Remembering the Man who wrote, the best train John Prine song ever heard – Steve Goodman on his birthday – July 25, 1948!

Steve Goodman

So back in 1971 I found the music of John Prine. The liner notes on his début album were written by Kris Kristofferson whose music I knew and whose opinion I respected, I had also read great things about the album, so I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the album. That album started a 42 year and still continuing  love affair with John’s music. A year later, I read the following on the back on another début album:

I been listening to the radio since I was three years old. I figured by now I could see songs better than most people listen to them. The first time I heard Steve Goodman on the radio, I knew I was listening to a tall skinny cat with a little beard singing the best damn train song I ever heard.
Two months later in the backroom at The Earl of Oldtown, I met a short stout fellow with no beard who wrote and sang the best train song I ever heard. His name was Steve Goodman. The Lord works in Mysterious Ways – John Prine, 1971


The album was produced by Kris Kristofferson and Norbert Putnam and the musicians who played on the album included some of my favorites like: David Briggs, Charlie McCoy, Ben Keith, Kenny Buttrey, and Vassar Clements. So with all that fire power, I took a chance and again a 40 plus year love affair with a musician, this one Steve Goodman started. Steve left the party way too soon in 1984, when he lost his battle with leukemia, but his musical legacy is still with us! Steve is one of those musician who can: make us move with his version of “Mama Don’t Allow”; make us laugh with songs like “Vegamatic”, “Talk Backwards” or how about “I’m My Own Grandpa”; or touch our hearts with songs like his cover of Michael Smith’s “The Dutchman”, “The Ballad of Penny Evans”, “My Old Man” or this one “Would You Like to Learn to Dance”. So today we celebrate the day Steve Goodman was born in Chicago in 1948 and wish that he were here to celebrate with us, but we still have his music…..

On his website you will see a hand written note that sums it up…..

I still sing his songs
sometimes just to myself
We miss you Steve
 - Johnny Cash

I know I do, how about you?



A Fine Run w/ Bluegrass from The Boxcars & Info via Runner’s World Re: Music and Running!

Well, whether I needed a little motivation or not to get me out on the road and running today, I got some yesterday, when I ran into the best runner on my high school cross-country team yesterday, while shopping at Target. See he is running a triathlon today I’m not really how far the swim and the bike ride are but the run part is a 10K! While  know there’s no way in hell  I can even come close to competing with him, it does give me some incentive though just to keep plodding along. Anyway the weather was fairly co-operative today staying in the low 80s, but even with that I waited until the sun was down a little and ran a course that I knew was shaded for most of the run!!  While my overall time was nothing to write home about, my average pace of 10:51 a mile over four miles is acceptable, at least for me, especially since I kept my heart rate under 160 even going uphill!

The BoxcarsThe soundtrack for the run was something a little different some bluegrass! The album that I chose was The Boxcars 2013 release It’s Just a Road. The album was nominated for a Grammy but lost. The best bluegrass album award went to The Streets of Baltimore by the Del McCoury Band. The band did win the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) award as 2013 Instrumental Group of the Year for a third year in a row!  Additionally, mandolin wizard Adam Steffey won the 2013 IBMA Mandolin Player of the Year award!  The members of Th Boxcars are some great musicians,  in addition to the great Mr.Steffey. The other members of the band are the extraordinary multi-instrumentalists Ron Stewart, and John R Bowman,  Keith Garrett and Harold Nixon, who have both worked with the band Blue Moon Rising, run out the band! Anyway, there’s a lot of good picking and singing on the album so check it out.

After my run, I went to Runner’s World to log my run. Before I got to my log, I saw this article The Effects of Music Before, During and After Running

New research supports using music to get fired up before running, and suggests that listening to music after a run can speed recovery.  The research, published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, also backs previous findings that you probably get less benefit from music the harder you run.

An interesting finding in the study…..

On the 5Ks when the runners listened to music, they ran their first two laps (of 12.5) faster than when they ran with no music. After that, the differences in lap times between the music and no-music conditions greatly decreased.

This finding is consistent with earlier research, which has concluded that the higher your effort level, the less effect music has on performance. As the researchers put it, “Initially, participants were affected by music since they needed a time period to process all afferent information regarding peripheral receptors. As soon as the brain realized the exercise intensity, a mechanism called attentional switching occurred by directing attention to the most important signals.”

I would say that is what I find, I usually can concentrate on the music at the start of the run, but if I really am having a hard time during the run, the music goes out the window and I am just trying to survive. I did find today, that I was able to pick up the beat of the music, more easily at times, and adjust my pace to be in rhythm with the music!


When the runners listened to music after their 5Ks, it had the opposite effect of pre-run music on vagal tone–music increased it compared to not listening to music post-run. According to the researchers, this means that the runners’ internal systems, including heart rate, were more quickly returning to normal. Because the goal of post-run recovery measures, such as hydration, nutritionand gentle exercise, is to speed the body’s return to its pre-workout state, this finding suggests that slow music after a hard run can help in that process.

Read Full Article at Runner’s World!

Needless to say I listened to some nice slow jazz after my run, tonight, and I have to say I feel pretty good!! Slow jazz will be tried again in the future after a run!!


Night and Evening Thoughts about Yodeling??? An Art best forgotten?? Never! Well, maybe?

We'll Sing in the SunshineLast night after I came home from a run, I sat down at the computer and was trying to get back to normal, when my wife asked if I had watched the new parody video from Weird Al “Word Crimes”yet. I said that I hadn’t,  she made me come out and watch the video. The video is very funny and probably funnier if you know the Robin Thicke song, which I don’t and never will, because I can not stand Robin Thicke. Shortly after that, my wife said,  she now had the song stuck in her head. That set my mind to wondering about songs that get stuck in my head. The one that popped up was Gale  Garnett’s “We’ll Sing in the Sunshine”. So I went to Youtube to find a video of the song, which I did, from the 1964 Grammy Awards, but I didn’t like the video so I didn’t post it. But if you want you can watch it here. 

After  I watched enough of the Gale Garnett video, I began  watching some of the videos on the sidebar, which somehow lead me to Suzy Boggess and Jerry Jeff Walker performing “Night Rider’s Lament” a song that they both had recorded and since I love JJW’s version of the song I watched the video….Suzy said that the tough part of the song is the yodeling, which she had to learn to do. I thought she did great, you can watch that video here. My mind was still restless though and was soon thinking about other songs that feature yodeling that I like, the first and maybe only song that came to mind was Slaid Cleaves’ tribute song to Don Walser “God’s  Own Yodeller”. Here’s Slaid performing the song

Not one to leave well enough alone, I had to wander on and find an original Don Walser tune, so that I could hear God’s own Yodeller! Here’s Don with “A Rolling Stone from Texas”

Now this morning as my mind continued to think about yodeling, as I prepared to write this post and since I often dressed like this back in the 1950s……

Hop and Guitar044

My thoughts turned to singing cowboys, and probably the best, Roy Rogers. I found this video using The Cowboy Herd Song….

So which one do you like best, or asking another way which do you hate least? No,I shouldn’t have stayed with Gale Garnett because then all day I’d hear…..”We’ll sing in the sunshine, we’ll left everyday, we’ll sing in the sunshine then I’ll be on my way” Damn now it’s there…….


From the Archives – Do you play Country Music when You’re in Pain? What music for what mood?

Hank Williams

So Chris Wall writes in the chorus of  his song –  ”I Feel Like Hank Williams”

I play classical music when it rains,
I play country when I am in pain,
Tonight I won’t play Beethoven,
no the mood’s just not right,
no, I feel like Hank Williams tonight.

So the question is,  Do you play certain songs or artists at certain times to suit your mood?  If so what song or what artist, for what mood? I know that if I’m stressed out I usually turn to a little jazz and maybe Gary Burton’s vibes or I play R. Carlos Nakai’s native American Flute! If I need a little pick me up “The Best of the New Grass Revival” may come on, “Can’t Stop Now” always gets me going!  Maybe a little bluegrass from Rhonda Vincent something like “Drivin’ Nails in My Coffin” If I need a little laughter maybe John Prine’s  “Please Don’t Bury Me” or Steve Goodman’s “Vegematic”. They always bring smiles to my face!

Lately The Wide Album from Modern Man cracks me up! Then  there’s Jerry Jeff’s  album Navajo Rug for some unexplained reason the first three songs on that album “Navajo Rug”. “Just to Celebrate” and “Blue Mood” always improve  my mood!

So what songs, what artists, what mood??

Here’s Chris Wall with “I Feel Like Hank Williams”


An Evening Spent Revisiting the music of Jesse Colin Young and The Youngbloods!

SLightshineo tonight before I settled down to continue reading, Tell No Lies by Gregg Hurwitz, I looked through some of my vinyl collection for a favorite album that I haven’t listen to in a long while. I came away with Lightshine from Jesse Colin Young. Lightshine released in 1974, was the third solo release from Jesse after the breakup of The Youngbloods. The one song that everyone knows from The Youngbloods “Get Together” was really there only big hit, but in my opinion they produced some really good music in their short career that spanned five years (1967-1972) and produced 8 albums. Their album that rose the highest on the charts was 1970′s album Rock Festival, which is the first album of theirs that I bought. Three out of the four albums that they produced are in my collection with 1971′s release Sunlight being the only absentee. I always enjoyed their music they were kinda’ like a light Grateful Dead with many of their songs having long flowing musical interludes with jazzy overtones.

Anyway, the first side of Lightshine was always my favorite, so that’s what I listened to tonight. That side contains California Suite: composed of : “California Child”, “Grey Day” and the title track “Lightshine” .The 11 minute and 19 second, “Grey Day” makes up the majority of the Suite and is one of my favorite “drifting” tracks containing a lot of that music with jazz overtones. Love it!

After that side was over, my attention turned to one of the other members of the band Lowell “Banana” Levinger. First I looked for an album that is in my vinyl collection, his first solo release Mid-Mountain Ranch, which Spotify didn’t have,  then I went and listened to a couple of tracks from his current release , actually his 5th solo album Down to the Roots. The album sounded pretty good, so I think that I’ll have to go back and give the whole album a listen!!

Finally, I went back to The Youngbloods and listened to the first four tracks from their 1971 release Ride the Wind, which is a live album. On this album, I really enjoy the versions of “Ride the Wind”, “Sunlight” and their cover of Fred Neil’s “Dolphin”. “Sunlight” is the shortest of those tracks at 6 minutes plus…. each track’s filled with great music!!

So, it was a good night spent with some old friends! Here’s a video of Jesse Colin’s “Grey Day”……



Is it Just Me or has “Rock” music vanished??

Ok so I’ll preface this by saying that I know that each generation has their own music and their own definition of “Rock”, but is it just me or does the current generation of Alt indie rock music even fit the definition of rock music?  From Wikipedia:

Rock music is a genre of popular music that originated as “rock and roll” in the United States in the 1950s, and developed into a range of different styles in the 1960s and later, particularly in the United Kingdom and the United States.[1][2] It has its roots in 1940s’ and 1950s’ rock and roll, itself heavily influenced by rhythm and blues and country music. Rock music also drew strongly on a number of other genres such as blues and folk, and incorporated influences from jazz, classical and other musical sources.

Musically, rock has centered on the electric guitar, usually as part of a rock group with electric bass guitar and drums. Typically, rock is song-based music usually with a 4/4 time signature using a verse-chorus form, but the genre has become extremely diverse. Like pop music, lyrics often stress romantic love but also address a wide variety of other themes that are frequently social or political in emphasis. The dominance of rock by white, male musicians has been seen as one of the key factors shaping the themes explored in rock music. Rock places a higher degree of emphasis on musicianship, live performance, and an ideology of authenticity than pop music.

Over the last few days, I’ve tried some of the newer groups like War on Drugs and The Antlers and this morning I went down the chart of Alt Rock on the Roots Music Report and I don’t hear the elements of ROCK in  any of them! See I grew up in the early rock years and I’m not going to say that they were the best years of rock even though they probably are, because through my kids I listened to a lot of rock from the 80s and the 90s bands like AC/DC, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Van Halen, REM and many more, these guys knew how to ROCK. So my question to you listeners of current popular music is there anyone in the mainstream making rock type music? In other words if I like “Rock” who should I listen to?? And that means guitars blazing à la Hendrix, Led Zeppelin and Cream!


This Date in History – Remembering those who passed on the Fourth of July – Three Presidents and others….

Jeffeeson and AdamsSo this afternoon as I was thinking about today being the Fourth of July, my thoughts turned to one of the most amazing coincidences  ever, well at least in my opinion, and that is that on July 4, 1826 , the 50th anniversary of the signing of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, two of the most prominent men associated with the Declaration passed away, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. Of course Thomas Jefferson was the author of the Declaration,but it was Adams in a letter to his wife Abigail who laid the groundwork for how the day should be celebrated…..

The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more. You will think me transported with Enthusiasm but I am not. I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will tryumph in that Days Transaction, even altho We should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not. (The Book of Abigail and John: Selected Letters of the Adams Family, 1762-1784, Harvard University Press, 1975, 142).Writing that letter was an act of celebration.

In 1778, Adams and Benjamin Franklin went to Paris to try to solidify an American alliance with France for the war effort. While there, on July 4, they hosted the first American Independence Day celebration on the European continent with a dinner for “the American Gentlemen and ladies, in and about Paris” (Diary and Autobiography of John Adams, 2:317 and 4:143-44). Read More

and like they say the rest is history! Anyway, as I thought about the above, I wondered what other notable or not so notable Americans died on this day. So I went to Wikipedia and went down their list. The very next entry was another very notable Founding Father, the fifth President of the United States, James Monroe. The next major US politician to die on July 4th was Hannibal Hamlin, who was the 15th vice president of the US serving under Abraham Lincoln. But you knew that right!

Here’s so more famous folks, whose names caught my eye…..

1934 Marie Curie French-Polish physicist and chemist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1867)
1984 Jimmie Spheeris – American musician
1995 Eva Gabor – everybody now “Green Acres is the place to be…..and the plants were shoosting up!”
2003 Barry White – American singer-songwriter, pianist, and producer (b. 1944)
2008 Jesse Helms – if I write something nice I won’t write anything………
2005 Hank Stram – Kansas City Chief Head Coach
2009 Allen Klein American businessman manager of the Rolling Stones and Beatles

Full List at Wikipedia

Now I know that the name Jimmie Spheeris does not really belong among the others on this list but for a very short period of time he appeared to be on his way to a great career, until his life was cut short on July 4, 1984 from Wikipedia

Spheeris died at the age of 34 in Santa Monica, California, when his motorcycle collided with a van at 2 a.m. on the morning of July 4, 1984. The driver of the van, Bruce Burnside, was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol and felony vehicular manslaughter.[5] Hours before his death, Spheeris finished the self-titled album,Spheeris, which was produced by Paul Delph. This final album was not publicly released for 16 years. Delph would later record two of Spheeris’ songs for his final album A God That Can Dance. Read more

Jimmie’s debut album Isle of View is a favorite of mine and was played a lot during my college years!So let’s end this July 4th night remembering those who passed on this day, everyone from Presidents to a rock singer!


The Day in Music – July 3, 1971 – The Music was over for Jim Morrison….

Jim Morrison - Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour 1969

Jim Morrison – Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour 1969

On this date, July 3, but this time in 1971 the life of Jim Morrison lead singer of The Doors came to an end in a Paris apartment bathtub….from Wikipedia…..

Morrison met his long-term companion,[40] Pamela Courson, well before he gained any fame or fortune,[41] and she encouraged him to develop his poetry. At times, Courson used the surname “Morrison” with his apparent consent or at least lack of concern. After Courson’s death on April 25, 1974, the probate court in California decided that she and Morrison had what qualified as a common-law marriage….

….Morrison joined Courson in Paris in March 1971. They took up residence in the city in a rented apartment on the rue Beautreillis (in the 4th arrondissement of Paris on the Right Bank), and went for long walks throughout the city,[47] admiring the city’s architecture. During this time, Morrison shaved his beard and lost some of the weight he had gained in the previous months.[48] Morrison died on July 3, 1971 at age 27.[49] In the official account of his death, he was found in a Paris apartment bathtub (at 17–19 rue Beautreillis, 4th arrondissement) by Courson.[50] Pursuant to French law, no autopsy was performed because the medical examiner stated that there was no evidence of foul play.[50] The absence of an official autopsy has left many questions regarding Morrison’s cause of death.[2] In Wonderland Avenue, Danny Sugerman discussed his encounter with Courson after she returned to the United States. According to Sugerman’s account, Courson stated that Morrison had died of a heroin overdose, having inhaled what he believed to be cocaine. Sugerman added that Courson had given him numerous contradictory versions of Morrison’s death, saying at times that she had killed Morrison, or that his death was her fault. Courson’s story of Morrison’s unintentional ingestion of heroin, followed by his accidental overdose, is supported by the confession of Alain Ronay, who has written that Morrison died of a hemorrhage after snorting Courson’s heroin, and that Courson nodded off instead of phoning for medical help, leaving Morrison bleeding to death.Read More

I think I was in the 9th grade when I first heard about this great new band The Doors, and when I looked at their discography, I saw that both of their first two albums were released in 1967, which was a year I was in the 9th grade. Well, we know where they went from there, between the release of their self-titled debut album to their last studio album with Jim Morrison, they produced six multi=platinum albums. Their sound was different, electrifying even, as was Jim Morrison. When the end came in that Paris Hotel, while you knew that it had a good chance of happening, we are all still shocked and saddened.

I often wonder if those who left us to early, like Morrison, Jimi, Janice, and Kurt Cobain would be a revered as they are, if they had lived a longer life?? If through the years, we had watched them maybe decline, get fatter, maybe the luster would wear off. What we have, though, is a Jim Morrison; frozen in time, and we remember him when he was at his musical best and maybe in the eyes of the establishment his socially worst, with a glorious career in front of him, which does make it really sad doesn’t it?

As it was, Morrison

….was ranked number 47 on Rolling Stone’s list of the “100 Greatest Singers of All Time”, and number 22 on Classic Rock Magazine’s “50 Greatest Singers In Rock”.[5] Ray Manzarek said that Morrison “embodied hippie counterculture rebellion…” Morrison was also known as the self-proclaimed “King of Orgasmic Rock”.

So let’s go “into the night” linking Willie Dixon and Jim Morrison together, by listening to Jim’s version of Dixon’s “Back Door Man”


Today in Music – July 1, 1915 – Blues Icon Willie Dixon was born!!

Willie DixonToday is the 99th anniversary of the birth of Willie Dixon(July 1, 1915 – January 29, 1992) and I bet somewhere on almost every night of the year someone is

playing one of the 500 songs that he wrote! It could be a jazz, blues or rock artist because Willie’s songs appeal to lovers of  many genres. He was one of the two artists, the other Muddy Waters, that were the most influential in shaping the sound of Chicago blues in the post World War II years, as well as, rock and roll in the 50s and 60s. I think that my first introduction to the blues of Dixon was Cream’s cover of “Spoonful”, wait maybe it was The Doors “Back Door Man” or maybe Led Zeppelin “I Can’t Quit You” but it was probably Johnnie Rivers covering “Seventh Son” and I didn’t even know it!! Well, you get the picture. Here’s a link to a list songs of Willie Dixon, along with the artists who cover them!! From Wikipedia some of the songs…..

Hoochie Coochie Man“, “I Just Want to Make Love to You”, “Little Red Rooster“, “My Babe”, “Spoonful”, and “You Can’t Judge a Book by the Cover“. These tunes were written during the peak of Chess Records, 1950–1965, and performed by Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Little Walter, and Bo Diddley; they influenced a worldwide generation of musicians.[3]

Dixon also was an important link between the blues and rock and roll, working with Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley in the late 1950s. His songs were covered by some of the biggest artists of more recent times, such as Bob Dylan, Cream, Jeff Beck, The Doors, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, and The Rolling Stones.

In reading Dixon’s biography this morning at Wikipedia I learned a several things that I didn’t know about Willie

as a boxer he won the Illinois State Golden Gloves Heavyweight Championship (Novice Division) in 1937.Dixon turned professional as a boxer and worked briefly as Joe Louis’ sparring partner

Dixon met Leonard Caston at the boxing gym where they would harmonize at times. Caston built him his first bass, made of a tin can and one string.

Dixon’s progress on the Upright bass came to an abrupt halt during the advent of World War II when he resisted the draft as a conscientious objector and was imprisoned for ten months.

In 1987, Dixon received an out-of-court settlement from Led Zeppelin after suing them for plagiarism, in relation to their use of his music for “Bring It On Home” and his lyrics from his composition “You Need Love” (1962) for their track “Whole Lotta Love”.

Dixon’s health deteriorated increasingly during the seventies and the eighties, primarily due to long-term diabetes. Eventually one of his legs had to be amputated More at Wikipedia

Willie left us in body on January 29, 1992 when he died of heart failure in Burbank, California but through those 500 songs that he left us, he will always be with us!

Here’s Willie performing “Back Door Man”, “Seventh Son” and “Hoochie, Coochie Man” at a Muddy Waters Tribute in 1983!! So Happy Birthday, Willie Dixon, wherever you and Muddy and Howlin’ Wolf are singing tonight!!




Flashback Sunday – Thoughts about early Seals & Crofts and a playlist of the music!

I have mentioned before that during my college years I was pretty free with my parents money, and spent lots of the money I was sent, on  albums. Hey, I will admit that I was a spoiled only child. Which is why I had four kid so they would grow up unspoiled. Not really, we had four children because the wife and I couldn’t get that birth control thing right! Anyway, I would often buy albums based on the look of the album. An example of that is this album I bought in and around 1970…

 photo (8)  photo (9)

When I bought the album I had  never heard of these guys but that the wandering minstrel motif was pretty original. The reason that I had never heard of them, was because it was their first album, duh!. I listen to the album, thought that their sound was different, original and good. I bought their second album Down Home which on some tracks had a country folk sound to it. By the time their third album Year of Sunday was released, people had caught on to them, well, not that many because the single “When I Meet Them”only made it to 104 on the charts, but the title track from their fourth album Summer Breeze did send them on their way  to a pretty nice career.  Summer Breeze was the last studio album that I bought. I did, however,  buy one more of their albums, the soundtrack to the move “One on One” One of the things that I admired he most about Seals and Crofts was their advocacy  of the Bahá’í Faith. From Wikipedia:

The Bahá’í Faith  (Arabic: بهائية‎ Baha’iyyah) /bəˈhaɪ/[1]) is a monotheistic religion emphasizing the spiritual unity of all humankind.[2] Three core principles establish a basis for Bahá’í teachings and doctrine: the unity of God, that there is only one God who is the source of all creation; the unity of religion, that all major religions have the same spiritual source and come from the same God; and the unity of humanity, that all humans have been created equal, and that diversity of race and culture are seen as worthy of appreciation and acceptance.[3] According to the Bahá’í Faith’s teachings, the human purpose is to learn to know and love God through such methods as prayer, reflection and being of service to humanity. Read More

I think the message of the Bahá’í Faith and the similar Sikh religion is for me the best message from all religions!! Here’s a short playlist of six of my favorite songs from the four Seals & Crofts albums that are in my collection!