Random Samplings of a Logical Mind 2

By Lynn Woolley
October 30, 2019

Who knows what weirdness lurks in the mind of a radical conservative?  That’s what a Random Samples column is designed to discover.  So, gentle reader, plod ahead…

Can the United States survive a Democratic administration?

My answer to that is implicit in the question.  No.  I shudder just listening to the candidates in debates as they talk about their spending plans.  Elizabeth Warren, now in the upper tier, now wants Medicare for All, universal childcare, and a wealth tax.  “Gropey” Joe Biden is out talking about free college tuition.  Virtually all the candidates had to kiss the ring of the Rev. Al Sharpton and promise reparations for slavery.  Of course, Bernie Sanders, who just had a heart attack and probably benefited from free-market treatments, wants to out-free the others while he attacks pharmaceutical companies that may have just saved his life.

I still think, as I have for a long while, that Warren will be the nominee.  After all, the she’s an academic elite, a woman, and 1/1000th Native American!  If the Dems decide to go socialist, she might live long enough for two terms.  But if ANY of the current crop of candidates is elected, we could be looking at – who knows? — $70 trillion in new spending over the next decade.  If that happens, the economy will collapse. 

So expect her Hillary-ness or Michelle Obama to jump in.  Remember, the Dems want a woman as their nominee except for Tulsi Gabbard.  But Hillary Clinton identified as a woman.  Wait.  Isn’t she one?  I’m confused.

[UPDATE 4/9/20: Right now, it appears that Biden is in as the nominee. But keep your eye on new York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.]

Of radio and podcasting.

I did my first podcast on September 26 of this year.  A month earlier, I could not have told you how one is made or downloaded.  While I was general manager of KNCT-FM at Central Texas College, I received a daily podcasting newsletter – all of which was Greek to me.  But there’s nothing like doing something to learn how to do it.  I was a guest on the Vic Feazell podcast out of Waco, and Vic and his IT guy Jonathan Zemek insisted I that should jump in.  They got me started and then Greg Hansen who is a great IT guy, graphic designer and part owner of WBDaily helped me set up the studio.  Now I can create a podcast in my sleep, which is scary.

Where is all this podcasting stuff going?  I think it will be the replacement for talk radio.  Not yet.  The two formats co-exist.  But when Rush Limbaugh retires, talk radio is in big trouble.  Rush isn’t the only great host on radio, but he’s the only one that stations build an entire broadcast day around.  And we’re talking stations in big markets like Dallas and Chicago.

In smaller markets, “clusters” of radio station are all about two things:  Not paying a large staff and selling their digital products.  Radio, as crazy as it seems, is now just an afterthought to some radio companies.  Here is what will likely happen:

Upcoming talk show talent that apply at a radio station will be told that they have to buy the airtime – and then go sell commercials themselves.  This is the new model that is replacing the old one where the station hired the talent, paid a salary and benefits and the sales departments then goes out and brings in the revenue.

Those days are drawing to a close.  The new talent would rather spend a few dollars, set up a small home studio and do a podcast.  Younger listeners prefer that format because they can listen over their phones – and listen on demand whenever they want.  That’s where I am.  My podcast audience is slowly growing – and if Facebook will ever allow me to promote with sponsored ads, I can start to grow faster.  At present, Facebook doesn’t like my podcast and will not accept my advertising.  Nor that of The Epoch Times and other conservative outlets.  

Predictions:  Podcasting will replace talk radio almost entirely within 5 years.  Facebook, because it’s a biased monopoly, will be broken up by the government, as it should be.

Meanwhile, if you miss my old radio show, you might enjoy Planet Logic.  Find it online at www.PlanetLogic.us or @PlanetLogic on Facebook and Twitter and on most podcast sites and phone apps.  Just search for Planet Logic and you can’t miss it.

My name is Sam Hall – damn your eyes.

Sam Hall was a murderer (in folklore) who was on trial and was having his say at all the people in the courtroom.  In the Johnny Cash song, he’d call them out and then yell “damn your eyes!”  It’s such a weird song, and while I was putting the chords and lyrics into my iPad, I began to wonder about it.  So I looked it up.  Here’s what Wikipedia has to say:

“Sam Hall” is an old English folk song about a bitterly unrepentant criminal condemned to death (Roud #369). Prior to the mid-19th century it was called “Jack Hall”, after an infamous English thief, who was hanged in 1707 at Tyburn. Jack Hall’s parents sold him as a climbing boy for one guinea, which is why most versions of the song identify Sam or Jack Hall as a chimney sweep.

The Johnny Cash version is countrified, but unforgettable.  It will stick in your head.  Also, take a listen to the version recorded by the Dubliners in the 60’s.  It’s Irish flavored and probably more accurate to the original version of the song, even to identifying Sam as a chimney sweep.  “Damn your eyes” is not present here and the song’s comedic value as sung by Cash is absent.

The Dubliners, meanwhile, are a treasure and their body of work is an example of why some us old folkies still love the genre.  If you ever have a chance to hear more of them, do it.  Also, the work of Jimmy Driftwood was countrified by Johnny Horton and Eddie Arnold – but take a listen to the original versions of “The Battle of New Orleans” and “Tennessee Stud.”  He wrote both of those songs, but nobody remembers.  Also, his version of “Pretty Mary” is even better than that of Peter, Paul & Mary. 

My baseball hero.

Al Kaline. Published by the Detroit Tigers without any copyright notice in 1957.

When I was a kid, baseball was king. 

We even got to bring transistor radios to school during the World Series.  We all knew names like Roger Maris, Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, Sandy Koufax, and so on.  But my hero was an outfielder for the Detroit Tigers named Al Kaline.  I actually preferred the Dodgers, but Kaline had something special and I followed him to the extent that I could in those days.

Kaline had a loyalty to his team that isn’t present today; he played his entire 22 years as a Tiger.  He was selected to 18 All-Star games.  When his playing days were over, he stayed with the team in the front office.  Some years ago, I had a chance to see a game at Comerica Park, which was new at the time.  Trust me, you still find Al Kaline’s name in prominent places at that field.  As I write, Kaline is 84 years old and is called “Mr. Tiger.”  Al Kaline married his high school sweetheart, Madge Louise Hamilton, in 1954 and they had two sons.  It would be an honor to meet him.

NOTE: Al Kaline died in his home in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, on April 6, 2020.

Rock songs that broke the mold.

I like to think about music in different ways. 

If you go back to the old studio system of recording, you’ll find that an artist was found and groomed.  Songwriters would come in and provide material, and the whole thing boiled down to heavily managed talent that would sell records and draw a concert crowd.

All that started to thaw a bit with the advent of Chuck Berry and Buddy Holly.  These guys were the first rock stars to write and record their own material.  Unlike Elvis, they weren’t handsome enough to play romantic leads in cheesy movies.  On the other hand, everything they did was breaking new ground.  Then came the Beatles.

In the era of John, Paul, George and Ringo, rock and roll took off in all kinds of directions.  There were a few records that became hits that might have been rejected by the labels a decade earlier.  Here are five examples:

  • “Hey Jude” by the Beatles.  This McCartney song is amazing in so many ways.  The melody line is catchy and the run-time of the song was far longer than most – something record executives tried to avoid.  But the main thing that sticks out about this song is a  long, repeated na-na-na-nanana that seems to last forever, yet never gets old.  How did Paul do that?
  • “Revolution” by the Beatles.  This Lennon song is the flipside of “Hey Jude” and is just as innovative.  It was a “heavy” song with lots of fuzz guitar (also a no-no to record companies then) and it sympathized with current protests while questioning some of the tactics.  Note that there were three versions of “Revolution” recorded. “Revolution1” was the album cut — a slower, blues-style version. The hard-rock version was the flip side to “Hey Jude.”
  • “American Pie” by Don McLean.  This song was so long that the 45 RPM version spit it up between the two sides.  It was loosely about “the day the music died,” the plane crash that took the life of Buddy Holly; in fact this record established that phrase that now refers to Holly’s death.  No one really knows what all the lyrics mean, but Bud Buschardt at 570 WFAA once wrote a long essay on possible meanings.
  • “Good Vibrations” by the Beach Boys.   Brian Wilson may have been fascinated by cosmic vibrations, but I’ll bet the Beatles were in his mind when he wrote this production piece.   The two bands inspired each other to innovate – and this record is like nothing that came before.
  • “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen.  The late Freddie Mercury wrote it and made it work.  Wikipedia calls it a “a six-minute suite, consisting of several sections without a chorus: an intro, a ballad segment, an operatic passage, a hard rock part and a reflective coda.   Don’t try this at home – unless you’re really talented.

That’s all for now, but watch for another Random Samplings column in the near future.  Damn your eyes!

Lynn Woolley is a Texas-based author, broadcaster, and songwriter.

Follow his podcast at https://www.PlanetLogic.us
Check out his author’s page at https://www.Amazon.com/author/lynnwoolley.  Order books direct from Lynn at https://PlanetLogicPress.Square.Site
Email Lynn at lwoolley9189@gmail.com.

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