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‘Austin To ATX’ Author Represents PingWi-Fi

May 15th, 2019 · Tags: Music

 

J. Nick

In Lubbock, while working at the college paper many years ago, I heard that “nuevo wavo” musician Joe King Carrasco was coming to town. I had seen the Dumas, Texas native on “Saturday Night Live” (where he tore it up for a national audience), and I had a Carrasco record or two in my collection … so I HAD to interview him! … Got on the phone. … Talked to his manager — some nice guy named Joe Nick Patoski — who set up the interview for me. (It was so much fun, I actually interviewed Carrasco on two of his visits to Lubbock.)

Ha … being the “undisputed master of misunderstood lyrics,” The UMML — in one of the interviews — Mr. Ping asked Mr. King about a favorite line from one of Carrasco’s songs … something about “peyote tengo.”  (English translation: “I have enough of a certain fun sort of cactus to land in a Mexican prison …”) Joe King told me there was no such lyric in the song … although he added, “But … Hey, I like that!” To this day, I don’t know how the actual lyrics went. I digress …

The best part of the meeting was that I made first contact with a man who evolved into one of the most prolific authors in Texas … a long-time Texas Monthly regular … a Marfa radio host … an expert musicologist who NEVER gets his history wrong … nor the lyrics, I am sure.  

All of this is to say that I enjoyed the book signing at Record Town in Fort Worth the other day, J. Nick. Thanks for shakin’ yo “Wi-Fi Money Maker” the PingWi-Fi way — for the photo!  Yes … J. Nick will live forever in infamy in my VIPings photo album on Facebook.

Know what I sayin?

Annexico? Enhance Mexican Lives In Mexico!?!

May 10th, 2019 · Tags: Politics

 

Not being a political scientist, or historian or diplomat or economist —and certainly not politically correct — I don’t know why I should NOT ask this question.

Why doesn’t the Mexican Government put it to the voters in that country?  How about if the U.S. annexes parts of Mexico that may want to become a U.S. Territory?

Crazy right?  Or is it?

OH … it’s certainly not a new idea, but perhaps an idea that’s timing is more feasible.

Annex Mexico Movement

During a couple of months in the Mexican interior last year, I marveled at what looked to be miles and miles and miles of untapped agricultural potential throughout the countryside — a lush green, cultivated field here and there, surrounded by lots of unused land.  Certainly, I only saw the tip of the iceberg in the short visit.

 

No doubt there is much more of the Mexican culture and landscape that could be developed to bring in more wealth and opportunity.

I didn’t get to see the Mexican oil fields, but have heard about them and the wealth they should be generating — perhaps more efficiently.

I have seen firsthand the value of Mexican workers (specifically in a Japanese-owned factory) — skilled and laborers as well — who are definitely a natural resource of the large country to our immediate south.  

There is much to like about Mexico, except for how the resources are being managed or perhaps mismanaged.  Corruption and crime — total understatement.  Could a “new sheriff” turn things around and raise the area’s GNP thus enhancing the personal income potential of the masses … without requiring Mexicans to make the dangerous, illegal trek into the United States in search of a better life?  Why not improve the lives they have?

Couple all those thoughts with the growing number of Mexican people desperate to get into the United States, no matter what the cost.

If we entered the picture, could the U.S. turn the raw potential of Mexico into an economic titan?  Our history says yes.

Would the Mexican people welcome this?  Hordes of illegal immigrants staging at the U.S. borders would seem to be a resounding “YES!”

Now don’t go yelling “Imperialism!” or “Manifest Destiny.”  That would be all about us and not them.  I am not suggesting any kind of coup or hostile takeover or invasion.  How about letting the Mexicans vote on annexation … and then let the up-until-this-point useless U.N. oversee the elections and annexations, state by state.

Then let Mexicans be Mexicans and prosper at the same time, at home … with a little help from their friends.

In summary, if we build a border wall, how about we move it a thousand miles further south?

Know what I sayin?

Pink And Purple All Over — Is This A Case Of Same Same?

May 7th, 2019 · Tags: Music

 … So this is one for only my most hardcore music nerd friends. See if I have lost it on this comparison … or could I be on to something?

Since I have down time today, I broke out a famous album that I have never played, although it has been in my collection for about 35 years. It was time to check it out:) — “Music From Big Pink,” by The Band, circa 1968. (You may know the song “The Weight” (Take a load off Annie — or Fannie — depending on who you talk to.) I digress …

So, I was spinning this on the Wi-Fi turntable … and on side two, some obscure song starts with a very ’70s-sounding organ solo. Then the song progressed and I heard the bass line and the background instrumentation. “Where have I heard that before?,” I thought.

Wow … to me it sounds way too similar to the bass line and background instrumentation to an obscure Deep Purple song from ’72. Trust me … I am probably the only person on here who remembers “Might Just Take Your Life,” on Deep Purple’s “Burn” LP. I digress …

I wish I could orchestrate a better head-to-head comparison of the two. But I really think I am on to something here … for those who are into this kind of thing. Not the lyrics or vocals or tempo … just the bass line and instrumentation. Ha … you be the judge, if I am successful in posting both songs.

 

 

 

Know what I sayin?

Fort Worth Love For Leon Bridges At #FortressFestival

April 29th, 2019 · Tags: Arts · Cities · Music · Uncategorized

 

Night-and-day … the different scene at the the 2019 Fortress Festival, Day 2 with headliner Leon Bridges.  I walked away from the show thinking of one word — LOVE.

That man is an entertainer!  And seldom have I seen a guy who so loves being on stage and loves the audience and loves performing and loves creating beauty — in the form of blues, rhythm & blues and a touch of gospel.

Nothing but positive vibes at the final performance of Fort Worth’s best music festival.  This, contrasting somewhat with the mood of malcontent/race/battle lines being drawn by a performance witnessed on the previous day on the Fort Worth stage.

No talk of race or separation for the LB Show.  Music, as intended, to bring us together.

Leon … “My man!” … “Funky Town’s” man!  Everyone’s man. 

Leon Bridges

 

Leon Bridges Wearing Dickies

Fort Worth’s finest son and best brand ambassado(.  Enter any coffee shop in the country and you will hear Leon’s hit, (Take Me To The) “River,” or maybe “Coming Home” … or maybe both, if you are lucky.

Fort Worth heard a pumped up live version of “Coming Home” as Leon traded in his Fort Worth baseball jersey from earlier in the day, to dance and swoon around a blue-lit stage, wearing a working man’s (Fort Worth’s Dickies Brand apparel, no less) suit of subtle brown plaid, slacks and jacket, topped off with a camouflaged fishermen’s bucket hat.

Politely, Bridges asked the “817 crowd” if he could add a little blues to the mix, and the crowd threw up more love.

Fortressites showed the kind of love befitting a young man who was a Grammy nominee for Best Rhythm & Blues album of the year, with his rookie release in 2016.

 

 

 

Me?  One of the many photographers sardined into the photo pit for the first three songs.  Amazing how quickly those songs flew by, and even more incredible how many shots I could fire off with the Nikon — only to capture a few good ones.  I digress …

But … loving every minute of such a musical music event … the things that music festivals should exude … soul, harmony, guitar solos and funky bass from the support group on stage … catchy, meaningful, soulful and positive lyrics.

 

Overheard in the pit: an explanation of how Leon achieved the raw, bluesy, stripped-down textures and tones on his debut recording, “Coming Home.”  The anonymous source (D Magazine photographer) shared with the group that Leon and his producers used only vintage equipment dating back to 1965 or prior.  Pretty cool … (A bluesier approach to a similar raw sound found in the work of The Black Keys …)

 Motown, and Staxx Records and Spotify —  for that matter — would’ve been proud of Leon and this show.

Know what I sayin?

 

Ping Laments Days Of Music Festivals With Music

April 29th, 2019 · Tags: Arts · Cities · Music

 

I am prepared to be called a “racist” and “just old” for my strong opinions on a portion of what I saw and heard on day one of the 2019 Fortress Festival … but you’d be wrong.  Race has little to do with it and I guarantee you I sample/buy lots of current music.  But … what we call “music” these days has so de-evolved to the most common denominator … a mundane, heavy beat … it’s that simple.

Maybe a guy or girl on stage rattling out rapid-fire spoken word is catchy and creative and an art form in its own right, but it has little musical value.  That’s from a common sense, historical perspective … from a student of all genres. (I like to think it is a more sophisticated palate … I digress.)  A monotonous beat, a studio trick or two, some simple “street theology” and an attitude — and an “artist” has a hit … and a following.

Is it better than I can do?  Certainly!  But more importantly, to equate the two art forms — music and spoken word — is an insult to the millions of people of all races all over the world who have dedicated their lives to learning to play and have mastered an instrument, or carry a tune … or compose beautiful melodies and harmonies … or colorful poetry in lyrics … or complicated multi-percussive beats.

… Surely both schools of thought have their place, but they are not the same.  Compare the multi-layered rhythm track on a Bob Marley song — a rhythm track with a “cha-chink” reggae guitar downbeat; a Hammond B-3 organ chopping out rhythm too; a complete drum kit; and an eclectic assortment of percussive gourds and rattles and what have you —  to the ‘boom boom boom” baseline of the majority of today’a hits.

The defense rests.

So I was wandering around at The Fortress Festival, watching 400-500 heads (small crowd, an early show) nodding in unison to the “boom boom boom” beat and waving their arms forward  together — Black and White and everything in between — hands doing a “cool” gesture to show they are “woke” or whatever today’s latest cliche might be.  It was a young artist — Bobby Sessions.

 

Bobby Sessions

It’s a little scary to think about … an almost military-like, blind, clone-ish uniformity and cadence in the crowd — with the only individual expression coming from the limited source on the stage.  Wow.  I bet it is not far from brainwashing technique, with the repetitive words and beat. (Ha … I needed earplugs like Odysseus’ posse:)

I digress …

There was a certain point where Session’s set took on a musical quality, as he invited the crowd to sing “Happy Birthday” to his mom … (Then he joked about the people of, shall we say, “less color” who stumbled over pronouncing a first name that they had never heard before in their lives. (Double standard, much?)

The music stopped there with Happy Birthday.  Then the show went all one-sided politics on me, even though one might expect lots of different viewpoints at a festival.  Bobby Sessions (DefJam Records) is a good showman and an entertaining performer … but he also played spokesman for a one-sided movement.  He turned his attention to what he sees as the wrongs of American society … the brave men and women of all colors who wear The Blue.

Sessions On DefJam

 

First off, I don’t know the details of the death to which he alluded … nor did anyone else in the crowd, I will wager.  Second, my heart pours out to anyone who loses a loved one, no matter the details.   So … Bobby lost a relative who was shot and killed by a police officer, he disclosed.  Terrible! Tragic!  No two ways about it.  But that raises many questions in the mind of many logically thinking, open-minded people.  “Did the shooting victim do anything suspicious at all?”  “Did the shooting victim comply — as most of us have been taught to do since we were six- or seven-years-old — and give the officer the old “yes sir, no sir” sign of respect?”

The crowd didn’t stop to wonder … (“We don’t need no stinkin’ details to pass judgement.”) They just held their hands up high in protest of the loss of a young man.  For that sincere grief and the perhaps peaceful solidarity stemming from a lost life, I salute the artist and the crowd … lamenting change for a better society.  But I just don’t know how people can think any such tragic incident doesn’t have a bigger back story.  They always do.

 

One, and only one, old White dude looked at his neighbor in the crowd and asked, “Did the kid comply with the officer?” 

Well there isn’t much in our lost society that trips my trigger like disrespect toward the law officers who face life-and-death situations every day with split-second opportunities to react. Yes.  There are good cops and bad cops — just like any other human genre … But I think the majority of officers in the U.S. are doing the right thing — exponentially — while trying to go home alive at the end of their shifts.  Peace officers … armed for a very valid reason, are the one thing protecting all of us in a non-military society.  

What would I have liked?  I would have liked for the artist to describe the horrible incident in detail if he chose to bring it up … to pledge his love for his relative … and to make a heart-felt plea to youths of all races … to stay out of suspicious situations …  to give the police the benefit of a doubt …  and the respect that almost all of them deserve … and damn it … even if it is a case of mistaken identity …  Would someone tell all kids to do what the officers tell them to do? … it is much more simple than the agitators would have us believe.

I digress ….

Things improved.  Another artist — Keite Young — joined Sessions on stage and added some actual melody to the songs … even some falsetto.

Medicine Man Revival

 

As I walked out, I learned that the cameo artist — Young — was the frontman for a seemingly bi-partisan Dallas outfit called Medicine Man Revival — a few long-haired dudes who looked like they could have hopped off a Southern Rock tour … fronted by the talented, soulful performer I had just seen on stage with Sessions.

Medicine Man Revival 6.1.17

 

Thank you!  This Dude!  The moves.  The style.  The threads! The stage presence and sensuality of a Marvin Gaye, with a funky group of stereo-type busters backing him.  I won’t lie … It made me think of Motown … the showmanship, the flashy outfit … the falsetto harmonies — with a total up-to-date delivery.  Now THAT is what I expected to see at a music festival.

 

By the way, I caught Fort Worth’s The Cush earlier — in the heat of the day — pretty interesting, despite their audience size.  A husband and wife team — Burrette and Gabrielle Douglas of Buck Jones band lineage — front the band … playing a nice assortment of “psych rock.”

The Cush

Up next … another “soulful man” … Fort Worth’s treasure Leon Bridges and his stripped down, rhythm/blues/soul/gospel approach to what many, like me, call music.

Know what I sayin?

 

Indeed

April 21st, 2019 · Tags: Uncategorized

Happy 8-Track Day, Music Heads Of Yesteryear!

April 11th, 2019 · Tags: Arts · Music

YES!

Thanks to fellow music head J-Ferg for pointing out that today is National Eight-Track Tape Day!

8-Track Holiday

My first 8-track player was a used tape player-only unit  — no AM/FM, no turntable — with two eight-inch-square speakers — purchased from my neighbor Barry for 10 bucks. And so it begun …  The last 8-track player I owned was an all-in-one unit, including a game-changing FM receiver and an 8-track recorder …  “let the piracy begin,” swapping and recording tapes … Woohoo! … That upgrade was awarded to me via a local radio contest (as detailed in the link/box below).

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Is Something Evil Afoot In The NCAA?

April 9th, 2019 · Tags: Sports

I dreamed about this. … Much more upsetting than the thought of my team losing the championship in overtime … “the how.”

I am actually considering the ugly idea that there was a fix. Nothing against Virginia — they seem like good people. But the officiating definitely did not want Texas Tech to win.

Too big of a Las Vegas payoff for the underdog to win? Too much open Christian faith witnessing by the Tech players? I just can’t imagine “the why?”

One of the cleanest, best players in the country — Jarrett Culver — was neutralized in back-to-back games in the semifinals/final — by officiating.

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Texas Tech Homer Mounts Soapbox To Go Out On Limb

March 19th, 2019 · Tags: Uncategorized

Post Season Play — Lubbock Municipal Coliseum … Shorts Were Short & #15 Wasn’t Cool Yet In Tech Circles

 

Opinion piece, Editor’s Note:  Above all … I think Coach Chris Beard has obviously taken Texas Tech Basketball to new heights.  I think The Red Raiders have a chance to make it to the 2019 Final Four and even to win it all … IF everything is clicking on all cylinders.  Opinionated by nature … As great as the situation is, I think I see a few things that might need tweaking.  There is a very good chance that my opinions are wrong .. but I am not wrong for having an opinion.  Ha … never forget that:)

I am “drinking the Kool-Aid” … I just think the Kool-Aid needs a twist of lime …

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I May Be Indisposed, But I Know What You’re Up To

March 10th, 2019 · Tags: Coffee Shops · Gadgets · Satire · Uncategorized · Wi-Fi

 

 

It seemed to be a great revelation (to me) that if I left my JBL wireless headphones on, still playing music and around my neck while in the restroom of Starbucks — linked to my Mac laptop with a Bluetooth connection — I would know almost immediately if someone stole my laptop from my table in the cafe.

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