The Bells

The bells toll behind your mind, filling your head with fear and worry. The bells ringing constantly, invading your ears and mind. The bells toll as this disaster you approach beckons your attention, the mist around you fading as the air gets colder. The bells toll faintly as the beast stares, watching you. She watches you. She fears you. She hates you. 

GameStop: A Tale of 15 Years

(This turned out to be much longer than anticipated. I ramble quite a bit here so bare with me.)

This is a tale 15 years in the making. An epic tale with highs, lows, love, danger, friendship, and a few jokes sprinkled throughout. This is the tale of my 15 years with GameStop and all the memories along the way. Grab a chair and join me if you will.

Continue reading

Saturday Night Oldies with Big Cid–Remembering Charlie Watts

Good Day,

I’m quite aware that it is Tuesday and not Saturday. The tragic event of today would not let me wait until Saturday. i’m seldom this moved to do a midweek presentation no matter the event in the musical world however there are times when the shock is just too much for me. This is one of those times.

As I read this morning of the passing of Charlie Watts, the drummer for The Rolling Stones I’m left with a sense of loss. Not only do the Stones now have no bassist but they have no drummer.

I’m old enough to remember music before any “British Invasion”. I have the first 45 The Rolling Stones issued in the states. “Tell Me (You’re Coming Back to Me) I’ve seen them live over 40 years ago!

I know that The Rolling Stones were not ONLY “The Worlds’s greatest Rock and Roll Band” but they were also the best of all of the British Invasion Bands.

Herman’s Hermits, Gerry and The Pacemakers, The Who, Billy J Kramer and the Dakotas, The Beatles, The Dave Clark Five…..none were as good as The Rolling Stones!! What made them great was the rhythm section of Watts and Wyman. No other band could boast that and no other could compare.

And they are touring THIS YEAR!! 60 years after being formed as a band by Brian Jones.

Now half of that duo has passed on. Charlie has been silenced. Bill has quit the band for reasons I never did understand. ( I never wished to read his book “A Stone Alone” explaining why!)

As for their first US Single it is also one of their best songs ever. (and prob. one many never heard!)

Notice how the singers are singing in different keys? Or how the harmonic dissonance makes this work?Also notice what Charlie and Bill brought to this to drive this hit home.

But no more.

(As an aside in this post, done alone without Robert of Kimberly, I’m not focusing so much on the popularity of a song but rather Charlie’s drumming and the rhythm section altogether. There will be a better time to celebrate the hits of the band. This is also presented with no interruptions–Cid)

We come to an end of this tribute to Charlie Watts and really the rhythm section that was Charlie and Bill Wyman for so long. It may be fitting to includes “Start me Up”, one of the best drumming efforts of Charlie, And yet it seems to be in bad taste to do so. And while “The Last Time” would seem to be a good outro I have chosen something else as that too hit a bit close being disrespectful.

Many of you may not be Stone’s fans. I understand that. And yet I can’t let this moment go without this oldie post.

RIP Charlie

—Cid out

Outro—-

Quantified Dreams: A Tell Tale Curiosity

So recently I had a discussion with a coworker about games like Heavy Rain, Life is Strange, Until Dawn, and Walking Dead. We are of two very different preferences on these style of games and I was wondering what camp everyone else belonged in. He plays these games and goes all in on getting every last possible scenario. I, on the other hand, play the story completely blind and accept my ending for what it is.

When it comes to most games, I find that I am able to play the game once and then I’m done. In particular games that are story driven. The games I mention above, however, have the unique characteristic of giving every player a storyline based one their unique choices. My first foray into this genre was Heavy Rain. The game was a slow….SLOW…start, but once the story picks up with a kidnapping I became enthralled to the point where I basically finished the game in two sittings. It was like binging something on Netflix, only I was in control of the narrative. Heavy Rain was an amazing game and at the time of its release I knew quite a few people who also played. We all talked about our experience with it and how cool it was, but the thing that surprised me the most was how different everything played out for each of us.

In my story, and much to my dismay, the villain lived at the end and two of the three protagonists died. I basically got the worst ending I could imagine. Especially when I heard how things went down for some of my buddies. The thing is, I was fine with how my game played out because it felt like it was MINE. I didn’t need to replay every chapter and see how every character’s choice mattered or changed the outcome. I was given my own experience and I felt like replaying the game over and over would cheapen that experience.

My current coworker just finished up Until Dawn, and by “finished up” I mean he got the Platinum Trophy. He has literally played and has seen everything that the game has to offer. When he plays these games he goes for every scenario possible. He wants to see it all. He wants to get the same sense of completion that you would get from any other game, but rather than collecting something like all of Peter Parker’s backpacks scattered around New York (currently playing Spiderman and those things are everywhere), he is collecting scenes from a story.

It’s not that I can’t appreciate wanting to get everything a game has to offer, but typically a game gives you the chance to complete everything on one play through. Of course there are games that have new game plus or multiple endings, but they don’t really change the overarching storyline, just how it ends.

There was one big twist on this in Life is Strange where you can redo a scenario over and over to get the outcome you really want, but in some ways I felt like I was cheating when I played that game. The game was phenomenal though. I don’t want to give anyone the wrong idea about it. It was a cool way to allow the player to see some of those alternative scenarios without having to accept their impact on the narrative they wanted to unfold. That’s why I liked Heavy Rain better. It is still my favorite game in this genre.

Given the incredible rise in popularity (and fall with Telltale?) these games have had over the last 10 years or so I would imagine most people have played at least one of these. I have played the three Quantic Dreams games as well as Life is Strange, but I’d really like to try out the Dark Pictures games. I am still curious though. So that brings me to my question (and explains my ridiculous title). Do you play these games to see it all? Or do you prefer to play once and have a single unique experience? Let me know!

Developer Interview: Pet Project Games and Ripout

Hello everyone and welcome to the developer interview of Pet Project Games, developers of Ripout, the upcoming Horror FPS title. Ripout takes place in 2084 after humanity has fled Earth, trying to outrun horrible mutants. But they didn’t run fast enough. As one of the last soldiers of the human race, it’s up to you to end the menace on your star ship. Ripout looks to implement several unique systems including enemy evolution and ways to make enemies your weapons via the Pet Gun. The current release window is 2022 on Steam with consoles currently under consideration. But without further ado, here’s my interview with Pet Project Games!

Mason Ramirez-Caughron: Firstly, the visual design is great at setting the tone. What drew you guys to the more industrial look for the ship?

Pet Project Games: We are all fans of Sci-Fi and horror so the design kind of came itself.
Also, the plot of the game sets the tone as well as we are in the future
where humanity is running away from the enemy to
another galaxy.

MRC: Were there any concerns that the co-op would subtract from the horror elements? If so, what steps did you take to put more emphasis on the horror?

PPG: The game can be played both in single-player and cooperative mode. So of course while playing alone the game is putting more focus on horror,
coop is, of course, a bit more action type of game but don’t be
surprised if you get a scare here and there even in coop mode! But the
point is to be a fun and interesting title for players to enjoy and play
with friends
.

MRC: The pet gun is a great concept, the idea of it leeching enemy abilities sounds awesome. Where did the idea for that come from?

PPG: The pet gun idea came from the head of our lead game designer Goran.
He’s a huge horror, Sci-Fi, and video games fan with more than 20 years of
experience in the industry. He’s also very fond of the 80s and 90s
popular culture where he found his inspiration for Ripout (and pet gun).

Image courtesy of Pet Project Games.

MRC: While I’m certain it will be explained in-game, is there any hint you could give me about the nature of the monsters? Are they alien in nature or possibly a mutagenic virus?

PPG: We do have a pretty developed backstory, some of it already published
on our website (www.ripoutgame.com). To answer your question, maybe one of the first sentences explains it – “After genetically engineering a
powerful but dangerous bioweapon to fend off alien invaders, humanity
falls victim to its own creation.”.

MRC: In terms of gameplay, where did your inspirations come from?

PPG: We all love quality shooters, not just from the 90s but also from the
newer period so the gameplay itself was a no-brainer for us. It was
interesting to read all the comments after we released our first trailer
because people compared Ripout to DOOM3, GTFO, Killing Floor, Dead
Space, Left4Dead…and at some point, they are right, as they are
comparing us to some great video games. But we didn’t use those titles
as inspiration. We are happy to be compared to them though, which means
we did something good 🙂

Image courtesy of Pet Project Games.

MRC: I saw you mention on YouTube that one of your designers grew up with 80’s action and horror films, what movie specifically did you draw from? Watching the trailer it does seem like John Carpenter’s The Thing has some influence on the project.

PPG: The Thing is an obvious choice, but really all of the popular culture
from that period is a huge inspiration for us.

MRC: In terms of designing the monsters how difficult was it to start getting the enemies to interact and evolve with each other?

PPG: Every start is difficult, but we had the idea in our head so it just
started to work itself out.

MRC: Lastly is there anything you guys want our readers to know or something to look forward to soon?

PPG: Well, after we released the trailer, we came to a conclusion that we
didn’t quite communicate some things, so maybe this is a nice
opportunity to clarify them. First, while RIPOUT is a coop game it’s not
just a coop game – we do have a single-player campaign as well. And you
can play on your own, enjoy the game with all the horror elements. The
important thing to note is that it’s a single-player, not coop that you
play with bots. The other thing is that too many people compare the game
with Dead Space. While Dead Space is an iconic title it has little
similarity to RIPOUT. Yes, you are in a space ship and yes there are
monsters but that’s pretty much it.

I hope you enjoyed this interview. Below is the gameplay trailer for Ripout. It is currently available to wishlist on Steam.

Big Announcement and Update

Hello everyone! It has been some time since I’ve been active, but I finally feel back in my rhythm and wanted to return with something big! And it is something very big to look forward to.

Recently I got in contact with a developer asking about the possibility for an interview. Well, they agreed and will be getting back to me soon. So look forward to this big scoop soon! With this first interview published I’m hoping to be able to reach out to other projects and get you all the latest information on titles that may not be on your radar yet. This first interview will be for a co-op horror title but that’s all I’m giving away for now! Stay tuned for the full interview and reveal!

Why do YOU Write?

Good Day,

I’m asking YOU this. Note I did not say “we write”. I know why we, as a society hundreds of thousands years old writes.

We started with no language and used drawing-. hieroglyphs. Some took up entire walls. Some were short. They convey the same thought. message or warning as well as the far longer hieroglyphs do. Thoughts, messages to others and warnings were why language evolved form hieroglyphics into Sanskrit and other long forgotten arcane, obscure and archaic languages never heard by anyone living today unless they are specialists in those linguistics.

Arabic may be the oldest language we use today but there are hundreds far older than that!

This posts deals with the overall why language at all. It asks “why do you write”? Each answer should be personal to YOU! I cannot answer for you.

Let’s leave social media out of this. Social media is not why anyone writes. It just gives each a forum to write on! Trolling a political, religious, gaming site is not writing. It may be expression but it’s not WHY. And yet some ONLY write to social media. I find that rather sad.

They never wrote a letter to their younger- or older self. Never wrote a poem just for themselves with no intent to share. Never wrote a song no one would hear. Some never practiced the art and craft OF writing.-crumbling up balls of paper as mistakes were made. Others have and it’s those I admire. They have taken the time to look within and relate to their feelings, emotions and thoughts to come up with something real and cohesive.

Some may say “What about bloggers? Many make money from their blogs”? My reply to that would be “What did those “bloggers” do before social media? How did they get the same message out so that they could have income”? If they did not blog what was their escape for writing and better yet WHY DID THEY WRITE?

WHY DO YOU?

–Cid out

Games and I are Almost Over

Good Day,

I find it very hard to care about games anymore. That is I do not look forward to many new releases on systems I have. I also have no desire to purchase any “new gen” system. Nothing of either “New Gen” impresses me to make me want to spend $500+. Games should excite, thrill, offer challenge and be interesting.

Games just aren’t interesting anymore and I never thought I’d say that!

But I’m 64. Maybe it’s time to put my past in check and dedicate the time I have left to other issues, causes and reads? Maybe games are just uninspiring? Perhaps I’ve aged too much and became jaded? Maybe the industry has passed me by with little to no care?

I suspect it’s a bit of each! Konami and Capcom are boring. Activision and Blizzard are so mired in mixed signals they cannot find their souls anymore. So lost in brand recognition are they few truly care about another Diablo or even when it comes out. I know I don’t.

There are others. I don’t need another ‘”souls” clone. I want-no demand- originality that speaks to me and causes me to become lost in it. I want to give myself to a game but I find them blaze.

For instance, I bought Shim Megami Tensei III: Nocturne when it came out. I had it date of release and began it immediately. Shortly after I crossed the bridge to a new area I lost interest as I was getting a battle event 4 steps. It was like playing Final Fantasy 1 or Dragon Quest on the NES-but far worse. That did not bother me when I played it for PS2. Now the games sits gathering dust.

I received Neo: The World Ends With You on day of release, Oh how I was looking forward to this. Did it have Neku and Shiki? Was the Coffee Shop in it? Were there pins like before? Would we be dead and would we have to make a “pact”? Most importantly was the music cutting edge. Was it the classic mixture of Goth, Punk, Pock, KPop, JPop, Techno and Trance that kept me playing in 2009? Was this to be a new “cult hit” as the old one USED to be?

Well—….I’m on Day 4 and I’m TRYING to like it. I really am but I just can’t get into this. It’s not the same. The music is terrible. Oh they tried- here and there-and there are times we can convince ourselves it is as good as before–but that is an illusion. Yes there are pins but given the lack of tapping a screen with a stylus it does not feel the same. Square –and Nintendo have popularized the old game so much this can never be a “cult classic”. I love the characters but they are not Shiki and Neku. The game also offers some improvements over the old. I leave them for you to find out.

I do not know what comes out this year. Or what it comes out on, when it releases, or who of renown made it. I just do not care.

The answer is not to “go back and play some old games”. I’m past that as well. It’s like going back and rereading a book we loved over and over again until one day it just loses it’s meaning altogether. Repetition does that. Look at a sunrise day after day and it just becomes 6 AM. PSPlus gave me the FFVII remake and I have no desire to install it much less play it.

I think the industry I loved no longer exists. I am but a behemoth in a world of jackals and leopards. I have been left behind and yet–did I let myself get to be that way? Maybe I did and if so, then why? It’s quite possible the seclusion of COVID had a hand in that as well.

So I digress. Something I loved no longer holds interest for me. In fact this new World Ends With You feels like a cell phone game and they are not games to me no matter how successful they are. Why are birds flying around so angry? Are there also pissed off birds? Or melancholy birds.? I’ve no idea as I’ve never played that rubbish. I’d rather play “Lemmings” .

I do not mean to spoil your fun and how you see games but I fear we no longer share the same enthusiasm.

–Cid Out

Sekiro: Let’s try this again Pt. 2! Hesitation Defeated!

Two years ago, the most recent game from my favorite developer came out and I was ecstatic to play it. Sekiro was a very different style game for someone who had been on the Souls hype train since Demon’s Souls came out, but my readiness to play was not diminished by that fact. The prospect of playing something different was exciting, but given how From is known for their difficulty it was also a bit daunting. Nevertheless I began this journey in 2019 with great anticipation..

My first attempt at Sekiro was plagued by two factors. The first was that I was playing the game at the same time as most of my buddies and while I had a good jump start to the game, I quickly fell behind and became discouraged because of that. The second, and this could be said about other From games as well, was the fact that I struggled finding a good path to follow. Because I began to lag behind my friends I began trying to sprint through the game without truly learning the mechanics. This did not become apparent to me until late game, but I really did not kill enemies in an efficient manner at all as I was either not aggressive enough or I simply refused to learn to parry and counter. I relied HEAVILY on my prosthetic, and not as a way to counter an enemy, but rather to damage them from afar bit by bit. Fights that should take seconds would take me minutes because I would run around and chip away rather than getting in there and learning to fight like a shinobi.

As for the second factor, I realize a lot of the fun of these kinds of games is exploration, but when you find yourself stuck on a particularly tough boss (or mini-boss as was the case for me) without making any headway it can be a real mood killer. I fought the big red eyed ogre so many stupid times before I found the Hirata Estate dream sequence and the Flame Vent that I could scream. Do you need that item to take out the ogre? Absolutely not. Did I at the time though? YES. For my recent playthrough, having the beginning of the game mapped out the way I did not only saved me a huge chunk of time, it kept me engaged in a way that made the game more enjoyable. I know gamers who can explore one small area of a game for hours even without discovering anything particularly useful or valuable. That gamer I am not. I’m not saying I like having a guide either, because for the most part I hate using them, but sometimes I need a bit more of a push than eavesdropping the right enemy or finding the right note lying around to get me where I need to go.

Now here we are in 2021 and I decided to start fresh. I installed the game to my PS5 and began again, and as of my last post I had made it through the Corrupted Monk’s Illusion. I took down another Headless as well as a second Shichimen Warrior. I breezed through most of the areas and made it to the Fountainhead Palace. I remember how much I despised this place from my first run, but I had put in a lot more effort to understanding the game’s mechanics this time and while I still hit a snag here and there I made it through rather handily. I was finally back at the end game, but I had some unfinished business before attempting to fight the final baddy again.

The Demon of Hatred was built up by my friends over the years as the actual most difficult boss in the game. I had no idea what to expect, but I was genuinely surprised when I saw it for the first time because I had never even found the fight on my first play through. When I was transported to his shrine I was shocked to see an enemy that was not of human form. The Great Ape and the bulls are the only bosses in the game that were not really humanoid. The Demon of Hatred, however, looked like if Manus from Dark Souls had a brother who learned pyromancy. This was an enormous and intimidating boss and after three attempts getting hardly any damage in I knew I would need some guidance. I looked up a video for the fight and it helped immensely. As I had said in my last post, I had not upgraded a single prosthetic tool thus far, but if there is any fight in this entire game that required them, the Demon of Hatred is that fight. I began to farm some late game enemies for currency to get my gear up to snuff and I began my battle again with upgrades and strategy. Less than ten tries later the Demon was no more and I could head to the final battle knowing I had accomplished nearly every fight in the game. (There is a boss you can unlock should you trigger the right events, but I screwed up the timing of something and missed it. That’s what new game plus is for though, right?)

Now of course I forgot about the mini-boss on my way to the final boss. It is another one of the Seven Spears. The absolute bane of my existence for the beginning of the game. To make matters worse he is accompanied by sword user who is also quite unpleasant. I ended up finding a good strategy for this fight though and dispatched them fairly easily, though I died more than I would have liked which dropped my confidence for the final boss a bit.

The final battle finally began and I was shocked to see how much smoother things were going. While I had made it to this fight originally, my struggles with it were all too real. There are essentially 4 phases to this fight. Phase 1, not so bad honestly. Phase 2? I never made it past phase 2 the first time. I was pleasantly surprised that I made it to phase 2 on just my third try, but even more surprised that I got past phase 2 my first time seeing it on this play through! That was a huge moment for me! I knew I was going to finish the game this time, especially after taking down the Demon of Hatred, but I was doing so well on the final fight that I was getting a little over anxious for the finish. After calming myself down a bit and pacing myself a bit better, phase 3 and 4 came and went after about an hour of trying.

FINALLY! It feels so good! I can’t tell you how many times over the past 2 years I have had friends tell me “Hesitation is defeat.” Well tonight you can consider hesitation defeated! I conquered this game and on top of that I actually developed a huge appreciation for it. It’s the only From game I have ever played that required me to do it all alone and I have to wonder if I took that same mentality to the Soulsborne games would I find myself appreciating them more as well? That may be the topic of another post, but for now I’m going to enjoy this and look forward to whatever experience Elden Ring has to throw at me.

PlayStation Home Is Coming Back!

Oh it’s more than just a rumor now , Recently Sony has begun updating the trademark for PlayStation Home

That’s right. July 21st 2021

To quote from MP1st.com on the PlayStation Home Trademark Updates:

The trademark update talks about hosting and staging online tournaments, social networking services, and much more. It’s essentially what PS Home was developed for.”

@bigcid77 Here ya go XD

Sekiro: Let’s try this again!

There are not a lot of times I can say I made it to the last boss of a game and did not finish it. In fact, I can only say that it has happened once and if the title did not tip you off, it was Sekiro. There are very few games out there that require so much perfection from the player, and Sekiro’s final boss is simply one of the most incredible challenges in gaming.

I recently began making my way through Sekiro again because I promised myself, FromSoftware, and Hidetaka Miyazaki, that I would finish the game before Elden Ring came out. With the release of the newest trailer I suddenly find myself with less time than I thought I would have, but I am also going through the game with a renewed sense of purpose as well as a chip on my shoulder.

My first time playing Sekiro was a bit of a slog. I love Dark Souls, but any Soulsborne fan will tell you that if you try and play this game like it’s a Souls game you are going to have a bad time. Not only is aggression your best friend, but parrying is mandatory. I have gone into this game with that in mind and I have done far better than my first go. Of course as I said, I have a chip on my shoulder. I’ve done it all before! I KNOW I can get to the final boss. I’ve been there. It is simply a matter of doing it again and trying to be better. Learn the techniques more effectively. Regain all the muscle memory I’ve lost from my first play through and become better.

The timing has been impeccable for beginning this play through as well. GameInformer’s Marcus Stewart is doing a Super Replay of Sekiro as well and I told myself that I would at least beat the game before he does. For those who are unaware, GameInformer live streams their Super Replay sessions every Friday for 2 hours (outside of technical issues that is). If I can’t outpace that then I may have a problem. I was also excited to hear that Marcus had played the game before and quit without finishing so it has been fun watching his play through along with my own (though he is admittedly much better than myself).

I just made it all the way past the Corrupted Monk (illusion form) and dispatched him alright. I think my toughest moments so far have come from the Genichiro fight atop Ashina Castle, and sadly the “Seven Spears” mini boss…I really could not get down his timing. I have also killed the first Headless as well as a Shichimen Warrior. I didn’t even attempt these enemies on my initial run.

I made it all the way to this point as well without upgrading a single prosthetic tool. This may not seem like much but I relied on them heavily my first go round. Not having them upgraded forced me to rely on my sword far more than before and I have definitely improved as a result.

I still have a ways to go before the end, and I plan on taking down all the Headless enemies this time as well, but I am actually enjoying the game more this time. Much like my recent replay of Hollow Knight. Sometimes I suppose the second time really is the charm. Of course I still have to finish, so hopefully I will be making another post soon!

Open World Games…I Hate Them!

Open World Games And In Terms Of Actual Content (Story, Real character Development etc)  Are More Linear Than You Think…But Not in A Good Way!

Open World gave birth to side quests, not up until you get obsessed with trophy hunting or getting 100% (for Xbox-ers) and being forced to do every little side quest/mission in games to finally realize …. what a colossal waste of time!
 
What’s a side quest what does it mean to gamers?…..a low budget poppets show! you get to do lame ass repeated crap from A to Z kinda quests, Please allow me:
 
Quest Giver: Oh my husband went missing find him and i’ll give you some useless carp that you don’t need nor add anything of a value to your experience with the game !
 
Stupid Newcomer: ON IT!
 
Few hours later on that same very day…..
 
Stupid Newcomer: Ok done! now i’m gonna continue the main story, now let’s head to the Gate…
 
Opps, you need a key….
 
Stupid Newcomer: ok where’s the key? …ooh that man has it….ok let’s talk to the emotionless, ugly looking NPC over there….
 
Stupid Newcomer: Sup!….see i need to leave town (even though there’s no fences around it but just a gate ) gimme me the key please!
 
Robotic dull looking NPC (aka Quest Giver): My donkey went missing, find him and i’ll give you the key. last seen, well…remember that last place you stupid gamer visited on the previous quest?
 
Stupid Newcomer: Yeah….but it’s on the other side of the world map man c’mon i was just there!
 
Robotic dull looking NPC (aka Quest Giver): Well, it’s the price you pay for having such a poor taste in games asshole
 
Stupid Newcomer: ok ok, i’m gonna get it
 
3 hours later……
 
Stupid Newcomer : Here’s your stupid donkey (due to a common glitch the monkey just …flew away ) 
 
Stupid Newcomer: WTF????
 
And so on, i haven’t played a side quest that added anything of a value to a game (aside form Death Stranding and the First Neir game )
 
 

Bottom line is, side quests are nothing but fillers, a way to stall and  waste your time, a way to give the stupid newcomer the  100 hours of gameplay-illusion by doing nothing but going from point A on the Map to point B and back ..over and over and over and …wait for it…. and over again!

People you only get to live once, and humans’ lifespan is not enough to experience a tiny lil fraction of the things you love or enjoy doing, (that’s if let’s say you didn’t get hit by a bus, died of a disease or got shot and shit )

I know i said it before (like a lot!),  But i take Linearity over a boring game with a gigantic open world any day
Sorry for the rant, it just been few years since i last bummed the open world lovers like that XD

Saturday Night Oldies with Big Cid-Celebrating Juneteenth

Good Evening Ladies and Gentlemen. Today is June 19th-Juneteenth.. This is a day that has a lot of meaning to me but rather than hear my take on it let’s set up what this is and what it means.

On Jan 1st, 1863 President Lincoln signed the Emancipation proclamation freeing all slaves in the “free” states. At the time there were slave states and free states. They were admitted into the union two at a time. One slave and and one free state each. Many saw that the end of slavery. It was not.

Word of this did not reach Texas until June 19th, 1865 and thus we celebrate today, Juneteenth, which is the freeing of a nation. There is an interesting history to this and I suggest it be looked up for further reading.

So tonight we focus on songs of the old South- one that were slaves songs of hope and promise, Ones that became Black anthems, or of resiliency and courage. Songs that have an intrinsic value to those that can relate more to them than their white counterparts can. This is show of the triumph of the human spirit.

Bob is not with us tonight. Kimberly and I are presenting this and we will present this with few interruptions but rather let the music speak for itself. I should say that I and my LGBTQIA+ Support community were invited to Unity Day this past Thursday the next county over and we accepted. We had a wonderful time and this was part of a week long celebration of Juneteenth.

Let’s start this off with a few spirituals that meant more than what was said.


The stories told in these old Negro Spirituals, or slave songs if you wish, never die out. They became an art form all themselves. Upon release many Black men soon found themselves in jails for dubious rimes they may or may not have committed and thus was born the Prison songs of the days of John Lomax and later Alan Lomax. Here are a few of those,

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