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2015

I found this clip of the 19th century Spanish opera singer Adelina Patti singing "Home Sweet Home". There is real truth and beauty in it. People don't sing like this anymore. Giuseppe Verdi described her in 1877 as being perhaps the finest singer who had ever lived. This recording was made in 1905 when Patti was about 62. Adapted from American actor and dramatist John Howard Payne's 1823 opera CLARI, the song's melody was composed by Englishman Sir Henry Bishop, with lyrics by Payne. Thanks to Edward St. Austell for posting it.

Making Music in the 60's

This book isn't new, but I just enjoyed reading it. Here is a sample from p. 43: (everybody in the world except me probably knows how Pink Floyd got their name -- but boy was I surprised!)

"In the mid-sixties, love of the blues united much of the American folk and English pop worlds. Most folk singers' repertoire included at least one song learned from a Leadbelly or Big Bill Broonzy record, while a large percentage of English pop groups started life as blues bands. Pink Floyd are named after Pink Anderson and Floyd Council, two obscure singers from rural South Carolina whose names appeared in the liner notes of a Blind Boy Fuller reissue. Every rediscovery of an old man whose name graced the lanels of our treasured 78s from the '20s or '30s was greeted with huge excitement. With astonishing speed, however, blues became a cliche. By the '70s, lurching, screaming - or, worse, polite - guitar solos poured forth from bar bands and heavy metal groups and decorated over-produced singles by mainstream pop singers. Blues phrasing now permeates most popular music: the ultimate postmodern artefact, complete with quotation marks."

GARTH BECKINGTON

A couple of weeks ago I began thinking, out of the blue, about Garth Beckington. I didn't know him well, but I remembered him (he was the kind of person one didn't forget) from the late 60's music scene in Chapel Hill. NC when we were both at the university there. I had no idea what had happened to Garth so out of curiosity I googled him and found out that he he was gone, that he had in fact died last summer. There is a very good remembrance of him in this wordpress piece written by Will Stenberg, one of Garth's bandmates in his most recent band "The Blushin' Roulettes". I myself was not in a band with Garth way back when, but he sat in once or twice with one of the bands I was in then. When Will's article mentioned how Garth (aka "Buddy Stubbs") sought the shadows on stage and secluded himself there while his music poured forth, it all came back to me. I remember being quite impressed with his sense of style, and his blues playing, which was pretty astute for a "college kid". I also remembered him as seeming unfriendly and on the cool and distant side. But after reading Will's piece I think Garth must have just been shy (as I was too.) Anyway, Will has remembered him very vividly, and with great depth and respect.
My article in



From the vaults of the L'ARGILE ROUGE RANDONNEURS, here's some sonic gems. First up is Tommy and the band doing "Twisted Laurel", recorded at the Carter Family Fold in Hiltons, VA on April 24, 1982. Personnel: Tommy Thompson guitar and vocals, Jim Watson bass and vocals, Mike Craver piano and vocals, Clay Buckner fiddle, Jack Herrick harmonica. Then there's Tommy doing his hilarious version of "Oh How I Wish I Was in Peoria", Mike doing "Bidin' My Time", and Jim doing "Jerusalem Morning", a song he learned from his father. The three last tunes are from a gig at Central Michigan University, Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, in October 1983. Special thanks to John Sheffler at WCMU FM for digging these up!
"Twisted Laurel" (live)"
"Oh How I Wish I Was in Peoria"
"Bidin' My Time"
"Jerusalem Morning"

"I Ain't Dead Yet" (Mike Craver) -- a new one, from THE QUEEN OF THE COWTOWNS
"Asenalooga" (Mike Craver) -- and another, from THE QUEEN OF THE COWTOWNS

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