Grazing in the Grass

Hugh Masekela is sometimes known as the father of South African jazz. He played the trumpet, flugelhorn and coronet. He passed away in 2018 at the age of 78.

In 1961, as part of the anti-apartheid campaign, he was exiled to the United States where he was befriended by Harry Belafonte. Primarily, he played in jazz ensembles, with guest appearances on albums by The Byrds, and Paul Simon. In 1987, his single, “Bring Him Back Home”, became an anthem for the movement to free Nelson Mandela. After apartheid ended, Masekela returned to South Africa.

I don’t know how I first ran across this song, but I’ve known it for a very long time. It MAY have been something from high school jazz band, though it may have been just from it having charted.

This is “Grazing in the Grass” by Hugh Masekela from the 1968 album The Promise of a Future. It was released as a single and actually hit number one on the Billboard charts in the US.

Aurora

NOTE: Counting down to the end on WordPress. Please see this post and future posts at my new home: 357 Magnum over on Blogspot. And you should update any links. (Posts are in both places right now. That is a small, but not meaningless bit of work on my part, so it will continue for a VERY short time.)

Olga Vitalievna Yakovleva (Ольга Витальевна Яковлева), better known by her stage-name Origa, was born in the old Soviet Union, in Novosibirsk Oblast, an area of southwestern Siberia. She made a name for herself working mostly in Japan. Sadly she died of lung cancer at the age of 44 in 2015. I think she had a haunting voice, and I quite like her work. Most of it anyway.

This song is “Aurora” by Origa from the 2005 album Aurora.

Paradise

NOTE: Counting down to the end on WordPress. Please see this post and future posts at my new home: 357 Magnum over on Blogspot. And you should update any links. (Posts are in both places right now, but that is a small, but not meaningless bit of work, so it will go on for a VERY short time.)

We haven’t had any Neue Deutsche Härte (or New German Hardness in English) for some time. So let’s correct that with song from Stahlmann.

This song is “Paradies” by Stahlmann. That would be Paradise in English. It is from the 2013 album Adamant. Here’s a link to the lyrics and their English translation.

Red Right Hand

I thought this song was written for the soundtrack for the first Hellboy movie directed by Guillermo del Toro. That was before I tripped over it on social media a while back.

This is “Red Right Hand” by Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds from the 1994 album Let Love In. It was released as a single months after the album came out.

I had hoped to include a link to the 2004 Hellboy scene, but I can’t find that particular part of the movie…

Cowgirl

I hate it when I miss anniversaries. The movie Hackers was released on September 15th, 1995. A limited edition vinyl copy of the soundtrack was released on the 26th of September, 2020 to commemorate.

That movie shows up in a lot of “Top Ten” lists of movies about hacking, though not all such lists. I haven’t seen it in a VERY long time, maybe since it came out, so I can’t tell you how well it has held up. Or not. Reviews on Rotten Tomatoes and IMDB seem to indicate it isn’t as popular as I remember it being when it came out, which is strange when you consider that it was the movie that pretty much launched Angelina Jolie’s career. IMDB says that her role just before that was as an uncredited extra in a music video, though she did have roles before that. (She is Jon Voight’s daughter, after all.)

This song is “Cowgirl” by Underworld. It was released in 1994, but most people would have tripped over it as part of the soundtrack to the 1995 movie Hackers.

It Really Was a Great City

Now it is a mess. Police: Woman riding in car shot in head on Lake Shore Drive

A young woman was shot and critically wounded Sunday afternoon while riding on Lake Shore Drive, Chicago police said.

Hat tip to Second City Cop: Aliotta Haynes Jeremiah Weep

Remember when driving Lake Shore Drive used to be fun and not a cesspool?

And for you non-Chicagoans, the reference is to a song.

The Haunting

Kamelot is a Tampa-Bay-Area based Power Metal group. In 2005 Ray Kahn was the lead singer. On today’s song he was joined by Simone Simons, soprano who usually is lead singer for the band Epica.

This is “The Haunting (Somewhere in Time)” by Kamelot featuring vocals by Simone Simons. It is from their 2005 album The Black Halo.

This album was rated as the #1 album of 2005 and #22 “of all time” by Metal Kingdom.

Moanin’

Art Blakey was a drummer, and as a sideman he appeared on many albums. He was also a band leader. One For All: A Guide To Art Blakey And The Jazz Messengers

Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers aren’t only a serious contender for the greatest jazz band of all time, they functioned as an unofficial jazz university.

Under the authority of diminutive drum-clobberer Blakey, many of the genre’s most influential young hotshots — pianist Horace Silver, saxophonists Hank Mobley, Wayne Shorter, and Jackie McLean, trumpeters Lee Morgan, Kenny Dorham, and Donald Byrd — forged their chops and became who they were meant to be.

And there was nary a feeling as sweet, Blakey’s sidemen said later on, as pleasing their tempestuous headmaster.

This “Moanin’ (Alternate Take)” by Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers from the CD reissue of the 1959 album Moanin’ where it was included as a bonus track.

The Greatest American Hero of WWI

Alvin YorkMedal of Honor recipient Sergeant Alvin York. He was born on December 13, 1887, and he died September 2, 1964. The image, Copyright Underwood & Underwood, is a 1919 image of the sergeant after his promotion. Click for a larger view and some more info.

York served in the 82nd Division of the US Army, which today is usually known as the 82nd Airborne Division. (That’s important for the Musical Interlude part of the post.)

On October 8th, 1918, during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, Corporal Alvin York’s battalion was assigned to capture German positions near Hill 223. For his actions that day, he received the Distinguished Service Cross, was later awarded the Medal of Honor, promoted to the rank of Sergeant, and he was also decorated by the French receiving the Croix de Guerre, the Medaille Militaire and the Legion of Honour.

So what did he do to achieve all that?

On October 8, 1918, Corporal Alvin C. York and sixteen other soldiers under the command of Sergeant Bernard Early were dispatched before sunrise to take command of the Decauville railroad behind Hill 223 in the Chatel-Chehery sector of the Meuse-Argonne sector. The seventeen men, due to a misreading of their map (which was in French not English) mistakenly wound up behind enemy lines. A brief fire fight ensued which resulted in the confusion and the unexpected surrender of a superior German force to the seventeen soldiers. Once the Germans realized that the American contingent was limited, machine gunners on the hill overlooking the scene turned the gun away from the front and toward their own troops. After ordering the German soldiers to lie down, the machine gun opened fire resulting in the deaths of nine Americans, including York’s best friend in the outfit, Murray Savage. Sergeant Early received seventeen bullet wounds and turned the command over to corporals Harry Parsons and William Cutting, who ordered York to silence the machine gun. York was successful and when all was said and done, nine men had captured 132 prisoners.

His actions were ignored, and then in usual American media fashion blown out of all proportion. Others were ignored, it took until 1927 before two others, Sergeant Early and Corporal Cutting, would be awarded Distinguished Service Crosses.

By the end of the engagement, York and his seven men marched their German prisoners back to the American lines. Upon returning to his unit, York reported to his brigade commander, Brigadier General Julian Robert Lindsey, who remarked: “Well York, I hear you have captured the whole German army.” York replied: “No sir. I got only 132.”

And so we get another bonus Musical Interlude this week. I’ve put this in Metal for Mondays, for my own benefit, even though today isn’t Monday…

This is “82nd All The Way” by Amaranthe, a cover of a song originally by Sabaton. They released this song in January of this year, ahead of their COVID-19-canceled summer tour. Here’s a link to the lyrics for completeness.

There is a 1941 Hollywood biography of his life, Sergeant York. It stars Gary Cooper. I don’t think it is particularly good, and it is way too long. As I write this it is currently available on YouTube. Free in incredibly low resolution, and paid for higher definition. Though of course that may change at any time.

RIP: Eddie Van Halen

We get an extra musical interlude to mark the passing of a great guitar player. Eddie Van Halen passed away on Tuesday; he had cancer. Two songs. One long, and one short.

In 2012, he was voted number one in a Guitar World magazine reader’s poll. I don’t think that means he was the GOAT, but that he was most popular. And while I don’t think he was the Greatest of All Time, he was no slouch. The first song we have today showcases his ability, without the insanity I sometimes associate with the group Van Halen.

This song is “Respect The Wind” by Eddie Van Halen and Alex Van Halen from the Soundtrack to the movie Twister.

Born: January 26, 1955, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Died: October 6, 2020, Santa Monica, California, U.S.

Full name: Edward Lodewijk van Halen

And here is a short selection from the band Van Halen, “Eruption” which was #2 on a Guitar World reader’s poll of Best Guitar Solos.

My Apocalypse

Angela Gossow wasn’t the first woman in Heavy Metal, but she may have been the first woman to sing the Death Metal, Death Growl. She is the first I ever knew of anyway. For years she was the lead singer for Arch Enemy. Then she stepped down to be the manager of that group (and a couple of others).

This is “My Apocalypse” by Arch Enemy from the 2005 album Doomsday Machine. Angela Gossow was still lead singer at the time, doing her signature Death Growl. Here’s a link to the lyrics, because Death Growl.

Out Of Sight

Yello has been making music for long time, they made a name for themselves even before “Oh Yeah” was used in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, and made everyone familiar with their music. Well, at least familiar with that song. I am glad that Boris Blank and Dieter Meier are still making music.

This is “Out Of Sight” by Yello from the June 2020 album Point.

Here is a link to “Oh Yeah” in case you’ve forgotten… It is the 2nd video at that link. You may have heard “The Race,” which is the first video. It has been used in a number of places, most notably as the theme song for Formula One racing.

The Music of 1973

There was some back and forth on Twitter, before the debate, about how old people were “The year Joe Biden was elected to joined the Senate.” It got me thinking about the music from that epoch. That year was 1973.

some songs from that year… Some I had forgotten. Some I wish I had.

  Artist Song
1 Tony Orlando and Dawn Tie A Yellow Ribbon ‘Round The Ole Oak Tree
2 Jim Croce Bad Bad Leroy Brown
3 Roberta Flack Killing Me Softly With His Song

“Tie a Yellow Ribbon” was played so much that year, and entered the collective consciousness that a comment was made about it in Marvel’s The Defenders series when the character Luke Cage gets out of prison.

Other “notable” songs from that year, that made it into the top 100, include Donny Osmond, with “The Twelfth Of Never,” Bobby “Boris” Pickett and The Crypt Kickers with “Monster Mash” and Cher with “Half Breed.” Bette Midler had 2 songs in the top 100, as did The Carpenters.

It wasn’t all insanity. Pink Floyd hit the US charts for the first time with the song “Money,” and Edgar Winter Group produced both “Free Ride,” and “Frankenstein” that year.

Don’t Let Me Down

Miky Chance is a German folk group (English Lyrics) from the city of Kassel. Though this song sounds more pop than folk to me.

Jack Johnson is a singer-songwriter who was born in Hawaii.

I first heard this song on WXRT – Chicago’s Finest Rock. Still one of the best radio stations in the country.

This is “Don’t Let Me Down” by Milky Chance featuring Jack Johnson. It was released as a single in 2020. I’m not sure if an album has been announced or not.

Rock Bottom

There are a number great guitar players who got snubbed by Rolling Stone Magazine’s “Top 100” list. It doesn’t really compute that list. The order, and who was included/excluded…

Case in point, German rock guitarist Michael Schenker. He was an on-again, off-again member of UFO, and he had his own group. He was snubbed by Rolling Stone. Listen to this song, and see if you agree. (The live version is probably better, even though I usually hate live albums, but at 11 minutes and change, that version is too long for this audience.) And UFO is worth a post, since they bridged the era between Hard Rock and Heavy Metal.

This song is “Rock Bottom” by UFO from their 1974 album Phenomenon. At 6 minutes or so, it is about twice the length of the single version, which is not worth your time. The guitar solo that starts at about 2 minutes and 40 seconds into today’s song is worth a listen.

Chainsaw

Erik Ekholm is another producer of Epic Music. His music has shown up in a number of TV shows and trailers, including the TV promotion for Dark Knight Rises.

I’ve always listened to Epic Music once in a while, but lately more of it has invaded my “Made For You” playlists on Spotify.

This is “Chainsaw” by Erik Ekholm. As albums are a 20th Century concept, it was not (as far as I can tell) part of an album. It was released in May of 2018.

When I listen to Epic Music, I say it sounds like an action movie is going on in the next room, because it isn’t like my life looks like an action movie.

King of the World

I don’t usually feature Country and Western, and I really have no idea how I tripped over this song, or Montgomery Gentry (Eddie Montgomery and Troy Gentry out of Kentucky), but I did, and it works. I do like this song.

This is “King of the World” by Montgomery Gentry from the 2018 album Here’s to You.

There is nothing like a day on the water.

Got the radio playing and my boat while I float
Take a toke and listen to Merle
Hot sun, cold one, I’ll be a son of a gun
I’m King of the World

The Creeper

Southern Rock. I couldn’t always tell why it was different from any other rock. I only knew if I liked it or not. Sometimes yes. Sometimes no. This time is yes.

This is “The Creeper” by Molly Hatchet from their debut album Molly Hatchet. It was released in 1978.

Note. The reason that the video says “bonus track” is because it was originally left off the 1990 Greatest Hits album, when it was released on vinyl. It was included in the expanded CD version. This track was on the original 1978 album. Hat tip to MaddMedic, who has a song pretty much every morning.

The World We Made

I have mentioned Ruelle before. She is making a name for herself providing songs to TV shows and Movies that don’t quite have the budget for a big production score, custom-written and recorded. (Though that is cheaper than it used to be, given that you can use things like the Croatian National Orchestra for the recording.)

This song is “The World We Made” by Ruelle. I first ran across it in the soundtrack to Netflix movie, The Old Guard.

If you haven’t seen The Old Guard, what are you waiting for? No, it isn’t great cinema. No, they didn’t have the budget you would see in a Marvel summer blockbuster. It is still a fun ride for graphic-novel-based movie. Good Guys and Bad Guys, and middle of the road guys. Good action all the way through the film, and good actors.