Saturday, September 03, 2011
This turned up fairly recently at one of the local Goodwills, and it's superb in every way, from the world-class haromizing to the brilliant "Living Stereo" fidelity. Produced in 1959 by the gifted, much-maligned-by-NPR Chet Atkins. I love this to death, even if, instead of Lily of the Valley, they give us He's the Lily of the Valley (different tune and words). Who's complaining? Not me.
After listening to two efforts by these guys, I'm convinced they were incapable of waxing a bad track. The members on these tracks, according to the back jacket, are Lily Fern Weatherford, Earl Weatherford, Armond Morales, and Glen Payne. Accompanist is Henry Slaughter, who composed the opening number, What a Precious Friend Is He.
Here's a scan of the credits: Credits. My Epson made the back jacket look mildewed, but it isn't--those are just age marks, darkened considerably. I've even touched them up a bit. My scanner has added new meaning to the phrase "detail I never imagined." Or, in some cases, never wanted!
To the gospel: The Weatherford Quartet--In the Garden (RCA Victor LSP-2034; 1959).
Thursday, September 01, 2011
Okay, I exaggerate--one in every seven. Which is great, since she's terrific. A few years (at this very blog), I panned her "How cool is that?" HughesNet commercial, which showed up constantly on (I think) MSNBC, and she left a friendly, funny note here. Of course, I felt a little bad about the pan, since my annoyance with the ad was with the ad, not her--she was quite good. I was just projecting my ad-spot fatigue. And who hasn't done that from time to time?
And she's been quite good in a number of other TV spots, too--I swear I've counted five new ones recently. By now, when I say to Bev, "There's Margaret Easley!" she doesn't ask, "Who?"
Wow--Rent-a-Center, Eggo, Fidelity, Travelocity, and something else I thought I saw her in. She must be making a good living. She's on Facebook and, of course, has a website: Margaret Easley News & Stuff.
I'd "Like" her Facebook page (i.e., press the "Like" button), but I left Facebook, so I reckon I can't. Anyway, I will continue to grant her spots the highest honor I have to give in my capacity as a viewer--by keeping them on the "no-mute" list.
Oh, and she's an animal person! How cool is that?
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
"In attempting to reconcile scientific truth with the oldest traditions of humanity, there is but one serious danger, the loss of intellectual integrity."
Familiar science-vs.-religion cliches of our day, both. Who wrote them?
"But if science said one thing and authoritative tradition said another, no perfectly ingenuous person could rest contented until he had either reconciled the two or decidedly rejected one of them."
Familiar science-vs.-religion cliches of our day, both. Who wrote them?
A. Richard Dawkins, 2007.
B. Sam Harris, 2005.
C. Carl Sagan, 1991.
D. Daniel Dennet, 2009.
E. Philip Gilbert Hamerton, 1885.
E? Philip Gilbert Hamerton, 1885? Yes! How did you guess?
Amazing, isn't it, that a popular collection of essays from 126 years ago (and still in print, oddly enough) would contains staples of modern, best-selling atheism and secularism? Or maybe it only goes to show that some pop myths are old as the hills, especially the ones we label new and daring.
The book is Intellectual Life, and my thrifted copy is the 1885 edition, as noted above. It's hilarious reading, partly because of the pompous and occasionally incomprehensible prose, but mostly because its take on religion is identical to the modern "case" against faith. For instance, just as Daniel Dennett feels that religion "has the power to overwhelm our best judgment and cloud our critical faculties," Hamerton, 100-plus years ago, warned that "If once we admit disingenuousness into the mind, the intellectual life is no longer serene and pure." The modern superstition of reason polluted and ruined by "authority," superstition, fantasy, etc. isn't modern, after all.
This 19th century text borders on self-help/self-improvement, which is why I bought it--mainly, I was hoping to find older examples of positive-thinking and use-every-portion-of-your-brain folklore. Instead, I ended up with a kinder and gentler blueprint for the anti-faith movement of our day, wherein religion is reduced to the belief in things that defy science; factual/demonstrable truth is treated as the only kind; religious dogma is portrayed as the enemy of progress; and so on. In our era, such mass-declared sentiments are viewed as controversial, but how can they be if they're all over a best-selling 1887 volume? Is it rational to treat ideas as novel and controversial which predate our great grandparents?
Oh, and author Hamerton also treats morality as something consistent with intellect--as in, smarter=more moral. Apparently, The Skeptical Inquirer didn't invent that idea.
I've been having disturbing flashbacks to those days, not too long ago, when our White House virtually existed to cozy up to Big Oil, among other rich and powerful lobbies. I see images of peaceful protesters being hauled off by police. I watch an administration deaf to the voices of the people. I see....
Oh, wait. That's today's news. Never mind.
"Nope--don't want to hear it."
In other words, seventy-eights. Eleven of them, from ragtime banjo to a saxophone sextette to a racist barbershop classic. Not, mind you, a classic written in a racist barbershop, but a close-harmony standard which happens to be racist, like so many numbers (say, 30 percent) of the ragtime, barbershop, and early jazz periods. For a while, I avoided putting up stuff like this, but such lyrics are so common to the period, I've had to relax my policy. The past is what it is. (Or was, anyway.) The number in question--a 1917 version of 1901's Way Down Yonder in the Cornfield--is musically amazing, and its race-insult factor is par for the period, whether we're talking 1917 or 1901. File under: What "Good Old" Days?
And sorry about the surface noise--the disc is pretty beat up, though you're not hearing the worst of the crackle and hiss. I have, and it's not pretty. (My therapist ordered me to listen to "clean" discs for five weeks by way of recovery.) In other news, Limehouse Nights, an early Gershwin number, is an absolute gem, and I love the sound of the saxophone sextette, a sound which took me a good while to properly balance. I think it took three overlays of parametric EQing to get right. It might help if my MAGIX program had a "de-mud" setting.
One title is totally out of place, period-wise--1951's Beyond the Blue Horizon, as recorded by Hugo Winterhalter's orchestra and chorus. But it happened to be in the bunch, and you, my listeners, are no strangers to quirky track lists. Or you'd have fled the premises long ago....
To the shellac: Happy Six, more!
SNAKE HIPS--Original Memphis Five (Victor 19052; 1923)
BEYOND THE BLUE HORIZON--Hugo Winterhalter's O. and Cho. (RCA Victor 20-4288; 1951)
WAY DOWN YONDER IN THE CORNFIELD--Columbia Stellar Q. (Columbia A-2427; 1917)
SUDAN--The Happy Six (Columbia A-2934; 1920)
MY SAHARA ROSE--Same.
CHICKEN CHOWDER--Ossman-Dudley Trio (Banjo, Mandolin, Harp-Guitar) (Columbia A-220; 1907)
POLICY KING MARCH--Vess L. Ossman, banjo solo w. orch. (Same 78).
DOLLY I LOVE YOU--The Happy Six (Columbia A-3330; 1920)
YOU'RE JUST LIKE A ROSE--Prince's Dance Orch. (Same 78)
LIMEHOUSE NIGHTS--One-Step (Gershwin)--Columbia Saxophone Sextette (Columbia A-2876; 1920)
Sunday, August 28, 2011
Check out the label: "Gospel Quartette." Check. "QC 127." Check. Lastly, a track listing. Check. Now you know as much about this record as I do!
This gem showed up at the thrift store in the wrong jacket, so all I know is what we see. This disc might set some kind of record for lack of information. Luckily, the music is excellent--very old-fashioned Southern quartet singing, with a superior group of tunes. In spots, "Gospel Quartette" reminds me of Smith's Sacred Singers, though these tracks are obviously 40 to 50 years younger. Thank you, Gospel Quartette, for one of my funnest and most interesting finds.
To the gospel: Gospel Quartette.zip
THE LOVE OF GOD
PASS ME NOT
IT'S DIFFERENT NOW
OH LORD OF MERCY
OH HOW I LOVE JESUS
HE'LL PILOT ME
JUST A LITTLE TALK WITH JESUS
DEAR JESUS, ABIDE WITH ME
A BEAUTIFUL LIFE
(Gospel Quartette, QC 127)