From the 1901 founding of the Victor Talking Machine Co. to great music being made today, in five easy steps.
The New Musical Express Top 30 in the UK July 17, 1963. A snapshot in hits, including a whopping three versions of 'Twist and Shout,' more than one song issued in the US two or three years earlier, a film theme, and, at the bottom, Cliff Richard struggling to retain his relevance while his former backing band … Continue reading The Summer of Twisting and Shouting
Just for fun, I pulled together a few mid-20th-century image of London-area music venues with my own photos of them, taken last month (June 2015). The 2i's Coffee Bar, 59 Old Compton Street, Soho, London The building is more or less intact and has a historical marker. It's now the House of Ho rather than … Continue reading Sixties Music Venues: Then and Now
A very brief introduction in Three Songs I Can't Stop Listening To. First in a series. Alexis Korner didn't care for the sobriquet "Father of the British Blues," but I'm going to keep calling him that anyway. He was an unlikely bluesman: born in 1928 Paris to a Greek mother and Austrian father, he grew up in … Continue reading Three Essential Songs: Alexis Korner
Below, a photo I took at this fantastic conference in Liverpool June 5-8. The folks here were prisoners of war or civilian internees in the Pacific during World War II. The gentleman in front, second from right, is Tom Boardman. He was captured in Singapore and worked on the Thai-Burma Railway. During the war he … Continue reading Tom Boardman’s Ukulele
...because no government is going to do it for you. Atmospheric carbon stands at 400 ppm, and all I can stand to think about is World War II. Four hundred parts per million of carbon in the atmosphere means we're screwed. California is already drying up. Thousands of refugees are driven from their homes due … Continue reading Ration Yourself
A visit to the postwar period via a book of practical knits for the whole family.
In respectful memory of Cynthia Lennon (September 10, 1939-April 1, 2015) I was skimming the New York Times on December 8, 2010 when I fell in love. On that Wednesday, the Times included a short meditation by Yoko Ono, mostly about an inane late-night dispute with her husband. It stuck in her mind, presumably, because not long … Continue reading A Cup of Tea with Julia, Cynthia, and Yoko
My high school required students to attend cheering sessions ("pep rallies") for the football team. The only redeeming quality of a pep rally was the school's excellent marching band. Accidentally they educated me in one of the great pillars of rhythm & blues: Chris Kenner's 'Land of 1,000 Dances.' The marching-band version (like this one) … Continue reading Land of a Thousand Versions