Tag Archives: Binghamton University

Six Degrees of Your iPod: From Barenaked Ladies to Harry Chapin

10 Dec

I apologize for the late posting. After a long day of work/final preparation I went to Binghamton University‘s Anderson Center and supported my Fraternity brother, Andy Castillo, who was playing drums in a Jazz ensemble. It was an excellent two-hour long show. Now, back in my warm house, away from the single-digit temperature of Binghamton, I thought I’d try to warm you night owls up with Six Degrees of Your iPod. That’s right, the Music Court category of musical connections. I hit shuffle on my iPod – which currently holds around 13,000 songs – and choose the first six songs that appear. After providing the first six songs, I attempt to link songs one and six. The lead singer of band one had a son whose wife’s brother-in-law is the drummer of band six. If that’s the case, I’ll dig it up. Let’s play!

1.) “Thanks That Was Fun” by, The Barenaked Ladies

This famous Canadian band formed 22 years ago in Ontario. Yes, how long ago it feels. But, they still maintain a youthful feel to their high-powered music, especially with their humorous live shows (including rap battles). The band knows how to rock it, and knows how to slow it down for intimate songs like my personal favorite “War on Drugs.” This particular song’s true video is a montage of old Barenaked Ladies videos. I could not embed it, but you can all certainly check it out on Youtube.

2.) “Cry Baby Cry” by, The Beatles

3.) “Goodnight Sweetheart” by, Billy The Vision and the Dancers

4.) “Uncle Johns Band” by, The Grateful Dead

5.) “Infinite Arms” by, Band of Horses

6.) “Cat’s In The Cradle” by Harry Chapin

The story of Harry Chapin unfortunately ends with his untimely death because of a car accident on the Long Island Expressway near exit 40 for Jericho, NY (which is where I live by the way…no not on the expressway). But, Chapin’s incredible musical talents paired with his philanthropic contributions make him an honorable musician and man. Chapin was posthumously awarded with the Congressional Gold Medal and “Cats in the Cradle,” perhaps his most famous song, still lives on today


Well, like usual, I get the impossible task of linking two songs and bands that have absolutely nothing to do with each other. How can one link a Canadian band with a Brooklyn based singer-songwriter? Okay, let’s start with Chapin. “Cats in the Cradle” was released in 1974 off of Chapin’s fourth album Verities And Balderdash. It was the first track. The Barenaked Ladies’ fourth album was Stunt and the first track on that album is “One Week,” their famous fast-paced hit. “One Week” has several pop culture references mentioned in the song, including Harrison Ford, who is perhaps most famous for the Indiana Jones movie series. And, would you look at that. Harry Chapin passed away in July of 1981 and what was the #1 movie at the time…”Raiders of the Lost Ark” starring Harrison Ford. From Chapin to Barenaked Ladies to Harrison Ford. What does this have to do with anything? Absolutely nothing. That’s Six Degrees of Your iPod and I am going to sleep!

Heading Back Up To Binghamton – Going Up The Country

28 Nov

Oh do I love the 4-hour drive to Binghamton…and the 2-hour round-trip to Cornell and back to Binghamton. No, seriously, I really do not mind it. While some would scoff at the long drive and complain, I welcome it. It is not hard to put my foot on the gas for an extended period of time, especially when I have good company and an iPod jam-packed with music on shuffle. Now, it is not my favorite thing in the world. But, it’s not too bad.

In what has become a semi-tradition here at the Music Court, I always preface my trip up north with Canned Heat‘s “Going Up the Country,” which unofficially became the anthem of Woodstock and has now become good luck for my ride up to school.

Did you know that multi-instrumentalist Jim Horn played a large flute part in the song? Horn played flute and saxophone on The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds and solo albums by three members of the Beatles.


Bob Dylan is Bob Dylan

19 Nov

Let’s get this straight. Bob Dylan is a musical legend, but his skills have certainly diminished over the years…and drug use. He is an iconic figure of musical intuition and perseverance, a man that is more of an idol than an actual living, breathing performer. So, when you get the chance to see him grace an audience with his presence, well, you go. And, go I did.

On Wednesday Nov. 17, Dylan stopped at Binghamton University to instill in students, faculty and residents a quick lesson on how to rock and how to stay alive. The 69-year-old performer played a straight one hour and a half set of blues. I understand many virgin Dylan concert-goers went anticipating an acoustic guitar strapped around Dylan’s next with an harmonica in a sling attached to his mouth. They expected him to run through old favorites like “The Times They Are ‘A Changin.” But, that’s just not how he roles any longer.

Please understand this folks and don’t be upset. Dylan changes music genres more than weather changes in Binghamton. He is now on a blues fix. If he continues to play, who knows, he may go back to playing “Lay Lady Lay” like he did in 2002. But, Wednesday night saw Dylan and his excellent band (who all matched in grey suits…except for the rebellious drummer) truck through some blues music.

Blues allows Dylan to concentrate a little more on the music. He was singing, yes, but no one could really understand his words. But, that’s okay, no one could understand him 40 years ago. While Dylan’s guitar playing was dull, his keyboard playing was on par and he blew the harmonica with passion.

Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for AFI

Passion. The word of the night. Dylan may be 69, but he was moving around stage with a youthful nimbleness that I did not expect to see. He swayed while he played the guitar and actively participated with his band when he was near them. When he was at the keyboard he was certainly more detached and he concentrated on the song at hand. But, a surprisingly energetic Dylan had the crowd of around 5000 tapping their feet and dancing. By God, it seemed like Dylan was enjoying himself.

That is the reason why he continues to play. The man has plenty of cash. But, he loves performing. At the heart of his being is an entertainer and music has always been calling. It doesn’t matter what type. All that matters is that he can be on stage playing the music. That is respectable, and fans have to be excited that they can still see a living legend when he buses to their town to play a set.

The highlight of the night was “Highway 61 Revisited.” My favorite Dylan song was played with enthusiasm and, while it may have been hard to follow him, I still sang along. And then came the encore with “Like A Rolling Stone.” He has transformed the song and the way it is sung, but, it was still fun to sing the chorus with a crowd full of people.

Listen. Was he sharp the entire night? No. But, you go to a Dylan concert with a split mindset. You want to enjoy the concert, yes. But, you are seeing Bob Dylan. The name itself can almost make the show.

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