Friday, January 31, 2014

Call me a grouchie old man. . .

"Bill, you're a grouchie old man."

I know. But, Hey!, I've been sitting here the past couple of months fully aware that a drought of unprecedented proportions is settling in on Southern California and surrounding areas. And yet, every time  I turn on the TV with my fingers crossed, invariably the brain dead, rip 'n' read weathercasters editorialize on the weather and qvell about how "it's going to be another nice one today."  I know that there's a drought on the way and they don't????? 

It's the closest I've ever come to hurling a missile through the TV screen!

I heard one of these nitwits still (pardon the neologism) indroning on about "wonderful blue skies" o this very a.m., then pausing a beat and adding soto voce, "But I guess we could use the rain." Well, dunh!

If weather patterns don't change by any later than yesterday, before it's all over---and I DO mean all over--- we're going to be getting our water in SoCal from National Guard tanker trucks.

And how soon will it be before a total moritorium is declared on watering the hundreds upon hundreds of golf greens around the state? Which would you rather have 1. A dehydrated baby or 2. A hole in one?

As of today I'm leading a personal crusade to: "If it's yellow, let it mellow; if it's brown, flush it down."

The final days, I tell you, the final days. Beyonce with seventeen Grammys. I rest my case.


Thursday, January 30, 2014

Pass the razor blades, please

It is not only the "younger" generation who can't even bend over to tie their shoes much less tell you who wrote "Rhapsody in Blue." A couple of days ago I spoke on the phone with a family member whose deceased relative was one of the major movers and shakers of the U.S. music industry (when there was still music) for many years. Alas, not only did I sense no familial concept of the person's importance, but was told that there were no papers or archives remaining. "We've just all moved so many times," she said. "I have a nice photo of him, though."
I'm still reeling from the sadness of it all. We are simply NOT---unlike most of the rest of the so-called civilized world---a nation of cultural conservators. Nelson who? Vic who? The Four what? Ella who? Ira who? Probably the "average" French truck driver can tell you who Jean Cocteau is, even if he/she has never directly encountered his works.
This morning on TV I saw a football player employ the phrase "raceful comments." Is it just me or shouldn't the reporter have informed the brain-dead jock that there was no such word as "raceful" and allowed him to do a second take?


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Take Note Chet Baker fans

An anniversary. . .of sorts

March 2 marks the 15th "anniversary" of the death of Dusty Springfield. I once saw her perform in concert and rave-reviewed her. She called the newspaper to thank me. I've never seen a better "live" performance. One of the few "troubled" stars to've finally landed back on her feet. Also the first to cop to being BI, and also to speak out against apartheid in South Africa. AND. . despite her so-called "difficult" temperament in the recording studio, she sure did turn out a lot of great sides. Hundreds. Not a lemon in the lot. See Dennis Cooper's blog today for David Ehrenstein's tribute to Dame Dusty.

Monday, January 27, 2014

"Cause of death undetermined..."

You could have tied me to a chair, made me watch the RIAA awards and I would have died. Death by Grammys. All I could think of while NOT watching was nice engineer/producer Al Schmitt showing up to (ultimately) receive his 23rd Grammy (a "record"?) and having to sit through all that (c)rap to get it. (I have a box that the Grammys come in, but no award proper.) If films had become as bad as the music scene, you'd see Tyler Perry winning best actor/actress. Even the album that received best jazz vocal is a piece of. . .oh, never mind. (I still  love you, Andy Bey!) If I didn't know any better I'd swear we were living in the final days. MEANWHILE, happy birthday to two of the greatest American musicians of all time, Will Marion Cook and Jerome Kern! Spend the day listening to In Dahomey and Show Boat to celebrate and forget that Macklemore and Lewis ever existed. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Joy of Music

I have long been interested in RCA arranger-producer-conductor Leonard Joy.  His major claim to fame is that he was the studio producer of Coleman Hawkins' inarguably legendary 1939 "Body and Soul." The recording was Joy's idea, one that Hawk initially resisted, according to info about the latter. Also discovered Gene Autry. But that is just for starters. There are several hundred very nice "business man's bounce" thirties studio recordings Joy arranged, conducted, and produced, under various names, i.e. The High Hatters, The Southerners, etc. Also produced (and also arranged?) the majority of Victor Gene Austin, plus Helen (Boop-a-Doop) Kane, Helen Morgan, Victor Light Opera Company (versatile!),
Earlier today I decided it was just about time for me to check out some biographical info on him on the net. I did. But there is virtually nothing. Nada, zip, Mount Rushmore. . . I even delved into the complete NYT 20th Century index, but all I could uncover were display ads and radio listings.  I can find recordings by him for Decca up through about 1945. Not that long ago. Strange, then, that he has fallen so far beneath radar.

UPDATE: Finally found his obit and a lot more info. He turns out to be one of the most interesting music jazz-pop figures of the last century. Just for starters, HE was the first to record Count Basie and not John Hammond (not that there's anything wrong with that). Directly had his finger in the pie, in once capacity or other, on at least 500 sides!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Lainie at last!

Can't believe it took me so long to discover wonderful singer, Lainie Cooke. I'm supposed to know this stuff.

Friday, January 10, 2014

My New Watchcry

"I don't think there's anything so sad looking as an old piece of caviar." --- Joan Crawford in I Live My Life (Joseph L. Mankiewicz)

Wednesday, January 01, 2014