Wendy’s Word

Not your mama’s blog….

Album Side Wednesday March 26, 2010

Filed under: Music — wendy @ 5:29 pm

Last Wednesday I heard a Billy Joel song that I’ve never before heard on the radio.  Come to find out that it was Album Side Wednesday on 100.3 FM, and they had just played an entire side of Billy Joel’s Glass Houses album.  Album sides all day, woo hoo!

In an earlier posting, I bemoaned the decline of the album in favor of ipod playlists.  I love my ipod, possibly more than I love my husband, but I do miss listening to whole albums.  So I was quite excited by the prospect of Album Side Wednesday.  I did have to work, so I couldn’t listen all day, but I got a good dose of albums in.  Here are the ones I remember:

Glass Houses, Billy Joel: only heard the last song, but it took me back to high school.  I’m sort of embarrassed to admit this, but Billy Joel was the first person I saw in concert.

Physical Graffiti, Led Zeppelin: I didn’t have a proper appreciation for Led Zeppelin when they were actually recording their music.  All the stoners liked Led Zeppelin and I was a nerd.  Not to mention the fact that Stairway to Heaven was always the last song played at dances, and oh yes, did I mention that I was a nerd?  But years later when I’m not as much as of a nerd, I can say that Physical Graffiti is a great album.

The Cars, The Cars: I had this album and I can still predict what song was going to come next.  I was wishing they could play the other side as well, because there are great songs on the other side too.  The popular songs are on side 1, but Moving in Stereo is on side 2.

Rebel Yell, Billy Idol: I almost didn’t listen to this one, but I did because it took me back to my college days.  This album was so 80’s!  But it’s pretty kick-ass for 80’s music.

Achtung Baby, U2: It’s U2.  Do you think I wouldn’t listen?  I wasn’t as familiar with this album, other than One.  It’s a great album.  Listening to the songs that weren’t hits reminds me why we need to listen to whole albums.

Tupelo Honey, Van Morrison:  We were eating dinner when this came on, and I must  say that this was great dinner music.  Which isn’t to put it down as background music, because it deserves more that that.  It’s a beautiful album.

Beggar’s Banquet, Rolling Stones:  I’m not as familiar with this album as with other Rolling Stones’ albums, other than the super-popular songs like Sympathy for the Devil, but it’s classic.

Blonde on Blonde, Bob Dylan:  Need I say anything?  It’s Bob Dylan! It’s Blonde on Blonde!  Amazing how much great music that man wrote.

After the Gold Rush, Neil Young:  I sometimes find Neil Young’s high voice annoying, but I have to admit, this album has some great songs on it.  I especially like Only Love Can Break Your Heart.

Axis: Bold as Love, Jimi Hendrix: Starts out weird but is a great album.  Has Little Wing on it, which is one of the all-time greatest songs in the world.

Speaking in Tongues, Talking Heads: I remember exactly when this album came out.  I was in college and a friend of mine had it.  I loved it from the start and still do.

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Thoroughly Modern Millie March 13, 2010

Filed under: Adventures in Wendyland — wendy @ 6:08 pm

Last night I saw the most amazing production of Thoroughly Modern Millie — put on by my daughter’s middle school.

Granted, we live in LA, land of the entertainment industry.  So we have parents that are professional set designers, kids that take singing and acting lessons, and maybe show biz is in everyone’s blood.  Nonetheless, this is an urban public school, and the production was directed by someone fresh out of college with music direction by the school’s music teachers.

The two female leads had incredible voices.  It’s hard to believe they’re only in middle school.  The big production numbers were well choreographed and amazingly danced.  The score was entirely played by the middle school orchestra.

Of course I’m biased, being a proud parent.  But it wasn’t just me.  Everyone was gushing during intermission, even jaded adolescents.  A radio announcer who was not a parent of a performer saw the show and raved about it on the radio.

The whole experience was a good one for the kids.  They had to audition, had call-backs, and had endless rehearsals after school and on weekends.  They learned lines, songs, and dance choreography, and the orchestra learned the entire score.  The director treated them like professionals, not like kids, and they responded in kind.  The energy among the kids when I would do pick up after rehearsal was high, with kids singing, dancing, and gossiping.

The kids’ creative energy and enthusiasm showed in their performances.  They had three performances, one better than the next.  I can’t wait to see what musical they’ll put on next year!

 

Ben Harper March 8, 2010

Filed under: Music — wendy @ 6:48 pm

Shh…Don’t tell my husband but I’m having a love affair with Ben Harper. Our relationship started years ago, when I was working at LAC+USC Medical Center and a painter came in to paint my office and we started talking about music. Why a painter was painting my office in the middle of the day while I was working in it is a good question, but then again, this is the county we’re talking about. As I said, we were talking about music, me raving about Lou Reed, and he asked me if I liked Ben Harper. I didn’t know who Harper was at the time, but I soon found out, and we’ve been together ever since.

Ben Harper has such a distinctive voice, soft and sweet, but also soulful and passionate.  His guitar playing is also incredible.  He plays acoustic guitar on many songs, but he can also rock it Jimi Hendrix style.  He played the national anthem for one of the 2007 NBA finals games on slide guitar only.  It was great!

Harper’s music is diverse.  Many songs could be called mellow, although in my mind this is a misinterpretation because of the passion in his music.  Other songs clearly fall under the “rock” label.  One of my favorite (and first) albums was There Will Be A Light, which is all gospel music that he recorded with the Blind Boys of Alabama.  I love authentic roots music, so this album was a winner all the way around with me.   Another of my music interests is cover songs, and Ben Harper does some great covers, such as Sexual Healing and Strawberry Fields Forever.

I’ve long owned a couple of Harper’s albums from mid-career on forward, but have only recently acquired his older albums, so I’ve been on a Ben Harper listening kick lately.  He has so many albums that it’s a bit overwhelming.  And I don’t want to burn out and ruin my relationship with Ben Harper forever.  So  I’m taking it one album at a time.  Have I mentioned that Fight For Your Mind is a great album?  Ask me next month, and I’ll have a different recommendation.  As far as I can tell, they’re all great.

So there you have it — my love affair with Ben Harper.  With all the music he’s put out, I’m sure it will last a long time.

 

Food Index…. March 7, 2010

Filed under: Food — wendy @ 10:25 pm

…is now done.  Check it out.

 

Book Index is Done March 6, 2010

Filed under: Books — wendy @ 2:37 pm

Check it out!  The Wendy’s Word book index is complete.  Now maybe a food/recipe index?

 

The Blind Side, by Michael Lewis

Filed under: Books — wendy @ 2:34 pm

My husband loved the movie, The Blind Side, so when a friend offered to loan it to me, I readily took her up on it.  Actually, I asked her, “what’s The Blind Side?” and only made the connection once she admonished me to start reading the Calendar section of the newspaper!

Because of the movie (which I have not seen), I thought the book might be sappy so I was pleased to see that it was written by Michael Lewis.  I read Liar’s Poker, Michael Lewis’ account of his internship year at Salomon Brothers, which was hysterical but also informative about Wall Street.  The Blind Side also alternates between the personal and the informative.  There are detailed explanations of football, which being uninterested in sports, still leave me with the feeling that football is just an outlet for violence (although my husband vociferously disagrees).  But the book is primarily about Michael Oher, a boy from a poor, dysfunctional family who is adopted by a wealthy, white family and he becomes an NFL football player.  For the first time in his life, Michael has his own bed, a steady place to live, material comforts, and most importantly, the love of a stable family.  These advantages enable him to pursue his talents and lead him to college and the NFL.  The book makes us wonder, as the Tuohy’s (who adopted Michael) wonder, how many other kids are out there with talents that lay dormant for lack of opportunity.

The Blind Side is an unsentimental look at a very sentimental story, and is worth a read.

 

Work in Progress — Book Index March 5, 2010

Filed under: Books — wendy @ 12:02 pm

New to Wendy’s Word — I’m working on a book index so you can look up books by title and by author.  You can also find them by clicking on the “Books” category, but the index will provide a succinct list with links to the postings.  You can see what it looks like — it’s up, but not finished yet because it’s tedious work.  Look at the top of the blog on the right hand side for where it says “Book Index.”  Soon to be finished, hopefully!