Saturday Sayings: Respect

Respect

In many ways, this saying (or, to be more accurate, song lyric) was the inspiration for my Saturday Sayings feature. For years, I have loved The Staples Singers’ song “Respect Yourself”. It has a R&B / Memphis soul sound that makes you have to get up and dance when you hear it.

A few years ago, I actually took the time to listen to the lyrics:

If you disrespect anybody that you run in to
How in the world do you think anybody’s s’posed to respect you
If you don’t give a heck ’bout the man with the Bible in his hand, y’all
Just get out the way, and let the gentleman do his thing
You the kind of gentleman that want everything your way, yeah
Take the sheet off your face, boy, it’s a brand new day

Respect yourself, respect yourself, respect yourself, respect yourself
If you don’t respect yourself
Ain’t nobody gonna give a good cahoot, na na na na
Respect yourself, respect yourself, respect yourself, respect yourself

If you’re walking ’round think’n that the world owes you something ’cause you’re here
You goin’ out the world backwards like you did when you first come here yeah
Keep talkin’ bout the president, won’t stop air pollution
Put your hand on your mouth when you cough, that’ll help the solution
Oh, you cuss around women and you don’t even know their names, no
Then you’re dumb enough to think that’ll make you a big ol’ man

Respect yourself, respect yourself, respect yourself, respect yourself
If you don’t respect yourself
Ain’t nobody gonna give a good cahoot, na na na na
Respect yourself, respect yourself, respect yourself, respect yourself

Respect yourself, respect yourself, respect yourself, respect yourself
Respect yourself, yeah yeah respect yourself, respect yourself

yeah, respect yourself
You oughta you oughta respect yourself yeah, respect yourself

According to Wikipedia, “The song was written by Stax Records singer Luther Ingram and Stax house songwriter Mack Rice. Ingram, who was frustrated with the state of the world at the time, told Rice “black folk need to learn to respect themselves.” Rice liked the comment so much that he built a funk groove around it, then gave the song to the Staples”.

The entry goes on to say that the “confrontational song had resonance for a burgeoning self-empowerment movement for African-Americans during the post-civil-rights-movement 1970s, as well as women demanding more respect during those same years.”

The song “Respect Yourself” is probably one of the best examples of what Rolling Stone calls “the Staples’ commitment to making secular music with a message“. For me, I have even more respect for the group knowing that they always remembered where they came from (gospel music).

— Carla

A Culture of Snobbery: Music and Beer

I’m not the first person to point out how polarized we’ve become in the United States. It’s like no one is even allowed to be a moderate any more. And with that comes the rise of the snob culture. If I don’t personally like something, it must be crap and no one else is allowed to like it or they’re crap too. While we see it played out most vehemently in politics, two areas where I’m seeing it become increasingly more prominent are music and beer.

I worked in commercial and non-commercial radio from 1988 through 1998. That doesn’t include my years working on my undergrad college radio station and interning at two stations from 1982-1984. I worked at many different formats: Top 40, MOR (Middle of the road or nostalgia), Hard Rock, Classic Rock, Full Service Talk, Oldies, Country, Hot Country, Smooth Jazz, Modern Rock and even Hip Hop. I was on-air talent, continuity (scheduling commercials), production manager, morning show side kick, news reader, sports caster and general manager / advisor of a college station.

During those years, I played a lot of different music. Some of the songs I fell in love with and some songs I continue to love. Some of it made me want to poke my eyes out. But, all the while, listeners would call and say how much they loved the songs I didn’t like. Yes, even this one. Their taste was not mine and it wasn’t my job to tell the little old lady on the phone that her tastes were wrong.

There are almost as many types of beer as there are genres of music. There is literally something for everyone. It’s a wide spectrum of color and taste. If you don’t like the bitterness of hoppy beers, try something less hoppy like a wheat or a brown ale or a fruit beer. And your beer preferences can change, just like your music taste. Beers I used to not care for (like stouts – I once said Guinness tasted like pond scum), I now crave (nothing like a really good coffee stout). Richard Dube at the Moerlein Lager House likes to say that if you don’t like blueberries, you don’t say that you don’t like fruit. The same is true for beer.

But, lately, we can’t freely admit our tastes without being told we’re idiots for liking some band or beer. Just last night on Twitter, I watched as someone talked about loving Bon Jovi and then be taken to task for that preference. Often, we can’t say we like something that isn’t hip or trendy unless we couch it in being our guilty pleasure.

Instead of telling someone that their music or beer tastes are crap, why not suggest some other music or beer that they may also like. For example, if a friend like Darius Rucker’s cover of “Wagon Wheel“, maybe suggest that they check out the Old Crow Medicine Show version or go really old school and check out the Bob Dylan boot leg version when it was called “Rock Me, Mamma”. Or maybe suggest that they check out some of the music over at WNKU.

For a beer example, maybe your friend loves Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy. You can suggest they might like to check out Stiegl Grapefruit Radler or Unibroue Ephemere Apple. Maybe order one yourself and let them try it. If they refuse to even try something new, then that’s their loss.

And that gets to my final point. Why does someone else’s taste in anything matter to you? Why yell and scream and holler because someone doesn’t like the same things you do? Does it accomplish anything other than making both parties mad? Snobs, lighten up and let people like what they want to like. At the end of the day, there’s plenty of good music and beer to go ahead. We don’t need a culture of snobbery.

— Carla

Beer - A Culture Of Snobbery

Top 15 Christmas Songs

I tried to rank these and just couldn’t, so here are my Top Fifteen Christmas Songs in no particular order.

  • “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” – Band Aid
  • “Little Drummer Boy” – Bing Crosby and David Bowie
  • “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” – Bare Naked Ladies and Sarah McLachlan
  • “Feliz Navidad” – Jose Feliciano
  • “8 Polish Foods of Christmas” – Veggie Tales
  • “Christmas Canon” – Trans-Siberian Orchestra
  • “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” – Rockapella
  • “The 12 Gifts of Christmas” – Allen Sherman
  • “Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home)” – Darlene Love
  • “So This is Christmas” – John Lennon
  • “Christmas in Killarney” – The Irish Rovers
  • “I Believe in Father Christmas” – Greg Lake
  • “The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire” – Nat King Cole
  • “White Christmas” – Bing Crosby (“Holiday Inn” version please)
  • “When the River Meets the Sea” – John Denver and the Muppets

Merry Christmas everyone!

–Carla

RadioCarla’s Top Ten Christmas Albums

As someone who actually got paid to “spin the hits” at one point in my life, I spent WAY too much time tweaking my playlists on iTunes. I was polishing up my holiday music one today and noticed how many songs were from the same few albums. So, without further ado, here are my Top Ten Christmas Albums. Before Christmas, I’ll be posting my Top Ten Christmas Songs (though it may have to be Top Twenty or divided into two lists or something like that).

10. Cool Yule by Bette Midler (2006)
The newest one in the bunch is just packed full of Bette fun. I dare you to listen to her version of “Mele Kalikimaka” without smiling!

9. Handel’s Messiah: A Soulful Celebration by Dianne Reeves, Patti Austin, Stevie Wonder, Take 6, Tevin Campbell, Al Jarreau and more (1992)
One of the things I miss about managing a college radio station is the music that my students would share with me, music that I would otherwise miss. I had sung Handel’s Messiah in high school and college, but this contemporary reworking of the classic by Quincy Jones just knocked my socks off. Unlike the other albums on this list, this is listened to from beginning to end in one sitting to appreciate the full experience.

8. Rocky Mountain Christmas by John Denver (1975)
I always believe that parents affect their children’s musical tastes (one way or another). I thank my parents for nuturing my love of Broadway cast albums and, in particular, I thank my mother for playing this album almost non-stop from 1975 on. The album was the first time I ever heard “Coventry Carol” and it will always be my favorite version.

7. Holiday Inn Original Soundtrack by Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire (1942)
Okay, gather ’round young ‘uns… back when I was in high school (the late 1970s), we didn’t have DVD players or VCRs and even the channels we had on cable would be consider less than basic today. Every Christmas, one of the local television stations showed either the Alastair Sim version of A Christmas Carol or Holiday Inn at 10:30 pm. And I love them both to this day. The soundtrack is not easy to find now (most likely due to the inclusion of the song “Abraham”), but it is well worth the hunt.

6. A Very Special Christmas by the Pointer Sisters, Eurythmics, Whitney Houston, Bruce Springsteen, the Pretenders, John Mellencamp, Sting, Run D.M.C., U2, Madonna, Bob Seger, Bryan Adams, Bon Jovi, Alison Moyet and Stevie Nicks (1987)
I have a unique connection with this one. In fall of 1987, John (don’t call me Cougar) Mellencamp rehearsed his “Lonesome Jubilee” tour in Terre Haute, Indiana. I was hired as a production assistant for the week and, when the tour came to Indianapolis in December of that year, they asked me to work again because I “had a brain” and wasn’t “a groupie”. When I wasn’t answering phones, I got to see John tape the video for “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus”. Lots and lots of fun!

5. Christmas by Rockapella (2000)
You may remember the old kid’s show (based on the computer game) Where In The World is Carmen Sandiego?. And if you do, you may also remember the acappella singing group Rockapella that was on the show. Their first Christmas album is a delight full with their takes on classics and some new music too. Their second Christmas album Comfort and Joy (2002) is also quite good, but their ultra deep bass Barry Carl had left by then so it doesn’t seems as much like them.

4. Christmas Favorites by Nat King Cole (1992)
Of course, these songs are much older than 1992, but that’s when this particular collection was released. And what a joy that it was! Like most folks, I originally bought it for “The Christmas Song” but have come to love Cole’s versions of the more traditional Christmas carols just as much.

3. A Christmas Together by John Denver and the Muppets (1979)
Here’s another album that has songs that make you laugh and songs that touch your heart. This soundtrack from a television special that has never been on video or DVD is all time favorite of many people I know. I had it originally on vinyl and got my CD version about ten years ago. Songs from John Denver’s “Rocky Mountain Christmas” and the Muppets’ Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas are revisited here.

2. Boogie Woogie Christmas by the Brian Setzer Orchestra (2002)
Having a party? This has to be one of the albums you play. What Brian Setzer does with these Christmas songs is just incredible. You’ll be going back and listening to this one over and over. The big band version of “The Nutcracker Suite” is probably my favorite. Well, my favorite this week at least!

1. A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector by Darlene Love, the Ronettes, Bob B. Soxx and the Blue Jeans, the Crystals and the Ronettes (1963)
I remember when I got my first vinyl copy of this album. I was working at WBOW/WZZQ in Terre Haute and we were getting ready for the two weeks before Christmas when WBOW played Christmas music 24 hours a day. The program director decided that Phil Spector didn’t fit with the Ray Coniff Singers and so on that they usually played so I got the album. Darlene Love’s “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” is a classic and has been remade many, many times (including U2’s version on “A Very Special Christmas”). Apparently, I’m not alone in thinking this is the best Christmas album. According to Wikipedia, “Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys, well-known as a fan of both the Ronettes and Spector, has cited this album as his favorite Christmas album of all time.”

Hope you enjoyed the list and…
HAPPY HOLIDAYS EVERYONE !!!

–Carla

Deja vu all over again

Live Earth

So it’s 07/07/07 and, besides churches being booked up with brides wanting their grooms to have an easy wedding date to remember, it’s time for Live Earth: A Concert for a Climate in Crisis. As their web site states, “Live Earth is a 24-hour, 7-continent concert series taking place on 7/7/07 that will bring together more than 100 music artists and 2 billion people to trigger a global movement to solve the climate crisis.”

But having already experienced Live Aid and The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert for AIDS Awareness, you begin to wonder what exactly these live events accomplish any more. “Let’s have a worldwide concert to help stop global warming by using thousands of lights, cameras, instruments that suck electricity!” I mean it’s a fun way to spend to a lazy Saturday, but I wonder if it all makes a difference. I sincerely hope it does and I believe global warming is a reality that everyone needs to acknowledge, but… We all know wearing a seatbelt can save your life and you should never, ever drink and drive, but that doesn’t seem to stop some people who should know better. Much like the war in Iraq, until global warming begins to personally impact individuals, it’s much too easy to forget after today.

RC