Category: Tunes

Top 10 Trip Tunes – 3/23/19 Part II

Top 5 Trip Tunes need no introduction so here we go.

5. You’re All I’ve Got Tonight – The Cars (1978) – This is the fourth cut from The Cars debut album to make a Trip Tunes list since kicking off the project in September 2017. How’s that for a band’s first record? And there’s a couple more good tracks still left on the album, ranks as one of the best. This cut also makes me wish I knew more about music and crafting a song as there’s a whole lot going on here to enjoy.

4. Money – Pink Floyd (1973) – Similar to tune #5 above, this one hails from a great album, something called Dark Side of the Moon. In addition, it has some quirky musicality which I still can’t understand, not my thing. Perhaps a primitive music fan but I like ‘em because they sound and feel good. And while just a bit sophomoric, I also dig it when they sneak in an uncensored line on the radio.

3. Nothing From Nothing – Billy Preston (1974) – If this one doesn’t get you moving, whether simple toe tapping or a little air keyboard, well, I don’t know what to tell you. There are certain people who were born to do certain things and it is cool when it all works out. Billy Preston was one of those people and his enthusiasm for his craft is contagious with this tune being a perfect example.

2. Rocky Mountain Way – Joe Walsh (1973) – Sticking with the born to jam theme, Joe Walsh is about as entertaining as it gets. Whether playing, singing or just rambling this guy knows how to have fun. I’m also partial to baseball references in song lyrics and Walsh’s “bases are loaded and Casey’s at bat” is a hit.

1. Do It Again – Steely Dan (1972) – Back in the days when a youngster rarely, if ever, got a glimpse of the rock stars from the radio there was always a mental image of the guys and gals. When I did get a look at Donald Fagen and Walter Becker at some point (probably on The Midnight Special or at The Platter record store), well, my imagination wasn’t even close. No matter to me, but wonder if these guys would be glamorous enough for today’s musical landscape. Ideally, their songwriting and musicianship would win out but not so sure as were not in the 1970s anymore.

And this concludes our Top 10 Trip Tunes. Back to regular programming tomorrow with another Friday Flashback and looking forward to stalking some bass as we head into a new month. Talk to you later. Troy

Top 10 Trip Tunes – 3/23/19 Part I

As another year of driving to the fishing hole kicks into gear it’s once again time to kick out some more jams. Top 10 Trip Tunes comes your way with five tomorrow and five today.

10. The Breakup Song (They Don’t Write ‘Em) – The Greg Kihn Band (1981) – Here we go again, back to the summer of 1981 and here comes a new television channel called MTV. Mixed reviews on the channel’s impact on the music business but for a few years it sure had an impact on me…still does. Kihn benefitted with his “Jeopardy” video a couple years later even spawning a coveted (?) Weird Al parody. I always found the subtitled sentiment of this cut fun as half the words are “Ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah.”

9. Handy Man – James Taylor (1977) – Honestly didn’t know this one was a remake until the DJ on the oldies show told me after the song. Actually checked out the original 1960 version from Jimmy Jones which features a completely different tempo. Still prefer Taylor’s version as it’s the one I grew up on although never would be mistaken for a handy man with “pencil or rule” or otherwise.

8. Rock The Boat – The Hues Corporation (1974) – Before my MTV days there was something called AM radio and it played music instead of endless banter. And 1974 is about as far back as I can recall recognizing then current Top 40 hits on the airwaves such as this summertime #1 smash. And what a summer it was with the likes of “Band on the Run”, “Billy Don’t be a Hero”, “Sundown” and “The Night Chicago Died” also topping the Billboard chart.

7. Time Passages – Al Stewart (1978) – What can you say? Easy Listening at its finest complete with a double dose of solos, guitar and sax. And how about the added bonus of a fishing lyric as Al notes that “it’s just now and then that my line gets cast into these time passages.” One mark of a good tune for me is when 6:40 passes by in the blink of an eye and this one does just that.

6. Landslide – Fleetwood Mac (1976) – Sparse in composition but heavy on the heart and mind. I always marvel at how some of those “oldies” become new again when seen through the eyes of experience. “And I’m getting older too” delivered via a twenty something Stevie Nicks is a winner. Always amazed at the prescience of such songwriters crooning about “changing ocean tides”, ”seasons of my life” and “reflection” way ahead of their time.

One can never get enough tunes and the Top 5 are headed your way tomorrow. Talk to you later. Troy

Top 10 Trip Tunes – 1/5/19, Part II


And the Top 5 are…

5. Home Sweet Home – Motley Crue (1985) – I know, standard 80s Hair Band staple to include at least one ballad but doggone it this one is a winner. It’s tough to hit the nail on the head with a hit that has that anthemic quality so kudos to the Crue for pulling it off with this classic (see also “Rock and Roll All Nite”, “We Will Rock You”, “Paradise City”).

4. Feelin’ Satisfied – Boston (1978) – While much of this band was studio stuff, I saw them in the early 90s and they were real solid. I recall that you could physically feel the sound across the venue. I never fail to stop when I catch them on the dial and how good was the follow up album containing this cut after an incredible debut. Gotta dig some well-placed hand claps too. The title indeed sums it up whenever I hear this one.

3. I Need A Lover – Johnny Cougar (1979) – Actually, I don’t. Already got one. Anyway, I dig the intro and it would likely rank in my Top 10 Intros. The rest of the tune is darn good too although I still can’t get the lyrics right even with the assistance of a search engine. Cougar’s first single to chart was indeed a winner with plenty more to come as well as a couple name changes. Hey, at least he never chose to be represented by a symbol.

2. Heavy Metal – Sammy Hagar (1981) – Takes me back to being a 14-year old boy and brings a pleasant smile thinking about the look of those 80s young ladies. Tunes, fashion and hairdos have certainly changed but a good rocker never gets old. My musical ear also has an affinity for tunes about music, the fans and the performers from a perspective I’ll never know (see also “All Night Long” by Rainbow, “Juke Box Hero” by Foreigner, “Rock and Roll Band” by Boston, “Shooting Star” by Bad Company, “Take the Long Way Home” by Supertramp…).

1. Crazy On You – Heart (1976) – Is this the greatest intro and transition into full throttle in rock history? Got to rank among the best as do Ann Wilson’s vocals. A song from the Bicentennial Summer with memories of baseball in the front yard, Lakelawn swimming, WLS on the radio and the Midnight Special on the tube. Too young at that point to have a thing for the Wilson sisters but 40 some years later…

The loosely “outdoor” related antics continue with this completion of another list for another year. Definitely more tunes to come as 2019 moves along but may be a while as the early start on fishing has hit a snag. Mother Nature apparently realized it was several weeks past the official start of winter and brought out a half foot of snow and some single digit lows appear to be in store for next week. Midwest living at its finest. Talk to you later. Troy

Top 10 Trip Tunes – 1/5/19, Part I

No bass on my earlier than anticipated first fishing trip of 2019 but I can always manage to find an enjoyable batch of tunes on the airwaves. Saturdays are easily my favorite radio day of the week as it is straight up music without the incessant rambles of morning hosts. But speaking of incessant rambles…

10. Long Tall Glasses (I Can Dance) – Leo Sayer (1974) – I never knew quite what to make of Leo Sayer as a kid, still don’t and just tip my cap to his phenomenal talent. Interesting and varied personas (clown to disco) mixed with a range of vocal stylings (falsetto to growls) and tunes that were all over the place (ballads to romps). This cut hits the spot, brings a smile and takes me back to the 70s. Thanks Leo, “You make me feel like dancing” even though I know I can’t dance.

9. Big Shot – Billy Joel (1979) – An entertaining and rocking bit of trash talking from the 52nd Street album, which I had on 8-track once upon a time, so that’s kind of fun. And so is the interspersed mix of heavy guitar, heavy drums, heavy keyboard, heavy vocal, a bit of heavy sax…get it Billy! I also like lyrical quirks so “last word last night”, “white hot spotlight” and “front page, bold type” keep me so entertained.

8. Let It Whip – Dazz Band (1982) – Dang, what a bass groove! Definitely a hook as I do the air bass and make some sort of lame bass sounds before the vocals kick in whenever I hear (or think about) this jam. Of course, then I’ve got to sing along and get my groove on. Not pretty but you can’t help it when you hear such a tune. Fun, fun, fun!

7. Will It Go Round In Circles – Billy Preston (1973) – Such a fun song with so many musical bits of horns, harmonica and, of course, keyboards amidst the driving backbeat. And did anybody look like they were having more fun than the fellow who is sometimes referred to as “The Fifth Beatle”? Check out some of the early 70s performances of this cut for a rollicking few minutes and a killer afro. Great stuff, takes me back and has me on a mission to dig out my old basketball cards for an ABA revisit of Dr. J, Artis Gilmore and Darnell Hillman (nod to Oscar Gamble in the MLB as well). Note: Billy Preston’s hairdo is the lead pic on Wikipedia for “Afro”, now that’s cool.

6. Unchained – Van Halen (1981) – Rock and roll at its finest, a basic quartet of a charismatic lead singer, an innovative guitarist and a dynamic duo of a rhythm section doing their thing on this cut. And that thing is a mix of raw rocker, vocal histrionics, a dose of silliness and in my opinion, underrated harmonies. Say what you will about the successful “Van Hagar” years but I’ll take this stuff hands down any day, every day.

Love my tunes and hope you are looking to put the internet to good use in dialing some of them up. I also hope that there’s a few out there who, about a half hour from now, like me will wonder “how in the world did I wind up listening to…”

Part II tomorrow. Talk to you later. Troy

The Cover of the…

RIP, Ray Sawyer, the eye-patched co-lead singer of Dr. Hook & the Medicine Show who passed away earlier this week.

Sawyer’s vocals are featured on the iconic hit, “The Cover of the Rolling Stone”, a satirical romp on making it big. If you’ve never checked out this crew doing their thing on this cut, it’s worth a search and brings a smile. It also leaves you wondering just what these guys were up to and to what degree their performances reflect a bit of chemically influenced reality versus an entertaining batch of leg pulling. At any rate, they sure looked like they enjoyed their craft.

A tongue in cheek assessment of the pinnacle of rock stardom was offered up in the following bit of the Shel Silverstein penned lyrics:

“Wanna see my smilin’ face on the cover of the Rollin’ Stone.”

Well, they made it once upon a time, in caricature. Mission accomplished by this wild crew who produced plenty of smiling faces on those who with an ear on their craft and an eye on their antics.

And being that this is an “outdoor” website, I do have a tie in to the world of fishing and one of its publications. While Illinois Game & Fish may not pack the star powered punch of Rolling Stone, it is kind of cool to see your smilin’ face looking back at you from the cover.

Don’t know what fraction of Andy Warhol’s “fifteen minutes” the 2010 appearance might rate but still fun nonetheless. Got a larger shot and a shout out in the accompanying article as well but that is a tale for another day, perhaps this spring.

Talk to you later. Troy

2018 Lyric of the Month – Part II

Much appreciated if you are back for more as we take a look at the second half of the lines from 2018.

“Everyone’s feeling pretty, it’s hotter than July.”
Master Blaster (Jammin’)
Stevie Wonder (1980)
Several months ago, a Facebook group that I follow posed the question of who is the greatest singer or musician of all-time. I narrowed it down to those I have seen or heard in my lifetime and sure think it would be tough to beat this fella.

“I feel it in the air, the summer’s out of reach.”
The Boys of Summer – Don Henley (1984)
I chose this one as once August rolls around these days I always feel that the summer is done since school starts so much earlier than when I was a kid. I always dug some of the imagery that Henley’s lyrics conjured up and as a 17 year-old kid “I can see you, your brown skin shining in the sun” was quite fascinating.

“Hey, I heard you missed us, we’re back.”
Hot for Teacher
Van Halen (1984)
Just like the song above, here’s another one from the start of my senior year of high school. And if you have enjoyed that phase of life, are familiar with this tune and lived in the early days of MTV, well, you know where I’m coming from. If you have yet to hit to hit that age, enjoy it, and know that if we could trade places for a few days…

“We could exist on the stars, it’d be so easy.”
Miracles – Jefferson Starship (1975)
Hey, what do you know? Another love song and this one is a winner. Marty Balin croons it from the heart with nearly seven entertaining minutes of rambling without rhyme that just hits the spot. Sadly, my reason for selecting this cut was Balin’s passing on September 27, 2018.

“When the days get shorter and the nights get long.”
She’s So Cold – Rolling Stones (1980)
Proving that there is a method to my madness, this one was chosen to coincide with the onset of Daylight Savings Time and the coming Winter Solstice. I’m a science guy at heart and dedicated music buff so it’s kind of fun when it all of that potentially useless knowledge upstairs all comes together.

“It snowed today, its cold here for November.
If Hollywood Don’t Need You (Honey I Still Do) – Don Williams (1982)
Lots of stuff going on here. Always a treat to hear the “Gentle Giant” who passed away in September 2017. And his reference in this classic tune to Burt Reynolds was also timely as “The Bandit/Gator/Paul Crewe” had died in September 2018. Finally, a near 14” Thanksgiving weekend snowstorm deserved a shout out.

Okay, thanks to those of you who have hung in there for the musical interlude of this outdoor website. We now sort of resume our regular programming with a music/fishing tribute piece up next before moving on to some 2018 and all-time Top 5 stats. Actually have some fish up next week as well with the earliest start ever to our Top 5 project. In fact, the first catch of 2019 will never be beaten only equaled. Talk to you later. Troy

2018 Lyric of the Month – Part I

As you may or may not know, each new month features a new lyric tucked away at the bottom of the webpage as an added feature. All for fun and gives me an excuse to share my passion for tunes alongside some fish, family, fellow anglers, nature and whatever else crosses my mind as those wheels are always turning.

Right on schedule, there’s a new lyric down there but since it’s also the beginning of the New Year, I’ve also got a bunch of lyrics up here too. For the “outdoor” posts of the next two days it’s a look back at the dozen batches of lines, titles, artists and years that graced the footer as “Lyric of the Month” in 2018. Of course, I add a little two cents as well in this recap as I enjoy talking tunes as much as tackle.

“It’ll be just like starting over, starting over.”
(Just Like) Starting Over, John Lennon (1980)
Such a shame that Lennon’s new start after an extended absence from the music business was senselessly ended only six weeks after this song was released as a single.

“But February made me shiver…”
American Pie, Don McLean (1971)
One of my earliest memories from the AM dial. Didn’t understand it then, sort of do a bit more now but simply epic, nostalgic, and tragic and that good, old “drove my Chevy to the levee” line is still a favorite piece of lyrical artistry pushing 50 years later.

“I’m your vehicle, baby, I’ll take you anywhere you wanna go.”
Vehicle, Ides of March (1970)
While a little creepy as “I’m a friendly stranger in a black sedan won’t you hop inside my car” and so on, this one jams with some soul and a horn section. Kind of fun that the songwriter and Ides’ leader, Jim Peterik, would find future stardom with his band, Survivor.

“The thoughts of a fool’s kind of careless, I’m just a fool waiting on the wrong block.”
Fool in the Rain, Led Zeppelin (1979)
The best songs are love songs, no matter the presentation, fast, slow or samba. And when you can’t suppress a smile or resist the urge to sing along to the tale of a soggy, broken hearted fool who doesn’t know it or won’t admit it, that’s musical magic. Six minutes later, I’m happy when I should feel bad for the guy.

“If there’s a bustle in your hedgerow, don’t be alarmed now, it’s just a spring clean for the May queen.”
Stairway to Heaven, Led Zeppelin (1971)
Oft cited as one of the greatest rock cuts of all-time and I would have to agree, it simply doesn’t get old. It’s always fun too, when you get more than one song wrapped into one song (see also “Band on the Run”).

“Man, it’s a hot one, like seven inches from the midnight sun.”
Smooth, Santana featuring Rob Thomas (1999)
Hard to believe this one is going to turn 20 years old, time flies. This one was fitting for a late spring heatwave and was just fun proof that a lifetime of listening has left me with a lyric (or two or three or…) for every occasion. Drives my kids (and sometimes Julie) nuts but amuses myself.

And tomorrow gives me another occasion to ramble with the second batch. Talk to you later. Troy

Trip Tune Stats

A New Year’s Eve highlight while growing up was something called “The Big 89 Countdown” featured on Chicago’s WLS 890 AM radio. The annual rundown of each year’s hits ran from 1967 through 1986 with my listening heyday being the mid-70s into the 80s. The countdown would kick off in the evening and run you right up to the midnight reveal of the year’s top tune. Awesome stuff for a young radio buff, stat kid and fan of countdowns/lists. Call me a goof, but I actually used to get out the notebook paper and make my own list as the disc jockeys spun the way to number one.

Oh, what a countdown, late December back in 1976…the rest of the archives can be found by clicking here

Here on the blog I have managed to find a way to work in some of those old tunes under the guise of outdoor stuff with a feature that I call “Top 10 Trip Tunes.” For those not familiar with the concept, I compile a list of the Top 10 songs that grace the airwaves during the round trip to the fishing hole (typically an hour or so each way). Thus far, these blog postings have racked up a total of 115 tunes (a shorter outing featured only a Top 5) going back to the first go round from a September 2, 2017 outing.

So, what the heck, it’s time for some stats as we bid farewell to the old year and welcome the new.

Top 10 Trip Tunes – Top Artists (by appearance)
4 – Led Zeppelin
3 – Blondie
The Cars
Jackson Browne
Jefferson Starship

Top 10 Trip Tunes – Top Decades
1970s – 77 tunes
1980s – 28 tunes
1960s – 6 tunes
1990s – 2 tunes
2000s – 1 tune
2010s – 1 tune

Top 10 Trip Tunes – Top 10 Years (including my Top Hit)
1978 – 19 tunes (Right Down the Line – Gerry Rafferty)
1975 – 12 tunes (Wish You Were Here – Pink Floyd)
1979 – 11 tunes (Fool in the Rain – Led Zeppelin)
1976 – 9 tunes (The Boys are Back in Town – Thin Lizzy)
1981 – 8 tunes (Watching the Wheels – John Lennon)
1980 – 7 tunes (Stomp – The Brothers Johnson)
1973 – 6 tunes (Reelin’ in the Years – Steely Dan)
1977 – 6 tunes (Lido Shuffle – Boz Scaggs)
1970 – 4 tunes (Your Song – Elton John)
1972 – 4 tunes (Doctor My Eyes – Jackson Browne)
1974 – 4 tunes (Killer Queen – Queen)

Okay, I won’t keep you any longer as I’ve fed my music fix for the time being. Kind of fun for me and up for interpretation as to whether it says more about the listener or the formats of my favorite presets on the truck radio dial. Plenty more hits were included along those rides and I suspect that there will be several more batches as the 2019 fishing season unfolds.

For tonight, I suggest that you find some of your favorite tunes, old or new, and crank ‘em up as you count down the final hours of 2018. Happy New Year to all and talk to you later. Troy

Top 11 Trip Tunes 9/23 – Part II

And the countdown continues…

5. Brain Damage/Eclipse – Pink Floyd (1973) – The grand finale to arguably the top album of all-time. Forever linked and you shouldn’t really listen to one without the other, wonderfully loony and heavy at the same time. If you are among the few on the planet who has yet to purchase a copy of this classic Floyd album, the time has come. See you on the “Dark Side of the Moon.”

4. Karn Evil 9 (1st Impression Part II) – Emerson, Lake & Palmer (1973) – If I were to pick a theme song for my blog, this might be the one. “Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends…” And in regards to this blog thing, well “you’ve got to see the show, it’s a dynamo.” “Rest assured you’ll get your money’s worth” (it’s free by the way) and every now and then “you’ve got to see the show, it’s rock and roll.”

3. Let’s Groove – Earth, Wind & Fire (1981) – What can you say? This is the jam, even got my boys hooked as they call it the “Boogie on down” song. Gotta pat myself on the back as a good Dad for that one. Just cool, gets you moving and singing along even if you’re not sure of some of the words, go ahead and make ‘em up as you go, more about the vibe than the lyrics anyhow. Although, “just move yourself and glide like a 747” is pretty hip.

2. American Girl – Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers (1977) – Just my opinion but I favor the old Tom Petty (say 1977-1985) over the rest of his lengthy and illustrious career. This one is a perfect example of my preference as the older stuff just seems a little more varied and a little rawer. Got lots of favorite lines in lots of songs and for this one I would definitely choose “she stood alone on her balcony” as Petty’s pronunciation and delivery are quite fun.

1. My Best Friend’s Girl – The Cars (1978) – Second straight Top Tunes post that features The Cars at the top spot (see 7/28 list – Bye, Bye Love) and both tunes are from the same album, the band’s self-titled debut. Yet again, a solid mix of musicianship, lyrics and delivery, straight up Cars magic as we prepared to leave disco behind in favor of something new, as in New Wave. And who wouldn’t be a little envious of his buddy’s lady with her “Nuclear boots” and “suede blue eyes?”

Ah yes, another one of my distractions. I have fun with the tunes, hope no one minds the occasional bit of meandering. Next up though, back to some fishing with a report and a flashback to get us through the weekend. Talk to you later. Troy



Top 11 Trip Tunes 9/23 – Part I

Hey, let’s do this again.

And one better than a Top 10 in “turning it up to 11” as I just had too many good cuts to choose from on this particular trek to the Knox County strip mines.

11. Youth Gone Wild – Skid Row (1989) – For a number of years I had trouble coming to grips with my affliction for that interesting period of rock music when “hair” bands roamed the radio and television dial. But then I just flat out decided that I like it (and I know you like it too). Many great high voices (tone and otherwise) rocked the airwaves but tough to beat Sebastian Bach’s pipes when he wailed away. Rock has long been the domain of the rebel and this offering represents an anthem for the hair generation. Additionally, kind of cool when you can work your band name into the lyrics (see also Boston, Bad Company, The Who…)

10. Midnight Blue – Lou Gramm (1987) – Anybody ever associate a particular song with a time or a place or a person? Of course you have, that’s what good tune does. Anybody else hitting that age where you recall something and then wonder if the memory is correct? In the case of this song, I seem to recall a lefty on the Knox College baseball squad nicknamed Giddy who really dug this cut and I do too. Giddy, I know you’re out there, if you read this let me know if I’ve got it right or simply losing my mind.

9. Let It Whip – Dazz Band (1982) – Speaking of Knox College, back in the early 80s the college radio station, WVKC 90.7FM, used to feature a weekly program focusing on a mix of funk, hip hop, rap, post-disco and R&B infused pop. Interesting stuff for a kid normally tuned in to WLS 89AM or the local Top 40 station, Q93. Spent many of those Saturday nights tuned into “The Voice” as the station was nicknamed (Sunday nights was Dr. Demento on 97X). Anyway, what a treat it was to hear stuff like this one or “Controversy” by Prince or “White Horse” by Laid Back or “Take Your Time Do It Right” by The S.O.S. Band or “The Breaks” by Kurtis Blow or “The Message” by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five or…time to revisit these jams on the internet once I get this post completed.

8. Wasted on the Way – Crosby, Stills & Nash (1982) – This is another one of those cuts that hits a little closer to home these days than it did when released in the summer before my sophomore year of high school. Would make a nice addition to side two of a cassette tape along with “Time” from Pink Floyd, “Running on Empty” from Jackson Browne, “Long May You Run” from Neil Young and “Like a Rock” from Bob Seger. “Oh when you were young…”

7. Sooner or Later – The Grass Roots (1971) – Dare you not to sing along to this catchy love song. Plenty of vocal roles to choose from, too. Maybe you’re a lead singer, perhaps you opt for harmony, possibly just pitch in with the punctuated “time”, “mind”, “when”, “again”, take part in a little call and response or go ahead and let it all hang out during an improvised finale. Just one of those make you feel good, could listen to it all day, they don’t make ‘em like that anymore tunes.

6. The Ballad of Curtis Loew – Lynyrd Skynyrd (1974) – Discovered this one rather late. Never was much of an album kid, didn’t have any money after buying baseball cards, so never heard this tune until sometime in the 90s on the radio. Knew who it was right away but not quite what it was and always a treat to find something old on the dial that’s brand new to my ear. Great story song about a wonderful piece of common ground called music.

How’s that for a blog entry? You get Curtis Loew and Kurtis Blow all in one post. And on an “outdoor” blog to boot! Now that’s some good stuff. Part II tomorrow to finish off our eleven songs for the price of ten. Talk to you later. Troy