Tuesday, December 07, 2010

My Holiday Playlist

At my age, Christmas is a whimsical time wherein I constantly think of my youth. I think of those 1980s Reagan Era Christmases...the best of the best. You can't associate Christmas without music. I grew up at a place called Greenhill School in Dallas, TX. On top of the lavish Holiday concerts that we had every year, we also had Holiday sing alongs led by our Headmaster, the venerable Phil Foote. He wore the wildest tartan/Go To Hell pants. I didn't understand it at the time, but I'd be lying if I told you I wasn't looking for a few pair now.

In Kindergarten, I was in 'Nutcracker' a Greenhill tradition. I was a Russian dancer, in Mrs. Gindling's class. I can still do the dance. A few years later, my little brother Jordan (www.jordancarlos.com) was one of the Wooden Soldiers. We moved on from stage productions to playing Orff instruments and later I played smooth notes in the low-brass section of the 6th grade jazz band with my shimmering trombone.

My sister went to a different school, Parish Day. Their concerts had a parochial aspect that our shows at Greenhill NEVER had, aside from the Hanukkah songs. However, theirs were absolutely beautiful, and though I usually showed up late coming from some basketball game or practice, I never missed the opportunity to see her perform.

Either way, I usually put a little Holiday playlist together, so I figured I'd share what this year's list is...

All I Want For Christmas Is You - Mariah Carey
All I Want For Christmas Is You - Olivia Olson (from Love Actually)
Auld Lang Syne - Mairi Campbell & Dave Francis (from Sex and the City)
Ave Maria - Stevie Wonder
Away In A Manger - Nat King Cole
Baby It's Cold Outside - Ray Charles and Betty Carter
Baby It's Cold Outside - James Taylor and Natalie Cole
Christmas in Hollis - RUN DMC
Christmas is All Around - Billy Mack (from Love Actually)
Christmas is Coming - Vince Guaraldi Trio
The Christmas Song - Nat King Cole
The Christmas Song - Vince Guaraldi Trio
Christmas Time Is Here - Anita Baker
Christmas Time Is Here - Vince Guaraldi Trio
Deck The Hall - Nat King Cole
Do They Know - Boyz II Men
The Dreidel Song - Sister Hazel
The First Noel - Nat King Cole
Frosty The Snowman - The Jackson 5
Fur Elise - Vince Guaraldi Trio
Give Love On Christmas Day - The Jackson 5
Go Tell It On the Mountain - The Morehouse College/Spelman College Glee Clubs
Greensleeves - Vince Guaraldi Trio
Happy Christmas (War Is Over) - John Lennon & Yoko Ono
Hark! The Herald Angels Sing - Vince Guaraldi Trio
Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas - James Taylor
Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas - Frank Sinatra
Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas - Kenny G
Home For the Holidays - Destiny's Child
I Pray On Christmas - Harry Connick, Jr.
It's The Most Wonderful Time of the Year - Andy Williams
Joy To the World - Nat King Cole
Let It Snow - Boyz II Men
Mele Kalikimaka - Bing Crosby
Merry Christmas Baby - Charles Brown
Nutcracker Suite - Tchaikovsky
O Come All Ye Faithful - Nat King Cole
Please Come Home For Christmas - Charles Brown
Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer - The Temptations
Santa Baby - Eartha Kitt
Santa Claus Is Coming To Town - The Jackson 5
Silent Night - Boyz II Men
Silent Night - Nat King Cole
Silent Night - The Temptations
Silver Bells - Bing Crosby
Skating - Vince Guaraldi Trio
Sleigh Ride - TLC
Someday At Christmas - Stevie Wonder
That Spirit of Christmas - Ray Charles
This Christmas - Donny Hathaway
This Christmas - Chris Brown
A Warm Little Home on the Hill - Stevie Wonder
What Are You Doing New Year's Eve - Harry Connick, Jr.
What Are You Doing New Year's Eve - Diana Krall
When My Heart Finds Christmas - Harry Connick, Jr.
White Christmas - Bing Crosby
White Christmas - Otis Redding
Who Would Have Thought I'd Fall In Love On Christmas Day - Boyz II Men
Winter Wonderland - Harry Connick, Jr.
Winter Wonderland - Ray Charles
Wonderful Christmastime - Paul McCartney
You're Not Alone - Boyz II Men

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Birthday Playlist

So, today is my birthday (I can see Anthony Michael Hall singing to Molly Ringwold in the garage in 'Sixteen Candles') and I figured I'd come up with a birthday playlist to celebrate my 36 years of life that I've been blessed with. These are songs that I've loved, songs that I've learned, and essentially songs that make me feel good about life and thankful for all that I've experienced and learned. Feel free to sing along...

(In no particular order)

1. I Just Called To Say 'I Love You' - Stevie Wonder
2. Snowbound - Donald Fagen
3. I Like - Guy
4. Small Town - John Cougar Mellencamp
5. She's Leaving Home - The Beatles
6. Georgetown - St. Elmo's Fire Soundtrack - David Foster
7. I Choose You - Willie Hutch
8. Castles Made of Sand - Jimi Hendrix
9. Dear Old Morehouse - J.O.B. Mosley as sung by the Morehouse College Glee Club
10. Glass of Water - Coldplay
11. Can It All Be So Simple - Wu Tang Clan
12. Let My Love Open the Door - Pete Townshend
13. God Only Knows - The Beach Boys
14. All You Need Is Love - The Beatles
15. Love Will Conquer All - Lionel Richie
16. Nick of Time - Bonnie Raitt
17. Your Smiling Face - James Taylor
18. If Not For You - Bob Dylan
19. Never Would Have Made It - Marvin Sapp
20. Let It Snow - Boyz II Men
21. Never Felt This Way - Brian McKnight
22. Love, Need You, Want You - Patti LaBelle
23. Fantasy - Earth, Wind & Fire
24. Still Water Love - The Four Tops
25. My First Song - Jay-Z
26. Mean Old Man - James Taylor
27. Y'all Scared - OutKast
28. Award Tour - A Tribe Called Quest
29. Miss You - Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes
30. This Train Don't Stop - Elton John
31. No Charge - Shirley Caesar
32. That's Life - Frank Sinatra
33. It Had To Be You - Harry Connick, Jr.
34. Dallas - Theme Song
35. My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys - Willie Nelson
36. Maybach Music III - Rick Ross

Love you.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Ultimate Playlist...5th through 8th Grade

In August of 1985, I started fifth grade at The Greenhill School in Addison, TX. I don't remember what I was wearing (and that's a shame), but I do recall the music that took me from 5th grade through 8th grade. I left Greenhill after sixth grade, and at the time, it was the only school I'd ever known. I left right before seventh grade too; the Bar Mitzvah and Bat Mitvah year. I still got invites though, but it wasn't the same.

I finished 8th grade in May of 1989 from the Lakehill Preparatory School in the liberal enclave of a neighborhood known as Lakewood in east Dallas, moments from White Rock Lake and the mansions that seem to float on the water just so.

So, the other day I was thinking about all of the great music from that period, and I figured that I should compile it in one place, and that's the beauty of an iPod. Thank you Steve Jobs.

In no particular order other than song title...

Shoutout to a young Video Hits One and a young BET.

Addicted to Love - Robert Palmer
After All - Peter Cetera & Cher
Always - Atlantic Starr
Always Remember - Andrae Crouch
Angel of Harlem - U2
Another Part of Me - Michael Jackson
Anything for You - Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine
Back to Life - Soul II Soul
Bad - Michael Jackson
Batdance - Prince
The Batman Theme - Danny Elfman
Breakout - Swing Out Sister
Bust A Move - Young MC
C'est La Vie - Robbie Nevil
Call Me Al - Paul Simon f. Ladysmith Black Mambazo
Can't Stay Away From You - Gloria Estefan
Candle in the Wind - Elton John
Casanova - Levert
Chanson Francaise - James Taylor
Cold Hearted - Paula Abdul
Come On Let's Go - Los Lobos - La Bamba Soundtrack
Crazy Love - Paul Simon f. Ladysmith Black Mambazo
Da Butt - E.U.
Dance Little Sister - Terence Trent D'Arby
Dancing on the Ceiling - Lionel Richie
Danger Zone - Kenny Loggins
Day-O - Harry Belafonte
A Day in the Life - The Beatles
Deja Vu - Dionne Warwick
Don't Be Cruel - Bobby Brown
Don't Dream It's Over - Crowded House
Don't Mean Nothing - Richard Marx
Don't Worry Be Happy - Bobby McFerrin
Earth Angel - New Edition
Endless Summer Nights - Richard Marx
Every Little Kiss - Bruce Horsnby and the Range
Every Little Step - Bobby Brown
Every Rose Has Its Thorn - Poison
Faith - George Michael
Fast Car - Tracy Chapman
Father Figure - George Michael
Fight For Your Right to Party - Beastie Boys
The Final Countdown - Europe
Forever Your Girl - Paula Abdul
Free Fallin' - Tom Petty and the Heart Breakers
Funky Cold Medina - Tone' Loc
Get Outta My Dreams - Billy Ocean
Girl You Know It's True - Milli Vanilli
Girls Ain't Nothing But Trouble - DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince
Giving You The Best That I Got - Anita Baker
Glory of Love - Peter Cetera
Going Home - Kenny G
Good Love - Anita Baker
Good Thing - Fine Young Cannibals
The Greatest Love of All - Whitney Houston
A Groovy Kind of Love - Phil Collins
A Hazy Shade of Winter - The Bangles
Head to Toe - Lisa Lisa and the Cult Jam
Heaven is a Place on Earth - Belinda Carlisle
Here I Go Again - Whitesnake
Higher Love - Steve Winwood
Hold On To The Nights - Richard Marx
How Can I Fall - Breathe
Hungry Eyes - Eric Carmen
I'm Only Human - Human League
I'm That Type of Guy - LL Cool J
I've Been In Love Before - Cutting Crew
I've Got My Mind Set On You - George Harrison
The Time of My Life - Bill Medley f. Jennifer Warnes
I Don't Want Your Love - Duran Duran
I Knew You Were Waiting for Me - Aretha Franklin and George Michael
I Miss You Like Crazy - Natalie Cole
I Need Love - LL Cool J
I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For - U2
I Think We're Alone Now - Tiffany
I Want To Dance With Somebody - Whitney Houston
I Want Your Sex - George Michael
If You Don't Know Me By Now - Simply Red
If You Let Me Stay - Terence Trent D'Arby
Iko Iko - The Dixie Cups
In Your Eyes - Peter Gabriel
Is This Love - Whitesnake
It Takes Two - Rob Base and DJ EZ Rock
Jumping Someone Else's Train - The Cure
Just Because - Anita Baker
Just Got Paid - Johnny Kemp
Just To See Her - Smokey Robinson
Killing an ... - The Cure
Kokomo - The Beach Boys
La Bamba - Los Lobos
La Isla Bonita - Madonna
The Lady In Red - Chris DeBurgh
Lean On Me - Club Nouveau
Leave Me Alone - Michael Jackson
Let's Wait Awhile - Janet Jackson
Like A Prayer - Madonna
Livin' On A Prayer - Bon Jovi
Loc'ed After Dark - Tone' Loc
Lost In Emotion - Lisa Lisa and the Cult Jam
Love Shack - The B-52's
Love Will Conquer All - Lionel Richie
Man in the Mirror - Michael Jackson
Mandolin Rain - Bruce Hornsby and The Range
Mary, Mary - Run DMC
Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard - Paul Simon
Me, Myself and I - De La Soul
Mediate - INXS
Meet Me Half Way - Kenny Loggins
Mercedes Boy - Pebbles
Moonlighting - Al Jarreau
More Than Words - Extreme
My Prerogative - Bobby Brown
Mystify - INXS
Need You Tonight - INXS
Never Gonna Give You Up - Rick Astley
Never Tear Us Apart - INXS
Next Time I Fall In Love - Peter Cetera and Amy Grant
A Nightmare on My Street - DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince
Nite and Day - Al B. Sure
No One in the World - Anita Baker
Nothing's Gonna Change My Love For You - Glenn Medeiros
Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now - Starship
Notorious - Duran Duran
On My Own - Patti LaBelle
On Our Own - Bobby Brown
One Moment in Time - Whitney Houston
One More Try - George Michael
Only In My Dreams - Debbie Gibson
Open Your Heart - Madonna
Opposites Attract - Paula Abdul
Paradise City - Guns N Roses
Parents Just Don't Understand - DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince
Partyman - Prince
Patience - Guns N Roses
Please Don't Go Girl - New Kids On The Block
The Pleasure Principle - Janet Jackson
Pour Some Sugar On Me - Def Leppard
Power of Love - Huey Lewis and the News
Push It - Salt N Pepa
Rapture - Anita Baker
Red, Red Wine - UB40
Rock Wit'cha - Bobby Brown
Run's House - Run DMC
Scandalous - Prince
Self Destruction - The Stop the Violence Movement
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise) - The Beatles
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band - The Beatles
Shattered Dreams - Johnny Hates Jazz
She's Leaving Home - The Beatles
She Drives Me Crazy - Fine Young Cannibals
Sign Your Name - Terence Trent D'Arby
Silhouette - Kenny G
Simply Irresistible - Robert Palmer
Skeletons - Stevie Wonder
Sleep Come Free Me - James Taylor
Something About You - Level 42
Songbird - Kenny G
Soul Food To Go - The Manhattan Transfer
St. Elmo's Fire (Man in Motion) - John Parr
Stand - R.E.M.
Stand By Me - Ben E. King
Straight Up - Paula Abdul
Sweet Child O' Mine - Guns N Roses
Tender Love - Force M.D.'s
There's Nothing Better Than Love - Luther Vandross and Gregory Hines
Time After Time - Cyndi Lauper
Top Gun Anthem - Harold Faltermeyer
True Colors - Cyndi Lauper
Two Hearts - Phil Collins
Up On The Roof - James Taylor
Walk This Way - Run DMC and Aerosmith
Wanted Dead or Alive - Bon Jovi
The Way You Make Me Feel - Michael Jackson
What I Am - Edie Brickell
What You Need - INXS
When I'm Sixty Four - The Beatles
When It's Love - Van Halen
When The Going Gets Tough - Billy Ocean
When We Was Fab - George Harrison
Where Do Broken Hearts Go - Whitney Houston
Where The Streets Have No Name - U2
Who's Lovin' You - Terence Trent D'Arby
Who's That Girl - Madonna
Wild Thing - Sam Kinison
Wild Thing - Tone' Loc
Wild Wild West - The Escape Club
Wind Beneath My Wings - Bette Midler
Wishing Well - Terence Trent D'Arby
With A Little Help From My Friends - The Beatles
You Give Love A Bad Name - Bon Jovi
You Got It All - The Jets
You Will Know - Stevie Wonder

My August 1985 until August 1989 respectively.

I'm Joe, and that's how I see it.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Two Songs For Today

These Are Days
10,000 Maniacs
Our Time In Eden

Something Good This Way Comes
Jakob Dylan
Seeing Things

I'm Joe and that's how I see it.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Charles Cathen Sabathia...What Happened to the Black Baseball Player

I'm going for the Yankees. Write it down, take a picture, remember it. I don't care what you think of me for saying it, and meaning it.

I was born in 1974, and the first World Series I remember watching with my Dad was the 1978 one wherein the Yankees won. I don't remember much other than Billy Martin, the pinstripes, learning the difference between home and away jerseys and Reggie Jackson. #44 was the only Black player I'd ever seen. I think at the time, I hadn't been to a baseball game, and more importantly, in Dallas at the time, as it is today, football was king. But the Yankees had this elegant, confident, well-spoken man in Reggie Jackson, and he was their biggest star.

The little bits of his small afro would jut out from under his cap just so to the left and right, and he wore shades at night under the lights. He was all-world in my book. I loved #44 because he looked like my Dad and because Dad loved #44 too.

As I grew older, baseball was something that I played with my brother and my cousins. But, we weren't really serious about it. We had a plastic bat and ball combo that couldn't really break windows, and that was the extent of our baseball. My cousin Reggie was an excellent ballplayer, and later my cousin Driscoll played too, but it seemed that other sports held our attention longer, namely football and basketball or even tennis and golf.

But, growing up in Dallas, the hometown team, the Texas Rangers, were abysmal. They were absolutely horrible, and the only thing that made them bearable was the addition of Nolan Ryan at pitcher. I don't remember the Rangers having any Black ballplayers. And the few that I thought were Black were actual Latino players like Ruben Sierra (whom I met at Fogo de Choa on my 28th birthday...big thrill).

I had to look elsewhere to find Black ballplayers that I liked like Ozzie Smith in St. Louis, or Andre Dawson of the Cubs or Dave Winfield of the Yankees/A's and even Tony Gwynn in San Diego. Even still, none of these guys were pitchers until Glenn 'Oil Can' Boyd and Dwight 'Doc' Gooden of the Red Sox and Mets respectively.

And in the 1986 World Series, they met. But to be honest, I haven't seen it since. Of course, Game 6 was the game that defined the series and baseball at that point. But where, oh where are the Black ballplayers?

Can you name any? Seriously? Sure there was Cecil Fielder in Detroit, Mo Vaughn in Boston, and McLemore in Texas, and we've had scores of Black managers like Cito Gaston, Hal McRae and Frank Robinson, but not until the mid to late 90s did we see a mild swelling of the numbers.

Back then, there was a steady stream; Barry Bonds in Pittsburgh and later San Francisco, Tony Gwynn out in San Diego and Ken Griffey, Sr. and then his son Ken Griffey, Jr. in Seattle and then out of nowhere there was Derek Jeter in New York, wearing a single number no less, 2. Jeter was dependable, quiet, a strong leader and a hard worker, and bi-racial, but still at the same time unabashedly and proudly Black. And at one time, Griffey was baseball's biggest star until the 1994 strike, and the homerun chase of 1998.

I guess the real context to my question about where the Black players are is so profound because of the fact that simply integrating the league was so difficult when Jackie Robinson did it in 1947. His presence, his fortitude and his strength and integrity were so strong that today, every single team in Major League Baseball has retired his number. Do you understand what that means? This man, and his actions were so great that no one, anywhere in the history of the game can ever wear his number. That's serious. And that's because there is no other like him.

But part of me thinks that when Jackie's number was retired, there was a quiet deal made wherein no other Black players would succeed in numbers. That was the reason that when the Phillies won last year, it was so thrilling to see that they did so off of the bats of Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins, two of the more prominent and visible players on the team. It gives one hope.

But then, I never understood why there was so much fuss over C.C. Sabathia. I assumed with his name that he too was a Latino player. Not until two weeks ago when my friend Antoy told me otherwise was I shocked to find out that C.C., named Charles Cathen Sabathia, is an African American player from Valejo, CA. The highest paid pitcher in Major League Baseball is Black. He plays on the most visible team in the world, the New York Yankees. He plays with the sport's ultimate sportsman and leader in Derek Jeter who is also Black, and he is 27 outs away from his first world championship win tonight. And to top all of that off, C.C. has been outspoken over the fact that Major League Baseball, for all its greatnesses has done little to nothing to promote the values and positive qualities of playing baseball in the inner-cities of America. He has been very critical of Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig to be more proactive in this area, and not been a silent athlete like so many others.

How fitting that the first team I cheered for at my father's knee, the Yankees, would have the Reggie Jackson of today in Derek Jeter and would have the most feared pitcher in the game, C.C. Sabathia on the same team? Sure, I'm sure there is no social agenda here, the Yankees want to win, but I'm sure, tonight when the Yankees win and bring the 40th world championship back to New York City and wrestle it away from Philadelphia, that somewhere those nameless, countless others; Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson, Don Newcombe, Donn Clendenon, Willie Mays, Roy Campanella, Jackie Robinson, Hank Aaron, Bob Gibson, Vida Blue and countless others are smiling, smiling, smiling.

But where are the Black ballplayers? Is it because to excel in baseball one now goes to camps to learn to hit, field, pitch and throw? And those same camps aren't as accessible in inner-city communities as in suburban ones? Is it because while the baseball diamonds are still in the parks, rarely if ever are they used outside of recreational play? Is it because it's an expensive sport? What are the reasons? It makes no sense that America's past time, which arguably has had some of its greatest contributors to come from the African American community, is hard pressed to produce more talented players today. Is this more indicative of the educational systems or is this simply a case of, who cares? And no, believe me when I say that baseball is not the panacea to what ails the African American community, but there are countless opportunities available to those who are skilled in this area, and yet we let opportunity after opportunity pass us by year by year in this regard.

Sure there are bigger issues, bigger problems, but it's a curious notion that a thing that was fought so hard and desperately for is now not even an issue. Have we come to that point? Is a little bit enough? If that's how you feel, fine. But to think for a moment that involvement in an organized and positive activity like baseball doesn't have a lasting positive effect on a young person is ludicrous. Baseball may not be able to cure all of the ills of our society, but it definitely can't hurt it, nor can it's lessons of teamwork, sacrifice, leadership and accountability. Think about it.

I'm Joe and that's how I see it.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Paul Gauguin

I've come to appreciate the sensibility, beauty, simplicity and the silent commentary in Gauguin's work in his later years. Of the Tahitian series, these are some of my favorite.

I'm Joe, and that's how I see it.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Cowboy Blues

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message "Our season is Dead."
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

They were my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love this season would last forever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now; put out every one,
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun,
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the woods;
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

- W.H. Auden & J.S. Carlos