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Entry date: 3-12-2024 – Tuesday Time? – Letters to My Friends

Dear Friends,

 

What will this day bring? Michael and I headed to Scottsdale for a walk in the desert. North Scottsdale, out by where the houses will soon have no water. I’ve wanted to see these trails before but have yet to take the hike.

 

Yesterday was a nice relaxing day. Had my first physical since before the ‘Vid and things are okay. I only have to have a couple of tests done. I suppose that is good for people in my age range. I’m also going to try a new medication that has been successful for people with nerve issues.

 

My neck and left shoulder are pretty much fucked. Could be from rocking the bass for the last 30 years and head banging. Could just be that I have a 54-year-old neck that has been living a double life. Either way, it sends me almost constant reminders that I’ve abused myself. I probably have a pinched nerve somewhere.

These reminders are in the form of some light buzzing in my left arm and hand to out and out pain in the left bicep. Looks like my ticker is still doing its job, though, so we can hopefully rule out heart disease as the culprit. Hopefully the new medicine will help.

 

I’ve been going to the same GP since I was a pretty young dude. I like him a lot and he’s kind of a no bullshit guy. We get along well, too, which is nice. It was good to see him after so long. I probably should not be such a stranger. I shared with him that I want to live for a long time, so I guess that means we kind of have a verbal contract now for him to keep me alive.

 

That’s how that works, right?

 

*****

 

Not sure what happened yesterday. The blog didn’t run at 6AM like I set it to do. I might have fucked up and set it for 6PM. I hate that stuff. Seems like good ol’ WIX is up to it’s weirdness again lately.

 

I should probably post a few more records on the site soon, too, so I don’t get too far behind.

 

***** 

 

The Suns pulled one out of their asses last night. From what I was seeing on the internet, they were playing like ass in the beginning of the game, then had a big 3rd quarter, then almost coughed it up. I listened a bit while I was out on a quick errand, but I just don’t see the point in coughing up any dough to watch these guys.

 

They are, as I have said, ‘Fool’s Gold.’ More disappointment to come for us desert dwelling hoops fans.

 

*****

 

 

My friend, KJ, hipped me to Peggy Lee in 1990 or so. I’m sure I was familiar with some of her work, but KJ put “I Don’t Know Enough About You” on a mixed tape she sent me from college. I fell in love with the song and started searching for a CD with it on there. Eventually I found a copy of The Capitol Collector Series Vol. 1: The Early Years and picked it up.

 

A few years later, I took a music appreciation course at Arizona State University (previously mentioned and highly influential on expanding my record collection) and learned quite a bit about Ms. Lee during the class. She was quite the lady.

 

My appreciation for The Capitol Collector Series Vol. 1: The Early Years only grew after learning more about Peggy Lee. What I love about her style is just how smooth she was while writing quite a bit of her own lyrics and being active in the arranging of her music, too. Lee was terrifically talented and did a fair amount of acting. She was even nominated for an Academy Award for her role in Pete Kelly’s Blues.

 

This collection spans her early years at Capitol Records. In addition to her outstanding vocal work, there is some top notch playing happening here, too. Of the first six tracks, “I Don’t Know Enough About You” and “It’s A Good Day” are my favorites. Lee wrote the lyrics for both of these songs, so I must be partial to her work.

 

“Everything’s Movin’ Too Fast” is another great track here. Who ever is playing the clarinet is great on the song, as is the bass. It’s catchy and just moves along. I can see how people would have dug this one back in the day. As the CD goes on, there are a lot of fun moments, as well as some tear jerkers, too.

 

On the lighter side, “Chi-Baba, Chi-baba (My Bambino Go To Sleep)” is pretty delightful. The guitar work is deft, and I wish I could give credit to whoever’s nimble fingers played the lead. There are extensive (and pretty great) liner notes that came with the CD, but the players are not listed, unfortunately. It could be Dave Barbour, but he’s not listed here like he is on other songs.

 

Barbour and Lee were married for just a little less than a decade, so their pairing was one prominently featured on The Capitol Collector Series Vol. 1: The Early Years. The things you pick up over the years when you check out some of your favorite artists. If I could only remember more important things like where I put my vitamins.

The arrangement of “Golden Earrings” is pretty great on this record, too. Peggy Lee certainly made that song her own. I’m quite fond of “Mañana (Is Soon Enough For Me),” too. It’s a fun arrangement and moves at a pretty brisk pace. It would probably get cancelled today for Lee’s faux Latin accent, but considering the time, I don’t think it was an indication that anyone was an asshole or racist.

 

Sometimes you have to just look at something for what it was at the time. I struggle with the whole “Separating the art from the artist” thing sometimes. I judge differently, I suppose, depending on who it is and how much I love their art. I certainly can’t vilify Lee here for a fun song like “Mañana.”

 

There’s a lot of standard fare until you get down to track 15 which is “Why Don’t You Do Right (Get Me Some Money Too).” This is a fun one, as well. Joe McCoy’s tune has been done by a lot of people, but I like Peggy Lee’s version the best. Records like this make me wish I had one of those time machines. Seeing Peggy Lee in her prime would have been rad.

 

As I sit here and listen to Peggy Lee: The Capitol Collector Series Vol. 1: The Early Years, I am reminded by just how much good music is out there. I’m not always in the mood for a record like this, but when I am, I’m very glad I have it. I’ve picked up a few of her older records on vinyl over the years, too, and I like playing them now and again.

 

There are 25 tracks on The Capitol Collector Series Vol. 1: The Early Years, and all of them are great. Towards the end, Lee sings a few Rodgers and Hammerstein classics like “Bali Ha’I” and “I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair.” The latter is a stand out track, for sure. It’s big and bouncy, just like it should be.

 

Lee’s take on “Ghost Riders in the Sky” is pretty rad, too. She even has a duet with Mel Tormé (“The Old Master Painter”) that’s pretty great. Tormé’s Mellomen were so good. They provide some fantastic backing vocals. Whoever played piano on this one was excellent, as well.

 

“Show Me The Way To Get Out Of This World (‘Cause That’s Where Everything Is)” is a great way to end this collection. The arrangement allows Lee to shine and gives all the players a chance to showcase themselves as well. I almost started to write that “someday I’ll find out” who these people were, but I won’t. Just enjoy some Peggy Lee before you die, though, please. You’ll thank me later on the other side.

 

*****

 

See you tomorrow.



I trimmed the beard when I looked at myself and saw Jerry Garcia looking back at me.

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