Tag Archives: Al Green

My iPod Has Issues – Working on the Back Porch

27 Aug

I am sitting on the back porch working on stuff for tomorrow’s classes. The sun is shining. A breeze is blowing. The chimes are chiming. The cows are grazing. I decided it was time to take a break from work and see what is happening inside the mind of my iPod.

Here we go.

“Legend of Billy the Kid” by J.E. Mainer’s Mountaineers

“Who Do You Love?” by Bo Diddley

“Free Fallin'” by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

“Wasted Time” by The Eagles

“Against All Odds” by Phil Collins

“Maggie May” by Rod Stewart

“Time of the Season” by The Zombies

“Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen

“Chain of Fools” by Aretha Franklin

“Money for Nothing” by Dire Straits

“Train, Train” by Blackfoot

“Let’s Stay Together” by Al Green

“Phone Booth” by Robert Cray Band

“Save a Prayer” by Duran Duran

“Song for a Winter’s Night” by Gordon Lightfoot

“Hot in the City” by Billy Idol

“Girl, You’ll Be a Woman Soon” by Neil Diamond

“Sunshine on My Shoulders” by John Denver

“Sonny Got Caught in the Moonlight” by Robbie Robertson

“Slow Movin’ Outlaws” by Waylon Jennings

The Tennessee Bucket List

29 Mar

We spent Saturday afternoon roaming around Nashville. We ate lunch on the patio at Burger Republic and played around at Centennial Park. In between, we browsed through some shops. It was while browsing that I found a book called The Tennessee Bucket List: 100 Ways to Have a Real Tennessee Experience. Actually, it only lists 99 ways because the last one is something that a writer would put in there when he could not think of anything else to add.

Anyway, I bought the book because I wanted to know how many of these I had done. Heck, I have lived in Tennessee my entire life. I must have done most of them. Also, buying the book meant I could write a blog post.

Here goes the list of my real Tennessee experience.

See a Show at the Grand Ole Opry РI have seen the Opry at the Opry House and at the Ryman Auditorium. Thanks to a former student my wife and I were lucky enough to see the Opry backstage at the Ryman. She got her picture with Riders in the Sky.

Behold the Beauty of a Tennessee Walker – We have had box seats at the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration since I was a kid. Most people go to Shelbyville for the horses. I go for the donuts.

Watch a NASCAR Race – Actually, I have been to a NASCAR race in Alabama. I will be at the Bristol Motor Speedway for the first time in the Fall, and that will be for a football game.

Sip Moonshine – Everyone has done this, right?

Wander the District – You cannot have the full Nashville experience without going to this part of town.

Explore a King’s Mansion – The TV Room is my favorite part of Graceland. The Outlaw Josey Wales is playing all of the time.

There are three tv's. I left out the one showing the trivia answer.

Be a Part of an Archaeological Dig – I am not sure how much digging is done in Tennessee, but there was once a dig on my family’s farm.

See a Civl War Reenactment – The dad of one of my friends took me to a reenactment of the Battle of Stones River. It was surreal to see people pretend that they were living in the past.

Enjoy a Goo Goo Cluster – You have not had candy until you have had a Goo Goo.

See Seven States at the Same Time – Rock City is an old-time roadside attraction that has survived into the 21st Century. If you are near Chattanooga, then you have to, as the barn roofs say, See Rock City.

Take a Walk Down Music Row – You may not see a famous person, but you will pass buildings where awesome music has been created.

Walk the Field at Shiloh – Almost 110,000 Americans fought on this land. There were more casualties in this battle than in all of America’s previous wars combined. It is a haunting place.

Explore Cades Cove – When the Great Smoky Mountains National Park was formed, land was taken from people who had lived in the mountains for years. This community has been preserved in its rustic state.

Stroll Down Beale Street – The Blues was not born in Memphis, but this is where the great Bluesmen gained fame.

See the Sunsphere – In 1982, the World’s Fair was held in Knoxville. It is the last World’s Fair to make a profit, but the Sunsphere is all that is left.

Buy a Pair of Boots – I admit that I have done it.

Stand in the Footsteps of History – Everyone should visit the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis. It is housed in the Lorraine Motel where Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated. A few years ago, I took my family.

Explore the Titanic – Yep, the Titanic is in Tennessee. Specifically, it is in Pigeon Forge. It sounds strange, but it is an awesome museum.

See a Shark – Yep, sharks are in Tennessee. Specifically, they are at an aquarium in Gatlinburg, which is down the road from Pigeon Forge.

Hear Al Green Preach – I am cheating on this one. I have never heard Al Green preach, but I have heard him sing.

Visit Franklin on Foot – Downtown Franklin is a great place to visit. The city has found the right combination of preservation and enterprise.

Behold the Statue of Athena – Actually, we saw this on the same day I bought the book. Nashville has the Parthenon because it used to be known as the Athens of the South. Inside the Parthenon stands Athena.image-10

Strum a Guitar – Everyone has done this, right?

See a College Football Game – I have seen games at Neyland Stadium, Dudley Field, Nissan Stadium, the Liberty Bowl and Cumberland University’s Nokes-Lasater Field. However, the coolest one was Chamberlain Field in Chattanooga, which opened in 1908. When it closed, it was the second oldest college football stadium in the country.

Play Miniature Golf – It is one of my favorite things to do. The best place to do it? Hillbilly Golf in Gatlinburg.

Spend the Afternoon Shopping – The book talks about Opry Mills. However, the Mall at Green Hills is the best.

Savor a MoonPie – It is an awesome snack, but it is best paired with a RC Cola.

Visit the Grave of Meriwether Lewis – This is the Meriwether Lewis of Lewis and Clark fame. He met a mysterious end in a tavern along the Natchez Trace.

See a Bear in the Woods – I saw a bear with her cubs at Cades Cove. Luckily, I did not end up like Leo DiCaprio.

Go Line Dancing – Everyone has done this, right?

Spend a Day at Dollywood – I have been to Dollywood after it was called Dollywood. I have also been there when it was called Silver Dollar City. I have also been there when it was called Gold Rush Junction.

Watch the Marching of the Ducks – The Peabody Hotel in Memphis is a nice hotel. It is also the home of some cool ducks.

Go Whitewater Rafting – Everyone has done this, right?

Visit the Country Music Hall of Fame – We try to go there each time they open a new exhibit. It is a great museum

Explore Market Square – This is a part of downtown Knoxville with a lot of cool restaurants and shops.

Pig Out of Memphis-Style Barbecue – Nashville people do not like to give Memphis credit for anything. However, they are tops when it comes to barbecue. Go to Rendezvous.

See an Eagle – A few wild ones can be seen around here.

Discover the Mighty Mississippi – At times, I have just sat and watched it flow by.

Ride a Sky Lift – For years, it has been a Gatlinburg landmark. Everyone has to ride it at least once.

Visit the Jack Daniels Distillery – Jack Daniels is produced in Lynchburg, which sits in a dry county. You cannot buy alcohol where the most famous whiskey is made.

Sit in the “Scopes Monkey Trial” Courtroom – One of my greatest moments as an educator was talking about the Scopes Trial in the courtroom. It is worth a visit to Dayton.

Sing “Rocky Top” – I have sung it thousands of times at the top of my lungs. However, I cannot bring myself to sing the “WOO” part.

Tour a Plantation – They are everywhere.

See a Lady Vols Basketball Game – I have seen a bunch of games and seen a bunch of victories. However, it is not the same without Pat Summitt.

Tour the Home of a U.S. President – There are three. I have seen two. Andrew Jackson and James K. Polk.

Ascend the Space Needle – It is a ride high over Gatlinburg.

See a Titans Game – I have done this a bunch. It was fun when they were winning. These days, it is not as much fun.

Cheer on the South (or North) – When I went to the Dixie Stampede, we were late and could only get tickets on the North side. I was told that the North never wins. That night they won.

Take a Riverboat Cruise at Night – Nashville’s General Jackson is a great ride on a Summer night.

Enjoy an Orchestra – We love going to the Nashville Symphony. They are awesome.

Sink Your Teeth into a King Leo Peppermint Stick – I am not crazy about them, but they are a Christmas tradition.

Walk to the Top of Clingman’s Dome – It is Tennessee’s highest point. Just watch out for the fog. They do not call them the Smoky Mountains for nothing.

Listen to a Country Music Concert – Everyone has done this, right?image-11

Visit a Fort – There are forts, but they are not as cool as forts in the American West.

There is my list. I will not write about the things that I have not done. I am sure the author of the book would love for you to buy a copy to see what else is in there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Songs for Me and Robert Neville

4 Oct

My wife and stepdaughter just left for the week at the beach. Next week, my wife and I are going to a real place – Santa Fe, New Mexico. However, that is happening next week. At the moment, I have the house to myself. This might be fun for a night, but I am certain that it will get old relatively soon.

The house has been quiet, and, in an attempt to break the silence, I turned on some music. The problem is that I have gravitated to songs with certain themes. I have listened to “Alone Again” by Dokken and followed that up with “Tired of Being Alone” by Al Green. Of course, there is “I Drink Alone” by George Thorogood.

On top of that, “Lonley Days” by Bee Gees is fitting for the occasion. In fact, it goes well with “The Lonely Man” by Tennessee Ernie Ford. Jackie Wilson sang “Lonely Teardrops“, which can only be shed by only the lonely. Luckily, the iPod has “Only the Lonely” by Roy Orbison. Merle Haggard sings about “Going Where the Lonely Go“. I do not know where that is, but I wonder if “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” plays there. If not, then maybe The Beatles do.

All of this adds up to being lonesome, and there are a ton of songs on my iPod that deal with that.

Are You Lonesome Tonight?” by Elvis Presley

“The Blue Side of Lonesome” by John Prine and Mac Wiseman

I’m a Lonesome Fugitive” by Merle Haggard

I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” by Hank Williams

Lonesome Loser” by Little River Band

Lonesome Valley” by The Fairfield Four

Lonesome, On’ry and Mean” by Waylon Jennings

I could go on by listing “Solitary Man” by Neil Diamond and “Solitude” by Billie Holiday, but it might be time to stop listening to this kind of stuff. The iPod needs to change themes to something like “The In Crowd” by Ramsey Lewis or “You’ve Got a Friend” by James Taylor. After all, the zombie apocalypse has not hit. There has to be other people in the world. Certainly, I have not become Robert Neville.Neville

Everyone knows who that is, right?

Music on the Inside

20 Jun

The other night, we saw The Rolling Stones at LP Field, the home of the Tennessee Titans. Those of you who read this blog on a regular basis know that I am a music lover and am a big fan of concerts. However, I learned something about myself at this one. I do not like stadium shows. Seeing an iconic band like The Rolling Stones is great, but football stadiums are not conducive to a good show.

First, the weather has an impact. It was miserably hot and affected my ability to enjoy to music. However, other kinds of weather can mess it up. Rain. Thunder. Lightning. Anyway, the heat was unbearable.

Second, there are no good seats. Unless you are in front of the stage or have some sort of VIP pass, there is no good place to watch a concert in a football stadium. You are always far from the stage. That means you can hear a live concert, but you cannot necessarily see a live concert.

All of this means that I am a fan of indoor concerts. Good seats are actually good seats. Even bad seats are close enough to see something. People can feel like they are part of an event rather than being on the outskirts of one.

On top of that, indoor concerts are climate controlled. I saw Jimmy Buffett in an arena while it was storming outside. It rained enough to flood Nashville over the next several days.

Bringing up Jimmy Buffett makes me think of something else. His concerts are known as outdoor parties under the sun. I have seen him outside. I have seen him inside. The indoor shows were better.

The same goes for The Rolling Stones. I saw them in an arena and in a stadium. The arena show was better. They may not have performed better, but it was a better experience.

A few months ago, we saw Kenny Chesney in concert. It was an awesome show and a lot better than the time we saw him in a stadium.

Bottom line, football stadiums are not designed for concerts and the best ones are in smaller indoor buildings. However, I do not want to disparage the band. The Rolling Stones are great, and it is hard to believe they can perform at that level at their ages. They are a Hall of Fame band, and I want to end this post on a positive note. Since they are in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, I thought it would be interesting to see how many members I have seen in concert.Rock Hall

I guess it can be done by their year of induction.

1986

The Everly Brothers

Elvis Presley

1987

Bo Diddley

B.B. King

1988

Bob Dylan

Diana Ross

1989

The Rolling Stones

1990

Simon and Garfunkel

The Who

1992

Johnny Cash (I did not actually see him perform, but I met him in a bookstore.)

1993

John Fogerty

1994

Elton John

Rod Stewart

1995

Al Green

Robert Plant

1996

Pink Floyd

1997

Crosby, Stills and Nash

Parliament-Funkadelic

1998

Eagles

Fleetwood Mac

Santana

1999

Del Shannon

Bruce Springsteen

2000

Eric Clapton

Earth, Wind and Fire

James Taylor

2001

Aerosmith

Steely Dan

2002

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

2003

AC/DC

2004

Prince

Bob Seger

Steve Winwood

ZZ Top

2005

Buddy Guy

U2

2006

Ozzy Osbourne

Lynyrd Skynyrd

2008

Leonard Cohen

John Mellencamp

2009

Metallica

2011

Alice Cooper

Neil Diamond

2012

Axl Rose

2014

John Oates

Kiss

They are all Hall of Famers, and I can guarantee they all put on better shows indoors.

My iPod Has Issues – Prophets and Movie Makers

2 Jan

Wow, I cannot believe that it is 2015. That means it has been eighteen years since Snake Plissken defeated Isaac Hayes and escaped from New York with the first American president with a British accent.Plissken

I tell my students that if they are going to start their own religion and make a prediction about the end of the world, then they should make the date sometime in the distant future. When the end does not come, they will no longer be around for the disappointment. There is not much worse than a prophet who misses the set apocalyptic date.

The same can be said for people who make movies based in the future. When the established year actually hits, the movie is immediately outdated.

These are lessons to be learned for potential prophets and movie makers.

To honor those who have seen their work spoiled by the turning of the calendar, here is my playlist for the day. Prophets and movie makers may be somewhat crazy, but they are not as crazy as my iPod.

In honor of The Duke, I will start out with one of his classics.

“Theme From Shaft” by Isaac Hayes

“For Your Precious Love” by Truth Hurts

“Pretty Paper” by Willie Nelson

“High Sheriff of Calhoun Parrish” by Tony Joe White

“Love and Happiness” by Al Green

“Satan’s Got To Get Along Without Me” by Buck Owens

“See No Evil” by Television

“The Theme From Route 66” by Nelson Riddle

“Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen

“Callas Went Away” by Enigma

“Sweet Thing” by Van Morrison

“Waterloo” by Stonewall Jackson

“Red Cross Store” by Mississippi Fred McDowall

“Just A Song Before I Go” by Crosby, Stills and Nash

“Tree of Level” by The Fairfield Four

“Green Onions” by Booker T. and the MG’s

“Boogie Street” by Leonard Cohen

“American Witch” by Rob Zombie

“Don’t Bring Me Down” by The Animals

“An American Trilogy” by Elvis Presley

“Served Chilled” by Groove Armada

I hope everyone has a great 2015. Be sure to make those predictions count.

Things I Think While Kayaking

22 Jun

Several weeks ago, my wife and I hiked some trails around the Harpeth River. As we walked, we saw people kayaking, and she has been wanting to kayak ever since. Yesterday, we decided to spend some family time on the water, so my wife, my stepdaughter and I headed out for a day of outdoor adventure. Unfortunately, there are no pictures for this post because we were afraid out phones would get wet. I only have this emblem from the kayak company to break the monotony of words.Foggy Bottom

Luckily, we called ahead to Foggy Bottom, the kayak renting place, because it was packed with people on a waiting list. Within a few minutes of arriving, we were on a van filled with anticipation. When we arrived at the put in spot, I helped the driver take kayaks to the water while my wife and stepdaughter stood on the bank arguing over who was going to get the cool one that they saw. That is when a guy told them that they could stop arguing because it was his personal kayak.

The driver told us that we would get out at the bridge, and, with that information, we shoved off into the great unknown with a ton of other people. We paddled for a while. We floating for a while. It was all very relaxing, and, when I get relaxed, I start to think. That is why I do my best thinking when I first get into bed.

The first thing to hit me was a song.

“Rock the Boat” by The Hues Corporation

When that one came to mind, they started flooding in.

“Proud Mary” by Ike and Tina Turner. It is better than the CCR version.

“Big River” by Johnny Cash

“Old Man River” by Paul Robeson

Somewhere Down the Crazy River” by Robbie Robertson. I wrote a terrible post about it.

“Take Me to the River” by Al Green but made famous by that mounted fish.

“We Shall Gather at the River” by various people in almost every John Ford movie.

I was having so much fun that I started to sing a few of them. My wife looked at me warily. When I wondered aloud about how many songs are about rivers, she looked at me like I was crazy.

My thoughts were interrupted when we hit our first rapids. Well, they were not really rapids. It was more like water running over some rocks. Embarrassingly, I got spun around. More embarrassingly, it happened each time we hit a little rapids. My wife and stepdaughter were a lot better with the wild and raging waters.

It was during one of these spins that I started thinking about Native Americans. I teach about how many of the tribes lived along the rivers and how those waterways were their interstates. In all of those lectures, I never realized how hard that would have been. I am sure they used the Harpeth, but they also used rivers a lot bigger and wilder than this one.

Then, it happened. The clouds began to build up, and we heard thunder. Not long after, we saw lightning in the distance. Around the same time, we hit another small rapids, and I got stuck. My wife and stepdaughter, in an attempt to outrun the storm, took off. Once I got myself unstuck, I was paddling alone as the clouds darkened.

There I was. Clouds darkening overhead. Lightning flashing all around. Me sitting on a little boat in the middle of the water. I decided not to worry about it because there was nowhere to go. Lightning would probably strike the tallest thing around, and that would be some tree. If I stayed in the middle, then a falling tree would not hit me. Certainly, this is the plan that a Native American in a canoe would have followed.

It started to rain, but I was already wet. I made the decision to paddle until I caught up with the rest of my family. That took a while.

Eventually, the rain went away; I caught up; and I began to ponder some of the things that we had seen.

Along the way, there were several places where people could stop their boats and get out. We did not do that because my stepdaughter was focused on getting to that bridge. However, I watched the people as we floated by.

They skipped rocks.

They fished.

They drank beer. Actually, it must have been a lot of beer by the looks of some of the bellies on the guys.

There was one couple making out on a log where they thought they could not be seen.

Where there was a road access, people pulled up in their pickup trucks.

That is when it hit me. We had been floating through one of those Country songs that you hear on the radio all of the time. It was almost like the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disney World, where you ride a boat and watch the animatronic pirates attack a town. The pirate song plays as you go from spot to spot.

This was the Country song version of that with real people on the banks. When those guys get in their tight jeans and jump around on stage, this is what they are singing about. However, it looked different from I imagine when I hear one of the songs on the radio.

When the guy sings about riding to the river in his pickup truck and the girl has her bare feet on the dashboard, I picture a good-looking girl that you might see in the video. Yesterday, I did not see her.

It brought to mind a story I once heard. This guy was telling his friend about when he first got married. His wife had a butterfly tattoo on her butt. He asked his friend if he would like to see it. Then, he yelled to his wife, “Come here and show us that Screamin’ Eagle on your ass!”

‘Merica

To the relief of my stepdaughter, we made it to the bridge and a throng of people trying to get on vans. We thought it was going to be a struggle, but we made it out rather quickly. My wife and stepdaughter crammed into a space for one, and I hopped in with the coolers in back.

We made it back home but were worn out and sore. I picked up a pizza, and we spent the rest of the night trying not to move. I cannot wait to go back again. Kayaking was really fun. Next time, I want to stop at one of those spots and see what it is like to take part in a Country song. That good-looking girl I imagine will be with me because I married her.