february

Hans 2021 Song Draft: Round Five-Pick 12-Minutes To Memories-John Mellencamp (1985)

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Scarecrow Mellencamp Image One
Image Credit: Discogs

Hanspostcard has a song draft challenge. This is my Round Five pick.

Pulling myself out of 1978, I am moving into the 1980s. ~Vic

John Mellencamp‘s Scarecrow album was released on August 5, 1985, 25 days prior to my 19th birthday and six weeks before I started my sophomore year of college. God, what an album. This was Mellencamp’s version of Born In The USA (I own both albums). Roots rock/Heartland rock was the music in the background of my graduation from high school and subsequent foray into college. Minutes To Memories was not an official release from the album but, it managed to make it to #14 on the Top Rock Tracks for one week as a non-single album track. It spoke volumes to me…

“You are young and you are the future
So, suck it up, tough it out
Be the best you can.”

Written by Mellencamp and his childhoon friend George M. Green, it is the #4 track on the album and Mimi Mapes sang backing vocals. Scarecrow made it to #2 on the Billboard 200 chart the week of November 16, 1985 (coming underneath Born In The USA, twice) and stayed for a couple of weeks, stuck behind the Miami Vice Soundtrack.

“I wrote a song called [You’ve Got To] Stand For Something,” [Mellencamp] explains, “but, I never did say what you should stand for…except your own truth. That song was supposed to be funny, too and, I hope people got that. But, I think that’s the key to the whole LP…suggesting that each person come to grips with their own individual truth […] and try to like themselves a little bit more. Find out what you as a person are […] and don’t let the world drag you down. People should have respect for and believe in themselves.”

John Cougar Mellencamp: Working Class Hero In The Rumbleseat
Bill Holdship
Creem
February 1986
Mellencamp Forum

John Mellencamp Image Two
Image Credit: mellencamp.com

A deeply felt sense of responsibility and an equally motivating need to atone for past missteps seem to define Scarecrow. On the midtempo Minutes to Memories, Mellencamp tells the story of a young boy riding home to Indiana after a trip to the South. In the next seat on the bus is a seventy-seven-year-old retired steelworker lecturing the child on how to live, backing his advice with experience. “My family and friends are the best things I’ve known,” he instructs, and the child, a budding rebel, chuckles to himself at how out of touch the old dog is.

Easing into the final verse, Mellencamp hushes his band. In a voice just above a whisper, he suddenly shifts the tale from third to first person. He’s the kid on the Greyhound and, his inability to comprehend, let alone act on, the wisdom he was given then, still haunts him… “Now that I’m older I can see he was right.” [T]hen Mellencamp reveals that he’s telling this story to his own son. He knows he’s being silently scoffed at as surely as his travel companion was two decades earlier. Still, he accepts it and the band rocks out.

Album Reviews: Scarecrow
Jimmy Guter
Rolling Stone
September 26, 1985

Official Website

There is no official video of this song but, the below is one guy’s idea.

Lyrics

Christmas Countdown 15.0

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This is my last countdown post. I’ve saved my favorite gingerbread house for last. I’ve been inside this place and you can feel its history. Unfortunately, I didn’t take any pictures when I was there. Before the world went insane, Ayr Mount would host Scottish Festivals. ~Vic

If you’d like to vote:
Homes for the Holidays 2020

Ayr Mount Gingerbread House Image One
Adult Category
12-09-2020
Click for a larger view.
Window Insert Image Two
Window Insert
Click for a larger view.
Ayr Mount From 1965 Image Three
Photo Credit: memory.loc.gov
February 1965
Wikipedia & Wikimedia

Additional Information:
Ayr Mount (Classical American Homes Preservation Trust)
Ayr Mount Celebrates 200th Birthday (The News of Orange)
Cèilidh Scottish Festival (Visit Hillsborough NC)


Christmas Countdown 14.0

Town Tuesday: Twin Chimneys 1768

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Another one of Hillsborough’s oldest homes. ~Vic

Twin Chimneys Image One
Photo Credit: Library of Congress
Historic American Buildings Survey
February 1965

Twin Chimneys, so named for the paired chimneys in each gable end, is sited on a hill on West King Street, directly across from the Colonial Inn and the Parks-Richmond House […]. An iron gate from Stewart Iron Works in Cincinnati, Ohio, separates the house from the pedestrian traffic of the sidewalk. [It] is reputedly a pre-Revolutionary house, however, the exact date of construction is not known. It is important to note that a house is sited at the exact location on the 1768 Sauthier Map of Hillsborough but, it cannot be assumed that the houses are the same.

Twin Chimneys Image Two
05-20-2019
Twin Chimneys Image Three
07-14-2020
Twin Chimneys Gate Image Four
Left side gate.
Photo Credit: Pinterest

This is a most delightful old house, with four huge chimneys and a second-floor balcony, from which a view of the busy thoroughfare, King Street, may have been enjoyed down through the years. The lot on which it stands was once owned by Edmund Fanning.

It is interesting to know that this house was the setting for the old romantic novel, “Joscelyn Cheshire.” According to the story, the heroine concealed her lover in the attic to protect him from Cornwallis’ army. The house served at one time as Hillsborough’s Post Office.

Archibald DeBow Murphey was a North Carolina politician known as the “Father of Education” in his state for his proposals that benefited public works and public education. [Murphey] died at Twin Chimneys in Hillsborough on February 1, 1832. He is buried at the Presbyterian Church […]. The town of Murphy, North Carolina (despite its spelling) was named after him.

Additional Information & Sources:
Twin Chimneys Photos (Library of Congress)
National Register of Historic Places Inventory (PDF) (North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources)
Twin Chiimneys (Open Orange NC)
Joscelyn Cheshire Full Text (Project Gutenberg)

Twin Chimneys Image Five
06-22-2018

Song Saturday: Africa (Toto)

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Toto Africa Discogs Image
Image Credit: discogs.com

Changing things a bit. I’ve got Music Mondays and I’ve had Tune Tuesdays (I may return to that) that showcase music by release date, in five year increments (if I can). Early on, I listed number ones, only. There was also my jump into the 30-Day Song Challenge back in December 2018. Now, I’m stretching Saturday out a bit for some music, too…an idea I got from the Nostalgic Italian. I might even stretch it to Sunday, if I take a notion to. It just depends upon my mood. All blogs evolve and, I’m always looking for new and different things.

This is a song on my playlist on my phone. I have a lot of music on my phone…things that I love to hear when I go out for my afternoon and evening walks or, just sitting in my Adirondack chair, watching the sunset. ~Vic

This song came out in the US in October 1982 and is the tenth track from the album Toto IV. Written by David Paich and Jeff Porcaro, it made it to number one for one week in February 1983.

From Mix Online:

Paich recalls writing Africa on his living room piano.

“Over many years, I had been taken by the UNICEF ads with the pictures of Africa and the starving children. I had always wanted to do something to connect with that and bring more attention to the continent. I wanted to go there, too, so, I sort of invented a song that put me in Africa. I was hearing the melody in my head and, I sat down and played the music in about 10 minutes. And, then, the chorus came out. I sang the chorus out as you hear it. It was like God channeling it. I thought, ‘I’m talented but, I’m not that talented. Something just happened here!'”

Paich, then, proceeded to work on the lyrics for another six months. He brought the skeleton to drummer Jeff Porcaro with the idea of having percussion being an integral part of the composition.

“Jeff got out African sticks with bottle caps that his dad (Joe Porcaro) and Emil Richards (both percussionists) used on National Geographic films. He brought in a marimba and a wooden xylophone kind of thing. This was pre-synthesizer. We didn’t have samples back then. You’re hearing bass marimba, that other instrument and you’re hearing, probably, one of the first loops that was ever done.”

Sadly, Jeff Porcaro passed away nearly ten years later.

Lyrics