Prepare to enter a world of both shadow and substance

Take a journey of body, mind and spirit where you'll encounter things you won't find anywhere else.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas

I was doing some research for my other blog, Music For Every Mood, and happened to remember that I had recorded the song I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas, the old Gayla Peevey song from 1953. Well, all you fans out there of the mighty Hippo can rest easy, while you listen to my version of this Christmas classic, which I recorded on November 26th, 2000 in one take. May you know the joy and freedom that the impending holidays can provide! And, may you not shop at Wal-Mart and still know the ecstasy of the season.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Best Of The Beatles

If anyone has read my profile, then they'll know that my all-time favorite band is The Beatles. And they have been since January 1964, when I Wanna Hold Your Hand hit the top of the American Rock and Roll charts. It was that song and that moment, when yours' truly, at the ripe old age of 2, heard this new group called The Beatles and became aware of music. And thanks to The Beatles, I am a professional musician today, playing lead guitar and singing in a rock and roll band of my own. On Saturday night, October 4th, 2008, I got to hear a member of The Beatles live in person! How cool is that!? You might have already realized that it wasn't John Lennon or George Harrison. But, it wasn't Paul McCartney or Ringo Starr, either. No, the Beatle I'm talking about was their drummer from 1960 to 1962, their formative years when they learned to rock and roll hard, loud and fast. Pete Best was their drummer during this period and it was when they became known for their loud and energetic stage performances. If anyone has heard bootlegs from this period, they know what I'm talking about.
Pete Best was dropped from The Beatles and they got Ringo to replace him. Pete carried on in rock and roll for about 6 more years before settling in to a regular job as that of a civil servant. But once Rock and Roll gets in your blood, you can't really ever get rid of it, and he got back into the music scene in 1988. He has been back in it now for 20 years. With his group, The Pete Best Band, he travels all over the world and rocks just like he did back when he was in The Beatles. When I saw him, it was practically in my own back yard, but what a show him and his band delivered!

They were touring in release of a new album, if you can believe that, and they played three songs from it during the show. They were awesome songs, enough so that I had to buy his new cd, Hayman's Green, after the show! But what really got the packed house off their feet and rocking were the songs they did from The Beatles' early days, when they stormed up and down Germany and England and started setting the world on fire, one crowd at a time. They played such early Beatle staples as Three Cool Cats, Roll Over Beethoven, Dizzie Miss Lizzie, I Saw Her Standing There, Some Other Guy, Twist And Shout, Till There Was You, My Bonnie, Rock And Roll Music and many more. But what really knocked me out was their note for note rendition of a song The Beatles, with Pete Best on drums, performed at their Decca audition on New Year's Day of 1962. Namely, Besame Mucho. Only their guitars didn't get buried in the mix like John and George's did all those years ago - this version rocked! Here is the Pete Best Band on stage:

Here's their lead guitarist:

Their bass and rhythm guitarist:

And second drummer Roag, Pete's younger brother:

And here is the man himself, drumming with so much intensity:

After leading the crowd through rousing renditions of Twist And Shout, My Bonnie and I Saw Her Standing There, they came back for an encore of Johnny B. Goode. The show lasted about 90 minutes, but I still felt it was over way too soon! After it was over, they came out and graciously signed autographs, all five of them. I got them all to autograph their new cd, which I purchased from their table and Pete signed two albums, (yes those 33 1/3 rpm black things!) from my collection. I didn't see anybody else with rare albums like mine, in fact, there weren't any others at all! Several people asked to see my albums, which I proudly showed them. I had 3 with me and they all featured pictures of The Beatles on the cover, when Pete was a member of the group. One of the albums which Pete autographed was the one at the top of this post. He signed his name in the bass drum area. How cool is that!? Here's Pete autographing my cd:

And, finally, here is the whole band at the autograph table. Some younger fans were getting their picture taken standing behind them, but I got my picture any way! They were all pretty nice about signing autographs and I can confirm that they rocked the house! Here they are, freshly cleaned up just after the show:

All in all, I can highly recommend The Pete Best Band and their new cd, Hayman's Green. I've not stopped listening to it since Saturday night after the show. It's almost Wednesday morning as I write these words and the songs on this album still blow me away every time I hear them. Such feeling and poignancy! It's contemporary sounding and it's classic sounding at the same time. But, most of all, The Pete Best Band have their own sound and it rocks! Buy this cd if you get the chance, you won't be disappointed!

Oh, but please don't buy it at Wal-Mart. Buy it from Pete's website and help him out more. He would appreciate it and you will too, after you listen to it!

I Love Lucy - I Really Do!

This is just a short post to share with you something I found quite interesting. Growing up, I always watched and was a fan of the old television series, I Love Lucy. Who hasn't seen it or are familiar with the plotlines: Wacky wife always gets into trouble and her Cuban husband still loves her. The show debuted in 1951 and has not been off the air in repeats since. Of course I bought all the episodes on DVD, which everybody should own this classic show, and I watch them all the time. On one of the sets they had the original studio session for when they recorded the show's classic opening theme and as you listen to it, you can hear that it was take 2. So, here is that instantly familiar take 2 version of a tune you probably know by heart - the I Love Lucy Theme, Take 2. Enjoy it!
If you do go out to purchase the DVD season sets, whatever you do, don't buy them at Wal-Mart! Don't buy anything there.

Tri-State Book Fest

Well, my second novel isn't out yet, but I did get invited to attend a local author's book fest. It was called the Tri-State Book Fest and it was held in Evansville, Indiana and covered the three states of Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky. The event took place this past September 27th, and lasted from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. in the afternoon. Of course I stayed until the very end. There were some authors who started packing it in around 3.30, but not me! The weather was perfect and turnout for it seemed pretty good.
It is an annual event for my area and it was the first one I was ever invited to. Actually, I hadn't heard of it before because it had previously always been held in Kentucky. This year's event was held at the Washington Square Mall, pictured below:

It was a nice setting to host a book fest and the accommodations were excellent. There was plenty of wide open spaces for merchandise to be sold and for the authors to sit at:

I mentioned that my latest novel that was accepted to be published didn't quite get out in time for it to be available at this event, but I did have several copies of my first novel, The Wizard Of Destiny available, which I blogged about here and you can purchase here. My dad has taken to writing in his retirement and his second book did get published in time for him to premiere it at the book fest. The people that organized the event grouped him and I at the same table, so that was pretty handy. If one of us had to step away to get something, the other was there to man the books. There were several places to get food and drink all around us, and the cookie shop to my front and right had my attention, let me tell you! A fellow author was kind enough to use my camera and snap a picture of my father and I together, so here we are, courtesy of Dawn Knight:

For doing this favor for me, I took her picture and emailed copies for her own personal collection.

All in all, it was a very enjoyable event for me and I had a great time. Although I only sold one book, I did get to meet and talk with several of the 70 authors that were present. I found them all to be nice people and it made for a friendly atmosphere to mingle with other writers and the public at large as they drifted among the tables finding books that interested them. I ended up buying three books myself, from other authors, so I lost money on the deal. But, having acquired three new books for my collection more than made up for this loss, so I figure I came out on the winning side anyway. I know I'll be sure to attend the one next year and who knows, I might have a couple more books out by this time next year! If I do, my regular readers will be sure to hear all about it right here.