LETTER TO YOU By Bruce Springsteen & THE E STREET BAND

I’ve been a fan of Bruce Springsteen since “Born to Run” dominated the airwaves back in the Seventies. This new music CD, Springsteen’s 20th studio album, was recorded live in studio, with no demos and only minimal overdubs (such as guitar solos, handclaps and backing vocals). Letter to You features three tracks originally written prior to Springsteen’s 1973 debut album, Greetings from Asbury Park, N. J.: “If I Was the Priest,” “Janey Needs a Shooter” and “Song for Orphans.” Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band performed “Ghosts” and “I’ll See You in My Dreams” on the December 12, 2020 episode of Saturday Night Live (check out the video below).

There’s an emerging genre of “Pandemic Songs” and Letter to You fits right in. These songs deal with loss, aging, and dying with dignity. I found them moving. But now I want to play some Motown hits. GRADE: B+

TRACK LIST:

  1. One Minute You’re Here” – 2:57
  2. Letter to You” – 4:55
  3. “Burnin’ Train” – 4:03
  4. “Janey Needs a Shooter” – 6:49
  5. “Last Man Standing” – 4:05
  6. “The Power of Prayer” – 3:36
  7. “House of a Thousand Guitars” – 4:30
  8. “Rainmaker” – 4:56
  9. “If I Was the Priest” – 6:50
  10. Ghosts” – 5:54
  11. “Song for Orphans” – 6:13
  12. “I’ll See You in My Dreams” – 3:29

WEDNESDAY’S SHORT STORIES #11: WHAT’S BECOME OF SCREWLOOSE? AND OTHER INQUIRIES By Ron Goulart

I’ve been a fan of Ron Goulart’s humorous Science Fiction stories for decades. What’s Become of Screwloose? and Other Inquiries (1971) collects Goulart stories featuring robots and Artificial Intelligences that don’t quite work right. For example, in the first story in this book, “What’s Become of Screwloose?”, a private investigator is attacked by an electric dishwasher. In “Into the Shop,” a futuristic society has granted absolute power of law enforcement to machines. And, of course, things get out of hand.

I also enjoyed “The Yes-Men of Venus” which is a pastiche of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Mars novels. I enjoyed all the stories in What’s Become of Screwloose? and Other Inquiries. Ron Goulart’s sense of humor and ability to make his robots slightly human results in fun stories with a dire warning about the intelligent machines in our Future. GRADE: A-

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

What’s become of screwloose? — 9
Junior partner — 24
Hardcastle — 35
Into the shop — 44
Prez — 55
Confessions — 72
Monte Cristo complex — 93
The yes-men of Venus — 102
Keeping an eye on Janey — 112
Hobo jungle — 125

WONDER WOMAN 1984

Wonder Woman 1984 features a handy wishing rock that magically makes all your dreams come true. Of course, there’s a price to be paid for those wishes. Meek gemologist Barbara Minerva (played by Kristen Wiig) wishes away her awkwardness, and turns into a Super Villain.

Gal Gadot looks as beautiful and powerful as ever in this sequel to 2017’s Wonder Woman. Director Patty Jenkins returns to whip up this movie confection. Yes, Wonder Woman 1984 was supposed to be a Summer Blockbuster, but it morphed into a Christmas movie on HBO Max, instead.

No matter. Although I think Wonder Woman 1984 is a tad too long at two hours and 31 minutes, it’s well worth a look. GRADE: B

STATE OF THE BLOG 2021

We can all agree 2020 was a Dark and Devastating year with the coronavirus pandemic, Trump’s attempts to damage our Democracy and Government, and the dismal Economy. Despite the ravages of the Trumpism, the coronavirus, the Recession, and social isolation, the good people of America (and those Brexit folks in the U.K. and the Euro Zone) await the winds of change approaching fast. We’re all hoping for the Best in 2021 now that the vaccine has appeared.

Amid all this chaos, the wit and wisdom of Patti, Jeff, Deb, Rick, Beth, Todd, Art, Willam, Maggie, Bob, Prashant, Sergio, Carl, Lauren, Steve, Jerry, Wolf, Stan, Dan, Neeru, Michael, Elgin, Tracy, Scott, Jim, John, Kevin, Randy, James, Kent, Fred, and Matthew as well as all of you who make this blog a part of your day brought hope and sanity in these times of despair and outrage.

Thank you. Thank you very much.

MIAMI DOLPHINS VS. BUFFALO BILLS

Rumors abound that the Buffalo Bills will “rest” some of their starters. Miami needs to win this game in order to make the Playoffs. Dolphins’ back-up QB Ryan Fitzpatrick can’t play in this game because he’s on the Covid-19 List. The Bills are a 3-point favorite. Snow and freezing rain are in the game time forecast. The Dolphins’ starting quarterback, Tua Tagovailoa, never played in snow in Hawaii or Alabama. How will your favorite NFL team do today?

DISCO by Kylie Minogue

TRACK LIST:

I’ve been a fan of Kylie Minogue since I heard her “Love at First Sight” (2002). Minogue was diagnosed with cancer in 2005 . After surgery and chemotherapy she promoted testing for her young fans during her tours. If you’re in the mood for bouncy dance music and energetic lyrics, give Kylie Minogue’s new CD, Disco, a try. GRADE: A-

1.MagicKylie MinogueTeemu BrunilaDaniel Heløy DavidsenPeter WallevikMichelle BuzzPhD4:10
2.“Miss a Thing”MinogueBrunilaNico StadiAlly AhernBrunilaStadi3:56
3.Real GrooveMinogueBrunilaStadiAlida GaprestadBrunilaStadi3:14
4.“Monday Blues”MinogueSky AdamsMaegan CottoneDanny ShahLinslee CampbellAdams3:09
5.“Supernova”MinogueAdamsCottoneAdams3:17
6.Say SomethingMinogueRichard “Biff” StannardJon GreenAsh HowesGreenStannardDuck Blackwell[a]Minogue[b]3:32
7.“Last Chance”MinogueAdamsCottoneAdams3:03
8.I Love ItMinogueStannardBlackwellStannardBlackwellMinogue[b]3:50
9.“Where Does the DJ Go?”MinogueAdamsShahKiris HoustonAdamsHouston3:01
10.“Dance Floor Darling”MinogueAdamsCottoneCampbellAdams3:12
11.“Unstoppable”MinogueFiona BevanTroy MillerMiller3:34
12.“Celebrate You”MinogueAdamsShahCottoneAdams3:41

FORGOTTEN MUSIC #103: A TRIBUTE TO CURTIS MAYFIELD

I’m not usually a fan of tribute albums, but I recently acquired A Tribute to Curtis Mayfield from 1994. I enjoyed Steve Winwood’s version of “It’s All Right” and the Repercussions and Curtis Mayfield singing “Let’s Do It Again.” Whitney Houston belts out “Look Into Your Heart” and The Isley Brothers perform a soulful rendition of “I’m So Proud.”

Rod Stewart had a hit with “People Get Ready” and I liked Phil Collins’ “I’ve Been Trying.”

Mayfield was paralyzed from the neck down after lighting equipment fell on him during a live performance at Wingate Field in Flatbush, Brooklyn, New York, on August 13, 1990. He died from complications of type 2 diabetes at the age of 57 on December 26, 1999. GRADE: A

TRACK LIST:

All songs written by Curtis Mayfield except “Amen”, by Mayfield and John W. Pate, Sr.
Choice of Colors” – Gladys Knight – (3:52)
It’s All Right” – Steve Winwood – (4:21)
Let’s Do It Again” – Repercussions and Curtis Mayfield – (4:55)
“Billy Jack” – Lenny Kravitz – (6:18)
“Look Into Your Heart” – Whitney Houston – (3:54)
“Gypsy Woman” – Bruce Springsteen – (3:34)
“You Must Believe Me” – Eric Clapton – (4:28)
“I’m So Proud” – The Isley Brothers – (4:57)
“Fool for You” – Branford Marsalis and The Impressions – (3:45)
“Keep On Pushin'” – Tevin Campbell – (3:21)
“The Makings of You” – Aretha Franklin – (4:26)
“Woman’s Got Soul” – B.B. King – (3:49)
People Get Ready” – Rod Stewart – (5:01)
(Don’t Worry) If There’s a Hell Below, We’re All Going to Go” – Narada Michael Walden – (5:09)
“I’ve Been Trying” – Phil Collins – (5:01)
“I’m the One Who Loves You” – Stevie Wonder – (3:58)
Amen” – Elton John and Sounds of Blackness – (4:41)