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Archive for the tag “Dean Martin”

Music Heard When the Guitar Train Traveled in Europe

Quirky T recently conducted The Guitar Train to seven marvelous countries in Europe. As I wrote in a previous Guitar Train stop, https://guitartrain.wordpress.com/2017/08/24/the-guitar-train-is-going-to-europe/

I was not familiar with music from the countries I would be visiting – France, Germany, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, and Luxembourg. The trip was filled with amazing sights, history, food, familiar music, and even a real train ride through the Alps.

Swiss Folklore Restaurant, Lucerne

As I had anticipated, I did not hear native music in all of those counties. Switzerland was the one exception. In Lucerne, I went to an ear-opening Swiss folklore dinner and music show. Besides yodeling and alp horns, I did not know much about Swiss music. Apparentally, the Swiss had much free time back in the day while farming which led them to turn saws, brooms, bowls, bottles, cow bells and spoons into musical instruments. To see video of this musical talent and ingenuity, search You Tube for Stadtkellar Lucerne Swiss Folklore Show. To my horror, I was among a group of people called on stage to take turns doing a solo yodel in front of hundreds of tourists from around the world. My Swiss ancestors would have been embarrassed by my horrible yodeling.

Eiffel Tower

The music part of my trip began on the plane ride to Paris where I watched a documentary about Bruce Springsteen called “In His Own Words”. It was interesting as he went through his family and musical background and read from his recent autobiography. My next encounter with music occurred on the minivan ride to the Paris hotel. The driver had the Nostalgia Station on the radio and Billy Ocean’s “Caribbean Queen” played as we passed by more graffiti than I have ever seen in my life.

 

Musee d'Orsay, Paris

Musee d’Orsay, Paris

 

That was just the beginning of the familiar American and English music I heard throughout Europe. On the tour bus in Paris near the Jardin des Tuileries, “Time After Time” by Cyndi Lauper was playing on the bus radio. On the way to dinner that night, on the tour bus I heard the first of many ABBA songs as “Dancing Queen” made its first appearance.

 

The dinner in Paris included an amazing strolling, joking, and singing guitarist who sang songs in French, English, Italian, Spanish, and Russian to entertain the tourists from many countries. Not surprisingly the four Beatles songs he performed were very popular. Everyone happily sang along to “Michelle”, “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da”, “I Saw Her Standing There”, and “Yellow Submarine.” “La Bamba” was another song that got the crowd singing.

Neuschwanstein Castle

Neuschwanstein Castle

At a dinner in Freiberg, Germany, I had an interesting conversation with an elderly British tourist. He recounted how he first saw The Beatles on the “Ed Sullivan Show” when he lived in America. He didn’t like them then and I don’t think his opinion ever changed. He went on to tell me his theory that The Beatles wrote the words to their songs but not the music. I wasn’t able to ask him more about his conspiracy theory since the waitress interrupted us then to start dinner. He left me wondering who he thought came up with the music if not John, Paul, or George. And how did this person or group of people continue to make music for all four Beatles when they had separated and had four successful music careers for decades more? I have never heard or read this theory before and I give it no credence.

Lake Lucerne

Lake Lucerne

Someone who had much more love and respect for The Beatles was the Swiss captain of the boat cruise the tour group took on Lake Lucerne in Switzerland. He said as a youth he had four great English teachers – John, Paul, George, and Ringo. He then played “From Me to You” and “She Loves You”. He asked for requests and “Hey Jude” played as we cruised the beautiful lake.

 

Other familiar songs I heard were Stevie Wonder’s “I Just Called to Say I Love You” in the hotel in Lucerne and Dean Martin’s “Volare” in a home goods store in a Lucerne mall.

Duomo, Milan, Italy

Duomo, Milan, Italy

I think my very organized, energetic, and perfect for her job Hungarian tour director had an affinity for ABBA. She had the Italian tour bus driver play ABBA several times during our long bus rides through Europe. One night after having a delicious dinner near the Duomo in Milan, Italy, the bus ride to the hotel contained more ABBA songs than I have ever heard in my entire life. It was nice to hear songs of theirs which I had never heard before. They were mostly uplifting, fun songs.

 

On the last day, on the bus ride to the Milan airport, the Italian bus driver took over control of the music and had the Radio Monte Carlo station on which played “Fantasy” by George Michael, “With or Without You” by U2, and “Sowing the Seeds of Love” by Tears for Fears.

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

Finishing the amazing trip on a Beatles note, on the plane ride from Milan to Miami, I watched the good documentary “It Was Fifty Years Ago Today … Sgt. Peppers and Beyond”. The fact that I was flying to Miami reminded me of “Back in the USSR”. Luckily, it wasn’t a dreadful flight- just very long at 10 ½ hours!

 

After experiencing how much English was spoken throughout the seven European countries I visited and the large amount of signs written in English, I should not have been surprised to hear so many English language songs. I definitely also should not have been surprised to hear all the Beatles songs I did. Vive Les Beatles! Vive la musique!

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Quirky T’s Favorite Christmas Songs

 

Christmas greetings to all Guitar Train passengers!  To help you celebrate the holiday in a secular way, here is a reposting of Quirky T’s favorite Christmas songs. These are the songs I’ll be listening to repeatedly.

 

  1. “Jingle Bells” – Barbra Streisand
  2. “A Marshmallow World” – Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin
  3. “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” – Dean Martin
  4. “Shake Hands With Santa Claus” – Louis Prima
  5. “Sleigh Ride” – The Ronettes
  6. “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” – Bruce Springsteen

 

No Christmas season would be complete without hearing Barbra Streisand’s highly caffeinated version of “Jingle Bells”. It’s as if before the recording of this song, she was told, “Okay, we have only have the recording studio for two minutes. Finish drinking your extra large espresso and let’s go.” The result must be heard to be enjoyed. It brings me joy every time I hear it.

Christmas with The Rat Pack

“A Marshmallow World” from the CD “Christmas with The Rat Pack” portrays a lovely winter setting that makes me happy. I wish it would snow enough to re-enact this song.

 

There are many versions of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” but Dean Martin’s version is my favorite. It is also on the CD “Christmas with The Rat Pack”. Several of the lyrics (really, the whole scenario of the song) are outdated but I still like this song. The lyrics that always get me are the mention of death from pneumonia if the girlfriend leaves, very romantic.

Mob Hits Christmas

I put Louis Prima in the same category as Lou Monte (see my post on Lou Monte in Happy Month https://guitartrain.wordpress.com/2013/10/03/happy-month-on-the-guitar-train/  ). Louis Prima’s novelty songs are fun like Lou Monte’s songs. “Shake Hands with Santa Claus” is just a fun, upbeat song. It can be found on the CD “Mob Hits Christmas” which sadly doesn’t contain Lou Monte’s “Dominick the Donkey (The Italian Christmas Donkey)”, another classic Christmas novelty song. That song is on the first “Mob Hits” CD which was released before the “Mob Hits Christmas” CD.

There are many versions of the song “Sleigh Ride” but by far my favorite is by The Ronettes. Their version is fast and fun. It cuts out the slow, boring verses and ends with you wanting to hear more.

 

I haven’t heard every single Bruce Springsteen song but from the ones I have heard, he seems to be quite a serious person. What I love about his version of “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” is he seems to be having so much fun. It’s just a happy, energetic rocking song.

 

Guitar Train passengers, what are your favorite secular Christmas songs and why?

The Guitar Train’s Top 15 Albums

Help!No Jacket Required

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Guitar Train is joining the fun and listing my Top 15 albums today. I found out about this interesting blogging topic from the great Word Press blog 1,001 Albums in 10 Years https://1001albumsin10years.wordpress.com/2015/09/04/calling-all-artists-list-enthusiasts/  . I have added the twist that my list cannot be all Beatles albums and it has to contain albums from my five favorite bands/musicians – The Beatles, Phil Collins/Genesis, Huey Lewis and the News, Gloria Estefan, and Jon Secada.

 

So here’s my top 15 albums for September 15, 2015:

 

  1. A Hard Day’s Night – The Beatles
  2. Help! – The Beatles
  3. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – The Beatles
  4. Genesis – Genesis
  5. Invisible Touch – Genesis
  6. No Jacket Required – Phil Collins
  7. Sports – Huey Lewis and the News
  8. Fore! – Huey Lewis and the News
  9. Cuts Both Ways – Gloria Estefan
  10. gloria! – Gloria Estefan
  11. Jon Secada – Jon Secada
  12. Heart, Soul, & a Voice – Jon Secada
  13. Traveling Wilburys Volume 1 – Traveling Wilburys
  14. Mob Hits Volume 1 – Various Artists
  15. Christmas With the Rat Pack – Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr.

gloria!

 

 

 

 

Jon Secada

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I will definitely be reading other bloggers’ Top 15 Albums lists.


 

 

Traveling WIlburys

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Guitar Train passengers, how many of my Top 15 Albums are also on your list?

Quick Station Stop – Quirky T’s Favorite Standards

 

 

 

Essential Dean Martin CD

 

To wrap up The Standards Month on the Guitar Train, here is a very short list of Quirky T’s favorite Standards:

 

“Ain’t That a Kick in the Head” – Dean Martin

“That’s Amore” – Dean Martin

“The Best is Yet to Come” – Frank Sinatra and Jon Secada

“For Once in My Life” – Frank Sinatra

“Come Fly With Me” – Frank Sinatra

“Fly Me to the Moon” – Frank Sinatra

 

Duets II

Guitar Train passengers, what are your favorite Standards?

 

Next month’s Guitar Train stops to ask the question, “Do I Want to Hear More?” Have you ever liked the one (hit) song you have heard from a musician or band and wondered if you would like more of their music? Well, I’m going to answer that question. Will I like more of their songs or will I be a music grouch about them? Hop aboard The Guitar Train next month to find out.

Quirky T’s Favorites Sing The Standards

 

The third stop as the Guitar Train explores The Standards listens to cover versions of these timeless songs performed by Quirky T’s favorite musicians. Interestingly, three of my five all time favorite musicians have recently released CDs with their versions of classic songs from the 20’s – 50’s.

 

Every time I hear music from the 40’s to the 50’s, I think “This is why The Beatles had to come along and why they became so popular, so no one would have to listen to this music anymore.” Apparently, Paul McCartney didn’t feel the same way as he released a CD of his version of songs from this time period. 2012‘s “Kisses on the Bottom” is the first and only Paul McCartney CD to put me to sleep. The pace of the music is much too slow for me. I just couldn’t get into it. Frank Sinatra recorded a version of George Harrison’s “Something” so I can imagine Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin singing other Beatles’ songs such as “Yes It Is”, “I Will”, and “I’ll Follow the Sun” but why is Paul McCartney doing The Standards? His voice doesn’t lend itself to this type of music.

 

I am very familiar with the Paul McCartney remake of the song “Get Yourself Another Fool” because it was one of only 20 songs that was continuously played where I work. It always annoyed me that of all The Beatles and Paul McCartney songs that could have been played – why that one? It’s not even his original song; it doesn’t accurately represent him.

 

The Beatles album

The Beatles album

Another remake Paul McCartney did on this CD is called “Bye Bye Blackbird”. All I could think about when I heard this song was The Beatles’ song “Blackbird” from “The Beatles” (White) album. I prefer The Beatles song.

 

Jon Secada - Classics

As I mentioned in the Guitar Train stop about Frank Sinatra songs, Jon Secada recorded a “duet” with Frank Sinatra on the song, “The Best is Yet to Come.”  https://guitartrain.wordpress.com/2014/10/02/the-standards-frank-sinatra/  Then in 2010 Jon Secada released a CD of his versions of The Standards called “Classics” in English and “Clasicos” for the Spanish version. I’d rather he make some new, original music for me to dance to and sing along with. At least “Classics” includes a fast song like “La Bamba” (which, while not a Standard, is a classic). Interestingly, the CD also contains a cover of a Frank Sinatra song, “My Way” and “Besame Mucho” which The Beatles also covered.

Gloria Estefan also recorded a “duet” with Frank Sinatra on the song “Come Rain or Come Shine”. While I liked that recording, I was not excited in 2013 to hear that Gloria Estefan was going to release her version of The Standards. Why, why, why? At least I’m used to slower songs from Gloria Estefan but enough with these classics. The songs on Gloria Estefan’s CD simply called “The Standards” drag out so much. Just sing the next word already! They are the opposite of Gloria Estefan songs such as “Conga” where she sings very fast. I guess it shows how talented she is to be able to sing two drastically different styles of music. I certainly wouldn’t expect Frank Sinatra or Dean Martin to sing “Conga” or “The Rhythm’s Gonna Get You.”

 

Paul McCartney and Gloria Estefan have stated they recorded their versions of The Standards because they have connections to the songs. They grew up listening to the songs and have memories associated with these songs. I don’t have those connections or memories and hearing these songs hasn’t given me any. So please, Huey Lewis and the News, keep your remakes to soul songs and don’t torture me with more Standards.

 

Guitar Train passengers, have any of your favorite musicians recorded cover songs in a genre you don’t like? Did these remakes change your opinion of that genre?

 

The Standards – Dean Martin

 

Stop number two as the Guitar Train looks at The Standards is Dean Martin. I first became aware of his music in the late 1990’s because of the inclusion of some of his songs on the CD “Mob Hits” which contains songs from the soundtracks of mob movies such as “The Godfather” and “Goodfellows”. Hearing the songs “Volare” and “That’s Amore” made me want to explore more Dean Martin songs.

Essential Dean Martin CD

To expand my listening of Dean Martin, I purchased the CD, “The Essential Dean Martin”. I enjoyed this CD as more than half of the songs are fast paced enough for me. There are definitely more finger snapping songs on this CD than on the “Frank Sinatra: Greatest Love Songs” CD which I wrote about in the last Guitar Train stop.

https://guitartrain.wordpress.com/2014/10/02/the-standards-frank-sinatra/

My favorite songs on the Dean Martin CD are the first two songs “Ain’t That a Kick in the Head” and “That’s Amore”. Ironically, Dean Martin’s song called “I Will” is faster than The Beatles song of the same name.

Frank Sinatra framed photo

The coolness of Dean Martin cannot be denied just like with Frank Sinatra. I’m glad I listened to Dean Martin’s music. As with Frank Sinatra, I won’t explore more but I’ll repeatedly play the songs I have.

 

Guitar Train passengers, which Dean Martin song is your favorite and why?

 

At the next stop on the Guitar Train, Quirky T examines her favorite musicians’ versions of The Standards.

Quirky T’s Favorite Christmas Songs

Moving along on the track of Christmas songs this month, this stop looks at Quirky T’s favorite secular songs.  They are

  1. “Jingle Bells” – Barbra Streisand
  2. “A Marshmallow World” – Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin
  3. “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” – Dean Martin
  4. “Shake Hands With Santa Claus” – Louis Prima
  5. “Sleigh Ride” – The Ronettes 
  6. “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” – Bruce Springsteen

No Christmas season would be complete without hearing Barbra Streisand’s highly caffeinated version of “Jingle Bells”.  It’s as if before the recording of this song, she was told, “Okay, we only have the recording studio for two minutes.  As soon as you finish drinking your extra large espresso, we’ll start.”  The result must be heard to be enjoyed.  It brings me joy every time I hear it.

Christmas with The Rat Pack

“A Marshmallow World” from the CD “Christmas with The Rat Pack” portrays a lovely winter setting that makes me happy.  I wish it would snow enough to re-enact this song.

There are many versions of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” but Dean Martin’s version is my favorite.  It is also on the CD “Christmas with The Rat Pack”.  Several of the lyrics (really, the whole scenerio of the song) are outdated but I still like this song.  The lyrics that always get me are the mention of death from pneumonia if the girlfriend leaves, very romantic.

Mob Hits Christmas

I put Louis Prima in the same category as Lou Monte (see my post on Lou Monte in Happy Month https://guitartrain.wordpress.com/2013/10/03/happy-month-on-the-guitar-train/ ).  Louis Prima’s novelty songs are fun like Lou Monte’s songs.  “Shake Hands with Santa Claus” is just a fun, upbeat song.  It can be found on the CD “Mob Hits Christmas” which sadly doesn’t contain Lou Monte’s “Dominick the Donkey (The Italian Christmas Donkey)”, another classic Christmas novelty song.  That song is on the first “Mob Hits” CD which was released before the “Mob Hits Christmas” CD.

There are many versions of the song “Sleigh Ride” but by far my favorite is by The Ronettes.  Their version is fast and fun.  It cuts out the slow, boring verses and ends with you wanting to hear more.

I haven’t heard every single Bruce Springsteen song but from the ones I have heard, he seems to be quite a serious person.  What I love about his version of “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” is he seems to be having so much fun.  It’s just a happy, energetic rocking song.

Guitar Train passengers, what are your favorite secular Christmas songs and why?

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