February 10: Who knew…Roger Miller?

I didn’t get a heck of a lot done today beyond uploading a good number of LPs. The process is time consuming. Also, it requires a kind of sustained low-level concentration to lead the lead in and lead out each side, nice and clean. At first I thought it would be entertaining to listen to all of my LPs but I end up doing other things, I even listen to other music while I’m doing it. It’s not that I don’t want to listen to the LPs it’s that I have to monitor the recording through my wired headphones since I’m using the only line-level out from my phono preamp to feed the A/D converter. My beloved Sennheisers have a nice, long cable but it’s not enough to let me move around as I’d like while monitoring the LP.

Oh well. You can’t have everything.

The downside of all the uploading was that I mismanaged my eating schedule and ended up losing most of my daily hiking time through my need to eat dinner. Muy malo. I’ve got to be better about that.

But wait, who knew…Roger Miller?

I’m sure I’m the last to know that Not in Nottingham was first sung by Roger Miller, way back in 1973, as part of the Disney’s animated version of Robin Hood.

It’s a very clean, melodic song and Miller hits it out of the park with his clean, melodic style.

But the lyrics; hmmm…

Every town
Has its ups and downs
Sometime ups
Outnumber the downs
But not in Nottingham
I’m inclined to believe
If we were so down
We’d up and leave
We’d up and fly if we had wings for flyin’
Can’t you see the tears we’re cryin’?
Can’t there be some happiness for me?
Not in Nottingham

Man, that’s pretty much of a downer for Disney and vague to boot. Perhaps it’s a classic example of something that’s great without being good. The great without good effect is hard to grasp at first but if you think about it I’ll bet you can come up with examples of your own.

Anyway, I have not purchased the song, even though I wanted it to round out my collection of the different versions. It turns out you have to buy the entire soundtrack ($15!) just to get the song. Sorry, but no. I will say that Miller’s version is both first and best. David Hidalgo and Sean Watkins both do a admirable job but there’s simply no improving on the simple beauty, earnestness and tonality that Miller brought to the song. Apparently, I can listen to the whole dang record on Amazon music so that’s going to be good enough to for now. You can also hear the entire song on YouTube so, as is usually the case, where there’s a will there’s a way to enjoy a very unusual song that’s sung unusually well.

Thanks for reading.

February 10: Who knew…Roger Miller?

February 7: Musicians who are missing in action

The internet is an endlessly fascinating place. It has made finding new wonderful musicians easy and immensely satisfying. I could not begin to name all of the musicians who have crossed my path, quite by accident, over the last decade or so.

The odd thing is that occasionally one of them (or two in this case) will go missing, leaving only the music that led me to them in the first place.

The first is Brendan Campbell. He may have had another record at some point, but the only one I know of is Burgers & Murders. I’m listening to Pleiades right now. This guy is so gone that he doesn’t even have a licensing deal with iTunes anymore. I found that out when I realized that none of his songs were on my iPhone. Had they not been downloaded to my MacMini years back that music would have been gone, maybe forever.

Brendan Campbell

The other musician is even more obscure. All John Danley left behind are a handful of videos. He was (is?) a wonderful finger-style player. From what I’ve been able to find he’s totally done with the whole music deal. The last reference I saw about him mentioned that he’d turned to a career in psychotherapy.

John Danley

A handful of years ago, he had a working website. What must have happened for him to let both his website’s eponymous domain and the site itself slip below the electrons of the internet? I just don’t get it. It’s just too easy and inexpensive to keep a website online to let one slip away. I actually mentioned Danley’s name to Will Ackerman a couple years back, along with a link to one of his videos. I had a kind of fantasy that Will might have recognized Danley’s talent and would want to set about using his industry connections to get him discovered, but Danley’s anonymity remains frustratingly intact.

How many more wonderful musicians am I doomed to find and lose? To put a tiny spin of optimism I could say I’m fortunate to have found Danley & Campbell at all, and that’s true. It’s always hard to keep from wanting more, I suppose.

Thanks for reading.

P.S. Had I been willing to let this post wait until tomorrow I would have done a better job. For some reason tonight the WordPress desktop app will let me do everything but write a post.

The optimist would say how lucky I am to be able write what I have on my phone.

February 7: Musicians who are missing in action

February 4: Not quite as big as I hoped

The week I mean…

I should have known better than to look forward to a week that felt big, let alone was big. There aren’t many of those and this certainly wasn’t one. I didn’t get Cottonwood to the formatter. Instead I spent too much time noodling on the question of whether it needed a preface or some kind of introduction. I imagined something that linked Cottonwood gracefully back to John J. McDermott & the 1971 U.S. Open but in the end I just didn’t want to. I suppose I can rationalize the decision by my thought that even though both books are connected, they are intended to be capable of standing on their own, and I hope they do.

The whole deal found me learning about a mistake I made in JJM. I wrote the foreword. By convention a foreword should be written by someone other than the author.

That error, unsurprisingly, got me thinking about other introductory elements of a book’s front matter.

Beyond foreword there could be a preface, a prologue and an introduction. I suppose a writer could aspire to have all of them in one book but somehow for Cottonwood it feels to me like none of them fit, or are needed, so I have elected to leave them all out. Plus, it will keep me from writing another foreword that should really have been a preface or an introduction.

I should have known better than to expect a lot from a week because I felt like I needed a lot. That’s never worked, at least not in my experience. I had a zoom with one of my clients in Japan tonight. He seemed a little bit at odds as if he too was looking for something to happen, because he needed it to happen. I saw his situation totally differently than he did. I saw only his energy and dedication while all he could sense was a need for progress he couldn’t quite define.

I wanted a big week and he wanted a big whatever and neither of us got our wish.

Big week or not, I should have accomplished more this week than I did. I know that’s true but I can’t do anything about it. All I can do is follow my advice to my young client in Japan; just keep at it and don’t let up. You cannot control events, you can only control your efforts and choose where and how to apply them.

Maybe someday I’ll learn the lessons I try so hard to convey to my clients.

I know I’ve neglected my writing soundtrack the last couple days. The truth is that I’ve not been listening to much music the last couple days, other than the LPs I’ve managed to upload. Tonight’s different and so I have a different kind of writer’s soundtrack that anyone can enjoy. It’s The Shins Live at Hurricane from way back in 2012. You can easily find it at YouTube and it’s worth the search.

They were really a band in full back in 2012 to borrow a phrase from Tom Wolfe. Deep Sea Diver’s Jessica Dobson was still serving as James Mercer’s guitar hero back then (there’s yet another longish blog post I need to write) and the band effortlessly flowed and ripped and glided their way through a rainy outdoor set in Germany. I’m not sure who owns the rights to that video but I hope it stays on YouTube forever because I really need it from time to time…like tonight.

Thanks for reading.

February 4: Not quite as big as I hoped

Which Arm Should Power the Golf Swing?

 

When I was a kid, my father (who was a really, really good player) told me I had too much right hand in my golf swing and that it resulted in my then-constant slice. This was sadly not one of my father’s better golf lessons and it took me years to learn that the opposite was true.

Now, the funny thing is that even though I know this, I sometimes find myself driving the downswing, and even initiating my takeaway, using the energy and force of my left arm.

Trying to avoid this tendency got me thinking (seldom a good thing when it comes to golf, but a really good thing in this case) about what some Youtube golf gurus had to say on the subject. The first video is from Steve Johnston and the fun starts at around the three minute mark. Johnston actually says that, “The left arm just hangs and is inert until the right arm stretches it and creates leverage.” The crucial part lasts about three minutes and is worth watching again and again to get the idea to fully penetrate thicker heads like mine.

Next, up is Martin Chuck in this video from way back in 2011. Roll forward to the forty second mark and you’ll hear him say that, “The left arm just hangs.”

Now I know both arms work together in every good golf swing. But, I also know that I tend to let my left arm take over both in effort and feel. I’m right handed and I know my right arm is stronger and more coordinated than my left. But still, I need to relearn this lesson far more often than you would think.

Hey, I’m trying…

When I allow the right arm to do its correct share of the work, the club’s path back and into the downswing is both easier and tidier, for lack of a better word. Also critical is what Johnston says about pulling, specifically when he says outright that there’s no pulling with the left arm.

Again, I know I’m guilty of that more than I care to admit. When it comes to golf, reminders from those who know better are great to have and frequently needed (by me, anyway).

 

 

 

Which Arm Should Power the Golf Swing?