Music Memories and Porcupine Pie

I get daily journals from Viv’s school which come via email and include stories about the day along with pictures or PowerPoints. Today’s talked about how recently the children fell in love with a  tape book from the library of Stevie Wonder music. They were drawn to the fast paced beat, variety of musical sounds, and learning the words! The teachers invited everyone else to revisit this music through a dance party.

Now that would explain the “hey – it’s Stevie Wonder” comment when I put on music over the weekend. It wasn’t him – it was Earth, Wind and Fire but I was impressed she associated a similar genre of music. Of course that being said we do play a lot of Stevie Wonder (big fan of Sir Duke!) at home along with most everything Motown ever put out.

Viv loves to dance either by herself or asks to be picked up and twirled about. We’ve got a lot of the songs from movie soundtracks on our iPad, she navigates to the music she likes by choosing the album cover and then jumps about. Bear Necessities is a favorite although it sounds like she sings it as “Bear Ma-Sesames”. John and I have some pretty electric music taste so she rocks out to Katy Perry, Eliza Doolittle and Pink too.

Both of us talk about how our parents music shaped a lot of our early childhood memories. I remember my mom winning a radio contest and getting a copy of the Muppet Movie soundtrack or dancing around the living room to The Captain  and Tennille songs. John talks about listening to classic music and loves to play “Porcupine Pie” *very loudly* while singing some days. We laugh about one of our first dates when we were riding in the Miata with the top down belting out 80’s tunes for most of the afternoon. Music holds a lot of memories. Can still name off my first tape, 8-track, album, cassette and CD purchase. Can you?

On the subject of music and memories. I’m looking forward to a music-related movie coming out soon called The Music Never Stopped it’s a sentimental but deeply felt true story about the healing power of music by a neurologist. Using songs from the ’60s by Bob Dylan, the Beatles and the Grateful Dead to bridge the generation gap between a father and son and an emotional look at the power of music therapy to trigger memories lost after brain surgery.

The Uncoolest Records of All Time

I was going through the Rolling Stone “50 Uncoolest Records” of all time and came across a couple I own, a few I should and a ton I love. So here they are with their comments and mine

The Carpenters Live at the Palladium 1976

In 1976, the Carpenters took the stage of London’s Palladium to prove that — gosh darnit! — they could jam (and play Bach and Gershwin covers). Richard tickles the old ivories and Karen bangs the drums.

Sounds like: If jam bands didn’t smoke pot, and had decent singers.

Best song: “Carpenter’s Medley.” Ten hits squeezed into fourteen minutes. Let’s see Phish do that.

Biz Markie The Biz Never Sleeps 1989

Rotund, tone deaf boy from Harlem sets out to prove that anybody can play this rap game . . . and succeeds!

Sounds like: Your liquored-up Uncle Lou trying his hand at hip-hop karaoke.

Best song: “Just a Friend.” Sing it with us, people: “Youuuuu, you got what I neeeeed . . .

Bread The Best of Bread 1972

As sensitive as sunburned skin, this mid-Seventies deal-closer was loved by women and revered by men. The Babe Ruth of pussy music.

Sounds like: Mellow music and sugary-sweet lyrics made by guys with mustaches. Equal parts drippy, dreamy, inspired and insipid.

Best song: “Let Your Love Go” always did the trick, although “Make It With You” was no slouch.

The Fifth Dimension Up, Up and Away 1967

Black vocal group presents soft supper-club soul for white urbane audiences.

Sounds like: The Mamas and the Papas, only whiter.

Best song: The title track. A thinly veiled drug song?

Various Artists Freedom Rock 1987

Bizarre late-Eighties tip to the Seventies with a hackneyed lineup of artists: Baez, Derek, JT, Deep Purple, Skynyrd, Melanie, Ocean . . . Great commercial, though.

Sounds like: Carelessly assembled goulash. Perhaps the only album to contain both Judy Collins’ “Both Sides Now” and Alice Cooper’s “Eighteen.”

Best song: Lobo’s “Me and You and a Dog Named Boo.”

Memories: I remember these commericals for this album used to play all the time on Night Flight, with that guy “Is that Freedom Rock? Well turn it up, man!

Meat Loaf Bat Out of Hell 1977

Big, fat, funny . . . and that’s just the music. Mr. Loaf was something of a Jackie Robinson for rock stars who didn’t look so hot in leather.

Sounds like: The sweaty guy in a tux singing at your wedding.

Best song: “Paradise by the Dashboard Light.” The Citizen Kane of nookie-in-the-car epics.

The Moog Cookbook Ye Olde Space Band 1997

Indie screwballs give new life to antiquated keyboards by synth-esizing classic-rock chestnuts.

Sounds like: IBM merging with BTO.

Best song: “Whole Lotta Love,” whose middle section features cameos from other dinosaur tunes.

Supertramp Breakfast in America 1979

As prefab as ‘N Sync, this high-pitched crew parked their flailing prog-rock vehicle in the used car lot and drove away in hitmaking machinery with this gem.

Sounds like: The wimp that beat up on Styx in the post-prog playground.

Best Song: “Goodbye Stranger.” The shifting tempos and dueling vocalists nudge “The Logical Song.”

Memories: Best part of seeing this on the list was actually using the title of a Supertramp sounds as the punchline in a joke recently. Take the long way home man….

Kris Kross Totally Krossed Out 1992

It’s easy to file and forget these Atlanta-based backward-pants wearing lil’ boys in the hood, but they were actually pint-sized pioneers. Prior to their pre-pubescent patter, rap had but two poles, East and West.

Sounds like: The birth of the clique.

Best song: “I Missed the Bus” is a kiddy-rap nugget; “Jump” is the smash hit; but it’s all about “Warm It Up.” I’m about to . . .

Memories: Never wore my clothes backwards like them but who didn’t jump to the sound and then run out and buy the album?

The Commodores Commodores 1977

Motown funksters flick the safety on the machine gun long enough to midwife Lionel Richie’s career as an “Easy” balladeer.

Sounds like: Funk and soul for men who pee sitting down.

Best song: “Brick House.” A mutha that can still fill the dance floor.

Memories: Best time I had listening to that song was out at the WestEnd in Santa Monica, watching Christie K. compete in the “Brick House” dance contest with the Funkie Hippies.

Haircut One Hundred Pelican West 1983

Being the wimpiest New Wave band was not easy, but the well-sweatered Haircut One Hundred were up to the task. Even the Thompson Twins must’ve thought these guys were pussies.

Sounds like: Smart, hooky, jazzy, bouncy songs that later Britpopsters would kill for.

Best song: “Snow Girl.” A charming love ditty to the women of winter (ideal for crooning in a sweater).

Memories: It’s such a toss up between these guys and Flock of Seagulls!!

Bay City Rollers Greatest Hits 1977

The tartan-clad pinups mark the end of their chart reign with a cardboard tombstone.

Sounds like: A milk-and-cookies pop-music primer.

Best song: “Saturday Night.” Their chart-topping, G-rated rock & roll anthem.

Memories:S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y jeez, does it get any better? And for those trivia fans, they got there name after deciding they needed “an american sounding” name for the band. threw a dart at a map and came up with this michigan state name.

The Monkees Greatest Hits 1976

Pre-fab TV band alchemizes the best of their contemporaries into radio gold.

Sounds like: A note-perfect approximation of the mid-Sixties rock landscape.

Best song: “Pleasant Valley Sunday.” With its killer guitar hook, cacophonous coda and quaint “relevant” lyrics.

Tesla Five Man Acoustical Jam 1990

They lacked the X-factor — or was that the Max Factor? — to make significant headway during the glam-metal heyday. But their fondness for obscure inventors and even more obscure covers made their no-frills blues-rock a guilty pleasure for many a headbanger.

Sounds like: The Lovin’ Spoonful gone gonzo.

Best song: A cover of Five Man Electrical Band’s “Signs,” perhaps the best bubblegum protest song ever.

Memories: Living on Maple St. in Springfield listening to this over and over again. Deb was working at Diggers in Enfield, I had a broken ankle and saw on TV that friend Kevin and Billy had died in a car accident.

The Electric Light Orchestra A New World Record 1976

Hirsute Sixties pop holdover turns his Beatles fixation into an arena-rock industry.

Sounds like: The perfect amalgam of Sixtiess pop sensibilites and Seventies commercial savvy.

Best song: “Telephone Line.” A sublime ode to the woes of pre-Internet transatlantic communications.

Memories: Ms. Krom’s 4th grade math class, she let us move our desks around the room. Ours was in a 6-desk square, we called ourselves ELO and loved this album. Wow, and I was only turning 8 that year.

Bob Seger Night Moves 1976

So blue collar as to make Bruce Springsteen seem like a pampered prince, Seger was Billy Joel for the Midwest.

Sounds like: Motor City feathered-mullet bar rock.

Best song: “Rock and Roll Never Forgets.” One of the better songs about rock & roll. And should it forget, there’s always that cover art . . .

America History: America’s Greatest Hits 1975

Derivative trio of army brats got knocked for sounding like others, but many a Gen-X’er was conceived in a sleeping bag with these guys in the background.

Sounds like: America? Try California.

Best song: “Sister Golden Hair.” After taking lumps for sounding like Neil Young, they enlist George Martin to copy George Harrison with sweet, hooky results.

Cinderella Long Cold Winter 1988

Ever the unwanted Aquanet-metal step-sister, with this bad boy Cinderella slid comfortably into the glass slipper.

Sounds like: An acoustic jam with arena-rock drums and high-end screech.

Best song: “Coming Home”, “The Last Mile” “Bad Seamstress Blues Fallin’ Apart at the Seams.” What, pick just one?

Memories: Seeing them open for Kiss at the Sprinfield Civic Center, with Lil’ Ceasar as the opening band. Ceasar was the one-hit wonder with a heavy metal remake of Aretha’s Chain of Fools. Sneaking schnapps into the concert either in construction boots (worn with bandanas and big-hair) or in an empty hair spray bottle.

Blue Oyster Cult Secret Treaties 1974

They looked like a bunch of Long Island stereo salesmen . . . but they wanted you to know they were really, really evil. Worthy of both the Cool and the Uncool list.

Sounds like: Deviant stun-guitar metal anthems with ridiculous demonic lyrics.

Best song: “Dominance and Submission,” which has zip to do with sex — it’s about listening to the radio.

Memories: The Black and Blue Summer Tour of 79′ Blue Oyster Cult, Black Sabbath with Foghat opening. Judas Priest came 3 weeks later. I needed to sneak out!!

Sharing iTunes

one of things I love about where I work is everyone sharing their libaries. so this morning, i check out “EJ’s Juke Box” – Ethan’s music.oooooh I’m in heaven and this is the first tune I start with, this is going to be a fun fun flashback day. Oh yeah – this is 1984 and I’m teasing my hair in gravity-defying heights before heading out to studio new york for a lip-syncing contest in between dancing. whoop whoop

Real cool.. cause Brooklyn’s cool!
Friday doin the last day of school
Girls steppin to the mall to swing
Settin up dollars for their summer fling
Cars on the avenue create gridlock
And there’s girls like MAD at the bus stop
Not waitin on the bus, but waitin on the cash flow
Fellas are laughin, gassin the past hoe
Girl steps to me and pushes issue
That knot you got, is that money or tissue?
Feelin on the bulge, thinkin it’s her own
I tell her that it’s money and she should move on
She says she’s pure from legs to her thighs
And we should talk over some chinese and fries
I tell her to step, but hey that’s the scene
Cause she ain’t nothin.. but a Brooklyn Queen
We are looking for ‘Brooklyn’..

We are looking for the.. Brooklyn-Queens!
State the rhyme, borough of Brooklyn
Otherwise known as Crooklyn
Freaks fortify flesh with gold
Ears hang trunk, in a slave hold
Walk past, don’t get the time of day
Played like suede, on a summer sway
Conversated, till I made her laugh
Said, I’m Pete Nice.. you want my autograph?
Oval Office closed as she heard this
She said, From 3rd Bass? I could do this
Listen closely, slowly took a swig of intoxicants
Cause the Brooklyn Queen’s a gold digger
We are looking for ‘Brooklyn’..
We are looking for the.. Brooklyn-Queens!
Squared away.. with my digits and tonight’s plans
When I feel a crab grab my right hand
Slapped her on the back, tried to calm her
Asking her, Now what’s the reason for the drama?
Her next move was straight out of textbook
Haven’t we met before? Giving me a sex look
Yo Wisdom, your lyrics are in bad taste
So I’m forced to give you nothing but the Gas Face
You better go, for hoppin on the cab or bus
Cause you’re downtown and you’re simply too fabulous
But get this, ain’t this a humdinger?
She stepped to a retard sportin a four-finger ring
Somewhere in the skin tight jeans
I’m gonna scoop the best of the Brooklyn-Queens
We are looking for ‘Brooklyn’..
We are looking for the.. Brooklyn-Queens!
Last exit to Brooklyn I enter
Carefully the Queen holds my scepter
Gettin numb like a Derelict on scotch
I’m Dick Lewis, cause baby I’m watchin you
scheme on a brother for a knot
To choose between the have and the have-not
Do you doubt the shade of vanilla?
I’ll play Elvis and you play Priscilla
Oh he’s no hero, better yet Billy Dee
Advertise cheap liqour for a fee
A Brooklyn Queen, rushes Russell Simmons
That’s like Tyson rushin Givens
We are looking for ‘Brooklyn’..
We are looking for the.. Brooklyn-Queens!
yo, ‘Brooklyn-Queens’

Last 10 Purchases on ITunes

It’s like Amazon or Las Vegas or Crack – It just doesn’t seem like I’m spending the money and the rush is so quick yet fleeting.

Combichrist | This Sh*t Will F*ck You Up
Hard-Fi | Cash Machine
Kanye West | Jesus Walks
Benny Benassi | Satisfaction
Fischerspooner| Emerge and Never Win
Beck | Que’ Onda Guero
White Stripes | My Doorbell
Carl Douglas | Kung-Fu Fighting
Loretta Lynn | Portland, Oregon
Carly Simon | You’re So Vain