Category Archives: music listening

What about that hot waitress?

I have eaten my share of meals out in restaurants, big and small, high and low. Part of the enjoyment of dining out is, of course, being served by someone else and not having to worry about preparing the food or cleaning up afterwards. I also must confess that I have often paid more attention than necessary to the waitress. For the longest time, I kind of considered this my own dirty little secret. However, in the course of riding my bike over the past few months and listening to music on the bluetooth speaker on my water bottle, I have come to realize that I am not alone when it comes to lusting after a waitress. Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.

Herewith three tunes from over the years about a hot waitress.

The most recent, in my experience, but by no means actually recent, the intoxicating beat of “I wanna get next to you” by Rose Royce from the movie Car Wash. The narrator bemoans “Girl, you make me feel so insecure; you’re so beautiful and pure.”

Next is by the redoubtable Louis Prima who eats ‘…antipasto twice because she is so nice …” She being Angelina. Prima was the consummate entertainer who was won of the premier headliners in Las Vegas in its early years. Sadly, I couldn’t find a version showing him belting this tune out.

This offering was by one of my countrymen, the second Hazel’s Hips by Oscar Brown, Jr., who grew up on Chicago’s south side. Oscar describes the ‘concert of contours and curves as she slips to and fro round the tables she serves …”

I hope you enjoy these as much as I do. By all means feel free to offer any songs I may have overlooked on the subject.

Tony

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Sing, Sing, Sing

I am tempted to say that this is for my younger readers as they are unlikely to have experienced the song – Sing, Sing, Sing. But, then I realize that probably more than 95 percent of you are younger than I am. So, this is for all of you.

*Another of the seminal songs in my musical upbringing is the famous Sing, Sing, Sing, written and performed by Louis Prima. I probably heard it at home on the radio because my father was a fan of Prima who had recorded it in March 1936. I became more aware of the song in my later years after hearing the Benny Goodman version at his famous 1938 Carnegie Hall jazz concert.*

In case you are unfamiliar with Louis Prima, here is what Wikipedia has to say, “Louis Prima (December 7, 1910 – August 24, 1978) was an Italian-American singer, actor, songwriter, bandleader, and trumpeter. While rooted in New Orleans jazz, swing music, and jump blues, Prima touched on various genres throughout his career: he formed a seven-piece New Orleans-style jazz band in the late 1920s, fronted a swing combo in the 1930s and a big band group in the 1940s, helped to popularize jump blues in the late 1940s and early to mid 1950s, and performed as a Vegas lounge act in the late 1950s and 1960s.

Louis Prima version 1937

“From the 1940s through the 1960s, his music further encompassed early R&B and rock’n’roll, boogie-woogie, and even Italian folk music, such as the tarantella. Prima made prominent use of Italian music and language in his songs, blending elements of his Italian identity with jazz and swing music. At a time when “ethnic” musicians were often discouraged from openly stressing their ethnicity, Prima’s conspicuous embrace of his Italian ethnicity opened the doors for other Italian-American and “ethnic” American musicians to display their ethnic roots.”

Of course, to my unsophisticated ear, the most stunning performance on the piece was the pulsing, primal Gene Krupa drum solo. It wasn’t till I was older that I got into appreciating the wonderful Benny Goodman clarinet work as well.

Here is what Wikipedia has to offer on the song: In their 1966 book Hear Me Talkin’ To Ya: The Story Of Jazz As Told By The Men Who Made It, music critics Nat Shapiro and Nat Hentoff quote Goodman as saying, “‘Sing, Sing, Sing’ (which we started doing back at the Palomar on our second trip there in 1936) was a big thing, and no one-nighter was complete without it.” Goodman’s 1938 Carnegie Hall jazz concert was different from the commercial release and from subsequent performances with the Goodman band. The personnel of the Goodman band for the Carnegie Hall concert were the same as in the 1937 recording session, except Vernon Brown replaced Murray McEachern on trombone, and Babe Russin replaced Vido Musso on tenor sax.

12 Min Version From Carnegie Hall 1938

I wanted to include this last one because seeing two other extremely gifted artists add their interpretation to it adds a further level of enjoyment. And, who doesn’t love Fred and Ginger?

Tony

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Tale of two tail tunes

Back in December I was in Las Vegas with my girlfriend. One morning I was down in the casino playing video poker and the coolest tune came on the loud speakers. For some reason all casinos seem to feel that the ambient sound of the slot machines is not enough. They have to fill you with their own brand of music,  mostly rock and roll. As Caesars Palace, where we stayed, they often intersperse songs from the headliners who play there. So they combine marketing with entertainment.

While playing video poker I became aware of this awesome song on the speakers.  I couldn’t make out all the words, but the beat was fantastic and every once in a while, I heard, “… one, two, three … something, something …. run back to me … ”

I have been a rock and roller since the fifties and was lucky enough to catch Elvis Presley’s TV debut on the Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey Stage Show in January of 1956. He blew the country and me right out of our socks. Bill Hayley and his Comets also rocked me around the clock in the early 50’s.

I couldn’t recognize a lot of the lyrics or the voice of the singer, so I pulled out my iPhone and asked Siri if she could. Sure enough, Siri came back with “Ex’s and Ohs” by Elle King. Again, I had never heard of either the singer or the song, but decided that I would explore further.

Later, back in the room, I learned that Elle King is the daughter of Rob Schneider, former cast member of Saturday Night Live and star of the Deuce Bigelow movies. I found an Elle King  performance on You Tube and played it over and over till I had it in my head.

Before I go further, why don’t you check it out below. Then read on.

After a number of hearings and viewings, I still loved the tune, but hated the sentiment. The singer co-wrote the song with Dave Bassett. As you can see and hear from the video she is a heartless person who uses men and then discards them when she is finished. I decided I really didn’t like the sentiment or the person singing it.

Here’s the fascinating thing that flashed through my mind in the ensuing week. When I was in my early 20’s, I spent a lot of time with ‘the guys’ riding around in a car listening to a blasting radio and singing along with the music. One of my favorite tunes was The Wanderer by Dion. Like Ex’s and Ohs, it also has a great beat. Interestingly, the sentiment is similar, too, but from the point of view of the guy. “I’m the type of guy who will never settle down. Where pretty girls are, well, you know that I’m around. I kiss ’em and I love ’em, ’cause to me they’re all the same. I hug ’em and I squeeze ’em, they don’t even know my name…’ You get the picture.

The song became my theme song for about the next 25 years and probably kept me from having very good relationships with women during that time.

You can enjoy the entire song below.

I guess the millennials have taken the equal rights of women concept to heart and Ex’s and Oh’s is a perfect example of that. I hope the young and impressionable girls listening to it are better able to handle the ideas than I was.

Please feel free to comment on this. I would love to hear from you.

Tony

 

 

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Miles Davis and the White Rabbit

What follows is a little bit off the beaten path for this blog, but I had such a wonderful musical discovery recently that I wanted to share it with you. This doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with eating right, exercising or living longer. It’s just personal.

Music has always been integral to my life. I remember sitting mesmerized listening to hit songs over our radio as a child in the 1940’s. Fast forward to the sixties and I was a weed whacker digging the Jefferson Airplane’s White Rabbit from their best selling Surrealistic Pillow album. Strong feeling of deja vu writing the word ‘album.’ How many kids today even have that word in their vocabularies?

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Anyway, I consider White Rabbit to be a masterpiece of a song particularly as rendered by Grace Slick’s powerful voice. A masterpiece in terms of music as well as metaphor. I still have it on my iPod today.

Before I go further with this let me remind you of the opening lines of the song which I am sure you have heard at some time in your life: “One pill makes you larger; one pill makes you small. And the ones that mother gives you don’t do anything at all.” For me this line demonstrated the dichotomy between the generations at the time besides being hauntingly beautiful musically.

So, I was pleasantly surprised to run across a Wall Street Journal write up  on Grace Slick and how she came to write and perform White Rabbit.


This is a good sound reproduction and you get to see all the lyrics

The 74 year old Slick said, “I loved ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.’ The stuff Alice drank and ate made her high [tall] or brought her down [small]. There were all kinds of drug metaphors in there. The ’60s were very much like that.

“When the lyrics were done, I took the sheet of paper to the red piano and worked on the chords, writing the names of the ones I liked over the phrases. I wrote the song in F-sharp minor, a key that’s ideal for my voice. Minor chords have a certain darkness and sadness.

“The music I came up with was based on a slow Spanish march or bolero that builds in intensity. I’ve always had a thing for Spanish folk music. Back in 1963, Jerry and I were living with Darby and his girlfriend in San Francisco on Potrero Hill. One day we took acid and I put on Miles Davis’s ‘Sketches of Spain.’

“I loved that album and I listened to it over and over for hours, particularly ‘Concierto de Aranjuez,’ which takes up most of the first side. It’s hypnotic. I’ve always been like this. Anything I love I’m going to cram into my ears, nose and mouth until I use it up. ‘Sketches of Spain’ was drilled into my head and came squirting out in various ways as I wrote ‘White Rabbit.’”

Here is the magical part for me. I also love Miles Davis and listen to his music all the time, particularly the Sketches of Spain album he did with Gil Evans. So, I learned, fifty years after the fact, that two of my favorite pieces of music are joined at the hip. Nice.

I hope you have the time to listen to them. Each is still magical for me.

Tony

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Why do we like music? – Infographic

As a guy with about 7000 songs on my iPhone, I found this fascinating.

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Tony

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Listening to Music can Help and Hinder Learning – Infographic

When I was younger I always had music playing no matter what I was doing. Now that I am an old man, I still love music, but I don’t play it when I am writing blog posts or doing things that require concentration.

It’s nice to know that it lowers blood pressure and reduces stress.

How about you?

b6348233216067c7a2f5641cc9047ed9Tony

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Musical Training Shapes Brain Anatomy and Affects Function

“As today’s findings show, intense musical training generates new processes within the brain, at different stages of life, and with a range of impacts on creativity, cognition, and learning.”

Cooking with Kathy Man

New findings show that extensive musical training affects the structure and function of different brain regions, how those regions communicate during the creation of music, and how the brain interprets and integrates sensory information. The findings were presented at Neuroscience 2013, the annual meeting of the

These insights suggest potential new roles for musical training including fostering plasticity in the brain, an alternative tool in education, and treating a range of learning disabilities.

Today’s new findings show that:

  • Long-term high level musical training has a broader impact than previously thought. Researchers found that musicians have an enhanced ability to integrate sensory information from hearing, touch, and sight (see source).
  • The age at which musical training begins affects brain anatomy as an adult; beginning training before the age of seven has the greatest impact (see source).
  • Brain circuits involved in musical improvisation are shaped by systematic training, leading to less reliance…

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