Tag Archives: Merle Haggard

My iPod Has Issues – One Bond is Better Than Another

13 Oct

I was watching James Bond. Actually, I was watching Sean Connery, the real James Bond. My wife thinks Daniel Craig is the real James Bond, but everyone knows that is not true. Anyway, she did not want to watch the real James Bond and changed the channel to Taken, the movie where Liam Neeson is tough but not as tough as James Bond.from-russia

Since there is nothing on television, I decided to get on the blog and type something. The only problem is that I do not know what to type. Maybe I will go to an old faithful and explore what is going on in my iPod.

To stay with the theme, I will start out with a classic James Bond song.

“Goldfinger” by Shirley Bassey

“Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight” by James Taylor

“Cheap Sunglasses” by ZZ Top

“Sumertime Blues” by Eddie Cochran

“Good Rockin’ Tonight” by Wynonie Harris

“Workin’ Man Blues” by Merle Haggard

“Crazy” by Patsy Cline

“The Twist” by Chubby Checker

“Fool To Cry” by The Rolling Stones

“Stand Back” by Stevie Nicks

“Walk This Way” by Run-DMC

“Hotel California” by The Eagles

“Behind Closed Doors” by Charlie Rich

“Pre 63” by Groove Armada

“Drops Of Jupiter” by Train

“Play Me” by Neil Diamond

“Tangled Up In Blue” by Bob Dylan

“Daddy Doesn’t Pray Anymore” by Chris Stapleton

“Atlantis” by Donovan

“Old Man Willis” by Tony Joe White

Four Corners – Wolf Creek Pass and Home Grown Delights

6 Aug

We left Alamosa, Colorado and headed west on Highway 160. This took us through towns like Monte Vista and Del Norte. It was one of those days on a road trip where you are just trying to get from one place to another. I drove and looked at the scenery. My wife rode shotgun and looked at the scenery. The girls read, listened to music and occasionally looked at the scenery.

We made our way into the mountains and into a landscape that most people think about when they think of Colorado. The road was almost straight up as we made our way through Wolf Creek Pass.

At the time, I did not know that was its name. The other day, I was at Rotary and was telling one of my table mates about the trip. When I said that we drove from Alamosa to Durango, he said that we went through Wolf Creek Pass and that he had ridden a bicycle through it. I immediately thought about the cyclists that we saw and how miserable they looked.

We were cruising along when I realized that we went by the marker of the Continental Divide. Of course, that gave me the chance to explain what that was to the girls. I was bummed that we did not stop, but that made me determined to stop at the next place.

Crossing the divide meant that we were heading down, and that meant driving down a steep road instead of up one. As we came upon a curve, I noticed a sign for a scenic view and whipped the car into the parking area. When we got out, this is what we saw.image-33

There was a trail that led to a rock outcropping on which my wife and stepdaughter did not want to venture. They were fine behind the fence. However, I could tell that my stepdaughter’s friend wanted to go, and that gave me the excuse to go, too.

It was one of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen. When people think of the West, they may think about cacti or mesas or plains covered with buffalo. I think about all of that, but I also think about places like this.

It brought to mind Centennial, the miniseries from the 1970s. At the end, Merle Haggard sang “I Guess He’d Rather Be In Colorado.” At that moment, I could think of no place that I would rather be.

We continued driving to Pagosa Springs, a town that I thought would be a good place to stop and explore. However, the girls wanted to keep going. We got a snack and chugged along.

Finally, we made it to Durango, and cool town in the southwestern corner of the state. After some spirited discussion over who was going to get what room, we ate at the Irish Embassy Pub and walked the streets filled with shops of many kinds. There was one place in particular that caught my wife’s eye.

We had already discussed the fact that marijuana is legal in Colorado, and we had wondered if there was a store in Durango. Suddenly, my wife looked across the street and saw a place called Eolus. It had a sign that said Home Grown. She immediately said that it had to be a marijuana store. We crossed the street to find that it was the nicest restaurant in town with a menu of locally grown ingredients.

It looked fancy, but the food could not have been as good as the Bangers and Mash I had at pub. After more walking and shopping, we made our way back to the room. The next day, we had to get up bright and early for something that I have always wanted to do.

The American West Coming Through My Speakers

14 Jan

After lunch, I was driving back to work with my iPod cranked up. The sun was shining and masked the coldness of the air. Before turning onto campus, one of my favorite songs came through the speakers.

“I Guess He’d Rather Be in Colorado” was recorded by John Denver, and that is the version on my iPod. However, that is not the version that I first heard and made the song hit me in my soul.

Merle Haggard sang the song in the last scene of Centennial, a 1970s miniseries about the American West. I have already written about that movie and will not repeat myself. That scene is on YouTube, and I urge you to watch it. You will probably recognize some of the actors, and there is a great message. It gets me every time.

When I hear the song, I am reminded of my love for the American West. Its history. Its land. There is nothing better than climbing the dunes at the Great Sand Dunes National Park. Mesa Verde National Park brings back the echoes of the ancient peoples. The streets of Durango harken to the days of yesteryear, and the train in Durango will take you on a great ride to Silverton.Durango

The song is about Colorado, but, to me, it is about the entirety of the West. The mountains. The plains. The deserts. Life the way it was, and life the way it is. This song takes my mind to New Mexico, Arizona, Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota and all of the others states that make up that region. The song says Colorado, but it means everything. To me, the song means relaxation, peace of mind and wide open spaces.

The words go like this.

I guess he’d rather be in Colorado.
He’d rather spend his time out where the sky looks like a pearl after the rain.
Once again I see him walking, once again I hear him talking
to the stars he makes and asking them the bus fare.

I guess he’d rather be in Colorado.
He’d rather play his banjo in the morning when the moon is scarcely gone.
In the dawn the subway’s coming, in the dawn I hear him humming
some old song he wrote of love in Boulder Canyon. I guess he’d rather be in Colorado.

I guess he’d rather be in Colorado.
I guess he’d rather work out where the only thing you earn is what you spend.
In the end up in his office, in the end a quiet cough is all he has to show,
he lives in New York City. I guess he’d rather be in Colorado.

Songs for Me and Robert Neville

4 Oct

My wife and stepdaughter just left for the week at the beach. Next week, my wife and I are going to a real place – Santa Fe, New Mexico. However, that is happening next week. At the moment, I have the house to myself. This might be fun for a night, but I am certain that it will get old relatively soon.

The house has been quiet, and, in an attempt to break the silence, I turned on some music. The problem is that I have gravitated to songs with certain themes. I have listened to “Alone Again” by Dokken and followed that up with “Tired of Being Alone” by Al Green. Of course, there is “I Drink Alone” by George Thorogood.

On top of that, “Lonley Days” by Bee Gees is fitting for the occasion. In fact, it goes well with “The Lonely Man” by Tennessee Ernie Ford. Jackie Wilson sang “Lonely Teardrops“, which can only be shed by only the lonely. Luckily, the iPod has “Only the Lonely” by Roy Orbison. Merle Haggard sings about “Going Where the Lonely Go“. I do not know where that is, but I wonder if “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” plays there. If not, then maybe The Beatles do.

All of this adds up to being lonesome, and there are a ton of songs on my iPod that deal with that.

Are You Lonesome Tonight?” by Elvis Presley

“The Blue Side of Lonesome” by John Prine and Mac Wiseman

I’m a Lonesome Fugitive” by Merle Haggard

I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” by Hank Williams

Lonesome Loser” by Little River Band

Lonesome Valley” by The Fairfield Four

Lonesome, On’ry and Mean” by Waylon Jennings

I could go on by listing “Solitary Man” by Neil Diamond and “Solitude” by Billie Holiday, but it might be time to stop listening to this kind of stuff. The iPod needs to change themes to something like “The In Crowd” by Ramsey Lewis or “You’ve Got a Friend” by James Taylor. After all, the zombie apocalypse has not hit. There has to be other people in the world. Certainly, I have not become Robert Neville.Neville

Everyone knows who that is, right?

My iPod Has Issues – The One Before the Interesting One

2 Aug

The past few days have been eventful. Some of it was awesome. Some of it was weird. However, it was all interesting. I will write about all of it in the next post, but, for the moment, I have a hard time keeping the words on the screen in focus.

That is why we are going to look into the iPod to see what is happening. I thought about going with a theme but decided to stick with a true shuffle.

What will be on the playlist? Only the iPod knows.Shadow

“You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive” by Dave Alvin

“Let’s Work Together” by Canned Heat

“Sentimental Lady” by Bob Welch

“Time Bomb” by Godsmack

“The Mooche” by Duke Ellington

“Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love To Town” by Kenny Rogers and The First Edition

“Wild Boys” by Duran Duran

“I Think I’ll Just Stay Here And Drink” by Merle Haggard

“Fight The Power” by Public Enemy

“Let The Good Times Roll” by B.B. King

“99 Problems” by Jay-Z

“Crying” by Roy Orbison

“Twentieth Century Fox” by The Doors

“Sigmund and the Seamonsters” by Tripping Daisy

“Eli’s Coming” by Three Dog Night

“What’s Love Got To Do With It” by Tina Turner

“Easin’ In” by Edward Starr

“Tiger Man” by Elvis Presley

“The Times They Are A-Changin'” by Bob Dylan

“Rollin’ and Tumblin'” by Muddy Waters

I promise that the next post will be interesting.

If These Movies Are On Television, Then I Will Watch Them

30 Jul

The other day, I wrote a post about the BBC and its list of the 100 best American films, and a commenter said that I should provide my own list of top movies. Unfortunately, I am not a movie critic and cannot delve into the intricacies of acting and directing. I only know what movies I like and do not like.

With that in mind, I decided to take this challenge into a different direction. When I am scrolling through the guide, there are some things that I will automatically click on and watch for a while. This includes a few movies with different levels of quality. If I cannot make a list of the greatest movies of all time, then I can make a list of the 10 movies I will always watch if I see them on the television guide.

They are coming at you in the order that I thought of them.

Manhunter (1986) – This was on last night and led me to write this post. It is the first movie about Hannibal Lecter and is directed by Michael Mann. In other words, it is Silence of the Lambs meets Miami Vice. You may have seen its remake, Red Dragon, but this one is a lot more entertaining.

Flash Gordon (1980) – Let Dino de Laurentiis try to capitalize on the Star Wars phenomenon, and this is what you get. It has some great actors and some not-so-great actors, but they are all having a good time. It would have been awesome to been in the room when Flash attacked Ming’s guards by playing football. On top of that, Ornella Muti is there in all her glory.Ornella

Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man (1991) – Two stars of the 1980s, Don Johnson and Mickey Rourke, try to make their transition into the next decade. They ride motorcycles. They go after drug dealers. They act cool. Well, acting might be too strong of a word. I have already written about this one and will move on down the line.

The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976) – When I become king, a new law will make its way across the land. As a testament to its greatness, everyone must watch this movie. Clint Eastwood is awesome, and it is filled with awesome quotes. I should know because I have them all memorized. In the early days of this blog, I wrote an extensive post about this one.

Smokey and the Bandit (1977) – As with the previous movies, I have already written about this one. Burt Reynolds is at his peak. Jackie Gleason is hilarious. I saw it five times when it was in release and can never watch it too many times. The only problem is that television cleans up the language and, in the process, destroys a lot of the laughs.

El Dorado (1966) – I could have listed a ton of John Wayne movies, but I think I click on this one more than any other. It could be because this one is on regularly. Anyway, it is a script that was filmed several times, but it never gets old. Oh yeah, there is one other thing. As I have written before, it is a poetic movie.

The Legend of the Lone Ranger (1981) – This is a terrible movie. Klinton Spilsbury never made another movie. Heck, he did not really make this one. James Keach was brought in to dub his lines. However, it has some redeeming qualities. Merle Haggard sings the theme song, and part of it was filmed in Monument Valley.

Logan’s Run (1976) – I am a big fan of dystopian movies, and this is one of my favorites. How can post-apocalyptic life be bad with scantily clad women everywhere? On top of that, a push of a button can make one of the scantily clad women appear instantly in your apartment. The only thing that could go wrong is that Carrousel ride at the age of 30. On second thought, it would probably be better to live with a bunch of cats in a destroyed Washington, D.C.Cats

For Love of the Game (1999) – This is a movie that used to hit me on a deep emotional level. As the years pass, it does not have the same effect. Despite that, it is still a good movie. Kevin Costner has made a bunch of sports movies, but this is my favorite one. It could be because Vin Scully is calling the game.

Legends of the Fall (1994) – This is another movie that reaches me on an emotional level, but it is also interesting in a historical sense. Obviously, it is about a family that goes through years of heartache. However, it is also about rum-running during Prohibition. They talk about the Volstead Act and smuggling alcohol across the Canadian border. I could go deeper into a historical analysis, but I may need that for another post.

Now, let us analyze the list by decade.

1960s – 1

1970s – 3

1980s – 3

1990s – 3

Interestingly, nothing made in the past 16 years has knocked a movie off this list. I wonder what that means.

Then, there is this. Over half of the list was filmed between 1976 and 1986. Those must have been formative movie years for me.

Anyway, those are the movies that I will always watch if I find them on television. What are a few of the movies that would make your list?

Songs of the Year

3 Jul

When I put together the Songs of the Week post, I knew that this could be taken further. Why? Because there are a ton of songs that go along with the months. A Songs of the Year post could be easily compiled.

Except, I was wrong. Some days inspire more songs than other days. Likewise, some months inspire more songs than other months. Apparently, there are certain time slots that have little artistic value.

Despite the obstacles, I trudged through my iPod and other resources to put together my favorite songs of the year.Months

January – How can you beat Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, going to her gospel roots and singing “Amazing Grace”? Answer: You cannot beat that. Her live version, titled “Amazing Grace (Live at New Temple Missionary Baptist Church, Los Angeles, January 13, 1972)“, is the best version you will ever hear.

February – This month does not provide much in the realm of music. There are plenty of songs about February, but I do not know many of them. Of course, I could be prejudiced against February. With that being said, I will go with “February Stars” by Foo Fighters. It is as good as any.

March – Going after the fanboy traffic, I am picking “The Imperial March” from the Star Wars soundtrack. It is John Williams. It is Darth Vader. In other words, it is cool.

April – Now, we are getting into some good stuff. Straight off of the iPod comes “Pieces of April” by Three Dog Night. the singer is remembering a month-long romance. I wonder why they did not make it to May.

May – Speaking of May, there is an awesome song by Little Jimmy Dickens. “May the Bird of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose” was his top charting song and was inspired by Johnny Carson. Dickens is a cheapskate, and the chorus is what people say to him.

June – Dean Martin was the coolest of the cool. Frank Sinatra may have been the leader of the Rat Pack, but Dean Martin was the soul of the Rat Pack. No list is complete with him, which means “June in January” is next on the list.

July – It was written by Bruce Springsteen, but I am not a fan of his. For that reason, this month is represented by “4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)” as performed by The Hollies.

August – Wow, August has inspired hardly any songwriters. Does it not rhyme with anything? Just. Must. Au jus. There has to be something about August that is worthy of song. If you know of something, then let me know. I cannot find anything worthy of listing.

September – It is not his best, but “September Morn” is a decent Neil Diamond song. Have you ever taken your mom to a concert only to see women throw their underwear at the performer. It happened to me at a Neil Diamond show.

October – Deadmau5 was at Bonnaroo. In fact, that is the only thing I wish I could have seen at this year’s show. For that reason, “October” makes the list. One day, I will go to a Deadmau5 show.

November – It is the greatest Power Ballad of all time. It is the greatest video of all time. If Axl Rose had not been nuts, then Guns N’ Roses could have been the greatest band of all time. Ladies and gentlemen, “November Rain” is the best song on this list.

December – The year will end with a legend. Merle Haggard’s “If We Make It Through December” is about a man facing hard economic times. If he can make it through the disappointment of Christmas without gifts, then everything will be fine.

We made it through an entire year with August being the only disappointment. Do you know of any August songs? What about the other months?