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As I am normally surrounded by meatheads in the weight room at the Y, I am never without my Nano stocked full of my favorite music to drown out the profanities, inanities, and other verbal assaults on the English language.

I was getting into a rut though, I found I was clicking past more songs than I was listening to and was rather bored with everything I was listening to. There was a few months were I rediscovered African Choral music and there was also an interesting experiment regarding Pucini during leg squats, but overall just bored, bored, bored, bored, bored….

I was just coming down off a long stretch of Tejano music I had been working out with and what I love about this music is the varied layers of influences you hear, particularly polka. But there were a few songs were what I was listening to was so familiar yet I couldn’t put my finger on it and the delicate layering of sound was preventing me from bringing the identity to the forefront. So I emailed a friend of mine who teaches music theory at a university back home and had him pick it apart for me. Of course, it took him all of five second to pinpoint the sound.

Klezmer.

Klezmer is a style of music from the Ashkenazi Jewish tradition and I will tell you this: it rocks. For those of you who watch South Park, they play it occasionally as Kyle’s family’s theme music

So I start frantically researching and downloading Klezmer music and the speed of light. I love discovering (or in this case rediscovering) new music. It’s like falling in love, or lust, whatever, you just can’t get enough of it and it makes the world all nice and rosy.

I even remembered a great little band back from the island I lived on in Maine: The Casco Bay Tummlers.  I’ve been listening to quite a bit of their music while lifting this past week and it is perfect.

I know, I know, but before you start calling me all meshuggenah, you have to hear me out first. The big problem with listening to music while you lift or run is that you get caught up in lyrics and lose your count or you fall rhythmically in line and end up going too fast or too slow. Klezmer has no singing (or at least anything recognizable), hence, you don’t lose your place, and the rhythm is so varied you can easily pick a pace and stick with it. The music is snazzy, the beat is phenomenal, it is completely joyous and often unhinged. The musicians play with such reckless abandon I can’t help but just be happy while listening to it.   

But at the end of the day, I’m a fickle lover. This phase too shall pass and I’ll be off again, looking for the next new sound to ring my bell. In the meantime, on what I believe is the first day of Chanukah (someone please correct me if I am wrong), I will be doing back and shoulders at the gym, trying out a new group Klezmer musicians from South Africa of all places.

Gezunt! 

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For all the things I love about Sailor Man, I did not marry him for his dancing.

As we are about to enter the home stretch of the Wedding Year From Hell (six wedding, six different states, all in one year), it will be time, once again, for Sailor Man to pull out his suit and tie and perform the mating dance of the Blue Footed Booby.

Not sure what a Blue Footed Booby dance is? You can see it here.

That’s my husband.

I went for years stupified by his moves on the dance floor. I mean, where the hell did that  come from? Until one night, with a raging case of insomnia, I was watching Animal Planet and a documentary on the birds of the Galapagos. On came this bird performing this oddly similar movement and voila! A moment of clarity befell me. And it makes sense, really, a “booby” is from the Spanish word “bobos” which means “stupid fellow” which is how the bird appear on land. Clumsy. I’ll let you draw the obvious dance comparison.   

I blame Sailor Man’s dance on his choice of music. Look at his musical library and it is full of sea chanteys, irish folk music, Eric Clapton and funk. Yes, funk. De La Soul, Del the Funky Homosapien, Cake, you name it. And let me tell you, you’ve never met a whiter white boy with no rythm in all your travels. I know I haven’t.

If I were really evil, I’d buy him a pair of blue suede shoes and complete the image, but what can I say? I’s in looooooove.

I am a simple girl with simple needs. One of those needs is that every once in awhile, I require a good stretch of music in the car. Today was one of those days. Light rain, no traffic, gorgeous fall colors, and LaBelle singing “Lady Marmalade” on the radio….geetchie, geetchie, ya-ya, da-DA!

That song was then followed by The Beatles “I am the Walrus”, fittingly enough as I often claim that I am,  coo-coo-catchoo. Then came Bob Seger “Shame on the Moon” topped off with AC/DC “Highway to Hell”.

Just to let you know, I am one of those people who rocks out in their vehicle unabashedly. Catch me at a red light and I will be singing to you at the top of my lungs through the window. I know no shame and you can’t make me feel any. 

Especially when I’m shocking the monkey with Peter Gabriel.

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For me, rock music is all about the voice. The musicality of the song: optional. Well written Lyrics: who needs ’em! Production quality of the song: don’t care! If you have the voice of a God, even a minor deity, you can sell the song.

Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, Aretha Franklin, Steve Perry (hey, say what you want, but the guy’s got pipes), Robert Plant and his primal scream, where’d they go????

Modern music is producing artists whose voices are weak. And I can deal with weak if the voice is at least interesting, but I’m barely hearing even that. These pissy, girly, pre-pubescent voices as of late seem only to showcase that both the music and the lyrics suck as well. Need an example? How about Rhianna and that ridiculous “Umbrella” song? Let’s see: stupid lyrics? check. bad music? double check. weak-ass voice? check, check and more check. How the hell is this crap so popular?

Only 2 current singers come to mind to pick up the gauntlet I am throwing down: that freaky guy from The Darkness, and Gretchen Wilson, who by the way sang a kick-ass version of “Baracuda” during a Heart tribute concert. Seriously, it made my jaw drop it was so good, but she still insists on singing that watered-down, crap, country garbage she calls music. And okay, maybe Christina Aguillera, but here’s the thing with X-tina: you can’t hit it out of the ballpark every single time you open your mouth, it’s boring and it’s facist. Christina could wield the Ring of Power, she could be that person, but she needs more variety and control, and until she learns it, she’s an overblown beat-box running amuck on the airwaves.

I long for an Otis Redding type voice in a song. A great voice that is neither strong nor pretty, but has that magical quality that can still make you tear out your heart and smash it with a rock 40 years later. Or Janis Joplin with her 7 octave oscillation, no one ever made sounding like 80 year old crack whore so sexy. Those were transcendental voices.

But the powerhouses? How about the Wilson sisters from Heart. And Robert Plant, mahhh maaaaaaaan…play me “Immigrant Song” and my toes are curling up through my shoes and over my head, every stinkin’ time.  

Ooooh, even better, remember when the Wilson sisters reformed in the 90’s as the Lovemongers and covered Led Zeppelin’s “Battle of Evermore”? Talk about the perfect lovechild. My heart stops just a little thinking about it.

I hear the original Van Halen crew is touring again, and I for one am happy for the return of Diamond Dave. So that’s something. Hey, when is AC/DC touring again? Anyone know? No? damn.

So here I languish. No rock-gods for me. So. Un. Happy. I’m willing to concede that maybe  it’s me. Maybe I’m just stuck in the 90’s and mourning the demise of Jane’s Addiction a little too much. Jeff Buckley promised to pick up the mantle and carry it into the new millenia, but he died 10 years ago and there’s always Chris Cornell but he just isn’t living up to his potential.

Sigh. To quote Bonnie Taylor: I need a hero. Until such time one appears, you can find me watching School of Rock.