Song of the Week – I Don’t Like Mondays, Boomtown Rats

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Can we all agree on one thing – that there is too much gun violence in the world today.  Muslim extremists killing “infidels,” racists going into churches, synagogues and mosques to kill worshipers, and just plain crazies shooting people at schools, workplaces and concerts!

Enough is enough.  “People, I just want to say, you know, can we all JUST get along?”

Today’s SotW was written about a very early school shooting that occurred 40 years ago, on January 29, 1979.  On that day, a 16-year-old girl named Brenda Ann Spencer opened fire on the children arriving for the day’s lessons at the Cleveland Elementary School in the Lake Murray section of San Diego.  Two men (the school principal and a custodian) were killed.  Eight children and one adult were injured.

In a telephone interview, a reporter with The Evening Tribune asked Spencer why she did it.  She responded, “I just don’t like Mondays… this livens up the day.”

Bob Geldof and Johnnie Fingers, of the Irish band The Boomtown Rats, used this awful backstory to write the song “I Don’t Like Mondays.”

“… Mondays” was a #1 hit in the UK but only managed to reach #73 here in the US – though it did receive quite a bit of airplay in the US on college campuses and alternative rock radio.

The piano based composition renders it a perfect vehicle to be taken up by Tori Amos, as she did on her 2001 covers album, Strange Little Girls.

After 40 years, what have we learned?  Mass shootings seem to happen more and more frequently each year.  “People, I just want to say, you know, can we all JUST get along?”

Enjoy… until next week.

Song of the Week – Slow Burn, Kacey Musgraves

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I generally don’t have much respect for the Grammys.  They have a long history of picking one-hit-wonders for Best New Artist (Starland Vocal Band, Milli Vanilli) and awarding Album of the Year to iconic artists long after they released their best work (Dylan, Clapton, Bonnie Raitt).  Not to be too cynical, I must admit there have also been some very good choices in both of those categories that have made amends for their boo-boos.

Last month, the 2019 award for Album of the Year went to Golden Hour by Kacey Musgraves, a great choice.  Two songs from the album, “Butterflies” and “Space Cowboy”, also won Grammys – for Best Country Solo Performance and Best Country Song.

Musgraves has the rare quality of mainstream popularity with a bit of rebel mixed in.  While primarily a conventional country artist, she bucks the stereotypical demographic of country music fans with her open position supporting LGBT rights and a fondness for booze (she and her band drink a tequila shot before each show), weed and the occasional psychedelic (she openly admits that she wrote “Mother” on acid and has taken mushrooms).

This is an image she cultivated since the release of her first album Same Trailer Different Park (2013) that included the song “Follow Your Arrow” with the lyrics:

Make lots of noise
Kiss lots of boys
Or kiss lots of girls
If that’s something you’re into
When the straight and narrow
Gets a little too straight
Roll up the joint, or don’t
Just follow your arrow

Today’s SotW is “Slow Burn,” the opening track from Golden Hour.

Regarding “Slow Burn,” Musgraves told Rolling Stone:

“It’s an idea I can apply to a lot of different areas of my life,” she says, taking a break from editing a new video. “I want to be here for a long time doing what I love, and I don’t feel I need to try to be the biggest I can be, the quickest. And I even thought of a good drink that you sip on for a long time. Or a slow burn of a relationship that starts with a little bit of a spark and doesn’t burn out too quick.”

There’s something about the arrangement of this song that reminds me of “Casimir Pulaski Day” from Sufjan Steven’s Illinois which in turn reminded me of Neil Young’s “Old Man” (maybe it’s the banjos).

Dig in to Golden Hour and the rest of Musgraves’ catalog.  You won’t regret it.

Enjoy… until next week.

Song of the Week – Blend, Sandy Bull

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Today’s SotW is one of the most challenging I’ve ever posted.  I know it’s not for everybody, but the SotW wasn’t started to share hit songs that will be liked by the greatest numbers of people.  It was created with the goal of bringing new and different music (Ignored Obscured Restored), that I find worthwhile, to open-minded music lovers – that’s YOU!

So, what do I have up my sleeve?  How about a 22-minute instrumental excursion through Eastern and Western musical styles, by just a guitarist and a jazz drummer?

Today’s SotW is “Blend,” by Sandy Bull, from the 1963 album Fantasias for Guitar and Banjo.

This largely improvised piece covers a range of genres, including classical, folk, jazz, raga and psychedelic rock.  It has been reported that Steve Winwood has given Bull some credit for leading Traffic toward its psychedelic roots.  That also leaves me wondering if “Blend” may have provided inspiration to Jimmy Page for Led Zeppelin compositions like “Kashmir” or “In the Light.”

The drums were played by jazzman Billy Higgins, whose best work was in collaboration with Ornette Coleman.

Did anyone make it through the full 22 minutes?  If yes…


Enjoy… until next week.