# CCXXI…Int’l. Left-hander’s Day Birthday List

It’s not original (if you have been paying attention, you know why, as there is still a lot to do…) but I am still mourning…

Dal's Music Note$

As I mentioned last year, today is a day where, aside from my birthday and all of my family member’s birthdays, that I am really excited about.  In 1976, it was declared International Left-hander’s Day (by whatever Powers-That-Be) to celebrate our uniqueness and not to mention the fact that we are discriminated against (we live in a predominantly right-handed world, after all).  While people use the term “minority” to express religion or color or wealth, I consider myself (and ALL southpaws) the “only true minority”, as we consist of about seven to 10 percent of the population…Just food for thought…

Also, today is the birthday of a good friend of my family, Pakee Ristine, who (although she is right-handed) deserves a shoutout, as it is just sheer coincidence that her birthday is today. Although she has had her share of heartbreaking and soul-shaking moments in her personal life, she has…

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# CCCXLVII…”Empty Spaces”…

My title, of course, is the title of one of the songs from the soundtrack of the cult classic, “Pink Floyd: The Wall”, and, like the song from the movie, sort of describes how I’m feeling at this moment.  Although the song itself can be described as from a loner’s persepective, it really is a testament to my feelings at this time; as the song says, “How should I complete the wall?”  The answer, however, lies in seeing the following true facts.

On this date, four years ago, my late mother-in-law left this earth.  Notwithstanding, the fact that I’ve lost a big piece of my life in my brother, the empty spaces in the title are filled by the innumerable memories I have of those two.  Together, there were no more rabid Yankee fans and now they’re partying with Babe Ruth (traitor LOL) and Phil Rizzuto (who, oddly enough, I saw on Phil Rizzuto day with my brother…that was Tom Seaver’s 300th win…awesome day…), and all the great rock-n-roll stars of their time.

Although, to be brutally honest, the memories will last far beyond human comprehension and, in that, I take solace in the fact that we’re still honoring them by remembering the great times that we were all a part of…and they wouldn’t have it any other way.

The music and the memories that remain are priceless and the most cherishable gifts that they have left us…Heineken’s and screwdrivers up…

/,,,/ ROCK ON FRED & EILEEN \,,,\

 

 

# CCCXLVI…Fredrick V. Johnson (04/17/64 – 08/08/15)…

This somber post comes to you with my family’s blessings, for this world has truly lost a brilliant light by taking my brother, Fredrick, to the “Big Arena”, where he will now be partying and rocking with Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain, etc.  Fred’s knowledge of music almost assuredly passes my own and he will now be able to hang out with the greatest artists of all time.

As far as memories go, there are just way too many to recant on this blog…besides, I’m still trying to absorb the fact that, after 51 years and a relatively smoking-free lifestyle, cancer has taken an individual that epitomized the phrase, “Only the good die young,” as he was nothing short of happy-go-lucky but responsible up to his untimely demise.

He was a wonderful and devoted father of two intelligent children, whom he raised much in the way my father did, and “free-spirited” child of the 60’s (although he rarely touched drugs) and his love of laughter and music (and baseball, too!) is something that the dreaded disease cannot take from any of us.

I would like to thank everyone, both behind the scenes and outside, for your heartfelt (as I can sense them) condolences, as it is (and will be for a while) a truly dark time in history…one of its’ stars has gone out…but in his memory, music will soothe us and illuminate our way.

/,,,/ ROCK ON FUZZY \,,,\

# CCCXLV…Saturday Spotlight, Vol. XXVI…”Underworld”, Symphony X…

{AUTHOR’S NOTE:  With all due respects to anyone reading who knows what’s going on behind the scenes, I talked about this last weekend on this blog…I must do this as it is MY way of dealing with things…}

As I said when I wrote last week’s Spotlight, I have a lot of new material in my collection…most of which is a million times better, musically, than your current “bubblegum” nonsense on the airwaves.  That having been said, it is my privilege to introduce you to a bit of symphonic metal genius…the Middletown, NJ quintet known as Symphony X.  This band has become a more recent addition to my collection, although they’ve actually been around for quite some time (1994) and their most recent release, “Underworld”, is an album that must be listened to old-school style, on a turntable, which is why I am presenting the track list as such.

This album, which is a concept album dealing with the ups-and-downs of addiction (although what particular one escapes me, I am dealing with one myself, thankfully) and the reason that I love this particular band is that they are like my Number One, Dream Theater…you know, the AWESOME symphonic metal band that THEY are…and this particular release from Symphony X is nothing short of brilliance.

From the awesome opening track, the only instrumental “Interlude”, to the end of the album, the up-tempo and heavy “Legend”, it deals with the joys…and pains, natch…that come with owning up to, and therefore conquering (one day at a time), your own personal demons and addictions.  This album’s mastery of symphonic metals use of keyboards and pianos, just accelerated this group to near the upper echelon with its’ awesome flow changes and mood enhancement, as you could really “feel” the pain and anguish that comes with overcoming these things.

Other highlights on the album are; the titular third track, which is just magnificent with the constant signature changes that the band is known for but still flows wonderfully; the fifth track, “Kiss of Fire”, which could be described as a “heavy metal romp” through addiction’s grasp; the sixth track, “Charon” (like the Ferryman to Hell), which is a six-plus minute awesomely constructed composition that even I was impressed with; and the ninth track, “Run With the Devil”, another heavy-style trek dealing with the hazards of the “disease”.

On the whole, with their awesome “Dream Theater-like” composition, even a novice musician can appreciate this album’s melodic nature, as it’s about 150,000 or so “notes”, all coming at you in ways that you’d never BELIEVE were possible in human history.  Take it from someone who appreciates mostly all music…this is something that, if you listen to it, you might actually enjoy.

I am listing the times of the tracks for one reason; if you don’t listen to it, in order, it doesn’t work…they are this long because they tell a story from one end to the other.  ‘Nuff said…

/,,,/ ROCK ON DUDEZ \,,,\

Side A:  1) Overture [2:13]; 2) Nevermore [5:30]; 3) Underworld [5:48]; 4) Without You [5:51]; 5) Kiss of Fire [5:10]; 6) Charon [6:07].

Side B:  7) To Hell and Back [9:24]; 8) In My Darkest Hour [4:22]; 9) Run With the Devil [5:38]; 10) Swansong [7:29]; 11) Legend [6:30].

OVERALL RATING:  *****

# CCCXVIII…Usual Birthday Fare…

Sorry but my patience, energy and hope took a vacation…

Dal's Music Note$

After all of the excitement that my blog has given me in the past couple of days, I feel that I should warn you that it’s “back-to-basics” here, as two people in my life share today as their birthday; my good close friend Sandra (whose husband Angel I wrote about last week) and my ex-wife, JoAnn, who celebrates 21 for the 20th time.

Both of these individuals deserve today’s spotlight, as they prevalently figured into my life in the last umpteenth years.  They are still very close to my heart and I wish both of them many happy more.

As for today’s list of their twins, former Yankee great Don Larsen (1929), former country/pop artist of the 70s, B.J. Thomas (1942), Smallville‘s Lionel Luthor, Mr. John Glover (1944), actor David Rasche, from the late 80s Sledge Hammer! TV series (1944), rotund actor Wayne Knight (1955), heavy metal iconic vocalist…

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# CCCXLIV…No Politics, POTUS Birthday Wishes…

On August 4, 1961, in Honolulu, Hawaii, 44th President Barack Obama was born.  Although this blog rarely ever delves into the political world, I just wanted to try and kill the Obama-bashing that is currently going on.  Yes, he made history by being elected to the highest political office in this great country, which he obviously did not do by himself; we elected him with our “foolproof” election system (sarcasm note).

Before I go, however, I would like you to think for a second; with President Obama’s time in office coming to an end, and the current hodgepodge of politicians and business people hoping to become a replacement for him, do you HONESTLY believe that the next guy/gal in the office will do any better?  My personal opinion is that whoever DOES get elected will make Barack Obama look like a saint!

In the words of the immortal Marilyn Monroe, “Happy birthday, Mr. President”…and many happy more!!!

As I have not posted birthdays on this date (two previous years were show reviews), I now present the August 4th birthday twins; late trumpeter/singer Louis Armstrong (1901-1971), former New York Mets’ left fielder Cleon Jones (1942), actor Richard Belzer (1944), actor/singer Billy Bob Thornton (1955), boxer Gerry Cooney (1956) and retired wrestling superstar Dean Malenko was born in 1960,

Also celebrating today are; actress Lauren Tom (1961), former pitcher Roger Clemens (1962), Sepultura and Soulfly singer/guitarist Max Cavalera (1969), actor Michael DeLuise (1969), racer Jeff Gordon (1971), wrestling journeyman Kazarian (1977), auto racing sensation Kurt Busch (1978) and “American Idol” runner-up Crystal Bowersox was born in 1985.

/,,,/ ROCK ON DUDEZ \,,,\

# CCCXLIII…Saturday Spotlight, Vol. XXV…”Shockwave Supernova”, Joe Satriani…

As I present to you, my adoring public and fans, this milestone edition of the Saturday Spotlight, it has dawned on me that most of you don’t even know who Joe Satriani is in the grand musical scheme.  This latest release by the guitar maestro is nothing short of a phenomenon, as from the opening, titular track to the closing “Goodbye Supernova” (which is a 5:48 “ballad” that is a great finisher), he continues to affirm the reason that he is Number 4 on my Top Ten.

Being that I am a true fan of the legend, I can honestly say that, if you are a fan like me (remember, I’ve seen him live LOL), you will enjoy this, his 15th release since 1986.  This album has everything to expect from a Joe Satriani album; lots of flaming guitar riffs, bass lines that accommodate and move you as well, piano interludes and non-stop instrumental madness that only HE can produce.

The most enjoyable tracks on the album (list to follow) are; Track 2 – “Lost in a Memory”, a soft, keyboard-based tune that is very soothing; Track 3 – “Crazy Joey”, a jazzy-upbeat track that is reminiscent of his persona; Track 7 – “San Franscisco Blue”, a five-star, 60’s type song that has awesome finger-work; Track 9 – “All of My Life”, a ballad-type guitar romp that almost tells a story; Track 13 – “If There Is No Heaven”, an upward tempo set of chords that has a beautiful bass part in the middle; and Track 15 – “Goodbye Supernova”, a slow-moving track that really finishes a masterpiece.

His jaw-dropping serenades (guitar-work, not singing on this album) will keep you moved throughout the entire album.  If you don’t know about him, by all means, look him up…you will not be disappointed by any album or track you may find.  I should know…been a fan for many years.

Also, if you interested, his side project is with the Sammy Hagar-led Chickenfoot, who have put out two studio and one live album since 2008 (and THEY are awesome, as well!)

Until next Saturday…although I will be writing before then, guaranteed…when I present another Saturday Spotlight (I have lots of new material and more on the way, so why not make it a habit LOL)…

/,,,/ ROCK ON DUDEZ \,,,\

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Track List:  1) Shockwave Supernova; 2) Lost in a Memory; 3) Crazy Joey; 4) In My Pocket; 5) On Peregrine Wings; 6) Cataclysmic; 7) San Francisco Blue; 8) Keep On Movin’; 9) All of my Life; 10) A Phase I’m Going Through; 11) Scarborough Stomp; 12) Butterfly & Zebra; 13) If There Is No Heaven; 14) Stars Race Across the Sky; 15) Goodbye Supernova:  OVERALL RATING:  **** 1/2