Today is about renewing strength and energy. About standing up in the face of adversity, oppression, and fear. It’s a personal need to stand up and charge forward for the sake of health and family. It’s a societal need to rise against terror.
“Stand Up” by the Street Dogs conveys such a message on a few levels. The back story to the three vocalists you hear in the song represents, on a small-scale, the ability to overcome differences and coming together.
Mike McColgan, the lead singer of the Street Dogs, was the lead singer for and a founding member of the Dropkick Murphys along with Ken Casey. McColgan’s left the band in 1998 to join the Boston Fire Department, though he started forming the Street Dogs in 2002. The next year they recorded their first album, Savin Hill, which includes “Stand Up” with vocals by Dropkick Murphys vocalists Ken Casey and McColgan’s replacement Al Barr.
I use music as an escape from most things. Writing fiction gives me an escape from everything. Tonight, neither is working for me. Sometimes, it’s just the mood of a song that works, the transcendent calming ability it has over my frayed nerves. “Under the Milky Way” by The Church seems to do that for me. Not quite an escape, but an altered mood. Better than Xanax.
In light of the atrocities perpetrated in Paris, Beirut, Baghdad, and elsewhere in the past day, even the past years, I still believe there is good in the world. It’s hard to look beyond the violence and the loss, but good people do make up the majority of the world. Maybe the good people don’t get enough credit for positive things they do. We as a society need to change that.
I leave you with Louis Armstrong’s rendition of “It’s a Wonderful World.” One of my favorite songs. When things look dismal, when you feel hopeless, and the world around you crumbles, listen to this song.
Sometimes life throws more than a few unexpected curveballs. I had to shift my focus away from this blog most of the week to manage much larger priorities. I’m back on track, I think. I’m changing the format slightly, referring to the blog entries by song number rather than day as today is November 12.
I selected “Love Interruption” by the accomplished and multi-talented Jack White, released in 2012 on the album Blunderbuss. His duet with Ruby Amanfu over the electric piano and bass clarinet carries a cool vibe that is part throwback and forever timeless.
One of my favorite aspects about White’s solo projects is that he tends to defy genre and era definition. You can hear influences from old blues, country, soul, garage rock, and blue grass, but the music exists in a world of its own.
I’m a day late posting this. Yesterday was my birthday and to commemorate, I’ve selected “Keep Yourself Alive” by Queen, released in 1973. I’m a long-time fan, grew up listening to them as my babysitter introduced me to the News of the World record in the 70s. My biggest memory of the album cover was the giant robot’s bleeding finger. Crazy.
“Keep Yourself Alive” grabbed me the first time I remember hearing it as a kid and it’s stuck with me for about thirty years. Here’s an official video.