Thursday, May 31, 2007

Top 5 Records Part II

Yesterday I assigned myself the task of picking my Top 5 songs in three different categories. Since I don't work in a low traffic record store like the guys in High Fidelity and have all day to think about minutiae, I had to ponder my lists while on the cardio machine at the gym, while pitching baseballs to my sons and during meetings at work. My head is spinning from all of the memories and emotion these songs elicit. Here we go!

Top 5 Beach Songs:

I had to take all Reggae out of the equation because it would completely dominate my Top 5. Props to Jimmy Cliff, Bob Marley, Shaggy and Sean Paul!!

5. Pulling Muscles From A Shell - Squeeze

Difford and Tillbrook were the best songwriters of the late 70's and early 80's.
Innuendo? Most definitely.

"But behind the chalet
My holiday's complete
And i feel like william tell
Maid marian on her tiptoed feet
Pulling mussels from a shell"

4. Margaritaville - Jimmy Buffett

You can't have a summer song list without Buffett.

"blew out my flip-flop
Stepped on a pop-top
Cut my heel had to cruise on back home
But theres booze in the blender
And soon it will render
That frozen concoction that helps me hang on"

3. Beautiful Girls - Van Halen

"She was seaside sittin, just a smokin and a drinkin on ringside,
On top of the world, oh, yeah.
She had her drink in her hand; she had her toes in the sand and whoa,
What a beautiful girl, ah, yeah."

The lyrics say it all!

2. Good Vibrations - The Beach Boys

Beach Boys and Summer, enough said.

Time to dose out.

"I, I love the colorful clothes she wears
And the way the sunlight plays upon her hair
I hear the sound of a gentle word
On the wind that lifts her perfume through the air"

Sounds like Brian Wilson discovered "X".

1. Under The Boardwalk - The Drifters

You can imagine yourself at the beach with all the sights and smells and whats better than "on a blanket with my baby is were I'll be".

Top 5 Songs While Having Sex:

Each song has to be under 3 minutes...just kidding.

There are so many songs about sex that this category was the toughest. Prerequisites? A driving beat, screeching and dudes with long hair.

5. Feel Like Making Love - Bad Company

Driving drum beat exacerbates Paul Rodgers plea for some lovin'.

4. Just A 'Lil Bit - 50 Cent

Nasty. Luther Campbell type nasty.

3. Give It Up To Me - Sean Paul

"So back it up deh..So pack it up yeah
Cause I wanna be the man that's really gonna have it up and mack it up and
Slap it up yeah...So what is up yeah...You know you got the sinting inna me pants a develop and a swell up and
Double up yeah...So gimmie the work yeah cause if you no gimme the work the blue balls a erupt yeah..
So rev it up deh gal gwaan try you luck deh cause when you stir it up you know me haffi measure up yeah."

Those reggae artists know how to f***.

2. Slow 'An Easy - Whitesnake

"So take me down slow an easy,
Make love to me slow an easy
I know that hard luck an trouble
Is coming my way,
So rock me til Im burned to the bone"

Ouch...but it hurts so good! (by the way John Cougar never came close to this list)

1. In the Evening - Led Zepplin

Robert Plant squealing always gets me ready to rock!! Personal favorite of the wife and I. Good times.....

Top 5 Songs At My Funeral:

Every one at one time or another imagines what it'll be like at their funeral. If you want something other than organs and hymns and uncontrollable sobbing, then get your playlist together now! Every wake should be an Irish wake!!!

5. Angel - Sarah McLaughlin

It would be awesome if she would come and sing it live, in church. She has the sweetest voice. Imagine being her kid and getting sung to every evening.

4. Ave Maria - Chris Cornell

The Catholic boy in me doesn't think its a funeral until "Ave Maria" is sung. Cornell has one of the best voices and this rendition is haunting. You can find it on one of those "Very Merry Christmas" compilations wherein rock/pop stars do XMas tunes.

3. Funeral For A Friend/Love Lies Bleeding - Elton John

The organ in the beginning of the song sets the somber tone. Its an instrumental until the upbeat "Love Lies Bleeding" starts.

2. Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight/The End - The Beatles

This song montage was used in the funeral scene of the crappy "Sergent Pepper's Lonley Hearts Club Band" movie with the Bee Gees and Peter Frampton. The songs are on "Abbey Road".

1. That Lonesome Road - James Taylor

JT sang this at John Belushi's funeral. The lament and regret in this song is palpable. If its good enough for Belushi, its good enough for me!

"Walk down that lonesome road all by yourself
Dont turn your head back over your shoulder
And only stop to rest yourself when the silver moon
Is shining high above the trees

If I had stopped to listen once or twice
If I had closed my mouth and opened my eyes
If I had cooled my head and warmed my heart
Id not be on this road tonight

Carry on

Never mind feeling sorry for yourself
It doesnt save you from your troubled mind

Walk down that lonesome road all by yourself
Dont turn your head back over your shoulder
And only stop to rest yourself when the silver moon
Is shining high above the trees"

More Top 5's another time.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Top Five Records

I read a post by Plez back in March where in he was asked by another blogger to produce a list of his top 7 songs of all time. He cheated and put his ipod on shuffle and let technology pick his favorites. I did the same and came up with this list:

Alison - Elvis Costello
Reasons - Earth, Wind and Fire
Shimmer - Fuel
I'll Be Around - The Spinners
I Was Brought to My Senses - Sting
Foolish - Ashanti
Turn Your Lights Down Low - Lauren Hill & Bob Marley
Bonus Track: Sunday Morning - Maroon 5

Although I like all of the songs on this list (or else they wouldn't be on my mp3) I can't say that they are all in my top 7. This got me thinking, how can you pick a top 7 list? The answer: you can't!!

In the movie High Fidelity John Cusack is a record store owner who hangs around with his two employees (Jack Black and some other dude) all day and think up top 5 lists of songs by category (top 5 break-up songs, top 5 songs at a funeral, top 5 songs by Latin artists, you get the point). Shortly after reading Plez's post I caught High Fidelity at 3 AM during a bought with insomnia. I decided that you can never have an overall top 7 because music is tied to so many other factors that your top 7 one day will be different than the top 7 another depending on mood, season, weather, activity etc..

7 seems like too much work, so here are some top 5 lists to attempt:

Top 5 Beach songs

Top 5 songs to play while having sex

Top 5 songs at your funeral

What are some good top 5 lists?

I'll give you my answers in my next post.

Monday, May 21, 2007

"The Bay"

My mother-in-law lives in Bay Saint Louis, Mississippi in the depths of the Deep South. Three of the past four years we visit her during Mother's Day week. She gets us a condo, on the beach, in Gulf Shores, Alabama and we spend the week steps from the Gulf of Mexico. The beach there rivals any beach I've been to in Florida (Florida is only five miles away), California or the Caribbean. The sand is powder white and the water has that iridescent green/blue hue not found any where north of Cape Hatteras. The week is a chance for my wife and her mom to reconnect and its give my kids a chance to get to know their "Nana".

Nana moved down south 20 years ago when her then husband retired from the railroad. After visiting some friends in Mississippi they decided to move there enticed by the mild winters and the low cost of living. Since living there she has been divorced, remarried, divorced again and now lives with her current boyfriend Chuck. She bought the bar she was working in, Benignoes, about ten years ago. When Hurricane Katrina's eye wall passed directly over "The Bay" 21 months ago and sucked most of the town into the Gulf, her house and bar survived intact. For months after the storm, her bar was the only watering hole available for 30 miles in any direction.

We were vacationing in Maine in late August of '05. On Sunday morning as we were getting ready to go to the pool I was watching the news and saw that Katrina was making a beeline for the gulf coast. I told my wife to call her mother. Her mother was in the process of getting out of town. She spent the storm in northern Mississippi and upon hearing that the Gulf Coast was completely destroyed she drove north to Massachusetts. She spent five weeks living with us, getting daily updates from her boyfriend who had gone back to Bay Saint Louis the day after the storm to assess the damage, help look for missing people and slowly start the rebuilding process. When she received word that things were livable (meaning running water, electricity and dead bodies not being found indiscriminately) she asked me to accompany her on the ride back to "The Bay". We drove 14 hours, spent the night in Virginia, then got up at 6 AM so we could make it to her bar for "Happy Hour". As soon as we entered northern Mississippi we could see some wind damage, uprooted trees and downed road signs. As we got closer to the coast the damage increased. By the time we reached the coast it looked like "Nuclear Winter". There were no leaves on the trees, most were bent or broken in half. There were rows and rows of empty slabs were houses once stood. There were parking lots full of tents and trailers housing relief workers. The smell of burning wood was in the air as the only way most could clear the rubble from their lots was to burn it. One lot we drove by a few blocks from her bar was filled with refrigerated trailers I found out was being used to store dead bodies that hadn't yet been claimed or identified. We headed into her bar for "Happy Hour". The bar was full, the silence spoke volumes.

I spent three days there in Bay Saint Louis and with the exception of an occasional drunken ride through town to survey damage I sat in her bar drinking and listening. Stories about seeing lifeless bodies stuck in trees thirty feet in the air after the water receeded back into the gulf. Stories about standing on rooftops for hours waiting for help. Stories about sifting through rubble looking for some semblance of normalcy. The story most heard was that of insurance companies that were not paying claims because people didn't have flood insurance, even though they all had hurricane insurance. The faces of the bar patrons had lifeless, blank expressions, but their eyes had a panicked look as if they were replaying horrific scenes over and over in their head. The eeriest scene I encountered was when I left the bar a half hour before the ten o'clock curfew and drove down some streets near the beach and saw lot after lot of people huddled around barrel fires, some holding shotguns. Its what I imagined it would be like after the apocalypse.

I flew back to Massachusetts out of Gulfport at 6 AM on a crystal clear morning. I had a connecting flight to Haftford from Houston, so we flew directly over "The Bay" on our western flight over the gulf coast. The sun was just coming up as we made our ascent. Flying down the gulf coast you could see damage from the air. When we got to "The Bay" it looked as if God had taken a broom and swept a swath ten miles long and a mile inland directly into the gulf. It was the worst damage discernible by air from Gulfport to Houston which included a flyover of New Orleans which was still covered by water.

21 months later the place is still a mess. Insurance claims still have yet to be settled. There is still an eerie silence where you would expect to hear the sound of hammers and saws. My mother-in-law has done alright. She has opened up a second bar on land that was being leased to another bar by the railroad. The couple that owned the other bar gave my mother-in-law the lease as they were leaving the town for good, never wanting to relive the horror of another hurricane. She rebuilt on site and the new bar is called the "Rusty Rail".

Our visits the last two years since the hurricane have been bittersweet. We travel from one of the most depressing places in the south, Bay Saint Louis, to one of the nicest, Gulf Shores and then back to "The Bay". I like to think that our yearly visits provide a sense of normalcy and stability to my mother-in-law's life. She is talking about buying a condo in Gulf Shores at the same place we go for our yearly visits; that will be her "get away" from the troubles in "The Bay". As long as there are hurricanes, there will never be a sense of normalcy or stability in "The Bay".

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

A Letter To "The Rocket"

Dear Mr. Clemens,

I was extremely disappointed to hear that you are going to play baseball for the New York Yankees this summer. I was a big fan when you pitched for the Red Sox. I was a season ticket holder at Fenway and saw you pitch many a masterpiece live and in person. I was angry with the Sox management, namely, Dan Duquette, when they let you slip away to Toronto and disrespected you by saying that you were "in the twilight of your career". I rooted for you when you won the 2 Cy Young's in Toronto. I was even happy for you personally when you got your World Series rings with the hated Yankees. Even 2 seasons ago when the Astros were in the World Series I wanted to see you do well. Now I hate your fucking guts!!

I understand why you left the Sox. You felt unwanted. The team from top to bottom was in disarray. There was money, wins and rings to be gained elsewhere. Now the Sox have an exemplary organization from top to bottom, so why won't you return?

Your conditions outlined through your agent were that you wanted to go to the team that has the best chance of going to the World Series and you must think that is the Yankees. As of this morning the "Pinstripes" are 15-16, 6 games behind the first place Red Sox. So much for your conditions. Good luck. When you are done pitching your five innings of 3 hit, 1 run ball the Yankees bullpen is going to blow your lead. You will be lucky to eek out 7 wins if you start pitching in mid June. You are setting yourself up for a big fall.

If you think you are going to come in to save the Yankees and be the hero, think again. You have been pitching in the weak hitting NL Central for the past three years. Your innings have decreased each year. Not only are you going to get racked by the AL, but you are going to pitch in the AL East which is arguably the best hitting division in baseball.

You knew back in March that you were not going to Boston, but you flirted with us in hopes of getting George to up the ante. Well, your plan was successful and you and your "boyfriend" Pettitte can smack each other on the ass all summer. I'm glad you will be wearing a Yankees hat into Cooperstown, you are a Yankee, black and white.

My four year old can name every member of the Sox and he knows most of the Yankees. When we watch you make your first start against the Sox I will make it a point to let him know who you are and that you truly are a traitor.

Brutus, Judas Iscariot, Benedict Arnold, and Roger Clemens.


David D. Sullivan

PS: Yankees Suck!