News & Rambling

News & Rambling

Christmas classic, or, Birdwatching by-product

“Jingle Bells”, also known as “One Horse Open Sleigh”, is one of the best known and commonly sung secular Christmas songs in the world. It was written by James Lord Pierpont (1822–1893) and copyrighted under the title ‘One Horse Open Sleigh’ on September 16, 1857. The song has been translated into many languages. The Singing Dogs version was originally created by Danish recording engineer Carl Weissmann who discovered, while editing the sounds of barking dogs out of birdsong recordings, that perhaps dogs can sing as well.. Awesome guitar solo added later, in the United States.

Jingle Bells performed by the Singing Dogs
Words and Music by James Lord Pierpont

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The Nightlife: Episodes 1-5

Screen Shot 2019-10-25 at 12.53.26 AM

The Nightlife is a weekly playlist based on what I think it’d sound like if I had a free-form midnight radio show. I look at this like I’ve rolled into the radio station to have the best time of my life playing great records in sequence and hearing the beautiful stories they tell each other across time. Another way to think of it, is like I just sent you two 90 minute mixtapes in the mail. And of course you don’t have to listen at midnight. You can listen anytime.


As I understand it, Spotify Premium members can listen to these shows complete and in order, whereas Spotify Free users can listen to a shuffled version of each playlist with added commercials and missing the songs only allocated for premium members.

The Nightlife: Episode 1 – 10/5/19

The Nightlife: Episode 2 – 10/12/19

The Nightlife: Episode 3 – 10/19/19

The Nightlife: Episode 4 – 10/26/19

The Nightlife: Episode 5 – 11/4/19

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Mac Davis, hit songwriter

Morris Mac Davis, known as Mac Davis (January 21, 1942 – September 29, 2020), was a country music singer and songwriter originally from Lubbock, Texas who has enjoyed much pop music crossover success. He became one of the most successful country singers of the 1970s and 1980s. He is also an actor.

“It’s Hard to Be Humble” Words and Music by Mac Davis

Performed by Mac Davis and Jim Henson

“Baby Don’t Get Hooked on Me” Words and Music by Mac Davis Performed by Mac Davis

“I Believe In Music” Words and Music by Mac Davis Performed by Cliff Richard and Nana Mouskouri

In The Ghetto Words and Music by Mac Davis

Performed by Mac Davis

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The Sherman Brothers, monsters of Disney songwriting

The Sherman Brothers are Academy Award-winning American songwriters who specialize in musical films. They are Robert B. Sherman (born December 19, 1925) and Richard M. Sherman (born June 12, 1928). The Sherman Brothers wrote more motion picture musical song scores than any other songwriting team in history, working for Walt Disney during the last six years of his life. Film scores of the Sherman Brothers include Mary Poppins, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The Jungle Book, The Aristocats and The Tigger Movie.

“Jolly Holiday” Words and Music by Robert Sherman and Richard Sherman

Performed by Dick Van Dyke, Julie Andrews, & ensemble From the film “Mary Poppins”

“I Wan’na Be Like You” Words and Music by Robert Sherman and Richard Sherman

Performed by Louis Prima From the film “The Jungle Book”

“It’s a Small World” Words and Music by Robert Sherman and Richard Sherman

Narrated by Walt Disney

“Let’s Get Together” Words and Music by Robert Sherman and Richard Sherman

Performed by Hayley Mills & Hayley Mills From the film “The Parent Trap”

“On The Front Porch” Words and Music by Robert Sherman and Richard Sherman

Performed by Burl Ives From the film “Summer Magic”

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Fats Waller, American Mozart

Fats Waller (born Thomas Wright Waller on May 21, 1904, died December 15, 1943) was an American jazz pianist, singer, songwriter, organist, and composer. Widely recognized as a master of stride piano — Waller was one of the most popular performers of his era, finding critical and commercial success in his homeland and in Europe. A masterful instrumentalist as well as singer, Waller was prolific as a recording artist and bandleader. Despite his litany of credited hits, he is rumored to have written several more standards which he “sold” to other songwriters.

“Joint Is Jumpin'” performed by Fats Waller

Words and Music by Fats Waller, Andy Razaf, J.C. Johnson

“Squeeze Me” performed by Mildred Bailey & Her Alley Cats

Words and Music by Fats Waller & Clarence Williams

“Ain’t Misbehavin'” performed by Sammy Davis, Jr.

Words and Music by Fats Waller & Andy Razaf

“Honeysuckle Rose” performed by Anita O’Day with the Buddy DeFranco Quartet

Words and Music by Fats Waller, Andy Razaf, & Harry Brooks

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Books I’ve read this year.

I started this list because I have a website and I wanted to put something on it in case anyone bothered to visit it and wondered what I was up to. This list of books idea is really Art Garfunkel’s, he’s basically my hero. He sings, reads, and takes walks. That’s the life.

Sophie Collins – Who Is Mary Sue?

Joan Didion – Run, River

Marisha Pessl – Special Topics In Calamity Physics

Toni Morrison – Tar Baby

Lynda Obst – Hello, He Lied

Lillian Ross – Picture

Maya Angelou – I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings

Swami Vishnuvenada – The Complete Illustrated Book of Yoga

Milt Josefsberg – The Jack Benny Show

Herman Melville – Moby Dick

Sidney Lumet – Making Movies

S.E. Hinton – Hawke’s Harbor

Herman Melville – Typee

— Updated 12/4/2019 —

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Carole King & Gerry Goffin, hit songwriters

Carole King (born February 9, 1942) is an American singer, songwriter, and pianist. King has won four Grammy Awards and has been inducted into both the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for her songwriting, along with long-time partner Gerry Goffin.

Gerry Goffin (born February 11, 1939) is an American lyricist. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990 with former songwriting partner, Carole King, in 1990. Marrying Carole King in 1960, he and his wife together pursued a successful song writing career, notably as part of the famous Brill Building song writing team. Their breakthrough hit was 1961’s “Will You Love Me Tomorrow?”, which was recorded by The Shirelles and later, Dusty Springfield. Although they divorced in 1968, the two continued to work together for some years afterwards.

“(You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman” performed by Aretha Franklin

Words and Music by Carole King, Gerry Goffin, & Gerry Wexler

“Don’t Bring Me Down” performed by The Animals

Words and Music by Carole King and Gerry Goffin

“Up on the Roof” performed by Viola Wills

Words and Music by Carole King and Gerry Goffin

“Pleasant Valley Sunday” performed by The Monkees

Words and Music by Carole King and Gerry Goffin

“Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” performed by Carole King & James Taylor

Words and Music by Carole King and Gerry Goffin

“One Fine Day” performed by The Chiffons (Carole King, piano)

Words and Music by Carole King and Gerry Goffin

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Auto reverse: In praise of the mysterious WPAT – 104.7 FM mixtape


Since September of 2018, 104.7FM WPAT, Patterson, New Jersey, has been broadcasting an inspiring group of songs about New York City from the top of One World Trade Center.


  1. New York State of Mind – Billy Joel
    1. “Best of luck for a great season to the New York Jets from the top of 1 World Trade Center”
  2. Rockaway Beach – The Ramones
  3. Living for the City – Stevie Wonder
    1. “Brooklyn, this one’s for you, from the top of One World Trade Center…”
  4. Jenny From the Block – Jennifer Lopez
  5. Give My Regards to Broadway – James Cagney
  6. Stayin’ Alive – Bee Gees
  7. The Rising – Bruce Springsteen
    1. “To the New York Mets, this is for you sluggers…”
  8. Harlem Blues – Nat “King” Cole
    1. “Edison, New Jersey, this one’s for you from 104.7 FM”
  9. Harlem Shuffle – Bob & Earl
  10. Take the ‘A’ Train – Duke Ellington & His Orchestra
    1. This goes out to you Yankee fans
  11. New York City Serenade – Bruce Springsteen
  12. Daddy Don’t Live In That New York City No More – Steely Dan
  13. New York City Rhythm – Barry Manilow
  14. Englishman In New York – Sting
    1. “C.B. & Katie, this one’s for you, from high atop One World Trade Center…”
  15. Miami 2017 (Seen The Lights Go Out On Broadway) – Billy Joel
  16. Angel of Harlem – U2
  17. Uptown – The Crystals
    1. Best of luck to the New York Giants…
  18. The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway – Genesis
  19. Lullaby of Broadway – 42nd Street Ensemble & Jerry Ohrbach
  20. On Broadway – George Benson
  21. Hard Times In New York Town – Bob Dylan
  22. Nights on Broadway – Bee Gees
    1. “Do you know how Staten Island got its name? This one’s for you, from high atop One World Trade Center…”
  23. Manhattan – Ella Fitzgerald
  24. Empire State of Mind – Jay-Z featuring Alicia Keys
  25. Theme from “New York, New York” – Frank Sinatra
  26. Spanish Harlem – Ben E. King
  27. Shattered – The Rolling Stones
    1. “Here’s to a great season for the New York Giants…”
  28. Rhapsody In Blue – George Gershwin
  29. Harlem Shuffle – Rolling Stones
    1. “Asbury Park, this one’s for you, from high atop One World Trade Center…”
  30. On Broadway – The Drifters
  31. Chelsea Morning –  Joni Mitchell
  32. The 59th St. Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy) – Simon & Garfunkel

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Keep it on. Forever. Please. Please. Please. Please.

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Copyright 2014 Alex Battles.