Touch of Grey will, well, touch upon the rainbow that is life. Good music, good times, and good friends combine to make all the splendid colors. Touch of Grey will celebrate this beautiful rainbow.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Watch out for that hairy-handed gent who ran amuck in Kent (I'd like to meet his Tailor!)

Lately he's been overheard in Mayfair....Happy Halloween, yall! This, I admit, is a repeat of a blog I wrote a couple of years ago. But, as I say here, Halloween will always belong to Warren Zevon, and this Halloween is no exception. I hope your Halloween brings you lots of treats and a few tricks, if you truly want them! Along with costumes, parties, goodies, and just plain scary fun, Halloween has always meant music to me. Everyone knows and enjoys "Monster Mash" and "Haunted House". But to me, the quintessential Halloween song has to be "Werewolves of London", from his 1978 album Excitable Boy.

 This song is by far his most popular, although by no means, only recording. Warren Zevon was an amazingly talented artist who, sadly, never achieved the fame so many of his peers did. For me, Halloween will always be bittersweet. It is my favorite day of the year, as it is also in the middle of my favorite season of the year. However, because it is impossible to escape Zevon's "Werewolves of London" this time of year (not that I would want to), it is also a reminder to me of a life cut too short.

You see, Warren Zevon died of mesothelioma, a particularly deadly form of lung cancer in 2003, not even a year after he was diagnosed. He was only 56 years old. I believe he still had much music left in him, as his last album released just before he died, The Wind, proves. From The Wind came his last and my favorite song by him, "Keep Me In Your Heart".

This song is simply lovely, a stunningly heartbreaking performance, and a contrast with his darker, more "excitable" music. Every time I hear it, I remember that the world has lost a great artist and feel slightly melancholy. I loved this song from the very first moment I heard it, and it affects me on the deepest level. It is astounding to me that in essence, Zevon wrote his own epitaph with this incredible melody.

Take a moment to celebrate Halloween and Zevon's life by watching these great YouTube vids I have linked. Also included is a great live performance of "Splendid Isolation," a song I have long admired from his 1989 album, Transverse City. To me, Halloween will always belong to Warren Zevon. Keep him in your heart for awhile, won't you?


Sunday, October 18, 2009

A Smith & Wesson Beats Four Aces

Or so I'm told. In my case, four queens beat a full house.

After a lovely evening spent with wonderful friends and family and having been up since one a.m., my dad and I dragged our tired carcasses into my aunt's house at nearly 10:30 last night. Bushed and beat, we planned to play maybe a few hands of poker and call it a night.

Gathered around the table, with our usual banter and bluffing, we played. And played. And played. Until the sun came up this morning. Isn't it funny that when you are with ones that you enjoy and having a splendid time, the hours seem to fly by? An hour spent playing poker with the family slips into another hour, and before we know it, we have spent the better half of a day or so around the table, trading jabs and compliments and fake sympathy and stories. Oh, the stories. The later the night gets, the funnier the stories, many told about my dear grandfather and his brothers who are no longer among us, but who relished a good poker game as much as anyone I've seen. If there is a heaven, they are up there fishing during the day and playing poker at night.

My poor cousin Coby, bless his heart, had a less-than-spectacular round or two last night. Even when he got a good hand, somebody (many times me) had a better hand. The guy just couldn't seem to get a break. But he wound up breaking mostly even at the end, as most of us did. Some of the winning hands were beauts, my four queens for example. My grandmother was one card away from a royal flush, and took advantage of her bluffing techniques to scare us away from the pot. As usual, it worked for her; she really had us going for a time. Full houses, straights, and trips seemed to be the order of the night, along with good music and laughter. There is no time I enjoy my family more than around the poker table. And, as you might have guessed already, it's not really about the cards, although you gotta love drawing to a four of a kind. It's about the people holding them.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Eat a Peach!

I just did. Ate a peach, that is. Sweet and juicy, straight from the heartland of Texas. There are so many wonderful fruits that abound this time of year, ripe for the eatin' and enjoyin'.

But that's not really what this blog is about. As music lovers know, "Eat a Peach" is also the title of the seminal 1972 album by the Allman Brothers Band. And what a work it was! It introduced the world to songs that are classics today, like "Melissa", "Ain't Wastin' Time No More", and my favorite cut from the album, "Blue Sky". It's nearly impossible to listen to that song and feel down. A lovely tune, it is. And now I get to share it live with friends and family. A dear pal of mine is treating me to the Allman Brothers Band in concert this weekend, and I am so looking forward to the event. I have never had the opportunity to see them live; after Saturday, I will no longer be able to say that. With a clear sky, a crisp breeze, and tasty tunes, it will be a night to enjoy thoroughly. I have been listening to records and viewing YouTube so I can get a taste of what I have to look forward to, and it is as sweet as that luscious peach I just ate.

I hope y'all enjoy this video of the Allman Brothers Band performing "Blue Sky" in 1982. I know I did!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Grrrrrrrrr, etc.

And also @#*!!$*! Nothing like a vehicle to make your life miserable. Once again, the ol' Buick is IN THE SHOP. Very frustrating, especially when it is likely a recurring problem. But of course it's going to act up; it's paid off. So once again I get the joy of using my father's 20 year old Ford Bronco for transportation. And that is the really sad part. I have used his vehicle for transport while mine is in the shop a much greater number of times than he has had to use my 9 year old Buick while his is in the shop. I'm going to try my best to stay out of the new car market as long as possible, but the time will come. Oh, yes, it will come, and I can tell you one thing: it won't be another Buick. Nevermind that they have discontinued their best models; i.e., Park Avenue, Le Sabre, Regal, Riviera, and replaced them with sad fascimiles that can never compare to the former glory. The thing that chafes me most about Buick is that the one I bought 8 years ago is not as good as the one I bought before that, 20 years ago. The quality of GM vehicles has, for the most part, gone WAY down.

Add to that the fact that the first car I ever owned and traded in for my first Buick, a 1978 Ford LTD, is still likely going strong out there somewhere, wherever it ended up, while the first Buick is but a sad memory. I am NOT impressed with GM and their service, and the buggy electrical problems I've experienced with this latest model have turned me off totally. I'm seriously thinking my next car will likely be a Toyota Prius, or (*GASP*GULP*) a FORD. Can't argue with my folk's track records with Fords. Beats the hell out my history with Buicks.

With all respect to Pilot, Mr. Loon, Rusty, and the other walking testosterone factories out there, I've learned one thing in life, and learned it well. Ladies, lemme tell ya here and now - if it's got tires or testicles, it's gonna give you TROUBLE!

Oh, did I mention my dad's John Deere mower ain't exactly "running like a deer" these days? That's right, folks, DEAD IN THE WATER also. In fact, that's where my car crapped out, as I was following dad to Shiner in my car just in case he ran into any trouble. So by the time we get to Yoakum (thankfully I made it that far), I had to ditch my piece of shiite at the car repair place, and we both go to Shiner and back home in - you got it! - dad's Bronco!!!!


And furthermore, #@*&*!!

And still the grass needs mowing! Grrrrrrr..........

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Jingle Jangle

No, I'm not speaking of spurs here. Actually, I'm referencing those great little ditties from commercials of old that we can't get out of our heads - the commercial jingle.

I had purchased some diet A&W root beer the other day, like I have many times, but suddenly the old song popped into my head: A&W root beer's got that frosty mug taste, A&W root beer's got that frosty mug taste... WOW, where did that come from? Many, many years ago, and there it was, all new again. I started thinking about all the commercial jingles I knew, especially those from the 70s, growing up. It occurred to me that these have become a rarity. Now I'm not talking about modern-day commercials with songs overlaid from bands who have sold out; no, I'm talking about REAL songs created for a specific product. Not just a slogan or catchphrase, mind you, but a real tune that was catchy, short, and stayed with you. For example, I challenge anyone to declare they don't remember this: Plop, plop, fizz, fizz, oh what a relief it is...... or this one: Brusha, brusha, brusha, with the new Ipana..... See what I mean? Many of these jingles from earlier generations are still around today, albeit in a slightly different form. Everyone knows the Mr. Clean melody, but how many remember the actual words? Mr. Clean gets rid of dirt and grime and grease in just a minute. Mr. Clean will clean your whole house too, and everything that's in it......

Many of the commercial jingles I remember from the seventies were beverage commercials, both alcoholic and not, and, of all things, perfume commercials. Remember the Budweiser commercials with the beautiful Clydesdales prancing to the tune of: Here comes the king, here comes the big number one; the king is coming, let's hear the call; when you've said Bud, you've said it all.... How about the old Lowenbrau (do they even make that anymore?) tune: Tonight is kinda special, the beer will pour, must say something more somehow; so tonight, let it be Lowenbrau.... When women weren't enjoying a Martini and Rossi on the rocks, say "yes", they were Bringing home the bacon, frying it up in the pan, and never letting you forget you're a man....cause I'm a woman.....Enjoli!! And who can forget the new girl and fragrance in town? They call it...CHARLIE!! After the perfume application, women were ready to join their man to See the U.S.A. in your Chevrolet.....And then they could get harmonious and Teach the world to sing, in perfect harmony. I'd like to buy the world a Coke, and keep it company (that is incidentally one of my favorite commercials of all time).

Ok, here's a flashback for ya: remember the old David Naughton commercial that went: I'm a Pepper, he's a Pepper, she's a Pepper, we're all Peppers, wouldn't you like to be a Pepper, too? Be a Pepper, drink Dr. Pepper.....Sure you remember him, he had a song on the radio called "Makin' It". But no, I never heard that song, nor did I skate to it under disco lights at the local roller rink.....ahem.....What about the old Britannia jeans, where beautiful bodies sang how they Want to li-i-i-ive in Britannia.... I do suppose if they drank enough Dr. Pepper, they probably could no longer "live" in Britannia. Now for something completely different - how about one of the most famous jingles: Double your pleasure, double your fun, with double good, double good, double mint gum.....After doubling your pleasure, you could satisfy your appetite with your bologna that has a first name, it's O-S-C-A-R, my bologna has a second name, it's M-A-Y-E-R. Oh, I love to eat it every day, and if you ask me why, I'll say....cause Oscar Mayer has a way with B-O-L-O-G-N-A. You could also choose a hot dog, any brand will do. But for our jingling fun, we go back to Oscar Mayer: Oh, I wish I were an Oscar Meyer weiner, that is what I'd truly like to be. Cause if i were an Oscar Mayer weiner, then the world would be in love with me! Add a side of Rice-a-Roni, the San Francisco treat, Rice-a-Roni, the flavor can't be beat... and you have a most melodious meal.

For fun after dinner, you could get on your Kawasaki, because Kawasaki lets the good times roll, get aboard, get away, and you're gonna say....Let the good times roll! But don't forget to feed the pooch before you leave. And not just ANY dog food, no. You want to be able to boast....My dog's better than your dog, my dog's better than yours. My dog's better, cause he eats Ken-L-Ration, my dog's better than yours.....

So, get the drift? What has happened to those wonderful, and sometimes silly, commercial jingles that identified a product and stayed in your memory, all the better to spur you to buy a product? I don't know about you, but I really miss them. What were YOUR favorite jingles, from any decade? What are ones that I forgot about? Enjoy your trip down memory lane. I certainly did.