Amoeblog

One Album Wonders: The Zodiac

Posted by Eric Brightwell, August 17, 2015 11:07am | Post a Comment


Zodiac
 were a studio group who released one album, Cosmic Sounds - Celestial Counterpoint with Words and Music, in May 1967. The members of Zodiac were respected session musicians Bud Shank, Carol Kaye, Cyrus Faryar, Emil RichardsHal Blaine, and Paul Beaver. Each song is devoted to the signs of Chaldean astronomical zodiac. The music was written by Canadian synthesizer pioneer Mort Garson
The spoken word narration was penned by Jacques Wilson and are narrated by Faryar in a voice reminiscent of Jim Morrison's who as part of The Doors, had recorded their debut in 1966 and released it in January 1967 to great acclaim.

The success of The Doors was a primary inspiration for the project. Elektra head Jac Holzman came up with the concept and hired Alex Hassilev, a member of The Limeliters, to produce. Hassilev brought Mort Garson to the project -- the two had just formed a production company together.

Continue reading...

Vive les minets - French Dandyism in the 1960s

Posted by Eric Brightwell, October 8, 2014 08:00pm | Post a Comment
As a fan of fashion, youth subculture, and the 1960s, at some point I was bound to be made aware of the French minet subculture. Obviously, since I'm writing about it, that momentous occasion has arrived at some point in my past. I can't remember when or where it occurred (the internet is a safe bet) but in the intervening years I've found very little about this stylish group. Compounding my frustration is the fact that what little that I have uncovered about minets is almost always written or recorded in French -- a language of which a month of skipping class at College les pins Castries did little to improve my command. The French Wikipedia (Wikipédia) is humorously blunt in its entry: un jeune homme vêtu à la mode, équivalent masculin de la minette. Last and least -- most of what has been written about minets in English is by writers discussing within the larger context of mod subculture -- a style tribe about which far too much is artlessly written and rehashed.




With that in mind, however, kindly allow me briefly add to the conversational clutter concerning mod, as its evolution is tied closely to that of the minet. Although today mod is often characterized as a mid-60s, working class subculture fueled by the holy trinity of amphetamines, scooters and soul music, it first appeared in the late 1950s when a largely middle class group of mostly Jewish teenagers with families in the clothing business and for whom the chosen drug was apparently coffee. Modernists, as they then to themselves referred, championed modern jazz over trad jazz (which was championed by the Acker Bilk-listening, bowler-hatted, beer-swilling, baggy sweater-and-duffle coated trads). Sharing their love of modern jazz were the beatniks, but their beardy, black, cultivated scruffiness was rejected in favor of the natty continental style associated with untouchable icons of French cool like Jean-Paul Belmondo and Alain Delon

All-Female Bands of the 1960s - Happy Women's History Month!

Posted by Eric Brightwell, March 3, 2014 08:11pm | Post a Comment
The Carrie Nations - a fictional band from Beyond the Valley of the Dolls


In the first half of the 20th Century there were many popular all-female musical acts. In the 1920s, 1930s, 1940s and 1950s there were vocal groups like The Andrews Sisters, The Boswell Sisters, and The McGuire Sisters. In the early rock/soul era, the so-called "girl groups" such as The Shirelles, The Teen Queens, The Paris Sisters, and The Chantels all achieved both artistic and popular success. However, none of these groups were proper bands. There were some all-female bands -- that is, groups comprised of female musicians -- but sadly most were viewed by many as little more than curiosities. You can read about them here.

Continue reading...

Shifters and sugarcubes -- Happy Bicycle Day!

Posted by Eric Brightwell, April 19, 2013 03:53pm | Post a Comment

Today marks the day that Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann discovered the properties of LSD, on 16 April, 1943, and rode his bike home.

THE DISCOVERY OF LSD


Sandoz Laboratories - Basel, Switzerland (demolished)

Albert Hofmann first synthesized lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) in his Basel laboratory in 1938 working for Sandoz Laboratories whilst studying scilla and ergot in an attempt to purify and synthesize the active constituents for use as pharmaceuticals.


Siberian scilla (image source: Digging RI)

He set aside his discovery for five years at which point he accidentally absorbed a quality through his fingertips and reported feeling dizzy, intoxicated, stimulated and seeing kaleidoscopic shapes and colors when he closed his eyes.


HOFMANN'S TRIP AND BIKE RIDE

His curiosity piqued, on 19 April Hofmann intentionally took 250 micrograms. He began tripping and rode his bike home. At first the experience was unpleasant. He 
was convinced that a neighbor was a 
witch who had poisoned him. A doctor visited him and reported nothing unusual except for dilated pupils. Thus reassured, his trip became much more pleasant. He later wrote of the experience:

"... little by little I could begin to enjoy the unprecedented colors and plays of shapes that persisted behind my closed eyes. Kaleidoscopic, fantastic images surged in on me, alternating, variegated, opening and then closing themselves in circles and spirals, exploding in colored fountains, rearranging and hybridizing themselves in constant flux ..."


LSD's IMPACT ON CULTURE

In the years that followed, acid (as LSD is commonly known) became used for a variety of scientific and recreational purposes. It was first criminalized in California, on 6 October, 1966. The rest of the US and UK quickly followed. Of course acid had already made its mark. In music, it was the catalyst for psychedelic rock, which had by then spread to both sides of the Atlantic, and its subgenre, acid rock. I don't intend to cram the entire cultural history of LSD on humankind into a blog but I'd like to bring it back to bikes... because this is Bicycle Day, remember? Long before the discovery of acid bicycles were the subjects of popular songs.


THE INVENTION OF AND EARLY SONGS ABOUT BICYCLES


Bicylces were invented in the 18th century. The bike's ancestor, the dandy horse, had been first introduced to the public in Mannheim in 1817. The French term bicyclette had been in use since 1847. In the Anglosphere, the commonly used term was velocipede. London's Daily News first printed the word "bicycle" in 1868 but it didn't completely catch on immediately.


  


Throughout the latter half of the 19th century it was popular to sing about new inventions (see: "The Monsters of Megaphone"). In 1868, Henry Atkins led the pack with "Velocipede Galop." In 1869, he was followed by Carl Faust's "Le Velocipede Galopp," Geo. Cooper & Harry Miller's "The Gay Velocipede," E.H. Sherwood's "The New Velocipede - Galop," S. Low Coach's (John M. Dunfield) "The Unlucky Velocipedist - Galop," Frank Howard's "The Velocipede Song and Chorus," Wm. O. Fiske, "Velocipede (March)," Cha. Koppitz's "Velocipede Galop," G. Operti's "Velocipede Galop," Henry B. Hart's "Velocipede Galop," O.H. Harpel & Henry Atkins's "Velocipede Jimmy," Leander's "Velocipede Johnny," Louis Mösser's "Velocipede March," E. Mack's "Velocipede Polka," (unknown) "Velocipede Song," Leon's "Velocipede Waltz," and (unknown) "Velocipediania."


BICYCLE SONGS AND ADVANCES OF THE 1880s

  

No known songs about bicycles were published in the 1870s but in the 1880s the charts were stormed a mob of bike songs that reflected "bicycle" having taken over "velocipede." W. Diederich's "Bicycle Glide," S. Conant Doster & Harry W. Sawyer's "Mister Tobias Isaias Elias. A Bicycling Song," and E.C. Phelps's "The Sailing Party" were published in 1880. Chas. W. Nathan's "Star Bicycle Galop" was published in 1882. Wm. H.A. Hall's "Bicycle Galop," James C. Bekel's "La Fete des Bicycles, Fantasia Charasteristic," and John Ford's "The Star Rider" and "The Wheelmen's Song," were published in 1883. W.J. Holding's "Knights of the Wheel Schottische," A.S. Andrew & C.D. Blake's "Bicycle Polka," and Conant Foster's "Wheel Songs" were published in 1884. J.J. Sawyer's Bicycle Waltz" and Walter A. Dolane's "Wheelmen Waltzes" were published in 1885. S. White Paine's "Gem of the Track - Bicycle Club Song" was published in 1886. John Young's "Wheelmen's Waltz" was published in 1889.

Toward the end of decade there were key advances in the bicycle industry and the music industry. Edison Phonograph Company formed in 1887 and in 1888 commercially introduced wax cylinders to the music-buying public. Also in 1887, John Dunlop developed the first practical pneumatic tire for his son's tricycle, tested it, and patented his invention in 1888. 


THE GOLDEN AGE OF BICYCLES AND THE SONGS THAT FOLLOWED 

A series of advances beginning with the introduction of the pneumatic tire in 1888 ushered in the Golden Age of Bicycles, the 1890s. There were also new music formats. Piano rolls were introduced in 1896. 

  

Chas. F. Escher, Jr’s “Wheelmen's March” was published in 1890. R.S. Peniston’s “Wheeling, A Bicycle Parade” and Chas. Brighton’s “A Job Lot. Comic Song” were published in 1891. Frank R. Gillis’s “Washington Cyclist's Military March,” Harry Dacre’s “Daisy Bell,” and Gerald Deane’s “Queen of the Wheel” were published in 1892. Walter I. Dolbeare’s “Massachusetts Bicycle Club,” Robert S. Gebhart’s “The Dayton Bicycle Club,” T.H. Rollinson’s “The Silent Steed - Galop Brillante,” Ch. Eustace’s “Véloce-Galop,” Oscar H. Gerber’s “Mercury March,” J.W. Alexander’s “The Bicycle Waltz,” Harry Wunderlich’s “Wheelmen's March,” Lucien Durand’s “Women En Bicyclette,” and Chas. K. Harris’s “Katie Rides a Wheel” were all published in 1893. J.A. Wallace’s “The Pretty Bicycle Girl,” Alice Irene Fairlie’s “East Orange Cyclers,” Anthony Lohmann’s “League Meet March,” Arnold Somylo’s “Pretty Girls in Bloomers,” O. Schrage & W. Potstock’s “The Bloomers,” Emmet Duffy’s “Mulrooney on a Bike,” Harry Dacre’s “Dorothe!,” Mildred McNeal & Hattie Thickens’s “Let Us Ride Together,” Roland Burke Hennessy’s “Ye Merry Cycle Song,” M.H. Bryant & Amy P. Foster’s “She Rides a Bike,” and Wm. Hogan’s “The Bicycle Girl” were published in 1894. M.A. Althouse’s “Penn Wheelmen March Two Step,” John Lloyd Whitney’s “The Century Run March,” A. Robarge’s “The Pittsfield Wheelmen,” M. Florence’s “Bloomer March - Two Step,” Samuel H. Speck’s “Hannah Go Hide Your Bloomers,” George J. Becker’s “The March of the Bloomers,” J.F. Davis’s “A Corker - Bicycle Song,” Margaret Rogers Knapp’s “Cycling Song,” R.W. Young’s “The Pike Belt March and Two Step,” Theo A. Metz’s “Get Your Lamps Lit,” F.E. Hutchings’s “The New Cycle Path March and Two-Step,” Charles Smith Tarbox’s “The United States Wheel March,” Harry J. Ballou’s “Climbing on My Golden Wheel,” David Reed, Jr.’s “Ridin' on de Golden Bike,” Gussie Davis’s “Since Hannah's Done Learned to Ride a Wheel,” O.A. Hoffmann’s “Have You a Wheel,” George Evans’s “Johannah, Is Your Heart Still,” Ward Sprague’s “Sparking on a Wheel,” Melvin Ward & Herman Perlêt’s “Sweetheart I Love None but You,” M. Stuart & Percy Gaunt’s “Spin 'Round,” Jess Danzig & Frank P. Banta’s “Wheeling, Wheeling or Love A-Wheel,” W. Murdoch Lind & George Rosey’s “You Don't Have to Marry the Girl,” Fred J. Hamill’s “A Romance of A Wheel,” Ray Brian’s “Keating Wheel March,” F.R. Gadd’s “On the Wheel - Mazurka-Waltz,” C.E. Stewart (Stuart)’s “The Bicycle Craze,” Frank R. Seltzer’s “The New Columbia March,” Alexander Crerar & A.H. Houghton’s “The Wheel,” Jas. L. Post & R.W. Edwards’s “Angel Grace and the Crimson Rim,” Joseph Louis MacEvoy’s “Mary Belle,” William Mulligan & Roy L. Burtch’s “Rosie Steel,” George A. Watts’s “The Bicycle Belle March,” Nettie M. Wagner & J. Carroll Chandler’s “The Bicycle Girl,” Fraser Grant & Geo. J. Southwick’s “The Cycling Maid or The Maid's the Thing,” Frank P. Banta’s “Wheelman's Patrol,” and Harrison E. Ruhe’s “Allen Wheelmen March and Two Step” were published in 1895. W.J. McIntyre’s “Brooklyn Bicycle Club March,” Theodore E. Brun’s “Cyclopia March,” C.E. Vandersloot’s “L.A.W. Waltzes,” W.L. Metz’s “Mercury Wheelmen March,” Olaf E. Pedersen’s “Turner Wheel Club March Two-Step,” S.G. Kiesling’s “The Black Diamond,” Grace L. Catlin’s “The Cycling Club March,” L.B. Smith’s “What Will the Girls Do Next?,” Leonard B. Marshall’s “Bicycle Song,” T.W. Connor’s “At My Time O’ Life,” Mrs. Harold A. Lee’s “Bicycle Parade March – Two-Step,” Henry Vaughn & Paul Rodney’s “Cycling Song,” Brandon Thomas & Edgar Thornton’s “The Wheel Galop” and “Speed the Wheel,” Billy Vassar & Will H. Friday’s “Under the Trees On The Cycle,” Cornelius Higgins’s “M'kinley and Hobart's Bicycle,” Chas. Quinn’s “Happy Little Coons,” Bruce M. Priddy’s “Cycler’s March,” T.J. Donoghue & Geo. E. Schaller’s “Give Me the Girl That Rides the Wheel,” Dave Reed Jr.’s “Little Zulu Lu, A Congo Elopement,” Frank Dun’s “Making Love on a Wheel,” E.T. Paull’s “New York and Coney Island Cycle March Two-Step,”  Adam Craig & John Quinn’s “Wheeling Together,” August Argauer’s “Wiener Volks Radfahrer,” J.M. Cody’s “Ben Hur March,” Fred W. Edgecomb’s “Frontenac Two-Step,” Tho. W. Jaquith & Otto Funk’s “He’s Got a Wheel,” Fred L. Moreland’s “The Cycle King,” Mrs. Geo. S. Hall’s “The Patee Bicycle March – (TwoStep),” Michl. F. Hayes & Mary Agnes Hayes’s “The Scorcher,” Walter B. Rogers’s “The Yellow Fever – Two-Step,” J.J. Alexander’s “Upa Tree March,” C. Ormsbee-Gregory’s “Bicycle Galop,” Dave Reed Jr.’s “Julienne,” Jas. S. Burdett/Geo. W. Day & Wm. H. Nelson’s “Mary Ann O’Grady and Her Bike,” Geo. K. Barrett & John Quinn’s “My Silent Steed,” Willie Younge & Eugene Barnett’s “Rhoda Rode a Roaster,” Lena R. Hulett’s “The Bicycle Girl,” T.P. Brooke’s “The Cycle Queen – Two Step for the Piano,” Eben E. Rexford & Bertram Harriot’s “The Cycler’s Song – ‘My Wheel for a Comrade’,” John J. McIntyre & Francis M. Paine’s “When You Teach a Pretty Girl to Ride a Bike,” and F. A. Wood & Joseph Knecht’s “When You’re Riding a Bike” were published in 1896. George J. Becker’s “Chain and Sprocket Club March,” M.A. Althouse’s “Electric Wheelmen – March and Two-Step,” Abe Wilsky’s “Fairhill Wheelmen – March and Two-Step,” L.O. De Witt’s “The Hobo – March and Two-Step,” Theo. J. Tinnette’s “Wheelmen’s Parade March,” Ramonda A. Browne & Charles Coleman’s “When the Boys and Girls go Wheeling,” Frederick J. Strachan’s “Winthrop Cycle Club – March and Two Step,” Myrtle R. Davis’s “Bicycle Race,” Eduard Holst’s “Bicycle Race Galop,” George Maywood’s “The Cyclists National Grand March and Two-Step,” F.A. Mills’s “The Pacers Two Step,” Harry B. Parker’s “White Flyer Two-Step,” W.H. Hodgins’s “Olive Waltzes,” Raymond A. Browne & Charles Coleman’s “Before She Went Back Home Again,” T.W. Connor’s “I’m Going to Ride a Bicycle,” Thomas W. Russell & Roy L. Burtch’s “Mike’s Got Wheels in His Head,” Matthews and Bulger’s “Willie’s Misfit Pants,” Ludwig André’s “Vorwärts - Voran! - Bicycle-Galop,” H.H. Godfrey’s “On Wings of Steel,” G.E. Conterno’s “The Bike Intermezzo,” D.W. Reeves’s “The Cycler’s March,” F. Ibach’s “The Neverout March – Two-Step,” J.S. Duss’s “Up To Date,” Jos. B. Carey’s “Melissy,” Chas. K. Champlin’s “My Little May,” Frank Banta’s “The Chaser – Two-Step,” Frederick Solomon’s “The Kid That Knows It All,” Harry LeRoy’s “When Riding Out with Nellie On My Bike,” Glendron Mfg. Co.’s “Glendron Bicycle Two-Step,” Geo. Maywood’s “King Klondike,” Fred Neddermeyer’s “The Columbus Bicycle March,” S.B. Alexander & Summit L. Hecht’s “The Roof-Garden Cycle Party,” Geo. L. Magill’s “Windsor Wheel Waltzes,” C.G. Cotes & Felix McGlennon’s “A Nice Situation for a Girl,” J.M. Richards’s “Bicycle Episode or The Pleasures of Wheeling ,” A. Tregina’s “Camille the Queen of the Wheel,” Nellie Burt’s “Dora Brown,” W.H. Gardner & Otto Langey’s “Queen of the Bicycle Girls,” George Rosey’s “Rosey’s Scorcher,” Raymond A Brown & Charles Coleman’s “The Jolly Girl from Gay Paree,” David Reed Jr. & George Rosey’s “The Pretty Little Scorcher,” and Jos. W. Stern & Co.’s “The Scorcher (March and TwoStep)” were published in 1897. A.R. Cunha’s “Bay City March – (Two-Step),” Frederick T. Strachan’s “Berkeley Cycle Club Two-Step,” Herbert F. Estes’s “C.B.C. March,” Harry E. Jeroy’s “The A.W.C. March,” John G. Schuler’s “The Crackajack March,” J.J. Scull’s “The Lebanon Bicycle Club – March Two Step,” James E. Hough’s “Off to the Races March and TwoStep,” Ludwig Mendelssohn’s “ Radelin (Bicycling),” Albert Hall & Orlando Powell’s “Dear Old Uncle Charlie,” Carl Howard & George Everard’s “I Knew,” D. Frank Tully’s “Coasting in the Moonlight,” Paul Webster Eaton & Minnie Boyd Upperman’s “Lily Crow,” Edmund Braham’s “The Winner – Two Step or Cake Walk for Piano,” Harry F. Sanders’s “Side by Side Two Step,” Gendron Mfg. Co.’s “Lizzy Hogan on Gendron Wheel,” Harry D. Laycock’s “While Riding My Wheel,” Frank Abbott & Henry Norman’s “Mary Ellen Simpkins’ Bike,” Harry B. Marshall’s “Rosie and Mamie,” L.E. West’s “The Cyclone March and TwoStep,” Theo A. Metz’s “The Scorcher – Galop Brilliante” and Manuel Klein’s “White Heather Two-Step” were published in 1898. Anth. J. Dick’s “The Cycle Race March,” Adam Geibel’s “Bicycle Waltz,” Lydia Avery & Jessie L. Gaynor’s “My Bicycle,” Samuel Speck’s “An Easy Mark Two Step,” Wallace Moody & Lee B. Grabbe’s “The Wench That Rides a Wheel,” John P. Harrington & Orlando Powell’s “We All Went Following On,” T.H. Ervin’s “American Wheelmen's March Two-Step,” George Wm. Needham’s “Good Roads Two Step March,” Harry Clay Tacy’s “L.A.W. March and Two-Step,” F.T. McGrath’s “A Breeze from Blackville - Cake Walk and Two Step,” W. Hedemann-Gade’s “I Mot - Och Medvind,” Ellis Brooks’s “A Florida Cracker,” and Arthur J. Lamb & Geo. Schleiffarth’s “When the Band Plays in the Park” were all published in 1899 -- to name but a few.


CYCLING SONGS IN THE AUTOMOBILE AGE

Happy (belated) birthday, Joe Orton

Posted by Eric Brightwell, January 2, 2013 05:14pm | Post a Comment

Yesterday, had he not died in 1967, would've been the 79th birthday of my favorite, English, comic playwright, Joe Orton (provided he didn't pass away for some other reason in the intermediate years).


Saffron Lane council estate being built in 1927

John Kingsley "Joe" Orton was born 1 January in Leicester to William A Orton and Elsie M Orton (n?e Bentley). Joe's father worked as a gardener for the Leicester County Borough Council whilst his mom was in footwear until tuberculosis (and the subsequent removal of a lung) led to an early retirement. When Joe was two his family moved from Clarendon Park to the Saffron Lane council estate where the family was soon rounded out by the addition of Douglas, Marilyn, and Leonie.

After several serious bouts of asthma, Orton left school and took a position as a junior clerk making £3 a week in 1947. Over the next couple of years he developed an interest in improving his physical state and in theater. In pursuit of the former he took up body building, in pursuit of the former he joined several dramatic societies and local, amateur productions. He also wished to continue his education and began attending Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London on scholarship in 1951.

At school Orton met a well-off aspiring writer, Kenneth Halliwell. The two fell in love and moved in together, sharing a flat in West Hampstead flat with two other students. After graduation, Orton worked for a stint as an assistant stage manager in Ipswich whilst Halliwell's work to him to Llandudno, Wales. When they both returned to London, they collaborated on several novels in imitation of Ronald Firbank. In 1957, when their last collaboration, The last days of Sodom was just as unpublished as their previous works, they decided to work solo. Orton wrote his first play, He wrote his first play, Fred and Madge, and his last novel, The vision of Gombold Proval, in 1959.

Continue reading...
BACK  <<  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  >>  NEXT