Saturday, August 07, 2010

Email from Bill to Bill

Sorry I've taken so long to respond to your email. You ask about "nicest" show biz entities. Way back in the before time, I used to write for the S.F. Examiner and interviewed dozen upon dozens of celebs flacking for their latest whatevers, and I never encountered a lemon in the lot. Always on their best behavior, and this includes Mickey Rourke and Mel Gibson. The one I liked best, though, was Ricardo Montalban. At pains, at all cost, to avoid cliche-mongering. The result was a rather interesting and thoughtful interview. Lily Tomlin was super. Unbidden, a few days later she sent me copies of her wonderful TV specials long before they were available on home vid. Nice!

BTW, I recall an absolutely wonderful Joel quote re: Mitch Miller. I thought it was on ______, but I searched and searched the archives and could not find it. Maybe he wrote it in an email he sent me? More or less it went like this: Mitch Miller is where American popular music paused on its way down to its inevitable descent into ______ . (Oblivion?. . . . . .ruin?. . .the pit of hell?)

I did, however, find one of Joel's other invariably and acerbic on-the-mark observations about Miller, to wit:

"Miller is/was an accomplished classical musician who is as responsible as anyone for the collapse of mainstream American popular music. At Columbia (and at Mercury before I believe) he imposed crap on Day, Sinatra, Clooney and developed cornball "artistes" like Guy Mitchell to lower the common denometer of public taste. With beboppers pushing jazz beyond the comprehension of most listeners and Miller grinding out pap (culminating later in his wretched "singalong" albums), is it any wonder that rock and roll emerged and came to dominate the pop charts?" Whoa!

I tracked down Patty McGovern!!!!!!




Progress Hornsby said...

David Hajdu gets it right about Mitch:

Bill Reed said...

Are you the same Progress Hornsby as the bebop bandleader who carried a radar man in his band "to warn us if we are approaching the melody"?

Progress Hornsby said...

The only and one. Nicto Barrata , my man on radar, is still with the band.
Trumpet kid and queen Fats Fidelio isn't. He's hibernating, waiting for Sid Caesar to get a Kennedy Center honor.

jeronimo said...

Sorry but what's that about Patty McGovern, is that THE Patty McGovern?

If so, more info please!!!!


Bill Reed said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bill Reed said...

A few weeks back, I was writing liner notes for a reissue of Wednesday's Child and decided to put on my deerstalker hat and see if I could track McGovern down. Found her within 15 minutes. A record of sorts! Did a phone interview with her. She had very little sense of how appreciated her lone album still is lo these many years later. Long retired from performing, still still teaches voice and piano.

jeronimo said...

Thank's for the info DR. What a great job/life you have...

So there's a new reissue coming up from her album, great to hear that!

That album was the most difficult ever to obtain for me...It was constantly backorderd, eventually a friend helped me out and ordered it on the net at a very reasonable price.

I was surprised by her songwriting skills, the tunes she wrote are actually very good...

George Wallington even recorded a tune by her, as a return favor I heard, for recording his lovely ballad 'Summer Rain', but I don't believe that she ever waxed it...Would be great if there turns out that there is more material by her. Have seen a single once on Ebay...Can't recall the title...


Progress Hornsby said...

What became of Thomas Talbert?
Here's a more critical question for you-Who, besides Vicky Lane (Find her!) has recorded the Loesser-Schwartz "Love Isn't Born (It's Made)"?

Songbirds has had a sprinkling of a discussion about Tommy Sands and the albums he did with Nelson Riddle arrangements. Care to comment?

Sandra King will be visiting in late October. Has she a Japanese following? The Mancini album she did at age 19 impressed HM, and Stan Getz was a fan. Backing Cybill Shepherd doesn't mean one's critical acumen is non-existent. I've got the rest of the Corcoran concert that was the source for the Vernon Duke release.

Bill B

Bill Reed said...

In answer to the previous comment/query:

Talbert died a few years ago after coming back into the musical fold after a stretch as an, ulp, cattle rancher

Vicki Lane Neal Candoli died in 1983.

Love Isn't Born also rec. by, eeeeek, Andrea Marcovicci, and others, including the Park Avenue Hillbilly herself. However, I don't know whether Shay wore a snood while recording it.

I no longer have the Tommy Sands LPs, but I don't recall that they did much for me. A too overweening and mannered "sound," I seem to recall.

I'll check into Ms. King's Japanese following.