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.)

Saturday, April 29, 2017

The dumbest part of Trump’s dumb tax plan

So many to choose from – maybe F.P. should take a Twitter poll?

Trump’s first 100 days were alarming — and relieving

The Post Editorial Board’s take on the First 100 Trumpdays.

#145 Use Me Up – Lake Street Dive (2014)

This is my personal favorite from my 2014 album of the year, and I still can’t figure out why it didn’t get much airplay. Mike Olson’s perceptive lyrics, Bridget Kearney’s upright bass accompaniment, Mike Calabrese’s understated percussion, Rachael Price’s lead vocals and harmonies by the rest of the band – it doesn’t get much better than this.

#144 Magic Town – The Vogues (1966)

This was the second song in the Vogues’ “blue-collar trilogy” that followed their initial hit (the bouncy pop of “You’re The One”) and preceded the later years of their career when they specialized in covering such standards as “My Special Angel” and “Moments To Remember”. Perhaps it’s not surprising that “Magic Town” didn’t reach the chart heights of its immediate predecessor, the better-known (and more optimistic) “Five O’Clock World”. In the former, “there's a five o'clock me inside my clothes thinkin' that the world looks fine”, because “everytime my baby smiles at me I know that it's all worthwhile.” In the latter, the narrator has left his love behind in search of success but is increasingly despairing of finding it; he’s “down to my last dime”, and “nobody here gives a hang if I live or die”. The 50-year-old chorus still resonates today, bringing to mind hollowed-out post-industrial cities and small towns throughout the Rust Belt: 

Hey, where's the magic in this Magic Town?
Where's the good life they said could be found?
where's the magic to make all my big dreams come true?
I gotta find it girl before I send for you.

Friday, April 28, 2017

#143 Follow You All Over The World – Marti Jones (1985)

This track was a favorite of many of us WHFS addicts back in the day, although (like pretty much all of her work) it failed to cross over into the mainstream. I was fortunate enough to see a show by Marti and husband (and longtime producer) Don Dixon a year ago in a small, intimate setting; naturally this song was the biggest highlight of the evening.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The Phillie Phanatic is 39 years old. Really.

“Thirty-nine years after one of the most impressive marketing births of history, he still had the energy and the intellect of an 8-year-old.” (from Donnellon article)
Two articles to celebrate the occasion. (The one from Cut4 includes video of some of his “greatest hits”.)
And he had a great party this past Sunday.

Monday, April 24, 2017

April 23, 2017 – Phillies 5, Braves 2 – Citizens Bank Park

Attendance: 28,632
Game Time: 2:38
Weather: 61 degrees, sunny
Wind: 7 mph
Umpires: Home Plate - Tripp Gibson, First Base - Stu Scheurwater, Second Base - Brian Gorman, Third Base - Mike DiMuro
Seventh-inning stretch song: Hot Hot Hot – Buster Poindexter
Section 142, Row 18, Seats 1-6 – left field, on the aisle, prime bring-your-glove territory
It was the quietest of games (until it wasn’t).
Highlights – great, fast-moving pitchers’ duel between Zach Eflin and Mike Foltynewicz, scoreless through 6 innings … after Matt Kemp put Atlanta on the board with a leadoff HR in the top of the 7th, the Phils tied it in the bottom of the frame on consecutive singles by Nava, Stassi, and Galvis … in the 8th, the Phils greeted reliever Arodys VizcaĆ­no with a pinch-double by Saunders, followed by homers by Hernandez and Altherr … Herrera made it back-to-back-to-back taters after Ian Krol replaced VizcaĆ­no
Other – Hector Neris made it interesting in the top of the 9th, walking the leadoff hitter (with a 4-run lead) and subsequently yielding two singles and another walk before finally getting the final two outs … confirmed that Tony Luke’s makes excellent cheesesteaks … breaking out the peeps late in the game seemed to key the Phillies’ rally … traffic wasn’t too bad either coming or going (although the Penrose Ave. route leaving the CBP area didn’t work at all) … snagged a great Phanatic cap, thanks to a generous seatmate who met the requirements for the 14-and-under giveaway
Trivia note: The last time the Phillies went back-to-back-to-back was June 13, 2008, when Utley, Howard, and Burrell did it in St. Louis. I remember the game because it was my birthday and I had gone up to Lake Kittamaqundi in Columbia to see a set by Ryan Shaw. When the show was over and I got back to my car and turned on the radio, the Phils had a ridiculously large lead, fueled primarily by a 9-run fourth inning. The final score was 20-2.

The Seldom Scene -- BlackRock Center for the Arts (Germantown MD), 4/22/2017

Orchestra Center, Row B, Seats 105-106 (second row, on the center-right aisle)
I have actually “scene” this band very seldom; not sure when the last time was, but it was almost certainly not in this century. Although the current lineup doesn’t feature any of the original members, the group still put on a nice show, with two fifty-minute sets. They’ve always been known for pulling in songs from other genres, and this evening’s performance included “Sitting On Top Of The World” (done by Cream and many others), James Taylor’s “Sweet Baby James”, and John Fogerty’s “Big Train (From Memphis)”. Having three primary lead vocalists provided plenty of variety in the sound, and the harmony vocals were excellent, especially when Ronnie Simpkins added bass on the gospel classic “I’ll Be No Stranger There”. And they did do my personal favorite, “Wait A Minute”, as the last number in their second set.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Average White Band – Rams Head on Stage, 4/20/2017

Table 103, Row A, Seat 2 (front row of tables, center stage)

Absolutely amazing 90-minute high-energy show by a band I’ve liked since my college days (not everyone shared my opinion) but had never seen live. “A Love Of Your Own”, 5 songs in, featured a wonderful sax solo by Cliff Lyons, and sounded like the kind of performance most bands would save for the end of their main set. All 7 musicians were great, including founding members Alan Gorrie and Onnie McIntyre, but I was especially impressed by lead vocalist Brent Carter, who’s one of the best soul singers I’ve heard in my many years of concert-going. Naturally, the evening ended with a rousing audience-participation version of “Pick Up The Pieces”. This may have been my first AWB show, but I doubt that it will be my last.

Monday, April 17, 2017

April 16, 2017 – Nationals 6, Phillies 4 – Nationals Park

Attendance: 29,774
Game Time: 3:11
Weather: 84 degrees, partly cloudy
Wind: 15 mph
Umpires: Home Plate - Greg Gibson, First Base - Jerry Layne, Second Base - Dan Bellino, Third Base - Mike Estabrook
Notes – classic ending, as Harper erased Philadelphia’s one-run lead with two outs and two on in the ninth with his fourth career walk-off HR … Phils second-baseman Cesar Hernandez led off the game with a homer for the second time this season … Nats tied things up quickly in the bottom of the inning on doubles by Eaton and Rendon, and took the lead in the third when with two outs Rendon beat out an infield single and Harper hit the next pitch out of the park … Gio held the Phils down until the 8th, when they tied it up in an inning featuring 3 singles, a Jayson Werth error in left field and a Koda Glover wild pitch … bullpen problems continued in the 9th, when Aaron Altherr doubled off Treinen and subsequently scored on two infield grounders … 10:30 departure from Rockville met with relatively light traffic, a good parking spot, and still-available autograph vouchers … had shade in our regular seats for almost the entire game, nice on an unusually hot April day … the Easter Bunny shed his nice-guy image with a vicious take-down of Teddy during the Presidents Race