Versions and Duplicates (and Elvis)

I have a playlist on my iTunes called Versions and Duplicates. Here I stick all the various versions of songs I like by different artists – whether it’s Sons of Anarchy, Rod Stewart, or Bob Dylan singing Forever Young, or the Sons of Anarchy version of Bohemian Rhapsody vs. Queen, or six different versions of Hallelujah (I still like Leonard Cohen’s best from the soundtrack for Watchmen, followed by perhaps the Canadian Tenors, and a couple of on-line ones). I love Alice Cooper’s version of Eleanor Rigby almost as much as the original, so this file is actually kind of large.

Years ago, I’d read in the Book of Lists that Yesterday by the Beatles was the most-sung song ever, with more than a thousand people recording their version of it. Forty years later, it still holds the record, with more than 4,000 recordings. I only have two on my playlist.

So when a disk came through my hands – Train Does Led Zeppelin II, I had to listen to it. I liked Drops of Jupiter, their biggest hit, and I liked Led Zeppelin. I love, love, love Iron Horse’s bluegrass version of Zep, Whole Lotta Bluegrass: A Vocal Bluegrass Tribute to Led Zeppelin (it really works, and you can understand the lyrics), and the Rock a Bye Baby lullaby series’ version, played on marimba of all things, is strangely beautiful and calming.

Although the first track, Whole Lotta Love, is perhaps the best of the album, it blew me away. Outside of a word or two, and perhaps the depth of a couple of riffs, Train nails the music dead on. It’s hard to tell it’s not Zep or Robert Plant himself. Truly, if you’re a fan, this is an album you should listen to.  Most of the criticisms of the album revolve around “Why did we need this album?” “Who is Train to think they can play Zeppelin?” I say, “Why not?” and “Who cares?” These are proficient musicians; if they want to play Zep, then let them play it.  Those critics have never heard me pick out Stairway to Heaven on the piano, the only two-handed piece I know.  And here’s why those critics don’t matter:

On the internet (stupid move) I wound up poking into a bee’s nest of Led Zeppelin tribute albums in a mind-boggling array of styles. If you don’t like rock music, if you don’t like screechy lyrics, that is absolutely no reason to skip Led Zeppelin. The music triumphs over the style, and the true genius appears.

Is banjo your favorite instrument? Check out Iron Horse’s album.

Just like bluegrass?  Try Pickin’ on Led Zeppelin, by the Pickin’ On series. A lot of harmonica mixed with banjo and fiddle. Yes, Led Zeppelin on the harmonica.

Prefer Metal? Dead Zeppelin: A Metal Tribute, by Dead Zeppelin. The Immigrant Song sounds like someone left the crypt open and all the demons are headbanging.

Classical tastes?  Chamber Maid: The Baroque Tribute to Led Zeppelin. Imagine you were invited to visit Louis XVI, and a quartet was playing in the corner, and you realized you knew that tune. Like that. Light and flutey, and always beautiful.

Prefer classical guitar? Richard DeVinck plays classical nylon strings on his album Going to California. Too plinky for me, but remember, Stairway to Heaven is a guitar song anyway, so it sounds lovely.

Celtic roots? High step to A Celtic Tribute to Led Zeppelin. The rhythm’s a bit faster, but it’s catchy!

Too laid back for rock? Prefer the reggae beat? Try Dread Zeppelin: Dejah Voodoo: Greatest and Latest Hits. This isn’t just a band that travels around singing Zep songs in reggae style, but with a lead singer who’s an Elvis impersonator.  Definitely a more funky beat, but the style, to me, was lacking, and sounded way too much like a guest star in a pretend cabaret on The Love Boat. I warned you.

Prefer to chill? Try Dub Tribute to Led Zeppelin, full of ethereal dub beats that will put you into a trance to familiar (or maybe not quite so familiar in this style) music.

And all that diversity doesn’t begin to touch on the number of top musicians paying tribute by cranking out serious Zeppelin tunes.  Troll elsewhere, critics.

Now, Zeppelin’s not the only band that attracts cover artists. I wouldn’t begin to count the number of Beatles covers, or Rolling Stones. Rock a Bye Baby covers everything from AC/DC to ZZ Top. Iron Horse does an amazing array of artists in bluegrass style, including Modest Mouse and Metallica. So dare to be different. Try a familiar song done in a new way, or by a new artist. You may just find a new favorite.

What Kind of Services Can You Find at the Library? (You might be surprised.)

Most people know that libraries provide books, magazines, movies, music, audiobooks and ebooks. What many may not realize are all the other ways libraries support their communities. Here’s a sample from the librarians of the Cheshire Public Library.

“An appreciative patron had these flowers delivered to me for helping her on the computer & with her gmail to locate and print some important personal documents. It made my day!”

“A woman came in this afternoon and wanted to print some coupons from her email. English was not her first language, she did not have computer skills, and she did not know her email provider or her password! Our technology coordinator saved the day and was able to help the woman print her coupons. The really nice thing: it was the woman’s birthday and the coupons were for free coffee and other things that she could enjoy on her special day.”

“A senior who wanted to learn how to add minutes to her flip phone came to tech help yesterday. When she left, she noted that this is the only place in town to get answers to these types of questions and that her kids yell at her when she asks for them for tech help. She said she’s going to tell all of her friends to start coming here because they also have grouchy kids/grandkids…”

“An older man approached me a few weeks ago to say how glad he was to have our library. He comes in most days to read the papers and to visit with other regulars. He said it makes him feel more connected with the community.”

Email from patron: I just saw the Positive Discipline class recently on the events calendar and am super excited about it. I’ve read some of the Positive Discipline books and would love to do a better job actually incorporating it into our lives. I’ve looked into workshops before, and it just wasn’t realistic for us financially. I already have it on my calendar to sign up when it opens.

“I had a patron come to the circ desk this week saying the last two books her book club (not associated with the library) read were duds. Since they buy their books, she wanted to be sure to pick a good book this time. I brought her over to the Reader’s Advisory bulletin board and let her peruse the content. She happily found four titles, and all were on the shelf for her to check out. She was so happy and commented that she wished she had come to the library sooner.”

“A patron whose husband recently passed away came to drop-in today. She wanted to know how to use email so she could email people in a support group she’s been attending. She never used her husband’s laptop before, and English is not her first language, so she was nervous about coming in today for help. I got her all set up, and she’s going to come back next week and report how it’s going. She was very appreciative that we’re providing this service.”

“A few weeks ago, a woman was looking for tutoring help for seven children from two families newly arrived from Saudi Arabia.  Our teen librarian had a contact in the high school for a teacher who arranges peer tutoring, so I got the teacher’s email and contacted her. She emailed to let us know that she has arranged peer tutoring for the 5 younger children (in the library!) and is arranging help for the older ones. It was great that the needed resources exist in our community. I was especially touched by the fact that the woman who made the initial contact thought of the library as a place to go for help. Yay us!”

Want to know more about the Cheshire Public library? Click here for our website.

Finding Wonders

Finding Wonders by Jeannine Harris is a fictional children’s book based on three real girls, Maria Sibylla Merian, Mary Anning, and Maria Mitchell, who made scientific contributions. Told with poems, each girl’s story begins with her childhood. Each girl learned to look beyond what other people took for granted or mistrusted. Each girl overcame the biases and challenges of her time for the sake of learning. These stories are an inspiration to anyone who has ever wanted to try something new despite the people around them. These girls were told they could not, should not, and would not, but they did anyway.

Genre: Children’s historical fiction

Setting: 1600s Germany, Amsterdam, and Suriname, 1800s England, 1800s Massachusetts

Number of pages: 195

Objectionable content? Several characters die, both adults and children, and religion is portrayed in a negative manner in some parts of the book.

Can children read this? Yes. This book is well-suited for elementary school children and up.

Themes: Learning, independent women, science, curiosity, restrictions

Rating: Five stars

A New Book by John Green (finally!)

New York Times bestselling author,  vlogger, movie producer,  do-gooder. A man with many hats, but a pretty simple name: John Green.

If you read YA fiction, you already know this guy.  Looking for Alaska, An Abundance of Katherines, Paper Towns,  and the meteorically popular The Fault in Our Stars – it can be hard to find these books on our shelves because they’re constantly checked out. And he hasn’t written a new book in five long years. Finally it was announced that a new John Green book, Turtles All the Way Down, would be released October 10,  2017.

Why the long drought since 2012’s The Fault in Our Stars? One reason is he was involved in the film adaptations of both TFIOS and his earlier book, Paper Towns. He’s also involved in multiple online projects. He’s the frontman for the Mental Floss  and  Crash Course YouTube channels, co-creator of VidCon, (an annual conference for the online video community in that takes place every year in the Los Angeles area), and heads the Project for Awesome, a project in which YouTubers dedicate two days to make videos promoting charities or non-profit organizations.

Not to mention the online project that started it all, a little something called Vlogbrothers. John and his brother, Hank, started the project as an experiment on YouTube back in 2007 with an experiment to only talk to each other via video blogs for a year. This lasted from January 1 until December 31, but they’ve continued posting to the vlog twice every week, and have over 3 MILLION subscribers.  The Vlogbrothers channel was the first in what would become a larger network of YouTube channels created and developed by the Green brothers, creating a flourishing community of fans known individually as Nerdfighters, with the motto DFTBA (Don’t Forget To Be Awesome).

Add in that he has two young childen, and one can see that it might have been challenging to find the time to write recently. About his new book, he’s said: “This is my first attempt to write directly about the kind of mental illness that has affected my life since childhood, so while the story is fictional, it is also quite personal”. Green has talked about dealing with OCD and anxiety in his own life, and in the new book , 16-year-old Aza Holmes grapples with mental illness as she investigates the disappearance of a billionaire.

Place your holds now – and DFTBA!

 

Resources:

http://www.johngreenbooks.com

https://www.youtube.com/user/vlogbrothers

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Green_(author)

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/06/09/the-teen-whisperer