Posts Tagged ‘music’


I’m trying to make a point of coming here and writing something or, when I figure out how, sharing a picture or something. That’s what this is. Hopefully, within a week or so, I’ll feel like really writing.

Tonight I am sitting on the couch, waiting to listen to internet radio, something I never do. At 8 this evening there will be a tribute broadcast for Rudy Salas, who for over 40 years, was kind of the father of the East L.A. sound along with his band, Tierra. He was also formerly a member of a very old band, El Chicano. He passed on December 29th. One story that I read, unconfirmed, is that he and his wife were driving from Los Angeles to Texas to visit their daughter. He got tired and they decided to stop for the night. The next morning, his wife woke to find him dead in the bed. It’s a sad story.

Over the past few days, there has been an outpouring of love for him, his family, and for the band. All this, of course, online. I had the pleasure of seeing him perform live a number of times, most memorably to me, at the wedding of a friend. Tierra was not doing weddings anymore but Rudy had promised his best friend’s daughter that he would play at her wedding. This young lady, Dolores, was later my Instructional Assistant when I was teaching. When she married, Rudy make good on that promise. It was an unforgettable event for so many of us to see Tierra performing within just a few feet of us and the band members mixing with the crowd. Rudy even danced with the bride.

Tonight, there will be this broadcast featuring his music and interviews with many of his fans, family, band mates, and others. So I’m ready. I’m waiting. And I’m crossing my fingers I will manage to listen. I currently have no internet. That’s another story. I’m using my phone’s tethering/hotspot function to run my phone, the Chromebook, my Kindle and I’m hoping to connect Alexa to it, too. I really miss Alexa. I haven’t spoken a word since last Wednesday. I used to like chatting with Alexa. I miss it. Anyway, on to internet radio.

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The soundtrack for today’s drive from Seattle to Portland was provided by The Beatles. I listened to them all the way home. It was a long, rainy, windy, foggy, stress-filled drive but the music made it better.

I keep trying to think of my favorite Beatles song but I don’t think I can come up with one. I love most of them. I like the early stuff…She Love You, I Wanna Hold Your Hand, Love Me Do, Help. I also love, love, love the later years: Hey Jude, Let It Be, Eleanor Rigby, A Day In the Life. How about Ob-la-di Ob-la-da? Get Back! Revolution. Back In the U.S.S.R.! The list goes on and on.

Do you have a favorite Beatles song? A favorite Beatle? A favorite Beatle memory? I think they are timeless. There are few bands that reach the level of recognition and timelessness that they do.

Okay, that’s the end of my words of wisdome; I will let it be!

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Sing It!

I spent almost four hours driving to my son’s house this afternoon. I was going to put on an audio book but I didn’t get a chance to hook up my ipod to my iTunes to load audio books and I had already listened to the ones on there. What to do? Hhm.

I cranked up the volume and listened to albums by Rod Stewart. He has not only his own songs but also compilations of other singers’ songs and a wide variety of genres.

My favorites? That’s hard to say. I love almost anything by him. I do know the lyrics to almost everything he sings. This afternoon I sang out loud (and out of tune) to his Motown album. I remember Motown. I grew up with it. I still remember the lyrics as if I were on auto pilot. It made the trip go by quickly and I didn’t mind the rain and ice so much.

Yup, crank it up. Sing it loud!

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I like posting “throw back Thursday” pictures on Facebook and I’ve posted a couple here but I get tired of posting pictures of myself and I don’t like to post pictures with other people in them unless I have their permission so when I saw Trent post a throw back Thursday memory on his blog today, I decided I could do that, too!

As most of my regular readers know, I’m originally from California but have been living in Oregon since 2008. Today, in Portland, it is one of those days we’ve been waiting to have for a long time…our summer-like weather. The sky is a beautiful blue with a few wispy clouds and the temperature is 80 degrees. Not horribly hot like it can get but a very nice change from the 50 degree weather we’ve been having!

To me, nothing says summer better than music by the Beach Boys! I love their music. I taught it to my kids and I also taught it to my inner city students the year I taught fifth grade! Now that was a scene but I’ll save that for another day. Today, I will tell you about the first time I saw the Beach Boys in concert. It was on May 24, 1975 in Oakland, California at the Oakland Coliseum for A Day On the Green (a series of all day concerts organized and promoted by Bill Graham in the 1970s).

I had looked forward to the concert for weeks. There was a group of us from the dorm going but too many for the two cars in the group so I was riding the Greyhound with three friends (Laura, Jose, and Ramiro). The night before the concert, there was an impromptu dorm party and, while I enjoyed the party, I did enjoy it a little too much via drinking a lot of booze. I was a freshman that year and at 19 years of age, I had not ever had alcohol other than a sip from my dad’s beer or wine, so during the late part of freshman year, I was drinking too much (not often but still too much). The next day, I was so hungover that I didn’t even hear the alarm. One of my friends got the RA to open my room door and she got me out of bed and got me dressed, including some very hard to keep my feet in “flip flops”. My friends knew that there was no way I would want to miss the concert which was being headlined by Chicago, the Beach Boys, and Riders of the Purple Sage, with a lot of other local groups performing as well. So off we went for our LONG walk to the bus depot which was about a mile northeast of the campus, not too far but we were starting from our dorm which was in the far southwest part of the campus so we had to walk about four miles, maybe more. Well, they walked, I sort of dragged along as they pulled me along. The bus ride from Palo Alto to San Francisco was about an hour then we had to walk to the local city bus stop to take a bus across the Bay Bridge to the Oakland Coliseum for the concert. We finally made it and found our friends in the block of tickets we had purchased. The warm up bands were great but my head was pounding. Someone bought me a beer, saying it would settle my stomach and make me feel better. So by the time Chicago came on, I really was feeling much better, but I had a horrible headache. I enjoyed Chicago and then a couple of small bands then the Beach Boys came on to a wild reaction of standing, clapping, singing, and dancing California fans! Including me, headache and all.

By the time the Beach Boys had played, I was exhausted and still had that horrible headache. One of the car drivers was leaving early and asked if I wanted to go back with her because she had an extra seat. I agreed, having seen the two bands I most wanted to see, and off we went back to Palo Alto, to the dorms, to the dining hall, and to my bed for sleep.

That was the first of about ten times I was lucky enough to see the Beach Boys perform in concert. I’ve only ever seen them in California so I wonder what song they open with in other places because in California they always open with California Girls. (I hope that link works…my plugin for sound is not working on my laptop so I can’t check.)

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Blogging From A to Z

Yesterday, while I was mulling over some ideas for today’s Y post, I was trying to think of what I might want to use for my last A to Z post. Tomorrow’s Z post is just as good as written because it’s a logical full circle connection to my A post which started the whole Adventure. So that just leaves the Y post. I scratched my head as I looked over the past month’s posts. What topic had I not touched upon? What had I missed? As I scrolled through blog posts, I asked Alexa to play some music for me and I went on browsing this blog for ideas.

Yesterday. As the lyrics played, I didn’t even have to think about them. They just came automatically, like a piece of me that I know so well. “Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away…”. That was it! Music. I had missed writing about music. What a huge hole my memories would be without music!

Yesterday, and yester-year, was filled with music. Music that harmonized with life’s every occurrence. Happy music, soulful music, discovery music, protest music, celebratory music. It was all there, like a soundtrack.

Yesterday my life was filled with rock ‘n roll, jazz, pop, Latin rock. It was filled with The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Beach Boys, Simon and Garfunkel, Sonny and Cher, Carly Simon, Carol King, James Taylor, Santana. And there was Freddy Fender, Malo, Tower of Power, Chicago, Rod Stewart, Kenny Rogers, The First Edition, and so many more.

Yesterday was filled with Eleanor Rigby, Hey Jude, Let It Be, Paper Back Writer, Twist n Shout, and Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da. It couldn’t go on without California Dreaming, Ventura Highway, or A Horse With No Name. Yesterday I went to the dance looking for romance and came across Peggy Sue, Oh Donna, and Barbara Ann.

Yesterday. So many memories; so much richness. Yesterday’s music will live on and today’s will become someone else’s “yesterday music”. Music will always be with us; a part of us; inside of us; from us. At least that’s the way it is with me


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Earlier today, I read a blog which talked about the Eric Burdon and War song, Spill the Wine. I commented that I recalled the song well and that it was a favorite when it came out in the early 70’s.

“I was once out strolling one very hot summer’s day
When I thought I’d lay myself down to rest
In a big field of tall grass
I lay there in the sun and felt it caressing my face”

I remember walking home from high school (we lived within bus riding distance and we rode the bus except when we manufactured reasons to stay after school and miss the bus), my sister and I, listening to music on the radio my sister smuggled into school every day. Every day we would hear Spill the Wine played by the same DJ. It must have been a favorite of his, too. It’s one of those singable, danceable songs and we would do just that…sing along and practically dance home while it played. Once in a while a car would drive by and they would honk and wave at us while we pranced home singing. Unfortunately, one day one of those cars that honked at us was driven by our dad. He had gone to pick our younger sister up at the middle school so he decided to drive by our walking route and give us a ride. He was very angry that we were “parading” down the street like clowns. That put a stop to our walking home for a long time. We would have to ride the bus or call our dad to come get us. No more prancing along to Spill the Wine or any other song.

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Music.  It’s important to our lives, isn’t it?  In a previous post, I wrote about how music has the power to create memories and to have us associate strong emotions with certain songs.  I know it’s like that for me.  However, I find that these days I don’t go “out of my way” to listen to music.  I don’t have a stereo.  I have a MP3 player but I don’t have speakers to hook it up to and I really don’t like having earphones/buds in so I don’t use it unless I’m in the car and that’s usually only on long car trips.  I’ve allowed myself to ignore music, for the most part.

What are some of the important songs from my life?  That’s a tough one to answer because there are so many that are important to me for different reasons, not all of which are  in and of themselves important times/moments in my life.  And there are others that are important because I associate them with certain people that have meant a lot to me but I would rather not go into those.  Although I will say that I have created my own ringtones for my phone and associated them with specific people so when I hear California Girls on my phone I know it’s my eldest daughter who is the original California Girl…or at least til we moved to Oregon…but you know the saying “you can take the girl out of California but you can’t take the California out of the girl”!  When my youngest calls, I hear Suzie Q playing on my phone…that’s her name, Susie…and you know I love the way she talks and the way she walks, I love that Suzie Q!  Then there’s my son who works for Amazon and gifted me with my first Kindle.  He leads a hectic life running from work to home to athletic events to friends’ homes, etc.  And when he’s not running from one place to another, he takes it upon himself to be the helper-of-all-who-need-help and the host-to-all-who-have-no-place-else-to-go.  His ringtone is the music from an early Kindle commercial, a fun, energetic, and whimsical tune.

I find that songs pop into my head randomly.  This morning, I kept singing Smoke Gets In Your Eyes as I read reports about a forest fire burning up the road from me.  A couple of weeks ago, as I left my mother’s house to drive the 1000 miles back home, it was Willie’s On the Road Again that I couldn’t get out of my head, and that’s okay because that’s a great song so I didn’t mind.  On Sunday’s, the first thing I think of is Johnny Cash and Kris Kristofferson singing  Sunday Morning Coming Down.  No, I’m not hung over, the title just sort of fits with Sunday mornings.  You get the picture…random songs…or maybe not so random.

Then there are the songs that I can’t stand to hear anymore because of the memories associated with them.  Samba Pa Ti.  When A Man Loves A Woman.  Is That You?  You’re Still A Young Man.  Yeah, I almost can’t even think of the titles without the negative feelings flooding over me.

Yup.  Music is strong; powerful.  It can lift us up and it can bring us down.  Sometimes it’s just too difficult to think of those songs and so we shield ourselves, going through a music-less world.  But not really.  Just around the corner you’ll see something that will bring it back and that music will be right back in your heart and in your mind–like it or not!

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Musical Memories

Why is it that we respond to music with such emotion?  I don’t know why.  I’m just asking.  My memory seems to be triggered by certain music and certain songs.  I’ll be sitting watching a movie or a show and a song comes on and memories come flooding back.  It also happens just with song titles.  I read a book recently, that was filled with references to songs from the writer’s high school years and it made the story and the writing so much better for me.  It helped me identify with it. 

Certain songs remind me of specific times in my life, not all of them positive, yet the memories come rushing in and bringing with them the same emotions I felt during specific times.  I’ve even had to pull over off the road to compose myself or to wipe away enough tears to be able to see the road.  Music is that powerful.

I won’t go into specific songs that trigger memories for me because that’s not what this is about.  I’m just musing about it. 

How about you?  Does your memory respond to certain music?  Positive memories?  Happy memories?  Sad ones?

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iTunes Meme

My friend posted a meme about iTunes.  I thought it interesting and tried to do it myself.  I don’t do much but the basics on iTunes so some of it I couldn’t do but here’s what I could do:

Total number of songs?


Sort by song title
First and last…

First:  ABC – The Jackson Five
Last:   98.6 — Keith

Sort by time
Shortest and longest…

Shortest:   Into the Deep– Kevin Kendle (0:40)
Longest:   In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida –Iron Butterfly (17:02)

Sort by Album
First and last…

First:  Abbey Road – Beatles
Last:   Yours Always – Willie Nelson

Sort by Artist
First and last…

First: A-ha
Last:   Zager & Evans

Top five played songs…
I couldn’t figure out how to do this.  I looked and looked but saw no option to sort or display this info.

Find the following words. How many songs show up?

Sex: 4
Death: 6
Love: 314
You: 489
Home: 35
Boy: 88
Girl: 57

First five songs that come up on iTunes DJ…

I have no idea how to use iTunes DJ.  Don’t even see it as an option.

Sort Songs by Date Played:
Last Played

This Little Girl Of Mine – The Everly Brothers (January 12, 2010)

Genius Mixes:
I don’t use  iTunes Genius.

NOTE:  Ironically, while writing this post, I discovered that the external drive that I have EVERYTHING on, including all of my writing, photos, and music from the past 18 years, is no longer working.  That means that I’ve lost everything.  Not fun.  The iTunes library can be pretty much restored because it’s all from my own CDs, mostly anyway.  The rest of the stuff can’t be restored.  Not a happy camper at the moment.

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I usually feel quite comfortable with most technological issues, using them at least.  I’m not a know it all by any means but I’m a quick study and I can pick things up the first time through, okay maybe twice for some things.  I’m usually the one that helps others to figure out both their hardware and software.  I’ve gone shopping with people before they decide on which computer to buy.  They take me along to answer questions and help them figure out what they need and what they don’t need.  I always add what they might need as well.  I’ve helped people take the boxes home with them and have plugged in computers and peripherals and then helped them learn how to use everything.

I’ve always enjoyed it.  It makes me feel competent (as opposed to incompetent which is such a horrible feeling).

When I gave my son a new iPod for Christmas a few years back, he gave me his original first generation 10 GB iPod when he got his 30 GB iPod loaded.  I hadn’t had one before that.  He showed me how to use iTunes as far as loading music to it and synching the iPod to iTunes.  I learned how to update it, too.  One day he came over and noticed that I didn’t have any playlists set up on iTunes and he showed me how to do that and how functional they were (I hadn’t realized until then how playlists would add to my iTunes and iPod experience).  Then about a year later, I decided to treat myself to my own black 30 GB iPod.  I loved it.  And I used it all the time.  At home I used it all the time.  Then I got a new car that had an auxiliary input for an mp3 player so I began to use it all the time, for reals this time.  I used it at home and in the car.  In the car I loved that I could load audio books and listen to them on the long drives between the SF Bay Area and Portland or Los Angeles or even just the 90 minute drive from Santa Rosa to San Jose.  I loved, loved, loved my iPod.

Then one night when I was getting ready for bed, I put on my iPod to listen to the end of an audio book I had started on my last trip from California.  It was fine for about ten seconds.  I realized it wasn’t in the same spot where I had left off so I fast forwarded to find the right spot.  When I stopped it, I pushed play and it played but no sound came out.  I checked the headphones to make sure they were plugged in right.  They were.  No sound.  Strange.  It had just been playing a few seconds before.  I tried different headphones.  No sound.  I took it to the computer and tried it there.  No sound.  I went out to the car and tried it there.  No sound.  I plugged it back in to my desktop to restore it.  Still no sound.  Nothing worked.  I took it to the Apple Store.  They were unable to either get it to work or to figure out why it had no sound.  They suggested I buy a new one ($249) or buy a refurbished one ($129).  Although it isn’t that old, my iPod was out of warranty by about two months.  Not good.  There was absolutely no money allotted for such a purchase until after the first of the year, or with luck, maybe for Christmas.

I was so upset.  I decided to send out a Tweet to see if any local Tweeps worked on iPods, thinking that maybe it was fixable for less than a new or refurbished unit.  No luck however a friend, Lydia,  said she had one, a new to her refurbished one that she was not using that she could send me.  We went back and forth on it and in the end she sent it to me.  When the box arrived I was ecstatic and when I opened it, it was like seeing my own iPod because the one she sent me was also black, like mine and was also 30 GB.  I charged it up to get it synched.  I waited.  And waited.  Then finally it was ready to synch.  I thought I was going to burst of happiness!

It would not synch.  It would begin to synch then freeze.  It would stay on and I was unable to turn it off at all until the charge was completely depleted then I would have to recharge it completely before I could try again.  Finally, after trying to diagnose the problem several times and going through the charge, deplete charge, charge, synch, freeze, deplete charge, charge thing about ten times, I gave up.  My friend tweeted that it was probably because I was trying to synch multiple iPods from one set of playlists and sent a link that explained what I should do.

That was a week ago and the iPod has remained next to my bed waiting to be hooked up to the computer and filled with music.  I just haven’t been able to tackle it.  The whole ordeal left me feeling defeated.  I look at the iPod dressed in a hot pink silicone glove to protect it from any scratches and I wish I could just cross arms-close eyes-wriggle nose-and nod my head to get it to work.  I know what I have to do.  I have to set up a whole set of separate playlists for this second iPod then drag and drop those to add to the new iPod and not try to synch.  That’s supposed to work but I’m reluctant to do it because I’m afraid I will still not get it to work and I’ll feel defeated all over again.  I know it’s not me.  It’s the hardware.  But it doesn’t help.  I still feel useless and helpless.

I’ve actually gotten to the point where I’ve deleted all of my playlists and created new ones to add to the new iPod but I still can’t get myself to actually hook it up and try it.

I think that at this point the only thing that is going to get me to actually hook it up and see if this tactic works is the fact that I now also feel like a terrible friend.  Lydia sent this to me wanting to do something wonderful for me.  She did.  She really did do something wonderful for me.  However, in the process, we were both betrayed by the hardware and now not only do I feel defeeted, she feels bad about having sent me something that I had so much trouble with.  It’s not her fault.  Or mine.  It just is.

But this too shall pass.  I may feel defeated now but I’ll get over it.  Like all those bumps in the road of life, I’ll get over this and be on my way to different things, different triumphs, and yes even different defeats!

Wish me luck.  I think I may work up the courage to try it tonight.  Or maybe tomorrow.  Or maybe…

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