Amoeblog

What Are Those Schlocky Pop 78s Doing in My Blues Record Collection?

Posted by Sherwin Dunner, June 22, 2012 06:50pm | Post a Comment

Over the years I've shared my favorite vintage 78s with friends who are not part of the hard core 78 collector crowd. While we might share a taste for the same films, books and restaurants, we're not quite on the same page with music, at least not yet. Since I'm fondest of music from the 1920s and 1930s, and that's a long way from the 21st Century, it's a challenge to break in those who live with contemporary sounds. Not that I'm hoping to make full converts, but if I share some of my favorite 78s, maybe some will cross the accessibility threshold and they'll acquire a taste for more. Inevitably, when it comes to 1920s jazz, most fall flat – it all apparently sounds like cartoon music. With blues singers, the all too familiar refrain is that it's three chords and the same song over and over. Even though I always play those I consider "can't miss winners," in principle I can't totally disagree with them as I've spent many hours squirming my way through what I consider “formulated” blues 78s by lesser, second tier blues singers.

The great country bluesmen seldom recorded a formulated dud, but in acquainting myself with their body of work, I discovered that those few 78s where country blues singers chose to work their magic on popular tin-pan-alley hits were some of my favorite 78s. It was refreshing to hear the different tempos, more varied melodies, and new notes coming out of the instruments of these masters once outside the confines of the blues idiom. The best selling sheet music for these songs could be found sitting on pianos in middle class homes. Orchestras in every podunk town were playing stock arrangements of them at dance halls. And in a few rare cases, they made it onto “race” records by blues singers. Some of my purist blues collector friends pointed out with a sneer, those were POP records, eyeballing me like there was a cancer hanging over my blues collecting impulse, yet I prized these performances over many of the straight blues sides, and whenever possible I would swing a trade for some of these pop records by blues singers. So I'm of a different ilk, not strictly a blues collector, but a music collector who likes great blues singers, especially when they are not singing the blues.
 

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FUN WEEKEND HAPPENINGS IN THE BAY AREA

Posted by Billyjam, August 21, 2009 02:27pm | Post a Comment
Paramount Theater
Once again, this weekend in the Bay Area there is a lot of really great, fun stuff happening; much of it is either quite affordable for any size wallet or else totally free, as in the case of the three recommended Bay Area Amoeba Music always-free instores this weekend, including the DJ Quest & the Horizons Unlimited/DJ Project showcase later tonight in SF and the two Jay Reatard instores at both Bay Amoeba locations, tomorrow and Sunday. 6pm is the start time for all Amoeba shows this weekend.

The historic Paramount Theater on Broadway near 20th in downtown Oakland is the finest preserved art deco building in California, and tonight (Friday, August 21) there will be a screening of the Alfred Hitchcock classic Rear Window. The film is a masterpiece, deserving of being fully appreciated on the big screen. The film tells the tale of wheelchair-bound photographer Jeff Jeffries' (James Stewart) peeking through binoculars into the windows of his Greenwich Village apartment neighbors while his girlfriend, Lisa Fremont, played by Grace Kelly, isn't so sure he should be spying. But then Jeff witnesses a murder -- or has he?

The Hitchcock film is a part of the ongoing but sporadic, budget priced Paramount Movie Classics series. I attended the last one in early July, a screening of the 3D horror flick Creature From The Black Lagoon, and it was so much fun -- especially when you go with a large group of people. Not to mention there's a mere $5 (cash only) entrance fee that includes the live Wurltizer organ serenade plus a raffle with a chance to win free prizes. Plus, there's the classic movie previews and historic newsreels. The turnout for that screening was so large that by about 7:50pm the theater had reached capacity and people were being turned away at the door, so get there with time to spare, especially if you are driving, since parking is scarce. Cycle or take BART to the 19th/Broadway stop one block away. Ticket box opens at 6pm. Doors open at 7pm. More info here.

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Selaco - The Soul of Suburban Sprawl - The (mostly) unsung character and charms of the communities of Southeast L.A. county

Posted by Eric Brightwell, April 28, 2009 06:52pm | Post a Comment
SELACO - Southeast Los Angeles County

Map of SELACO
Pendersleigh & Sons' Official Map of Southeast Los Angeles County


Introduction to Southeast Los Angeles County

One of my favorite aspects of the Southland is that there is no single, dominant center. Whereas many bemoan the region’s sprawl, I prefer to think of it as a vast, occasionally smoggy theme park, with scattered neighborhoods and cities all exhibiting their own charms just like the rides at “the happiest place on Earth.” But instead of Critter Country, Mickey's Toontown or Tomorrowland, we have the IE (Inland Empire), the Valley (the San Fernando Valley), the Eastside, the Westside, South LA, the Pomona Valley, The Harbor, the San Gabriel Valley, the South Bay, the Santa Monica Mountains, Angeles Forest, the Channel Islands, Northeast LA (NELA), the Antelope Valley, Northwest County, the Verdugos, Downtown, Midtown, the Mideast Side, &c.

THE "GAY MYTH" THAT STILL HAUNTS DONNA SUMMER

Posted by Billyjam, July 22, 2008 09:00am | Post a Comment
Donna Summer's new album Crayons
At a recent music event in San Francisco, where a guy was busily handing out flyers promoting the upcoming Bay Area concert appearance by Donna Summer, I overheard a short but slightly-heated conversation between the guy handing out the flyers for the disco diva and someone walking by.

"Has Donna Summer been fully forgiven for allegedly been homophobic and......?" the passerby began asking, innocently enough it seemed. But before he could even fully finish his question, the street promoter, sounding jaded at still fielding this seemingly recurring question on a long dead topic, had cut him short: "It's not true. It never happened. It was a rumor based on a myth."

Known as the "gay myth" this nasty slice of misinformation has haunted Donna Summer for the last 25 years and, apparently, seems like it will never fully die. The rumor started in 1983, back when the disco bubble had popped and Summer's career along with it. She had also recently gotten divorced, gotten into a mental funk, and consequently become dependent on anti-depressant medication. Because of all of this, the singer, who had topped the charts with songs like "Bad Girls," had found God and become aDonna Summer born again Christian. More importantly it was when the AIDS crisis was tightening its frightening choke-hold on the gay community -- long Summer's core dedicated fan base.

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