Functional Strength/Core

I have been getting over a it of a chest cold this week so I have been very hesitant to do any serious outdoor workouts…hell, any workouts really.

I have however drank a lot of beer courtesy of Brimstone Brewing.

Anyway, I took the opportunity today as I have a bonus day off work today to hit the gym and complete a minute functional strength/core set with a complimentary   minute pool run afterwards.  The soundtrack this afternoon for my upstairs routine of planks, “tipping birds”, step-up’s and medicine ball push-ups is the legendary ‘Live at the Apollo‘  album by James Brown & The Fabulous Flames.


This album as been on my “To Find” list of records for some time but, today, I couldn’t wait any longer and decided to listen to the digital files instead thinking, hey, why not?

As far as The Hardest Working Man in Show Business” is concerned, this is his seminal album recorded at the Apollo Theater in Harlem and released in 1963. In 2003, the album was ranked #25 (24 in 2012) on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the ‘500 Greatest Albums of All Time.  In 2004, it was one of 50 recordings chosen that year by the Library of Congress to be added to the National Recording Registry. In 1998, this album was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame and – most importantly – my own Bible (Mojo, August 1995) ranks it at #32.

‘Live at the Apollo’ was recorded on the night of October 24, 1962 at Brown’s own expense. Although not credited on the album cover or label, Brown’s vocal group, The Famous Flames (Bobby Byrd, Bobby Bennett, and Lloyd Stallworth), played an important co-starring role in the album, and are included with Brown by M.C. Fats Gonder in the album’s intro. Brown’s record label, King Records, originally opposed releasing the album, believing that a live album featuring no new songs would not be profitable.

The label finally relented under pressure from Brown and his manager Bud Hobgood and…thank GOD for that!

To King’s surprise, ‘Live at the Apollo’ was an amazingly rapid seller. It spent 66 weeks on the Billboard Top Pop Albums chart, peaking at #2. Many record stores, especially in the southeast US, found themselves unable to keep up with the demand for the product, eventually ordering several cases at a time. R&B disc jockeys often would play Side 1 in its entirety, pausing (usually to insert commercials) only to return to play Side 2 in full as well.

Fortunately, I got to listen to it all in 100% of it’s full glory.  Hit follows hit without a pause – ‘I’ll Go Crazy‘, ‘Try Me’, ‘Think‘, ‘Please Please Please‘, ‘I Don’t Mind’, ‘Night Train‘, and more.

It’s certainly a fun and incredibly enjoyable listen and my search for this on vinyl goes on…

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Very Easy Run (5.10k)

I’ll be honest, I have no motivation to run today.

Really, I have no motivation to run any day but today more than others, so the fact I even got out for this 5.10k very easy run is the real and only victory, and that victory – minute as it was – was set to the tune of the ‘Antidotes‘  album by The Foals.


Although Oxford, England’s alternative rock darlings didn’t release their debut full-length, ‘Antidotes‘, until the spring of 2008, they had already begun to make quite a name for themselves, thanks to the British singles ‘Hummer‘ and ‘Mathletics‘, and successful dates in the U.S. the preceding fall; meaning, of course, that the anticipation for the record had plenty of time to grow.

Fortunately, Antidotes is able to live up to the hype – critically speaking.

Personally, I was rather unimpressed.

I mean, it wasn’t total Shit List material, but it was close; certainly nowhere near the awesomeness that was ‘What Went Down‘ from 2015.  Maybe it was the large fluffy snowflakes falling down that lulled me into a false sense of peacefulness and serenity but, really, it was…


Like I said, I got out and ran…mostly.

So let’s just leave it at that and give this album a pass.

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It’s another ridiculously early morning rise and shine today (4:00am), especially if I want to get this Day 68 of the “Core Project” bullshit over with prior to another long day of riding around playing second fiddle to the Supreme Bug Guy.  Anyway, today’s stupid early morning workout is set to this self-titled album by The Spitfire Band.


This is the debut 1981 album by the popular (to everyone else at the time besides me that is) 80’s Toronto-based Canadiana big band.

I picked this record up for $2.00 at The White Whale…The White Rhino…The White Hippo…The White-something anyway…in Niagara Falls, Ontario between jobs a week or so ago.  I paid for it with the money I had left over from my morning coffee and Tim Horton’s Farmer’s breakfast sandwich which, for the record, was completely uneatable; no farmer would ever eat this shit.

Anyhow, seeing as how I now know who the Spitfire Band actually were, when I saw this album in a crate in the back corner of the small store just laying there all unrecognized and unappreciated n’ shit, I ran out to the ‘ol Bug Truck and fished the two Loonies out of the change cup.

I guess I considered this as my “good deed for the day”.

Besides being some pretty good big band swing music to begin the day, it also has an airplane on the cover so that’s pretty awesome…especially at the ass crack of dawn this while planking in my underwear and Toby the “Morning Crack Cat” is back to his ‘ol early morning crackie-self, vibrating around me like a fart in a windstorm.

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Vinyl Sunday

Tonight, we’re cooking up some fresh lamb chops we picked up from the St. Jacob’s Farmer’s Market with grilled asparagus and some nice herb-flavored rice.  Afterwards, we visited one of my personal haunts back when I lived in Waterloo, Ontario as a Medieval History student at the University of Waterloo, Orange Monkey Music.

It’s always a treat is visit this particular record store and today HRH found a really nifty album to add to her collection, the ‘Dubber Side of the Moon‘  album by the New York City based Easy Star All-Stars.


For numerous reasons, reggae crossover successes are an all-too-rare thing.

New York label Easy Star’s well-judged 2003 reworking of Pink Floyd‘s million-selling album was one – and this follow-up remix set repeats the trick of being equally accessible whether you care for the source material or not.

There will be plenty of reggae fans who likely will still blanch at the original concept – myself among them – and as many who will see that ventures like this bring new listeners into the fold. But whatever you think of Pink Floyd or modern dub, these versions are never boring. This second re-imagining rightly uses its predecessor as a launch pad while keeping the Floyd’s uniquely ambivalent overall mood, but allows the re-mixers ideas to take flight.

As far as HRH  is concerned, it’s fun, different and extremely interesting and even Kelly doesn’t disagree.

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It’s 6:30am and I’m up.

I guess that’s what happens when you go to bed at 9:30pm on a Friday Night.

Anyway, the girls are obviously still sleeping so I’m going to quickly accomplish my Day 67 of the “Core Project” in peace along with one of the few remaining ¢0.75 records from the great flea market haul a few weeks back, the ‘A Musical Offering by…‘  album from Don Elliott.


I’m also classifying this record as Day 28 of the 31 Day Record Challenge, ‘A record that features the word “Music” in the title…

This “cool jazz” album was recorded in June of 1956 and released on the ABC-Paramount label.  Interestingly, whoever owned this particular record previously bought it from the now defunct Eaton’s department store, judging by the “Price tag not to be removed for exchange” sticker on the cover.

The album was produced by Creed Taylor, who had just arrived there from Bethlehem Records. On seven of the tunes, the sextet consisted of Don Elliott (on everything from the mellophone to the vibes to the french horn that he is so proudly balancing on his hip) Herbie Mann (tenor sax, flute), Al Cohn (tenor/baritone sax), Joe Puma (guitar), Vinnie Burke (base) and Osie Johnson (drums). The remaining five songs featured baritone saxophonist Sol Schlinger, who replaced Cohn.

So a bunch of old jazz guys.

Oh, and Quincy Jones wrote all the arrangements.

What all this means then is that Don Elliott (in all three  cases no less) has proven to be extremely excellent and easy-going on the mat morning music.  It’s swinging, it’s cool, it’s fun, it’s the very essence of hip and uber-cheesy Exotica jazz.

It was so much fun I was even inspired to break up the normal routine of two minute planks, crunches, and whatnot, and incorporate difference exercises ultimately meaning my usual 20 minute routine ended  up being a whole two minutes longer…


I know, right?

Go me!

And so with this major feat now accomplished, I’m refocusing my attention to breakfast while the girls are still sleeping, before we all pack ourselves up and head towards Waterloo, Ontario to visit friends, browse home baked pastries and deli meat the St. Jacobs Farmers Market and, of course, peeking in briefly at the Orange Monkey Music because, well, just because…

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I had grand illusions of being up early to attend the “Booty Camp” at the St. Catharines YMCA with Tamara (click HERE) but, a) I’m sick, and b) I wanted to sleep in.

And I’m ultimately glad I opted for the “roll over” option in the end as I sure could do with at least one sleep-in per week…at least past 8:00am that is.

However there’s no excuse for me to not complete Day 65 of the “Core Project” with more Goodwill Hunting goodness from the Port Colborne Goodwill*, this ‘Mood Music for Beer & Pretzels‘  album by Lou Stein and his Bar-Room Boys.


This 1957 album on the Masterseal Records label is simply the ¢0.25 deal of the century solely because, hey, it’s good mood music for beer and pretzels!

Who wouldn’t want that as part of their Cornball collection of records?

Not this fucking guy!

Lou Stein was prominent American jazz and boogie-woogie pianist.

Here’s the Wiki skinny:

Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Stein’s first major gig came in 1942 when he joined Ray McKinley’s band.  He also played with Glenn Miller when the latter was stateside during World War II.

After the war he worked with Charlie Ventura (1946–47) and following this became a session musician. He performed with the Lawson-Haggart Band, Benny Goodman, Sarah Vaughan, the Sauter-Finegan Orchestra, Louie Bellson, Red Allen, Coleman Hawkins, and Lester Young, and recorded a few records as a bandleader. In 1957 he scored a U.S. Top 40 hit with ‘Almost Paradise’, which peaked at #31 on the Billboard Hot 100. His cover of ‘Got A Match’ made the Cashbox Top 60 in 1958. He continued recording into the 1990s.

So, yeah, not a bad spend for a quarter and while I’m not currently drinking beer or eating pretzels, there’s a very good real chance that I might be drinking beer and eating pretzels here at home in the near future and when that situation does transpire…


I’ll sure be set boy!

*Seriously, I might have to create a dedicated tag for this place given how many awesome cheap records I have found there!
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Thursday Evening Vinyl

I’m not sure who to blame this evening for the rather unfavorable outdoor riding conditions, Old Man Winter or Mother Nature, but whoever it is can sure bite the big one.

The upshot then is that I can stay home while Kelly puts the final touches on our meatloaf dinner and we can listen to the ‘Hysterical‘  album by Clap Your Hands Say Yeah.


I’ll be straight with you: I have no fucking idea who Clap Your Hands Say Yeah are.


Band name…


Needless to say I didn’t have high expectations for the record aside from I could use it to check off Day 26 of my 31 Day Record Challenge; ‘A colored record (not black)…

(It’s Robin’s Egg blue)

Big whoop.

This record entered our collection as a random freebie handout from Uncle Lance eons ago.  I doubt he even knew who they were himself, and since he had two or three of them still to sell on Ebay, one generously made it’s way into my hands and the time to check it out is now apparently which, coincidentally, also happens to be while I’m actually talking to Uncle Lance on the phone.

The world is funny that way.

‘Hysterical’  is actually the third album by the Philly-Brooklyn Indie rockers, released on September 12th, 2011on the Wichita label, and that’s about all I can tell you since, well, I was talking to Uncle Lance.

Nothing immediately struck me a s being all “Wow! Holy Shit, this is awesome!” upon listening to it but, truthfully, I wasn’t paying much attention so I will definitely have to spin in another spin a bit later on to evaluate whether it is a) any good, and b) worth keeping in the collection.

Stay tuned record fans….

(Edited: 03/10/18)

Okay, I gave this another listen while the girls are getting ready and I’m cleaning the litter boxes.

(Never let it be said that I don’t take full advantage of making the most out of my domestic responsibilities)

The ultimate verdict:  it’s good.

It’s not like WOW! good, but smart, clever and in the right moment a very catchy album.  The title track and ‘Mispent Youth‘ in particular are good tracks and there is a genuine unique flavor throughout the record that makes this a good record to represent and reflect a more, well, shall we say “modern” Indie sound to my record collection; eclectic bastard that I am.

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