Friday, 9 May 2014

07:45 – Colin passed his annual checkup with flying colors. He now weighs 68 pounds (31 kilos), down from 82 pounds (37 kilos) a year ago, when our vet said he was a porker. She said he’s now at the perfect weight. Barbara took Colin by herself, and said he was perfectly behaved in the car. She’s back at work today for a very short workweek before the weekend.

We’ve finished watching The Shield, so we were looking around yesterday for something else to add to our rotation. We decided to give another teen drama a try, this one from 16 years ago. It’s called Dawson’s Creek, and it stars Katie Holmes in her first big role, at age 19.

Last night, I thought about another one-hit wonder from the early 70’s. The group was Gunhill Road and the track was Back When My Hair Was Short. So I headed over to YouTube, searched for the title, and played the first link that came up. It wasn’t at all as I remembered it.

As it turned out, that was the 1973 version, intended for radio play. So I clicked on another link, the one for the original 1972 album version. That’s the one I remembered.

Of course, there are many rock tracks that exist in censored versions with a few words altered for radio play, but this was the first time I’d encountered a censored version that had completely different lyrics. Same group, same track title, same melody, but the lyrics weren’t even close to the original. The original was all about drugs. I’m not sure what the censored version was supposed to be about.

24 thoughts on “Friday, 9 May 2014”

  1. Never hoid of those guys. But I probably heard them on the radio or sumthin back then.

    “On October 24, 2011, the Wounded Bird label reissued the 1973 version of the “Gunhill Road” album on CD with five bonus tracks: The non-LP tracks “Ford Desoto Cadillac” and “We Can’t Ride The Roller Coaster Anymore,” and the original 1972 versions of “Sailing,” “42nd Street” and “Back When My Hair Was Short.”

    I bet Chuck has the full scoop.

    Well, the flood warning has been taken off the local Accuweather page as we’ve now had a couple of days without any rain at all. Until today and tomorrow, when we’re back to showers, I guess.

    Mrs. OFD out riding today on the Georgia O’Keefe trail or sumthin down there in northern New Mexico; I’m on the usual chores, errands, and may attempt to install a new dual-channel router here if I feel lucky.

  2. may attempt to install a new dual-channel router here if I feel lucky

    Did that several months ago. Bought a Netgear Nighthawk. Now have wireless outside by the pool and a strong signal everywhere in the house. It also helps that mine is the only wireless signal that is around my house. Only one neighbor is close enough and they don’t have internet.

  3. We would love to have a flood warning here in the Land of Sugar. We got maybe 0.1 inch of rain yesterday and none so far today. We normally get four to five inches of rain a month and we have gotten seven inches of rain this year so far.

  4. That sucks, Lynn; if I could, I’d send you a few billion gallons from up here. Ditto to Kalifornia, I hear.

    Mrs. OFD sent me a few pics last night from Nuevo Mexico; I guess they have little warning signs posted here and there with pictures of diamondback rattlers on them, so watch yer step, haha. I’ll pass; our most dangerous critter is probably a grown bull moose in rutting season, who perhaps wanders into town, like one did earlier this week in downtown Burlington. And the occasional black bear rummaging around on yer back porch. And out in the fields probably a good ideer to keep an eye out for the Coywolf nowadays….

  5. We have big Eastern Diamondbacks in North Carolina, but I’ve never seen one in the wild. They’re pretty good at avoiding people. We also have water moccasins, which are vicious. Far from avoiding people, they’ll actually confront people. I’ve seen one or two of them.

    By far the most common poisonous snake, at least around here, is the copperhead. They’re extremely laid-back. One just about has to step on one to get bitten, although they’re so well camouflaged that it’s easy to step on one. Every couple of years, I or one of the neighbors spots one. We kill them, just because there are too many dogs and small children around here to risk letting them live.

  6. The USPS at work. They should just raise First Class stamps to $10 a pop. Oh, wait, maybe Congress will bail them out.

    “Postal Service Faces $100B in Debts and Unfunded Benefits”

  7. I guess those Eastern Diamondbacks can go five or six feet and if you *do* get bit, it’s pretty nasty; also have heard about the aggressiveness of water moccasins.

    I had my fill of reptiles, esp. venomous ones, during my times in southeast Asia. Cobras, kraits, etc, no thanks.

    USPS is gonna have to scale back deliveries, close post offices and jack up the price of stamps and packages in the short term and then gradually become privatized and/or subsumed by one or more of the other private carriers. I guess the question is whether they’ll get outta the woods in time before the whole mess implodes anyway, so it may be entirely moot.

    I’d sooner close down the entire publik skool system than the P.O.

  8. “Postal Service Faces $100B in Debts and Unfunded Benefits”

    US Government Faces $100,000B in Debts and Unfunded Benefits

    There, fixed that for you.

  9. We kill them, just because there are too many dogs and small children around here to risk letting them live.

    I would to living in a city environment.

    However when I lived on the farm we had a much different take on snakes, even venomous snakes. We generally chased them away with some long handled item, or picked them up with a pitch fork and just relocated them. Snakes helped keep the mice under control and were of no danger to cattle.

    Only time I killed a snake was when I was bitten by a diamond back rattler. It never broke the skin instead burying it’s teeth into my leather boot. I never heard or saw the thing until I felt the smack on my foot. I had a shovel with me as I was heading down to the creek to do some repair on the low water dam that was used to maintain proper water level for the pump. I immediately took his head off while it was still attached to my boot. If I had been wearing my normal Converse low top tennis shoes the story would have been much different. Boots were much more stable when working in the water and you did not get sand in your feet.

    I knew a fellow who got bitten in the lower arm by a copperhead. His arm swelled up so bad they had to slice his arm in an “S” pattern to keep the swelling from damaging the tissue. He suffered for several weeks and has the scars to show for the event.

  10. My only up-close-and-personal experience with a venomous snake happened when I was 16 or so. I was out with a buddy with our shotguns hunting crows. We were walking along talking when he suddenly swung his shotgun toward me and pulled the trigger. I shouted “Jesus Christ!” and started bitching him out loudly. He just pointed to the dead rattlesnake about a meter from my foot. I can tell you from experience that a load of #7-1/2 at close range really shreds a coiled rattlesnake.

    I was never sure how he spotted it. It just let me walk toward it and never made a sound. So much for their vaunted rattling.

  11. I was never sure how he spotted it. It just let me walk toward it and never made a sound. So much for their vaunted rattling.

    I guess you looked tasty, or rather smelled tasty.

    That was my experience. Never heard the snake and never saw it until I felt something on my foot. It did have several rattles but chose not to use them.

  12. Never got bit but saw my share, actually more than my share, of cobras and kraits over on Uncle’s Asian plantations; king cobras up to 18 feet long that can raise a third of their body length up off the ground with their hoods spread out and eyeballing your ass just off the trail. Spitting cobras that aim for their prey’s eyes with the venom. Two-steppers, the banded krait only a few inches long, same color as the red clay dirt, the reason for the name being obvious.

    Searching bomb dump bunkers one day and a guy had a cobra drop down off a rafter and down the back of his shirt; it fell out (because we all wore our shirts untucked) onto the floor and he whirled around with his gun and blew its head off with one shot, a one in a million shot that neither he nor any of us would ever make again.

    Monsoon season sucked ’cause the ditches and klongs would overflow from the torrential downpours and zillions of snakes would be crawling toward higher ground out there.

    Of the U.S. venomous snakes the only one I’ve not seen in-person is the moccasin; saw a coral snake about three feet in front of me and moving away in Texas during combat training one day. And timber rattlers like we have in southern New England have gotta be the most evil-looking buggers; ones I saw were gray with yellow eyes.

    No snakes here by the bay so far, which is fine by me and the missus. Now waiting for the spring onslaught of toads and frogs which the cats love to bring in and leave for us.

  13. My wife and I have lived in the Western Mojave Desert for over 40 years. Our house is at the edge of a small town, with open land (miles and miles) to our immediate south, so snakes are present. It would be an exaggeration to say that some of my best friends are snakes, because they are mostly solitary. Their lizard cousins are far more evident. Even so, we have seen our share. I second the notion that most snakes are shy, and will ignore people unless disturbed. There are two exceptions. First, rattlers can detect human reaction in the form of IR radiation. In other words, if you don’t react (usually this means not seeing them) they will not bother you. Something not easily practiced. The second is the Mojave rattlesnake, which can be aggressive under almost all conditions. Worse, its bite can be very serious, since there is no synthetic antivenin, which means the only treatment is made from venom extracted the old fashioned way. To make matters worse, these are quite common close to our home.

    Here is a good site that gives an idea of what we might see if we go looking:

    I have never worried about snakes. It is said that if bitten, getting professional medical attention within four hours will prevent death. The resulting injury will be very unpleasant, however. If help is more than four hours away, not much can be done, although I would certainly try. Most self applied first aid is worse than useless, however.

    Apart from the serious aspects, snakes can be very entertaining. No one forgets their first encounter with a red racer. They are so fast that no one believes eye witness accounts until a personal experience. Nature is wonderful.

  14. Wow. “The Land of Little Rain.” About as “polar” opposite from hereabouts as can be. If I had to put together a similar list with photos of our reptiles, it would be a laugh and a half; I’d have to hunt down some garden snakes, water snakes, and our frogs and toads, none of them the least bit dangerous. I suppose if I wait around long enough in downtown Burlington I could get a shot of a galloping full-grown bull moose, though. Never seen them in the wild.

    Our pictures of pretty and interesting wildlife would probably focus on all the waterfowl and raptors we see under our flyway, including bald and golden eagles, a bunch of different hawks, and we’re just south of several small refuges and one very large wildlife refuge of about 7,000 square acres. (large for Vermont, that is).

    I’ve been thinking of setting up a site of our own here which, among other things, would have shots of stuff like that, plus all the historical landscape venues we have in abundance. This specific region was the scene of the French and Indian Wars, the War of Independence and the War of 1812, and a slew of old factory buildings and former mills, old military roads, etc., etc.

  15. I suppose if I wait around long enough in downtown Burlington I could get a shot of a galloping full-grown bull moose, though.

    I could get plenty of pictures of moose in Albany. There are lots of government “workers”. They usually waddle rather than gallop, though.

  16. Albany, like most state capitals, is need of first culling, and then purging. I rely on you to handle that operation whilst I do the one up here, Montpeculiar. And I will do it with much relish, after spending a fifteen-year sentence there with Mrs. OFD and kidz. Similar waddling and lumbering goes on in those environs, among them probably three or four times as many lobbyist types as actual legislators and their staffs, the majority of the Left and Dem persuasions, and what few alleged Repubs are in fact RINOs. Like most of the Northeast paht of the country.

    It is on their heads and those of our ancestors upon whom I heap much blame for the Current Situation.

  17. A point is made near the end of this article that I’ve made here and elsewhere before; the regime may now have the upper hand, and may continue to have it for a while longer, but their day of reckoning cometh. They can do the Big Data tap dance for a long time and collect everything on everybody, but it still takes homo sapiens sapiens to sit there and look at it and make the decisions. It still takes cops and soldiers to implement and enforce those decisions. And when the money runs out to pay for all this??? We’re talking trillions in debt now, and it doubles faster and faster. Simple arithmetic.

    Even a recovering English major can figure this out.

  18. I bet Chuck has the full scoop.

    Having a hard time keeping up these days. Involved in a new, additional project that has put me weeks behind in reading. This may go on for the foreseeable future.

    The original album and ’72 version of the song was produced by Kenny Rogers. I have always admired Rogers’ rock career, but his country stuff is hardly as inspired, although perhaps more successful, depending on your definition of success — over 60 charting singles and LP’s ain’t failure. If you listen to much of Rogers’ work with The First Edition, he sounds uncannily like Bill Clinton. My son nearly fell on the floor laughing when I played “But You Know I Love You” for him recently. All of The First Edition were dropouts of the folk-oriented The New Christie Minstrels.

    Live on Smothers Brothers

    Better sound quality

    The drug-laden version of the Gunhill Road song never made the charts or got radio airplay. It was on Kama Sutra. That label was co-owned with Buddah Records, and run quite successfully by a very young Neil Bogart, barely out of his teens. Their artists were quite inventive in the late ’60’s, and one of Bogart’s ploys was to release lots of bubblegum music, which was selling big in those days, in order to fund less financially successful ‘serious’ music, like jazz. It is hard to do comparison measures, but the Buddah/Kama Sutra label is believed to have released more charting records in a shorter period of time than any other label in history. Their hit to miss ratio was truly astounding — something like 1 hit to every 4 misses, whereas the next closest was on the order of 1 hit in 20 releases.

    That one song was Gunhill Road’s only charting effort. Having no radio airplay of anything from Rogers’ production, several songs from the original Kama Sutra album were re-recorded in 1973 with innocuous lyrics and ‘Back When My Hair Was Short’ finally got airplay and made it to position 40 on the Hot 100 for 1 week on 9 June ’73. It was in the Hot 100 climbing to, and falling from, that peak for 15 weeks. That’s actually a long time; the average is more like 6 to 8 weeks total charting. Got lots of airplay in Chicago and on the Left Coast, especially in LA. It was in the top 10 in many markets, but somehow that did not translate to higher than position 40 nationally. Blame rural America, I guess.

    I am unclear on whether the album was re-released in ’73, or only the singles re-done. A couple of sources say people who bought the album because of the hit single were surprised that the lyrics on the LP were different than the single. I have the album upstairs in my collection, but nothing to play it on, having sold my turntable when we left for Germany.

    The album is a gem. Glenn Leopold is an inspired lyricist and lead singer. Lots of introspective hippie-era poetry in the album. Rogers hired the best in the business to back Gunhill Road, so the musicianship was stellar. The group were from the NYC tri-state area, and my recollection is that the LP was recorded in New York.

  19. There is a Gunhill Road Facebook page with then and now pics of Rogers and Leopold together.

    My favorite song on the Gunhill Road LP was “42nd Street”. Here are 3 of the 4 original Gunhill group members performing it together for the first time in 35 years at a benefit for their former manager at his death a few years ago.

    The album got a lot of airplay on Album Oriented Rock stations that were just springing up in the early half of the ’70’s.

  20. I knew it; Chuck indeed has the full scoop. Wow.

    Never heard of these guys, but my music listening experience over the decades is a little out of the ordinary, probably: grew up listening to classical on the Boston-Waltham station, WCRB, forty years of it. But also lived through the Glorious Sixties and most of rock, blues, country and jazz from that decade into the Sappy Seventies, mainly with WBCN in Boston. And a bunch of rock concerts. In the early 70s, through my time on Uncle’s plantations I was into Motown and then funk, but my interest in country, rock and jazz was petering out. In the Exciting Eighties I got heavy into English, German and French organ and choral stuff, which I still love, and have Bach’s organ works and Buxtehude’s, complete.

    Since then, it’s remained mostly classical, and oldies rock and Motown. We can get WCVT here, the programming of which seems to have been lifted wholesale from the former WCRB; for less of a Top-Forty of Classical deal, though, we listen to a French-language station out of Montreal. And we have the local oldies stations, one somewhere around here and the other out of Bristol, VT, with transmitters in Ausable, NY and Burlington, VT. The latter mainly plays what used to be known as the album rock and blues from the 60s and 70s, but I get a kick out of how they’ll have Dan Ackroyd or somebody do a commercial about how heavy they are into the blues and then follow that with something from Yes or the Moody Blues.

  21. WCRB was sold a dozen years ago. It was once one of the best 2 classical stations in America, the other being WGMS in DC. Both gone. CRB air-talent was absorbed into WGBH, but their music selections pale today, compared to yesteryear. Not sure exactly what happened or whom was bought off, but CRB was put into a trust at former owner Ted Jones’ death, to be operated as a classical station in perpetuity. Some lawyer got the brilliant idea that if the station was sold, the intent of the trust would be fulfilled if the new owners would just broadcast classical on one of the HD channels in perpetuity. The CRB Trust board bought it in an instant, and the station was sold and became a country formatted outlet, now apparently owned by Romney and Bain. The Board of the trust must have gotten some money from the sale. Looking at the website, I see no mention whatever of there being accessible classical on any of the HD channels of the 102.5 frequency. So much for Ted Jones’ legacy.

    There are a lot of musical genres that have disappeared over the years. My favorite blues was what prevailed in the UK in the mid to late ’60’s — John Mayall, early Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce, Ginger Baker, Long John Baldry, early Rolling Stones, and a host of others. Who plays that anymore? Nobody! And I will bet there are very few who have bothered to move their collection of those artists from vinyl to digital, so they probably cannot even listen to that music anymore.

    Ah, but we have those tired old 200 that every station plays as Classic Rock. Three classic rock outlets in Indy alone, and a couple more that border on it. I do a fair amount of research on what stations in Indy play these days. About 99% of it is ONLY of records that climbed into the top 5. That is not a lot of variety. If I hear “Bohemian Rhapsody” one more time, I am going to stop listening to radio altogether.

    No classical stations in Indy. One university station plays classical in morning and afternoon drive, but it is doing abysmally in the ratings, and falling. I mostly listen to the stream of Klassik Radio in Hamburg. Close to the old WCRB, but more upbeat tempos and hardly any talk overnight (between 6pm and midnight my time), which is when I want classical.

  22. “…former owner Ted Jones’…”

    Ah yes, I remember his late-night editorials about this or that as “Ted Star-West Jones” I also recall that whoever got control of the station generally and repeatedly acted in bad faith with their long-time listeners, like me and my family. I used to listen daily to the late Karl Haas on classical music and they dumped him; when I asked why they told me it was “a business decision.” Truck drivers would listen to Karl traveling cross-country and call him at night. His book on classical music is outstanding.

    Some of WCRB’s on-air personalities and programming somehow migrated up here to WCVT, though.

    And we are agreed, Chuck, on the greatness of the British blues bands from that era; I started listening to them in eighth grade; mainly Cream, Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, Spooky Tooth, Savoy Brown, Ten Years After, Alexis Korner, Aynsley Dunbar, etc. That local “album station” fifty miles south of us plays these guys off and on.

    There may be a couple of them Top 200 classic rock stations in this area but we don’t listen to them; “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “Stairway to Heaven,” etc. Makes me wanna drive to the stations and firebomb them into oblivion. Or at least pull their plugs.

    The last stuff I listen to at night before hitting the sack is classical. And waking up in the morning.

  23. Well, I still listen to old Mayall, Cream, Long John Baldry and early Stones. You can get most of their stuff digitally these days. And I STILL like “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “Stairway to Heaven”. Same with “Hotel California”.

    I saw Mayall in concert only a year ago when he was 79, with Rocky Athas on guitar, Greg Rzab on bass and Jay Davenport on drum. Still impressive, especially given his age! The concert was almost 2 hours long and “Room To Move” jammed for nearly 30 minutes. Rzab did an insane solo during the song that came close to stealing the show.

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