Saturday, August 13, 2016

He Could Have Been The Next Golden Boy

By Allen Bacon, The Daily Bosco


The Games of the XXXI Olympiad in Rio are half over!

Next week you will be able to go back to watching real live sporting events as they happen now on Free TV. Also take solace in this one fact: Dancing With The Stars is only about a month away too. Oh, wait that's on a time delay to the west coast too.

But as I prepare to close my notebook of scribblings on this Olympiad, I jotted down a few notes I want to share with you.

Olympic Committee, if you are reading, please feel free to use my ideas. Because, unlike watching live Olympic coverage on television and online, they are free.

As I made my way across the Western United States one morning last week, I stopped off for a cup of coffee and a Breakfast Burrito at a place that had a television and actually found myself, for the first time in my life, watching an Equestrian Dressage Event.  OK I was looking to see how Anne  and Mitt Romney's horse was going to do this time or even if they had a horse entered.  That's all I know about the sport of Equestrian.  But I digress.

This was one of the most amazing events I had seen. These horses are incredible. They had these huge creatures dancing and prancing and being light on their feet, er hoofs.

They were dancing better than Adam Carola did when he was on Dancing With The Stars.

Then I thought. Wait a minute. Why do horses get to be in the Olympics representing their country? What about other members of the animal kingdom? Why are dogs, cats, possums, mice, rats excluded from the Olympics? This is discriminatory and wrong. This must end.

I know the wheels of change turn slow at the Olympics. Just think how long it took for them to get BMX into the games. Or, did you know that the last Olympiad in London was the very first Olympics that every country participating had a woman athlete?

Let me ask you something. What would you rather watch? Horses dancing and prancing around or Dog Frisbee?

I rest my case.

This may be my only chance at getting into the Olympics for me unless I take a shot at the Walk race (there was one guy that was older than me competing..or maybe he just looked that way...from all that walking) or rhythmic gymnastics. I am really good at throwing rainbow colored ribbons into the air and catching them.

Now, if only they put Dog Frisbee in the Olympics, I may have a legit shot.

My Yellow Labrador Chad (who passed away this past February) could have had a great shot at making the team. He could have been the next Golden Boy. 

Chad had an incredible back story.  I could just see the pre-recorded video on him. He was a rescue dog rescued by his owner (me) from living practically next door to the Disneyland Matterhorn and the fireworks show every night in Anaheim.

Think about being a dog in those circumstances. Dogs go crazy every Fourth of July. For Chad it was like it was the Fourth of July every night! Because of that fact, he was partially deaf which would make him the first technically disabled animal of the Olympics.

Then he had to overcome his fear. This is weird for being a Labrador Retriever.  He had a fear of water and a dislike of fetching and retrieving stuff.

But we got over that by being innovative and coming up with the first Frisbee Steak. Before, Chad wouldn't fetch anything. Throw a ball or a Frisbee out and most Labradors will instinctively run after it, track it down and bring it back to you. Not Chad.  He would give me a stare as if to say "Are you kidding me. You go get it yourself".

This is until I strapped some Carne Asada from La Bodega Market onto the Frisbee and threw it out there. Then you should have seen the transformation.

It was like Chad became a combination of Olga Korbutt, Cathy Rigby, and Tim Dagget rolled into one. It was a thing of beauty. It made me cry.

I also think of how much Chad would have been worth in advertising value after he won his gold medals. Think about it. Most of the dogs in television commercials are either Yellow Labs or Golden Retrievers.

Chad would have been a natural. He was a good looking blonde Southern California boy with a laid back personality. He could be on the Wheaties and/or Purina Dog Chow box with his Gold medals around his thick muscular neck ala Michael Phelps.

I thought Chad had probably one more shot at making the Olympics in Rio this year, then he could have hung up his frisbee.  But like every pet, his time on the planet was way too short (even though he lived a long, happy life for a Labrador. He was sixteen years old when he passed)

And that is why it is imperative that the Olympic Committee move fast on this.

I thank you for your support and your letter writing on this matter.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Creedence Clearwater Re-Imagined Latin Style

Quiero Creedence - 
The Latin Tribute to CCR
Enrique Bunbury,  Juan Gabriel,
Los Lonely Boys, A Band of Bitches,
Billy Gibbons, Ozomatli, Enjambre,
El Tri, Salvador Santana, La Marisoul
Los Lobos,  Bang Data,  Juanes
Five Scoops of Bosco

Reviewed by Allen Bacon, The Daily Bosco

Since I (and most people from my generation) have pretty much memorized the entire Creedence Clearwater Revival music catalog and can play most of their music, I was particularly interested in a new project that re-imagines CCR with a Latin flavor.

Since CCR will probably never get back together , this is what we can do to pass the time until they decide to bury the hatchet and record again in addition to listening to their original albums.

Quiero Creedence- The Latin Tribute to CCR  with my favorite Latin groups and artists arrived last week and is, in a nutshell, a fun and interesting listen.

Some of the songs are entirely sung in Spanish while others are in Spanglish (a combination English/Spanish) as on "Green River" and Gaby Moreno's musically faithful rendition of "Lookin' Out My Back Door". The remaining are in the original English.

The album is at it's best when it is at it's funkiest and A Band of Bitches take of "Feelin' Blue" complete with a rap is pretty cool, even funkier than CCR's original and my favorite on the album.

Billy Gibbons from ZZ Top lends his signature smooth guitar rifts and English language/Texas Twang vocals along with La Marisoul from Santa Cecilia's Spanish Vocals. on "Green River" or if you prefer "Rio Verde".

El Tri takes the tempo up on "Proud Mary" to Ike and Tina Turner pacing in a fun rendition of the iconic song.

Ozomatli covers "Bad Moon Rising", while Juan Gabriel performs a soulful and heartfelt "Have You Ever Seen the Rain" which is a rarity because Gabriel rarely sings somebody else's music.

Salvador Santana with Asdru Sierra from Ozomatli take on probably the most Latin of all CCR songs , "Molina" and add an incredible rap to it.

Los Lobos cover "Bootleg", Enrique Bunbury tackles "Run through the Jungle" while Bang Data does "Fortunate Son".

We'll probably never know what the original surviving members really think of this album, but I have to think that  Stu Cook, John Fogerty, and Doug Clifford would approve of this 14 Song homage to one of America's  all-time favorite rock bands.

As Henry Garza of Los Lonely Boys who does a great version of "Born on the Bayou" with their own lyrical twist, said,  "Those guys  (CCR) were some of our this is an great honor to do this and to honor our teachers".

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Brandy Clark Avoids Sophomore Jinx

Brandy Clark
Big Day In A Small Town
Warner Brothers Records
Five Scoops of Bosco

Reviewed by Allen Bacon, The Daily Bosco

Sometimes you just need some good ol' fun, uncomplicated country music to take you away from the complexities of life.

Brandy Clark's second album Big Day In A Small Town fits that bill perfectly and a reason why this album has been one of the most heavily anticipated country albums of 2016.

Clark doesn't break any new ground with Big Day... (Due out Friday 6.10.2016) but that's ok.

The album is a reminder of why many of us enjoy country music and a throwback to traditional country music.

This is your Daddy's Country Music.

The first part of that formula is a good story and Brandy Clark can definitely write good stories. Clark, now 40, has been a hit-making country songwriter for a while now.

You've heard her work in singles from Keith Urban, Sheryl Crowe, Kacey Musgraves (Follow Your Arrow), The Band Perry (Better Dig Two) and Miranda Lambert (Mama's Broken Heart), to name a few.

And then there was her debut album, the critically acclaimed  12 Stories in 2013 which brought her into the public consciousness in a big way.

She specializes in wonderful observations of everyday life which is a trademark of good country music. You know these people. You may be one of these people.

Clark can sing well too and her tight backing band sounds great. She gets nice contributions from friends in high places.

For instance, Kacey Musgraves (who Clark has written hit songs) provides harmony on "Daughters" a witty and somewhat comical karma/revenge song.

For Big Day in a Small Town, Clark joined forces with producer Jay Joyce (who has produced Eric Church) and should receive a bigger presence on country radio because of it.

Her voice and stylings are reminiscent of classic Patsy Cline or Loretta Lynn and her band is small, efficient and intimate as if you are hearing them on a small honky-tonk stage.

Big Day In A Small Town is definitely worth a listen and should garner a lot of attention on Country Radio and at Awards time.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

The Return of Rhymin' Simon

Paul Simon
Stranger to Stranger
Concord Records
Five Scoops of Bosco

Reviewed by Allen Bacon, The Daily Bosco

It was hard to imagine that Paul Simon would ever top his 1986 masterpiece Graceland, arguably one of the best albums ever made.

But he has.

On the thirtieth anniversary of that legendary album, Simon's latest Stranger to Stranger (his thirteenth solo album due out on June 3will be the new standard bearer which future albums will be measured.  It is certainly the best album of 2016 so far.

And it is the best on so many different levels.

Simon's voice is better than ever.  At an age where many singers lose vocal range (He is now 74) Simon has never sounded better and that includes the years with his long time singing partner Art Garfunkel.

His pen has never been sharper either.  The lyrics and themes of this collection are some of the most poignant  and humorous Simon has written.

"Wristband" is about a musician unable to gain entry into his own concert because he lacks the wristband required but is also a cautionary tale about exclusion.

"The Riverbank" was inspired by a teacher that Simon personally knew who was slain in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012.

And the music is simply superb and innovative.

Continuing his fascination with World Music which goes back to the Graceland album, it blends Peruvian, African, and gospel influences with electronic beats.

The album makes use of custom-made instruments, such as the Cloud-Chamber Bowls and the Chromelodeon, which were created by music theorist Harry Partch in the mid-twentieth century.

His acoustical guitar solo interlude "In the Garden of Edie" (a love song to his wife Edie Brickell) is simply beautiful.

Simon collaborates with the Italian electronic dance music artist Clap! Clap! on three songs—"The Werewolf", "Street Angel", and "Wristband" which adds an interesting dynamic to the mix.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

NFL Network's "Super Bowl I" Misses Mark

Reviewed by Allen Bacon, The Daily Bosco

It's hard to believe that an archived copy of the television broadcast of arguably the greatest sporting event on the planet's first game is currently unavailable for viewing.

This is despite the fact that two television networks (CBS and NBC) aired what would be later known as Super Bowl I simultaneously with their own set of commentators on Sunday January 15, 1967.

This is also interesting when you consider the fact that you can easily find earlier videos from television broadcasts of the World Series, NBA Finals, NHL Finals and even NFL Championship games in their entirety on YouTube.

And throw in the fact that a guy named Desi Arnaz had the foresight to put on film the situation comedy "I Love Lucy" several years before in the early 1960's when TV shows were done live and rarely preserved for future viewing.

You wonder what was going through the heads of network executives, the National Football League and the American Football League when they wiped those tapes clean.

Maybe they didn't think the series between the upstart AFL against the established NFL originally called the AFL-NFL World Championship Game would last very long and would be a novelty at best.  It seems silly in retrospect, 49 years later, that would have been the prevailing mentality.

There is actually a two inch partial videotape of the first Super Bowl that has been preserved and is collecting dust at the Paley Center for Media in New York. (It is missing the half time show and most of the third quarter).  The NFL apparently hasn't been interested in paying the hefty price tag to the estate of the owner of the videotape.

Heck, you could take the fine money from last week's Pittsburgh Steeler-Cincinati Bengal Wild Card Game and easily pay for that video.

I would love to see that video from the standpoint of being a fan of the announcers of the game.  Depending on what version is the one that was taped by the gentleman from Pennsylvania you would see and hear a young Ray Scott, Jack Whitaker and Frank Gifford from the CBS Broadcast (Who had the rights for the NFL that season) or Curt Gowdy and Paul Christman from the NBC Broadcast (Who held the rights for the AFL at the time)

Thank goodness, the NBC radio broadcast with the late Jim Simpson (who passed away just this week) and George Ratterman is in tact (commercials and all) and NFL Films was there to put on film the game and the day's activities.

So it was with great interest when NFL Films announced through the miracle of modern editing that they were able to meticulously put together a reconstruction of the game showing all 145 plays of Super Bowl I.  The Simpson-Ratterman radio announcing team would be the voices you heard announcing the footage.

Particularly interested were those of us who lived in the greater Los Angeles area at the time who didn't even get to watch the game the first time around unless we were one of the 61,000 who played the then exorbitant price of $12 for a ticket to the game between the NFL Champions Green Bay Packers and the AFL Champions Kansas City Chiefs.  Or if we drove down to San Diego or up to Bakersfield to watch the game in a market that carried the game.

That is because for the only time in Super Bowl history the game did not sell out.  Of the 94,000 available seats in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, 33,000 went unsold.

At the time, NFL games were required to be blacked out in the market of origin, even if it was a neutral site game and if it sold out.

This past Friday, the NFL Network aired the NFL Films production to coincide with the 49th anniversary of Super Bowl 1.

In my opinion it was not presented correctly.

The game film should have been played in it's entirety with just the commentary from the radio announcers Simpson and Ratterman.  That would have been more compelling than what we got which was a bunch of guys talking over the late Jim Simpson's usual impeccable delivery of a historical NFL broadcast.

It would have been better if the commentary and analysis of the game was limited for halftime or even between quarters.

I am hoping now that eventually the one tape that is available from the original broadcast of Super Bowl I will be purchased by the NFL and shown with the gaps missing from the third quarter and half time show filled in by the NFL Films work.

Spoiler Alert: The Green Bay Packers beat the Kansas City Chiefs 35-10 that day.