I Need Some Advice…

For an upcoming funeral. The deceased was a Christmas-and-Easter churchgoer; most (a slim majority) of the extended family are atheist, with a mix of religions (mostly various Protestant Christian) a strong minority. And one daughter, Catholic, who wants to sing The Lord’s Prayer at the memorial.

The question I was asked, and which I am passing along to you… can you think of a compromise song? Something that won’t have either the religious or the atheist half of the attendees rolling their eyes?

Hmmm.. the lord’s prayer? Last time I was at a family gathering of a substantial number of people, just saying the lord’s prayer was hilarious, with a handful of us just looking around for the other atheists in the crowd, and two strange moments when different versions of the prayer collided–“debts” versus “trespasses”, and “for thine is the kingdom…” which only half the people said. When even the prayer named for your religion’s savior divides rather than unites the various Christian sects, there has got to be something better to sing to a diverse group.

Frogwhompers And Buffaloes

So… Greta is having fun with the Buffalo game. Which, frankly, is a cool game, but which I got to a bit late. My entry was “The New Vinton County Frogwhompers Marching, Singing, Strumming And Plucking Buffalo, Incorporated” (If you read Greta’s rules, you’ll understand).

The Frogwhompers (for short) were a “New-Grass” band–bluegrass, but with modern influences, from the Beatles to the Grateful Dead to The Monkees… I saw them in concert, and bought (and had autographed!) their album.

So… First off, the Frogwhompers– “Sweet Ohio”, by Jim McGaw (one of the Frogwhompers, so one of their original songs):

This was within a year of when I saw them, so these are the Frogwhompers I remember. Original songs, but also traditional and covers. I don’t know whether “Dark Hollow” counts as traditional or as cover, but the Grateful Dead did a version, and so did the Frogwhompers:

The Frogwhompers were fantastic… which musicians did you see locally, who could have (we won’t go into “should have”) made it big? I have another band I’ll save for the comments; I want to know yours.

1957 (Beep! Beep!)

On this date, little Sputnik was shot into space
Just one shot, of many, in a war-proxy race
There were thousands, or millions, who were all losing sleep
Cos an object above them was going “beep…beep…”
There were others, of course, who were not so entranced–
When they heard the “beep…beep…” they just got up and danced.

Louis Prima, “Beep! Beep!”, recorded 1957. Lyrics, if you want.

In honor of Sputnik, launched this day (October 4) in 1957.


Just passing along a link; much too busy for anything else at the moment. You may have already seen it, but NPR has a collection of 100 songs from artists at SXSW (South by Southwest), the music festival in Austin. I’ve shared this with a few family and friends, with nothing but positive feedback, and I have, myself, listened up to the 70’s (out of the 100) at this point, and have only skipped ahead two or three times–a relatively amazing percentage, when it comes to something as subjective as “good music”.

So, yeah, at the link (here it is again), there is a zip file of 100 free songs, so you have nothing to lose but time.

Of course, when I put it that way… that’s the one thing no one can ever pay you back, and arguably among the most precious of commodities. Fair enough; for me, it’s a good collection thus far. If you hate it… quit listening and go do something else.

(I do note that it is really neat, or weird, or something, that a decade can have a sound–but compare this collection to, say, the ’80s. Or the turn of the millennium. I wonder how many years it will be before this collection is … quaint.)

Paper Moon

So I was just listening to the radio, and a version of “Paper Moon” came on. This one was an instrumental, and I wish I could tell you who it was, but I don’t know. But it got me thinking… “Paper Moon” has got to be in the very short list of Best Songs Ever Written. As in, if I had done nothing else in my life but write “Paper Moon”, I could die happy with a well-earned feeling of accomplishment.

Those of you who know the song… where do you rank it? Those of you who don’t… get off of my lawn!

The immortal Ella

Nat, even better than Ella (and first in my book)

Frank, probably more popular than either, but third in my book

Some guy named Paul, who I ordinarily love, but who is up against Ella, Nat, & Frank.

Oh, my… Just found this. I already told you Nat is the best… this version is even better than the one above… so I’ll just put it here. A reminder that he was not merely a phenomenal vocalist, but a pianist of the first order. And yes, I’d trade every post of The Digital Cuttlefish for the genius in this one video. Too bad I can’t.

Losing My Religion In A Major Way

Well, a major key, actually. Via Open Culture, a bit of computer rejigging by MajorScaledTV, turns a familiar minor-key song… weird:

Sure, pretty much everybody will prefer the original, but this is a neat exercise. I just wonder how many times I will have to listen to it before my eyelid stops twitching.

(Ok, you want real weirdness? The Doors’ classic “Riders On The Storm”, converted to major key. Truly creepy.)


My new plan… is to listen to this until it sounds normal. Then, listen to the original again, to see if it is immediately better, or if it just sounds weird.

I *Told* You I Have The Best Commenters…

As a public service for those who read the posts, but don’t look at comments, I want to show off some of the songwriting abilities of commenters “badgersdaughter” and “zekehoskin”. I had invited readers to contribute their own verses to “What did you do in the war (against Christmas)?“…

From badgersdaughter:

I sent my love to the War Against Christmas,
I sent my love to the War!
It’s been cold, it’s been hard;
He maxed out our last card–
And we’ve never been maxed out before!
‘Next the half-set-up tree
I weep one bitter plea:
Will he come home to help with decor?
I sent my love to the War Against Christmas,
When will he return from the War?


Mother, I’m off to the War Against Christmas–
Mother, I’m off to the War!
Oh Mother, don’t cry–
With the angels I fly;
“God and country”, my duty I swore:
But I’m weary and sick,
For old General Nick
Left a coal in our esprit-de-corps.
Mother, I’m off to the War Against Christmas,
Mother, I’m off to the War!

And from zekehoskin:

Are you still fighting the War Against Christmas?
Are you still fighting the War?
Are you sticking your neck
Out for President Beck
And the faith that – by law – we adore?
The Earth is still young,
All the atheists hung*
And history’s really a bore –
Are you still fighting the War Against Christmas?
Are you still fighting the War?

* All right, hanged. I’m boasting.

See what wonderful stuff you miss when you don’t read the comments?