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And so many ways to say it.

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(*The three pictures that look alike in this post were taken in Japan and include my daughter who lives there.)

Thing is, we have millions of quotes from history that hit their intended mark.  Shakespeare’s works contain a lifetime of reading filled with spot on observations when it comes to Man’s nature. All of that is good; our history of triumphs filled with magnificent people like those buried at Notre Dame creates a wonderful spring-board for us to better understand the present. Still, I’d like to go back, just a bit, though it might land in a time when many of you weren’t yet born…

(About 1963…)

I started singing on stage during school productions when I was about 12, if that’s about sixth grade. My first big ,’hit,’ was the singing of, Sixteen Tons…and what do you get,….How hot those stage lights were.

Before I knew it, I was wearing turtle necks and black felt boots thinking I’d become Beatle-like. My friend, Pete Einhorn, and I sang in to microphones at home made of pull down TV room ceiling lamps. Later on, we’d stand in fields of flowers, sit on railroad tracks and perform in friend’s up stair bedrooms.

guitar players of the corn

We made tracks to Goshen, NY.

We wrote plenty of songs to sing, but none of them made it big.

No, maybe our biggest moments came when performing for producers in New York city’s 666 building or out on Long island in producer’s homes. They about all said the same thing after listening to our music… “You (me) can really sing, kid! And you (Pete) can really play well.” Unfortunately, I think that also meant that I couldn’t play well and Pete couldn’t sing much”-not back then. Ha! Once, a gal picked Pete and me up at a park as we sat around stone out of our gourds and singing our hearts out.  She took us to her home and had us play there…. in walks her dad, Perry Como, who said about the same words to us as had most producers, then he walked out.

Me, around 1970… still rockin’ and singing.

Why did I sing, play and write songs? Really not so much for any money, but for an inner sense that I wanted to help people with the ideas our music expressed. Make it,’ Big?’ No, but we were lucky to be a part of a huge movement soon to come.

This was the start of a movement in time much bigger than any success Pete or I hoped to have. People started flashing the Peace sign where ever they went, like they still do in Japan when pictures are being taken.

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Reefer and acid started flowing around like wind-blown thistles.  There was talk of ending not just the Nam War but all war. Free love was, and any bad outcome from that could be solved with a doctor visit. No worries…we just kept on,’Trucking’

It can sometimes take years to understand the value of any Generation. Has enough time past to allow for a fair assessment of the Baby Boomers? Free Love? Equal Rights? The End of War? Freedom to be yourself and look how you like? A pot—head in every home? Legalized Pot? Throw the bras out? Grow your hair long? Impeach Nixon?  Food for Peace? These were some of the slogans carried by many of the Baby Boomers. So, how have we done as a generation that called for so much societal change?

Some things may never change or haven’t.

You have to admit, after 50 years the Pot laws are starting to turn around! Nixon is long gone while wars go on and on.  The Food for Peace program, an idea that seemed a no Brianer, actually bankrupt farmers in South America and turned them to growing pot for money which subsequently lead to their fields and lives being sprayed with Paraquat. Bra’s now-a-days come off and go on as styles change. Unfortunately, many of us who once marched for Peace and sang at Woodstock have become representatives and leaders , CEO’s and whatnot who are much like the same old sexist, short-sighted individuals we have had in the past doing those same jobs.

But, there IS one thing my generation gave to the next and hopefully to all that follow: the right to look like you want to look. After being spit upon by laughing adults back in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s for my long hair, it gives me great joy to see the various ways people choose to look, and without scorn from most of our society. This is the one thing our generation accomplished for certain. Go ahead, dye your hair five different colors; tattoo your body from head to toe; dig those body piercings; flashy clothes, large or small glasses; ties or not; shorts, skirts, pants—just do it. No worries.

Peace on how you look. And, whether we achieved it or not,  much of our Generation’s message was filled with the notion of Peace.

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From our Generation to yours, you’re welcome. I’m hoping following Generations can get that notion of World- Peace we longed for down pat.

“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages.” Shakespeare.

So hit the stage and sing it out and look the part! Good luck.

Fanque23; still truckin’ after all these years.

A family line-up last year:

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They next few minutes will amaze your mind.

The next few minutes will make you question your hearing.

The next few minutes will warm your heart.

How’s this for starting off the season right?

Just listen….

Thanks to Barbara for sharing this with me…

Season’s Greetings

Franque23 oh wait….now I see they have another and several more…this one’s neat

 

 

 


Frank sings the blues

Frank sings the blues

Death never leaks its plans to the press, but it always leaves a calling card. It’s completely unwanted, but people flirt with it all the time.

“Hello, Gerald.” Frank had the friendliest way of saying hello, and he did it all by voice inflection.

“Everything okay?” Of course, I knew it was. I called Frank at least once a month since he rented one of our places, but over the nine years I’d known him we’d both come to know we were friends. He’d played at my house for two parties, and we’d jammed at his place and mine. No one had a stronger blues voice than Frank*.

*http://blueslightning.com/

“Sure. I’m playing this weekend. We’re a lead off band on a big concert and the chickens are layin'”.

Frank loved those chickens-he had about twenty-five and had named them all. Pets and eggs; it’s all good. I can’t help but cheer-up when thinking about his Colonel Sander’s look, his beard and smile.

the man's eyes twinkles and his soul glowed.

The man’s eyes twinkled and his soul glowed.

Some say they’d like to die in their sleep while all too many times I’ve heard people say that at least a terminal diagnosis gives people a chance to say goodbye. Either way, death is never good company-it’s most like a monkey on the back of the living no matter how distracted we keep ourselves as we go about our business.

Fallen soldiers, friends, family, random shootings in schools, movie theaters and malls, all serve as constant reminders that death doesn’t block the sun or cast a shadow. It just comes to all of us in good time, and at the worst of times.

Frank  Whitenack was a friend of mine**-a good man who died too soon like so many. I’d met him nine years ago after he’d gone through a recent divorce. His two children, a son and daughter, were so young then, maybe three and six. Then, as now, I’m so thankful we could help this man.

Thing is, Frank had his ups and downs, but he never let that affect how he treated others, or fathered his children. His cell phone always answered, “Hello, this is Frank Whitenack of Blues lightning. Please leave a message, and if this is Jonathan or Andrea, your daddy loves you.”

Frank rolled the blues out on the porch of the house I'd raised my family in, and I know those ol' house timbers loved the tunes.

This picture is taken in front of the house where Dale and I raised our family. Frank loved that house as we had. He rolled the blues most Sundays out on the porch of the house -practice time- and I know those ol’ house timbers loved the vibes.

“I don’t care if I have to play for free-I’m gonna play my music.” He made this promise to me eight years ago, and kept it. One thing I loved about this man is how he self-actualized his dreams. He stayed focused, and worked to make them come true.

No one worked harder at getting out there or being seen and heard than Frank. He’d play during a blue moon to mice on mars if he could book the date, and all for the money his hat might collect. His voice  was always on target from the get-go, and slowly, over the years, he emerged as a classic blues guitarist. The money started to come in; his first and only album was just the start. A serve case of hydro eczema on my finger tips eventually kept me from making music with him but we’d agreed on a course: I’d write books; he’d make albums. It was fun sharing our progress with one another. And, as bad as being robbed of my finger-tips is after playing guitar for forty years, losing Frank is as painful today. I just have to deal.

Frank never smoked; he didn’t drink. He had diabetes he managed well, but sometime four days ago things got complicated and after his short hospital stay, I got the news. Isn’t it odd how so much is going on all the time in our world with work, family, fun, or not, bills and appointments, but still this all can turn empty in an instant? Hollow time. Heavy air. Done and past. Over.

We’d made plans. Oh yeah, we were gonna lay down a few originals soon-no later than by the first of the year-that was our promise to each other.  Death has slapped us in the face with an abrupt end to a friendship that neither of us saw coming. It’s tough, this thing called life. You know, flat out Frank was a diamond of a man, and never in the rough, but always well polished.

Missing, hurting, plans turned sour, I hope Franks’ passing is worse for us than it is for him. I like to think there’s a peace to be found in death for those who pass, that there’s a light to follow when it happens to us, and that Heaven is now enjoying the best blues it’s ever heard. If that can be true, Frank will find a way to make it so.

Peace my Friend-I’m thinking an A chord works best, here. It’s the key  the universe makes as it hums along, and you fit in so well…Me? Rust is what I feel. Just when the world needs a tune-up, you leave us. Dang it, and worse.

Death, you have a crappy calling card.

Gerald-franque23.

** Dave Van Ronk, a classic Blues singer, recorded, He was a friend of Mine, around 1964. Frank’s voice had the same perfect blues quality-he would’ve killed killed this cover, hands down…https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=754sRFIHIrA

links for both of my books in the Avatar Magic Series:
Book one, Avatar Magic and book two, The Code of Avatar Magic are on kindle now.

It might seem we were in the nose bleed seats-but it never felt that way in the sold out venue.

It might seem we were in the nose bleed seats-but it never felt that way in the sold out venue.

(note-today, Nov. 5th, is the last day both of my books can be downloaded for free on Kindle-links below.)

Smashing, second-splitting, rocking, socking, thoroughly engrossing music-Paul knocked out three hours of terrific tunes. He nailed old songs like, I Want to Hold Your Hand, on up to, Valentine, a release from the 2012, album, Kisses on the Bottom.  He interacted with the audience between almost every song, and I never once saw him take a break-though he may have sipped water once or twice.(His band members took two short breaks while Paul sang alone.)

McCartney's presence made the room feel small.

McCartney’s presence made the room feel small.

This  seventy-two year old man is a freak, period. How in the hell the guy can yell out Helter-Skelter, as a madman might, and then sing, Yesterday, as an angel would, is all way beyond me! And this singer’s been rocking for more than fifty -five years! NO way vocal chords are meant to do this. Plus, how many hits has this man written?!?!?! Sir Paul played three hours of straight hits, and Dale and I realized as we drove home that he could have played for another three straight hours-all hits he hadn’t preformed that night.

Dale and I both agree the concert was everything we  hoped it would be...

Dale and I both agree the concert was everything we hoped it would be…

Sir Paul remained a soft-spoken, humorous, gentleman throughout the night.  He said the signs people were holding up in the audience caused his mind to repeat, “Don’t read the signs; don’t read the signs,” lest he forget the words to his songs! One sign asked if Paul would, “Sign my Back.”  He brought the young girl up on stage to do just that, but first he asked her mother who was in the audience if it was alright. Can’t you just see KISS doing that-not!

McCartney’s message has always been one of Love, a call for World peace, and an expression that we are more alike than we are different from one another. Those same themes ran through all the music Paul performed during this recent concert. But on another note, and of special interest to me, Paul brought out  a different guitar before many of his songs and announced that this guitar was the one he wrote the next song on.

Paul mentioned that the Beatles were the first rock band to perform in Russia’s Red Square-

Paul rocking in Red Square.....

Paul rocking in Red Square…..

-and that on that occasion the Russian Minister of Defense had slipped back stage to tell Paul that he’d learned English while listening to the Beatles and that the Beatles song,  “Love Me Do” , was the first record he’d ever bought.

Light shows galore, three-D over head effects, and a blazing PyroTech show that accompanied the tune, Live and Let Die, blazed my eyes throughout the night. I wish you’d all been there, rocking along with us and the rest of  the crowd. Most amazingly, even thirteen year-olds in the audience rocked right along with us older folks, knowing the words to most songs as well as we did.

Live and Let Die featured 3-D over head, lights and fire.......Boom!

Live and Let Die featured 3-D over head, lights and fire…….Boom!

McCartney’s music spans decades, and reaches several generations-what a wonder.

The smoke started to clear-and the Band Rocked on-

The smoke started to clear-and the Band Rocked on-

After playing six songs over two encores that followed the three-hour concert, Paul said he had to go home: it was late; he was tired. We all shouted-NO!!!!! The concert still lived in my mind as we drove home that night. I’ll never forget these wonderful moments spent with Sir Paul, and his music has touched my heart forever.

Wow, what a wheel in Time seeing Paul McCartney this past week was for me. I first saw him live back in 1965 in Shea Stadium. Then, I was sixteen, and with my very first true love! Now, 49 years later, I got to see McCartney again with the love of my life, my  companion for the past 42 years and my wife for the last thirty-two years….And I Love Her.

Franque23(special note; my two books on kindle, linked below, are free to download tomorrow, Wednesday, Nov. 5th.)… I’ve two books out on Kindle. Please spread the word and share the links!

links for both books in the Avatar Magic Series:
Book one, Avatar Magic and book two, The Code of Avatar Magic are both on kindle now.

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