Sunday, May 31, 2015

"You Belong to Me" Ruby McCollum and Live Oak

It is funny how reviewing music, movies or theatre how a show can connect with you. My latest movie review was set in Live Oak, Florida. I've past through Live Oak several times when I visit my parents in Jacksonville. It is a long and boring drive across all of Northern Florida. I also spent a few days there when I covered the 2011 Wanee Festival. A typical Southern small town. Not much to it. The town appeared old to me and certainly it had some history.

A picture I took of the river which is featured in the film...

I reviewed an excellent documentary about a famous murder that happened in the 1950's in Live Oak called You Belong to Me: Sex, Race and Murder in the South. You can read my review here.

Here is a trailer for the film:

Like I said I imagined the town had history but I never imagined this. However, I did think it was thought provoking considering recent race issues.

Well I will be back soon with another post.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Remembering Bob Hope on his Birthday

Today is the 112th anniversary of Bob Hope's birthday. He passed away in 2003.

Here is opening monologue from the 1975 Oscars....

Here his is roasted by Don Rickles..

Bob Hope entertaining the troops in Vietnam..

He will always be remembered in my book for the shows he did to support our troops. He did that even in World War II...

With Memorial Day recently passing it is a perfect time to reflect on the legacy left behind by Bob Hope. 

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Happy Belated Birthday Herman Wouk

A little late, but if you reach 100 that still calls for a celebration!

The 1952 Pulitzer Prize Award winning author is best known for the novel The Caine Mutiny.

His book Don't Stop the Carnival written in 1965 was turned into a short lived musical by Jimmy Buffett. Here Jimmy plays tribute to Wouk at the Library of Congress...

Fittingly I spent his birthday on a pier on the water  somewhere sunny!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

College Baseball Brackets

The brackets for the College Baseball Playoffs are set. The top seed is the UCLA Bruins. Other top seeds include the LSU Tigers, the Louisville Cardinals, Florida Gators, Miami Hurricanes, Illinois Illini, TCU Horned Frogs, and Missouri State Bears.

A teaser for the UCLA Bruins...

Highlights from an LSU-Alabama game this season..

A Louisville Cardinals challenge..

The SEC Champions Florida Gators..

You can look at the brackets here and see who else is in the tournament. 

Monday, May 25, 2015

"Boogie" and my latest writing project

Well I have started a new writing project reviewing movies on a site called Irish Film Critic. I will be reviewing films. Not to much different from what I did with DC Metro Theater Arts and Maryland Theatre Guide. The only different is the subject will be movies instead of theatre and concerts. There is the possibility of me doing more there as well but I will blog about that when it happens.

My first review is up about an animated film called "Boogie." You can read the review here. It is based on a comic by Roberto Fontanarossa. The film is for adult audience with foul language and other politic incorrect humor and situations.

Here is a trailer however it is not in English...

The film version I reviewed was in English but I think you can still get the gist in the trailer. Like always when I post about things like this I will try to add more.

I will be back soon with a new post!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Memorial Day Poem: Remember them on Memorial Day

They had a poetry contest at work for Memorial Day, I didn't win but that is okay since I can share it here.

Remember them on Memorial Day

They answered Uncle Sam’s call
Remember them on Memorial Day
For you and I they gave their all
So we can enjoy the American Way

Enjoy the cookouts with your family
Remember them on Memorial Day
Enjoy the swimming pool and the apple pie
Raise a toast for the ones not here today

Enjoy the company of loved ones
Remember them on Memorial Day
That is what they missed all alone
Place a flower where they lay

 I hope everyone enjoys their Memorial Day weekend. I hope at some point you will remember those who gave all.

Thanks for visiting and I will be back soon!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Battle of the Bands Winner: Jimmy Page

My Battle of the Bands this time around was dedicated to B.B. King who passed away.  I posted a true tribute to B.B. King the same day which has a few more songs if you missed it feel free to check it out.

Before I get into the competition I did want to post one more song which is quite fitting..:Stay Around A Little Longer."

Two greats right there Buddy Guy and B.B. King. Speaking of two greats I had two greats in my battle of the bands performing the song "Hummingbird." Jimmy Page versus Leon Russell.  Leon Russell actually wrote the song, I choose Jimmy Page because his version of the song off of his "Outrider" album was my introduction to the song. Those who missed the competition here is B.B.King performing the song on the David Letterman show.

The voting was close. I think this may have been my must successful Battle of the Bands page view wise and fifteen votes, I am not voting I am just enjoying the music. It is a beautiful song. The versions were different with Leon adding in the choir near the end. However, in the end one more person liked Jimmy Page's version. The vocalist on that song is Chris Farlowe. Farlowe was on three of the nine tracks on the Outrider album. John Miles (who was the vocalist on the tour) was on two tracks which were rock tracks while Farlowe did the more blues songs. Robert Plant guested for one track and the other three tracks on the album were instrumentals. 

Here is Chris Farlowe and Jimmy Page on another song from the album. It is an original tune called "Blues Anthem"

The final vote was Jimmy Page 8 Leon Russell 7 and unfortunately one less blues legend.  I will back June 1, 2015 with another Battle of he Bands.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

End of an Era: David Letterman

Award winning talk show host David Letterman has called it a career. In his career he won two daytime Emmy Awards and 10 Prime Time Emmy Awards. He was nominated for an amazing 52 Emmy Awards.

David Letterman was honored in 2012 as part of the Kennedy Center Honors.

If you are a music fan search out that show where he was honored. Buddy Guy and Led Zeppelin were also honored at that event but this blog post is not about them.

He was also famous for his Top Ten lists here is one last one..

Here is someones compilation of David's best moments:

Do you agree? Any moments they missed? What was your favorite moment? Feel free to share in the comments.

Here is Bob Dylan performing "The Night We Called it a Day" on David Letterman's show..

The title fits as David Letterman called it a day last night.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Happy Birthday Pete Townshend

Above picture from Wikipedia of Pete Townshend performing in 1972.

Today is the songwriter, guitarist Pete Townshend's 70th birthday. Which to me sounds like a great excuse to celebrate his music on my blog. I celebrated his 68th birthday here.

One of my favorite Who songs is "Behind Blue Eyes." Here Eddie Vedder from Pearl Jam and Joe Walsh help Pete out on this song...

One of his better known solo songs is "Let My Love Open the Door"

From his first solo album here is Pete Townshend with "Day of Silence"

I hope he has many more birthdays and writes many more songs! What is your favorite Pete Townshend song? Favorite Who song? Feel free to share in the comments and I will be back soon!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Happy Birthday George Strait

Today is George Strait's birthday. Thought I would go a little Country with the blog today. George Strait is a good choice for taking the blog Country since he has 60 number one hits.

Here he is with "Amarillo By Morning"

George was elected into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2006.

A Country "Troubadour" if you will...

Since Summer is around the corner this song fits perfect...

"The Seashores of Old Mexico" Here is his first hit "Unwound"

I'll end my George Strait celebration with "Ocean Side Property"

Do you like Country? What is your favorite George Strait song? Feel free to share in the comments. Thanks for visiting!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Annie Get Your Gun Premiered on Broadway 69 years ago

69 years ago today back on May 16, 1946 Irving Berlin's "Annie Get Your Gun" opened at The Imperial Theatre. Herbert and Dorothy Fields wrote the book but Irving Berlin created the music and lyrics.

Here is a bit from a dress rehearsal of a Broadway version in 2009...

The musical was filled with some timeless hits. A prime example  is the above "There's No Business Like Show Business." Another would be this one..

"Anything You Can Do" from the 1950 film version.

The shows initial performance on Broadway would consist of 1,147 performances. The show would enjoy a revival in 1966 and again in 1999. The one in 1999 would finally win the show two Tony Awards.

Bernadette Peters who won one of those Tony Awards for Best Performance by  a Leading Actress in a Musical in action above with "Can't Get A Man With A Gun."

Have a favorite tune from the show? Have a favorite memory? Feel free to share in the comments. Thanks for visiting.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Battle of the Bands: Hummingbird in honor of BB

I had something totally different planned out for this battle of the bands. Then I heard the news of BB King passing. Which changed everything.  This is my second post dedicated to BB King.
Regular rules, listen to the song clips in the blog post. In the comment section vote for the one you like the best. Feel free to explain why you voted the way you did. The battles take place on the first and 15th and winners will be announced on the 7th and 21st. I will normally post the winner in the comments. Of course have fun and enjoy!

The below list is edited to welcome some new battles and unfortunately some battles have taken a break. If you are still looking for more musical fun after you vote, you can check out these sites for more battles:

Please check out my friends above, they post some pretty neat stuff! 

The Original, BB King. This version is note in the contest...

Challenger One: Leon Russell

Challenger Two: Jimmy Page

Please feel free to vote in the comment. Again it is Leon Russell versus Jimmy Page. Of course may BB King rest in peace...

R.I.P B.B. King

This is a blog post I don't want to write. We knew B.B. King had health problems so the news isn't shocking. It is sad. One of the elder statesman of the blues has passed away. I'm fortunate enough to have seen B.B. King perform live.

Hard to write a tribute about him. I just wrote about him in the A to Z: Challenge last month. The year before I wrote about his troubles on the road.

He was a gifted a story teller. When he was performing his facial expressions and eyes said so much. Of course the sweet notes he played on Lucille held their own with anyone.He was always willing to share the stage with anyone who opened for him.

The last time I saw B.B. King in concert he was on tour with Jeff Beck. ..

The above song is "Paying the Cost to Be the Boss."  So many great shows with Jimmie Vaughan, John Hiatt, Tommy Castro, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Jonny Lang and others. He introduced me to a lot of their music.

I wanted to go back, way before my time and dust something off for you "Three O'Clock Blues"

Here BB King is joined by Bobby Blue Bland on Soul Train for "It's My Own Fault"

So many songs. So many memories. I hope he has found peace. He played the blues all his life until this year when health issues pulled him off the road. He did what he wanted and I praise him for that. He will be missed. I don't like doing repeats but I will leave you with BB King and Eric Clapton performing "The Thrill is Gone."

                                                   The Thrill is Gone it left with the King!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Happy Birthday George Lucas!

Billionaire George Lucas celebrates his 71st birthday today! He is a man of many hats. Known as a director, screenwriter, producer, and entrepreneur. 

The Trailer for "American Graffiti"...

George was nominated for two Academy Awards one for best directing and one for best writing. His directing in the film also was nominated for a Golden Globe as well. 

Five years later "Star Wars" had him nominated for the same Academy Awards and Golden Globe. He won the Evening Standard British Film for best movie with "Star Wars." It also won two Saturn Awards for best directing and writing.

"Star Wars" and "The Raiders of the Lost Ark" films turned into franchises and kept the niominations going.

Yes he is very wealthy but he does give quite a bit to charity. I thank him for the films and wish him a happy birthday!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Bad Day, Good Day

My morning was put on hold waiting for the Air Conditioning repair man. Florida is not the place to be with no Air Conditioning. Of course he needed to order a part so it could not be fixed today or this week!

Weather forecast this time of year upper 80s low 90s and plenty of humidity. Of course I had to pay for the service fee and the part will be half a grand. So, like I said bad day.

Well I was off from my day job. I could stay home. However it is hot in the house. Of course I could go fishing. I mean it is hot outside too. So do you melt inside or melt outside? My choice lets go fishing.

The fishing wasn't great. Early morning, night time usually is better. However, I did get to see some friends...

A pod of playful dolphins. Humans were scarce. Work week and the heat of the day probably playing factors.

I did catch a nice size hardhead catfish..

Still I made it home in time to pick up my daughter from daycare. Was able to let her play outside for a while and catch a short nap. Then I got to play Magna-tiles with her. I then treated her and her brother to dinner where I played cards with the kids for a while.

So yes it was a bad day but in the end I ended up winning. I was able to fish, take a nap, and spend times with the kids. That is a good day anyway you look at it!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Happy Birthday Stevie Wonder!

May 13th is Stevie Wonder's birthday. Hard to believe I haven't celebrated his birthday before on the blog. Winning 25 Grammy Awards and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award would suggest Little Stevie Wonder has had a successful career. He has been inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He has received the Medal of Freedom.

A legendary musician and a great person. Of course in this blog we like to celebrate the music.

Here is a song which Stevie Wonder wrote the music (with some other musicians) and Smokey Robinson penned some lyrics..."Tears of a Clown"

Anybody who follows this blog knows Jeff Beck is my favorite guitarist and here he is with Stevie Wonder performing "Superstitious"..

Here is Stevie with Paul McCartney performing "Ebony and Ivory"

One of my favorite songs by Stevie Wonder is "Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours"

With Stevie Wonder I could post song after song. I could put more collaborations with more artists I like in case Smokey Robinson, Jeff Beck, and Paul McCartney weren't enough. I could just put up his songs and they would be fantastic. To me that is a great artist and I wish him a happy birthday!

Monday, May 11, 2015

R.I.P Elizabeth Wilson

Actress Elizabeth Wilson passed away over the weekend at the age of 94. The Tony award winning actress was elected to the Theatre Hall of Fame in 2007. She won her Tony award in 1972 for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play for her role in Sticks and Bones. In 1980 she won a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Ensemble Performance in Morning's at Seven.

She made her Broadway debut in 1953 in a play called Picnic.  She appeared in 11 Broadway productions. She would branch out to film in 1955 appearing in a screen version of her Broadway debut Picnic.

News clip of Elizabeth Wilson's passing..

On the silver screen she starred in films such as The Graduate, 9 to 5, The Birds, The Adams Family and more.

The Trailer for The Graduate

 She was a regular on television on Doc and East Side/West Side. She made guest appearances on numerous shows. Her works will live on in reruns and film. Her family, fans, the theatre, film and television communities will mourn her loss, 94 years is a long life and she certainly left behind plenty of memories. 

Friday, May 8, 2015

Happy Birthday Joe Bonamassa

Today is a great birthday for blues artist. Today of course is Robert Johnson's birthday. However, I wrote about that last year here. Today is also blues guitarist Joe Bonamassa's birthday as well. He is more contemporary and for those who may not like the blues as much I will throw in a rock crossover as well.

Here he is with Beth Hart on "I'll Take Care of You"..

Here he is with a song called "Driving Towards Daylight"

Here is something to rock out with. Joe with Black Country Communion featuring Glenn Hughes of Deep Purple fame and Jason Bonham,,"The Ballad of John Henry"

Happy Birthday Joe and thanks everyone for visiting. I will be back soon with a new post!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

BOTB Winner: Kai Winding

I didn't expect Kai Winding to win. I put him into the competition with Irma Thomas and The Rolling Stones on a whim, literally as a what the heck before I published the post. He won easily with The Rolling Stones in second place. If Kai wasn't in the running it would have been close between Irma and the Stones.

Things happen. I saw Irma Thomas last year and my original thought was going to watch Bela Fleck, an incredible banjo player on another stage. However, I met up with a friend of mine at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and ended up staying put and watching Irma Thomas again. When I listened to her perform on stage I thought the song sounded better than the Rolling Stones version and the seed of the BOTB was sowed.

Since Kai won the competition and a lot of my visitors enjoyed his playing. I thought I would share a few more Kai Windong tunes I hope you enjoy.

Here Kai Winding performs "Loverman"...

What a line up of talent on that song! The great Dizzy Gillespie on trumpet, Art Blakey on drums and Thelonius Monk on piano. Sonny Stitt adds sax and Al McKibbon plays bass.

Below two trombones are better than one. Kai is joined by J.J. Johnson on "It's Alright with Me."

Here he is with "More"...

I think everyone wanted a bit "more" Kai Winding! Well he is the winner and I look forward to my next Battle of the Bands on May 15 so stay tuned! 

Remembering Otis Blackwell

On this date May 6, 2002 Otis Blackwell passed away. You may not recognize his name but I am sure you are familiar with the songs he wrote. He wrote hits performed by Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, and others.

I am going to post videos of Otis Blackwell songs performed by the artists who made them famous. I hope you enjoy my tribute to Mr. Blackwell.

In 1956 there was "Fever" here is Eddie Cooley. Blackwell used the alias Mr. Davenport on this song.

A little Elvis.."All Shook Up"...

How about some "Great Balls of Fire" performed by Jerry Lee Lewis..

One last song Dee Clark's "Hey Little Girl"

Hope you enjoyed the songs! I'll be back with a new post soon.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

The Bonehead Blog Hop: Even on a Perfect Day

I enjoyed the motto this blog hop chose "Confession is good for the may not 
be your soul, but trust me - it's good for someone's soul."

There is a lot of truth in that motto. Making bonehead decisions is something I do all the time. So the hardest part will be narrowing it down to one I am willing to confess to and share in the blog world.

Last June I wrote a blog post about A Perfect Day which you can read here. Anyone familiar with PAul Harvey would know that their is always the rest of the story.

Sure the beach was beautiful. Nothing better than spending quality time with my daughter. Swimming in the oceans with dolphins swimming near us was a thrill I was able to share with her.

I was visiting my parents and they always stress how you should wear sun screen and always mention the burn time. They always say it is a short time like "the burn time is 15 minutes."

Bonehead decision one was I decided to take off my shirt. I don't usually do that. However, I was five hours away from where I lived. I wasn't trying to impress anyone so I said what the heck.

Bonehead decision two in the moment of swimming and sharing the experience with my daughter I did not put on the harped about sunscreen.

We were in the water and the beach for far more than 15 minutes. I can testify my skin was exposed to the sun for the well done duration. So my parents, wife and anyone else with common sense when I came back with my sun burn yes they told me so.

I ended up with the worse sunburn of my life. The type that would welt up and puss. It was not a lot of fun. Like Paul Harvey would say "and now you know the rest of the story." Yes, I made a couple of bonehead decisions even on a perfect day.

Monday, May 4, 2015

A to Z Challenge: Reflections on the 2015 Challenge

Overall thoughts?

In the four years I have been doing the A to Z: Challenge it has grown quite a bit! Over 1500 is a lot of bloggers. I'm sure I have only reached a fraction of those bloggers. The visitors, that I know, who have stopped by my blog I have visited. The ones who are on my feed (okay those are mostly the same). I was able to visit a few sites from the A to Z facebook page. Kudos for the page! Also I have been working my way through the sign up list on the A to Z page to visit different blogs. It is a slow process. I will definitely have plenty of blogs to visit during an A to Z; road trip. Has the challenge grown too big?Visiting some of the blogs I found a few people didn't finish the challenge. I can certainly understand that. Those blogs and writers reminded me the challenge is truly a challenge. Is there a blog I should not miss? Feel free to let me know in the comments.

Thoughts on my blog and the challenge

As a writer of my blog I found the challenge did help me find a balance among topics I had been searching for in my blog. Like always I tried to keep my posts true to what readers may find on my blog the other 11 months of the year. Two of my most successful posts of the challenge also featured photography by me so I was pleased with that. The other two most successful were my Battle of the Bands post but they double dip blog hops.

What I liked the most?

I was able to stumble across a couple of my old writing friends in the challenge. Probably through my own fault I lost track of what they were doing so it was nice to visit their blogs. One of them is Phillip Veghese Ariel's writings and another is Julie Du Pre's Precious Monsters. I was also a winner of Liz A's Laws of Gravity blogs. Everyone likes to win! Well it has been a great challenge and now another 11 months until the next A to Z; Challenge.

Friday, May 1, 2015

R.I.P Ben E. King

Another musical legend has passed away. Ben E. King the soul, pop, R&B, and doo-wop musician has passed away at the age of 76. He is probably immortalized by being the singer and co-composer of the classic "Stand By Me."

He enjoyed a great solo career and leaves behind an impressive legacy from his years in The Drifters.

 "Save the Last Dance for Me" I am sure someone is hoping...

Here is another solo song "Don't Play That Song"

Here is a tribute from CBS News..

He gave so many "This Magic Moment" and now he is gone.

What are your favorite Ben E. King songs? Any fond memories you would like to share? Please feel free to share in the comments. I am thankful for all the music he left behind. I am sad that he passed away but I am glad we can celebrate his music.

Battle of the Bands #18: Time is on my Side

 I dedicate this blog post to Dixie over at DC Relief. She commented on one of my recent A to Z: Challenge post "New Orlean's Jazz fest? I know you brought souvenirs... waiting."'

Here is a souvenir, the Soul Queen of New Orleans Irma Thomas on stage with her band.

Regular rules, listen to the song clips in the blog post. In the comment section vote for the one you like the best. Feel free to explain why you voted the way you did. The battles take place on the first and 15th and winners will be announced on the 7th and 21st. I will normally post the winner in the comments. Of course have fun and enjoy!

The below list is edited to welcome some new battles and unfortunately some battles have taken a break. If you are still looking for more musical fun after you vote, you can check out these sites for more battles:

Tossing it Out


 StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands


 'Curious as a Cathy'

DC Relief Battle of the Bands

Now playing:

Shady Dell Music & Memories

Please check out my friends above, they post some pretty neat stuff! 

One of the highlights of Jazz Fest this year was hearing Irma Thomas sing "Time is on my Side."
She recorded the song early in 1964 and the Rolling Stones recorded the song later that year. The song was originally written by Norman Meade and recorded by a jazz saxophone player by the name of Kai Winding. Lyrics were tweaked by Jimmy Norman which shaped it into the classic we know today.

The Original: Kai Winding

Challenger One: Irma Thomas

Challenger Two: The Rolling Stones

Usually I say the original is off limits. However, since all three versions are so different. Vote for the one you like best. Vote away in the comments. I hope you enjoyed this Battle of the Bands and stop in on the 15th for another battle!