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.”)

Uncle Warren’s Attic #82 – Star Trek Day


The world through new eyes *

Flying Saucer – Buchanan & Goodman

Remembering Sept. 8, 1966 *

We’ll Be Dancing On the Moon – Trade Martin

The Battle of Seaside Heights *

The Girl With the Light Blue Hair – Barry Wood

I claim no copyright to the material in this podcast except * the stuff I wrote.

Available on Spotify, iHeart Radio, Amazon Music, and eventually the Apple Podcast app.

Uncle Warren’s Attic #81

The last episode of Uncle Warren’s Attic was released November 30, 2012, so this is the first episode in 10 years and nine months. I am committed to releasing new episodes a little more frequently from this day forward.

I come up to the attic from time to time and look at all the stuff on shelves and in boxes — scattered bits and pieces of other lives that I’ve absorbed into my life over the years. The one thing they have in common is they all struck my fancy, at some point, for one reason or another.

What connection could there be between Neil Young’s album Trans, a collection of Reader’s Digest from 1933, Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, this electric train set in a paper bag, and Sir Harry Lauder? Just me — just me.

It would be a shame to leave this attic as is, for someone to find when I’m gone and mutter, “Good grief, Warren, what did you see in all this junk?” And, of course, I won’t be there to tell you what I saw in it, and so I started this podcast to start to explain. There are 80 episodes sitting out there on the web that I made from 2006 to 2012.

And now, holy moley, there are 81.

The centerpiece of this show is Chapters 6 and 7 of Jeep Thompson and the Lost Prince of Venus. You’ll hear me promise to leave links to the first five chapters, and here those are …

Chapter 1 – Once Upon a Time

Chapter 2 – Mom has a secret

Chapter 3 – In mourning

Chapter 4 – The mysterious colleague

Chapter 5 – The Traveler

And if you want to read the first 15 chapters, you can click right here.

Other content: “First Date” by w.p. bluhm, “When the World’s On Fire” by the Carter Family, “Pick a Bale of Cotton” by Leadbelly and the Golden Gate Quartet, vintage ads for Miller High Life and Anacin, and various blips and flashes from days gone by. I claim no copyright to anything not created by me in this podcast; for entertainment purposes only.

Time out for some more shameless self-promotion

Three days out from the long-awaited 81st episode of the legendary-in-my-own-mind Uncle Warren’s Attic podcast, and I’m still digging around the Attic trying to decide what to share. This thing is more than 10 years in the making, so it feels like a series of momentous decisions.

On the other hand, my intention is to bring the podcast back to stay for a while, so anything that might not be ready for #81 can always go into a pile for #82, right?

All I really know for sure is I’m committed to posting UWA #81 here in this space at 3 a.m. Friday, Sept. 1, featuring a reading from an unfinished novel, the usual eclectic mix of recordings from long ago, and perhaps a handful of other surprises.

Uncle Warren’s Attic was always meant to showcase my ridiculous hoard of old stuff and maybe plug my various projects in progress, so episode 81 may or may not be pretty much the same as the previous 80 episodes, except for the part where there was a gap of 10 years and 10 months between #80 and #81. 

I would say a little more about the project, but I have to get on with doing the project, so … tune in Friday.

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.