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1. Listening to George, CONCLUSION

This will be the last post for my George Strait Project. I thought I would make a few lists, answer a few questions, etc.

One word to describe George Strait's music: TIMELESS
Some phrases to describe his music: consistently high quality;  forever true to himself, true to tradition; western swing at its best! makes you want to sing and dance!
Was the project fun? Yes, for the most part.
Did I get tired of George by the end of July? More than I thought I would be. I thought it would be impossible to have too much George in your life.
Did I only listen to George Strait? That's how I started out the month. But by the end, I was ready for a little distance and some other artists to listen to.
Would I recommend this project for someone else? Yes. But I would suggest spreading it out throughout a six month or even a year period. You could cover two to three albums per month and get it done in a year.
Would I be interested in doing another chronological project? Yes, probably. I'm not sure WHO at this point. And it will probably not be any time soon. I am also not sure if I'd ever devote that many posts to music at Becky's Book Reviews. Though if it were to be a year-long project, one post per month wouldn't be seen as quite the invasion that George became!!!
Which albums are MUSTS? If you were to only have TWO albums in your collection--say you have zero George Strait at the moment--then definitely 50 Number Ones (2004) and and 22 More Hits (2007). That would give you 72 of his best songs.
Favorite album from the 1980s? Probably Ocean Front Property. I really LOVE that one.
Favorite singles from the 1980s? Fool Hearted Memory, Amarillo by Morning, You Look So Good In Love, The Cowboy Rides Away, The Chair, Nobody In His Right Mind Would Have Left Her, Baby Blue, Ace in the Hole, Am I Blue, Famous Last Words of a Fool, Ocean Front Property, It Ain't Cool To Be Crazy About You, etc.
Favorite songs from the 1980s that were never released as singles? Friday Night Fever, 80 Proof Bottle of Tear Stopper, Dance Time in Texas, My Heart Won't Wander Very Far From You, You Can't Buy Your Way Out of the Blues...
Favorite album from the 1990s? I don't think I could ever, ever, ever choose. I might could come up with a top three albums from the 1990s...Livin' It Up (1990); Lead On (1994); One Step at A Time (1998).
Favorite singles from the 1990s? You Know Me Better Than That; Easy Come, Easy Go; The Big One; Check Yes or No; Lead On; Blue Clear Sky; One Night at a Time; I Just Want To Dance With You; We Really Shouldn't Be Doing This; Write This Down.
Favorite songs from the 1990s never released as singles?  Someone Had to Teach You; She Loves Me (She Don't Love You); Is It Already Time; You're Right, I'm Wrong; Baby Your Baby; Stay Out My Arms; I Wasn't Fooling Around; Nobody Has To Get Hurt; That's Me (Every Chance I Get); Real Good Place to Start; That's Where I Want To Take Our Love; Always Never The Same.
Favorite album from the 2000s? I'm torn between Twang (2009) and Honkytonkville (2003).
Favorite singles from the 2000s? Don't Make Me Comve Over There and Love You, Troubadour, Twang.
Favorite songs from the 2000s that were never released as singles? Honk if You Honky Tonk, I Found Jesus on the Jailhouse Floor, She Used to Say That To Me, Texas Cookin', It Was Me, Where Have I Been All My Life
Favorite album from the 2010s? Cold Beer Conversation
Favorite singles from the 2010s? I Got A Car; Drinkin' Man; Here for a Good Time.
Favorite songs from the 2010s never released as singles? Three Nails and a Cross, I'll Always Remember You, It was Love, Take Me To Texas, It Takes All Kinds.

Country Music Is....
  1. No more late nights, comin' in at daylight, and no more doin' you wrong.
  2. Nickels and dimes, memories and wines - she's on his mind once again.
  3. I ain't rich, but Lord I'm free.
  4. He must have stolen some stars from the sky, and gave them to you to wear in your eyes.
  5. We've been in and out of love and in-between.
  6. With a little mouth to mouth she was ready to go.
  7. Well, thank you, could I drink you a buy?
  8. Even my heart was smart enough to stay behind.
  9. I don't worship the ground you walk on.
  10. A devil when she held me close, an angel when she smiled.
  11. Don't put it all on the line for just one roll.
  12. All the times before she'd break down and cry.
  13. There won't be no more next time doin' me wrong.
  14. Truth be known, you're dyin', cryin', lyin' there in bed.
  15. I miss picnics and blue jeans and buckets of beer.
  16. When you hear twin fiddles and a steel guitar, you're listening to the sound of the American heart.
  17. We tried to work it out a hundred times, ninety-nine it didn't work.
  18. I'm not the hero who will always save the day.
  19. Oh they just don't make hearts like hers anymore.
  20. My heart's the only part of me that's not in love with you.
  21. She said I don't recall seeing you around here you must be new to this town.
  22. But I never felt this feeling with anybody else.
  23. I got my fingers crossed that this goes on and on.
  24. I hit my knees and told God how much I hurt.
  25. I caught you lookin' at me when I looked at you. Yes I did, ain't that true?
  26. We'd each be hurting somebody else if we don't say our good-byes real fast.
  27. That's where I wanna raise the babies that we make.
  28. My heart's been on a long vacation, but now it's beating like a cha, cha, cha
  29. Today I'm right where Mama prayed I'd be.
  30. Some peddle steel whining like a whistle of an old freight train... 
Can you identify which songs these lines are from? 

© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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2. Was Anton LaVey serenading Satan in his cover of “Answer Me”?

Anton Szandor LaVey was the most outspoken and most notorious apostle of Satan in the twentieth century. On his life before founding the Church of Satan in 1966, LaVey liked to spun wild tales, but he did actually work as a professional and semi-professional musician in the carnival circuit. The High Priest of Satan was fond of bombastic classic music in the Wagnerian mould and popular tunes from the thirties, forties, and fifties, the period in which he himself had been young.

The post Was Anton LaVey serenading Satan in his cover of “Answer Me”? appeared first on OUPblog.

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3. ‘The Zombie’ by Patrick McHale

"Over the Garden Wall" creator Patrick McHale made a music video.

The post ‘The Zombie’ by Patrick McHale appeared first on Cartoon Brew.

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4. Jazz Day

Jazz Day: The Making of a Famous Photograph by Roxanne Orgill illustrated by Francis Vallejo Candlewick, 2016 Grades 2-6 In 1958, fifty-seven jazz musicians gathered on a street in Harlem to pose for a photo for Esquire. The photo entitled "A Great Day in Harlem" became an iconic image from the 20th century, and the story behind the photograph is amazing. In this extended picture book, Roxanne

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5. Top Ten Tips to Tackling and Transforming Piano Technique

We have all attended concerts where a performer dazzled us with technique that seemed hardly humanly possible – a phenomenon that has been a part of musical performances throughout history. In a 1783 anecdotal memory by Johann Matthias Gesner, the ability of J. S. Bach’s playing was described to “effect what not many Orpheuses, nor […]

The post Top Ten Tips to Tackling and Transforming Piano Technique appeared first on OUPblog.

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6. Listening to George, part 10

2009
If you want to follow along with this project, all related posts are tagged George Strait Project. This post will cover the years 2009-2015.

Twang is George Strait's twenty-sixth album. It features thirteen songs. Four songs from the album were released as singles: "Living for the Night," "Twang," "I Gotta Get To You," "The Breath You Take."

The other songs on the album include: "Where Have I Been All My Life," "Easy As You Go," "Same Kind of Crazy," "Out of Sight, Out of Mind," "Arkansas Dave," "He's Got That Something Special," "Hot Grease and Zydeco," "Beautiful Day for Goodbye," and "El Rey."

George Strait has some writing credits on this album. Three of the songs he cowrote with his son: "Living for the Night," Out of Sight, Out of Mind," and "He's Got That Something Special." One song was written by his son, "Arkansas Dave."

"Where Have I Been All My Life"

First stanza:
Been down the road to work and back
Been in what I thought was love a few times
But every once in a while I stop and ask
Where have I been all my life 
Premise/plot: The singer is reflecting on his life, and questioning, perhaps, why it took him so long to realize some important, essential things in life. He's grown up, in other words, and seeing life a whole lot differently than he used to.

Favorite lines:
These days broccoli don't taste so bad
And neither does swallowing my pride
And I'm agreeing more and more with my old man
Where have I been all my life
Been learning that forgiveness is as much for myself
As it is for the other guy
And I read the good book these days and believe it
Where have I been all my life
My thoughts: I really LOVE this one. I can relate to it in many ways.

Favorite songs: I really enjoy all the songs on the album. But I really want to highlight "Beautiful Day for Goodbye," "Easy As You Go," and "Hot Grease and Zydeco."

2011
Here For A Good Time is George Strait's twenty-seventh album. It features eleven songs. George Strait and his son wrote or cowrote seven out of the eleven songs on the album. Three of the songs were released as singles: "Here For A Good Time," Love's Gonna Make It Alright," and "Drinkin' Man."

Other songs on the album include: "Shame On Me," "Poison," "House Across the Bay," "Lone Star Blues," "A Showman's Life," "Three Nails and A Cross," "Blue Marlin Blues," and "I'll Always Remember You."

"I'll Always Remember You" is co-written by George Strait, and, it is written for his fans--about his fans.

"Three Nails and A Cross" is without a doubt one of my favorites on this album.

The song I'd like to pay special attention to is "Drinkin' Man."

First two stanzas:
I woke up this mornin' and I swore to God
I'd never, ever take another drink again
I fought it like the devil, but you know that you're in trouble
When you're fourteen and drunk by ten a.m.
Tried to hide it from my mom and dad, all my friends said, straighten up
I just laughed, said, you don't understand
That's a hell of a lot to ask of a drinkin' man
Premise/plot: An honest look at the ugly truths of alcoholism. Country music often--but not always--glamorizes drinking, drinking a lot, getting drunk, being stupid while drunk. But not all country songs treat it that lightly. The song ends exactly the same way it begins, repeating: "I woke up this mornin' and I swore to God I'd never, ever take another drink again."

My thoughts: I think this song would pair well with "Where Have I Been All My Life," and "Three Nails and A Cross." I think you could imagine one person progressing from one to the other. The key perhaps being, "Three Nails and A Cross," as the middle song.

This song is the COMPLETE and TOTAL opposite of Toby Keith's Red Solo Cup.

2013
Love is Everything is George Strait's twenty-eighth album. It features thirteen songs. Four of the songs were written or cowritten by George Strait. Three of the songs from the album were released as singles, "Give It All We Got Tonight," "I Believe," and "I Got a Car."

Other songs on the album include: "Blue Melodies," "I Just Can't Go On Dying Like This," "I Thought I Heard My Heart Sing," "That's What Breaking Hearts Do," "When Love Comes Around Again," "The Night is Young," "Sitting on the Fence," "Love Is Everything," "You Don't Know What You're Missing," and "When The Credits Roll."

My favorite is probably "I Got A Car." It's a fun, little story song.

"I Believe" was written in honor of the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.

2015
Cold Beer Conversation is George Strait's twenty-ninth album. It features thirteen songs. Three of the songs are written--or co-written by George and his son. Two singles were released from this album, "Cold Beer Conversation" and "Let It Go."

Other songs on the album include: "It Was Love," "Goin' Goin' Gone," "Something Going Down," "Take Me To Texas," "It Takes All Kinds," "Stop and Drink," "Everything I See," "Rock Paper Scissors," "Wish You Well," "Cheaper Than A Shrink," and "Even When I Can't Feel It."

I do like the two songs that were released as singles. But I am clueless as to why they didn't release IT WAS LOVE as a single. It is a GREAT song. And I just think it has HIT written all over it!

I really like Take Me To Texas. George loves to sing about Texas!
Take me to Texas, on the open range
The Rio Grande is in my veins
It’s heaven there and so my prayer
Is that you’ll take me anywhere in Texas
The only home I know
I’m a child of the Alamo and the Yellow Rose
So when I go
If you were ever curious what it would be like if Dr. Seuss wrote a country song, then give a good long listen to "It Takes All Kinds." This one is just catchy and FUN.

"Everything I See" is another must. A son is singing a song about his father who recently died. This one would also make a great single, I think.

This was the album that "inspired" the project in the first place.


© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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7. Preparing for ISME Glasgow

This weekend, the 32nd International Society for Music Education World Conference will be hosted in Glasgow, Scotland. Researchers, practitioners, and performers will gather to present concerts, talks and discussions. We asked a few attendees for their pre-ISME thoughts and plans. What are you looking forward to at the conference?

The post Preparing for ISME Glasgow appeared first on OUPblog.

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8. Paris in July Playlist

Maurice Jarre
I have definitely enjoyed participating in the Paris in July blog event. Today, I thought I would share my top three French composers.

3. Maurice Jarre (1924-2009) was a composer who did a LOT of movie scores. Most likely, you are familiar with his scores for Lawrence of Arabia, Doctor Zhivago, Witness, Dead Poets Society, and Ghost. Also he did Passage to India, Is Paris Burning?, The Man Who Would Be King, Jesus of Nazareth, and A Walk in the Clouds.

His biggest hit, of course, was "Lara's Theme."

2. Camille Saint-Saëns (1835-1921) is a popular choice for figure skaters. I'll be honest. That's how I came to know his music.

I'm sharing with you today:
Danse Macabre
Carnival of Animals
From the Carnival, but for the impatient sort, The Swan
Samson and Delilah, and, for the impatient sort, Bacchanale
Introduction & Rondo Capriccioso
Piano Concerto No 2 in G minor

1.  Georges Bizet (1838-1875) is definitely my FAVORITE, FAVORITE French composer. He is perhaps best known for Carmen, the opera. And I do love that. Though I prefer instrumental versions for easy-listening. But I really ADORE L'Arlésienne.

I'm curious if anyone will see the connection between these pieces of music and a certain children's television program. Bizet must be a big favorite of the LITTLE EINSTEIN folks.


Carmen Suite #1 and #2 Playlist



L'Arlésienne Suite No. 1 & Suite No. 2



© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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9. Blowin’ Up at Pop Matters

9780226348896

 

From a recent review of Jooyoung Lee’s Blowin’ Up: Rap Dreams in South Central, at Pop Matters:

One of the many powers of hip-hop, of course, is the intimacy it offers. Spend enough time listening to a certain rapper, and you begin to feel like you know that person as well as you do your own friends. Chuck D’s famous pronouncement that hip-hop is “CNN for black people”, pointed though it is, seems to miss part of the story. Hip-hop is CNN for white people, too, if you acknowledge the media’s systematic neglect of America’s black population. Through hip-hop, rappers are telling the stories that many journalists, and their publications, couldn’t be bothered to cover.

As a white hip-hop fan, there’s a seductive tendency to congratulate one’s self for gaining cultural competencies in African American culture, as if memorizing Tupac lyrics and attending Wu-Tang concerts confers a master’s degree in black studies. But the truth is that even in its rawest, most detailed form, hip-hop gives only what is at best a keyhole-sized view of the African American experience.

Jooyoung Lee’s Blowin’ Up: Rap Dreams in South Central represents a jump through the keyhole into the world of hip-hop as it is lived by some of the art form’s most dedicated practitioners.

To read more about Blowin’ Up, click here.

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10. What music would Shakespeare’s characters listen to?

Shakespeare's characters can often appear far-removed from our modern day world of YouTube, Beyoncé and grime. Yet they were certainly no less interested in music than we are now, with music considered to be at the heart of Shakespeare’s artistic vision. Of course our offerings have come a long way since Shakespeare's day, but we think it is a shame that they never had a chance to hear the musical delights of Katy Perry or Slipknot.

The post What music would Shakespeare’s characters listen to? appeared first on OUPblog.

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11. Listening to George, part 9

2003
If you want to follow along with this project, all related posts are tagged George Strait Project. This post will cover the years 2003-2008.

Honkytonkville is George Strait's twenty-second album. From that album, three singles were released: "Tell Me Something Bad About Tulsa," "Cowboys Like Us," and "Desperately."

The other songs on the album include: "She Used To Say That To Me, " "Honkytonkville," "Look Who's Back From Town," "As Far As It Goes," "I Found Jesus on the Jailhouse Floor," "Honk if You Honky Tonk," "Heaven is Missing an Angel," "Four Down and Twelve Across," and "My Infinite Love."

I would not rate the three singles as being the best songs on the album. In fact, I much prefer some of the other songs on the album. I really, really LOVE some of these songs. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE "Honk If You Honky Tonk." And I LOVE "I Found Jesus on the Jailhouse Floor," and "She Used To Say That To Me," and "Look Who's Back From Town."
Well, I got a bumper sticker
On the back of my truck
There ain't another like it
'Cause I had it made up
I can tell who's behind me
They give themselves away
Lay on their horn when they read this phrase
Honk if you honky tonk
Don't if you don't
But, if you do
Don't you love to
Honk if you honky tonk 
In 2004, George Strait released 50 Number Ones, an album featuring 51 songs. It included one new song in addition to all his number one singles. The new song was "I Hate Everything," and it became his fifty-first number one hit. 

2005
Somewhere Down in Texas is George Strait's twenty-third album; it was released in 2005. Three singles were released from this album, "You'll Be There," "She Let Herself Go," and "The Seashores of Old Mexico."

Other songs from the album include: "If The Whole World was a Honky Tonk," "Somewhere Down in Texas," "High Tone Woman," "Good News, Bad News," "Oh, What a Perfect Day," "Texas," "Ready for the End of the World," and "By the Light of a Burning Bridge."

My favorites from this album include: "If the World Was a Honky Tonk." "Somewhere Down in Texas," "Texas," "Oh, What A Perfect Day." One song that grew on me was "Ready for The End of the World."
If the whole world was a honky-tonk,
And it revolved around an old jukebox,
We'd tell our troubles to the Bar,
Over cryin' steel guitars,
And soon, they'd all be gone.
Yeah, if you asked me what I thought,
I'd say: "We'd be better off,
"If the whole world was a honky-tonk."
An' oh, what a perfect day for lovin' you.
When you're in my arms, I've got sunshine,
An' the sky's always blue.
Couldn't ask for better weather,
To do what I do:
Oh, what a perfect day for lovin' you.
I know the end is near
I've seen the warning signs
Been preparin' myself
Layin' in supplies
I bought a case of Jack
A boxed-set of Merle
I'm gettin' ready
Ready for the end of the world
I'm gettin' ready for the end to come
That final hour it all comes undone
An' she drops the bomb
An' says he ain't my girl

2006
George Strait's twenty-fourth album, It Just Comes Natural, was released in 2006. From this album, four singles were released: "Give It Away," "It Just Comes Natural," "Wrapped," and "How 'bout Them Cowgirls." There are fifteen songs in all.

Other songs on the album include: "She Told Me So," "That's My Kind of Woman," "He Must Have Really Hurt You Bad," "A Heart Like Hers," "Why Can't I Leave Her Alone," "One Foot In Front of the Other," "I Ain't Her Cowboy Anymore," "Texas Cookin'" "A Better Rain," "What Say," and "Come On Joe."

It is harder to find favorites on this album perhaps. It is not my favorite or best. It is a good thing this one has fifteen songs, that's the only way I was able to find ten songs that I'd want to listen to over and over again.

My favorites include: "A Heart Like Hers," "How 'bout Them Cowgirls," and "Texas Cookin'". 

In 2007, George Strait released the album 22 More Hits. These are the hit songs that didn't quite make it to #1. But so many of these songs are iconic and essential. Songs that come instantly to mind when you think 'George Strait.' Songs like "Amarillo by Morning" and "The Cowboy Rides Away." It featured no new songs.

2008
George Strait's twenty-fifth album, Troubadour, was released in 2008. From this album, three singles were released: "Troubadour," "River of Love," and I Saw God Today."

Other songs on this album include: "It Was Me," "Brothers of the Highway," "House of Cash," "Give Me More Time," "When You're In Love," "Make Her Fall In Love With Me Song," "West Texas Town," "House with No Doors," and "If Heartaches Were Horses."

From this album, I really love "It Was Me," "Troubadour," "I Saw God Today,"  "Make Her Fall In Love With Me Song," and "Give Me More Time."
The first time I met her
She walked right up to me and said you're who I've wanted to find.
There was a man she had seen in her dreams and it was me.
She said I can't believe it cause I've never been in here
And I've passed this so many times.
It was her night to find destiny and it was Me
And we danced every song that they played, and talked until closing time
The closer I held her, the more I knew her destiny wasn't that far from mine.
Then I saw a reflection of someone unfamiliar looking back when I looked in her eyes
The happiest man I'd ever seen and it was me
I was a young troubadour,
When I rode in on a song
And I'll be an old troubadour,
When I'm gone 

© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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12. A voice in the background: remembering Margo Quantrell

The documentary Twenty Feet from Stardom (2013) gave us a glimpse of how backing singers—performers who provide vocal harmonies and responses for featured artists—have contributed to twentieth-century American popular music.

The post A voice in the background: remembering Margo Quantrell appeared first on OUPblog.

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13. Blood: Stories Playlist at Largehearted Boy


One of my favorite sites on the internet is Largehearted Boy, which brings music and literature together.

A core series at LB are the Book Notes: playlists of songs to accompany books.

Huge thanks to the Largehearted Boy proprietor, David Gutowski, for inviting me to participate and create a Book Notes entry for Blood: Stories.

The The, David Byrne, Cowboy Junkies, Washington Phillips, Arvo Pärt, and many more... Read the rest of this post

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14. Listening to George, part 8

2000
If you want to follow along with this project, all related posts are tagged George Strait Project. This post will cover the years 2000-2001.

In 2000, he released two albums. A greatest hits album called Latest, Greatest, Straitest Hits. It featured two new songs: "The Best Day," which became a #1, and, a duet with Alan Jackson called "Murder on Music Row."

"The Best Day" is a great little song about a father and son. The son is telling his dad--once in each of the verses--that this day was the BEST day of his life. The first 'best day' is a camping trip, the second 'best day' is receiving a classic car to restore with his dad, the third 'best day' is the son's wedding day.

"Murder on Music Row"  is a song not without some controversy. I think it's an interesting story for a song.

First sentence: Nobody saw him running from sixteenth avenue.

Premise/plot:  A murder has been committed. The victim? country music. The evidence is put forth in the chorus:
For the steel guitars no longer cry and fiddles barely play,
But drums and rock 'n roll guitars are mixed up in your face.
Old Hank wouldn't have a chance on today's radio
Since they committed murder down on music row.
Essentially the message is that 'real' country music--the traditional stuff--has been replaced ON THE RADIO with something calling itself country, but, not really quite country. You can imagine why this might be controversial!!!

The song begs the question: what IS country music? And who decides what is country and what isn't?

My thoughts: I really like this one. I think if you stay focused on the fact that it is talking about the RADIO--what gets played, what gets air time, what becomes popular--then it works as a fair criticism showing that radios do tend to play a narrow selection of artists and songs. Of course, traditional radio isn't the only way to enjoy music. And with 'new' technology like Pandora and YouTube and the like, you can find plenty of country music with steel guitars and fiddles!

George Strait and Alan Jackson weren't the ones to first record the song. Here are the original singers performing it live. And yet another version.

2000
The second album George Strait released in 2000 was his twentieth, it's self-titled: GEORGE STRAIT. It includes three songs that would become hit singles: "Go On," "Don't Make Me Come Over There and Love You," and "If You Can Do Anything Else."

It also includes: "Looking Out My Window Through the Pain," "If It's Going To Rain," "Home Improvement," "The Night's Just Right for Love," "You're Stronger Than Me," "Which Side of the Glass," and "She Took The Wind from His Sails."

"Go On" is a GREAT conversation song. Another Strait song that captures half a conversation is The Chair. The 'premise' of this one is that two people are connecting over the fact that they've both been hurt and wronged in love.
Our conversation won't change nothing,
But it's sure nice to talk
With somebody whose been cut of
The same old cloth
You know how you said happiness can't be found looking back
If you don't mind maybe we can talk a little more about that.
"Don't Make Me Come Over There and Love You" is a fast and flirty number that I think is very irresistible.
My hearts been on a long vacation
And now its beating like a Cha-Cha-Cha
Don't make me come over there and love you
'Cause I will right now
This album has a couple of sad songs on it: "Looking Out My Window Through the Pain," "If It's Gonna Rain," "Which Side of the Glass," "She Took the Wind From His Sails," and "You're Stronger Than Me." That is actually MORE than a couple, isn't it?! If you want proof that 'traditional' country music was still very much alive even if not getting radio time, give "You're Stronger Than Me," a listen.

I really LOVE the song "The Night's Just Right For Love."
I don't mind the thought of growing old
But I don't Want to lose my sense of humor
I'm okay as long as I can laugh
I don't care if everything goes wrong
Even if it's only for awhile
I'm alright if I can see you smile
You're an old-fashioned girl at home in the modern world
The night's just right for love
2001
The Road Less Traveled is George Strait's twenty-first album. The album has ten songs. It features three hit singles: "Run," "Living and Living Well," "She'll Leave You With A Smile."

Other songs on the album include: "Stars on the Water," "The Real Thing," "Don't Tell Me You're Not In Love," "The Road Less Traveled," "The Middle of Nowhere," "Good Time Charley's," and "My Life's Been Grand."

I really do not care for "Stars on the Water." George Strait--whether recording songs that are fast or slow--seems to pick songs that are either a) great to dance to b) great to sing along with or c) both! "The Road Less Traveled" definitely breaks with what I consider to be George Strait's strengths.

"Good Time Charley's" is a great little dance-party number. Only in a country song, could you sing directions and have it work.
Two miles from town 'cross the railroad track
Turn right at the light and park in the back
You're always welcome, don't forget to drop in
Old Good Time Charley's, any time you can
But without a doubt my FAVORITE, FAVORITE, FAVORITE track from this album is "Don't Tell Me You're Not In Love." I don't know WHY this song was not a single!!! I love this one so much. I love the melody. I love the lyrics. It's just so perfectly-perfect.
I know you're ready, you show all the signs
Your eyes sparkle oh how they shine
But you keep saying
You can't take another heartache
The way you hold me, the way that you move
Your feelings keep showing through
You can't hide it
It's written all over your face
Don't tell me you're not in love
When your heart beats like it does
Your trembling body tells on you
Each time we touch
You can tell me you're afraid
I am too and that's okay
I got eyes, I can see
Baby don't tell me you're not in love
© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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15. Listening to George, part 7

1998
If you want to follow along with this project, all related posts are tagged George Strait Project. This post will cover the years 1998-1999.

George Strait's eighteenth album starts out with one of my all-time favorite songs: "I Just Want To Dance With You." (How could anyone resist a whistling George?!) It's more than a little obvious what this one is about. What may not be conveyed is how sweet this one actually is.
I caught you looking at me when I looked at you
Yes, I did; ain't that true?
You won't get embarrassed by the things I do
I just want to dance with you
Other singles from this album include "True," and "We Really Shouldn't Be Doing This." "True" is a love song. One of those forever-and-ever love songs.
True, like the sun comin' up each mornin'.
Bright as the light in a baby's smile.
Sure as the mountain river windin'.
Right as the rain fallin' from the sky.
Girl, my love for you
Is true.
"We Really Shouldn't Be Doing This" is obviously about a forbidden 'romance' of sorts. It is super-playful and catchy.
Only an isolated incident, but the acquaintance left me stunned.
The first attraction was the hardest hit I thought I'd ever overcome.
This kinda situation has to pass, this chance encounter has to be the last.
To take it further we would be remiss, we really shouldn't be doing this.
We'd each be hurting somebody else if we don't say our good-byes real fast.
Won't even think about a farewell kiss, we really shouldn't be doing this.
Well...
Other songs on the album include "One Step At A Time," a song recording a conversation between two men, he's warning him that angels walk away one step at a time; "Remember the Alamo", a song not about the actual battle of the Alamo but more of a rallying cry to save a relationship (he proposed at the Alamo);  "Maria," a song that may or may not prove offensive to women or Mexicans; "Why Not Now," a laid-back yet flirty song with a great little chorus:
So why not now, why not here?
Darlin' my heart just ain't too clear
Oh what are we waiting for
Cause I've never been so sure
Why not you, why not me
Livin' like we were meant to be
Together, forever
Why not now
"That's The Breaks" is a song about the end of a relationship. (George sings A LOT of those, you'll find). "Neon Row" features another relationship in trouble. This time it is the woman stepping out and not coming home. "You Haven't Left Me Yet" is about a guy struggling to get over the woman who left him.

1999
Always Never the Same is George Strait's nineteenth album. It features the singles "Meanwhile," "Write This Down," and "What Do You Say To That."

 "Meanwhile" is a melancholy almost-love song. He has a new love that he's wooing, yet, meanwhile in his head he's stuck in the past deeply in love with the one that got away. "Write This Down" is a GREAT let's-not-break-up song. He is doing his best to convince her to STAY.
Baby, write this down, take a little note to remind you in case you didn't know,
Tell yourself I love you and I don't want you to go, write this down.
Take my words, read 'em every day, keep 'em close by, don't you let 'em fade away,
So you'll remember what I forgot to say, write this down.
I'll sign it at the bottom of the page, I'll swear under oath
'Cause every single word is true, and I think you need to know,
So use it as a bookmark, stick it on your 'frigerator door,
Hang it in a picture frame up above the mantel where you'll see it for sure.
"What Do You Say to That" is a sweet little love song. 

"That's The Truth" reminds me of Famous Last Words of A Fool--as far as theme goes. "Peace of mind" is an easy-going, happy to be alive song. "That's Where I Want To Take Our Love" is a sweet little love song. It's a very settling-down, let's-raise-a-family type love song. "Always Never The Same" is a fast-and-flirty love song with a LOT of happy-making piano bits! "One of You" is another fast-and-happy love song. (It isn't the only country song with counting in it.)
Last night I had a dream, dreamt I had it all I had it all
I had one truck, one car
One boat, one guitar
But all these things wouldn't get me too far
If I didn't have one of you
I work hard every day to bring home all my pay
I got one house, one yard
One dog who likes to bark
We'd be cold, living the dark if I didn't have one of you
"I Look At You" is another love song. (Some albums lean heavy towards love; some albums lean towards being all sad-and-lonely. This album obviously is very much LOVE.) That being said, 4 Minus 3 Equals Zero is very much a SAD song. Is it the saddest George sings, that's a good question. I think it's in the top three of the saddest-songs. 


© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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16. Listening to George, part 6

1993
If you want to follow along with this project, all related posts are tagged George Strait Project.

Today, I'm starting with Easy Come, Easy Go, George Strait's fourteenth album.  There were four singles released from this album: "Easy Come, Easy Go," "I'd Like To Have That One Back," "Lovebug," and "The Man In Love With You." I remember when each of these was 'new.' Easy Come, Easy Go is great fun to sing along with. But. The Man In Love With You is probably my favorite from the four singles.
I'm not the hero, who will always save the day
Don't always wear the white hat, won't always know the way
I may not even be the dream, you wanted to come true
But, I'll always be the man in love with you 
Other songs on the album include: "Stay Out of My Arms," "Just Look At Me," "I Wasn't Fooling Around," "Without Me Around," "That's Where My Baby Feels At Home," and "We Must Be Loving Right."

I really LOVE "Stay Out of My Arms" and "Just Look At Me." But for some reason I've really fallen for his "I Wasn't Fooling Around."
I wasn't fooling around, everything's true what I say.
So take me seriously, darlin, please just take me.
I wasn't fooling around.
Laugh if you want to, but I wasn't joking
About this love that's real.
Is it surprising I'm romanticizing about the way I feel.
As I've been listening to George Strait, there are times when I just get the strong impression that Michael Buble should do a George-Strait inspired cover album. I'm not thinking Amarillo by Morning or The Cowboy Rides Away. But I think he could really do a great cover of We Must Be Loving Right.

1994
Lead On is George Strait's fifteenth album. (It was my first George Strait album.) Four singles were released from this album: "The Big One," "You Can't Make A Heart Love Somebody," "Adalida," and "Lead On." Of the singles, if I had to choose just one, I'd go with Lead On. But really, why would I ever have to?!
"Lead On" is one of those songs that get an emotional response from me within seconds of hearing the opening notes. (The Chair is another great example of that.)
She said I don't recall
Seeing you around here
You must be new to this town
Said, I'm just passin through
But, girl from the looks of you I
Could see me settling down
The she smiled and said the invitations open
Cause you look just like what I've been waiting on.
So I said why don't we take
This matter somewhere else
And get to know this feeling that's so strong
Lead on
For those who are NOT familiar with the song, there is a twist revealed as the song goes on. So it's not two complete strangers getting way too friendly, way too fast.

Other songs include "I Met A Friend of Yours Today," "Nobody Has To Get Hurt," "Down Louisiana Way," "What Am I Waiting For," "I'll Always Be Loving You," and "No One But You." Of those, I really LOVE "Nobody Has To Get Hurt."

1995
In between the album Lead On and Blue Clear Sky, he released a four disc box set called Strait Out of the Box. Singles released from this box set include the hits "Check Yes or No" and "I Know She Still Loves Me." In addition to his hits, it also includes rare tracks like some of his recordings from the 1970s before he got signed with a major record label. Songs like I Just Can't Go On Dying Like This. Another track from this album is "Any Old Love Won't Do."

1996
Blue Clear Sky is George Strait's sixteenth album. The four singles from this album include: "Blue Clear Sky," "Carried Away," "I Can Still Make Cheyenne," and "King of the Mountain." I love Blue Clear Sky.
Here she comes a walkin' talkin' true love
Sayin' I been lookin' for you love
Surprise your new love has arrived
Out of the blue clear sky.
Other songs from this album include: "Rockin' in the Arms of Your Memory," "She Knows When You're On My Mind," "I Ain't Never Seen No One Like You," "Do the Right Thing," "I'd Just As Soon Go," and "Need I Say More."

My favorite of those is "I Ain't Never Seen No One Like You." But I also like "I'd Just As Soon Go."

1997
Carrying Your Love With Me is George Strait's seventeenth album. Four songs from this album were released as singles: "One Night At A Time," "Carrying Your Love With Me," "Today My World Slipped Away," and "Round About Way." If you look at it, it's a representative sampling of what you'll find in country music. I do love "Carrying Your Love With Me." That song should probably be my favorite. But if I'm honest, I have to go with "One Night At A Time." Once again, I blame it on the music--both the melody and the instruments.
I'm not yours, and, baby, you're not mine
We've got something and it sure is fine
Let's take our love one night at a time
There's one thing that we both agree
I like you, and, baby, you like me
Let's take our love one night at a time
Other songs on the album include: "She'll Leave You With A Smile," "Won't You Come Home (And Talk to A Stranger)," "I've Got a Funny Feeling," "The Nerve," "That's Me (Every Chance I Get)," and "A Real Good Place to Start." I find it interesting that on this particular album, I really prefer the non-singles to the singles.

I have four favorite songs from this album: "I've Got A Funny Feeling," "That's Me (Every Chance I Get)," "A Real Good Place to Start," and "Won't You Come Home (And Talk to a Stranger)."
Still reelin' from a relationship
That left me torn in two
Tryin' to find that first step
That leads to someone new
Gettin' me back together
Didn't know it could be so hard
But if I'm ever gonna mend this broken heart
You look like a real good place to start
I need a new beginning
And girl you fit right in
Sometimes a new beginning
Is found in an old friend
If I'm ever gonna mend this broken heart
You look like a real good place to start
I've got a funny feeling somebody's stealin' my honey
Lord I love that child, love to see her smile
But these circumstances ain't funny
Where lies a danger, is he a stranger or a pal
I've got a funny feeling somebody's stealing my gal
Wherever he is, well I'm callin' his bluff
I'm gonna start wearin' that good smellin' stuff
And I'll be the lover that I used to be
Whatever she's missin', she'll get it from me
Picture a fellow with his boots shined up
A new coat of clean on his pick-up truck
Ringin' your doorbell thinkin' about love
Hey honey that's me
That's me with a capital M
That's me ten times ten
I ain't worked up my courage yet
But that's me every chance I get
Picture a fellow at a picture show
His arm around you in the very last row
Stealin' a kiss as the credits roll
Yeah honey that's me

I do think it's slightly ironic that "Won't You Come Home (And Talk To A Stranger)" comes right before "Today My World Slipped Away" on the album. As if the guy did not come home and shape up fast enough....leading to a divorce.

© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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17. "Perfect Day" at Cold Takes



When Kelly J. Baker put out a call for essays about music albums and emotions, I knew immediately what I would propose: An essay about The The's Soul Mining and what it meant to me as an adolescent.

Now, that essay, "Perfect Day", is available on Kelly's site, Cold Takes.

Here's the opening:
That moment: album — book — car ride.

How long ago now? Twenty-five years? Something like that.

It was (roughly) sometime between 1988 and 1991, which means sometime between when I was (roughly) 12 years old and 16 years old. Most likely 1989 or 1990. Most likely 14 or 15 years old.

Interstate 93 North between Boston, Massachusetts and Plymouth, New Hampshire.

Blue Toyota Tercel wagon, my mother driving.

Mass market paperback of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K. Dick (Blade Runner tie-in edition).

Black Sony Walkman cassette player.

Soul Mining by The The.
read more

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18. Listening to King George, part 5

1990
If you want to follow along with this project, all related posts are tagged George Strait Project.

Today, I'll be starting with his tenth album Livin' It Up. I must admit I fell a bit in love with this one. As in I didn't want to let it go when it was time to move on to the next album to listen to. It features ten songs.

It features three hit songs: "I've Come To Expect It From You," "Drinking Champagne," and "Love Without End, Amen."

Of the three hit songs I love "I've Come To Expect It From You" the best. Here's how it begins:

"So upset
Nervous wreck
I can't believe you said goodbye"

And the chorus: How could you do what you've gone and done to me? I wouldn't treat a dog the way you treated me. But that's what I get, I've come to expect it from you.

My favorite line is probably: There won't be no more next time doing me wrong. You'll come back this time to find out that I'm gone.

The seven new-to-me songs include, "Someone Had To Teach You," "Heaven Must Be Wondering Where You Are," "Lonesome Rodeo Cowboy," "When You're A Man On Your Own," "We're Supposed To Do That Now and Then," "She Loves Me (She Don't Love You)" and "Stranger In My Arms."

Of those seven, I really LOVE, LOVE, LOVE "Someone Had To Teach You," "We're Supposed To Do That Now and Then," and "She Loves Me (She Don't Love You)."

Someone Had To Teach You:

Yes, I'll take you back again, you knew I would
For I go on lovin' you that's understood
But it's the first time you've come back with tears in your eyes
Lately someone's taught you how to cry
Someone had to teach you I didn't have the heart to
Hurt you just like you've been hurting me
Someone had to teach you things it's time that you knew
Now maybe you'll be satisfied with me

She Loves Me (She Don't Love You):

Well now I can see your dancin' every dance with her
And it seems to me that your dancin' much too close to her
When you sat down at our table
You sat next to her
But I know that it's true
She loves me, She don't love you

1991
The Chill of an Early Fall is George Strait's eleventh album. Four of the ten songs on this album were released as singles: "The Chill of An Early Fall," "If I Know Me, "You Know Me Better Than That," and "Lovesick Blues." I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE "You Know Me Better Than That."

Baby, since you left me, there's somebody new
She thinks I'm perfect, I swear
She likes my body, my class and my charm
She says I've got a confident air
She respects my ambition, thinks I'm talented too
But she's in love with an image time is bound to see through
Oh, you know me better than that
You know the me that gets lazy and fat
How moody I can be, all my insecurities
You've seen me lose all my charm
You know I was raised on a farm
Oh, she tells her friends I'm perfect
And that I love her cat
But you know me better than that

I also love If I Know Me.  Here's the official music video from 1991.

The album also includes: "I've Convinced Everybody But Me," "Anything You Can Spare," "Home in San Antone," "Milk Cow Blues," "Her Only Bad Habit Is Me," and "Is It Already Time."

I really fell for "Is It Already Time?"

The years have been so good to you and I my friend
They brought us to the Autumn wind and left the tears behind
And who'd have dreamed that love could grow so endlessly
And you'd have meant so much to me, is it already time?
And I will always love you so
We'll hold each other close until it's time to go
And we believed we had forever on our side
Is it already time?
And I will always love you so
We'll hold each other close until it's time to go
And we believed we had forever on our side
Is it already time?
And we believed we had forever on our side
Is it already time?

I'd listen to that song first, if you've a mind to, and then cheer yourself up with a song like "Home In San Antone."

1992
Holding My Own is the twelfth album. It features the singles: "Gone As A Girl Can Get," and "So Much Like My Dad."

It also features: "You're Right, I'm Wrong," "Holding My Own," "Trains Make Me Lonesome," "All of Me (Loves All of You), "Wonderland of Love," "Faults and All," "It's Alright With Me," and "Here We Go Again."

My favorite song on the album is probably "You're Right, I'm Wrong."  It begins:

You're right, I'm wrong
I'm here, you're gone
Now I'm the one to blame
That our loves at an end
I lied, you cried
I died inside
Now I'll do anything
To get you back again

I also liked "Here We Go Again."

1992
1992 also saw the release of Pure Country. It is his thirteenth album, but, also a soundtrack. It has sold over six million copies (according to wikipedia).

It features these singles: "Heartland," "I Cross My Heart," and "When Did You Stop Loving Me." Another song, "Overnight Male," got a LOT of radio time as well.

Other songs include: "Baby Your Baby," "She Lays It All on the Line," "Last in Love," "Thoughts of a Fool," "The King of Broken Hearts," and "Where The Sidewalk Ends."

There were official music videos for "Heartland" and "I Cross My Heart."

My favorite new-to-me song was probably "Baby Your Baby." But the album as a whole is strong. It has been fun to revisit the early nineties with George Strait. By this time, I was listening to country music on the radio regularly--on the way to and from school in the car.


I leave you with a video:



© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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19. ‘Harvey Beaks’ Composer Ego Plum: Modern Animation Deserves Orchestral Music

Nearly 60 musicians were enlisted to create the recent "Steampunks" musical episode of Nick's "Harvey Beaks."

The post ‘Harvey Beaks’ Composer Ego Plum: Modern Animation Deserves Orchestral Music appeared first on Cartoon Brew.

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20. Listening to George Chronologically

1981, Strait Country
So this listening to ALL of George Strait's albums in chronological order was not a planned summer project. THOUGH one could argue that I wanted to TIME TRAVEL. And what better way to travel through the decades than in the company of King George?!

First album up is Strait Country. Like many of his albums, it features ten songs. The songs I was already familiar with were: "Unwound," "Blame It On Mexico," "Her Goodbye Hit Me In the Heart," and "If You're Thinking You Want a Stranger." (I knew these from Strait Out of the Box.)

It was my first time to hear the rest of the songs on this album: "Honky Tonk Downstairs," "I Get Along With You," "Down and Out," "Friday Night Fever," "Every Time You Throw Dirt On Her (You Lose a Little Ground)," and "She's Playing Hell Trying to Get Me To Heaven."

Of the new-to-me songs, there are a few that stand out to me: "Down and Out" (which was an official single, just not one often heard on the radio at least not in the past two decades), "Friday Night Fever" (which has a good steady bass beat that might be disco influenced, but not in a bad way), and "Every Time You Throw Dirt On Her (You Lose a Little Ground)" (which may just be my favorite title, at least on this album). 

Here's how Friday Night Fever opens, "Love the sound of a jukebox playing, so I sit here while she's staying home watching Dallas on T.V." That makes me smile because most of my Friday night memories were of DALLAS. (The show ended when I was in sixth grade.) And, the chorus:

Sometimes a man just needs a breather.
She knows I love her and I need her.
And I'm no cheater,
I've just got that Friday Night Fever.

Every Time You Throw Dirt On Her is written from the perspective of a guy (a friend, perhaps) who is biding his time and waiting to make his move.

It's hard to bite my lip
But, I ain't saying a word
I give you all the rope to hang yourself
That you deserve
You might be ahead of me in her heart today
But, that's okay
Every time you throw dirt on her
You lose a little ground
She slips a little farther away
Each time that you put her down
A lady like that can come here and get
Somebody who knows what he's found
Every time you throw dirt on her
You lose a little ground

1982
Second album is Straight from the Heart.  It again has ten songs. The songs I was already familiar with: "Fool Hearted Memory" "Heartbroke," "I Can't See Texas From Here," "Marina del Rey," "Amarillo by Morning," and "A Fire I Can't Put Out." (Again I know them from Strait Out of the Box). I just have to say that Fool Hearted Memory and Amarillo By Morning may tie as my favorite, favorite, favorite songs to sing along with--at least from this album. I LOVE and adore them.

There were plenty of new to me or practically new to me songs. "Honky Tonk Crazy," "The Only Thing I Have Left," "The Steal of the Night," "Lover in Disguise." Of these new-to-me songs, I'd say "Honky Tonk Crazy" is probably my favorite. "Tonight I'll be, honky tonk crazy let the whiskey whisk her out of my mind." "Lover In Disguise," definitely wins the most dated song I've heard so far from either album. The background singers on it, well, they're something.



Amarillo by Morning, live



Foolhearted Memory, live





© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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21. Listening to George, part 2

1983
Here's the introduction post  for my George Strait project. (If you want to join me, you can.) This post will start with his third album, Right or Wrong. It features ten songs.

The ones I know well: "You Look So Good In Love," "Right or Wrong," and "Let's Fall To Pieces Together."

Of those three, "You Look So Good In Love" is my FAVORITE. (I believe You Look So Good In Love was his first music video. I've tried to track it down on YouTube, but only found a mirrored upload.) Favorite line? Probably: He must have stolen some stars from the sky. And gave them to you to wear in your eyes.

Here's a live version from 1984. And a live version from 2016.  And the only music video I could find.

The album also includes: "A Little Heaven's Rubbing Off On Me," "80 Proof Bottle of Tear Stopper," "Every Time It Rains (Lord Don't It Pour)," "You're The Could I'm On (When I'm High)," "I'm Satisfied With You," "Our Paths May Never Cross," and "Fifteen Years Going Up (And One Night Coming Down)."

Of those new-to-me songs, I can't help but falling for "80 Proof Bottle of Tear Stopper." I can resist loving drinking songs most of the time--but when it's this toe-tapping and outright CATCHY I can't help it.
Give me an eighty-proof bottle of tear-stopper
And I'll start feeling I forgot her
Get a little loose and lose her memory
And I won't think I'm close to dying
Because it dries up all my crying
An eighty-proof bottle of tear-stopper always sets me free


George does this to me sometimes. Even when the lyrics don't particularly thrill me, if he includes enough STEEL GUITAR and FIDDLE, and I go all weak in the knees. Which is why I've been known to say that "bad George Strait" is still better than any other country singer.


1984
And I also really enjoyed Our Paths May Never Cross.

George Strait's fourth album is Does Fort Worth Ever Cross Your Mind. It has ten songs. It has three of his best known songs on it. "Does Fort Worth Ever Cross Your Mind," "The Cowboy Rides Away," and "The Fireman."

Those that know me, know that of those three, one is the obvious-obvious choice as my favorite. THE COWBOY RIDES AWAY is one of those that I can't listen to without singing along. And often can't listen to just once. So--at least for this album--it gets the most likely to be put on repeat award.

I knew the stakes were high right from the start
When she dealt the cards I dealt my heart
Now I just found a game that I can't play
And this is where the cowboy rides away 

A live performance, he looks young, but no date is given. A live performance June 2014.

The Fireman? Well, how about the embarrassed I know all the words award?


Other songs include: "Any Old Time," "I Need Someone Like Me," "You're Dancin' This Dance All Wrong," "Honky Tonk Saturday Night," "I Should Have Watched That First Step," "Love Comes From the Other Side of Town," and "What Did You Expect Me To Do."


I like plenty of the songs on this album. "I Need Someone Like Me" and "You're Dancing This Dance All Wrong." Plenty of steel guitar and fiddle to satisfy me!!! George Strait's sound is strongly established by this fourth album.


1985
Something Special To Me is his fifth album. There are, you guessed it, ten songs on the album. The songs I know well include: "You're Something Special To Me," and "The Chair." Almost ten years later, "The Chair" was still getting a LOT of radio play. There is a music video for THE CHAIR. But I warn you. The song is timeless. Trust me. The music video is not timeless. Not even slightly. You may find it worth watching to see a very young George singing and smiling and laughing. You may regret watching it if you can't get those three women out of your head. The fact that there are THREE women instead of just one woman is disturbing.

Want to see George sing live but with fewer risks? Then this 2003 performance is worth your time


Here is George performing live in 1985 promoting this album. I would definitely recommend it!!!!


Other songs on the album include: "Last Time The First Time," "Haven't You Heard," "In Too Deep," "Blue Is Not A Word," "You Sure Got This Ol' Redneck Feelin' Blue," "Dance Time In Texas," "Lefty's Gone," and "I've Seen That Look On Me (A Thousand Times)."


Of the new-to-me songs, I really love Dance Time In Texas. It's a fun SWING number with bonus piano. And "Haven't You Heard" is a haunting little song, the complete opposite of fun. I can just picture a young "Sawyer" from LOST.



© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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22. Listening to George, part 3

1986
It's not too late to join me in my George Strait project. Today, I'll be starting with his sixth album, oddly enough called #7. There are ten songs.

The ones I knew before: "Nobody in His Right Mind Would've Left Her," and "It Ain't Cool To Be Crazy About You." I really love both of these songs.

The new-to-me songs include: "Deep Water," "Rhythm of the Road," "I'm Never Gonna Let You Go," "You Still Get To Me," "Stranger Things Have Happened," "Why'd You Go and Break My Heart," "My Old Flame Is Burnin' Another Honky Tonk Down," and "Cow Town."

This is a solidly good--if not great--album from first song to last. My least favorite song is probably "Stranger Things Have Happened" but that's not to say I don't like it to some degree. I like this sixth album overall better than any of the previous that I've reviewed. Emphasis on OVERALL. If we're still going song by song by song, then my favorites would be different probably.

Nobody In His Right Mind Would've Left Her, live, 1986
Nobody in His Right Mind Would've Left Her, live, 2014
It Ain't Cool To Be Crazy About You
I'm Never Gonna Let You Go
Why'd You Go and Break My Heart
Deep Water
Rhythm of the Road
Cow Town

1987 
George Strait's seventh album is Ocean Front Property. It is another strong album. I grew quite attached to it, I must admit! What do I mean? It's one thing to be "attached" to one or two songs from an album. The "hits" of the album. It's quite another to grow attached to an album as a whole. To love it for more than being the album that such-and-such is on.

The songs I knew before: "All My Ex's Live In Texas," "Am I Blue," and "Ocean Front Property." Of those three, I really love Ocean Front Property.

The new-to-me songs include: "Someone's Walkin' Around Upstairs," "Hot Burning Flames," "Without You Here," "My Heart Won't Wander Very Far From You," "Second Chances," "You Can't Buy Your Way Out of the Blues," and "I'm All Behind You Now."

Of the new-to-me songs, I have two stand-out favorites: "You Can't Buy Your Way Out of the Blues," and "My Heart Won't Wander Very Far From You." Both are fast and catchy and just FUN.

From "My Heart Won't Wander Very Far From You":

Well honey don't you worry I don't need no bar room queens
Though I'll admit she sure knows how to fill a pair of jeans
And I'll admit now darlin' she's sure showing me her stuff
But honey it ain't nearly enough
'Cause I ain't never seen her
Patch a pair of ragged britches
Stretch a paycheck 'till it reaches
Scratch my back right where it itches
And I ain't never seen that and honey 'till I do
My heart won't wander very far from you

From "You Can't Buy Your Way Out of the Blues":

I'd been workin' at forgettin' since you said goodbye,
Lookin' for some good times, the best money can buy.
But it's a bad investment, there's no long term dividends.
You can't buy happiness or heal a heart that just won't mend.
I never thought that I'd be missin' you this way.
I should've paid you more attention, but now it's too late.
You can buy a night out on the town, you can buy a loveboat cruise,
But you can't buy your way out of the blues.
 
Ocean Front Property, live, 1987
All My Ex's Live In Texas, live, 1989
Am I Blue, live, 1989

Love to watch George Straight live??? Be sure to watch this 1987 concert footage. Almost an hour's worth of George singing his hits from several albums!

© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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23. Listening to George, BONUS

1985
If you want to follow along with all the posts in this project, they're all tagged George Strait Project

I should probably mention that by 1987, he's already released TWO greatest hits albums. The first greatest hits album was released in 1985. It featured ten songs:

Unwound (live)
Down and Out (live)
If You're Thinking You Want A Stranger
Fool Hearted Memory (live)
Marina del Rey (live)
Amarillo by Morning (live)
A Fire I Can't Put Out (live)
You Look So Good In Love
Right or Wrong (live)
Let's Fall To Pieces Together

It's a good thing I don't have to pick a favorite from this greatest hits album, right?! Though I could probably pick a top three: You Look So Good In Love, Amarillo by Morning, and Fool Hearted Memory. (But not in any particular order!)

1987
The second greatest hits album was released in 1987. It features ten songs:

Does Fort Worth Ever Cross Your Mind
The Cowboy Rides Away (live)
The Fireman (live)
The Chair
You're Something Special To Me
Nobody In His Right Mind Would've Left Her
It Ain't Cool To Be Crazy About You
Ocean Front Property
All My Exes Live in Texas
Am I Blue

From this second album, if I "had" to pick a top three, I'd go with The Chair, The Cowboy Rides Away, and Ocean Front Property.

Of the twenty songs on his first two greatest hits albums, do you have a favorite? or two or three?!
All of these songs charted between 1981 and 1987. Down and Out only got to #16. But the rest of them did very well. I am a little surprised that The Cowboy Rides Away never made it to #1...and neither did Amarillo by Morning. These two come to mind oh-so-easily when I think of George Strait.

1991
Though released in 1991, Ten Strait Hits features ten hit songs from 1988-1990. Songs from the album include:

Famous Last Words of A Fool
Baby Blue
If You Ain't Lovin' (You Ain't Livin')
Baby's Gotten Good at Goodbye
What's Going On In Your World
Ace in the Hole
Overnight Success
Love Without End, Amen
Drinking Champagne
I've Come To Expect It From You 

If I had to pick a top three from this album, I'd go with Baby Blue, Ace in the Hole, and...it's just too hard to choose between Famous Last Words of a Fool and Baby's Gotten Good at Goodbye. 

© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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24. Listening to King George, part 4

1988
If you want to follow along with this project, all related posts are tagged George Strait Project.

Today I'll be starting with his eighth album, If You Ain't Lovin' You Ain't Livin'. It features ten songs. The songs I knew before include: "If You Ain't Lovin' (You Ain't Livin')," "Baby Blue," and "Famous Last Words of a Fool." It's practically mandatory to sing along while listening to two of these at least.

Baby Blue opens memorably: She looked so much like a lady, but she was so much like a child. A devil when she held me close, an angel when she smiled. She always held it deep inside, but somehow I always knew. She'd go away when the grass turned green and the sky turned baby blue.

And Famous Last Words of a Fool has a great chorus: Famous last words of a fool, Famous last words of a fool, You won't break my heart, And I don't love you, Famous last words of a fool.

The new-to-me songs from the album include: "Under These Conditions," "Don't Mind If I Do," "Bigger Man Than Me," "It's Too Late Now," "Is It That Time Again," "Let's Get Down To It," and "Back to Bein' Me." My favorite is probably Let's Get Down To It. Though I also like Don't Mind If I Do, It's Too Late Now, and Back To Bein' Me.

Of the ten songs, SIX deal with the end of a relationship. Some he's happy it's over, others not so much. Of the remaining four, three I'd classify as flirtatiously invitational you might say. The title track is just a fun, swingin' dance number. 

Do you have a favorite song from this album?! Overall, I'd probably go with Baby Blue. Here is a video of George Strait singing this hit in 1989.


1989
Beyond the Blue Neon is George Strait's ninth album. It features ten songs. The songs I knew before: "Ace in the Hole," "Baby's Gotten Good At Goodbye," and "What's Going On In Your World."

The opening of Ace in the Hole:

You've got to have an ace in the hole.
A little secret that nobody knows.
Life is a gamble, a game we all play,
But you need to save something for a rainy day.
You've got to learn to play your cards right if you expect to win in life.
Don't put it all on the line for just one roll.
You've got to have an ace in the hole.

The new-to-me songs include: "Beyond the Blue Neon," "Hollywood Squares," "Overnight Success," Leavin's Been Coming for A Long, Long Time," "Angel, Angelina," "Too Much of Too Little," and "Oh Me, Oh My, Sweet Baby."

Of those songs that are new-to-me, I must say that Leavin's Been Comin' For a Long, Long Time has made a good, strong impression.

Hollywood Squares is a song I vaguely remember hearing on the radio now and then. It's fun in a cutesy, novelty way.
I got ex's all across the country
And I owe everybody in town
I got bill collectors callin' me up
And lawyers tryin' to track me down
I'm just one wrong move from the poor house
But I don't belong in there
I got so many ex's and owe so much
I ought to be on Hollywood squares
Yeah, I ought to be on Hollywood squares

George Strait's Oh Me, Oh My Sweet Baby is so very different from the Diamond Rio version which came out in 1992.

Here's the official music video for Baby's Gotten Good At Goodbye.

© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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25. My thoughts on Cyrano de Bergerac


For Paris in July, I watched Cyrano de Bergerac in French with English subtitles. I cannot gush about it enough. It is all kinds of wonderful. And deserves to be watched and rewatched dozens of times at least.

The film was released in 1990. It stars Gerard Depardieu in the lead role of Cyrano de Bergerac. He is PERFECTLY perfect in this role. Anne Brochet stars as Roxane. Vincent Perez stars as Christian de Neuvillette.

Is it faithful to the play? Yes and no. I would say YES because it is true to the spirit of the play/book. Nothing has been changed about the characters themselves. The script-writing keeps to the integrity of the original. I would say NO because a few things were changed. For example, in the play, Roxane is able to ride through the enemy armies unopposed and unchallenged. If questioned, she just spills her heart and speaks of her desperate need to see her husband. She does arrive the day of the big, decisive battle. In the movie, Christian "saves" her from the enemy army and her arrival is far from unopposed. Christian is given something MANLY to do to prove himself.

I would also say that the movie misses an opportunity when it cuts one of the best, best lines from the play. What is that line? Roxane saying I've loved only one man, and I've lost him twice

Cyrano de Bergerac is a serious, dramatic, ROMANTIC play with some very comic lines. But it isn't a comedy or at least not a ha-ha comedy as my friend would say. This production captures the tone of the play exceedingly well. I did try to watch another production, a filming of a stage production from recent years, and it was over-the-top too-much. Every line (of the first forty or so minutes) acted for a belly laugh. Which is, I suppose, okay for Cyrano de Bergerac's confrontation with the actor and all. But how can you connect with Cyrano and see his soul if you're just laughing AT him?

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the soundtrack to the movie. It is one of my favorite film scores. The music was composed by Jean Claude Petit.


The soundtrack opens with a track called 'Cyrano'


I would definitely recommend this soundtrack. I think it's great music to have on in the background. It is great to read to, for example. It's just hauntingly beautiful.

© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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