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  •  Thursday: Odds & Ends (39+ / 0-)

    CHEERS to Bill and Michael in PWM, triciawyse plus the other energized guest hosts and ......... a group that rivals the Energizer bunny for being gracious hosts, the C&J welcoming committee.

    ART NOTES - the exhibit Angels & Tomboys: Girlhood in 19th-Century American Art is at the Newark, New Jersey Museum to January 6th.

    LANGUAGE NOTES - the head of Spain’s Real Academia de la Lengua (Royal Spanish Academy, or RAE) said that the variation of spoken Spanish in Latin America "does not endanger" the language, believing it is spoken equally well on both sides of the Atlantic.

    END of an ERA - a church in the 15th arrondissement of Paris, famous for its monthly services for the blessing of animals - and which also marries divorcées and has said it could marry same-sex couples in the future - is slated to close after the building was sold by its landlords, who are now seeking a new location.

    THURSDAY's CHILD is Charley the Hero Cat - who awoke the husband of a woman who had gone into diabetic shock.

    TRAVEL NOTES - the travel guide Lonely Planet has hailed Sweden’s second city of Gothenburg  as the world's second best place to visit for those on a shoestring budget - behind only Brazil's Rio (and with Portland, Oregon in sixth place) - saying "In short, this is as much Scandinavia as you can get for your money".

    THE EFFORT to nominate a new member of the European Central Bank’s powerful executive board has been slow, as Spain's prime minister Rajoy is hoping to advance the case of Belen Romana Garcia - a former director of the Spanish treasury - as the board's first female member.

    By Request FATHER-SON? from Audri - the late actor John 'Dean Wormer' Vernon as well as TV/film star Bill Murray - Whaddya think?


    ...... and finally, for a song of the week .......................................... they were a most unlikely couple: he from rural Georgia, she an Italian-American from Wisconsin - who eloped only two days after meeting - and who struggled financially in the early years of their marriage, living in a mobile home.

    But while they may not be household names, Felice & Boudleaux Bryant became a songwriting duo for the ages: an institution in Nashville-and-beyond, whose work has been performed (by a wide range of artists) on over 300 million recordings. If you are a child of any age, you've heard someone perform their material.

    He was born Diadorius Boudleaux Bryant in 1920 in southwest Georgia. Boudleaux Bryant trained as a classical violinist, touring with the Atlanta Philharmonic as an eighteen year-old in 1938. When a friend needed another musician he joined a country band, eventually touring with Hank Penny's Radio Cowboys who were a leading Western Swing band of its era.

    She was born Matilda Genevieve Scaduto in 1925 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Unlike Boudleaux, she wasn't a trained musician: but her entire family sang and played musical instruments by ear. She began to write English lyrics to traditional Italian tunes, and during WW-II both sang at (and directed) USO shows. Fate brought them together at a hotel in Milwaukee in 1945 while he was on tour (and she served as the hotel's elevator operator). He gave her the nickname Felice, which is what the world later came to know her as.

    After deciding against resuming a performing career, they tried collaborating on songs - and then tried to interest country musicians/publishers in their work. Like many aspiring songwriters, they met with rejection-after-rejection ... until Fred Rose of the legendary Acuff-Rose publishing house in Nashville - took a flyer on "Country Boy".

    This became a #7 country hit for Little Jimmy Dickens in 1948. Delighted with that success, Fred Rose began a nearly 20-year business arrangement with the Bryants, who moved to Nashville in 1950 to become full-time songwriters. They had another hit song in 1953 with Hey Joe (no, not the Billy Roberts tune that Jimi Hendrix would popularize years later) that became a country hit for Carl Smith and a pop hit for Frankie Laine in 1953.

    But it's safe-to-say that it was their collaboration later that decade (with a pair of brothers from Kentucky) that saw their career skyrocket - The Everly Brothers were the perfect act to extend their reach into the burgeoning pop/rock era. And you know the songs: Wake Up, Little Susie as well as ..... All I Have to Do is Dream reached #1 on both the pop and country charts.

    Add to that Bye Bye Love plus "Devoted to You" are just a few more songs that the Everlys made famous (and numerous others have covered). Others had original hits with their tunes: Buddy Holly ("Raining in my Heart") and in 1962 Leona Douglas became the first African-American to have a charted country hit with the Bryants' "Too Many Chicks".

    They formed their own House of Bryant publishing company in 1967 and that same year wrote perhaps their most enduring composition: Rocky Top has become one of the state of Tennessee's official state songs and an unofficial theme for the state university's sports teams. It was named #7 on the 100 Songs of the South list compiled by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. And uncommonly for non-performers: they were inducted into both the Country Music Hall of Fame as well as the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1991.

    Boudleaux Bryant died in June, 1987 at age 67. Felice Bryant wrote solo before passing away in April, 2003 at the age of 77. And just last month, Boudleaux Bryant's hometown in Georgia held a festival in his honor.

    To illustrate how widespread their appeal was, just consider the range of performers who have covered some of their 3,000 songs: Tony Bennett, The Who, Sarah Vaughn, Charley Pride, the Grateful Dead, Dean Martin, Bob Dylan, Elvis Costello, Jim Reeves, Count Basie - and I saw Simon & Garfunkel delight the crowd at their 1981 Central Park show when they played "Wake Up, Little Susie".

    Of all of their material, my favorite is their song Love Hurts (fair-use extract below) that was first a hit for the Everly Brothers in 1960. And as previously noted, the range of performers with cover versions is amazing: Roy Orbison, Joan Jett, Keith Richards/Norah Jones, Rod Stewart, Pat Boone and Cher - with the highest-charting version by the Scottish rock band Nazareth reaching #8 in 1975.

    At this link is a special 1973 duet by Emmylou Harris and the late Gram Parsons - that truly captures the song's pathos.

    I'm young, I know, but even so:
    I know a thing or two I learned from you
    I really learned a lot
    Love is like a flame
    it burns you when it's hot
    Love hurts

    Some fools think of happiness
    Blissfulness, togetherness
    Some fools fool themselves, I guess
    But they're not fooling me

    I know it isn't true
    Love is just a lie
    made to make you blue
    Love hurts

    "We should pay attention to that man behind the curtain."

    by Ed Tracey on Thu Nov 08, 2012 at 05:37:17 AM PST

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