What Do I Know? Good Question

Five or six times each week, for half an hour or so, I haul my sorry ass along the streets of one neighborhood or another, usually my own. I engage in this walking routine for fitness purposes and also just to get out of the frigging house during these pandemic-constricted days. I sure as hell am not a lover of regular exercise, but I’ve come to tolerate it for one reason: I listen to music podcasts as I stride along. Music, as we know, helps to keep boredom at bay. Duh!

One podcast that I often dial up is Downtown Soulville, hosted by a guy who calls himself Mr. Fine Wine. The program appears each week on New Jersey radio station WFMU, and then, luckily for me, is transformed by one form of magic or another into the podcast format.

Downtown Soulville is damn fine. During each episode, Mr. Fine Wine spins soul and rhythm and blues recordings, all of them on 45 RPM singles from his incredibly huge collection of same. He doesn’t talk too much during his shows, which is the way I like it, so song after song after song (most of them from the 1950s, 60s and 70s) hit the airwaves.

When I first started listening to Downtown Soulville I was struck not only by how very few of the recordings I’d ever heard before, but also by how very many of the artists I’d never heard of. This kind of shocked me, because, although I no longer try too hard to keep up with what’s going on in the various sections of the music world, for decades I did, waving my music-junkie flag proudly. I was, and am, into rock, jazz, soul, R&B, blues, reggae, Brazilian, African, classical, folk, and more musical genres. So, how was it that hundreds of soul/R&B singers that Mr. FW has thrown my way, such as Sugar Pie DeSanto, Billy Watkins and Mel Williams, were new to me?

The conclusion that I came to was that, despite being well-informed about music, in a very real sense I don’t know shit about that subject compared to what there is to know. That was a sobering thought. And eventually it set in motion a sequence of questions and answers. To wit: If my knowledge about music is limited, what does that say about me regarding every other subject you can name? Well, I know even less about them than I do about music, in most cases incredibly less. But, okay, does that really matter? Yes, it does, since acquiring knowledge is a worthy goal. Sure, but nobody can imbibe everything, right? True, and, what’s more, it’s exhausting to try to. Indeed, but that notwithstanding, aren’t there things you’d love to understand more about?

The answer to that question is a no-brainer: Damn straight!

For instance, how come I Don’t Wanna Be A Doofus No More, the personality-enhancing potion that George Clooney gifted me with a few years ago (click here to read about it), isn’t helping me anymore? Man, that elixir cured me of being a schlemiel for the good long while that it worked. Clooney, I’m going to sue you if you don’t rectify this situation!

And how come Alicia Keys, Halle Berry and Jennifer Lawrence haven’t gotten back to me regarding the messages I left with their agents? What, the ladies have something against hanging out with a dorky septuagenarian? Did they somehow learn that I Don’t Wanna Be A Doofus No More no longer is having salutary effects upon me?

And, though not as pressing as the issues that I just mentioned, what’s the deal with the universe? Specifically, how did it begin? Yeah, yeah, there’s the Big Bang theory and all, but here’s the thing about that: If all the matter that became our universe once was contained in an impossibly-compressed chunk of whatever, as the theory states, where the f*ck did that chunk come from? Did it always exist? Is it possible for something to always exist? Boys and girls, truer words than the following rarely have been written: I sure as shit don’t know.

I tell you, all of this mental work is tiring me out big-time. Having reached my deep-thoughts limit, there’s little doubt that my living room sofa, and naptime thereupon, await me. Before I sign off, though, let me say that I’m always glad to receive readers’ comments, so please don’t be shy about adding yours. Goodbye, then, till next time. I’ll leave you with the songs that I heard on Downtown Soulville the other day by the aforementioned Sugar Pie DeSanto, Billy Watkins and Mel Williams. Hope you enjoy them.


110 thoughts on “What Do I Know? Good Question

  1. Audrey Driscoll July 13, 2020 / 1:10 am

    That’s one thing I’ve noticed about getting older — you suddenly realize how little you know and how much there is to learn about. Or not. And of course, way less time to learn it all.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Lynette d'Arty-Cross July 13, 2020 / 1:59 am

    Hi Schlmiel, I mean Neil. Yup, I understand about all that stuff that you don’t know you don’t know. But, there will be music! (And maybe interviews with famous actors.) 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  3. lyart July 13, 2020 / 2:50 am

    the cold world will have Mercy. That’s all we can hope for….

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger July 13, 2020 / 1:47 pm

      Hi there. I’m not sure what you mean, but in any case I appreciate your stopping by. Enjoy the week.


  4. sniderjerry July 13, 2020 / 2:56 am

    As a wise man once said, “School is never out for a winner.” Rock on Neil. Enjoy the music and the ride. Have a great day. Jerry

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger July 13, 2020 / 1:49 pm

      Thanks, Jerry. Stay cool. This summer has been a very hot one, at least in my part of the States.


  5. Paddy Tobin July 13, 2020 / 3:58 am

    I’m afraid I’m with the barbarians when it comes to music. I do go around the garden singing regularly – any old thing, with the incorrect words etc, mixing up tunes etc but I have no knowledge nor any great appreciation of music. The written word suits me more – it is quieter.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger July 13, 2020 / 1:50 pm

      Speaking of the written word: Have you read any books by Alice Munro? I’m reading a book of her stories now. Dear Life is the title. She’s a fine writer.


      • Paddy Tobin July 13, 2020 / 3:47 pm

        Hers is but a name to me and I have yet to read her work. Something to do!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. librepaley July 13, 2020 / 4:45 am

    I read somewhere we stop seeking out / listening to new music around the age of thirty. For most of us, that’s a long time stuck on the old music groove, determined that anything after the 80s/90s/00s etc. is noise/cr@p/rehashing/mindless, etc.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger July 13, 2020 / 1:52 pm

      Hi there. Thanks for the visit. I still keep up a bit with what’s going on in the jazz/rock/folk and other music realms. But nowhere near as much as I used to.


  7. rivertoprambles July 13, 2020 / 8:25 am

    As Jerry said, “School is never out for a winner.” Even when the nap is over. Thanks Neil.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger July 13, 2020 / 1:54 pm

      I just got in from two hours of yard work under a blazing sun. I thought I’d be taking a nap after that, but for some reason I feel full of pep. You never know!


  8. Des July 13, 2020 / 9:58 am

    Like you, I have many of the same questions regarding the origins of the universe, and I also continue to seek out new music all the time. In these two aspects, we are very much alike, Neil! Good luck in your search for the answers and great new tunes.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger July 13, 2020 / 1:56 pm

      Hi Des. There’s a very good radio station near to where I live — WXPN. They have varied, eclectic programming. I hear quite a bit of new artists and recordings on that station, which is one of the reasons I like WXPN as much as I do.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Laurie Graves July 13, 2020 / 10:25 am

    Oh, so true! We could live for 500 years and still not know. I, too, seek out new music. Thanks for the links. I particularly liked “Have Mercy Cold World.” Very appropriate with all that’s going on right now.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Debra July 13, 2020 / 10:27 am

    There’s a quote, I’m not sure by whom, something to the effect that it’s the really smart people who realize how much they don’t know. My father, another wise man, used to say that it’s not what you know, but who you know. Since you are blessed with so many caring friends, you’ve got that covered.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Gary Trujillo July 13, 2020 / 10:37 am

    I’ve found as I’ve gotten older that I don’t give a shit about who a band is and what they look like. I’m happy with streaming a random college radio station and loving the music and leaving it at that. Not having to know EVERY band is sort of a release. You can just enjoy the music without all the outside BS.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger July 13, 2020 / 2:04 pm

      Hey there, Gary. I know what you mean. As we get older, it seems to get harder to keep up with various things. By the way, there’s a British music show called Later With Jools Holland. A great place to see new and old acts. Have you seen this show? I can’t find new episodes anymore on any of the TV stations I get, but I saw many episodes in the past. See ya.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Gary Trujillo July 13, 2020 / 2:09 pm

        Oh yeah, of course. Pretty famous show. Btw I checked out that radio show you were talking about. Good stuff.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Jacqui Murray July 13, 2020 / 10:53 am

    This is one of many reasons I love your blog–you tell me about stuff I’d never read otherwise! I’ve completely missed most of these songs (and genres) in my 60+ years. I don’t listen to a lot of music (it distracts my writing) and when I do, focus on Western or classical. Thank you for expanding my horizons!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Helen Devries July 13, 2020 / 11:07 am

    The more you study something the more you realise that there’s a lot more to study….

    Liked by 1 person

  14. andrewcferguson July 13, 2020 / 11:55 am

    Sugar Pie Desanto – what an excellent name! You’re a regular contributor to my musical education, Neil. Plus words like schlemiel!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger July 13, 2020 / 2:08 pm

      You know, of the three musicians I named in this piece, only Sugar Pie is alive. I wonder what degree of musical success she had in her career.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. talebender July 13, 2020 / 12:46 pm

    I hate it when I’m singing along with an old favourite song and the artist gets the damn words wrong! So, I’ll check out some of your discoveries because I won’t know any of the words, anyway!
    Nice piece.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger July 13, 2020 / 2:10 pm

      Hi. I think you’ll like the three songs, if you enjoy R&B and soul music. And I can’t recommend Downtown Soulville enough. See ya!


  16. Joyce Hamilton July 13, 2020 / 1:17 pm

    Always like your choice of music.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. SandyL July 13, 2020 / 2:04 pm

    Have you noticed that old styles are becoming new again? I’ve been discovering new songs which are heavily influenced by R&B sounds from the 70s & 80s. They take the influences and incorporate them with newer rap or electronic sounds, resulting in rich & interesting songs. On the one hand it sounds great. On the other, it makes me feel ol… my age 🙂

    Example: https://youtu.be/M1N_wbhAfQ4

    Liked by 1 person

  18. tylerus July 13, 2020 / 2:06 pm

    Alas, I don’t listen to music anymore (work and mom-care don’t allow for it anymore). Funny, for one who couldn’t live without it once upon a time. LOL Life is . . . strange.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger July 13, 2020 / 2:15 pm

      Hey, Tyler. I bet that one of these days music will enter your life again. And I can’t argue with what you say about life. It’s strange, among a bunch of other things.


  19. Robert Parker July 13, 2020 / 2:14 pm

    Wow, Neil, kinda hard to know it all, if you’re going to include so many music genres AND the creation of the universe. Maybe narrow it down, to every soul/R&B/blues musician born in the Western Hemisphere and just the Big Bang Theory TV series, or at least, just our own little solar system. Sounds like Mr. Fine Wine has a great program going, I love hearing new artists, when there’s a good DJ picking them out.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger July 13, 2020 / 3:01 pm

      Afternoon! Yeah, Downtown Soulville is cool. The host really knows his stuff. He’s helping to keep that music alive.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. cath July 13, 2020 / 3:24 pm

    Hey Neil, if you ever do work out that ‘how it all began’ business could you let me in on the secret. It’s a question I’m interested in too.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Ann Coleman July 13, 2020 / 5:13 pm

    I am so hopelessly behind the times that I have no playlist at all. What you are describing makes me think I need to change that though!

    Liked by 1 person

  22. K E Garland July 13, 2020 / 5:58 pm

    I think the biggest realization, is that, like you’ve alluded…we have none of the answers.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. eden baylee July 13, 2020 / 9:40 pm

    Hi Neil, thanks for introducing me to some ‘new’ music, even though it’s old. I love it!

    And … agree with other readers here … The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don’t know.

    Did Einstein say that? 😉


    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger July 13, 2020 / 11:10 pm

      Evening! It sounds like something that Einstein might have said. In any event, it’s true. And so very much about the underlying nature of matter/space/time/etc has yet to be discovered and understood.


  24. Cindy July 13, 2020 / 10:17 pm

    Great music shares, Neil (and Mr. Fine Wine)! I’d never heard of any of those singers, either. Learning new stuff keeps life interesting–even if later on we can’t remember what we learned!

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Pam Lazos July 13, 2020 / 10:29 pm

    With your imagination, I’m amazed you are pumping out the novels, Neil.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. cincinnatibabyhead July 14, 2020 / 1:09 pm

    That music Mr Fine Wine is spinning is a treasure trove. CB loves that stuff for so many reasons (sax is prominent). Those 3 cut are great. I have a similar program I listen to out of the UK – Bernadette Dance Queen. She has spun so much great new material., old and new. I will have to check out Mr Fine Wine. I need more music. I’m kinda greedy that way.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Ken Dowell July 14, 2020 / 10:41 pm

    I listen to WFMU all the time. Most of the Dj’s are volunteers who have one show a week, so there’s a lot of variety. You can go for hours without hearing something you’ve heard before.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger July 14, 2020 / 11:28 pm

      There aren’t many stations like that around. They have a hippie-era mentality, I suppose.


  28. annieasksyou July 15, 2020 / 12:29 pm

    Such a waterfall of profundity flowing from one little jaunt! And if George Clooney, who certainly seems like a paragon of ethics, failed to tell you of the temporal limitations of your doofus elixir, methinks you have some fine litigation ahead.
    I happen to have my own real-life link to George Clooney: My great Uncle Barney, DDS, was responsible for his Aunt Rosemary’s dazzling smile.
    I am willing to use my considerable influence to help you rectify the doofus matter amicably—if you so choose.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. D. Wallace Peach July 15, 2020 / 2:50 pm

    I enjoy your sense of humor and your “deep thoughts,” Neil. Music is a great accompaniment for walking. I tend to listen to books, but hey, whatever gets the body moving. I hope you had a great nap. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  30. selizabryangmailcom July 15, 2020 / 3:00 pm

    Your lack of knowledge about music compared to me is laughable. It would be a tiny puddle (your lack) compared to a gigantic ocean (my lack).

    And speaking of which…listened to all three songs and admittedly, while pleasant, they’re kinda “Mm” for me. Now, this happens with all the ’70s tunes I love, like Ventura Highway, Dance With Me, Barry White’s Love Theme, etc.–hubby had no connection with the ’70s and thinks all music from that time is sub-par. He thinks all of the ’70s was sub-par.

    Do you think the times we connect with most, the years with the best memories, especially, make the music of that time special to the experiencer? ‘Cause I could also just have bad taste in music. That’s not beyond the realm of possibility. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger July 15, 2020 / 4:51 pm

      Hi. In general I think that people end up relating the most to music that they were into in their teens, 20s and 30s. Those ages make powerful impacts on people. Enjoy the rest of the week. Be well.

      Liked by 1 person

  31. JT Twissel July 15, 2020 / 3:33 pm

    Sounds like a productive way to spend the pandemic. I’m mostly cleaning out closets but hope to find enough energy to engage my mind at some point.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger July 15, 2020 / 4:54 pm

      Hi, JT. Yeah, this pandemic has shut lots of doors for us. An effective vaccine will help to get things back on track.


  32. alhenry July 15, 2020 / 5:29 pm

    “…for decades I did, waving my music-junkie flag proudly. I was, and am, into rock, jazz, soul, R&B, blues, reggae, Brazilian, African, classical, folk, and more musical genres.”

    Remember when people used to sort through other people’s record collections, trying to get a handle on “who they were.” I used to snicker behind my hand when I caught people sifting my collection–“Ha-ha!” I thought. “You’ll never pigeon-hole me. “Diversity! Janis Joplin and Mozart. Pink Floyd and Marvin Gaye. Always keep ’em guessing.

    As for new stuff to learn, specifically new realms of tunes–isn’t it beautiful that we’ll never run out of music waiting to be discovered? Stay well, my friend. The beat goes on.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger July 15, 2020 / 8:30 pm

      Any, you mention Janis Joplin. Last night, flipping the dials, I found a doc about her that came out a few years after she died. I’m not sure if I knew about this doc. Have you seen it? I saw the final 20 minutes, which was terrific concert footage.


  33. johnlmalone July 15, 2020 / 6:54 pm

    I know Neil I will never hear the vast universe of music there is to be heard and I’m going to miss some mighty fine gems. that when I’m listening to one music station I could be listening to another or another or another ,,, and so it goes. Sometimes, Neil, it is frustrating to be human — and don’t even get started on Covid — and I will never understand where that first chunk of matter came from. But it is time now for breakfast and the duties of the day to begin, except to say it’s good to see another post from you 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger July 15, 2020 / 8:37 pm

      Yeah, the number of musical recordings from over the years rivals the number of stars in some galaxies. It’s astonishing.

      Liked by 1 person

  34. viewfromoverthehill July 18, 2020 / 11:40 pm

    I once knew a guy who was making a list of all the things he knew nothing about. I’ve never tried that. First of all, it would take more volumes than I have room for on my bookshelves, secondly, I don’t even know most of what things I know nothing about. Am I making sense here? Loved this post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger July 19, 2020 / 6:52 am

      Morning, Muriel. I feel the same way. And yet, it works. We get by OK despite not knowing all that much!


  35. ckennedy July 20, 2020 / 10:21 am

    I don’t listen to podcasts on a regular basis, but a one about music would be interesting, now that I think about it. Cheers, Neil!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger July 20, 2020 / 2:05 pm

      There’s an ocean of podcasts out there. I guess they started becoming popular ten or so years ago. The choice is overwhelming.

      Liked by 1 person

  36. cmwriter July 23, 2020 / 3:15 pm

    Loved the post and the three recordings. I’m Tired, Have Mercy Cold World, and Open Your Heart sure ring true for today’s world!

    Liked by 1 person

  37. Hansi July 24, 2020 / 10:14 am

    R&B is a great genre to explore, especially the early 50’s from which Elvis got just about all of his early songs.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger July 24, 2020 / 11:56 am

      Hi, and thanks for the visit. I agree with what you say. R&B from back then is a goldmine.


  38. SalGallaher July 24, 2020 / 5:34 pm

    Great post and very true. This Covid year has certainly produced a giant heap of new stuff available online for our entertainment and education. Or maybe we have just all had time to find it 😊 I hope that continues well beyond these crazy times.
    Stay safe and keep enjoying your walks.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger July 24, 2020 / 7:48 pm

      Hi. Thanks for your thoughts. You know, there’s such an incredible amount of choice available to us in just about any category you can name: food, entertainment, appliances, whatever. It’s absolutely unbelievable.

      Liked by 1 person

      • SalGallaher July 27, 2020 / 2:33 am

        You mentioned you are a big blues fan and surprised to find so much ‘new’ music never heard.
        Ive been listening to The Teskey Brothers and just now realised they are an Australian band!
        Learning every day 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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  40. candidkay July 26, 2020 / 2:22 pm

    Glad you’re finding ways to stay sane! I’ve begun walking outside also because it’s hitting me that fall and winter, we’ll be stuck indoors again. Maybe it’s time for us to invest in snowshoes? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger July 26, 2020 / 3:48 pm

      We need an effective vaccine pronto. Then, life will return to the realm of normalcy. Hi, and many thanks for stopping by.


  41. Librarylady July 26, 2020 / 6:20 pm

    Yes, music peps up a morning walk like nothing else. It’s hard to make yourself get out there, but even harder to stay inside all the time. I’ve recently gotten into hiking. and learned there’s a lot to be said for nature. Coming to appreciate the outdoors is a totally unexpected and healthy side effect of this virus. Yeah! Something positive in all of this?

    Liked by 1 person

  42. Silver Screenings August 9, 2020 / 9:42 pm

    Great tunes! I’m sitting outside whilst catching up on blog reading, and your music nearly started a neighbourhood block party!

    Liked by 1 person

  43. jeanleesworld August 10, 2020 / 8:31 am

    Every time we visit Bo’s brother, I am in awe of how much music there is that I don’t know. He’s a vinyl-lover, see, so he has filled a room in his basement with records of almost all genres, artists, and decades. Bo’s music collection is not nearly so daunting, so his shelves of soul and blues are easier to root through and study. I’m hoping 2021 will be the year I can dive into the WIP fueled by soul!

    Liked by 1 person

  44. Kaashni Arora September 2, 2020 / 7:25 am

    First of all I must say. I really like your blog name. It’s pretty cool. I really love this particular piece of yours.

    Liked by 1 person

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