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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Drifting Away at the 2018 US Chess Championship

Alexander Onischuk

v Sam Shankland

U.S. Championship 2018 round 10

D38 Queen’s Gambit Declined, Ragozin variation

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 Bb4 5. cxd5 exd5 6. Bg5 h6 7. Bh4 O-O 8. e3 Bf5 9. a3 Bxc3+ 10. bxc3 Nbd7 11. Be2 c5 12. O-O g5 13. Bg3 Ne4 14. c4 dxc4 15. Bxc4 Rc8 16. Rc1 Qe7 17. Bd3 Rfd8 18. Qe2 Nb6 19. Bxe4 Bxe4 20. Ne5 cxd4 21. Rxc8 Rxc8 22. exd4 Bf5 23. Qh5 f6 24. Ng4 Bxg4 25. Qxg4 Qd7 26. Qf3 Nd5 27. Qh5 Kg7 28. f4 Qe8 29. Qf3 Qe3+ 30. Qxe3 Nxe3 31. Rf3 Nd5 32. fxg5 hxg5 33. h4 gxh4 34. Bxh4 Kf7 35. Be1 b6 36. Bd2 Rc2 37. Rd3 Ke6 38. g4 Kd6 39. Kf1 Kc6 40. Ke1 Kb5 41. g5 fxg5 42. Bxg5 Kc4 43. Rg3 Nc3 44. d5 Nxd5 45. Kd1 Rc3 46. Rg4+ Kb3 47. Rd4 Ne3+ 48. Bxe3 Rxe3 49. Kd2 Rh3 0-1

This was a well-played game except for a single move pair when both moves were “colorful” over at the ChessBomb. After 27 moves this position was reached:

Because of the pawn structure black has a minor advantage. According to Stockfish white should now play the move 28 Re1. The second choice of 28 h4 also looks reasonable. Unfortunately, Onischuk produced a RED MOVE with the awful 28 f4?

This is a losing move. All Sam needs to do is take the pawn with the knight and it’s “Turn out the lights, the party’s over.” There is really nothing else to consider…Unfortunately, Shankland did consider an alternative, producing another RED MOVE, with 28…Qe8?

After seeing his move I had to go back to the board containing pieces and look at 28…Nxf4 again and again. During the tournament I have awaited going to the ChessBomb for Stockfish analysis until after the game has ended. Inquiring minds want to know, so I “just had” to learn if there was something I was missing. There was not…The Fish gives 28… Nxf4 29. Qd1 Qxd4+ 30. Qxd4 Ne2+ 31. Kf2 Nxd4, along with more moves you can find if you check out the game at Da Bomb. This is another example of Shankland “drifting away,” like Dobie Gray. Fortunately for Sam, Al’s move was so bad Sam still retained an advantage with which he ground Onischuk down.

I have absolutely no idea why we Chess fans have seen such a proliferation of back-to-back blunders recently. Any readers have any ideas?