And Another Thing

In a response to a lovely email from a young person in Europe I have decided to post one more time. The author of the email “adores” the music of my generation and sent an article for me to read (https://metro.co.uk/2019/02/07/millennials-prefer-music-20th-century-golden-age-pop-today-research-reveals-8462993/).

“Since you obviously love Rock & Roll music,” the email began. The author wished I would continue writing about music. “Is there anything you did not write about you wish had been included?”

After reviewing my last two posts there were some things I wish had been included, so I have decided to write this post in order to rectify things and make someone happy.

I will begin with the best concerts attended, one of which may surprise you.

The Fox theater in Atlanta, Georgia, is a magnificent place for music. For those inclined you can learn all about it here: https://www.foxtheatre.org/

Both of the concerts attended were at the Fox. The first one will not surprise readers of this blog. I was fortunate enough to see The Band perform at the Fox. In a time when many Rock & Roll shows had become extravaganzas the curtains opened and there was The Band as they began playing their music. After an intermission the curtains opened and again they performed their music. Nothing else was needed. It was a tremendous concert which I enjoyed immensely.

The next concert contains a story. Someone had given me two tickets to see a concert at the Fox. I was having much trouble finding anyone to go with me. Keep in mind the Fox is so wonderful just going, no matter what the event , made a trip worthwhile. For example, the woman with whom I lived asked me to go see Philobolus at the Fox. “What’s a ‘Philobolus?” I asked. “I’ve never heard of them.” She said they were a dance company. If you are fortunate enough to have a significant other one must attempt to please your partner, so I agreed, thinking, “Well, at least its at the Fox.” Fortunately, I was open to new experiences and they put on quite a show.

I called a platonic girlfriend I had known since we were young, Susan Bailey, who worked for the Atlanta Braves. “Susan,” I began, “would you like to go to a concert at the Fox?” She asked, “Who’s playing, Eggs?” Yes, there was a time my friends called me “Eggs,” for an obvious reason. “America,” I answered. There was silence for a few moments before Susan replied, “You mean that “Horse with No Name group?”

“That’s the one.”
“I dunno, Eggs.”
“Aw, come on Susan, I’m having trouble finding anyone who will go with me.”
“I can’t imagine why, Eggs,” she said. Finally, she decided to “take one for the team,” and agreed to go. “But don’t ever tell anyone I went with you, Eggs!” she said. I promised.

The Fox was only half full. “Imagine that, Eggs,” Susan said. Like The Band, the curtain opened and America came out and played acoustic music. When intermission came Susan said, “Let’s go, Eggs.” I urged her to stay, but she was having none of it. One of the members of the group said. “We’ve heard Atlanta was more of a heavy metal kind of town, but it is extremely disappointing to only half fill the venerable Fox. We are going to take a break and come out and Rock this city!”
“OK, eggs, I’ll stay a little while,” she said placating me.

The curtain opened for the second part of the show and Rock they did! They plugged in and blew the proverbial roof off of the building! At one point everyone was standing on their seat, Susan included, which made me smile. When they concluded their performance Susan, all smiles, looked at me and said, “Damn Eggs, who woulda ever known they could play like that!” Who indeed, I was thinking. The best part was when Susan began telling anyone who would listen how great was the performance, which perplexed the hard core Rockers. “What got into Bells,” was the usual reply.

Those two concerts stand out even though I attended a Bob Dylan and The Band concert at the Omni, of which I have fond memories.

Another thing I wished had been written about was an email received from the Discman, with whom regular readers will be familiar. He considers the period between the middle 60s and middle 70s to be the best period of Rock & Roll. Chris sent me an email with his top ten one hit wonder albums. In reply I mentioned only one album, the one I have always considered the best album of the one hit wonders. I am not talking about a one hit wonder single such as Drift Away by Dobie Gray,

who made a career out of singing that one song, but a complete album with many songs. That album is the first album by Christopher Cross, titled Christopher Cross.

The next morning there was a reply from the Discman in which he wrote something about having listened to it the previous night, and he agreed it should have been on his list. “Every song is good, and it really came together,” he wrote.

The last thing I wish had been included was Steely Dan. I somehow neglected to write about how much the Dan influenced me into listening to more Jazz, because of the exceptional way Jazz rifts were incorporated in their wonderful music. Steely Dan was one of, if not the most inventive of Rock musicians. The Dan expanded the boundaries of what could be classified Rock & Roll. Steely Dan may be considered the most extraordinary of Rock groups with what some called “sophisticated” Rock music. I went from listening to The Band, who many have said wonderful things about, such as Eric Clapton and George Harrison, among others, to listening to Steely Dan, causing some of my friends, who were into, let us say, hard core R&R, to say, “Musically, Eggs has gone in a different direction .” Every album is good and solid; some great and other exceptional. The love of my life, Patricia, was watching a show, Gotham, in which the star was someone with whom I was familiar, Ben McKenzie, but I could not place him, so I went to the Internet Movie Data Base and found he had earlier been in an acclaimed TV show, Southland, which is rated highly at the IMDB. Then it hit me…I was channel surfing years ago and saw only a few moments of one episode in which Ben was with his partner and they were getting into the squad car when Ben mentioned something about his partner’s fondness for Steely Dan, which made me smile before flipping the channel. Steely Dan was probably the most sui generis of all the R&R groups. I thought of this when watching a movie at Amazon Prime about the group recently, which brought back fond memories.

While living with the aforementioned woman with whom I attended the Philobolus event, Gail Childs, I would listen to the Georgia Tech student station, WREK. (https://www.wrek.org/) My favorite spot was when one bird would start singing, and then be joined by another, and another, until many birds were singing. Then came, “Here at WREK we give all the birds a chance to sing.”

Listen to all forms of music and let the birds sing.

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Addendum

It has been surprising to receive emails from so many people inquiring as to why I have not written a post since December since it seemed obvious, at least to me, the last post needed no explanation as it was self evident it would be The End. I have appreciated the concern expressed from readers while continuing to be amazed at the number of people who continue reading previous posts long after I stopped writing. For example, on Saturday, January 19, 2019, a month after the last post, there were seventy views. The following day, Sunday, there were fifty four views. The number of readers has usually gone up on the weekend, but how to account for the fifty seven views on Thursday, the seventh of February? It boggles my mind…The fact is that I have grown old, and have myriad health problems to confirm that fact, one of them being a bad back which precludes me from sitting for hours while punchin’ and pokin’ at a computer.

I particularly liked the response from one reader who asked, facetiously, I suppose, if I had “left anything out?” Granted, it was a long post. One wag complained she had to read it in “three installments.” At least she read it…In fact, there was much “left out.”

I have greatly admired the acting of Kevin Bacon.

I recall reading years ago about how he would ride the New York subway watching and listening to the riders in order to better learn how to act. He obviously worked hard to learn his craft, but must also be extremely talented, as he is also a musician. Over the years I have lost count of the times I have been asked if I were related to Kevin. I actually debated about putting Kevin down as my favorite actor, but finally decided to go with Bogart, thinking maybe readers would think me prejudiced because of the name.
Kevin Bacon is extremely talented in a variety of ways. For example:

https://www.baconbros.com/

Another actor admired was James Garner.

One of the reasons is that he acted in two of my most favorite TV programs, Maverick

and The Rockford Files.

I debated before choosing Duke Ellington as my favorite composer. One reader thought a composer should be someone who composed classical music. For him I will say that my favorite, and the greatest classical composer of all time, was Ludwig van Beethoven.

When told my favorite symphony was the seventh,

Louisville Lefty agreed. Decades later he said he considered the ninth to be the best and his favorite. “But Lefty,” I said, “In the ’80’s you said you preferred the seventh.” In reply he said simply, “You are mistaken, sir.”

Most people will be surprised but Frank Zappa

was a fabulous composer, maybe the greatest of all time. I thought long and hard before choosing Mr. Ellington, but in his own way, Zappa was just as towering figure as was Duke.

One of the albums left out was Kind of Blue,

by Miles Davis.

Yes, I like the title as the color blue has always been my favorite color. There is a reason so many consider Kind of Blue to be the best jazz record of all time.

New In Chess has never asked “Who is your favorite philosopher?” I once asked a young Stuart Rachels,

who became the 1989 US Chess Co Champion along with Roman Dzindzichashvili and Yasser Seirawan, and, following in his father’s footsteps, a philosopher, “Who is your favorite philosopher.” Grinning, he answered, “My dad.” Then he asked, “Who’s yours?” Without hesitation I answered, “Baruch Spinoza.”

“Hummm,” said Stuart, who was still in school at the time, “We haven’t gotten to him yet.”

As for Chess games there are two games in particular that made a tremendous impression on me and both are from the 1972 Fischer v Spassky match. I write about the sixth game because some people call it the “…greatest” of the match, and with good reason. Consider this:

“Game 6 between Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky from the 1972 World Chess Championship (Match of the Century) was the greatest one of the entire battle. It includes a rare beginning of the game by Fischer with 1.c4. This masterful chess game is best described by International Master Anthony Saidy as “It was like a symphony of placid beauty.”, and this exceptional moment in chess history has attributed to it a wonderful act of sportsmanship by Boris Spassky who, after the game, stood up and applauded Fischer for the masterpiece he just played. Game 6 is one of the greatest chess games ever played, and it propelled Fischer into the match lead, one that Spassky would not overcome. The match was held in Reykjavik, Iceland.”

But the game that I consider to be the best was the penultimate game won by Bobby, game thirteen. After Boris had taken a 2-0 Bobby had completely dominated, winning the next five decisive games, bringing the score to 5-2 in favor of Bobby. In the next game Boris stunned Bobby, who had taken the proverbial poisoned pawn, by winning, bringing the score to 5-3. Boris held the draw in game twelve, setting the stage for game thirteen. Bobby no doubt shocked Boris, and the entire world of Chess, by playing Alekhine’s defense in what turned out to be a glorious battle between two titans. After Bobby won there followed seven hard fought battles which ended in a draw, until Boris resigned game twenty one. After winning game eleven Boris might have had ideas about mounting a comeback, but Bobby disabused Boris of any such notion when winning game thirteen, a masterpiece.

I could go on, and on, and…you get the idea, but everything comes to an end. I have been fortunate enough to have loved, and been loved. The road may go on forever,

but the party will eventually end.

This is dedicated to a wonderful woman who, all too briefly, was my PAL.