Saturday, May 23, 2015

Vero Beach to Viera Florida and Memorial Day Music

Vintage Florida Postcard
(Flickr user Florida Memory/Flickr Commons)
On Memorial Day weekend in the United States, and it only seems appropriate that since  this road trip based blog we spend a day just driving. For much of America, that is what Memorial Day Weekend is all about-hitting the road and driving to somewhere.

Accident statistics are aways published after a holiday weekend reporting on fatal highway collisions. It is a tragedy. Please road trippers, be careful on the highways. Luckily, by taking a road trip with Old Highway Notes you can avoid some of the risks of the road. So let's hit it...



Leaving Vero Beach and the McKee Jungle Gardens, our drive North on Interstate 95 continues as we return to the highway leaving Vero Beach. The scenery turns a bit wild through the windshield as the Interstate slices through the St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park. Eager to make tracks we drive past this beautiful natural area rather than stopping to enjoy the scenery.

Thanks to the courtesy of CrossCountryRoads.com we have dash cams of the drive as the interstate makes its way through the park.





As we exit the State Park Interstate 95 moves into a more urban environment, as we enter the city of Palm Bay, Florida.

Palm Bay Exit, I-95 Northbound
(Flickr user formulanone/CC)
Palm Bay, Florida is the largest city in Brevard County, Florida. It has a strong tech presence and and a mixed age population with lots of golfing and typical Florida Coastal life. Honestly it looks like a fairly pleasant suburban type of community. I could not find much at all in the way of interesting stories or places to visit here however.

I found a tour of haunted places, and there were also a site here and here that had nothing nice to say about the city. I can see no reason to to keep driving North on our imaginary journey, In the spirit of fairness, I will let Brevard County make their pitch about Palm Bay.



It is not the questionable online reviews of Palm Bay that keeps us moving. We are nearing the end of today's drive. Our destination is Space Coast Stadium in the development of Viera in northern Melbourne, Florida. The city borders Palm Bay to the North, so we are almost there.

Downtown Melbourne, Florida Panorama
Downtown Melbourne, Florida
(Flickr user ajmexico/CC)


A look into Melbourne reveals it to be a historic destination among the sport fishing and boating crowd and a well known stop on Florida Coastal tourist trail. Here are some images of the city from the days before the interstate pushed through and changed everything.

Marina Vintage Posctcard Melbourne Florida
(Flickr user Boston Public Library/CC)

Melbourne Hotel  Vintage Posctcard Melbourne Florida
(Flickr user Boston Public Library/CC)
Downtown Vintage Posctcard Melbourne Florida
(Flickr user Boston Public Library/CC)
Fishing Vintage Posctcard Melbourne Florida
(Flickr user Boston Public Library/CC)
Sunset Vintage Posctcard Melbourne Florida
(Flickr user Boston Public Library/CC)
We end the days travel as we reach Viera, Florida and arrive at Space Coast Stadium. Its time to get out and stretch our legs, our trip is done for the day. In our next post we'll visit the stadium as we continue our series on Spring Training Ballparks on Florida.



Playlist Additions
Amazon Store

Driving is popular activity for Americans celebrating a three day weekend. This particular three day weekend though, should also include a dose of solemnity. Memorial Day exists to honor American fighting men and women who have died in military service.

It is my passionate wish that every person serving in the military can be relieved of duty because humanity has evolved to make their job's obsolete. Until that day comes though, I thank them for their service and bow my head to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice to protect their families and communities,

We begin with set of songs from each of the America's military actions. This set is dedicated to those who have given their all, in the hopes that somehow man can find a way to evolve past the need for men and women to give so much.

Military Conflicts in U.S. History
  • American Revolution (1775–1783)
  • War of 1812 (1812–1815)
  • Mexican War (1846–1848)
  • Civil War (1861–1865)
  • Indian Wars (colonial era to 1890)
  • Spanish American War (1898)
  • World War I (1914–1918)
  • World War II (1939–1945)
  • Korean War (1950–1953)
  • Bay of Pigs (1961)
  • Vietnam War (1961–1973)
  • Dominican Republic (1965)
  • Lebanon (1982–1984)
  • Grenada (1983)
  • Panama (1989)
  • Gulf War (1991)
  • Somalia (1993)
  • Bosnia (1994–1995)
  • Kosovo (1999)
  • Global War on Terror (2001– )
  • Afghanistan (2001–2014)
  • Iraq War (2003–2010)
  • War Against the Islamic State (ISIS) (2014—)

Source: Military Conflicts in U.S. History 

Perhaps the most well known song of the Revolutionary War would Yankee Doodle. However, I chose another well known song of the era that seems to fit in more with the theme of sacrifice that is Memorial Day. From the Edgar Meyer, Yo-Yo Ma & Mark O' Conner album Heartland, we have James Taylor with a heartfelt rendition of Johnny's Gone Off To A Soldier.

The War of 1812 gave us The Star Spangled Banner which is the best choice for this list. Although the Battle Of New Orleans by Johnny Horton was strongly considered.

15 Star-Star Spangled Banner
The Original Star Spangled Banner
(Wikipedia)

It surprised me just a bit to find a song of the Mexican War in my collection, but I did find one.Surprisingly, it is by and Irish group, The Chieftains. They give us March To Battle (Across The Rio Grande).

The Civil War gave us the Battle Hymn of the Republic. Maybe I should have used that song, but instead I indulged my more peaceful side by choosing the touching story of Two Little Boys performed Old and In the Grey, a recent incarnation of famous 70's hippy bluegrass band Old and In The Way.

Bob Marley gave us our next song. It is perhaps the most well known song about the Indian Wars, Buffalo Soldier.

John Philip Sousa was known as the March king for the many well known marches he composed around the turn of the twentieth century, the same era as the Spanish American War. I am sure you will all recognize Stars And Stripes Forever, the next addition to our playlist. The performance is by the H.M. Grenadier Guards from the England.

Stars and Stripes Forever Sheet Music Cover
(Wikipedia)

World War I gave us many songs of patriotism and gung ho Americanism, but there were those who wanted peace and isolation. The song I Didn't Raise My Boy To Be A Soldier  represents that viewpoint.

World War II began in the heart of the swing era. Our next track is by a performer who is among the ranks of Americans lost at war. In 1942 Glenn Miller was at the height of his career, however the drums of war called as he decided to postpone his civilian career to serve in the military,

Initially serving in the Army as a Band Director he worked at modernizing the sound of the Army Band, He was then transferred to the Air Force where he led a band that served as both pro-American propaganda and was important in maintaining troop moral as well.

On December 15, 1944, Miller was aboard a small single engine plane flying from the UK to Paris, France where he was to perform some shows. He never arrived. The plane was missing and no explanation was certain. Mechanical problems as well as airborne bombs have both been suspected. Regardless, this flight stripped the world of swing music great Glenn Miller. It also left the world another name to remember and mourn on Memorial Day. Glenn Miller's American Patrol musically represent the Second World War on our musical playlist.
Glenn Miller
Glenn Miller
(Wikipedia)
I did not have very much in my collection to reference Korea, but I did find an Ernest Tubb hit, A Heartsick Soldier on a Heartbreak Ridge. Vietnam was another matter. So much of the music about that war is critical of the soldiers that risked so much at the request of their country that I wanted to include something positive. Perhaps the most positive, if also the most corny, pro military song from the era was The Ballad Of The Green Berets by SSgt. Barry Sadler, U.S. Army Special Forces.

Starting in the 1980's, the United States entered into a series of military actions around the world that continue to this day. There are songs about the Gulf War and songs about 9/11, Iraq, and Afghanistan. I am sure of that, but my musical knowledge starts getting thinner the more recent the performer. So I will let Merl Haggard make the case, in 1969, for so many of these situations and against those who don't respect our troops The Fightin' Side Of Me.
  • Johnny Has Gone For A Soldier Heartland - An Appalachian Anthology Mark O'Connor, James Taylor, John Mock 2:57
  • Star Spangled Banner (The National Anthem) Veterans Day Honor US Coast Guard Band 1:29
  • March To Battle (Across The Rio Grande) San Patricio The Chieftains With Banda De Gaitas Del Batallón De San Patricio, Liam Neeson, Los Cenzontles & L.A. Juvenil 4:12
  • Two Little Boys Old And In The Gray Old And In The Gray 3:57
  • Buffalo Soldier Legend Bob Marley & The Wailers  4:19
  • Stars and Stripes Forever Mark Twain's America John Philip Sousa 3:33
  • I Didn't Raise My Boy To Be A Soldier Peerless Quartet 3:05 DOWNLOAD HERE
  • American Patrol The Best of the Lost Recordings & the Secret Broadcasts Glenn Miller 3:25
  • A Heartsick Soldier on a Heartbreak Ridge Let's Say Goodbye Like We Said Hello Ernest Tubb 3:05
  • The Ballad Of The Green Berets Next Stop Is Vietnam SSgt. Barry Sadler, U.S. Army Special Forces 2:31
  • The Fightin' Side Of Me HAG: The Best Of Merle Haggard Merle Haggard 2:54
  • Taps (with Orchestration) Veterans Day Honor US Marine Band 1:21

I close our music tribute with Taps in arrangement performed by the US Marine Corps Band.




Mileage Stats

Route 66: 0 Miles/1 State/1071 Tracks/268 Videos/41 Posts
Highway 101: 25 Miles/2 Countries/1 State/654 Tracks/414 Videos/31 Posts
Interstate 95: 200 Miles/1 State/108 Tracks/169 Videos/17 Posts
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Saturday, May 9, 2015

A Drive Along Mission Bay and The Zeros

Sea World explored, we return to Highway 101 North for a run alongside Mission Bay that offers some outstanding views, As is almost always true during our trip through San Diego, this is a rough alignment of the old highway, with portions now part of Interstate 5.



Mission Bay Park Sign
Mission Bay Park Is Between E.Mission Bay Drive (Old Highway 101) And The Bay Itself
(Flickr user Chris Lee/CC)


Skating At Mission Bay Park
The Path That Runs Along The Bay Is Popular with Strollers and Skaters
(Flickr user Aaron Fulkerson/CC)


Sailboat on Mission Bay
A Sailboat On The Water
(Flickr user Aaron Fulkerson/CC)


Mission Bay at dusk
The Bay At Dusk
(Flickr user Keoni Cabral/CC)
Playlist Additions
The Zeros
Amazon Store

San Diego is well known for the alternative rock scene.that went national in the 1990's as record labels sprang into action signing "alternative" bands in the wake of Nirvana. We will get to that story a little further down the road, today we look at the roots of that scene.

The story of the San Diego alternative music scene begins in the days when punk rock was racing around the world of rock music in the late 1970's. In Hollywood, the music industry seemed to inspire a rebellious DIY scene. Just South in San Diego County, the city of Chula Vista gave the world a group called the Zeros that would gain international notice as some early West Coast, American punk rock.

The Zeros were originally composed of Javier Escovedo on vocals/guitar. He was of a notable family that included older brother Alejandro Escovedo who played guitar for the San Francisco punk band The Nuns as well as the pioneering alt-country Rank and File. Escovedo was joined by Robert Lopez on guitar, both of them attending Chula Vista High School. Rounding out the band Hector Penalosa on bass and Baba Chenelle on drums who both came from Sweetwater High School.

In 1976, San Diego was a difficult place to be a rock and roller. There were precious few places to perform in the city. San Diego was geared to the tourist industry, rather than the entertainment industry like Los Angeles to the North. So a group of high schooler's in  Chula Vista started a band called the Zeros. They donned the skinny tie and Beatle haircut look that was seen as freakish in the mellow country rock world of mid seventies Southern California,

The band would, as Tom Waits and Iron Butterfly had earlier done, drive up to Hollywood to perform on weekends, rushing home to go to school on Monday, The first major gig they had was in Los Angeles in 1977. The Germs opened the show, then The Zeros played, with the Wierdos taking the headliner slot.

In a dynamic Los Angeles punk rock scene The Zeroes were active. The appeared at the opening of the legendary punk club The Masque. They were primarally a live act, over the course of the bands career they only released a handful of singles. Reviewers called them the "Mexican Ramones".

In 1978, a membership change occurred when Penalosa left the band to be replaced by Guy Lopez, Roberts brother. The Zeros relocated to San Francisco where there famously performed a set that consisted of playing Beat Your Heart Out eight times in row before leaving the stage.

The line up changed again as the Lopez brothers returned to Los Angeles and Penalosa returned to the band carrying it on as a trio. In 1980, the band released its last singles before a short tour. Then the The Zeros, like so many of the early punk rockers, broke up.



After the break up of the band, guitarist Robert Lopez went on to continued fame as cult favorite El Vez. Meanwhile Javier Escovedo joined his brother Alejandro Escovedo, moved to Austin Texas and started the band True Believers, an early important member of the Austin alternative music scene that gathered more musicians respect than record sales.





In the 1990's, alternative rock took over the airwaves due to the success of Nirvana and Nevermind. Bands that began the punk movement were reuniting and touring. The Zeros released a collection of their singles and outtakes in 1991. Don't Push Me Around joins our playlist this week.

Album : Don't Push Me Around The Zeros

  • Don't Push Me Around 2:25  
  • Wimp 2:34  
  • Main Street Brat 3:03  
  • Handgrenade Heart 3:26  
  • Beat Your Heart Out 2:18  
  • Wild Weekend 1:33  
  • Cosmetic Couple 2:14  
  • Rico Amour 2:42  
  • Beat Your Heart Out 2:15  
  • Getting Nowhere Fast 2:54  
  • She's Just A Girl On The Block 3:25  
  • They Say That (Everything's Alright) 2:16  
  • Live, San Francisco, 1978 10:37  
The Zeros reunited in proper in 1995, performing live and returning to the studio to record a new album called Knocking Me Dead. They still had the same raw energy and they were still having fun rocking out.



In 2009, the band was to gain official recognition as they were awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award at the San Diego Music Awards by Wayne Kramer of the MC5.

The band again returned to the studio to record 1999's Right Now! which continues their classic Punk Rock sound, The band still performs occasional live shows because, as members of the band have said, they have fun doing it.




Signing Off And Coming Attractions

I would love to hear comments from San Diegans sharing experiences at Mission Bay Park. Has any reader seen the Zeros live? How were they? Did you have fun? Please leave a comment. Your stories help me tell my stories.

Next On Interstate 95Vero BeachFlorida: Returning to the Interstate, we continue North heading towards our next Spring Training baseball stadium.
Next On Route 66ChicagoIllinois: We continue to dig into music related to Chicago.
Next On Highway 101: San Diego, California. We face a decision, do we take the oldest route, or a newer highway alignment

Mileage Stats

Route 66: 0 Miles/1 State/1071 Tracks/268 Videos/41 Posts
Highway 101: 25 Miles/2 Countries/1 State/654 Tracks/414 Videos/31 Posts
Interstate 95: 143 Miles/1 State/96 Tracks/156 Videos/16 Posts
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Keep Traveling

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Saturday, May 2, 2015

Blues Brothers 2000/The Blues Brothers Part 4

(Wikipedia)
Elwood Blues: The Lord works in mysterious ways.


Part 1 Of A Series Of 4
The Blues Brothers:


The Movie
The 1990's ended with a slew of revival films bringing back and rebooting classic TV shows. John Landis hopped on the bandwagon. He wrote a script for an updated Blues Brothers movie.

Dan Aykroyd was still available to act in the character of Elwood Blues. There was no way to bring back Jake Blues, John Belushi was a hard act to follow!

Landis wrote three characters to replace one Blues Brother: a ten year old kid, a bartender and the first black Blues Brother.

From Wikipedia we have a plot summary:
The story picks up 18 years later with Elwood being released from prison, and learning that his brother, Jake Blues, has died. He is once again prevailed upon to save some orphans, and with a 10-year-old boy named Buster Blues (J. Evan Bonifant) in tow, Elwood again sets about the task of reuniting his band. He recruits some new singers, Mighty Mack (John Goodman) and Cab (Joe Morton), a policeman who was Curtis' son. All the original band members are found, as well as some performers from the first film, including Aretha Franklin and James Brown. There are dozens of other guest performers, including Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood, Junior Wells, Lonnie Brooks, Macaulay Culkin, Eddie Floyd, Wilson Pickett, Isaac Hayes, Sam Moore, Taj Mahal and Jonny Lang, Blues Traveler, as well as an all-star supergroup led by B. B. King called the Louisiana Gator Boys. On the run from the police, Russian mafia and a racist militia, the band eventually ends up in Louisiana, where they enter a battle of the bands overseen by a voodoo practitioner named Queen Moussette (Erykah Badu). During a song by the Blues Brothers (a Caribbean number called "Funky Nassau"), a character played by Paul Shaffer asks to cut in on keyboards, which Murph allows. This marks the first time in a film that the Blues Brothers play with their original keyboardist.
Like the original Blues Brothers film, this is a hard film to categorize. Not because of the genre busting combination of being a musical, an action film, and a comedy, rather because it was billed as a sequel but it was more of a remake.

The whole movie was filled with excess. It took what worked from the original film and tried to raise the stakes.In stead of two Blues Brothers, there were now four. Instead of a chase across Illinois It was a chase all the way to New Orleans. Instead of Illinois Nazis, We get Russian Mafia oh and the KKK too, because why not?

If a joke was funny once in the original movie, it was basically remade in this movie. Only usually on a larger scale. Because the jokes weren't fresh, they weren't funny. And some things like, Aykroyd's famous skidding parking job were repeated as a running joke. The problem was, it just wasn't funny.

They introduced a cute kid into the mix, apparently to make the film appeal to a family market (?), yet the subplot of the Russian Mafia involved the long scenes inside a strip club. Kind of strange. Overall the movie is a bit of a wreck.



The Music
Still, the film is watchable, and that is mostly due to the excess that continued into the number of musical greats that were recruited to appear in the movie. This list from Wikipedia shows the amazing number of legendary blues performers showcased in the film:
The Blues Brothers Band
  • Dan Aykroyd as Elwood J. Blues – harmonica and vocals
  • John Goodman as "Mighty" Mack McTeer – lead vocals
  • Joe Morton as Cabel "Cab" Chamberlain – vocals
  • J. Evan Bonifant as Buster Blues – vocals and harmonica (harmonica recorded by John Popper)
  • Steve Cropper as Steve "the Colonel" Cropper – rhythm guitar and vocals
  • Donald "Duck" Dunn as Donald "Duck" Dunn – bass guitar
  • Murphy Dunne as Murphy "Murph" Dunne – keyboards
  • Willie Hall as Willie "Too Big" Hall – drums and percussion
  • Tom Malone as Tom "Bones" Malone – trombone, tenor saxophone and vocals
  • Lou Marini as "Blue Lou" Marini – alto saxophone and tenor saxophone and vocals
  • Matt Murphy as Matt "Guitar" Murphy – lead guitar
  • Alan Rubin as Alan "Mr. Fabulous" Rubin – trumpet, percussion and vocals

Musical guests
  • Junior Wells as Himself
  • Lonnie Brooks as Himself
  • Blues Traveler as Themselves
  • Jonny Lang as Janitor
  • Eddie Floyd as Ed
  • Wilson Pickett as Mr. Pickett
  • Aretha Franklin as Mrs. Murphy
  • Esther Ridgeway as Mrs. Murphy's Friend
  • Gloria Ridgeway as Mrs. Murphy's Friend
  • Gracie Ridgeway as Mrs. Murphy's Friend
  • Sam Moore as Reverend Morris
  • James Brown as Reverend Cleophus James
  • Erykah Badu as Queen Mousette
The Louisiana Gator Boys
The Louisiana Gator Boys is a blues supergroup created for Blues Brothers 2000. They face The Blues Brothers in a battle of the bands. The band comprises:
  • B. B. King as Malvern Gasperone – Vocals and guitar
  • Jeff "Skunk" Baxter – guitar
  • Gary U.S. Bonds – vocals
  • Eric Clapton – vocals and guitar
  • Clarence Clemons – vocals, tenor saxophone and tambourine
  • Jack DeJohnette – drums
  • Bo Diddley – vocals and guitar
  • Jon Faddis – trumpet
  • Isaac Hayes – vocals
  • Dr. John – vocals and piano
  • Tommy "Pipes" McDonnell – vocals
  • Charlie Musselwhite – vocals and harmonica
  • Billy Preston – vocals and synthesizer
  • Lou Rawls – vocals
  • Joshua Redman – tenor saxophone
  • Koko Taylor – vocals
  • Travis Tritt – vocals and guitar
  • Jimmie Vaughan – vocals and guitar
  • Grover Washington, Jr. – baritone saxophone
  • Willie Weeks – bass guitar
  • Steve Winwood – vocals and organ
  • Paul Shaffer as Marco/Himself – keyboards
The music in movie saves some heavy handed production decisions and frankly lazy script writing. IMDB gives it 4.8 stars and generally it was panned by critics and fans, the Rotten Tomatoes audience score only being 38% thumbs up at the time of this Old Highway Note,



The Video Game

(Wikipedia)

A Nintendo 64 game was released in conjunction with the movie. It wasn't very popular either as the title of this YouTube Video attests, "Worst Game Ever".





Playlist Additions
Amazon Store

It's a crying shame, but the truth is I have not gotten around to adding the Blues Brothers 2000 Soundtrack to my music collection, so officially it can't be added to the playlist. Regardless of that technicality a look at the movie requires a listen to it's music. So here is as complete a playlist as possible using YouTube videos.



I do have a legitimate addition to the playlist to make though. When the movie was released a live album was also released and that DID make its way into my collection. It is a strong set of the Blues Brothers from that era.

Album: Blues Brothers & Friends: Live From Chicago' House Of Blues Blues Brothers & Friends

  • Intro 3:18
  • Green Onions 2:49
  • Chicken Shack 0:52
  • Sweet Home Chicago 2:42
  • I Wish You Would 4:23
  • Messin' With The Kid 4:17
  • All My Money Back 3:22
  • Born In Chicago 2:09
  • Blues, Why You Worry Me? 4:47
  • Groove With Me Tonight 4:14
  • 634-5789 5:38
  • All She Wants To Do Is Rock 2:34
  • Flip, Flop And Fly 3:15
  • Money (That's What I Want) 3:29
  • Viva Las Vegas 3:58

Signing Off And Coming Attractions

Have you have seen Blues Brothers 2000? I would love to hear your opinion of the film. Just leave a comment at the bottom of the post where you are given that option. Also I would love it if you subscribed and told your friends about Old Highway Notes. Your positive feedback is what keeps me going. I am not making any money of this project, you know.

Next On Highway 101: San DiegoCalifornia: Leaving Sea World, we continue North through San Diego to Torrey Pines State Beach.
Next On Interstate 95Vero BeachFlorida: Returning to the Interstate, we continue North heading towards our next Spring Training baseball stadium.
Next On Route 66ChicagoIllinois: We continue to dig into music related to Chicago.


Mileage Stats

Route 66: 0 Miles/1 State/1071 Tracks/268 Videos/41 Posts
Highway 101: 26 Miles/2 Countries/1 State/641 Tracks/407 Videos/31 Posts
Interstate 95: 143 Miles/1 State/96 Tracks/156 Videos/16 Posts
Don't Miss Out On an Old Highway Note. Subscribe Now! It is free and new notes will be emailed to you auto-magically!
To subscribe to Old Highway Notes by email, enter your email address:

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And Now A Word From Our Sponsor...

If you like what you have read here I'd like to ask you a favor. If you purchase any item on Amazon after you link to them in the little Amazon search window below, I will get a little something from them. It doesn't cost you any extra and I cannot see what you have purchased. With your help, I can keep the show on the road for you.

Thanks!





Keep Traveling

To read more Old Highway Notes, choose an off ramp and click on the highway sign:
 photo 750px-US_101mid_zps4ac85a99.png
http://oldhighwaynotes.blogspot.com/search/label/Interstate%2095


Vista Points
Be social, Get more info, View our YouTube playlist




Visit our Gift Shop
It has new items every week themed to that weeks post!


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