Chris von Sneidern

CvS is a well known power pop singer/songwriter in the San Francisco Bay area. The following two songs are from his first album, ‘Sight and Sound’, which was released in 1993.

Did I think that you would ever go far enough to never return
The rest could go and I would never know
Yes, you’re still very young
Somedays I think a lot of you

Why is it now, when I just got a hold of you, the sun went down
Maybe I should go now and take some ride for a very long time
Where was it you went?

Leave me the tortured palm, leave me a place at the back of the line,
and I’ll carry on
But somedays I think a lot of you, yeah, somedays I think a lot of you

You said let’s stay home from work and play that tape ’til it wore thin
Well, nothing seems the same without you
Without that sensibility

Did I think that you would ever go far enough to never return
The rest could go, man, I would never know
Oh, you’re so very young

Leave me your final word, the one expected and never heard
Although I don’t too often
Somedays I think a lot of you, Somedays I think a lot of you
Oh, somedays I would think a lot
and somedays I would not forget
Somedays I think a lot of you, of you, of you.
Chris von Sneidern

Somedays

Chris von Sneidern

Annalisa

Highly recommended.

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Poundcake

After the power pop band Cavedogs broke up, their drummer, Mark Rivers, formed a trio called Poundcake. Poundcake released one great power pop album back in 1996, ‘Aloha Via Satellite’. Every song on that album is fun to listen to. Here are a couple of my favorite songs from Poundcake.

I swim strong but the
current pulled me down
and now I’m sinking
I’ve done all I can on your solid ground
Save me Jesus please
from a lifetime on my knees
and I’ll never ask another thing again

Massachusetts, this is goodbye
I believe I’m ready
I take a final breath of your poison sky
forward my mail
to the belly of the whale
cuz I don’t believe I’m leaving that fish alive

but then I’m saved again
funny how the lifeboats always
come sneaking in
just in time to lower the line down
my sinking heart

poor Jonah, he had the right idea
but he couldn’t do it
Mister Limpet, I dig the way you feel
they come a looking for me
down the bottom of the sea
but I’m never gonna leave that fish alive

now I’m saved again
funny how the lifeboats always
come sneaking in
just in time to lower the line down
on my sinking heart

somebody’s steppin’ on my cloud
Poundcake

Saved Again

At the Stockade

Highly recommended.

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Curtains, Foiled Again!

Last year, my grown daughter was in the hospital twice suffering from catatonia. Although she is grown, she still lives with us because she also suffers from schizophrenia ever since she was in High School. Her room was a disaster. It was waist deep in stuffed animals and unopened shopping bags. So, while she was in the hospital for weeks, we cleaned up her room in preparation for her return.

I replaced the bed, carpet and her dresser. Got her a new chair and lowered her mounted TV. She had some old black drapes on her window that were from her gothic phase in middle school when she used to color her blonde hair black. I figured she could use a happy refresh and so I replaced her black drapes with some Hello Kitty curtains to match her blankets and some wall art that she had put up in her room. I was really happy that she liked the changes when she returned from the hospital.

So, recently retired, I’m working around the house a lot. You know, just driving my wife crazy and stuff. And I was cleaning in the second upstairs bedroom, the storage room that used to be my son’s room. The room now has some of my daughter’s things stored along with other stored stuff, and I came across my daughter’s black drapes. At first, I set them aside for our next trip to the Goodwill Store, but then I got a bright idea to reuse them in our Den.

Many years ago, when my son and daughter-in-law asked to move back in with us to save money, I had a contractor add a wall and a door to convert the open den area into a room for my Granddaughter. They had painted it yellow and decorated it all up. Some stickers with my granddaughters name and other things are still on the walls. But they moved back out when they got their own place. About six months after my transplant in October of 2019, I moved downstairs from the Master Bedroom into the Den room. I was setup for working remotely in that room since then.

In all that time, I hadn’t bothered to put up any curtains. The room had blinds on all three windows, but my daughter-in-law had only left a drape (held up by push pins?) on one of the windows. That had been fine for me. But, now I grabbed my daughter’s old black drapes and found that they fit the center window. I was thrilled at finding a good use for them and having saved money. My wife seemed unimpressed.

Suddenly, after living in the room for about two years, I now decided that I needed to get drapes for the other two windows to match my daughter’s old black ones. I took down the push pin curtains left behind and bought some black drapes and tension rods. This should be easy to do for an old man with absolutely no decorating skills and no understanding of the difference between rod pockets and grommets. Right? Wrong. It seems searching on Amazon for black, also matches blackout.

Black and blackout are not quite the same thing. These new curtains didn’t match. Also now my room was dark. Very dark. So, I ordered yet another pair of black curtains that were called “sheer” in the hopes that they might better match the old black drapes and let a little light through. Only to find that the first curtains were too dark, and the second curtains were too light. And you thought ‘Goldilocks and the Three Bears’ was just a story.

Who knew something as simple as curtains could be so complicated? It seems there are sheer and semi sheer and only god knows how sheer my daughter’s old drapes were. This was getting silly. So, two Amazon returns later, I ordered a whole set of drapes and gave my daughter’s black drapes to the Goodwill Store like I should have done in the first place.

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Linux Mint on an ASUS G17

Many years ago, I got a sweet little Dell XPS 13 laptop. It’s still a great machine, but the 13 inch screen is awful small for me now. So, I picked up an ASUS ROG Strix G17 17.3″ laptop from Costco that was on sale recently. This machine has more power, an AMD Ryzen 9-5900HX, than I really need, since I’m not a gamer.

The laptop came with Windows 10 OS, but immediately asked to update to Windows 11. I let it proceed but immediately regretted it because 11 forced me to create a Microsoft account to complete the install. I have no intention of using any of their cloud services.

After that waste of time, I created a Linux Mint 20.3 bootable USB on my Dell and loaded it on the ASUS. When I started to install, Mint informed me that I would need to create a password for Secure Boot in order to install proprietary drivers, like Nvidia. Secure Boot isn’t necessary for linux, so I went into BIOS setup advanced features and disabled it.

Next, I found that Mint installed an older 5.4 kernel which was confused by my newer hardware. The Mediatek wifi 6 wasn’t working and every keystroke brought up a shutdown panel. To get wifi working, I grabbed a old USB wifi g/n dongle using a Ralink chip that has worked with linux since 2.4.

I suffered through the full install having to hit cancel in the panel after every character. Luckily, most selections are done with the mouse which worked normally. I had read that I might need at least 5.10 kernel for my Mediatek, so I then updated the kernel to 5.13.

After reboot into 5.13 kernel, the keyboard and wifi issues were resolved and my G17 is looking pretty cool running Linux Mint 20.3 with Cinnamon Edition.

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Michelle Malone

Michelle Malone is a rock and blues singer/songwriter from Atlanta, Georgia. The next two songs are from her wonderful album ‘Beneath the Devil Moon’ released in 1997.

Once in my life
A girl learning goodbye
Daddy’s all gone
She’s standing in the drive

Dreams they rescue me
I dream away
I dream my life away
Gone away, gone away, gone away

I’m staring out the window
A million miles away
Blue suede
No fires for the widow
No flowers did she lay
Blue suede

Once in my life
Had a brother who had me
He may have gone
But he will never leave, leave me

From down there
Was nothing I could do
Lie down there
Or crawl back in the room
There was no room

Michelle Malone

Blue Suede

You hand me life to hold on to
I’ve got a lock without a clue
I’ve got a guitar but I haven’t got any blues
You drove your car into the rail
Hey, little star, your engine failed
You lack the luster, dull and pale
But still I cannot shine for you

I’ve got a garden where I am growing patients
And my green thumb has become… has come undone
I’ve got a garden and I am growing impatient
And my green thumb has become

Talk to me, that’s what you came to do
You just stand there without a clue
I’ve got a guitar but I’ve got no diagnosis for you
Space invader, little quasar
Oh, how I wonder what you are
You can’t get where you’re going to
Still I cannot take you

I’ve got a spot out back where I’ve taken my shovel
I’ve got a spot out back that’s taking all of my time
I’ve got a plot out back if I should run into trouble

So don’t give me anything to hold
You keep your diary in bold
I never said I wanted to
But you just assumed…
Michelle Malone

My Green Thumb

The next two songs are from Michelle’s 1999 release on her own SBS Records label, ‘Home Grown’. This album leans more into acoustic guitar driven folk/pop music.

Avalon

Havasu Falls

Highly recommended.

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Raspberries

The Raspberries are a Cleveland Ohio pop rock band and are often considered one of the founding fathers of power pop, along with other 70’s bands like Badfinger and Big Star. Their crunchy guitar energy and hard hitting drumming combined with lovely melodies and harmonies were major inspirations for countless bands that followed over subsequent decades.

The combination of Eric Carmen’s amazing vocals and melodies with Wally Bryson’s great guitar work makes this band one of my all-time favorites. Their first self-titled album released in 1972 included one of the songs, ‘Go All The Way’ often included near the top of every power pop lover’s list of favorite songs, including mine.

Go All The Way

This next song from the same album gives an early glimpse of the softer ballad driven direction, that Eric would later focus on for much of his later successful solo career.

I Saw the Light

The next two songs are from the Raspberries second and highest charting album, ‘Fresh’, also released in 1972.

I Wanna Be With You

Nobody Knows

The next two songs are from the Raspberries third album, ‘Side 3’. Although, these first six examples of Raspberries musics were all written by Eric Carmen, all of their first three albums also include songs written by Wally Bryson and Dave Smalley. Wally and Dave also shared lead vocals giving all the Raspberries albums a lot of depth and variety.

Ecstacy

Tonight

Bassist Dave Smalley and drummer Jim Bonfanti left the band after Side 3. So, Scott McCarl and drummer Michael McBride joined the band for the next album. Like Smalley before, Scott contributed to the songwriting and lead vocals on the the Raspberries great last album, the hard rocking ‘Starting Over’, released in 1974.

Play On (Carmen/McCarl)

Party’s Over (Bryson)

Highly recommended.

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a round tuit

Ten to fifteen years ago, I discovered that the hardwired fire alarms in our home had “expired” and required replacement. Some sort of radioactive thingy in the alarm gets old or something. I think that was the excuse. This despite the fact that most radioactive thingys that I’m aware of last for hundreds or thousands of years.

So, I took down all the expired alarms and tried to find plug-in replacements. Should be easy, right? People must do it all the time, right? But, it wasn’t easy. I couldn’t find anything with the right plug. So, being too lazy to rewire and clumsy enough to electrocute myself, I bought some battery powered units and mounted them instead. This left five dangling plugs in the ceiling of our home.

Now, as any good procrastinator knows, if you wait long enough, many jobs on your to-do list become obsolete. However, these dangling plugs didn’t seem to be going anywhere. So, periodically I would search online for a fire alarm with a matching plug or an adapter. My wife never complained about the ongoing wiring situation, but it did bother me a little. So, I would search. I am known to work pretty hard to avoid working. In fact, I always claimed this tendency made me a good programmer because I would automate anything that I had to do more than once.

Unfortunately, most fire alarms I’ve found don’t actually show good pictures of their connector. No picture of the back of the alarm and when you look at a blister package at the store, the back is covered up. How do they expect me to know what is compatible? Well, yes, sometimes there are lists of compatible models, but I’ve long since tossed my old alarms and don’t actually remember the manufacturer or model number anymore. So, my searches often turned into the frustration of looking at lots and lots of images trying to find a matching plug.

Of course, I could just go into a hardware store and ask for help, but that is like admitting defeat. In the meantime, Lowe’s bought out and closed our helpful local OSH store and asking for help in our local Home Depot is like getting lost in a big city and asking for help where everyone ignores you and those that do notice you don’t speak your language.

Meanwhile, since switching to those convenient battery powered fire alarms, enough time passed that they also expired. Being clever, I thought, I bought the exact same model number as a replacement. That should be an easy update, right? It should just work, but it didn’t. I found that the new versions didn’t fit on the same mounting screws. Why? I don’t know, but the Company had decided to change the separation distance (but not the model number?) for no obvious reason other than to frustrate me and force me to make more holes in my wall to remount them.

But, I digress. Back to my long dangling ceiling hardwired fire alarm connections. At one point, maybe six or seven years ago. I bought a hardwired unit that claimed that it included multiple adapters for all competing brands of fire alarms. That should work, right? Well, it did have multiple adapters. However, it seems my discontinued model was no longer a competitor. So, the package with multiple adapters sat on my dresser for some time as I pondered life, the universe, and everything else that should just work but doesn’t.

A couple of years ago, after my major surgery, I was inspired to map out the circuits in our home. It seems our circuit box has a half dozen or so circuits that were cleverly, but mysteriously, labeled simply, “lights and plugs”. No room or floor included? Our electrician may have had a sense of humor. However, this labeling was not very useful or informative in the grand scheme of things. And, no circuit was labeled “fire alarms”. Zip. Nada. Since we’ve lived here for over twenty-five years, you might wonder why it took me so long to discover this. If so, you don’t really know me that well, do you.

So, anyway, now that I’m retired and actually am bored enough to stop coming up with all my good reasons, I mean excuses, for not fixing my hardwired alarms, I decided to tackle this to-do item. Searching online again, I found that the Kidde fire alarm connector plug was “close” to ours. Would it work? So, I ordered one and got it today to try out before ordering more.

First, I checked the wiring and found that the three wires matched. Hot and neutral were in the same position. Yes! The only difference was the shape of a nonfunctional plastic piece. I grew excited, years (okay, decades) of patiently and strategically waiting for an easy plug-in solution was about to pay off as I explained to my skeptical wife.

Next, I checked the mount. Felgercarb. It was different and would not work. So, I swallowed my pride, dug out a screw driver and swapped in the new mount. Then, I held my breath as I pushed the plug connector together. This … was … going … to … work.

No. “Missed it by that much!” as Maxwell Smart would say. The three prongs fit and the alarm chirped in joy at connecting, but the two pieces of plastic that would lock the connectors together were shifted by just enough to not fit. Double Felgercarb. What twisted engineer with a fiendish sense of humor would do such a thing. And why?

Okay, so I was forced to step back in consternation. To make this work, I could just break off the locking tabs and shove the thing together with brute force laughing, “Ha ha.” I was tempted, but since I knew the fire alarm circuit, I submitted to defeat and to finally rewiring the darn alarms. Turning off the circuit breaker and testing to be sure I wouldn’t electrocute myself, I unscrewed the new mount and rewired. It only took a few minutes to do. Another job well done. Well, it will be, but I have four more to do now. It’s on my to-do list.

Many long years ago my father constructed and gave me a strange round tool. It looked a little like a circular slide rule made of heavy weight construction paper or cardboard with multple movable pieces with graduated lines and numbers on each ring. On the center were the words “a round tuit”. Unlike the slide rule he once also gave me, my father never instructed me how to use this tool. I wonder what point my father was trying to make to me?

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Doug Powell

American power pop songwriter/musician, Doug Powell, has been on many recording labels, including Parasol, but I first became aware of his talent with his two releases on the Not Lame Recording label which focused on power pop.

I have Doug’s first album, ‘Ballad of the Tin Men’, released on the Mercury label and his next two albums released on Not Lame, ‘Curiouser’ and ‘More’, but it looks like he has released a lot of music since then that I don’t have and haven’t heard yet. After the Not Lame label ceased operation in 2010, my years of buying lots of power pop CD’s also wound down.

The following song, ‘Torn’, was on both the Not Lame compilation album, ‘Nashpop’, and on the 1999 release of ‘Curiouser’.

Kiss me quick
I’m seeing double
And I’m waiting for you

I’ve no beginning and I’ve no ends
and in between I’m waiting..
for you

Little Gods fall from the sky
and I’m waiting for you

sometimes it’s blue
sometimes it’s brown
sometimes I don’t even look
and I’m waiting for you

Can’t you see
All the lillies spinning in the field
Everyone the only one in the World
Somewhere it’s Heaven
And I’m torn
Somewhere it’s Heaven
And I’m torn

I cut myself on your silhouette
And I’m waiting for you
I wrap myself in cellophane again
And I’m waiting for you

I know I don’t reach you
And sometimes I try
And I’m waiting for you
My heart is shaped like a teardrop in Summer
And I’m waiting for you
Doug Powell

Torn

Highly recommended.

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Baby Lemonade

‘Baby Lemonade’ is a neo-psychedelic pop band from California. My favorite album is ‘Exploring Music’ which was released in 1998 and produced by the Wondermints. At times ethereal and dreamy, and at other times very power pop, this album was a favorite in my CD player when it came out.

in the darkness, close my eyes
and sleep away the days
and traitors are forgiven
the stars align and all the time is gone
and they say its not worth sleeping after dawn

(I was stuck in a space and time)
if you give me time then I’d know what to do
(loving a heart that was so unkind)
if you were in my shoes I would wait for you
so long, so long

in the morning we rub our eyes
and see the world outside
the sun is just a reminder
of all the times you’d wish that it would fall
we find we’re only sleeping after all

I just wanted to give myself
A gift that I could use
then you start your contemplating
it’s not a very complicated song

in the darkness we find out
what we hate about ourselves
I try to sleep with the light on
and fade away in the haze of a dying spark
I never know I miss you until its dark
Rusty Squeezebox and Mike Randle

So Long

Greenboat

Highly recommended.

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Dance Romance

Her dancing movements had me mesmerized
And my defense systems became compromised

I imagined us meeting in a Hallmark romance
Where we fall in love as she teaches me to dance

Our bodies so close together in fluid motion
As I dare to whisper of my eternal devotion

But we are interrupted just as we almost kiss
And my one chance at true love I then miss

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Anne Preven

Ednaswap was a Los Angeles California grunge rock band fronted by singer/songwriter Anne Previn. Their last album, ‘Wonderland Park’, released in 1998, however, was beautiful melodic pop. Unfortunately, the band disbanded after this great overlooked album. Anne and Scott did briefly work together as Annetenna after Ednaswap on an unreleased pop album that is also worth digging up.

Anne Preven and Scott Cutler of Ednaswap are perhaps best known as co-writers of the big debut hit ‘Torn’ covered by Australian Natalie Imbruglia (and many other artists). Ednaswap also made several recordings of Torn. Here is my favorite version.

I thought I saw a man brought to life
Yeah, he was warm, he came around like he was dignified
He showed me what it was to cry
Well you couldn’t be that man I adored
You don’t seem to know or seem to care what your heart is for
But I don’t know him anymore
There’s nothing where he used to lie
My conversation has run dry
That’s whats going on, nothing’s fine I’m torn

I’m all out of faith, this is how I feel
I’m cold and I am shamed lying naked on the floor
Illusion never changed into something real
I’m wide awake and I can see the perfect sky is torn
You’re a little late, I’m already torn
Scott Cutler, Anne Preven, Phil Thornalley

Torn

Back in the late 1990s, I would memorize names of little known power pop bands and artists from Not Lame newsletters and from recommendations on a mailing list of fan’s of power pop, called Audities. Then I would search the discount bins of CDs at Amoeba Music in Berkeley (and every other record store in the Bay area) to try to find overlooked albums from my list. These bands I was searching for were not big names and were often very hard to find.

I would also buy cheap CDs that just looked interesting. I remember that I was on the floor of the Amoeba digging through CDs when Anne’s legs on the cover of ‘Wonderland Park’ caught my attention. Ednaswap was not something I was searching for, but I bought the album on a whim with a stack of others. I usually bought a dozen or so of 99 cent CDs at a time. What a great find that day, if not for the best of reasons. Every song on the ‘Wonderland Park’ album is very good.

Supernatural

Without Within

74 Willow

Safety Net

Highly recommended.

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Jane Wiedlin

Jane Wiedlin is an American singer/songwriter, musician and actress. Jane came to my attention as a member of one of my favorite new wave bands, the Go-Go’s. She was the rhythm guitarist and co-wrote some of their songs. After the Go-Go’s break up, Jane went on to some solo pop rock and acting success.

Of most interest to me, Jane also briefly fronted a great pop punk group called froSTed which released one really cool album in 1996, ‘Cold.’ The album wasn’t a commercial success but did get some good critical reviews. I really liked the energy of the group and I thought it was great to see Jane leaning closer to her punk roots. I was very disappointed that Jane and the group only released the one album.

Here are froSTed in a video for ‘Call Me Crazy’ with Jane rocking hard and looking crazy good.

Call Me Crazy

My heart is
Brotherly love abandoned
It’s hand to mouth
Selling blood
Will work for food
Invisible to you

Look in my eyes
Couldn’t you guess?
My heart is not like me
My heart is homeless

My heart is
Dirty and worn and windburned
It’s despairing
And discarded
Vanished years ago
Hit the road, hit the road

Look in my eyes (no, don’t look)
Couldn’t you guess? (it isn’t me)
My heart is not like me
My heart is homeless
Jane Wiedlin

Homeless

Jane co-wrote this next song with talented fellow former Go-Go’s member Charlotte Caffey.

One thing’s for sure
I’m not alone no more
Nothing they taught me
Works like it did before

When I look back on my life
I feel like a whore
Look what being nice got me

There’s a has-been’s, wanna-be’s
Never want their kids to see’s
All in a line
Where does that leave me?
(Where does that leave me?)
Dis-integrated
(Where does that leave me?)
Dis-integrated

One thing’s for sure
I’ve about had my fill
And I don’t want to play
King of the hill

I just get drunk and think about
The people I’d like to kill
Cause look what being nice got me
Charlotte Caffey / Jane Wiedlin

Dis-integrated

Highly recommended. Call me crazy, but I know what I like.

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Gigolo Aunts

The Gigolo Aunts are an American power pop band that first came to my attention with their 1999 album release of ‘Minor Chords and Major Themes.’ The following are a couple of my favorite songs from that album. The first song was co-written with the band by Jane Wiedlin of the Go-Go’s.

I want to go back
I want to go home
I had everything planned
Now I don’t understand
Why I feel so alone
I don’t recognize this place
But I’ve been here before
I let it all go
Now I don’t even know
What I came here for

‘Cause everything, everything is wrong
And all my faith, all my faith is gone
Once there was a time
When I thought I was strong
Now everything, everything is wrong

I figured it out
Or so I said
But then I found
When I put it all down
It was all in my head
And now I want to go back
Give up this fight
I’m feeling weak
I’m too tired to sleep
And nothing feels right
Dave Gibbs / Jane Wiedlin / Steve Hurley

Everything is Wrong

Saw her in my coffee cup today
Smiling in that photogenic way

For a moment
I thought I should hesitate, contemplate
For a moment
Then stir her away

Thought I heard a voice above the fray
Down in Central Square as if to say

For a moment
Take the time to memorize the perfect size
For a moment
Then store it away, away, away, away…

‘Cause I’ve been standing in these shoes awhile
And I’ve been growing really tired of
Minor chords with major themes
And staring at the ceiling beams
And cloying movies choke me up
And sentiment keeps spilling down the cup
Dave Gibbs / Steve Hurley

For a Moment

Highly recommended.

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barbie dolls in battle

When my daughter was young, I would sometimes come home to a pile of naked Barbie dolls in the center of her room. I would sit down on the floor and help her dress them all back up. I don’t really know how girls play with Barbie dolls. Is it all about the clothes and shoes? When I was young, you would never find all my GI Joe’s in such a compromising situation after a day of battle.
Dad

she plays with my emotions like childhood barbie dolls
stripping them down and exposing their hidden shortfalls

she takes my words apart to analyze their construction
and leaves them in a naked pile of utter destruction

she’s undefeated in battle at playing her mind games
until the war is finally over and nothing much remains

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Wondermints

The Wondermints were a California power pop band formed by big fans of Brian Wilson and they went on to become part of Brian’s touring band. The guitar player, Nicky Wonder, died in 2019 at 59.

Here are the first two lovely tunes from their first self-titled album released in 1995. I’m not sure how often I listened to the whole album, because I always pressed the repeat button on my CD player to hear these songs over and over.

I wanted to give my soul to you
I thought I could feel you pulling me through

The dna is pretty – you know it makes me smile
The oxygen is plenty – don’t touch that dial

I thought I could make it, but only with you
I wished I could bake it – if only I could

The dna is pretty – you know it makes her smile.
The jellyhead is singing – don’t ask her why

Oceans old
From a river flow
Forever slip away…

I wanted to give my soul to you
I thought I could feel you pulling me through

The dna is pretty – you know it made me smile
The oxygen is plenty – don’t touch that dial
The dna is pretty – you know it made her smile
The jellyhead is singing – don’t ask her why
The dna is pretty – you know it made us smile
The trilobite is swimming inside our mind
Nick Walusko and Sahanaja

Proto Pretty

Came the day I saw her walking on the water
I was sinking in the sand
And I thought I caught her
But she was a little out of hand.

She’s in a citadel that she built on her own
She let her hair down for me

Wish I’d keep her only locked away just for me
But she’s already doing time
She’s a concrete flower
Squeezing in the hour ’til you’re gone

You’re in a citadel that you built on your own
Just let your hair down for me – your hair down for me
Could be a million reasons
But you found just one – just one
Fleur-de-lis frozen lily
Fleur-de-lis frozen lily

Silent sands are pouring, patiently ignoring
The minutes sliding into years
From the time I lost her
Through the door of summer where she remains…
Forever out there
Fleur-de-lis frozen lily
Nick Walusko

Fleur-de-Lis

Highly recommended. Trilobites are always swimming in my mind.

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Ricky Nelson

Actor and musician Ricky Nelson got his start on the popular Ozzie and Harriet radio and television show with his family. The TV show only ran until 1966, so it seems likely that my memories of watching it are from its later syndication.

In 1961 Nelson released a double A-side single with two of my favorite songs, the hits ‘Traveling Man’ (written by Jerry Fuller) and ‘Hello Mary Lou’ (written by Gene Pitney).

Traveling Man

Hello Mary Lou

Ricky had a lot of success on the pop charts with his taste for uptempo rockabilly and his smooth vocal ballads before switching to country rock in his twenties. About a decade later, Rick would write his own last top 40 hit song ‘Garden Party’ about an experience he had at a live concert.

I went to a garden party to reminisce with my old friends
A chance to share old memories and play our songs again
When I got to the garden party, they all knew my name
No one recognized me, I didn’t look the same

But it’s all right now, I learned my lesson well
You see, ya can’t please everyone, so ya got to please yourself
Rick Nelson

Garden Party

Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987, Rick Nelson.

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Eddie Cochran

Tragically songwriter/singer/musician Eddie Cochran only lived to be 21. This great pioneer of rock and rockabilly only released one album during his short life, but still had a major impact on rock and roll. Here are three of my very favorite Cochran co-written songs. Eddie was a unique talent.

I’m a-gonna raise a fuss
I’m a-gonna raise a holler
About workin’ all summer
Just-a trying to earn a dollar

Every time I call my baby
Try to get a date
My boss says “No dice, son
You gotta work late”

Sometimes I wonder
What I’m a-gonna do
But there ain’t no cure
For the summertime blues
Jerry Capehart & Eddie Cochran

Summertime Blues

A look a-there, here she comes
Here comes that girl again
Wanted to date her since I don’t know when
But she don’t notice me when I pass
She goes with all the guys from outta my class
But that can’t stop me from a-thinkin’ to myself
She’s sure fine lookin’, man, she’s something else
eddie cochran, BOB COCHRAN, SHARI K. SHEELEY

Something Else

Ah well, c’mon everybody and let’s get together tonight
I got some money in my jeans and I’m really gonna spend it right
Well, I’ve been doin’ my homework all week long
And now the house is empty and the folks are gone
Hooo! C’mon, everybody!
Eddie Cochran & Jerry Capehart

C’mon Everbody

Highly recommended. Man, it’s something else!

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once put together

Dear, let’s go for a walk on the beach
And feel the wet sand between our toes
Or go hiking on high mountain trails
Where hardly anyone goes

We can watch children play in a public park
Then stay up late for an intimate talk
And together we can hold hands
On a long romantic sunset walk

Can you hear the beautiful music playing?
Together, we should dance the night away
Tomorrow, I will write love songs for you
And then sing them to you night and day

Confide in me your thoughts and dreams
And allow me into your tender heart
Our two souls are the kind of close fit
That once put together can never come apart

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Bernard Herrmann

Bernard Herrmann is my favorite soundtrack composer. He doesn’t force his music onto a film, he composes unique music that truly matches and supports the film. I first learned of Herrmann because I was buying some of my favorite soundtrack CDs and his name kept coming up over and over again.

For ‘The Ghost and Mrs Muir’, Herrmann came up with a hauntingly beautiful soundtrack that was perfect for this movie about impossible romantic love. This soundtrack is perhaps my favorite music from of all of Herrmann’s many wonderful works. What follows is just a short selection from the soundtrack.

I enjoyed all the Ray Harryhausen movies as a kid, but the Seventh Voyage of Sinbad was always my favorite. I especially loved the music. The next two tracks are taken from the Phase 4 stereo album ‘The Fantasy Film World Of Bernard Herrmann’ with Bernard Herrmann conducting The National Philharmonic Orchestra. I remember buying and listening to this album a lot before I later found the full sountrack versions on CD. What lovely cover art, too, I remember holding the album and staring at the cover as I listened and my mind drifted off into my own fantasies.

The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad

Herrmann also scored the unique music for my all time favorite science fiction film, ‘The Day the Earth Stood Still’ (the original black and white masterpiece, not the remake).

Klaatu barada nikto.
Helen speaking to Gort

The Day the Earth Stood Still

Highly recommended. I’ve focused on his fantasy and sci-fi soundtracks, because of my love for that genre, but don’t let that limit your listening experience. Bernard Herrmann composed a lot of great music.

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The Grays

‘The Grays’ only came together as a power pop band for one album, ‘Ro Sham Bo’, which was released in 1994. The album was critically acclaimed but a commercial failure. They disbanded and the album went out-of-print. According to stories about the start of the band, it was somewhat of a reluctant accident in the first place. Regardless of how the band came to be, they sure made some great music together during their short existence.

The band included multiple talented musicians and singer/songwriters. Jon Brion was previously in the new wave band “‘Til Tuesday” (with Amiee Mann). Jason Falkner was previously in the power pop band, ‘Jellyfish’. Buddy Judge and Dan McCarroll rounded out the band, but I don’t know anything of their prior history.

Their label, Sony/Epic, only made one video for the album, but it is a good one. Here is The Gray’s video for the Jason Falkner composition of ‘Very Best Years’.

Okay, it started a long time ago
When I was a little boy
Sometimes, a little one don’t do what he’s told
And mother puts back his toy

Yes there is something you can do my love
Won’t you help me through these troubled times
And serve to remind, that everything is gonna be alright
Despite my fighting bitter tears
These are the very best years
Jason Falkner

Very Best Years

Maybe there’s hope for what we shared
Though I’m not sure
And if there was
We never dared to take the cure

So come on say bye bye now
So long say bye bye now
We’re better off somehow
So long say bye bye now
Jon Brion

Nothing Between Us

She thinks that nothing is the matter
She thinks that nothing could be wrong
Oh yeah she might have something there
But I don’t think that she’s aware
What she’s got is nothing
We’ve got nothing
And nothing can tear us apart
Buddy Judge

Nothing

Here is rare live video of The Grays playing an acoustic in-store promo set at a Tower Records (remember Tower Records and all the great record stores?). It is so ultra cool to be able to see them playing together like this.

Highly recommended.

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