Aurora is as good as all that

I finally pulled the trigger and got the vinyl version of Aurora, the fictional immortal album that made Daisy Jones and the Six legendary in the novel and TV mini-series that went mainstream earlier this year. The story follows the meteoric rise and fall of a 1970s rock band that famously split up after performing their most historic concert.

One must conclude that the way to experience an album like this is by listening to it the way we listened to albums in the 1970s.

Many of the songs are really good, good enough that I have played several of them multiple times on YouTube, but something about sitting with the 12-inch album cover, album notes and lyrics sheet in my lap as the record played, added another dimension. I could have been a twentysomething again getting my first taste of the biggest album of the 1970s — the experience really had that feel to it.

The music has become detached from the physical product in this day and age, and we usually don’t take the time to sit down and listen to a project from start to finish — I wonder if it’s because we don’t have the record sleeve to anchor us as the music flows over and around us. Cherrypicking the songs off a music service is not the same experience as listening to hear how “Aurora,” the opening tune, flows into “Let Me Down Easy” and “Kill You To Try.” Then after the breather that “Two Against Three” offers, the all-important tune “Look At Us Now (Honeycomb)” closes out Side A with a flourish.

Side B offers more of the same. Much as Fleetwood Mac and other acts of that era provided needed relief from disco, Aurora rolls out a series of pop rock anthems that could have thrived in the late 1970s or early ’80s. The LP arrived early this week and has been on the turntable again and again as the days went by.

Aurora has my heartiest recommendation, and I can’t commend the LP package highly enough. It feels like a time machine delivered it.

Meta Physics

I start the new week with the energy that accompanies a new week but somewhat unfocused: Given a white space and a blinking cursor, my mind assails me with any number of directions to take.

If you live not far from the waters of Green Bay, you probably spend a portion of your Sunday watching a football game this time of year. This week the Packers were leading 10-3 and their opponent scored a touchdown to make it 10-9 — but their kicker missed the extra point that would have tied the game.

“That could come back to haunt them,” said the announcer, the implication being if the two teams played evenly the rest of the way, the Packers might win by that single point. As it turned out, the Packers lost by one point, surrendering a 24-12 lead in the fourth quarter and dropping a 25-24 decision. So much for ghosts.

I spent a couple of hours Friday going through one pile of 100-year-old records in the attic. The exploration will probably become this week’s episode of Uncle Warren’s Attic. I’m drawn to these moments in time from a century ago with people who are no longer living.

Musicians gathered around a megaphone and recorded a memory, preserved it on shellac, and left it to be enjoyed for generations unborn. That may not have been their prime motivation, but it’s the result. This box of records from 1913 to 1920 is essentially a time machine.

There were no radio stations when these records were produced, either. The musicians had a much bigger challenge if they wanted to be heard by a wide audience, but the technology of these shellac disks gave them a tool that was not available to the traveling vaudevillians of a generation earlier. 

As they sang and played into the megaphone, who would have guessed their performance might one day find its way into a podcast that could be downloaded or streamed from nearly anywhere on the planet? In 1913 it would be 70 years before anyone even knew what a podcast is.

Thank you for reading to the bottom of this meandering page. Now, go make this an amazing week! Happy Monday.

Uncle Warren’s Attic #83 – Uncle Warren’s SMiLE

Hi folks, I’m Uncle Warren Bluhm, and welcome to Uncle Warren’s Attic #83 for Sept. 15, 2023. This is the longest episode ever, because I’m playing you an entire record album.

My favorite rock album doesn’t really exist …

So, imagine it’s early 1967, and you’ve just purchased “Smile,” the new Beach Boys album you’ve heard so much about. When you slip the record out of the sleeve, the first thing you notice is there are no breaks between the tracks — what the heck is this? Side 1 is a 19-minute version of “Heroes and Villains,” the Beach Boys’ hit single that followed “Good Vibrations,” and Side 2 is a 21-minute song called “The Elements: Earth, Wind, Fire, Water.” Oooh-kay.

You put the record on the turntable, gently place the tone-arm on the vinyl, and sit back to listen.

(Find Uncle Warren’s Attic on Spotify, iHeart Radio, or Amazon Music, or just press “play.”)

Unworthy premise, worthy advice

I was, as is my wont, listening to 1960s pop music on SiriusXM when Dusty Springfield’s “Wishin’ and Hopin’” came on.

I was struck by how outdated the song’s premise was — here’s Dusty dispensing advice about how to become the possession of a man: “Ladies, you have to be doing more than wishing and hoping and praying; you have to take action if you want to be his.”

“Show him that you care just for him, do the things he likes to do, wear your hair just for him.”

And then, of course, once you get close enough, “all you gotta do is hold him and kiss him and squeeze him and love him. Yeah, just do it and after you do, you will be his.”

It’s somewhat unnerving that someone would sing a song about how to be owned by a man, but as I pondered that, it suddenly occurred to me that this is actually quite a good formula for accomplishing anything.

For one thing, it’s true that you definitely will not achieve your goals just by wishing, hoping, thinking and/or praying about it. You have to do something!

You have to show that you care about doing this, and you have to change your behavior in ways that are likely to get it done. And keep going, in more and more intimate detail, until you’ve done it.

Hopefully you’re going for a more worthy goal than becoming a plaything for a member of the opposite sex. As 1960s sensibilities go, I am more in tune with the sentiment of “You Don’t Own Me.” But I must say that Ms. Springfield is definitely insightful in her assessment of what you need to do to achieve your goals.

Love me, love The Petersens

I sat down to write something for this space on Tuesday night, but I got sidetracked watching The Petersens on YouTube again. This family of bluegrass performers always manage to put a smile on my heart.

Frankly, the more I listened, the less I felt like writing. Finally, I said, to heck with it, why don’t I just share the joy?

I could listen to these three sisters and their brother harmonize all night. In fact, I did.


You say the hill’s too steep to climb

I misheard the lyrics to a Pink Floyd song and was inspired.

The song is intended to inspire, so mission accomplished, but not quite as directly as I was inspired.

The song is “Fearless,” from the band’s album Meddle, and the lyrics are about doing what seems to be impossible. 

You say the hill’s too steep to climb, chiding
You say you’d like to see me try climbing
You pick the place and I’ll choose the time
And I’ll climb the hill in my own way …

Eventually the song morphs into the sound of a soccer crowd singing “You’ll Never Walk Alone.” It’s an uplifting recording, in its own way.

But that’s not quite the way I heard it.

For the first decade or so, before I saw the lyrics written down, I thought they sang:


It’s that simple. You’ve got a hill to climb? It seems daunting? I’ll bet it does. Now that’s out of the way, go ahead and start climbing. 

That’s probably not very different from what writers David Gilmour and Roger Waters intended, but it struck me even more powerfully than they intended because I misheard it.

I climbed that hill in my own way.

Buzzed by an alien craft

The other morning a little before 5, Summer lingered near the front door in a clear signal that she wanted to go out in the front yard on a leash to do her business like the old days. It’s been weeks since I did anything except send her into the fenced-in back yard, and the last time we went out front that early in the morning, there may have been snow on the ground.

This particular morning as we wandered this way and that, up and down the driveway and across the front yard, I began to realize there was an odd humming in the air, an alien buzz that took a few moments to register in my consciousness. It sounded like a truck might sound as its tires sing along the highway, but this sounded like a huge truck in the distance or perhaps an armada of trucks, mercy sakes alive.

I was at a loss as to what it was or where it was coming from, until we headed back to the porch and I saw the dozens of lake flies hovering toward the lights. It was a fresh hatch, and there must have been thousands of them buzzing just over our heads as we patrolled the yard and the driveway. We’re back to the days-getting-shorter half of the year, and 5:15 is before sunrise again, so we could only hear them in the semi-darkness.

A single lake fly has to be close to your ear to be heard, but they make a mighty and eerie and very clear sound when there are thousands of them. What I thought was an alien craft or some other strange vehicle up the road, or down by the bay shore, was a cloud of flying insects not far over my head. It’s a good thing lake flies are benign creatures with no apparent interest in us. A swarm that huge could inflict some damage if they chose.