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Tag: album

Blake Shelton names his new honky-tonks after classic (but not his own) country song

Not since a fried chicken chain opened under the name Bojangles, has a name been so blatantly borrowed from the music world for personal gain.

Blake Shelton is opening a chain of restaurant/music venues/retail stores later this month under the name Ole Red — a slightly altered spelling of his hit song “Ol’ Red,” which wasn’t really his song either.

I don’t know if Bojangles restaurants pay any form of royalties to Jerry Jeff Walker, who wrote and first recorded “Mr. Bojangles,” or, for that matter, if Shelton’s new restaurants give much of a nod (financial or otherwise) to George Jones, who originally recorded “Ol’ Red,” but it makes me wonder.

sheltonmugAre song names fair game? Can anyone appropriate them for their own personal or business use? Can I, without repercussions, or lawsuits, open a business named after a song?

Perhaps a hoagie restaurant called “Yellow Submarine,” a home cleaning service called “Another One Bites the Dust,” or a vitamin and health food dispensary named “Stayin’ Alive?”

It may be legal, but it’s still a little presumptuous.

What Shelton is doing would be the equivalent of David Lee Roth opening a chain of Hooters-like restaurants and calling it California Girls.

Blake Shelton took George Jones’ song — written by James “Bo” Bohan, Don Goodman and Mark Sherrill — and turned it into a hit of his own in 2009.

jonesgraveThe song tells the delightful story of an inmate who enlists a prison bloodhound — whose job was to track down prisoners — to assist in his own escape.

It is narrated by an inmate who is serving a 99-year sentence for a violent act committed when he caught his wife with another man. After gaining a position of trust, though, he is allowed to take the bloodhound, Ol’ Red, for his evening run.

The inmate secretly arranges for a cousin in Tennessee to bring an especially alluring female blue tick hound to the outskirts of the prison and put her in a pen. The inmate, during that evening run, begins regularly dropping Ol’ Red off there for nightly trysts.

Ol’ Red gets so smitten with the blue tick hound that when the inmate makes his own escape, he knows Ol’ Red will be released to chase him down — and he knows Red will head in the opposite direction, straight for his new girlfriend.

The escape is successful, as the final line of the song points out:

“Love got me in there, love got me out.”

(You can hear George Jones’ version — still preferred by many — here.)

Jones died in 2013.

namethedogsI’m sure Shelton had to pay some person or entity to record the song, but I’m not so sure if any deals were involved in naming his two new establishments after the song.

Maybe altering the name — from Ol’ Red to Ole Red — served as a loophole, even if it does lead some people to give it the Spanish pronunciation: Olé.

Shelton opened the first location of his new honky-tonk chain yesterday in in Tishomingo, Okla. A second will open later this month in Nashville.

And today he released a new album, entitled, interestingly enough, “I’ll Name the Dogs.”

I don’t know what that song is about, but once it shows up on the Internet I’ll bring it to you — just in case you, like me, have an interest in dog songs, or if maybe you want to use that name when you open your own hot dog stand.

Oh wait, here it is now:

How nice. Not what I’d call a dog song, though. Shelton sings of how he and the woman he is proposing to will divide household duties once they are married: “You name the kids; I’ll name the dogs.”

This is what country singers do. They sing about their undying love for their woman. Then they sing about breaking up with that woman. Then they sing about their forevermore loyalty to the next woman.

(George Jones has Blake Shelton beat in this category too, having married at least four times, once to Tammy Wynette, who was married five times and who recorded the No. 1 song of 1968, “D-I-V-O-R-C-E.” She married Jones the next year. It lasted six years.)

When they’re not singing about love realized and love lost, country singers turn to simpler topics, like beer and whiskey, their truck, fishin’ and their dog.

They also sing each other’s songs, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

But when they establish an entire franchise based on somebody else’s song? One could argue that’s going too far. One could say that’s bad manners. One could say, in more countrified terms, “That dog don’t hunt.”

(Photos, At top, Shelton shows off some of the merchandise at his new honky-tonk, USA Today; middle, George Jones’ dog, Bandit, visits his grave, Facebook; bottom, cover of Shelton’s new album)

Bob Dylan sings “Must be Santa”

In case you didn’t know, Bob Dylan recorded his first-ever Christmas album this year — featuring mostly traditional favorites, sung mostly traditionally. And then there’s this raucous number: “Must be Santa.”

The album, Dylan’s 47th, is called “Christmas In The Heart.” All of Dylan’s royalties from the album are being donated to Feeding America and other international charities.

“It’s a tragedy that more than 35 million people in this country alone – 12 million of those children – often go to bed hungry and wake up each morning unsure of where their next meal is coming from,” Dylan says on his website. “I join the good people of Feeding America in the hope that our efforts can bring some food security to people in need during this holiday season.”

Why dogs are better than men — in song

norahjones-album

I have no statistics, just a hunch: Dogs — in addition to all the other places they’re appearing more often (books, TV and movies to name three) — are turning up more regularly on album covers.

The latest I’m aware of is the Saint Bernard who graces the cover of Norah Jones’ new album, “The Fall.”

The dog on the cover isn’t her’s — just one of several model dogs that the photographer planned to use in a group shot.

“She wanted to use a bunch of dogs because she likes working with animals. I thought it sounded fun,” Jones said in an interview with Hulu’s blog “We ended up just loving the Saint Bernard so much that we got some shots with just him. He was so beautiful.”

Jones is a dog lover, doting in particular on her rescued poodle Ralph.

“My dogological clock started to tick. So I got a dog … I’m madly in love with him,” the songstress told NPR’s Morning Edition. “I like to say that he’s a scruffy, manly poodle, because you say poodle and people start rolling their eyes… ”

Ralph also served as the inspiration for the closing track of the album, “Man of the Hour,” whose lyrics recite the many advantages living with a dog has over living with a man.

Here’s her recent performance of the song on “Good Morning America.”

High-flying dog chosen for new Weezer album

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Weezer lead vocalist Rivers Cuomo was perusing the pages of National Geographic when he came across a reader-submitted dog photo that he thought would make a good cover for the group’s next album.

And that’s how Sidney, the high jumper above, came to grace the cover of “Raditude.”  The album comes out Oct. 27.

The shot of Sidney was entered in a reader-submitted photo contest sponsored by the magazine. When Cuomo spotted it, according to Spinner, he decided to track down the photographer.

The band then lucked out big time. When they got in touch with the winning photographer, Jason Neely of Middletown, Conn., to seek his permission to use the shot, it turned out he was a big Weezer fan. Here’s Jason’s Flickr page.

There’s a cat in the photo, too, though it’s difficult to spot.