Friday, May 30, 2008


I have a confession to make. I steal magazines. Oh, not the brand new ones fresh off the rack. No, I steal from waiting rooms: dentists, oil changes, all over town. Now, in my own defense I will say that generally speaking these magazines are a minimum of 2 years out of date, and some waiting rooms have raggedly piles that go back even further. But it never fails; I always find one that’s just sitting there waiting for me, with some interesting and pertinent factoid that I would otherwise have missed if I hadn’t happened to be right there on that day and that time. It’s a perfect example of serendipity. Lately, however (in fact, ever since My Name Is Earl made it’s TV debut) I switched from stealing and keeping old mags to stealing, photocopying the articles, and returning them. Never hurts to keep an eye on one’s karma, eh what.

So this morning, I just happened to need to see someone at my bank who was not a teller, but had an office room. And while I was seated, waiting, a Reader’s Digest on a nearby table just happened to catch my eye. The cover article showed a hippie-ish looking woman holding a birthday-type cake with a big peace sign on it. The caption read, “The iconic symbol turns 50 this spring.” A quick check of the date of the issue: May 2008. Oh good, it’s not too late; we haven’t missed it. Then it occurred to me in a sudden flash of insight that perhaps the release date of the new Ben & Jerry’s flavor (see previous post) is no fluke. Perhaps it was intentional! What goes better than birthday cake than ice cream?! I think I may be on to something here, my friends.

It seems the symbol known literally around the world as the “Peace Sign” was invented in 1958 (well before the Summer of Love etc.) by a British graphic artist named Gerald Holtom, who was also a conscientious objector. There was a growing movement in Britain at the time to stop the manufacture of nuclear weapons. Lots of different groups were joining together in protest, and they needed a symbol or logo that would be instantly recognizable. So Holtom designed a combination of the two semaphore signals for the letters “N” and “D” for “Nuclear Disarmament” and placed it in the circle of life. Maybe you already knew this, but it was a real revelation to me. I remember a kind of urban legend floating around back in the 60s, that the symbol stood for “Ban the Bomb” since but nobody I knew was fluent in semaphore, we weren’t quite sure how it all came together. Now, 50 years later – the answer!

If you’re interested, either pick up (and pay for!) a copy of Reader’s Digest or buy the book the article was excerpted from, “Peace: 50 Years of Protest” by Barry Miles. I think it sounds like a very interesting read. Speaking of, I mustn't forget to take that "hot" mag back to the bank...

Photo of garlic peace sign from Wikipedia Commons

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


Yesterday I saw a news item online announcing a brand new flavor from the Ben and Jerry ice cream company. In conjunction with John Lennon’s estate, the world will soon be introduced to “Imagine Whirled Peace.” Described as “a caramel and sweet cream whirl of chocolate-covered peace signs and toffee pieces,” you can almost feel your hips expanding just reading about it. In addition, the new dairy delight will be heralded by a re-enactment of John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s Bed-In for Peace. Well, the whole thing sure got my attention. If there’s two things I love in this world, it’s ice cream, and peace!

For those who might like a refresher, here is A Quickie History of the Bed-In. Back in 1969, when John and Yoko got married, they decided to invite the whole world along on the honeymoon, and turned it into a celebration promoting peace. The media and other invited guests could stop by, hang out - whatev - from nine in the morning ‘til nine at night. John and Yoko greeted everyone, gave interviews etc. in their PJs, all while ensconced in their hotel room bed. The honeymoon Bed-In happened in Amsterdam, but it was so much fun, not to mentioned effective at getting the message out, they decided to hold another one in New York. Of course, there was the small matter of John’s 1968 marijuana conviction, which put the kibosh on a U.S. location (too politically hot) so they went to the Bahamas, but left after one night (too meteorologically hot) and flew to Montreal (you can pretty much always count on Canada to be cooler, meteorologically and politically!). That’s the Bed-In that most people remember, because of the famous video of everybody singing “Give Peace A Chance” (see 18 Feb 2008 post). At the time, Lennon took some flack from the press, who accused him of doing it as a stunt for publicity (what’s wrong with publicizing peace?) and for money. Lennon shot back that if he was in it for money, he could make a lot more in one hour writing a song than he could spending seven days in bed talking about peace (touché!). From there, the whole idea has gone on to become a staple of the pop cultural repertoire, from protests to performance art. The latest reference I could find was dated 2006, by the group Green Day, so you gotta know the association of peace and beds is here to stay. And now, we can add another thing to the list. Ice cream.

Actually, the combination isn’t as far-fetched as you and I might at first think. Ben and Jerry’s is actually one of the more “green" companies out there (and no strangers to social causes like fair trade either). Here’s a taste of what’s on their website (and no, I am not getting any freebies for doing this, darnit)

Meanwhile, the new Imagine Whirled Peace flavor takes its place along with flavors named in honor of other famous musicians, such as Xavier Nougat, Milli Vanilla, Honey Bono, and of course, the B&J all-time best seller, and my personal fave, Cherry Garcia. Beyond that, there’s a who’s who of the famous from Desmond Tutti-Frutti to Candy Warhol to Sherbet Hoover. If there’s a third thing I love in this world, it’s a real goofy pun.

John Lennon, Imagine
This is such a lovely video, I think you'd know it was about peace even if you didn't know the song.

Ben and Jerry, Cookie Dough

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


At this point, we just have to take a small break from our usual programming to get in the Stanley Cup spirit. Of course, being a Detroit native, it's easy for me too feel good right about now, with the Wings up two in the finals. As a previous resident of Calgary, there were some tense moments when the Flames played the Wings, but now that I'm living here in southern Ontario, I can cheer for the Wings all I like and not have to look over my shoulder... In fact, there's a lot of Wings window flags in town these days. Many fans in this part of Ontario cheer for Detroit teams over the nearest Canadian choice, Toronto. And I did see one lone Pittsburgh flag go by a while back. Anyway, as you may know, hockey was invented in Canada. Oh sure, they may have played something like it in some European countries in the really early days, but the modern ice hockey as we know it was formalized by student at Montreal's McGill University in the 1870s. Anyway, as a person who has kind of hyphenated origins myself, I can appreciate the cross-border flow that hockey enjoys today. Every team on the ice today has American, Canadian and European players. It's all good, as they say.

You may be wondering what music I'll select to go with this post. Well actually that's real easy - someone on YouTube has put up a great video of hockey footage from days gone by (no helmets!) and set it to a tune of Canada's Living Cultural Treasure - Stompin' Tom Connors. It's called, appropriately, "The Hockey Song." Stompin' Tom (born in New Brunswick in 1936) is a folk singing hero in the Great White North. Kind of Wood Guthrie with a pinch of with the MacKenzie brothers. His most famous and beloved songs up here are "Bud the Spud" "Margo's Cargo" "Sudbury Saturday Night" (oh the girls are out to Bingo and the boys are getting stinko, and we'll think no more of Inco on a Sudbury Saturday night). and my personal fave, "Algoma 69" - She's on a bar-hoppin' spree back in Sault Ste. Marie... Why is he called Stompin' Tom, you may wonder? Well, it's because of his signature one foot time-keeping stomp when he's up at the mic, performing. So have a listen, and if you call me next Wednesday night, I probably won't pick up. Go Wings!

The Hockey Song -

And, since this one is on YouTube, too, I can't resist putting it here...listen for the stomp!
Algoma 69 -

Update 2 hours later... oh what the heck, I have to put this one here, too . Wonder how many stomping boards he's gone through in his career?

Saturday, May 24, 2008


Oldies fans will surely remember Boyce (picture L.) and Hart (on the R.) for a smattering of ‘60s hits, most notable being the snappy “I Wonder What She’s Doing Tonight.” (same title as one by Barry and The Tamerlanes, but that’s a totally different song). I always liked the Boyce and Hart one, especially when they “talk” to each other during the song. Aren't they cute! If you were thinking that particular song has an infectious, toe tapping, Monkee-ness about it, you’re very observant. Boyce and Hart wrote a whole swack of hits for the Monkee boys, including “Last Train to Clarksville,” “(I’m Not Your) Stepping Stone,” “Valleri,” and “Words.” Boyce also co-wrote “Pretty Little Angel Eyes” with Curtis Lee, Hart co-wrote “Hurt So Bad” and “Goin’ Out of My Head” with Teddy Randazzo, which became big hits for Little Anthony and the Imperials. The duo wrote “Come a Little Bit Closer” for Jay and The Americans, too. And that’s the short list of what they wrote.

In addition to all this, plus their own recording career, the boys also had gigs on several popular TV shows, including Bewitched. And there was a 1971 spin-off of The Partridge Family that was loosely based on the two songwriters (their roles played by Bobby Sherman and Wes Stern). What an amazing roster; we’re talking pop culture royalty here, folks! And, if all that wasn’t enough, Boyce and Hart also penned the unforgettable theme for the long-running soap opera, Days Of Our Lives. You remember (at least those who will admit they watched it) the one with the swelling music behind the giant hourglass. I was a big DOOL fan for a number of years. Yes, it’s true. I always felt a real affinity to the characters on that show, because, you see, I too have been kidnapped and buried alive by the incredibly evil town villain. I’ve also had amnesia multiple times. And don’t forget that time I was possessed by the devil. That was harsh! Oh, and then there was the time I re-married that one guy thinking he was my long lost – sigh, never mind, I won’t bore you with the details; let’s just say I’ve had quite the life. Okay, enough about me; let’s have a listen to some Boyce and Hart…

I Wonder What She's Doing Tonight (plus a very short medley intro)
Check out those suits! This is obviously post-British Invasion. There's another b/w video of this on YouTube with the boys in Nehru jackets and love beads. That'll take ya back all right.

Ta da! The Days Of Our Lives theme.
And then there was my really embarrassing paternity mix-up - sorry, I know I said I was done...

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


A friend who is also into the oldies mentioned a title he’d recently requested on WPON – “Doll House” by Donnie Brooks. I certainly do remember Donnie Brooks for his main hit, “Mission Bell.” That one is pretty high up on my list of Top 101 Faves, but try as I might, I couldn’t quite remember “Doll House.” Still, I had the feeling that, if I heard it, I might remember it. Fortunately, someone on YouTube has posted “Doll House” so I was able to test my theory. Ah, it all came back to me, I did faintly remember hearing that song so long ago. And so I should, it was a Top 40 hit!

After that, I decided to look up some info on Donnie (who left us for Rock and Roll Heaven only last year). It seems, like many artists of yesteryear, he ditched his birth name in favor of something a little more career-friendly. Donnie was born John Dee Abohosh. (kind of a mouthful, but really, not all that bad, we music fans have all heard worse). Later, he was adopted by a stepfather and got the new surname, Fairecloth (okay, that sounds a little, um, antiquated for rock and roll, let’s see, what else we got). Once he started performing professionally, he was known as Johnny Faire. That’s kinda snappy; I like that. Under this name, he recorded “Bertha Lou, ” a song that rockabilly artist Clint Miller had better luck with. I became briefly aware of Bertha Lou when writing a chapter (Songs About Real People) for my upcoming book, Peanut Butter and Mashed Potatoes (sequel to Papa Do Run). Bertha Lou may be another rather uncommon, slightly old-fashioned name for a girl, but judging from the lyrics, she is a force to be reckoned with. Before you laugh, let me show you…

Bertha Lou, Bertha Lou
Let me slip around with you
If I could raise some sand
I'd be a mighty-mighty man
'Cause you're so ooooh, Bertha Lou

Bertha Lou, Bertha Lou
Gotta get a date with you
If I could hear you moan
On Mr. Bell's telephone
Ain't no tellin' what I'd do, Bertha Lou

You wear your hair in a poodle cut
You're walkin' down the street like a semi-truck
And everybody knows that you're so sweet
You tickle from head to my ath-a-lete's feet

Hey-hey, Bertha Lou
I wanna conjugate with you
You know my blood is running' wild
And I know you ain't no child
When you do what you do, Bertha Lou
(Rock! Rock! Rock!)

Despite it's obviously heavy-duty sentiment, the song did not do well for Johnny. Throughout all this, however, the label still believed in him, and they tried again - but not before changing his name one more time. What, again!? We may well ask: was he fed up with having to go start over with another new name? Did he feel his career was just going around in circles? Did he offer any resistance? Did this struggle with the label owners turn into a real donnybrook? Who can say… What we can say is that Donnie Brook’s next big hit was the highly sing and danceable “Mission Bell.” That one went all the way to #7. Let’s have a listen.

Donnie Brooks, Doll House

Donnie Brooks, Mission Bell

and, since it's also there, why not check out Ms. Bertha Lou, by Clint Miller

Sunday, May 18, 2008


Just in time for holiday Monday (Victoria Day here in Canada) and looking ahead to the Memorial Day weekend across the border, here’s a list of cool things you can do for fun on the long weekend, and of course, some oldies to go along with them. Where would we be without our music!

1) Go to the beach (Beach Blanket Bingo movie trailer)
Guys – remember when pants were actually worn at your waistline instead of slung halfway down your “bum” (polite Canadian term)? Girls – remember when every bra looked like one of Madonna’s?

2) Go biking! (Black Denim Trousers, The Cheers)
Maybe you want to get out there on a two-wheeler and feel closer to nature. You dog you! Just remember to protect your eyes...

3) Go cruising! (No Particular Place To Go, Chuck Berry)
Why did they stop making those little triangular vent windows? They were such a good idea! Great for flicking out those cigarette butts - back before you knew how bad smoking was. And littering. Oh well, if you stop for a while at least you can save some gas and...

4) ...Watch the Submarine Races (Rhapsody in the Rain, Lou Christie)
If the windows start to steam up too much, just open the little vent…

5) Have a party (Party Lights, Claudine Clark)
Invite all the gang, put up some lights and lanterns, a washtub full of Coke (a-Cola!), fire up a bag of charcoal briquettes and burn some burgers…

Happy long weekend, have fun everybody!

Photo of Angie in her doggles from

Saturday, May 17, 2008


Recently, my BFF friend came here from Calgary for my birthday, and in addition to some cool prezzies, gave me an article from her local paper (The Calgary Herald, Swerve Magazine insert, May 02-08) which was titled “Most Singable Beatles / Beach Boys Songs.” The list of titles and their parent albums went like this: Michelle (Beatles, Rubber Soul), God Only Knows (Beach Boys, Pet Sounds), I Am The Walrus (Beatles, Sgt. Pepper), Revolution (Beatles, White Album), and Good Vibrations (Beach Boys, Smiley Smile). Now, you or I may debate the selection, but remember, it’s the personal choice of the writer (notable Canadian music coach and director Brian Farrell). However, I think he momentarily got his wires switched, because he mentioned a trivia fact about the Beach Boys song Vegetables under the section about God Only Knows/Pet Sounds rather than under Smiley Smile. But that’s just a minor thing compared to the wonderful nature of the trivia he revealed: the song about “Vegetables” features Paul McCartney and the Boys themselves, all chomping on raw veggies as “percussion.” And apparently, McCartney was “playing” a carrot.

As soon as I read that, I wondered why I hadn’t heard this trivia before. I certainly have a ton of BBs albums. Surely such an important bit of musical minutia must be in the liner notes, so why hadn’t I come across it before? A quick trip to the CD shelf, slide the liner notes out of the Smiley Smile jewel case, and…I immediately understood. The font size is…is…it's microscopic! And I say that not as someone who has just turned 61 (or, as I prefer to call it, my fashionably late 50s) and who wears trifocals (invisible!). Nay, I say that as someone who recognizes that even a teenager would need a reading glass for this info. Really, trust me, it's small. Well, whatever the circumstances, I’m very happy to have learned that goofy bit of musical history. And let me also add that, as children, we baby boomers were regularly admonished by our parents to finish those mushy carrots on our plates because they were “good for your eyes.” I can further add that all my life I have eaten plenty of raw carrots; I happen to really like them. But they obviously didn’t help me with that teensy-weensy liner note font one cotton-pickin’ bit! I don’t know if parents these days are still pushing medicinal carrots on their offspring. All I know is that when I was young, we had a saying: “Don’t trust anyone over 30.” Now you know why. You just have to adjust the age, like everything else, for inflation.

And now, for your musical enjoyment, here's a cute little vid of “Vegetables”

Let's listen to this one as well. It’s pretty singable, and danceable, too.

Jolly Green Giant, The Kingsmen
Everybody likes their veggies when these guys list them off.

Thursday, May 15, 2008


The other day I started out for a trip to town in The Tamale (bright red Dodge Grand Caravan) when I realized I didn’t have any CDs to listen to. This only happens when I get tired of what I’ve been playing for a while, bring them in, and forget to select some fresh ones the next time I go out. Anyway, I tuned in to a local radio station, and happened to catch Paul McCartney singing “Silly Love Songs.” Just when I was wondering what I might write my next post about…there it was. What a happy co-inkydink!

It seems that McCartney wrote “Silly Love Songs” as a rebuttal to the criticism that much of what he wrote was lightweight, sentimental stuff. He asked his detractors, lyrically, “What’s wrong with that?” The obvious answer is, “Well, now that you mention it, Sir Paul, nothing really.” Some of the great enduring standards of all time have a definite poofy-ness about them. Songs like…and then I stopped. Every time I thought of a title, I immediately found some reason why it shouldn’t be judged too harshly. Some love songs are practically novelty songs, and don’t pretend to be serious. Then there are a few songs that are based on children’s nursery rhymes to begin with – we certainly can’t expect great depth there. I’m almost beginning to think that deeply emotional, serious love songs and the exception, not the rule. We often make the distinction between “funny haha” and “funny peculiar” so why not also make a distinction between fluffy love and the industrial strength kind?

All this brings up another side of the discussion – what about the intention of the composer? Many love songs are obviously a light-hearted look at human emotions to begin with. Shouldn’t that be taken into consideration? Think of the similar situation in the art world. Who’s to say that a black velvet portrait of Elvis cryin' in the chapel doesn’t move some people just as much as Whistler’s Mother? No, I don’t think we should be too quick to turn our noses up at something just because snooty critics have deemed it unworthy. I’m all about accepting everybody and everything! As John Lennon would say, “Power to the People Right On!”

Here's a couple of “silly” love song oldies I’m particularly fond of:

James Hold the Ladder Steady, Sue Thompson
Many Sue Thompson songs are really cute: “Norman,” “Paper Tiger,” and even “Sad Movies.” I especially like this one about eloping. I’m sure couples do still elope, but I’m guessing the whole sneak-out-the-second-floor-window-in-the-middle-of-the-night-down-a-ladder scenario is a thing of the past.

Baby Talk, Jan and Dean
A cute little number about love at the pre-school level; kind of baby doo-wop, not to mention great old footage of J and D in those malt shop jackets. BTW, I nearly drove myself loopy trying to figure out what those IFIC buttons meant. I Googled it, and found that IFIC could stand for the International Fidelity Insurance Company, or the International Federation of Infection Control; the International Food Information Council or the International Fire Investigators and Consultants. None of these seemed to quite fit. Then I scrolled down to the comments left by other YouTubers, and discovered the performance was sponsored by Beechnut Gum (note the gal in the audience giving her gum a real aerobic workout!) and their slogan at the time was Flavor-IFIC. Another rock and roll mystery solved!

And a couple more based on nursery rhymes:

Mockingbird, Charlie and Inez Foxx
I certainly don’t mind the James Taylor/Carly Simon version, but this one is definitely the real deal.

Pat-a-Cake, Bill Haley and His Comets
This one isn’t currently on YouTube, but I found this on the following site. Unfortunately, out of a 30-second clip, you only get about 4 seconds of vocal right at the end, but hey, Haley is Haley, and he always rocks the jukebox.

And, finally, here's the sweet little song that started it all -
Silly Love Songs, Paul McCartney

Photo of Ma Whistler from Wikipedia Commons

Monday, May 12, 2008


There are many awards and accolades to which a musician might aspire. Some of the biggest are Record of the Year, Album of the Year; or maybe a Knightship (is that what it’s called or did I just make that up?), or entry into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Wonderful recognition to be sure, but it all must pale (and I am not being facetious here) to having another living creature bear your name for all eternity. Even if the species goes extinct (good chance, I imagine) it’s still all yours. That is the case with long-time rocker, Neil Young, and a recently discovered new species of trapdoor spider.

The combination is the handiwork of Jason Bond, a biologist from East Carolina University. East? I thought there were only North and South. Oh well never mind, at least we know that Carolina is named after King Charles I, which is a category of fame and immortality by itself. So, Bond (who is also a big-time Neil fan) discovered the spider was a separate species of trapdoor spider (yeah, they all look alike to me, too) by testing its DNA, and also by checking out its, um, genitalia. Apparently, that’s the best way to tell male spiders apart (don’t go there!) Once he was sure he had something previously unnamed, Bond realized he had the honor of giving it the name it will have whenever people look up that particular species of trapdoor spider (I think Knightship is correct). Now, if you ever have a similar naming opportunity, please don’t forget that you have to do it in Latin. Thus the new spider is called "Myrmekiaphila neilyoungi."

Before you start thinking that this is an unprecedented crossover between two vastly different disciplines, I’m sorry to put a pin in your balloon, but it isn’t the first time. Somewhere in the world there’s a species of whirligig beetle, discovered earlier this year, that bears the name "Orectochilus orbisonorum." Who knows what will be discovered next as art and science link arms and dive into the mosh pit of the future.

Photo of M. neilyoungi from ECU News services. And thanks for Christine at Quiet Paths blog for the tip!

Sunday, May 11, 2008


Paul Simon, Mother and Child Reunion (with really cute images!)

Friday, May 9, 2008


Where were you in 1966? If it was within earshot of a radio, you might have been listening to this little one-hit-wonder. It's what I call an "amblin' song." An amblin' song is one that makes you get out of your chair, and go outside to dig the day, just the same way hearing a good road song makes you want to fire up your vehicle and follow those white lines. Other motivativational amblin' songs (for me anyway) are "Daydream" by the Lovin' Spoonful, "Go Where You Wanna Go" by the Mamas and Papas, and a few John Denver songs. I see amblin' as a nice free-form saunter. Maybe even some discreet finger-poppin' could be added. Remember Mr. Natural's Keep on Truckin'? (see photo) Kinda like that.

Now, much of the appeal of this song is thanks to the mental image we get of a cat named "Dog" being walked on a leash, just like a...well, a dog. Like many of you, I have had both dogs and cats over the years, and even took my cat out on a leash once, and can vouch for the fact that, generally speaking, a dog is way easier to take for a walkies than a cat. To further illustrate my point, I have a neighbor who regularly took her cat for walks on a leash. The cat was so enthused, he would immediately lie down on his side and go totally limp (but then, his name was Backpack, so perhaps he had expectations of being carried aloft all the time...) Well, whatever your experience is with canines and felines, this song is fun to listen to.

A few facts on Norma Tanega are in order. Norma was born in 1939 in California, to Filipino parents. Although she had a strong musical background, and lots of parental and peer encouragement, her career never quite took off. But she has remained involved in music and art over the years. Here's her website if you want to check it out. Meanwhile, have a listen and an amble down memory lane. And, FYI, Norma did have a cat, and it's name was "Dog." No mention of whether or not she had to drag it along the ground like my neighbor...

Tuesday, May 6, 2008


Before country legend and occasional pop crossover artist Don Gibson (Sea of Heartbreak, Oh Lonesome Me) launched his successful solo career, he was a member of a tuneful folkie trio (along with Lofton Kline and Susan Taylor) called the Pozo-Seco Singers. Now, that was a name that didn’t immediately startle most people, at least not back in the latter 60s. After all, we were used to inscrutable names, such as ? and The Mysterians. Then there was The Strawberry Alarm Clock, The Lemon Pipers, The Electric Prunes, Chocolate Watchband (I’m detecting a definite food theme here) and finally, who can forget Mouse and the Traps (well, me for one, but hey, if they rate above The Beatles with you it's okay by me).

My favorite hit by the Pozo-Seco Singers is a sweet one called “Time” (time, oh ti-i-ime, where did you go…) I bookmarked a vid for it on YouTube, but before I could write this post, it was removed. So here’s another hit of theirs, equally good.

I Can Make It With You

So, the obvious question is, what does Pozo-Seco (sometimes seen without the hyphen) mean? Since it’s a Spanish term, it might be a lot less inscrutable these days than in the 60s, but I had to look it up. Pozo seco simly means “dry well.” Beyond that, what significance it had to the group members I wasn’t able to discover. Maybe someone out there can clue me in?

Monday, May 5, 2008

¡FELIZ EL CINCO De MAYO! ROCK THE OFFICE (or wherever you're at)

To mark this day celebrating Mexican heritage, who better to hear from than these three singers from the 60s?! And remember, kiddies, just like on St. Patrick's Day everybody is Irish, today everyone is Mexican! So, have fun, grab yourself some Coronas, some chips and salsa, crank up the volume and celebrate! Arriba!

Ritchie Valens, La Bamba
You’ve heard this one a million times, but when was the last time you kicked off your shoes and actually danced to it? Go ahead, who cares what the people in the next cubicle think?

Chris Montez and Kathy Young, You’re The One
A great slow dance number from Chris (Let’s Dance) and Kathy (A Thousand Stars). Leave your shoes off, grab the mail delivery person, and keep dancing.

Bonus vids:
A Thousand Stars
Let's Dance

Rosie and The Originals, Angel Baby
This is a later re-record (from 2000 I think but don’t quote me, as they say). You can tell it’s later because she’s not quite in the same range anymore. Who, except Lou Christie (see 13 Dec '07 post on, search "falsetto") is? But she’s still got it, and the addition of Spanish to totally charming.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

GLEAMING STEAMING FLAXEN WAXEN – An upate on the HAIR documentary, as promised

In a recent post (17 Feb 08) I mentioned I was going to track down that new documentary about the musical HAIR, and see if I could – as we used to say in the 60s – score a copy. Well, score I did. I found the website, placed an order, then and sat back and waited while the postal service did its thing. And after viewing it, I came to the immediate conclusion: My friends do not pass up an opportunity to see this film. In fact, go out of your way if you have to – it’s a real gem. If you are a fan of HAIR, or you are an ex-hippie, or if you still are a hippie, you will love this film. If you have an historical interest of any kind in the late 60s, the days of love, peace and protest, the anti-War movement, you will love this film.

At a mere 55 minutes, HAIR: Let the Sun Shine In does not require you to hit pause once or twice like so many feature current movies do, but it’s so jam-packed with wonderful insights and memories it has the feel of a longer view. As a documentary, its more than just an account of the (in)famous 60s musical, but a compelling mix of old and new footage of student protests, news clips and actual stage productions. There’s also some old TV footage from the Smothers Brothers and a hilarious spot of James Rado and Jerome Ragni on Johnny Carson. All of this is interspersed with interviews from cast members (Melba Moore, Ben Vereen, Tim Curry, Keith Carradine…) and the visionary creators and producers (Rado &Ragni, Galt MacDermot, Michael Butler), as well as people connected with the international cast.

This film is touching and timely. It puts the Hair experience of the 60s in a much larger context, not only creatively, but socially. It also includes some personal stories – triumphs and tragedies – of those involved. I can just about guarantee you’ll still be thinking about it for some time afterwards. I emailed one of the film’s producers, Pola Rapaport, about showings, and this is what she had to say:

HAIR : Let the Sun Shine In will be shown next internationally in Warsaw, Poland, at the Planete Doc Film Festival, on May 15 and 17th. The next US screenings will be at the Seattle International Film Festival on May 24th and 26th. It will also be shown at the Jerusalem International Film Festival in July.

We are looking for a US television premiere. It played on French/ German Arte a few months ago. Arte provided the basic funding for the film.

When I get more info on US or Canadian etc. showings, I will certainly post them, too. Meanwhile, here’s the website for Ms. Rapaport

And here's the sample video again
HAIR: Let the Sun Shine In (2007) – a film by Pola Rapaport and Wolfgang Held