Lead Belly: When Them Cotton Balls Get Rotten

July 28, 2009 by  
Filed under Music

I just picked up “Lead Belly-Where Did You Sleep Last Night?,” on Smithsonian/Folkways, which has thirty-four LB classics on it. These songs were recorded with Moses Asch, a radio engineer in New York City, who was starting a small record company. Asch wanted to cast Lead Belly in a more positive light. “To me, Lead Belly was the most formal human being that ever existed. His clothing was always the best pressed, the best. His shoes were $60 shoes in 1947!” Jeff Place, an archivist at the Smithsonian Institution, has some nice notes at the end of the booklet about the recording methods employed by Moses Asch. These sessions were recorded directly onto acetate or shellac discs, since metal was reserved for the military *(sessions were during WWII-info from CD booklet).lead-belly

There are many intriguing stories surrounding the life of Lead Belly (correct spelling).  A few of these are: his life on the infamous Fannin Street in Shreveport *(notorious St. Paul`s Bottoms), his time in prison (such as how he got his name), the discovery of his music by John Lomax, and his pardon from jail, because the Louisiana Governor, O.K. Allen heard his signature song “Irene.” That`s just a thimble full, there are millions more! What I find interesting, is that a group of leftist musicians, loosely associated with a newly emerging folk scene, wholeheartedly embraced Lead Belly; these included Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger. Just one year after Lead Belly`s death (1950), The Weavers (with Pete Seeger) had a number one hit with “Goodnight Irene.” And did you know that Lead Belly wrote “Cotton Fields”? “When them cotton balls get rotten, you can`t pick ya very much cotton…”

Saucy Sausage Commercial Controversy

July 27, 2009 by  
Filed under Weird Stuff

“Think about all the things you can stick this tasty, extraordinarily large sausage in,”

British radio commercial for sausages

This commercial for a specific brand of sausages has elicited many complaints from parents who are horrified that the ads may cause harm to children. 

The controversy over this ad is foolishness — kids hear sexually explicit rap lyrics on the radio that make this commercial seem like a Mother Goose nursery rhyme.

The only way children might be harmed is if they try to stuff one of the sausages into their greedy little mouths.

Sometimes a sausage is just a sausage, get over it! I’d like to tell those prudes where they can stick the sausage.

‘Valley Of The Dolls’ Keeps Comin` Back For More!

July 27, 2009 by  
Filed under Music

valley-of-the-dollsWhenever I hear the “Theme from Valley Of The Dolls,” sung dreamily by Dionne Warwick, many impressions race through my mind. The issue of drug addiction, dealt with in the book and the movie, is an obvious one that surfaces. And then there is the grizzly fate of Sharon Tate, who plays the gorgeous, but talent-less model Jennifer North. A mere two years later she would be an unlikely victim of the hippie-cult family of Charles Manson. Another oddity is that a tattered Judy Garland was originally cast in the role of Helen Lawson, the leathery superstar of Broadway, who would stop at nothing to achieve success. Judy Garland dropped out of the role *(or was fired), apparently, because the parallels to her life were chillingly close, if not biographical.

Another anomaly to “Valley of the Dolls” is the fact that Andre Previn, a serious composer, wrote the music for the five songs that appear in the movie. The lyrics for the theme were provided by Dory Previn, who had a run in with prescription drugs herself. This supposedly explains Andre`s attachment to this seemingly dodgy project. “Gotta get off, gotta get off of this merry-go-round.”Come Live With Me” is sung by Tony Polar (Tony Scotty), a torch singer who hooks up with Jennifer North (honey blond Sharon Tate), but is beseeched with medical complications. This song is repeated by Neely O`Hara (Patty Duke), when she is drying out from dolls in the sanitarium. “Sure I take dolls, I gotta get some sleep! I got to get up at 5 O` Clock in the morning, and sparkle, Neely, sparkle.”

Okay, I now own my very own 1997 edition of the book *(that pic is mine!) and the movie too. Both are cult items, this late in the day. I know that this is trash, but that`s not stoppin` me from reading it or watching these dolls eat up their dolls *(the barbiturates Seconal & Nembutal) . It`s the multiple ‘twists of fate’ that makes this all take on a larger life! Hollywood would unravel, and all of its excesses were exposed, once the killings of Sharon Tate and her friends transpired. That is sure a horrible way ‘to get off the merry-go-round,’ don`t you think? This will not go away….

Is Travolta Afraid of Scientology?

July 27, 2009 by  
Filed under Top Story

John TravoltaAfter being a voice for Scientology for so many years, John Travolta is questioning his own judgement. Travolta’s son Jet was autistic, but the church says autism is all in the mind. That meant Jet’s autism went untreated and since the death of Jet, Travolta has stayed out of view.

It seems that people from the church have had access, doing their famous “auditing,” which probably has made the Travoltas question themselves. The church probably does that on purpose, because the church couldn’t possibly be at fault.

The rumor mill says Travolta is “afraid” to leave the church, because the church may embarrass the family if they leave. This sounds like it is the kind of organization we should all want to belong to.

What do you think?

Dude’s Cure For Constipation? Stick A Hammer Head Up His Rear

July 26, 2009 by  
Filed under Weird Stuff

Dr Cristina Bontescu, spokeswoman for the local hospital where he turned up at the emergency unit, said: “He was a bit drunk and said he had been eating cherries that had left him badly constipated. He said he had a few drinks to dull the pain and then came up with the idea of poking a hammerhead up his backside in the hope of sorting out the constipation.

‘But the hammerhead got stuck and then he came up with the idea of using a second hammerhead in order to try and get out the first – but then he lost the second one as well.'”


The physician’s narrative begins with the fateful words: He was a bit drunk. How many times have we used that phrase to explain why a person ended up in an impossible situation? Why did your uncle marry a hooker in Vegas? Well, he was a bit drunk…

If  you aren’t  “a bit drunk” you will reach for a bottle of Phillips’ Milk of Magnesia when  you are constipated. But when you’re intoxicated you might come up with a cure that will make you look like an a-hole.

What does this dude do when he has a headache? I would guess he sticks a suppository up his rear end, that’s where his brain is probably located.

Cops Nab Thief Running With Cash Register

July 24, 2009 by  
Filed under Weird Stuff

“Authorities caught a Lake Worth man running down the street with a stolen cash register. Greenacres police reported that a 32-year-old man entered a restaurant Thursday afternoon and asked for change for a $10 bill. When the cashier asked to see the bill, the man reportedly began screaming, ‘I want change’

Police said the man then grabbed about $40 from a tip box, picked up the cash register containing nearly $300 and ran out.”

The Associated Press

I always tip a waitperson when I dine at a restaurant, but I never drop change into a tip box when I’m picking up a “to go” order. A tip is acknowledgement of good service, but a cashier handing me my takeout order isn’t deserving of a gratuity.

If the thief had only grabbed the tip box, I would have wished him good luck in getting away. The idiot was quickly nabbed by the police, running down the street with a stolen cash register is akin to wearing a sandwich board sign that reads: I’m a thief.

This clown needs to go to vocational school and learn a trade, he’ll never make it as a thief.  

No Age Limit in NASCAR

July 24, 2009 by  
Filed under Sports

There is no age limit in NASCAR, as proved yesterday by 81-year-old Hershel McGriff.  He competed “on the road course at Portland International Raceway, part of the NASCAR Camping World West Series” and held his own against 25  much younger drivers, finishing 13th despite the disadvantage of starting at the back of the field due to a carburetor replacement after the qualifying session.

In so doing, he broke his own record of being the oldest driver in NASCAR history.  He also “was the defending champion in Portland, winning the only other time the series — then known as Winston West — visited the track in 1986.”

“McGriff won the 1986 Winston West championship, was named one of NASCAR’s 50 greatest drivers, and was inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2006. He retired from racing twice, first in 1954 and then again in 2002.”


Meth Head Driver Jeremy Mayfield: NASCAR Spiked My Urine Test

Russell Crowe is real-life “Robin Hood”

July 24, 2009 by  
Filed under Celebrity, Movies/TV

Russell Crowe, currently portraying “Robin Hood” in a film being directed by  Ridley Scott and co-starring Cate Blanchett as “Maid Marian,”  took his role to heart this week by coming to the aid of a female boom mike operator working on the London set.

Crowe “gave Denise  Yarde 5000 pounds so she could buy a new car after her old one went up in flames.”  (That sum is about $8000 here in the US.)


An Entertainment Daily blog reported Crowe told Ms. Yarde, “‘There you go. You can buy a 10,000 dollar car now.’

Yarde was joyous and hugged Crowe before going out to buy a 2007 Saab.”


Rocket To The Moon (or Saturn) With Sun Ra!

July 24, 2009 by  
Filed under Music

sun-raWhat better way to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the moon landing than by listening to the space jazz of Sun Ra and his Arkestra. I have Sun`s “Greatest Hits: Easy Listening For Intergalactic Travel” on Evidence Music. Your best bet to get you in a spacey mood is “Rocket Number Nine Take Off For The Planet Venus.” The tune really sends you to places with free form improvisation and sax flights *(rippling staccato phrasing) of fancy. It would go good with moonwalk footage of the 1969 event flickering on your laptop. Sun Ra himself is an enigmatic figure, but was excessively dedicated to his art, and was equally gifted in writing poetry, music composition, philosophy, and twinkling the ivories.

Sun Ra had an extraordinary ‘visionary epiphany’ in Chicago when he was in college *(around 1936 or 1937). “…my whole body changed into something else. I could see through myself. And I went up…I wasn`t in human form…I landed on a planet that I identified as Saturn…they teleported me and I was down on a stage with them. They wanted to talk with me. They had one little antenna on each ear. A little antenna over each eye. They talked to me…” *(Wiki). Thus Sun Ra was born a artist *(a space cadet too). Just as a tip, “Thither And Yon” simulates the ‘teleportation’ for you in astral tones. Sun was an AFROFUTURIST who invented SPACE JAZZ; let us fly to the moon *(or better Saturn) with the Egyptian priest in the cockpit (a little weird, but it works)!

The Minstrel Tradition Has A Mixed Legacy

July 23, 2009 by  
Filed under Music

Minstrelsy is a touchy subject, because it has deep racist overtones. Initially, right after the Civil War, its  developed form emerges as primarily white performers putting on black grease paint and mimicking, if not mocking, black people. This original idiom of entertainment included comic skits, variety acts, dancing, and music. Probably the best known example of this “blackface” entertainment is Al Jolson in the “Jazz Singer.” However, despite its racial stereotyping, many musical greats got their chops in the Minstrel show circuit. Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith, Louise Jordan and Jelly Roll Morton all worked in these traveling tent shows.black-face1

The best example of these traveling tent shows is The Rabbit`s Foot Company, run by Patrick H. Chappelle, a black vaudeville entertainer from Jacksonville, Florida. From what I can tell, this was a wider form of entertainment, more of a circus type format. But while I make feeble attempts to better understand the Minstrelsy phenomenon, I have at least noticed its enormous influence on early American blues and jazz. Examples of its importance are: the use of string instruments, such as banjo and guitar, tambourine for rhythm, the inclusion of lively dance routines, and the finale song, where all the troupe would do one last number in unison. This was called the ‘cakewalk,‘ I believe.

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