Sara Smile


Gentleman Jack and the first 45rpm single pairing! “Sara Smile” for my cousin Sara. Love you cousin always, rest in peace dear.

Sara requested a pairing when she mailed me her and Dave’s collection of 45’s this past July. It was her request that since I don’t typically make 45 pairings, that I use a small airplane bottle of Jack…. unfortunatley, that would hardly suffice, with the pain I’m feeling now that she’s gone. So here it is from her collection a 45 of ‪#‎sarasmile‬ by ‪#‎hallandoates‬. I’ll always remember your smile cuz.

The Impossible Dream

The Impossible DreamUshers Green Stripe Blended Scotch Whiskey and My Fathers’ Favorite Albums

To dream … the impossible dream …
To fight … the unbeatable foe …
To bear … with unbearable sorrow …
To run … where the brave dare not go …
To right … the unrightable wrong …
To love … pure and chaste from afar …
To try … when your arms are too weary …
To reach … the unreachable star …

This is my quest, to follow that star …
No matter how hopeless, no matter how far …
To fight for the right, without question or pause …
To be willing to march into Hell, for a Heavenly cause …

And I know if I’ll only be true, to this glorious quest,
That my heart will lie will lie peaceful and calm,
when I’m laid to my rest …
And the world will be better for this:
That one man, scorned and covered with scars,
Still strove, with his last ounce of courage,
To reach … the unreachable star …

Don’t Say No

Don't Say No-wm1981’s Don’t Say No by Billy Squier and a circa 1842 Czech Pilsner Urquell

pilsner urquellSolid as a rock! This pilsner and this album are both stead fast, true, simple and to the point. There’s no bull shit with either of these classic works of art. Bragging rights for being the first pilsner in the world, the Czech Republic truly knows how to make a quality brew and as far as pilsners go, this is still my favorite. Since 1842, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. I think if they ever tried to change the recipe, there would probably be a revolution.

Urquell essentially translates to “original source” and I’d have to think that Mr Billy Squier tapped into a bit of the original source when creating this masterpiece of the 1980’s. I’m not ashamed to admit it at all, that I loved this album from the first time I heard it back in 1981. Throw in some classic MTV and this album is made of memories for me from a very impressionable age. Start to finish, every song on this vinyl is rock and roll perfection. Straight ahead, never blurring the meaning, well okay maybe a double entendre or two with songs like “The Stroke” but it’s the deep cuts where this album shines. “In the Dark”, “Too Daze Gone”, “Lonely is the Night” and “Nobody Knows”; every song is classic rock goodness.

DSN-vinylIf you want to reminisce back to the classic days of MTV, Billy Squier and this album had a pretty good foothold in that era and it surely does the job. Billy made a few more great albums but this one was certainly the masterpiece out of them all. It’s an album that I still cherish in the vinyl collection and break it out from time to time when I need a straight ahead rock and roll fix. Billy Squier’s Don’t Say No delivers. While you’re at it, grab yourself the original pilsner and turn them both up!
Till next time!
Na zdraví, which means cheers in Czech!

dont say no back

7 Deadly Zins

Fathers and Sons

A 2010 Lodi Appellation Zinfandel & Muddy Waters Fathers & Sons

Somewhere within the realm songs within “Fathers and Sons” as well as most classic blues albums, there is going to be a reference to at least one of the seven deadly sins as listed in Christian ethics. It’s a pretty bad pun that they used to name this wine but there actually is some meaning behind it. The grapes that go into 7 Deadly Zins come from seven different growers in the Lodi region. It’s not clear if the concept came first or the name but either way the results are actually quite amazing for this fairly inexpensive bottle of Zinfandel. Average price around $14.00.

7-Zins-WMThe wine truly was a surprise. Typically Zinfandel’s are not my first choice when selecting a wine but I have to admit the name concept caught my eye and I thought it could make a cool pairing with an appropriate vinyl. The wine is surprisingly smooth, not too sweet and the spicy notes that are typically found in a Zin are balanced amazingly. There’s a zip to this zin that you don’t normally get in a single grape zin. It had a supple cinnamon like front that was balanced by a full bodied grape that would go well with many meals. I truly enjoyed this wine!

When you glance at Don WIlson’s take on Michelangelo’s design on the Sistine Chapel, something somewhat angelically cool is obviously taking place on the cover of Fathers and Sons and if you dig the blues, then the same vibe is also pressed onto this wax. The album features both studio and live recordings recorded in April 1969 with an all-star band including Michael Bloomfield and Paul Butterfield of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Donald “Duck” Dunn of Booker T. & the M.G.’s and Sam Lay in Chicago, Illinois. This double LP gate fold vinyl is a testament to the way the blues should be heard.


The blues of Muddy Waters is timeless and epic. It’s the vocabulary and the soul of rock and roll. The attitude, the feeling and the spirit. Any student musician that claims to have mastered improvisation without some reference to the blues is missing a big piece of the heart in my opinion. In fact I would dare say that you can’t master improvisation in any style of music without at least a minor study and appreciation of the blues.

chess labelLust, Gluttony, Greed, Sloth. Wrath, Envy & Pride. In many ways, they are the vocabulary of the blues when you think about it. I think you need at least one of these sinful elements to have a decent blues song anyway. I’d have to believe that’s why in the past it was often referenced to as the Devil’s music by many that never bothered to look below the surface. The blues are something everyone needs a little taste of from time to be human. Much like dealing with the 7, you can do your best to avoid them but no person is completely without them and this my friends is why we all have the blues.

muddyMany think the blues are all about sad, these people truly don’t understand the music of the blues or they just aren’t capable of feeling anything below the surface. The blues run deep. The blues are both joy and they are sad but mostly, it’s something that  just makes you feel better and that’s the whole point. Kind of like tasting a bit of fine wine.

Ask anyone, anywhere, if they’ve ever had to deal with at least one of the seven deadly sins and if they say no, they’re either lying or they’re not human. I believe the blues is much the same. It’s unavoidable if you want to understand how to feel anything.

Does the name of the wine level up to the size of the pun used to market it? Yes, I believe it did and did so very well. Until next time! Relish in the joy my friends!

Burnin’ & Lootin’ with Campo Viejo Rioja

1973’s Burnin’ by The Wailers and a 2010 Campo Viejo Rioja Tempranillo

 It happens from time to time. I go deep into reggae and it’s all I want to listen to for a while. Now is one of those times. I’ve been on a reggae tear for about a week and a half now and Bob Marley, Jimmy Cliff, Easy Star All Stars, Peter Tosh, Culture & many many more have been spinning in the air lately. Reggae music is music that you can’t be sad and listen to. It’s music that puts a smile on your face and a boogie in your bones. It just truly makes you feel good, it’s heart and soul fire music for sure.

The Wailer’s album Burnin’ is one of the finest testaments to definitive reggae there is. In 2003, the album was ranked number 319 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. Containing the hits “Get Up Stand Up”, “I Shot the Sheriff”, “Burnin’ & Lootin’ ” as well as the classic “Duppy Conqueror”; it’s an album filled with pure reggae bliss. Marley’s music has always touched my soul, so much so that I went out-of-the-way while in Jamaica to visit his birthplace and mausoleum in the town  of Nine Mile in St. Ann’s Parrish to pay homage to this gentle soul of a song smith. It was an afternoon that will stay with be the rest of my days. A gentle soul for a gentle wine.

The Campo Viejo Rioja Tempranillo has a classic soft palate that is truly gentle and swaying. Smooth is not even the best word to describe this caress of light vanilla ripples that linger in this wines finish. It retains a ripe and zesty spice that stays somewhat in the background allowing the wines mellow nature to stand out as the main presence of body. I’d recommend this wine with truly high regard and I’m eager to try other vintages and grapes from their vineyard to learn more about them. Check them out on Facebook, they have a great following and add truly great content to their page, although I’ll warn you, all their posts are in Spanish, as it should be. :)

So there it is, tonights winesday pairing  to start us out in September. Until next time, I reccomend you add some reggae to each and every day and keep the grapes in moderation while truly loving this life and taking inspiration from everywhere, everyone and everything. I leave you with some lyrics from Bob:

“Be not selfish in your doings
Pass It On
help your brothers in their needs
Pass It On

Live for yourself and you will live in vain
Live for others and you will live again”