October Road

Another month in this very strange year has flown by, and it’s time for my recap of that month’s posts, my fourth of these. Thank you for your support: you keep reading them and I’ll keep posting them! First things first, though, as there is a little piece of finishing up to do. Last month’s round-up had a title I had borrowed, and I invited you to tell me whence it came. No one tried, so I’m going to tell you now! The post was my first in October and, as before, it contained links to all the previous month’s offerings, in case you’d missed one (how very dare you!). It was called:

September, Now It’s Gone

I adapted the title from one of the most beautiful songs I know, a song about love, family, and mortality:

I hope Roseanne won’t mind – I love the song and that video, and borrowing the title is my little homage to her and her father. If you don’t already know, I’ll tell you where this month’s title comes from at the end of the piece.

As usual, music featured in a lot of my posts last month. There were, of course, the usual Tuesday Tunes – four of them, starting with

Tuesday Tunes 29: More Sixties

which included music from The Equals, The Hollies, Simon Dupree And The Big Sound, Cream and The Easybeats.

Next in the series was

Tuesday Tunes 30: Sixties USA

in which we heard from The Byrds, The Beach Boys, Neil Diamond, The Monkees and Crosby, Stills & Nash. I had promised to include some music from the USA in the series, and devoting a whole post to that seemed a good way to do it.

I then turned my attention to albums, for the final post from the Sixties:

Tuesday Tunes 31: Sixties Albums

which included music from The Moody Blues, Bob Dylan, The Who, The Byrds (again!), The Beatles and Led Zeppelin. I think that selection in itself is ample proof of what a great decade that was in which to grow up and get interested in music.

The final Tuesday Tunes post of the month saw me move into the next decade with

Tuesday Tunes 32: Into The Seventies

which was the first of two posts I’m planning for singles, before moving onto albums – as I was doing myself in buying records at that time. This post featured Status Quo, Deep Purple, Elton John, David Bowie and Jethro Tull. Again – not a bad time for music!

Not wanting to lose sight of why I began blogging in the first place, I produced my usual piece to mark World Mental Health Day on 10th October:

World Mental Health Day 2020

and followed that up with a post showing how music can affect our hopes and emotions, in

Stairway To…Hope – A Return

which was an update and edit of a post I originally wrote in 2015, about one of my all-time favourite songs, and how it demonstrates that music can be so powerful for us.

I returned to the mental health theme again in the first of two posts marking Halloween. This was the serious one:

Halloween – My Regular Reminder

This is, as its title suggests, a recurring theme for me: Halloween shouldn’t be a time for stigmatising those who are suffering from mental health issues but, sadly, some still need to be reminded of that.

The fun Halloween post came yesterday to round off my month:

Halloween Tunes 2020

This was a bumper post, including music from Michael Jackson, Bobby Boris Pickett, Ray Parker Jr, Sheb Wooley, The Automatic, Black Widow, Redbone and Warren Zevon – just the eight songs, plus an extended version of one of them! It was also my 450th post, though somehow I doubt that (m)any of you will remember the first!

To save you having to wait till next month, I did say earlier that I’d tell you where I got this month’s round-up title from. It’s going to have to be a static video, I’m afraid, as I could only find two live versions of this, and they suffered from poor sound quality and over-enthusiastic (and loud) American audiences. It’s a typically great song from a great artist, and it deserves to be heard properly, I think:

See you again next month, I trust 😊

Halloween Tunes 2020

On Thursday, I posted my usual reminder about not using Halloween as a time to mock mental illness, even if it is unintended. Last year, to show that I’m not a fully fledged grouch – well, not yet – I thought I should show my ‘fun’ side and approach the ‘celebrations’ from the angle of my other main theme: music. It went tolerably well so I thought I’d edit and update the piece for those who won’t have seen it before.

There have been many songs which could be deemed to relate to the usual manifestations of this time of year, by which I mean monsters, ghosts, zombies, witches and general spookery. Most of these are tongue in cheek, and I’ve managed to avoid stretching the links too far: for example, I considered, but rejected, Time Of The Season by the Zombies. It’s a great song, but even my limited abilities at quality control told me that just using the band’s name was pushing it a bit.

Instead, I chose as my starting point a song which is probably the most popular ever for this time of year. Scoring absolutely no points for originality I give you….

That is the shorter version, which just gives you the song. If you want the complete 13+ minute epic, which is the full cinematic treatment, try this:

My second choice is one that was a hit in my childhood, way back in 1962, and was often played on the Saturday breakfast time radio requests show for kids, Children’s Favourites. This video is a homage to the song: watching it brings back lots of happy memories for me, and it is great fun:

Another obvious choice next. It’s probably worth keeping in mind that you may need to rid yourself of ghosts at some point, so do you know who to call? Do you have their number? Are you afraid? I ain’t:

I went for another oldie next. Perhaps this isn’t obviously a Halloween-related song but, on the theme of monsters, who wouldn’t be frightened by a great big one-eyed thing going around eating people? But it does only seem to have it in for purple people, though, so maybe we’re alright:

Another monster favourite of mine is next up. I know this one is stretching it a bit, too, but I like it and didn’t want to leave it out. And the video is fun:

Time to move on to witchcraft now, I think. This choice is very left-field, and is not really about Halloween at all. But it is very much of its time – late 1960s/early 70s, when prog rock was taking shape and there was a renewed interest in the occult. I had this on one of those sampler albums that some of the record companies issued back then: Bumpers was the album, from Island Records. It always intrigued me, and there is something about the insistent rhythm and chanted chorus that attracts me to it. I love this video that has been put together for the song – so many wonderful images!

Another ‘witch’ song now, from 1971. This was a classic one-hit wonder in the UK, and deserves to be included in my collection even if it doesn’t specifically mention Halloween, as it’s a very good depiction of how ‘witches’ can cast a spell over us: in this case with voodoo and black magic. And it’s still a Halloween favourite after all these years:

They say you should always leave the best till last, so that’s exactly what I’m doing. This is another UK one-hit wonder (no.87 in 1987, on re-release), though his albums fared slightly better: two of them charted. Well, they reached our top 200. He was the writer of incredibly original songs – try Roland The Headless Thompson Gunner if you don’t know what I mean – and was taken from us by inoperable cancer in 2003, far too soon. But his legacy lives on, and there have been countless covers of his songs. My no.1 for Halloween is the great Warren Zevon:

I was born and brought up in Kent and am happy to report that I never encountered that character! But, then again, I’m not called Jim so maybe I’d have been alright anyway?

I hope you managed to find something in this selection to enjoy. Do have a great Halloween, however you spend it. I’ll be hunkered down in my flat, pretending I’m out if anyone comes trick or treating and COVID-spreading, but that’s just me showing my ‘fun’ side, isn’t it?😉

🎃🧟‍♂️Happy Halloween!🧟‍♀️🧙‍♀️