Monday, March 31, 2008


The previous post to this was pretty short - just the video really. You may have wondered why a blog about rock and roll from the ‘50s and ‘60s was posting a song by country artist Kathy Mattea, from 1996. But then you noticed it had kind of a vintage feel about it. I’m no car expert, but I checked out the tail-lights as best I could, and I think the car in the video is about a ’59 or ’60. In searching for the year, I uncovered some little pieces of the history of cars, rock and roll, and TV commercials that I will try to pull all together here for you.

Car: Who can still sing along with this popular (and possibly very early example of product placement) song? The Oldsmobile was birthed by one Ransom E. Olds, in 1897 and the name lasted until 2004. That’s sure was a long run! Most famous along the way was the various incarnations of the Oldsmobile 88, which ran from 1949-1999. The 1949 model brought us the powerful V8 engine, and the term, Rocket 88. And that brought us the…

Song: “Rocket 88” is a bluesy little number from the Memphis studio of Sam Phillips (later to be Sun Records). The original version is variously credited to Jackie Brenston and/or Ike Turner, and extols the virtues of the Rocket 88 Olds. This famous tune is high on a short list for Very First Rock and Roll Song Ever. And, if I'm not mistaken, this vid includes some racy pin-up footage (pun practically unavoidable) of Bettie Page. Guys, am I right?? For the complete story, go rent the DVD "The Notorious Bettie Page."

TV: In the 1950s, one commercial slogan encouraged everyone to “Make a Date with a Rocket 88.” I guess that was the tame ‘50s family hour version of selling things using (gasp!) sex.
Here’s a little mini-evolution of what you could see on the small screen during the ‘50s, in black and white, and living color.


Living Color

Which brings us back to....

Song: Kathy Mattea (see previous post for video). Obviously, the action in the song has to take place sometime after 1964, because that’s when the rival Chevelle in the song was first introduced. And the Olds would already have had a few years and a few miles on her (it leaked when it rained”). That’s about as close as I can get to sorting it all out. So, here’s to the Olds Rocket with it’s honkin’ big 455 engine. Back in 1964 my license was still pretty new, and I was driving my mom’s little V6 Valiant. No proto-muscle car in our garage! But, we don’t have to own a 455 Rocket 88 to dig the history and the music, do we? And so to all of you reading this, like the Oldsmobile itself, long may you run!

photo: Wend Images

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


You may have seen the announcement in the paper or online a few days ago, but if not, let me quickly inform you that former members of The Beach Boys have finally settled their on-going lawsuit without having to go to trial. I know, I felt the same rush of relief you did… For 5 long years they have been legally jousting over who gets to use the name Beach Boys as they tour in various combinations of former members and other musicians, giving news reporters a chance for some really dumb, predictable puns: “Beach Boys Lawsuit Could End Good Vibrations” and “Wouldn’t It Be Nice to End the Lawsuit.” Now, everything has been settled and the boys won't have to get their lawyers to beat up on each other for God Only Knows how long. (hey, dumb and predictable is contagious). So now they have figured out who gets to officially and legally use The Beach Boys when they perform. I really don’t know how I feel about that. Oh, I don’t mean the name usage thing. That’s all about money, and not being a former BB myself, I don’t have to care about that. I mean the sound. Nothing will ever really reproduce the total sound of the group in its glory days of the 60s. If I were to attend a concert by any of the aforementioned combinations touring today, I would just be going for a little piece of the history. Not that the music wouldn’t be good; I’m sure it would. It''s…just not the same. Though I’m a huge Beach Boys fan, I never saw them live, and that’s my unfortunate loss. But all’s well that ends well. At least I have plenty of CDs, a couple of DVDs, and a few old records, too. And the Beach Boys have no doubt done that shake-hands-with-a-one-shoulder-clasp, also known as the “man hug.” And now everyone can be Friends again…

Lyrics included in the About This Video dropdown; they're worth checking out.

Monday, March 24, 2008


After my previous post, when we listened to “All Day and All of the Night” in honor of the Spring Equinox, I just wasn’t in the mood to stop listening to the Kinks. That plus the fact that where I live we got another unwelcome dump of late season snow, made me yearn for warm weather, driving with the window rolled down and the volume turned up. Thoughts of those two things brought back memories of a road trip from my younger days. Back in the summer of 1970, my girlfriend and I put Detroit in our rear-view mirror and headed out for Cape Cod in her little V-dub Beetle. We decided to take the scenic route, and kept as much as possible to the “back roads,” alternating between free campgrounds and cheap motels (for the shower) along the way. As we drove we kept passing and being passed by a car full of really cute guys with Ontario plates heading for the same destination, and they became our unofficial “road buddies.” Sometimes we’d lose sight of each other, one car would make a pit stop and the other go on ahead, but we always seemed to catch up. And as we traveled, we would use hand signals to communicate to each other the dial numbers of any radio station that was playing a particularly good song. Thus we always had the best music on our trip. The ones that still stand out in my memory today were Neil Diamond's "Cracklin’ Rosie," "All Right Now" by Free, and "Lola." Especially "Lola." It wasn’t only that hard-driving guitar, but also the suggestive subject matter, which was all rather startling at the time. Why, it even was banned in some places! Don’t forget this was only 1970. And Provincetown was a budget-friendly hippie mecca, not the trendy gay – “not that here’s anything wrong with that” – tourist destination it is these days.

Nowadays, we can go online and discover 1) that Lola was written as the result of a couple of (purely observational as far as we know) encounters that a member of the Kinks' entourage had with some doubtless lovely but nevertheless shady (as in five o’clock shadow) ladies... and 2) that the Kinks had to change the original lyrics from “Coca-Cola” to “cherry cola” for legal reasons. It’s always about sex and money, isn’t it? Anyway, Lola is one of everybody’s fave Kinks songs, I’m sure…so if your computer happens to be beside a window, open it all the way, turn your speakers up and have yourself a mini-road trip in your mind.

El-Lo-El-Lay - Lola!

What can I say, the Davies brothers always knock it out of the park!

And yes, the photo really is Cape Cod.

Thursday, March 20, 2008


I always eat the ears first, too, don't you? And here's a couple of videos for you that seemed to match the occasion.

2 Happy Easter bunnies

and in honor of the Spring Equinox - equal day and night, who better to hear from than the Kinks! But then, I'd go with just about any excuse to hear the Kinks...

March 21 Addition - Bunny Rabbit Redux (with apologies to John Updike)
Here's a vid I just received from a YouTuber I subscribe to. His timing is impeccable! I admit I never heard this one before, or heard of the band either. I thought these guys had kind of a British sound, but a quick net-check and I found they are the pride of Iowa! A CD of their songs was released by Arf! Arf! a while back; I'll post a link for that, too.

Dee Jay & The Runaways "Peter Rabbit"

If you're a fan of the rare, obscure, hard to find, outrageously cool, etc. you need to know about Arf! Arf! Records.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

ARTHUR C. CLARKE 1917-2008

Arthur C. Clarke, acclaimed writer of over 100 books on space science and the future, and famous for creating the concept of communication satellites long before they became a reality, has passed away at his home in Sri Lanka. Clarke's name is probably most associated (at least with the baby boomers) with the 1968 movie version of "2001" which he collaborated on with Stanley Kubrick. I wonder how many people back in the late 60s dropped acid and went to the matinee of that one! Even pseudo-hippies like me (who were too chicken to actually do acid) could go and watch that famous part near the end (what a light show that was!) and get what I'm told was a pretty good simulation of a trip.

Well, I like to think of old Arthur up there busily finding answers to all the mysteries that escaped him here on Planet Earth. We wish him well on the next leg of the journey.

Here's a short vid of the movie opening, with the signature music by Richard Strauss, "Also Sprach Zarathustra." Strauss created that title in homage to Nietzsche's famous philosophical treatise by the same name (sometimes called "Thus Spake/Spoke Zarathustra")

And here's the music in context in the movie. It's full of other memorable images, including the apes who, after millennia, finally "get it" (with a little help from that friendly monolith) about using tools. Enjoy the trip (pun intended) down memory lane.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


Ah, those distant days of long ago (that would be the 1960s) when Girl Groups were everywhere. And known for their distinctive style. The very first wave of GGs often wore smoothly coiffed bouffant hair, and party dresses with white gloves, but then came the beehive, mascara, mini-skirts (or form-fitting stirrup pants) and boots. Those were the days all right. And the groups had sweet and lyrical names; names like The Angels, The Chiffons, The Cookies, The Shangri-Las, Reparata and The Del-rons…Hold on, back up a minute…run that last one by me again. Yes, Reparata and the Del-rons. They may not have been a household name back in those early days, not like the Ronettes or Crystals anyway, but they had quite a loyal following. Their modest hits include “Whenever a Teenager Cries,” “In My Diary” and my personal fave, a number which certainly gives the Shangri-Las’ teen tragedies a run for their money, “I’m Nobody’s Baby Now.” You’re probably wondering where the group’s name came from. Well, the story goes like this:

The girls were all friends from the same Catholic high school in Brooklyn. When they formed their first quartet in 1962, they called themselves the Del-rons, in homage to a popular male group of the day The Del-Vikings. Later on, their manager didn’t think that name had enough pizzazz, and asked them to come up with something more “flamboyant.” So the lead singer, Mary Aiese, renamed herself Reparata, after her favorite nun at school. Now, I’m no expert in nun’s names, but I going to go out on a limb here and say that Reparata might be related to the noun, reparation, which means to make repairs or make amends, or offer expiation, atonement. Okay, I think we’re getting somewhere.

The girls did everything right. They had genuine talent; they recorded, toured, hung out with Dick Clark, but they never quite made it to the heights that many, myself included, think they should have. As the 60s wore on, and the British invaded, it got tough for everybody. In a real ironic twist, Reparata and the Del-rons gained a stronger following in the UK. Today, they are attracting renewed attention, as interest in early rock and pop is kind of looping back to see just what we might have missed the first time. You might say that the listening public is making reparations.

Panic -

Monday, March 17, 2008


Everybody’s Irish on St. Paddy’s Day, but as someone whose great-grandfather really was Irish (from Co. Wicklow) I feel duty-bound to stray from my usual blogging about vintage rock and roll, and post some songs from and about dear old Ireland.

So, today's the day. Go have yourself a green beer or two, or... link arms with your pals and sing some teary-eyed sentimental songs, laugh it up, kiss total strangers. Remember, you're Irish!!

I believe this is Mary Black singing; a beautiful voice to be sure, but I also have to include a short audio clip of the same song by Dick Gaughan. His voice is beautiful, too! I hope someone posts his cover of this as well. I know you will enjoy the images in the video, and for the lyrics, click where it says "About this video."

Song for Ireland

Dick Gaughan clip, only about 30 seconds but you just have to check out this guy's voice!!

One of my fave songs by the Irish band, U2

Angel of Harlem

Have fun, you can always call in sick tomorrow!

Saturday, March 15, 2008


As promised in yesterday’s post, we’re going to take a look at and have a listen to the music of an instrument called the electro-theremin, and its parent, the theremin. I’m sure everybody is familiar with the haunting sounds they make, but probably never knew what was making them. This pair of instruments is responsible for those eerie out-of-this-world sounds in everything from cheesy 50s sci-fi movies to 60s pop classics to 2007 White Castle hamburger ads. Let’s take a quick look at the two.

From Russia With Love - The very first theremin was invented in the early 1900s by a Russian physicist named… Theremin - Leon Theremin. But I think Tesla would have been a good guess, too. Apparently, Leon’s invention was the result of a Russian government-sponsored research into something called “proximity sensors.” Whatever; let’s just call it a “black box” to make things easy. The most intriguing thing about the theremin (other than the fact that Lenin thought it was so cool he actually took lessons) is that it’s the only instrument you play without touching it. Simply put, the player moves his/her hands around two metal antennae to control the pitch and volume. Sounds simple 'til you realize that there are no keys, valves, or frets like on a guitar. That would pretty much make playing “air theremin” impossible. Or at least redundant. It’s like making music out of thin air! Mastering a theremin obviously takes a lot of practice and skill. Enter the electro-theremin.

Born in the USA -The electro-theremin is also called a tannerin. It was invented by a fellow from Kentucky named…Tanner - Paul Tanner (who, incidentally, played trombone with Glenn Miller’s band) and actor/electronic whiz kid Bob Whitsell. The resulting instrument had everything it’s pappy had, but is much easier to play and control. You might think of it as an otherworldly trombone with a volume knob. Brian Wilson used the electro-theremin in his 1966 masterpiece, “Good Vibrations.” In fact, it’s Paul Tanner himself who’s playing the electro-theremin on that one. Two other Beach Boys songs, “Wild Honey” and “I Just Wasn’t Made For These Times” also employ the electro-theremin. Obviously this instrument isn’t just for space aliens anymore! And once you start looking, you will find there are a lot of serious musicians today who are devoted to the amazing sounds. I don’t know about you, but I’m becoming a real fan!

Ladies and the theremin!

The Beach Boys

cute Bobby McFerrin cover

Website for UK musician Martin Solomon (above photo). Be sure to check out his sound clips of his original music, and a lovely theremin treatment of "Edelweiss."

photo by Phil Nicholls

Friday, March 14, 2008


Hey kids, it’s March 14th and you know what that means….it’s Pi Day! Yaaaay! You remember pi, that adorable little mathematical constant that we all learned about back in school. No? Need a refresher? Here you go (and do I need to mention that I am not recalling this from my own memory?)

Pi is a little word with a big meaning. According to Wikipedia, “It represents the ratio of the area of a circle to the square of its radius.” Got that? Just wait, it gets worse. “It is an irrational number, which means that its decimal expansion never ends or repeats. Indeed: beyond being irrational, it is a transcendental number, which means that no finite sequence of algebraic operations on integers (powers, roots, sums, etc.) could ever produce it. Throughout the history of mathematics, much effort has been made to determine π more accurately and understand its nature; fascination with the number has even carried over into culture at large.”

So, pi is beyond being irrational, huh. Well, who doesn’t know someone like that?! Anyway, it means pi quite literally goes on forever (and the party never ends!) Since Pi Day has been celebrated on this date every year since 1988, I think there’s a good chance it will go on forever. At least as long as there are math geeks in the world. But why March 14, you ask? Well, that’s because the value of pi is conveniently shortened, as is recommended with a number that goes on forever, and it gets shortened to 3.14. Or, March 14th. If you take pi to a few more traditional decimal places to 3.1415926 you get a real ‘pi moment” - March 14 at 1:59:26 p.m. On Pi Day, celebrants often tromp around is circles for a while, then break to consume pies (dessert, pizza, whatever). You could find worse ways to spend one afternoon a year.

As for the part about being carried over into the culture, get this. MIT sends out acceptance letters so that they arrive on Pi Day. Sometimes Pi Day is also an opportunity for just plain showing off. On March 14, 2004, a fellow named Daniel Tammet recited from memory 22514 decimal places of pi. Amazing! And he did it on one breath, too! (no he didn’t, I’m just goofin’ around).

At this point you might be thinking that this whole Pi business is kind of silly. Who, beyond the aforementioned math geeks, really cares? What possible significance could it have? Well, what if I told you that March 14th was also the birthday of one Albert Einstein. Yup. Coincidence? Cue the electro-theremin music! (for an explanation of that, see tomorrow’s post). And now, the part you’ve been waiting for the music! For this, we’re going to dip way back into the vintage years, to the 1940s. Too bad we can't serve pie online!

Song by Irving Berlin, played by Glenn Miller, vocals by The Modernaires

Baby Boomers may remember this commercial from the late50s/early 60s

Before I go, I might as well take this opportunity to include one of my fave non-vintage songs by those real bad hombres, The Highwaymen (aka Kris, Willie, Waylon, Johnny). And a very clever YouTube video, too.

photo: Dan Parsons/Wikimedia Creative Commons

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


Like many baby boomers – at least the older ones like me – whenever I hear the words “easy rider” I can only think of one thing. And to all you smarty-pants types out there, no I’m not talking about those recumbent exercise bicycles that they have in all the senior centers. Not yet anyway. No, I think of that 1969 psychedelic road movie staring Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, and Jack Nicholson in his breakout role. I think of Easy Rider.

Despite the fact that at this very moment I’m looking out my window at gi-normus plowed-up piles of lake effect snow, the roads are clear, and when the March sun shines, the motorcyclists come out and roar about. Nothing says spring more than robins piping and hogs revving. So I decided to celebrate with a post about Easy Rider, and that’s when I made an astounding discovery. The term “easy rider” neither started, nor ended, with the famous hippie era movie! It most often has (no big surprise) a sexual connotation, but seems to be applicable to women and men. Check it out.

Some of the earliest known origins of the term comes from late 19th and early 20th Century, particularly in African-American blues culture. Over time, it referred to

  • A woman who was sexually experienced and, ahem, good at said activity. Well, I guess that makes sense. But it also can refer to…
  • A man, which might make even more sense, if you follow me. And that’s all I’m going to say on that particular subject.
  • Other trains of thought suggest that “easy rider” dates to the time of the Great Depression, when hobos road the rails. Arguments for that interpretation say that the term “easy rider” was pretty much interchangeable with “C.C. Rider” and its variation, “See See Rider.” Some say it’s comes form the ubiquitous Colorado Central line (with two big capital Cs stenciled on the boxcars).
  • Some say it meant any slow moving train.
  • Still others will swear on a stack of Bibles that C.C. refers to the old time itinerant Circuit Court judges.
  • In WWII, the term was adapted for use by G.I.s who hired local young women as housekeepers-with-benefits, and thus had a pretty “easy ride” (clean living quarters, regular sex).
  • Here come the 60s and free love. Same general application of the term, although how that applies to the film Easy Rider isn’t that clear to me. Dennis Hopper, who directed Easy Rider, said the term applied to pimps. But Captain America and Billy weren’t pimps. They got their grubstake from a big cocaine deal (cameo by Phil Spector!) What can I say, folks, I just reports ‘em like I find ‘em.
  • Easy rider can also be Cockney rhyming slang for a pint of cider. And Bob’s your Uncle!
  • “Easy rider” can be found is several Led Zeppelin songs – “Out on the Tiles” is supposed to be one, I checked it out at a few lyrics sites, but I’m not totally convinced.
  • Jimi Hendrix paid his respects to the tradition with a number called “Ezy Rider.”
  • Back in the late 50s a group, Terry Gilkyson and the Easy Riders, had a big Island-flavored hit with “Marianne” (remember “all day all night Marianne, down by the seaside siftin’ sand”?)
  • Terry Gilkyson’s daughter, Eliza, is a singer/songwriter and has written a song to her father, called (you got it) “Easy Rider.”
  • Easy Rider is the name of a transportation smartcard in England.
  • Easy Riders is a Norwegian band, and their self-titled first album in 2004.

I’m sure the list will continue to grow as time marches on; it’s a pretty sure thing that Easy Rider is a permanent part of our global culture.

My fave from the Easy Rider soundtrack -

Marianne -

Sunday, March 9, 2008


For those of you who are fans of those terrific PBS specials on what I’ll call Baby Boomer Music, you may have seen the show on Paul McCartney that aired earlier this year. If you missed it, or just want to see it again, you’ll have another chance in a couple of days – at least if you get the Detroit PBS station. I can’t speak for other regional scheduling, so you’ll just have to watch for it.

I just received a notice from Spike Bell, a well-known photographer who lives in Windsor (uh, that would be Windsor Ontario, not the castle, just to be clear, since we're talkin' about things British) Spike was letting everyone on his mailing list know that the PBS program Paul McCartney – Chaos and Creation at Abbey Road will be repeated locally this coming Wednesday night at 10 p.m. EST, as part of PBS’s membership and fundraising drive, and that a poster he created is being offered to viewers who pledge. I’m sure you’re all familiar with how that works: you donate in support of programming; PBS sends you cool swag in appreciation. I’ve been a supporter for years, and have a pretty nice VHS, DVD, CD collection as a result.

Anyway, the program is a wonderful combination of Paul’s early music with that group….um, um….what was their name?….oh yes, The Beatles! (oh don’t look at me like that, I was just kidding around; I remembered!) right up to his most recent album, Chaos and Creation in the Backyard. And, if you show your support for PBS and send them a donation, you could get one of Spike’s historic Beatles posters, a montage of images he took at the Beatles concert at Detroit’s Olympia stadium on September 6th, 1964. Just as a footnote to that, I was actually at that concert, myself, but alas, don’t see my face in the crowd. When I was putting together the photo section for my first Rock and Roll trivia book, Papa Do Run, Spike very kindly permitted me to reproduce a portion of the poster – the Olympia marquee – in the book. I love that photo; the crowds, the old cars, the historic marquee announcing performances of two of my favorite things in life – rock and roll and the Redwings. What a thrill!

If you don’t watch your PBS on the Detroit station, I don’t know if you’ll be offered the poster or not, so I’ll give you the website for Spike, so you can check it out and order there. And now, I think it’s time for a couple of songs, don’t you.

Thank You Girl - one of my very faves
Goo goo g'joob (see photo above) -

and for the Spike Bell Beatles poster -

Oh let's have just one more! Here's a lovely number from the Wings era. Who wouldn't want to live in a reality where pipers march down the beach...And if anyone can tell me what a "mull" is in this context, please write me.

Friday, March 7, 2008


Recently I subscribed to a YouTube member from the UK who is posting terrific oldies from the 40s-60s, including some really super-duper doo-wop rarities. He also takes “requests” – a YouTube first – you email it in, he’ll dig it up and post it for you. How cool is that! He’s also posted some UK talent that I hadn’t heard of before; for example, an Irish singer named Joe Dolan. That got me thinking that for every famous vintage UK band and solo artist there’s probably several more that were well-known at home, but didn’t make it all the way ‘cross the pond during the British Invasion. And that got me thinking something else: what do the British call the “British Invasion” at home? I mean, Americans invented the phrase as a kind of pun on the Revolutionary War. But the British might call both the war (1775-1783) and the musical event (1964-1967) something entirely different amongst themselves. It all depends on your perspective, doesn't it. I’m recalling an episode of Friends, where the gang all decides they’re going out for Chinese food, and Chandler quips, “Or, as the Chinese call it…food.” So, if anyone out there has any sage thoughts, informed opinions, nutty theories, or silly guesses about wars or music, we’d love to hear ‘em!

Check out the YouTube member's site, and all the great old songs.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008


A couple of days ago I received a link to a YouTube video from Christine (of the quietpaths blog). It was wonderful old b/w footage from 1966 of Joni Mitchell singing “The Circle Game.” Christine also asked if I’d do a post about it, and , never being one to say “no” to more oldies trivia, I went right to work. Christine also put a post on her blog today, with some thoughts on Joni, and a really nice video of “Coyote” which I’ll put a link for below.

My first exposure to Joni Mitchell songs came through covers by Judy Collins (“Both Sides Now”) and Buffy Sainte-Marie (“The Circle Game”) in the folk-rock years of the late 60s. As the 70s began, she released her fist big single, “Big Yellow Taxi.” That was the start of a string of somewhat quirky but basically folksy hits, like “Carey” “You Turn Me On I’m A Radio” “Raised on Robbery” “Help Me” and “Free Man in Paris.” I’m a huge fan of those songs! Then in the latter half of the 70s, Joni began incorporating more jazz into her work, and that’s when I started to drift away. The reason is I’ve never been big on jazz. I used to apologize for that fact, like it was a character flaw or something, but now I only say that something either grabs you or it doesn’t. And jazz just doesn’t grab me. However, now that I have access to YouTube, I may just go browse some of Joni’s jazzy pieces. Who knows, I may surprise myself and find something I can’t live without. (Just as an aside, I’d like to point out that sometimes YouTubers are asked to remove music videos for copyright reasons. While I can understand the reason for that, the flip side for me is that I have "previewed" music on YouTube, and afterwards gone out and bought the CD.)

Before we move on to the Joni facts, let me first say this about music (or any) trivia – it’s in the mind of the beholder, so to speak. Diehard fans of the artists mentioned herein may have known this stuff for decades. Just so you know, I’m not offering any of this up as new startling research on my part. They’re just a quartet of interesting trivia about Joni Mitchell that I didn’t happen to know before. Okay, onward

  • Joni Mitchell was “discovered” by David Crosby while she was singing in a club in Florida, and he helped launch her career.
  • Joni Mitchell used to live with Graham Nash, and his song “Our House” on the CSNY Déjà Vu album is about the house they lived in.
  • Joni wrote “The Circle Game” in response to Neil Young’s big hit about youth and growing up, “Sugar Mountain”
  • Sugar Mountain was an actual teen club, hangout, whatever, where admittance was limited to those under 20, or…it’s a total metaphor. Claims vary.

Well, I hope this little sampling of trivia fits the bill. And you'll enjoy reading Christine’s thoughts and remembrances about music she loved. It always adds something to experience it through someone else’s eyes – uh, that should be ears I guess. Check out the March 05/08 post at

The Circle Game

Granted it's a tiny bit of a distraction to have the people talking intermittently while she's singing, but you can't have too much trivia I always say.

About the photo: One of everybody's fave Joni songs is "Both Sides Now," so I thought I'd post a picture I took of clouds in Alberta.

Monday, March 3, 2008


FILE UNDER: You Couldn't Make This Stuff Up!

Here's a little item I found on the Channel 4 Detroit news website this morning, thought you all might find it interesting.

Documentary Says Motorcycle Gang Targeted Rolling Stones Singer

POSTED: 1:41 pm EST March 2, 2008

A new BBC radio documentary says Mick Jagger dodged an assassination plot back in 1969.

The program airing Monday says the Rolling Stones star was the target of the American motorcycle gang, Hells Angels. It says members were enraged by Jagger's vow to stop using Hells Angels as bouncers at his concerts after an 18-year-old fan was killed at concert in California. The BBC program's host tells a British paper the gang members hatched a plot to kill Jagger at his home on New York's Long Island. The bikers planned to get there by boat, but were all tossed overboard in a storm. They survived but, according to the documentary, made no further attempts on Jagger's life.

The Dec. 6, 1969, Altamont Speedway Free Festival in northern California, and the fatal stabbing of Meredith Hunter, was famously captured in the 1970 documentary "Gimme Shelter," directed by Albert and David Maysles. The killer, Alan Passaro, was arrested and tried for murder in the summer of 1972, but was acquitted after a jury concluded he acted in self-defense because Hunter was carrying a handgun.

* * *
That's it; have a nice day!

Sunday, March 2, 2008


Robin Luke’s big 1958 hit, Susie Darlin’ has always been a fave of mine. Back in the late 50s I kept my 45 of it in my handy (but heavy - everything back then was made of metal) carrying case, designed especially to hold 45rpm records. At 12 years of age, I used to practice my rudimentary cha-cha/calypso moves to this song, up in my bedroom. I still have a 45 of it today, but not my original copy.

Although Robin did record a bunch of other songs, Susie Darlin’ is basically an OHW (one hit wonder). But it’s a very durable hit, and it still gets played regularly on the “better” oldies stations, the ones who still play the early stuff. I heard Susie Darlin’ not long ago, and went straight to YouTube, where I found this. There’s the opening shot of the record, a few opening bars of the song, and…ho-lee!…there he was, young Robin Luke! I had never seen what he looked like (he’s cute). Neither my original 45 nor the replacement came with a picture sleeve. Never caught him on TV either, not on Bandstand or Perry Como, either. What a terrific time-travel moment to see the photo on YouTube. I said to myself: “Whatever happened to Robin Luke?” Over to the Internet. There I found an article titled, “Whatever happened to Robin Luke.” Just the ticket! The article is well worth the read, if you’re so inclined but the gist of it is that Robin wrote this song, using the name of his little sister (rather than create trouble for himself with the girls he knew), recorded it on a shoestring with lo-tech sound equipment, and some seat-of-their-pants instrumentation (guitar, ukulele, drumming on an LP cover with ball point pens!) in his bedroom at home (Hawaii).

Once recorded, Susie Darlin’ got local airplay, which led to it being heard by a honeymooning record distributor from Cleveland. Robin ended up meeting his idol, Buddy Holly, and hanging out with Jan and Dean. Ya gotta love it! Anyway, rather than pursue a music career, Robin used the money from Susie Darlin’ to put himself through school, and has gone on to a distinguished career in academia. What it the best choice? Well, that would be pointless speculation, and it sounds like Luke has no regrets. And we have Susie Darlin.’ I think everybody’s happy.

Susie Darlin' -

Let me see you cha-cha-cha!