Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Peter Tork, 1942--2019


It's always sad to note the passing of a musician/actor/artist you've admired all your life, and this is no different.

I've been a Monkees fan since I saw reruns of the series on UHF TV as a very young child, and my love for them was solidified when they reunited in 1986. I was fortunate to attend their tour date at Veterans Stadium here in Philadelphia, and my friends and I were inspired to dive deep into their albums that were reissued at that time. We were forever hooked. And it was clear to me even then that Peter Tork, despite being the quiet "dummy" of the band, was the most talented musician.

My respect for him grew as I matured, and I was blown away by his talent back in 2011 when I saw the band on tour again. I'm glad I got to see him again one more time. Now that he is gone, I will hold those memories even closer than before.

Here is a small sample of his best work, both as a singer and songwriter. Rest in peace, Peter.



Thursday, February 14, 2019

The Muppet Valentine Show on the Advent Calendar House Podcast!


Hello everyone, Happy Valentine's Day!

I have a great way for you to celebrate this lovely day--by listening to me and two other fine folks discuss an obscure Muppets special!

Last month, I was lucky enough to be invited to participate in an episode of the Advent Calendar House podcast, which discusses classic Christmas TV specials and movies, with occasional forays into other holidays. This time, Valentine's Day is a foray!

Podcast host Mike Westfall and guest Joey O and I discuss 1974's The Muppet Valentine Show, a special that doubled as a pilot for The Muppet Show. The special is quite different from the celebrational, Muppetational program we all know and love. You can check out the special on YouTube here, and listen to the podcast below!



Enjoy! And thanks once again to Mike for allowing me on the show. Thanks Mike! Happy Back to the Future Day!




Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Goffin/King Demos of Monkees Songs



This past weekend, my daughter and I enjoyed seeing the touring version of the Broadway musical Beautiful: The Carole King Musical. One of the many great songs co-written by King featured in the show is "Pleasant Valley Sunday," made famous by the Monkees. However, although that's the biggest hit written by the duo to be performed by the band, the Monkees recorded several other great songs by Gerry Goffin and King. Here are a few examples, with demos recorded by King featured first, followed by the Monkees' final version.

From the band's debut album, here is "Take a Giant Step." First is a country/western style demo by King, followed by a psychedelic folk fusion by the Monkees.





Next is "Sometime in the Morning," featured on the band's sophomore album More of the Monkees. Due to the swiftness in which the album was released and the impressiveness of King's demo, producers simply added Mickey Dolenz's vocal over King's recording.




Finally, a departure from the usual Goffin/King style, the heavily psychedelic ode "The Porpoise Song," written and recorded for the Monkees' movie Head. I love the Latin phrase King throws on at the beginning and end of her demo.




This isn't the first time I shared a Goffin/King demo of a Monkees song. You can check out King's demo for Pleasant Valley Sunday here.

Demos like this help music fans really appreciate the evolution of a song from first writing to final production. The twists and turns a song takes during this process is fascinating to me. I hope it is for you too.

Thanks!


Sunday, January 6, 2019

Dick Van Dyke and the Peanuts Gang, CBS On The Air (1978)



Hello everyone, Happy New Year!

After a couple weeks' break for the holidays, I'm back, at least for this post. Things may be slow this month as I continue to get back into the swing of things, but I will be back full time soon.

Today I offer a brief clip of two of my favorite performers: Dick Van Dyke, and the Peanuts gang. This momentous occasion occurred on the five-night special CBS On The Air, which aired during 1978 for CBS' 50th anniversary. Here, Van Dyke dances with the Peanuts characters similarly to the way he did with the animated characters in Mary Poppins. A cute treat I was happy to find by accident without knowing it existed.

Enjoy!


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