Posts Tagged ‘birthday’

Even though she hasn’t been to our hometown of Binghamton, NY in over a decade, my sister Marcia has contributed mightily to the genealogy talk our cousin Lisa presented recently.

Lisa spoke at the Broome County Area History Conference on April 21 at the Bundy Museum. She came all the way from Washington, DC to introduce two families, one Black and one Jewish, which my wife, daughter and I attended.

As she wrote in the precis, our “second great grandfather, James A. Archer, a free Black man who, along with two other family members, fought in the Civil War. They survived and returned to Binghamton to raise families and start businesses.” In part because of other photos Marcia put online, Lisa was able to ascertain that the post-Civil War photo I’ve posted to this blog included not only James Archer, but the brothers of his wife, Harriet Bell Archer.

“In the late 1800’s the Archer family purchased a house on Maple Street, which became a hub of family activity for several generations to come.” That was the house my grandmother and mother grew up in.”

She also told about her great grandparents, Isaac and Sarah Berman, who were born in Latvia and Lithuania, emigrated, first to Denmark then to the US in 1913 and settled in Binghamton. Isaac “started an egg business that eventually turned into a trucking company that was the first to offer overnight service from the Triple Cities to Boston.

“Both families grew and in 1937, the two came together with the marriage of Ernest Archer Yates and Charlotte Berman, my grandparents, who faced their own challenges as an interracial couple.” Ernie was my grandma’s brother and Charlotte the third child of Isaac and Sarah.

This picture also came from Marcia’s collection, with Ernie and Charlotte together in the back row, my mother’s arm on Ernie’s shoulder. Given the presence of three of their four children, I peg the photo in 1945 or 1946. Someone in the audience knew Charlotte from her time in Binghamton before 1954, when she and the children moved to Queens, NYC after Ernie died unexpectedly.

When Lisa came to Binghamton, she had to take a detour off Front Street onto Gaines Street and pass another Archer property at 5 Gaines Street, where MY nuclear family lived in the 1950s and 1960s.

So Marcia, even though she was far away, was an important part of Lisa’s presentation. Happy birthday, baby sister.

I own this album: “Winwood is the first compilation album of music featuring Steve Winwood. This two-record set was issued in 1971 by United Artists Records and features music which Winwood performed with The Spencer Davis Group, Powerhouse, Traffic and Blind Faith.”

And I loved it, a great overview of his career up to that point. Alas, “Issued without Winwood’s authorization…, it was taken off the market after legal action by Winwood and Island Records.”

Winwood joined the Spencer Davis Group at the age of 14, after playing at pubs with his father and his brother Muff as early as eight, “the piano… turned with its back to the audience to try and hide him.”

“Winwood met drummer Jim Capaldi, guitarist Dave Mason, and multi-instrumentalist Chris Wood when they jammed together at The Elbow Room, a club in Aston, Birmingham. After Winwood left the Spencer Davis Group in April 1967, the quartet formed Traffic.”

He was part of a couple supergroups, Blind Faith in 1969 with Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker and Ric Grech, then Ginger Baker’s Air Force, with Grech, Denny Laine, and others. Working on a new solo album, Winwood called in Wood and Capaldi to help, which led to Traffic’s comeback album John Barleycorn Must Die in 1970.

After a few more Traffic albums, Steve Winwood became a solo artist and had greater success. Some favorite songs- links to all. Chart action refers to US Billboard pop charts.

Spencer Davis Group:

Keep On Running (#76 in 1966)- one of my favorite songs EVER, for its bottom; I hear it when I’m riding the stationary bike, even when it’s not playing
Gimme Some Lovin’ (#7 in 1967)
I’m A Man (#10 in 1967)
Can’t Get Enough of It
Somebody Help Me (#47 in 1967)

Traffic:
Paper Sun (#94 in 1967)
Heaven Is In Your Mind – heard the cover version by Three Dog Night before the original.
Dear Mr. Fantasy
Smiling Phases – heard the cover version by Blood Sweat & Tears before the original
Medicated Goo – my favorite Traffic song. I own the single, the one with the dead stop, which I prefer to the album version

Blind Faith:
Can’t Find My Way Home
Sea of Joy

Traffic:
Glad
Freedom Rider
Empty Pages (#74 in 1970)
Stranger to Himself
John Barleycorn (Must Die)
Every Mother’s Son
The Low Spark of High-Heeled Boys
Rainmaker

Steve Winwood solo:
While You See a Chance (#7 in 1981)
Arc of a Diver (#48 in 1981)
Spanish Dancer
Night Train (#104 in 1981)
Valerie (#70 in 1982)
Higher Love (#1 in 1986), with Chaka Khan, won the Grammy Award for “Record of the Year”; you may have heard James Vincent Mc Morrow’s version in a recent car commercial
Freedom Overspill (#20 in 1986)
Back in the High Life Again, with James Taylor (#13 in 1987)

Long before I knew who Willie Nelson even was, I was listening to the music he wrote. Pretty Paper was a hit for Roy Orbison in 1963. On The Supremes Sing Country, Western & Pop (1965), they covered Funny How Time Slips Away.

Of course, the big hit was Crazy by Patsy Cline which went to #2 on the Adult Contemporary charts in 1961 and #2 on the country charts early the next year. More significantly for, it hit #9 on the pop charts in 1961, and was covered by Linda Ronstadt (#6 country in 1977).

I don’t know when I was first aware of Nelson as a performer. He was the “outlaw” country star who owed money to the IRS due to bad management and who got arrested several times for marijuana possession.

I do know the first album of his that I bought was Across the Borderline (1993), produced by Don Was, Paul Simon, and Roy Halee. It features songs by Simon, Ry Cooder, John Hiatt, Bob Dylan, Lyle Lovett, and Nelson. It features songs such as Getting Over You, a duet with Bonnie Raitt; and Peter Gabriel’s Don’t Give Up, a duet with Sinead O’Connor.

I thought that his 40th album would be a commercial pop breakthrough. For a while, it was out of print, but it’s currently available as an add-on from Amazon for five bucks.

Subsequently, I got other Nelson albums, including his hit, Red Headed Stranger (1975). I know at least one work colleague who simply cannot stand his voice, but I’ve grown to enjoy it.

Listen to

Crazy – Patsy Cline
Crazy – Willie Nelson
Crazy – Linda Ronstadt

Pretty Paper – Roy Orbison, #10 adult contemporary, #15 pop, #27 on the Christmas singles chart in 1963
Pretty Paper – Willie Nelson, 1964

Funny How Time Slips Away – Willie Nelson
Funny How Time Slips Away – Supremes

She’s Not for You, #43 country in 1965

Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain, #1 country, 21 pop in 1975

On the Road Again, #1 country, #7 adult contemporary, #20 pop in 1980

Always on My Mind, #1 country, #2 adult contemporary, #5 in 1985

Still is Still Moving to Me, single that failed to chart in 1993

American Tune, a duet with Simon, #70 pop in 1993

Something You Get Through, 2018

Coverville 1214: The Willie Nelson Cover Story III

A recent PARADE article, 10 Things You Might Not Know About Andrew Lloyd Webber, noted that his new memoir, Unmasked, came out March 6.

#1 on the list: “When Sunset Boulevard joined School of Rock, Cats and The Phantom of The Opera on The Great White Way in early 2017, Webber became the only person to equal the record set in 1953 by Rodgers and Hammerstein with four Broadway shows running at once.”

In our Proctors Theatre subscription packet for 2018-2019, School of Rock is included, and Phantom, the longest play on Broadway ever, is one of the additional musicals being offered. I’ve seen Phantom and Cats (#4 on Broadway all-time) at Proctors in prior years, and Joseph and His Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at the Mac-Haydn Theatre.

Still, my all-time favorite Lloyd Webber piece is Jesus Christ Superstar, written with lyricist Tim Rice. I have noted that it was one of my top 20 albums that came out prior to me going to college. It was the source of great theological debate, especially with my friend Pat, on issues of predestination and the role of the apostles, among many other things.

I watched the 1973 movie. It is one of only a handful of shows that I have seen on Broadway, in 2000.

When I read this review of a production at Schenectady Light Opera Company, described as “amazing”, I tried to get tickets; alas, it was sold out.

I’m sure to record and watch the Jesus Christ Superstar Live! event with Alice Cooper as King Herod, Sara Bareilles as Mary Magdalene, and John Legend as the title guy, scheduled for Easter Sunday, April 1, on NBC-TV.

Here’s the entirety of Jesus Christ Superstar, with Ted Neeley as Jesus, Carl Anderson as Judas, and Yvonne Elliman as Mary Magdalene. Oddly it doesn’t have any of the pops and skips that my well-worn LP has. I Don’t Know How To Love Him was a hit single in 1971, which went to #28 (Elliman), and #13 by Helen Reddy.

Coverville 1209: The Andrew Lloyd Webber Cover Story

I have seen James Taylor perform live exactly once, at the anti-nukes rally in NYC in 1982. Strange since he’s performed several times at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center at little north of here, and especially at Tanglewood in extreme western Massachusetts.

I decided that, since he would be performing in Albany for some benefit concert in January 2018, I would go see him, and John Legend, among others. The show got canceled for some reason, but Taylor made a $10K donation to the Albany Med pediatric unit instead.

Those of us of a certain age all owned the album Sweet Baby James in college, required along with Carole King’s Tapestry. I have almost all of James Taylor’s albums, the ones in the 1990s and later on CD, including his Christmas album, the earlier ones on vinyl. I need to listen to the last two, aside from the Covers album.

Some songs:

Back in the High Life Again (Steve Winwood: Back in the High Life, 1986)
Everyday (That’s Why I’m Here, 1985) – a Buddy Holly cover
Secret Of Life (JT, 1977)
Her Town Too (Dad Loves His Work, 1981) [this is a live version with with J.D. Souther]

Traffic Jam (JT) – I think it’s a hoot
That’s Why I’m Here (TWIH)
Home by Another Way (Never Die Young, 1988) – reference to the Three Wise Guys who visited thje baby Jesus
Sweet Baby James (Sweet Baby James, 1970) – the song is not about himself but about meeting his nephew James, the son of his older brother Alex, for the first time

How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You) (Gorilla, 1975) – Marvin Gaye cover
Walking Man (Walking Man, 1974)
Your Smiling Face (JT, 1977)
Copperline (New Moon Shine, 1991) – this is one of those songs that is effectively the title track of the album

Carolina in My Mind (James Taylor, 1968) – recorded back in his Apple Records days, then re-recorded for the first greatest hits album
Lo and Behold (Sweet Baby James) – interesting theology
Up on the Roof (Flag, 1979) – I gained a new appreciation of this song when James Taylor, at some program honoring Carole King, explained how her writing partner, the late Gerry Goffin, would go there to get away from the family troubles
Shed a Little Light (New Moon Shine) – namechecks ML King, Jr.

Mexico (Gorilla) – I probably heard this first on one of those Warner Brothers Loss Leaders
Mockingbird (Carly Simon: Hotcakes, 1974) – Taylor and Simon were married from 1972 to 1983
Handy Man (JT) – my appreciation soared when I heard how different this was from the Jimmy Jones original
That Lonesome Road (Dad Loves His Work) – sad songs say so much

Something in the Way She Moves (James Taylor)- Taylor seems cool with the fact that George Harrison pilfered the title as the first line for his biggest hit in the Beatles, Something; this is the WB re-cover
Fire and Rain (Sweet Baby James) – the quintessential JT
Shower the People (In the Pocket, 1976) – the bass harmony vocal is perfectly in my range, and I cannot help but to sing along with it
Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow (Carole King: Tapestry, 1971)

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