Number five on the yahoo home page news items is “David Bowie Controversy”. The old boi has some product for sale, and it must not be moving fast enough. The video has some religious imagery, including a scantily glad lady with a gushing stigmata. In the end, there is a tableau, with Ziggy ascending into the ceiling. The bathrobe he wears is more appropriate for a senior citizen than his thin white duke getup.
When PG was in high school, he took Spanish. The teacher was a fundamentalist Catholic named Mrs. DiPaola. Religion and politics were more fun than verbs and nouns, and she was easy to distract. One day she was talking about an uncle of hers, a truly righteous man. When he died, these bloody spots appeared on his hands. It was the stigmata, the wounds of Jesus.
When the Romans put someone on a cross, the spike went through the wrists. There is a space between bones, and the giant nail went through without breaking one. If the nail was in the hand, the weight of the body would tear it off. The Romans were pros. Pictures today are from “The Special Collections and Archives,Georgia State University Library”.
Robert Allen Zimmerman
Arrived in Duluth Minnesota May 24 1941
Eight days later he was edited
Two wars later he became Bob Dylan
And slept with Joan Baez
He sold out by playing electric guitar
The aptly named Dangerousminds has a link to a story about the recording of Blond on Blond, by Bob Dylan. It only happened once.
Bob Dylan was 24 years old, newly married, and had “sold out” i.e. started to play electric guitar. A bunch of Canadians known as The Hawks (later The Band) was touring with him. Barely a month after the release of “Highway 61 Revisited”, sessions started at a New York studio.
The New York sessions did not work, so a decision was made to go to Nashville. Al Kooper played organ, and served as a music director. A crew of Nashville players was recruited. A bass player named Joseph Souter, Jr. would become famous a few years later using the name Joe South. Kris Kristofferson was the janitor at the studio.
Most studios have bafflers, or sound proof room dividers, splitting the studio into cubicles. For these sessions, the bafflers were taken down, and the band played together as a unit.
The second session in Nashville started at 6pm and lasted until 530 the next morning. Mr. Dylan was working on the lyrics to “Sad eyed lady of the lowlands”, and the recording could not start until he was ready. The musicians played ping pong and waited. At 4am, the song was ready, and the record was finished in two takes.
PG had marginal encounters with two players on this album. He met a lady once, who worked in an insurance office. One customers was Joe South. The file on his driving was an inch thick.
Al Kooper had a prosperous career after his association with Bob Dylan. The former Alan Peter Kuperschmidt produced the first three Lynyrd Skynyrd albums, and sold that contract for a profit. (Spell check suggestion for Lynyrd Skynyrd: Lyndy Skyward)
One night, Mr. Kooper was playing a show at the Great Southeast Music Hall, and PG sat in front of the stage. During a break between songs, PG asked his friend “what time is it?”. Mr. Kooper heard him on stage, and said it was 11:30.
Pictures for this feature are from The Library of Congress. This is a repost.
Richie Havens died this morning. He was 72 years old. In 1969, he was the first performer at Woodstock. Mr. Havens was featured in the movie, and became very popular. The promoters asked him to play longer, while the backstage chaos played out. “Freedom” was mostly improvised to fill this need.
In 1974, PG had the privilege of seeing Richie Havens. He was playing at Richards, a club on Monroe Drive. It was the 2am show, on a weeknight. There was not a large crowd. What crowd there was kept yelling for “Freedom”, as if Mr. Havens had an obligation to play it.
Mr. Havens played a Guild guitar. He strummed it hard, with his pick dragging down over the body past the air hole. It looked like a guitar would only last a show, or two, before he would wear scratch marks in the body. Indeed, he did change guitars in mid show that night.
Pictures are from The Library of Congress.
Tim Curry was born sixty five years ago today. It would be quite a while before April 19 was known as got a minute day. Mr. Curry is an actor, singer, and all around phenomenon. The role that made him a star was Frank-n-Furter in ” The Rocky Horror Show”.
Mr. Curry is best known for playing a flamboyant transvestite. His wikipedia page does not discuss his personal life. If you go to google, and type “is tim curry” the top five results are gay, married, dead, alive, died. A visit to some of the sites listed gave no definite answers. One of the sites tried to slip a *trojan horse* into this machine. Some things are better left a mystery.
After Dr. Furter went back to Transylvania, Mr. Curry made rock and roll albums. In 1978, a tour was put together to promote his vinyl debut. The first show in the United States was at the Agora Ballroom in Atlanta GA. PG was in the audience.
Riding into town on the 23 Ogelthorpe bus, PG got to talk to some ladies who were in town for a conference. They were worried about the crime. PG tried to reassure them by telling a recent news story. This lady was having breakfast in a downtown hotel, when she put her purse down on the floor. A handgun her husband had given her went off when the handbag hit the ground. The ladies breakfast companion was hit and killed.
Mr. Curry walked onstage eating a banana, grabbed a stool and turned it upside down. He appeared to be a bit tipsy. This did not affect his performance. Mr. Curry did most of the songs on his album, along with “Celluoid Heroes” by the Kinks. The latter song featured a Garbo impersonation.
Whoever put the band together for this tour had a lot of money. The guitar player played with Lou Reed on “Rock and Roll Animal”. The keyboard player, and musical director, was Micheal Kamen, formerly of the New York Rock and Roll Ensemble. (A song on the Curry album, “Sloe Gin”, was a NYRRE song, “Fields of Joy”, with new lyrics.)
The only song from “Rocky Horror” that Mr. Curry did was “I’m Going Home”. A few people were upset that he did not do “Sweet Transvestite.” He played another Agora show a couple of years later, and reportedly did perform “Sweet Transvestite.”
Tom Waits was scheduled to perform at the Agora the next night. PG was wandering through the balcony between shows, and saw Mr. Waits sitting at a table. A bodyguard was standing by, who said that it was just someone who looked like Tom Waits.
After the show was over, PG went to a nearby bar, and was talking to a friend about the show. A lady who was with the friend stood in front of him and screamed “What color are your eyes? They are brown, because you are so full of shit”. Pictures for this repost are from The Library of Congress.
Thursday was the annual yellow rain. The pollen was pouring out of the trees, and a storm rolled in from Alabama to wash it away. PG stayed inside, listening to podcasts while editing pictures from The Library of Congress. (This is the source of tonight’s pictures.) This usually lasts until he hears something that distracts him, and makes him want to hear more. Tonight, it was a chat with Charlotte Chandler.
The real name of Miss Chandler is Lyn Erhard. She writes celebrity biographies, mostly pulled from interview transcripts. Most of the subjects of these books are deceased by the time of publication. Some naysayers claim that these interviews are fictitious. The linked article refers to a book Miss Chandler wrote about Marlene Dietrich, who was notoriously reclusive in her latter years.
Some say that you should never let petty concerns about truth interfere with the enjoyment of a good story. People with this attitude should enjoy this file of Miss Chandler reading from her book about Marlene Dietrich. Allegedly, the chanteuse had a private meeting in the oval office with John Kennedy.
In the early seventies, a hotel opened in Colony Square called the Fairmount. There was a supper club there, where people would pay large sums to see live entertainment. Marlene Dietrich performed there. “I have never been so disappointed in my life. She did the same songs that she had done for the last forty years. At the end of the show, somebody had to help her step down from the stage.”
Maybe PG should have stuck with stories presented as fiction. With made up stories, you don’t have to worry if it is true, or not. Tonight’s entertainment featured a story, The Suicide Witch, on the Pseudopod podcast. The witch is a young lady, who is preparing a girl for a fake funeral. The plan is for her to join her bf after the psuedo burial. Sometimes things go according to plan.
Useless Information had a show, The Patron Saint of the Vocally Challenged. It tells the story of Florence Foster Jenkins. She had a wealthy father, and hired vocal coaches to try and produce a good singer. She became somewhat of a concert attraction, and sold out Carnegie Hall. Accompianist Cosme McMoon did what he could to help. Mrs Jenkins was, by all accounts, very, very bad.
Here is more information about the talent. “Florence Foster Jenkins (1868–26 November 1944) was an American soprano who became famous for her complete lack of singing ability. From her recordings, it is apparent that Jenkins had little sense of pitch and rhythm and was barely capable of sustaining a note. Her accompanist can be heard making adjustments to compensate for her tempo variations and rhythmic mistakes. Nonetheless, she became tremendously popular in her unconventional way. Her audiences apparently loved her for the amusement she provided rather than her musical ability. Critics often described her work in a backhanded way that may have served to pique public curiosity. Despite her patent lack of ability, Jenkins was firmly convinced of her greatness. She compared herself favourably to the renowned sopranos Frieda Hempel and Luisa Tetrazzini, and dismissed the laughter which often came from the audience during her performances as coming from her rivals consumed by “professional jealousy.””
A cd of her product, The Glory (????) of the Human Voice, is available. Amazonians were not kind. “This is a recording that every serious musician should own, for a variety of (ahem) reasons. But by all means, buy the cheap one. If the sound is better on the remastered version, it could only be more painful.” “she gets points for effort” ” I appreciate camp as much as anyone, but my wife was ready to divorce me if I played another song from the album” “The whole matter stinks of making fun of a person afflicted by illness. What a cruel species we were – and still are.”
The legend is that she said “People may say I can’t sing, but no one can ever say I didn’t sing.” A quick google search does not reveal the source, or context, so this quote cannot be verified. Quote Factory has this available in eleven tasteful designs.
The Carnegie Hall show took place a month before her death. Here is the story.
“In order for a singer to succeed, they need to have a combination of talent, charisma, and interpretive quality. And, by definition, they need to be able to sing. Florence Foster Jenkins had none of these attributes. In fact, she was considered one of the worst singers of all time. She was independently wealthy and performed at the Waldorf and other places around town. It became a thing to do. You had to go and listen to Florence Foster screw up every song she attempted to sing.
She was having a great time and the audience was having a great time, so they kept telling her, “You need to make your Carnegie Hall debut.” So on October 25, 1944, she did, and it was sold out in just two hours. They came from everywhere. She walked onstage in these ridiculous costumes that she’d made herself. She’d throw roses out into the audience, her assistants would go out and collect them, and she’d throw them out into the audience again. The audience would not let her go home. They cheered her and clapped, and one month and one day later she died at the age of 76.”
The program for this performance had a note from the Fire Commissioner, Patrick Walsh.
“FIRE NOTICE – Look around now and choose the nearest exit to your seat. In case of fire walk (not run) to that Exit. Do not try to beat your neighbor to the street.”
The last.fm page with the information on F. F. Jenkins lists “similar artists”. The only two we will have videos from are Wing and Mrs. Miller. Slim Whitman and Tiny Tim, being males, were not considered.
Pictures are from The Library of Congress.
PG found a copy of Life, the autobiography of Keith Richards, at the Chamblee library. It is due back today. Whatever virtues this book may have, it is not worth an overdue fine.
The first chapter is about a bust. During the 1975 tour, Keith and Ron Wood go to a diner in backwoods Arkansas. They stay in the men’s room for forty minutes, and someone calls the cops. The vehicle is pulled over, and the crew is busted. With the help of a politically connected lawyer, they get out of jail, and the tour continues.
Keith is not a very nice man. When the stones are in France, making “Exile on Main Street”, Keith goes into town with his bodyguards, and gets into fights. He says when you see trouble starting, to be sure to land the first blow.
This is when he cops some pure heroin, and learns to mix it himself. The formula is 97 parts cut, to 3 parts smack. If you go 96 to 4, you might die. There are lots of drug stories in this book. Keith finally quits sometime in the late seventies, about when Mick is the darling of Studio 54. Mick and Keith are sometimes pals, sometimes enemies, but always counting the money as it rains in. The music industry is corrupt and cutthroat, and Keith fits right in.
The ghost writer is James Fox, and he does a good job of channeling Keith. The copyright is assigned to something called “Mindless Records”. The bonus cd was stolen by someone at the library. The pictures are safe for work. Pictures for today are from “The Special Collections and Archives,Georgia State University Library”. This is written like David Foster Wallace. This book does not include the meaning of life.
There is a tasteful graphic going around. It features a quote, “Time you enjoy wasting was not wasted.” John Lennon is blamed for this thought. Wikiquotes does not have this quote, at least by Mr. Ono.
An obvious comment is that being wasted is something Mr. Lennon knew. Keith Richards says this is not quite the case. On pages 261-262 of “Life”, Mr. Richards describes how Mr. Lennon would try to keep up on the drug intake, but wound up in the loo, studying the porcelain.
There was a facebook exchange about this quote. “Wikiquotes does not show this quote. I searched using wasted, wasting, and time.” ~ “Luther,the way I look at these quotes is : I like the idea they express, rather than being overly concerned with the veracity of the attribution.”
If the idea is so cool, why do the quotemongers need to attribute them to a famous person? You can find some pastoral image for the background, throw the quote up, and be inspired. Is it an authoritarian impulse to find a wise man to give credit for the cleverness? Can’t it stand on it’s on?
John Lennon spoke about being more popular than Jesus, and caught some flack as a result. Would John really want to be used as justification for someone else’s clever thought? The sense here is that all he wanted to do was play rock and roll. Let someone else be the spokesman for a generation.
Pictures are from The Library of Congress.
gf of Keith Richards,
had a daughter.
They named the baby Dandelion.
Since it was a catholic hospital,
they needed a traditional name.
The middle name became Angela.
When the girl became old enough,
she told daddy
to never call her Dandy.
This may come as a surprise, but some of the stuff at Chamblee54 is copied from other sources. Some folks come up with things that just cannot be improved. That is why G-d invented copy paste. This story below originated at a site called World Class Stupid. Pictures are from “The Special Collections and Archives,Georgia State University Library”.
I’ve been reading a lot about how supportive parents are to their unconventional kids these days, but I never really believed it. All the stories seemed just a little too good to be true: The dad who overhears his son talking about coming out and writes him a note that says he’ll love him no matter what. The two construction workers on the subway who proudly talk about their gay sons. The mom who walks in on her son having sex with his boyfriend and responds with a lock for his bedroom door and a note saying, “I always knew you were gay and I’m fine with it! Sorry to disturb your blowjob!”
Needless to say, I was totally surprised when I witnessed a scene that makes all of them look like Pat Boone eating cheese. I’d never have believed it if I hadn’t seen it. Get the Kleenex ready as we fade in on the local Starbucks.
I was drinking a frappuccino and listening to music when two guys in white robes and pointy hoods walked in. Despite the fact they were covered from head to toe in starched white cloth, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt they were really racist, sexist Southerners — the kind of guys who snapped towels at each other in the locker room and called guys “faggot” when they listened to Erasure over and over (even the new record!).
I always ignore people in costume since they usually ask me for candy, but this time I couldn’t help myself. The tape in my Walkman jammed just as Sheryl Crowe was going to tell me what kind of a road a day is like, and I heard Guy #1 say this: “My wife wants me to stop killing squirrels, but I don’t feel right just turning them loose after I’ve cut off their skins.” It piqued my curiosity so I put a blank tape in my Walkman and hit RECORD. Ordinarily I don’t have time to waste on meaningless strangers but I figured my Yelp review could wait.
Guy #2: That don’t sound much like Wilma. She ain’t one to spoil a good hobby.
Guy #1: She wants me to spend more time with our son Ralph, who’s fifteen and plays football.
Guy #2: How is Ralph anyway? Haven’t seen him in awhile.
Guy #1: Oh, he’s good. This year he’s quarterback.
Guy #2: He’ll definitely have the girls hanging around him now.
Guy #1: Yeah if he had any time for them.
Guy #2: Focused on football?
Guy #1: Focused on terpsichory.
Guy #2: You’re shittin’ me!
Guy #1: I kid you not. Last week he told me and Betty that he wanted to join the Bolshoi Ballet.
Guy #2: Holy Jesus on the cross. I don’t see how anybody can tolerate that parade of patriarchal cliché.
Guy #1: Amirite? Amirite? I tell ya, it hit me like a ton of bricks.
Guy #2: Well, it don’t surprise me none. He always seemed soft, even ignoring the tutu.
Guy #1: How’s Marvin Jr.?
Guy #2: Last week I caught him en pointe with his boyfriend doing a tour jeté. His sister told me he wants to sign with Martha Graham.
Guy #1: Hoo-wee! Well, we all saw that coming.
Guy #2: You’re the eighth person to tell me that. How’d everybody see it but me?
Guy #1: It was just a feelin’, Elbert. In their class photo he’s the only one pretending to be a tree.
Guy #2: I guess you’re right. But hell, Charlie — Martha Graham? Critics say her Bacchanale achieves a subtle, sublime lyricism but to me it looks like Jackie Chan fighting off locusts.
Guy #1: It definitely eschews the traditional vocabulary of dance.
Guy #2: Shit, Charlie. We both have kids who adore the dance. What do we do now?
Guy #1: We act like normal fathers. We say their tights don’t make their asses look fat and if anybody says their pirouettes are wobbly we jam potatoes into the exhaust pipes of their trucks.
Guy #1: Well, I guess Ralph and Marvin Jr. won’t be getting together like we thought.
Guy #2: I guess not. If they wanna be professional dancers, they’re gonna need significant others who can pay the rent. [LONG PAUSE]
Guy #2: Hey Charlie, you thinkin’ what I’m thinkin’?
Guy #1: I think I am, Elbert. Not here, though — at my place. I just bought a new Scriabin polonaise and all this cotton dampens the poetry of my arms.
By that point I was holding back a little tear, but then they resumed talking about squirrels. I ran home and transcribed the whole thing and posted it here. I hope it brightens your day like it brightened mine. Maybe some day I’ll post an actual copy of the tape but when I scan it it just looks like a beige stripe.