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Larry Franz

Posts: 555
Reply with quote  #31 
Tom -- Very well said. I'll add another aspect of our history: America as the Land of Opportunity, the destination dreamed of by millions of immigrants from all over the world. Yet we have had periodic waves of reaction directed against newcomers who don't fit somebody's idea of a "real American", as if an American is supposed to look or speak a certain way or come from a certain place. Going back to the 19th century, demagogues have stoked anti-immigrant fears out of hatred or ignorance or for their own advantage. Too often, they've found receptive audiences, as we see today. 

A negative view: MC5 - "The American Ruse" (1970)

A different view of America as a land of opportunity:

Sparks - "Sextown U.S.A." 

No one has the time to eat a meal or to think
Because they're way too busy doin' Kama Sutra-y things...

The perfect place, and what a pace  (semi-available, with better sound)  (worse sound)

Al Forsyth

Posts: 3,638
Reply with quote  #32 

Back to the artists for a bit.

The Guess Who got their name from the record company?
They were rockin' out prior to this as Chad Allan and the Expressions

Don McLean could write the ballads:

Like Elvis, Ray could sing any genre.

Our BB's took on the British Invasion very well in 64.  Solid, but lose the striped shirts.


A diamond necklace played the pawn...
Al Forsyth

Posts: 3,638
Reply with quote  #33 
Hear ye, hear ye - you have but 48 hours to cast your vote regarding the American Dream(s).  Go to your nearest voting machine - computer/device/phone and make it happen. 

And I have to remind myself to vote. I know where I'm going with this at least. 

A diamond necklace played the pawn...
bonnie bella

Avatar / Picture

Posts: 2,038
Reply with quote  #34 
Even from way over here -  I hear ye, hear ye, Mr Almerica.

GOLD - TBB.  I like the youthfulness of this little song. So pretty, love these voices together; sweet and light just like it's supposed to be. However, whistling, like talking, is a bit like a bucket of cold water bobbing in the middle of a warm bath, but I'll forgive them just this once.  A great movie that I first watched in 2016.

SILVER - Don McLean.  How can you not?  If my favourite band wasn't crooning away this week I'd probably have had to give it my gold.  Not sure why though, in all honesty. It's a nice enough song, one of those ones that stick in your head and have those elusive 58 verses to try to remember.  It paints incredibly vivid images at the start then gets increasingly abstract, until you feel like you might be in one of those Salvador Dali paintings.  The lines "Well I know that you're in love with him, 'cause I saw you dancing in the gym, you both kicked off your shoes,  Man, I dig those rhythm and blues".  Iconic stuff.

BRONZE - The Guess Who.  Something vaguely Jimi about this.  Trippy psychedelic performance.  Can someone clarify; is America the woman?  Or are we just talking of an extremely peeved off woman on a rampage here?  She scares me, whichever she is.

TIN - Ray Charles.  I tried to like it because it has wonderful sentiments and it's Ray Charles.  But ultimately boring and not inspiring at all.  He's wanting people to help him sing it.  Tell him I'm out.

Groovy new Arctic Monkeys.


Clowns divorce: custardy battle.     Simon Munnery

Larry Franz

Posts: 555
Reply with quote  #35 

The promised land is the dreamt of land. Two American dreamers: Chuck and Bruce.

Chuck Berry - "Promised Land"

Bruce Springsteen - "The Promised Land"

Lots of Americans dream of the coastline that includes Venice and Huntington beaches. Another American dreamer, Jonathan Richman. I need to listen more to this character.

"Parties in the U.S.A."

"Rooming House on Venice Beach"

"That Summer Feeling"

And, of course, Brian and the guys.

The Beach Boys - "Girls on the Beach"

Note: There is a signup sheet in the thread below this one for anybody who wants to host during the second half of the year. Be the first on your block to grab your spot(s)! Or not.

Darren J. Ray

Posts: 3,431
Reply with quote  #36 

Gold - American Pie (Don McLean - 1971)
I think people are kidding themselves not putting this first. Seriously, if you could have your choice as to which of these four songs you wish you’d written, there is really only one answer. When interviewers ask Don McLean what ‘American Pie’ is about, he replies, “It’s about me never having to work again”. But he does – relentlessly. There is a reason this record reached #1 in multiple countries and still gets that much airplay – it’s that good. I’ve seen Don live in concert five times. Have met him also. That was a thrill. Brilliant guitarist and great singer. For anyone who thinks his catalogue is this, ‘Vincent’ and not much else, do your research. For me, the whole week could have been about this song. The others aren’t even close.

Silver - All Summer Long (The Beach Boys - 1964)
One of those rare Beach Boys song from this period, especially from the album that this is the title track of, that has never really done it for me. Re: the album cover, Wiki says: Jardine was unable to participate in the session due to illness. Sound familiar?

Bronze - American Woman (album version) (The Guess Who - 1970)
Wasn’t a big hit here. Not sure if I heard this before The Spy Who Shagged Me. Heather Graham, I love you. There is a life size cut-out cardboard figure of her in my lounge room.
Heather Graham (1).jpg 

Participant - America the Beautiful (Ray Charles - 1972)
Yeah, right! Patriotism irks me; especially the American variety.  

Tom Tobben

Posts: 1,163
Reply with quote  #37 
Al, your excellent battle caused me to closely re-evaluate each song. After due deliberation this past week, here's how they shake out for me:

Gold -- "American Pie", Don McLean. I have to agree with Darren and others who gave this song their gold this week. Not just a song about Buddy Holly's tragic death and the evolution of popular music and its emerging icons over the next dozen years, it's also about loss of innocence among the boomer-era generation and our society more generally, with assassinations of prominent leaders, Vietnam war, corrupt president, disaffection and rejection of traditional religious and status quo values, rise of a counterculture, widespread social protest, etc. Yes, it's a long song, but it never rambles, and each new verse advances the narrative and themes of this iconic song about the changes in our music, our society, and our values. Way more ambitious and successful than most popular songs, both in terms of lyrical and thematic scope.

Silver -- "American Woman", Guess Who. Regardless of what some might say, at its time, this big hit was one of the most powerful social protest songs about what was happening in and to America by the end of the 1960s (and with a president who was eventually removed from office for his lies and corruption), as sung knowingly by some our concerned neighbors in Canada.

Interestingly and poignantly enough, this song has renewed resonance and parallels with what has been happening in the US in recent years, with a rude bully for president who seems to make a point of insulting and alienating our closest neighbors and allies and routinely lying. I have much respect for young Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for his willingness to stand up to and speak out against our current US president when he insults our neighboring country to the north and one of our longest and closest friends and allies. I would like to see even more leaders of our major allies speak out boldly when they or their country is insulted or mistreated by this US President. The term "ugly American" has once again become very real in the current political climate, thanks to this current American president and some of his most ardent supporters.

Bronze -- "America the Beautiful", Ray Charles. Besides being a poignantly performed traditional patriotic American song, I found it fascinating that Charles changed the traditional  first verse of the song and made the song more personal and soulful. Still one of my favorite versions of the song. 

Tin -- "All Summer Long", Beach Boys. In many other weeks, this could have been my gold selection. This is one of those tasty Beach Boys album cut songs that didn't connect widely at first but grew over time as a nostalgic piece reflective of youthful innocence and of the relatively innocent early 1960s before all hell broke loose in the later 60s, and as briefly alluded to at the end of American Graffiti. No doubt, its prominent and ironic positioning over the end credits of American Graffiti in 1973, as well as its inclusion as the closing song on the Beach Boys' Endless Summer album in 1974, helped bring this fine lighthearted summer song into greater prominence. Today, taken outside of this historic context, it's simply a fun song about the youthful joys of summertime, and that's OK too.

Good battle this week, Al, and a good opportunity to reflect on both the ideals and the failings of our American society. As you mentioned, our democratic nation of immigrants from throughout Europe, Africa, Asia, Latin America, and all over the world has always been a place where millions of ambitious, destitute, and oppressed people from diverse countries and religions have come to seek better lives and greater opportunity, which is still true today. And we must never lose sight of that important element of the diverse and rich fabric of our society.

Unfortunately, being imperfect humans with diverse views, our society has often stumbled along the way and we have needed periodic minor or major course corrections. We seem to be in the midst of such a period right now, where our faith in our own country's leadership and its institutions, and the trust of our strongest allies around the world is being seriously tested.
Popeye (not the sailor)

Posts: 156
Reply with quote  #38 
My American Dream votes:

Gold: America the Beautiful - Ray Charles - Ray does a beautiful rendition of one of my favorite patriotic songs.

Silver: All Summer Long - Beach Boys - A happy bouncy sunshiney song is how I would describe this classic.

Bronze: American Pie - Don McLean - A great song I bought as a kid and wore out flipping that record over and over again to hear it all.

Tin: American Woman - Guess Who - One of many favorites from this great Canadian band.

One from America's Band.

Thanks Al!

Posts: 771
Reply with quote  #39 
Hi all,

Gold - Ray Charles - America the Beautiful

Silver - Beach Boys - All Summer Long

Bronze - Don M - American Pie

Tin - The Guess Who - American Woman
Al Forsyth

Posts: 3,638
Reply with quote  #40 
We may all have a different and differing American Dream.  Everyone in the world (and the Blueboard IS the world) may conceive a different dream of us/for us. 

I have just begun reading Fantasyland for the summer (Tom, please check this).  Not all happy America. 

I got a little 4thof July-like with this week, and wanted to follow Darren’s Aussie week (with the BB’s in it).   All Canada week sometime???

My votes were a challenge for me, actually.

My Gold goes to Ray this week for many reasons.

Ray is everyone and everything.  He was a treasure.  Here he is celebrated at #10 and T will love one of the songs but check out #4, everyone.

The King got it as well:

Ray, somehow transforms and even reimagines it!  He fills it with the soul it needs:

My Silver to Don McLean simply because it is amazing even if it is really isn’t about anything.  Some of my family members loved it when they saw/heard him perform it and what it means to him, to never have to work again.  Darren alluded to this as well.  Good joke – but also true.  It’s a treasure song. The song made him!!!!  I do think it/sing it every early February 3rd though.  It was a tragic day/night.  But I don’t know if it is about that or anything for that matter.  I think he played with words and made some magic with it.  Everyone can try to analyze and try to explain it:

My Bronze to the BB’s and this was tough – it is the consummate summer song and the harmonies and production are rich on it. Pure joy!  Brian got it!!!  I love these vocals and Dennis and Mike are VERY interesting on this.  The augmented turn chord for me makes it.  The singing in the round.  Eternal summer.

How it was made:

I was toying all week where to place American Woman because I do love this song as well, particularly the acoustic blues intro.  Sadly, I had to put it last [frown]  Bonnie, I always took it as AM was the Statue of Liberty:

Burton wails on the keys – love this guy.  Need to see/hear sometime.

Chasing their dream for a living – this is GREAT!

In short, I respect the first two, too much, and have a love for the bottom two of my votes – so go figure.  Respect wins out!  My votes and I’m sticking with them.  Back with final results later – gators.  Bonnie will be “on deck” (Americanisms are rolling).   

A diamond necklace played the pawn...
John E

Posts: 863
Reply with quote  #41 
Here's my order:

1. All Summer Long  - No comment needed

2. American Woman - Nothing special, but it does appear to have some political cred

3. American Pie - I've always found this ditty highly irritating, and no the music didn't die!

4. America the Beautiful - Ray's good, but I can do without this piece of patriotic claptrap!

Meanwhile, one more track by the great Peter Daltrey:

Larry Franz

Posts: 555
Reply with quote  #42 
"Patriotic claptrap" seems a bit harsh.

God save our gracious Queen,
Long live our noble Queen,
God save the Queen:
Send her victorious,
Happy and glorious,
Long to reign over us:
God save the Queen.

O Lord our God arise,
Scatter her enemies,
And make them fall:
Confound their politics,
Frustrate their knavish tricks,
On Thee our hopes we fix:
God save us all.

Thy choicest gifts in store,
On her be pleased to pour;
Long may she reign:
May she defend our laws,
And ever give us cause
To sing with heart and voice
God save the Queen.

X, "The New World" ("this was supposed to be the new world" & "it was better before they voted for what's his name")

Tom Tobben

Posts: 1,163
Reply with quote  #43 
Thanks, Al, for sharing those interesting video clips, especially the Top 10 decade-defining songs (which can always be debated, but certainly a very credible list nonetheless) and the documentary on the history of the Guess Who. 

Also, thanks for referring the recent book, Fantasyland. I've put it on my Amazon wish list. The numerous readers' reviews were excellent. First, among the other books I am reading, I have to read Jon Meacham's recent bestseller, The Soul of America. We recently saw him speak in St. Louis on his book tour for this book. I've read some of his other historical books and find him to be very credible and readable. I certainly do believe our country does need to do some serious soul-searching to understand how we got ourselves into the terrible political and leadership mess we currently find ourselves in, and how screwed up are some of the widespread beliefs and attitudes in our country.

Putin must be licking his chops at what has been going on over here in the recent past and eager to feast upon his private visit with Trump on Monday in Helsinki, especially after Trump's highly embarrassing meetings with NATO and UK leaders this past week and his related comments. 

"Do you believe in rock and roll, 
Can music save your mortal soul?"
    -- Don McLean
Al Forsyth

Posts: 3,638
Reply with quote  #44 
The polls will be closing very soon. 

Thanks to all for voting.  Any last minute - please do. 

And thanks Tom, our dreams are strange now but whether we are fantasy-land or reality, we'll make it work!

A diamond necklace played the pawn...
Lisa G/TS

Posts: 803
Reply with quote  #45 
After seeing the large protests in the UK and Helsinki, this might be the big summer hit this year?:

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