“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion,

If you want to be happy, practice compassion”

As the Dalai Lama says,…. And that kind of sums it up for me.

And since I have a music website of some small disrepute, I thought I might just throw out a little happy playlist and attempt to defend it.

*I am using the totally legal format of Spotify for the first time. I also drew the lines of a happy face so this is 100% free range copyright approved-and no animals were harmed in the making of this post!

Rock music does not lend itself to happiness as a rule- with all that minor pentatonic and brooding vocals and such.

But, here is my quick “go to” list of songs that bring a lightness to my heart and brighten up the cave a bit.

Louis Armstrong.What a Wonderful world

The Rosetta stone that all other contentment songs are measured against. Satchmo put down his trumpet and preached it out.

Squeeze.Pulling Muscles from a Shell

This song always brings a smile to my face-it is light and bouncy with some layers of indiscretion only jabbed at…you know—fun. And funny at the same time.

Bob Marley.Three little Birds

What can you say about a man of peace and a champion of the oppressed-he lost himself in his music. Yes, he was wasted most of the time-I don’t see that as a deal breaker –I just see it as: we all have our hurdles to get over- some we do and some we don’t. Any 24 year old living in their parent’s basement and using this guy as an excuse to smoke week is a complete idiot. He triumphed despite his problem not because of it.

The Notorious B.I.G. Big Poppa

This is misogynistic and hedonistic to a certain extent but it is also smooth and full of joy. So how can that be? How does an old pasty white guy like me enjoy some Biggie? Well., this song is funny and the big guy is so smooth with the rhymes that I find it irresistible. To me, the “flow” outweighs all. He was a man of his time and place and he spoke the truth as he found it—-that is what all the greats do.

Bobby McFerrin.Don’t Worry be Happy

Simple and free advice. Happiness is often a choice that we can make.

Lyle Lovett.Give me back my Heart

Lyle crafts songs with an intensity of spirit and Texas swagger that each one is like a mini rodeo ride for the soul. I could pick many of his songs that make me laugh and this one always gets me off the dirt and back on the bull!

Pharrel Williams.Happy

It’s just happy-you want to sing along and join in.

  1. Kelly.Iginition Remix

Give me that woo, woot – it’s the fiicken weekend baby.

Fitz and the Tantrums. Out of my League

The more I hear from this group, the more I like them. They have enough range to separate themselves from the nameless ocean of indie rock music. So what if things are out of your league?-so what if you are in over your head?—-we all are…so let’s dance and get on with it…..or something like that.

The Lumineers.This must be the Place

Brilliant cover of a Talking Heads classic that makes you take a fresh look. They took all the quirky-over-thinking- nerdness out of the original and replaced it with a real organic heart. It’s not the same song done this way.

My Body is a Cage


“My body is a cage that keeps me

from dancing with the one I love”


Doctors search for the devil in the details and are happy when they find him

They are quick to judge and quick to blame

They have to be

Our lives depend on it (apparently, as I would find out)

Nurses save angels a ton of work

They do, as a matter of routine, things that defy the reasonable imagination of what is possible

I have respect and admiration that is beyond words


“I’m living in an age

That screams my name at night

But when I get to the doorway

There’s no one in sight”


Those haunting lines from an Arcade Fire song fire my imagination as I reflect on a week in the hospital.

Thankfully, I am on the mend; the possibility of some surgery looming but that is still up in the air as I write this.

We occupy only temporary frail vessels as we scratch our way across the surface of this planet.

Last week taught me that in a big way.

I am so glad to be back at the cave.


I am enjoying each breath with renewed hope and appreciation.

All that really matters is the way we treat each other.

Everything else is the filler and stuffing required to get us through the day.

I want to thank everyone that sent well-wishes while I was in the hospital, nice to know that I am not alone.

And as always, cheers from the cave!






I blame Bernie (sort of) —Elton John burning [all] Creative Fuel 1970-1975


Look at the great singles spawned by the collaboration of Elton John and Bernie Taupin during these years:


 Your Song– Brilliant, Classic, Simple.

Levon- I have mixed feelings on this- Shades of Citizen Kane.


Tiny Dancer – Another instant classic-Goes great on a warm Sunday night with a Mosul Valley Riesling.

Rocket Man – Even before “Big Bang Theory” stamped it a cool classic-it was a cool classic.

Honkey Cat – A redneck song by a flamboyant gay Englishman that works (yes, I know, not exactly the theme song for Duck Dynasty). This was before NASCAR turned Redneckism into an official religion in these United States.

Crocodile Rock – Light, fun and nostalgic, for those that frequent  car hop burger joints that won’t go away – Were the 50’s that much fun? Was James Dean that cool? Maybe-Good song.


Daniel – My sentimental favorite on this list.

Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting –Goodbye Yellow Brick Road kicks in. A good ol’ beer swilling song.

Goodbye Yellow Brick Road – This double album is their signature work and this the signature song.


Candle in the Wind – Marilyn Monroe and the obsession for Marilyn Monroe neatly packaged in another timeless gem from GBYBR. And strong enough to take a re-tread for a Princess and come back in the late 1990’s.

Bennie and the Jets – Seriously? Another one from this album,…eh….yeah.

Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me- Another masterpiece that Live Aid and George Michael took over the top.

The Bitch Is Back – Nothing wrong with a little steam out of the tea kettle once in a while.


Philadelphia Freedom – Great American “Land of the Free” anthem.

Someone Saved My Life Tonight – Intense brooding coupled with emotional honesty- they leave it all on the table for us to dig in and feast on-this is the peak that song writer and piano player would not hit again.

Island Girl- Who does not love a spry little ditty with strong gay prostitution overtones. We can see the end of the run as the boys are starting to over reach and get a little too clever for us.


Then the decline starts:

By the time we get to “Sorry seems to be the Hardest Word” in 1976 – It is a sad, sad situation and these tunes are getting more and more absurd—-it is over—-thank you for the ride!

Bernie wrote the words and then Elton made the music.

The words went bad; Elton was adding action to B movies instead of block busters. Bernie started the fall but how do you keep this level of timeless inspiration going?

It was bound to end—They rode the unicorn of creativity in the wonderland of pop without being thrown off longer than most mortals.

So I thank them for that.

All you kids out there— remember to check for a vintage of the early to mid-1970’s when dusting off an Elton John bottle from the music cellar.

There is really little to talk about after this: A knighting, so we have to go the extra pompous bit of calling him Sir Elton….some songs in a movie about the circle of life with some friendly and evil lions and a stint with Eminem on the fanboy-from-hell ballad called “Stan.”

And I almost forgot the train wreck of the movie “Gnomeo and Juliet” which I suffered through in 3-D with my youngest child at the theatre, and that was only by dunking my head in the super large diet coke from time to time to keep me from going completely berserk.

BUT…he must know something because my son loved every minute of it!

And part of why he still respects and plays the songs from this era is his love for us fans that have a difficult time accepting anything new—

These songs made and sustain a great career.

He is one of the good ones.

Cheers from the cave and I will leave you with my sentimental favorite.






Rainbow in the Dark Deconstructed



1983- This is heavy metal

Before we argue over clean and dirty vocals-before we get into speed metal or death metal or black metal.

If you reached for the pure stuff back then- you reached for Ronnie James Dio

The keyboards sound like trumpets to usher in the new age.

“When there’s lightning – you know it always bring me down
Cause it’s free and I see that it’s me
Who’s lost and never found”

From Zeus to Thor to the Almighty himself-lightning has been used to signify a supreme deity in all cultures since the beginning of time.

The special relevance we put on this force of nature does speak volumes about what is rejected in this song. He is alone in the dark and wants to keep it that way.

Well…almost alone…

“Do your demons – do they ever let you go
When you’ve tried – do they hide – deep inside
Is it someone that you know”

He knows his demons and knows he can’t escape them. (I hold out hope in the belief that everyone can get to a place where the hounds of hell will stop their pursuit and give each person some peace-it goes beyond the scope of this post and they don’t ever stop until we make a choice to face them down—-but I digress…)


“There’s no sign of the morning coming
You’ve been left on your own
Like a Rainbow in the Dark
A Rainbow in the Dark”

Rainbows need light to exist or more accurately they need light to appear to exist since they are more optical illusion that actual entity.

Often seen as a sign of hope and renewed spirit after a storm has passed.

There must be some light in Dio’s dark place to make a rainbow-even if it is just the light of creative energy——-that wonderful thing that happens when pain and struggle produces an artistic array of spirit.

The force that turns inspiration into magic.

A power so great that it can take depression and form a wave that a whole crowd can be swept up in.

Power to take many who feel alone and connect all the dots to bring them together with one voice.

This music seems to emanate from depression and anger.

Emotional anguish turned and polished until it shines clean.

Dio makes metal out of rock.


Happy Solstice!

How about a simple happy song for summer- a song of celebration.

Complete with a goofy Mick Jagger.

I have nothing profound or funny or anything else to say.

I am just twirling in the light of a wonderful day.

Happy summer to all.

We need a hero

Heroes fail to do anything amazing-they just do what is needed.

Right time –right place-right action.

Every time you see one on TV-they all same the same thing.

“I am not a hero-I just did what anyone else would do.”

Not exactly

Have you been paying attention? We humans have a large capacity for doing the wrong things-In fact there is a good chance that someone doing the wrong thing created a situation that required a hero.  A hero to do what is required and bring an elegant solution to an inelegant situation.

Heroes spend time being prepared to step in-they are trained and they are compassionate. They are ready, willing and able.

There is a mindset about them that makes them feel part of the world-knowing that they can make a difference.

If you feel that way – you are a hero sitting latent and sooner or later you will get a chance to prove it.

It may be a small or big contribution- you may have already done it and not even realized it.

Doing the right thing in the right time and right place brings a certain lining up of the power in the universe that is bigger than all of us.

Maybe that is why heroes don’t even comprehend what they have done-they just see it as playing a small part in the general scheme of things. They see the action as a simple yes or no to answering the call of humanity.

We need more heroes.

This quirky song by the Crash Test Dummies sums it up for me.

And it also makes me think of this Little Feat classic.

Just doing what is necessary without complaint.

[mini rant ahead]“Little Feat’ without Lowell George should be called “Tiny Feat” and “Queen” without Freddie should maybe be called “Princess”–you can not remove the heart and soul of a band and pretend it is the same. [end of rant]

I am still willin’ to keep on bloggin”

Cheers from the cave!

[this is not the post I am writing-I am finishing up an illustration for a piece on Ronnie James Dio and “Rainbow in the Dark” that is wearing me out….I don’t mind writing on some of the dark in our souls but this song has taken me for a bit of a ride---it should be my next post----this one is just to let you guys know that I am still out here]