March 25, 2009

Elmer Fudd's Brother

Yes, it's true. Elmer has a brother named Fuzzy Fudd, but only in Dell Comics' Four Color #1131 ( Sept-Nov 1960), so it doesn't really count. It's kind of like how one of Chuck Jones' disciplines for The Road Runner was that he never talks, but yet in the comics he not only talks but he says everything in rhyming meter. Why was there such a disconnect between the comics and the cartoons anyway? I mean I'm pretty sure someone in the coloring department could have taken a few minutes to verify that Daffy Duck's neck ring is not blue but white. Still, this is a pretty fun story, if only for the unintentional raciness of the panel I've posted above.

March 24, 2009

Hembeck Birthday Booty

Bright and early yesterday morning, my friendly neighborhood FedEx guy delivered a birthday present, The Nearly Complete Essential Hembeck Archives Omnibus. 900 pages of Fred's illustrated homages to the comics he grew up loving and loves still, currently priced at $16.49 on ( what a bargain!). No one is going to accuse Hembeck of being a great comic book artist, and to be sure he has written more than a few cringe worthy jokes in his day, but what makes his work appealing to me is that, through his strips, he vividly expresses the sheer joy that one can derive from being a comics fan. I bet that, like me, he has a special fondness for the smell of old comics. He isn't embarrassed to admit liking Harveys and Dell Four Colors. He knows who Pete Ross is. He's like an old friend, and I know I am going to be treasuring this b-day gift ( with the possible aid of a magnifying glass) for many years to come. Here are a few strips that aren't included in the book, from various DC comics from 1979-81.

March 23, 2009

An Incomplete List Of My Compositions

Speaking of music, it is now officially my 36th birthday, and to celebrate, I am going to spend a few minutes recalling the titles of most of the songs I have written since I was a young pup. I am doing this for two reasons. One, I think it will be a helpful exercise, especially since I intend to begin recording new demoes within the month. I have an opportunity to visit my true muses this coming weekend, and while I am in Alabama, I will be retrieving my trusty axe. Two, I just wonder how many songs I have written. It has been a long 20 years. Ok, here goes:

1. Typhoon In C Minor

(only classical composition, won first prize at Wayne County Fair, circa 1990)

2. Tropical Man

3. Rick O'Shay

4. I Love You More Everyday

5. Shake For Me Susan

6. Let's Dance In The Nude

(heavily inspired by Randy Newman's piano stylings)

7. Thinking Of Greta

8. Full Tank Of Gas

9. I Am Rising

( a song written at the onset of puberty, naturally)

10. Welfare Cadillac

11. Goodbye Dixie Queen

(written for my mom, who always dreamed of visiting Mardi Gras)

12. I'll Get By

13. I'll Be Your Friend

14. Too Late

15. Blessings Keep Falling

16. He Came

(previous three were gospel compositions, lyrics by high school mate Jon Easom)

17. When Are You Coming Home?

18. The Ballad Of The Repo Man

19. Where Are You Hiding?

20. Oh! Fatima

21. Black Sea Shag

(written after the infamous Valdez oil spill)

22. Kelly Green

23. Song For Neil Young

24. Tilt-A-Whirl

25. Teach Me To Dance

(Originally a waltz, later a midtempo country shuffle)

26. Every Word You Say

27. Corruption

28. Coupe De Ville

29. Love Arrows

30. James Brown

31. Love Will Make You Crazy

32. I Wish You Would

33. It's A Shame

34. Sugah Beah

35. Mornin'

36. Silverfish

37. Red Clay Rambler

38. Chicken Pot Pie

(previous 6 are instrumental compositions)

39. Cookin' For Two

(Only song written specifically for a female vocalist, written with Alison Krauss in mind)

40. Country Jones

41. Miss Alabama

42. Grenadine

43. Heartache Medicine

44. Waffle House Willie

(written about a Waffle House flashing incident, my first proper collaboration, lyrics co-written by Bobby Joe Beckley and Mike McLaughlin)

45. These Damn Ole Blue Suede Shoes

46. Ducks In A Row

47. Meriweather

48. Three Shades Of Red

49. Welcome To The Great Big World

(written to commemorate my first daughter Josie's birth, lyrics completed after my second daughter Abby's birth)

50. Tripping Over The Moon

51. Nothing's Gonna Change My World

52. He Sings A Song ( aka The Carpenter)

53. Labor Day

54. The Ghost Of Me

55. Christmas Cheer

56. King Of Nothing

57. Central Standard Time

58. Sunshine Sunshine

(A great little tune, the lyrics to which I managed to lose 2 days after writing it...GRRRRR!)

59. Baby's Got A Gun

(no relation to Aerosmith's "Janie's Got A Gun")

60. Smokin' And Drinkin'

61. Abilene

62. Just Another One Of Her Fools

Whew, talk about naked baby photos. This probably represents about a quarter of my total output, counting unfinished compositions. Most of these songs will never be recorded properly and only exist as fragments in my head, but some of them may make their way out into the world at some point in the not-too-distant future. I have notebooks in Alabama, and when I retrieve them I will update this list, mostly for my own edification.

John Mellencamp On The State Of The Music Business

Over at Huffpost, music legend John Mellencamp confirms exactly what I have thought about the shoddy state of affairs in the music industry for a long time now. Time was, true talent could take one pretty far in the arts and entertainment field, but the times they have a-changed. As a still-unpublished songsmith, it is tremendously cathartic to read John's profound and courageous words. After all, identifying a problem is the first step in solving it.

March 22, 2009

Basil Wolverton's Culture Corner

It is hoped that reading Easily Mused on a regular basis will help you to deal with the challenges of the "real world". To this end, today I am sharing 10 examples of Basil Wolverton's "Culture Corner" strip, all carefully culled from collectible copies of Whiz Comics. If you read and heed these screeds with due speed, your bean will be keener.

And Now A Word From Our Sponsor...

March 20, 2009

Wonder Wart-Hog Goes On Welfare!

According to a recent Associated Press story, unemployment rose in 99.7% of the 372 metropolitan areas tracked by the Labor Department at the beginning of the year. The unemployment rate could reach 10% by the end of the year, and so today I'm sharing one of Gilbert Shelton's still timely comix, in which his super-hero parody Wonder Wart-Hog goes on the dole. Laugh it up, people!

From Rip Off Comix #1 (April 1977)

March 18, 2009

The Last Days Of Superman!

This story appeared in the pages of Superman #66 (Sept-Oct 1950) and was written by William Woolfolk, pencilled by Al Plastino, and inked by Stan Kaye. A little tidbit of trivia about Woolfolk: As chief scriptwriter of the 60's courtroom drama "The Defenders", he wrote one of the first stories concerning birth control ("All The Silent Voices").

Up Periscope!

Easily Mused started as a songwriting blog, a place to showcase my musical wares, a few years ago. I have been studying the craft of music for over 20 years. For many years, my obligations hindered my efforts to pursue songwriting as a full-time career. It was only two years ago, after having written about a thousand songs, that I felt accomplished enough to share my compositions. I taught myself how to use recording software, plugged in my mic and got to work. I got a lot of good feedback from an online songwriting forum and I had some moderate success with a few of my songs on Unfortunately, my work was again stalled due to a major life event, in this case, separation from my wife. I returned to my home and job ( as a dueling piano player) in Raleigh almost a year ago. Since that time, I have not recorded a note of music. Soon that will change. I intend to resume recording demos in the very near future, and I am hoping this blog will be a good place to disseminate this work and attract notice. I have no desire to be a celebrity or become a kazillionaire from my music. I write songs because I am a songwriter. I have things to say and I love songcraft. I love melodies and harmonies and interesting chords and chord progressions. I want to write songs as good as the songs written by my musical heroes, people like Stevie Wonder, Paul McCartney, Andy Partridge, Randy Newman, and Harry Nilsson, to name just a few. There will still be comics here, but I am about to broaden the scope of this blog. I want to make it more personal. I want to include more stuff about music, movies, and social issues. In short, I want this blog to be a record of what goes on inside of my mind, what influences my art, what inspires me as I move through this world. I might even write a song for you. Who knows? Peace!