Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Songs Still Missing From Spotify (For "Tracks Of My Life" Playlist)

Since I posted this in March 2017, I've slowly been able to delete some titles.  But the rest of the songs listed below are still missing on digital streaming sites. Okay, you can find them on YouTube, but in my world of Playlists, Spotify is king. Or maybe Amazon Music or Apple is your King.  Either way, outside of Garth Brooks whose music is on Amazon, none of these are on Spotify, Amazon or Apple.  

If they ever show up, they'll appear on my Tracks Of My Life playlist. That playlist contains songs, some popular, others more obscure, that have meant something to me at one point or another in my life.  These titles below are pretty obscure, but did chart at one point. And my playlist has to contain the original recordings.  No remakes.

This list will continue to be updated as I find more missing songs.

Missing from Spotify:

De La Soul - Me, Myself & I (#34, 1989)
Eddie Rabbitt - Repetitive Regret  (#4 Country, 1986)
Garth Brooks - If Tomorrow Never Comes (#1 Country, 1989)
Joe Sun - Old Flames Can't Hold A Candle To You  (#14 Country, 1978)
John Valenti - Anything You Want  (#37, 1976)
Michael McDonald - Sweet Freedom  (#7, 1986)
Moby Grape - Omaha (#88, 1967)
Pake McEntire - Savin' My Love For You  (#3 Country, 1986)

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Playlist for 6/25

Lady Gaga - Chromatica
J.S. Ondara - Folk n' Roll Vol. 1
Tony Allen & Hugh Masekela - Rejoice
Stovall Sisters - s/t
Kandace Springs - Women Who Raised Me
Long Complicated History of "Urban" Music (NY Times Popcast Podcast)

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

My Postal Life (the Music Post)

How to keep up with music when you have a job that takes nearly 10 hour to complete?

It wasn't easy, but I did it.  And for over 30 years too.  Music has played a major role in my life since my teens.  And I always made room for it.  Even when days got short.

Here was my basic setup during my Postal years. In the late 80's, I tried using a Sony Discman while working, but it was too burdensome. And I had to keep taking off my headphones everytime I left my case.

Next I bought a Sony AM/FM Cassette Walkman, and from the mid-90's until I retired in 2020, that's the route I went when listening to music.  Eventually I got an radio Walkman only.  And from the early 90's until the 2010's that the way I listening to music.  I grew tired of terrestrial radio and started listening to my old Ipod's again.  I had 2 of them.  A classic Ipod that was from the first generation. When that got full, I used one of the last Ipod's that were produced.

And for the last decade that was my morning routine.  Punch the clock, listen to music and get the mail ready.  Once I left the office, the only time I played music was when on breaks.

People would always ask me why I didn't just use my Iphone for music, but I've always had this fear that it would shorten my battery life.  As Iphone battery power got better, this wasn't the case, but I still had a phobia about it.

So, I kept up, but listening to music was never a chore for me.  When I was tired, which was often, I couldn't put anything on.  But given time off, I always caught up.

But more importantly.  Hearing good music kept me going throughout another routine work day.  I know this to be true for many others who have different jobs.

Now hear I am, with even more time to do the things I love.  BTW, I'm typing up this post while music is streaming in the background.  Life isn't so bad after all.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Greatest Father's Day Songs

Great Father's Day Songs:
Alan Jackson - Drive (For Daddy Gene)
Beyonce - Daddy Lessons
Brad Paisley - He Didn't Have To Be
Bruce Springsteen - Independence Day
Bruce Springsteen - My Father's House
Cat Stevens - Father and Son
Conway Twitty - That's My Job
Dan Fogelberg - Leader Of The Band
Dolly Parton - Daddy's Working Boots
Drive-By Truckers - Outfit
Elton John - Last Song
Elvis Presley - Don't Cry Daddy
Eric Clapton - My Father's Eyes
Everclear - Father of Mine
George Strait - Best Day
Harry Chapin - Cat's In The Cradle
Holly Dunn - Daddy's Hands
James Brown - Papa Don't Take No Mess
John Lennon - Beautiful Boy
John Prine - Paradise
Johnny Cash - Boy Named Sue
Keith Urban - Song For Dad
Loudon Wainwright III - Father and A Song
Luther Vandross - Dance With My Father
Madonna - Oh Father
Madonna - Papa Don't Preach
Marc Cohn - Silver Thunderbird
Mike & The Mechanics - Living Years
Nas - Daughters
Paul McCartney - Put It There
Paul Simon - Father and Daughter
Queen - Father To Son
Reba McEntire - Greatest Man I Never Knew
Simon & Garfunkel - Silver Haired Daddy of Mine
Steve Goodman - My Old Man
Temptations - Papa Was A Rollin' Stone
Tori Amos - Winter
Will Smith - Just The Two Of Us
Winstons -Color Him Father
Zac Brown Band - My Old Man

Friday, June 19, 2020

Playlist for 6/19

This Is Uptown Records (Spotify Playlist Andre Harrell Tribute)
Marsalis Music Honors Series: Jimmy Cobb - Jimmy Cobb
Best Jazz of 2019 (NY Times Spotify Playlist)
Beastie Boys Story (Documentary)
Bob Stanley & Pete Wiggs Present The Tears of Technology - Various
Bob Stanley & Pete Wiggs Present Occasional Rain - Various
Picture Show: John Prine Tribute (YouTube)

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

My 34 Years & 8 Months With the USPS

It was September 3, 1985, the day after Labor Day, I'm 21 years old.  A busy day, and my first day as a United States Postal Service employee.  A mailman. The morning was a blur.  Post-Holidays are always hectic at the USPS.

How did I get here?  I knew very little about being a mailman. But I needed to make a very early career change.  From 1982 until September 1985, I worked as a Hotel banquet set-up person.  Basically, getting dining and conference rooms available for various groups.  It wasn't a physically tough job, but it was demanding.  And the hours were scattered. Three hours of sleep was kind of normal during busy times of the year (Summer, Christmas).  By 1985, there were only three of us on the job.  Luckily, my best friend was in charge. The work was steady, but the pay was barely above minimum wage.  And in the Summer of '85, I could tell that moving up to a higher pay job would be a long shot.

At some point I saw an ad in the paper about Postal jobs.  I was interested right away.  Took a test with hundreds of others and then forgot about it.  Then one day in July '85 a letter arrived with my test score and an offer for a job interview.  I was still skeptical.  If I didn't get the job, that was okay, I still had the hotel one.  But a few days later, I got the call that I was accepted.  A few more tests later and there I was.  Right on the workroom floor as numerous carriers and clerks zoomed by me.
By the time I started in the mid-80's the workforce was a combination of Military veterans (some Vietnam ones) and younger 20-somethings like me.  The work was steady, and paid more than my hotel job which I gave up.  Only once did I struggle to get my hours, and that didn't last long.

By 1988 I was a full-time employee.  By 1991 I had my own route.  I stayed on that one for 15 years.  In 2006, I moved routes. Stayed on that one for another 14 years.  That is where I stayed until this year.

I spent my whole Postal career delivering in one city, Pacific Grove, a town with a population around 16,000. Among its closest, more famous neighbors are Pebble Beach, Monterey and Carmel.  The city turned out to be a good fit for me.  Not a busy town at all.  A place that likes to bill itself as the "Last Hometown".  Lots of good folks there.  Funny thing about PG is that I knew very little about the town when I first started working there. But delivering in one town for 34 1/2 years?  That was something that I was proud of.  Kind of like an athlete playing his whole career for one team.

From 1985 until 2020 I've seen the Postal service change in dramatic ways.  Automation came in around the mid-90's.  Routes expanded.  The Military veterans I started with were now retired, changing how things looked inside our office.

The biggest change occurred in the 2010's when the layers of command within the USPS expanded.  Local Postmasters and Supervisors became hamstrung in how they could run their offices.  Layers upon layers of "District Managers" began to take over. And escalating small mistakes with threats of termination was the new normal.   Modern technology also played a big part.  With GPS, management knew where and mostly what you were doing while out of the office.  Discipline was handed out more often, the likely result of local Supervisors feeling pressure from above to come up with unrealistic office & street numbers.

First class mail began to drop as people started to pay their bills online and send fewer personal letters.  For me, it was sometime in 2012 that I noticed the packages starting to rise.  Even though the Internet had been around since the late 90's, and sites like QVC and the Home Shopping Network were thriving, it was the rise of Amazon that really became the driving force within the USPS.  With less 1st class mail to deliver, management expanded the routes, just as packages were picking up steam.  There were days when my truck was so full, I couldn't fit all the packages.  Trucks were another issue.  Outdated for this package era, too small and always breaking down.

Now in 2020 Amazon is king.  It's package business basically runs the Postal Service.  This 2020 pandemic has made things even more intense.  It's Christmas everyday.

I made up my mind to retire sometime in the Fall of 2018.  With a longer route and hundreds of packages daily, my body was starting to falter.  Back and foot issues that I easily brushed off, didn't go away as fast.  Stuff that I was able to avoid for some 30 years, was finally taking its toll.   The shortage of employees at our office meant more weeks without a day off (except Sunday) and longer hours. I've never worked so hard.  I always thought when I reached the #1 spot in office seniority things would be a lot smoother. It just didn't happen. It was definitely time to jump off this never-ending cycle. So, in late 2018, I penciled in May 2020 as an end date.

I leave with no bad feelings toward the Postal Service.  I met a lot of wonderful customers and employees, many of whom are still and always will be friends forever. And I've seen my fellow employees work their butt off to keep the USPS afloat. Hard working, "Essential" employees who are just trying to make it through another crazy Postal day.  I worked with so many colorful characters in 30+ years, that I often say I could write a book on my life in the USPS. I miss the daily laughs and just good friendship that we often take for granted while we are working.

I'm 56 years old.  Some have said that's too young to retire.  But I felt much older while working.  And that wasn't a great feeling.  34 years and 8 months.  Isn't that long enough?  Despite its problems I will always be proud to tell people I worked for the Postal service.  As we've seen during this pandemic, the USPS plays a big part in the lives of millions.  I'm retiring with a clear mind and no regrets.  Looking forward to what life throws at me next.  And that's a pretty cool feeling.

Friday, June 12, 2020

Playlist for 6/12

Moses Sumney - Grae
Sara Evans - Copy That
Margo Price - Perfectly Imperfect at the Ryman
Marshall Chapman - Songs I Can't Live Without
Iron City Houserockers - Have A Good Time
Lost Hits of the 80's (Spotify Sean Ross Playlist)

Tuesday, June 09, 2020

Best Summer Songs

Consider this a never-ending list of my favorite Summer songs.  I've also included songs that may not be about Summer, but have the feel of the season.

All Summer Long - Beach Boys
All Summer Long - Kid Rock
Beautiful Morning - Rascals
Boys of Summer - Don Henley
Brown Eyed Girl - Van Morrison
California Girls - Beach Boys
California Sun - Rivieras
Cruel Summer - Bananarama
Crystal Blue Persuasion - Tommy James & The Shondells
Dancing In The Moonlight - King Harvest
Dancing In The Street - Martha and the Vandellas
Daydream - Lovin' Spoonful
Everybody Loves The Sunshine - Roy Ayers
Fourth of July - Dave Alvin
Fun, Fun, Fun - Beach Boys
Good Times - Chic
Good Vibrations - Beach Boys
Grazing In The Grass - Friends of Distinction
Groovin' - Rascals
Hot Fun In The Summertime - Sly & The Family Stone
I Live For The Sun - Sunrays
In The Summertime - Mungo & Jerry
Island In The Sun - Harry Belafonte
It's A Great Day To Be Alive - Travis Tritt
Lazy Day - Spanky and Our Gang
Margaritaville - Jimmy Buffett
Miserlou - Dick Dale
Palisades Park - Freddy Cannon
Rockaway Beach - Ramones
Saturday In The Park - Chicago
Sealed With A Kiss - Brian Hyland
See You In September - Happenings
School's Out - Alice Cooper
(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay - Otis Redding
Sitting In The Park - Billy Stewart
Sleepwalk - Santo & Johnny
Soak Up The Sun - Sheryl Crow
Southern Nights - Glen Campbell
Steal My Sunshine - Len
Stoned Soul Picnic - Fifth Dimension
Summer Song - Chad & Jeremy
Summer Wind - Frank Sinatra
Summer Nights - John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John
Summer - War
Summer Breeze - Isley Brothers
Summer Breeze - Seals & Crofts
Summer In The City - Lovin' Spoonful
Summer Madness - Kool & The Gang
Summer of '69 - Bryan Adams
Summer Rain - Johnny Rivers
Summertime - Billy Stewart
Summertime - DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince
Summertime Blues - Eddie Cochran
Summertime Sadness - Lana Del Rey
Summertime Summertime - Jamies
Sunny Afternoon - Kinks
Surf City - Jan & Dean
Surfin' U.S.A. - Beach Boys
Those Lazy Hazy Crazy Days of Summer - Nat King Cole
Thunder Island - Jay Ferguson
Under The Boardwalk - Drifters
Vacation - Go-Go's
Walking On Sunshine - Katrina & The Waves
Watermelon Sugar - Harry Styles
Wipe Out - Surfaris


Saturday, June 06, 2020

Playlist for 6/6

Randy Rogers & Wade Bowen - Hold My Beer Vol. 2
Hal Wilner - Whoops, I'm An Indian
Mister Charlie's Blues: 1926-38 - Various
Black Lives Matter (Spotify Playlist)
Claudia Lennear - Phew
Linda Lewis - Lark

Monday, June 01, 2020

Playlist for 6/1

Little Richard - This Is (Spotify Playlist)
Little Richard - Sings the Gospel
Jason Isbell - Reunions
Hot Country Knights - K Is Silent
Kenny Chesney - Here and Now
Tony Allen: Afrobeat Pioneers 10 Best Recordings (Guardian Music Playlist)
Lyle Lovett & John Hiatt (Zoom Concert 5/29/20)
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