin IV, 1971

     

     

    The above song and album was a favorite of my cousin. We listened to it over and over in the summer of ’76. She had tickets to see Zeppelin in Philly in 1977, however the show was cancelled because of the death of Robert Plant’s child.

     

    The Sharks ~ Pigs, Three Different Ones ~ PinkFloyd, Animals, 1977

     

     

    According to Wikipedia, the above album was based on George Orwell’s Animal Farm, a critique of Stalinism. This makes sense. However, Wikipedia also states that the members of Pink Floyd intended Animals to be a critique of Capitalism  (i.e. Capitalist pigs). Whatever. The album makes me think of Communism, and that’s why I picked Pigs, Three Different Ones to represent the Sharks, although the song Dogs, from the same album, would have worked just as well.

    I will never forget the first time I heard the song, Dogs. My sister and I were hanging out at her boyfriend’s house after school. Tom, my boyfriend (and the man whom I eventually married and have spent the past 35 years with) and I were sitting on the couch listening to WYSP FM out of Philadelphia. (Or maybe it was WMMR). Anyway, the song gave me the creeps. Tom had already purchased the album; he was (and still is) on top of most Classic Rock news. The entire album is a strange piece of art in my op. Still, I was fascinated by it.
    (Sometime after that day, my sister’s boyfriend was killed in a car accident on the back road to West Chester. He was sixteen years old.)

    But Pigs is the song that describes the Sharks in the Storms series. The Sharks are those pigs at the top, those who micromanage every last detail of every American’s life. They are a brutal group of government thugs, who lie, steal, cheat, threaten and intimidate average Americans. They certainly put me in mind of the pigs in Animal Farm, those who stole the milk and set themselves above the rest of the animals on the farm. Incidentally, Orwell’s book is mentioned in the first chapter of Tears of Paradox, when Michelle tells readers that the book has been banned by the Sharks.

    Town ~ Darkness On The Edge Of Town ~ Bruce Springsteen, DOTEOT, 1978

     

     

    The town in the Storms Series is never named. I wanted it to represent small town America as a whole, though there are references to beaches, boardwalks, and other towns and cities in my area of the country.

     

    Tears Of Paradox Factory ~ Bruce Springsteen, DOTEOT, 1978

     

     

    I chose this song to represent Tears because Jason and most of the rest of the characters are blue-collar working men. Jason is also searching for his father. In this version of Factory Springsteen speaks of his own father, for whom he wrote the song. He tells of his father’s struggles to get to work on time at the factory. Springsteen’s father was stymied by unreliable junk cars. (He also went deaf as a result of working in a factory).

    Jason, Michelle, Brad, CJ, Reese, the old man, Bella and the rest of the Storms characters only want to work, practice their faith, and raise families. They don’t ask for anything other than what every American is guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution. It shouldn’t be too much to ask, yet nowadays it is. Ordinary people have lost employment because of Government interference, and the jobs don’t seem to be coming back. Average Americans are being harassed by their government and forced to pay for things that go against their religious conscience. I’m not really concerned that my words will offend certain Americans, those who agree with the policies being shoved down our throats. Anyone who has read my books (or even reviews on Amazon) knows my stance on these issues. I refuse to apologize for my beliefs, and if this post turns people off… oh well.

    I’ll admit that I’ve been turned off for the past ten years or so. I’m at a loss as to why other Americans would choose to force their beliefs on me and mine, but for some reason, that’s what has happened. The fundamental transformation of America is going along exactly as planned. It’s difficult to make heads or tails of what has happened, how it happened, why it happened or why so many Americans either want it to happen or don’t really care what happens. I just don’t understand it.

    Since Bruce Springsteen’s music dominates this post, (and at times, my head) I must admit that I don’t understand what happened to him, either. With a few exceptions such as Born in the USA, the music he writes seems to champion and sympathize with ordinary Americans. DOTEOT speaks of work, work, work. It also speaks of  doing the right thing, trying to keep what you’ve earned, prayer, and similar themes. It doesn’t speak of giving what you’ve worked hard for to other people, leaving yourself and your own family worried and scared and wanting. It doesn’t speak of a collective, or crappy government healthcare, or being a subject of an overpowering totalitarian government.

    Yet Mr. Springsteen, for whatever reason, has chosen to embrace an ideology that is driving Americans directly toward these things and others. Springsteen was instrumental in helping propel our current president into office. I can’t begin to understand it. There’s no way to understand it, so I’ll just keep listening to the music, which has gotten me through numerous hard times. I usually don’t speak about my love of  Springsteen’s music to my family, (except for my husband). They can’t really stand the man, and I certainly don’t blame them. After Obama was reelected, my brother-in-law lost his job, and had a terrible time finding another one. After he finally found employment, his wife, my sister, who had worked in the corporate world for 25 years, lost her job, too. Their income was drastically reduced. One daughter was in college, the other a senior in high school.

    My sister was unable to find another job in her field. She’s currently working in a job for which she’s extremely overqualified, and which pays about 1/3 of what she previously earned. Real people are being hurt by the current “sharks.”  It’s pretty pathetic, actually. But the kings of Classic Rock, many of whom are featured in this post, seem to be perfectly okay with it. Fifty years ago they began their protest. They wanted to change the world. They spoke truth to power. They stood up to “The Man.” They wrote songs about Nixon and Vietnam and peace and love and flowers.

    What the hell happened to them? Today they march in lockstep with those who have their boot planted firmly on our necks. With a few exceptions, they, themselves, have become “The Man.”

     

    I’ll close with my pick for book two in my series, The Notice ~ My City Of Ruins ~ Bruce Springsteen, The Rising, 2002.

     

    It’s fitting. American cities are being destroyed, and lives are in ruins.

    There’s a blood red circle

    On the cold dark ground
    And the rain is falling down
    The church door’s thrown open
    I can hear the organ’s song
    But the congregation’s gone
    My city of ruins
    My city of ruins

    Now the sweet bells of mercy
    Drift through the evening trees
    Young men on the corner
    Like scattered leaves,
    The boarded up windows,
    The empty streets
    While my brother’s down on his knees
    My city of ruins
    My city of ruins

    What I wish is that the current sharks would back off and leave us alone. But the human spirit and quest for freedom will never be extinguished. Eventually, Americans will wake up. And then they will do what “The Boss” advises in this song. They will pray. And then they will Rise Up.


  • Gratitude

    My free book promotion for The Notice is running through Sunday.

    My first free promotion, last year for Tears Of Paradox had a total of 300 downloads. I expected about the same for this promotion. Imagine my surprise yesterday when I saw that the Notice had been downloaded over 400 times on only the first day of the promotion.

    Now this may be a drop in the bucket to what a well known and traditionally published author would get in free downloads, but to me, a struggling unknown independent, it means a lot.

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    I decided to check my Amazon ranking last night, just for fun. I was met with the above sight. The Notice is #2 in Christian Fantasy free books in Amazon’s Best Sellers.  It’s also #2 in Religious Science Fiction, and #568 in free overall. Again, this may seem small when compared to traditionally published authors with houses that help with marketing, but for lil ole me it’s a big deal.

    So, I feel the need to say thank you. Thank you to God for his grace in allowing me to pursue this dream. Such a thing seemed out of the realm of possibility a year ago. It’s reality today. I couldn’t have done this without Divine inspiration and help. I admit that.

    Matthew 19:26New International Version (NIV)

    26 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

    Speaking of inspiration, I must mention someone else. Tears Of Paradox and The Notice were written during a period of darkness in my life. I found comfort, understanding and inspiration in the music of Bruce Springsteen, particularly my favorite album, Darkness On The Edge Of Town.

    My genre is Classic Rock, and while I listen to many artists, some of whom also inspired characters and scenes in my work, DOTEOT (and Greetings From Asbury Park, NJ) spoke to me in a way I can’t really describe with words.

    I’m working on finding a “song” for each character in this series. Following is Something In The Night from DOTEOT, which, to me, is protagonist Jason’s “song.”

     

    I’m riding down Kingsley, figuring I’ll get a drink

    Turn the radio up loud, so I don’t have to think,

    I take her to the floor, looking for a moment when the world seems right,

    And I tear into the guts, of something in the night.

    You’re born with nothing, and better off that way,

    Soon as you’ve got something they send someone to try and take it away,

    You can ride this road ’till dawn, without another human being in sight,

    Just kids wasted on something in the night.

    Nothing is forgotten or forgiven, when it’s your last time around,

    I got stuff running ’round my head That I just can’t live down.

    When we found the things we loved, They were crushed and dying in the dirt.

    We tried to pick up the pieces, And get away without getting hurt,

    But they caught us at the state line, And burned our cars in one last fight,

    And left us running burned and blind, Chasing something in the night.

    I had the extreme good luck to be in the audience at Citizen’s Bank Park on September 3, 2012, (Labor Day) when Springsteen performed a 5 song set from DOTEOT. H/T SomewhereInJersey75 for the following video. (I was in the nosebleeds).

     

    I’ve seen numerous rock concerts since my first trip to the Spectrum in 1978, but this was my all time favorite. It was also my last Springsteen concert. My husband admires Springsteen’s music, but has become less than a fan over the past few years, for which I do not blame him.

    Still, I’m very grateful to Springsteen. His music helped me through an extremely difficult period of my life.

    Finally, to whoever reads this blog, and whoever reads my books, my online writing buddies who help me everyday, or anyone who encourages me in  any way… I am grateful to you, too.


  • Music – An Inspiration

    I’ve been working on a project in my mostly nonexistent spare time: Deciding on “songs” for the characters in my series of books.

    Most writers find that their characters (both good and bad) become real to them. Mine have to me. In my mind each character has a distinct personality, part of which pertains to music.

    I must admit that deciding which song fits each character is turning out to take longer than expected. I’m trying to find songs that the characters would listen to while at the same time conveying the personality of the character. My favorite music genre is Classic Rock, so many characters’ songs will reflect this, though I do include other genres for characters who would, if they were people rather than fictional characters, listen and identify with different music.

    Some characters were easy to assign a song. Reese, for instance. Reese is a secondary character, but still very important to the overall series. Reese is someone who knows exactly how he feels on a minute to minute basis. He’s also an Iraq War Veteran and no nonsense auto mechanic. Reese’s song is Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Gimme Back My Bullets.”

    Other characters weren’t so easy. After some thought I decided on Led Zeppelin’s “Battle Of Evermore” for the character I call the Battling Angel.

     

    The sky is filled with good and bad
    Mortals never know.

    Oh, well, the night is long
    The beads of time pass slow
    Tired eyes on the sunrise
    Waiting for the eastern glow

    The Angel is in the service of St. Michael the Archangel, and is sent to warn and protect main characters Jason and Michelle.  St Michael, of course, is in the service of Christ, who I wouldn’t dream of assigning a song. He’s my Boss. He gives me assignments. I just do my best to carry out His orders.

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    I’m beginning to note ideas and plotlines for book three. While writing Tears Of Paradox  and The Notice, (coming in mid-February) I relied heavily on prayer and reflection. I wanted Christ to be at the helm, and I tried to write what I felt He would want me to write. I’m going to do the same thing while writing book three.

    I plan to complete the entire character/song list within a few weeks and then include it in a second blogpost. I already know protagonist Jason’s song, but I still haven’t decided on a song for another pivotal character, Brad.

    Following are the words to Michelle’s song, The Scarlet Tide, as sung by Alison Krauss. This is from the movie “Cold Mountain” –a terrific film.

    Well I recall his parting words
    Must I accept his fate
    Or take myself far from this place
    I thought I heard a black bell toll
    A little bird did sing
    Man has no choice
    When he wants every thingWe’ll rise above the scarlet tide
    That trickles down through the mountain
    And separates the widow from the brideMan goes beyond his own decision
    Gets caught up in the mechanism
    Of swindlers who act like kings
    And brokers who break everything
    The dark of night was swiftly fading
    Close to the dawn of day
    Why would I want him just to lose him again

    We’ll rise above the scarlet tide
    That trickles down through the mountain
    And separates the widow from the bride

    Michelle is separated from her husband, not knowing what the future holds. She’s also, for all intents and purposes, in the middle of a civil war. This is one of the songs that inspired The Storms Of Transformation series, book three of which will be set in the North Carolina Blue Ridge, in roughly the same area as the fictional Cold Mountain.

    More in a later post.


  • Thanksgiving

    images copy 21Happy Thanksgiving. I was thinking back over the previous year and counting my blessings, of which there are many. I thought I would take a few minutes to list them here, so I can look back on them whenever I’m down. 🙂

    To begin, I am very thankful to God for all He has given me. I know I’ve been blessed abundantly.

    images-2 copy 3I’m blessed to be part of a family who loves me. I’m thankful for my mother, my sister, my kids and their significant others, my nieces and nephews, and every other member of my family. My husband and I celebrated thirty-five years of marriage in October, and this is another reason to give thanks. We are also very thankful for our little grandchildren.

    I am blessed with many, many friends. I see people online everyday. I must say that I’m thankful for social media, because if not for twitter and Facebook, I would never have met my dear friends Michele and Sharon. I’m thankful for my part time job, too, since I met my friend Vicki there. I don’t know what I’d do without my friends!

    I’ve been blessed with good health most of the time, too. I’m very thankful that I’m able to stay physically fit, and that I’m able to run.

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    I completed the Delaware Half Marathon back in May. This was my second race. I plan to train again this winter, in hopes that I can run another 13.1 miles on Mother’s Day.

     

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    I’m very thankful for being part of the Roman Catholic Church. My faith is what keeps me going during the tough times. I’m also thankful for the friends I’ve made in my parish church.

    This year brought many changes in my life. Ever since I published my first book, Tears Of Paradox, back in May, things seem to have become more hectic than they had been.

    This is another blessing. Because I took the plunge into self-publishing, I met a group of people who’ve provided friendship, support, and more kindness than I ever expected. The members of the Conservative Libertarian Fiction Alliance have helped me more than words can express. I must mention Mr. Jack July, who took an interest in my writing, introduced me to the group, and invited me to be a guest on internet radio. If not for Jack, I might never have found the CLFA.  Every member of the group has been kind, welcoming, and helpful with writing tips and promotion. Please visit their Facebook page for reading suggestions. All genres are represented, and the books are those you’ll want to read again and again.

    I especially want to thank two members of this group, Daria DiGiovanni, and Kia Heavey. Daria invited me to be on her internet radio show, Writestream Tuesday, to promote my book, We struck up a friendship after finding out how many things we have in common. Kia is a talented author and artist. She helped me tremendously by reading the manuscript of my second book, and has done a wonderful job designing new covers for both Paradox and book two, The Notice. I’m thrilled with the new cover designs.

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    To date, Tears Of Paradox has received ten 5 Star reviews on Amazon. The latest was posted just today. I’m truly humbled at the reaction to my work, and I want to thank each and every reader for their time, and for giving me a chance. 🙂

    I love the world that God created, and I try to enjoy every day. I love music, and looking at the beauty of nature while I run in the park.

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    I love walking on the beach, especially Lewes Beach, Delaware, on Delaware Bay, and I’m thankful my family has been able to hang onto our little beach place through these tough economic times. My father worked hard to give us that beach place. He wanted us to keep and enjoy what he worked for. Luckily we’ve been able to keep it, even though it’s sometimes a struggle, due to policies crushing the middle class these days.

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    This brings me to the subject of America. If you read my books, (or even the reviews), you’ll know how I feel about America. I truly believe that America is a wonderful country, and I’m tired of listening to people run her down. I don’t like the fundamental transformation America is undergoing at this time. It’s causing way too much pain and suffering. People in my family are affected in negative ways. I want America to come back. People should not be shamed because of their beliefs in a traditional American way of life.

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    I will continue to pray for our beloved country, and  give thanks to God for allowing me to be born in the greatest country on earth.