Workin’ For The Weekend: Oklahoma City Comes Home For Two “I’m Gonna Be Strong”

I was born in 1980. That same year the world discovered Cyndi Lauper before she was Cyndi Lauper. Nowadays, when perusing VH1, you might stumble upon Ms. Lauper every now and again, and think to yourself, “Who is this woman, and what happened to her?”. At 61 years of age she still balances the fine line between art and oddity not only publicly, but privately as well. This mirrors her career spanning nearly 35 years.

To be totally honest, I often find myself singing Lauper tunes. They are heavily crafted to be ear worms of the highest level. For that, the writing and execution of some of Lauper’s greatest hits should truly be lauded. “Girls Just Want To Have Fun”, “She Bop”, “Time After Time”, “True Colors”, and even that crazy ‘Goonies’ song point to the highly skilled writing of a truly smart human being.

Lauper had an usual voice, instantly recognizable, but certainly not common among female performers of the day. While the glam hit full stride in the early 80’s, Lauper was okay being slightly different in both her approach and her demonstration of art. But where did it all begin?

One of my absolute vinyl treasures (one I actually own) is a first printing of the band Blue Angel, and their debut album titled the same. It was 1980, new wave and punk were sort of congealing, and some of the greatest pop-rock was formed. The band was retro in dress, in theme, but certainly in song. The leader of the pack was none other than Cyndi Lauper, a fresh faced girl from Queens, New York.

Long story short, the band only existed for a year or two following poor album sales, a lawsuit from a former manager, and some health issues from Lauper. Continuously lauded for her vocal gymnastics, record labels were craving to sign Cyndi Lauper to a solo deal, which she denied simply because she believed in Blue Angel. After things went south, Lauper waitressed, worked other odd jobs, submitted a solo demo, and the rest is history.

Despite the crash and burn project of Blue Angel, I still find the album as a whole a magical rockabilly journey – a side of Lauper I actually prefer.

Take the torch song, “I’m Gonna Be Strong” for example. Originally record by Frankie Lane in 1963, Lauper simply owns this track, modernizing it in a way that feels fresh, original, and so very 1980’s. The band backing her is simply on point. And despite the majority of the album being written by Lauper herself, this “cover” truly stands out.

It is a song about losing someone or something that you love dearly. The song taps out at under 3:00, but when it ends you wish there were more. The crux of the song really relies on the vocal and instrumental crescendo working hand in hand. By golly they nail it. The hurt, the pain, the recovery that “I’m gonna be strong, And let you go along, And take it like a man” are bruising if not revealing.

The Oklahoma City Barons have played one game. That is all it took to get a fresh look at this year’s squad. In summation, the team is exactly that – fresh. And as they travel along this journey we call an AHL season, we are going to see a constant rotation of players throughout the lineup, until the fresh becomes familiar. Don’t worry about it, instead proclaim “I’m Gonna Be Strong”.

After a 3-2 overtime loss in San Antonio last Saturday evening, the Oklahoma City Barons return home to play the Texas Stars and the same Rampage team over the weekend. The Friday and Saturday schedule is going to make for an exciting two day event as the Oklahoma City Barons celebrate five years as a member of the American Hockey League.

The 1-0-0-0 Texas Stars defeated the Iowa Wild nearly a week ago with goals coming from McKenzie, Dowling, Honka and Klingberg. Some familiar names in there as well as some new, and dangerous ones. Keep in mind that Curtis McKenzie is in Dallas to spot the ailing Val Nichushkin. They are sturdy defensively, strong on the puck, and sometimes surprisingly skilled. This has always made for good interactions with the Oklahoma City Barons, and I suspect that Friday’s opener will be more of the same.

They have always been well coached, and Derek Laxdal of Edmonton Oil Kings fame, is no exception.

Most recent Texas Stars lines/pairs/goalie:

McKenzie-Morin-Ritchie
Glennie-Dowling-Ranford
Stransky-Faksa-Henderson
Troock-Peters-Rallo

Gaunce-Klingberg
Meech-Honka
Fortunus-Jokipakka

Rynnas

The San Antonio Rampage are 2-0-0-0 to start the season, and have done so by scoring six goals, and only allowing four. Their good start is promising, but they still have issues. As we say on Saturday, they have players like Rocco Grimaldi that are speedy, and thus a mountain-sized headache for defensive players. The way you beat them is in the “toughs” department, and I don’t mean fighting. Irro Pakarinen and Ryan Hamilton scored goals by crossing directly in front of the goaltender. This “sweet spot” is where the Barons will need to attack to beat quality goaltenders. This one probably has the same look and feel to the game on Saturday, but hopefully with a better outcome.

Via Nathan Mallet at Running With The Herd, “The Good – Overall team play. Team is fast and relentless on puck pursuit. Defense looks strong and both goalies were very good. The Bad – Alex Petrovic and Jonathan Racine didn’t have a good weekend defensively.”

Most recent San Antonio lines/pairs/goalie:

Yogan-Shore-Grimaldi
Wilson-Trocheck-Butler
McFarland-Olson-Mancari
Brickley-Martindale-Shaw

Zanon-Petrovic
Racine-Kampfer
O’Brien-Weegar

Michael Houser

The game starts at 7:00pm in Bricktown. Get your tickets now!