Saturday, July 28, 2007

Sunset In San Francisco

I found a couple more picture I liked that I took from Treasure Island in San Francisco Bay. (I shared this shot with you earlier of Alcatraz from just a few minutes after these two shots were taken.) The shot above shows the financial district in SF behind a large anchor that decorates the main entrance to Treasure Island. And the shot below is the Bay Bridge headed towards Oakland, with one of the docks at the marina visible in the foreground. (I showed you a similar shot to this one a couple of days ago, only that one was taken in the morning.) Notice how both of these shots are cropped as if I'm thinking about my weekly calendar. Hmmm, I wonder what that might mean?

Christmas In July 2007-Day 28

I think this share will finally catch me up. I hope so, anyway, 'cause I'm tired of posting today. Not that it isn't fun and all, but it can get tiring. This time, I have three tracks from a single Lettermen album, and three tracks of Victor Herbert stuff. That sounds like a rather odd combination, don't you think? Anyhow, the first three tracks are from the Lettermen album Warm (Capitol T 2633, 1967). I'm not sure how so many tracks wound up clustered together on a single album, but maybe they had a theme in their heads. It probably didn't hurt that this was the album they released right after their Christmas record. Anyhow, the three songs are the title track, Warm, a vocal version of Our Winter Love and a song called A Place For The Winter. All three tracks conjure up an image of spending time with the one you love during the long cold winter season. Just the thing to listen to by a blazing Yule log. The first two of the Victor Herbert tracks hail from a Disney soundtrack Walt Disney's Babes In Toyland (Disneyland DQ-1219, 1964). Unfortunately, there is no musician credit, so I can't tell you who performs these sprightly versions of Toyland and March Of The Toys. The last and longest track is a medley by Andre Kostelanetz And His Orchestra from the LP The Music Of Victor Herbert (Columbia CL 765, 1956). The medley includes Ah! Sweet Mystery Of Life, Sweethearts Waltz, March of The Toys and Toyland. I'm sure you'll love all of these. Here's the link for you.

This day last year featured four random tracks, including another version of My Favorite Things, and yet another favorite find from last year, David Carroll's The Ski Song. Go get it!

Oodles Of Doodles CCLXV-Christmas In July 2007

I'm really blasting through these posts today, trying to catch up from a couple of days worth of inactivity. I hope I haven't kept you waiting too long. I've still got stuff I want to get up before the end of the day, so stay tuned. This latest pair of doodles are from the flipside to Christmas Pianos With The Nashville Keyboard Section (Classic Christmas CCR 1938). The cover to this one proclaims "An Exciting Experience In Sound". Yea, right. The back side says "Your record library would be incomplete without this album". Well, I've got my copy, where's yours?

Christmas In July 2007-Day 27

Here we go, post number 1601 to the blog, and it happens to fall right here near the end of Christmas in July. Day 27, and I'm sharing five tracks with you that all come from privately pressed records. These are all church groups, school choruses or night club entertainers, people that didn't have recording contracts with record labels. That doesn't mean the music is worse, or better, it's just different. We begin with the University Singers (from the University of Wisconsin) performing Go Where I Send Thee from the album University Singers (Sounds Of Wisconsin KS-7000). Track two features another take on Ave Maria, this time from the Dominican Sisters, Queen Of The Rosary Motherhouse and Novitiate and the LP A Nun Sings For Remembrance (RCA Custom M70P 6968/6969). Track three dives off the deep end a little with an interesting version by Miami area nightclub entertainers Joanne Wheatley & Hal Kenner singing their version of Baby, It's Cold Outside from their album From Berlin To Bacharach (Climax CL-1799, 1977). Pay close attention to the banter near the middle of the song. That's where things go all topsy-turvy. I'm closing out this share with two tracks by the Ashtabula High School A Cappella Choir from the album A Musical Souvenir (Century Custom Recording Service 15021). The two tracks are The Baby Was A King and Carol Of The Bells. All good tracks today, I hope you enjoy them. Oh, here's the download link.

Last year on this date, I shared four tracks from four different artists. Quite the collection actually. Go see if there's anything there you might want to hear.

Lombard (Not Carol)

I don't think I've shared any pictures from Lombard Street in San Francisco with you. That's probably because they aren't very good. This curvy street faces East, so the time to visit and take pictures is in the morning, but I didn't make it until afternoon. But at least you can get a sense of what the place looks like. It's all well-landscaped and maintained, and it's an absolute traffic nightmare. People line up at the top end to go down the twisty bit, and there are tourists walking up and down the whole thing, running out into traffic to take pictures. Yet for some reason, it's still a fancy place to live. Sometimes I don't understand people. Except for this short section, Lombard is a major thoroughfare in SF. I guess they're saving this section for the tourists.

Oodles Of Doodles CCLXIV-Christmas In July 2007

Here's a great wintry scene for our doodle today. This chilly tableau hails from the flipside of The Musical Magic Of Christmas by The Hollywood Symphonette, Arranged And Conducted By William Loose (Oreco OCP-2002). I'm going to have to give this record a spin sometime. It looks like it might be interesting. Or it might be total dreck. Hard to say. But it has a nice doodle going for it.

Christmas In July 2007-Day 26

Onwards to day 26. Another hodge-podge of a day. Let's just jump right into it with two versions of Greensleeves. one by The Brussels World's Fair Orchestra Conducted By Peter Plum from the LP Strings Around The World (Omega OSL-23), the second by Richard Hayman, His Orchestra And Chorus from Melodies Of Love (Mainstream ST-91092). Track three is a version of Snowfall by the composer himself, Claude Thornhill, from a later RCA budget release, Dinner For Two (RCA Camden CAL-307). And that leaves track four, which may or may not be a ringer. Here is the second Christmas song ever recorded by The Chipmunks, Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer, not from any of their Christmas albums, but from their LP Around The World With The Chipmunks (Liberty LST 7170, 1960). I was a little shocked to find this where I did, being on a decidedly non-Christmas release, but there it was, and that's the theme of my whole Christmas In July celebration, now isn't it? Turns out this same version was put on their later Christmas With The Chipmunks release, but that was a few years later. Hope you enjoy all these tracks, here's the download.

Last year, this date featured four tracks, including one of the great tracks I discovered last year, Bobsled. Go get it!

Oodles Of Doodles CCLXIII-Christmas In July 2007

Real quickie little doodle here for you as I try to get caught up. This caroling family is on the backside of The Spurrlows-'Tis The Season Let Us Sing (Word WST-8310-LP). I actually shared out this LP almost two years ago with a different cover, then again last year where I included the cover from the front of the this record. Click on over and you'll see that this doodle quite nicely mirrors that cover.

Christmas In July 2007-Day 25

I'm back! I missed a couple of days there. Sorry about that. But I'm back, and I'm going to try and get caught up today. So stay tuned and see what I've got for you. We're getting real close to the end here, so I can start to really blow some things out now. This first share today is going to be a real doosey, with seven (7!) different versions of My Favorite Things, the Rodgers and Hammerstein song from The Sound Of Music. I know there has been quite a bit of debate about whether or not this is a Christmas song, but for my purposes, it is. (My purposes include having plenty of music to share with you in July, in case you're curious.) So, where do I start? How about track 1? First version today is by The Stratford Strings from the album Music From The Sound Of Music (Decca DL 8975). Version two is by The Pete King Chorale from The Pete King Chorale Sing The Songs From The Rodgers And Hammerstein Musical The Sound Of Music (Kapp KL-1175, 1960). Version three is by the great Percy Faith And His Orchestra off of Music From Rodgers & Hammerstein's The Sound Of Music (Columbia CS 8215). Version four is a great jazzy take by The Mitchell-Ruff Duo from their album The Sound Of Music By Rodgers & Hammerstein (Roulette Birdland SR 52037, 1958). Where am I? Oh, version five is by The Lennon Sisters from the budget release Our Favorite Songs (Pickwick SPC-3084). (More Lennon Sisters abound around here. Try here and here) Version six is Joni James With Paul Smith Quintet from Joni James Sings "My Favorite Things" (MGM SE-4200, 1963). The seventh and last version is by Florence Henderson (yes, Mrs. Brady) With Sid Bass, His Orchestra And Chorus, from the LP The Best From The Sound Of Music & Fiorello! (RCA Camden CAS-599, 1960). I think that selection of different versions handily beats last year's offering of five versions. And you can get another take from earlier this month, if seven doesn't do it for you. Here's the link now go OD on some fine Rodgers and Hammerstein. (I think I put 'Rogers' instead of 'Rodgers' on the tags to some of these tracks. Sorry about that...)

Last year on the 25th day of Christmas in July, I shared out four great tracks by four great artists, all of them winners in my book. Go get 'em if you missed 'em.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Oodles Of Doodles CCLXII-Christmas In July 2007

Maybe you still haven't had your fill of angel doodles here during Christmas In July. Maybe after this one, you'll have more than your fill. Talk about your ugly angels! Not that the doodle is bad, it's a nice sketch. But it's a nice sketch of a homely angel. Maybe the snowflake below from the same cover will help redeem this ugly angel a little. Maybe not. Anyhow, both of these doodles are from the front of Robert Merrill & The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra-Christmas Favorites (Melody ME-1001).

Sample Question

I'm still slogging my way through this Driver Improvement course. Here's a sample question:

A ________ is a type of drug that temporarily stimulates some vital process or organ in the body.

a) Stimulant
b) Depressant
c) Narcotic
d) Hallucinogen

I'm not going to tell you the answer, you have to figure it out for yourself. I finished this 40 minute section with 15 minutes to spare, and I scanned half a dozen Christmas doodles for you in there, too. Now I remember why I was so happy when I finally finished school...

Back In Shape

I forgot to post this 'after' picture back when I got my car out of the repair shop a couple of weeks ago. They had it from Monday to Friday. Compare this shot with the earlier one I showed you, and you can see that they brought it all back up to snuff. I'm currently waiting for the timer to run out on section of my Online Driver Improvement course. You have a minimum of 25 minutes to take this particular section, and I finished in 15:30. So I've got some waiting around to do.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Other Kind Of Lions

I've gotten a lot of emails from folks wondering if I saw the sea lions at Pier 39 while I was in San Francisco. Well, OK, I really haven't gotten any emails like that, but it's possible. Either way, the answer is yes. Not many, but yes, I did see some. There was some construction going on, which may have driven off all but the most lazy. There was a small group of them on a single floating platform, then a single extra-fat individual on another platform a few yards away. They were quiet, and they didn't smell bad. I almost didn't notice them to tell you the truth.

The Other Bridge, Part 2

A couple of weeks ago, I brought you a few pictures I took while driving across The Bay Bridge, and here are the pictures I promised that actually show the bridge from the ground. The shots above and below show the bridge from The Embarcadero, which passes directly below the bridge as it makes landfall on the San Francisco side. I like the little kayaker in the picture above. The perspective makes him look a lot larger than he really is in relation to the bridge.

The shots above and below are both from Treasure Island, the man-made adjunct to Yerba Buena, the rock in the middle of SF Bay that marks the junction between the Oakland half of the bridge and the SF half. The picture above shows the Oakland side, with the new bridge being built just to the north of the existing span. The shot below shows some of the rock that is Yerba Buena, the bridge, and a chunk of the Financial District in downtown San Francisco. Notice how I'm already starting to crop these pictures like they might show up in my annual calendar project. Gotta think ahead!

At The Park

The southern end of The Embarcadero is AT&T Park, home of the SF Giants. I'm not a big baseball fan, but I took some pictures nonetheless. Several years ago, there was a VISA commercial where a couple of guys head out to the ballgame, only they go in kayaks. They paddle out in the water and wait for fly balls to head their way. Turns out that this is the field in question. San Francisco Bay is only a long home run from the home plate. Look close at the white neon behind the AT&T sign above, and you can see it's meant to represent a ball splashing down into the bay.

The statue above is supposed to be Willie Mays, I think. Like I said, I'm not a baseball fan. But you can see the water behind him. Like I said, the water is close by.

I can never resist a giant Coke bottle. I think this one spit out fire or carbonation or something during the game. It was pretty quiet while I was around.

Last but not least, before we leave the ball field, here's another sculpture. I think this one is supposed to be Willie Mays, too, but I'm even less sure about this one than the other one. Maybe it's Reggie Jackson? David Wells? Who knows... Again, you can tell how close we are to the water, with the marina in the background.

More "Art"

Further down The Embarcadero, towards the ballfield, I stumbled across this, umm, sculpture. I guess it's supposed to represent Cupid's bow and arrow. I don't know where Cupid is, but he seems to have dropped his weapon and fled. What does this say about San Francisco? I'm not sure. If your sense of scale is failing you in this shot, look at the guy and his bike in the foreground. That should give you an idea of how big this thing is. I always pictured Cupid as a little guy...

They Call It Art

I've been slacking for a while here. I've been back from California for almost a month, and I still haven't gotten through all of the pictures I took. Well, maybe that has more to do with the sheer quantity of pictures I took than anything else. These two shots are a sculpture in the Embarcadero section of San Francisco, right near the ferry terminal. It's a large mother and her daughter, obviously awed by the sight of downtown before them. I sorta felt that way at times, too. That's the Bay Bridge in the background of the picture above, if that helps you get a sense of where this is.

Christmas In July 2007-Day 24

Welcome to day 24! What's on tap for today? How about two tracks from Julie London and one from Paul Weston, all of which feature different months in the title? That's an odd combination, but hopefully I can pull it off for you. The first two tracks both hail from Julie London's Calendar Girl (Liberty SL 9002, 1956) LP. The titles are Warm December and Sleigh Ride In July. Track three is April Snow from the Paul Weston LP The Columbia Album Of Sigmund Romberg (Columbia C2L 14). See, three songs, three months. Here's the link, hope you enjoy the tunes.

Last year, the share of the day featured two versions of Brazilian Sleigh Bells, and two cold-themed tracks.

Now I get to go sign up for online traffic school. I'm running out of time since I only get 30 days from my accident... Wish me luck.

Oodles Of Doodles CCLXI-Christmas In July 2007

I've got a whole plethora of Christmas doodles for you tonight. All of these great pen-and-ink sketches come from the flip side to Merry Christmas (Pickwick GXS-15), a various artist compilation on the budget-minded Pickwick label. In this case, they didn't skimp on the rear-cover art. Each of these doodles heads a section on the back cover that tells about a different aspect of the holiday season. In order, those are: Christmas Decorations, The Christmas Tree, Santa Claus, The Festive Table, Cookies, Christmas Cards and Hymns & Carols. The eighth doodle is the wreath, and inside of that is a place for you to put your name with the inscription "Merry Christmas From...". How thoughtful.

Monday, July 23, 2007

In Flight Entertainment

There's nothing cooler than being right under one of these big guys when they're in the air. It's amazing to see such a large bird spread his wings and take to the air. I showed you another one last night, but I think I like this guy better. This is a great blue heron, in case you're curious.

Christmas In July 2007-Day 23

Whew! It's getting harder and harder to find stuff to share with you as we get closer and closer to the end of the month. I thought I had enough stuff set aside and recorded, but I guess not. I'm going to have to work pretty hard to stay one step ahead of the calendar for the next nine days. Having said that, today features some nice tracks. The first one is A Partridge In A Pear Tree (The Twelve Days Of Christmas) by the Baja Marimba Band from their album For Animals Only (A&M SP 4113, 1965). Pretty cool track that you might remember showed up on the ADVENTure In Carols 2006 CD over at FaLaLaLaLa last year. Track two is a great vocal version of Ave Maria from The Lennon Sisters and the LP A Diary Of Favorites (Ranwood R8066). Last, and maybe least, it's a version of the Leroy Anderson classic Sleigh Ride by Dean Franconi And His Sound Stage Orchestra from the budget LP Percussive Sound Of Leroy Anderson (Grand Prix Series K-176). They can't all be winners here, folks. Here's the link, be my guest.

What was this day last year like? Two versions of Skater's Waltz and three versions of Sleigh Ride (all of which are better than the one I gave you today). It was also my 900th post on the old blog. This one is 1585, so I've come a long way in the last year.

Oodles Of Doodles CCLX-Christmas In July 2007

What's that? You say you want more angel doodles? OK, no problem. Here's a triumvirate of singing seraphim (or something) for you. These holy hummers hail from the back of We Sing Of Christmas by The Choral Group-Sisters Of St. Francis (RCA Custom LPM-2). The front cover says something about the Glen Riddle Franciscans, so I'm not really sure who this is by. In case the angel doodle isn't enough to get your boat floating, you also get the snowflakes below as a bonus bit.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Going, Going, Going, Going

As I mentioned, I went out to the beach to catch sunset tonight. You never know what you're going to get until you get there, but here's what I got. When I saw the reflection in the water as the sun neared the horizon, I hoped maybe I'd catch a green flash. As it slowly sank, I got a distinct omega shape, even with a small cloud between me and the main show. It kept going down and I kept getting more excited. Just before she dipped below the horizon, I laid down on the shutter button and let it fly. But, it was not to be this evening. I got no green flash. But I did get some nice pictures.

Pink Birds (Not Floyd)

What else did I see at the beach tonight? How about four roseate spoonbills? These guys are always a treat, and they're fairly rare. I followed them around for about half an hour. They're fairly skittish, and once or twice they took to the air, flying around in a big circle until they felt it was safe to land again. So I got some nice shots of them in the air. Beautiful!

Flight Of The Egret

I went out this evening and shot some pictures for the first time in weeks. I'd been itching to get out and shoot, but it's been to hot, or I've been too busy or something. But I made it out today. This big white egret flew right by me, and I happened to have my finger on the trigger. Gotta love it. More to come...

Christmas In July 2007-Day 22

Need some more Christmas music? You're in the right place, especially if you don't have a strict, traditional view of what constitutes Christmas music. Today features two versions of tune called The Swingin' Shepherd Blues and a rewrite of Ode To Joy simply entitled Joy. The first version of The Swingin' Shepherd Blues is by The Woody Herman Sextet from the album Woody Herman Sextet At The Roundtable (Forum SF 9016). Version two is by Floyd Cramer from his album Hello Blues (RCA Victor LSP-2151, 1960). I don't know why I throw this in as a Christmas song. I guess I tie it in with the shepherds that came from far and wide to greet the Christ child. Why do they have the blues? I don't know... They certainly should have some Joy, and that's the next song, performed here by Percy Faith from the album also entitled Joy (Columbia C 31301, 1972). Here's the link, I hope you enjoy the tunes from today.

This day last year featured four tracks from four different artist with no theme whatsoever. Pretty typical, I guess.

Oodles Of Doodles CCLIX-Christmas In July 2007

I think it's been a few days since I've brought you a Christmas in July doodle featuring an angel. So you're due. This angel with the magical horn comes from the backside of Sergio Franchi-The Heart Of Christmas (RCA Victor LSP-3437, 1965). What else can I say?

Another Week In July

I've frequently complained about power lines getting in the way of my pictures. But sometimes they add a little something that otherwise would be lacking. I shot this sunrise during one of my trips to Ohio last year. This was probably the only time during the day that the sun peeked out from behind the clouds. It would be a nice sunrise without all the power lines and towers in the foreground, but having all of that infrastructure there adds quite a bit to the picture. It's almost about something other than the sunrise now. I'm not sure what it's about now, though. For our purposes today, it's about this week in July, so enjoy.

Goodbye Tammy

I saw in the paper this morning that Tammy Faye had passed away. I think it was last Friday, but today was the first I'd heard of it. Tammy was the cover girl on a Christmas CD I put out many years ago, so I figured I'd share that image with you, along with a Christmas song from her that featured on an even-earlier collection I did, back when I was collecting Christmas music on cassette. So from Heritage USA in beautiful Ft. Mill, SC, here is Tammy Bakker (as she was known at the time) singing C-H-R-I-S-T-M-A-S from the various artists LP Merry Christmas-Christmas City USA (PTL PTL-LP-1847, 1984). Just for the record, I don't remember what LP I scanned that cover image off of. The 'Cheesey Christmas Six' was added for my compilation. I do remember that it wasn't a Christmas record, though. But something about her face encircled by the fuzzy parka told me that is should have been a Christmas record.