Thursday, December 27, 2007

2007's Best Of Year List

Well traditionally we revel in a little debauchery and make some New Years resolutions we don't keep. I've compiled a short list of some resolutions we can actually keep this year. Let's proceed.

This year, resolve to...

- Gain weight. At least 10 pounds.

- Exercise Less.

- Waste more time.

- Read Duly Consider more, especially Considerable Sounds. (Ok it's shameless self promotion)

- Watch more TV. You've been missing some good highly stimulating news and entertainment.

- Procrastinate more. Starting tomorrow.

- Spend more time at work.

- Buy (or download) the Mighty Parrot Band Cd. (Yeah it's more shameless self promotion)

- Take a vacation to someplace important: like, to see the largest ball of twine.

- Not jump off a cliff just because everyone else did.

- Eat out more.

- Not have eight children at once.

- Find a whole NEW rut to be in!

- Start being superstitious.

- Continue throwing objects at Bush and Cheney when they appear on television.

- Not bet against the Patriots.

- Speak in a monotone voice and use more monosyllabic words .

- Spend summer vacation in Cyberspace.

- Not eat cloned meat.

- Create loose ends.

- Get more toys.

- Get further in debt.

- Not believe politicians.

- Not drive a motorized vehicle across thin ice.

- Avoid airplanes that spontaneously drop from the sky.

- Stay off the International Space Station.

- Not swim with piranhas or sharks.

- Associate with even worse business clients.

- Spread out priorities beyond my ability to keep track of them.

- Wait around for opportunity to knock.

- Focus on the faults of others.

- Stop bothering about any of my own faults or shortcomings.

- Never bother making New Year's resolutions again.

You can assume any of Artists we have discussed here belong on the "Best Of" list.
But here are my choices for the "must have" releases for 2007- certainly there are many omissions but if I picked 10 favorites at this moment they would be...

1. Porcupine Tree- Fear Of A Blank Planet
This album functions as one continuous 50-minute cycle of music, and that the lyrics deal with fears that the younger generation is risking descent into intellectual torpor owing to their addiction to a lethal cocktail of prescription drugs, MTV, internet addiction and a banal culture of necessary instant gratification. Sonically, the six pieces are distinct and don't flow together the way Light of Day, Day of Darkness does. Catchy, melodic, dense, layered and painstakingly executed production, carefully constructed bass-lines and lush, intricate harmonies make this one of my favorite releases this year. Guest spots by Robert Fripp and Alex Liefson don't hurt either. Album of the year. Click the photo to see the video.




2. The Mars Volta- Amputechture

Surrounded as they are, in the modern music scene by a sea of watered-down corporate tripe, The Mars Volta have stood out since their formation for their artistic ambition, and their latest album, Amputechture, is no exception. All the prominent features of the previous CDs, De-Loused in the Comatorium and Frances the Mute-the snaky guitar lines of Omar Rodriguez-Lopez; the frenetic, jazzy drumming of Jon Theodore; the instantly recognizable, ear-splitting wail of Cedric Bixler-Zavala; the fusion of styles and frequent inclusion of unusual instrumentation-are all very much in evidence. This is a must have CD!





3. Brad Paisley - 5th Gear
I know what your saying but before I get booed and hissed let me say that Brad is a virtuoso guitarist, an expert tone smith in all things plankey and spankey (that's telecaster speak), and a man who knows guitar gear as well as anyone on the planet. No I'm not a country music fan but let's not assume because a guy puts a cowboy hat on and sells a few CDs that he is not an excellent musician. Brad stands out in field populated by bad American Idol clones as an authentic traditionalist willing to create fresh new music rooted deeply in a time honored form. Anyone who appreciates masterful guitar playing will drop their jaw while enjoying this CD. One of the best this year. Enjoy the video for the song On Line.







4. Youssou N'Dour -Rokku Mi Rokka

Africa's most well known singer, a perennial favorite in my CD player trades in his usual percussive drive for a folksy intimacy as he explores the sounds of Senegal's desert north. N'Dour explores rootsy deep homeland blues, soul, hip-hop and traditional African styles. As always, killer pop hooks are delivered by one of the most inspiring and vital voices in pop music anywhere on the planet today.






5. Okkervil River -The Stage Names


Austin indie-rock trailblazers Okkervil River return with a literate accessible style of pop music. The Stage Names is chock full of dark humor with constant allusions to pop-music history. Melancholy, fragile, yet somehow also powerful singing by Will Sheff. Well recorded and arranged. A must have.





6. Osvaldo Golijov -
Oceana

One of the classical world's most important composers today presents a major work inspired by the poetry of Pablo Neruda, Yoruba mythology and world music. With engaging works for string quartet and string ensemble that borrow from Eastern European gypsy music, rock and other hard to pin down styles. The pieces are intimate and majestic simultaneously. The Kronos Quartet and Atlanta Symphony are in fine form as well. Gotta have it.




7. Robert Wyatt - Comicopera
Robert Wyatt is a rare breed, eloquent, voluble, mischievous and sincere. His music reflects this. A British national treasure, the 62 year old paraplegic drummer and singer has provided us with a veritable cornucopia of great music. Reconvening his own big band-- featuring friends Brian Eno, Paul Weller, and Roxy Music's Phil Manzanera-- for his first album in four years, Comicopera, is a slyly ambitious, dolefully funny three-sided concept suite, taking in alcoholism and aging, the continuing fiasco in the Middle East, the horror of world politics, and the consolations of the imagination. Best of all, though, is what we least expect from the longtime cult hero: "Just As You Are", a bittersweet duet, co-written with his wife, Alfie, and sublimely sung by Wyatt and Brazilian bossa nova queen Monica Vasconcelos. Must have!




8. James Blackshaw - The Cloud of Unknowing


The title is borrowed from a 14th century mystical Christian text primarily concerned with contemplative prayer. It's a name that suits fingerpicking guitar virtuoso James Blackshaw well, since it's not difficult to picture his work as a intuitive quest for the infinite. Using only his 12-string guitar and an occasional violin or glockenspiel, Blackshaw effortlessly reconciles various elements of Renaissance string music, UK folk, and 20th century composition. The album achieves a certain instinctive symmetry, as Blackshaw allows each of his numerous interlaced melodies to build with an exceptional patience. And though traces of dissonance lap at the edges, what's striking here is the profound elegance of the music's architecture. Blackshaw possesses stunning technical prowess and a resolute confidence in his contemplative vision.
John Fahey meets Steve Reich?






9. Annie Lennox - Songs of Mass Destruction



I have loved this woman's voice since the first time I heard it, and this is worth the 4 year wait.
Annie's songwriting improves with every outing as well. A must have CD.
The song "Sing" features the special guest vocal talents of CĂ©line Dion, Melissa Etheridge, Fergie, Beth Gibbons, Faith Hill, Angelique Kidjo, Beverley Knight, Gladys Knight, K.D. lang, Madonna, Sarah McLachlan, Beth Orton, Pink, Bonnie Raitt, Shakira, Shingai Shoniwa, Joss Stone, Sugababes, KT Tunstall & Martha Wainwright.
The album is also available as a 2 disc limited edition containing artist commentary, Dark Road video and more. Ecstasy on a disc.





10. Jacky Terrasson - Mirror

From the ethereal dissonance of the opening of Duke Ellington's Caravan I was hooked. Solo jazz piano is risky business. There is nothing to hide behind, the pianist is completely naked and each note is a fragile pillow cloud easily dissipated in a stray breeze. As we mourn the loss of one of the finest jazz pianists ever to grace the earth, (Oscar Peterson) perhaps we can take some solace in the formidable talents of the next generation of the genre. This offering has the percussive joy of McCoy Tyner and the elegant finesse of Dave Brubeck or Michael Camilo.
Among the standouts is Jacky's deconstruction of America The Beautiful and the technical tour de force with bebop right-hand lines over a powerful left-hand ostinato in the title tune. This is an uncompromising set with no effort to appease commercialism. Consider adding this to your list of favorites for this year.


HONORABLE MENTION

Randy Newman's Song Book- (solo piano versions of his songs reveal a remarkable talent!)
The intimate stark presentation of these wonderful songs is a must have.

Whut 4 - (Their filthy redo of "Sugar Sugar" alone is worth the admission price. It is a wonderful corruption of the sacharine toothache original. Whut4 is an alternative hard pop band from southern California. if you enjoy the music of Garbage, No Doubt, the YeahYeahYeahs, Evanescense, or Auf der Maur- you likely will also enjoy What 4. There are bits of metal, pop, techno, classical, folk, even some avant garde jazz on this disc.)


One of the best live shows of the year has added dates (click here to read my original article about them, ) if you haven't seen Keller Williams with the WMDs here is the new tour schedule:

01/16

EYECLOPS
WMD'S - Williams, Moseley, Droll, Sipe

Fredericksburg, VA

Keller will open the doors to the public while the WMD'S warm up for their upcoming winter tour. They will rehearse their chops live on stage at Eyeclops in Keller's hometown of Fredericksburg. Tickets are available via Baseline Ticketing (please note there is a 2 ticket limit) and at Apple Music in Fredericksburg. Tickets will go fast so buy your tickets now for this special event!
PRICE: $25
TIMES:
doors 8:00pm / show 9:00pm
AGES: all ages


01/17

ORANGE PEEL
WMD'S - Williams, Moseley, Droll, Sipe

Asheville, NC

PRICE: $21 / $23
TIMES:
doors 8:00pm / show 9:00pm
AGES: 18+


01/18

CITY HALL
WMD'S - Williams, Moseley, Droll, Sipe

Nashville, TN

PRICE: $20 / $25
TIMES:
doors 8:00pm / show 9:00pm
AGES: 18+


01/19

THE PAGEANT
WMD'S - Williams, Moseley, Droll, Sipe

St Louis, MO

PRICE: $22.50
TIMES:
doors 7:00pm / show 8:00pm
AGES: all ages


01/20

THE BLUE NOTE
WMD'S - Williams, Moseley, Droll, Sipe

Columbia, MO

PRICE: $20
TIMES:
doors 7:00pm / show 8:00pm
AGES: all ages


01/22

LIBERTY HALL
WMD'S - Williams, Moseley, Droll, Sipe

Lawrence, KS

PRICE: $21
TIMES:
doors 7:00pm / show 8:00pm
AGES: all ages


01/23

GEORGE'S MAJESTIC
WMD'S - Williams, Moseley, Droll, Sipe

Fayetteville, AR

PRICE: $23
TIMES:
doors 7:00pm / show 8:00pm
AGES: 18+


01/24

CAIN'S BALLROOM
WMD'S - Williams, Moseley, Droll, Sipe

Tulsa, OK

PRICE: $19/$21
TIMES:
doors 8:00pm / show 9:00pm
AGES: all ages


01/25

HOUSE OF BLUES
WMD'S - Williams, Moseley, Droll, Sipe

Dallas, TX

PRICE: $25
TIMES:
doors 7:00pm / show 8:00pm
AGES: all ages


01/26

LA ZONA ROSA
WMD'S - Williams, Moseley, Droll, Sipe

Austin, TX

PRICE: $25
TIMES:
doors 7:00pm / show 8:00pm
AGES: all ages


01/29

EL REY THEATRE
WMD'S - Williams, Moseley, Droll, Sipe

Albuquerque, NM

PRICE: $20 students / $22adv / $25dos
TIMES:
doors 7:00pm / show 8:00pm
AGES: all ages


01/30

SOLAR ROOM
WMD'S - Williams, Moseley, Droll, Sipe

Taos, NM

PRICE: $20
TIMES:
doors 7:00pm / show 8:00pm
AGES: TBA


01/31

BELLY UP
WMD'S - Williams, Moseley, Droll, Sipe

Aspen, CO

PRICE: $35/$38
TIMES:
doors 8:00pm / show 10:00pm
AGES: all ages


FEBRUARY 2008

02/01

BELLY UP
WMD'S - Williams, Moseley, Droll, Sipe

Aspen, CO

PRICE: $35/$38
TIMES:
doors 8:00pm / show 10:00pm
AGES: all ages


02/02

FILLMORE AUDITORIUM
WMD'S - Williams, Moseley, Droll, Sipe
with The Emmitt Nershi Band

Denver, CO

PRICE: $27.50/$30
TIMES:
doors 6:30pm / show 7:30pm
AGES: 16+


02/23

SUGARLOAF SKI RESORT
WMD'S - Williams, Moseley, Droll, Sipe

Carrabassett Valley, ME

PRICE: $22
TIMES:
doors 8:00pm / show 10:00pm
AGES: 21+


MARCH 2008

03/09

LANGERADO MUSIC FESTIVAL

Big Cypress, FL
On Sale 11/16
Langerado.com


PRICE: TBA
TIMES:
4:15pm
AGES: all ages




MAY 2008

05/23

DELFEST
Keller & The Keels

Cumberland, MD

Del McCoury Band, Vince Gill, Dierks Bentley, Keller Williams and The Keels, David Grisman Bluegrass Experience, Abigail Washburn & The Sparrow Quartet feat. Bela Fleck, Sam Bush, Punch Brothers feat. Chris Thile, Railroad Earth plus many more to be announced!
PRICE: TBA
TIMES:
TBA
AGES: all ages





Thursday, December 13, 2007

'Tis The Season -Truthful Traditions

Papa Noel Just can't seem to get ahead.






Edward R. Murrow: Most truths are so naked that people feel sorry for them and cover them up.




Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the traditional music associated with the holiday season very much. The offering this week is not meant to reduce enthusiasm or dampen the spirit. We do have some historical facts to ponder and some unusual takes on the musical side of the holiday fare.
Canada has the Canadian Brass, the west coast claims Mannheim Steamroller. New York not only has the Rockettes at Radio City, and Madison Square Garden's production of A Christmas Carol but off-Broadway, check out the off-beat Calamity Carolers Of Doom.



And of course New York is also the home turf of easily the most spectacular live production ever to mount a road trip, (Do not miss this amazing show!)
The Trans-Siberian Orchestra.


Can't Quite Get Enough TSO?




If you really want tradition though, you have to look to ancient Babylon. The feast of the Son of Isis (Goddess of Nature) was celebrated on December 25. Raucous partying, gluttonous eating and drinking, and gift-giving were traditions of this feast. Yes, the holiday existed before the advent of Christianity, since people were celebrating anyway the early Christians just adopted the holiday as their own. Borrowing much of the existing mythology and symbolism as well.



In Rome, the Winter Solstice was celebrated for many years before the advent of Christianity. The Romans called their winter holiday Saturnalia, honoring Saturn, the God of Agriculture. And in January, they observed the Kalends of January, which represented the triumph of life over death. This whole season was called Dies Natalis Invicti Solis, the Birthday of the Unconquered Sun.

The festival season was marked by much festivity making merry and imbibing. Philadelphia take note, it was in ancient Rome that the tradition of the Mummers was born. The Mummers were groups of costumed singers and dancers who traveled from house to house entertaining their neighbors. From this, the tradition of caroling was borrowed as well as that swell parade in Philadelphia on New Years day. "Oh Dem' Golden Slippers" indeed!



In northern Europe, the pagans celebrated the their own winter solstice, known as Yule. Yule was symbolic of the pagan Sun God, Mithras, being born, and was observed on the shortest day of the year. As the Sun God grew and matured, the days became longer and warmer. It was customary to light a candle to encourage Mithras, and the sun, to reappear next year. Giant Yule logs were burned in honor of the sun. The word Yule itself means “wheel,” the wheel being a pagan symbol for the sun. Mistletoe was considered a sacred plant, and the custom of kissing under the mistletoe began as a fertility rite. Hollyberries were thought to be a food of the gods. The evergreen tree is one symbol that unites almost all the northern European winter solstices. Live evergreen trees were brought into homes during the harsh winters to remind inhabitants that soon their crops would grow again. Evergreen boughs were sometimes carried as totems of good luck and were often present at weddings, representing fertility. The Druids used the tree as a religious symbol, holding sacred ceremonies while surrounding and worshiping huge trees.
Personally I am proud to acknowledge these and other traditions that connect us to the past.



I look at these traditions a bit like Joseph Campbell did. Seeing the inherent beauty in all cultural constructions and their reflections on the human condition as well as the perceived universe . I can not see any of these legends as literally true, as history makes the case otherwise. The value of mythology is great when perceived as parable, but becomes weak and contentious if taken as literally the truth. When people insist that their personal mythologies be adapted, be taken literally, or enacted into law it's a Gordian Knot. When people construe excuses for bigotry, elitist behavior, or empire from mythological text we have a plague of "biblical proportions"so to speak.

These celebrations continued until the year 350, when Pope Julius I declared that Christ’s birth would be celebrated on December 25. Since Constantine made Christianity the official state religion, there is little doubt that this date was chosen to get pagan Romans (who remained a majority at that time) to submit to the new state sanctioned official religion. The new religion went down a bit easier, knowing that their feasts would not be taken away from them. I'm not trying to put a damper on anyone's celebration, as peace on earth and good will towards everyone is a fantastic idea that we all should carry in our hearts year round. But there is no harm in truth. If truth threatens belief, then I suggest belief may need adjustment, not truth.

By the Middle Ages, Christianity had, for the most part, supplanted pagan religion. On Christmas, believers attended church, then celebrated raucously in drunken stupors, it was a carnival-like atmosphere similar to today's Mardi Gras. Each year, a beggar or student would be crowned the the "lord of misrule" and eager celebrants played the part of his subjects. The poor would go to houses of the rich and demand their best food and drink. If owners failed to comply, their visitors would annoy them with mischief. Christmas became the time of year when the upper classes repaid their real or imagined "debt" to society by entertaining less fortunate citizens. A tradition still honored in England , Canada, New Zealand and Australia on Boxing Day.

The Christmas bacchanal was celebrated robustly until the early 17th century when a wave of religious reform changed Christmas celebrations in Europe. Oliver Cromwell and his Puritan forces overran England in 1645, they vowed to rid England of decadence and banned Christmas. By popular demand, in 1660 Charles II was restored to the throne and, with him, came the return of the popular holiday. One of the great mysteries of western civilization might be how the lecherous epicurean reveler, the figure of Father Christmas morphed empirically into Santa Clause, a friend and benefactor of children.



The pilgrims were English separatists that came to America in 1620,they were even more anal in their Puritan beliefs than Cromwell. As a result, Christmas was not a holiday in early America. From 1659 to 1681, the celebration of Christmas was actually outlawed in Boston. Anyone exhibiting the Christmas spirit was fined five shillings.


By contrast, in the Jamestown settlement, Captain John Smith reported that Christmas was enjoyed by all and pleasantly passed without incident.


After the American Revolution, most English customs fell out of favor, including Christmas. In fact, Congress was in session on December 25, 1789, the first Christmas under America's new constitution.

Christmas wasn't declared a holiday in America until June 26, 1870.



The Winter Solstice is Celebrated Globally!

We are in fact, participating in an ancient celebration marked by the winter solstice that mankind has celebrated in it's many cultures at least since adapting agrarian lives over hunting and gathering. I welcome all greetings and expressions of good will. So have a cracking keen Christmas, a snappy happy Hanukkah, a cool Yule, a kickin' Kwanzaa, a bang-up Boxing Day,
a super Saturnalia, a smashing Solstice, A jolly Jodo-Ea, a kind Kalends, and a nifty Natalis Invicti Solis.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Voting Is An Obligation Not A Right


"Bad officials are elected by good citizens who do not vote." - George Nathan

Americans have one of the poorest voter turnouts on the planet. Out of the 172 countries for which figures are available, The USA ranks a sad 139th - outranking only less developed nations such as Zambia where voters may have to walk 80 miles to pull the lever.
There are approximately 186 million eligible voters in the United States (citizens over the age of eighteen without a disqualification such as a felony conviction). Of that number, only 130 million - about seventy percent - are registered to vote. In the last Presidential election only 60 percent of eligible voters showed up at the polls. That means that only about 30 percent actually voted for the current president. The percentage of the population that participates has been steadily dwindling.

"Half of the American people never read a newspaper.
Half never voted for president. One hopes it is the same half." - Gore Vidal
Presidential elections draw more voters than other types of elections. Yet in the last presidential election 75 million people who were eligible to vote did not do so. I believe this is a national disgrace. If one wishes for good government one must be a good citizen first. It is our duty as citizens to vote. A government that does not have the sanction of it's people has no legitimacy.
Refraining from voting insures a spurious government and encourages corruption.

You don't need a degree in political theory to understand that the relationship between citizens and government (in particular in a democracy) is a social contract. The government agrees to govern well. Citizens consent to their government holding the necessary casual agents and funds to conduct the business of their collective interests. Citizens take on certain obligations - including the obligation to vote.!

"Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost." - John Quincy Adams


Why are citizens obliged to vote? Because government, as Thomas Jefferson set forth in the Declaration of Independence, derives its authority from the consent of the governed.
That consent must constantly be renewed - through voting. If the citizens don't vote, the government loses its legitimacy to exist.


If American women would increase their voting turnout by ten percent,
I think we would see an end to all of the budget cuts
in programs benefiting women and children. -Coretta Scott King

It 's about time we voted for more candidates with breasts! We've been voting for boobs long enough. True enough! The political arena should more closely resemble the population than it does. Much of the reason it does not is in the hands of the non-voter. 85 million non voters are using the roads, sending their kids to schools, and enjoying the protection of firemen, policemen, and the armed forces, etc. Not voting is a serious problem. It is not only a failure of citizens, it is also a failure of government.

In the 2004 election primary CNN interviewed a Democratic primary voter after casting his ballot. He claimed he voted for John Kerry because the media said he was the most electable of the candidates. The media said? In 2000 a woman was interviewed after voting in the Republican primary in South Carolina. She voted for Bush because "McCain had an illegitimate black baby and his wife is insane". (Apparently she had received one of those phone calls pretending to be pollsters that the Bush camp "knew nothing about" in which they made these claims about McCain's adopted child from India and his wife's having visited a therapist).

Only about 20 percent vote in primary elections. Do you really believe that 20 percent of the voters should decide who the candidates will be? I doubt it. Special interest groups, lobbyists, the corporatist elite, and party hacks all are counting on you not to vote. Give them a run for their money. Show up and vote in the primary! Always vote your conscience. Who do you honestly feel has the abilities to perform well as your representative? Because that is all these folks are. They have no special powers beyond what you grant them. Their function is to SERVE you. Public service is not a playground for political class elitism. Unless you don't vote.


Why Are Voters Vanishing?

If you ask non-voters why they don't vote, you hear lame excuses - generally wretched refrains including that the ballots and issues are too complex and confusing, that it's not convenient, that the person didn't register in time, or that the person didn't like any of the candidates. Some are driven away by negative campaign ads, which of course is what the advertisers want, I mean you can't vote for a child molesting puppy killer who pretended to be in the army while getting a sex change in a communist country can you? But perhaps the worst and most common reason is selfishness. What's in it for me? What do I get for voting? The simple reason most people do not vote is that they do not perceive it as being in their self-interest. If there is nothing in it for them, why the hell bother? Most of these voters likely have never considered the need to perpetuate - and, in fact, couldn't care less about, the social contract and their responsibility as citizens.

How Can We Get More Citizens to Vote?

I think having a column that says none of the candidates are acceptable would be a start. If "NONE" got a majority of votes, a new election would be called for. This should be incentive for those who dislike all the candidates to vote. If that didn't work, (and it wouldn't for the selfish non voter who may be the majority) maybe we should look at Australia. Down under they enacted a law requiring citizens to vote in 1924. The fine for not voting is similar to jay walking but Australia enjoys a near 100% turnout. Being required to vote may sound strange to some but as citizens we are required to serve on juries, which is far more invasive and can last months. We are required to pay taxes. Why not require voting? Thirty-three countries - all democracies - have mandatory voting laws and generally they seem to work very well.

I suggest that voting is the least a citizen can do for his or her country, it is not unreasonable to ask U.S. citizens to do this minimal thing. the US should be competing for first place in the world in voter participation - not competing with Zambia for last place.


"I'm totally down with insurrection in the street.
I've had a great time with that over the years.
Insurrection in the voting booth is the other part of the equation"
. -Jello Biafra


Sadly, if citizen participation in our democracy cannot be obtained voluntarily then mandatory laws are our best option. Fortunately, once enacted, we will probably need to do little or nothing to enforce them. The message they send may be enough, or almost enough to convince voters to show up at the polls. It may be time to do what Australia was wise enough to do eighty three years ago, in 1924.


Don't Shirk Your Civic Duty.... Vote!







Thursday, December 6, 2007

In Memorium of John Lennon

John Lennon
( October9, 1940 – December8, 1980),

ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE

by DC Magazine music editor Ben New

It was 20 years ago today, Sgt. Pepper taught his band to play......

It was 27 years ago today that the recondite voice of a generation was silenced for eternity by an assassin's bullet.

It was 203 days ago that a piece I wrote about John and my remembrance of this tragic day called "Strange Days Indeed" was first published by Duly Consider. I had asked on a thread of comments if people would share their thoughts about John Lennon and what he, and his work meant to them for a future article. I received quite a few replies from you.

As many of us reflect today on the life and death of a man who gave us so much music and stood steadfast for the cause of peace in the world, I can't think of a better time to share these beautiful thoughts with our reading community. I am posting the comments only, but perhaps you will recognize your own story here. I thank each and every one of you for sharing these with me and now with many others who also miss John on this day. There is also a link at the bottom of the community's comments to "STRANGE DAYS INDEED" which I hope you will visit. It remains my personal favorite of all the writing I've done for Duly Consider and couldn't be more poignant on this day. Without further delay, here are our stories:

PROPELLER COMMUNITY REMEMBERS JOHN LENNON

Blessed are the Peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God. R.I.P. John.

I was 8 years old when I first saw the Beatles (1964) at the old Ed Sullivan theater downtown. I saw John Lennon playing live on stage. Thank you for those wonderful memories John.


I was in High School when I bought Mind Games on 8 track... Wore it out.... Free the people now, Do it, Do it, Do it now ! When you are caught with your hands on the kill, You still gotta swallow that pill, As you slip and slide down that hill, On the blood of the people you killed ! Yes, I was a wild, hippy child... Regrets....SOME !!!

Lennon traveled around the world. He got to experience these many different religions. He wrote his music on how he saw it, as most musicians do. He shared his point of view. With him two and two always made four. Today's society does not think before it leaps and four is ignored. That is why we have a hard time having peace in this world.


Lennon was a man who believed what said. He was a man who walked the walk of his rhetoric. He was a man of the people, who was simply a person and not some cardboard, glad-handing, smiling, fluffed hair imitation of a person. We will be unlikely to see his kind again any time soon.

Give Peace A Chance - if only we could hear that now...........



I'll always remember Mind Games.


I believe that those who truly love freedom are naturally brave. John was a fearless freedom fighter.

A few of my German friends urged me to go to Hamburg to see this new British group that played fantastic music. At that time, I thought that the only music worth listening to was by Americans such as Buddy Holly and Elvis. I relented and drove to Hamburg with a few of my German friends. We went to this dingy strip bar in Hamburg's notorious red-light district, the Reeperbahn (from Cabaret: heute gehen wier bumelm auf der Reeperbahn). That was my first encounter with the Beatles. Even then, John Lennon stood out in my mind even though all my friends thought McCartney was the leader. Lennon's 'Give Peace a Chance' was my mantra during the Vietnam years and his 'Imagine' is still my all time favorite.


Thank you dr. winston o'boogie.


A true working-class hero. I ran into him one nite/morning in the late seventies in Greenwich Village, he was just a regular guy.... Warm memories


....
John was passionate about a simple concept - peace and equality. I always did and I always will admire him for that. The world has never been the same since his death.


WORKING CLASS HERO

It was a weird warm night that December in 1980. I got off work and got to my friend’s house and was told by him, John had been shot. Everyone had something go through their head when they heard the news. Some thought, well there goes one of the true voice of the people. Others thought, a Great Voice in music is now gone. And here I sat on the step to the front door. The tears running down my face, unashamed for showing this emotion. And all I could think of is that, I will never get to jam with this man. I will not get to talk to him and get to know him better. He would have taken the time to do that if I would have met him. He was that kind of a man.


I would love to have John around at this time.


I guess you had to live in the 60's to really understand the power this man had.


Miss him and his music....



I miss the hope he represented


John was a peaceful being. It would be interesting to see how his music would have been influenced by today’s violence. Clearly not all that different then Viet Nam.



This is about a great man, & talented artist, who was taken away from us much too soon!


There are those moments burned into the psyche that I remember as if they had happened a second ago. The Beatles appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show was one of them. The positive energy that exploded off the screen that night inspired so many future musicians including myself to pick up a guitar.
The opening riff to "I Want To Hold Your Hand" just jumped out of the radio in the early days of 1964. It was impossible not to sit up and take notice of the song and it's difference from the other songs on the radio at that time.


I remember a David Frost show in a New York studio with John and Yoko. At the time John would not talk to any journalist as he didn't like them but he got into a argument with the audience as he sang a song about the 43 people that had died in the Attica Prison riots; 39 convicts and 4 guards. He made no distinction between them just 43 useless deaths, but some of the audience took exception to them all being lumped together. I believe that would be his view today about Iraq, All the useless deaths not just one side. As I said an extraordinary man.



John & crew performed in Dallas, one year. A girl I went to High School with, went to see the performance. The glass front of the hotel shattered from the fans pressing against the glass to catch a glimse of John. The girl was cut pretty bad and was hospitalized. After she return to school, with scars all over her, all she kept talking about, was the visit she got while she was in the hospital and how it was all worth the pain. Yes, John & his crew stopped by to see how she was doing. "We all live in a yellow submarine...", one of many songs, I remember from those days.


I remember when I heard that he got shot. I wore a black armband for a week.


"Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans."


February of 1964. The Beatles appeared on Ed Sullivan. All I wanted to hear them sing was "I Wanna Hold Your Hand", which I'd been hearing on the radio. Nobody had any idea how talented these guys were or what prolific writers they would become. I had just begun dating my wife. We've been married for 40 years. Ah, the Beatles and at a time when I was finding the love of my life. The happiest of memories.



This remembrance made me cry. Great great article. Goodnight sweet prince. And thank you....

Statue of Lennon at Havana Park, Cuba



John had the ability to express what the collective consciousness of his generation yearned to hear.


He was an original, never again will we see the likes of
John Lennon.

One windy cold night in New York I wondered in to a little Italian Bistro to escape the weather, and there seated at the table no more than 3 ft. away, sipping an espresso, was John Lennon. I wanted to speak to him but really didn't wish to disturb or hassle him. So I sat there kind of like a deer staring into the headlights. John glanced over and smiled. I guess he'd seen this look of befuddlement more than a few times before. I wanted to speak but nothing came out. John laughed and said "Hey mate, you should try this chocolate, It does wonders for ya, they make it right here in the back" He broke off a piece, handed it to me and said " the owner is a bloody magician!". I managed to thank him and exchange a few words. For being one of the most recognized faces on the planet, he was remarkably comfortable in public and a "regular guy". Goodnight John,
I 'd like to believe you have found the peace you gallantly sought in this world.
And thank you, you were right about the chocolate. It was delicious.

Continue ....
STRANGE DAYS INDEED
CLICK HERE FOR BEN'S ORIGINAL ARTICLE at DULY CONSIDER

A comforting read on this day.







Many thanks to the former Netscape and Propeller community for sharing these wonderful memories!

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