Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Off The Beaten Path - Rocks The 4th

Everything has been worked out and Show # 6 will premiere on the Fourth of July @ 12PM.  The schedule has changed a bit.  It will be Monday, Wednesday and Friday, every other week.  We'll get into that more at a later time.  Make Off The Beaten Path the soundtrack (for 2 hours) at your cookout/party.  Listen on then and for the rest of the day.

Off The Beaten Path - The Mess

I'm pissed.  Another radio show misses it's premiere date.  I know it's a part-time thing for the owner of the station/producer, but WTF.  This is just getting ridiculous.  I've already heard the, "You can find another Internet Radio Station" thing.  Maybe I will.  Anyone know of any stations?  I don't get paid for's just for fun, but I take it very seriously.  I apologize to my 6 loyal listeners.  I don't know when it will be on, because he doesn't know when he'll get to it.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Friendship Isn't A One Way Street

This is a real picture from downtown Providence, RI.  Friendship St. is really a one way street, at least in Rhode Island it is, but not in life.  Well it shouldn't be.  Had a nice get together with an old friend tonight.  Someone I've known for more than half of my life.  One of those people that your there for no matter how long its been since you've last talked or seen them. 

As we all know, life can be pretty cruel.  It's how you make it through and who helps you along the way that matters.  Nobody has a perfect life, but we all try to make the most of what we're dealt.  Some people are better at it than others.  I'm in the middle...great sometimes, horrible others.

I can be tough on friends.  Mood stabilizing medications have made me easier to deal with.  We'll just keep it there.  So, it's nice when you can just pick up from where you've left off the last time, whenever that was.  We talked about a variety of things that I'm not about to go into here, but mainly how it would be nice to see everyone (the people we hung out with a lot, back in school) again.  Just to catch up and not have it be 5,10 or 20 years since some of us have seen or spoken to one another.

I've never had many friends.  Lots of acquaintances, but not many people I consider true friends.  It would be good to see everyone.  People that I've always gotten along with and some that I've had issues with or have had issues with me, but time heals most wounds.  Either way, I'd still be interested in seeing them, good, bad or otherwise...although, I think things would be just fine.  I think we made some progress to achieving that goal tonight.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Off The Beaten Path Show #6

It's that time again folks.  Another radio show.  It sort of creeps up on you.  You would think doing a show every other week would give me plenty of time to get everything done, but with the new baby, I have to block out time to get the show done.  No complaints, but you have to become super efficient.  Here is the playlist for the new show premiering Wed. June 29th @ 12PM, replaying on Thurs. the 30th @ 4PM and Friday the 31st @ 8PM on

Off The Beaten Path Show #6

Thunderhorse – Dethklok
Big Bottom – Spinal Tap
Fever Dog – Stillwater
Turn Me Loose – Loverboy
Don’t Tell Me You Love Me – Night Ranger
Girls With Guns – Tommy Shaw
Long Way To Love – Britny Fox (Hair Metal Song of the Week)
Shake – Otis Redding
Cold Sweat – James Brown
I Can’t Get Next To You – Temptations
Bernadette – Four Tops
Rock ‘n’ Roll Butler – The Upper Crust
Kidz Cereal – Z
Fat – Violent Femmes
Women Like To Slow Dance – Steve Martin & The Steep Canyon Rangers
Talking Seattle Grunge Rock Blues - Todd Snider
If Your Gonna Be Dumb, You Gotta Be Tough – Roger Alan Wade
Excitable Boy – Warren Zevon
Hot Child In The City – Nick Gilder
I Knew The Bride – Nick Lowe
The Ballad of El Goodo – Big Star
Not Too Soon – Throwing Muses
Got You (Where I Want You) – The Flys
Down In The Park – Foo Fighters
Bull In The Heather – Sonic Youth
Neat Neat Neat – The Damned
Ex Lion Tamer – Wire
I Only Wanna Be With You – Volbeat
Mouth For War – Pantera
Let There Be Rock – AC/DC

Please tune in, at one of the times for the show.  I think you'll have a good time.  

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Playing Favorites - The 1960's - Albums #15 to #1

I'm back for the second part of this countdown Playing Favorites - The 1960's.  This is the entry where you'll probably get mad.  Again, like I said before...this isn't like other lists per se.  Make your own if you disagree with me.  Let's get this thing rolling...

15. The Velvet Underground & Nico - VU

Super experimental, thanks to John Cale.  Nico was a model, not a singer.  She was in the band at the insistence of Andy Warhol.  Classic songs are all over this album.  "Heroin," "I'm Waiting for the Man" and basically the entire album.  The beginning of the DIY, minimalist and punk ethos.  Their influence was huge in alternative music and is still being felt today.

14. The Doors - The Doors

Three superior musicians and a poet is how I tend to look at this band.  Jim Morrison, wasn't a singer and never really claimed to be.  He did a decent job, but had a way with the written language.  He was the front man and got all of the press due to his drunken/drugged up antics.  The thing I've always loved is, their biggest hit, "Light My Fire" wasn't written by Morrison, but by Robby Krieger.  I've always loved that fact.  The three musicians are outstanding players and the music is what made this band.  Get beyond Morrison.

13. The Band - The Band

If you really like musicians, this is "the band" for you, no pun intended.  All supreme players of multiple instruments.  Three out of the five members can sing well and have their own style that really individualize a song.  Robbie Robertson is a forgotten guitar hero, possibly due to the fact he's kind of a jerk.  They are the soundtrack of Americana, but are mainly Canadian (only Levon Helms is American).  If you do nothing else, watch The Last Waltz, their farewell concert.  The guests that came out alone make it a must see.

12. Live at the Apollo - James Brown

As great as James Brown is, he's that much better live and here is the proof.  This is early James Brown, but it's dynamic.  The Famous Flames were his back up band and they are hot.  This is how he earned the nickname, "The Hardest Working Man in Show Business."  It was all about sweat and giving it to the crowd.

11. Abbey Road - The Beatles

Just missing the top 10, don't worry, I think the Beatles will be just fine.  All of the Beatles albums are classics and even though I left out my least favorite ones, they still dominate this list.  There are no bad songs, a couple silly ones and yes, they let Ringo sing, but it all works.  Through the watchful eyes and ears of George Martin, producer extraordinaire.  George Harrison is more prominent as a songwriter on this album.

10. Tommy - The Who 

Pete Townshend is an amazing talent, on par with Brian Wilson.  He would often demo all the songs on a Who album, playing all the instruments and present it to the band.  Unlike Wilson, he would let the boys play their own parts, like only they could.  So, when he wrote a story, it took on a life of its own.  A rock opera.  He tested the waters on their second album, A Quick One.  Writing "A Quick One While He's Away" as a mini-rock opera.  Then Quadrophenia, would come a little later.

9. Let It Bleed - The Rolling Stones

To this point, probably the best album they put out.  Brian Jones was an after thought.  He only appears on two songs and briefly.  Mick Taylor had been added as his replacement and would make a huge impact on the band during his tenure.  Another album with no bad songs.  Jagger/Richards were approaching their golden period as songwriters.  Maturing and developing their craft, equaling, IMO, Lennon/McCartney.

8. Are You Experienced? - Jimi Hendrix Experience

One word can describe this album: WOW.  No one had heard anything like it and really everyone has been playing catch up since.  Power trio, fuzz, feedback, guitar pyrotechnics and Hendrix singing, leading the band and setting the music world on fire, literally.  The more I learn about Hendrix the person, the more I like and understand him.  He was not a favorite for years.  I respected, but didn't like him, but a lot of that has changed after really looking into him.  I've always been a  huge fan of Mitch Mitchell, his drummer.

7. The Beatles (White Album) - The Beatles

I told you they would be fine.  This album is great, but it can be a hard album to listen to.  It's a moody album.  There are happy songs, silly songs, epic songs and sad songs.  I guess you can expect that from a double album with four people jockeying for position and purpose in the band.  Have the Beatles ever really made a bad album?  They may have some questionable songs, but a bad album...I'd say no.

6. Highway 61 Revisited - Bob Dylan

Rolling Stone has this album as the 4th best ever, but it's "only" (oh no) the 6th best of the 60's for me (remember, I'm nobody).  I just feel there are stronger albums ahead of it.  Great songs, unbelievable guest musicians (Al Kooper and Mike Bloomfield) and Dylan's unforgettable voice.  Check it out, it's definitely worth the purchase.

 5. Led Zeppelin II - Led Zeppelin

Maybe it's because I love harder rock, but this album is extremely important.  The bombast, the wailing guitars and soaring vocals.  The hard blues and what could be and has been classified as metal.  They just have this power in their music that takes you away with them.  All of them are quite amazing at their craft, but John Paul Jones is the secret weapon of this band.  He would become infinitely more importantly in the following albums.  He would only play bass and organ on this album, while also singing backing vocals.

4. Blonde On Blonde - Bob Dylan

This is probably my favorite Dylan album, but I'm not the biggest fan of him.  I like and respect him, but don't love him.  It's a double album and I'd say the first important one.  Rick Danko and Robbie Robertson (of the Band) make appearances amongst other great musicians.  I think the songs are stronger on this album.  He also went to Nashville for some sessions, which does have an influence on his sound.

3. Rubber Soul - The Beatles

Just an amazing record.  So many classic songs, but most Beatles songs are classics.  They had begun coming into their own and were more than just a pop group.  This is the second most important Beatles album, IMO.  Only beaten out by the record that is at number 2.  They were becoming more concerned with their sound and production.  Which will lead us into...

2. Revolver - The Beatles

In my opinion, it's their best album.  What started with Rubber Soul, was continued with this album.  Stronger, more diverse songs, with different instrumentation and recording techniques.  There are your classic pop songs, but there are songs on this album that changed the view of what a pop song is.  A truly important piece of acetate.  That was inspired by the album at number 1.  So without further ado...

1. Pet Sounds - The Beach Boys

The production on this album is superb.  You can really hear the depth of Brian Wilson's ideas, the sounds and painstaking effort he put into this record.  It's blood, sweat and tears folks.  He led the recordings from the beginning, using session musicians instead of the band on a lot of songs.  The Beach Boys are really a vocal group, more than they are a band.  Think about it.  They could sing better than any group, including the Beatles.  Their harmonies are second to none.  The music Brian heard in his head, they couldn't play, so he got people that could.  This album is a masterpiece.  Please check it out.

Yes, I know Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band isn't included in the top 30.  I don't hate that album, I like that album, but there are other albums I like more and it misses my Top 30.  I just don't think it's nearly as good as most people do.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Meltdown

It was bound to happen.  I had my first meltdown as a father.  I just lost it last night.  I was over tired, I have recently quit Pepsi, which was my only source for caffeine and Riley was being 4 weeks old.  She didn't want to eat, diaper had been changed, everything I could think of was being done and she still just wailed.  My wife, luckily came to my rescue and let me get to sleep.  Of course, there's more to the story than just this.  I started just going downhill, because of this situation and started the self-loathing thing I can be so good at, sometimes.  I used to be King of Depression. 

I missed Nine By Design, but there was just no possible way for me to get an entry in.  I still have the second part, the Top 15 of the 1960's Albums, I need to get on here sometime soon.  I also need to record my vocal breaks for the next radio show.  For someone that doesn't do anything, I have a lot to do.  How am I supposed to do all of this when my wife goes back to work?  I need to learn how to type faster.  Ugh...

I'll leave you with this...

The fact that: a.) He's singing "The Touch" which is from the Transformers:Animated Movie, b.) John C. Reilly is dancing his ass off and c.) They are telling Nick (played by Michael Penn, real singer/songwriter/Penn brother and married to Aimee Mann) what to brilliant comedy.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Playing Favorites - 1960's - Albums #30 to #16

This is what I've been working on.  Well this and taking care of a newborn child.  Did you know they are a lot of work?  Needy little things...feed me, change my diaper..."dance for me little man."  I feel like Michael Imperioli's character "Spider" in Goodfellas when Joe Pesci is making him dance, by shooting at his feet.  Except I haven't been killed...yet.

I guarantee some of you will be disappointed...I don't care, make your own list.  It's just for fun and these are just favorites mainly.  Deal with it.  This will be a two parter.  These are the Top 30, with numbers 30-16 included in this entry.  Here we go...

30. Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere - Neil Young/Crazy Horse

 The first album Young did with Crazy Horse.  It has the song "Cinnamon Girl," but more importantly it has, "Down By The River."  That song is amazing.  The full rock band changes his sound from what you were previously used to from Young.  Less folk and more rock.  A good place to start for those of you getting into Neil Young.

29. Piper At The Gates Of Dawn - Pink Floyd

The debut album of the psychedelic stalwart Pink Floyd.  So many really great songs on the album.  Purchase the UK version instead of the US, because it's the better one IMO.  There is a difference in songs.  Syd Barrett's crowning achievement and then he would lose it all, sadly and literally, over the next couple of years.  I'm not the biggest Floyd fan, but I do own this album.

28. Beggars Banquet - Rolling Stones

The last Stones album with Brian Jones as a full member.  He was a great talent.  "Jumping Jack Flash" is found on the versions that have bonus tracks, but was never actually on a Rolling Stones studio album, just released as a single.  Then after it's success, included on all of their hits albums, rightfully so.

27. Surrealistic Pillow - Jefferson Airplane

So many great songs.  Of course there is, "White Rabbit" and "Somebody To Love," but I love the instrumental "Embryonic Journey" by Jorma Kaukonen.  One of the classic must own albums and Grace Slick slept with everyone in the band, except Marty Balin.  Well, it's true.

26. Disraeli Gears - Cream

When it come to the big three guitarists from the Yardbirds, Eric Clapton is my least favorite.  Just a personal preference.  He's still great.  Anyone that can play better than me (that's everyone, by the way) is great, IMO.  I just like Beck and Page better.  There are quite a few great songs on this album.  "Strange Brew," "Sunshine of Your Love" and my personal fave, "Tale of Brave Ulysses."  Highly recommended.

25. Green River - Creedence Clearwater Revival

John Fogerty, where to begin with him.  A truly great singer, songwriter and guitarist.  CCR really came up with their own sound, that swamp music, roots rock, bayou blues, whatever you want to call it, it was original.  You would think they were from "down South" or some place like that, but they were a California band.

24. Bookends - Simon & Garfunkel

A marvelous album by the two, well, Paul Simon is the true talent, but Art can sing and clap his hands like a MoFo.  The entire album is great, but the second side is where all the hits are.  Yes, I said second side, as in, vinyl album.

23. Days of Future Passed - Moody Blues

Not "Days of Future Past" the X-Men storyline.  The album that had "Tuesday Afternoon" and "Nights in White Satin."  The first album with Justin Hayward and John Lodge in the band.  Hayward has a really heavenly voice, sings like an angel.  With their sound they would contribute to the start of progressive rock along with...

22. In The Court Of The Crimson King - King Crimson

Let's just say this album isn't for everyone.  Extremely challenging music, as far as playing and listening.  Robert Fripp is right there with the most experimental and influential guitarists ever and has always had a very talented band around him.  Greg Lake (Emerson, Lake & Palmer), Bill Bruford (Yes), Adrian Belew (David Bowie) and Boz Burrell (Bad Company) have all been a part of King Crimson at some point. 

21. Truth - Jeff Beck

The debut of the Jeff Beck Group.  What a group it was, with Jeff on lead guitar, Ron Wood on bass (Faces, Rolling Stones) and Rod Stewart on vocals.  The entire album is fantastic and the chemistry that they had is electric.  Sadly, they would only go on to make one more album after this.  Wood and Stewart would join the Faces and have great success there, before going their own ways.  Beck is still going today, making very challenging, but melodic music.  A true guitar great.

20. Stand! - Sly and The Family Stone

Do you own this album?  Why Not?  A totally integrated and multi-gender rock/funk group in the late 60's, very daring.  Sly Stone was all of that.  His music and words even more so.  They were singing about what was going on in the USA.  They were the "people's" band.  A little controversial and political, but all for the good of his fellow man.  A true socially conscious and musical genius.

19. Kick Out The Jams - MC5

Their music is like lighting a stick of dynamite.  Rob Tyner is screaming at the top of his lungs, with Wayne Kramer and Fred Smith's electric guitars ripping through your ears.  If this music doesn't get you moving than you may have to take your pulse.  Crank it a little louder, it'll jump start your heart.  Totally raw just like where they came from, the Motor City.  They earned those scars.

18. Sweetheart of the Rodeo - The Byrds

Enter Gram Parsons and the Byrds would never be the same.  They would be psychedelic no more.  This is the album that invented alternative country.  Not commercially successful, in fact I believe it's their least successful album ever, but the influence of this album trumps everything.  Gram Parsons and Chris Hillman would leave and form the ill-fated, but much loved (such a good band, at times) Flying Burrito Brothers.  The Byrds never quite recovered.

17. Otis Blue:Otis Sings Soul - Otis Redding

You have the golden voice of Otis Redding backed by the Stax house band, aka Booker T & The MG's and Isaac Hayes.  It doesn't get much better than that musically.  The songs are brilliant, like there was any doubt.  I've only recently (within the past year or two) gotten this album and I don't know why I waited so long.  It's good from top to bottom and there aren't many albums like that.

16. Crosby, Stills & Nash - Crosby, Stills & Nash

Already successful individually in previous bands, they would come together to form the band and at times be joined by Neil Young.  Woodstock was the second time they played in front of people.  The way their voices sound together is really beautiful.  The harmonies are what this group is all about.  One of the best vocal groups ever.

There you have it...#30 to #16 of my favorite albums of the 1960's.  The top 15 will be coming up hopefully sooner, rather than later.  If you don't own any of these albums, I think it should go without saying that they are worth looking into.  Expand your horizons, it'll probably be the best thing you ever did musically or really, in anything else that floats your boat.  Enjoy!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Nine By Design 39

Nine By Design is back, which can only mean one thing, it's Friday.  You've survived another week and the weather is starting to improve.  I mean it is June, it's about time.  The summer is upon us, the kids are getting out of school and family vacations are just around the corner for most of us.  Today's topic is kind of summer related.  Think back to when you were still school age and were in the midst of the long summer days.  What did you do to keep yourself occupied?  I'm sure my readers had at least one, if not more of the following...Toys.


Legos: For boys or girls, just let your creative mind go and you can literally build anything.  The figure in the picture is one of the coolest things I've ever seen made out of Legos.  Someone had a lot of time, thought, talent and patience to do that.  Very well done.

Barbie: Since I do have a daughter now, I'm dreading the day when Ms. Barbie enters my household.  I know girls (and some boys, nothing wrong with that) like to play dolls and dress them up, but I've never been a fan of her.  Her body type is a bad example, IMO, for girls.  Where's Barbie's friend that still looks good, but is more realistic?

Lionel Trains: I never had a train set.  I wasn't really into them.  I think they are pretty cool now, because you can build all sorts of different scenes with them.  Just not something I liked as a kid.  Neil Young (singer/songwriter/legend) was a minority owner of Lionel Trains for a little while...not sure if he still is.

Lincoln Logs: My dad bought me some Lincoln Logs when I was 2 yrs old.  Not so I could play with them, but so he could.  I couldn't get out of my own way (some say I still can't), what was I going to do with this building toy?  I was going to watch my dad build log cabins amongst other things.  I always thought that story was funny.

Atari: I know it's not exactly the first video game system, but it was the one that really took off.  Pretty much everyone has heard of Atari in some form or another.  I had a bunch of games...just hours and hours of fun.  Decathlon, Asteroids, Combat and a list of about 25 others were favorites.  Loved that system.

Nerf: Has taken on many forms over the years.  Sports of every kind were made out of Nerf and then they started making the Nerf guns.  I know guns, you shouldn't promote violence, but kids will always play Cops and Robbers, Cowboys and Indians or these days, Special Ops and Terrorists.  Might as well make the guns safe.  My buddy attacks his kids with Nerf guns when they get home from school everyday.  It's great fun and they love it.  They fight back with their Nerf weapons.  It's a fun way to unwind and do something together.

G.I. Joe: Speaking of weapons and Special Ops, G.I. Joe has been around for something like 60 years.  I had a ton of these figures and played all kinds of things with them.  As long as you have an imagination, you can do anything with action figures.  That also goes for just about anything.  Creativity is a huge gift and it takes many forms.

Scrabble: A game I still play today.  Lots of fun, you learn from it and it's also strategic.  You're trying to get the most points you can by putting down letters and building off of your opponents or your own words.  Very basic concept.  Keep It Simple Stupid, it really works.  This is proof of that phrase.

Wiffle Ball/Bat: I still purchase a ball and bat just about every year before I go to my family camp.  You can play this game just about anywhere, we often play in the lake.  To stay out of the way of people, but to also cool off at the same time.  Just great fun.  Age doesn't matter, if you can swing a bat and throw a little ball, you can play.  I wish I could do this however:

That'll do it for this week.  Cheers, Happy Weekend.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Off The Beaten Path Show #5 - Take 4

I've been informed that all the previous problems have been repaired, solved and fixed.  So, I'm excited again for the first time, to promote and announce the play list again for show #5 of Off The Beaten Path.  Which premieres Wednesday June 15th at 12PM ET.  Then also replays on Thursday June 16th at 4PM ET and Friday June 17th at 8PM ET.  With the off week show for the early birds and listeners in other countries on Saturday June 24th at 8AM.  Please listen at any one of these times, because I'd really like to grow this show, like the blog has grown.  The record for number of page views was broken last month and this month, I'm on pace to smash that record.  I'd love for the radio show to take off like that, but I'm patient.

Off The Beaten Path Show #5

Oh Claire – Cheap Trick
Looking Down The Barrel of a Gun – Beastie Boys
My Heart Will Go On – Los Straitjackets
Sneakin’ Sally Through The Alley – Robert Palmer
Blue – The Jayhawks
Everywhere At Once – Plimsouls
St. Vincent – Joe Fletcher & The Wrong Reasons
I Was Dancing in the Lesbian Bar – Jonathan Richman
Hellodrama – What Made Milwaukee Famous
Positive Bleeding – Urge Overkill
Space Age Love Song – A Flock Of Seagulls
China – Red Rockers
Gotta Gettaway – Stiff Little Fingers
Hot Shot – The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion
Wasted Years – Iron Maiden
I Want You So Hard – Eagles Of Death Metal
Next To You – Police
Flower – Moby
Wave Of Mutilation – The Pixies
Alison’s Starting To Happen – Lemonheads
God Blessed Video – Alcatrazz
Sweet Emotion – Mighty Mighty Bosstones
Stranger Than Fiction – Bad Religion
Antmusic – Adam & The Ants
In The Dark – Billy Squier
Talk To You Later – The Tubes
Around and Around – Chuck Berry
Drive By Shooting – Henrietta Collins and The Wife Beating Child Haters
Got The Time – Anthrax
Beat’s So Lonely – Charlie Sexton
Gloria – Patti Smith

Please listen and hopefully enjoy.  If you have any requests, I'll do my best to play them on the next show.  Just leave them in the comment section.

Monday, June 13, 2011

What's Up Doc?

Let's see...My lack of sleep has led to some inspiration for the blog.  I'm working on some projects for the blog here.  I'll be doing a top (so many, haven't decided a number yet) favorite albums for each decade starting with the 60's and finishing with the 00's.  I'm thinking 40 is a good number.  Kinda like the old Top 40 countdown with Casey Kasem.  These will be according to there will be no rhyme or reason why some of the albums I have picked are here, other than I like the album.  Also, the counterbalance to that would be, I may not include some albums that "I'm supposed to have" on the list.  Which I despise when I read lists of albums.  They are always the same.  So, I'm just trying to do something a little different.  Just personal preferences.

Off The Beaten Path #5 should (barring some more problems, technical or weather related) run at it's usual time on Wednesday June 15th at 12PM ET.  I've already started working on show #6. 

There will be plenty more, Life of Riley entries, but she's 17 days old.  She doesn't do a whole lot yet.  Right now, I'm going to try to get back to bed, while she's sleeping.  Have a good one!