For years, the Appalachian region has been a creative reservoir for many types of music. This is especially true for C & W songwriters, who have chosen to leave their mountain homes to find success in Nashville, both at the Grand Ole Opry and the many recording labels that flourish in Music City.
"Caribbean Wind" is a seldom-heard Dylan song. Today, you can find the tune on Youtube, on an unheralded release called "Shot of Love Outtakes" or on "Biograph," a five LP retrospective put out in 1981. I've also compiled a list of other Caribbean-themed songs.
Hobos or bums have most likely been around since we abandoned our hunter-gathering societies and created city-states. In the USA, songs about hard times often go back to the Great Depression, but in reality the roots are much deeper. Following are ten 20th century tunes about being out on the lam.
A recent article in the British Medical Journal (Feb 2017) states that Vitamin D supplements can strengthen the body's immune system and help prevent both viral and bacterial infections in the chest. This added protection could aid the human body in fighting off COVID-19.
The ongoing coronavirus epidemic has been traced to the Central Chinese city of Wuhan. The first case appeared on December 1, 2019 and was diagnosed as a SARS infection. What followed in the next eight weeks is epic, as China turned a deteriorating situation into a successful containment.
Though commonly known as the coronavirus, COVID-19 (the World Health Organization name) is spreading globally at a surprising rapid rate. At its worse, this newly discovered virus strain produces pneumonia-like symptoms that may cause death.
Coronaviruses are named for their crown-like shape, as viewed through a powerful microscope. This type of virus has recently made the news (Feb. 2020) because of a major outbreak in China, but actually, there are several strains of coronaviruses that are capable of infecting the human population.
Between 1918 and 1920, an infectious disease, called the Spanish Influenza, swept the world. All total, the pandemic malaise infected hundreds of millions and killed somewhere between 2% and 5% of the world's population. This tragic event coincided with WWI, possibly enlarging the death count.
Today, New Orleans is the host city for the largest Mardi Gras celebration in North America. Still, few people realize that the first American Mardi Gras actually occurred in Mobile, Alabama. This article includes a brief history of how the popular pre-Lenten holiday developed here in the states.
Volcanoes can affect climate and climate can affect a volcano, though these two events do not necessarily occur in equal amounts. By far, the most common phenomena, revolves around a very large volcano emitting tons of debris and chemicals into the atmosphere.
The Taal Volcano of the Philippines is unusual in that it is a recently-developed volcano situated inside a much older supervolcano that is no longer active. This set-up is not unique in the natural world, for similar arrangements can be found at Crater Lake in the US and Lake Taupo in New Zealand.
To any student of geology and natural disasters, there is no way around it, the "Ring of Fire" is the most seismic active place on the planet. About 70% of the world's volcanoes and earthquakes take place here. Nonetheless, many dangerous volcanoes can be found elsewhere around the planet.
Close kin to Rhythm and Blues, Swing and Boogie-Woogie, Jump Blues hit the music world in the 40s with a big bang. Originating among the black musicians, who played the chitlin circuit, Jump Blues helped launch the careers of crossover musicians like Louis Jordan, Ella Fitzgerald and Big Joe Turner.
Of the three ships that traveled with Columbus in 1492, two were caravels and one was a carrack. Moreover, these closed hulls boats, could carry larger quantities of supplies than ever before. Unfortunately, the crowded cargo space could also harbor many types of micro-organisms and diseases.
Global warming and climate change are quite the buzzwords these days. Just mention the subjects, and more likely than not, you will find yourself in the middle of a lively discussion. Despite all the hype, environmental action is nothing new; it has been with us before, just under a different name.
The Bolshaya Udina volcano in Siberia is coming back to life. This Russian volcano situated along the dangerous Ring of Fire has shown so much seismic activity over the past few years that its classification has changed from extinct to active. Some scientists think that it could erupt at any time.
On June 6, 2019, Mac Rebennack, better known by his stage name, Dr. John, passed away at age 77. A New Orleans musical fixture for many years, Dr, John and his Night Trippers helped define a whole new genre of swamp rock, blues, jazz, funk originating from the Creole City.
Of the 45 presidents who have held the highest office in the land, two stand out in the creation of park space and the protection of the environment. One, Theodore Roosevelt, may come as no surprise, but the other, Richard Nixon, is a most unlikely candidate.
Banana Republic is a vernacular phrase that is often applied to Caribbean and Latin American countries, where one major export crop dominates the economic reality of the region. Following are some musical adventures into the Banana Republics of the Americas.
By some estimates, as many as one in four of the working cowhands in the Old West were of African-American descent. Yet somehow today, the black cowboy has been slowly, etched out of our history books, movies and Western literature.
Come July and August, when those solar doldrums start rolling in, there is only one way to survive the summer heat. Stay cool. A nice shade tree, a lawn chair and a fresh pina colada might help, but no matter.what you do, don't forget cool music.
Bananas are a common fruit, enjoyed by many Americans. They are filling, full of vitamins and naturally sweet, making them a popular food item for both young and old. Furthermore. their odd colorful shape and nutritional value have made them a popular item for singers and songwriters.
Like many places in world, the Caribbean has a lovely facade that hides a more sinister reality in everyday life.
The Southwestern deserts, which stretch from southern California to West Texas have been much immortalized in both word and song. Following are ten tunes that in some way capture life in this most unique American region.
No matter how you look at it, the Mississippi River defines the American experience better than any other waterway within the United States. Notwithstanding, there exist a whole slurry of songs and stories that further describe life on the mighty river. These songs express the power of this river.
On August 27th 1883, after a long period of relative quiet, the Krakatoa volcano located between Java and Sumatra, roared to live. During the eruption, the island mountain blew itself apart, killing over 30,000 people in the process. Today, Krakatoa is back, but in a much smaller way.
Samuel Bak is a Holocaust survivor, whose canvas paintings encompass the artist's life history. Though not a household name, the paintings of Bak are represented in many important collections around the world.
Science fiction stories can really captivate our imagination, especially when they are accompanied by inspiring music.
It is important to note that science is not a perfect endeavor, for scientists on occasion do get things wrong. Even Einstein did not always get it right every time, suggesting that Einstein wasn't always an Einstein.
What lies on the other side of living? Really, nobody knows for sure, but here are a few musicians, who have pondered the question, and then put some of their reflections to music. The results are as varied as the many speculations that surround the subject at hand.
A landslide tsunami, also called a megatsunami, can be created when large amounts of earthen material slides into a body of water, creating a tsunami type wave. These waves can be much taller than a normal tsunami that usually occurs when an underwater earthquake shakes up the sea floor.
From Country to Trop-Rock to Pop to Latin Salsa, Havana has captured the imagination of songwriters from both the U.S. and Cuba.
Made famous by the popular Christmas carol, King Wenceslas was a real-life tenth-century, Bohemian Duke, who died at the hands of his younger brother. Since that time he has been crowned a king, immortalized as a Christian Saint and also as the patron saint of the Czech Republic.
Spiders are not exactly something that you would expect to see on a Christmas tree. Yet in places like Poland, Ukraine, Russia, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, and Germany, that's just what you could find.
Scientific use of the term "super" is rather rare, as it tends to be a superlative more often found in our common vernacular than in the annals of science. Nonetheless, geologists have assigned a set value of parameters to define the monstrous geologic events, better known as supervolcanoes.
The Vietnam War is well-known for stirring up intense anti-war sentiments. Nowhere is this more evident than within the wide array of protest songs that went down in the late '60s. Still, many people might be interested to learn that protest songs were quite popular during the Civil War and WWI.
West Coast volcanoes have been relatively quiet since 1980, when Mt. St. Helens exploded and killed over 50 people. Nonetheless, the West Coast has, at the very least, another half dozen active volcanoes that could erupt in the near future and create a dangerous situation for anyone living nearby.
Latin America encompasses much of the Western Hemisphere, even including parts of the United States. Venturing out and finding good music can be a lifelong adventure, but nowadays, armchair travelers can also enjoy the richness of Latin music right from the comfort of their own living room.
Christopher is best known for his maiden voyage across the Atlantic in 1492. Just as important are the subsequent three trips that Columbus made to the New World in the decade that followed his first journey.
Traditionally, the black cat has been the domestic animal, most closely associated with Halloween. However, in recent years, the feline's cultural dominance has been successfully, challenged by a spunky upstart, the family dog.
Originally, the active volcanoes on Hawai'i Island were thought to be part of the infamous "Ring of Fire". Current scientific opinion and research suggests that a geothermal hot spot sitting underneath the "Big Island" is responsible for the high amount of geothermal activity.
Volcanoes are fascinating and sometimes terrifying natural events that occur at many places around the world. Understanding the science behind the creation and eruption of a volcano can better help us comprehend both the detrimental and beneficial effects that volcanic activity can bring.
Held five weeks after the Kentucky Derby, the Belmont Stakes is the third leg of the Triple Crown and may determine the Triple Crown winner if that prestigious racing honor is still in contention.
Every May, two weeks after "The Run for the Roses," the Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland, hosts the Preakness Stakes, which is the second leg of the prestigious Triple Crown.
The notorious Ring of Fire, which runs all the way from New Zealand to Chile by way of the Aleutian Islands, is home to many of the most potentially destructive volcanoes on the planet.
Today, the White City is a trendy section of Tel Aviv, Israel and a UNESCO Heritage Site. Originally, parts of the large urban area were built by German-Jewish architecture students after they had fled Nazi Germany.
Beginning in the sixties, Native American music experienced a renaissance. Though not quite mainstream, this expression of an unique way of life, still made its mark on American culture.
Whether running wild or harnessed to carry a rider, a horse is a powerful and graceful animal that has been admired by numerous writers, artists and musicians. Following are ten songs that celebrate this magnificent creature.
The Mint Julep has its origins in the Arabic speaking world, where thirsty residents mixed rose petals with water to make a drink, called a gul-ab.
The Kentucky Derby takes place on the first Saturday in May at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. This premier horse race culminates in two weeks of races, parties, and many other special events.
The Old West is a much fabled part of our national culture. Selected here are ten songs and ballads that reflect the richness and adversity of those who ventured into the region, as it was being settled.
The recent discovery of a series of Meso-American archaeological sites in the rain forest of Honduras has provided scientists with reason to re-examine their understanding of pre-Columbian history.
Though Washington was generous enough to free his slaves (after his death), our first president could be quite vengeful on anyone who tried to end their servitude at an earlier date.
When Billy Graham passed away, regrets and due respect poured in from all segments of society. One often overlooked aspect of the preacher's life, was his long term relationship with Richard Nixon.
In 1995, as Barack Obama began his run for the Illinois Senate, he put out, a memoir, Dreams from My Father. Like many politicians, Obama's success has been fueled by a popular book title.
Everybody loves a good ghost story and everybody loves a good song. Combine the two and now you have something extra special that just might tingle your spine on a dark, chilly night.
Ring of Fire is a common expression applied to a geographical area bordering the Pacific Ocean. Within this "Ring of Fire" earthquakes and volcanoes are more common than any other place on the planet.
The Underground Railroad was a secret network that developed in the U.S. before the Civil War. The purpose of the "railroad" was to guide runaway American slaves to safe havens in Canada.
John Hancock was first to sign the Declaration of Independence. Unfortunately, his life after the Revolution was sometimes accompanied by personal tragedy.
Samuel Adams was a Colonial merchant, tax collector, malter, and writer who almost never made a profit from his economic activities. He is best remembered for fiery editorials opposing British rule.
Thomas Jefferson, our third president is memorized on Mount Rushmore, along with Washington, Lincoln and Roosevelt. His vision, quite radical for 1700s help define the government for the new nation.
Abraham Lincoln held the White House during what may have been the American nation's darkest hour. A divided nation cut short Lincoln's second term by three years, yet still the country survived.
Groundhog Day defies description. Basically, the February holiday involves long term weather forecasting, features a groundhog and is probably related to the Candlemas celebration in parts of Europe.
New Orleans lives for Mardi Gras. Combine this popular, outdoor celebration with the rich music of the city and the result is a lively, collection of upbeat songs that captures the spirit of the day.
Recently, scientists have become concerned about the celestial movements of asteroids and comets—so much so that they have set up several observatories around the planet to track these objects.
There's no place quite like London. There are no castles, palaces, or royal families in the states. Perhaps this gives English songwriters more to sing about. Here are 10 songs about London.
Though Christmas is designed to honor the birth of Christ, much of the winter holiday is heavily rooted in the pagan customs of Europe.
Every year we get exposed to a few new Christmas songs. Most pass by without fanfare, while every now and then, one catchy tune succeeds. The following are ten tunes that ought to receive more airplay.
Nothing beats a vacation in the Caribbean, but if you can't afford a visit to the tropical islands, you might get by with a comfortable lawn chair, a boat drink, and a long listen to these songs.
Whether you just celebrate Christmas day or all twelve days, you might want to know about more about this most popular holiday.
The rutabaga was originally developed in Europe as a cross between a cabbage and a turnip that was fed to dairy cattle to increase milk production is now a popular table fare in the U.S. and Canada.
New Orleans music lives in its own world. Going back to the Creole Jazz bands that pre-dated Louis Armstrong, music from the Big Easy has continually evolved into the multi-cultural mix of today.
The House of Seven Gables is the title of a novel by Nathaniel Hawthorne. It is also a place in Salem, Massachusetts that can be visited and admired. Learn about the real house and the fictional one.
The Day of the Dead and Halloween are two distinct holidays that fall two days apart on the calendar. Despite their similarities, they are celebrated in different places and in different ways.
Halloween, in its various forms, has been around for many centuries—especially in Northern Europe, where it originated. Here are ten fun facts that you might not know about the popular fall holiday.
Though the word is Christian, the celebration of Halloween appears to be related to the Celtic holiday of Samhain, which traditionally occurred near the old Celtic New Year in early November.
Halloween has changed as it crossed the Atlantic from Europe and is now fervently celebrated in North America. The following article explores 13 modern 20th-century songs that delve into the dark, but festive holiday.
The late '60s witnessed a musical explosion of music that people still listen to today. As a result of the fierce competition, many excellent performers never received wide recognition.
No doubt about it, Christopher Columbus rode the Trade Winds to the Caribbean, and chanced upon a whole new world. Here are ten fun questions to see how much you know about the great explorer.
George Washington played a role in two whiskey rebellions. The first occurred, when Yankee distillers began making whiskey from grain, while the second was the actual revolt of whiskey makers in PA.
The late '60s and early '70s witnessed a musical explosion, first in Britain, then in America. As a result, there were many talented bands that just couldn't nail down the big break.
According to historians, the Vikings came out of Northern Europe to terrorize and plunder more peaceable kingdoms. Included here, are a few bits of Norse history that modern readers might enjoy.
In the latter part of the 20th century, Scandinavian music experienced a musical renaissance that still continues today. Here is a look at the music and the people who make it.
Hurricane season officially lasts until late November. Though the last six weeks are not overly abundant with these storms, deadly hurricanes can still occur in October, November, and even December.
Over time, views of history and historical figures often change. The legacy of Christopher Columbus is no exception as our 21st-century view of the Great Mariner differs from that of the 20th century.
It all started with a tornado. The date was August 21, the year was 1883, the location was Rochester, MN, the death toll was 37, and the result was the Mayo Clinic.
Songs about storms and the damage that their wind and rain causes on people's lives.
Kanab, Utah's long association with Hollywood westerns began in 1924, when portions of "Deadwood Coach", starring Tom Mix, were filmed in this picturesque Utah town.
As Maynard Dixon prospered with his desert landscapes, he was able to buy a place in Mount Carmel, Utah. Here, he built a home, studio and bunkhouse, all of which are open for touring.
Kanab is situated in southern Utah, just north of the Arizona state line. This high desert town is nestled next to some beautiful red rock cliffs, which can easily be explored on foot.
Though George Washington may be the most revered of presidents, there are many things that might surprise you about our very first Commander-in-Chief.
A solar eclipse occurs about once every 18 months somewhere on Earth. Because of the dark shadow that is cast across our planet, much myth and superstition surrounds these naturally occurring events.
The recent creation of a huge iceberg at the Larsen Ice Shelf in Antarctica is a scientific event worth noting. Following is some info about Antarctic icebergs that will help put this in perspective.
Bryce Canyon NP in southern Utah has a spectacular red rock amphitheater that can easily be explored on foot in less than a day.
Rum was first made in the 1600s by Caribbean slaves, who fermented molasses and then distilled the dark liquid to create a palatable liquor.
The American Southwest requires some special precautions for day hikers, especially during those hot summer months, when temperatures can soar above 100 degrees.
Shiprock, a large natural rock formation near the town of Shiprock, NM, represents different things to different people.
The Angels Landing Trail in Zion National Park is one of the most challenging and popular hiking trails in the U.S . Here is some info that might benefit anyone attempting this spectacular climb.
Zion Canyon in Zion NP is an inspirational natural wonder that offers the hiker many excellent choices. Hiking trails vary from easy to difficult and provide visitors with many outstanding views.
In August 1814, the US was at war with Great Britain, as the British were ransacking and burning our nation's capitol. What saved Washington from vast destruction is just a little short of miraculous.
In the southwest corner of the Beehive State, Saint George is bordered by the Red Hills Reserve and thus offers some excellent opportunities for enjoyable day hikes.
During the British attack of Fort McHenry in 1814, Francis Scott Key witnessed the event from the safety of a British warship. For those brave men at the fort, the night was a long and deadly affair.
Not only was Will James a gifted storyteller, who created many fascinating Western tales, but he was also a talented painter, who created some unforgettable scenes of the Cowboy at work.
Over the past several decades, there have been a few, successful Nashville musicians, who have been influenced by the sounds of the Caribbean islands.
Calypso music is a Caribbean art form that flourished in the middle years of the 20th century, but is less popular today.
Durango, Colorado sits in a picturesque river valley, surrounded by high land, which provides some excellent hiking opportunities for the day hiker.
Tax time is upon us and so for all you aspiring writers (and casual observers) this might be a good time to pause and see who in the literary world has accumulated the most wealth.
Contrary to popular belief the American colonists were not very puritanical, not even the Puritans. In reality, they fought a lot, drank too much, and exhibited a very colorful use of colonial slang.
Chuck Berry passed away last week, leaving behind a musical legacy matched by few.
To the casual observer, art school would not seem like a good training ground for rock performers. Yet, many singers like Joni Mitchell and John Lennon first studied art before they became musicians.
With another book in the bookstores and a singing appearance at the upcoming Nobel Prize gala, Patti Smith is maturing as a writer
Just after releasing an album, titled You Want It Darker, Leonard Cohen passed away in his Los Angeles home at age 82. Following is an candid look at the popular singer's life.
Over the past several decades there has been increased speculation that a supermoon may in some way effect the onset of an earthquake. Recent events in New Zealand have only added to this speculation.
In December (2016) Bob Dylan will be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, even though he is known primarily for his recorded music and searing lyrics.
Georgia O'Keefe's sojourn began in Amarillo, Texas and ended at the Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu, NM. By visiting some of her western haunts, visitors to the Southwest can better understand the artist.
To many art lovers Ansel Adams is the quinessential fine art photographer. However, there are others in the art community, who consider Ansel to be strong on technique yet weak on artistic vision.
Even though the Lewis and Clark Expedition to the West Coast is widely studied and appreciated, there are still some aspects of the famous voyage that are little known to the general public.
Instrumental to the survival of the pilgrims at Plymouth Rock were three Native Americans named Tisquantum, Massasoit, and Samoset.
At first glance a quaking aspen and white birch look almost identical. However, upon closer examination, the two stately trees are quite different.
Mundaca the Pirate plied his trade off the Caribbean Coast of Mexico. Though he built a prosperous estate on the island of Isla Mujeres, his downfall came by his attraction to a beautiful brunette.
Life in the original thirteen was difficult to say the least. Nonetheless, Colonists in early America imbibed large quantities of alcoholic beverages, a tradition that continues today.
Though the blood moon is a fascinating extra-terrestrial occurrence, there is no concrete evidence that this event is prophetic.
Visitors to the Land of Enchantment might enjoy knowing that New Mexico is a sunny place, where residents spend a lot of time outdoors. Following are some outdoor sites that might interest a traveler.
Since 1975, when Lyme Disease was first discovered near Old Lyme, Connecticut, the illness has spread to every continent except Antarctica.
Fig trees can be found growing in many tropical and sub-tropical regions of the world, where much religious significance is attributed to the actual plant and fruit.
Not only does stardust play an important role in adding to the diversity of elements found on our planet, but also, it enriches our poetic lamguage in describing our existence on this unusual planet.
Youtube and the internet abound with all kinds of Christmas music videos. Here are a few of my favorites that I would like to share with you.
You don't have to be a college dropout to be a successful writer. Here is a short work at a few who have created their best work, while employed at a major college or university.
Successful writers have come from all walks of life. Some writers such as Mark Twain, never attended college, while others, including Jack Kerouac and Jack London, dropped out of their academic studies for a variety of reasons.
When the Pilgrims arrived in the New World, they were taught how to survive by the Indians, who had lived in the area for a very long time. However, at the time of contact, the world of the Native Americans was very complex and diverse.
Maine has over 60 lighthouses located along its rocky coastline. They come in all sizes and shapes and offer visitors numerous opportunities to admire these popular seaside towers.
A look at the lives of some of our most popular and cherished authors, indicates that a college education is not a pre-requisite for achieving literary success. Here is a quick look at a few who succeeded without attending an institution of higher learning.
Taos is a fascinating Northern New Mexico town that features many intriguing activities and events for casual visitors. Included are a brief description of three hiking trails located in the Taos area.
The Iowa State Capitol building has a large central dome that is covered with 23 karat gold. The four surrounding spires are decorated with long thin lines construed from the same material.
Of all the common names applied to plants and animals, none may be more confusing than the term "cedar".
Waterloo, which is located near Grant Wood's birthplace, has an attractive arts center that houses a small collection of Grant Wood's artwork.
In 1964 Ken Kesey, Neal Cassady and the Merry Pranksters, painted up an old school bus and went on a wild cross country tour. Recently, a documentary feature film has been made for public viewing.