Some soothing sounds from 2017 and thoughts of the upcoming summer. ~Vic
Video of the Day
One of the greatest disasters in Japanese history began in the Japanese capital city of Edo (original name of Tokyo) on March 2, 1657, 365 years ago, today. Legend has it that the fire was accidentally started by a priest who was supposedly trying to cremate a cursed kimono. The kimono had been owned in succession by three teenage girls who all died before ever being able to wear it. When the garment was being burned, a large gust of wind fanned the flames causing the wooden temple to ignite.
The fire spread quickly through the city, due to hurricane force winds, which were blowing from the northwest. Edo, like most Japanese cities, […] the buildings were especially dry due to a drought the previous year. [The] roads and other open spaces between buildings were small and narrow, allowing the fire to spread and grow particularly quickly.
The Great Fire of Meireki
February 21, 2016
[The] city of Tokyo, Japan, then known as Edo, suffered a catastrophic fire that lasted three days, and killed 100,000 Japanese people, a death toll greater than either of the atomic bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.
The carnage caused by the Great Fire of Meireki (or sometimes known as the Furisode Fire) combined to destroy about 60% to 70% of the buildings in Edo.
[The] wind spread the flames across a city that was built almost entirely of wood and paper buildings [and], firefighters [were] unable to keep up with the rapid spread of flames caused by the wind. The fire brigade established in Edo was a novel idea but, the force was nowhere near large enough to deal with a conflagration of this magnitude.
Reconstruction of the city lasted the next 2 years.
Great Fire Kills More Japanese Than Atom Bomb
History & Headlines
March 2, 2017
Japanese Tales: The Fire of the Furisode (Elle Of A Kind Blog/01-07-2022)
The Great Fire Of Meireki/Destruction of Tokyo
Time waits for no one, particularly when you have a fresh battery and stripped gears. ~Vic
Video of the Day
Hanspostcard has a song draft challenge. This is my Round Ten and final pick.
Back in 2014, I happened to catch a wonderful song that played during a commercial on HDNET (movies). HDNET didn’t have normal commercials, they just had clips from movies that it was showcasing, changing each month. I loved the song but, had no idea what the name of it was, other than what I could glean from the lyrics. I desperately wanted to know who the singer was because she had a beautiful voice. I could find nothing, so, I contacted HDNET for help. Her name? Emily Hackett. The song? A Heart Worth Saving (and I wasn’t the only one asking). It is the third track from a short compilation album called Girl Electro Pop, released July 11, 2014 (as best as I can tell). There is no chart information on the album or the song and what lyrics that are on the Internet do not match all of the words she sings. That being said, I was overjoyed to find it and download it.
That brings me to Bad Weather (no chart information on it, either). In digging around for data on Emily, I found a demo video of her singing the song with a guitarist. Then, I found the album it was on…The Raw EP, released July 24, 2015. It’s a beautiful, sad song that reminds me of a stripped down Carrie Underwood piece.
“I started this song in California when I was making lunch one day at my parent’s house. My boyfriend, Mikey, was goofing around on the guitar and I stopped him like, “What is that? We are writing that. It’s awesome.” It wasn’t until we got back to Nashville, a couple months later that we sat down with our friend Adam James and poured out this song in a couple of hours. It felt so right, we just went with it. It’s one of my favorites I’ve ever written.”
Daily Discovery: Emily Hackett
She was born in Cleveland, Ohio and was in high school in Georgia when she took off with a friend to visit Belmont University. Headed for the University of Georgia, she fell in love with Nashville and interned in the music industry:
“Here I was in Nashville at school. I had no idea that there was this whole world of music where you could have careers. I didn’t realize there was so much to it. It was cool to be studying the music business at college. I thought I could always be a writer and in Nashville, writers actually get to perform.”
Some months ago, I commented on one of Music City Mike‘s blog posts, regarding interviews of local musicians in Nashville. I told him about Emily but, I don’t know if he ever got the chance to chat with her. Give her a listen. She is a different genre from Lissie but, just as talented.
Thanks, Hans, for the invite to participate. Much like the movie draft, picking favorites is a tough go. There is SO much good music out there. I look forward to sharing more in the upcoming 2022 Draft. ~Vic
Emily Hackett Looks To The Past & Future On “Nostalgia” (Taste of Country/Sterling Whitaker/08-10-2017)
CMT’s Next Women Of Country (People Magazine/Katie Kauss/11-16-2018)
Cleveland Native Emily Hackett Comes To Beachland (Cleveland Scene/Jeff Niesel/12-04-2019)
Emily Hackett Releases Heartfelt “Handle” (The Virginia Star/Bethany Bowman/05-29-2020)
Emily Hackett Is Creating Magic (The Aquarian/Debra Kate Schafer/05-31-2020)
Demo In The Attic
Royals Cover With Megan Davies
Happy Christmas Cover
“Your world is falling down, you may as well crash with me…”
Returning to my Samsung playlist for this Saturday evening submission, I present Natural One by The Folk Implosion. Written by Lou Barlow and bassist Wally Gagel of Orbit, it was the seventh song on the soundtrack album from the 1995 movie Kids, though it wasn’t actually played in the film. It entered the Billboard Hot 100 at #54 on December 9, 1995 and peaked at #29 on February 3, 1996. It peaked at #4 on the Modern Rock Tracks chart on December 16, 1995 and peaked at #21 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart on February 17, 1996. I hope you enjoy. ~Vic
Hanspostcard has a song draft challenge. This is my Round Eight pick.
I remember when I heard Possession on the radio the first time. I was driving home from work and I was immediately in love. The music was stunning, her voice was stunning and I was captivated. Who is she, I thought to myself (I had no idea that Sarah McLachlan had two previous albums). I found the Fumbling Towards Ecstasy CD as fast as I could. It is a fantastic album. There is not a bad song on it.
When Surfacing came out in July 1997, I snatched it, too. It was released to coincide with the Lilith Fair. Though Fumbling Towards Ecstasy remains my favorite of her albums, Witness is my favorite single. The sixth track, it was never released as a single, has no chart information what-so-ever and it remains in the shadow of Building A Mystery, Sweet Surrender, Adia and, in particular, Angel. The album is one of two that reached #2 on the Billboard 200. It was the #1 album on Billboard’s Canadian Albums chart on August 2, 1997 and on Canada’s RPM Top Albums/CDs chart on July 28, 1997.
As an odd bit of trivia, this album is mentioned in the Starr Report, Ken Starr‘s investigation of the Monica Lewinsky Scandal, as was Altoid Mints, the movie Titanic, Billie Holliday, Elvis, Spinach Dip, Starbucks and Leaves of Grass. Monica apparently liked track #5.
This song speaks to me on so many levels. It’s a beautiful piece with beautiful lyrics… ~Vic
Make me a witness
Take me out
Out of darkness
Out of doubt
I won’t weigh you down
With good intention
Won’t make fire out of clay
Or other inventions
Will we burn in heaven
Like we do down here
Will the change come
While we’re waiting
Everyone is waiting
And, when we’re done
As we carried the weight
And died for the cause
Is misery made beautiful
Right before our eyes
Will mercy be revealed
Or blind us where we stand
Lilith Fair @ 20 (Billboard Article/Gil Kaufman/07-05-2017)
Sarah McLachlan Named In Starr Report (MTV News/09-16-1998)
Starr Report Unearths New Bedfellows (The Hartford Courant/Rock Critic Roger Catlin/09-17-1998)
The Pop Life: Musical Damage In Starr Report (The New York Times/Neil Strauss/09-24-1998/Web Archive)
No Official Video
Live From Mirrorball
Sarah Discussing The Surfacing CD
Hanspostcard has a song draft challenge. This is my Round Seven pick.
Pat Benatar exploded on the music scene in the Summer/Fall of 1979 with her debut album In The Heat of the Night. I was in 8th grade and the first song I remember hearing on the radio from the album was Heartbreaker. I went to my hometown’s only mall and headed into a store called Stereo Village. I wanted this song and, when I asked for it, the guy trying to help me automatically thought I was talking about Led Zepplin. When I mentioned Pat Benatar’s song, he didn’t know what I was talking about. He told me to sing some of the music for him…so, my 13 year old self obliged, right there in the middle of the store, “in front of God and everybody” (Southern colloquialism). He still didn’t know the song but, said “Nice voice!” I never did get that 45 and a few months later, rolling into the new decade, We Live For Love was released in February and, I liked it even better than Heartbreaker. Crimes of Passion, her sophomore album, came out the following August and the hits kept coming. You Better Run (The Young Rascals cover) became the second video broadcast on the debut of MTV, behind Video Killed the Radio Star by The Buggles (a 45 I managed to get my hands on). I was a devoted fan at that point without owning a single song or album. By the time of my 16th birthday, a young man I was dating presented me with the Crimes of Passion album. I was overjoyed.
I nearly got to see her perform during the 1986 Seven the Hard Way tour. It started in January 1986 and stopped, abruptly, in April. She was a mom by then and family pressures caused cancellations. Greensboro Coliseum lost out. I did get to see her for the Can’t Stop Rockin’ tour in 1995 in Raleigh. Prior to those two, my mother considered me too young to see the earlier concerts. 😭
Gravity’s Rainbow was her ninth, and the last studio album to be in the Billboard 200 chart in the top 100s, peaking at #85 on June 19, 1993 and making it to #44 in Canada for one week on July 31, 1993. Named after the Thomas Pynchon novel, it was also the last album released on Chrysalis Records. It was not one of her better albums, statistically speaking but, it yielded three singles, two of which, I love. My favorite album of hers is, of course, the tour that got cancelled in 1986. That being said, after all these years of her music catalog, Somebody’s Baby is my favorite single, released July 5, 1993 (my second favorite single is Le Bel Age). She and Spyder James had already geared down quite a bit, releasing the blues-themed True Love in 1991, to much less fanfare than Wide Awake in Dreamland from 1988. True Love was her first album that did not rate with RIAA.
I am a fan of Benatar like Hans & Max are of the Beatles. I love this one because of the lyrics, the mood, the blend of the music and her stunning voice, though, in this piece, it is not quite as “up there” as when she sings Invincible (she has a four octave range). I am normally indifferent to most lyrics, choosing to immerse myself in musical arrangements and wonderful voices but, the writing speaks to my heart and I confess that, the first time I heard this, it brought me to tears. ~Vic
BenatarGiraldo (Official Website)
Gravity’s Rainbow (RockWired/Brian Lush/06-12-2018)
Pat Benatar (Hip Online/01-05-2008)
Pat Benatar: Gravity’s Rainbow (Rolling Stone/Andrea Odintz/2003/Web Archive)
Richmond: Benatar’s Rise to Fame (Richmond Times-Dispatch/Nicole Kappatos/04-11-2017/Web Archive)
Live On Leno
Regis & Kathie Lee Show (Stripped Down Short Version)
Hanspostcard has a song draft challenge. This is my Round Two pick.
I grew up around lots of music. My dad had his tastes, my mom had hers and I got some exposure to my grandparents music, too. There was plenty of Elvis, Buddy Holly, Everly Brothers, Ricky Nelson, Gene Pitney, Chuck Berry, Johnny Cash, Johnny Horton, The Ventures, The Beach Boys, instrumental music (think Hugo Montenegro or Paul Mauriat), funny stuff like Ben Colder/Sheb Wooley, Ray Stevens or David Seville (my dad’s stuff), The Four Seasons, Motown, soul music, beach music (my mom’s stuff), big band music (my paternal grandparents) and, bluegrass, country and Latin/jazz (maternal grandparents). One song, in particular, that reminds me of my dad the most is Cathy’s Clown. When I was a kid, my dad liked to just get in the car, drive around and listen to the radio. It was, literally, No Particular Place To Go. When I became an adult, we’d still get in the car and cruise. He and I would sing Cathy’s Clown, together, with me taking Phil’s harmony. I still own my dad’s original 45. ~Vic
Written by Don, it was recorded in March and released in April 1960. It was recorded live, in a single take, with both brothers sharing a microphone. Floyd Cramer was on piano, Floyd Chance on bass and Buddy Harman on drums. An odd song, it has a chorus and bridges but, no verses. It was their first single for Warner Bros. It spent five weeks at #1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart, one week on the Billboard’s R&B chart and seven weeks at #1 on UK’s Singles chart. It was their biggest selling single and their last #1 after Wake Up Little Susie and All I Have to Do Is Dream.
The song is ranked at #150 Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time and it was added to the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress in 2013. Covers have been done by Reba McEntire and Neil Sedaka (1983) with McEntire’s version reaching #1 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart and Canada’s RPM Country Tracks chart in 1989. There is even a Jan and Dean version on Filet Of Soul Redux: The Rejected Master Recordings (2017).
“We owe those guys everything. They started it all.” ~Bob Dylan
Additional Reading & References:
The Everly Brothers: That Sibling Sound (BBC News/2014)
Cathy’s Clown ~ The Everly Brothers (Library of Congress/PDF)
Recording Cathy’s Clown (Steve Hoffman Music Forum)
Saturday Night Beech-Nut Show 1960
In September of 2017, I paid a visit to a place I had not seen since I was about six years old…the Land of Oz. I remember bits and pieces of the trip. My parents took me in 1972 and two of my strongest memories are of riding on the balloon ride (a converted ski-lift) in a blinding mountain rainstorm and the wet ride in a bus, with no windows, down the mountain, leaving. For years, I wondered what had become of that park.
Originally opening on June 15, 1970, it was a grand place to visit and managed to stay open for a decade, even after a fire in 1975, before falling into disrepair and abandonment. Many things were stolen, vandalized or left to nature.
Appalachian State University had a cultural museum, at one time, that showcased saved pieces from the park including the yellow bricks, some munchkin houses, costumes, parts of the witch’s castle and other assorted props. All artifacts were eventually returned to the park.
In 1991, the park was included in a celebration for Independence Day for Beech Mountain. Watauga High School students dressed in costume. Emerald Mountain, Inc., purchased the property in 1994 and a slow restoration began. An “Autumn at Oz” was started as a reunion for former employees and became a yearly event. By 2010, the park drew 8,000 people.
Land of Oz (Official Website)
If you haven’t finished your holiday shopping, the North Carolina Department of Transportation is offering up a piece of Americana but, it’s going to cost you a pretty penny.
When the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus closed their doors, NCDOT saw an opportunity to add to its fleet. That plan was derailed before the cars could hit the rails and, now, they’re being put up for public auction.
NCDOT spent just over $380,000 on [the] Ringling Brothers rail cars.
“These cars have a great and amazing history,” said Jason Orthner, director of the NCDOT rail division.
However, plans to refurbish the cars were quickly put on hold when NCDOT calculated the costs. “This was more on the long-term play of really looking into our rail program and how we take it into the future,” said Orthner.
Funding from two federal grants totaling $157 million rendered the rehab of the Ringling Bros. cars obsolete and will soon allow the NCDOT to replace their entire fleet.
“If we hadn’t been successful at winning those grants, we would’ve taken a really hard look at putting these in service,” said Orthner. “We really want to do the best thing for the citizens of North Carolina with the limited funding that we have available.”
That’s why they’re listing the rail-cars on the state surplus site for a minimum price that’s $32,000 more than the NCDOT paid for all of the cars but, without any bids, it’s unclear if anyone will actually buy them.
“Tourist railroad operations, car collectors and other enthusiasts would certainly be interested in these cars,” said Orthner. “There are operations around the country that run train service for excursion purpose, or other purposes, that would be interested in equipment like this.”
I had no idea my state’s DOT had purchased Ringling Bros. train cars. ~Vic