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RAVES in great waves of Raves that Pittsburgh music listeners and fans have at the moment what
seems to be more than our fortunate fair share of good nights out and newly recorded and/or issued take
home music. Let us count the ways... Over here, you have a smokin' hot live CD from
Billy Toms and
Hard Rain
that leaves you seriously jonesing for a second disc of the half night of music that wasn't
released, and a new CD from
Joe Grushecky and the Houserockers -- with some solo acousitic shows
from both of those gentlemen, as well as their mighty full-band shows here and there. Then we have
rare, memorable nights out that include the grand talents of
Glenn Pavone, Kenny Blake, Norm
Nardini
,  Gil Snyder, Mark Stutso all in the same band, on the same night at Moondog's -- only to have it
become an even more memorable time when former Nardini drummer,
Mark "Whitey" Cooper, came
by to join in for a set from a one-year absence that so made our hearts grow even fonder...
Then when
you think our run here in Music Camelot is about to end,  you sense that the music gods must be
shining on us to be so outright fortunate to stumble upon guitar wizard
Warren King, back for some
time on burgh stages.
Raves of all our hope to the musicians we know are struggling so much to keep it
going and get back going, in spite of serious health issues.
Raves to the fine people of Pittsburgh who so
appreciate their bands with such respect... and a few kicks in the ass to the ones who miss the point and
just waste time and energy wanting to debate that only one in the aforementioned group can be "best."  
For those, we wish only for much needed Greyhound therapy to Bismark to come back with a true sense
of appreciation for the combined talents of all our burgh bands.
(17 Jan 10)

RAVES to all the out of towners who write in expressing frustration and sheer jealousy because they
do not live near Pittsburgh where we have so many excellent musicians and bands to see live.
Raves to
the die-hard Pittsburgh music fans in Paris and Amsterday, as well as the blues fans in Germany, who
appreciate local music as much as we do and pine for the day they visit us.

RANTS to the whiners whining whiningly, almost endlessly, in unison, everywhere about the cold
winter upon PA. It
is winter, this is PA, this is the new tundra and there really is no such thing as global
warming. Film at 11.

RANTS that sometimes offers for publishing elsewhere too good to pass by come so quickly out of
nowhere with exclusive publishing terms that leave no time to explain why this site and others this
column regularly contributes to had to sit idle for more time than we would have liked.
Raves to all who
wrote in to make sure all was well until the black out here could be lifted. Your patience and
understanding are so appreciated and never taken for granted.

RANTS to a local school board for suspending a female teacher for a month without pay for being fully
clothed at a bachelorette party in the presence of a male stripper, after someone else posted a pic of the
stripper and teacher on the internet where current students read about it. That said, using the board's
twisted logic and reasoning, we must ask then what would happen if some females, who once got obscene
calls from a then peer classmate, now in a high profile district position, all got together, recorded
discussion about his actions and posted it where current students could read or watch?  Would it be fair
to suspend that same male employee for one month without pay if one of his current students heard or
read about it? Nah, we didn't think so. And that's what really stinks about it all.

RAVES to the employees at Uniontown's Tele-Tech for volunteering extra unpaid hours to help man
the phones for the recent MTV telethon that raised $57M for victims of the earthquake in Haiti.
Raves
to the burgh TV news folks for coming to Fayette County to air a rare positive news segment for a
pleasant change

RAVES of the most respectful kind to the late Warren King, one of the very righteous founders
of Pittsburgh rock music and guitar wizard turned recording studio engineer guru, as he left this earth
today and many from here to Paris and Amsterdam and points in between so very glad that we had him.
Warren was a stong, driving force that helped write Pittsburgh rock history with his trademark,
know-it-when-you-hear-it, can't-miss-it, super bad ass guitar sound with 1970s act Diamond Reo and the
Silencers of the MTV 80s, before spending time with Red Hot and Blue and The Mystic Knights.
Raves
that he left us with amazing recordings such as "Peter Gunn Theme," "Heart Attack" and other guitar
masterpieces from "Rough Cuts" and "Dirty Diamonds" that so many respectful Warren King
wannabes might keep on practicing till they get it near right -- and in the meantime, keep his style of
playing music alive and the rest of us reasonably amused and entertained, but never quite fully as we
once were with the real deal.  
Raves of genuine thanks to Warren from the bottoms of our hearts for all
the truly fine music that he played, wrote, recorded or mixed, all the decades of nights out rattling bar
windows with his guitar and rowdy friends that give this column
so much reason to brag up hometown
music to be something so special that other cities
do not have... And such sweet, bitter sweet Raves to him
for doing all this for us, all these years, even when it clearly was not easy sometimes being him.

Warren was what he was, warts and all,
Mr. Warren King, guitar wizard, who stepped up to play and took
no prisoners -- no, not that we ever really wanted him to, mind you.

Much heart-felt sympathies are extended to all in his inner circle of family and friends, including the
hometown and Florida musicians who genuinely loved him, learned so much from him and might feel for
some time as though parts of your own right arms are gone now, too... No, it's just those little pieces of
your hearts.  
(29 Jan 10)
RANTS &  RAVES
Neither a Rant nor a Rave but a note that Brownsville School Board saw the light tonight and reversed
its 30-day suspension of a fully clothed female teacher pictured with a male stripper at a bachelotette
party after someone without a life posted it on the internet.
Rants that it took ACLU involvement,
public protest petitions, a slew of tv news and bad press and an ACLU deadline threat to initiate a lawsuit
before the board came to its senses.
Rants that this decision to reverse the 6-week suspension still
leaves the district in even a
more precarious position than the pictured teacher was in for facing a future
lawsuit for harming her long-tern reputation.  
Rants that a board made the earlier decision to suspend
her without first ever imagining the consequences of its actions and all the
what ifs before foolishly
throwing the district and the teacher into the national news spotlight with the suspension in the first
place.
(4 Feb 10)

RAVES to the return of spring that feels more like summer with the upper 80 temps... so what if it's
cold again next week. High 80s after the snowiest February on record feels just divine, thank you.
Raves
to the return of every one of the beautiful looking and smelling spring flowers and tree blossoms that we
never thought would live through this past wicked winter.
Raves that the snow shovel can finally be put
away to the back of the storage shed.
Raves to the spring and summer to follow.

RAVES to UK's Rock Candy Records for striking up a deal to reissue Diamond Reo's kick butt 1976
record, Dirty Diamonds. Label owner, Derek Oliver, calls it "something of a rediscovered masterpiece
over the years."  Being commissioned to write an essay to accompany the release of the repackaged
Pittsburgh music is UK music writer Dave Reynolds.
Raves to Rock Candy for wanting to re-release
some of the best music that's almost all but forgotten at this point in time, by the band that this column
loves to call the
very best band that ever came from Pittsburgh. That's right, better than the Silencers,
better than the rest. Watch for that release if you don't already have the Diamonds record on disc... and
in the meantime, say a prayer that the unreleased Diamond Reo material one day is released as well.

RANTS... and, yes, this is said still, even with all respect, and in consideration of the undeniable giant
given that these are some of the worst financial times for the steadily shrinking lot of large and small,
hardcopy newspapers...
Rants to the county seat's newspaper, The Herald-Standard, for sometimes
leaving online readers with no hint of obituary news for 4 long days. Leaving the obits offline on some
Sundays, especially with no online updates since Thursday night's for Friday's edition, surely, surely,
cannot be a real money-making idea to increase Sunday paper sales at newsstands. Time for a story. A
most blessed, but rudely ruthless daily rag publisher from another era in this region more than once was
known to whine or scream at his small but mighty group of 5 talented area writers. The whining often
turned to tantrums. But one thing he was right about was that a good paper
must give readers a reason
much more than obituaries to buy the daily paper. You know, things such as solid investigative
journalism, impartial accounts of straight news, intelligent editorials, different, amusing or entertaining
features and the right comics.
Rants that leaving the online readership, too often too far away physically
to drive to a Uniontown area store/newsstand to buy a paper, sometimes unaware that someone they
know passed away until after the funeral is over.  

Meanwhile, a brief
RAVE of respectful applause to the Trib for increased daily circulation, no small
accomplishment these days. Which reminds us...
Raves to the genuinely funny blogger who spun the
extremely funny
-- and, yoi, so obviously untrue -- tale of the billionnaire owner and editor going out in
drag disguise overnight, secretly buying copies of their paper at area Sheetz stores to show what was
alleged to be an actual misleading spike in circulation

Meanwhile,
Rants to another area blogger, a really not so anonymous at all chap,  who took his politics,
wine and women
much too seriously and took moronic swipes at a romantic link between yours truly and
one fairly well known media personality, hitting only one
small morsel of fact correctly.  Next time,
foggy bloggy, we'll  be sure to make reservations at
your favorite place, so you won't miss a thing.      

RAVES to the memory of my beautiful mom on this first Mother's Day without her.  Watching a
strong-willed parent age and deal with serious health issues and a loss of independence is difficult, no
matter how gracefully and amazingly the ailing parent seems to defy or accept the fate.
Raves to parents
like Mom who teach their children to change all that we can and must change, accept what is beyond our
control and have common sense and decency to know the difference.
Raves that Mom's laugh and bout
of continued laughter from the heart last Mother's Day was so memorable, that it is still heard. It was
Mom's
old laugh, her laugh from when she was 35, 40, 55, 72...The one that I heard often all my life and
especially missed hearing, as she rarely laughed quite the same laugh those last 4 years of her life -- and
when she did, we were wise to stop and thoroughly relish the moment to heart.
Raves that she and her
grandson last Mother's Day, while watching some silly comedy movie, actually had their butts stuck in
her shared recliner, neither able to reach the power button to return the chair and them to their upright
positions. Both laughing so hard, having the times of their lives unable to move, stuck there together for
a bit, with nowhere else they would've rather been... A perfect Mother's Day memory forever to cherish,
one to find comfort in on this first Mother's Day without my beautiful Mom.

RAVES to the hundreds of breast cancer survivors and 34,000 particpants who ran or walked in the
Mother's Day Susan Koman Race For The Cure.
Raves that women are being diagnosed sooner and
living with a better quality of life longer. Till there is a cure, there is more hope than there was for our
grandmothers' generation, but we need a cure.
Raves to those who keep walking, running and
participating in events such as this race to raise awareness of the importance of regular
healthcare/mammograms and self exams, early cancer detection and support for women and men with
breast cancer.
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