Thursday, May 28, 2009

GMVW # 73: "Deep in the Heart of Texas"

Gem Music Video of the Week # 73:  Deep in the Heart of Texas
Song:  Willie the Wimp by Bill Carter and Ruth Ellsworth
Covered Here By: Stevie Ray Vaughn
(Songwriters: Bill Carter and Ruth Ellsworth)
May 28, 2009

When debating over the top cities in the US to see live music, New Orleans, Nashville, Austin, New York, Boston, Chicago, and San Francisco are on most everyone’s list.  I’ve been lucky enough to see live local music in all of these cities.  As for top dog status, New Orleans was the most overtly musical, reflecting it’s world-renowned reputation.  One circumstance in particular that made this most clear to me was when I was in Mobile Alabama and caught an amazingly in-synch New Orleans rock band that had to commute the two plus hours east to get a regular gig.  

Certainly, New Orleans is tough to beat when it comes to live music, but for me, Austin Texas runs a close second.  Perhaps because it was not as expected as when I visited ‘The Big Easy’ and other music Mecca’s, but whatever the reason, I was blown away by the Austin music scene.  After seeing it first hand, it’s hard to dispute Austin’s claim that on any given night 100 bands are playing at one time.  There was so much sound emanating out of the multitude of tightly packed clubs on 6th Street, that at first it was difficult to comprehend how you could get enough to hear just one band at a time.  And 6th Street is only part of the story, with many other sections of the city boasting great venues as well.  This is all capped off with the 30-years-running Austin City Limits concerts.  Shawn Colvin, Patti Griffin, Charlie Sexton, Willie Nelson, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, and ‘The Butthole Surfers’ (tie for most eye-popping band name along with ‘The Dead Milkmen’) all have roots in Austin.

One work trip I took to Austin in the mid 90’s was just before Christmas and since I was way behind on my shopping, I was talked into an evening excursion to a place called the Armadillo, which had years before been the scene of many great performances from Janis Joplin to Bruce Springsteen.  The large warehouse-like structure was now the scene of an annual ‘Christmas bazaar’, with hundreds of small booths showcasing a wide range of gift choices. And yet, as I discovered when I got there, the music had not entirely abandoned the building. 

Smack dab in the middle was a stage, and performing on it, a fantastic live band.  Beer was the main item on the menu, which you were free to take with you as you roamed the booths.  This was a shopper tag-along’s (guy’s) dream come true.  When I was done at least an hour ahead of the scheduled reconvening, I found myself killing ‘mall’ time in an unusually enjoyable way (like anyone with mall phobia, I turn into a pumpkin in 2 hours at best > picture The Robot in ‘Lost in Space’ after Dr. Smith pulls his power pack):  I sat and watched live music, beer in hand.  Looking around, I noticed that I was surrounded by a number of other solo-sitting gents, and concluded they were each likely waiting for a significant other to finish shopping.  Compared to guys I see in the bland malls around here, however, these fellows looked content.  They were smiling.  So was I.

This week’s Gem is of one of the most revered musicians of the Austin music scene, Stevie Ray Vaughn.  The song, ‘Willie the Wimp’ (written by 2 other Austin natives, Bill Carter and Ruth Ellsworth) tells the true story of a Chicago gangster’s rather unique funeral.  I’ve included the lyrics below.  The ‘Austin Sound’, particularly Vaughn’s virtuoso guitar playing, is clearly evident in this live performance.

The night Stevie Ray Vaughn died in a helicopter crash (August, 1990) I was in Brussels, Belgium with Nancy and Bob’s brother, Pete, at a Jonathan Richman show.  Jonathan dedicated several songs that night to Stevie Ray Vaughn.  I was a bit surprised.  Richman and Vaughn are two musical personas I would never associate with one another, but, as with all great musicians, a common thread was there in the music.  I should have known…it’s always there.

Below the Gem is a great link (practically a Gem in itself, so I will call it Gem 73.5), the Sir Douglas Quintet performing ’Mendocino’.  Jeff Strause (who was an Austin resident for many a year, and who knew the scene inside out) recently alerted me to the fact that Sir Douglas Quintet leader, Doug Sahm, was a Texas native and cut his musical teeth there.  He was also a mover and shaker in the Austin scene later (he fled Texas for California in the mid 60’s, claiming cultural repression, and did a cover story for Rolling Stone magazine on the topic in 1970).

The final link is Stevie Ray Vaughn’s rendition of ‘Mary Had a Little Lamb’, a Bob Bouvier favorite.

- Pete

Gem Music Video ‘Willie the Wimp’

Gem 73.5 ‘Mendocino’

‘Mary Had a Little Lamb’

Lyrics to ‘Willie the Wimp’

“ Willie the Wimp was buried today,
They laid him to rest in a special way.
Sent him off in the finest style
That casket-mobile really drove 'em wild
Southside Chicago will think of him often
Talkin' 'bout Willie the Wimp and his Cadillac coffin,
Willie the Wimp and his Cadillac coffin

That casket, it looked like a fine Seville
He had a vanity license and a Cadillac grille
Willie was propped up in the driver's seat
He had diamonds on his fingers and a smile sweet
Fine red suit had the whole town talkin'
Talkin' 'bout Willie the Wimp and his Cadillac coffin
Willie the Wimp and his Cadillac coffin

Oh, Cadillac to Heaven he was wavin' the banner
He left like he lived, in a lively manner
With a-hundred dollar bills in his fingers tight
He had flowers for wheels and a-flashin' headlights
He been wishin' for wings, no way he was walkin'
Talkin' 'bout Willie the Wimp and his Cadillac coffin
Yeah, Willie the Wimp and his Cadillac coffin “

About the Video:  A very nice live version.  It appears to be professionally done in the late 80’s

Video Rating: 1.5 (Very good performance, but footage could be better)

Best Feedback: Jeff
Hi Pete.  You picked a nice Doug song, that one and Shes About a Mover are my favorites.   On the Armadillo thing though, they tore down the original building which was an armory prior to the Armadillo World Headquarters, and built a hirise on the spot after shutting it down in the early 80s  I have some pictures of it.  I only lived in Austni from 79-81 but spent lots of time there between 78 and 87. You got me though in that I have never been to the Armadillo Xmas bazaar, and have often thought about going down there just for it, as a lot of people I really like play it.

I have half a mind to make a quick bike trip up to MA this weekend. The Nields are playing Arlo's church, and Mike Merenda & Ruthy Ungar are playing the following night in Great Barrington.  These two were a part of the Mammals and are great musicians.

I don't know if I'll make it but if I do and Sunday is decent weater I may be able to make a quick trip over to Groton/Pepperell/Nashua.

And Fred:


Another great one.  I was in New Orleans two years ago and the music scene blew me away.  One bar rock, the next jazz, the next country, the next blues, the next R&B.......I cant wait to get back.  I also LOVED Memphis, which is a smaller version of NO.  Lets put it on the list....

Thursday, May 21, 2009

GMVW # 72: "Catch 22"

Gem Music Video of the Week # 72:  Catch 22
Song:  Nothin’ by Townes Van Zandt
(Songwriter: Townes Van Zandt)
May 21, 2009

Although we experienced many things in common, as with any generation, there is much that divides the baby boomers. It's probably for the best, since variety is said to be the spice of life.  And yet, the range of viewpoints in the boomer generation has been striking at times.

It may have started with music, and the differences were most pronounced between the soft rock listeners and classic rockers (for lack of a better term).  You could always tell in which of the two corners someone stood by thumbing through their album collection. A collection was either dominated with albums by bands like Chicago, The Jackson Five, The Carpenters, Billy Joel, the Eagles, Air Supply, Neil Diamond, Anne Murray, Roberta Flack, and disco, or it was dominated with albums by bands like the Kinks, Jefferson Airplane, Led Zeppelin, The Who, the Pretenders, the Stones, the Doors, Dylan, Hendrix, Bowie, Neil Young, and punk.  There was rarely overlap.  The musicians of both genres dabbled in the music styles of the other (take Zep’s ‘All of my Love’ for instance), but once a musician/band was associated with one of these two camps, they were branded for life. 

Me?  ‘Classic’ rock, all the way (if not yet completely obvious).  One of the big reasons for this is that I’ve always perceived classic rockers as being more honest with lyrics and emotions.  This includes a willingness of these musicians to explore (and consequently expose rather than ignore) the not-so-sunny side of life.  Several gems have already showcased this subject matter, as it has certainly been proven (at least to these ears) that many of the most brilliant, heartfelt, survive-the-test-of-time songs are downer songs.  Prime examples are the songs on Pink Floyd’s magnum opus ‘Dark Side of the Moon’.  Few albums have delved deeper into darkness (in this case, mental illness, conflict, futility) than this one.  However, the exceptional music and lyrics kept it a top selling chart album for decades (a record 741 weeks in the Billboard 200). Roger Waters has stated that one of his goals when writing the songs for the album was to show empathy with others less fortunate. Clearly, people connected: Songs to commiserate with have always been an important cornerstone of what makes rock music so great. 

Other 'downer' albums that come to mind include several of Dylan’s most recent (and excellent) albums (‘Time out of Mind’, ‘Love and Theft’, ‘Modern Times’), The Who’s ‘By Numbers’, Green Day’s ‘American Idiot’, Neil Young’s ‘Tonight’s the Night’ and most anything by Lou Reed, The Clash, Richard Manuel, and ‘Rage Against the Machine’.

Success through an exploration of the darker side of human nature is nothing new:  The writing of Shakespeare, the oratory of Robespierre, the productions of Norman Lear, and the ambitions of Albert Speer are all proof of this.  I include the latter, not only for the rhyme, but to make a point.  Albert Speer was a member of Nazi Germany’s inner circle, and artistic innovation should never be attributed with that mob:  The reason being that the Nazi’s primary motivation was hatred, and nothing good can come from that emotion. Other dark emotions, including depression, can still make room for artistic creativity, but not hatred.  Like any society/individual motivated by hate, the Nazis had to beg, borrow, and steal for art, including train-loads of museum heisted paintings, and the bastardization of American Jazz (has anyone ever heard the Nazi version of ‘Bye, Bye, Blackbird’? > changing the title {‘Bye, Bye, Empire’} and the lyrics to gloat over the temporary collapse of the British Empire in the early 40’s during WWII?). 

Contrast that with this week’s Gem: The word ‘good’ in all it’s definitions can often be associated with songs in Townes Van Zandt’s catalog, including Gem # 72, “ Nothin’ ”.  It’s one of those downer songs, and certainly expresses emotions I hope to never experience, but it’s a Gem regardless.  And not simply because it a great song, but like many songs with depressing topics, it can be oddly uplifting, particularly in times of trial and tribulation. 

In the song ‘Breath’ on 'Dark Side of the Moon', there’s a line written by Waters: “Don’t be afraid to care”, and in this regard, Townes Van Zandt rarely held back. I don't pretend to be a connoisseur of his music, but what I've heard connects.

For those in that other camp (and everyone in general), I’m including for the first time in months a ‘Gem Light’ (with a third less calories than your regular Gem), Elton John’s ‘Sad Songs’….perhaps needed to recover from Van Zandt.

- Pete

Gem Video of the Week...Townes Van Zandt's Nothin’

Gem Light:  ‘Sad Songs’

About the Video:  This is labeled a Townes Van Zandt ‘Private Concert’.  He’s sitting on a couch.  It’s an excellent live version of this striking song.

Video Rating: 1

Best Feedback: Jeff

I've stood around campfires with Townes present at Kerrville, the 3 week festival that starts today.  I have missed it many years now as other priorities interceded, but wish I could go.  I am going to a festival in western MD tomorrow, Delfest, which has a bunch of hot bluegrass stuff and others, Del McCoury, Peter Rowan, Sam Bush, Olabelle, Crooked Still, and more.

Anyway, I got to see Townes a good number of times, from little pub pass the hat type places to bigger festivals.  I have a pretty good sized collection of live recordings, 50-75 maybe, and just a couple I recorded.  Wish I could have been recording more in the 70s and 80s from the great stuff I saw in Texas.  I have a few dvds of Townes as well, one of them is pretty good quality I will try and make you one of these days.

Have a good Mem day and I will talk to you later.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

GMVW # 71: "A Gender Blunder"

Gem Music Video of the Week # 71:  A Gender Blunder
Song:  Come in from the Cold by Joni Mitchell
(Songwriter: Joni Mitchell)
May 14, 2009

Seeing as my birthday is during the summer, I’ve had the privilege of celebrating it while camping on numerous occasions.  One such occasion took place about 16 years ago at a campground on the northern end of Aquidneck Island in Rhode Island (the same island that Newport is on).  Joining Nancy and I were Jen, Dale, Mom, and Dad (along with a party-crashing skunk). 

As we sat around the campfire, Jen pulled out a wrapped gift and handed it to me.   The shape immediately gave it away as a cd, so we decided I would try to guess the album in a game of ‘Twenty Questions’ (yes/no).  I started off on the right foot, as the first question “Is this a band?” helped narrow things down significantly (although it got a ‘No’ response from Jen).

But it all went down hill from there.  The ensuing exchange went something like this:

Me: “Is he a guitar player?”
Jen (hesitating for a moment): “No”
Me: “Did he release any albums in the 60’s or 70’s?”
Jen (hesitating again): “No”
Me: “Does he write his own music?”
Jen (with a wry smile): “No”
Me (feeling a bit stymied): “Does he play piano?”
Jen (an intense stare): “No”
Me: (on the verge of giving up): “A cappella?”
Jen: “No”
Me: “Does he play the skin flute?”
Jen: “No”
Me “…..Is he a schmuck?” (I may have used a harsher word rhyming with ‘grass knoll’)
Jen: “No”

Alas, I was not going to make it to the 20th question; I was stumped, and flatly admitted it.  Defeated and very curious, I opened the present.  It was Joni Mitchell’s ‘Court and Spark’.  This was a surprising, yet ideal choice of Jen’s, as I had recently read a great article on Mitchell’s career which included high praise for this album. But at that moment, I realized the error in my ways:  All my questions were ‘HE’ questions.  I shrunk into my folding chair…..squeak.

Jen took it in good humor, but this moment was cause for reflection on my part.  The exchange had me thinking almost immediately on my musical interest in regards to guys vs. gals.  On the one hand, I felt defiant in the fact that many a moon in those days were spent listening to great albums by 10,000 Maniacs, The Cranberries, Iris Dement, Patty Larkin and Joan Baez .  But on the other hand, I recalled the 2-decade stretch of listing to WBCN. 

Not to take away from WBCN’s tremendous contributions to local culture in the 70’s and 80’s but the fact remains that the bulk of the music played on the station was from male artists.  When the occasional song from females was sprinkled in, these songs were played over and over again ad nausea.  For example, after years of repetition, I was no longer willing to put any more dimes into the juke box (baby).  Hits from Joan Jett, Heart, and Stevie Nicks were not connecting anymore (if ever).  It was not until The Pretenders came along that WBCN really started getting serious with female songwriters.  Before the Pretenders, the radio station was not digging deep enough.  Looking back, more emphasis could have been given to musicians Patti Smith, Marianne Faithful, Linda Thompson, or even the Velvet Underground drumming of Maureen Tucker.  Later (in the 80’s), the band ‘Shonen Knife’, a Mac favorite, could have been explored some.  Eventually, things got a lot better for female rockers on the radio, but it took a while.

This week’s Gem is Joni Mitchell’s ‘Come in From the Cold’.  Written in the 90’s, it is proof positive that Mitchell has plenty of longevity in her.  She has been described by many as the female Dylan.  In the spirit of this week’s theme, however, I will reverse this by referring to Dylan as the male Mitchell.  Since Cousin Tom anticipated this week’s Gem musician by sending me an email with a Joni Mitchell link last week, I’m including his recommended video (‘The Circle Game’) below mine.  In the email, Tom discussed a great story about being at the Dominican convent in Plainville (Aunt Ginger’s workplace and residence) many years ago and hearing this song played rather loudly in the main house on a record player.  The counter culture was connecting with the faithful.

In closing, a few opinions:
> The females on Saturday Night Live have been far and away carrying that show over the past few years
> Tina Fey is slowly elbowing out Mike Myers as top comedian on my all-time list
> Meryl Streep (not Paul Newman, Jack Nicholson, or Tom Hanks) is the best actor of her era.
> I have voted for a woman in the presidential primaries (Hint: It was not Elizabeth Dole in Y2K)

Jen, I hope all is forgiven.

- Pete

Gem Video of the Week 'Come in From the Cold'

'The Circle Game'


About the video: Official made for MTV-type video.

Video Rating: 1


Best Feedback: Paul

Pete (girly boy) - this is great like all of these however -- Tina Fey and Merril Streep??  holy cow batman - I hope you were smoking some significant weed tonight!!!! (notice I didnt even mention the Hilary Rodham Clinton thing - or did she drop the Rodman after adding it a few years ago? These democrats don't know who they want to be - until of course it is politically expedient).  Oops I shouldn't have said that.

And: Tina

 hi pete my manly cousin,

i think it was growing up with five sisters, but i noticed the problem with the direction of your questions immediately;-)
i loved the squeak,
tina (fey wanna be)

And: Jeff

this is too much entertainment pete.  That Paul friend of yours sent to everyone, encouraging you to be smokin significant, then apologized for makin a crack about dimmycrats (vs rePubelickins).  Is oaksterdam moved to Mass, or are your parents overly tolerant, or does this paul guy just not give a damned !!!

well it was interesting when you said you got the joni mitchell from Jen.  I was way into the Blue album then, and played it more than a little at work.  of course then again,  I have been way into the Blue album for over 35 years. Court and Spark was a big part of my last two years in college, around late 74 and 75.  although I tend to listen to live recordings more than anything now.  I have a great audio and video of her 98 Bethel show. I will have to make you guys a copy if you don't have it.


And: Jen

Hi Pete,

I really enjoyed your Gem this week. I was cringing at first, reading the prologue, hoping I wasn't going to look like a fool, answering each of your questions incorrectly. Of course, I knew you wouldn't humiliate me like that.  :)
I do remember giving you that, and I still enjoy so many songs from that CD. I've never heard "Come in from The Cold" before, and I really like it. It's mellow and catchy. The Pretenders have been re-surfacing in my life as well, mostly their old classics. I love their sound. By the way, your write up for Mother's Day was really great. I was surprised everyone participated! Mum totally loved it. Have a great weekend.

xo Jen


And: John

Tina Fey and Meryl Streep, the greatest of all time????


By the way, Sarah Silverman is much funnier than Tina Fey......



Thursday, May 7, 2009

GMVW # 70: "Moms the Word"

Gem Music Video of the Week # 70:  Moms the Word
Song:  Your Mother Should Know by The Beatles
(Songwriter: John Lennon and Paul McCartney)
May 7, 2009

Remember those old Dean Martin roasts?  A celebrity would spend a night on the receiving (butt) end of an endless barrage of jokes from fellow entertainers.  The abuse was piled on at an almost Ruth-less pace.  Eventually Ruth (Buzzi) herself would come out to bash the poor sap over the head with her pocketbook.  The humiliation was complete.  Mission accomplished. 

When a retirement party was held in Mom’s honor several years ago, I knew there was going to be plenty of well deserved praise from others, so when I prepared my speech, I figured I would try to follow in the footsteps of Dean Martin and his merry pranksters by sprinkling in a bit of roast material at Mom’s expense.  Part of this was self preservation, not wanting to get too emotional by simply focusing on Mom’s countless positive attributes.  I pondered and pondered some more about what to say and came up with nothing, nada, zip.  I ended up breaking up parts of my praise-centric speech of Mom by roasting myself.  It worked.  I got through it.

Roasting Mom?  How could I even contemplate this as possible?  I mean, shouldn’t I have assumed that mothers are virtually impossible to roast?  You may pull it off for just about anyone else in your life, but not you’re mother:  Too many memories of self-sacrifice and caring; staying with you when you were sick; attending all your big events; being there for EVERYTHING.  In short, too much love to give you any chance of coming up with roast-able material.

So, here it is, Mother’s Day weekend.  Time once again to recognize our mothers and all they’ve done (and continue to do) for us.  This year the big event falls on May 10, hopefully a good omen for Boston fans, particularly those who remember May 10, 1970 (“Happy Mother’s Day, Mrs. Orr!”).

Since this is a music-driven forum, I must include a few thoughts on Mom’s musical influences on my life. There was Mom singing “Rise and Shine (and ring out the glory, glory)”, which woke us up more often than I care to remember.  These and other memories of Mom singing in the house were a reflection of the spirit by which she raised her family, allowing us to pass that spirit on to our children.  There was Mom’s purchase of the Beatles ‘Red Album’, when I would play ‘Michelle’ (my belle) and ‘Paperback Writer’ over and over and in the process get early doses of my future rock-music sensibilities.  Mom (and  Dad) putting up with the repetitive playing of John Lennon’s ‘Shaved Fish’ album on one of our many vacations traveling in the VW Bus (included on ‘Shaved Fish’ was the song ‘Cold Turkey’ on which Lennon imitates heroin withdrawal through a long series of groans and moans toward the end of the song > the fact that tape did not disappear is a testament to tolerance and open-mindedness).  

I could go on, but this week, I’m getting help, with reflections of Mom and her musical influence from Jen, Pat, Fred, Amy and Joe (in that order).  Joe brings up the rear, because his input includes links to a number of memorable songs.  I had planned on including a few add-on links myself (as I often do), but Joe covers this (and then some).  Joe’s links follow this week’s Gem, which is none other than the Beatles performing “Your Mother Should Know” from ‘The Magical Mystery Tour’ movie.  The song itself is borderline Gem material, but the title and subject matter put it over the top, particularly this week. 

Before passing the baton to Jen, a Happy Mothers Day wish to Becca, Ruth, Kip, Madeline, Amy, Jen, Monica, Jean, Kate, Michelle, Trese, Sharon, and mother-to-be Valerie.  Also, any generational maternal associations with surnames Smith, Steeves, Tedesco, Gilligan, Toran, Hedtler, Roche, McDermott, Citarell, Strause, Vance, Mainguy, Martin, Cronin, Shea, Choi, Bremner, Kelley, Geary, Hayes… and, oh yes, Chara. 

Nancy is already covered.

And of course, Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!

- Pete


In my mind, music and domestic, family-life go hand in had. Dale grew up similarly, so it's no surprise that our household together now, more often than not, has somebody's music playing, especially during our down/leisure time.

In the early years, I recall the music of the crooners and swooners that young couples of Mum and Dad's generation enjoyed: Andy Williams, Perry Como, Tony Bennett. I associate their timeless songs with a fun, comfortable and secure childhood. And there was the music of so many Broadway shows and musicals that I now have such a fondness of, and even have on my playlist. Songs from Camelot, Sound of Music and JCSuperstar, to name a few.

As Queen of our household while we were growing up, Mum kindled a sort of "freedom of choice" with our music preferences and tastes. And among the six of us, we each developed and cultivated a unique foundation of faves and interests. As a teen, I discovered the magical power of idols that were David Cassidy, Bobby Sherman and Olivia Newton John. And interestingly enough, I played them without complaint from anyone! My tastes evolved through the pop and rock hits from my adolescent and teen years, and spread into mostly 70's rock.

Mum sang along to songs on the car radio, often making up entertaining lyrics as she went, if she didn't know the words. Or even if she did. And remember her car-exercises to "The Entertainer"?

Finally, my favorite memory of Mum-and-Music is a recollection I have of a hospital visit to Boston with her one day, when I was sick with my kidney problems. We had many day-trips into town together, to Floating Hospital. I recall being on a sidewalk with her that was along the wall of a building which had show stuff painted on it, and in big letters, "There's No Business like Show Business". Mum took my hand, and danced/strutted up the sidewalk with me, singing the quote to tune. I wish I had a video of it.

Happy Mother's Day, Mum! Love you!
xo JEN


Memories of Mom and music put a smile on my face.  My first Mom music memory is heading out to the grocery shop with Mom in the VW wagon before I was going to school.  Some of the tunes on the waves those early '70's days were:  Neil Diamond, lingering Beatles, and random hits like "Brand New Key", K'tel hits and too many more to recall. 

Other memories are snickering with Amy/Jen when Mom would sing the lyrics to some songs with her own rendition - habits which carried over to me as my friends would return the favor of abuse.  Also, when Mom disagreed with a certain Marvin Gay song titled  "xxxual healing".

As with many things for which to thank Mom, I thank her for adapting my love of music! 


Watching Mom sing in the St Mary’s choir (I can’t say I heard her, but assumed she was the best voice) gave me the notion that maybe I, too, had some lyrical talent.  It wasn’t until I saw the Gilligan’s perform ‘Guantanamera’ that I abandoned hope of pursuing that hobby.  But she did provide frequent encouragement to listen to music in our living room on the very large music system we had.  I think it was made by Phillips; with a turntable and receiver, and two built in speakers which I thought was the coolest piece of furniture any home could have.  The ‘Bossa Nova’ was a Mom-favorite, but the two early albums that she loved to listen to, and that I most align with Mom were Neil Diamond and Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. 
When I hear “Sweet Caroline” played at Red Sox games, Mom comes to mind, and to think she was first in all of Boston to like that tune.  As for SPLHCB, I think Dad bought that album for Mom for the main purpose of listening to “When I’m 64”.  I never thought they (we) would ever get there…….

Where to begin?  I can't say that I have a memory from my childhood that isn't in some way attached to a song. When it came to listening to Mum sing in the car or in the kitchen, I became a sponge, learning every lyric and tune.  I loved when Dad would chime in to a classic too, and together they'd try to remember all the words.  They still do this. Mom introduced me to the magic of the Musical at a very young age.  Camelot, The Sound of Music, Jesus Christ Superstar, West Side Story, South Pacific, Annie   Her favorite music became my own.  I was swept up with the fantasy world of Musical Theatre, so much so, that it became my major in College. Without the carefree confidence that Mum instilled in me, I would never have been able to share my voice with anyone but myself.  The two go hand in hand.  Music has always been a natural part of my life.  I can't cook, paint or exercise without music.  I just downloaded "Charlie on the MTA" on my ipod.  That's you Mum.

I remember one night very clearly.  Mum encouraged me to go tryout for the part of Liesl in the St. Mary's Production of The Sound of Music.  I was apprehensive, as it was the second night of auditions; I had already missed the first night.  I got the part.  The experience stays with me, to this day. 

I'll end with this (which you also taught me)
M are for the million things she gave me
O means only that she's growing old
T are for the tears she shed to save me
H is for her heart as pure as gold
E are for her eyes of love light shining
R means right, and right she'll always be
Put them altogether they spell Mother. 
The world that means the world to me.


Gem Music Video of the Week: ‘Your Mother Should Know’


Some great memories of M&M (Mom & Music) growing up....below are only a few of the many memories that play back in my head when I hear the song.....

Hanging out in the kitchen on Park Road with Mom and Emmet eating breakfast before we headed out to chip away at the mountain, hit home runs at Dean into the tennis courts, throw rocks at Thompson Press, head to Friendly's for double fribbles, or play monopoly 1000 times, we sat at the counter eating eggs on toast and this song would be playing -

Forever in Blue Jeans - Neil Diamond

I played this song so many times that Jen couldn't take it any more...or maybe it was eating the popcorn too loud.  Either way, Mom always encouraged us to be ourselves and we had a childhood that most kids would be envious of.  This song reminds me of those great childhood days

Only the Good Die Young - Billy Joel

As the day came to a close and the early evening started up in Lee, NH, at the campground overlooking the lake, we would be getting ready to head into the woods to find some wood for the camp fire that night.  It didn't matter how big the tree was, it was coming down.  As Mom got the camp site ready for the evening, this would be playing on the radio -

Creedence Clearwater Revival - Fortunate Son

When Ginger passed away, this is the song that carried her thru it all. I think about Mom every time I hear it.

Wind Beneath My Wings - Bette Midler (from Movie -Beaches)

Heading down the cape in the volts wagon bus early in the morning on our way to Falmouth, Mom would be sitting in the front seat turning up the music because it was "all day Beatles music" on the radio.  As we hit the entrance to 495 heading south early in the AM, this would be on the radio -

The Beatles - Here Comes the Sun

Happy Mothers Day Momzo.


About the Video: From the Magical Mystery Tour Movie

Video Rating: 1

Best Feedback: Mom

This is the most amazing and wonderful Mother's Day gift ever..... it brings me back to some beautiful days........Thanks so much!!!!!!!   XOXO


And: Becca


What a great idea!!!

Happy Mother's Day to Nance!!

Dot, Happy Mother's Day!!...let's see....hmmmm....when I think of you and music, I think of you and Pete dancing to Blue, Red and Gray at his wedding.

love Becca