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 For the Love of Vermont: the Lyman Orton Collection — compiled by the CEO of the family-owned Vermont Country Store, showcasing the work of Vermont artists that he acquired both locally and far away — is on display until November 5th, split between two venues: the Southern Vermont Arts Center (in Manchester) and the Bennington Museum.
YOUR WEEKEND READ is this (rather lengthy) extensive search for the reason a pedestrian bridge was built across a highway near the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport (which seems little-used today), and I love reading about architectural mysteries. This fellow went through archive-after-archive (even going to Kansas City) with a theory that it served a church, but finally met a public works official (who could have saved him a lotta time).
She told me to stop looking at old documents: "No one writes down the real reason for infrastructure projects." She said I needed to look for people in power. Specifically, if I want to prove my theory, I should look for people who would be connected to both the church and the bridge.
THURSDAY's CHILD is named Binky the Hero Cat — back in 2017, this Indiana kitteh fought-off a would-be burglar trying to break into a private home window … by biting him (and who was later nabbed after fleeing).
NAUTICAL NOTES — the wreckage of the grain ship Trinidad (which sank in 1881) was found nearly intact in Lake Michigan. Its owners had let the vessel’s maintenance slip, yet all eight crew members were rescued safely .. and its dishes are still stacked in their cabinets.
FRIDAY's CHILD is named Barney the Cat — who spent nine years at an Iowa shelter … before a Reddit posting drew many offers (many from far away) to adopt him … with a Missouri family doing so with a six-hour drive involved.
BRAIN TEASER — try this Quiz of the Week's News from the BBC ...… and the usually easier, less UK-centered New York Times quiz.
CHEERS to getting back-on-my-feet Friday, after a 3-day bout with a cold (tested negative for Covid several times). I think I ate more soft-serve ice cream this week than I have in years, due to a severe sore throat. Recuperating this weekend.
FATHER-SON? — Sergei Krushchev (1935-2020)
...... and finally, for a song of the week ...........................… those up on recording industry moguls may well recognize the name Ahmet Ertegun — whose Atlantic Records was a major player in R&B, rock and other music. Plus, he was portrayed in the 2004 Ray Charles biopic Ray (by Curtis Armstrong, of Moonlighting fame) and was cited as the reason for the sole Led Zeppelin 2007 reunion concert (after his death the past December).
Yet his brother Nesuhi also played a major role in the company … and in the music industry as a whole, plus sports management and deserves a look, 30+ years later.
Both brothers were sons of the Turkish Ambassador to the US who — in a previous UK posting — took them to see Duke Ellington in London. Upon moving to Washington, D.C. in the 40’s, the two had amassed an amazing record collection and began to host integrated jam sessions at their embassy home (during strict segregation times in the city), promoting concerts at the National Press Club.
Nesuhi moved to Los Angeles in 1944, opening a record store (and later, a record label). He was asked by Orson Welles to put together a band to perform on his Mercury Theater Presents radio program, enticing New Orleans musician Kid Ory out of retirement. Over the next few years, in addition to his record label and concert promoter, he became editor of Record Changer magazine and is believed to have taught (at UCLA) the first accredited university jazz music course in 1951.
In the mid-50’s, his brother asked him to move to New York, to helm the label’s new entry into albums (rather than the 45’s that had been the label’s bread-and-butter) as A&R man. He moved to boost the label’s jazz recordings, and it was said that any famous jazz musician of the mid-50’s to the mid-70’s worked with Nesuhi at some point.
He also signed/produced more commercially successful jazz recordings (from Herbie Mann to Les McCann) appealing to a wider audience than, say, Charles Mingus and Ornette Coleman. He also signed singer Roberta Flack and produced recordings ranging from Ray Charles to Bobby Darin to LaVern Baker to The Drifters.
Two other innovations particular to him: he had the inner album sleeve emblazoned with the rest of Atlantic’s myriad of offerings (as I remember well) rather than the plain white sleeve then in vogue, meant to showcase the label’s offerings. And he spearheaded the label’s international market: up-to-then, domestic sales were what record labels focused on. He became so involved in their international sales/licensing, it is said that for a stretch he spent 4 out of every 7 days on the road, saying the telephone was not enough in a changing world. He spoke six languages (which helped) though it led to four marriages due to his absence taking its toll on family life.
He also combined his love of the World Cup to be one of the founders of the NY Cosmos soccer team — helping to bring players such as Pele, Giorgio Chinaglia and Franz Beckenbauer to the US. While that league eventually crash-landed, many said it laid the groundwork for the sport’s eventual rise in the US — Franz Beckenbauer said (at the end of a 2006 NY Cosmos documentary) that he didn’t see many soccer fields driving around during his time with the Cosmos, yet sees plenty on his trips to the US today.
Nesuhi Ertegun died in 1989 at the age of seventy-one, was a past president of the Recording Academy (that oversees the Grammys), and inducted posthumously into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (as a non-performer) in 1991 and the US National Soccer Hall of Fame in 2003.
Two songs that he produced (out of thousands) — one from the popular jazz idiom is Baby Please Don’t Go — recorded here by the jazz pianist Mose Allison, whose influence on rock musicians (notably Pete Townshend) is immense.
And for the R&B songs Nesuhi produced: it’s only fair to include Ruth Brown, whose sales for the decade of the 1950’s were so strong: Atlantic became known as The House that Ruth Built. The song Why Don’t You Do Right was originally a hit for blues singer Lil Green, later covered by Peggy Lee, before Ruth Brown.