Saturday, January 30, 2016

Some Lyrical Blasts from the Past

YouTube playlist for this article,
playlist compilation article

In the distant past, I actually memorized some oddball sequential utterances of some lyrics. However, I think about other sequences—mostly names of locations—that I seem unable to memorize. Little wonder I had not seriously gone into acting or singing, which require seemingly innate talents to memorize and recite.

Learning weirdly nonsensical utterances are kinda embarrassing to admit to. Anyone else? Example songs include "Hooked on a Feeling" (Blue Swede, 1974), "Wanna Be Startin' Something" (Michael Jackson, 1982), "Witch Doctor" (Alvin and Chipmunks, 1958), and "Good Morning Starshine" (Oliver, 1969).

Hooked on a Feeling (Blue Swede)
The link is a two-fer, with lyrics in the video. Dig the chant part!
Ooga-Chaka Ooga-Ooga
Ooga-Chaka Ooga-Ooga
Ooga-Chaka Ooga-Ooga
Ooga-Chaka Ooga-Ooga
Ooga-Chaka Ooga-Ooga
I read more information about "Hooked on a Feeling", most recently about it being in the Guardians of the Galaxy movie. BJ Thomas released his own version in the late 60s, although YouTube listings don't show any live performances that old. Watch an undated and more recent performance.

Wanna Be Startin' Something (Michael Jackson)
Lyrics excerpt
Ma Ma Se,
Ma Ma Sa, Ma Ma Coo Sa
Ma Ma Se, Ma Ma Sa,
Ma Ma Coo Sa
Actually, the lyrics to the rest of the song are loads plentiful. About all I could remember are the song title and "You're a Vegetable". (I had no nope of memorizing the entire song!)

Witch Doctor (Alvin and Chipmunks)
Lyrics excerpt
Ooo eee, ooo ah ah ting tang
Walla walla, bing bang
Ooo eee, ooo ah ah ting tang
Walla walla, bing bang...
Ooo eee, ooo ah ah ting tang
Walla walla, bing bang
Ooo eee, ooo ah ah ting tang
Walla walla, bing bang
In my web searches, I ran across a different "Witch Doctor" version. The only similarity is the song title.

Good Morning Starshine (Oliver)—a big hit from the musical Hair
Lyrics excerpt
Gliddy glub gloopy nibby nabby noopy
La la la, lo lo
Sabba sibbi sabba nooby aba naba
Lee lee, lo lo
Tooby ooby wala
Nooby aba naba…
Early morning singin' song
Another Hair song comes to mind for memorization efforts—the actual "Hair" song, which has loads of adjectives and phrases WRT to hair. Love the song, can't memorize much of it to save my life, even though it has no utterances like Starshine does. Not sure I could sing "Hair" well even with karaoke lyrics to look at.
Lyrics excerpt
I want it long, straight, curly, fuzzy
Snaggy, shaggy, ratty, matty
Oily, greasy, fleecy
Shining, gleaming, streaming
Flaxen, waxen
Knotted, polka-dotted
Twisted, beaded, braided
Powdered, flowered, and confettied
Bangled, tangled, spangled, and spaghettied!

Let it fly in the breeze
And get caught in the trees
Give a home to the fleas in my hair
A home for fleas
A hive for bees
A nest for birds
Now to segue into other songs that I have lyrics memorization issues with. Although "Hallelujah" doesn't require much lyrics memorization, the rhythm and pitch are killers! Watch the Mormon Tabernacle Choir performance.
Memorization difficulties for me include lyrics with series of items.

Surfin' USA (Beach Boys, 1963)
Lyrics excerpt
You'd catch 'em surfin' at Del Mar
Ventura County line
Santa Cruz and Trestle
Australia's Narrabeen
All over Manhattan
And down Doheny Way

Haggerties and Swamies
Pacific Palisades
San Onofre and Sunset
Redondo Beach L. A.
All over La Jolla
At Wa'imea Bay.
Heart of Rock and Roll (Huey Lewis and the News, 1983)
Lyrics excerpt
New York, New York, ...
LA, Hollywood, and the Sunset Strip ...
DC, San Antone and the Liberty Town, Boston and Baton Rouge
Tulsa, Austin, Oklahoma City, Seattle, San Francisco, too ...
In Cleveland
Vogue (Madonna, 1990)
Lyrics excerpt
Greta Garbo, and Monroe
Deitrich and DiMaggio
Marlon Brando, Jimmy Dean
On the cover of a magazine

Grace Kelly; Harlow, Jean
Picture of a beauty queen
Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire
Ginger Rodgers, dance on air

They had style, they had grace
Rita Hayworth gave good face
Lauren, Katherine, Lana too
Bette Davis, we love you
Note: I looked up about six lyrics sites, and they all misspell Deitrich, which should be Dietrich.

Extreme Memorization and Delivery Performances
Watch astounding memorization, harmonization, and mashups in Straight No Chaser's "12 Days of Christmas". Read the lyrics, which are interesting for capably presenting numerous simultaneous singing parts.

Watch Weird Al's "White and Nerdy", his parody of Chamillionaire's "Ridin' Dirty". Lyrics to both songs are very taxing to the brain for their tempo and quantity. Notice visual similarities between the videos. (As a Weird Al fan, I especially appreciate his cultural references and also cameos by the comedy duo, Key and Peele, and Donny Osmond.)

"Life is a Rock" (Reunion), to me, is the King Kong of memorization impossibility that has lots of names and references—too numerous to list. Furthermore, the delivery is EXTREMELY fast. Visit the collage and the screen lyrics versions.

Mumbly Deliveries
I feel less inclined to learn lyrics to "mumbly" song deliveries. To me, one particular song stands out for mumbliness—both popular versions of "Louie, Louie". Contrast Kingsmen and Paul Revere and Raiders versions. For eyeball and ear convenience, read the screen lyrics while listening.

Two versions of "Gimme Some Lovin'" contrast in lyrics deliveries. Steve Winwood, who sang the Spencer Davis Group version, belts it out passionately, but the Blues Brothers enunciate great! (Watch both the SDG and the BB version.) BTW, the BB version is a clip from the movie.

I briefly considered titling my article "Tiptoeing Thru Some Blasts from Past Lyrics", which would have taken me far from my intended topic of lyrics WRT memorization. However, I do want to share the obvious tiptoe blast from past—"Tiptoe Through the Tulips". Amazingly, Tiny Tim's version is nearly 50 years old (1968). An older version is in the Golddiggers of Broadway movie (1929). BTW, my tiptoeing in Tiny Tim YouTube territory took me to an entertaining video of him performing "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy" on the Johnny Carson Show.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Cinnamon Two-Tone Cupcakes

Around Thanksgiving, I went to Michael's and spotted an intriguing Wilton gadget for making two-tone cupcakes. The design is for making two-tone cupcakes—"Fill the inner portion of the insert with one flavor or color of batter and the outer ring with another". I bought one that day, and another one a few days later, both times using a 50% off coupon. Grand total came to $7.00 + sales tax.

Before trying out the gadgets, I decided to look up info and recipes. Did I get an eyefull. Lots of complaints!
  • Messy!
  • Time consuming!
  • While pulling up gadgets,
    • Batter stuck to gadgets before falling from gravity, resulting in a gloppy mess. (I'm thinking surface tension because of viscosity.)
    • The batter that stuck to the gadgets would also pull up paper liners.
    • Misalignment of inner ring and outer ring of gadgets resulted in batter seeping from one area to another.
With all those complaints in mind and some commenters' suggestions, I hoped to avoid sorry pitfalls. I made sure to include the following actions in the recipe:
  • Spraying oil into the Wilton gadgets and cupcake pan before pouring the batter in.
  • Omitting paper liners in the pan wells.
  • Initially pouring a small layer "outer" area batter into pan before placing Wilton gadgets. Doing so was intended to prevent breach between contrasting batters.
  • Carefully pouring batters by using small measuring cups that have little spouts. (Some bakers suggested piping the batters, but I consider the step to be extra work and wasting bags.)
Cinnamon seems to be a common flavor for cinnamon rolls, coffee cakes, and some muffins, but not so much for cakes and cupcakes. I did run across recipes for dozen-quantity muffins that called for cinnamon and nutmeg. And the pans were standard 12-well cupcake pans. Thus, my recipe has a not-so-common cake flavor (using 1/2 box of cake mix) and instructions for using Wilton two-tone cupcake inserts.

Video-recording the recipe process was a new experience for me. Generating the YouTube video and subsequent .pdf file were even more adventuresome. A future blog article will be about having used Microsoft Movie Maker, Acoustica (audio editor), and Irfanview (graphics editor) WRT to the video and secondary files.

As has been my tradition with recipes, I include a pixstrip, this one showing the following image areas:
  1. Implements
  2. Ingredients
  3. Spray oil with pan and Wilton gadgets
  4. Mixed cake batter, with cinnamon and nutmeg beside it
  5. Blending of cinnamon and nutmeg into the smaller bowl batter
  6. Dispensing of batters into the pan with Wilton gadgets(combo image)
  7. Removal of Wilton gadgets before placing the pan in oven
  8. Baked cupcakes
  9. Iced and some sliced-open cupcakes
  • Electric mixer
  • Mixing bowls
  • Measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons
  • Rubber spatula(s)
  • Cupcake pan
  • Wilton cupcake insert (I used two.)
  • Cooling rack
  • Butter knife or similar for removing cupcakes from pan
  • 1/2 box cake mix—white, yellow, vanilla to contrast with cinnamon/nutmeg
  • ingredients for half-box recipe, using the box info for guide
    • eggs
    • cooking oil
    • water
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • spray oil
  • icing or some other cupcake topping (I used a freebie Wilton decorating icing. I've provided links to alternative toppings at the bottom of the article.)
Instructions (Have the cake mix box handy!)
  1. Preheat the oven (350°).
  2. Prepare baking pan and Wilton gadget(s) with spray oil.
  3. Weigh 1/2 box of cake mix powder, and prepare the batter as instructed on the box.
  4. Pour 1/3 of the batter into a smaller bowl, and blend the cinnamon and nutmeg in. (Initially, I tapped and mixed a little of the cinnamon and nutmeg into the batter before divvying it into two portions.)
  5. Pour a small layer of "outer" batter into each cupcake well.
  6. Place gadget(s) into wells and dispense inner batter, then outer batter. Lift gadget(s) and place into wells needing filling. Repeat this step until finished.
  7. Remove the gadget(s). Place rack in oven and bake for about 18 minutes. YMMV
  8. Test cupcakes for doneness with toothpick.
  9. Remove the pan of baked cupcakes and place on cooling rack. Run a knife along the edges for loosening them.
  10. Decorate as desired.
Post-recipe Thoughts
Despite my oil-spraying of my cupcake pan and the Wilton inserts, the center cupcake columns looked blobby, and seemed more voluminous than the "outer" cupcake parts. I was surprised that they more resembled the globby one at Baking Bites than other nice and straight ones.

The next time I make two-tone cupcakes, I'll spray more oil, and I'll try using rainbow jimmies for the center columns. (2/19/2016—Baked a batch. Read "Those Two-Tone Confetti Cupcakes" for my results assessment.)

Nutrition: The cake mix box states 260 calories (prepared) for each serving, 10 servings a box. So, the cupcakes are about 110 calories each, plus an additional ~40 for the sorta light smear of Wilton icing. (Sigh, I miss the recent olden days when cake mix weighed 18.25 ounces and served 12 instead of the current 15.25 ounces for 10 servings. Grrr! Reduction by ~16%, jeopardizing *FORMERLY RELIABLE* results and yields.)

Alternates to cupcake toppings (viewed by me for possible future use), in two cases, part of main sweets recipes: