Daily Archives: October 9, 2009

Friday Night Music Byte

The Last Waltz was a concert by the Canadian rock group, The Band, held on American Thanksgiving Day, November 25, 1976, at Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco. The Last Waltz was advertised as the end of The Band’s illustrious touring career, and the concert saw The Band joined by more than a dozen special guests, including Paul Butterfield, Eric Clapton, Neil Diamond, Bob Dylan, Ronnie Hawkins, Dr. John, Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison, Ringo Starr, Muddy Waters, Ronnie Wood and Neil Young.

The Band was a  group active from 1967 to 1976. The original group (1967-1976) consisted of four Canadians: Robbie Robertson (guitar, piano, vocals); Richard ManuelGarth Hudson (organ, piano, clavinet, accordion, synthesizer, saxophone); and Rick Danko (bass guitar, violin, trombone, vocals), and one American, Levon Helm (drums, mandolin, guitar, bass guitar, vocals). (piano, harmonica, drums, saxophone, organ, vocals);

The members of the Band first came together as they joined rockabilly singer Ronnie Hawkins’ backing group, The Hawks, one by one between 1958 and 1963. Upon leaving Hawkins in 1964 they were known as The Levon Helm Sextet (the sixth member being sax player Jerry Penfound), then Levon and the Hawks (without Penfound). In 1965, they released a single on Ware Records under the name the Canadian Squires, but returned as Levon and the Hawks for a recording session for Atco later in 1965. At about the same time, Bob Dylan recruited Helm and Robertson for two concerts, then the entire group for his U.S. tour in 1965 and world tour in 1966. They also joined him on the informal recordings that later became The Basement Tapes.

Because they were always “the band” to various frontmen, Helm said the name “The Band” worked well when the group came into its own and left Saugerties, New York, to begin recording their own material. They recorded two of the most acclaimed albums of the late 1960s: their 1968 debut Music from Big Pink (featuring the single “The Weight”) and 1969’s The Band. They broke up in 1976, but reformed in 1983 without founding guitarist Robbie Robertson.

Tonight’s video clip is a song from that concert known as Stage Fright. The singer is one of the founding members of The Band, Rick Danko. He was the bassist and did not often sing lead, but he does a great job with this song. By the late 1990s, his lifestyle was taking its toll, particularly his drinking and indulging in a mix of harder drugs and painkillers, the result of a serious car accident in 1968. He continued to be on prescribed opiates, including morphine, throughout the remainder of his life, Danko’s health problems were later compounded by rapid weight gain in the mid 1990s. By 1997, he was chronically obese. That same year, Danko was found guilty of attempting to smuggle heroin into Japan. He told the presiding judge that he had begun using the drug (together with prescription morphine) to fight life-long pain resulting from his 1968 auto accident. On December 10, 1999, just days after the end of a brief tour of the Midwest that included two shows in the Chicago area and a final gig at The Ark in Ann Arbor, Michigan Rick Danko’s heart gave out, and he died in his sleep at his home near Woodstock, New York.

Sarah Palin’s Year Of Unfortunate Events

Palin describes her last 12 months to students at the Wasilla School For The Deaf.

Palin describes her last 12 months to students at the Wasilla School For The Deaf.

For those of us not lucky enough to be from the Great State of Alaska, it is hard to imagine that prior to last year, we had no idea who Sarah Palin was. It now seems that not a day can go by without the subject of Caribou Barbie popping up on television, radio or in print media. She is both cheered and jeered, but not in equal amounts. She has a small but loyal following of uneducated, religiously intolerant, white, racist homophobes that dote over every one of her incoherent Twitter tweets. Those out-of-touch fanatics however, are vastly outnumbered by the scores of civilized Americans that view her as an imbecilic light-weight worthy only of the status of  the target of comedic barbs. Nonetheless, Sarah Palin’s trajectory over the last year has been like that of a shooting star: attention grabbing but short lived prior to burning out.

Indeed, the last twelve months have not been kind to the quitting ex-governor of Alaska. Shall we take an itemized look at some of the unfortunate events that have engulfed Sarah Palin over that period?

– She was revealed by Republican Presidential nominee, John McCain to be his running-mate. The American population responded with a resounding, “Who?”;

– It was revealed that the pedigree of her educational background consisted of attending 5 different mediocre colleges in 6 years before managing to attain only a bachelors dgree;

– It was discovered that the “family values”, “abstinence only”, evangelical christian politician had been impregnated prior to her marriage to the “First Dude.”

– It had been discovered that the “family values”, “abstinence only”, evangelical christian mother had an unwed pregnant teenaged daughter;

– She had those disastrous unscripted televised interviews with Charles Gibson and Katie Couric in which she could not name a single newspaper, magazine or periodical that she reads and failed to be able to name any Supreme Court decision other than Roe v. Wade;

– She could not accurately describe to a fifth grader the role of the Vice President of the United States;

– She was mercilessly lampooned by television comics, the most notable being Tina Fey;

– It was revealed that the “Country First” Sarah Palin’s spouse had been a card carrying member of the Alaskan Independence Party (AIP) who’s main agenda is to have the state secede from the United States;

– It was revealed that Sarah Palin, in her capacity as Governor of Alaska, had possibly attended AIP conventions and definitely provided official videotaped supportive messages to at least one of their conventions;

– Her sister-in=law and the mother-in-law to be of her pregnant daughter were both arrested;

– It was revealed that she actually said, “Thanks” before saying, “Thanks, but no thanks” regarding that “bridge to nowhere”;

– Subsequent to learning that Palin unsuccessfully tried to pressure Alaska Public Safety Commissioner Walter Monegan to fire her own brother-in-law (Mike Wooten), the Branchflower investigative report stated, “that Palin abused her power as governor and violated the state’s Executive Branch Ethics Act when her office pressured Monegan to fire Wooten.” The report also stated that “Governor Palin knowingly permitted a situation to continue where impermissible pressure was placed on several subordinates to advance a personal agenda, to wit: to get Trooper Michael Wooten fired.” The report also said that Palin “permitted Todd Palin to use the Governor’s office […] to continue to contact subordinate state employees in an effort to find some way to get Trooper Wooten fired.” from the state police;

– She uttered political hate speech by repeatedly claiming at political rallies that Democratic Presidential nominee Barack Obama had been “palling around with terrorists”;

– John McCain and she were soundly defeated in the 2008 Presidential election;

– It was revealed that she accepted over $ 150,000.00 dollars worth of clothing for herself and her family from the Republican National Committee at a time when most working class Americans were suffering through an economic recession;

– She was found to have breached ethics and tax rules for failing to report as income, certain unreimbursed travel expenses and per diem housing allowances while acting as Governor of Alaska;

– With more than two years remaining in her term, she quit the office of Governor of Alaska;

– Despite her degree in journalism, she elected to have her memoir written by a ghost-writer;

– While opposing health care reform legislation, she fictitiously claimed that the reform would contain “death panels” to shorten the lives of senior citizens; and

– Her husband, Todd quit his job with oil giant British Petroleum.

And that my friends (as John McCain would say) is only a partial list of the series of unfortunate events that have surrounded Sarah Palin in the last year. Will there be more in the upcoming year? “Ya Betcha !!!”

Before proceeding to today’s song parody, please take a little time to enjoy the following video clip of actor William Shatner reading, verbatim, Sarah Palin’s resignation speech from last July.

If you enjoyed William Shatner in the video clip, you will also enjoy him performing his rendition of the song, It Was A Very Good Year which is today’s song parody. Please enjoy.

In honor of the troops, please click on the song link to familiarize yourselves with Shatner’s rendition of this tune and to have more fun singing along with the parody.

It Was A Very Good Year song link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U0GAjK64VZg

IT WAS A VERY BAD YEAR

(sung to the William Shatner version of the song “It Was A Very Good Year”)

When she was seventeen
It was a very good year
It was a very good year for this small town girl
That was not too bright
With pageant queen height
A sight to be seen
When she was seventeen

When she was twenty-four
It was a not so good year
It was a not so good year for this pretty girl
She was now a pair
In maternity wear
No wedding décor
When she was twenty-four

When she was forty-five
It was a hell of a year
It was a hell of a year for this rejected girl
Who made so many scenes
And had a pregnant teen
Her future hope died
When she was forty-five

But now her days are short
Cuz it has been a very bad year
And now Sarah Palin’s life is one big whine
She’s hit the dregs
Been knocked down a few pegs
She’s the target of jeer
She’s had a very bad year.