Sunday, June 28, 2009

Four Dead In Ohio (and elsewhere)

I don't care about Michael Jackson. I don't think I ever "cared" about him. He started out in the early 70s but will forever be representative of the '80's.

(a whole big giant paragraph deleted. some things are better left unsaid.)

Farrah Fawcett & her nipples never thrilled me. I never used her as a "prop". I was more a Joan Collins/Grace Jones guy.

Billy Mays: what can I say. Quite a ball player.

Sky Saxon - Sky "Sunlight" Saxon - grew into a reclusive strange-o as his legacy progressed. In 1966 his band The Seeds were all over LA and will forever be linked with the Sunset Strip crowd that also spawned Love, The Doors and Buffalo Springfield. Saxon left us with a number of great songs, most notably "Pushin' Too Hard", today revered as one of the original garage "nuggets". When I first started getting into the internet I came across Sky Saxon's email address (I don't know how), and sent him a gushing missive. And he replied, which I printed out & have it put away in my archives somewhere.

Now...back to our regularly scheduled program.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

I Have So Much In Common With Me

This is not just me being contrary, Mary. I don't know what most people are talking about. Or why. And I have little or no interest in the lion's share of it.

Here's the thing: As with a lot of people, most of my waking hours are spent at work. I work with two other people. That's it, two people, no one else is around. Most of the shift is spent with a pair of earbuds screwed into my head, sometimes with nary a word uttered for hours. Wait, did I mention I work midnights? Yeah, and it's great.

So I live in my own little corner of the world. Then when I come home, I'm alone. When I wake up I spend maybe two hours with my wife, then it's off to work again. And so on.

On the offchance that I mix with other people in a social setting, I try to keep it light. Light, airy & brimming with kicks, laughs & jovial witticisms. Because it appears that my views - especially - ESPECIALLY - when it comes to matters of the world - are quite singular. How can it be that virtually all of the people I see in those social settings possess views that I consider reprehensible? Is it me? Because it sometime seems like it is. They certainly make me feel like it's me.

Maybe it's my insular daily routine. Maybe it's that I have the same morals and ideals I had back when most of these other people had the same ideals, but since then they've had a change of heart. And that's being kind.

I hate talking about work with people. But I understand why people do it, since we've established the fact that most of your time etc. But honestly I don't give a shit about your job. I also hate talking politics because of the reasons previously stated. What's left, religion? HAH! That's the one thing no one (including myself) has any interest in discussing.

I'm a card player. And a smoker & a drinker.

I have had so many experiences where people have strongly - STRONGLY - voiced their choice on something and ... wow, have I gotten off topic.

Back to my original thought: I don't know what people are talking about.

But I do know this: we are NOT going to turn into a socialist country. Don't be an asshole. To be honest that's the thing I hear most from these people I come in contact with. Yeah, it seems really bad now but didn't you ever have to clean up after your dog took a shit on the rug? OK then, you know what I'm talking about.

Now cool the f$#k out.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Summer Still Means Fun

As my wife begins her 6-8 weeks off work due to foot surgery (yeah, her too) I'm getting psychologically ready for a summer of leisure. AFTER I wait on her day & night. My daughter said, as my birthday came round at the end of May, "why does his (meaning my) birthday always have to be like he's eight?" And y'know, she's right. Although I'd put it in the eleven to something-teen range. Here's why my birthday is so recreation-friendly: I was born on May 29, a Friday, at 3:30 which I consider to be just in time for school to let out not only for the weekend but for summer vacation. It's kinda the way I'm wired. I have trillions of summer memories. Hey, it was the sixties, then the seventies. It was capital f-u-n. I am looking forward to my own stretch of footlessness (mid-july to mid-september) which I'll fill up with stacks of cheezy fun movies, poptastic books, six days worth (without nary a repeat) of rockin' summer jams on my iPod (which I should name), and plenty of pizza deliveries and any-ole-time-I-want drinkin' and smokin' schedule. Cuz I'll probably die soon. We all will. The one thing I'll miss is my baby Mozella. No bike ridin' for me in three weeks. Well, maybe in October for awhile, if Dr. Bombay gives me the high sign.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

I'll Lose A Friend Tomorrow

I didn't know about him. Maybe you did (and you didn't tell me??!?). His name was Huey Long, and he played guitar accompaniment for The Ink Spots.

And he was 105 years old.

Bill Kinney, the main cat for the 'Spots, caught Huey & his trio at the Three Deuces on 52nd Street in 1945 & asked him to join up. This was in the 'Spots heyday. So he did, and stayed with them for a scant 9 months. Then the cat he was replacing, Charlie Fuqua, came back from the war. (Charlie was Moonglow Harvey's uncle)

One of the cool things, I thought, was that even though he was a "Spot" for only 9 months, he played Detroit in that time frame.

Huey also played with Fletcher Henderson and Earl Hines, and had performed with Sassy, Bird & Diz before starting his own trio, just before the Ink Spots gig.

After the Ink Spots he played with Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis' Be-Boppers, and did some USO gigs.

Huey recorded a number of sides with The Ink Spots. among them the tune from which I pulled the title of this post.

105? I don't know, I thought I would've heard of him before his death, I mean, you hear talk of the oldest living folks, and I'm sure I would've remembered Huey. Just a bit late, but my hat's off to you, Mr. Long.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Woke Up This Morning, Lucille Was Out Of Sight

When something gets under my skin, I just can't seem to get the correct salve to take away the pain. And sometimes that pain hurts so good.

That's the deal with Lucille.

I'm talkin' 'bout Lucille Cataldo, whose 1984 clip from the New York public access program "Stairway To Stardom" is way under my skin. And much like the cute animated phlegm in the medicine commercial, she isn't planning to leave anytime soon. Lucille, replete in Angie Bowie drag, sings her own composition, "Hairdresser" on a clip I watch over & over, and checking the interweb, so do a lot of other people with time on their hands.

Check it:

I sing this song all day long. I can't wait to get in front of a computer screen so I can watch it. Over & over again. Like Brett Michaels getting flattened on the Tonys (just can't get enough, that shit better win an emmy).

Here's how I found this: WFMU played the audio track, and that particular show's online playlist gave a link to the video. That's all it took.

With each viewing, I find little nuances that just put me into hysterics. I can't tell you what they are, my mind is not wired like most humans. I wanna start up my old band again just so I can do a cover of this song - in this key - with all the same vocal inflections.

If you listen to this song - I mean, really listen - her lyrics are quite clever. It's like a laundry list of salonisms. Or maybe not.

Watch it. Watch it again. Go back to it tomorrow.

There's an entire page of clips from Stairway To Stardom:

Find the one where the kid sings "Wash That Man..." holding a photo of my nephew Dan; or the rapper singing "Crackhead"with his afro sticking out the era hole of his ski mask.

But wait: there's more.

I was gonna wait for another post to tell you about this new find. Her name is Icy Spicy Leoncie. And she is super-groovy.

Here are my two favorites. First off is "Man! Let's Have Fun!":

Then "Sex Crazy Cop":

Also she has a CD out called "Radio Rapist-Wrestler".

I'm gettin' it.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Leisure Means Work

Throughout my tenure in the workforce, especially in recent years when I've accumulated a nice parcel of vacation time per annum, I would frequently wonder what it would be like to take all my vacation at once, say in the summer months. Then I'd come to my senses realizing all of my incidental time would be gone. Then what would I do when I'm hung over from the previous night's shot-downing marathon or maybe at xmastime when I'd like to enjoy the unparalleled glittering festiveness the season brings.

This year is the test.

I'll be off work from mid-July to mid-September due to a much-publicized foot surgery. While not quite an entire summer, it's pretty dang close. And it's the longest warm-weather break I've had since 1976.

I've enjoyed buying up cult & b-movie collections on Amazon, and stacking the books I have ready to read, but there's another side to this coppertone-scented coin.

Real-world preparation.

I have someone coming in to paint at the end of July. I have to strip the room, 35x22, of all the wall hangings, the knick-knacks, the ephemera as it were, before my leave. Believe me, that is one major chore.

My wife is also scheduled for surgery next week, and I'll be her "Hazel" until it's my time. So I have to try & figure out how to cook. I thought I knew, but I'll be cooking for a pro, so manwich ain't gonna cut it. Luckily we're near a lot of places that have curb service.

I had been wondering how I was going to tune in to my regular scheduled radio programs (they're all web-based - for me, anyway), but my wife's laptop has a wireless network card so I can stay current with Dave The Spazz & Fool's Paradise & Rodney On The Roq & Breakfast With The Beatles etc. What a relief. And if you know me, that was a real concern of mine.
I also need a surplus of bourbon & cigars. No, this isn't ridiculous. It's summer! And I have to pull up hundreds of cds from the basement due to the fact that I won't be able to climb the stairs.

And I've got a month to cruise the streets with Mozella. Then it's back on the hooks for another year.

And what about this blog? And what about my farm on Facebook?

So yeah, I'm off for the summer, but it's got it's price.

Thursday, June 4, 2009


One of the hippest, wildest, swinginest, rockinest cats EVER has cut out.

Sam Butera, longtime foil for Louis Prima and bandleader of The Witnesses, the greatest lounge band ever, died June 3 at the age of 81. That's Sam pictured above with the band, in the white cardigan blowin' sax, with Louis Prima & his trumpet on his left. That's either Jimmy "Little Red" Blount or Lou Sino on 'bone. Looks like a redhead, so maybe it's Jimmy. But he doesn't look too little.

Sam was from Nawlins, and true to form he rocked like a motherf#%&er. He was a killer sax player & his vocals displayed that black vibe that surely came natural coming up in Nawlins like he did. His band was ALWAYS tops, and Sam was as great a musician as any of those classic cats who walked through the doors of Cosimo's studio on the corner of Rampart & Dumaine.

As time went on, he became less known for his Nawlins thing and more for his Vegas thing. At one time he & Prima were the biggest attraction in Vegas, drawing huge crowds at the Sands and Sahara, and that crowd was frequently packed with stars. You should check out those old recordings; that band truly rocked.

Almost a year ago, July 5 2008 to be exact, WFMU's Michael Shelley interviewed Sam on his radio program - you can hear that right here

Sam was audibly moved that people still cared about him as much as they do. He had nothing but praise for Prima & was gracious throughout.

I am very fortunate to have his autograph hanging on my wall of fame. My sister got it for me in Vegas, of course.

By the way: the title of this post refers to Young Jesse's hit "Next Time". It became Sam 's spotlight tune in his live sets, first with Prima and then on his own with The Witnesses and his most recent band, The Wildest.

Funny thing: not too long ago I was thinking how great it is that Sam was still around, since it seemed like all my unsung heroes of r&b were merging with the universe at an alarming rate, especially the Nawlins cats.

What more can I say? Louis & Sam, back together again. The wildest.

Gonna Pitch A Wang Dang Doodle All Night Long

They called her "Queen Of The Blues". Yeah, her and how many others? (remember Dinah Washington? Her I'd believe)

Koko Taylor died this week at 80 years of age. She found fame in Chicago at Chess records, where she landed a contract thanks to Willie Dixon. He saw her perform live on the south side & that was enough for him. He penned her biggest hit "Wang Dang Doodle", a million seller.

After Chess was sold like so many other independents, she left for blues label Alligator Records, where she stayed until her death. She won so many awards that I can't be bothered listing them.

But, notably, she had a role in Blues Brothers 2000.

She did the festival circuit like so many other bluesies, but right up until the end they dug her the most in Chi-town.

In 2008, the IRS determined she owed them $400,000. Guess the joke's on them.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Celebrate Good Times, Come On!

I must be honest with you all out there (all 2, maybe 3 of you) and say that I had the best weekend I've had in a long, long time. No cynicism, no bitching, no smarmy comments. It was Fabtastic.

I went to a wedding on Friday, and the bride looked like what would appear if Tinkerbell was getting hitched. Cute, petite, blond & did I say cute? Yeah, well she certainly gained points with me when I noticed the guest favors were NOT jordan almonds, NOT bubbles, but a shot glass with the wedding date printed on it - which also happens to be my birthday!! It turns out the bride & a lot of her female family members like to drink Lemon Drops, which are some vodka/seven up concoction that taste not too much like booze. But I pulled a fast one, because those shotglasses also work with bourbon. And if that weren't enough, you could smoke in the hall! Party Time!! And they gave me a special birthday cake & played - what else - Beatles Birthday. And everything I wore looked great - for an old fat man.

Then on Saturday, I celebrated my birthday in my own home, barefoot, relaxed, with my head up my ass and again with the bourbon & cigars. Also my favorite ice cream cake! But also my very special guest My Grandson, who can have anything on earth he wants. In total, my eight kids/stepkids/grandkid. Fun! Laughs! Food! Booze! Gifts!

Sunday's bill of fare took a very low-key route. Booze- and smoke-free with of course a lunch at Five Guys.

Yep, summer is off to a pretty good start.