Sunday, July 15, 2012

What's on my iPod - "Don't Stop Me Now" by Toto

Number seven of my ten favorite Toto songs is the instrumental "Don't Stop Me Now"

Lyrics - 

Off the "Fahrenheit" album from 1986 is this gem of a track.  Miles Davis lends his legendary trumpet skill to the track.  Miles Davis!  When I saw his name on the liner notes, I thought it was some gag, or maybe some studio sampling thing.  But, it was no joke, the man was present & gettin' it done.

Lukather and Paich are credited as co-writers.  A mellow groove guitar lick leads off, followed by piano and a light jazzy touch on drums.  Then, Davis rolls in.  He really "takes his time", his notes floating in and out of the arrangement.  After verses and chorus, Davis takes the outro solo, with a little "scat"-style free form piece.  It was a neat close to a brilliant track.

This track sets a great mood - it evokes images of "after six", formal nights out, great company and great times.  It's classy and not rushed at all.  Fans of Davis' work would not consider this out of place in his catalog.  It was a great collaboration.  

The band's history of extensive studio work and resultant work relationships made team-ups like this possible.  It's a big part of why I am such a big fan.  You can't predict what any given Toto album is gonna sound like. Their work isn't stale or pre-conceived.

Next time, number 6 - "These Chains"

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Happy Bastille Day

...and it's my birthday, as well.

Admittedly, I'm not the strongest Francophile.  I've flown over France a few times, and have watched "The Three Musketeers".  I've read a bit on the overthrowing of the Bastille and the resultant changes in French governance and society.  Now that I'm retired, I have time to perhaps dig in more into French language, culture, etc.

Mostly, 14 July is a chance for me to eat pie and ice cream with no guilt.  Now that I'm solidly in middle-age, I can't consume the cake and other fun stuff as much as I like.  Today, I can.

Having said that, for the folks in France and other areas celebrating today, Vive le France!  Vive le Republique!

What's on my iPod - "Bottom of Your Soul" by Toto

As my list of favorite Toto songs marches on, number eight is "Bottom of Your Soul".

Lyrics -

This song is from the 2006 release "Falling In Between".  This is the most recent studio release by the band (as of this posting).  While this album didn't get across-the-board supportive reviews, there are interesting ideas all over the ten songs.

David Paich is credited as this song's writer, with Steve Lukather and Joseph Williams sharing lead vocal duties. The lyrics are a call to the listener to raise awareness to the troubles and suffering around the world.  

Percussion starts this one, with longtime Toto ally Lenny Castro making a great contribution. Greg Phillinganes, who had been playing with the band for a while before this release, fits seamlessly with expert piano and smooth backing vocals.  Bassist Mike Porcaro shows his usual deft touch teaming with drummer Simon Phillips nailing the rhythm section.  Also, listen for backing vocals from Chicago bassist Jason Scheff.  

This track got a bit of attention when the album was released, but not enough to chart. The folks at gave the track a highly favorable review, and strongly supported the album overall.  

This album was a great summation of all the skills and techniques the band has learned over decades of playing and composing.  This may very well be the band's last studio album - if so, it's a superb closing statement. This song is a high point of the album.

Next time, number 7 - "Don't Stop Me Now"

Thursday, July 12, 2012

My novel - second update

I've incorporated red pen-and-ink changes.  Three friends graciously offered to "peer review" it.  I eagerly await their candid inputs.

Goal is to self-publish late summer/early fall.  We'll see...

Old Dude, Old Movies - "Stormy Weather"

This 1943 release starred Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, Lena Horne and Dooley Wilson, along with a host of top African-American entertainers from that era.

This is an amazing presentation of talent.  Given the social mores of the time, too many people missed out on a treasure.

Like most musicals of that time, the plot was just a vehicle to get the stars on screen, doing what they do best.  Mae E. Johnson, singing "I Lost My Sugar in Salt Lake City".  The Nicholas Brothers, dancing up a storm.  Horne, singing the title number, a tune that would become her signature song.  Fats Waller and Cab Calloway make solid contributions as well.

This movie is one of the best musicals ever made.  I'd strongly recommend it to anyone.  Seek it out; it's worth it.

What's on my iPod - "Goodbye, Elenore" by Toto

In my ongoing listing of my ten favorite Toto songs, "Goodbye, Elenore" is number nine.

Lyrics -

This song is from the 1981 release "Turn Back", the third studio album from the group.  After "Hydra" (where you can find the single "99"), the band went in a different musical direction.  "Turn Back" was an attempt to do more arena rock-ish songs.  It was considered a commercial failure, but according to Wikipedia it sold 900K units.

David Paich is credited as writer, with Bobby Kimball handling lead vocal duties.  It starts with a drum roll, followed by a heavy guitar riff.  First verse has a guy trying to impress a girl he desires, while backing vocals echo her negative response.  Steve Lukather throws in a sung line of warning, then Kimball finishes the verse and heads off for the chorus.

Chorus is the admission that she doesn't feel the same way as the guy does.  She has broken his heart "for the last time", he declares.

Second verse is constructed similarly, but viewpoint now is our hero trying to convince his buddies of her worth, while the backing vocals' response is one of their collective disagreement.

The original lineup was present for this album, with David Hungate on bass.  Hungate's bass work was stylistically different from successor Mike Porcaro, but enjoyable nonetheless.  Hungate's rich, round tone fit well with this song.

Great drum fills from Jeff Porcaro, "dive bomber" runs by Lukather on guitar, intricate synths and keyboards by Paich and Steve Porcaro.  This song is a real roller-coaster ride of a tune.  Always brings a smile to my face whenever I play it.

Next time, number 8 - "Bottom of Your Soul"

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Old Dude, Old Movies - "The Petrified Forest"

This 1936 release starred Leslie Howard, Bette Davis and Humphrey Bogart. - this entry notes a couple of things that jumped out at me, noted by a  reviewer identified as "gmatcallahan"

First, the reviewer noted how the two African-American characters provided a great contrast on how black men were portrayed in movies at that time.  One was shown in a stereotypical subservient role, while the other was a wise-cracking equal with his peers.

The second thing the reviewer posted was the "colorful witticisms and engaging banter" throughout the picture.  I really like the script.

After many small roles, mostly as gangsters or swells, Bogart finally got a role he could sink his teeth into.  His Duke Mantee was a rough customer who knew he was doomed, but he had a romanticism under the cold surface.

I loved this movie, and would strongly recommend it.  It's on TCM now (as of 6pm MDT).

Thursday, July 5, 2012

FOSTER, playing Friday night in Colorado Springs

Foster is an up-and-coming local band, playing an infectious brand of alt-rock.  Their next gig is Friday, 6 July. - then click on "Calendar".  They're doing shows in support of their new EP, "Emerald Lights, Fast Cars".

News about the band can be found here:

Disclosure:  my son is the drummer.

Heroes just passing through

Yesterday, I visited with some friends for a little 4th of July cookout.  Just before sundown, I got a chance to see something neat.

My friends live along the route firefighters used as they headed out to fight the remnants of the Waldo Canyon fire.  Numerous residents along the route held up posters with encouraging messages.  Others applauded, waved and offered "thank yous".

The folks in the firefighting vehicles and staff trucks appreciated the attention and heartfelt encouragement.  Virtually all of them waved back, and some passed on a few words about their progress fighting the fire.

To see people sacrifice & put themselves at risk for their fellow man is encouraging.  Maybe there is hope for the future of mankind, after all.

What's on my iPod - "Right Part of Me" by Toto

Those who know me well know I am a huge Toto fan.  I've always enjoyed their musicianship and versatility.  Over the years, I've collected most of their releases.  I'll indulge in this space, listing my ten favorite releases by this exceptional band.  First up is number ten on my personal list.

Lyrics -

This song was a part of the "Toto XX" release, celebrating the band's 20th anniversary.  That disc was a compilation release of rarities, studio tracks, etc.  I found out about it in early '99, and ordered it off

The song was originally recorded in '84, but not released on any of their previous albums.  David Paich and Bobby Kimball are credited as co-songwriters, with Kimball singing the lead vocal.  Lush strings, piano in the forefront, sweet but short guitar solo, Jeff Porcaro on drums (R.I.P.).  It's a nicely done love song.  Don't know if it would have ever garnered radio airplay, but it's the type of song people would like if they heard it.

Next time, number 9 - "Goodbye, Elenore".

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Old Dude, Old Movies - "The Two Mrs. Carrolls"

First, a few things about me:

One, I'm retired.  Yep, done with work, thank God.  Two, I'm divorced.  Three, I am a bit of an insomniac.  

Since I have lots of free time & I don't sleep through every night, I find myself awake at weird hours. So, I dial up different movies and other shows previously recorded.

In this installment of O.D.O.M., is a movie I saw recently, "The Two Mrs. Carrolls" (1947), starring Humphrey Bogart and Barbara Stanwyck.


Overall, I liked the movie.  I am a huge Bogart fan, and post-Casablanca he delved into a wider variety of lead roles.  Here, he plays a villain, a bit driven and closed-off, possibly psychotic. Stanwyck was a versatile, highly capable lead actress.  In this movie, her character was more vulnerable than some of her more familiar roles.

A revelation was the young Ann Carter, as Bogart's daughter from his previous marriage.  She was very comfortable in front of the camera, and almost too self-possessed for one so young.

Alexis Smith, as Bogart's latest love interest, was luminous.  In her scenes with Bogart, she held her own quite nicely.  I enjoy her work, in this and other movies like "Hollywood Canteen" (where she had a cameo as herself).

One thing that struck me was how Bogart played the villain role.  While wooing Stanwyck's character in the beginning of the movie, he seemed more well-rounded, more human.  There was a connection between the two characters that seemed real.  As he proceeded, he seemed more one-dimensional.  In subsequent scenes, we get little explanation as to why his personality changed for the worse.  

As a non-critic movie buff, there are other roles of his I enjoyed more.  I would watch this movie again, though.

Happy Independence Day

Have a great one, and be careful out there.