Polish Music

30 07 2010

As I’m heading back to Poland (Ohio) see me Mum, a flurry of old friends have surfaced.  Turns out it’s about the same time as a reunion of my elder brother’s high school class.  You may think that Poland Seminary High School is only famous for an assassinated president (McKinley) or the advertising genius who bought the world, “I Love New York,” “Plop Plop Fizz Fizz.” and “‘I can’t believe I ate the whole thing’ (Mary Wells, née Berg, of Wells, Rich & Green) but it’s also homeroom to a few bits of odd musical history.

An old galpal’s older bro once touched the stars in his summer of fun…

Doug Braun recently sent this pic and and few words: “Forgot the details.  I took this photo of Mike Love & Dennis Wilson while working with their tour back in the summer of 1968.  We did 14 U.S. cities with Gary Puckett and the Union Gap and the Human Bienz from Youngstown, Ohio.  We enjoyed short friendships while all working together.  There where two large tour buses for the lighting and sound crews. The performers traveled by air and limo’s.  We had one of the first Winnabago motor homes and a large Ford van.  We drove city to city seeing the country often driving non-stop to the next gig.  I helped with the driving and stage responsibilities. It was GREAT!!!  Got to know everyone on a first name basis.  Enjoy.”

Now the drummer for the, “Nobody but Me,” Human Beinz was Mike Tatman (perfect name for a drummer), who went to Poland, and later married Christie (won’t be in Poland, because she had so many children she didn’t know what to do – so she went to England) who was Poland’s Prom Queen (…and I, ahem, uh, was King).  They were the reigning local heroes.  Live music was rare, mostly Bowling Alley dances, The Roller Rink and nights at the Carousel Teen Club.

“Beinz.” “Georgan.”  Nobody can spell in Ohio.

Then there was the Record Rendezvous, a rich mahogany paneled record store in downtown Youngstown (“Murder City USA” headlined the Saturday Evening Post!).  It had booths with glass at the top, and wood below, and you could slide down and sit on the floor, and no one could see you.  The perfect Sat was taking a bus downtown, bowling or shooting pool, shopping for junk and used clothing and food in the Black section of town, or maybe lunch with my Pop who had his business there, then a movie (at the original Warner’s Theater) and then about an hour or two waiting for a ride home at the Rendezvous.   Sadly, musically it was slim pickens.  About my strongest memory was digging into the C&W section and playing Marty Robbins’ Gunfighter record.  Well, at least until they kicked me out after about six runthroughs.  I’ve since learned that the “Vous” was a chain out of Cleveland, and the owner, Leo Mintz, convinced Alan Freed to play race records on the air, hand-fed him what Black kids were buying from his store, and may have coined the term, “rock’n’roll”.

One of the records I actually bought at this store, turns out to one of the rarest at the ARChive.  Here it is with the original price tag.  Last auction price over $12,000.  Better than stocks!

You see when Capitol US was offered the first Beatles album, they passed.  Hated the look.  Hated the music.  So a small Black label out of Gary, Indiana, Vee-Jay, took a chance.  The Beatleboys did OK, and Capitol said they were just kidding.

Interviewers often ask, “What was the first record you ever bought?”  Well, I have no idea.  But I do remember the first LP I ever stole.  It was World Without Love by Peter and Gordon.  I had about a 3 month run as an amateur booster (“Please lock me away…”), and my partner in crime was Sverre Falck-Pedersen (he’ll be in Poland this weekend, and mispronouncing his name was endless fun).  He says he stole it, not me, but he’s wrong.  We had decided to start stealing LPs one August.  Not so much because we were music lovers, but that they were big and difficult to hide under summer clothes…





Friends, Encounters + Wished I Met

22 01 2010

Easing into the new year, slowly.

An old friend, Richard Fleming, aka DJ Richard Nixon, has worked his obsessions (music, hiking, the Caribbean, birding, photography) into a wonderful new book and photographic gallery show.   I first met Rich in Cartegena, Colombia in the early 90s at a music festival, and he has kept in touch, at one point cataloging many of his rarer reggae records for the ARC.  The book is a great read (Walking to Guantánamo, Commons, cloth, 351pp, 2008, ISBN: 978-0-9814579-1-8), and if you are anywhere near New Orleans you can see some of the pics he took on his trip.

Accompanying test :  “I met Dagoberto Manzo in Matanzas, sitting on a stool in front of his house, sanding the neck of an acoustic guitar. You can see the sawdust on the floor. As soon as I expressed an interest in music, he put that job down and rushed into the house to get one of his prize creations, a double-necked tres and acoustic-guitar combo that he claimed is the only one of its kind in Cuba.”

he show is at the Antenna Gallery 3161 Burgundy St. in the Bywater.   Runs until Feb 7.

An even older, more tenuous link to people and places in Louisiana was at a recent concert by Joel Savoy and David Greeley.   About the same time I met Rich I was writing a piece about the Festival de Louisiane in Lafayette for Billboard.  One side trip included a sit on the porch of musicians Mark and Ann Savoy,  Off to the side was lil’ Joel.  All grown up now, he was in New York doing workshops and concerts, the one Patrice and I saw them perform this January at  Scott Kettner‘s studio in Brooklyn.  This was a house concert, about twenty people in an intimate setting, pretty rare these days.  P. fiddles a bit, knows so much more than me about the music, and has taken a workshop with both Joel and David in the past.  Here’s some of her comments:

  • It’s rare to hear two Cajun fiddles without accordion…in the old style.  Each has a distinct personal style: David seemed the more traditional player, recounting how he had the privilege of learning tunes from old timers like Dennis McGee. Joel has a special knack for playing around with the chords, using the choppy Cajun bowing style to keep the beat in motion. In Savoy’s hands the fiddle almost sounds like it has bellows, which may come from growing up with the sound of his dad’s (Mark Savoy) accordion.
  • Another feature of the Greeley–Savoy duo is the perfection of their intonation…….especially in minor-key tunes like a waltz that was dedicated to a dead calf.  They mention how proud they were that they could end a tune on different notes…apparently not a common accomplishment among Cajun fiddlers.
  • Although today’s Cajun dances are usually a two-step and a waltz, they played a couple of Cajun polkas…quirky off-beat tunes that might have confused dancers at a bohemian beer-hall.  Originally, there were a lot more dances (Greely called it a “rond de danse” or round of dances), that the musicians would have to play for a dance night.

You can see Scott on Brasilian percussion with David Greeley here.

Lastly, Kate McGarrigle has died.  Never met her.  Last live listen about 10 ft away, a few summers ago when she and sister Anna, assorted kin and Emmylou Harris played a free concert in Tribeca.  Still remember their reluctantly offered-always asked to play, Heart Like A Wheel, the piercing voice and stabbing lyric.

“They say that death is a tragedy
It comes once and it’s over
But my only wish is for that deep dark abyss
‘Cause what’s the use of living with no true lover”





Louis Louie – We Gotta Go Now…

17 02 2009

Louie or Louis, depending on which LP you’re looking at, or Luigi Paulino Alfredo Francesco Antonio Balassoni if you check with the county clerk, died on Valentines.  He was 84. He was a two-footer, using two bass drums, this big bang making the descriptive ‘drum explosion’ more than a marketing ploy.  He married Pearly Bailey, which was great, and brave for both of them.  He supported Richard Nixon which was a mistake.  He did these incredible drum ‘battles’ stunts vs. Buddy Rich, and he claimed Duke Ellington claimed him as the greatest drummer in the world.  You should be so lucky.

Here’s a cover that’s not in Google Images to enjoy.

bellson

And as Styne says on the back of this LP, “…the beat predominates, which is always best for me.”

Recordings @ ARC where Bellson is top cat:
• Louie Bellson.   150 Miles Per Hour  (Concord Jazz, USA, CJ 36, 12″, vinyl disc-LP, 1977)
• Louie Bellson Big Band.   Dynamite!  (Concord Jazz, USA, CJ 105, 12″, vinyl disc-Lp, 1980)
• Louie Bellson And His Jazz Orchestra.   East Side Suite  (Music Masters, 60161T, 5″, compact disc, 1989)
• Louie Bellson and His Jazz Orchestra.   Hot  (Music Masters, CIJD 20160Z, 12″, vinyl disc-LP, 1988 )
• Louie Bellson And His Jazz Orchestra.   Hot  (Music Masters, CIJD 60160X, 5″, compact disc)
• Louie Bellson / Ray Brown / Paul Smith.   Intensive Care  (Pausa, USA, PR 7167, 12″, vinyl disc-Lp, 1984)
• Louie Bellson/Blue Mitchell.   Jam With Blue Mitchell  (Milestone, USA, 802, 5″, compact disc, )
• Louis Bellson and the Oscar Peterson Trio.   Jazz Giants ’58  (Verve, USA, V-8248, 12″, vinyl disc-LP, )
• The Louie Bellson Quartet.   Live at Joe Segal’s Jazz Showcase  (Concord Jazz, USA, CJ-350, 12″, vinyl disc-Lp, 1988 )
• Louie Bellson Big Band.   London Scene  (Concord Jazz, USA, CJ-157, 12″, vinyl disc-LP, 1981)
• Louie Bellson.   Louie Bellson’s 7  (Concord Jazz, USA, CJ 25, 12″, vinyl disc-LP, 1976)
• Louie Bellson.   Louie Bellson Explosion  (Milestone, USA, 728, 5″, compact disc)
• Louis Bellson.   The Louis Bellson Explosion  (Pablo, USA, 2310-755, 12″, vinyl disc-Lp, 1975)
• Louis Bellson.   Louis Bellson Swings Jule Styne  (Verve, USA, MG V-2131, 12″, vinyl disc-Lp, n.d.)
• The Louie Bellson Drum Explosion.   Matterhorn  (Pablo, USA, 2310 834, 12″, vinyl disc-Lp, 1979)
• Louie Bellson & Explosion.   Note Smoking  (Discwasher Recordings, DR 002 DD, 12″, vinyl disc-Lp, 1978 )
• Louie Bellson.   Peaceful Thunder  (BMG, 01612-65074-2, 5″, compact disc, 1992)
• Louie Bellson.   Prime Time  (Concord Jazz, USA, CJ 64, 12″, vinyl disc-Lp, 1978 )
• Louie Bellson & Quintet.   Salute   (2 CD set)  (Chiaroscuro Records, 329, 5”, compact disc, 2002)
• Louie Bellson & the “Explosion” Orchestra.   Sunshine Rock  (Pablo, USA, 2310 813, 12″, vinyl disc-Lp, 1978 )
• Louis Bellson.   Thunderbird  (Jasmine, UK, JAS 40, 12″, vinyl disc-LP, date?)

Where Louis’s name is on the cover :
• Count Basie   [Oscar Peterson, Freddie Green, Ray Brown, Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen, Louis Bellson, John Heard].   Basie and Friends  (Pablo, USA, 2310-925, 12″, vinyl disc-Lp, 1988 )
• Duke Ellington and His Orchestra.   Ellington Uptown  (Columbia, USA, ML 4639, 12″, vinyl disc-Lp, n.d.)
• Count Basie Kansas City 3   [Louis Bellson / Ray Brown].   For the Second Time  (Pablo / Original Jazz Classics, USA, OJC-600, 12″, vinyl disc-Lp, 1990)
• Oscar Peterson / Louis Bellson / John Heard.   The London Concert Royal Festival Hall, 1978  (Pablo Live, USA, 2620 111, 12″, vinyl disc-LP, 1979)
• Louie Bellson / John Faddis / Milton Hinton / Hank Jones / Bob Malach / Bucky Pizzarelli.   Originals  (Stash, USA, ST-205, 12″, vinyl disc-Lp, 1980)
• Duke Ellington.   Uptown  (Columbia Jazz Masterpieces, USA, CJ 40836, 12″, vinyl disc-Lp, n.d.)

Bellson also appears on many compilation, or Various Artist recordings, but these have yet to be properly catalogued here @ ARC.








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