Confessions of a TV Addict #15: Rambling On About The Cowsills, LOVE AMERICAN STYLE, HAPPY DAYS, and The Archies!


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Last week, I attended one of those 60’s nostalgia concerts, this one called “The Happy Together Tour”. Headlining the bill was The Turtles (well actually A Turtle, but we’ll get to that later), Chuck Negron of Three Dog Night, Gary Puckett (minus The Union Gap), the founding fathers of The Buckinghams, The Classics IV (well, two of them anyways… The Classics II?), and the surviving members of The Cowsills.

For those of you unaware, The Cowsills were a family band from Newport, RI consisting of brothers Bill, Bob, Barry, John, and Paul; sister Susan, and Mom Barbara, who had a string of bubblegum pop hits in the late 60’s beginning with “The Rain, The Park, & Other Things”:

Bill, Paul, and Susan entertained the crowd with that, plus “We Can Fly”, “Indian Lake”, “Hair”and another number they introduced to the world, “The Theme from LOVE, AMERICAN STYLE”, which brings me…

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Confession of a TV Addict #13: Remembering Peter Tork and The Monkees


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Before the advent of cable and MTV and music videos, there was The Monkees. Now I know some of you are going give me flak about “The Pre-Fab Four”, how they weren’t a real band, just a commercialized, bubblegum TV concept, so let me put this in perspective… if you were an eight-year-old kid  like me back in The Monkees’ heyday, you watched the show every week, bought the records, and actually enjoyed them! That’s where I’m coming from, and that’s why I’m writing this tribute to the late Peter Tork, who passed away today of cancer at age 77.

Peter Thorkleson was born in Washington, D.C. on February 13, 1942, and as a child loved music, learning to play piano, guitar, bass, and banjo early on. After college, he shortened his name to Tork and hit New York City, becoming part of the burgeoning Greenwich Village folk scene. He…

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In Memoriam 2018: Music


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There was no bigger loss in the music world than the death of ‘Queen of Soul’ Aretha Franklin at age 76. Born in Memphis and raised in Detroit, Aretha originally sang Gospel at her father Rev. C.L. Franklin’s revivals. She signed on with Columbia Records, who tried to pigeonhole her with safe Easy Listening standards. Moving over to Atlantic Records in 1966, Aretha began recording at Muscle Shoals for producer Jerry Wexler, and belted out R&B hit after hit: the raucous “Respect”, “Baby I Love You”, “Natural Woman”, “Chain of Fools”, “Since You’ve Been Gone”, “Think”, “Spanish Harlem”, “Until You Come Back to Me”. Hitting a slump in the mid-70’s, Aretha came back strong with 80’s successes “Jump To It”, “Freeway of Love”, “Who’s Zoomin’ Who”, and duets with Eurythmics (“Sisters Are Doin’ It for Themselves”) and George Michael (‘I Knew You Were Waiting for Me”). The word “icon” gets…

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Song of the Day: Penthouse Pauper by Creedence Clearwater Revival


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I sure do miss sharing some of my favorite songs and music with y’all.

As part of my return to the site I’d like to share one of my current favorite songs (well, it’s an all-time favorite but have been listening to it a lot of late). It’s a song I first heard as a wee lad of no more than probably 7 or 8. Time becomes quite hazy in my advancing years.

My dad was a huge Creedence Clearwater Revival fan and he would constantly play their albums, especially his favorite tracks, during road trips and just driving around the area. One day it would be CCR the next another band he liked.

“Penthouse Pauper” came back to my radar after it was featured prominently in last year’s Marvels Netflix series The Punisher. The moment the song began to play in the background it brought back good memories and it has since returned to my constant playing and listening of this classic blues-rock song.

Penthouse Pauper

“Now, if I was a bricklayer,
I wouldn’t build just anything;
And if I was a ball player,
I wouldn’t play no second string.
And if I were some jew’lry, baby;
Lord, I’d have to be a diamond ring.
If I were a secret, Lord, I never would be told.
If I were a jug of wine, Lord, my flavor would be old.
I could be most anything,
But it got to be twenty-four karat solid gold, oh.
If I were a gambler, you know I’d never lose,
And if I were a guitar player,
Lord, I’d have to play the blues.
If I was a hacksaw, my blade would be razor sharp.
If I were a politician, I could prove that monkeys talk.
You can find the tallest building,
Lord, I’d have me the house on top.
Oh, let’s go!
All right, keep goin’!
I’m the penthouse pauper;
I got nothin’ to my name.
I’m the penthouse pauper; baby,
I got nothing to my name.
I can be most anything,
‘Cause when you got nothin’ it’s all the same.
Oh, let’s move to this song!
Lord, look at my penthouse.”

Rockin’ in the Film World #16: Herman’s Hermits in HOLD ON! (MGM 1966)


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In yesterday’s  ‘One Hit Wonders’ post on the Blues Magoos, I told you Dear Readers my first concert was headlined by Herman’s Hermits, five non-threatening teens from Manchester, UK – Karl Greene, Barry Whitwam, Derek ‘Lek’ Leckenby, Keith Hopwood, and lead singer Peter Blair Denis Bernard Noone, known as Herman for his slight resemblance to cartoon character Sherman (of “Mr. Peabody and…’ fame). Their infectious, peppy pop rock and Herman’s toothy grin made the teenyboppers scream with delight, with hits like “I’m Into Something Good”, “Mrs. Brown You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter”, and “I’m Henry the VIII, I Am”. Even parents liked The Hermits, and they seemed destined to follow in the cinematic footsteps of The Beatles. MGM, who released their records stateside, concocted a ball of fluff for Herman and the lads called HOLD ON!, and any resemblance between that title and The Fab Four’s HELP! is strictly not

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One Hit Wonders #10: “Summertime Blues” by Blue Cheer (Philips Records 1968)


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Direct from Haight-Ashbury, psychedelic hard rockers Blue Cheer ushered in the Age of Heavy Metal with “Summertime Blues”, reaching #14 on the Billboard charts in 1968 (Crank It Up LOUD!):

Singer/bassist Dickie Peterson, who lived on San Francisco’s Haight Street during the “Summer of Love” days, originally formed the band as a five-piece group, but stripped down to the power trio model popularized by Cream and The Jimi Hendrix Experience, with Leigh Stephens on guitar and Paul Whaley on drums. Blue Cheer’s hair was longer, and their sound more ear-splitting, than anyone around, and the band’s thundering heavy metal noise made both the single and their debut album “Vincebus Eruptum” into classics of early metal then and collector’s items today.

Blue Cheer’s classic lineup: Dickie Peterson, Leigh Stephens, and Paul Whaley

The band went through numerous personnel changes before breaking up in 1970. Peterson reformed the group in the 80’s…

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Halloween Havoc!: CHRISTINE (Columbia 1983)


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Stephen King turned 70 last month, and the Master of Horror’s grip on the American psyche is stronger than ever, thanks to the unprecedented horror hit IT!, now playing at a theater near you. King’s macabre novels have been adapted for the screen since 1976’s CARRIE with  varying degrees of success; some have been unabashed genre classics, others complete bombs, most lie somewhere in the middle.

Top: Stephen King 1983
Bottom: John Carpenter 1983

Director John Carpenter had a string of successes beginning with 1978’s seminal slasher film HALLOWEEN, but his 1982 remake of THE THING, now considered a masterpiece of the genre, was a box office disappointment. Carpenter took on King’s novel CHRISTINE as a work-for-hire project. I recently watched it for the first time, and think not only is it one of the best adaptations of King’s work to hit the screen, it’s one of Carpenter’s best horror…

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