May 222020

Last weekend, I got a little bored with my Spotify playlist of about 1000 songs. It was a glorious sunny day here in Vancouver and I decided to expand the music I had by picking an artist I liked but didn’t have much of in the playlist.

Well, the first artist that came up was The Georgia Satellites. So I pulled up their greatest hits, then each individual album. Now maybe it was the two or four extra large Sapporos or the hot weather, but I couldn’t find a song I didn’t love. By the end of an hour of listening to the band exclusively, I had concluded that they were right near the top of GREATEST AMERICAN ROCK BANDS EVER.

So, my question to the newly regathered Rock Town Hall citizens is. “Was it the beer talking or not?”

Dec 302015

Dick Clark in Times Square, New Year's Eve 1988.

Dick Clark in Times Square, New Year’s Eve 1988.

New Year’s Eve has always, for me, been the worst of holidays. I don’t know which scenario is worse, spending way too much money to slowly realize that this is just an average night out, or staying home and imagining all the fun that revelers are having while you wait for Dick Clark to arrive in Times Square.

The best New Year’s Eve celebrations I have had are with friends. A gathering of twenty or thirty people, some beer and wine, and the odd pair of funny glasses. Oh, and music.

New Year’s Eve doesn’t have the same grand musical tradition that Christmas does, but there are New Year’s Eve songs. Let’s imagine, for a moment, that RTH is throwing a party tomorrow night. What’s on the playlist?

If you know about the RTH Christmas, you know the drill: nominate a song. Once it is seconded by another RTHer it is in. We continue until we have fifteen songs.

To kick it off, I nominate Dick Haymes and Les Paul’s version of What Are You Doing New Years Eve?

Dec 102013


Ransom Stoddard: You’re not going to use the story, Mr. Scott?

Maxwell Scott: No, sir. This is the West, sir. When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.

– The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

I came across this picture the other day with attached caption and vaguely remembered it from years ago. So I posted it on Facebook for a laugh and was immediately admonished. “Not true,” said one person. “Fake,” deadpanned another.

It occurred to me that this is not the first time I had seen or heard this quote, which is attributed to John, but I think refers to Paul.

The reason it pops up, I suspect, is that the “legend was fact,” arguably. I think you could argue that Paul was the best drummer in The Beatles. And the best guitar player. And singer. Guitarist. Piano. Sitar? I’m not saying you would win every argument, but there is an argument to be made there.

Can you think of another example, in all the world of rock, like this? A story that has been proven false beyond the shadow of a doubt but survives because it makes perfect sense?

Jun 232012

Driving home tonight, I heard a song for perhaps the 10th or 12h time. I typed part of the lyrics into Google to find the title, and found out it was “Love You Like a Love Song,” by Selena Gomez.

This is a song I hear when my wife leaves the dance station on in my truck. I used to have a problem with this, kinda, but I don’t anymore. I think we are in a producer-driven golden age of dance music; I find many of the songs exciting and edgy.

“Love You Like a Love Song” isn’t one of these, but I did find something about the tune that caught my mind’s Rainman-like attention to patterns that sometimes manifest themselves in RTH posts.

It’s the lyrics. They’re mundane. But they are mundane in a way that has historical precedent in pop music. Take a look at the first two lines:

Every beautiful thought’s been already sung
And I guess right now here’s another one.

This is the sound of someone struggling to write a song, nay, write a HIT SONG. This is a very particular pattern in pop history. My mind leapt to dozens of songs that had this “guess it’s all been done but i need to write a song” genesis, that were then voiced that within the finished product.

I thought of a half-dozen right away. Most weren’t good, but some were very good.


Dec 102011

Like my beer league team, RTH needs a youth movement.

Like my beer league hockey team, RTH needs a youth movement.

Here’s a recent picture of my beer league hockey team in Vancouver. If you look close, you’ll see that many of us are early-40s, while others are 20 years younger.

We didn’t intend for this to happen. Most of us older guys would have been content with seeing other older guys show up once a week. But other older guys had kids, wives, jobs -all things that interfered with showing up to play hockey and, more importantly, drink beer.

So, somehow, a youth movement happened on our team, which has been around since 1987, incidentally. The young kids though make it a pretty fun environment for the rest of us. It’s fun when they fuck up and we mock them. It’s fun to listen to them complain about seemingly trivial life problems, like STDs. And it’s fun to watch the blinding speed of a kid two years out of junior who doesn’t know Bobby Orr from Bobby Hull.

Would Rock Town Hall benefit from a youth movement? You be the judge. Bonus points to the RTHers who can identify NorthVanCoveman in the pic…

Dec 092011

First of all; not that kind of contraction.

What I am talking about here is probably more familiar to fans of professional hockey than the general public.

I am not talking about, “The shortening and thickening of functioning muscle or muscle fiber” (thanks

I am talking about “the act of decreasing (something) in size or volume or quantity or scope” (thanks again, boys).

As in The New Jersey Devils, which are the unintended result of hockey failing both in Colorado and Kansas City in the 1970s.

The New Jersey Devil’s, for those not familiar, have won three Stanley Cups since contraction. Three.

Where the hell am I going with this? Glad you asked.

Wouldn’t rock and roll be better served with a little contraction? What if the forces that be determined there were just too many bands. What should be done? Do we really need all these alt-country bands? What if Neko Case sang lead for Wilco with that guy who used to be with Drive by Truckers backing her? Better?

What if all these touring Yacht Rock Revivalists formed just one band: The Dan-Dooby Loggins Band, featuring Michael McDonald. Wouldn’t you want to rock to those smooth jams?

Contract away, Rock Town Hollas


Sep 272010

And another one bites the dust. Proud Rock Town Haller and RTH’s Official Vancouver 2010 Olympic correspondent, NorthVanCoveMan is tying the knot. Yep, I’ll be getting married next July at a golf course just outside Vancouver. As the goalie on my Beer League hockey team put it I’m “Being Sent to the Penalty Box of Life.”

The future Mrs. NorthVanCoveMan has bookmarked 700 wedding sites, watches Say Yes to the Dress ad infinitum, and is generally running the show…

Your humble NorthVanCoveMan is in charge of exactly one and a half things; signing cheques and music.

I say a half on music, but it’s really closer to two thirds. I get the opening cocktail hour, which will be moderate tempo rock and soul etc., and the “dinner” music, which is taking the form of Dean Martin and Latin Jazz by the Gilberto family. The Dance Party section of the evening is my future wife’s territory and she needs no help there, Lady Gaga be damned.

I’m sitting at my desk You-Tubing Dean Martin and Ella FitzGerald songs, when it strikes me, I have a whole Army of help at my disposal. So HELP A BROTHER OUT, ROCK TOWN HALLERS: What songs am I missing? What uncovered gems are out there in the Dinner Music/Light Rock Zone?

I know I am missing something great? What are your best Wedding Songs?

[Mr. Moderator’s early bachelor party gift: Click here, NorthVanCoveMan (courtesy of Dave “The Hammer” Schultz).]


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