Saturday, March 12, 2016


Snake Saturday

I spent my adolescence and early adulthood in the Kansas City suburbs north of the river. Just after marrying my late first wife we got a small apartment in the North Kansas City area.

One of the traditions in the area of which I became enamored was Snake Saturday, an annual parade and party on the Saturday preceding St. Patrick's Day.

The parade moves down Swift Street toward Armour Boulevard

The tradition is still going strong after 31 years.

I can only experience it vicariously these days, but perhaps down the road sometime...

Stylin' and profilin'

"Be honest: You wish you had a vehicle like that to play with, don't you?"

Not really...nice socks, though...


One of the traditional characteristics of college basketball this time of year is major upsets in conference post-season tournaments. Quite often these upsets have a major influence on who does or does not make the NCAA Tournament field, or even the NIT.

Last night the UC Irvine Anteaters were upset in the semifinals of the Big West Conference Tournament, losing 77-72 to Long Beach State. They will not be an at-large selection to the NCAA Tournament.

I can relate, old friend, I can relate...but the NIT isn't such a bad thing...

Alrighty, Then

From the pen of Lisa Benson, whose editorial cartoons you should read often, as I do.

Until Next Time...

One of the conceits of this section of the blog is that the music selected is mostly stuff that has some significance for me personally, and another is that more often than not there is a connection to a particular date on the calendar. I don't adhere to those things rigidly, but exceptions are relatively infrequent.

Even more infrequent are occasions when I include more than one piece of send-off music, but today really gave me little choice. Both of today's selections are especially significant in my life AND share a calendar nexus as well.

When I was in high school, the annual Grammy Awards telecasts were still something music lovers of all genres looked forward to. In those days, we didn't have the current absurd glut of awards shows to sort through, and the Grammy Awards were in their relative infancy and hadn't become basically the promotional arm of major record labels. I haven't watched a Grammy Awards telecast in over 40 years, but when I was in high school and still forming my musical tastes, I wouldn't have missed it for the world.

On March 12, 1969 the 11th Annual Grammy Awards were presented at simultaneous ceremonies in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Nashville. The television hosts were Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis, Jr.

At that point my sophomore year in high school was mostly completed, and I was spending much of my spare time trying to master a nylon-stringed classical guitar I had been given on my 16th birthday a few weeks before. I had always been fond of acoustic guitar music, but once I actually owned a guitar of my own that interest had become quite intense. And, as it happened, there were two songs honored at the Grammys that night that I had been trying to learn how to play.

Mason Williams was the head writer for The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour as well as being a guitarist and composer. In 1968 he appeared on the show as a performer and debuted his composition "Classical Gas."

Because of the popular reaction to both the song and his performance of it, Williams quickly recorded an album, The Mason Williams Phonograph Record. Included on the album was a recording of "Classical Gas" made with session musicians The Wrecking Crew.

Released as a single, "Classical Gas" was a big hit, peaking at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart that August. To say that it was a staple of Top 40 AM radio would be a gross understatement.

The song won three Grammy Awards that night: Williams won for Best Instrumental Composition and for Best Contemporary-Pop Performance (Instrumental). His producer Mike Post won the Grammy for Best Instrumental Arrangement.

The first selection for today's send-off doubleheader is the original stereo recording of
the song as it sounded back in 1968. Nearly half a century later hearing it still makes me wish I owned a nylon-stringed classical guitar. Enjoy...

The other song I had been desperately trying to learn which was honored at the Grammys that night was Simon & Garfunkel's No. 1 hit "Mrs. Robinson."

Original 1968 45 rpm single
The song had been written for the 1967 motion picture The Graduate, then was included on the duo's 1968 concept album Bookends.

It received the Grammy Awards for Best Contemporary-Pop Performance - Vocal Duo or Group and for Record of the Year. The latter award came as a surprise, as until that night no rock song had ever won the Record of the Year Grammy Award.

It is one of a small handful of signature songs for the pair, and remains one of the most popular hits of the 1960s.

The second part of today's send-off doubleheader is the 2001 remastered version of the iconic hit. Enjoy...

No comments:

Post a Comment