Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The Original "SECRET AGENT" theme by EDWIN ASTLEY

Edwin Astley (1922–1998) first gained some fame as “Ted Astley,” touring England with his own orchestra. He had some songs covered by well-known British performers (including Anne Shelton and Vera Lynn) before making his name in TV theme and incidental music, first for Boris Karloff’s “Colonel March,” and then between 1955 and 1958, “The Adventures of Robin Hood,” “Sir Lancelot” and “Ivanhoe.”

Astley’s high point was probably the album that featured one side of “Secret Agent” music, and the other side, music from “The Saint.” No, he did NOT write the famous theme for “Secret Agent” that appeared on American television, sung by Johnny Rivers. He wrote the themes when the show was called “Danger Man.” The best known bit of music from the show is “High Wire,” which sort of sounds like “Music to Whisk Eggs By,” and seemed like it was played almost constantly in every episode. The odd choice of instrument for the lead may have been inspired by the zither used for "The Third Man" mystery film. There can be something quite unsettling about a cheerful instrument used over grim noir footage, or mated to jazz drums as it is here.

Astley also wrote music for late 60’s TV shows “The Baron,” “Department S,” and “Randall and Hopkins, Deceased.” He also had many movie credits, including quite a few grim films such as “Dublin Nightmare” 1958) “Naked Fury” (1959) and “The Giant Behemoth” (1959). On the lighter side, there was “The Mouse that Roared” in 1959. He composed the orchestral music for the Herbert Lom version of ‘Phantom of the Opera” in 1962.

Fun trivia: Edwin’s daughter Karen married Pete Townshend. Karen and Pete’s son Jon Astley was in charge of many of The Who’s re-mastered CD releases. Sadly, there’s no CD featuring the best of Edwin Astley’s film scores. It’s not everyone who can make a harpsichord sound hip.

EDWIN ASTLEY -HIGH WIRE (SECRET AGENT THEME) Instant download or listen on line. No Zinfart egocentric passwords. No malware or spyware anywhere.

Ill-Ustrated Songs #37 - Pearl Bailey - TOWER OF STRENGTH

Was Pearl Bailey a "Tower of Strength?"

She was, as they say, a force to be reckoned with, "tall, buxom, exuberant and handsome." That's the New York Times description. Plus this: "Her voice had a distinctively warm timbre and her natural vocal inflection was filled with fascinating colors and highlights."

Of black and Creek Indian ancestry, we belatedly honor her birthday, March 29, 1918. She was married to white jazz drummer Louis Bellson (aka Luigi Balassoni) for 38 years. He fan base included jazz buffs, sophisticates, Broadway gays (she was in the pioneering all-Black production of "Hello Dolly") and Presidents, including Nixon and Johnson. In the 50's, she was known for her risque humor in nightclubs; her song introductions were sometimes bawdy, and "Pearlie Mae" was also known to song a provocative tune, too. "I call myself a humorist. I tell stories to music and, thank God, in tune. I laugh at people who call me an actress."

"Tower of Strength" is usually sung by male singers, with abject humiliation or angst-ridden despair. The original by Gene McDaniels had a trombone mocking his grief and pain. Paul Raven offered one of the more effeminate cover versions. At least, he sang it with full knowledge that he was a wimp who couldn't leave the bitch that was in control of his life. The song doesn't quite work so well as a female vocal, because Bacharach's melody is so upbeat and loaded with syncopated bumps. It's not one of those "I'm a Fool to Want You" jazz ballads. So Pearl just plays with the jazz aspect and doesn't really emote the lyrics. She cools things down.

And if you'd like to hear other versions...go right ahead down the line of downloads.

Pearl Bailey Tower of Strength Instant download or listen on line.

TOWER OF STRENGTH Gerd Bottcher- CAROLIN CAROLIN

TOWER OF STRENGTH Frankie Vaughan

TOWER OF STRENGTH - GENE MCDANIEL

TOWER OF STRENGTH - PAUL RAVEN

TOWER OF STRENGTH - PAUL RICH

TOWER OF STRENGTH - Sue Richards

TOWER OF STRENGTH cute recent Asian version by Yeongene

YOU DON"T HAVE TO BE A TOWER OF STRENGTH - GLORIA LYNNE

TOUTE MA VIE (Tower of Strength) Audrey Arno

TOWER OF STRENGTH -Lew Davis

TOWER OF STRENGTH - DO IT YOURSELF via KARAOKE VERSION!

Download or listen on line. No pop-ups, porn ads or use of sleazy companies that pay a percentage to bloggers for their "hard work." The hard work was done not by upping files, but by the original writers and performers.

Sunday, April 09, 2017

DAVID PEEL - THE DAY THE CLOWN DIED

David Peel? He was a clown.

A lot of hippie-clowns lightened up the mood of revolutionary America in the late 60’s and early 70’s including Abbie Hoffman, The Fugs and the team of Cheech and Chong.

David Peel (David Rosario, August 1, 1943-April 6, 2017) was a Puerto Rican who hung around in the East Village bellowing idiotic songs. You could actually be discovered that way. Further uptown, eccentric street performer Moondog became a "legend" and got a record deal.In 1968, Peel was signed to Elektra for a sort of novelty album “Have a Marijuana,” which probably sold about as well as one of the ESP indie Fugs discs. He had a two-lp deal with Elektra so they put out a second album, which lacked a marijuana album cover picture and sold less than the first.

John Lennon, fascinated by the variety of freaks in his adopted New York City, pronounced David Peel “real” for singing “the Pope smokes dope every day.” Thanks to John, who gave a muttery introduction to the title track, and produced the record, "The Pope Smokes Dope" arrived in stores. And yes, since I was buying everything John was on, or endorsed, I bought Peel's album, too.

It was a dumb piece of shit then, and it took Peel's death to make me listen to it again. Peel’s braying New Yawk retard-voice doesn’t help put over the witless refrain: “The Pope smokes dope! GOD GAVE HIM THE GRASS!”

Peel could've joked that the President (or POTUS, as Millennial twits call him) was a secret head, but I guess pissing on the head of the Catholics was a lot more, what, Lenny Brucey of him? Mixing up a protest involving religion does generally get people even more enraged. But who could get that upset about a skanky idiot from the Lower East Side spouting stuff Andrew "Dice" Clay would find childish? Part of the song's lyric:

“Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water. Jill forgot to take a pill and now she has a daughter! Taking pills is not a joke for a groovy Pope. Birth control can be a toke of marijuana smoke!”

Put it this way, it's sad that Peel had a massive heart attack a few days ago, and did not recover, but I still remember being out $2.99 for buying this stupid album.

To be charitable, let's say that David could have influenced The Ramones, the aforementioned "Dice" Clay, and even Howard Stern. Being a moron in public would turn Stern into a millionaire. While Howard didn't sing, he had people getting up at the crack of dawn to hear him talk to retards and have arguments with nitwits like Baba Booey and Jackie the Joke Man. "Dice" Clay would fill Madison Square Garden with goofs wanting to hear him re-cycle old Pearl Williams and Belle Barth gags including the spider saying to Little Miss Muffett, "What's in the bowl, bitch?"

Somehow, college twits of the day loved to replay Cheech and Chong doing “Dave’s not here” for five minutes, and elbowed each other over The Fugs being allowed to sing "River of Shit," but copies of David Peel albums slipped into the bargain bin, under-appreciated. Now, only truly dumb fuckheads consider them, and his subsequent stuff "collectors items" for their basements. (As you can see from the photo, Lennon seemed to have gotten a bit tired of David's schtick, too). Maybe Peel's record label should've added a giant piece of rolling paper? Or paper panties? Then a Peel disc might be worth the same bucks as a certain Cheech and Chong effort, or Alice Cooper's "School's Out."

Check eBay's list of what was sold in the past month (before David's death) and "The Pope Smokes Dope" went for $11.77 on January 15th, another copy $9.91 on February 19th, and another for $15.49 on March 5th. Currently, some kneejerk idiot is paying $49.95 for a listed copy, but another one, just posted for $9.95 will not likely get much more than that.

Like Tiny Tim, Dean Friedman, Kinky Friedman and herpes, David Peel did not disappear with the 70's. His discography allegedly includes "John Lennon Forever" (1987), "Anarchy in New York City" (1993), "Legalize Marijuana" (2002), "Up Against the Wall Street" (2013), and "Give Hemp a Chance" (2015). I don't have any of those. I still remember dropping $2.99 on "The Pope Smokes Dope," and I'm sure all that stuff will turn up on YouTube or Spotify or Zinfart or some other place that is making sure that we'll not see an indie artist like David Peel be able to survive and make any kind of a living doing what he enjoys.

It's nice that Peel, who leaves no family behind, did live long enough to see medical marijuana legalized in his home state of New York. And it's nice that Peel didn't sing "Mohammad Smokes Dope," because if he did, he would not have died of natural causes. Which is a way of saying that the era of comical David Peel-type protest songs is in as rough shape as David is now, and those 43 Coptic Christians who went to "Palm Sunday" services today in Egypt and didn't realize some Muslims don't believe anyone should be alive who isn't Muslim.

The Pope Smokes Dope DAVID PEEL Instant download or listen on line.

LOLA ALBRIGHT goes into DREAMSVILLE at 92

Albrighty, then!

I guess it’s only a few hardcore lounge music spuds and “Peter Gunn” goons who remember Lola Albright. For a few years she was a mature, classy, exotic flame on TV and in movies. Lola Jean Albright (July 20, 1924 – March 23, 2017) got her first big break in the Kirk Douglas boxing movie "The Champion" (1949) and then turned up in "The Good Humor Man," opposite bulky comedian Jack Carson, whom she married a few years later (and divorced in 1958). It was in 1958 that she dazzled TV audiences as the nightclub singer who was involved with stoic private eye "Peter Gunn."

She sang during the show's three seasons, but there was plenty of competition for her record stores, including plenty of gorgeous Julie London discs with sexy photos on the cover. That may be why “Dreamsville” was about it. Though Lola was an authentic MILF type (in 1961 she starred in "A Cold Wind in August" about a 30-something stripper getting hot for a 17 year-old), Julie London, was the queen of that genre, a sophisticate who seemed to know every nuance of romance. Another fun role for Lola was as "Paula Marshall," a confident mature vamp intimidating stammery Rob Petrie on an episode of "The Dick Van Dyke Show."

Eventually Angie Dickinson became the go-to mature sex goddess on TV, and Lola slipped into retirement.She made her last film in 1968. She divorced her third husband in 1975, and didn't seem inclined to do memorabilia shows and sit around letting grinning, sweaty Huelbigs paw her for a $25 photo op.

Despite Henry Mancini behind the baton (he also co-wrote most of the tracks), "Dreamsville" is more of a daydream. It's pretty mild stuff, and Lola doesn't demonstrate much individual style. Still, she was a pretty woman, and she had a pretty nice 'n' easy voice. Believe it, or download "They Didn't Believe Me."

LOLA ALBRIGHT THEY DIDN’T BELIEVE ME Instant download or listen on line. No obnoxious pop-up ads to idiot porn or gaming sites.

OLD FOLKIE PEGGY SEEGER - FIRST TIME EVER I SAW YOUR FACE

There's been some hub and bub regarding old folkies lately who are doing slightly odd things.

The always unpredictable Bob Dylan continued his fetish for tormenting the standards by releasing three more CDs of songs Sinatra and others have done better. That Willie Nelson did a lame album of "Stardust" and other worn out tunes over 30 years ago hasn't mattered. Most critics have indulgently bought the line that Dylan is a valid interpreter of everything from "As Time Goes By" to, yeah, "Stardust." And he isn't. He's put out 5 novelty albums. Some tracks are downright embarrassing. Play this stuff to anyone who isn't a starry-eyed and indulgent rock critic, and they'd say "what fucking amateur retirement home idiot is hacking away at this shit?"

Bob's former girlfriend Joan Baez hasn't been doing the standards. She's gone back to singing topical folk songs (she has a new one yodeling about Trump). She's now considered a rock star, for having made it into the rather pointless and obscure “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.” It’s located in Cleveland. That’s how unimportant it is.

Joan humbly acknowledged that she is not now and never was a rocker. She's a folkie who's had crossover appeal by covering a rock song (“The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down”) or singing about Bob Dylan (“Diamonds and Rust.”) She toured in Bob's "Rolling Thunder" shows, sometimes dressed in Bob drag, but others did the rocking. So Joan made sure to let everyone know that she was entering rock's "Hall of Fame" with a slightly apology and a lot of gratitude. Funny, there was nobody apologizing for Tupac Shakur also getting into the Hall on the same ballot. What the FUCK does that dead thug have to do with rock?

Joan Baez is 76. Bob Dylan is 75.

Also touring, at 81, is Peggy Seeger.

While Joan enjoys her unexpected shot-in-the-arm, which has led to renewed interest in her catalog and sold-out performances with the God-awful Indigo Girls, and while Bob continues to amaze (people who said his voice was shot have to admit, he can be smooth and actually hit high notes on the "standards") Peggy Seeger continues along.

The most hardcore folkie of them all, Seeger isn’t begging for Kickstarter money or haunting YouTube or Facebook asking to be LIKED. She remains somewhat obscure and uncompromising, playing for that small circle who admire traditional music sung and played with total integrity.

In other words, her stuff is far more difficult to take than Dylan's standards or his Christmas album. Her flinty voice is not going to win over people who find Baez's warble seriously annoying after ten minutes. She could care less. And she tours and makes CDs when she feels like it.

Seeger wrote one of the greatest modern folk songs, “The Ballad of Spring Hill,” (aka Spring Hill Mining Disaster, and Ballad of Springhill) which has been adapted and covered by everyone from classic balladeers such as Martin Carthy, to the dreaded U2 and the unheralded Ivy League Trio. She and husband Ewan MacColl covered it, too, with Ewan adding a few authentic touches to the lyrics, related to mining technique.

MacColl, who was born James Henry Miller (January 25, 1915 – October 22, 1989) is the father of Kirsty MacColl via his second marriage, to Jean Newlove. Ewan was still married to Jean when he fell for Peggy, 20 years younger. The circumstances, Peggy is quick to say, “are none of your business.” Meaning, don’t ask her if she felt uncomfortable about taking a man away from his wife. Legend has it that Ewan wrote “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” as a love song to Peggy, and she first heard it via a tape sent by mail.

MacColl’s other famous songs include “Dirty Old Town” and another great modern folk song, “The Ballad of Tim Evans” (aka ‘Go Down Ye Murderer”), which was covered by Judy Collins and the Ivy League Trio among others.

Severely traditional folk singers are an acquired taste, especially in the decades that have seen the rise of folk-pop (The Weavers and Peter Paul and Mary) and folk-rock. “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face,” after all, only became a hit when it was softened up and sung by Roberta Flack in 1972. Below, you get the oddity of a woman singing a tribute song to herself. Oh, I’m sure Peggy was imagining the countenance of the controversial Commie Ewan MacColl while she was singing it, and not singing it to a mirror. But Peggy was the inspiration.

Peggy Seeger First Time Ever I Saw Your Face Instant download or listen on line. No egotistical Zinfart password to type in.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Christine Kaufmann Dies at 72 - the "Town without Pity" girl

Christine Kaufmann (January 11, 1945-March 28, 2017) was a ballerina with the Munich Opera company, and gradually began to develop a film career. She gained international attention (and a Golden Globe award) for starring in the gang rape-shocker "Town Without Pity" in 1961. A bunch of soldiers (including Frank Sutton before he became Sgt. Carter on "Gomer Pyle") attacked her in the woods, after she went swimming.

Critics at the time found the film lurid and distasteful.

The New York Times especially loathed the theme song, sung by Gene Pitney, and whenever the film was on TV, the capsule review commented on how awful that noisy music was.

Today, the theme song lives on, and the film is mostly forgotten. And so, it seems, is Christine Kaufmann. At least, as a film star.

Kaufmann made "Escape from East Berlin" the following year, and married Tony Curtis. This storybook romance (he, the Jew born Bernard Schwartz, she the daughter of a Luftwaffe officer) lasted several years, and produced two childen. She appeared in "Taras Bulba" in 1962, "Wild and Wonderful" in 1964, "Murders in the Rue Morgue" in 1972, and her last big year of film making was 1981 ("Day of the Idiots,""Lili Marleen" and "Lola").

She married a few more times and became known as a health and fitness buff. She had success in Germany with her own line of cosmetics.

Since you all know Pitney's version of "Town without Pity," and maybe even the German language version of it called "Bleibe Bei Mir" ("Stay with Me") the salute to Kaufmann offers the oddity of a female version of the song.

Mathilde Santing is a Dutch singer known internationally (maybe), for her cover versions of Randy Newman, Paul Simon and others. Her unique voice sometimes lacks emotion (ala Judy Collins) but she often enhances her haunting style with weird changes in tempo. She slowed down Paul Simon's "Hazy Shade of Winter" into an icy dirge, and here, a gypsy rhythm infuses her warbling, which may remind you of a menopausal Kate Bush.

The song "Town Without Pity" doesn't address the theme of the movie, which involves the "she asked for it, the slut" stigma involving rape. Instead, Ned Washington's lyrics for the unusually swinging Dimitri "Guns of Navarone" Tiomkin music focus on the raging hormones of misunderstood teenagers. Ten years earlier, Washington and Tiomkin won an Academy Award for the "High Noon" tune "Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling," sung by Tex Ritter.

They were nominated for "Town Without Pity" but lost to "Moon River" from "Breakfast at Tiffany's." Yeah, they gave it to a song that calls a river a "huckleberry friend." You can bet "Town Without Pity" lost because of the grown-up voters sneering at Gene Pitney's chipmunk wailing! Below, elegant Netherlands gypsy Mathilde gets verklempt.

Mathilde Santing Town Without Pity Instant download or listen on line. No royalties paid BUT, the blog is not getting paid either for any “hard work” in uploading the track.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

CREEPY JOE ADAMS: “THIS GUY’S IN LOVE WITH YOU” Rap

How to give a back ache to Bacharach: make him sit through cover versions of his songs, especially this one.

Submitted for your approval, a track by “Joe Adams,” who never recorded an entire album. This track is filler on a “101 Strings” album. The 101 Strings knocked off dozens of cheapies to cash in on a hot artist, movie or trend. In this case, they were hoping to pluck a buck from the heat wave of erotic “heavy breathing” records.

You might recall there was “Je T’aime…Moi Non Plus,” a Latina going ai-ai-ahhhhh on “Jungle Fever” and “Please Love Me” which had a pouting, moaning, then frantic female vocalist emoting behind the chugging instrumentals of a chauvinistic group called Manpower. There were also narration albums, with people reading the "Kama Sutra," "Lady Chatterly's Lover," or instructions on becoming "The Sensuous Woman."

Fans of “outsider music” “nerd audio” and “so bad it’s good Muzak” cherish any 101 String cheese-incident. The early ones are a bit too serious, featuring players in German symphony orchestras gathered together to do Mantovani-type collections of movie themes and light classics

In 1964, entrepeneur Al Sherman bought the rights to the 101 Strings franchise, and put them on his own label, Alshire (ah, I get it, Al Sherman…Al Shire…). Now using cheap moonlighting talent from the London Philharmonic and London Symphony Orchestra, Sherman oversaw increasingly more modern output. There were warped Muzak versions of Beatles songs, the best of Simon & Garfunkel, and later, soul and even electronic music. It was supposed to be fun for the whole family. “Well,” said Dad, “I have to admit, those Beatles melodies are nice, as long as there’s no SINGING!”

Today, “collectors” have made some of the dollar-bin albums from the 101 strings worth, well, $1.01. Or more. MORE if the music's particularly queasy, or the cover is kewl. You'll pay more than a buck go get “The Sounds of Love” and its kinky follow-up, “The Exotic Sounds of Love.”

The latter has already been mentioned on the blog (the download being "Whiplash"). On the former (pictured above), you’ll find Bebe Bardon’s solo moaning on a track called “Love at First Sight” (yeah, basically “Je T’aime” without a man in the bed). Bebe Bardon’s name was swiped off Brigitte Bardot, who was also known as “B.B.” and “Bebe.” Bardot actually recorded an early version of “Je T’aime…Moi Non Plus” with Serge Gainsbourg. Bardon couldn’t quite gasp through an entire album by herself, so there was filler, including instrumentals and a few appalling narratives from "Joe Adams."

Below in a download, and below the belt, for the snickers of posterity, one of the carnal chronicles of creepy Adams. Perhaps his influence was Bryce Bond, who recorded a "Bachelor Apartment" album on the budget Strand label, intended to be luridly overheard oozings and urgings of seduction. Over the ordinary instrumentals from the 101 Strings, Joe recites some Hal David lines and adds come-ons of his own. Groan. Groan.

JOE ADAMS THIS GUYS IN LOVE WITH YOU Instant download or listen on line. No royalties paid BUT, the blog is not getting paid either for any “hard work” in uploading the track.

CHUCK BERRY - ROCKIN’ , DUCK WALKIN’, PISSIN’ PEEPIN' AND SUIN’

I’ll never forget first hearing “Maybellene.” It wasn't the Chuck Berry version.

I had the Ralph Marterie single. (Gerry and the Pacemakers did it much later, probably hunting for a Berry song they could lift the way The Beatles took "Roll Over Beethoven.") If you’re thinking Ralph's another Pat Boone white guy doing a dumbed-down cover, just listen. Like another Italian jazz man, Louis Prima, Marterie had a pretty hip voice. In the mid-50’s hip and hep were finding common ground with "cats" like Louis Jordan turning in numbers that could easily be considered early rock and roll.

Before he jumped on “Maybellene” (note the spelling, different from the cosmetic company), Ralph had scored with a cover of Bill Haley’s “Crazy, Man, Crazy.” He managed to get that one into the Top 20. “Maybellene” zoots him well. (In later years, Ralph tended to stay away from the microphone and just play his trumpet, fronting his big band).

The other day, Mick Jagger and Bruce Springsteen (among others) were quoted with their tributes to the late Chuck Berry. “Boss” Springsteen declared: “Chuck Berry was rock’s greatest practitioner, guitarist, and the greatest pure rock ’n’ roll writer who ever lived." Not the first time Broooose has been full of shit. He's overrated, too. MASSIVELY. The truth is, Berry was among the pioneers of rock (along with Little Richard, Bill Haley and then Elvis Presley and Buddy Holly) but what they all have in common is most people don't listen to 'em much anymore. Oh, there's still Elvis fetishists, but most people over 40 listen to The Beatles, The Who and The Rolling Stones and others who fleshed out those primitive rockin' bones.

Yes, I like a handful of Chuck’s catchy songs, but I haven't played any of 'em in years. And I rarely play cover versions of 'em either. “Maybellene” (1955) has a fun pun about “motorvatin’” over the hill. “School Days” (1957) was beloved by many and was even covered by Phil Ochs. “Memphis, Tennessee” is really just a long way to go for a joke, but it’s spawned many covers as well, including a moody and sincere one from Eleanor McEvoy. You have to like that line about missing the girl with the "hurry home drops on her cheek that trickled from her eye." It beats yellow matter custard. Speaking of which, The Beatles of course, covered “Roll Over Beethoven” which Chuck had recorded in 1956. By 1958 (“Rock and Roll Music and “Johnny B. Goode”) Chuck was done. You really want to include ‘My Ding a Ling” from 1972?

Anything else? If you can stand to listen to an entire CD of this guy, OR Little Richard OR Buddy Holly (no racism here, the white guy is just as annoying), then you’re fond of monotony. Three minutes of an old video clip is plenty, too. Little Richard, Fats Domino and Jerry Lee Lewis made faces at the piano. Fine for three minutes. Chuck had the infamous “duck walk.” It's still amusing to see once in a while. More amusing than Michael Jackson moonwalking or crotch-grabbing.

Like Jerry Lee Lewis who was “the killer” who liked ‘em young, Chuck Berry had a grim side. Even cadaverous Keith Richards had to admit “Chuck was probably the hardest person I’ve ever had to work with, including Mick Jagger.” Berry spent years in reform school for robbery and car theft. He matched Jerry Lee for creepiness when he was arrested in 1959 and convicted in 1962 for bringing a teen prostitute across state lines. He did 18 months for that. Ala Cosby, Chuck's fame only gave him a license (he felt) to be exploitive. Chuck videotaped himself pissing on some aging white groupie. The blurry video surfaced courtesy of Screw Magazine; they sold it along with a bonus feature showing somebody from The Go-Go's being drunk. In 1989 Chuck was sued by women for having a sneaky hidden camera in his St. Louis restaurant's ladies room. The number of women who got compensation money from Chuck: 74. That’s Berry 74, Cosby 1.

Ornery Berry sued John Lennon because John paid him a tribute and sang “come on flat top” on “Come Together.” Today, Kanye and friends steal whole riffs, whole lines, and get Grammy-nominated for it. Well, let’s say Hail Hail to Chuck, for being the Black Man fighting against abuse from Whitey. In this case, it was the Whitey who almost single-handedly promoted Chuck’s music to Beatles fans all over the world. PS, Chuck Berry's "Maybelline" cops a bit of melody and attitude off the hillbilly tune "Ida Red." Check out Bob Wills' swingy version and you'll agree, but, as Michael Caine would say, "not a lot of people know that."

Goodness gracious me. Have I digressed? Let’s go back to the two main themes. Number one: Ralph Marterie was a good singer, in the mode of Louis Prima or Ray Ellington (Sapristi!). And second, Chuck Berry did write and perform five or six amusing novelty songs. The Coasters performed more than five or six amusing novelty songs, but they languished in oldies shows if they worked at all. Chuck was still being begged to perform and paid big sums for it. Hail hail.

Maybe the obits and all the praise from Jagger and Springsteen etc. will get a few Millennials to appreciate the bare bones brilliance of Mr. Berry. But maybe not. Millennials are assholes, more prone to smirking, “that was before my time, Duuuuuude.” But who knows, somebody under 30 might listen and then sing, “He never mattered much to me, but now I see. Poor Berr-eeee.” (How Lowe do you go!)

Ralph Marterie MAYBELLINE Instant download or listen on line. No Paypal tip jar, no monetizing on this blog, no money or favors earned from the download.

SHANNON BOLIN - ENJOY THE REST OF YOUR LIFE

One of the most touching, oddest autographs in my collection, is from Shannon Bolin. If you know the name at all, it’s probably because she played the housewife in “Damn Yankees.” That was my connection to her, although she released two albums, “Rare Wine” (a collection of obscure Broadway songs, many cut from famous musicals) and “Songs for Patricia,” a collection of Alec Wilder songs waxed for Riverside.

I happened to notice, among a seller's hundreds of items for sale, a 3x5 card on Ms. Bolin. It was only a few dollars. Who would know her name? I did, but what made me take a crowbar to my wallet,was the inscription. Usually (check eBay and you can confirm it) she either signed “Best wishes” or personalized it “To…” whoever. Here, she wrote: “Enjoy the rest of your life.”

What prompted such a remark? Who was the person who got this autograph in person or by mail, and why did Shannon respond in such a way? We’ll never know. Almost all the autographs I have came from personal contact with the celebrity. In this case, seeing the inscription had me wishing I'd known Bolin. Now, I could sort of pretend I did. I became a bit wistful about Bolin’s most famous song, the plain and plaintive ballad of loss called “There’s Something About an Empty Chair.” Sure, I'd enjoyed it as I had almost all the songs in "Damn Yankees," but now it was even more poignant.

In the musical Shannon plays a dowdy wife whose husband suddenly disappears. He's made a deal with the devil, and joined the Washington Senators as powerful superstar “Joe Hardy.” Bolin’s voice, distinctive but not beautiful, very much suits this heartfelt and mournful lament.

The co-writer of "Damn Yankees" was Jerry Ross (nee Rosenberg). "Damn Yankees" was the second hit musical for him and his partner Richard Adler. "Pajama Game" premiered in 1954. "Damn Yankees" arrived in 1955...the same year Jerry died. He died November 11, 1955 of some freak bronchial problem. He was just 29. Richard Adler tried but couldn't find another composer to bring him Broadway success.

Also in 1955 Shannon recorded “Rare Wine,” which included her take on Alec Wilder’s "The Winter Of My Discontent.” Wilder’s song probably is better suited to someone with a haggard voice, or perhaps an Annie Ross type, who would act out the lyrics with emotion. Stlll, Shannon does a good job here, even if her very “ordinary-ness” was probably a reason she never became a rival to Clooney, Page, Billie Holiday, or other contemporaries. She wasn't exactly a cover girl ala Julie London, either.

Shannon’s first name was Ione, which was pronounced, quite literally I guess, “I-one.” She was born on 1/1/1917. (She died 3/25/2016 at the age of 99). She said that being named 1one demonstrated her parents’ “South Dakota humor.” If she’d had a brother, what would her joker parents have done with that? Name the kid Jackpot Bolin? Her parents were the non-novelty named Gracie and Harry Bolin. Shannon was her middle name.

Shannon’s career began on radio during World War 2, and in 1944 she was accepted by the New Opera Company in New York. She worked in both modern operas (“Regina” and “Barbara Allen”) and in musicals, including “Take Me Along” and “The Student Gypsy.” She was one of the "Damn Yankees" cast members fortunate enough to appear in the film version. Gwen Verdon was reluctantly allowed to star as “Lola,” even if one of the film’s directors grumbled that she was “ugly.” The pre-"Martian" Ray Walston, absolutely essential as “The Devil,” was second choice to Cary Grant, who declined it.

Despite a hit show and movie, Shannon didn't pursue her show business career. She was a wife and mother. She was married to Milton Kaye, who did very well for himself as a pianist and a composer. Milton accompanied the violinist Jascha Heifetz in concerts, and played in the NBC radio orchestra of Toscanini and other classical greats. It was said that he didn’t like the pressure of a solo career, and preferred supporting others. He’d had a taste of the pressure back in 1935, when he premiered Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto #1 for American audiences, and in 1945 when he made his Town Hall debut (doing a lot better than, say, Harry Chapin’s mythical “Mr. Tanner”). He would sometimes perform a solo concert at Carnegie Hall or other venues, but wasn't in competition with Rubinstein or Horowitz.

A rather humble Jewish guy from Brooklyn, Kaye also composed TV music for everything from the daytime quiz series “Concentration” to the early “Rootie Kazootie Show" which featured a freckle-faced baseball playing puppet. He even found work as a radio announcer, especially at New York’s classical station, WQXR. Once her daughter Jeanne was grown, Shannon did take acting roles now and then. Circa 1980, she was in the forgotten “If Ever I See You Again” and the even more forgotten horror film “The Children." Milton was active in music till the end. In 2006, at the age of 97, he was playing some Beethoven and Bach in the apartment he shared with Shannon, when he found himself feeling ill. He died a short time later, of pneumonia. Their only child was already gone, not out-living either of her parents. Shannon Bolin did make a few films circa 1980 She may have been faintly known to passersby for a commercial she did for the awful restaurant chain Denny’s. She was one of the “Corlick Sisters,” the fictional bickering duo that would quarrel about the joint, and call it “Lenny’s.” No doubt Ms. Bolin had a few people stop her on the street and ask, “Are you Ms. Corlick??”

Four years before Milton died, the duo of Mr. and Mrs. Kaye appeared in commercials extolling the eternal value of De Beers diamonds. In the 30 second spot, a young couple are walking in Central Park, thinking about diamonds, no doubt, or running off into the bushes near Strawberry Fields for a quick fuck. They walk past an elderly couple, and look back with amused respect. How nice to grow old together, like Shannon and Milton, and have that bond affirmed by wearing diamond rings.

From the baseball diamond of “Damn Yankees” to the diamond of a De Beers TV commercial…here’s to Shannon Bolin (and her husband). Below, one track each from “Damn Yankees” and “Rare Wine.” Download them, Sport, and you can become a Bolin ally.

SHANNON BOLIN Winter of my Discontent Instant download or listen on line, no ads, no pop-ups, no Zinfart password.

SHANNON BOLIN There's Something About an Empty Chair Instant download or listen on line.

Thursday, March 09, 2017

KELLY GORDON - TEARS, TEARS because…THAT’S LIFE

“That’s life,” Frank Sinatra swung. Who wrote that song? Kelly Gordon and Dean Kay. Never heard of them, did you? Gordon was not exactly your Tin Pan Alley denizen. Born in Frankfurt, Kentucky (November 19, 1932-August 1, 1981), he had some “teen idol” years in the early 60’s and then tried for some blue-eyed soul. His most famous song was first recorded by Marion Montgomery and O.C. Smith before Frank made it his own in 1966.

Back in 1962, he issued his first Mercury single, “I Can’t Face The Day” b/w his own composition, “I’m Goin' Home.” The following year, he wrote and recorded “A Phonograph Record,” which was arranged by Dave Gates. He was the title character in a “Burke’s Law” TV episode called “Who Killed Billy Jo?” He sang a song called “Tears, Tears” which you’ll find below.

The photo above is from that "Burke's Law" episode. It does look like he could be swingin' a version of "That's Life," but on the episode he played a teen idol. "Tears Tears" was the B-side to his “Let Me Tell Ya Jack.” Mercury thought enough of Kelly Gordon to have Shorty Rogers work as the arranger on both cuts. "Tears Tears" had a credit on the label: “as sung by KELLY GORDON in Four Star TV “Burke’s Law.” His last single for Mercury was “You’re a Star Now.”

In 1969, half a decade away from his Mercury teen-idol days, Kelly managed to get a deal with Capitol for an album called “Defunked.” It messed with country and blue-eyed soul. The single handed to disc jockeys was a cover version of “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother” b/w, yes, “That’s Life.” In the summer of 1969, Capitol released another single from the album, “Some Old Funky Blues Thang.”

And what Kelly Lee Gordon did in the 70’s…is not on record. Tears, tears. And for a guy to have written such a famous Sinatra song and be so unknown… “That’s Life.”

Kelly Gordon TEARS TEARS Instant download or listen on line, no ads, no pop-ups, no Zinfart password.

DAVID CASSIDY March 4th - the GOODBYE SHOW at BB King's

Don’t trust the media.

In reporting on what turned out to be David Cassidy's chosen farewell show, last Saturday night, the media has run a sob story about how he was so dissipated by dementia that he was falling on stage, forgetting the words and unable to do more than pathetically croak. While it’s true that he struggled during moments of this past tour, he didn't sound much different from last year's tour. His predominantly older and female crowd seemed to enjoy the shows. So did he, flexing his chops on all kinds of songs from his hits to old standards to R&B. Unlike Peter Noone, for example, he sang and played guitar at the same time, a little reminder that he considers himself a musician more than a pop idol.

No, I was never a fan of the guy, but you can’t dismiss him as just a bubble-gum boy who got lucky with a stupid TV series. It was fitting that his last show took place at BB King’s, because…David was an early fan of the blues master. Before David was a teen idol, he was just another wide-eyed white kid, so impressed that he waited at the stage door and begged King to let him carry his guitar to the car.

David told the crowd about it: “There were no security people, there were no minders…he was alone as he walked off…he came out and I said, “Excuse me, Mr. King, I thought your show was fantastic…could I carry your guitar up to your car?” And he said, “Yes, thank you very much…” David was thrilled to be able to talk to B.B. King, and when King asked the kid whether he planned to go into music, David modestly said, “I’m not a professional…someday I’m gonna be an actor.” (David didn’t mention in his famous father, actor Jack Cassidy). “I wish you the best of luck,” said King, “you seem like a very fine young man.”

By many accounts, despite the three marriages, the inevitable alcohol problem, the legend of his giant cock, and the equally swelled head a teen idol can get, Cassidy was, and is, a good guy. Too bad he didn’t get enough respect from the nostalgia bbunch in the audience. They seemed indifferent to some of the blues songs he covered, only tolerant of his attempts at rock star emoting (on the cover version of “Hush” for example). They wanted the Partridge Family hits, and the cheap spotlights in the often crappy venues he was playing disappopinted them in showing some wear on his face, and a receding hairline.

Wherever Cassidy went, he was grateful people still cared but hoped they'd behave: “No flashes…no videos…it’s hard enough for me right now…just stop yelling and screaming for a while…” What, a “teen idol” trying to be taken seriously, when idiots want to snap souvenir photos and point their cell phones? Even worse, whether to rest of his voice, or out of a sincere desire to simply SAY things besides sing them, Cassidy had to practically beg for some quiet:

“Please…I can’t talk when you’re yelling…no light, no screaming at me when I’m talking…I want this to be such an enjoyable night…I got 49 years in this business, you’re the reason….I want you to know how much I love and appreciate the way you’ve given me this gift. It’s never been a job. It’s always been, for me, love and fun…just don’t yell at me…you may be bored with me…because I’m gonna talk a lot, but please, don’t do anything else, just listen to me…I’m yelling already…”

And perhaps alluding to the onset of dementia that was forcing him into retirement, he said, “I love the fact that you are here and supporting me on this special night….I hope you will remember…love each other for the rest of your God-given life and try with everything you’ve got to do what I’m about to tell you: GET HAPPY…”

Yes, he did try to give the crowd the hit songs they remembered. He brought a band with him to the small towns, and he cared enough to constantly ask for adjustments from the sound booth and to switch guitars when he heard one going out of tune. He seemed to actually find joy on stage, and not think of himself in the purgatory of several years playing rather obscure clubs just to put money in the bank after all the bad business decisions and other financial problems.

But to say he was out of it, or that his performance was any worse than an off-night for Paul Simon or Bob Dylan? No, not exactly. But that’s the media.

While Cassidy was playing BB King’s I was watching the Thurman vs Garcia boxing match. It ended in a split decision. What that tells you is that people can see things differently.

When there’s money involved, they can see things very differently. When you’re running a news website and you want clicks and traffic, you’ll claim David Cassidy was suffering and struggling and make a tearjerker story out of an evening that most people felt went pretty well. The media made much of one drunken fan taking too many flash pictures. David said to her, “I don’t care that you’re drunk. I’ve been drunk enough, as you all know.”

He ultimately said, “Get her out, you’re ruining it for everybody else.” He also said, to security, “Please tell them (all) to stop (taking flash pictures). God!” And that was just one minute of an evening most fans there will remember because a professional entertainer did his best, and most of it wasn’t bad at all.

Below, David’s take on a wistful classic by John Lennon. Yes, he reached the hoarse level McCartney now sometimes has, a little earlier than Paul. And yes, he re-interpreted the melody line to skip some of the higher notes, but he was still communicating, still making music.

IN MY LIFE David Cassidy IN MY LIFE Instant download or listen on line, no ads, no pop-ups, no Zinfart password.

Valerie Carter - Da Doo Rendezvous with Death

Reality what a concept. When I heard Valerie Carter died, I thought…what? She’s young…er, no. Not if you talk to a Millennial she wasn’t. She was in her 60’s. And people in their 60’s, who were popular in the late 70’s or early 80’s, are on their way to the boneyard.

I’d forgotten HOW LONG AGO I was listening to the “Wild Child” album, with baby-pout Valerie doing the “i’m so hot, I can look wasted” look. Or was it that she looked hot BECAUSE she looked so wasted? You tell me.

In a world loaded up with Linda Ronstadt, Chi Coltrane, Maria Muldaur and Carly Simon album covers, maybe Valerie got lost in the 12x12 shuffle. She had a semi hit with “Ooh Child,” which fit comfortably into that hammock of swingy James Taylor and white-funk Steely Dan stuff.

I had a fondness, at the time, for “Da Doo Rendezvous,” which had a light jazz tilt, and that oh so hip notion that “doing” a chick was “da doo”-ing her, and back then a classy term for a “booty call” would be “da doo rendezvous.” Ooh. OOH, CHILD. So, what did she da-doo if she wasn’t making solo albums?

If you check your record collection you’ll find that Valerie was a back-up singer on TONS of great discs. If you’ve replaced your vinyl with mp3 files, well, too bad, mp3 files don’t have much information do they? And CD booklets need a magnifying glass to read.

Let me help. Valerie was on albums by black artists (Aaron Neville’s “Warm Your Heart” 1991, Diana Ross’s “Force Behind the Power” 1991) and by crossover babes with roots rock or C&W/folk influences (Nicolette Larson’s solo album from 1981, and Shawn Colvin’s 1992 “Fat City”). She sang with the smooth guys including Don Henley (“End of the Innocence” 1989), James Taylor (“Gorilla” 1975 through “Hourglass” 1997), and Jackson Browne “I’m Alive,” 1993). LOTS more. Christopher Cross, Eric Carmen, Glenn Frey, Jimmy Webb…Carter thrived as a back-up singer while other Carters took their solo shots (from Linda Carter doing Billy Joel to Carlene Carter connecting with Nick Lowe.)

Valerie’s songs sometimes got covered, and not by assholes on YouTube. “Cook with Honey” was on Judy Colllins’ “True Stories” album, and “Turn It Into Something Good” cooked for Earth Wind and Fire’s “Faces” album.

Once in a while, Valerie got a shot at making a new CD. She didn't look like the "Wild Child" anymore.

In 2009 she was playing in front of the cops, busted for drugs. Fortunately James Taylor was one of the people who hadn’t forgotten about her, and he helped her deal with that situation. Here’s Valerie looking over to James, who apparently testified that she was now clean and sober. And she embraces him and thanks him.

According to her older sister, Valerie would sometimes take the stage at some information outdoor show down in Florida, or maybe some bar, and wow the crowd with her expertise as a back-up singer, or doing a solo on a familiar number.

Below are a few tracks from THAT album with THAT pouty photo that I liked so much. Yes, it’s slightly dated in the way most all “mellow” late 70’s early 80’s jazz-tinged singer-songwriter stuff is dated, but it’s still good, y’all.

Valerie Carter CRAZY Instant download or listen on line, no ads, no pop-ups, no Zinfart password.

Valerie Carter DA DOO RENDEZVOUS Instant download or listen on line, no ads. No "I don't own the copyright, I'm just using it because I like it" YouTube caveat shit. The pricks who say that are monetizing and get paid. This blog doesn't monetize or have a Paypal "tip jar" and doesn't profit financially in any way.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

It SIMMS nobody is talking about the father of Paul Simon

Only here, at the blog of less renown, do you hear about Lee Simms.

To be honest, it's because this is a peculiar place, and Mr. Simms has no reason to be considered more than an odd footnote in music history.

When Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel had a fluke hit as “Tom and Jerry,” singing an Everly Brothers-type tune called “Hey Schoolgirl,” his label had another Simon issuing a 45 rpm. It was Paul’s father Louis, who was billed as Lee Simms. Whether it was to smooth over any paternal concern about his teenage son signing a label deal, or a sincere belief that Louis had talent, nobody seems to recall.

Louis Simon/Lee Simms led a dance band that was capable of standards and jazz. He also played bass. Mostly he and his group worked minor area nightclubs and halls, but thanks to his son Paul, he got to release a lone single featuring the instrumentals “Blue Mud” and “Simmer Down.”

Back then, there was a blurry line between pop and jazz and between edgy teen tunes and middle of the road music. Alongside The Beach Boys or Little Richard or The Coasters, Billboard might point to Acker Bilk’s “Stranger on the Shore,” Louis Armstrong’s “Hello Dolly” or even Mitch Miller with the “Colonel Bogey March.” Simms' "Blue Mud" sounds a bit like a Hugo Winterhalter 45 played at 33. As for "Simmer Down," you can't say it was that hot, but the gag is that it plays on Lee's last name. Har har.

Lee Simms didn't seem to ever play on his son's fame. His journeyman band did well for a while, and that was that. I think Lee Simms eventually became Louis Simon again, and took up teaching. He used to tell his son Paul that this was a much nobler profession than music. Even when Paul Simon was one of America's most important songwriters, Lou was figuring that one day, Paul's fame would wane, and he'd go into teaching.

There was a Father and Son reunion of sorts when Lee Simms' single was added onto the bogus Pickwick album, "The Hit Sounds of Simon and Garfunkel." To fill out the album of old Tom and Jerry recordings, and Paul's Jerry Landis solo singles, the label included "Blue Mud" and "Simmer Down," both credited to L.Simon/Prosen (that's Sid Prosen), and now re-titled “Tijuana Blues” and “Simon Says.”

For extra fun, the album also had “True or False,” a faux-Elvis number Lou Simon wrote that Paul recorded as Jerry Landis. Look out below. It's your chance to sample Simms, and be an educated consumer. (Oh, the clothing guy spelled it Syms...nevermind...)

TIJUANA BLUES LEE SIMMS and his ORCHESTRA

SIMON SAYS LEE SIMMS and his ORCHESTRA

BARBI BENTON: HUGH HEFNER, ROMAN POLANSKI - “HE’S A REBEL”

Any good news in 2017?

Well…PLAYBOY announced a return to nudity. They seem to have decided they don’t want to be Millennial assholes like Maxim. They also know that nothing is going to help or hurt their newsstand sales, so better to have a big-boobed bitch fall on her shield when the mag bites the dust, than to say, “We desperately tried to be like a shitty lad mag.”

Hefner has been trying to sell his mansion, has seen a lot of changes since he bravely launched Playboy in the 50’s, and he’s withstood the sniping that involves kicking a man when he's down and old. Several ingrate siliconed sillies have gossiped about what life is like living with a very old sex magazine editor. One cunt even wrote a book about it. Be glad to be in the presence of a legend, you bitches. He’s a rebel, and YOU’LL never ever be any good.

I thanked him once, not just for the centerfolds, which included some women who went on to greatness (one married Dick Martin, one married and divorced Mort Sahl). The bigger picture beyond the three-page centerfold, was that this guy paid good money in support of an incredible list of important writers and cartoonists, and his Playboy clubs helped nurture so many great stand-up comedians and jazz artists. I thanked him for bringing us and helping out Shel Silverstein, Kliban, Dick Gregory, Mort and Lenny, Gahan Wilson and many more.

He paid big bucks just to get Nancy Sinatra to pose naked, and yep, I stood on line to get an autographed copy from her. I took a moment to mention how much I liked one of her un-critically acclaimed albums, "Nancy." It had what might be the definitive version of "Son of a Preacher Man" on it. She was hoping it would be re-issued on CD, and pretty much held up the line to talk about the album with me. Thanks Nancy. Thanks, Hef! (“Can I call you Hef??” Felix Unger)

Another bit of news: Roman Polanski has once again tried to deal with the law-assholes in Los Angeles to get all charges dropped, after ALL THESE YEARS. Yeah, beloved L.A., where his pregnant wife was butchered. L.A., where a plea-bargain was reached and a sneaky judge let leak that he was gonna lock up Polanski and through away the key, instead. PS, the girl involved has said long ago, it’s time to leave the little bastard alone. Did he ever offend again? Not that we know. Did he contribute a lot of art to the world since then? Yes.

Barbi Benton? The former Barbara Klein recently celebrated her 67th birthday, on January 28th. Thanks to you too, lady, for being another of those all-American babes that happily got naked. She wasn't a bad singer, either. Who’s a rebel today? Kanye West, wearing his dresses and his fur coats and pouting his anus-like mouth because he isn’t taken seriously as a fashion designer? Who’s a rebel today? Trump? Who’s a rebel today? Some football player taking a knee but keeping his slave name? Who’s a rebel today that could’ve been in those vintage pages of Playboy with Norman Mailer, Shel Silverstein, Mort Sahl and Lenny Bruce?

Barbi Benton HE'S A REBEL Instant download or listen on line, no ads, no pop-ups, no Zinfart password.

Grammy dis of Jimmy Webb (Pocketful of Keys - Thelma Houston)

What was the big news at the Grammy awards? Low-class cow Adele won a “Best Album” award and instantly brayed that it should’ve gone to the tacky, ridiculous Beyonce. Oh, the racism! The head of the Grammy show also had to defend the show and tally up how many nominees "of color" there were, and contrast it with the number that won. Meanwhile, isn't it a fact that rap and R&B get so much time on the show that entire categories are ignored, and classical artists almost never get to perform? Hasn't Jay-Z been the host more often in the past years than anyone else?

One thing that was not addressed was why black artists have legitimized stealing. It’s called “sampling.” Or, heh heh, “sharing.” These days it’s hip (hop) to take somebody else’s melody and vocoder it a little and say it’s uniquely yours. It’s cool and legal to grab a sound effect somebody worked hard to achieve, and use it on your own song. Yo, be like Kanye the Genius - steal a third of a Jimmy Webb song, call it “Famous,” get Grammy nominations, and shrug when Webb isn’t nominated.

Since the media is too busy kissing Beyonce’s ass (how many people worked on her "Lemonade" album...dozens), and Kanye’s ass (17 people credited on "Famous") they sure as hell ignored old Jimmy’s complaint. Jimmy is a member of an unfashionable minority group. He's one of those antiquated singer-songwriters who don't rely on a committee of people or a dozen different producers to put out a product. Ageism is ok, while we cry about how Black lives matter and no other group. Not the Native Americans who tried to block a polluting pipeline. Not even the Latinos being literally walled out. Not older musicians who can't get label deals or any respect from companies that pay more attention to twits like Ariana Grande and twats like Beyonce.

Webb's attempt at seeking publicity and justice turned out to be just another hapless grumble on somebody’s Facebook page. HIS. Yes, reduced to muttering to his fans on Facebook about it, Jimmy pointed out that “More than 35% of ‘Famous’ is rooted in my song ‘Do What You Gotta Do.'”

Kanye West’s “Famous,” was nominated for Grammy awards in both the Best Rap Song and Best Rap/Sung Performance categories. Webb has had a long, long career and written dozens of hit songs and dozens more that are excellently crafted works of art. How many Grammy awards do you think he has? Three. And, (shiver), his “Song of the Year” Grammy was for the horrible “Up Up and Away” sung by the black group The Fifth Dimension. Some of his most obscure songs ("Laspitch," "Friends to Burn") beat the entire Rihanna catalog.

Today, most performers rely on a formulaic bunch of producers and writers to give them the BEATS and EFFECTS to ride mediocre music and lyrics into the ears of moronic Millennial listeners.

Jimmy: “There are twelve writers on ‘Famous’ nominated to win Grammys, each responsible for about 5% of the song. And I, Jimmy Webb, AM NOT a nominated songwriter for ‘Famous....'So why am I being denied a nomination? Grammys ‘do not credit writers of sampled material or interpolated material in any of our song categories’. This is not a mere sample and it is more than ‘interpolated material’: ‘Do What You Gotta Do,’ with a new recording of Rihanna singing, is the first thing the listener hears, and what draws them in on West’s ‘Famous’ – it is the face of the song. The use of my chords and melody throughout becomes the backbone. And there it rests on the great Nina Simone singing ‘Do What You Gotta Do’ at the end. ‘Do What You Gotta Do is what the listener is left with, it is the foundation of ‘Famous.’ ‘Famous’ doesn’t stand without ‘Do What You Gotta Do.'”

The Grammy jerks told Jimmy that he could “submit a proposal” to alter the “rules.” Right. The rules are rigged and they won't change. They favor the NEW power, where record labels are bastard children to Spotify, Amazon and iTunes, and ego jerks such as Beyonce and Kanye are royalty. For all the whining about blacks not getting their fair share, those two, and a lot of rappers, outsell Paul Simon, Paul McCartney and Elton John. Guys like Jimmy Webb or Randy Newman are lucky to be on a label at all." The situation would be less painful if the work was "art." If it was GOOD. It sucks. Ed Sheeran sucks. Taylor Swift sucks. As for Beyonce and Kanye, they are even more annoying, as they parade around in Goddess gowns or flaunt gold-plated toilet seats. Queen Bey poses pregnant like she's the newly crowned Queen of Sheba. His Lordship of the Leather Skirt and Fur Coat, Kanye West, sinks into a glower if people don't bow down to him, or acknowledge his shit-eyed fat-assed Kardashian porn-video-leak-whore as beautiful and talented.

That’s the “sea change.” That’s the “paradigm.” That's having the power to ignore Webb's plea for fairness.

Back in the day, black artists recorded Jimmy Webb’s songs and he got paid. It was that simple.

They didn't "sample" something. They respected the artist, and sang the lyrics as they were written. Back then, it did not seem to matter if a white guy wrote the song a black artist sang, or vice versa. Yes, the music biz was corrupt, with its Payola and its power struggles, but people got paid. Maybe Webb and Donna Summer got a lot, with “Macarthur Park.” Maybe the royalty check wasn't so much when Thelma Houston recorded “Pocketful of Keys.” It was a better system back then. The latter song is your download. It's worth noting that back then, there wasn't a lot of racial cliche shit going on. Thelma Houston didn't buy into the cliche of singing nothing but soul songs. She wanted to cover a very thoughtful character study from Mr. Webb, and she did. No wonder it's so obscure it gets mentioned here. Good songs are rarely popular, huh? And the “songwriter” is more endangered than the manatee.

Pocketful of Keys Thelma Houston

Thursday, February 09, 2017

Stan Boreson - Just Doesn't Look Good Dead

No, no, that's NOT one of my Photoshop jobs. That actually is Stan, in a moment from his music video for "I Just Don't Look Good Naked Anymore."

Irwin Corey lived to be 102. Stan Boreson lived to be 91. For most of us, we can rationalize, "well, they lived a long life." But you can bet they would've wanted to live longer. This would be especially true of Stan Boreson, who was not only a very functional 91, but still had the company of his beloved wife Barbara.

So, all grim humor aside, you can be sure he didn't look good dead, and didn't want to be dead. He would've wanted to go on performing novelty songs, one of the last of the comic jingle-guys.

But "ordinary" novelty songs isn't what made him famous. It was Swedish dialect stuff.

Musical ethnic comedy? Back in the 50’s and early 60’s, there was tons of it on vinyl. You wanted Italian stupidity? Lou Monte. You wanted Jewish idiocy? Mickey Katz. Any accent, from Irish to ‘Negro,’ was hilarious, and singing in that dialect even more fun. As Jose Jimenez, Bill Dana got huge laughs from bleating a Latino-accented version of Hildegarde’s “Darling, Je Vous Aime Beaucoup.”

Generally, members of the ethnic group being "insulted" laughed the loudest and wanted more. As offensive and nasal as Mickey Katz's schtick was, the Jews bought it. And in places where Scandanavian immigrants were plentiful (especially the states of Washington and Minneapolis), the record stores had plenty of Swedish accent comedy from Yogi Yorgesson (born Harry Skarbo, who also performed as Harry Stewart and even sang Japanese dialect as Hari Kari) and the team of Stan Boreson and Doug Setterberg, who began by covering Yogi's "Yingle Bells" Swedish Christmas parodies.

Ultimately, it was the solo Boreson (May 5, 1925- January 27, 2017) who became the “King of Scandanavian Humor. Boreson was also a big favorite on local TV in Seattle. He was still active even as CDs began to eclipse vinyl. On his website, you could order all of the classics, both the stuff with Setterberg and the solo albums, from “Yust Go Nuts at Christmas” and “Stan Boreson Fractures Christmas” to “Those Swedish Meatballs” and “More Scandihoovian Hits.” Fans were delighted when there would suddenly be a new novelty song from the old master.

Stan was married to his wife Barbara for 64 years, and she reports that the end “was peaceful.” After dinner, he collapsed. It was a stroke, and he didn't survive much longer after the attack.

Unlike Jewish dialect or many other ethnic dialect comedy, the market for Swedish goofery wasn't that large, and the Grammy award people didn't come nominating. The early albums with Setterberg and the later stuff on CD didn't exactly go Gold. Still, there was always the sliver of comedy record collectors who bought anything for the collection, and the larger swath of fans in Washington who loved him and his Swedish accent. Though not seen too often on TV, Boreson did get some recognition beyond local media. King Harald V of Norway presented him with the St. Olav’s Medal in 2005. Which is pretty impressive for anyone who knows what it is.

While it might be argued that Yogi Yorgesson’s name should come first, since he pioneered Scandanavian novelty songs and wrote many of them, Boreson was more prolific. As times changed, he wisely varied his act to include more than just dialect stuff. That includes your download below, a self-parody that most any elderly person could relate to. What makes it funny is hearing the self-deprecating Boreson make the sad reality into comedy. Comedy is when Stan sings about it. Tragedy is when it happens to you!

Stan Boreson, sans Swedish dialect… I Just Don’t Look Good Naked Anymore

Springtime Cometh...Irwin Corey Goeth

He was "The World's Foremost Authority," and may be "The World's Longest-Lived Comedian." Professor Irwin Corey died at the age of 102. That beats George Burns. 102 is beyond being a ripe old age. It's pretty rotten.

I don't know in what state of infirmity Irwin spent the last two years of his life, but, happily, he was still spry when he hit 100. A party was held for him, and he offered up a few lucid jokes for the cameras. The only signs of age were a few missing teeth, and a gruesome cataract in one eye. He also was missing his wife, who had died a few years earlier. Their life together was the subject of a TV documentary.

Corey (July 29, 1914-February 6, 2017) was often described as "puckish." The little guy developed his persona as an eccentric, windy lecturer. Just as his contemporary Brother Theodore would come out garbed in black, and fully in character, he would arrive in a long frock coat, mussed hair, seemingly dazed and confused, the very picture of an oddball academian. He had the guts to ignore the audience, make them wait, and maintain a long silence while he pulled faces and seemed to be trying to think of the right way to begin his talk. He'd then utter a emphatic "However..." as if he'd already been on stage for 10 minutes. The crowd loved it. They loved him.

Corey had a strong, strong personality, and his sly wit and satire, snuck in under the guise of confusion, was a great gimmick. As the years went on, he became a very radical and outrageous comedian. From mainstream humor, he followed Lenny Bruce into political and religious jokes. The more he was asked to tone it down, the wilder he became. The hilariously rambling guy would keep right on pontificating on Steve Allen's show, while Steve cried out for a commercial break. He became a bit too uncompromising for network TV. You just weren't sure what he was going to say.

"Is there life after birth?" the seemingly innocuous and confused professor would ask. "Well, Richard Nixon...he's an example of afterbirth!"

He became pretty bitter when the TV talk shows stopped booking him, and he'd end up on SCREW's cable show "Midnight Blue" instead. Like so many older comics he admired, including Sahl and Winters, Corey wasn't getting the stand-up work he craved. The comedy clubs that booked Seinfeld, Emo, Tenuta or Kinison just didn't book the older stars.

Fortunately Corey was also a pretty good actor, and he could find some work in movies and on the stage. I don't know that he sang often, but one musical item survives: "Springtime Cometh," from the failed musical "Flahooley." This show, actually, was on the boards when Corey was a rising comic, not at all controversial. The show was a can't miss, with a wild cast that included an exotic sensation named Yma Sumac.

I actually saw a revival of the show, and it made no sense. I think it had something to do with a genie (played by Corey). It wasn't too musical, it wasn't a comedy, and the name of the show made it seem like it was a variation of "Fiorello" and about an Irish politician. I remember being pretty bored, and wondering if it would've been saved if the original cast was doing it. Below, you will find it, for your morbid curiosity. And to satisfy the blog's requirement that it BE a music blog, and no entry be an exception.

Corey was, as you might imagine, a very eccentric guy in real life. Married to the same woman since the 40's, he could seem quite normal, stable, and friendly. But he could also be irascible, feisty and stubborn. New Yorkers were sometimes startled to recognize him, in his 90's, seeming like a homeless man, selling used magazines to strangers. He simply didn't like to see the discarded magazines in his building go to waste, and with nothing much better to do, enjoyed hawking them at half price, or whatever, with the proceeds going to charity. His idea of a charity was sending it to the Cubans. Hey, Castro wasn't all bad.

The last time I saw him was when he performed in a revival of "Sly Fox." The guy who was known for mad ad-libbing and refusing to let Steve Allen break for a commercial, was an absolute pro in what was a small but running-gag role. He didn't "break the wall," wink to the audience, or put any excess "Professor" spin on his lines. He played it absolutely straight, and got huge laughs every time.

Irwin didn't quite make it to Springtime or to the summer that would've brought him to Jiminy Cricket's hoped-for age of 103. But he did reach a feverish 102, and he was a legend in his own time as well as, of course, in his own mind.

Irwin Corey sings... Springtime Cometh

Lyrics to "The Newlywed Game Theme" via Eddie Rambeau

Yeah, the blog does have a lot of "obits with music." So...here's a celebration of THREE guys who are STILL ALIVE.

Snickering Bob Eubanks, who hosted "The Newleywed Game," and wrote his autobiography is still around. The book is called "In the Book, Bob," a play on "In the BUTT, Bob," which was a famous reply on that game show. Asked for the most unusual place she'd ever made love, that's what one newlywed replied.

The Newlywed Game had nothing to do with Anthony Newley. He didn't write the theme. The theme was actually written by Chuck Barris, who had a hit for Freddie Cannon with "Palisades Park." That one was pretty much a two minute commercial for a New Jersey theme park.

Barris is still with us. This, despite embarrassing and often ridiculous ways of shooting himself in the foot and wanting people to kill him. This includes that autobiography claiming he was a paid killer. Chuckles knew how much money a TV theme can be worth, so he snuck in his own tune, sans lyrics.

The original was called "Summertime Guy," and was waxed by Eddie Rambeau (also still alive, and pictured in his prime teen-idol days). Most people don't know the infamous game show theme had lyrics. Most don't care. And that opinion won't be changed by listening to the download.

SUMMERTIME GUY, music later used as... The Theme for the Newlywed Game

Listen on line or download. No "turn off your adblock" crap, no pop-ups, no Zinfart password ego games.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

"Touched" By MIKE CONNORS (Tightrope and Mannix)

The passing of Mike Connors (August 15, 1925-January 26, 2017) wasn't a heavy topic in the news. Not with everyone still mourning Mary Tyler Moore. He was also 91, while Mary was 80, and Mary was still sometimes in the news, or receiving a "lifetime achievement" award. I'm not sure if "Mannix" is even in re-runs on some cable network somewhere.

I didn't realize he was THAT forgotten until I happened to mention him to a woman in her late 40's. She gave me a mildly blank cow-expression and asked "Mike Connors?" And I said, "He was Mannix. It was a 70's detective series." "Oh, she said, that was so long ago..."

Well, then, bitch, no point in me mentioning "Tightrope," then.

To be fair, "Tightrope" didn't last long, circa 1960, and I didn't see an episode till I was doing VHS TV show trading on the Net. But to not know "Mannix?" Time does pass, along with people. But yeah, SEVERAL GENERATIONS have been added to the planet since "Mannix" was in the Top 20.

I can understand not caring too much about the show. It was just filler, something to watch, and it featured a likable middle-aged guy in Connors, who lacked the pathos of David Janssen, the sophistication of Vaughn, or the eccentricities of his contemporary TV detectives like fat William Conrad and old Buddy Ebsen. He was just a throwback to the typical action hero who had a good voice, an average-handsome face, and no outstanding abilities in terms of brain or brawn. Mannix could get beaten up and he could also get baffled.

Mike Connors made it look easy. Season after season, "Mannix" stayed on the air while a lot of snappier shows with more charismatic stars failed.

Mike didn't get into the papers much. He was kind of boring; he was married to the same woman, Marylou, since 1949. About the only eccentric thing about him was that early in his career, when he had to do his share of goofy sci-fi films and rock-and-roll exploitation films, he was billed as "Touch Connors." This was the studio's way of pushing him into the same fan mags that were running photos of Rock Hudson and Tab Hunter.

No doubt the Huelbigs who nerdfully shuffled to his memorabilia table were as prone to ask him to sign a movie still from "Shake Rattle and Rock" or "The Day The World Ended" as a portrait shot from "Mannix" or "Tightrope."

"Tightrope," as a theme song, is pretty solid fare. The "Mannix" theme is a bit too lilting. Does it really sound like a detective theme, or something that could've opened "Love on a Rooftop" or "Bridgit Loves Bernie" or some other silly romantic sitcom from 40 or more years ago?

"Tightrope" is credited to Johnny Gregory, while "Mannix" appears on an album by Chaquito, which isn't an alias for Gregory himself. It's for the band. Chaquito recorded a lot of Latin stuff, to be bought by the same people bought Cugat and Esquivel lounge music. "Mannix" is on "Chaquito Plays the Themes From TV Thrillers," and the liner notes pointedly give Gregory credit as the producer and arranger. The trumpet solo on "Mannix" is credited to a guy actually named Albert Hall. John, born in 1928, is still with us. Thank you for your many albums of TV theme music and other exotica, and for doing your reliable job of stretching a quick 30-40 second TV theme past the required two minutes for an album track.

TIGHTROPE written by George Duning and waxed by Johnny Gregory and his Orchestra

MANNIX written by Lalo Schifrin and waxed by Chaquito (Arranged and Conducted by John Gregory)

HALE and FAREWELL - One of the stars of the Classic TV era: Barbara Hale

The blog salutes Barbara Hale (April 18, 1922 – January 26, 2017) one of the nicest stars in Hollywood.

Here she is, with Raymond Burr, as he finds new and startling evidence about the single bullet theory.

As "Della Street" she didn't do much, but she did it very well. The show ran for over 200 episodes, from 1957 to 1966, and between 1985 and 1995 there were an additional 30 made-for-TV moves. That's a lot of Street walking. Through it all, Barbara as Della made the most of the knowing glance and the concerned stare.

"Hi beautiful," was Paul Drake's consistent greeting to her. But, no, she wasn't exactly beautiful. She wasn't exactly sexy. She just was a good-looking comfortable presence. Nobody would have the temerity to suggest that she was more mistress than secretary to Perry Mason, nor would they have any reason to think that she had any great ability to give the great lawyer any legal advice. Barbara Hale simply made everything better just by being around.

An irony is that Barbara really was sexy early in her movie career. HOW sexy was she...

She padded her career (didn't need padding elsewhere) with B-movies. She was a spunky cowgirl in "The Falcon Out West," and co-starred with Robert Mitchum in "West of the Pecos." Also in the cast was Bill Williams. He was the lucky one, and married Barbara. Bill would later gain fame among baby-boomers as "Kit Carson" during the 50's "Western craze" that saw dozens upon dozens of "oaters" filling up prime-time and Saturday mornings. Bill Williams' real last name was Katt. He never officially changed it, and his son with Barbara, was "William Katt." He played Paul Drake Jr. in some of the "Perry Mason" made-for-TV movies.

Barbara considered me a pretty big fan of both herself and her husband. She gifted me with a couple of odd autographed photos. One was of herself with Raymond Burr, signed by both of them, and the other, a photo of Bill as "Kit Carson," and signed by him. I can choose to think she had a small stash of these around and gave them to very special people, or that she had a bigger collection and had some fun forging Raymond Burr and Bill Williams.

Either way, I treasure them.

Real Barbara fans would also point out that she played Jolson's wife in the sequel, "Jolson Sings Again," and was a big enough star to snare the lead as that attractive cookie "Lorna Doone" (1951). She was back to Westerns in the next few years: Last of the Comanches, Seminole (get your mind out of the gutter, that's an Indian tribe), Houston Story, The Oklahoman and 7th Cavalry. But then came the "Perry Mason" years, and...yes...that famous theme song.

It was a dignified, dark and moody theme song and it conveyed an aura of mystery But...

....if you listen to the music without conjuring up an image of Raymond Burr, you might agree that the original title, "Park Avenue Beat" is appropriate...and this is actually some pretty sexy R&B jazz. It's the kind that could be played while a stripper performs, or in a nightclub as hip couples grind against each other with their full bodies (and full bodied couples grind against each other with their hips).

Let Fred Steiner describe the origins of this double-named tune:

"The original title was "Park Avenue Beat," and the reason for that was I conceived of Perry Mason as this very sophisticated lawyer; eats at the best restaurants, tailor-made sutis and so on. Yet at the same time he was mixed up with these underworld bad guys, and murder and crime.

"So the underlying beat is R&B, rhythm and blues. In those days, jazz, R&B whatever, was always associated with crime. Those old film noir pictures, they've always got jazz going. It's like whenever you see a Nazi (in a film) they play Wagner. It's kind of symphonic R&B, that's why it's called "Park Avenue Beat," but since then it's been known as "The Perry Mason Theme."

"It's gone through several changes depending of the timing…they would change the main titles year in and year out. " Mostly, the changes have been in tempo. There's one big difference in the Perry Mason theme used for the 1980's made-for-TV movies: after the ominous introduction, there's a cymbal crash before the main theme begins. You get that version as well as two of the many vinyl cover versions released back in the day.

First up, Johnny Gregory's take, which does add some kind of weird instrumentation just for added color. Thankfully, it wasn't a zither. Johnny did try, as usual, to liven up to two minutes + a theme that originally lasted for half that time.

Yes, Hatch is the guy who was behind so many Petula Clark hits of the early 60's...and he radically changes the tempo to make this more of a teen dance number, that frug-head.

I wonder if Perry Mason ever heard "Park Avenue Beat" and imagined Della Street stripping to it! OK OK, that remark is "irrelevant, incompetent and immaterial..."

The Perry Mason Theme…. Johnny Gregory

The Perry Mason Theme…. Hatched by Tony

THE MADE-FOR-TV MOVIE THEME VERSION OF… The PERRY MASON Theme

DEATH TAKES A HOLIDAY - BOB HOLIDAY

An irony is that Bob Holiday died not long after Dick Gautier. As far as Broadway is concerned, both were forgettable hunks, each known for merely supplying some beefcake for a musical hunk of hash.

Gautier died January 13th, and Bob Holiday died on January 27th (he was born in Brooklyn, November 12, 1932).

Bob Holiday was the 4th guy to become famous as Superman. There was Bud Collyer on radio (and in the theatrical cartoons), Kirk Alyn (in movie serials), George Reeves (on TV) and then, on Broadway, Bob Holiday.

“It’s a Bird…It’s a Plane…It’s Superman” didn’t last very long on Broadway. The music and lyrics were from Charles Strouse and Lee Adams, who reached their peak with another pop musical some years earlier, “Bye Bye Birdie,” with Dick Gautier.

Unlike Gautier, who managed to stay in show business, Holiday didn’t hang around all that long. Realizing that there was no shortage of rugged and handsome stage singers (from John Raitt to Robert Goulet and back), and knowing there was a limited amount of time for him to play Prince Charming or Lancelot, he formed his own business, and did very well for over 30 years.

Bob was only five when he first appeared in a talent show. It was up in the Catskills, a tedious 3 hour ride from Brooklyn. He sang “My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean.” He later tried “The Ted Mack Amateur Hour,” and then after Army service, worked nightclubs. His good looks got him work singing and being a stooge for Jayne Mansfield and Mamie Van Doren, both attractions in nightclubs. A neat bit of trivia: Bob once worked as an MC for “The Colony Club,” owned by Lee Harvey Oswald assassin Jack Ruby.

He parlayed a role in “Fiorello” into the part of Superman, and was almost larger than life (6’4”) on that Broadway stage. As you’ll hear below, there was room for both the Zap Bang Wallop camp of a singing superhero, and the angst of a lonely guy with an alter ego. The show arrived in March of 1966, so yes, you’ll hear in the music a dash of campy “Batman” antics, and almost cliche-type action music in the overture.

While the show didn’t last on Broadway (just 129 performances) there was enough curiosity for him to take the show on the road, and play Superman in summer stock productions. He turned up in Los Angeles for a production of “Promises Promises,” but eventually found a lucrative business as a home builder in Lake Wallenpaupack, Pennsylvania. Quite a few home owners got a kick out of being able to say, “Superman built my home!” And Bob got a kick out of the original cast album still being around, and Superman fanatics begging for his autograph. He even made some appearances at Superman memorabilia events.

There’s more info at Bob’s website, SupermanBobHolliday.

BOB HOLIDAY Overture and 2 SUPERMAN songs

Mary Tyler Moore is someplace in "Carolina in the Morning" with Dick Van Dyke

I don't know...I really can't bear to hear the fucking song again. But did the lyricist specify whether nothing could be finer than to be in NORTH or SOUTH Carolina?

I think North Carolina was the fictional home to Sheriff Andy Taylor and his Mayberry dingleberries. They were such an adorable bunch. BUT...South Carolina was where the "Swamp Fox" bedeviled the British troops during the American Revolution. The state is still swampy, and loaded with insects, but it does have some good history.

Then again, "Carolina" could be the name of a woman. Isn't that the beauty of lyrics? You can interpret them in so many ways.

Both North and South Carolina, and the rest of the nation, loved Mary Tyler Moore, no matter where she was in her TV world. "The Dick Van Dyke" show took place in Manhattan and New Rochelle, yet everybody watched. "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" took place in Minneapolis, and yet it was as strong in the ratings in the South as in the frozen North.

Mary had an apartment right across from Central Park. It was well known to the birders, because it wasn't far from the nest of "Pale Male," the famous hawk. "Pale Mail" would swoop into the park and make off with a starling or a mouse or whatever, and bring some food back to his mate (of the year) and any offspring. Building residents were irritated that people in the park would set up their high-powered telescopes and binoculars and cameras to look at the birds and, egocentric prats that they are, "them." As if you could see into a window that high up from ground level. Mary was high profile in her support of "Pale Male," and in leaving the nest alone.

Mary was buried today, but not in a New York City location, or up in Woodlawn, the Bronx resting place for many famous eople. She was buried in a cemetery in Connecticut, which was immediately festooned by flowers and signs, thanks to whatever local Huelbig (German synonym for fanboy, or asshole) thought this would be a neat photo opportunity.

Maybe she'll rest in peace in a week or two, when the Huelbig assholes of the world stop their gawking.

Aside from the forgotten stage musical failure “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” Mary Tyler Moore rarely had a chance to sing a solo song. I’m not sure if she did it much on her short-lived variety show (the one that had an ensemble cast that include a very embarrassed David Letterman trying his best to sing and dance).

Simply put, Mary is such an icon, so beloved, that despite this being the avowed “blog of less renown,” it was important to somehow get her in. Not that anyone cares about whether she’s on the blog except you and me. So…she was an underrated singer. How about that?

Below, one of her many duets from “The Dick Van Dyke Show.” If I had unlimited bandwidth, I might’ve added “I am a Fine Musician,” from one of the Christmas shows, only because Mary sings as a piccolo player and, in true Mary-fashion, gets a laugh by suddenly finding herself all alone on stage, and rushing away in charming high-pitched distress. “Deedle-deedle-dee!”

I was a Mary watcher, it turns out, before there was all that much of Mary to watch. Most Millennials have never heard of “Richard Diamond” (aka “Call Mr. D”). David Janssen (oh, the Selfie bunch don’t know HIM either) was a typical squinty, raspy-voiced detective and Mary played “Sam,” who took switchboard messages. You only saw her legs, and heard her sultry voice. Yes, remarkably enough, high-pitched Mary actually pitched her voice to be a little more Bacall, and pretty sexy.

Some very interesting dramatic roles followed and then came her breakthrough, playing the first sexy modern housewife in a sitcom. Everyone remembers the Capri pants she wore, in lieu of the traditional Donna Reed house dress. After "The Dick Van Dyke Show," Mary got her own long-running series.

Revisionist twats consider it a great example of “women’s lib.” Yeah? The show was written and produced by men. The theme song was written by a man. At the workplace, she had a male boss. Most of the comedy was based on her being timorous and insecure, not a feminist bitch. Mary wasn’t even that funny on the show, leaving it to an ensemble cast of kooks and weirdos to get all the laughs (same as comedian-turned-straight man Andy Griffith did with his Mayberry rubes a few years earlier).

The show was simply a good, charming sitcom, and it presented a realistic look at a single woman living on her own, but having a lot of vulnerable insecurities. The fact that we didn’t see her dating all that much, was simple enough: that shit ain’t funny. How do you get laughs watching a very bright and attractive woman going out with handsome hunks? Besides, we wanted Mary to ourselves. Guys wanted to spy on her in her home, ogle her at work, and NOT see her going out with too many handsome hunks. Female viewers would've been jealous of Mary having a social life (the sitcom was aired Saturday night, when anyone watching was obviously NOT on a date.)

Moore's show also kept Bob Newhart afloat for many many years. After you watched Mary at 9pm, you had nothing better to do than watch Bob, who came on to fill the next half hour. Bob was a lucky guy.

Mary want on to do some fine dramatic roles, and sparingly returned to the stage or to variety TV. The fact is, an attractive woman in her 50’s and 60’s is not going to get big laughs in the sitcom world unless she is a ridiculous horny “golden girl” or some kind of overbearing bitch (“Basil!”). Mary eased into semi-retirement, and then the uneasy battle with diabetes and other ills, including brain surgery. Yes, you wished for her the same serene joy of aging that her one-time co-star Betty White enjoyed. But life is…like that.

She was born in Brooklyn. There’s a statue of her in Minneapolis. It’s doubtful she would’ve wanted to be in “Carolina in the Morning,” but listen…she really was a Carolina songbird here. What a pretty, and clear voice she had.

DICK AND MARY CAROLINA IN THE MORNING