Amoeblog

The B Side Live -- Sock It To Me!

Posted by Whitmore, July 15, 2010 07:23pm | Post a Comment
eguiders, funk, soul, boogaloo, northern soul, webcast,
True blue idiocy! What else would you expect to find online these days? This could be a post modern sock-hop for the 21st century except it’s highly unlikely anything from this century will find the turntable. Last week's episode, the 1970’s, saw the good, the bad and the scratchy. Little will change this week -- all 45’s all the time, great music seven inches at a time, except for one thing, tonight, Thursday, July 15th, Sock It To Me! Funk & Soul. The B Side Live at 9pm PDT at http://eguiders.com/studio/.

And if you can’t catch it live, it will be on the internet for ad infinitum. That is the good, the bad and the ugly ... here is a little bit from last week, reduced to under 5 minutes.

Summer Solstice 2010

Posted by Whitmore, June 20, 2010 05:03pm | Post a Comment
summer soltice, summer fun, surfing, bbq's, beaches, boards, babes, swimming, pool, summertime

Vinyl Confidential, 4.2 – The Damned Odd Order of Oblong Boxes

Posted by Whitmore, June 19, 2010 08:14pm | Post a Comment
“When I got home I mixed a tall stiff one and stood on my balcony, leaned heavy against the railing, looking over and down five stories. Standing, sipping, I listened to the groundswell of cars and trucks and the banshee cry of sirens blasting down Los Feliz Boulevard and beyond. The curve of the hills flushes the boulevard down onto Western, past Hollywood and Sunset Blvds. Twenty four hours a day, eight days a week, most everybody is running, gunning, trying to catch-up with the intangible, the impossible. Hollywood lives live. The traffic’s din drowns out the Ye-ye 45’s dropping and spinning on the turntable inside, that’s Okay, the taste of the Scotch lingers, deliciously with every gulp as I squint down at the glower of a pissed off population begging for a little traffic love, one more time on a Friday night.
 
Rock is dead, I read the other day. After being maimed by massive dog food/fast food/oily crude/pre-chewed corporations, new music has given up the ghost under the obese crassness of money theocracy. What is served up routinely by the big boys is about as gratifying as being beaten, robbed, strangled, drawn and quartered to a soundtrack of “We Built this City on Rock and Roll” as performed by Insane Clown Posse.
 
People are hungry for soul, for adventure, anything that doesn’t leave them sick and bored and desperate. People aren’t lonely; they just feel angry and cruel. In a city no worse than most, a city rich and vital and oddly beautiful, a love affair has been lost and scattered. A city sinks into the void. Well, I guess, it all depends on where you’re standing, and how high your balcony sits above the sidewalk. I claim I no longer care. I finished my drink, went inside and crawled under the covers.”
art, oblong boxes, outsider art, crap, modern art, collage, dada, the damned, thrash, soundtracks, the godfather, everything i like, everything i hate, noir, blather, art, oblong boxes, outsider art, crap, modern art, collage, dada, the damned, thrash, soundtracks, the godfather, everything i like, everything i hate, noir, blather,art, oblong boxes, outsider art, crap, modern art, collage, dada, the damned, thrash, soundtracks,alternative, tristan tzara, the godfather, everything i like, everything i hate, noir, blather,

Crispian St. Peters 1939 - 2010

Posted by Whitmore, June 15, 2010 11:38am | Post a Comment
cripian st. peters, pop music, the beatles, the pied piper, we five, decca records, england swings, the 1960's, british invasion, you were on my mind, youtube, obituary
I’ve always had a soft spot for Crispian St. Peters, the 1960’s English pop star with a lilting, lyrical, tenor voice who passed away last week at the age of 71.
 
Born Robin Peter Smith in Swanley, Kent, England, on April 5th, 1939, as a youngster he performed in a variety of local bands such as The Hard Travellers, The Two Tones and The Country Gentlemen. In 1965 after being discovered by David Nicolson, an EMI publicist, he was signed to Decca as a solo recording act. At first his new stage name was to be Crispin Blacke, but after a bit of a tussle, the name Crispian St. Peters was settled upon and simultaneously, five years was deducted from Robin Peter Smith’s age.
 
His first couple of releases however, though good, went nowhere and nowhere fast. But it was his oddly england swings, crispian st. peters, the neatles, john  lennon, the 1960's, british invasion, you were on my mind, youtube, obituarysoulful cover of “You Were On My Mind,” a song which had been a million seller in the United States for the We Five, that broke him into the big time and the top ten in England and Europe. But the follow up single in 1966, “The Pied Piper,” became his biggest international hit, soaring into the top five or hitting the number one spot though out Europe, North America and Asia.
 
Originally recorded by The Changin' Times, “The Pied Piper” was written by Steve Duboff and Artie Kornfeld, though the St. Peters’ version modified the lyrics slightly, perhaps helping the groovy, England swings quotient. The line "I'll show you where life's at" was changed to the much hipper "I'll show you where it's at." A slight side note, Artie Kornfeld also wrote the song "Deadman's Curve"(with Brian Wilson & Jan Berry) for Jan & Dean and the 1967 hit by the Cowsills “The Rain, The Park, and Other Things.” Kornfeld, in his early twenties, also became the vice president of Capitol Records, the youngest to hold such a position. But in 1969, Kornfeld left Capitol Records for what he is most known for, creating the Woodstock Music & Arts Festival.
 
crispian st. peters, ngland swings, the 1960's, british invasion, you were on my mind, youtube, obituaryIn the late sixties John Lennon was quoted as saying that Crispian St. Peters’ “The Pied Piper” was one of his favorite songs.
 
Unfortunately one of the lasting images of Crispian St. Peters, while under the slippery guidance of David Nicolson, will always be his brief transformation into an arrogant arse. The only problem was, really, Crispian St. Peters was just twenty years ahead of his time. He literally scared the hell out of the era’s conservative British music press when he suggested that he’d written some 80 songs better than anything The Beatles could write and that he was greater than Elvis Presley. He even called himself the Cassius Clay of pop, but god forbid, St. Peters probably went too far when he said he was sexier than Dave Berry. Later he said it was all just flippantly done tongue-in-cheek, just some good old rawkin’ fun.
 
After the success of "The Pied Piper” St. Peters only had a couple of other charting singles, mostly skimming the bottom of the charts. Briefly in the early seventies he reinvented himself as a country-and-western performer, but later, St. Peters found constant and continued popularity working on the Sixties nostalgia circuit, while occasionally putting out some new recordings.
 
He had a series of health problems. In January 1995, at the age of 56, he suffered a stroke, which eventually led to him being confined to a wheel chair. Over the years he suffered several nervous breakdowns and battled emphysema. His last major public performance was in 1999 and in 2001 he announced his retirement from the music industry. In 2003 he was hospitalized several times with pneumonia.
 
Like I said, I’ve always liked his work; he was also a great songwriter, though he released very few self penned singles. Crispian St. Peters was divorced and is survived by his son Lee, daughter Samantha and a grandson.
 
 
 
 

Remembering Hazel Scott on her 90th birthday

Posted by Whitmore, June 12, 2010 02:40pm | Post a Comment
hazel scott, jazz, piano. 20th century icon, huac, charles mingus, paris, harlem
This past week would have been Hazel Scott’s 90th birthday. She’s probably not as well known today as she was in her lifetime, which is a shame, because Hazel Scott was not only a brilliant and audacious pianist but a woman who spent most of her life bucking the system.
 
A child prodigy, she was born in Port of Spain, Trinidad, June 11th, 1920, the only child of R. Thomas Scott, a West African scholar from England and Alma Long Scott, a classically-trained pianist and music teacher. Hazel began playing piano at the age of two. In 1924 her parents divorced, and she and her mother moved to the States, settling in Harlem, where her musical guidance continued with support from local jazz greats like Art Tatum, Lester Young and Fats Waller. Two years later Scott made her formal American performing debut at New York’s Town Hall. In 1929 Scott received several scholarships to Julliard School of Music, but still being too young to attend, the school’s director, Walter Damrosch, offered to teach her privately. At sixteen Hazel Scott had her own radio show on WOR, the Mutual Broadcasting System, and at night she’d perform at the Roseland Dance Hall with the legendary Count Basie Orchestra. She was dubbed the hazel scott, jazz, piano. 20th century icon, huac, charles mingus, paris, harlem, Darling of Café Society.”

In the late 1930’s, she appeared on Broadway in the musical Singing Out the News, followed by Priorities of 1942. In 1943 Hollywood came knocking, and she appeared in the several films over the next few years including Something to Shout About, Tropicana, The Heat’s On, Broadway Rhythm and Rhapsody in Blue.
 
With the advent of television she became the first African American woman to have her own TV show. The Hazel Scott Show debuted on the DuMont Television Network in 1950. But Scott’s interests, especially her relentless campaign for civil rights, women's rights, and the rights of artists made her an easy target for the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) during the McCarthy Era. Her television show was canceled after just a few months on the air, due to accusations of her being a communist sympathizer.
 
There is an excellent biography, published in 2008, by Karen Chilton -- Hazel Scott: The Pioneering Journey of a Jazz Pianist from Cafe Society to Hollywood to HUAC. It tells the story of how by the age of twenty-five Hazel Scott was an international star, but before reaching her mid thirties, she considered hazel scott, jazz, piano. 20th century icon, huac, charles mingus, paris, harlem, soul, 1940's, televisionherself a failure, twice attempting suicide. The book also goes into detail about her conflicts with HUAC and Hollywood and her failed marriage to the controversial Congressman Adam Clayton Powell, Jr.
 
Subsequent to being blacklisted and divorced after eleven years of marriage, Scott left the States. Along with her son, she joined the burgeoning black expatriate community settling in Paris. She wouldn’t return to America until 1967. Her apartment on the Right Bank would become a popular hangout for other Americans including the likes of James Baldwin, Mary Lou Williams, Lester Young, Dizzy Gillespie, and Max Roach.
 
But most significantly, Hazel Scott was an incredible, world class musician. One of her greatest abilities -- she was brilliantly adept at combining jazz improvisations into classical pieces. Few could come close to her imaginative re-interpretations of pieces by Bach or Chopin or Rachmaninoff. Scott’s recording career lasted some four decades, releasing albums on several labels including Decca, Signature, Tioch, and Columbia. She hit her stride in January 1955 when she went into the Debut recording studios with a rhythm section consisting of two of jazz’s greatest icons -- Charles Mingus on bass and Max Roach, drums. In Relaxed Piano Moods, Scott handles her own compositions and standards, especially J.J. Johnson’s ballad “Lament,” with such incredible depth and confidence, her perfectly gem-like touch swings with incredible sophistication and guile; it is a 20th century masterwork of jazz.
 
Hazel Scott continued to perform until her death, passing away from pancreatic cancer on October 2, 1981 at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City.
 
 
 
 
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