Category Archives: Odds & Sods

It Came From The Comments

I’ve never done this before but here’s a comment so good that it deserves its own post. It comes from the most recent Saturday Odds & Sods post and was written by my old friend Mike Shapiro:

Ooh a chance for my favorite Anne Murray story! In 1974 Schaefer Beer sponsored a summer concert series in NYC’s Central Park. One week it was supposed to be Boz Scaggs headlining, Anne Murray middle, and Brewer and Shipley opening (honestly can you get more 1974 than that line up). At the last minute Boz Scaggs pulled out and the producers had to scramble to find another act. They decided on a local guy and his band who happened to be available, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.

The producers bumped Murray to headliner and told Springsteen he’d be the middle act. Springsteen’s manager, the notorious Mike Appel, went to Murray’s manager and said you need to let Bruce headline. Murray’s manager was incredulous. Murray had two #1 hits and Springsteen was nothing but a songwriter with a band. Appel tried to reason with him, saying if this was Toronto or even someplace in the Midwest he’d be right, but this was NYC and you don’t want your client going on AFTER Bruce in NYC. The compromise they settled on was Murray would still go on last, but Bruce would get to do his full 80 minute show.

Bruce then went directly to Anne Murray and repeated how she didn’t want to go on after him, but she blew him off as some cocky New Jersey bastard (her words according to legend). So the night of the concert 5000 people cram into the makeshift venue built for the concert, suffer through Brewer and Shipley, go wild when the E Streeters hit the stage, and when Anne Murray walks on stage she discovers the crowd has now dwindled down to less than a thousand people. Appel and Springsteen had been right, you follow Springsteen at your own risk.

This reminds me of similar stories about Jimi Hendrix and The Monkees in 1967, I like The Monkees but how the hell can you follow Jimi Hendrix or Bruce Springsteen?

The last word goes to The Boss with an early NYC performance of Jungleland at Avery Fisher Hall in the same year the E Street Band blew Anne Murray off the stage:

 

 

Saturday Odds & Sods: You Won’t See Me

Masks by James Ensor.

It’s been cool all week in New Orleans. It’s unclear if Fall has fallen or it’s a cruel hoax. My money is on the latter. The heat doesn’t usually break here until sometime in October. The good news is that we’re not under threat of a tropical system. It feels odd not to be checking the spaghetti tracks every few hours but that’s another autumnal augury. End of obligatory weather-related opening passage.

This week’s theme song comes from one of my favorite Beatles albums, Rubber Soul. It was one of the first albums I ever owned. When my father saw the cover he said, “Those are the ugliest women I ever saw.”

To this day I’m uncertain whether or not Lou was joking. The only one who would have made an ugly woman was the drummer. Sorry, Ringo.

You Won’t See Me is a Macca song, but it’s credited to Lennon & McCartney as were all the pair’s songs. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

We have three versions of You Won’t See Me for your listening pleasure: The Beatles original, and covers by Bryan Ferry and Canadian songbird, Anne Murray.

I never expected to post an Anne Murray song at First Draft, but I might as well go big and post her monster hit from 1970:

Let’s spread our tiny wings and fly away to the break.

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Saturday Odds & Sods: Wasted On The Way

Three Musicians by Pablo Picasso.

New Orleans dodged a wet and windy bullet earlier this week. Hurricane Sally dumped two feet of rain in some areas on the Florida-Alabama border. I don’t guilty for being relieved. If I were Poseidon, I’d send all tropical systems out to sea. I do, however, feel bad for folks in the affected areas. They got slammed by that evil bitch Sally. Blow ill wind, blow.

I had put this feature to bed and tucked it in when I learned of Justice Ginsburg’s death. I wish everyone would dial their predictions back. It’s unclear what impact RBG’s death will have on the election. I also wish that those who admire Justice Ginsburg would show more respect for her passing, especially since it’s Rosh Hashanah. There was, however, a moment of unintentional levity when the crowd outside the Supreme Court started singing Amazing Grace. It’s a Christian hymn, y’all. I’ll have more on Ginsburg’s passing on Monday.

In some ways, this week’s theme song matches the featured image. Three Musicians = Crosby, Stills & Nash. Graham Nash wrote Wasted On The Way for CSN’s  1982 Daylight Again album. Eagle Timothy B. Schmitt added harmony vocals making that Four Musicians. So much for the Picasso analogy. Oh well, it was imperfect to begin with.

We have two versions of Wasted On The Way for your listening pleasure: the studio original and a live version without Timothy B. Schmitt. Go, Team Picasso.

Stills’ intro to the live version is poignant. I rarely do poignant but sometimes the mood strikes me.

Before we jump to the break, a Neil Young song from the Buffalo Springfield days:

Holy Wall Of Sound-style production, Batman.

Time to take the plunge. See you on the other side.

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Saturday Odds & Sods: Six Months In A Leaky Boat

Blue Painting by Wassily Kandinsky.

It’s September and it’s still hotter than hell in New Orleans. Pandemic fatigue is widespread here just like everywhere else. Unfortunately, America didn’t do the work needed to suppress COVID-19 so we’re still muddling through.

The NFL season opens this week and I find myself utterly indifferent. I’m mildly amused by wingnut fans who say that they’ll boycott the season because the NFL has gone BLM on their asses. These are the same people who claim they want sports and politics on separate plains, make that separate planets. The Saints will be playing on Sunday at an empty Superdome. It’s hard to get excited about any of this. So it goes.

This week’s theme song was written by Tim Finn in 1982 for Split Enz’s Time and Tide album. It refers to the amount of time that it took British pioneers to sail to New Zealand and is also a metaphor for the songwriter’s nervous breakdown. That’s a lot of substance for a song that still rocks like crazy.

We have three versions of Six Months In A Leaky Boat for your listening pleasure: The Split Enz original; a 2000 live version by Tim Finn, Bic Runga, and Dave Dobbyn and a 2006 performance by a reunited Enz featuring some stellar keyboard work by the great Eddie Rayner.

Kiwi singer-songwriter David Dobbyn has his own nautical classic:

Now that we’re all seasick, it’s time to don a life jacket and jump to the break.

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Saturday Odds & Sods: Turn It On Again

Tomato Soup Cans by Andy Warhol.

I’ve been rationing my Twitter use lately so I missed out on Trump soup canapalooza. This week’s featured image is my sole contribution now that it’s been beat to death. I’m also tired of talking about the Impeached Insult Comedian. It’s Joey Shark’s secret weapon in the campaign: people would like a break from politics from time-to-time. I’m not the only one suffering from Trump fatigue.

It’s time for a First Draft housekeeping note. The Friday Cocktail Hour was bumped so My Uncle Was A ‘Loser’ wouldn’t have to share the spotlight. I put a great deal of emotion and passion into that post. The reaction has been most gratifying. The Friday Cocktail Hour will return next week with a Duke Ellington song. Nothing but the best for my readers.

This week’s theme song was written by Tony Banks, Phil Collins, and Mike Rutherford for the 1980 Genesis album, Duke. Rutherford’s lyrics are about someone who watches way too much teevee and confuses it with real life. Much like the Kaiser of Chaos. So much for my avowed Trump fatigue.

We have two versions of Turn It On Again for your listening pleasure: the studio original and a live version:

One could even describe the character in this week’s theme song as follows:

Since we’ve reached a turning point in this week’s outing, let’s jump to the break.

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Saturday Odds & Sods: We Can Work It Out

New York Movie by Edward Hopper.

We’ve been catless since PD’s passing. It’s the first time in 35 years that I have not been owned by a cat. I miss having the silly buggers around so we’re looking into adopting. I regret not having given Paul Drake a furry sibling after Della’s passing but I was so traumatized by dealing with our former vet that I was slow to pull the trigger. Please don’t try to give us a kitten: we’re looking at older cats. They have a harder time getting adopted. It worked out well with Oscar and PD, after all.

If it’s a boy, Dr. A and I might have to fight over cat names. I want to keep the shamus tradition alive and call him Jim Rockford. She’s in favor of CK Dexter Haven, the name of Cary Grant’s character in The Philadelphia Story. I like both names, so it won’t be much of a tussle. Stay tuned.

This week’s theme song barely needs an introduction. It was written by Lennon and McCartney in 1965 and is one of the songs from that period that sounds like both songwriters were involved. It combines Macca positivity and Lennon’s mordant wit.

We have three versions of We Can Work It Out for your listening pleasure: the Beatles original and covers by Stevie Wonder and Chaka Khan.

We Can Work It Out was selected as my high school class’ graduation song. It provided a swell send-off not that I remember much about those days. They’re a bit hazy, which makes posting this song mandatory:

Now that we’ve established that we’re experienced, let’s jump to the break.

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Saturday Odds & Sods: A Trick Of The Tail

Illustration From Dante’s Divine Comedy by William Blake.

The weather in New Orleans has been beastly. We’ve alternated between extreme heat and extreme thunderstorms. Not an unusual summer pattern but the intensity has been, well, more intense than usual. Extremely intense or is that intensely extreme?

My birthday came and went last week. Birthdays are best celebrated when you’re a toddler or a dodderer. In my case, it’s just another tick of the clock or some such shit. All in all, it’s just another brick in the wall. Holy crap, I sound like a mason. Lest you think I’m as Thick as a Brick, I should stop rambling and get down to this week’s post. I don’t want this turning into a Trump press conference. Believe me.

Keyboard wizard Tony Banks wrote most of this week’s theme song in 1972, but it didn’t see the light of day until Peter Gabriel left the band. It was the title track of the band’s first post-PG album. The album is one of the best things Genesis ever did and sent the message that they were here to stay. Oddly, the departure of lead guitarist Steve Hackett in 1977 had a bigger impact on the band’s sound than the exit of Gabriel. Go figure.

A Trick Of The Tail was inspired by William Golding’s novel The Inheritors. We have two variations on it for your listening pleasure. First, the audio track followed by the first promo video Genesis ever made.

Phil Collins later described the video as the most cringeworthy thing he’d ever done. This from the man who wrote and recorded Sussudio, In a word: UGH. Other than the Face Value album, I’m not a fan of his solo work. Is UGH a word? If not, it should be.

I’m still feeling tricky so here’s a Who song:

Now that we’ve figured out that we’ve got no horns and no tail, let’s escape the light by jumping to the break.

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Saturday Odds & Sods: The Want Of A Nail

Pandora's Box Magritte

Pandora’s Box by Rene Magritte.

It’s been a challenging week at Adrastos World HQ. In addition to Paul Drake’s passing, I’ve had computer issues. I’m transitioning to a new-ish PC because the old one warned me that its hard drive was failing. I’m hastily transferring stuff via flash drive but it’s a slow process. Oy, such a week.

That was a roundabout way of saying that I’m not up to writing a full-blown Saturday post this week. There’s a lot to write about but my energy level is low, low, low.

We do, however, have a theme song that sums up my ennui. Todd Rundgren wrote The Want Of A Nail in 1989. It was the opening track of his Nearly Human album, which is, perhaps my favorite solo Todd record.

We have three versions of this Todd Tune for your listening pleasure: the studio original; a 1990 live version and a duet from Live at Daryl’s House.

 

 

 

That’s it for this week. In honor of my dearly departed cats, the cast of Perry Mason gets the last word and I’m not talking about the sad sack HBO show:

Perry Mason Meme

 

Saturday Odds & Sods: Band On The Run

The Bird, The Cage & The Forest by Max Ernst.

I’ve gone on about NOLA rain in this space this summer. It was the wettest July in recorded history, and it happened without any tropical systems getting too close for comfort. That much rain can be inconvenient, but it keeps the temperatures down. That concludes this brief weather report. If I had a green screen, I’d go on longer, but we don’t have the budget for it.

Like everywhere else in the country, life has been grim in New Orleans of late. Small businesses, especially restaurants have been failing daily. It’s estimated that up to 50% of restaurants here will close for good. They need help and since the government ordered them to close, it should come from them. I am not optimistic that Moscow Mitch and his merry band of miscreants will reconsider and ride to the rescue. In the immortal words of Mel Brooks:

This week’s theme song is an ironic choice for this moment in time: ain’t no bands on the run or even on the road.

Paul McCartney wrote Band On The Run in 1973. It was the title track of Wings’ smash hit album, Band On The Run. Was that a run-on sentence? Beats the hell outta me. I’ll stick a band-aid on it just in case.

We have two versions of this Macca classic for your listening pleasure: the Wings original and a raucous cover by Foo Fighters.

Let’s run to the other side of the break. I think I hear band music in the distance.

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Saturday Odds & Sods: Higher Ground

Blue Night by Edward Hopper.

The tropics have been busy this week. There are two named storms in the Gulf. Neither is headed our way, but it’s been a wet week. Oh, to be on the dry side of a storm.

It was qualifying week for the 2020 election in the Gret Stet of Louisiana.  Senator Double Bill Cassidy gained a name opponent when Democratic Shreveport Mayor Adrian Perkins filed to challenge him. He has his work cut out for him: he’s not well known in South Louisiana. The spineless incumbent remains a heavy favorite.

The most interesting local race is for Orleans Parish District Attorney. Incumbent Leon Cannizzaro is retiring, which makes it a wide-open race. City Council President Jason Williams looked like a very strong candidate until he was indicted on federal tax charges. The funniest moment of qualifying week was when Williams told us not to be distracted by his indictment. Dude, you’re running for DA. You need a better argument than that.

This week’s theme song was written by Stevie Wonder for his smash hit 1973 album Innervisions.  It’s about reincarnation or some such shit but I like it for the funky groove.

We have two versions of Higher Ground for your listening pleasure: Stevie’s original and a 1989 cover by Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Glad I was able to funkify your lives today. I took lessons from the Meters:

That George Porter Jr. bass line makes me want to jump…to the break. See you on the other side.

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Saturday Odds & Sods: This Forgotten Town

Subway Portrait by Walker Evans.

The weather in New Orleans has been almost as crazy as President* Pennywise this week. We’ve had record heat as well as torrential rain that caused some street flooding. There were thunderclaps so loud that they interrupted PD’s beauty rest. Now that’s loud.

It’s also lizard season in the Crescent City. They’re everywhere. I have to look down as I descend our front stairs to avoid stomping on them. The cat is obsessed with capturing and tormenting lizards whenever they get inside. I’ve rescued several already this year. Leapin’ Lizards.

A new Jayhawks album dropped last week. XOXO is more of a collaborative effort than past records. It features songs and lead vocals by band members who are not named Gary Louris. Tim O’Reagan and Karen Grotberg’s lead vocals are a welcome addition to the Jayhawks’ musical arsenal.

This week’s theme song, This Forgotten Town, is the opening track on the new album. It was written by Gary Louris, Marc Perlman, and Tim O’Reagan. We have two versions for your listening pleasure:

This is not Gary’s first town tune. There’s also this unforgettable song from Smile.

Let’s leave this town and jump to the break.

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Saturday Odds & Sods: Heart Of The Sunrise

Wheatfield with Rising Sun by Vincent Van Gogh.

It’s been a difficult week in New Orleans. Mayor Cantrell has, quite wisely, rolled back the “reopening” to what amounts to Phase 1.5. Here’s hoping that people get the message and stop acting as if we’re back to normal. Even Gamaliel wouldn’t find this normal and he lived through the last great pandemic. That’s great as in big, not good. Pandemics are never the latter.

I’m trying to bring some beauty to an ugly era with this week’s theme song. It was written by Jon Anderson, Chris Squire, and Bill Bruford for Yes’ 1971 Fragile album. It was the first track they rehearsed and recorded with Rick Wakeman.

We have two versions of Heart Of The Sunrise for your listening pleasure: the studio original and a 21st Century live version.

Before jumping to the break, another song from Fragile:

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Saturday Odds & Sods: Hey Baby, It’s The Fourth Of July

Two Flags by Jasper Johns.

This is the second time the Fourth of July has coincided with Saturday Odds & Sods. The first time, in 2015 I did a full-blown post. Five years later, I’m a low energy individual so all I’ve got for you is some rock and roll.

I give you my 11th annual Independence Day post without any fireworks but with lots of music. Put your hands together for Dave Alvin, Grateful Dead, Bruce Springsteen, and Aimee Mann.

Happy Birthday ‘Merica.

The last word goes to Jasper Johns in the studio:

Saturday Odds & Sods: Darkness On The Edge Of Town

My Brother Imitating Scherzo by Andre Kertesz.

The Saharan dust has arrived in New Orleans. The good news is that it’s a two-edged sword. It fucks up our air quality but hinders tropical development in the Gulf. So it goes.

Bruce Springsteen wrote this week’s theme song in 1978. It was the title track of his fourth studio album. It’s a winner, I tell ya

We have two versions of Darkness On The Edge Of Town for your listening pleasure: the studio original and a 2009 live version.

The rest of this week’s post can be easily found after the break.

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Saturday Odds & Sods: Kid Charlemagne

Charlemagne Crossing The Alps by Paul Delaroche.

It’s rally day in Tulsa for the Impeached Insult Comedian and his delusional supporters. After months of believing in the pandemic, he’s changed his mind, but his lawyers are still making attendees sign a disease waiver. That’s a wise idea because they’re cramming people in that arena like MAGA sardines. What could possibly go wrong?The term clusterfuck was created for moments like this. O is for Oklahoma and Oy, just oy.

This week’s theme song was written by Walter Becker and Donald Fagen for Steely Dan’s 1976 album Royal Scam. The studio original features a brilliant guitar solo by jazz man Larry Carlton.

We have two versions of Kid Charlemagne for your listening pleasure: the Royal Scam original and a live version by the Dukes of September a combo that Fagen formed with Boz Scaggs and ex-Danman Michael McDonald.

Now that we’ve gotten (gone?) along with Kid Charlemagne, let’s move along to the break.

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Saturday Odds & Sods: Take Me To The River

Cane River Baptism by Clementine Hunter.

The weather in New Orleans has been weird even by our standards this week. Last Sunday and Monday, Tropical Storm Cristobal was a non-event in the city, but it was followed on Tuesday by torrential rain that caused flooding. On Wednesday, it was gorgeous: warm but with low humidity. In a word: weird.

This week’s theme song was written in 1974 by Al Green and Mabon Teenie Hodges. We have three versions of Take Me To The River for your listening pleasure: Al Green, Talking Heads, and Syl Johnson.

Now that we’ve been to the river, let’s take the plunge and jump to the break. I hear it’s dry on the other side; at least I hope so.

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Saturday Odds & Sods: Life During Wartime

The Outbreak by Kathe Kollwitz.

A named storm is lurking in the Gulf of Mexico. It looks as if Cristobal is headed for the Gret Stet of Louisiana. As of this writing, it will make landfall in Morgan City home of the Shrimp and Petroleum Festival. I am not making this up. Wherever it hits, it’s going to be a wet weekend.

There was momentary upset when New Orleans was mentioned as a possible site for the GOP convention. I let it roll off my back: it’s a non-starter. I suspect some malicious mischief from NOLA tourism officials who are vexed with Mayor Cantrell for her strong stand on “reopening.” They should shut it.

It’s the 76th Anniversary of D-Day. On that solemn and bloody day, they helped to secure the freedoms that the current regime is determined to erode. It’s time to re-quote General Mattis:

“Instructions given by the military departments to our troops before the Normandy invasion reminded soldiers that ‘The Nazi slogan for destroying us … was “Divide and Conquer.” Our American answer is “In Union there is Strength.”’ We must summon that unity to surmount this crisis—confident that we are better than our politics.”

This week’s theme song was written by Talking Heads for their 1979 album Fear Of Music. The lyrics are by David Byrne, but the music came from a jam session. I’m not sure if it was strawberry or blueberry jam. That pun was so bad that I should apologize for it, but I won’t. Suffice it to say it was not a peach of a pun…

We have three versions of Life During Wartime for your listening pleasure: the studio original; a live version from the concert film Stop Making Sense and a 1985 cover by the Staple Singers.

Now that we’ve firmly established that “this ain’t no party, this ain’t no disco, this ain’t no fooling around,” let’s jump to the break.

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Saturday Odds & Sods: Is That All There Is?

Self Portrait After The Spanish Flu by Edvard Munch.

My sleep pattern remains wacked out. This lifelong night person has become a morning writer. I’ve even awakened before Dr. A a few times and fed the cat. Both she and PD were disoriented. Such is life during the pandemic.

I decided to use one of Edvard Munch’s lesser known works as this week’s featured image. It’s a reminder than one can survive even the worst pandemic. It also explains why he was such a Gloomy Gus. Of course, he was Norwegian; it goes with the territory.

This week’s theme song was written by Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller in 1968. They shopped it around before finding the perfect singer: Peggy Lee. I’ll have more about Miss Peggy Lee and our theme song after the jump.

We have two versions of Is That All There Is? for your listening pleasure: the Peggy Lee original and a swell cover by the woman whose name I cannot stop saying, Chaka Khan. It’s a mantra in my family and it should be in yours. Chaka Khan, Chaka Khan, Chaka Khan.

Our next musical pairing involves a title that’s similar to Miss Peggy Lee’s last hit. To add to the needless complexity of this post, they’re different tunes.

You say this, I say that. Let’s call the whole thing off.

Now that we’ve questioned everything, let’s take a dubious leap of faith and jump to the break

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Saturday Odds & Sods: Shapes Of Things

Abstraction by Rolph Scarlett.

I don’t have a helluva lot to add to what I said as the 13th Ward Rambler earlier this week. I’m still keeping my head down during the lockdown. We’ve had a few front porch visitors, which breaks the monotony and allows Paul Drake to make goo-goo eyes at company and get his nose prints all over the lower glass panes of our front door.

This week’s theme song was written by Paul Samwell-Smith, Keith Relf, and Jim McCarty in 1966 and represented a  sonic breakthrough for The Yardbirds. The tune’s Wikipedia entry is absurdly detailed and argues that Jeff Beck should have received a songwriting credit as well. It’s okay: Beck assumed de facto ownership of the song after recording it with The Jeff Beck Group on 1968’s Truth album.

We have three versions of Shapes Of Things for your listening pleasure: the Yardbirds original, the Jeff Beck Group, and David Bowie from Pin-Ups. They’re all shapely and thingy:

Now that we’ve shaped things and contemplated Jeff Beck’s guitar virtuosity, let’s jump to the break.

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Saturday Odds & Sods: Drift Away

The Sleeping Girl by Pablo Picasso

Summer is slowly but surely returning to New Orleans. The first two weeks of May were blissfully temperate but summer’s cauldron has begun to boil. It’s unclear if it’s a Pepper Pot but you never can tell.

We had a serious thunderstorm in the wee small hours of Friday morning. I originally planned to put PD’s big ass box out with the trash but thought better of it. I wish I could claim second sight but I’m glad I didn’t have to scoop wet cardboard off the grass.

I did not know until googling information about this week’s theme song that Mentor Williams was Paul Williams’ kid brother. It’s unclear if Paul mentored Mentor in the songwriter’s craft but the older brother never wrote a song as good as Drift Away. Mentor W wrote it in 1970 and after several misfires it became a monster hit for Dobie Gray in the summer of 1973. One couldn’t escape its refrain:

“Oh, give me the beat, boys, and free my soul.
I wanna get lost in your rock and roll and drift away.”

We have two versions of Drift Away for your listening pleasure by Dobie Gray and my 13th Ward homies the Neville Brothers.

I know there was a hit version of the song in 2002. I refuse to post a video by anyone who spells cracker with a K. Take that, Uncle Kracker.

Let’s pay a visit to Disambiguation City with the Kinks hard rocking, Drift Away. It sounds nothing like Mentor W’s song but it’s a classic in its own right.

I hope your attention isn’t drifting away. If it is, the time is right to jump to the break.

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