Chamblee54

Singers Who Wear Wigs

Posted in Library of Congress, Music by chamblee54 on March 26, 2017

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If you go to google, and type in “singers that wear wigs”, the first name to appear is Mary J. Blige. PG does not follow her closely, but went to youtube and found a video. This is probably not her real hair.

Dolly Parton is known for a lot of things, at least two of which are real. The hair is not. If you ask her “How long does it take to do your hair?”, she says “I don’t know, I’m never there”

If anyone is known for enhancing her natural attributes, it would be Cher. Her fondness for plastic surgery is well known, as is the way her head fits in a hairpiece. In this number, Mrs. Bono talks about some of her favorite people.

Grace Slick is basically retired these days. In her hey day, she never appeared in public in her real hair. PG saw her at the Omni once, and was horrified by her wig. (Grace sells her paintings these days. Her white hair is cut short. The wigs are in a museum.)

RuPaul is not really blonde. That is a part of her wardrobe. In this video, she co stars with Martha Wash, in a remake of “It’s Raining Men”. The working title for this video was Piggly Wiggly.

It is a bit of show business wisdom that you put the horses at the end of a parade. Deaundra Peek fills this important role today. Last year it was a remake of “Supermodel”, which has copyright issues. Today, it is a cooking lesson. The last three characters of the Youtube code are M2M.
This is a repost. Pictures, from The Library of Congress, model “Inter-city beauties, Atlantic City Pageant, 1927.” As a bonus to our reader(s), we will explore the issue, Does Lady Gaga wear a wig? The answers are a bit contradictory, which is somehow fitting. One page says she does not wear a wig, but does wear extensions in some videos. Another answer is that dying her hair is damaging to the hair, if she went to a salon the paparazzi would see her, so yes, she does wear a wig.




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Anita Aretha and Elton

Posted in History, Holidays, Library of Congress, Music by chamblee54 on March 25, 2017

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In the early nineties, PG had too much free time. On March 25 of one year, he looked in the fishwrapper, and found a list of famous people with birthdays.

There was an unlikely trio celebrating that day. This would be (in order of appearance) Anita Bryant (1940), Aretha Franklin (1942), and Elton John (1947). All three have been paid for singing. The three have a total of five husbands, with Miss Bryant and Mr. John currently attached (Not to each other). Miss Franklin has good taste in hats.

Several other people have arrived on planet earth on March 25. They include , in 1911, Jack Ruby, the killer of Lee Harvey Oswald (d. 1967) (They don’t say alleged when it was on live TV). 1918 produced Howard Cosell, American sports reporter (d. 1995). Flannery O’Connor (d. 1964) arrived in 1925. 1934 gave us Gloria Steinem. To make room for all this talent, Buck Owens died March 25, 2006.

March 25 is after the spring equinox, and has been Easter. A few noteworthy events have gone down on this day. In 1894, Coxey’s Army departed Massillon, Ohio for Washington D.C. In 1911, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire killed 146 garment workers in New York City. In 1939 Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli becomes Pope Pius XII, to the delight of Adolph Hitler. 1955 saw the United States Customs seizes copies of Allen Ginsberg’s poem “Howl” as obscene. In 1969, John Lennon and Yoko Ono began their first Bed-In for Peace at the Amsterdam Hilton Hotel.

HT and applause to wikipedia. This is a repost. Pictures are from The Library of Congress.



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Porcelain

Posted in Book Reports, History, Library of Congress, Music by chamblee54 on March 16, 2017


PG was in the Kroger parking lot, waiting for his brother to buy groceries. To pass the time, he read
Porcelain. This was a memoir, written, allegedly, by Moby. The copyright goes to “Moby Entertainment, Inc.” There is a modern notice below.

“Penguin supports copyright. Copyright fuels creativity, encourages diverse voices, promotes free speech and creates a vibrant culture. Thank you for buying an authorized edition of this book and for complying with copyright laws by not reproducing, scanning or distributing any part of it in any form without permission. You are supporting writers and allowing Penguin to publish books for every reader.” Should PG say you’re welcome?

Page 360 was the focus. Moby was in Portland, at the last gig of a bad tour. He is flying home to Connecticut the next day. His mother is going to die in a couple of days. The christian-vegan-performer is drinking Jack Daniels with strippers. A fan asks him to autograph a bible.

This was 1997. PG saw a few parallels with his life. In late 1997, PG’s mom was still alive, but clearly near the end of her life. 1998 would see the cancer diagnosis, the surgery, the radiation treatment, and finally, the death.

PG quit drinking at the end of 1988, and never looked back. Moby was an alcohol enthusiast, who went straight edge in 1987. Eight years later, Moby gave into temptation, and started drinking again. Evidently, he tried to make up for lost time. His drunken adventures are described in great detail here. How does Mobes remember all that?

Moby continued to call himself a christian, even with more and more doubts crowding into the picture. PG quit going to church at 17. Jesus is impossible to ignore, and only marginally tolerable. Whatever the temptation, and the social rewards, PG has never called himself a christian. In the southern baptist tradition, you walk down the aisle, shake the pastor’s hand, and get baptized. Then you call yourself christian. PG, for various reasons, never took that walk.

The trip to Connecticut did not end well. Moby apparently woke up in the night, and set his alarm clock ahead three hours. As a result, his missed his mother’s funeral. Porcelain starts with young Moby sitting in the car, while his single mom is paid to do laundry for neighbors. While in the car, he heard “Love Hangover,” by Diana Ross, and was impressed.

Page 378 was a few days after the funeral. Moby goes to a party at Windows on the World, on top of the World Trade Center. Few imagined what would happen to that space four years later. (Richard Melville Hall, aka Moby, was born September 11, 1965.) Moby got very drunk, and had sex in a ladies room stall. After the act, Moby was staring out the windows, looking at New York, and crying. The DJ played Downtown, by Petula Clark.

On January 23, 1965, Downtown, was the number one hit in America. When Moby was born, eight months later, the number one hit was Help, by the Beatles. PG turned eleven in 1965. Thousands of drafted young American men were sent to Vietnam. The techno dystopian world of nineties New York was a few years down the road.

The last few pages see Moby driving, without a license, through the Connecticut of his youth. He is listening to a rough cassette. The tunes on that cassette will become Play, sell millions of units, and make Moby a star. All this will be in the second volume of his memoirs, currently in production.

While waiting for the next part of this story, maybe a few one star reviews will be amusing. John The most depressing book I’ve read in a while. I used to love Moby. When it was announced he was writing a biography I was very excited…that is until I read it. Moby has always had the reputation of being arrogant and rude. Well it won’t disappoint the critics. This is the worst autobiography I have ever read. Self indulgent and pretentious from start to finish. … Startlingly transphobic. I gave up. I will admit, I didn’t get through the entire book. But that’s the reason for this review. I put up with seven chapters filled with tales of death, drugs, and destitution, all with way too much specific detail to be totally true. In chapter 8, Moby starts getting into some pretty blatantly transphobic territory, repeatedly calling people the derogatory “tranny” and using pronouns like “his/her”…

Pictures today are from The Library of Congress. Pictures were taken in Louisiana, August 1940. The photographer was Marion Post Wolcott

On The Road With Janis Joplin

Posted in Book Reports, History, Library of Congress, Music by chamblee54 on February 23, 2017

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John Byrne Cooke, the son of public television star Alistair Cooke, had gotten a liberal arts degree from Harvard. He stumbled into a job filming the Monterrey Pop Festival. Like the rest of America, he was impressed by Janis Joplin. Soon, Mr. Cooke got a job as the road manager for Big Brother and the Holding Company. One result is a book, On the Road with Janis Joplin.

The management of Big Brother did not want the band filmed at Monterrey. After their saturday afternoon show, the film makers realized that Miss Joplin was important to the film. A second show was arranged for sunday night. This show was filmed. When you see Cass Elliot saying oh wow, that was saturday afternoon. The film crew filmed the crowd during that show.

Mr. Cooke arrived in San Francisco as the summer of love was playing out. Many old timers on the scene were already getting out. At first it was an uneasy fit with the band… the eastern bluegrass player, and the hippies. There was one meeting, where Mr. Cooke thought he was going to be fired. Things were patched up, and the show went on.

There were a lot of people who knew each other. Mr. Cooke had been trying to romance a California girl. It turns out she was a friend of someone, possibly Linda Gravenites, the roommate, and close friend, of Miss Joplin.

Peggy Caserta was another connection. Supposedly Miss Caserta had a lesbian thing going with Miss Joplin. Whatever did, or did not, happen, Miss Caserta wrote an awesomely trashly book, Going Down With Janis. The opening line: “I was stark naked, stoned out of my mind on heroin, and between my legs giving me head was Janis Joplin.”

The year spent with Big Brother was 1968. Miss Joplin was staying in an apartment on Noe Street. Robert Kennedy made a campaign appearance on nearby Castro Street, with Miss Joplin in the crowd. When Mr. Kennedy was killed, after winning the California primary, the band was in Los Angeles. Mr. Cooke sought solace with Judy Collins that night.

Around this time, some people convinced Miss Joplin that she should leave Big Brother. There was three weeks between the last Big Brother show, and the first show as a solo artist. The Kozmic Blues band never really worked. Miss Joplin felt she was a failure. Miss Joplin started to use heroin frequently. Except for a European tour, 1969 was a bad year.

In 1970, Miss Joplin quit using heroin, and started to play with Fult Tilt Boogie. Things wer going well. The band was in Los Angeles recording an album. One night, Miss Joplin got some extra strong heroin. Mr. Cooke found the body.

This book report leaves a great deal of the story out. Miss Joplin broke a whiskey bottle over Jim Morrison’s head, and got into a fist fight with Jerry Lee Lewis. There were three appearances on the Dick Cavett show, 1969, 06-25-70, and 08-03-70. At 1:12 in this video, Miss Joplin observes “you’re a real swinger I can tell by your shoes man.” (Here is a screen shot from 1969, with heroin, next to another from clean 1970.)

Pictures are from The Library of Congress. The 1927 pictures were taken at “California Beauty Week, Mark Hopkins Hotel, July 28 to Aug. 2, auspices of San Francisco Chronicle.”

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Jesus Gets A New Nickname

Posted in Library of Congress, Music, Religion, Undogegorized by chamblee54 on February 21, 2017

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There is a video making the rounds now. The title involves Jesus, and a certain racial slur, delicately known as the N word. The video is embedded above. You can feel the magic for yourself.

Here is a story about the song, with the edgy language bleeped. “One pastor is trying to spread the word of God with an edgy rap song. The rapping pastor and his wife claim they have “Christian swag” while tossing around the n-word. … The video of the rapping pastor was recently uploaded to YouTube but it’s not clear when it was filmed. It was taken at a church in Iowa which closed in 2004.” Another helpful interneter has the lyrics.

In case you didn’t know, Pastor Jim Colerick, and Mrs Mary-Sue Colerick, are melanin deficient. They are, as Bette Midler once said about Karen Carpenter, so white they are invisible. It is not considered good manners for Caucasians to use this word, with or without salvation.

There is another angle to this equation. Many Jesus worshipers see not using cusswords as a sign of righteousness. As a result, many Jesus worshipers use the words G-d, and Jesus Christ, as tools of their anger. This violates the third commandment. Now, this use of a sacred name, as profanity, is being extended to using a sacred name as a racial slur. Someone is always ready to manipulate language to serve an agenda.

When you call a book “the word of G-d”, you give certain words too much power. When you designate the lazy way of saying black as a super duper naughty word, you give those six letters way too much power. Now, we see the convergence of these two taboos. Let the party begin.

This is a repost. Pictures of Pastor and Mrs. Colerick are taken from the video. The other images are from The Library of Congress.


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Frank Zappa

Posted in Georgia History, History, Music by chamblee54 on February 14, 2017









The first time PG saw the word Zappa, it was on an item at the Poster Hut. It showed a man sitting on a commode, with the words Phi Zappa Krappa rendered above. The poser, Frank Zappa, later said “I’m probably more famous for sitting on the toilet than for anything else that I do.”

It was 1969, give or take a bit. FZ was already well known in some hip circles. His band, the Mothers of Invention, played at something called the Cosmic Carnival at Atlanta Stadium, where the music lovers were actually allowed onto the field. PG paid $1.98 for a copy of We’re Only in It for the Money at the Woolco on Buford Hiway. Years later, he would pay $16.00 for a CD of this piece of work.

The records started to come out like clockwork, with or without the Mothers. FZ started to become a star, with an appeal to druggies who fancied themselves intellectual. It should be noted that FZ was notoriously anti drug. His music made fun of the establishment and counterculture with equal glee. FZ was also a capitalist, known to be tight fisted when it came to paying hired hands. He stayed with his second wife, Gail, until his death, and produced four children… Moon Unit, Dweezil, Ahmet Emuukha Rodan and Diva Thin Muffin Pigeen.

The concerts came to town every year or so, and people liked them. A show at the Fox Theater in 1974 may have caught FZ at his peak. PG heard the raves about this show until he bought a ticket for his next show. This was in 1975, at the Municipal Auditorium. PG brought a half pint in with him, and didn’t remember a lot later, except some song about the Illinois Eneman Bandit.

Life goes on. Nine years later, FZ was in legal hell with a former manager, and could only make money by touring. One night, a friend had an extra ticket to a show. PG arrived after the band had started, and FZ was playing a fine guitar solo. This was going to be good.

Only it wasn’t. The rest of the show was social commentary. The man had opinions on everything, and was generous with them. At one point, the band started to sing “He’s so gay”, while a double headed dildo was lowered from the ceiling. PG thinks he heard FZ sing “one day you might be gay too”, but by then it really didn’t matter.

Frank Zappa was many things to many people. He had lots of opinions, which were dutifully recorded by the press. Here are a few .

Rock journalism is people who can’t write, interviewing people who can’t talk, in order to provide articles for people who can’t read. // I think that if a person doesn’t feel cynical then they’re out of phase with the 20th century. Being cynical is the only way to deal with modern civilization, you can’t just swallow it whole. // When God created Republicans, he gave up on everything else. // Let’s not be too rough on our own ignorance; it’s what makes America great! // The U.S. is a mere pup tent of a civilization. We’ve got two hundred years of stupidity behind us and we think we’re right up there with everyone else who’s been doing it for thousands of years. // Beauty is a pair of shoes that makes you wanna die. // After all, he wrote this book here, and in the book it says he made us all to be just like him! So if we’re dumb, then God is dumb — and maybe even a little ugly on the side. // Remember there’s a big difference between kneeling down and bending over. // Do you think you are protecting somebody by taking away seven words? // For the record, folks; I never took a shit on stage and the closest I ever came to eating shit anywhere was at a Holiday Inn buffet in Fayetteville, North Carolina, in 1973. // If you wind up with a boring, miserable life because you listened to your mom, your dad, your teacher, your priest or some guy on TV telling you how to do your shit, then YOU DESERVE IT. // There is no hell. There is only France. // The United States is a nation of laws: badly written and randomly enforced. // Children are naïve — they trust everyone. School is bad enough, but, if you put a child anywhere in the vicinity of a church, you’re asking for trouble. // People make a lot of fuss about my kids having such supposedly ‘strange names’, but the fact is that no matter what first names I might have given them, it is the last name that is going to get them in trouble. //

The reviews at Amazon sometimes have insights into the truth about an artist. Here are a few one star reviews of We’re Only in It for the Money.

I just don’t get this October 11, 2010 By Neomorphus “Neomorphus” (Superior, Colorado)
This is unlistenable. I could only get half way through before giving up. Too clever for me.

Put the kettle on June 7, 2006 By Noddy Box (New York)
This high-pitched snit fit might rouse the odd smirk if all you’ve consumed is a cup of tea and a Digestive biscuit but on no account listen to it under the influence of anything stronger because then you’re liable to prang right into a hectoring bore who comes off like some renegade member of the school debating team rehearsing his–fnarr fnarr–naughty rhyming rebuttals. Farting around in Edgar Varese’s old corduroys is all well and good but this breathtakingly condescending harangue sounds depressingly like–dear oh dear–social commentary. Jacobs Cream Crackers but is there anything more tedious than windy social commentary set to popular music? And the exhortation to read Kafka in the liner notes? Please Frank, rock stars should never mix their drinks, or at least not so the stitches show. Zappa is much more bearable when he takes his own advice, shuts his cakehole and plays guitar. Like on Hot Rats, where the only vocal is the sublime Beefy on Willie the Pimp and Frank in the kitchen the whole time cooking up a kettle of wordless aural gumbo–a movie for the ears I think he called it, something like that anyway, it’s right there on the sleeve, good description at any rate of one of the authentically crunchy Zappa records. Well he did release over sixty of them after all, I mean he was bound to get it right once or twice, wasn’t he? So toss this turkey on the fire and get yourself out onna porch of the Lido Hotel.

This is a repost. Your archive is your friend.








Gloomy Sunday

Posted in History, Library of Congress, Music, Undogegorized by chamblee54 on February 12, 2017

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Billie Holiday had a hit with Gloomy Sunday in 1941. The legend is that people would listen to the song, and kill themselves. As a result, the song was banned from the radio. Or was it?
Gloomy Sunday was written in 1933 by Rezső Seress. Additional lyrics were later written by László Jávor. It became known as the “Hungarian Suicide Song”, and was reportedly banned in Hungary. An English translation (which is said to not do justice to the original Hungarian) was rendered.

Gloomy Sunday has a melancholy sound, even as an instrumental. The story is about a person…it is not gender specific…who decides to join a loved one who has died. A third verse was added, to the english version, where the singer says it was all a dream.

Gloomy Sunday became popular in the United States. And the suicide stories started to spread, along with rumors that the song had been banned from the radio. (It was indeed banned by the BBC.) There are indications that these rumors were part of a publicity campaign.

The urban legend busters snopes. calls the story “undetermined”. Legends like this get a life of their own. A grieving person hearing this song on a dreary Sunday is not going to be uplifted. One thing is known for sure…the original composer did take his own life.Rezső Seress jumped off a tall building in Budapest in 1968. The legend is he had never had another hit song after writing “Gloomy Sunday”. This repost has pictures from The Library of Congress.

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David Bowie

Posted in GSU photo archive, History, Library of Congress, Music by chamblee54 on January 10, 2017

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It has been a strange week for a David Bowie fan. On Friday, I was looking for a rerun to post, and was reminded that January 8 was his birthday. (Along with Elvis and Shirley Bassey) I put up a piece about Mr. Bowie, and fashioned a poem out of his song titles. Aquarian Drunkard reissued a collection of the “best and most interesting Bowie oddities”. A new album was released, with a lot of comments about how strange it was. Strange is something Bowie fans turn to face.

On Monday, I woke up. Go on the internet. MSN news says that David Bowie has died. This is surprising. I know what people are going to talk about for a few days.

I typically download the new wtf podcast on Monday. The show is “supported” by Columbia records, presenting David Bowie’s new album “Blackstar.” Marc Maron gushes on about how ” DAVID BOWIE I LOVE DAVID BOWIE. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?” The single is called “Lazarus.”

The timing of the whole thing is bizarre. Was this planned? To release a puzzling new work on your sixty ninth birthday, and then die two days later. With the master media manipulator involved, prior planning cannot be ruled out. Or was it just a parting shot of synchronicity? We will never know.

In what might be a new move for celebrity deaths, sex scandal rumors emerged. A lady named Lori Maddox claims that Mr. Bowie “devirginized” her. Miss Maddox was underage at the time. Some people think that this incident makes Mr. Bowie a terrible person, whose artistic output should be ignored. One made the inevitable comment “As someone who sees White stars get a pass for things that celebrities of color get crucified for.”

I learned a long time ago to separate the performer from the performance. I also apply this rule to David Robert Jones. (David Bowie was a stage name. The legal name was never changed.) In 1976, there was an interview, where the artist said “Don’t believe anything you hear me say.” While the creative/marketing genius can be enjoyed, there was always a bit of coldness behind the mask. Some press reports say that this softened as the years went by. In the end David Bowie was human. Ziggy Stardust was a character played by an actor. Does it matter that they were a Cracked Actor?

It is ironic that David Bowie played Andy Warhol in Basquiat. Both combined creation of art, and the marketing of art product, into a seamless unit. The two did not have a good first meeting. “Remember, David Bowie was not a big star. He was just some guy off the street as far as Andy Warhol was concerned. They found a common ground in David’s shoes. David was wearing yellow Mary Janes and Andy had been a shoe illustrator, which David knew so they began talking about shoes.”

This would have been in 1971. Mr. Bowie discusses his adventures in between songs of this show. There is another story from that first tour: “I think that must’ve been part of the Mercury Records publicity tour in early 1971, Gus. Ted Vigodsky, if I remember correctly, brought Bowie by The Great Speckled Bird’s offices on North Avenue where Moe Slotin and I met him. Bowie was dressed in an ill-fitting gingham dress and looked something like a gaunt, poverty-stricken woman in one of those Walker Evans photos from the Depression. He informed Moe and me that he was gonna be the next big star in rock-n-roll. It took all of our will power not to laugh in his face. This was before anyone in America had heard of him and he had no records out yet (“Space Oddity,” a hit in England in 1969, was not released in the USA until 1973). Six months later Moe and I realised we had completely underestimated him. I had forgotten Charlie had called you about interviewing him.” Pictures today are from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”.

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David Bowie is 69 today. Elvis is ageless, and Sarah Palin is obsolete. This Bowie tribute is a repost. Pictures are from The Library of Congress.

A webpage called CaptainsDead had a download of a David Bowie concert. (It is here on “A Portrait In Flesh” (Full show L.A. Sept. 5th 1974)) Most Bowie live recordings are pretty dull. While the Thin White Duke is renowned for his concerts, they tend to be live events, that depend on staging and costumes as much as music. This show, from 1974, is different. Focusing on material from “Diamond Dogs”, the sound he produces comes close to matching the studio sound.

The next move for Bowie in 1974 was the “white soul” sound of “Young Americans”. He is moving in that direction in this show, even while he lingers in the glitter apocalypse. This tour included a stop at the Fox Theater, the first Atlanta show for Mr.Bowie. On the way to Florida for the next show, the truck with the sets and costumes crashed into a swamp full of rattlesnakes. The show in Tampa was performed in street clothes.

Maybe it is time for a Chamblee54 tribute to David Bowie. It is six am, and PG has stumbled into a job. The time and energy required to write new material is not always available.

The first album by David Bowie that PG heard about was “Hunky Dory”. At the time, Mr. Bowie had generated some buzz by admitting that he fancies blokes, or some uber british expression for being queer. In time, this would be seen as more publicity stunt than brave confession. The RCA debut got some good reviews, but not much else.

The next year produced “Ziggy Stardust”, a concept album. At about this time he did a tour of the United States, with costumes and onstage antics that generated even more publicity. More and more people started listening, some in spite of his outrageous image, and quite a few more because of it. He broke up his band, the spiders from mars, and announced his retirement. The band, according to reports, learned about this while standing on stage behind him. Mr. Bowie, for all his genius, is not always a nice man.

In 1974 there was an album, “Diamond Dogs”, about the decadent urban life in the scifi future. A stage show based on this album…the source of the download mentioned above…marked a return to the concert stage. The next year gave us “Young Americans”, and the year after that “Station to Station”. Every year was a different sound and vision.

Meanwhile, the artist was not doing so good as a human being. According to all reports, he was doing mountains of cocaine. (There is a story of going to meet the parents of Ava Cherry, one of his girlfriends. He shows up at 3am, and does coke on the dining room table.) There was an interview in Playboy (or maybe it was Rolling Stone ) where the first thing he says is, don’t believe anything I say. He went on to say that he admired Adolf Hitler. Have we mentioned the physical appearance of David Bowie in 1975? He looked like he was dead, and nobody bothered to tell him. (By contrast, in recent photo collections of rock stars, Mr. Bowie looks pretty good for a man who is 69 yo.)

This was the era of Rocky Horror show. At one point, Riff Raff sings (Tim O’Brien wrote the show, and gave himself some darn good lines) Frank n furter, it’s all over, your mission is a failure, your lifestyle’s too extreme.I’m your new commander you now are my prisoner we return to transylvania prepare the transit beam While this may not have been directed at David Bowie, he took the hint.

We interrupt this David Bowie tribute with an emergency announcement. A person, reputed to be an entertainer, was seen using the n word on facebook. The screen shots have disappeared, and all we have is the word of the accuser. More details will be available as soon as anyone is interested.

David Bowie saw himself at a dead end, and possibly a dead life. He moved into a little apartment in West Berlin, on top of a garage. Brian Eno offered his assistance, and a series of electronic albums was the result. The next few years saw rock and roll, dance music, and finally, crap. PG bought a Bowie album in 1984, the first time he saw it on sale, and was immensely disappointed. The last David Bowie album that PG got was a free cd that was given to people buying a magazine.

Around 1981, MTV was born, and radio was suddenly obsolete. A visual artiste like David Bowie was a natural for video. Unfortunately, many of these videos are not available for embedding in blogs. Ashes to Ashes was a staple of early MTV. Boys Keep Swinging , off the “Lodger” album, is a return to the gender bender Bowie of younger days.

David Bowie continued to do tours, and PG got to see two of the shows. In 1987, something called the “Glass Spider Tour” came to the Omni. (In a later interview, it turns out Mr. Bowie was extremely unhappy during this tour, and close to suicide at some points.) The Glass Spider was this mass of lighting effects that hovered over the stage, and was used to best advantage during “Scary Monsters”. The show featured Peter Frampton on guitar, and had a pack of dancers. (One apparent female took her drag off during the finale.) A good time was had by all.

In 1990, another retirement tour came to the Omni. This one had movies projected on a screen behind the stage, and featured guitar hero Adrian Bellew. The night had the feel of a contractual obligation. David Bowie is too professional to give a bad show, but this one did not have the fire of “Glass Spider”. PG had a new set of contact lenses, and his eyes were painfully dry most of the night.

This David Bowie Death Day tribute is a triple repost.

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Using only song names from ONE ARTIST, cleverly answer these questions. Tag some others who might enjoy this. You can’t use the band I used. Try not to repeat a song title. It’s a lot harder than you think! Re-post as “my life according to (band name)”Pick your Artist: David Bowie

Are you a male or female: The Bewley Brothers
Describe yourself: Quicksand
How do you feel:Always crashing in the same car

Describe where you currently live: Life on Mars
If you could go anywhere, where would you go: Width of a circle
Your favorite form of transportation: Queen Bitch

Your best friend is: Young Americans
You and your best friends are: Kooks
What’s the weather like: Changes

Favorite time of day: Eight Line Poem
If your life was a TV show, what would it be called: Scary Monsters
What is life to you: Panic in Detroit

Your relationship: Fame
Your fear: Sound and Vision
What is the best advice you have to give:Somebody up there likes me

Thought for the Day: Hang onto yourself
How I would like to die: Ashes to Ashes
My soul’s present condition: Moonage Daydream
My motto: Andy Warhol

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Judy Roasting On An Open Fire

Posted in GSU photo archive, History, Holidays, Music by chamblee54 on December 9, 2016

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SFFILK (Not his real name) passes along a story about Mel Tormé. It seems like Mr.Tormé was eating a leisurely breakfast at a food court in Los Angeles, and a quartet appeared singing Christmas songs. They wound up performing “The Christmas Song” for co- author Tormé … and the singers had no idea who he was. It is a good story, better told in the link. (The link no longer works.) This is a repost, with pictures from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”.

According to the inerrant Wikipedia, Mr. Tormé collaborated with Robert Wells, until they had a falling out. One afternoon, on the hottest day of July in 1945, Mr.Tormé went to visit Mr.Wells, and saw the first four lines of “The Christmas Song” (including “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire, Jack Frost nipping at your nose”). The lines were on a note pad, and the two agreed to beat the heat of summer by completing the song. Supposedly, Mr. Tormé did not like the song very much. After three divorces, he probably didn’t see many of the royalties.

Mel Tormé was the music director of the ill fated “Judy Garland Show” in the early sixties. He wrote a book about it… The Other Side of the Rainbow: With Judy Garland on the Dawn Patrol . The story is that Miss Garland would get blasted, call Mr.Tormé in the middle of the night, and pour out her troubles. (This review is much less sympathetic towards Mr. Tormé.) While the show did not last longer, there are some great youtube clips left over.

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Rudolph

Posted in Holidays, Library of Congress, Music by chamblee54 on December 3, 2016







The story below is a repost. Pictures are from The Library of Congress. There is an appearance by Gerald Rudolph Ford, and his women. Betty was a merry soul.

Someone posted a bit of revisionism about a holiday classic. As he sees it, “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” is about racism.

In a bit of yuletime synchronicity, the urban mythbusters at Snopes posted a piece about Rudolph the same day. It seems as though the Rudolph story was originally written for the Montgomery Ward Stores. The idea was to print a Christmas booklet to give to customers. A staff writer named Robert L. May was picked for the job.

Originally, there were concerns about the red nose, and the connection to heavy drinking. At the time, the original meaning of “merry christmas” had been forgotten. Merry meant intoxicated, and a merry christmas was a drunken one. The booklet was released. It was a big hit with shoppers.

Mr. May had a brother in law named Johnny Marks, who was musically gifted. Mr. Marks wrote the song, and somehow or another Gene Autry came to sing it. A story (which PG heard once, but cannot find a source for) had Mr. Autry doing a recording session. The session went very smoothly, and the sides scheduled to be recorded were finished early. There was a half hour of studio time paid for. Someone produced copies of “Rudolph”, gave them to the musicians, and the recording was knocked out. It became a very big hit.

Gene Autry had a radio show, “Gene Autry’s Melody Ranch”. He created the “cowboy code”. Number five gets our attention today. Under this code, the cowboy must:

1. never shoot first, hit a smaller man, or take unfair advantage. 2. never go back on his word, or a trust confided in him. 3. always tell the truth. 4. be gentle with children, the elderly and animals.
5. not advocate or possess racially or religiously intolerant ideas. 6. help people in distress. 7. be a good worker. 8. keep himself clean in thought, speech, action and personal habits. 9. respect women, parents and his nation’s laws. 10. be a patriot.

“Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” has become a beloved standard, without the troubling religious implications of many holiday songs. It is the second biggest selling record of all time. The only song to sell more is “White Christmas”.





Turn Turn Turn

Posted in Library of Congress, Music, Poem, Religion by chamblee54 on November 23, 2016

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The word Ecclesiastes has a poetic tingle. It’s place in the Old Testament is between the poetry of Proverbs, and the enticements of the Song of Soloman. Richard Brautigan counted the punctuation marks in Ecclesiastes, and found no errors. Ecclesiastes 3 was even the lyrics for a top forty song.

Turn Turn Turn is taken almost verbatim from the book of Ecclesiastes. Pete Seeger wrote a melody, and added a line. “There is a time for peace, I swear its not too late”. TTT became a hit for the Byrds in 1965, as the escalation of the Vietnam war was in full bloom.

TTT is about the dualities of life, and how there is a place for all these things. When PG was collecting rocks from destroyed houses, it was a time to gather stones together. TTT can serve as a companion to the vibrations of day to day living.

Pete Seeger died January 27, 2014. PG first heard of him when he was on the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. It was during Vietnam, and Mr. Seeger did a song…”Waist deep in the big muddy”… about how “The big fool said to push on, push on”. The CBS censors did not allow this the first time he appeared. Many thought he was talking about Lyndon Johnson.

“Pete Bowers” was a stage name for a young Pete Seeger. This was to avoid making trouble for his father. The band he played in, the Weavers, popularized a gullah spiritual, “Kumbaya”. This is a repost. Pictures are from The Library of Congress.

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Not Getting To Perform

Posted in GSU photo archive, Music, Poem, The English Language, Undogegorized by chamblee54 on November 21, 2016

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There was a new host for the sunday night poetry open mic, and PG thought it was time for a new stage name. Chamblee54 worked for a while. Piers Gaveston was going make his debut.

Java Monkey Speaks is a sunday night institution. The indoor/outdoor stage is the side pocket of a coffee house, in downtown Decatur. You come early, and hopefully get to read in the first half of the evening. This sunday, PG arrived late. He was way down the list in the second half. JMS has a strict 11 pm curfew, but usually everyone gets to perform. Time ran out for PG this night. His poem will have to wait until later. This sort of thing happens.

There was one poem in the second half that might have been shorter. It featured an angry young lady. She was shouting about the election. The entire performance was was fast paced, and loud. She would never slow down.Can you shout, and inhale, at the same time? It was a machine gun monotone. The poem went on, and on, and on, and on. Meanwhile, the clock was ticking. Poets saw their chance to perform going bye bye.

The lady said nothing that PG had not heard before. That is, before the shouting got to be too much, and PG tuned out. People who didn’t vote were bad. RuPaul is bad. Hillary Clinton is bad. Donald J. Trump is racist, which is worse than bad. PG agrees with much of the content, and least what was said. It is not what you say that counts, but the way that you say it.

The featured performer was long time JMS host Kodac Harrison. He brought his guitar. Some of his songs are medium tempo, with atmospheric guitar. Mr. Harrison uses silent breaks well, to set off the music. There is a beauty to this kind of pacing. The shouting poet lady might have borrowed some mellow from Mr. Harrison.

Downtown Decatur is a fairly progressive place. The preaching-to-the-choir excesses were excused. Some people enjoyed the young lady. One can only imagine the reaction of small town Pennsylvania folks to this performance. Maybe they would have been persuaded by the young lady shouting at them. Maybe they would have voted against what they see as their interests. Maybe the Hillary people should have called the Trumpers racist more often. That is a sure way to persuade people. Or is it? If you want to be heard, sometimes you have to listen.

There will be other sunday nights. Decatur is a straight shot down Clairmont Road/Clairemont Avenue, through all those unsynchronized red lights. To be fair, maybe the young lady did not know about the 11pm curfew. Pictures for this outpouring of ornery are from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”.

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