I post a weekly diary of historical notes, arts & science items, foreign news (often receiving little notice in the US) and whimsical pieces from the outside world that I often feature in "Cheers & Jeers".
OK, you've been warned - here is this week's
tomfoolery material that I posted.
CHEERS to Bill and Michael in PWM, our Laramie, Wyoming-based friend Irish Patti and ...... well, each of you at Cheers and Jeers. Have a fabulous weekend .... and week ahead.
ART NOTES — an exhibition entitled Images of Atheism: The Soviet Assault on Religion — with posters mainly from the 1920’s and 30’s, plus agit-prop for kids — is at the Museum of Russian Icons (in central Massachusetts) to October 2nd.
YOUR WEEKEND READ is this essay by The Guardian’s astute Jonathan Freedland, on the two finalists for the Conservative Party to anoint as the next UK prime minister …. and how Brexit affects both of them.
YUK for today — in reading of the death of Tony Dow, I recall the 1983 Still the Beaver reunion 2-hour special: where Mrs. Cleaver is moving into newly-constructed senior housing, and we see the building contractor tell his workers:
"Yeah, cut a coupla corners; they'll never know ... oh hello, Mrs. Cleaver!"
THURSDAY's CHILD is named Lucy the Cat — a Minnesota kitteh who was feared lost ….. until an eight year-old cat whisperer named Ava located her.
SPORTING NOTES — today is the championship match of the Euro 2022 women’s national teams: as England host Germany at Wembley Stadium in London at noon Eastern (9 AM Pacific) on ESPN. The referee for the match will be Kateryna Monzul from …...… Ukraine.
PROGRAMMING NOTE — next weekend, I will be visiting family: so there will not be a Friday C&J posting. Next Sunday, I will be posting a Trump-centric “Who Lost the Week ?!?!?” poll, for those who seek one.
FRIDAY's CHILD is named Eva the Cat — a Winnipeg, Manitoba kitteh who went missing nine years ago: until a tattoo in her ear helped a shelter locate her family.
THE OTHER NIGHT yours truly hosted the Top Comments diary with some Random Stories: on Robert Reich and Fani Willis (among others).
BRAIN TEASER — try this Quiz of the Week's News from the BBC ...… and the usually easier, less UK-centered New York Times quiz.
Well …. at least DIRECT DESCENDANTS? —
...... and finally, for a song of the week ...........................… while few in the general public know his name - in large measure due to the use of a pseudonym - the work of Jesse Stone made him a well-known figure within the world of music. As someone who lived nearly the entire length of the 20th Century: his work as a pianist, bandleader, producer and (especially) as a songwriter bridged the Jazz Age ... into the R&B era ... and laid the groundwork for the upcoming rock era.
He has songs that you may well have heard, and it is small wonder that Jerry Wexler of Atlantic Records (where he achieved his greatest success) said, "Jesse’s musical mind had as much to do with anyone’s with the transformation of traditional blues to pop blues – or rhythm & blues, or cat music, or rock-n-roll, or whatever the hell you want to call it".
Born in 1901 (as the grandson of Tennessee slaves) in Atchison, Kansas he performed in his family's minstrel show before the age of five before going to live with his grandmother in Kansas City (an early jazz hotbed, especially during Prohibition). By his twenties, he was leading his own band Jesse Stone and his Blue Serenaders - one of whose band members early in its history was Coleman Hawkins - considered one of the greatest tenor saxophonists in jazz history.
He relocated to New York, where Duke Ellington helped him land a spot performing at the Cotton Club and in time, Stone became a staff arranger, composer, and comedy writer at the Apollo Theater. He also made some recordings under his own name in the 30's-40's and wrote one jazz tune that became popular entitled Idaho - that had notable later recordings by both Benny Goodman and Guy Lombardo.
In 1941, Stone became musical director for the pioneering (by being integrated) all-female band, the International Sweethearts of Rhythm but left after two years, unhappy with the financial exploitation they endured. In 1948, he joined the staff at Atlantic Records and at the time (considering the label's devotion to black music) was the only African-American staff member.
One reason why his name is not well-known was his use of the pseudonym Charles Calhoun - in order to belong to both American publishing organizations (ASCAP and BMI). This was true during his tenure at Atlantic (1948-1956) when he was in his most prolific songwriting period. These songs included the following: "Smack Dab in the Middle" (Ray Charles, Joe Williams), "Flip, Flop & Fly" (Big Joe Turner) and "Don't Let Go" (Roy Hamilton, and years later Isaac Hayes).
The first of his two most famous songs was Money Honey - recorded in 1953 by Clyde McPhatter & the Drifters, and was named by Rolling Stone as #254 in its 500 Greatest Songs of All Time list.
The other is among the candidates for the first rock & roll song ever recorded. Shake, Rattle and Roll was first recorded in 1954 by Big Joe Turner - a major hit on the R&B charts and listed by Rolling Stone as #127 on the aforementioned 500 Greatest Songs list. A cover version by Bill Haley & the Comets later that year introduced the song to white America and helped seal its place in history.
In 1956 Jesse Stone left Atlantic Records and formed his own publishing company in the Brill Building (Roosevelt Music, dedicated to black songwriters). He had comparatively little success with new material, although he did encourage young writers, notably Don Covay, Leslie Uggams and Barbra Streisand. He worked with LaVern Baker in the early 60's, then largely retired for awhile (after the British Invasion changed the musical world).
Then he met-up (after a long time) with the singer for the band he once was musical director for, the International Sweethearts of Rhythm. Evelyn McGee Stone later married Jesse Stone, and he managed her career for the rest of his life.
Jesse Stone died in April, 1999 at the age of ninety-seven. He received the Rhythm & Blues Foundation’s Pioneer Award in 1992, then in 2010 was inducted into both the Rock & Roll as well as the Songwriters Halls of Fame. And having lived (as previously noted) for nearly the entire 20th Century …. he had a hand in shaping music as it evolved during his lifetime.
Of all of his songs, my favorite is one he wrote that became a hit song in 1954 for The Clovers. With the songwriter's credit listed as Charles Calhoun, Your Cash Ain't Nothin' But Trash has been subsequently recorded by Steve Miller, Huey Lewis, Ray Stevens, Pat Travers and Commander Cody ... and below is the original version by The Clovers.
Walking down the main drag one night
I met a fine chick built just right
She stopped when I flashed my roll
I told her she could have all of my dough
She turned around and with a frown, said
"This ain't no circus and I don't need a clown"
Just to make the hit with that chick
I tried to get a Cadillac right quick
The man at the place looked so strange
I had nine hundred bucks and some change
We disagreed, I tried to plead and he said
"I ain't no chicken and I don't need your feed"
Your cash ain't nothin' but trash
Your cash ain't nothin' but trash
Your cash ain't nothin' but trash
So there ain't no need in your hangin' around