Category Archives: Music

“I’m in love with her and I feel fine!”

“I’m so glad, that she’s my little girl!

She’s so glad, she’s telling all the world.

That her baby buys her things, you know.

He buys her diamond rings, you know.

She said so!

I’m in love with her and I feel fine!”

The Beatles – “I feel fine” – 1964 – Lennon/McCartney

What could be better than cruisin’ down the road in the summertime, windows down and the wind blowin’ back your hair (if you have any left) and the radio cranked up to blast out one of your favorite tunes.

When you hear one of those songs that you instantly recognize from the opening riff and you just have to reach over and turn up the sound, you just know that a little part of your youth has come back to life.

For me, “I feel fine!” is a song that I know the moment that I hear John Lennon’s familiar feedback guitar. It is a signature riff – the first recorded use of feedback on a record. The song is credited to “Lennon/McCartney” but it was written by John. With Beatles songs, you can pretty much tell who wrote it by who sings lead vocals.

The Beatles are gone. John and George are dead, Ringo recently turned Seventy and Sir Paul buys “Just for Men” in 55 gallon drums. The music that they left us, however, will live on forever.

And so life goes on. As each day passes, we creep a moment closer to our date with fate. Life goes on, with you or without you. No matter how hard we mash our foot on the brake pedal of life, we cannot slow down or turn back time.

But we can turn up the radio for our  old favorite songs and blast out the tunes that helped define our lives.

When I am feeling down, nothing brings my mood back faster than listening to that good old rock ‘n’ roll music that I loved in days gone by. It truly doesn’t matter what it is – Stones, Beatles, Detroit rock music, the British Invasion or Motown – my blood flows again with renewed vigor and my foot starts tapping out the beat.

For each of us, there is that song, one that brings back memories of the “good old days” or that lost love.

What is yours?

William Stephenson Clark


Filed under American Society, Music

When we used to listen to the radio.

“Hey hey mama said the way you move,
Gon’ make you sweat, gon’ make you groove. “

Led Zeppelin – “Black Dog” – Page/Plant/Jones – 1971

It was late spring of 1971 and I had just finished up my first year of college. My parents had sold my ’65 Pontiac Catalina coupe when I left, so now I needed a car. A friend of a friend had an old ’63 Volkswagen Beetle that wasn’t running. I handed over $150 in cash and paid the man to tow her home.

After a few days, I had her cleaned up and running pretty well. She was red with white interior and a sliding canvas sunroof. Most of my friends, probably twelve or fifteen in total, also had Vee-Dubs. We would all gather ’round when someone needed work done, pitching in to help.

We would all mount our tires “backwards” so they looked wider and we took off the narrow “running boards.” I painted my rims red to match the body color. Most of our cars had rusty bumpers, so we trimmed them off, too. I put a “hot rod” freeflow muffler on mine and it sounded all so cool.

We had an eclectic group of Vee-Dubs. They ranged from ’59 to ’70, a couple of convertibles, a Squareback and colors from grey primer to black to red to yellow. One guy filled all the body seams on his with Bondo and painted her green – with spray cans.

Down at the corner, there was a huge old oak tree in front of the bank parking lot. That’s where we would all hang out after work. By then, most of the guys had shoulder length hair and the girls wore skin-tight hip-hugger bell bottoms. Someone always had a bottle of Southern Comfort and inevitably there would be a few “cigarettes” passed around.

And then we would go crusin’. Sometimes it was to one of the local Metro Parks for swimming and other activities. Sometimes it was just down to the pool hall. If we had the cash, it would be off to the Grande or East Town for a concert.

Regardless of where we went, it was always in a line – ten, twelve, fifteen – Vee-Dubs in a row, windows down, hair streaming and the radios on, all tuned to WRIF-FM and blasting out the latest rock ‘n’ roll. We were a rolling, stoned band of gypsies and WRIF played the soundtrack of our youth.

What was the soundtrack of your youth?

William Stephenson Clark


Filed under Just Plain Fun, Music

“She is all that I have left and music is her name.”

The thread title is from “the Southern Cross,” by Crosby, Stills and Nash, written by Stephen Stills. Personally, it is my favorite CS & N song. The full verse:

“So I’m sailing for tomorrow, my dreams are a dyin’.
And my love is an anchor tied to you, tied with a silver chain.
I have my ship and all her flags are a flyin’
She is all that I have left and music is her name.”

God blessed me with an enormous appreciation for music and then cursed me with absolutely zero musical talent. Zip! Nada! Zilch!

(I love the thread photo – old geezers, like me, still kickin’ it!)

One of the things I will miss most about Steven is interacting with him and others about musical favorites. Our friend had some unusual (perhaps) tastes in music. He loved the obscure, little known and unusual, along with the better known artists. He and I shared a mutual love of all things Dylan. My love of Bob Dylan went a little further – I named my son after him.

In keeping with my intent to stay non-political for a few threads, in remembering Steven, this post is all about music, one of the things most dear to our friend.

So, share your thoughts – music is the thread – what’s playing in your head?

William Stephenson Clark


Filed under Music, Uncategorized

I Believe In Father Christmas

They said there’ll be snow at christmas
They said there’ll be peace on earth
But instead it just kept on raining
A veil of tears for the virgin’s birth
I remember one christmas morning
A winters light and a distant choir
And the peal of a bell and that christmas tree smell
And their eyes full of tinsel and fire

They sold me a dream of christmas
They sold me a silent night
And they told me a fairy story
’till I believed in the israelite
And I believed in father christmas
And I looked at the sky with excited eyes
’till I woke with a yawn in the first light of dawn
And I saw him and through his disguise

I wish you a hopeful christmas
I wish you a brave new year
All anguish pain and sadness
Leave your heart and let your road be clear
They said there’ll be snow at christmas
They said there’ll be peace on earth
Hallelujah noel be it heaven or hell
The christmas you get you deserve

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Filed under Music

Sloop John B. – The Folk Roots of the Song Popularized by the Beach Boys…

The current political news is so uninspiring, that I thought I’d do something different, less depressing, and hopefully, more interesting…

My current favorite guitar teacher, Fred Sokolow, does an excellent job of teaching the folk classic the Beach Boys popularized.  I had no idea it was a pretty old folk tune.  Here are the lyrics (no doubt, in the public domain longer than my father has been alive, and probably longer than his father’s life span).

‘We come on the Sloop John B., my grandfather and me.  Around Nassau town we did roam, Drinking all night, got into a fight.  I feel so broke (I going with the Beach Boy words here, instead of “break up”) up, I wanna go home.

Chorus:  ‘So hoist up the John B. sails, see how the main sail sets, Call for the captain ashore, let me go home.  Let me go home.  I want to go home.  I feel so broke-up, I wanna go home.

“The first mate he got drunk, broke up the people’s trunk.  Constable had to come and take him away.  Sheriff Johnstone, please let me alone.  I feel so broke-up, I wanna go home.

“The poor cook he got the fits, threw away all of my grits, Then he took and ate up all of my corn.  Let me go home, I wanna go home,  This is the worse trip I ever been on.”

WordPress formatting does not fit well with poetry-type writing, but hopefully, the gist is clear enough here.  Will follow with some YouTube treats.



Filed under History, Music

Playing For Change: Peace Through Music


Filed under Diversity, Music

Post Your Favorite Acoustic Guitar Video

acoustic-guitar1[1]If you don’t have such a favorite, please explain why not?  My nomination follows in the first post.  I used to own a Fender Stratocaster (a decent electric guitar).  I gave it to my my oldest nephew and he started a respectable Christian band that played throughout Kansas and into Colorado.  I am pretty sure he still has the Strat.  He teaches English in a small college in Pennsylvania.

While electric guitars are okay, I have always had a preference for acoustic guitars.  They are harder on my fingers and I make more mistakes — but that is what makes them interesting to me…



Filed under Music

Guitar Player Elitists

george-harrison-album[1]Wednesday is guitar lesson day at my my house.  My teen daughter plays bass guitar and my teenage son plays regular guitar.  This afternoon, after school, we will make our weekly trek to the local music store for their lessons.

I was telling my daughter on the way to school this a.m. that George Harrison was considered to be not be that great of a guitarist among guitar players.  After having said that, I thought how really silly of a statement that was, since he will always be a much better guitar player than anyone I will ever personally know.

Peace be with you, George, where ever you are, across the universe . . .


Filed under Music

Freedy Johnston & Kinsley, Kansas

300px-Freedy-johnston[1]I first heard Freedy Johnston on NPR’s World Cafe where his best known album, Can You Fly? was reviewed.  I learned just recently that Johnston is from Kinsley, Kansas.  The small Edwards County town is slightly closer to Dodge City than Hutchinson on Kansas Highway 50.

According to All Music Guide: “[Johnston is] a gifted songwriter whose lyrics paint sometimes witty, often poignant, portraits of characters often unaware of how their lives have gone wrong, Freedy Johnston seemingly appeared out of nowhere in the early ’90s and quickly established himself as one of the most acclaimed new singer/songwriters of the day. Johnston was born in 1961 in Kinsley, KS, a small town with the odd distinction of being equidistant between New York City and San Francisco. Growing up, Johnston developed a strong interest in music, but living in a city without a music store or a record shop, doing something about it took some effort. When he was 16, Johnston bought his first guitar by mail order, and a year later, a friend drove him 35 miles to the nearest record store so he could buy an album he’d read about: My Aim Is True by Elvis Costello.”

KS1003011[1]Johnston headed to Lawrence and K.U. after graduating from high school.  He dropped out of college after attending less than one year.  He performed in Lawrence and was a huge fan of the local favorite new wave group, The Embarrassment.  Johnston set out for New York City in 1985.  After years of paying his dues, he produced his first album for an independent label Bar/None.  He sold off farm land that had been in the Johnston family for generations, to help produce his second album Can You Fly?  The gamble paid off and the album was named among the best of the year by the New York Times, the Village Voice, and Billboard.

Johnston managed to escape the agorophobia-producing vast open spaces of western Kansas.   With determination and hard work even citizens from Kinsley, Kansas can ascend to the world stage.


Filed under Music

Jerry Hahn’s Tab of Alice’s Restaurant

alices-restaurant1[1]After a quick search at the WSU website, I found that Jerry Hahn was at WSU as recently as 2007.  I don’t know if he is still teaching there or not.  He was (if he is not currently) a full professor of Jazz Guitar.  A friend of mine told me that Professor Hahn had something like 12 hours of college credit.  His professorship was awarded to him based on what he could do rather than academic hoops he had jumped through.  This seems a lot more egalitarian than I usually think of academia as being.

You’ll note that I added a page – which has the same title as this thread.  On this page is Hahn’s tabulature for Alice’s Restaurant.  This tab is a Wichita guitarists’ phenomenon.  My copy, I am guessing, is pobably a 100+ generation xerox copy.  Because of my scanning skills, it is not p0ssible to cut and paste the tab.  If you are motivated enough to try this challenging version, you should be motivated enough to hand copy the tab.

Hahn was a jazz guitar master and a very demanding teacher.  My short story favorite about Jerry Hahn was that in the 60’s he played in a jazz band in San Francisco.  For a two year period of time during his San Francisco residence, he did not wash his hair.

Some of you will remember Hahn’s 1970’s rock band, The Jerry Hahn Brotherhood.  Their song “Captain Bobby Stout Done Found me Out” played on KEYN exclusively in the early 1970’s.  Captain Bobby Stout was a real person and was the head of the Wichita Police Dept’s vice squad.  Stout was also the unofficial foster father of a young man named Don Johnson – who would later gain fame on the television show Miami Vice.

Wichita is so small that everyone and everything connects together in at least a tangential way.  I will try to answer any questions on the tab.  Since I bought my Epiphone, I think playing this song is remotely possible for me now.


Filed under Kansas History, Music

The Joan Baez Thread & Is the Community of the Internet UnAmerican?




As some of you may know, I obsess over our blog statistics.  I love statistics, which is a sign that I need a life, I understand that…  We have had tons of referrals to our blog because of a 07-31-09 thread about Joan returning to the Newport Jazz Festival.  That thread garnered fewer than 20 comments if I am remembering correctly.  But there have been days that the Joan Baez thread beat all other sources of referrals by a huge margin.  I think I have discovered the reason why.  But first, a hippy digression.

In 1970, when I was 16 years old, my two best friends and I went to the Twin Drive-In theater in Wichita, KS to see Woodstock the movie.  I think the drive-in was where the mall on Harry street is now, but I am not sure of that.  Any way, as my two friends and I lucked out on that summer night, there were a couple of girls parked next to us, who had offered to let us smoke some of their supplies which made the music sound much better than it already did.  Joan sang at least one song in the movie acapella and I distinctly recall thinking, ‘if there are real angels, they can’t sound better than that!’  A good time was had by all and we got home safely. 

Joan+Baez[1]I have wondered why we have so many searches and hits regarding Joan Baez keep showing up in our Blog Stats.  I think I know the reason why.  In the Google searches of Joan Baez images we are number twelve in the list.  The image I used is the one above of a mature, but still hot, IMHO, Baez.  I did not take the photo, I do not own it, nor do I have any proprietary rights for it.  [as an aside: Joan is 68 years old – she was born 01-09-41].  Because our image is so near the top, other blogs use our image – for example – – the aforementioned blog is part of the Miami Herold if I understood correctly. 

Recapping:  Our blog has profitted in terms of hits from an image we do not own, is disseminated by people we don’t know, but whom help us keep our numbers up.  This is not the “work hard, produce a better product, and the world will beat a path to your door” mantra the conservatives like to believe still exists.

Is the blogosphere UnAmerican and UnRepublican?  You be the judge.



Filed under Music, New Technology

Frugality Fatigue?

guitarman_mississippi_john_hurt_poster-p228414021729600531tdcp_400[1]Hey, I have found a new label for my “maybe bad judgement” – it is called “Frugality Fatigue.”  I bought an Epiphone acoustic guitar last week.  I really couldn’t “afford” it – like in terms of  “having the cash on hand” for the purchase.  I did have a Visa that I use a lot less than I used to, though.  I have always heard that Gibsons (an Epiphone is a poor man’s Gibson) were easier to play than  Martins.  I am here to tell you there is a night and day difference.  I sure wish Neal Young hadn’t been a Martin man, I might not have been led astray for so long…

Justifying my temporary abandonment of frugality, is a trend recognized by the WaPo that as the recovery is taking shape, some people are out charging again.

So bloggers, is it time to start spending that one cannot really afford?  I think it is NOT, actually.  But I had a moment of weakness.  Still on the WEBlog wagon – so not all is bleak.  Bloggers what is your spending like these days?  Financial advice considered here.  Thanks.



Filed under Music

I’m Always Glad When Joan Baez Beats Out Jessica Simpson’s Ass

As search terms for finding our humble little blog indicate, there is a decided preference for finding Joan over Jessica.  Come on, who would your rather see:  this:










jessica_ass_bak[1]Or this?








Joan was ahead on 09-06-09 by a score of 27 to 3.  Time to claim a victory…. Joan, Joan, Joan!!!

Y’alls’ thoughts?


Filed under Music, Uncategorized

Jimmy Buffett at the Whitehouse

url-1[2]Jimmy Buffett was seen early this afternoon at the Whitehouse.  He did not agree to speak to, nor sing for, the reporters who saw him.  In the early 1980’s I saw Jimmy Buffett at the Starlight Theatre in Kansas City.  It was the second best concert I have ever seen. 

The best concert I have ever seen  was the Who in Arrowhead Stadium (late 80’s, early 90’s).  A well known Wichita D.J. from that time saw Pete Townsend before the concert and wished him luck with his concert.  Pete replied, “Well, thank you, but luck will not be needed.”

Back to you bloggers, second best and best concerts you’ve seen?


Filed under Music

Tribute to John Hiatt, an American classic.

john-hiattJohn started writing music in 1971. I turned a friend on to him one time, and the friend came back with this question: “What’s his bag anyway?” I asked him if he liked the music, and he replied it was awesome, but it was everywhere on the musical spectrum.

I couldn’t agree more. His music incorporates everything from old country and western to psychedelic anthems. One would be hard pressed to find main stream musicians who do cover tunes who haven’t done John’s songs. If one were to listen to his album, “Little Village”, then “The Tiki Bar is Open”, then,  “Walk On”, one would think they were written by different people. Those who remember the song, Perfectly Good Guitar, it was his. His albums, Walk on, and, Crossing Muddy Waters, are my favorites. Just awesome music.

Hopefully, he stays around for many more years and is discovered by new generations as they explore the world of music. Some tunes:

Have a little Faith in me While many have covered this, he wrote it. A beautiful song.

Cry Love

Dust Down a Country Road


Filed under Art, Music