Saturday, December 16, 2006
This means, of course, that I can keep posting stuff at The Box ("The Box"?), which is by far the most convenient way to share music files. This is terrific of them.
Meanwhile, here's what my sheet music photos look like before I edit them, in the unlikely event you were wondering. Thank God for photo cropping:
We can see why the Lord invented same.
You know, Blogger is being really nice to me, as far as photo uploading is concerned. Of course, now that I've mentioned it, it's all over. It'll start screwing up again.
Me and my big mouth....
Friday, December 15, 2006
And the title page:
Two of the carols featured in the book--Holy Night, Peaceful Night and We Three Kings of Orient--are songs I would classify as hymns, since they're both from the 19th century. As opposed to a "real" carol like Good Christian Men, Rejoice, which dates from the 14th (words) and 15th (music) centuries, according to the terrific Cyberhymnal website.
Notice that the words and, to a very slight degree, the music of Holy Night are different than we expect (especially given that we know it as Silent Night). Notice the way the alto provides a harmony voice above the soprano on the final two notes (observe the stem directions):
We Three Kings, however, is the version we know and love:
The rest of the carols don't ring a bell, except for Silent Night, Peaceful Night, which has nothing to do with the Silent Night we know, melodically or lyrically. Then there's What Child Is This, with familiar words but an unfamiliar melody.
Coolest carol title: Tune Your Harps for Holy Song. The XMas carols are followed by a number of Easter (!) carols.
Earlier on, the hymnal features many familiar Christmas hymns, including Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, It Came Upon the Midnight Clear, and Hail! Thou Long Expected Jesus. There's also the once-popular Christians, Awake, Salute the Happy Morn, which I featured in a 78 rpm file by The Trinity Choir.
This is one of the coolest hymnals in my collection.
Ah, I love sounding like an expert when I barely know squat about the subject. The history of Christmas music is so complicated, it's not funny....
Of the Art photos at the site, this one, from 1940, most resembles my dad:
What's really spooky is that Art's handwriting looks a lot like mine. Spookier, I share his birthday--May 22.
Yet, I've never had any desire to race.
Never mind. It's too late.
I can't believe CaptainOT put the whole LP on line. The whole LP being Alex Houston (ventriloquist) and Elmer's (dummy) album Here Comes Peter Cotton Claus. A year back, I shared the title track but couldn't bear to share ("bear to share"?) anything else. Maybe I was being selfish. But it felt noble at the time.
Anyway, you can get the entire Alex and Elmer effort at A Christmas Yuleblog , along with some compact and funny comments about the album. Thanks, Captain OT, for doing what I couldn't bring myself to do. And I don't mean that ironically. Someone had to share this thing in its glorious entirety. ACY has made up for my lack of courage. Do check out ACY--some truly amazing XMas stuff shows up there.
Though, again, it did feel noble at the time. As if I were saving the world from itself. (Cowards, as a rule, are excellent rationalizers.)
Meanwhile, here's a rerun of the stressed-out Santa Lee photo:
I wonder if I should make it my blog photo for the moment....
And please feel free to comment on my latest novelty effort. And remember, "lame" is spelled "w-o-n-d-e-r-f-u-l."
Thursday, December 14, 2006; 9:38 PM
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Ahmet Ertegun, a Turkish diplomat's son whose passion for America's black music inspired him to launch Atlantic Records and the careers of acts ranging from Ray Charles to Aretha Franklin, died in New York on Thursday, the record label said. He was 83.
Atlantic said the tireless socialite and deal-maker had been in a coma at Weill Cornell Medical Center since October, when he slipped backstage at a New York concert by the Rolling Stones, who recorded for the label during the 1970s.
"The soul of Ahmet Ertegun will forever be our guiding spirit, and as long as there is an Atlantic Records, it will be Ahmet Ertegun's company," said Craig Kallman, the chairman and Chief executive of the Warner Music Group Corp. unit.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee's 60-year career was unrivaled in its longevity and depth. Along the way, the bald, goateed bon vivant became a superstar cutting a dashing figure in the world's best ballrooms and seediest nightclubs.
One night he would hobnob with high-powered friends like Henry Kissinger and David Geffen and speak in his aristocratic accent. The next, he would relate unprintable anecdotes to impressionable young rock stars he was trying to sign to the label, outdrinking them in the process.
"He had the regard of the musicians in a way no other executive has ever had, because of his own deep musicality and abilities and his legendary appetite for the music life," said Jann Wenner, editor and publisher of Rolling Stone magazine.
Added rock producer Rick Rubin: "Regardless of who else came to the party, if Ahmet was there, he was the coolest guy in the room. The world is a remarkably better place thanks to Ahmet's vision.
Atlantic's roster included huge stars: Professor Longhair, the Drifters, Led Zeppelin, Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett, Cream, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Dusty Springfield, Genesis, AC/DC, the Bee Gees, Bette Midler, the Allman Brothers Band, the Three Tenors, Hootie and the Blowfish, Kid Rock, James Blunt, and Gnarls Barkley.
Launched in 1947 as a short-term outlet for Ertegun's fixation with the jazz and blues that was largely unknown to most Americans, Atlantic has grown into one of the world's biggest record companies. Ertegun was founding chairman, surviving various ownership changes since he and his partners sold the label in 1967 for $20 million.
He was one of the first recording executives to sell music by black artists to white youngsters looking for something exciting in the conformist Eisenhower era of the 1950s, and in so doing, he helped pioneer rock 'n' roll. Recordings by sophisticated urban singers such as Ruth Brown, LaVern Baker and the Clovers, struck more of a chord with mainstream buyers than the raw blues emanating from Chicago.
"From gospel, blues and jazz emerged R&B and rock & roll, the most popular music of all time," Ertegun wrote in 1997. "No music of any other country travels worldwide. Thanks to Black America for our great art form."
Atlantic solidified its status as the dominant label of its time when it partnered in the 1960s with Memphis-based Stax Records to bring southern soul musicians such as Redding, Sam & Dave, Isaac Hayes and Booker T. & the MGs to worldwide fame.
In the seventies rock acts Led Zeppelin and the Rolling Stones joined the roster. During the 1990s, Hootie and the Blowfish's debut album "Cracked Rear View" became the biggest selling debut in the label's history.
Ertegun was also closely associated with the Three Tenors, the superstar combo of Luciano Pavarotti, Placido Domingo and Jose Carreras.
He was born in Istanbul, Turkey, on July 31, 1923. His father, a lawyer, served as Turkish ambassador in Switzerland, France, England and the United States.
With his older brother Nesuhi, he explored the black underbelly of the nation's capital, soaking up the forbidden culture. They quickly amassed more than 20,000 78 rpm records.
Realizing that he knew more about music than most label owners, he co-founded Atlantic in 1947 with blues expert Herb Abramson and a $10,000 loan from a Turkish dentist. Its first smash was a 1948 rerecording by bluesman Stick McGhee of the novelty ditty "Drinking Wine, Spo-Dee-O-Dee."
Nesuhi came aboard in 1956, and established the jazz division, producing the likes of John Coltrane, Charles Mingus, Ornette Coleman, and the Modern Jazz Quartet. He died in 1989.
One key to Atlantic's early success was its artist-friendly nature. When Ray Charles, who signed to Atlantic in 1953, was on the road and felt inspired to record, Ertegun and producer Jerry Wexler would fly out to him. Thus were born such gems as "I've Got A Woman" and "What'd I Say."
Charles left for richer pastures in 1959, but remained devoted to Ertegun, until his death in 2004.
"Anything he would ask me to do, I would do it," Charles told Vanity Fair in 1998. "I love him to death."
Ertegun and his second wife, Romanian-born interior designer Mica had no children. The avid collectors had homes in Manhattan, the Hamptons, Paris and Turkey. He will be buried during a private ceremony in Turkey, and a memorial service will be held in New York next year.
© 2006 Reuters
"What? So soon????"--Santa Lee, in shock
Here's a MY(P)WHAE original: Christmas Is Coming Again, Ha-Haaa!! by yours truly.
Well, maybe not so original. It does follow the Jerry Samuels classic more than a little, but it's a parody, so this is entirely appropriate. I'm only the 100th person or so to ape that great novelty record (They're Coming to....).
In order to multi-track this one, I had to burn the percussion track to CD and listen to it on headphones while I read the text over it. Then I lined up the two tracks (vocal and beat) on MAGIX, one atop the other.
I made some more track additions along the way, saving each take as a single file, thus enabling me to overdub again. At one point, I cried out (to no one in particular), "Stop me before I overdub again!!" The beauty of layering sound in digital is that no audio loss happens. It's just amazing.
Christmas Is Coming Again, Ha-Haaa!! (Samuels-Hartsfeld), Lee Hartsfeld, HP Pavilion (2006).
Good grief--the big day's just around the corner, isn't it? Sure wouldn't know it from the weather around our parts. I should take some photos of the lack of snow....
Rosie, dreaming of a catnip Christmas.
Thursday, December 14, 2006
So, I had this post all written and ready to go, and Internet Explorer announced that it needed to close. It was sorry for any inconvenience.
What wonderful timing.
And, so, we try again. (Thank God it wasn't a long post!!) Anyhow, here are four kiddie-Christmas classics. There were going to be five until I realized I'd already posted the fifth title. Helllllllo.
Earth to Lee. Come in, Lee.
We have the talented Sun Tones singing the lovely but depressing The Little Boy That Santa Claus Forgot. The performance is from the early 1960s, I'm guessing. The song was written in 1937. This is the first Barbershop rendition of the tune I've ever heard.
The Lennon Sisters, Grace Lynn Martin, and Tex Ritter round out the bill. I kid you not.
(Don't even think about blinking out again, I.E.!!!!!)
The Little Boy That Santa Claus Forgot--The Sun Tones. From LP A Touch of Gold.
Santa Claus Is Here Again--The Lennon Sisters with Lawrence Welk, 1956. From Coral label LP. (Fun with public-domain tunes, part 500)
Ole Tex Kringle--Tex Ritter. From Capitol LP set.
Activity Songs for Christmas (Ruth White)--Grace Lynn Martin. From 33 and 1/3 EP.
That last medley was delightfully arty, ilo (in Lee's opinion). Stuff for kids used to be. Then came Sesame Street. Nothing against SS, by any means, but I kind of prefer the older, more formal stuff. Just me.
I might feel differently if I were of the Sesame Street generation, I guess.
(I was never a fan. Please don't hate me.)
I'd forgotten all about the classic "They're Coming to Tow Me Away" BP commercial from 1997. I remembered that I had videotaped it, and, sure enough, there it was in my pile o' tapes. All I had to do was feed the audio into my HP.
Meanwhile, E.T. Claus says "Hi!"
They're Coming to Tow Me Away (1997 BP ad)
I hope that's not a foretaste of winter weather to come....
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
As you know from several essays at this site, my downloading bandwidth has been getting used like never before during Halloween and, now, Christmas. I've literally never seen it disappear this fast, AND I've been putting about half of my files at Savefile.com. So, we're talking a record number of downloads.
Which SHOULD translate to much bigger than usual site-visit numbers, right?
I've picked up about 20,000 visits for two months, which is about normal. Around September, I said to my foster mom, "I should hit half a million, easy." And I should have. My counter should be past 500,000 right now, judging by the unprecedented number of d/l's. Think about it--if I average 10,000 visits a month, this increased activity should have me two or three times past that figure. For two months, I should have enjoyed 60,000, not 20,000.
So what's happening?
The only possible conclusion: others are using my files without sending people back here. In other words, other folks are enjoying the site hits that should be registering at my blog. Nothing else could explain the incredible d/l activity NOT being reflected by my site counter. Granted, I've taken to downloading entire folders, but there should still be a considerable bump in the numbers.
Now, I don't mind people using my stuff, not so long as they link to MY BLOG and not directly to the files. But that must be what's happening. That's Aaron's guess (Aaron, the main guy at Box.net). Of course, I have no way of proving any of this--I can't document where the Box.net visits are emanating from. But a good half of them aren't coming from here.
The bottom line is, I should have something to show for my success, and my site counter is it. Take that away, and I'm pretty much working for nothing. I do a lot of work during these two holidays, and I'm not about to continue if the credit for my work, in effect, is being swiped. That's unacceptable.
I haven't decided whether to cut down my posting activities for Halloween and XMas or simply stop altogether. The latter is the last thing I want to do, but neither should I have to watch my site numbers--the most reliable measure of blog success--go to others. I did the work; they didn't. They may not have a problem with that, but I do.
So, that's my rant. We'll be going back to mp3s now, though this may well be the last year I work this hard. Please try to see it from my point of view. The numbers are the least I deserve for having such a successful two-month posting period.
I want my counter back!!!
Enough of this. More sounds to come.
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
So, the Have a Merry, Merry, Etc. Christmas on my Ruth Lyons LP is the same recording as the Fraternity label 45 I shared last post. Cool. I've listened to four or five LP tracks, and I love them. I'll need to find a decent copy, which shouldn't be hard, as Ruth's stuff shows up all the time, thrift-wise.
Ruth hosted WLW's The 50-50 Club on radio and TV, writing a new Christmas song for the program each year. Far out. WLW being the famous Cincinnati, Ohio radio station. This was "before my time," which is why I didn't know who Ruth was--beyond the fact that her name was familiar with thrift store records and who know where else.
Here's an excellent write-up on Ruth.
Singer Ruby Wright, who was a King label recording star at one point, started out as a big band singer with Barney Rapp in the 1930s. Here's a cool photo of Ruby with Barney and his orchestra.
Yikes--I misspelled "Cincinnati." Thanks, Spell Check.
Monday, December 11, 2006
Well, ten mp3 files but twelve titles. So, I reckon I lied.
I hope Santa can forgive me.
Anyhow, some cool stuff here. "Here" being Savefile.com. Click here to get to the "Ten Christmas Classics" folder.
'Twas the Night Before Christmas and My First Christmas Tree are from the same LP (Merry Christmas! on the Treasure label) that gave us Santa Claus Is Flying Through the Sky. No artists are credited, but (to quote Plan 9 from Outer Space) SOMEBODY'S responsible! I don't mean that accusatorially, as I like these sides. A little over-quaint, but why not?
Have a Merry, Merry, Merry, Merry XMas, written by Ruth Lyons, is a terrific 1957 track that shows up constantly in the local thrifts, and which I've owned at least two copies of, and which I never listened to until... yesterday. Strange but true. And I'm glad I listened to it. Ruby Wright is the singer, and she seems to be associated with Lyons, but I haven't had time to look any of this up yet. However, today I found a beat-up copy of a Lyons LP containing this track, or another version of it (probably the latter). So, looks like Ruby and Ruth worked together. Maybe there was a Ruth Lyons Show on TV.
I won't know anything until I cyber-check it out.
Perry Como's 1968 Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas is my favorite version of this lovely song, hands-down. Judy Garland's original version is a close second. I should dig that one out.
And, um.... Les Baxter, The Lewis Family, Fred Waring, and Ken Griffin are here to entertain us, with the Lewis Family making an encore appearance with Eddy Arnold and Jenny Lou Carson's C-H-R-I-S-T-M-A-S. The other tracks, I believe, are making their first appearances at this joint. The 1966 Waring track A Caroling We Go was penned by Johnny Marks, who of course also gave us Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree, and A Holly, Jolly Christmas.
It's Christmas Again, Peppermint Lane, and If I Were Santa Claus were penned by Mary Peacock (that's her on the piano) for an annual Moorestown, NJ holiday celebration. Mary died in 2003 at the age of 98. Her obit notes that she "worked in radio in its early days and went on to be listed in the International Who's Who in Music." Cool. The performers are The Music Department of the Woman's Club of Moorestown, as directed by Jill Boswell.
I found this terrific 45 rpm EP in a Columbus, Ohio thrift. "Custom Made by RCA-Victor Division of Radio Corp. of America for the Music Department of the Woman's Club of Moorestown" says the label. It sounds as if it were recorded on tape from some distance away--I boosted the upper mid-range to push the sound out. Not bad fidelity, really.
Mary's compositions are very skillfully done and charmingly old-fashioned, which is to say they're just perfect for the holiday at hand. I'm happy to have found these.
Here's the list:
'Twas the Night Before Christmas--Somebody on the Treasure label.
Have a Merry, Merry, Merry, Merry Christmas (Ruth Lyons)--Ruby Wright with Cliff Lash and His Orchestra and The Dick Noel Singers, 1957. From Fraternity label 45.
My First Christmas Tree--Same folks.
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas (Martin-Blane)--Perry Como, Ray Charles Singers, Nick Perito, 1968. From The Perry Como Christmas Album on RCA.
Christmas (a.k.a. C-H-R-I-S-T-M-A-S) (Carson-Arnold), The Lewis Family, 1981. From Country Christmas on Canaan Records.
Hang Your Wishes on the Tree--Les Baxter's Chorus and Orchestra, 1952. From Capitol comp.
Kringle's Jingle (Griffin)--Ken Griffin, organ, 1955. From Skating Time.
It's Christmas Again/Peppermint Lane/If I Were Santa Claus (Peacock)--Music Department of the Woman's Club of Moorestown, directed by Jill Boswell. Mary Peacock on piano.
A Caroling We Go (Johnny Marks)--Fred Waring and the Pennsylvanians, 1966. From MCA LP.
Bright, Bright the Holly Berries (Music and arrangement by Alfred Burt), Fred Waring and the Pennsylvanians, 1966.
("What... time is it?"--Your blogger, just before falling asleep on his HP keyboard.)
Better plan: let's do it tomorrow.
Sunday, December 10, 2006
It wasn't my intention to look evil in that photo. It's just hard to hold any kind of decent pose in a mirror while precisely lining up the camera. For me, anyway.
Self-photos taken in a mirror are bound to look dumb, I reckon. It's merely a matter of how dumb. At least there's no flash reflection. That's because I didn't use a flash. (Clever, clever)
I look like Atom Man from a Superman serial I just watched. TCM showed it. Lyle Talbot was Atom Man. They had him as bald as... me.
At first, I thought it had been movie-ized from the TV show, because the Lois Lane actress looked the same. Or like one of them--I guess there were two (or three?) Lanes on the TV show. I saw one of them in person at a late-'70s Star Trek convention in Michigan. The Jimmy Olsen actor was there, too. My friend Richard bought a 16mm trailer for The Day the Earth Stood Still. I hope he held onto it--that might fetch $$ on eBay. Or it might not.
His winning bid was around $20. Believe it or not. Lois and Jimmy looked confused by the lack of interest in the item. But I seem to remember that sci-fi collectibles weren't big money yet. At the same convention, for example, I paid two dollars for the Outer Limits preview issue of Famous Monsters.
So, I have not heard back from Box.net. And the bandwidth continues to vanish. (Ominous music, fade) Hopefully, I'll hear from them after the weekend.
Meanwhile, while the b/w holds up, here are The Robert Shaw Chorale from 1945 or 1946: