Saturday, April 25, 2015


Are we losing it? No, no, no, I don’t mean that general ‘it’ as in our ‘cool’, our ‘sanity’, our ‘temper’, or any other ‘it’ on an emotional level. What I’m wondering about, is are we losing our ability to REALLY write and express ourselves.

Are we losing our ability to write, in the sense of really, truly communicating something, anything, through our words on the page (or screen, as this particular case may be).

Now, first I want to say; I realize that we are just four days from the end of that A to Z thing, and I suppose most of you are pretty tired. I know you’ve been trying to keep up with your own posts, while you run around the blogosphere and leave as many meaningful comments, on various interesting blogs. So, please don’t take offense at what I’m about to say. Maybe think of my comments as having to do with our writing/communicating ability the other eleven months of the year.

Anyway…due to that old ‘birds of a feather’ thing and the fact that like interest attract like interest, we tend of ‘follow’ others who suffer from the same afflictions have similar interests. I’m a writer, a wannabe author, so it follows that a lot of you are the same. So, if we’re writers (or authors) we should be masters of the written word, right? Communication of ideas, images, feelings, and emotions is our forte, right? We practice this at every possible chance, right? We want to be the very best we can be in the hope of attracting someone, anyone, who is willing to pay to read our work, or at least try to sell it to others who will pay to read it, right?

One of the ways we practice our craft and try to entice those who might pay for our written word is through our blogs, right? Another way might be to travel around the Internet and visit other blogs and leave comments, right? This should be a way to interact with other sufferers of the same affliction persons who are also practicing their craft and possibly teaching us something in the process, right?

SO…if this is the case, why are there so many blogs that drum up a lot of comments, but the blog author does not take the opportunity to thank the commenters and thereby practice their craft once more by making a reply? Why do so many ACTUAL AUTHORS (I’m told this definition is a person who has had their work published.) leave those short sentence ‘hit and run’ comments? Why do so many of us, think that the ‘art of writing’, of practicing our craft, taking the opportunity to teach/learn, doesn’t apply HERE.

Recently, I was introduced to a new blogger and his blog. Mr. Shady Dell Knight. His posts are fun and informative, and I find myself really enjoying his blog, BUT what I really want to draw your attention to are the replies to the comments at his blog and the comments he leaves at other blogs. They are as well formed and considerate as his own posts. Most impressive in this day of the fifteen second attention span and sound byte.

Mr. Knights two most recent posts were devoted to a ‘guest’ and although this ‘guest’ didn’t know a lot of the commenters that didn’t slow her down one little bit in leaving thoughtful, insightful, well written and thought out replies to each and every comment. Bravo to you Mr. Knight and to your guest Kathleen Mae Schneider, as well.

Now, back to my original questions. Are we losing it? Or are we at least at risk of losing it? AND, by ‘it’ I mean the real reason we’re here.

Please don’t get your panties in a bunch over this. Keep in mind these are just the thoughts of one dumb blonde, but I really would like to know what you think and if you’ve noticed, felt frustrated, or given a moment’s notice, to this type of thing.

I’ll be back on May 1st with something more light and hopefully fun, another BATTLE OF THE BANDS, but actually, I’ll be back before that, because I’m gonna try to give each and every one of you who comment a thoughtful reply.

Oh, I almost forgot. If you’re interest in visiting Mr. Shady Dell Knight, you can find him HERE

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

It’s the 21st of April…ALREADY! How did that happen? Time just keeps tickin’ away. Whatever, it’s time to reveal the winner of my last BATTLE OF THE BANDS, but before we go there I want to tell you something.

Last Saturday night I went to a concert at Harrah’s Casino in Stateline, NV in their South Shore Room. The South Shore Room (SSR) is an incredible venue. More like a nightclub than a concert hall. Very small and intimate. Anyhow, I’m sure you’re wondering who I saw. Well, ya all know my fondness for those gravelly voiced guys, who really need to sing from the heart, because they don’t have the ‘smooth’ tones of a crooner.

Anyway…the artist; Mr. Leon Russell. I love his music, I love his voice and his piano playing…well, you all know that a common expression for playing the piano is ‘tickling the ivories’. With respect to Mr. Russell when he plays, he pounds that piano to a white hot frenzy. I love that ‘honkey-tonk’ style. He played everything from ‘His Eye Is On the Sparrow’ to ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash’.

The very best part of the concert was the ‘YAK’. Between each song he told us stories about his experiences and particularly about meeting other performers. It was like sitting down in the living room of grandpa’s house and having him tell you about his life. I was in heaven. He told us about meeting Elvis, Dylan, and B.B.King. He seemed genuinely surprised and appreciative of the many standing ovations that he received telling us we were ‘too kind’.

My advice to you; if you have the chance to see some of these ‘old rockers’; take it. They ain’t gonna be around forever. If you have a chance to see them at the SSR at Harrah’s in Stateline, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

Here's one of my favorite LR tunes for your enjoyment.

Now, onto BOTB. I received a fabulous comment early today from Bish Denham. It was one of those special memories that had been evoked by these two songs. Because most of you probably missed it, because it came in so late, I’m gonna reprint it here.

Why or why did you have to make this one so hard? This is the music I grew up hearing around the house? Count Basie actually came to St. Thomas and played at the Lionel Roberts Ball Field. My father took me and my grandmother to see/hear him. I actually heard this rendition of April in Paris LIVE!

But Ella and Satchmo... I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Ella. When I sang in a jazz trio (only for a short time, but I did sing in a jazz trio) Ella was my idol, the singer I most wanted to sing like (which of course could never happen, still....) And my dad was given a handkerchief that had been used by Satchmo (long gone now, you know how hard the tropics can be on things, but still...)

Why oh why did you have to make this one so hard.

I'm going to have to dig deep into my bag of memories, remembering how my dad looked/acted when he heard and played certain songs. (He played trombone and was always in some kind of band or other...) That said, I can so clearly see his smile, see the sparkle in his eyes, see the movement of his hand as if conducting the band, feel the energy of his love for the music... So my vote is going to Count Basie.

This post has made me cry (good tears) remembering my father and the joy he took listening to music, the joy he took in educating my sister and me. Thank you.

No, Bish, THANK YOU! That was a wonderful comment. I enjoy hearing stories and memories like that.

As I was counting up the votes it was neck and neck for quite some time and then I had a few votes (three to be exact) come in late and all three were for that fabulous duo of Ella and Stachmo. I waivered all week with my vote. Like a lot of you said, it depended on the day. Some days I felt soft and mellow and would listen to the dynamic duo over and over. Then at other times I loved to sit at the computer and ‘jive’ along with the Count. Today is decision day and I need a little pep in my life (I was really sick all day yesterday and spent the day in bed), so… drum roll please. My vote goes to the Count. In the end it was not enough. The final tally…

        Count Basie and His Orchestra               10 votes (including mine)

        Ella and Satchmo                                  12 votes

This proved to be one of my favorite BATTLES. I’m particularly glad it didn’t end up in a tie, because then I would have had to REALLY choose, but it was close enough that I knew all of you liked both versions too.

Again, thanks to all of you who took the time to stop by and vote, especially those of you immersed in the A to Z (only 9 more posts to go). I’ll see you back here on the 1st of May with my next BATTLE.

Until that time…Happy Trails to you!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015


Back at the end of March I had my April 1st BATTLE OF THE BANDS all planned out. It was a great BATTLE for the kick-off of April and it even fit in with an ‘A’ Theme fooler for the A to Z Challenge (which BTW, I am not participating in). Anyway…at the last minute I changed my mind. Go figure!

Since its still April and this is such a great BATTLE, I’ve decided to use it now; for my BATTLE on the 15th of April. Theme still applies for the month, but it doesn’t quite fit with the ‘alphabet thing’, but since I’m not doing it anyway, no matter.

I, like a lot of Americans, love the idea of Paris. I can’t say that I am enamored with all things French, but the Idea of visiting Paris one day really intrigues me. Perhaps because it is, or at least has been the center of so much cultural experience, particularly in the ‘arts’. At any rate, if you too are intrigued by things French, please take the time to visit the blog of D.G. Hudson. For the A to Z Challenge her theme is ‘French Faves’. She has already highlighted some fantastic music (Jazz), and her excellent photography is sure to delight and entertain you to the max. Find a shortcut to her blog HERE D.G. has been a long time supporter of BOTB here, and at the other sites as well, and for that, I really appreciate her.

So, have you guessed my song for this BOTB? If not, I won’t keep you in suspense any longer. I have chosen ‘April in Paris’. There are quite a few great covers of this song. My selections are very different but both G-R-E-A-T in their own right. So great, in fact, that I still haven’t decided who I will be voting for. In other words, there is absolutely no wrong vote in this BATTLE!

Let’s get on with it, shall we?

First up, count Basie and his Fabulous Orchestra;

Next, the wonderful Ella Fitzgerald and the indomitable Louis Armstrong (Satchmo):

Now, I believe you know what to do and how to do it. If not, let me clue you in. First, leave me a comment with your vote. Please tell me why you chose as you did. Next, head on over to the site of Mr. BOTB himself, Stephen T. McCarthy. You can find him HERE. Stephen will have posted a super BATTLE for you, I’m sure. He will also provide the links to the other participants in this bi-monthly endeavor. Please try to visit all of the BOTB participants and cast a vote. Finally, return here (and to the other BATTLES) on the 21st to see how I voted, and what the final tally is. That is, of course, when I shall proclaim a winner to this BATTLE.

Until that time, Happy Trails to You!