Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Lady Dog-ga & the Dog Days of Summer

Ayla (aka Ava or Layla) - a dachschund, chihuahua mix puppy, blew into our home last December. Having recently lost my best friend, it was a very challenging time for me personally and frankly, I just wasn't in the mood for a frisky puppy.  The last thing I really needed was additional responsibility (potty accidents, chewing up the homework, the endless barking,  or dealing with the S - K - P --a term Mags used for her mom's dog, Dexter, when he was a Barney Fife line from an episode of Andy Griffith... all of those things seemingly took me away from wallowing in my grief. Sometimes others know what you need without consulting you though and this little creature bounced her way into my heart.
My mission soon turned to training.  Not for the potty or sitting or rolling over (NEVER will I train her to speak, as I don't think we'll ever get her to shut up) .... but I observed that this little creature is fast as lightning.  So I became determined to train her for the highest level of competition that she'll ever experience... the weiner dog races.
Yesterday I found out that the weiner dog races are Saturday & Sunday, July 14th & 15th  at Ellis Park, Henderson, KY so I quickly entered her and she is IN THE RACE!  Abby & I have given her a "horse name":   Lady Dog-ga, and have begun a strict training regimen, which includes delicious grilled pork steak treats.
I'm pretty excited about race day for Lady Dog-ga and I wanna invite all my rowdy friends to come out & place their bets on our girl. In the past, the horse track gives all patrons who place a bet on a winning dog a super t-shirt instead of winning cash. We've collected many of these over the years & they are treasures.
She will be in the second heat - at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, July 14th. The winners of the heats will race in the championship race the following Saturday, July 21st.
I'd like to suggest this recipe for Pronto Pups - which is a sweeter, pancake batter-style corn dog--a favorite for Evansville's westside.

How Much is that Doggie in the Window? - Patti Page
Hound Dog - Elvis Presley
Atomic Dog - George Clinton
Hair of the Dog - Nazareth
Bird Dog - The Everly Brothers
Martha My Dear - The Beatles
Ol' Red - Blake Shelton
Dogs of War - Pink Floyd
Black Dog - Led Zeppelin

Monday, June 25, 2012

Lyrics are poetry...

An interesting quote from Roman playwright, Terence (185-159 B.C.) says "Nothing is said that has not been said before"..... pretty profound for that era. So...does that mean the lyrics on the radio are lines we've heard before?  

Occasionally I'm forced to listen to mainstream radio and it seems to contain lyrics that revolve around people taking off their clothes and getting messed up. My 15 year old daughter explains that all of "their" music is pretty much about "partying". Yikes. Kids today have to really dig dip in order to find some lyrics that are worthy of a listen. Today's mainstream music has little depth but looking back, that has probably been a common element in pop radio for decades. A lot of people turn on the radio & want to listen to something simple, jazzy.... non-commital. If you start listening to the might get sucked into thinking about something more intelligent than body parts. Interestingly, however, I consider a lot of lyrics written in the past 10 years as some of the most progressive and introspective lyrics ever.  You just gotta put out a little effort to find the treasures.

The 60's brought song writing to a new level - the obvious lyricists of that era were Bob Dylan, Pete Seeger, Joan Baez.... they were ballsy enough to put their observations on war and peace into poetry....aka song lyrics.....

The Beatles started writing their songs with somewhat simple themes. After the quartet had a few hits, they noticed that songs containing a pronoun as part of the title became hit songs!  Therefore, they thought the formula for a hit would be to include I, You, She, Me, etc. in their song titles. I.E.: She Loves You, I Wanna Hold Your Hand, And I Love Her, I Saw Her Standing There, I Feel Fine, I'll Follow the Sun, Can't Buy Me Love....etc....

I once saw a video clip of John Lennon (post Beatles) talking about a fellow that stopped him on the street one day. This man was a Lennon worshipper and he told John that the Beatles saved the world with their song lyrics. Lennon responded to the fellow something to the effect of ... get a grip man, we just wrote down words. We didn't put a lot of thought into most of it.

I was listening to this punky song by the Stooges, titled "1969" and one of its lines caught my attention and made me think about how a short line can be just as effective as all of the lyrics in a 5 minute song. "Last year I was twenty-one, I didn't have a lot of fun. And now I'm gonna be twenty-two... I say oh my and a boo-hoo"
We all get it, don't we?  The age of innocence is officially over for this guy.

A terrific young band that Mags introduced me to is Vampire Weekend, whose lead singer is a former English teacher. The first time I listened to them I heard the influence of Paul Simon's "Graceland" album throughout and it was fascinating. Then I started to pay attention to the lyrics. They are just plain cool and enjoyable and for a lyric freak....they provide a roller coaster that darts in and out and upside down. Using creative words that you don't hear in ordinary conversations, let alone in music. It's just refreshing and fun, while making you feel intelligent for listening to proper grammar.

"Who gives a *&^% (edit) about an Oxford comma?
I've seen those English dramas too, they're cruel
So if there's any other way to spell the word
It's fine with me, with me

Why would you speak to me that way?
Especially when I always said that I
Haven't got the words for you
All your diction dripping with disdain
Through the pain
I always tell the truth"

Now... who sings about punctuation and diction anyway?  As a refresher, an Oxford comma is the comma that separates a group of  Some of my favorite bands are The Beatles, Foo Fighters and Cage the Elephant.  The comma separating The Beatles and the Foo Fighters would be an Oxford Comma.

Another interesting thing about song lyrics is that they are interpreted differently by everyone. Most peculiar is the difference in how men and women hear the lyrics.

And delivery of the lyric makes a profound difference. For instance, a simple song I ran across recently is called "Stay With Me", by Lorraine Ellison. When this chick belts out the refrain of Stay With Me .... it gave me chills & made the hair on my arms stand straight up. Now THAT'S what I'm talkin' about. Very simple lyric.....killer presence. Check out the recording on youtube....

The effect that the music has on lyrics can be different as well. Reading the lyric can have a different feel to it rather than listening to it within the song. On a different note, check out this recording called "Mercy Mercy Mercy" by Cannonball Adderley. There are no song lyrics, just terrific instrumentation. What is wicked cool is at the beginning of the song one of the band members gives an introduction to the song & explains how this song makes us feel the emotion of adversity.....he says the song "sounds like what you're supposed to say when you have that kind of problem". Very Cool.

In October, 2010, Maggie, Annie, Abby & I drove to St. Louis to see Vampire Weekend and they were outstanding-- lyrically and instrumentally. They have a few show dates this summer, namely, July 13, in Indianapolis. Check 'em out!

The greatest compliment is for my blog to be please...pass it on!

Peace & Rock & Roll!

Lanea Stagg
Recipe Records

Monday, June 11, 2012

Be a Man....but be a Simple Man.....

A wise young lady (Annie) gave me a cool line recently "Music is what feelings sound like ... "
I've used music & lyrics to explain away everything from the weather ..... "who'll stop the rain?" .... to helping an argumentative teenager deal with a parent "you don't have to go it alone" ... to my daily plight ... "I can't get no satisfaction" .
Mags and I used music lyrics to create cool recipes in the kitchen and when brainstorming about recipe titles we were unable to shut off the "creative hysteria" as we called it. Once we got started the song titles never ended and, depending on how late in the evening, the titles got more outrageous (ie: Tina Tuna Casserole)  I've printed song lyrics & framed them for newlyweds and as gifts for loved ones. Lyrics are simply poetry put to music. 
Today I'd like to share some great lyrics with my sons as a father's day tribute to them.  My guys are now 19 and 17 and it's quite common for them to completely ignore anything that comes out of my mouth and almost all other adults. They are terrific kids and I'm so proud of them and their accomplishments.  One day they might be fathers and they'll get to experience the joys & struggles of being a parent.  Hopefully they'll use all of the tools available to them to seek guidance and wisdom.  I'm sharing some lyrics from "Simple Man", a song written by Ronnie Van Zant & Gary Rossington, a couple of boys in a band named Lynyrd Skynyrd. It's their true account of what their grandma and mama told them and it's one of my favorite Skynyrd ditties.  The Skynyrd boys were very proud of the words those women gave them and I think those wise mothers wanted their loved ones to cut through the crap in life and just be true to themselves by being honest, respectful and trustworthy. 
"Mama told me, when I was young
Come sit beside me, my only son
And listen closely, to what I say
And if you do this it'll help you some sunny day
Oh take your time, don't live too fast
Troubles will come and they will pass
Go find a woman and you'll find love
And don't forget son, there is someone up above
And be a simple kind of man
Oh be somethin' you love and understand
Baby be a simple kind of man
Oh won't you do this for me son, if you can?
Forget your lust for the rich man's gold
All that you need is in your soul
And you can do this if you try
All that I want for you my son, is to be satisfied
Boy don't you worry, you'll find yourself
Follow your heart and nothing else
And you can do this, oh babe, if you try
All that I want for you my son, is to be satisfied"
Moms today struggle with trying to transition boys into men. We obviously don't share the same genetic chemistry and we interpret the "male presence" in society differently than our counterparts. Positively and negatively. Mothers can be effective in guiding our young men by simply keeping things in perspective (the big picture), don't lean too far from the middle of the road, always be there for them & tell them you love them-no matter what.  I encourage all of my mother-sisters to hang in there and don't give up on these Future Fathers of America. Their potential is beyond the limits of our universe.....
And I want to wish my Daddy-O a Happy Father's Day. This one's from the year you became a dad....enjoy!
Don't miss these upcoming blogposts:
My addiction to song lyrics continues with a lesson about Vampire Weekend
A Dogblog with ramblings about training our weiner dog for the weiner dog races....along with a cool recipe for Little Piggies in a Blanket....
 Peace & Rock & Roll,
Lanea Stagg
Recipe Records