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Thursday, September 26, 2013

Gangland wrap up.

It is time to wrap up my list of gang films and soundtracks and even though I previously said that I tend to group films in equal groups under a topic or genre of film and that I have a hard time narrowing down films to exclusive rankings. This film is a film that is honestly near the top of almost everyone of my lists if I was going to make a list. I think it is one of the best films that Francis Ford Coppola ever made, possibly the best film.

This film, and the talented group of young actors that made it up just kind of blows your mind. Oh sure, it helps that the book by S. E. Hinton that it is based on is very good source material. But honestly the film is far more then that. It is available on Amazon Prime and if you haven't seen it then please do yourselves a favor and watch it. If you haven't read the book, do yourself a favor and read the book.

Stevie Wonder - Stay Gold

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Gangland Continued

So lets jump right into this shall we. I am in the process of listing my top 5 youth gang films and soundtracks and numbers 5 and 4 were The Wanderers and The Warriors and really this "list" is more of a circle of my Top with these films and soundtracks all residing within the circle comfortably. So on we go.


Now this was an interesting film, made in 1988 and directed by Dennis Hopper it for sure tries to be a serious film about the dangers of street life as well as a look at the L A PD and the relationships that form between the gangs and the policemen as well as the relationships within the groups. I like it but it has not aged well at all and Sean Penns performance can be kind of odd at times I thought. But it does boast this great song by Ice T back when he used to be a rapper.

As far as rap in the mid to late 80's go, that is a great song and there are some just plain good good songs on the entire soundtrack itself.

2. Boyz N The Hood

This was another hard hitting portrayal of gang life and also set in LA. It was made in 1991 and there is for sure a substantial difference in the look of the film as well as the realness of the dialogue. I think part and maybe all of it is that John Singleton wrote it he also directed it and the message that he was trying get across was very important to him. He also put together a really nice soundtrack that he used to highlight the passing of time. I am going to give you a couple of examples.

The Five Stairsteps - Oooh Child

This is just a lovely song and shows how good some of the music was in the 70's. Then Singleton decided to contrast it with this

Ice Cube - How To Survive in South Central

As you can hear, there are some very stark differences between these two songs. Very stark.

I will see you tomorrow for film #1!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

U Tuesday

There are bands that I have listened to so much in my life that I go through phases where I just do not want to listen to them. U2 is one of those bands. It isn't that I dislike them, though I admit to not being a big fan of their work post Joshua Tree. But tonight for some reason as I sit at the Coffeehouse and drink my Hairbender and watch the rain fall it just seems like the perfect time to relisten to and revisit Joshua Tree.

U2 - Where the Streets Have No Name

There is not much to say about this song other then that I love it. The majestic organ chords and the guitar that opens the song just allow the whole experience to be very nearly worshipful. In fact if I were to let myself go I can tell that I could easily be weeping right now. Such a powerful song.

U2 - With Or Without You

This is another one where the intro just builds so nicely and when Bono's voice joins in there is a smoothness to it that is almost soothing to the ear and the psyche. "You gave it all. But, I want more." Who has not felt this way about someone they loved?

U2 - Bullet the Blue Sky

This song is almost a shock after the last one. There is almost a siren like sound to it's opening and then later in the song their are actual sirens and what the lyrics are describing leaves you as unsettled as the audio of the song does. But I think it is being unsettled in a good way. It is a political and a theological song and Bono is pretty clear about where he stands on the politics of America and a good chunk of the 1st world.

U2 - Red Hill Mining Town

This song starts with some lovely slide guitar and it just continues to the song the rasp of the guitar blending beautifully with the drum and the chug of the rhythm guitar and the screech of Bono's voice. "I can lose myself, you I can't live without."  There is a depth and a truth to that statement and while some may dismiss it as pop philosophy I do not. "I'm hanging on, you're all thats left to hold on to" There is truth and pain in that line and right now, for me, that is a good pain as I process the last 5 months and really the last nearly four years.

U2 - Trip Through Your Wires

I love, love the opening drums and the harmonica in this song. It reminds of several Doors songs actually and I mean that in a good way.

U2 - Exit

I am not sure about this song, because there are parts of it that I do not care for but at the same time I really do love it. There is just something about it that I really like.

I realize that I did not cover every song on this album. But I do not think that I need to. I really do not think that there is a bad song on this. I can sit and just listen to the whole thing in one sitting and not regret it at all. I am honestly sorry that I had let so much time pass between listening but perhaps that just makes my enjoyment even better. Do yourselves a favor and dig it out and give it another listen. You will not regret it.

Unlike Roger Sterling you will feel something. 

Gangland Tuesday

I grew up pretty much slightly lower middle class I think. We were certainly not a fancy family but we also were not dirt poor either. I am not sure why but growing up I always had a fascination with the idea of street gangs and hoodlums. I think that may be because as a child, Salem just did not have much of a problem with that. I am sure that had I been forced or chosen to join a gang then my fascination with them would have faded. That being said while I am not condoning gang lifestyle or violence there is a certain fascination with this idea and several of my favorite films deal with this issue. Some seemingly glorifying it and others realistically showing how horrible that kind of life can be. But one thing that theses 5 films have in common along with being films about street gangs they are also films with soundtracks that I love. So without further adieu I present to you.


5. The Wanderers 

This film could be the number 1 film as well and while I have broken this list up into my top 5 in all honesty I love everyone of these films and the soundtracks as well. This film has a classic early sixties soundtrack But for me the song that really stands out among the many great songs on the sound track is Dion's "The Wanderer" 

Such a good song. 

4. The Warriors

Can you dig it? Interestingly enough both this film and the previous one were made in 1979 and both took place in New York City. Though The Wanderers was set in 1963 and I think a little more realistic then the stylized gangland of NYC in The Warriors. I really do enjoy both films equally. There are some excellent songs on this soundtrack but I really just like the musical score itself and I have noticed that some modern films and bands are for sure using this soundtrack for inspiration, like "Drive" and the Tron remake as well as the latest album by Daft Punk

I hate to leave you hanging but that is all you are going to get today. I can already tell that this blog post will be to big to be just one. So tomorrow you will get to see 3 and 4. 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Field Trip Thursday

Today's post is coming to you from a new location, I am ensconced at the McDonalds in West Salem while I am waiting for the oil and my belts to be replaced in The Van. I am sipping upon a cup of McCafe coffee, black, and while it isn't undrinkable it is not the best or worst coffee that I have ever had and it not being the worst is actually a pleasant surprise. Lets see what pops up on the old music machine shall we.

ELO - Another Heart Breaks

I can safely say that this may be the first time that I have ever heard this song. I kind of dig its ambient sound. I don't have much to say about it other then that I like ELO and tend to enjoy all of their songs even the strange ones. They are a classic, classic prog rock band.

Big 5 - Universe

A little bit of classic second wave Ska. Big 5 was a skinhead band of the non racist variety as far as I know and this song is I believe a cover of a metal song. But I am not totally sure who the original band was. I suppose I could google it but I am not going to. So save your comments. Losers

(Gap for video that YouTube doesn't have)

The song is called Catnip and it is being performed by Red Allen. Pretty cool old style bluegrase.

John Coltrane - Part 3 - Pursuance

If you have the time, listen to the drumming on this and be blown away. I just am sitting here kind of grooving to it. Wow. So good. Anyone who likes Jazz will agree that Coltrane was the man and if you disagree then I suspect that you are just trolling me.

White Stripes - Fell In Love With A Girl

Such a good song. Not much I can say about this band. I just really do like their music. Sure Jack White is a freak but musically he is very talented.

Mahavishnu - Resolution

Not much I can say but close your eyes and let the music flow through you. It is nice.

Not much else to say today other then that even though I am sitting in a McDonalds it is a lovely day. One of those days that Oregon gets in Sept and Oct and it is just lovely. So I think today may be a good day. I hope so anyway. I received notice from Saif that they wouldn't be hiring me but that is okay today. I will continue to use my extended vacation for good and to hopefully benefit others with my free time as well as to find and fix everything that is wrong on the internet.

I wonder if I could find someone to outfit my van with cameras and I could go on a drive around the outside of the United States and Canada. I could do a documentary like "Long Way Around" but in The Van. Hmm intriguing. I suspect that even if I could find someone to foot the bill I might find the loneliness a little distressing but at the same time I must admit that I do find the idea intriguing. Oh to be independently wealthy.

Good day to you. I leave you with this piece of good advice from Louie CK. I try to remember this every day.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Men At Work Monday

Today is Monday and I hope you like Men at Work because that is all you are going to be getting today. As I was trying to decide what it is that I wanted to play for you today, it occurred to me that I wish there was a way for my Google play to sort my music by the year in which the album or song was released. Alas, that is not a possibility but you never know what may occur in the future. But once I had moved past the pain of that I thought, well it has been a long while since I had listened to Men at Work so why not devote the day to them. It is Monday and Men At Work Monday sounds pretty cool. So there you go.

Men At Work - Who Can It Be Now

The very first album that I remember getting was Men At Work's "Cargo". This was in grade school or Junior High which is now called Middle School and I won it because of a contest selling newspaper subscriptions to the Statesman Journal. In fact delivering papers was probably my first real job. It wasn't a job I was particularly good at or even enjoyed and there was a couple of apartment complexes in my neighborhood that would routinely rip me off when it came time to collect for the month.

Men At Work - Down Under

In those day you didn't get a monthly bill for the paper. The paper boy would show up at your house and present you with a bill and you would either write me a check or pay cash. But people in the apartments would always be moving out on me and that would leave me having too foot the bill. Sometimes it was my fault because I just wouldn't see the papers piling up outside of their apartment. If it was a second floor unit I would usually wing the paper up at the door from the parking lot below. I got pretty good at the old hook shot that way.

Men At Work - Underground

But once I hit High School I began to fall asleep in class and I think my parents decided that I should stop getting up so early and that was it for having a job in High School. Not that not having a job helped my grades any, because it did not. I was too busy chatting with my friends and not really paying any kind of attention at all for any of that to matter. Either it was very easy for me and I just figured it out without any sort of effort or I just would rather not even be involved in the class at all. I just didn't feel the need ofr any kind of focus or effort. Which I suppose is pretty typical of a fair amount of students. I don't feel like I was unique or anything.

Men At Work - I like to live

I have always enjoyed this band. There is just something about them that made listening to them an enjoyable experience. I think they were basically the first big band out of Australia as well and I thought that was pretty cool. I think I always felt that everything out of Australia was some sort of magical thing. It was like some sort of far off distant fairy land that had Dingos and Tasmanian Devils and Mel Gibson. I felt that way about Midnight Oil as well and INXS, though not as much for INXS.

Men At Work - High Wire

I made it to Australia eventually and I found out that it was a pretty magical place. The people seemed very friendly and the ladies were very attractive and friendly. It was a great experience and one that I hope to have again. Though the cost of such an endeavor does make that something that seems very likely. But you never know. If my Powerball retirement plan would ever kick in then things would be totally fine. Do not worry folks. I will be generous.

Men At Work - Dr Heckyll And Mr. Jive

I hope you enjoyed the trip down memory lane and the music today. Catch you later.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Somber Sunday

Today is an odd day. I woke up early and watched some EPL (English Premiere League) soccer. Talked to my parents. Spent some time watching several birds in the backyard bath in the bird bath and flit around. But the whole day I have been kind of on the edge. The edge of nervousness, frustration, anger. I feel like I am at a tipping point and I do not know which way I am going to tip. I am at Broadway right now trying to write it out basically I am not really sure what that even means. I know that I come here because I feel safe and at home here regardless of who is working. It has become a place of sanctuary for me in the 3 years that it has been  here and for that I am very grateful. Though feeling safe in a place can have its drawbacks because I am now tearing up as I write this and that is not always socially appropriate in a public place. So let me put on my happy face.

There that is better. It isn't that I am sitting here scowling and raging at everyone who walks past. I am not even feeling super angry inside. But there is a turmoil that is going on and there is frustration that is tied in with that. I am positive that some of the frustration is because I am unable to pin point what is making me feel this way. I often feel like I am hyper self aware and so when I can't pin down what it is that is making me feel a certain way that can be really bothersome to me.

I think I am going to do some random tunes from my soundtracks section. That always pleases me and hopefully you guys might enjoy it as well.

Bad Ronald - 1st Time

This is an interesting song and it is from the soundtrack for the film "Orange County" which is one of my favorite films. I just enjoy it.  This song is pretty good but the film is much better.

Cliff Martinez - Skull Crushing

This is from the film "Drive" a film and soundtrack that I like a lot. But it isn't for everyone. There is a bit of the old ultra-violence so it is kind of brutal. But I really, really dig the whole package of the film and the music together. It really paints something pretty cool.

Dewey Cox - Walk Hard

This movie is both a spoof of basically Johnny Cash's life as well as every other film ever made that is an autobiography of a musician. I love it. I love the music of it and I love the total abandonment they had when they made it. It hits all the right notes and if you like music and the history of rock music over the years. You will enjoy this. It is crass though with full frontal male nudity. Yummy!! :)

The New Main St Singers - Never Did No Wanderin'

Oh my! Another spoof film but this time done by the mighty Christopher Guest (Spinal Tap) and about folk music. It is another one that I just love the music in and the film is pretty funny as well.

The Beach Boys - Sloop John B

A classic Beach Boys number and put to good use in "Forrest Gump". I enjoyed the film in the theater and the book but I am not so sure that the film would stand up if I watched it today. But one thing is for sure that the soundtrack has some classic songs in it that the film uses to anchor itself in certain decades.

Rufus Wainwright - Hallelujah

This song is from the film Shrek and that is all I am going to say. Because it destroys me. Literally destroys me and in any other situation I would be singing along and weeping. A perfectly lovely and beautiful song.

Hans Zimmer - Am I Not Merciful

This is another song from a movie that initially I really enjoyed. I have not watched it in several years and I do not know if it would stand up or not. Though I do enjoy the music. The film is Gladiator with Russel Crow

The Ohio Players - I Want To Be Free

A solid funk song from the Boogie Nights soundtrack. Another great mix of film and soundtrack. Such a good movie.

Later days folks.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Some People Are . . .

very annoying and it is due to no fault of their own.

Dallas Green - Day Old Hate

I go to the coffeehouse a lot. I am sure that most of you know this. Because I tend to go so regularly I tend to see some of the same people over and over again. I realized something today, and that is that there are other people who come into the coffeehouse as often as I do or even more often. So I see faces that look familiar to me even if I have never actually talked to them. But I have seen them here enough times that I feel like I know them. But the problem that I am wrestling with is not something that I like wrestling with. I like to think that I am a nice guy and that most people like being around me and I am easy to get along with. That being said I am sure that there are people that I rub the wrong way whether or not intend to.

Trampled By Turtles - Keys to Paradise

I was doing my thing today and I looked up when this guy walked in and had I been a cat you would have seen all of my hair stand on end. Now this fellow has never said a word to me in the three years that I have been coming here. In fact I have never said a word to him and we have never even interacted in any way. So there is literally no rational reason for me to be bothered or upset by him. Yet every time, every time that I see him I get angry. I don't like to hear his voice. I do not like how he interacts with the baristas and I do not like how he dresses or the drinks that he orders. I must reiterate, there is no reason for me to feel like this. None at all.

Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros - Black Water

Yet every time that I see him, my response is the same and I literally find it hard for me to focus on what I am doing until he is gone. I do not like feeling like this. But at the same time when I think about it I feel like I shouldn't care because obviously there is something off about this guy and I should trust my instincts. I mean, when have my instincts steered me wrong before? I am 100% on making good life choices. So I think I will continue to irrationally hate this fellow until evidence comes up to prove me right.

Iron and Wine - Swans and the Swimming.

But in all seriousness I think that I am going to try to work on controlling my first response to people. It isn't that I expect that I should like everyone that I meet. I do not think that is even possible. But I can at least not have a default setting of "that guys is a jerk" based on no reason other then the way that his voice sounds or his hair cut or his clothing. It makes no sense for me to default to that and I think that I will be a better person and that my life will just be better if I work on that a little bit.

The Decemberists - I4 U & U 4 Me

Trampled by Turtles - Widowers Heart

I am sure that I have said this before and I will say it again. But Trampled by Turtles is a really good band and you should do yourselves a favor and give them a listen. You won't regret it. That is unless you hate good music and then you might not like it. It is hard to say. But if you like good music and are not a total jerk then give this band a try. They are great.

Catch you later, losers!!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Magical Feeling

There are times when someone responds to one of your blog posts and you feel like you won the lottery. So to speak. I felt like that yesterday when my friend Shane responded to my post. I have always respected his taste in music so I always feel good when we can engage on musical things.

International Beat - Magical Feeling

I tend to forget how happy 2 tone Ska makes me. But it never fails when a Ska song pops up in the old random player I just feel good. There is something about this kind of music that makes me so happy.

ACDC - Carry Me Home

Here is a taste of a little rare ACDC. This never appeared on a regular release. You never mistake the sound of Bon Scotts voice. I always enjoy a little ACDC myself and in highschool I listened to this band so much.

Grateful Dead - Minglewood Blues

I have been getting more and more into the Dead and that is because I never really understood what their music was like before. I honestly did not realize how good of musicians they were. Also, once I started getting more into bluegrass it became a natural progression to start listening to the Dead.

Manowar - Guyana (Cult of the Damned)

A little bit of epic metal from the mighty Manowar and their song about the Rev Jim Jones and his death cult in Guyana. It is truly not a shining moment in American history. But it is a fascinating tale and the song rocks if you like this kind of epic metal and I do.

Reel Big Fish - I'm Cool

There was a time when I loved this band. That being said. I still do enjoy this song. It is a classic from them.

Dark Moor - In The Heart of Stone

EPIC METAL TO MAKE YOUR EARDRUMS BLEED. I love this stuff so much and it is a perfect spot to end today's musical ramblings. Thanks for listening folks.  Now I need to join Don Draper and do a little relaxing.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Well All Right ...

Anyone of you that have read this blog in the past knows how much I enjoy music and knows how much it is an important part of my existence and its presence in my life has been  very helpful in times both good and bad. One of the things that brings me the most peace or pleasure depending on the mood I am in is when I can create a playlist to listen to in The Van.

I have a CD player in the their and that makes it pretty easy to burn things from my computer to disc. Though it would be sweet if I could get a system in their that lets me play MP3's. The playlists that I could make would be so awesome. But anyway, before I get to off track I wanted to share with you the latest and in some ways the most personal playlist that I have made in a long time. So please give it a listen, hopefully Youtube has all of these. and let me know if you enjoyed it or not.

Blind Faith - Can't Find My Home

Blind Faith - Well All Right

The Allman Brothers - Whipping Post

Too put it bluntly the last 3 nearly 4 years have been pretty shitty. Oh I am sure that there are plenty of people who have had it far worse and I am not claiming that my life is horrible. But there have been moments of time where things looked and felt pretty bleak. But I have some very, very good people around me and them along with the music that I can listen to has really made a difference as far as things go. There are times though when in the midst of whatever emotional dive I am in that things look pretty bad and I wonder what is the point. Sometimes the music helps pull me out of that and sometimes the music helps me to kind of swim through it. It is kind of hard to explain if you haven't been in the midst of that kind of emotional wave.

The Lumineers - Hey Ho

Lynrd Skynrd - Simple Man

Kansas - Carry On

There is not much to say about these songs. They bring me some comfort and some peace as I listen to them. They also bring me sorrow but it isn't a bad kind of sorrow. It is the reality of things gone that can never return but at the same time good memories of things that I wouldn't have traded for the world as well as relationships that have formed who I am today.

Montgomery Gentry - You Do Your Thing, I'll Do Mine

Lynrd Skynrd - Free Bird (Film "Devil's Rejects"

These are songs about being true to yourself. True to myself and experiencing this pain honestly and not numbing myself to it. But letting it flow through me and not letting it overwhelm me or define me but acknowledging its existence and trying to use it to make myself a better person on the far end of it. However long that takes and I have no idea at all how long it is going to take.

Neil Young - Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere

Neil Young - Old Man

Neil Young - Needle and the Damage Done

Neil Young - Running Dry

Sometimes you feel like you are at the end of your tether and these songs help me. I know that isn't the case for everyone but hearing someone put what feels like my feelings into words does amazing things for me. Through tears and sorrow can sometimes come cleansing and healing.

O' Death - Down To Rest

The White Stripes - One More Cup of Coffee

Ralph Stanley - Oh Death

Mumford n Sons - Whispers in the Dark

It is pretty obvious how this ends and it ends the same way for all of us. I can fight it and not be honest about it or I can acknowledge it and understand this is something that happens to all of us and just accept that. I think the older that I get the less fear there is of it. This will happen and I do not know when or how and that is fine with me. This playlist leaves me with a feeling of hope and I know that may not be the case for everyone and some of you may not like it at all. But I hope that you enjoyed at least some of the songs that are hear.