The latest on Lolita Nation

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Scott Miller (right) standing next to his biggest musical influence, Big Star’s Alex Chilton (1950-2010) (left).

The band Game Theory existed in the 1980s, and had a good run as artistic output goes. But during their day, they were beset by various runs of bad luck: the folding of their record label, Enigma, and the lack of publicity they had during and after they folded. The group disbanded around 1989, and group leader, songwriter, lead guitarist and vocalist Scott Miller (1960-2013) formed the group The Loud Family, which lasted for several more albums until 2006.

But I wish to focus on the latest posthumous offering by Omnivore Records, a reissuing a couple of weeks ago, of the high water mark of the creative powers of Scott Miller and Game Theory, and that was the double LP, Lolita Nation. Omnivore released it on a single CD, and in addition provided another CD of “bonus tracks”. And a booklet of quotes from producers and band members that had a hand in creating the album. Former live-in girlfriend Donnette Thayer talked about her experiences as guitarist and vocalist. Even Shelley LaFreniere was brought out of obscurity to write a few blurbs about her memory of her experiences in helping out as their keyboardist and background vocalist. However, most of the writing seemed to come from producer Mitch Easter, drummer Gil Ray, tour manager Dan Vallor, who also helped out with backup vocals. They would be the people you would want to hear the most from anyway.

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Lolita Nation, Front cover
Lolita Nation, Back cover (original issue from Enigma Records).

Of course, I found the need to listen to the CD of bonus tracks more than the actual album which I played to death in the 80s and 90s. To play to the fan base, they have the long version of Chardonnay as their first track, which was never on the original album. after that, a few tracks were, to my ears, better left on the cutting room floor. But that’s not what bonus tracks are for. Even bonus tracks for Beatles reissues have a lot of crap on them. But like any cult fan, you are there for the gems. And they deliver on that. There is an interesting cover of The Hollies’ Carrie-Anne, which I have never heard them sing before. They also cover Joy Division’s Love Will Tear Us Apart. The highlight was the acoustic solo of Game Theory’s own Together Now, Very Minor without the deep space echo of Scott’s voice that was in the Lolita album.

Altogether, I found the album quite enjoyable, and the Bonus CD did not disappoint.

[Media Monday] The Difficult Listening Moment in Two Words

MacArthur Park.

I didn’t need to say anything else, didn’t I? MacArthur Park is that unlistenable 1968 hit whose only strength lay in the instrumental piece. How often does Jimmy Webb need to remind us that someone left his bloody cake out in the rain, then strech the metaphor until it loses all focus and meaning? But, ah! it’s that 90-second instrumental near the end that rescues it. That 90-second piece often impinges on younger ears as cliche beyond belief. But that is only because this original recording has appeared so often in advertisements, theme songs, and the like in the decades since, that it in fact has become cliche. Stuff like that only happens to really good music (unfortunately). And that 90-second part is so different from the rest of the 7-minute tune that it doesn’t seem to belong. And it’s the orchestration, not the words or the vocalist, that won the Grammy in 1969. For your edification as well as for a bit of nostalgia, here is the 90-second passage in question:

[mp3t track=”Richard_Harris_-_Part_of_MacArthur_Park.mp3″]

But of course, this is the difficult listening moment, and I’m afraid that wasn’t difficult enough to listen to.  And no, I won’t subject you to Richard Harris’s singing, or even Donna Summer. What I will do is to play for you the Cockney version by The Burtons. The whole thing reeks of Morgan Fisher.

Crappy Album Covers #222 — CAC Makers with a Few Fries Short of a Happy Meal

Go to Rhino Records(Live) on Westwood Boulevard! Go to Rhino Records on Westwood Boulevard!

If you sing the above lines multiple times in a music-less, out-of-tune voice while clapping your hands, you have a good idea of the “music” that lay within this 1969 double LP. Rhino didn’t exist in 1969 you say? No problemo! We have a YouTube video from 1969 below, produced by Zappa himself.

Double LP. Lord have mercy. Frank Zappa himself was the talent scout that got this guy signed on to the Bizarre record label.

It is likely to be mostly due to his association with Zappa that this used double LP has sold on Amazon for $84.00. A true collectors item, since Frank Zappa’s estate is expressly not considering releasing this on CD. Must have had something to do with the time that Fischer was allowed to hang out at Zappa’s house and started to make an ass of himself and trash his house. I guess if Zappa were alive, he wouldn’t release it on CD either.

Somtimes being crazy means you are some kind of mad genius. Sometimes it just means you’re crazy.

Sometimes being a mass murderer means you can sing birthday tunes. This is John Wayne Gacy (1942-1994), otherwise known as Pogo The Clown.

So I now stand corrected. In this article, where I write a short article about him, I claimed that he never made records. But I found this one.

This record cover shown was found on Myspace.com. A birthday record with piano accompaniment by Lucille Adams. There is a serial number on the upper right that says “JWG-33-1994”. I would suppose the the “JWG” in the serial number (Pogo’s Initials) would make that a vanity pressing. “33” are the number of people he murdered; and “1994” was the year he was executed by lethal injection.

Wildman Fischer, from the aforementioned double LP, on YouTube:

Crappy Album Covers #219 — Beefcake or fruitcake? You be the judge!

Crossing the line between soft porn and insanity, Mike Bones offers us this picture of himself spending time at the Betty Ford Clinic. Honest, he just let one of his buddies play with his camera while he was visiting him, and being too drugged up to notice, a picture was taken of him, desaturated to black-and-white in Photoshop, and made into the cover of his second solo CD, entitled “A Fool For Everyone”, which got released in 2009.

Honestly, I have no idea of the circumstances for the photo. The above idea was competing in my brain with another scenario, that he is photographed here showing the after effects of interrogation, imprisonment and starvation.

Mike Jones was Mike Strallow, lead guitarist of such indie/underground bands as Soldiers of Fortune and The Mighty Flashlight. The Mighty Flashlight looks like it was used in this album cover photo as part of the interrogation, as evidenced by the washed-out image.

Former Italian fashion model and romance novelist Fabio Lanzoni would stand for none of that black-and-white, washed-out photo nonsense. He still looks like he walked off a GAP commercial … the one that might have had the slogan “Everyone in love with themselves”.

Fabio has also appeared in countless movies and soap operas. Not much info on his singing career. If you want to know if Fabio can sing, then buy the album and write me back.

Crappy Album Covers #218 — Old-School Telephones

Buy this album and you will always be able to see this beautiful photo of a telephone held by someone in a tasteful suit. Yes, I’ll bet you will stare at this one forever.

I’m only saying all this because I’m jealous, of course. Aren’t you, knowing now that Jerry Irby has a hotline to heaven? Look at him smiling! Don’t it make you want to rip the phone out of his hands?

“Yo God! I’m really happy for Jer’! I’ll let him finish, but I just want to say that Millie Jackson has one of the worst album covers of all time!”

Jerry Irby mixed gospel with country music. Bobby Bland mixed gospel with blues and R&B. This 1962 single had Bobby imprisoned for overuse of the depiction of a telephone, just because the word “call” appears in one of the titles.

Bland recorded 30 albums and released around 45 singles over the years between 1958 and 1998.  That is, 45 hit singles out of a total of 120.  During that time, he had served in the US Armed Forces. He has been entered into both the Blues Hall of Fame, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Crappy Album Covers #217 — Too much for metal

The only thing this album has going for it is the “Explicit Lyrics/Parental Advisory” sticker that tells adolescents that these are the only kinds of recordings they should buy.

The Metal parody group Steel Panther currently play weekly in Los Vegas and Los Angeles. They must be metal, because their website overuses gothic fonts and umlauts above every occurence of the letter “o”.

“Feel the Steel” was released in the UK June of 2009, and a few months later in North America and Australia. Previous albums included spoken-word comedy tracks, but this one is just the music. Their website features this CD and sells it bundled with a T-shirt for around 26 bucks. CD is 11 bucks.

Metal, mullets, tattoos and babes the trappings of the CD design for Reel Big Fish’s 2009 CD “Fame, Fortune and Fornication”. The guy on the cover is actually not a member of the band, but Brian Klemm of the group Suburban Legends, wearing the same clothing (or not) as he had on the album cover of “Let’s Be Friends” from the previous year. Klemm acts as a guest backing vocalist on the LP. No one knows who the token female is.

The entire album consists of cover ska versions of songs done by John Mellencamp, Van Morrisson, The Eagles, Tom Petty, and Poison.

Crappy Album Covers #214 — Where they learn to dance

Cuban born Perez Prado (1916-1989) showed himself as the Head Honcho of Mambo University. I guess it was the Latin kind, not the horizontal kind.  During his tenure, Prado was known as the King of Mambo.

Living for most of his life in Mexico, he had a long recording and performing career which extended from the 1940s to the 1970s.

One of his most famous recordings has the unfortunate name of “Mambo #5.” While it’s not on this record, I thought that I would include a video of the original 1950 tune, followed by a cover version of the song (below) done by the Horizontal Mambo Man Lou Bega, performed 50 years later, around 2000. You are guaranteed not to be able to get the Bega version out of your head.

Many of us recognise the name Arthur Murray as being the name behind the international dance lessons franchise. Now, how do you “learn” to dance to Rock and Roll and “do your own thing”?

Big Dave and his Orchestra could be accused of cashing in somehow with some kind of bandwagon, but in fact, Murray picked out the tracks himself, and there was a serious intent to “teach” rock and roll dance to customers.

Speaking for myself, I dance like a 3-legged cow, but if I wanted to pay for dance lessons, I don’t think I would go for something free-form like Rock, but with something more structured that takes somewhat more effort, like tango, foxtrot, or that kind of stuff.

Mambo #5 by Perez Prado

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Mambo #5 by Lou Bega

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Crappy Album Covers #148 — Seeing things from a different perspective

Album_Cover_Crap_242_-_bizarrerecords_com This album, I suppose, teaches us men that if women were allowed to paint the center lines on a highway, they would do it in pastels. Such is the fantasy foisted by Tee Vee International in this various artist compilation of 18 disco and not-so-disco hits from 1978.

You get the greater works of that Bee Gee hanger-on Samantha Sang; Gloria Gaynor; The Emotions; David Soul, and the list goes on. Most of the rest of the record could be classified as “rock”.

It isn’t so much the Daisy Duke lookalike on the cover; the bigger problem is the surroundings. It was done so hastily and childishly that it would have been better to leave it blank.

I have buy tramadol c o d seen it on various sites, sold for $20.00 or more.

Album_Cover_Crap_233_-_brain-magazine_com This 1972 record by Soul Generation has given many soul fans a case of vertigo by looking at it.

You look up at a building; you see the sky. And you see these four dudes looking back at you as if the side of the building was level ground. Well, physics will tell you that their bodies and souls should go in opposite directions, in that case.

It appears as though that while their hit single “That’s the way it’s got to be (Body and Soul)” peaked at #27 on theR&B  singles chart, their album never charted at all.  

The album has been re-released as a CD with bonus tracks.

Crappy Album Covers #147 — Blunders by Major Acts

Album_Cover_Crap_263_gigwise_com People old enough to remember Abbey Road when it came out engaged in speculation as to why Paul crossed the road barefoot for the album cover.So, I would like to continue the pointless speculation, and begin the discussion as to why Hillel Slovak (1962-1988) refuses to wear a hat.

However, it’s nice to know that the two guys in the middle like to share their socks among all four members and go barefoot for the good of the band.

Album_Cover_Crap_257_deskgratis_blogspot_com I think they mean “Scandanavian”. Either that or they were playing in “Sockholm”.A CD was released in 1988, but the subtitle can i buy viagra in ontario without a prescription “Live In Stockholm” was not added until a 2005 re-release, upon finding the master tapes.In fact, I would speculate that this cover was from 2005, since there is clear evidence of Photoshop at work. The light is coming from the wrong side, and is black and white (seepia, actually), while the light above the mike seems to have arisen from a lens flare effect in Photoshop. Photoshop wasn’t around in 1988.

The originating concert was broadcast in 1970 for Swedish National Radio.

Crappy Album Covers #146 — MS Paint Massacre

Album_Cover_Crap_253_blogspot_com Well, no, this wasn’t MS Paint. You can tell that a toddler was set loose on a piece of blank ruled paper with markers.Wikipedia makes no mention of whose toddler it was that did this, but does say that this 2004 album was critically well-received, and debuted at #7 in the US.

The Cure’s 12th album has been inflicted on over 2 million fans worldwide.

Album_Cover_Crap_251_blogspot_com Frank Black’s “The Cult of Ray”, was recorded in 1996, three years after The Pixies broke up. But this record is not mentioned on the Frank Black website. It is mentioned on the Black Francis website. Why there are two websites referring to the same person, I’ll never know.

Frank Black, who also goes by a third monacre, “Black Francis Black” — frig it, let’s keep it simple and call him Charles Thompson. Chuck, you see, released this third album to negative reviews, and had gone on releasing many more albums garnering only but a shadow of his former glory under The Pixies.

In fact, that was the state of affairs by the time this album came out. They were punishing him for overuse of the cut-and-paste tool on MS-Paint.

Allmusic.com has it that The Pixies have reunited as of 2003 and have started touring again. I don’t know of any new albums by them except for “best of” compilations released by 4AD. Chuck’s “Frank Black” website, however, has a list of tour dates.

Crappy Album Covers #145 — Cartoony Covers

Album_Cover_Crap_259_badalbumart_blogspot_com Milton Babbitt looks like he is trying to out-do Stephen Hawking for the tackiest cover. At least Hawking might have an excuse; but Babbitt here is trying to make this poster look avant-garde.

So here he is, like your most imposing physics teacher, making music about ends being a new beginning, and manifolds. As if there were not enough ended beginnings, he also plays “Swan Song #1” (as if there will be a #2…?).

Allmusic says that he is a leading avant-garde classical performer who taught both music and mathematics at Princeton, and taught music at Julliard. He was a leading music theorist, but you look at this and think that this 2001 CD just contains self-indulgent tomfoolery.

The 50-minute CD appears to be selling for $48 on Amazon.

Album_Cover_Crap_235_-_bizarrerecords_com Uhh, … Hi, yourself….This 1979 album appears to have been Barraclough’s last LP, and she had disappeared amid rumors of connections to Janis Joplin, and Bob Dylan. Some fans revere her as quite a talent, but you wouldn’t know it with that cartoony “Hi” on this album cover.This link to You Tube shows her potential talent.

Crappy Album Covers #144 — Computers and Electronics

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It is not clear what year Mike Melvoin recorded this 12-inch LP, but the hits listed on the jacket place this record in the early-to mid-1970s.

Hear synthesised versions of Cream’s “Sunshine of Your Love”; Blood, Sweat, and Tears’ “Spinning Wheel”; The Beatles’ “Ballad of John and Yoko”; Steppenwolf’s “Born To Be Wild”; Dylan’s “Lay Lady Lay”; and many other monster hits.

His treatment of Lay Lady Lay is given below, superimposed on a Pierre Cardin fashion display.

Album_Cover_Crap_245_-_fortran5

This hard to look at 1995 album cover along with its title hides the fact that this is an electronic album from the British electronic duo known as Fortran 5.

The members of Fortran 5 have gone on to form the duo Komputer. They have released 7 albums of their synthesised works. They have been releasing EPs and LPs in both CD and vinyl formats, with their latest release, Synthetik, being a CD-only release in 2007.

Crappy Album Covers #143 — Guys who only want to be your friend

Album_Cover_Crap_205_bloodhound_gang_-_Hefty_Fine_-_vinylhaven_com This is the album cover from The Bloodhound Gang’s last album as far as I can tell, their 2005 offering called “Hefty Fine”.

The album cover has the much-wanted “Explicit Lyrics-Parental Advisory” sticker on the cover. Translated, that means: Kiddies, this is a way cool record! That other stuff without the sticker is garbage! Buy this one!

The nude guy on the cover is part of a program thought up by executives at Geffen Records to attract girls to begin buying rap records. Nude chicks on rap albums had been a staple for too long, and it is unknown whether girls who bought this album pinned up this picture on their bedroom walls. Nevertheless, it did peak at #24, and they haven’t released another album since.

Album_Cover_Crap_210_-_static_guim_co_uk After Prince was dragged into the police station back in 1979 for wearing high heels that clashed with his leg warmers (oh yeah, this was the *fashion* police), a photo of his mug was taken so that you didn’t have to see him in a bikini brief. He copied it from their hard disk on to a floppy, photoshopped it, and it became the cover of his second album, self-titled.This is Prince just before the pinnacle of his career, while still under the watchful eye of Warner Brothers. After ending his association with WB, he began his love affair with himself releasing triple albums of his work, the latest effort being a triple package called “LOtUSFLOW3R” released just this year. Wikipedia has claimed that it peaked at #2 on the Top 200. It had peaked at #1 on both the Hip Hop and Independent charts, and is currently still charting. However, it is no longer on the Top 200.

Crappy Album Covers #142 — Diving for Crabs

Album_Cover_Crap_246_sebadohBy the time this record came out, Nirvana already took the idea of totally immersing the kid in water, so I guess they had to settle for this. Neverhteless, I hear that the Children’s Aid Society is looking for the guy who took this photo and allowed the infant depicted in this photo to play with the toilet water.

I have it on some authority that Sebadoh’s album doesn’t suck as much as the cover suggests. In fact, this 1996 album is considered their finest, and it put them at the forefront of the indie rock scene back then, helping to pioneer the so-called “lo-fi” buy cheap tramadol music genre.

Album_Cover_Crap_204_amright_comWat Tyler’s (circa) 1999 recording “The Fat of The Band” is actually a parody of Prodigy’s “The Fat of the Land”.

Tyler has a few humorous songs on this LP, but they have not garnered good reviews. A New Music Express reviewer said of this recording “If this is punk rock, my name is Rick Wakeman”. I could only guess that his name already wasn’t Rick Wakeman, since the article is uncredited.

And just to show you the difference, here is Prodigy’s 1997 million-seller (2 million, actually)  “Fat of the Land”, released on Warner and peaking at #1 on Billboard for 1 week.:

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Crappy Album Covers #140 — Bad Hair III

Album_Cover_Crap_207_bad_hair_-_wikipedia_org Enough with bad hair on women, Guys are equally capable of falling out of the wrong side of the bed and combing their hair with a mixmaster.

Many may like the music inside this 1998 double CD by The Jimi Hendrix Experience, but clearly, their hair is wearing them, not the other way around.

The album was recorded over two separate years, all but 5 tracks were done in 1967 and the rest in 1969.

Album_Cover_Crap_230_-_chris_lee-cool-rock_pitchfork_com Chris Lee clearly has a case of bed-head. Photo was likely cut off at the top to hide the “cow-lick”.

This 2003 album “Cool Rock” has been mildly recieved by reviewers, and has not charted, that I am aware of.

Crappy Album Covers #136 — Food on Vinyl V

Album_Cover_Crap_224_-_amright_com While I can’t say whether the alternative group Soul Asylum qualifies as Aplert “wannabees” exactly, having bassist Karl Mueller sit half-naked in a mountain of clam dip and other unintelligible seafood was actually something that made Alpert very un-amused. And since he is the owner of A&M Records, who in turn own Twin Tone (where Soul Asylum was signed under), this 1989 album was something that almost marked the beginning of the end of the group.

This album is still in print (according to Wikipedia) under Rykodisk.

Album_Cover_Crap_226_-_amright_com Is it a parody of Alpert’s record? *Is* it?

Take a good look at the woman’s “dress”: yes, kiddies, it is made of bubblegum. This is “Right to Chews: Bubblegum Classics Revisited”. Features groups with quasi-familiar names (at least to me) like “The Mitch Easter Sound!”, “Jim Laspesia With Michael Quercio”, “The Rubinoos”. This website has verified that this 2002 album does not suck. It’s currently selling on many websites for around $15.

Crappy Album Covers #135 — Food on Vinyl IV

Album_Cover_Crap_221_-_ebay_com Yes, Herb Alpert was at it again, back in 2006, when this CD got released. Re-Whipped appears to have some of the same standards on there, with some new stuff thrown in.

In this age of “Hoochie Mamas” and Paris Hilton getting laid in front of the whole Internet, the whipped cream idea doesn’t have the same impact it used to have.

Having discovered many of these covers, I now have a plethora of Herb Alpert wannabees which have now engendered an extension to my “Food On Vinyl” tramadol legal to buy online subseries over the next few days.

Album_Cover_Crap_223_-_amright_com At least Peter Nero isn’t flogging food but he certainly is a Herb Alpert wannabe, having stolen his typeface design for his own album. This was released in 1967, about the same year as Alpert’s “Whipped Cream and Other Delights”.

Having won two Grammies, and having many honorary degrees, you would think that he wouldn’t need to play a “salute” to anyone.

Nero has been playing Jazz and Pop music since 1958. He still conducts and plays piano for the Philly Pops.

Crappy Album Covers #107 — The International Language of Bad Taste III

album_cover_crap_142_cendella_com Here is Mylon, being photographed for his 1977 LP “Weak at the Knees” while trying to get a piece of Kentucky Fried Chicken out from between his teeth. While he is from the Southern US, I claim that his French name qulifies as international (hey, it’s my blog, I can do what I like!).

Mylon LeFevre was a top-selling songwriter, having had many of his songs sold to the likes of Elvis Presley. He is credited with recording with The Charlie Daniels Band, and Sammy Johns. In the 1970s, can i buy viagra members of his group Broken Heart went on to form The Atlanta Rhythm Section.

album_cover_crap_143_cendella_com At least you may not need to understand Hebrew to get that this is likely comedy album. Otherwise, I can’t explain the use of a telephone as a musical instrument.

Hagshash HaHiver, literally “The Pale Trackers” is Israel’s offering to the world as a major comedy group. At least they were big in Israel, adding many phrases to the Hebrew lexicon.

The HaGashashim wish you to “drive in peace; the keys are locked inside”.

Crappy Album Covers #103 — My Bruthas' Johnson (more phallic symbols)

album-cover-crap-58_philipharland_com The funk/disco/R&B duo The Brothers Johnson’s 1980 recording, “Light Up The Night”, was the high water mark in their career as  a duo. Rolling Stone listed this record as #48 in the top 100 records of the 1980s.Looks like George is using his Johnson to light up Louis. Probably didn’t help sales, which went to #5 on Billboard’s Top 200 despite the album cover.

The record did not release any pop hits, but likely had at least one dance club hit, “Stomp!”. The Brothers Johnson were probably best known for their mid-70s pop hit “Strawberry Letter 23” (peaked on BB as a single at #5 in 1977).

album_cover_crap_136_zonicweb_com Now we have a guitar as a phallic symbol. But they always kind of were. The drummer never gets the girl. It’s always the guitarist. Lead guitarist? Even better. They are the alpha do i need a prescription to buy viagra males in the group (if you want to carry the analogy to apes).Chicks also dig motorcyles. And motorcycles and guitars together? SCORE!!!! Evidently, Ray Nelson’s invention of a guitar-shaped motorcycle never quite caught on, except as novelty. Nelson rode around the country in one which he built himself in 1980.

He also recorded this record 10 years earlier with a few colleagues of his. The idea stuck in his mind to build a motorcycle that had a guitar motif, from the drawing on this album cover. If the drawing was followed exactly (it probably wasn’t), they would probably find that the fretboard was blocking the headlight.

Nelson has made several selefless contributions to society, through his “Guitars not Guns” campaign aimed at wayward youth, and also by being a foster parent.

Crappy Album Covers #96 — More Unworkable Trekkie Ideas

album_cover_crap_124_-_nimoy_i You got to hand it to Leonard Nimoy. He had tried so hard to be something more than his public image of Spock, yet the public image of an unemotional, totally logical humanoid was larger than he was.

But he keeps sticking it to himself. In all of these “image makeover” LPs, Nimoy can’t get out of depicting his Spock image somewhere on the jacket. There is Spock in the upper left. In the act of trying to make you forget Spock, he reminds you at every turn.

“The Way I Feel” is a title that strikes me as being a little over the top. Also, it’s great artwork; but if you ever want to make the public forget, at least for a short time, who you played, then riding on your own coattails will get you nowhere. He is here coverng songs such as “I’d Love Making Love To You”, “Both Sides Now”, and “Sunny”.

album_cover_crap_125_-_nimoy_ii This album is a more explicit breaking of the rule. It may have been acceptable as a first attempt. But it was not his first attempt. AMG lists this record as being released in the same year as “The Way I Feel”, 1968.

This time, you see two sides, alright. And rather than being two parts of a whole, they clash. Imagine hearing songs with titles that could appear on a Kraftwerk album (or fill in your own industrial/synthpop group): Amphibious Assault, Spock Thoughts, Once I Smiled, and Highly Illogical; next to songs like: Gentle On My Mind, If I Were a Carpenter, and, The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins, for which I presented a video over a month ago. You don’t have to watch it again, unless you haven’t seen it. I’ll understand.