Song of the Week – One Fine Morning, Lighthouse


In December 1968, Blood Sweat & Tears released their eponymous 2nd album. In 1969, three singles – “You’ve Made Me So Very Happy”, “And When I Die” and “Spinning Wheel” – each reached #2 on the Billboard singles chart and made the album ubiquitous. Eventually, this popular, horn-based disc won the Grammy for Album of the Year (1970).

That recording eclipsed the first BS&T album (Child Is Father to the Man), the Al Kooper brainchild that I discovered after BS&T, that I have come to decide is the much better record.

Around the same time, Chicago was breaking out. Chicago Transit Authority (1969), Chicago (1970) and Chicago III (1971) were all excellent albums that took Al Kooper’s idea to merge rock music with a horn section to another level… and “horn rock” became a thing.

Now let’s not argue about it. I’m well aware that horns have been used in popular music before BS&T or Chicago. But it was more common in the genres dominated by black artists. The early R&B hits of the ‘50s almost always had a sax, if not a complete horn section. The soul music on Atlantic, Stax/Volt, and Motown all relied heavily on horn arrangements. But this was less so in Rock, at least if you consider acts with the horn players as permanent members of the band.

Other horn rock acts include The Electric Flag (with the great blues guitarist, Mike Bloomfield), The Ides of March (remember “Vehicle”), The Sons of Champlin (popular here in the Bay area) and Chase (featuring the screaming high note trumpet of Bill Chase).

Another band, Lighthouse, recorded today’s SotW – “One Fine Morning.”

I’ll bet when a few of you hear this you remember the song but say to yourself “I always thought that song was by Chicago!” No surprise since the Canada based Lighthouse often makes lists of “one hit wonders.”

But you have to admit, this cut rocks. The vocals, the guitar and (of course) the horns are a rocket shot to the moon! And you have to love the way the band builds tension through to the ending.

If you have any interest in digging a little deeper into the history of horn rock, check out this article at the Music Aficionado website:

Horn Rock Bands: Quaint… or Killer

Also worthwhile are both of the recent Chicago documentaries that you can catch on NetFlix or on demand:

Now More Than Ever: The History of Chicago (2016)
Chicago: The Terry Kath Experience (2017)

Enjoy… until next week.

Song of the Week – C’mon & Medley: Hard Luck / Child’s Claim to Fame / Pickin’ up the Pieces, Poco


Before Eagles. Before New Riders of the Purple Sage. Before Pure Prairie League. Before Nitty Gritty Dirt Band,,, there was Poco.

OK, it might be going a little too far to claim Poco invented country rock – but it’s not too far off. Gram Parsons and the Byrds released Sweetheart of the Rodeo about 6 months before Poco’s first album. Dylan and The Band were in Americana territory earlier too. But rock and roll was a combination of R&B and country, so you can go back to the Everly Brothers if you want to go back to the roots — or, perhaps, even farther back to Hank Williams.

But that’s all theoretical BS. Today’s post is about Poco.

I was introduced to Poco by my big brother. At the time, Crosby, Stills & Nash were a top act and led my young mind to carefully read liner notes to learn more about group ancestry.

Poco rose out of the ashes of Buffalo Springfield. Richie Furay and Jim Messina formed the group after the Springfield fell apart due to creative differences between the main creative team of Stephen Stills and Neil Young.

My favorite Poco album was their third – the live DeLIVErin’ (1971). Deliverin’ is not only one of my favorite Poco albums, it’s also one of my favorite live albums – and that’s not hyperbole.

“C’mon” is a country rocker!

The disc also has a couple of great medleys, one of the band’s live show trademarks. I love to sing along to “Medley: Hard Luck / Child’s Claim to Fame / Pickin’ up the Pieces.”

One of the things that always grabbed me about Poco, and Deliverin’ in particular, is the positive attitude of this music. It is optimistic. It is simply joyous!

Poco was one of the first bands I ever saw in concert. It was at SUNY New Paltz, but sadly, after both Furay and Messina had left. But it was still a great show.

Enjoy… until next week.

Song of the Week – Total Entertainment Forever, Father John Misty


Each December I take the time to do an exhaustive review of the new music I listened to throughout the year – I compile my own, private “best of the year” list. I also read as many other lists as I can to discover more critically acclaimed albums that I may have missed.

By the time I get to this point in the New Year, I’ve fully processed my favorite recordings from the prior year.

One album that I missed upon release but turned out to be one that floated up to the top for me was Father John Misty’s third release, Pure Comedy. Father John Misty, aka Josh Tillman, was the drummer/backing vocalist in Fleet Foxes from 2008 until early 2012. By May 2012, Tillman had released his first solo album under the Father John Misty pseudonym.

The SotW is “Total Entertainment Forever.”

The song opens with the provocative lyric:

Bedding Taylor Swift, every night inside the Oculus Rift
After mister and the missus, finish dinner and the dishes

To Tillman, this is a commentary on “progress.” He was quoted in an interview with Exclaim! as saying “…if you don’t think that this virtual reality thing isn’t going to turn into sex with celebrities, then you’re kidding yourself.” This is indie rock for thinking people… and one of the best albums of 2017.

Enjoy… until next week.

On Death and (Somebody Else) Dying

NOTE: Steve Moyer’s friends in the fantasy and baseball industries have begun a GoFundMe to help support his daughters, Harmony and Mary, who face college and adulthood without their pop. Please feel free to donate in honor of our friend. The link is GoFundMe Steve Moyer kid fund.

I have been trying to get my head around our friend and colleague Steve Moyer’s untimely passing last Thursday.

If you have followed my ramblings over the years, you know I have had a number of brushes with death myself, and that my own wife, child, and dog all left this plane within a year of one another between July of 2005 and April of 2006.

What these rather intense experiences seem to have made me, however, created a sort of paradox. On one hand, I accept the inevitability of our own human experience, understanding our time here is indeed finite and that there is no fairness within the amount of time we are granted here on earth.

Similarly, I can put it in a sort of detached-automatic mode, for lack of better verbiage, making certain the trash is taken out, that dinner is made, and that the appropriate persons are advised appropriately of the departure. 

Certainly, Steve was core to a lot of the fantasy industry, and having been colleagues for a quarter century I seem to be one of those who knew him the longest, and perhaps as well as anyone within our circle.

Still, it never occurred to me that Steve — hell, that any of us — would leave untimely, so soon. Further, I have had enough head butts with Steve that I was surprised to find myself at the center of coordinating updates about him, being the source for articles and news as well as disseminating funeral information.

I know I am not alone in banging egos with Steve, for as his fiance, Samantha Drennan — with whom I have unfortunately become friends under the worst of circumstances — acknowledged that Steve “argued with everyone about everything.” So I was happy Steve and I had a good clearing of the air last First Pitch, Arizona.

Furthermore, I was glad to help out during the couple of days subsequent to learning of Steve’s passing by sharing information and emailing so many who knew and cared about him. I helped my mate, Roto Expert’s Scott Engel gather information both for an article about Steve, and together we plotted a Hall of Fame Hour — one of the shows Scott hosts on FNTSY— on  Steve this coming Monday (listen from 7-8 PM, ET). I posted and commented on the Rock Remnants site that was Steve’s imagination, where Peter Kreutzer, Gene McCaffrey, and I made a musical home for our writing outside of fantasy sports.

The bulk of these activities occurred while I was still at spring training, usually one of my favorite trips of the year. For, in March, baseball is still fresh and optimistic, players are happy and mostly healthy, and drafts are gearing up.

Instead, within the throes of my “busy-ness” handling Steve things, I felt distracted. I was  disinterested in going to games and drafting and interviewing players. And, the truth was, I just wanted to go home and be with my family.

I did keep wondering, however: Why I was so ambivalent with respect to something I really enjoy?

Then it occurred to me that I was subconsciously being so busy detaching that I did not have to acknowledge how bummed I am. In discussions with several of the groups and leagues in which Steve and I both participate, I realized what an integral part of my life Steve was, and I guess vice versa.

And, that meant the bummed disinterested feelings I was trying to ignore were actually grief.

Life is such a silly ephemeral thing. So difficult to understand, let alone make reasonable. And yet it is wondrous and beautiful, for though in the end it takes us from one another, certainly prior to that life gives us the gift of one another.

It certainly is a shame, however, that we have forget to embrace this gift until that appreciation is no longer corporeal.

One of the bands that Steve and I shared a love for was the Small Faces, and perhaps their best-known song was “Itchycoo Park.” As a dog owner, and husband of an animal lover, I like to imagine The Rainbow Bridge in a sort of “Itchycoo Park” sense.

I hope I am right. I hope Steve is rocking out there, maybe with my son Joey and late wife Cathy, and our dogs Macaroni, Onyx, Jazzmine, and Mahina looking on. Miss ya Steve.

Steve Moyer Has Died

Steve with Ian MacKaye during a break during the Follow Fashion Monkeys sessions.

  1. Steve loved numbered lists.
  2. He was a good dresser. He always wore shirts with patterns, and often with snaps.
  3. He also recognized the dress of others, pointing out a drummer or bass player who had made a good or bad or interesting choice in a video.
  4. He and I invented the Fantasy Baseball Guide together. Steve was working for Rotowire, my partner in the Guides for a couple of years, and they gifted me with an excellent collaborator. Having a cool and smart partner on the payroll was a beautiful thing for me, and gaining a friend was even more important.
  5. Steve always had ideas, about everything. And his resistance to seeing the middle ground was sometimes frustrating, but often also endearing, which is why everyone ended up giving him a lot of space to be himself. His ideas were passionate and heart-felt and often right. Or valuable, even if you disagreed. Or when he was wrong.
  6. He was more punk than the rest of us. He said so.
  7. When we put together our Essential lists, at the start of Rock Remnants, there was no more surprising item on any list than Steve’s choice of More Specials.

  1. Steve always said the Guide was the best baseball mag out there. Who doesn’t like that?
  2. There were always surprising things about him that would come out in conversation. Like, I’m dating a minister. Or, My country band does [that song] this way…. Or, when I’m at the gym I have to listen to this crap. As if he didn’t know he had other choices to listen to what he wanted. But he did not take to the streaming world. To someone who has driven through Times Square listing to Supershit 666 at maximum volume with Steve, on DVD, these seem like oxymorons. Who is this person who contains such multitudes?
  3. And who gets pissed off when the music isn’t pushing it enough. Even when it is folk music, and it really shouldn’t.
  4. Steve suggested we include a broad range of fantasy voices in the Guide, and helped me to draw those voices in. I’d always been shy about the fantasy industry, a phrase that is particularly ludicrous on Oscar night, but Steve in real and important ways introduced me to people I already knew from LABR and Tout, and helped forge friendships with them that have become a central part of my life. I’m not sure why I didn’t think of that, but with Steve’s help I did.
  5. Steve named Rock Remnants. It was his name. And when my implementation of his name wasn’t to his liking, he was fierce in his defense of his vision. That led to some uncomfortable moments, and we all know what happens to muscle that is challenged.
  6. The perfect tribute would be to burn a CD of cuts Steve loved. A mix tape on CD. Because Moyer didn’t stream. In the meantime, how about this song from The Upper Crust:



RIP: Steve Moyer (1960-2018)

It is with extreme sadness that I must report the departure of one of the core Remnants, Steve Moyer.

Steve, with whom I have worked and been friends for over 25-years, was indeed one-of-a-kind: brash, opinionated, fierce, funny, direct, loyal with a mischievous mind and mouth like no one else I know.

Of course like the core Remnants I met Steve via our other common love: baseball. So for those of us driven by the forces of the diamond and the guitar, endless hours of talk just flew from our mouths when assembled.

And, that “assembly” happened a couple of times each year. In the fall we all gathered for the Arizona Fall League, and over the first three weeks of March. For, the coming of March means the annual Fantasy Baseball industry tour together among various First Pitch conferences, Spring Training, The League of Alternative Baseball Reality (LABR), the XFL, all culminating with Tout Wars in New York City.

Last night, as we gathered after the American League LABR auction, we got the news that Steve, who was to be drafting in the National League LABR auction tonight, had passed away in his sleep at his hotel after handling some business before joining us in baseball nirvana.

I will leave it with that.

But, since Steve was such a music junkie, as I got into the car to drive back to my hotel last night, I plugged in my shuffle and wondered just what song Spotify would deliver as the tune to contemplate the passing of Steve Moyer, and amazingly–and somewhat eerily–Elton John’s Funeral for a Friend/Loves Lies Bleeding came on.

Now, I know Steve well enough to know that he would hate being remembered by Elton John of all people, but sorry, the universe gave me what it gave me. Although below, I also added the vid to his favorite song, Search and Destroy by Iggy and the Stooges.

RIP Steve. Your friends. Your family. Your colleagues. Your industry will all miss you to the max.



Song of the Week – Ball of Confusion, The Temptations


I’m very conscious of saturating the SotW with the same artists. Even mainstays such as The Beatles, Stones, Dylan or Led Zeppelin have only been featured three or four times each over the 10 years I’ve been working on this project. So it feels a little funny to be writing about The Temptations for the second time in three weeks!

But right after I posted “I Wish It Would Rain” on February 10th, I learned that the Temps singer Dennis Edwards had died on February 1st at the age of 74 – just two days before his 75th birthday.

Although he was not one of the original members of the group, he was one of the lead singers on many of their late ‘60s/early’70s “psychedelic” period hits including “Papa Was a Rolling Stone” (Edwards has the line “It was the third of September…”), “Cloud Nine” (lead), and “Psychedelic Shack.”

Edwards was long a part of the Motown family, taking the lead on The Contours’ 1962 hit “Do You Love Me.” It was later made popular with a new generation when it was featured in the movie Dirty Dancing (1987).

Edwards had the unenviable position of replacing the popular David Ruffin when he was kicked out The Temptations in 1968. Edwards often had to endure audiences calling out “Where’s David?” The task was made more difficult because Ruffin was known to occasionally show up at Temptations gigs and disrupt Edwards’ performances – trying to take back the spotlight he once commanded.

Despite this difficult task, Edwards was an important contributor during a very successful period for the group. Beside the songs mentioned above, he also sang lead or key parts in more hits like “Shakey Ground,” “I Can’t Get Next to You,” and today’s SotW, “Ball of Confusion.”

“Ball of Confusion” reached #3 on the Billboard pop chart in 1970. It’s another example of soul/funk music moving into more socially conscious lyrics – a trend begun by Marvin Gaye and Sly & the Family Stone.

All of the songs mentioned in today’s post are worthy of being the SotW. So get onto Spotify or YouTube and check them all out,

Enjoy… until next week.