Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Holiday Favorites!

Well, it’s a little late. I was hoping to have this one up a bit before the holidays, but I ended up off line for a couple of weeks. But there are still probably still a few glasses of eggnog to drink before the holiday season officially winds down for another year.

In no particular order, here are a few of my favorite seasonal tunes. Forthcoming, my thoughts on Bon Jovi’s latest recording, The Circle.

Do they know it’s Christmas? Band Aid

I remember when it came out and now it’s a classic. Sure sign of aging. Some Christmas songs I am not sure if I like anymore or if they are just fond childhood memories. This one I am sure that I do still like. Barenaked Ladies also do a good version of this on their Christmas album. Speaking of Barenaked Ladies…

Jingle Bells, Barenaked Ladies

Probably the only version of Jingle Bells I like is by the Barenaked Ladies. As can be expected from this band, it is in good humor. It starts off very soft, slow and sultry on the piano and then moves in to very boppy and humorous number. It’s a hard one to resist. My kids also love it.

I Saw Three Ships, Bruce Cockburn

Canadian singer/songwriter Bruce Cockburn has a great Christmas album containing this number. The entire disc does not play like a traditional sounding Christmas recording. It is more of a rootsy/folk recording. It makes for a nice quiet holiday night at home just relaxing under the Christmas lights.

Carol of the Bells, Trans Siberian Orchestra

From one extreme to the other the Trans Siberian Orchestra gives us hard rock sounds of traditional favorites. To my taste, Carol of the Bells never sounded so good. I like this whole album.

I Believe in Father Christmas, Emerson Lake and Palmer

This is one I remember hearing on the radio during December month every year tracing back for some time. I always loved this song and never knew who sang it and could never locate it. Finally along came the Internet and through the magic of Google I typed in a few lyrics and the mystery was solved. The best way I can describe it is a kind of haunting Christmas tune.

Something About Christmas Time, Bryan Adams

This is another one that goes back a ways for me. It’s slow, it’s cheesy – but aren’t the holidays suppose to be.

Father Christmas, The Kinks

This is a nice little funny but serious rock and roll tune. The chorus “Father Christmas, give us some money, we don’t want your silly toys, we’ll beat you up if you don’t hand it over..… all your toys, for the little rich boys”. The song sounds humorous when you hear it, but they are no doubt trying to tell us something too!

Happy New Year everyone!!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Happy Holidays!

Hey everyone,

Just another quick note - I have been offline for a couple of weeks. The power supply on my fairly new laptop needs replacing and I am waiting for a new one to arrive in the mail. I am just doing a quick post from a relative's house. I have a couple new posts ready to roll as soon as I am up and running again at my own house.

I have some time off over the holidays and it some ways it's actually nice not to have a working computer in my house. But I'll be good and ready to hook up again and browse my usual sites and blogs as soon as I am able.

In the meantime, if you celebrate the holidays I hope you are enjoying it to the fullest!! If you do not, I hope, as usual, life is treating you good.


Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas is coming....

Hey everyone,

With the holidays fast approaching everything is busy busy busy. I bought the newest Bon Jovi CD, The Circle, shortly after it came out and I haven’t even took it out of the wrapper yet. I will be posting a review as soon as I do get the chance to give a listen or two all the way through.

I did get all my holiday shopping completed (just about) and decided that I owed myself a treat and purchased myself a new acoustic Seagull guitar. If there are any guitar experts out there feel free to let me know how they are. (no negative comment please because I have already made the investment – haha). I haven’t been finding the time to play and I plan on trying to change that so I made the purchase. I am far from a great player, but enjoy the quiet contentment I get from playing the guitar with myself or others.

In addition to my forthcoming thoughts on the new Bon Jovi disc I am attempting to put together a list of favorite rock and roll holiday songs. Hopefully, it will appear sometime over the weekend.

I decided to end today with something with a bit of holiday spirit. Here is one of my favorites, Def Leppard guitarist Vivian Campbell, playing the holiday selection Merry Christmas Everyone. He’s a decent singer too. Enjoy!! Back soon!!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Stub Hub?

This is not really a posting so much as it is a question. Have any of you out there ever used Stub Hub for concert tickets? I only started checking out this site recently and there are some good seats being sold for upcoming summer concerts that are for the most part sold out.

It's brand new to me, but from all the research I have done seems like it's all ok. But thought I would throw it out there to see if anyone had any experience using this service.

Thanks in advance to anyone for sharing!! Hope you are all enjoying the weekend!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Trans Siberian Orchestra and some other thoughts

I’ll start with my usual preamble about taking too long to update my blog and now get right into a few thoughts for today.

Have you ever listened to the Trans Siberian orchestra? Big Orchestra sounds combined with hard crunching rock and roll. They have recorded concepts from Christmas music to the Last Night of Beethoven. I have had this kicking around for a while and have only listened to it on occasion, but not long enough to comment on it. It was always something I was curious about listening to from start to finish.

After finally giving their music some time the last few weeks I was prompted to look up footage from some of their live shows. It is cheesy and over the top? Maybe. But isn’t that the point? I like the sounds here for the same reasons why I loved the hair bands of the eighties and why I loved the big theatrics and sounds of metal gods Iron Maiden.

When played lived this style of music contains all the props that it should including extensive lights and pyrotechnics. Their tours are often played in some larger arenas with a not too expensive ticket price. I would think it makes for a fun night out!

Speaking of tours U2 just announced a date in the wonderful city of Montreal this summer. I am in the process seeing if this can work into my summer travel plans. I am yet to see U2, but would love to get the opportunity. My only dilemma is I am not sure if I can get all the details worked out to get away before the concert likely sells out.

Also, Bon Jovi continues an extensive tour. My wife have never been to see Bon Jovi, one of her all time favorites, but I have. I would love for both of us to go but looks like all the dates that we might travel to have already had most good seating sold.

I hope to be back before the end of November. Christmas is only a little over a month away, so here is a live clip of the Trans Siberian Orchestra performing the Carol of the Bells.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Random Thoughts, Halloween and Michael Jackson

Well it’s been such a busy couple of weeks I haven’t been able to pay attention to my blog. So I thought I would take just a few minutes and sit down in front of the computer and jot down some random lines to let everyone know I am still here. My kids had birthdays last weekend. I remember having a birthday party as a kid, but for some reason this seemed like it was a full weekend event for my two. This weekend they are both excited about Halloween, and wouldn’t you know they are sick. Such is life, rotten timing.

Speaking of Halloween, in one of my high school English classes on Friday I broke out Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven and tried a dramatic reading followed by a showing of the now classic Simpson’s version narrated by James Earl Jones. From there we started talking about people’s fascination with this time of year and the genre of horror. Somehow Michael Jackson crept into the conversation and I couldn’t resist playing the Thriller video for a Halloween treat.

I haven’t spoke about the King of Pop on this blog, so now is as good a time as any. Back in the 80’s I loved the hair bands, the hard rock and the heavy metal. But I was a secret Michael Jackson fan. I just found the sounds of the Thriller record so infectious and impossible to resist. After spinning such bands as Quiet Riot and Def Leppard, I would spend a little time with the now pop classic sounds of Jackson. I had Jackson’s album Bad too and liked It just as much.

Friday’s viewing of Thriller was the first time I sat and watched a Michael Jackson video in a long time. He was unquestionably talented. Later that evening at home I ended up on YouTube watching other videos by the late superstar. Most of the songs and videos hold up to this day and are arguably far better than most current pop artists could ever hope to produce.

I’ll choose not to comment on the controversy that surrounded his life. Whatever he was, or whatever he wasn’t, Michael Jackson the entertainer managed to get this rock and roller enjoying pop music for a while. No other pop artist has ever done that since.

Have a Happy Halloween everyone!!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Blast from the Past Time

Anyone remember this one? The band…Grim Reaper. The song…Rock You to Hell. My friend had this cassette and for a while we played this song over and over again. And that was my own history with the band. It started and ended in the year 1987. One song. One video. One year. 1987.

However, earlier this week I found myself humming this tune. I have no idea why other than it was buried somewhere deep inside my subconscious and it decided to make a sudden plunge forward into the land of the living. My brain tells me to hum it and later that evening I was in front of Youtube listening to the song and watching the video. Then my own natural curiosity forced me to fire up Google to discover more about the band named after the Angel of Death.

I now know more about them than I ever did. They actually formed in the late 70’s/early 80’s and began recording. They released three albums, and their third and final recording, Rock You to Hell, contains the title track that has submersed out of nowhere in my head. In more recent years the band has got back together and has played some live shows.

So there you have it, a very brief history of a band from a very casual fan who knows very little about them. I’d be curious to hear from anymore who remembers them or knows more about them then I do! Have a good one!!