As a fan of a wide variety of popular (and not-so-popular) music from the 1950s (and sometimes even earlier) up through the present, one of my bucket list projects for years has been to put together a list of my 100 favorite songs of all time. At some point I decided that, once I got around to figuring that out, I could put it out on a blog, for the infinitesimally small proportion of the Internet world that might be interested. So, here we are. While the Top 100 will be a major focus, I also plan to post on a variety of other musical (and occasionally non-musical) topics, in which you may or may not be interested. (If a particular posting doesn’t ring your bell, you’re only a few clicks away from a dancing cat video on YouTube.)

Monday, August 14, 2017

August 13, 2017 – Giants 4, Nats 2 (Game 1 of split double-header) – Nationals Park

Attendance: 30,866
Game Time: 3:09
Weather: 82 degrees, sunny
Wind: 9 mph
Umpires: Home Plate - Ryan Blakney, First Base - Ryan Additon, Second Base - Jerry Meals, Third Base - Chris Guccione
Seventh-inning stretch song: Can’t Stop The Feeling – Justin Timberlake
Highlights – fill-in starter AJ Cole did all right, going 6 innings with the only hiccup being a 3-run second inning … Nats Park Public Enemy #1 Hunter Strickland was booed early and often (as he walked in from the bullpen, when he was announced, when the inning ended) before, during and after he pitched the 8th inning … Rendon exacted a measure of revenge for Harper’s beaning with a 2-run tater … new bullpen stalwarts Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson did the honors for the pre-game autograph signing
Other – Nats weren’t able to do anything against SF starter Chris Stratton, who began the game with an ERA above 6 but pitched shutout ball into the 7th, fanning 10 in the process … traffic was relatively light coming down, although there was quite a backup on the GW Parkway on the way back

Mary Chapin Carpenter with Lucinda Williams – Wolf Trap, 8/12/2017

Row H, Seats 32-33
It was certainly not a night to be on the Filene Center lawn, as shortly after Lucinda Williams started her set at 7:30 the skies opened up, with torrential rain and enough wind that we felt a few drops, although we were sitting right in the middle of our row. Despite the weather, the two women (and their excellent bands) combined for almost three hours of top-notch musical entertainment.
Williams referenced the violence in Charlottesville earlier in the day both in her intro to “World Without Tears” and with “We’ve Come To Far To Turn Around”, which despite being a new song has a chorus that makes it sound like a classic from the early 1960s Civil Rights movement. Other than that, she ranged from previous-century classics such as “Joy” (her finale), “Drunken Angel”, and “Lake Charles” to “Protection”, “West Memphis”, and “Foolishness” from 2014’s Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone. The not-unexpected high point, of course, came midway through her set, when she brought Mary Chapin out to duet with her on “Passionate Kisses”.
Carpenter also had her share of topicality, opening with a one-two punch of “The Times They Are A-Changin'” and “Stones In The Road” (with a clever lyrical alteration referencing tweets), and then including “The Age Of Miracles” a few songs later. Most of the highlights came from her longtime uptempo favorites, most notably with a blistering version of “The Bug” that let her bandmembers stretch out, and her first two encores, “He Thinks He’ll Keep Her” and “Down At The Twist And Shout”. Following that, she thanked the crowd for continuing to support live music and general and her in particular, mentioning that once again she was ending her summer tour at Wolf Trap. She then noted that this was the 30th anniversary of her first album, Hometown Girl, and concluded by performing the title track. There couldn’t have been a better way to end the evening.
Setlist (Lucinda Williams) 
Setlist (Mary Chapin Carpenter)

Friday, August 11, 2017

August 9, 2017 – Nats 10, Marlins 1 – Nationals Park

Attendance: 25,951
Game Time: 3:02
Weather: 82 degrees, partly cloudy
Wind: 7 mph
Umpires: Home Plate - Ryan Additon, First Base - CB Bucknor, Second Base - Fieldin Culbreth, Third Base - Manny Gonzalez
Highlights – perfect night for baseball weather-wise … Gio gave up some hits, but only one run in his 7 innings, with no walks and an economical 103 pitches … Nats chipped away at Miami starter Adam Conley and the Marlins’ bullpen, scoring in 5 of the first 7 innings … Zim started things off in the 2nd with a solo HR, setting the all-time franchise record for RBI in the process … not satisfied with that achievement, he added 3 more hits (plus a walk) and 4 more RBI, missing the cycle only because he homered again rather than hitting a triple in his final plate appearance
Other – drive down was not quite as bad as our previous weeknight treks … yes, you can buy a plain half-smoke at Ben’s, but it still costs $9.25

Serendipity #70

Heaven – Los Lonely Boys
Heard 8/10/2017 around 5:45 at Habit Burger (Rockville)

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Glen Campbell

The once-ubiquitous Glen Campbell may not have been the hippest musical figure of his time, but he did do some really good stuff, particularly his take on Jimmy Webb tunes.
Favorite songs:
Wichita Lineman
By The Time I Get To Phoenix
Southern Nights (OK, basically because it’s in Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2)

The Congressional Map Has A Record-Setting Bias Against Democrats

WARNING: Contents may cause severe despression among committed Democrats.

Who’s worse for the nation — Trump or Pence?

Richard Cohen’s take. A partial excerpt:  “Trump is a child — undisciplined, capricious and self-involved. Pence is none of those things. Trump knows nothing. Pence knows better.”

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Serendipity #69

Holding On For Life – Broken Bells

Heard 8/2/2017 around 5:30 at Chipotle (Fallsgrove)

2017 XPoNential Music Festival, July 28-30, Wiggins Park (Camden NJ)

General – skipped Friday for a variety of reasons (absence of anyone I really wanted to see, ominous weather forecast that caused the organizers to completely abandon the River Stage, etc.) … Saturday was mostly cloudy and cool, but wound up with only a few minutes of light rain around 3:00 … Sunday was sunny and much warmer, but with some breeze … Cosmic was there as usual with wraps, as was the BBQ place that had jambalaya … parking was billed as “extremely limited”: didn’t have the big lots just south of the bridge, but lots on Federal Street were actually closer and had plenty of spaces when I arrived at 10:30, an hour before the gates opened
Saturday highlights
Preservation Hall Jazz Band – with no thunderstorm to cut things short this year, the band put on an amazing show, featuring the Latin-flavored self-written tracks “Santiago” and “La Malanga”
Rhiannon Giddens – hard to put her in a box; shows up most prominently on Amazon under “Traditional Folk”, but with plenty of spiritual, blues, and Creole thrown in … best songs were “We Could Fly”, “Get It Right The First Time”, “Freedom Highway”
Sunday highlights
David Bromberg Quintet – I didn’t know exactly what to expect from 70s icon David Bromberg and his 5 bandmates, but they did a great set; the crowd in front of the stage refused to leave until they came back from an encore. Folk-tinged blues (or maybe blues-tinged folk?) with exceptional musicianship and a lot of hilarity throughout – their performance of “Sharon” was one or two orders of magnitude beter than the studio recording, which is worth listening to in and of itself.
The Record Company – No one around today rocks any harder than these three guys, which they proved for the second year in a row. Guitarist and lead vocalist Chris Vos first tossed his guitar pick into the standees (I wasn’t quite quick enough to snag it), and followed up later by tossing one of his harmonicas to a 7-year-old (?) kid wearing a red Record Company T-shirt, but the music was more than enough to satisfy, starting with “Broken” (their latest single), with other highlights being “Rita Mae Young” and “Off The Ground”. As with Bromberg, the crowd demanded (and got) an encore.
Also worth mentioning – opening two sets by local favorites No Good Sister (country) and Hardwork Movement (hip-hop), Sweet Spirit (really rocked, although I’m still not a big fan of “The Power”), Marina Stage set by Joseph

Friday, July 28, 2017

July 26, 2017 – Nats 8, Brewers 5 – Nationals Park

Attendance: 35,296
Game Time: 2:58
Weather: 84 degrees, partly cloudy
Wind: 8 mph
Umpires: Home Plate - Chris Segal, First Base - Mike Everitt, Second Base - Jordan Baker, Third Base - Bruce Dreckman
Notes – Brewers jumped on top in the first on a monster HR by Domingo Santana and a second run when Travis Shaw doubled, stole third with no resistance and scored when Wieters couldn’t corral a third strike … Gio blanked Milwaukee for the next 6 innings, fanning 8 and allowing only 3 more hits and 1 walk … after being shut out Tuesday night, the Nats continued their offensive futility for most of the game against Jimmy Nelson, who fanned 10 … Murphy finally broke the spell with a seventh-inning homer … Nelson was pulled after walking Wieters to lead off the 8th, and the Nats tied things up on a Goodwin double and Difo single … with 2 outs, Zimmerman gave the Nats the lead on a 2-run double, although Difo fell on the way home and barely managed to get there safely … after an intentional walk to Murphy, Nats extended their lead on run-scoring hits by Rendon, Lind, and Pedro Severino … in the middle of everything, Harper struck out, threw a temper tantrum and was ejected for the 10th time in his career and the 4th in the past two seasons … Brewers made things a little interesting in the 9th, as Doolittle yielded a walk, homer, single, and double before finally getting the final two outs
Other – another long, slow drive to the park (about an hour and three-quarters), with a circuitous route to our usual parking area as the southern section of Half Street SW is now closed due to construction work on the new stadium for DC United