Month: January 2014

It was lost… but now it’s found!

Perhaps each of us has had some song in our lifetime that has seemed to have moved us in some magical or emotional way during our teenage years that entrenched itself into our minds and remains a very special memory over our lifetime. There were five songs in particular that I have carried with me from those early years, age six to sixteen. Four of those songs would present themselves to me via the old acetate 78-rpm records while the last of the five would be like a morning mist riding a radio wave. Of the five the last one, the one heard only on the radio, would be the one that would end up haunting me for most of my life until last year when fate would at last relinquish its cruel hold on the whereabouts of that long lost musical treasure.

Over the years I was able to secure digital recordings of those first four songs mentioned, all of which had been recorded in the 1940’s but the illusive one was tied unmistakably to the 1950’s. The only remnants left of the song were in my mind and consisted solely of a few words of the lyrics and a haunting melody but alas, no title; no artist!

I first heard the song on the radio in 1957. I was sixteen at the time and a new genre of music was trying to get its feet off the ground. We now know it as “rock & roll” these days. One afternoon after school when I got home and got the radio turned on, the local DJ played a song that literally seem to sweep me off my feet. It was a ballad with an amazing chord sequence with a perceived haunting and unique sound. Nothing like I have ever heard before in my short lifetime. In the days and weeks that immediately followed that first encounter with the song I was to only hear it by chance a couple of more times and then, just as fast as it had appeared; it was just as fast to disappear. But unknown to me at that moment was the fact that it would never be forgotten in the many years that were to follow.

During my early twenties the song would cross my mind from time to time although by then I was beginning to certainly realize that not knowing the title of the song and even more serious, clueless as to whom the artist had been was pretty much the last nail in the coffin for any hope ever finding the song. I distinctly remember it being sung by a female and eventually concluded that it must have been some female vocal group. And in addition, even though I had only heard it those few times I had managed to remember what I “thought” was the first two lines of the song’s lyrics.

It’s easy to remember the first kiss that you gave me, A kiss explaining plainly why I love you.

Since not knowing the title was adding to my mental predicament, I had to assume that it most probably would have been titled “The First Kiss” since, based on those first two lines I thought I remembered, that seem to the primary theme of the song.

In the early sixties strong memories of the song again surfaced when Phil Spector’s “wall of sound” recording technique came into use and was first heard on records he produced from girl’s groups such as the Ronettes and The Crystals. There was just something about the sound of some of those group’s recordings that was very reminiscent of the song I had rolling around in my head.

In the mid-sixties I had become a part-time musician playing keyboards in a small rock group and I was somewhat amazed, thanks to the ability to play be ear, at the fact that I could still remember what I thought was the melody of my illusive song, although I admittedly drew a complete musical blank when it came to the melody for the bridge of the song. Amazingly enough so I thought, without ever hearing the song any more than two or three times I could still recall and play the melody used on the opening verse and could still remember the first two lines of the opening verse. Having already been some ten years since first hearing the song, it would be another thirty years before new chances to perhaps find the song emerged.

All remained lost along with any hope of ever knowing what the song may have been. Then in the early 90’s with the introduction of the Internet to the general public and shortly thereafter the ‘search engine’ phenomenon, there was once again hope that I might at last find what had continued to elude me. But even with the advent of the Internet, still nothing. But over the next few years information would continue to fill Cyberspace until on one chilly morning with my cup of coffee as my die-hard companion, something magical happened.

It was February 19th of last year and I had been doing a number of queries regarding the song on YouTube when an entry came up titled “The First Kiss” and performed by the Norman Petty Trio. Now I knew all too well who Norman Petty was but there’s no way he could have had anything to do with the song I had rolling around in my head. Just as Sam Phillips was known for his small recording studio in Memphis, Tennessee along with his relationship with Elvis, so it was with Norman Petty and his small recording studio in Clovis, New Mexico which is well known for being forever tied to Buddy Holly.

The-Norman-Petty-Trio-01(Left to Right –  Norman Petty / Vi Petty / Jack Vaughn)

It only took less than two seconds after I hit that play button on that YouTube video that I knew the search had finally come to an end. As the saying goes, it was like coming home again! It had been lost, but now it is found.

(The First Kiss)

As I listen to the song now I understand, to a degree, the sounds I was hearing in my head. In particular the “wall of sound” technique that seemed so pronounced in my memory. As it turns out, it is simply an organ seemingly being played with a lot of echo applied which actually gives one a sense that it is a chorus of female singers in the background, again very reminiscent of the “wall of sound” technique.

As to why the song had been so illusive over the years, well the song had indeed hit the Pop Charts in 1957 but only peaking in August of that year at #81. The ramifications of that poor showing on the charts would obviously have dramatic influence on the songs radio play obviously contributed to its almost immediate demise.

I certainly don’t expect anyone reading this account to be bowled over by the song by any stretch or wowed as I was. And although it is unmistakably the same song as I fell in love with at age sixteen, that moment and what I was hearing in my soul could never be duplicated in the context of this personal recollection of my quest.

Being the music lover that I am, to a great degree it pained me that I was going to have to head off to Cemeteryville not ever knowing the name of or at best, ever hearing the song even one more time that had haunted me for most of my lifetime. But now I can take up residence there, at complete peace musically speaking, knowing I left no song behind.

FYI – Comment Moderation Changes….

Computer - 019

Thought I would give just a little heads-up about a minor change in my blog’s settings and to its functionality. I have ‘activated’ my blog’s “moderation” setting which means I will be notified via email when a comment is posted to the blog and it will require my approval before it is actually posted. The primary purpose of this is to eliminate spam and advertisers from cluttering my comments section with their unsolicited advertising.

In addition and to supplement this action, when leaving a comment you will now be “required” to leave an email address. The sole purpose of this request is so that when comments are posted to the blog I can be notified via email that a “comment” has been posted and allow me to approve the content, after which the comment will automatically post to the subject post for which it is intended. An email address is never published and always remains private.

Old Rugged Cross….

Perhaps almost impossible to imagine in these days and times, religious songs in days long gone by would from time to time make it into what we refer to these days as the “Pop Charts” which did exist in those days, just perhaps in a somewhat different format along with a much different way of tabulation.

And one of the songs in particular making its way onto those charts which may surprise some was the classic gospel song, “Old Rugged Cross”, which entered the “Pop Charts” of those days in March of 1921 and was to peak at Number 5 during its tenure on the charts. The song was released on Victor Records and was sung by Homer Rodeheaver and Virginia Asher.

It became over the years one of the ‘standards’ in the gospel genre and still maintains its popularity today with many, including myself. One of the songs I recorded in the early 1990s on ‘trac’ tapes was the “Old Rugged Cross” and I have included it in my post today….

(“Old Rugged Cross” – featuring Alan Ginocchio)

Fresh Shrimp

I suppose you could call it a ‘sin of indulgence’ but boy I surely would have to confess that I did indeed indulge myself last night at dinner time!

It was a simple dinner with regards to preparation. There was one big handful of Tostitos, a finely salt & peppered boiled egg and the main entry consisting of a very large platter of some forty (yes, that’s with a ‘4’ and a ‘0’) chilled and delectable cocktail shrimp.

The shame of it all… 😀

It’s National Squirrel Appreciation Day….

As January 21st rolls around yet another annual “Squirrel Appreciation Day” makes its way onto the 2014 calendar. Each year with the occurrence of this event I am reminded of a somewhat tragic, if not rather expensive incident that occurred all the way back in the spring of 2006 involving today’s honored guest and one who could be considered perhaps my greatest nemesis. Lovingly referred to around my domicile as a “tree rat”, the correctness of such a title can easily be confirmed by referring to the Urban Dictionary website if you feel the term tree rat is little more than a slanderous name coined by some bitter old man who yells at children who dare to come into his yard. And let me also include a proper photograph to insure there is not mistaken identity regarding this critter.

Local-Tree-Rat

But now to my recollection of the events that would forever taint an otherwise nice day back in 2006. As man travels through this life he encounters many life experiences. Even at my age the fog of ignorance, which sometimes obscures our walk down the path of life in our early years, may unexpectedly appear in our later years if only for a brief but fleeting moment.

Many of my friends and family members know that I have always found myself at odds with the infamous tree rat when often I could be heard loudly uttering my festering disdain at a fleeting bushy tail. But even though I seemed mired in such perceived hatred, the worse would not be realized until that fatalistic day in 2006.

While looking out my front living room window I noticed one of the critters digging hole after hole in my front yard burying acorns it would appear. Never have figured this one out but I guess it all goes along with God’s sense of humor. God gave them the sense to bury food for later consumption when times were hard but it is a proven fact that after about twenty minutes a tree rat (squirrel if you must) has not a clue what he did twenty minutes prior or where he did it!

Anyway, after spotting the little critter tilling up my yard I thought to myself, “Well those are some acorns that little sh** head won’t be digging up in this lifetime.” I immediately headed to the closet and got the old reliable BB gun. After pumping the BB gun up about 10 times (I’m serious about this tree rat crap), and after very slowly raising the window blinds so as not to startle the critter, I slowly drew a bead on the unwary creature. And when not even God could save it due to my well honed deadly aim, I fired what was to be the fatal BB which carried with it the scent of death that would send the subject tree rat to its proper demise.

Now… understanding the fact that I am actually a pretty fair marksman, that fact would normally dictate that this is where the story would end. Right? Well, bear with me just a bit longer.

Alas! After the BB of death had traveled only a few inches or so I became acutely aware of an unseen obstacle which had not displayed its normal characteristics known as the “reflectional phenomenon” which is what allows one to normally see glass. If you have very expensive, extremely clean energy efficient, double-pane, argon gas-filled windows, a BB traveling at about 580 fps and hitting this type “unopened” window at about a sixty degree angle will break at least one of the panes, spewing argon gas into the surrounding atmosphere. Case and point:

DSCF0020b

This incident is tragic in the sense of course that the photo immediately above should have been of a dead bushy tailed tree rat and not some innocent inanimate object such as the unsuspecting, very expensive, energy efficient, double-pane, argon gas-filled living room window. I do, however, plan on contacting the window manufacturer to discuss the poor reflective qualities of their windows. And as is always the case in situations such as this, there are probably some of you who may actually think God had a hand in this. Well, think what you may, there are others of us who know what really happened. I have to say that I am truly thankful ‘Red’ Forman wasn’t over at the house visiting at the time because I am sure he would have had a couple of appropriate words to toss in my direction such as the infamous “dumb ass”.

I can only sit here and hope that this day ends quickly and these tormenting memories flee quickly, freeing me from this yearly torment! 😀

Attention Please…. This is a medical alert!

Medical Alert Clip Art

This alert is being issued to inform any concerned family members and/or friends that the time may be drawing near for serious consideration of my immediate internment into either an assisted living facility or nursing home.

I just spent the last 15 minutes looking through all my closets, the dirty clothes basket and checking the washer and dryer in an effort to find my burgundy corduroy shirt. The good news is that I finally found it. The bad news however and the reason I am issuing this medical alert has to do with where I found it.

I was wearing it! 😀

Some Final Thoughts… A blog reincarnated!

Some Final Thoughts - Screen Capture

My blogging history is a best, not one to be proud of and quite painful to relate. It all started in 2005 with a blog called “The Electric Key Orchestra” which was to revolve around my music and synthesizer activities. Within a matter of weeks I had concluded that blogging did not lend itself to music and/or music topics so I proceeded to create what one could refer to as your typical ‘personal blog’. The name I chose for that one, although questionable from the start, was “Retirement Is A Bitch” followed by a small sub-title, “….then you die!” Within a very few months I would realize that because I had used the word ‘bitch’ in the title, there were a lot of places where it was being blocked since search engines and certain websites could not readily tell in what context the word was being used. So… here I was not even having blogged a year yet again having to consider a blog change. And that brings us to the term “reincarnated” quoted in the title of this particular post.

This blog is actually a reincarnation of my third blog of the same name which is featured in the graphic above. I won’t bore you with more of my personal blogging history as to how even that blog was to meet its demise and suffer yet another name change, and another, and perhaps one or two more. But in spite of all that sorted history, I seem to have come full-circle and settled into a new blog with an old familiar name. But in a very personal way it does seem fitting for someone of my years and besides – I like it! 😀

Recorded in the fall of 1994, this would be the last song I ever recorded, vocally speaking, due to the deterioration and subsequent loss of my voice. And although it was sung in the upper range of my voice where I seldom spent any quality time, it remains one of my favorites of what few songs I did record.

“When He Was On the Cross (I was on His mind)” – Alan Ginocchio

Calling the Hogs – A Family Tradition….

I spent several hours over a two-day period trying to resolve issues on this new blog with regard to posting videos. Feel fairly comfortable now that the issue has been resolved but have decided in remembrance of that challenge to just leave what I was referring to as a test video installed on this post.

With a little luck hopefully the next videos I choose to post will be less stressful in their installation process. And a big shout-out to Tarzan for all his help also! 😀

The 2014 Golden Globe Awards….

Golden Globes

Watching an awards show from beginning to end is hardly ever my ‘cup-of-tea’ but last night I emerged myself into a known misery and watched the Golden Globe telecast. Now it goes without saying in my world that just given the fact that I watched all three hours does indeed give some credence to a minute measure of entertainment value that I was able to extract from the telecast – but there were those memorable disappointing occurrences.

The worse part of the show had to be Jacqueline Bisset’s acceptance speech – or should I say the lack of actually speaking at all but rather just standing there in front of the microphone apparently having fallen into some sort of trance where she found herself on aisle 3 in some distant supermarket trying to remember which aisle the dish detergent was located on. And the lovely Jennifer Lawrence, a young lady whom I admittedly have a bit of a crush on, was a bit disappointing also. Her giggly, little girl approach is starting to wear a little thin with me. I love her bubbly personality but I’m starting to sense a bit of overdo and over play on her part – much like the standard Taylor Swift act who has worn her little ‘Miss Innocence” performance thin with me also.

And speaking of Taylor Swift, her MTV adversary Kanye West made his appearance on stage as a presenter and as usual made a complete ‘ass’ out of himself in an effort to upstage not only his other two co-presenters but also the recipient of the award. At least one can’t complain that he doesn’t stay true to form!