Friday, July 31, 2015

3 Chords & the Truth: Once in a blue moon

There's a moon out tonight, and it's blue.

Once in a blue moon comes out to about -- on average -- once every 2 1/2 years. That's how often you get two full moons in the same month.

In my native south Louisiana, we'd call that lagniappe. A little something extra.

AND IT occurs to me that's how often you'll find something like 3 Chords & the Truth . . . something as wonderfully diverse, broad-ranging, quirky and sometimes surprising as this here little musical venture on the Internet. The goal here is to always give you a little something extra. 

Just like a blue moon.

Bom ba ba bom ba bom ba bom bom ba ba bom ba ba bom ba ba dang a dang dang,
Ba ba ding a dong ding . . . blue moon.

And, boy oh boy, are you going to get your blue moon's worth this week on the Big Show.

It's 3 Chords & the Truth, y'all. Be there. Aloha.

Along with the sunshine. . . .

If there's a better country-pop song than "(I Never Promised You a) Rose Garden," I don't know what it might be.

And now both artists responsible for this masterpiece in 2:55 are gone. Writer Joe South died in 2012. The woman who had the smash hit with it in 1970, Lynn Anderson, died last night.

From The Tennessean in Nashville:
Country singer Lynn Anderson, best known for her classic recording “(I Never Promised You a) Rose Garden,” died Thursday night of a heart attack at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

She had been hospitalized for pneumonia following a trip to Italy. She was 67 years old.

Lynn Rene Anderson was born Sept. 26, 1947 in Grand Forks, N.D., and raised in California. She came from a musical family: Her parents Casey and Liz Anderson were both songwriters; the latter penned the Merle Haggard hits “(My Friends Are Gonna Be) Strangers” and “I’m a Lonesome Fugitive.”

Ms. Anderson’s debut single, a duet with Jerry Lane called “For Better or for Worse,” was released in 1966, when she was just 19 years old. It failed to chart. However, later that year her single “Ride, Ride, Ride,” cracked the country charts, and its successor, “If I Kiss You (Will You Go Away)” was a Top 5 hit.

For two years during the late 1960s, Ms. Anderson was a regular on the popular “Lawrence Welk Show,” an outlet which exposed her to a nationwide audience. "It was appointment viewing," said WSM DJ and Grand Ole Opry announcer Eddie Stubbs. "Lynn Anderson really helped expand the boundaries of country music because there wasn't a lot of (it) on network television at that time."
Ms. Anderson wed producer/songwriter Glenn Sutton in 1968. He produced several of her hit songs—and wrote some too, including “You’re My Man” and “Keep Me in Mind”—but the couple would divorce in 1977.

In 1970, Ms. Anderson moved from California to Nashville, and signed with Columbia Records. In October of that year, she released what would become her signature song, and one of country music’s classics. The lilting “(I Never Promised You a) Rose Garden,” penned by Joe South, became a worldwide hit with its immediately recognizable intro and catchy lyrics. In the U.S., it spent five weeks atop the country music charts and crossed over to the pop charts as well. The recording also netted Ms. Anderson a Best Female Country Vocal Performance Grammy Award, and in 1971, the Country Music Association named her Female Vocalist of the Year. Over the last four decades, “Rose Garden” has been covered numerous times by a wide variety of artists including k.d. lang, Martina McBride, Suicide Machines and Southern Culture on the Skids.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

3 Chords & the Truth: It's a smash!

Did you hear the big news?

The Big Show is a BIG SMASH! And we're not talking about what happens to your fedora when you accidentally sit on it, either.

No, the kind of "smash" we're talking about when we're talking about 3 Chords & the Truth is the good kind of smash . . . as in "smash hit." As in "smashes down the boundaries of excellence in music programming."

Yes, in that respect, your favorite music podcast is indeed a smash.

THIS WEEK,  we'll be doing more of our customary smashing of barriers that dictate what you can and can't do with a music format. And we'll be smashing any notion that you might guess what we'll be doing next -- or playing next on the Big Show.

That's the Big News about 3C&T all wrapped up in a petite promotional package. And the big news is, of course, very good news.

Even more succinctly, let me put it this way: Give the Big Show just 90 minutes of your valuable time, and we'll give you an entire world of music. Sound fair? Good. We'll meet you over at the podcast player.

It's 3 Chords & the Truth, y'all. Be there. Aloha.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Ads that will embarrass y'all in 60 years

For the hell of it, I've been going through some mid-1950s editions of Television magazine, immersing myself into an archival wayback machine.

Trade advertising was fascinating then -- at least to me -- sometimes dry, sometimes cute, occasionally  sophisticated . . . and too often, through the clarifying lens of 2015, horrifying.

Let's just say my little "wayback" exercise is a quick and effective manner of coming to grips with how a culture you were reared in -- and, frankly, didn't think much about at the time because people never see the forest for the trees -- actually was pretty horrifying in many ways.

IN THIS CASE, looking back at 1955 and 1956 through the lens of a television camera, we see a culture that was both deeply racist, quick to stereotype and completely hung up on the glories and nobility of "the Lost Cause." We see a culture dedicated to whitewashing (both literally and figuratively) its defining narrative and embracing an identity that you could sum up as They Who Give the Finger to the Yankees.

The South's past: Not forgotten because it's not really past.

Of course, to be fair. one Minnesota TV station had a trade ad touting itself via the ugg-a-mug stereotypical language of the American Indian, but you have to admit that the South set the standard for casual bigotry in the United States. We Southerners leave our subtlety at the door.

NOW, this has me thinking about matters not of the past but of the future.

My wondering goes something like this: When future generations of Americans -- or whomever -- look through the cultural output of post-millennial America, what things will horrify them that we hardly think about at all? Which of our cultural assumptions will testify against us and our age?

You know, sort of like watermelon-eating black children, branding yourself with the Confederate battle flag or the "gallantry" of Nathan Bedford Forrest?

Saturday, July 18, 2015

3 Chords & the Truth: A minute better

The last couple of weeks, the Big Show has run a minute long.

I interpret this as there being just too much spectacular stuff to fit in a mere 90 minutes of 3 Chords & the Truth.

You know that great Billy Eckstine album I was telling you about earlier on the blog? We're leading the show with the best cut. This is called "getting off to a fast start."

And then we don't let up a bit -- a great number, recorded live in 1987, from the late tenor-sax great Stan Getz. And then after that. . . .

WELL, we don't need to lay waste to the mystery of this edition of the Big Show, do we? No, we don't.

Not knowing what's next is half the fun of it all -- am I right?

Anyway, it's another good 'un, and you just might want to make 3 Chords & the Truth appointment listening. This is called "the smart thing to do."

In a wee housekeeping note, you'll notice that we've made just a few format tweaks in honor of this being episode No. 301 of the program. The biggest tweak is this: After more than 7 1/2  years, we're getting a new primary opening theme. Let's just say Gruppo Sportivo's Superman spoke to my radio-guy soul the other day.

THAT'S about it for this week. Just listen . . . and just have fun here in 3C&T land.

It's 3 Chords & the Truth, y'all. Be there. Aloha.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Cool jazz on a hot summer's night

Was anybody better than Billy Eckstine?

Several were as good but none better, I don't think. And this 1959 stereo version of Eckstine's 1958 Billy's Best album makes for fine listening on a hot, steamy Midwestern eve.
Hell, it would be just as wonderful on a frigid winter's night on the Plains, too. 

So this was tonight's musical selection here in the Revolution 21 studio here in Omaha, by God, Nebraska, deep into the dog days of summer, with state-fair season still a month away and college football a little further out than that.

UNLIKE many vinyl aficionados, I have nothing in particular against compact discs or good-quality digital audio files. But, damn, there's really nothing like putting an old LP on the turntable, basking in that particular smell of aged cardboard and paper. Nothing like holding the record sleeve in your hands and dreaming of your lost youth . . . or the days when jazz ruled the western world and you were yet a glimmer in your mama and daddy's eyes.

Maybe you can't hold this '50s classic of American popular music in your own two hands, but you can always listen to 3 Chords & the Truth and dream sweet dreams about a culture at its zenith that's just showing off.

Because it could.

iGet taken back . . . and so does the iMac

I'm 18 again. And cool.

This was my afternoon listening -- during which the memories and the cool tunes came flooding back -- before there almost wasn't an episode of 3 Chords & the Truth this week. There almost wasn't a show this week because I finally took Production iMac to the Apple Store last night to get its recalled, big-ass "fusion drive" replaced with a brand-new, not-recalled version of the same.

The original hard drive seemed fine to me, but the email from Apple said they'd determined that my hard drive and others just like it were at risk of the computer version of cardiac arrest. Production iMac would need a transplant.

So as a PC veteran who has replaced my share of hard drives . . . and everything else . . . I was figuring along the lines of bring the thing in, go have cup of coffee, pick the thing up, go home. Unfortunately, while Apple products Just Work, they cannot be Just Fixed. Because cool design, or something like that.

THREE to five days, the verdict was.

"Well, then, I'm sunk. This is my work computer," I appealed.

"Let me check," the Genius Court said.

"There goes this week's show," your host groused during the wait.

As it turns out, the sentence was amended. Twenty-four to 48 hours in the shop, with no credit for time not served.

Under Apple's "good time" law, however, Production iMac was paroled early this afternoon -- a presumably rehabilitated digital audio workstation. (By the way, I can't say enough good about the Mac's "Time Machine" data backup. In less than an hour, the iMac was just as it was before. No hassle, no drama.

Windows boxes are all about the drama. I spent a night and part of a day trying to get our Dell laptop to work and play well with the studio equipment and digital audio interface. It was touch and go.

Actually, it was more like cuss and scratch your head.

But the Mac is back, and I'm not subjecting myself to the W-word anymore.  Not in the studio, at least.

All is well in the world, the Big Show goes on, and you'll get to hear you some Gruppo Sportivo, too.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Life is worth living again

As the Playboy-reading kid said as a cheerleader came flying through his bedroom window as Faber College's homecoming parade went horribly wrong . . . "Thank you, God!"

Friday, July 10, 2015

3 Chords & the Truth: 300 and counting

Three hundred.


Thrice five score.

Three hundred episodes of 3 Chords & the Truth . . . and counting.

That's a lot of shows. I've loved doing every one of them -- even when I had a clunky, outdated digital audio workstation (that's computer to you and me) that I fought with all the time. I won't tell you what I called that Windows monstrosity; this show is PG-13 at its bawdiest.

But now I have a souped-up, giganto iMac, and it's all gravy now. Even more fun. And I hope you have as much fun listening as I do playing great -- and highly eclectic -- music for you on the Big Show.

WELL, this week we have another highly eclectic and hugely fun program for you to mark the Big 300th episode. We start out with a "revolutionary" set in honor of Revolution 21, the umbrella under which your humble musical smorgasbord keeps its powder dry. Dry gunpowder is important when you're aiming for a music explosion, don't you see?

Then we have some more smorgasbord, and then some classic soul, and then . . . well, why dispel all mystery about this episode of 3 Chords & the Truth.

Needless to say, it's a good 'un.

Set a spell, take your clothes off . . . NO, THAT'S NOT RIGHT . . . PG-13, REMEMBER? Let me try this again.

SET A SPELL. Take your shoes off. Y'all have fun now, y'hear?

Clothed. Absolutely clothed. Family show here on the Internets. Yeah, that's the ticket.

It's 3 Chords & the Truth, y'all. Be there. Aloha.

Last evening's vintage listening

Here's a glimpse at my vintage listening for last night -- Billy Vaughn and his orchestra goes Hawaiian back in 1959.

Well, contrary to Dot Record's sloganeering, this LP represents not "the greatest sound on records!" but rather, "Really great, but still no RCA Victor release from the same era."

I know this because I'm a nerd. 

A vintage record nerd, with geek tendencies.

ACTUALLY, this LP was amazingly clean and unworn, despite its vintage. It sounded new, even after all these decades.

The vinyl itself was a little warped but still played flawlessly. And the album still was in the Sears and Roebuck plastic wrap.

I can almost see, a half century and six years past, the music going 'round and 'round on something like this . . . right out of Sears' 1959 Christmas catalog. Musical satisfaction guaranteed.