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November 14th, 2016

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New Year’s Resolution No. 4

January 3rd, 2016

I resolve to let NY Retro morph into whatever it’s going to morph into and since it doesn’t require a lot of time I’ll pursue other goals.

Summer Practice

August 19th, 2015

The last time every member of NY Retro were in a room together at the same time was last spring.  Between Steve chasing the elusive dollar, Paul taking vacations and our young athletic bass player recuperating we haven’t been able to schedule a common time.  Last night we had 3 members in attendance .  It was a much needed break from breaking in our newest member, Paul, who’s had the best attendance record of anyone.  Since he’s been working so hard to catch up to guys who have been playing together for years I’m sure he deserved a break from the frustration of learning 4 hours of music for which arrangements haven’t been made yet.

We (the royal we) decided to run the 3 sets we’ve been neglecting.  Steve said a few days before that he didn’t think he had to leave for his 3rd job so it was doable.  After playing the classical set I asked him if he was free and he said he had to go.  That left time for 1 more set.  I had set up a recording document for the folk set so, we would skip the jazz set.

The classical set went well with only 2 major mistakes.  Those were brain freezes in the ends of 2 of the movements in the Cello Suite.  Steve’s performance in the classical set was inspired.  I especially liked the pedal hi hat he added.  I was pleased with my first string drone in the Recuerdo.  Leyenda had a brain freeze too but I was able to improvise some kind of melody until I figured out where I was.  The only mistake I caught from Mike was a ‘g’ instead of a ‘b’.  This proves that he really does practice our music on his own.  I still think we need to play together at least 4 hours a week.  Ensemble is an art form in itself.  It also helps to be prepared for the inevitable brain freezes that plague us. (Not necessarily the royal us).

The recording of the folk set had its glitches but, at least it happened.  These reality checks are important.  We played the songs slower than we used to.  Though my intonation was good my singing lacked energy.  This I credit to it being the first day I’d been able to close my jaw in a week from an infected tooth.  By the way guys, I’ve been diagnosed with arthritis in my right knee.  There was also a problem with my pedal board; some connection cut out and Mike thankfully stopped the recording.  We listened to it.  We used to be better.  I don’t know if the guys are going to work harder or give up.  If they think we can have a successful band with 2 hours of practice per season it’s time for a reality check.

Patch of Grass CD

April 13th, 2015

CD cover sizedjpegCD cover sizedNY Retro is set to release the Patch of Grass CD on June 5, 2015.  No, it has nothing to do with marijuana.  The album was conceived and produced to be listened to while mowing the lawn or any yard work.  It’s an album made by men for men and is set to be released about one week before Father’s Day.  Men don’t buy themselves presents; especially fathers.  They’ll buy tools and toys for their children.  The toys might really be for themselves but, that’s another story.  Of course, men do buy stuff for their women though that might still be for that mythical child.  So, don’t be fooled by that picture of a swing in an idyllic suburban yard.  There are no children songs on this album.  This CD is for Dad.  Happy Father’s Day!

Gas prices vs. Congress

January 17th, 2015

The fundamental difference between Democrats and Repugnicans is who is responsible for making the US economy work; the government or the Koch brothers. They say let market conditions prevail but, you can’t have a free market if you allow individuals or corporations to control it. This was painfully obvious when a part of the stimulus package was immediately absorbed by higher gas prices. This free market naivety might have been excused right after the civil war between the landed gentry of the south and the industrialized north when Rockefeller built the Standard Oil monopoly by taking over all the refineries but, after the great depression and FDR’s rebuilding of the economy there is no excuse but stupidity or greed in letting the refiners run the world. Right now gas prices are historically low. They’re closing refineries. You may say that’s what’s suppose to happen in a free market. What will happen to your lifestyle when gas prices go up? Are you going to look away when your congressman lets it happen?

Victims

January 4th, 2015

All bullies consider themselves victims. We’re all victims and consequently we’re all bullies. Whether you resent a boss who’s taking more profit from your labor than he deserves or some minority worker who’s willing to work for less than you think you deserve, you’re feeling the victim.

New Year’s Resolutions for 2015

December 31st, 2014

1. Have the Patch of Grass CD ready for release by April 1st.
2. Give up computer solitaire until CD is finished. (that should motivate me to finish it)
3. Write a blog every Sunday.
4. Play 12 major and 12 minor scales on the trumpet, alto, violin and trombone 4 days a week for 40 weeks in 2015.
5. Do 20 live performances.

Welcome Paul

September 14th, 2014

Hopefully, we’ve added a fourth member to NY Retro. Paul, came to practice last Thursday and wowed us with his harmonica, congas, guitar and singing. He sent me (Bob) an email saying when he was available for next weeks rehearsal. I forwarded it to Steve and Mike. Steve put some effort into his response. It gives you a hint of what we’re adding to our already diverse repertoire.

Hi Bob, I should be able to do either night. However my girlfriend Sloopy has been asking me to come visit her. I know I am married, but I told her I can't help falling in love with you. Sloopy lives in kansas city at 12th street and vine- a bad part of town.problem is my other girlfriend Gloria lives there also i also want to visit two of my old friend that live there Mr Louie S. Louie and a guy named Johnnie B Goode. I might take a train or plane there, but I want to make sure to take my hound dog.. I may stay for 8 days or a week, not sure. I better make sure to pack my blue suede shoes, Steve

I’m still waiting to hear from Mike.

Mike,

Monday or Wednesday?

Inside Llewyn Davis

August 30th, 2014

Like any good story the movie, Inside Llewyn Davis, is rich with sub plots. The main plot is about a guy in the winter of 1961 struggling to make it in the Greenwich folk scene. If you add 10 years to the date you could be talking about me. Of course, 10 years later it was a cliche and like the line in the movie, “Folk music; it never gets old and it never gets young,” one accepts that each generation will embrace it or, at least, be aware that it exists.

The irony of what appealed to me is the guy dealing with the suicide of his musical partner. I relate to folk as something I can do solo and not have to count on band mates. Llewyn is stuck in a nasty cycle of being pissed off at being abandoned and pissing off everyone around him and thus incurring further abandonment. He himself abandons the cat. He flirts with the idea of visiting his newly discovered 2 year old child while driving through Ohio. He winds up killing a cat driving on the road and leaving the car and the sleeping owner of the car and his side trip to find his child, to take a train back to NY.

The question I’m left with is; is Llewyn abandoned by everyone because he’s unlikable or is he unlikable because he’s pissed off about being abandoned.

http://www.insidellewyndavis.com/home

Cholesterol

August 17th, 2014

Wiki
The last time I had my cholesterol tested the nurse who was assigned to discuss my numbers failed to make a distinction between hdl and ldl. I don’t know how much input she had into the prescription I was given but, since I’ve heard that there is an important distinction between the two, I felt it was a good idea to find out what the stuff was.