Tuesday, April 29, 2008
AUGUST 27 1980
I guess the ability to search student lockers is common today, but back in 1980 it was controversial. On August 25th, the Cincinnati Public Schools instated a policy that "A school principal or his designee in the pressence of an adult witness may open a locker and confiscate unauthorized, illegal or dangerous items, with or without a student present."
I don't think I could have ever fit my body in my locker, especially not with a girlfriend...but it would have been fun to try!
Sunday, April 20, 2008
My birthday present from my wife this year was surprise tickets to see Robert Plant and Alison Krauss in Louisville at the Palace. I was a big fan of their collaboration, 'Raising Sand' [reviewed here], and didn't even know they were touring. I don't know why they chose to open the tour in Louisville, even adding a second night when the first sold out in 30 minutes, but I'm tickled that they did.
Alison Krauss and Robert Plant certainly gave the impression that they were going to play all of their remarkable album, ‘Raising Sand’, when they opened the show with the album's opener, "Rich Woman". They came pretty darn close, performing all but two of the album's 14 songs, interspersed with 10 or so other choices. The non-album songs were in a way the special meat of the concert, as the T Bone Burnett-led quintet of backing musicians aided Plant and Krauss in delivering studio-perfect takes on their recorded counterparts. That isn't a criticism, mind you. Hearing the songs I love off of the album, like "Killing the Blues" and "Please Read the Letter", was the highlight of the show for me.
The non-album adventures begin apace, with "Leave My Woman Alone" as the second song. Though co-written and originated by Ray Charles, I'm guessing they had the Everly Brothers' version in mind (I had to look it up. I thought it was a Dave Edmunds song). The crowd went craziest for the reworked Led Zeppelin tunes, particularly "Black Dog". A swing at "Black Country Woman" had muscle behind it, with Krauss keeping pace with rocker Plant to blow the audience backwards. It was only in "When the Levee Breaks" that these forays slipped into cacophony, and I would have traded it for "Let Your Loss Be Your Lesson", a 'Sand' cut not performed. The truly ascendant moment came when they took on "Down to the River to Pray", which Krauss originally sang on the Burnett-produced 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' soundtrack. Krauss again took lead, with Plant forming a vocal trio with sidemen Buddy Miller and Stuart Duncan.
The performance was also beautifully staged, with Plant or Krauss stepping back with the band or off-stage during the other's solo turns. No egos to be found at all, really, as both stepped aside for T Bone Burnett, who Plant referred to as "the mastermind", to sing a couple of solo songs. I'm not familiar with his solo work, but his voice made me cruelly think "Now I know why he's famous as a producer.". As he sang his first song, though, I noticed he has the same rigid stage presence of Roy Orbison. Then I imagined Roy singing it, and if not for time and tragedy we'd have had a great Orbison song on our hands (no coincidence there, as Burnett produced tracks for Orbison's final two albums).
The opening act was Sharon Little, touring in support of her first record deal and her album coming out May 27th (or "dropping", as the kids say). She has a soulful, bluesy voice that belies her age, and her songs on the link are worth a listen. The best part may have been her genuine giddiness at being part of this tour so early in her career.
It had been over 10 years since I've been to the Louisville Palace. It's one of the few venues where the architecture is as interesting as the music. My wife and I ate across the street at Cunningham's, a venerable Louisville diner. If you like good food and fast service, well, don't eat at Cunningham's. If you want ok food and don't have time to wait at a better restaurant, then it'll do (though I doubt they'll be adopting "It'll do" as their slogan anytime soon).
Ok, what haven't a reviewed...the parking garage? Maybe next time.
Even though they made them during my childhood, I don't remember ever seeing or wanting Kenner's Give-A-Show projector. These flimsy filmstrips shown through a funky flashlight filter had their genus in 1960. But I'll let Jon Knutson explain via his Random Acts of Geekery website.
OK, back now? It's obsessive lists like those and the notion that they fascinate me that give my wife night sweats. Now, on to more geekery (which blogspot is highlighting to tell me it's not a word (p.s. it also highlights "blogspot" (in high school Mr. Graler admonished my over use of parentheticals))). One of my copasetic comic cohorts on the wacky web is DIAL "B" FOR BLOG (an homage to the old DC title/character 'Dial "H" for Hero' about a young boy named Robby Reed who had a rotary phone type gizmo that gave him different superpowers when he dialed different numbers). One of the cool things about looking at old Marvel comic books from the 1960s is the bombastic border-fillers known as house ads. These ads advertised other Marvel comics or products like t-shirts, etc. Robby has compiled pages of these colorful concoctions for your peerless perusal.
Finally, we leave the sphere of the obsessive-compulsive for a video that I remembered fondly and was so excited to find it on YouTube that I've watched it every day for about a week. It's from what I think was the last week of Johnny Carson's "The Tonight Show". Mel Brooks was the guest. Carson asked Brooks to tell his 'Cary Grant story'. Brooks was surprised at the request because he told it on his appearance the year before. It's worth the retellling and the repeated viewing...
Saturday, April 12, 2008
'CHAPTer 27', a film about John Lennon's murderer, opens April 4th. It stars Jared Leto ("My So-Called Life"), Lindsay Lohan (Herbie Fully Loaded) and Judah Friedlander (American Splendor).
NEIL Aspinall, the young Liverpool accountant who left his career behind to become road manager of a fledgling guitar group called the Beatles, died on March 12th at age 66. Aspinall, in many ways the truest "5th Beatle", was with them from the beginning almost to his own end. He took over their company, Apple, and shepherded them through four decades, expanding and safeguarding the Beatles brand, from which the members or their estates continue to derive massive wealth. One of the few Beatle intimates to keep secrets and never write a tell-all.
When George Harrison was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, this is what his widow, Olivia, had to say of Aspinall (who was in the audience): "If you think of the span of his entire career, there would be so many people who are in this room tonight that he may want to mention, but I’m going to mention one that I’m sure of. And it’s the person in this room that George knew the longest in his life. That he met behind the air raid shelter when he was sneaking off to have a ciggie in school. Someone who looked after him, and all of them, from the time they were thirteen till – for George – the end of his life. And that is the mysterious Neil Aspinall. Thank you Neil for holding it together for all these years, because really, the whole phenomenon might not have happened or stayed together as long as it did without him. He’s helped us, he’s helped his family and George loved him dearly and many of you as well, so thank you very much."
PAUL McCartney's divorce from Heather Mills was finalized by a judge who awarded her $48.7 million of the Beatle's $800 million fortune. Not so fast, says the former model, who claims Macca is worth twice that amount and has hired accountants to prove it.
FANS are speculating that a track from McCartney's latest album, Memory Almost Full, is about his ex-wife, Heather Mills. The song's title, "Mister Bellamy", is an anagram of "Mills betray me". In the song, Mr. Bellamy is on a ledge considering suicide. McCartney has not made a statement, but previously stated that Mr. Bellamy is not based on an actual person. He has publicly claimed it's just a coincidence that 'Memory Almost Full' is an anagram of 'for my soultmate LLM' (Linda McCartney).
RINGO Starr has said recently that he is tired of being referred to as an "ex-Beatle" and having the legend of the Fab Four overshadowing his other accomplishments. In other news, Ringo's current tour set list includes "With a Little Help From My Friends", "Yellow Submarine"
RINGO's 10th All-Star Tour makes its way to the US this summer for 31 dates. With Starr this time out are Colin Hay (Men at Work), Billy Squier, Hamish Stuart (Average White Band), Edgar Winter, Gary Wright and drummer Gregg Bissonette.
TOM Snyder interviewed three of the Four Fabs, all separately, during their solo years on "The Tomorrow Show" (for those who aren't familiar, this show came on after "Tonight" and before "Today" on NBC). Interviews with John, Paul and Ringo are here (George must have been in the garden). This DVD is actually cheaper from the manufacturer (Shout Factory) then from Amazon.
ONLINe music store Fuego has a 1962 concert tape of the Beatles, supposedly of the first show with Ringo Starr as the drummer, at the Star Club in Hamburg. Fuego intends to remaster the tape and issue it on CD. Apple Records is trying to stop Fuego from releasing the show, arguing that the Beatles were under contract with EMI at the time.>
AMERIcan Idol spent two nights celebrating (buchering? mistreating? I don't know, I didn't see it) the music of the Beatles. For those of you who like lists (and I'm one of you) here's what they sang:
You Can't Do That
Let It Be
I Feel Fine
We Can Work It Out
I Saw Her Standing There
If I Fell
Eight Days a Week
Across the Universe
In My Life
Got to Get You Into My Life
I've Just Seen a Face
Back in the USSR
The Long and Winding Road
Here Comes the Sun
A Day in the Life
You've Got to Hide Your Love Away
I Should Have Known Better
p.s. when "Idol" is in it's death throes in a few years, look for "Ringo Night".