Archives for posts with tag: Ray Guy

Nothing beats beginning again in sports.  Yes, championships are fun…and watching great players excel is pretty cool, but a new regime is like that new car.  It’s a smell you can’t recapture no matter how many memorable trips you make.  This month the Redskins will enjoy that new coach smell– just like they did with Marty Schottenheimer (CAMP MARTY!  Finally a coach with backbone!), Steve Spurrier (OSAKA!), Joe Gibbs II (Back to the 80’s!), Mike Shanahan (FINALLY– they’re doing things the right way!) and even Jim Zorn (hey-Gibbs was an unknown assistant TOO!).  Jay Gruden– you will never smell so good as you will this month.  Enjoy.

Week One Thoughts– the first key was no major injuries.  Desean Jackson, Pierre Garcon, Phillip Thomas all have dealt with hamstring issues but nothing that would ruin the glow that is the Preseason.  Rob Jackson had his shoulder wrapped.  Jerry Rice Jr’s run at the roster ends with a torn labrum.  Nothing to see…nothing to see…move along.

2013’s Triumvirate splits– last year’s DB version of the receiving firm Davis, Kelly & Thomas is having three different second camps:  CB David Amerson is vastly improved from his rookie campaign, Phillip Thomas has been on the shelf here and there with injuries, and Bacarri Rambo is not living up to the coolest name on the team.  Par for the course when you consider the 2nd rounder is a likely starter in his second season…the 4th rounder is on the backup/special teams track and the 6th rounder is headed to the roster bubble.

Kicking Competition…and Punting Possibilities–  So much for connecting on 35 of 40 attempts over two years.  Kai Forbath hears the footsteps–or at least the instep hitting the football– of 7th round pick Zack Hocker.  The rookie made all three of his kicks Saturday–and with Forbath’s kickoffs less than ideal, Hocker isn’t going away.  Something to focus on in the first preseason game…along with the competition at punter.  Last year the team finished 30th in the NFL in gross punting average…so Robert Malone and Blake Clinigan will begin a four-round bout.  Will they use stroke or match-play?

Speaking of Punters–finally.  Ray Guy takes his rightful place in Canton, Ohio as the first fulltime punter a full five years after I blatantly campaigned for his inclusion.  We know punters and kickers are special teamers who don’t really count in the minds of many–but Guy was the first punter people actually took seriously.  I said five years ago that unlike predecessors Paul McGuire and Bobby Walden, Guy actually resembled someone playing in the Pro Bowl as opposed to a pro bowler.  In the late 70’s an opposing team checked out the Raider footballs for helium–any time the periodic table is in question, the man belongs in the HOF.  Now I have to move on and start drumming up support for the Moody Blues and Marvin Miller.

The Nationals cross the 2/3 of the season threshold in first place of the NL East (one unexpected consequence of Washington’s team being named the “Nationals”– one tries to avoid the redundant feel of “Nationals lead the National League East”)…and when the trading deadline came and went the club made one major move.  Asdrubal Cabrera solidifies the infield as he can play both middle positions–freeing up Anthony Rendon to settle in at third.  Even though he’s hitting .246 with 9 HR and 40 RBI, that’s much better than Danny Espinosa (.221 with 101 strikeouts).  In a lineup that after a solid top 5 drops drastically, Cabrera should give them something.  After a Monday makeup game with the Orioles, the Nats play 9 games in 10 days against division opponents.  Time to create a little breathing room…

They say disasters come in threes…and it’s true in this case of honoring impact and bodies of work.  I’ve long argued that the three biggest Hall of Fame omissions have been Marvin Miller, Ray Guy and the Moody Blues.  Miller led the MLB players union out from the wage slave era of the 60’s where players were bound to teams for perpetuity…changing the game for the better and worse. His advocacy created a ripple effect that wound up touching every pro sport.  Even if only on the strength of his super-cool mustache. Guy, despite having no facial hair while playing, simply set a new standard for punting in the NFL–they checked footballs for helium (?!) after one game–and brought an end to the pot-bellied punter era…he looked like he actually belonged in the Pro Bowl, as opposed to resembling a pro bowler.  The third omission may involve chemicals and/or mustaches. The Moody Blues remain on music’s fringe with their continued omission in Cleveland. This hurts especially with the news that Randy Newman is in the HOF.  “Short People”?  Toy Story?  How did he get in ahead of fellow nominee Deep Purple?  Hush…

 

This is a project I’ve long talked and joked about. Every time I’ve made a career transition I’ve mentioned putting the free time towards writing the highly anticipated book about the Moody Blues. This will hopefully be the summer of highly ignored blogs about the Moody Blues-who they were and why one should care?  Were they trying to be funny during the spoken word poems or were they just that high?  What made their albums incredible journeys and why do they deserve long-delayed recognition like being in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?

Yes–one might be able to fathom the Moody Blues exclusion of the R&R HOF. It’s a subjective game. Until you realize that two inferior contemporaries, the Hollies and the Dave Clark 5 are enshrined. Really? I can break down the Moodies rightful inclusion on multiple fronts.

Versatility and Longevity– DC5 was hot for 3-5 years churning out derivative hit singles and fizzled as the 60’s came to a close. The Hollies hung in there through the mid-70’s. MB scored a #1 as an R&B band with “Go Now”… turned into a progressive rock band and enjoyed extended success with songs like “Nights in White Satin” (peaking at #2 in 1972)…and enjoyed a resurgence in the 80’s (Your Wildest Dreams reaching #10 on the charts–and #1 on the Adult Contemporary listings). That’s 20+ years of being relevant and dominating three musical regions.

Lyrics– DC5’s biggest hit? Arguably “Catch us if You Can”. They say “Catch us if You Can” 14 times in 1:56…and the song would have been even better if they just repeated catch us if you can throughout. The Hollies did write some of their songs but depended on a stable of writers to turn out some of their most memorable hits (“Bus Stop”, “Hey Aint Heavy, He’s my Brother”).  With the exception of “Go Now”, all of the Moody Blues major tunes were self-written. And wouldn’t you rather hear “Nights in White Satin” than “Catch us if You Can”? Don’t answer until you say the title 14 times in succession.

Matchups– the beauty is there are five members in each band. So we’ll break down the matchups- basketball style…giving 5 points for first, 3 for second and 1 for third…:

DRUMS– Although the Dave Clark 5 is named after drummer Dave Clark, I’m going with the Hollies Bobby Elliot for making his kit seem like it was the solo instrument more often than not (check out the bridge to “I Can’t Let Go”). MB’s Grahame Edge loses out although he was a presence in “Higher and Higher” and wrote most of their goofy poems.

BASS– MB’s John Lodge dominates not just because he locks in with Edge, but his value as a singer/songwriter creates matchup problems with the late Rick Huxley of DC5 and the Hollies Eric Haydock/Bernie Calvert platoon.

LEAD GUITAR– MB’s Justin Hawyard wrote and sang on most of the MB’s hits… and has DC5’s Lenny Davidson for lunch. Tony Hicks represents the Hollies (his middle verse in “Carrie Anne” plays off Nash and Clarke too well) but comes up short.

FLUTE/SAXOPHONE/HARMONICA– One can’t think of a DC5 song without the late Denis Peyton’s saxophone and his awkwardness playing the instrument on youtube. MB’s Ray Thomas helps “Nights in White Satin” reach that next level with his flute…has one heck of a voice and a killer mustache that would make Magnum jealous. Allen Clarke delivers the harmonica riff on “He’s Not Heavy, He’s My Brother” and sings the bulk of the Hollies hits. He dances awkwardly (check out concert footage) but not nearly as bad as Thomas did during “Ride My See Saw” on Colour Me Pop (MANDATORY YOUTUBE). The two are exhibit A and B why you give every band member an instrument so they DON’T dance.

KEYBOARDS/RHYTHM GUITAR– Classic matchup between DC5 lead vocalist Mike Smith’s east-west sashaying and effortless smile, MB’s thoughtful and pensive Mike Pinder trying to create art while pioneering an instrument never used before (Mellotron) and Graham Nash’s filling in the gaps vocally with Clarke and Hicks. If Nash actually played the guitar he’d get the call–but we’re going to go three way tie.

So after doing the math, the Hollies win by a close margin over the Moody Blues 18-17 with the Dave Clark Five a distant third at 10.

 

Coming up in this unwelcome journey…roots in R&B…hits and many more misses…and the best re-cast ever.