Wednesday, August 09, 2017

VSTUPIT BACH from MARIAN VARGA


Below, some examples of Marian Varga's work, back when he was part of the Czech group Collegium Musucum (note the long hair, on the left, circa 1977) and then when he was a solo artist, guesting with orchestras (at right, circa 2006).

The Internet is supposed to bring us together and expose us to new and interesting cultures. Yet, American and English artists dominate blogs and torrents. Today people are mourning Glen Campbell and Barbara Cook, more than Marian Varga. Not only don't many know who he is, they don't even want to know. English speaking artists are hipper, right? Even, in this case, ones who are pure instrumentalists. Keith Emerson, yes. Marian Varga, who?

An irony is that a lot of torrent owners are in Russia, Ukraine, Croatia, Serbia, etc., where they make their money giving away American music. Likewise, the bloggers most intent on being "famous" for giving away music are in Sweden, Holland, Germany, Croatia, etc. and wouldn't make money off banner ads if they stuck to their own country's artists. But you'd think that once in a while they'd at least promote a few. After all, these hypocrites CLAIM that they are giving away music for the LOVE of it. They don't LOVE their own country's music?

Anybody really need some cabbage-head giving away every Beach Boys album? You know what they sound like. If you want their stuff, buy it. If it's not worth buying, fuck off. Isn't it a little more valuable to hip people to artists that actually could use some exposure via a free song give-away? 

Sadly, a lot of pinheads only want fame. It's not about "supporting the artist" at all. It's saying, "Hey, I'm cool, I'm giving you every Jethro Tull album," not, "I have pride in my native music" or "Here's something that may stimulate and enrich you, without make me seem like a hipster when I'm some retired turnip living in a converted stable ten miles from a sex partner that doesn't bleat and give milk."

Anyone from the vakias or vinias or atias talking about Marian Varga today?  Nah, they're talking about Glen Campbell and wearing a cowboy hat and posting, "Here is all his music in a RAR file. I am so sad today, RIP to a Great American like ME. I will drink me a beer and say ADIOS, pardner." 

Below, a musical sample of Mr. Varga (January 29, 1947-August 8, 2017). Your chunk of "Racte Vstupit" betrays the influence of the avant garde classical musicians including Stravinsky, as filtered through the sensibilities of a guy who probably also grew up listening to Frank Zappa and Emerson, Lake and Palmer. The result is two amusing minutes of keyboard burps and whirps with an added rock beat. 

A rock drummer accompanies Varga to his classical concert where he offered "Hommage a J.S. Bach." As you've come to expect from things like this, the result is the same kind of faux-classical rock that you find here and there on a Curved Air album, a moment from Yes or even Jethro Dull. Classical music goes on too long, and has too many quiet moments and not enough beat? Varga will fix! 

Esoteric vinyl fans may have heard of Prudy,  the band Varga joined after more than enough study of classical music. They put out one well-remembered (in Czechoslovakia, anyway) album. He then formed Collegium Musicum, which may not have been as pretentious a name as Boko Harum, but got enough attention in Czechoslovakia to be widely considered the country's first serious, successful art-rock group.  They put out seven albums in the 70's. He also worked with Pavol Hammel (no relation to Pete Hammel, who spells his last name quite differently, come to think of it) both during the Collegium Musicum years, and in the late 80's and early 90's. His last albums were released in 2003 and 2006.

It's a bit pathetic that foreign music, whether instrumental or with lyrics, gets so little attention. A common excuse is "Why listen to Ultima Spiaggi when you can't understand the words?" Er, for the same reason you listen to Italian opera?? Another is, "But Mylene Farmer sings in French. Who knows what she's saying." This, from people who go to a Bob Dylan concert. PS, you want to explain what "the sun's not yellow, it's chicken" means? Mylene's symbolism doesn't get more obscure than that. 

MARIAN VARGA
RACTE VSTUPIT  AND
Hommage a J. S. Bach 
  Instant download or listen on line. This blogger makes no money off banner ads, and does not stick malware or spyware anywhere.

DAVID RAKSIN plays his theme from "LAURA"


    Let’s call August “DAVID RAKSIN MONTH.”

    He was born August 4, 1912.

    He died August 9, 2004.


    His first brush with movie score fame was helping Charlie Chaplin (who didn’t read music) orchestrate the score for “Modern Times” in 1936. “He did have musical ideas,” Raksin later allowed, but was a bit coy on whether Charlie merely hummed some melodies or actually put together a major amount of the music. 


      Raksin co-wrote music for the Basil Rathbone classic, “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes” in 1939, and began getting assignments in low-budget horror films, including “The Undying Monster” and “Dr. Renault’s Secret,” both in 1942. In 1944, Raksin hit his peak with “Laura.” The music was vitally important to the film, the undercurrent of lust and longing being felt by the seemingly stoic detective assigned to Laura's murder.

      Raksin admitted that the heartache swirling through the melody of that piece came from personal experience. His wife left him shortly before work on the score began. The song became a huge hit; some say only "Stardust" had more radio play or sheet music sales. Johnny Mercer was assigned the task of writing lyrics, and it turned out to be one of his more poetic and least corny efforts. 
   
    Raksin followed “Laura” with the scores for “Fallen Angel” (another Dana Andrews film), “Forever Amber,” “Force of Evil,” and in 1953, "The Bad and the Beautiful" which featured another favorite, “Love Is For the Very Young.” 

    Among other films Raksin scored through the 50’s and 60’s: “The Magnificent Yankee,” “The Next Voice You Hear,” “Pat and Mike,” “Carrie,” “Suddenly,” “The Big Combo,” “Hilda Crane,” “Hellcats of the Navy,” “20 Million Miles to Earth,” “Man on Fire,” “Separate Tables,” “Al Capone,” “The Patsy,” “Invitation to a Gunfighter,” “Sylvia,” “A Big Hand for the Little Lady,” and “Will Penny.” 


     Through the 60’s he was president of the Composers and Lyricists Guild of America, and no doubt, if he’d been around for the Internet era, would’ve been disgusted by the bonfire of the vanities: mindless assholes rushing into forums and shout-boxes every day to throw music around for a few “nice” comments. Telling people you love music by making sure nobody has to buy any, is almost too low, childish and destructive to be classified as something a human would do. It’s more in keeping with the personality of a parasite, a maggot, or a fat, engorged tic. Raksin was the type who would have encouraged the RIAA, BPI and BREIN to hunt down and arrest the inane drones and bratty spoilers making spare change by sharing banner ad money with Communists and criminals in foreign countries.

    The pirates, most of them retards and mental defectives living in outhouses far away from Hollywood or Tin Pan Alley, wouldn’t understand Raksin’s pride and artistry in creating film music: “''What you can't do with a camera or dialogue, music has a way of taking care of. It gets at the deeper emotions that aren't always expressible on film. People who are skeptical about the value of film music should be condemned to watch films without it.''

    Raksin's last important scores were “What’s The Matter with Helen” (1971),  “Ghost of Flight 401” (1978) and “The Day After” (1983). You can tell that Raksin enjoyed the process. Below, at home, he demonstrates the “Laura” theme, taking pride in the flourishes and unique chord changes. Twice married and divorced, I’d like to think that he was as romantic in the bedroom as he was at the keyboard, but perhaps music was his true mistress. He created more film scores than many great composers have written symphonies or concertos. Some of his themes continue to be used as the prelude to romance, or the soundtrack for the act of love itself. There aren’t many popular piano pieces that evoke sensuality and lust as well as “Laura” does. “….but she’s only a dream.”


David Raksin plays
LAURA   Instant download or listen on line. No Zinfart passwords, malware or spyware anywhere.

GLEN CAMPBELL "I'm Not Gonna Miss You"


He told you he was sick. He didn't disguise the ravages of aging, and as he made his way through his farewell tour, he wanted people to know that he might lose his way during a song, or be a little more "sloppy" than his critics would want. He didn't want pity over Alzheimers, he wanted acceptance of reality.

Do we need a primer on Glen Campbell? You know he was one of the great All-American country-pop stars of the 60’s and 70’s. His hit songs are a road map of the nation: “Wichita Lineman,” “By the Time I get to Phoenix” and “Galveston.” His feet were planted in the middle of the road, which meant that most everyone liked “Gentle on My Mind” and “Rhinestone Cowboy,” whether they actually bought copies or not. To paraphrase a Dylan line, when you heard Glen, or saw him on TV, the country music was soft, and there was "nothing, really nothing to turn off." In fact, that apple-cheeked smile could put you in a "good time" mood, to borrow the title of his TV series.

What some might not know is that Campbell began his career as a versatile studio musician, part of the “Wrecking Crew,” hired guns ready to work behind anyone in any style needed. He backed Bobby Darin, The Monkees, Dean Martin, Nancy Sinatra, Elvis, Merle Haggard and many others. He was even part of The Beach Boys for some mid-60’s touring.

It was “Gentle on My Mind” in 1967 that made Campbell a superstar. He didn’t have the identifiable voice of a George Jones, or the indelible features of Johnny Cash, or the easy charm of the real “middle of the road” bunch like Andy Williams or Dean Martin, but he was a consistent and welcome presence through the late 60's and early 70's, enjoying hit songs and a hit TV variety show.

The middle of the road got muddy in the late 70’s, when the hits weren’t coming as often. He began 1980 with yet another divorce: “Perhaps I’ve found the secret for an unhappy private life. Every three years I go and marry a girl who doesn’t love me, and then she proceeds to take all my money.”  

 Although there would be further problems with drugs and alcohol, and even a few days in jail, Campbell settled into the familiar patterns of the aging country-pop star, including some time in Branson, Missouri helming his own theater.

  When God gives you talent, you use it, and keep on using it. Campbell made records even when Internet "sharing" took most of the profits. You avoid walking in manure, so Glen was among the many who tried to ignore the crap from a few misguided "fans." He knew nobody who paid money to see him would be the type to go from forum to forum dumping entire discographies. His family will ignore the "tributes" from some torrent "shout box" where R.I.P. is below a complete giveaway of his life's work, all for a "nice" comment to the uploader. No, some fat retired retard isn't as important as Campbell, and his sorrow over Glen's passing, as expressed in "here's my linky-winky to the goodies" is as hollow as a donkey's asshole. 

     Creative people, when they are presented with life-changing illnesses, often produce their best work. The final album from Leonard Cohen, “You Want it Darker,” is an example. While we tend to think of Glen Campbell as just a pleasant country-pop star, he took his craft seriously, and like Johnny Cash another star given only a few more creative years, he was determined to make the time matter. Campbell went into the studio to record a new album, and tracks that could be released when he was no longer even capable of reading the reviews.   

       Some people retire to a useless life of gluttony and complaining. The whine about every little ailment like they're dying, and they're not (unfortunately). If they have a music blog, it's too likely to be a steal-fest where they give away tons of music to get some banner-ad-share money. If there's any text to go along with the link, it's stolen words from somebody else, since these maggots have no minds. If they write anything it's just "I love music, this makes me feel good when I'm not scratching my hemorrhoids, checking my saggy lips for signs of palsy, or rubbing my oh-so-sensitive skin with creme I stole from the drugstore. Pray for me. I've said I'm dying at least once every week, but who knows, next week I may face that final sunset, without a last meal at Applebees."

      A real man like Glen Campbell, faced the end with nobility. A short "farewell" tour went on for nearly a year, despite the strain and the possibility of some on-stage disaster. Instead of sentiment, there was "I'm Not Gonna Miss You," a piece that belongs next to Johnny Cash's cover of "Hurt" or anything on the last Cohen album. There's even a bit of Lennon to it (a downward chord change similar to "Isolation") that tells you this art based on honesty.

“Ghost on the Canvas” in 2010 was the warning sign that Glen’s health was failing. His “Goodbye Tour” ended before Christmas of 2012. “I’m Not Gonna Miss You,” reflecting on the nature of Alzheimer’s, was released along with a documentary in the fall of 2014.

Glen’s final recordings were held up for several years, so that his fans would get the surprise of some new material, and a reminder that Campbell was still around. “Adios” was in stores in April. Lennon once sang, "You don't know what you've got till you lose it," but one thing about the passing of an artist, is that the finality does make what remains all the more precious. Campbell was a pop artist, but his death has marked a reappraisal of his work. Most of it still seems pretty lightweight, but that was part of his charm and his legacy. Many of his songs were just for "good times." But quite a few reflected the every day struggles of the working man; the "Wichita Lineman," the man facing truths in "Galveston," the man dealing with another dream gone wrong in "By the Time I Get to Phoenix," and the truth behind the glitter on "The Rhinestone Cowboy." 

Glen Campbell 
  I’m Not Gonna Miss You   Instant download or listen on line. No Zinfart passwords, malware or spyware anywhere.


The "BRONCO" TV Theme - TY Hardin (Paul Sammes Singers)


Not too many classic TV Western stars are still around. Headed for the last round-up a few days ago: Ty Hardin. He played the hero Bronco Layne, and was part of the Warner Bros. western family that included the late James "Maverick" Garner and Jack "Maverick" Kelly and Roger "Maverick" Moore, and still with us, Clint "Cheyenne" Walker and Will "Sugarfoot" Hutchins.

Born Orison Whipple Hungerford Jr. on New Year’s Day 1930, Ty could trace his family back to a signer of the Declaration of Independence. He was in the Korean War, and then went to Texas A&M University. His good looks got him some acting offers, and as Ty Hungerford, he was signed to Paramount, appearing in Tom Tryon’s immortal “I Married a Monster from Outer Space.” 

    “Discovered” by John Wayne (as James Arness was), Ty had the look of a strong, stoic cowboy. With a nod to the legendary gunfighter John Wesley Hardin, the former Ty Hungerford got a new name and a Warner Bros. contract. He was eased into the world of TV westerns via the "Cheyenne" series, playing “Bronco Layne." He soon had a show of his own. 

    This was a time when American television was under the siege of Western-mania. While radio had done well for "The Lone Ranger" and "Gunsmoke," and the movies had Hopalong Cassidy, pop culture hadn't seen so much beefcake and horse flesh. Every night, you could watch the action in Dodge City, Cimmaron City, Laramie, Tombstone Territory or the Ponderosa. Cowboys rode along the route of Wells Fargo, turned up on a "Wagon Train" through obscure sagebrush, got sun burned on "Death Valley Days," and would go just about anywhere for an adventure: “Have Gun Will Travel.” 


     Many new faces became instant stars, including Steve McQueen on “Wanted Dead or Alive,” Nick Adams on "The Rebel" and Chuck Connors as "The Rifleman." Women tended to do little except work a saloon (Peggie Castle on “Lawman” and Amanda Blake on “Gunsmoke”).  Every gimmick was used to get viewers to tune in The Deputy, The Tall Man, Wyatt Earp, Yancy Derringer, Bat Masterson, Paladin, Tate, Wild Bill Hickok, Kit Carson, The Cisco Kid, The Virginian and Zorro, among others. 

    “Bronco” rotated with the hour-long Sugarfoot for an hour of viewer time. The shows were polar opposites. “Sugarfoot” was about a mild-mannered, blond fellow prone toward solving problems with law books and common sense. “Bronco” was a more traditional muscle man with the angular look of Rowdy Yates (Clint Eastwood on "Rawhide") or Tom Tryon ("Texas John Slaughter").  

    Most every TV Western had to have a theme song explaining the hero. This could be fairly dopey (“The Lawman came with the sun. There was a job to be done…”) or so ridiculous the lyrics weren’t used (“Bonanza” would be an example). Warner Bros. seemed to corner the market on goofy ones (“Sugarfoot” among the more egregious). There wasn’t much to say about Bronco except to sing his name (“Bronco! Bronco! Bronco Layne!”) The only version I have in my collection has the reliable Johnny Gregory guiding the orchestra, featuring the Michael Sammes Singers.

     Mike Sammes (February 19, 1928-May 19, 2001) ran one of the best known back-up groups in pop music at the time. Not only did they sing TV themes (including “Supercar” and “Stingray” for their native country's popular action shows), they backed all types of vocalists. They sang behind British songbird Helen Shapiro ("Walkin' Back to Happiness"), Welsh superstar Tom Jones ("Green Green Grass of Home" and "Delilah") and Aussie beauty Olivia Newton-John (that's Mike offering the country basso voice on "If you Love Me Let Me Know.) The Sammes bunch even appear on Beatles tracks “I Am the Walrus” and “Good Night.”   

    Mr. Sammes gets special mention here for impersonating “Whispering Carl Schmidt,” and singing what seemed to be an authentic 78 rpm ballad “Mein Liebling Mein Rose” on an episode of “The Avengers,” with guest star Peter Jeffrey as "The Joker" out for revenge against Emma Peel. The fake-vintage tune (music by “The Avengers” theme writer Laurie Johnson) was so catchy, and Sammes' phonetic German vocal so creepy, "Mein Liebling Mein Rose" was actually released as a single. But, I digress. 

    After “Bronco,” Ty Hardin worked in Europe on a variety of film projects, and in 1967 starred in an Australia adventure series “Riptide.” His film career flagged with only two film credits in the 1980’s and one in 1992. Fans never forgot “Bronco,” and he turned up on the memorabilia circuit, especially the rodeos and country fairs that featured vintage cowboy stars. Hardin, married eight times, was a fun, irascible guy with a no-nonsense personality. He self-published his autobiography, which he offered for sale on his website. Ty noted that anyone could get it signed, free. He added two words: “Big Deal.”  

    Ty was aware that he was beginning to have Alzheier’s symptoms. He continued to make the personal appearances as long as he could. He encouraged fans to not simply live in the comfortable past, but be aware of the complex problems in the world around them. Here’s one of my favorite quotes from him, written a few years ago, which remains a prophecy and a legacy:


    “The fact that we have turned our backs on our Godly virtues is the prime reason our nation is headed for a train wreck. How did our Jesus deal with the moneychangers? He threw them out of His church. Who let them back into the church? You did. You’re entitled to believe what you like, but Men of God seeking religious freedom established this nation and we own them our allegiance even if we don’t believe in their God of Creation. Our currency carries their trade mark “In God we Trust” Live with it and respect it, for if we don’t, we will reap a whirl wind of disaster like has never been witnessed before in our History. You may not agree with our founding fathers but the sub-humans that now control our monetary system are destroying our nation’s freedoms with financial bondage and their no-win wars. We cannot sit back and watch our nation being reduced into financial slavery while your kids are being stationed all over the world protecting their globalist assets.  Cowboys get off your butts out of their usury debt. Put a stash away of food and ammo. We will be called on to retake our land for God. I’m referring to the Bible’s prediction of the last days. What if God is right?  Call me an alarmist or a Bible thumper, but I am preparing for the worst and praying for a revival. This present collapse of our economy is just a clear picture of the events to come.  Having a black president may be a giant step in your eyes for equal opportunity but it was not as it does make a gigantic statement? When the economy hits a brick wall, the frustrations of despair and hunger goes too the streets, the armed masses will be the most lethal mass of humanity in the entire world. What do you think their Homeland security is all about? They can’t augment their One World Order without disarming or killing Patriots and they well know it. Folks, freedom is walking on thin ice looking for a miracle. What if our  Black President cannot unite our nation, restore the Constitution. All Hell Will Break Loose.”

BRONCO THEME
  Johnny Gregory Orchestra, Sammes Singers   Instant download or listen on line. No Zinfart passwords, malware or spyware anywhere.

Lori Lieberman "Killing Me Softly" with nostalgia




    “It might have been.” 


     There are dozens and dozens of singers who have an odd type of fame: they recorded a sure-fire hit song, only to be ignored. A "cover version" became a smash instead, and worse, be declared "the definitive version." 


    Probably the most famous example is “Killing Me Softly With His Song” which was a worldwide hit for smokey soul singer Roberta Flack. It was originally recorded by AND written for a blue-eyed blond named Lori Lieberman.   


    Too bad nobody knows who Lori Lieberman is. Or Norman Gimbel. Gimbel (still around at 90) wrote the lyrics. A professional who studied his craft with Frank Loesser, developed an unusual nice for adapting foreign melodies for female vocalists. A pretty song required a pretty sensitive guy to find the female point of view to make it a hit for an Astrud Gilberto or Claudine Longet. A Brazilian melody became "How Insensitive" and a French one, "I Will Wait For You." Nana Mouskouri had a hit with "Only Love." Yes, this Jewish guy from Brooklyn scored a lot of International hits.


      Gimbel also worked with composer Charles Fox to craft original tunes for movies, for artists in search of a hit, or for a young performer who showed promise. Lori Lieberman was in the latter category, when she was signed to Capitol, sort of their answer to Judy Collins. A former folkie, she needed melodic, rock-pop ballads to bring her the kind of success Judy was having, as well as guys such as James Taylor and Cat Stevens.

    Norman spent some time with Lori, getting to know her interests and personality, and the kind of things she might want to sing about. She mentioned an emotional experience watching a singer-songwriter at L.A.'s The Troubadour, a club that featured the best of the solo artists, including Phil Ochs and Joni Mitchell. 


      “It was an awful place, a tough club with tough audiences,” Don McLean recalls. He played a song called “Empty Chairs,” which may not have thrilled some of the hipper people in the audience, but it moved Lori Lieberman. There were very ripe lines in it: “I feel a trembling tingle of a sleepless night…Gypsy moths dance around a candle flame...Moonlight used to bathe the contours of your face while chestnut hair fell all around the pillow case. …I never knew how much I needed you. Never thought you’d leave until you went.”    

        Lori explained how emotional she became, listening to McLean. Gimbel: “I had a notion this might make a good song, so...we talked it over several times, just as we did the rest of the numbers we wrote for the album, and we all felt it had possibilities.” It was Norman who came up with a phrase that seemed to poetically capture Lori's emotion: “Killing me softly with his blues.” Lori wasn’t sold on “blues.” After all, McLean wasn't a blues artist, and the type of music most 20-ish girls were listening to, like herself, was folk-rock. "Killing Me Softly With His Song" was the single Capitol chose. 
  
         It won a “Song of the Year” Grammy in 1973 for Gimbel and Fox, but not for Lieberman. The hit version was on Atlantic, from Roberta Flack. “She was very creative with it,” Lori says now. Back then, the disappointment was too much. It seemed that record execs quickly cooled to her, and when one kept her waiting for hours, she walked out of the building and never returned. 

         Lieberman returned to show business years later as a cabaret act, doing the kind of songs best suited to her, and using her notoriety as the original "Killing Me Softly" singer to open some doors. Enough time had passed, so that some simply remembered the song and not necessarily who it was that made it a hit. In 2011 she recorded an album called “Courage.” A YouTube interview supporting the album was headlined, "Lori Lieberman Comes to Terms with Killing Me Softly." Some 10,000 people have viewed it.   

     There's another video on YouTube that some might be amused to see. It's Don McLean performing "Empty Chairs" with Lori Lieberman in the audience. The camera has a few shots of Lori as she smiles, acknowledging Don's story of how his performance inspired a hit song, first recorded by her. When asked about the song, Don doesn't take sides. He claims to appreciate both the Lori Lieberman and the Roberta Flack versions:  “I’m absolutely amazed…humbled about the whole thing. You can’t help but feel that way about a song written and performed as well as this one is.” 


Lori Lieberman
Killing Me Softly with His Song   Instant download or listen on line. No Zinfart passwords, malware or spyware anywhere.

BARBARA COOK “LOSING MY MIND”



There’s something about the death of a singer; for a moment, the song seems gone forever.

Then you remember that you rarely saw them perform in person, but lived with them via records and TV appearances, which endure. While it’s no consolation to them, for those who hear the sad news, it’s, “well…I can still see them and hear them. The way I knew them, they are still around.”

Barbara Cook was mostly known to fans of Broadway. The 89 year-old actress won a Tony Award for “The Music Man,” but didn’t play in the movie version. Vinyl-flippers also have seen her name on the Original Cast albums for “Plain and Fancy,” “Candide” and “She Loves Me.” She also toured in various productions of musical standards such as “The King and I,” “Funny Girl” and “Unsinkable Molly Brown.” 


 Cook was a bit of a hard luck story when it come to movies. It seemed that if she was lucky enough to score a hit that was picked up for a film version, a more traditional star such as Shirley Jones or Debbie Reynolds would get the prize assignment. When her luck ran out in the 70’s, and it seemed she’d never get that chance to be the Cinema Sweetheart in a big budget film, she became lost in alcohol and in weight problems. She managed to emerge from her struggle, and along with a few other veterans (such as Elaine Stritch), she created a new form of entertainment via the solo show. 


In the 80’s and 90's she was known for her cabaret work, and a “one woman show” that was a hit both in America and England. She was one of the veterans who could show a new generation why the “standards” are the gold standard. People who missed the great era of Broadway, got a glimpse of it through Barbara Cook. One of her highlight moments was performing one of the last truly great Broadway ballads, Stephen Sondheim’s “Losing My Mind,” which was the hit in "Follies." You don’t have to be a fan (spelled with an “n” at the end, not a “g”) to be touched by this one. Not only is this a beautiful, aching love song, it’s almost a textbook example on writing, from the spare symbolism to the perfectly timed and placed chord changes.
      

      Cook was a Kennedy Center Honoree in 2011, and only retired last year. Most would agree that, like Patti Page, her most endearing quality was also a bit of a liability. She had a true “ringing” soprano, a bell-like tone and vibrato that was almost too pretty to be true. There may be others who give “Losing My Mind” a more tragic edge simply because they don’t have such a perfect voice. Here's an example of the perfect brilliance of Barbara Cook. 



Barbara Cook
  Losing My Mind  (Live Performance)   Instant download or listen on line. No Zinfart passwords, malware or spyware anywhere.


BOBBY TAYLOR (of the Vancouvers and Tommy Chong)



Bobby Taylor?

It's a bit odd, but when Bobby Taylor died, the news was more about his connection to Tommy Chong and to Michael Jackson. 

Before he became half of the famous drug-comedy team, Chong was part of Bobby Taylor and the Vancouvers, and co-wrote the only song most people even vaguely heard of from the group.

"Does Your Mama Know About Me" (a co-write from Tommy Chong and Tom Baird) grazed the Top 40 with its tantalizing suggestion that the singer was a bad dude, a lousy influence, a stoned hippie, or black or Chinese or of some other forbidden race. The band began as four Blacks and Chong, which led him to suggest that they call themselves "Four Niggers and a Chink." This was the era of Lenny Bruce bluntness, but there doesn't seem to be any documentation of that amusing monicker appearing on any poster for an early club date. They did work as the Calgary Shades, alluding to their Canadian location and the darkness of most band members. The band became more racially mixed as they moved along.

The 1968 single and album was the beginning and end for the group. "Taylor Made Soul" was Bobby's solo album the following year, but over the decades, he made a living from producing music and appearing in various oldies bands. He found a lot of work in the Far East, and died in Hong Kong.

When Bobby died, Jermaine Jackson offered a Tweet about Bobby being the Jackson 5's "mentor." Indeed, Bobby worked on the first two albums before Berry Gordy, the 5's father and others stepped in. Bobby was 78.

Bobby Taylor and the Vancouvers
  DOES YOUR MAMA KNOW ABOUT ME?    Instant download or listen on line. No Zinfart passwords,  malware or spyware anywhere.