Chamblee54

The Velvet Warlocks

Posted in History, Library of Congress, Music by chamblee54 on October 4, 2022


PG was listening to disgraceland episode#64, about the grateful dead. He was at a stopping point with multi tasking, and decided to look something up. The show mentioned the first show by the warlocks, later known as the grateful dead. This was 50 years before “dead name” was a dirty word.

“On May 5, 1965 ‘The Warlocks’ … played their first show, at Magoo’s Pizza Parlor in Menlo Park, California” This was the day before PG turned 11. Lyndon Johnson was settling in for his elected term as President. The Braves were playing their lame duck season in Milwaukee. Combat troops had been in Vietnam for a little over two months. This was the start of the escalation. “By the end of 1965, more than 184,000 American troops were in Vietnam.”

Multi tasking is full of pitfalls. Whenever there is a break, you are tempted by facebook and twitter. Like this tweet: “The audio excerpt in this article is incredible: Part of a multi-movement work called “PASSOVER” by Rick Burkhardt. Musicians speak while playing, seated around a dinner table. From the collective @ensemblethingNY” The answer is to make a note of the link. Maybe you go back later and listen. Maybe you don’t. The focus should be on the first entertainment/chore. The dg-gd episode has a half hour to go. UPDATE The audio excerpt is pretty good. It is under seven minutes long. People of a certain age may feel old while listening to it.

At 27:44, dg-gd dropped an item that could not be ignored. The warlocks had to find a new name. Someone else was called the warlocks, and there were complications. It seems as though the warlocks … a pretty obvious name … was also an early name of the velvet underground. Other early vu names included the primitives and the falling spikes.

“When they (vu) finally did come across a name which stuck, it was thanks to a contemporary paperback novel about the secret sexual underworld of the 1960s that Tony Conrad, a friend of John Cale, happened across and showed to the group. The novel, written by Michael Leigh, remains in print most likely thanks to the band which appropriated its title.”… “Had Lou Reed and John Cale not seen a copy of this book in a New York City gutter (fittingly) and decided to use its name for their group, this little volume would have been justly forgotten. Written in a style which titilates while decrying the scene it describes, it’s a piece of blue-nosed junk.”

The rest of the show rolled on. Jerry stuck his finger in a dictionary at random, and found grateful dead. It was the name of a story. The band played at the acid tests, which mostly went well, until they did not. Pigpen drank rotgut to excess, until it killed him.

PG was editing pictures out of a folder labeled pa41. The images were shot by John Vachon,in June 1941. The last picture, while the 27 club end of Pigpen played over the speakers, was Women washing clothes in utility building at FSA (Farm Security Administration) trailer camp. Erie, Pennsylvania. Another picture, from January 1941, is Pinochle game in Czecho-Slovak Dramatic Club. Ambridge, Pennsylvania. Both pictures are included in this feature. This is a repost from 2020.

The B-52s

Posted in Georgia History, Library of Congress, Music by chamblee54 on July 21, 2022








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There used to be a chinese restaurant, on the Atlanta Highway, called Hunan House. One night, a few people shared a flaming volcano, and formed a band. The b52s played their first show at a valentines day party in 1977. They were named for a bouffant hairstyle.

The b52’s were Ricky Wilson, his sister Cindy, Kate Pierson, Fred Schneider III, and Keith Strickland. The Wilsons and Mr. Strickland were from Athens. Miss Pierson and Mr. Schneider were from New Jersey. Planet Claire was the ancestral home.

Fred had lived in Atlanta before he moved to Athens. He stayed in an apartment on Monroe Drive, across from S&M clutch and brake company. PG knew some of his neighbors, and once rested his feet on a rug, formerly owned by Fred Schneider.

Somebody had connections, and The b52’s were playing shows in New York before long. They released a 45 on db records, “Rock Lobster” and “52 girls”. The first of the girls mentioned…there are only 23 named…is Effie. There was a famous whorehouse in Athens named Effies.

One night, they played a show at the Big Dipper, on Ponce de Leon Avenue. The Big Dipper was a former Maryland Fried Chicken, and is now something else. After the show, either Kate or Cindy was in the parking lot, talking to a local character named Beulah. As was his way, Beulah was talking about Mick Jagger this, Mick Jagger that. Finally, Kate had enough. “Fuck Mick Jagger. One day Mick Jagger will come see me, me, me.”

The b52’s were a fun band. Ricky had an unusual style on guitar, and Kate played a farfisa organ. The girls always wore big hair wigs. Fred was somewhere up front singing.

On Labor Day, 1978, PG saw the b52’s in Piedmont Park. There was a third girl that day, Wendy, who wore an inflatable beach float, and danced. The only songs PG is sure they did were “Downtown” and “Rock Lobster”. A few months later, PG saw the b52’s at the Agora ballroom. The Brains opened.

Sometime in late 1979, the eponymous first album came out. It became a hit, with dance clubs all over playing “Planet Claire”, “Dance this mess around”, and “6060-842”. In the summer of 1980, PG talked with a former Athenian in a hostel in Cannon Beach, Oregon. He mentioned that Cindy was the only heterosexual in the band.

The years went by, and more albums were released. On October 12, 1985, Ricky Wilson died of AIDS. He is buried in Oconee Hill Cemetery, behind Sanford Stadium in Athens. He sold bus tickets at the Greyhound station in downtown Athens before he hit the bigtime.

The band continues to this day. At some point, “Love Shack” was released, and became a hit. It is probably the best known b52’s song today. This is a repost. Pictures are from The Library of Congress.

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Annabelle

Posted in GSU photo archive, Music, Religion by chamblee54 on July 16, 2022

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Annabelle is a song by Gillian Welch and David Rawlings. It is quite lovely. Annabelle is the daughter, and the one bright spot in a hard life. This life of toil lasts until we “go to Jesus.”

PG has had a tough time with Jesus. Rudeness, disrespect, verbal abuse, and humiliation have been landmarks on the journey. When you don’t agree with the plan for life after death, you wonder if the bad parts of Jesus are worth it. To PG, the negatives overwhelmingly outweigh the positives. Just hearing a passing reference to Jesus can set him to brooding.

This morning, PG wondered if it was always going to be like this. When people talk/sing/act out for Jesus, is it always going to remind him of the pain? The Jesus worshipers have so much fun making noise, that they scarcely notice the discomfort of others. They usually don’t care.

PG has found Jesus, in the words and deeds of his believers. It has been one of the worst experiences he has known. When you decide that Jesus was killed for being a trouble maker, and his death has nothing to do with what happens to you when you die … it takes away the justification for the abuse. Maybe one day there will be no Jesus, and PG will know peace.

This is a repost. Pictures from The Library of Congress.

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Bob Dylan

Posted in Georgia History, GSU photo archive, History, Holidays, Music by chamblee54 on May 24, 2022









This is a repost. Pictures are from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”. Today is Bob Dylan’s eighty first birthday. This tribute is composed primarily of three previously published pieces of work. Some people think Bob Dylan is a piece of work.

This compendium was assembled in 2016. On David Bowie’s in 2016, PG created a computer playlist, and assembled a few blog posts into a birthday celebration. Three days later, David Bowie was dead. PG decided to do the same thing to Bob Dylan on his birthday. Instead of dying, Bob Dylan won the Nobel prize. A similar effort on RuPaul’s birthday had no effect on the performer.

It was a late may morning in Atlanta GA, and a slack blogger was searching his archives. Yes, Issac Asinov never got writers block, and when he wasn’t going to the bathroom he was typing, but that is a lifestyle choice. Easy writing makes tough reading. So, anyway, in the may archive for 2011 there was a post about Bob Dylan’s seventieth birthday. People were taking bets on whether he would make it to thirty, and here he is at seventy nine.

Hibbing MN is a cold place. At least it can claim to be the birthplace of Robert Allen Zimmerman. That’s Allen, with an e, and double L, just like hell. The original initials were RAZ, which might be a good trivia question, or, with a silent W in front, radio station call letters. The problem is, he legally changed his name to Bob Dylan, with no known middle name. Those initial are BD.

On May 24, 1941, the curly haired wonder boi arrived. The world was a different place. Europe was in flames, and eyeing the young men of America as fresh cannon fodder. This was twelve years, eleven months, and eighteen days before PG graced the planet. A twelve year old in Hibbing MN would have no reason to think of a newborn baby in Atlanta GA.

The first time PG heard of Bob Dylan was probably at the record rack of Zippy’s dime store in Cherokee Plaza. There was an album of his greatest hits, and it came with a poster. The poster had a drawing of the man, with psychedelic waves of hair cascading in multi colored glory to the edges. PG never did buy the LP.

The former Mr. Zimmerman was never big on top 40 am radio. Somebody somewhere was getting a headache over those lyrics, but Atlanta GA was not somewhere in those days. By this time, Mr. Dylan had crashed his motorcycle, and gone into hiding. As the counter culture exploded (if only someone had disinfected that counter) the curly haired poet was in hiding, the subject of much speculation. At one point, people were stealing his garbage, and claiming to find evidence of investment in munitions firms. The neoscience of Dylanology continues to this day.

As PG got older and stupider, he heard more and more Bob Dylan music. In the summer of 1972, there was a performance at the Concert for Bangladesh. A couple of albums released during this era sucked, and some people stopped caring about Bob Dylan.

At the start of 1974, a tour was announced. The Band was to be the backing group. The circus came to the Omni, and PG got some of the mail order tickets. He couldn’t find anyone to use the second ticket, and sold it to a stranger outside the arena.

The show was nothing special. Bob Dylan excels at writing, is ok in the studio, and blah on stage. Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter was at the show, and was said to look bored. Mr. Dylan was invited to the Governor’s mansion after the show, and talked to the Governor. A lot of people in Georgia were surprised that Jimmy would want to run for President.
As the Seventies went me me meing into sex and drugs oblivion, Bob Dylan regained both his writing touch, and love of the spotlight. The Rolling Thunder tour happened, he got back together with Joan Baez, divorced his wife, became born again, became more Jewish, counted money, and generally lived the life. PG did his own version of all that, without Joan Baez or being circumcised again.

In the winter of 1991, America was consumed by war fever. Saddam Hussein had been elevated to next Hitler status, and had to be taught a lesson. One night, Bob Dylan played on a music awards show, and performed “Masters of War”. He played a discordant version of that ditty, with the result that few understood what he had said. By this time, Mr. Dylan had assembled a band, and gone out on the “Never Ending Tour”. A Bob Dylan concert had gone from being a special event, to being another name on the festival roster. Overexposure will do that.

On the last night of the Olympics in 1996, Bob Dylan played the House of Blues downtown. PG won a pair of the $80 tickets in a radio station contest. It was his only trip downtown during the games, and had to wait in a security line to get into Centennial Olympic Park.

The only celebrity, other than Mr. Dylan, seen at the House of Blues that night was Bill Walton. The band was competent…they impressed PG as being like a bar band that did a lot of Dylan songs, with a strangely authentic lead vocalist. The sound in the room was not good, at least in the spot where PG stood. The only song he recognized was “All along the Watchtower”, the Jimi Hendrix classic. Mr. Dylan got a cheer when he put his harmonica appliance on.








The aptly named dangerousminds has a link to a story about the recording of Blonde on Blonde, 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 of the players on this album. He met a lady once, who worked in an insurance office. One of the customers was Joe South. His driving record file 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, sold that contract for a nice piece of change, and lived happily ever after.

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.








If it ever quits raining, PG is going to walk to the Chamblee library and return a book, and a cd. The cd is by Bob Dylan, and is a work of genius. The book is about the former Mr. Zimmerman, and is a piece of garbage. (BTW, Dylan is not the only Zimmerman to hit the big time. Ethel Merman was born Ethel Agnes Zimmerman.The Zimmerman telegram got us into World War I. The less said about George Zimmerman, the better)

When returning cd’s to a library, you need to get a check in receipt. Once, PG returned a stack of cd’s to the Brookhaven library. When checking them in, one was missed by the scanner. A few days later, there was a note in the mail about an overdue cd.

The good news was, the cd was on the shelf when PG went back to investigate, and the matter was quickly settled. It did not help that the cd was a collection of disco music called “Shake your booty”.

“The freewheelin’ Bob Dylan” was released in the early sixties, when the man was barely old enough to buy a drink. There is not a bad song on it, and several are classic rock staples. At a time when mindless pop dominated pop music, here were thoughtful, moving lyrics.

In 1991, with America in a war frenzy, Mr. Dylan appeared on a music awards show. He performed “Masters of War”, at a time when the majority would be appalled if they could understand what he was singing. Mr. Dylan has been reinvented many times, and often the lyrics get gargled.

Five years later, PG won tickets to a Bob Dylan concert. It was the last night of the Olympics, and the man was appearing at the House of Blues. (Tickets were $80, so the radio contest is the only reason PG went). It was like hearing a good bar band, that did nothing but Dylan songs, with the man as the vocalist. Due to the mix of the sound, PG could not recognize many of the songs.

The book is Bob Dylan: Prophet, Mystic, Poet by Seth Rogovoy. It tells the Dylan tale as a story of Jewish prophecy. PG got to page 16, where the author claims that “Like a Rolling Stone” “almost single handedly revolutionized rock’n roll music”. Huh?

PG was eating dinner, and did not have anything else to read. He got to page 38. Nothing in the next 22 pages changed his mind away from ditching the book. How does nonsense like this get published?






I Used To Be Charming Part Three

Posted in GSU photo archive, History, Music, Undogegorized by chamblee54 on May 4, 2022


This is the latest edition of the chamblee54 book report on I Used to Be Charming, by Eve Babitz. This feature is a bit different. Instead of focusing on IUTBC, we will look at some of the key players in the story. A catalyst for today is a 2019 episode of the Bret Easton Ellis Podcast. The guest is Lili Anolik, promoting a book, Hollywood’s Eve: Eve Babitz and the Secret History of L.A.

One important name is Earl McGrath. Bret had never heard of him. A friend of many influential people, McGrath had many careers. Apparently, his main skill was a talent for being fabulous. As David Bowie said, “It’s not really work, it’s just the power to charm.”

“McGrath’s story began in Superior WI. The son of an itinerant short-order cook, it wasn’t long before the teenage Earl began to display a wanderlust of his own, dropping out of high school and leaving home, ‘hanging out with Aldous Huxley in Los Angeles and going to see Henry Miller in Big Sur’, according to Vanity Fair. In the late 1950s he served with the Merchant Marine in Africa and the Middle East, and in Italy, in 1958, he met the woman he would later marry, Camilla Pecci-Blunt — a glamorous countess, and a descendant of Pope Leo XIII … McGrath was working for 20th Century Fox in the early 1960s when he met perhaps the other most influential person in his life, the legendary co-founder and president of Atlantic Records, Ahmet Ertegun.”

“Maybe that’s why Eve fell in “friend love” with a gay man, the cattiest breed of all, if we want to be cuntily honest as well. Specifically, Earl McGrath … As any gay man not fully out would be, McGrath was married to an Italian countess. He never had an official title, per se, though, in death, he would be credited as a “writer, music executive, art collector, and gallery owner.” In short, a jack-of-no-trades. Other than knowing how to be at the right place at the right time, and network with the right people. This is how he came into Eve’s orbit in the late 60s. The two grew Siamese twin close until McGrath’s venom reared its ugly head with the line … “Is that the blue you’re using?” As Anolik interprets the phrase, it’s an easy way to make an artist (of any kind) doubt themselves and their vision.”

Eve met Earl McGrath when Eve, and possibly McGrath, was dating Peter Pilafian, the electric violin player with The Mamas and The Papas. Peter Pilafian is one of those players that is unknown today. He does not have a wikipedia page, and we do not know if he is alive. Apparently, Eve would spend the night with Pilafian, and McGrath would show up at 7am the next day.

Somehow, Eve and McGrath connected. McGrath makes a spectacle of himself in Slow Days Fast Company. McGrath also gets credit/blame for the line you always seem to hear about Eve. “In every young man’s life, there is an Eve Babitz. It is usually Eve Babitz.”

lilianolikwriter has a tasteful picture, with this caption: “Eve Babitz with frenemy, Earl McGrath, at the opening of the Black Rabbit restaurant on Melrose, at the tail-end of the 60s. Earl is in the cowboy mustache, Eve in the glasses, which she was normally too vain to wear in photographs. The brunette with the pixie hair is Diane Gardiner, Doors publicist and long-time squeeze of Chuck Berry. (Says Eve, “Diane was a mean monster but everything she said was funny so I forgave her.”) … The woman in the floppy hat and sunglasses, says Eve, doesn’t ring a bell, not even a faint one.”

Allegedly, the Eve-McGrath falling out came when Eve was dating Harrison Ford, who also caught McGrath’s eye. A posthumous article about McGrath mentions “His great friend Harrison Ford — three of whose children were among McGrath’s two-dozen godchildren — saluted him as, ‘The last of a breed, one of the last great gentlemen and bohemians.’”

Lili Anolik tells an amusing story about Mr. Ford. “I remember one of our first conversations Eve told me about Harrison Ford dealing dope out of a bass fiddle at Barney’s Beanery”…. Michelle Phillips talks about seeing Star Wars when it first came out. When Harrison Ford appeared on the screen, Michelle said “whats he doing there, that’s my dope dealer.” A less reliable source chimes in: “Harrison Ford was her weed dealer, and, briefly, her lover: “The thing about Harrison was, Harrison could fuck. Nine people a day. It’s a talent, loving nine different people in one day. Warren [Beatty] could only do six.”

Part of the Eve legend is the photograph of Eve playing chess with Marcel Duchamp. “What happened was, my boyfriend at the time, Walter Hopps [director of the Pasadena Art Museum, 31, married], had scored this great coup. He’d convinced Duchamp, who’d given up art for chess back in the 1920s, to do a retrospective with him. He threw a party for the private opening, and L.A. had never seen anything like it. Everyone, everyone, was there—Duchamp, naturally, and Andy Warhol and Claes Oldenburg and Dennis Hopper and, oh, just everyone. I wasn’t, though, because I wasn’t invited. I guess Walter was afraid I’d make a scene in front of his wife. I was mad, which is why when Julian asked me at the public opening to take off my clothes and pose for him, I said sure. I mean, my breasts were normally something to behold, but birth control had made them even bigger, so they were really something to behold at that particular moment. …”

The photographer, Julian Wasser, was dating Eve’s sister Mirandi. Wasser had an exhibit in 2019, so apparently he was alive 3 years ago. Wasser took his most famous picture a few years later.“One August day in 1969, I was listening to a police radio when I heard all this strange talk about something going on in this residential area next to Beverly Hills. It was the kind of neighbourhood where people would … put pillows over their heads if murders were going on.”

“That was how I first heard that Roman Polanski’s wife, Sharon Tate, had been killed, along with four others. When I went up there shortly afterwards for Life magazine, Roman asked me to take Polaroid shots of the scene as well – and give them to a psychic who could study them and find out who the killers were. You can see my Polaroid on the chair beside Roman. …”

“When I was 14, I used to steal my dad’s car and drive all over Washington listening to police radio. There was segregation then and all the best murders, robberies and bloody events were in the black part of town. I’d photograph them and give the shots to the Washington Post. I was so naïve. Of course they wouldn’t run them – it was black people. … It’s a rough world now. I think Manson started it and 9/11 finished it. Reality has fallen on us like a ton of bricks.”

Ed Ruscha and brother Paul Ruscha were longtime *friends* of Eve. After Eve died, they had a paywall protected chat. Ed Ruscha: “Oh, it was the early ’60s, but she was a great part of my growing up. I know I was with her when Jack Ruby shot Lee Harvey Oswald. I was in bed with Eve and we were watching this on live TV, a little black-and-white set. … she lived in this house behind her parents’ house. She kept a sloppy quarters because she had a lot of cats who had their way. Her parents lived up at the front house on Bronson near Franklin. And I knew her parents well. Mae was a beautiful, sweet Texan who was an artist, and she drew pictures of the gingerbread houses on Bunker Hill. And Sol was the musician, violinist. They were very sweet people.”

Paul Ruscha: “I came to L.A. in 1973. We met at Jack’s Catch All; it was this great thrift store. I was a veteran thrift shopper and so was Danna [Ed Ruscha’s wife]. She introduced me to Eve, who said, “I’d like to have you over for dinner.” Danna said, “I think she likes you.” Eve knew that Ed and I were friends with [fashion model] Leon Bing. So she called Leon, who told Eve, “Well, no matter what you make for him, be sure that it’s loaded with cilantro because he’s just crazy about cilantro.” Eve put it in the salad and the soup, and I hate cilantro and I couldn’t eat it. All I could do is laugh. … If I spent the night with her, she’d wake up before I did and then want me to leave. So she’d throw coffee into a pot of boiling water and bang on it to make the grounds go down and to wake me up and say, “OK, here’s your coffee. Now get out of here.” And I’d laugh and then she’d say, “I think I’ve got something I’d like you to read.” Then I’d read whatever she’d written the day before. I gave her my critique, and if she liked it, she let me stay, and if she didn’t, she’d throw me out. … She just couldn’t go anywhere without ruining something. She’d knock something over or break something, and the same thing at her house. I remember a couple of fur coats I gave her, and one of them she threw over this little space heater that she had. It caught on fire and it burned up her garage.”

Since this is Hollywood, a certain amount of skepticism is appropriate. Lili says in the BEE appearance “the modern way of being objective is a kind of hyper objectivity, it’s a reconstituted objectivity, is objectivity that acknowledges the inevitability of subjectivity.” Pictures today are from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library.” More episodes of this series are available. one two four five

Richie Havens

Posted in History, Library of Congress, Music by chamblee54 on April 29, 2022






Richie Havens died April 22, 2013. 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 backstage chaos played out. “Freedom” was 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. This is a repost.




Iggy Pop

Posted in Georgia History, Library of Congress, Music by chamblee54 on April 20, 2022

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Speaking of Iggy Pop, and music merchandising, he has a collection of music for sale. Included in this package is a show he did at Richards, across the street from Grady Stadium. One night Iggy was singing at Richards, when Elton John appeared onstage wearing a gorilla suit.

The greatest achievement of Mr. Pop is living so long. (He was born April 21, 1947). He has done heroin by the kilo, jumps off stage into crowds of punk rock fans, and is a general mess. He still has a great smile, although it is not known how many of those teeth are his own.

One night in 1980, PG saw a performance by Iggy Pop. The site was the 688 club, a storefront on Spring Street, across the expressway from Georgia Tech. 688 Spring Street had been the site of Roses Cantina, where PG had seen George Thorogood. Some other blues band did Amphetamine Annie with the original lyrics…instead of speed kills, they said love gun.

Roses was a cool place, a long narrow space with the performers in the middle, and a pool table behind the stage. Nightclubs are a tough business for capitalists, and Roses shut down.

At any rate, by the time PG got back from Seattle, some brave investors decided to have a punk rock club at 688 Spring Street. Soon, Iggy Pop was playing a week there. In the seventies, the bands would play for five days at the great southeast music hall or the electric ballroom, two shows a night, and if you were really cool you would go on a weeknight before it got too crowded. Soon after that, it was one night in town only, and you either saw it or you didn’t.

PG had a friend at the Martinique apartments on Buford Hiway. There was someone living in the complex known as ZenDen, who sold acid. You would go to his place, wade through the living room full of grown men listening to Suzi Quatro, and purchase the commodity.

On to the the 23 Oglethorpe bus, and downtown to 688 Spring Street. Before anyone knew it, the band was on the stage. A veteran of the Patti Smith Group, named Ivan Kral, was playing bass. Mr. Kral sneezed, and a huge white booger fell across his face. He was not playing when the show ended.

There was a white wall next to the stage, and someone wrote the song list on that wall. That list of songs stayed on the wall as long as 688 was open. “I want to be your dog” was on the list, as well as the number where Iggy pulled his pants off and performed in his underwear. Supposedly, in New York the drawers came off, but the TMI police were off duty that night.

The show was loud and long, and had the feel of an endurance event…either you go or the band does. Finally, the show was over, and PG got on the 23 Oglethorpe bus to go home. You got the northbound bus on West Peachtree Street. You could look down the street and see the Coca Cola sign downtown.

Thirty years later,PG, like Iggy Pop, has a full head of teeth, which, in PG’s case are his own. PG has a full head of white hair, as apparently does Mr. Pop, although he does appear to touch up his hair. Maybe he really is a blond. This post should be over, but if there are 37 more words then we will have 688. The space on Spring Street is still standing, which is pretty good for Atlanta. It is now an emergency room, or something.

This is a repost. The original was posted seven years ago. Iggy is still alive. So is PG. 688 Spring Street stands. 23 Oglethorpe is the answer to a trivia question. Pictures are from The Library of Congress.

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Tim Curry

Posted in Georgia History, Library of Congress, Music, Undogegorized by chamblee54 on April 19, 2022





Timothy James Curry was born seventy six 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. Photographs of Cornell Fresh. 8 and Cornell 2d Varsity, 1914 are from the George Grantham Bain Collection




David And Elton

Posted in GSU photo archive, History, Music, Undogegorized by chamblee54 on March 24, 2022

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On page 327 of David Bowie: A Life, the Live Aid show goes down. “There wasn’t much love lost between David and Elton–perhaps they’d fallen out at some point …” This is a repost.

Elton John says he fell out with David Bowie over ‘token queen’ remark “David and I were not the best of friends towards the end. We started out being really good friends. We used to hang out together with Marc Bolan, going to gay clubs, but I think we just drifted apart…. He once called me “rock’n’roll’s token queen” in an interview with Rolling Stone, which I thought was a bit snooty. He wasn’t my cup of tea. No; I wasn’t his cup of tea”.

1975 was a different time. David Bowie was moving out of Ziggy Stardust, and became the Thin White Duke. At some point he starting doing lots of cocaine. On page 196 of DB:AL, Jayne County has stories. “It was pretty obvious the David was taking coke. He became very skeletal in his appearance and began rattling off speeches that sounded meaningless to the rest of us–strange things about witchcraft, demons, and sexual prostitution in ancient times … weird things that made everyone nervous. He began to get paranoid and accusing people of ripping him off and stealing his drugs…. He had to have cartilage removed from one part of his body and put in his nose because the coke had eaten his nose cartilage away.”

While David was popular in 1975, and had a certain aesthetic aroma, Elton John was a phenomenon. Everything Elton touched went to Number One. Elton was one of the most popular solo acts the market ever sold. Maybe David was jealous of Elton’s success.

By all accounts, Elton did his share of “hooverizing.” In 1975, Elton was officially in the closet, although a lot of people knew otherwise. In one impossible to confirm story, a friend of PG was working in an Atlanta club called Encore, later known as Backstreet. One busy night, he was in a hurry to get somewhere, and bumped into someone. The person he knocked over was Elton John.

The infamous Rolling Stone interview was part of the damage. “Rock & roll has been really bringing me down lately. It’s in great danger of becoming an immobile, sterile fascist that constantly spews its propaganda on every arm of the media. …. I mean, disco music is great. I used disco to get my first Number One single [“Fame”] but it’s an escapist’s way out. It’s musical soma. Rock & roll too — it will occupy and destroy you that way. It lets in lower elements and shadows that I don’t think are necessary. Rock has always been the devil’s music. You can’t convince me that it isn’t.”

Cameron Crowe How about specifics? Is Mick Jagger evil? David Bowie “Mick himself? Oh Lord no. He’s not unlike Elton John, who represents the token queen — like Liberace used to. No, I don’t think Mick is evil at all. He represents the sort of harmless, bourgeois kind of evil that one can accept with a shrug…. Actually, I wonder … I think I might have been a bloody good Hitler. I’d be an excellent dictator. Very eccentric and quite mad.”

Playboy Magazine gave David another chance to talk about Hitler. “I’d love to enter politics. I will one day. I’d adore to be Prime Minister. And, yes, I believe very strongly in fascism.” “Rock stars are fascists, too. Adolf Hitler was one of the first rock stars.” “#54: PLAYBOY: How so?” BOWIE: “Think about it. Look at some of his films and see how he moved. I think he was quite as good as Jagger. It’s astounding. And, boy, when he hit that stage, he worked an audience. Good God! He was no politician. He was a media artist himself. He used politics and theatrics and created this thing that governed and controlled the show for those 12 years. The world will never see his like.”

#77: PLAYBOY: “Last question. Do you believe and stand by everything you’ve said?” BOWIE: “Everything but the inflammatory remarks.” We don’t know whether a jab at Elton was inflammatory. “I consider myself responsible for a whole new school of pretensions–they know who they are. Don’t you, Elton? Just kidding. No, I’m not.”

Seven daily grams of coke (DB:AL, p.223) did not kill David Bowie. He soon moved on to make The Man Who Fell to Earth. People magazine helped out with the publicity. “No role could have suited David Bowie better in his first major movie than that of an inscrutable interplanetary traveler outfitted with human skin, sex organs, Ronald Reagan hair and humanoid pupils to slip in over his horizontal, mismatched feline slits.” Forty years before Donald Trump made the tangerine toupee cool, Ronald Reagan was prematurely orange. Pictures for this deplorable dive into hissyfit history are from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”.

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Gloomy Sunday

Posted in Library of Congress, Music by chamblee54 on February 27, 2022

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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.

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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Jesus Gets A New Nickname

Posted in History, Library of Congress, Music, Poem, Race, Religion by chamblee54 on February 6, 2022

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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 here. 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. Jack Delano was the photographer in December 1942.

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Billie Holiday Stories

Posted in History, Holidays, Library of Congress, Music by chamblee54 on February 4, 2022


How ‘Strange Fruit’ Killed Billie Holiday turned up in a facebook feed yesterday. The article states that Harry Jacob Anslinger “the first commissioner of the U.S. Treasury Department’s Federal Bureau of Narcotics,” ordered Billie Holiday to quit performing “Strange Fruit.” When the chanteuse declined, Mr. Anslinger had her arrested for heroin possession. Later, Mr. Anslinger was allegedly responsible for busting Miss Holiday on her deathbed.

The Hunting of Billie Holiday was the source given for the claim about Mr. Anslinger and “Strange Fruit.” The Politico article does not say that Mr. Anslinger ordered Miss Holiday to quit singing “Strange Fruit.” It does say that Louis McKay, one of the many no-good men in Miss Holiday’s life, narked her out. The bust was in 1947, after she had been performing “Strange Fruit” for several years. (Lady Sings The Blues says that Louis McKay was not in Miss Holiday’s life in 1947.)

Politico had one comment that set off the bs detector. “One day, Harry Anslinger was told that there were also white women, just as famous as Billie, who had drug problems—but he responded to them rather differently. He called Judy Garland, another heroin addict, in to see him.” Frances Gumm was well known for having substance abuse issues. The heroin business was news to a lot of people.

Johann Hari was the author of the politico article. At the time, he was promoting a book, Chasing the Scream, about the war on drugs. Johann Hari has a spotted reputation. “The author used to be the Independent’s star columnist, a prolific polemicist and darling of the left, until his career imploded in disgrace when it emerged in 2011 that many of his articles contained quotes apparently said to him but in fact lifted from his interviewees’ books, or from previous interviews by other journalists.”

The final bust, as Miss Holiday lay dying in the hospital, is part of the legend. A google search does not show what agency was responsible. Harry Anslinger may have been involved, and it may have been someone else. By this time, Elanora Fagan was in bad, bad shape. Years of drinking, and hard drugs, had worn her out. While the hospital bust may have hastened her demise, it is a bit of a stretch to say the Harry Anslinger killed Billie Holiday, because she sang “Strange Fruit.”

This is a repost. Pictures today are from The Library of Congress.


Lady Sings The Blues is the autobiography of Billie Holiday. PG read it in 1978, and pulled it off the shelf recently. The copy he has is was a 1972 paperback, issued in conjunction with the movie. A picture of Diana Ross is on the cover, as well as a price sticker from Woolco. The book sold for $1.25. Pictures today are from The Library of Congress. The spell check suggestion for Woolco is Cool.

William Dufty was the ghost writer. His prose is easy to read, with the story flowing out like a Lester Young solo. The 1956 copyright is assigned to “Eleanora Fagan and William Dufty,” using the birth name of the singer. Mr. Dufty was a newspaper writer. “Dufty had one son, Bevan Dufty, with first wife Maely Bartholomew, who had arrived in New York City during World War II after losing most of her family in the Nazi concentration camps. She settled near Harlem where she met her best friend and Bevan’s godmother, Billie Holiday.”

“Bevan Dufty would agree. He’s one of the childless singer’s two godchildren. … “Holiday said motherf — all the time, in her gravelly elegant way,” recalled Dufty, sitting in his City Hall office. His mother, Maely, a Czech Jewish immigrant who loved jazz, was close to many musicians and even managed the unmanageable Charlie Parker for a spell, learned to curse from Holiday. But with a European accent. Much of what Dufty knows of Holiday comes from his late mother, who was married to actor Freddie Bartholomew before her brief marriage to William Dufty, one of her seven husbands. Maely, who took her infant son by train to Philadelphia every day to attend yet another of Holiday’s drug trials, was so distraught by the singer’s death that she dedicated herself to helping recovering addicts. A number of musicians lived at the Duftys’ place while kicking the habit (William and Maely Dufty divorced not long after Holiday’s death, and he later married actress Gloria Swanson, who inspired him to write the book “Sugar Blues” about the dangers of processed sugar).”

Billie Holiday’s bio, ‘Lady Sings the Blues,’ may be full of lies, but it gets at jazz great’s core Autobiographies are, by their nature, self serving. This one has a great opening line… ” “Mom and Pop were just a couple of kids when they got married. He was eighteen, she was sixteen, and I was three.” (“Her parents were never married. When she was born, her mother was 19, her father was 17 and they never lived under the same roof.”) Another source adds: “Some of the material in the book, however, must be taken with a grain of salt. Holiday was in rough shape when she worked with Dufty on the project, and she claimed to have never read the book after it was finished. Around this time, Holiday became involved with Louis McKay. The two were arrested for narcotics in 1956, and they married in Mexico the following year. (March 28, 1957) Like many other men in her life, McKay used Holiday’s name and money to advance himself.”

Louis McKay is at the center of another misunderstanding of facts. The Hunting of Billie Holiday claimed that Mr. McKay narked out Miss Holiday in 1947, and set up her first drug bust. LSTB tells a different story. Here, Miss Holiday meets Mr. McKay very briefly in 1931. Someone was trying to rob Mr. McKay. Miss Holiday said “He’s my old man,” and chased off the robber.

Fast forward twenty five years, and Miss Holiday connects with Mr. McKay. “I hadn’t seen him since I was sixteen and he wasn’t much older and I was singing at the Hotcha in Harlem.” The two were married in 1957. They got busted as LSTB ends. Either Politico is wrong about the 1947 bust, or Miss Holiday did not tell the whole story. Either way, Harry Anslinger is not mentioned in LSTB.

Tallulah Bankhead is another missing piece of the puzzle. Reportedly, Miss Bankhead and Miss Holiday were close friends, and possibly lovers. That was over by the time LSTB was written. “When “Lady Sings the Blues” was being prepared, Miss Bankhead got an advance copy, and was horrified by what she saw. A fierce note was sent to the book’s publisher, and scenes were edited out. Miss Holiday was outraged. The letter that resulted is a poison pen classic. “My maid who was with me at the Strand isn’t dead either. There are plenty of others around who remember how you carried on so you almost got me fired out of the place. And if you want to get shitty, we can make it a big shitty party. We can all get funky together!”

Miss Bankhead does make an appearance in LSTB. On page 117, Miss Holiday is describing playing a maid, in a movie. She was not pleased at the typecasting. “Don’t get me wrong. I’ve got nothing against maids – or whores – whether they’re black or white. My mother was a maid, a good one, one of the greatest. My stepmother is Tallulah Bankhead’s maid right now, and that’s a part I’d even consider when they do her life story.” (Miss Bankhead had her own domestic help problems. In 1951, Evyleen Cronin, Tallulah’s maid and secretary, was accused of stealing $10,000-30,000 from Tallulah during her employment. … The case went to trial (much to Tallulah’s embarrassment) and Cronin was convicted.” Many embarrassing details about Miss Bankhead’s life came to light during this trial. Fanny Holiday, the stepmother, is probably a different person than Evyleen Cronin.)

Whatever it’s factual challenges, Lady Sings the Blues is a powerful book. Miss Holiday had a tough life, to say the least. As the singer for Artie Shaw’s big band, Miss Holiday was an integration pioneer, and every two bit cracker wanted to make trouble. Later, she was addicted to heroin, got busted, served time in prison, only to get out and suffer some more.

Three years after LSTB came out, things went from bad to horrible. “In early 1959 she found out that she had cirrhosis of the liver. The doctor told her to stop drinking, which she did for a short time, but soon returned to heavy drinking. … On May 31, 1959, Holiday was taken to Metropolitan Hospital in New York suffering from liver and heart disease. She was arrested for drug possession as she lay dying, and her hospital room was raided by authorities. Police officers were stationed at the door to her room. Holiday remained under police guard at the hospital until she died from pulmonary edema and heart failure caused by cirrhosis of the liver on July 17, 1959.” This is a repost.