National Recording Registry 2021

Flaco Jiménez

Partners. Flaco JiminezYou may have heard about 25 recordings making it into the National Recording Registry. Some got more press than others.

Edison’s “St. Louis tinfoil” recording (1878). I can’t find it yet, but it should be available starting August 28, 2021, when the Missouri History Museum starts its St. Louis Sound exhibition.
Nikolina – Hjalmar Peterson (1917) (single). This appears to be a 1929 version.
Smyrneikos Balos – Marika Papagika (1928) (single). “An authentic Greek recording.”
When the Saints Go Marching In – Louis Armstrong and his Orchestra (1938) (single). He performed this song a lot, but this is among the finest versions.
Christmas Eve  Broadcast – Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill (December 24, 1941), right after the US entered WWII.
The Guiding Light – Nov. 22, 1945. I can’t find it, but now I know why it’s on the list. It aired “the first Thanksgiving after the conclusion of World War II… The Rev. Dr. Frank Tuttle gives a moving sermon to a packed church.”

The 1950s and 1960s

Odetta Sings Ballads and Blues – Odetta (1957) (album). My father LOVED her voice.
Lord, Keep Me Day by Day – Albertina Walker and the Caravans (1959) (single)
Roger Maris hits his 61st home run (October 1, 1961). I don’t know if it’s the one with Phil Rizzuto’s voice, or, more likely that of Red Barber.
Aida – Leontyne Price, et.al. (1962) (album)
Once A Day – Connie Smith (1964) (single) – EIGHT weeks at #1 on the country charts in 1964, though only #101 on the pop charts
Born Under a Bad Sign – Albert King (1967) (album). I may still own this on vinyl.

Onto the ’70s and ’80s

Free to Be… You and Me – Marlo Thomas and Friends (1972) (album). I watched the TV special for sure. I might have even bought the album.
The Harder They Come – Jimmy Cliff (1972) (album). There are YouTube versions with more than 12 songs, but the version I own has the dozen.
Lady Marmalade – Labelle (1974) (single). Patti LaBelle didn’t know what this song was about? She didn’t understand French, evidently.
Late for the Sky – Jackson Browne (1974) (album)
Bright Size Life — Pat Metheny (1976) (album). Didn’t find it.
The Rainbow Connection – Kermit the Frog (1979) (single)

Celebration — Kool and the Gang (1980) (single). On the 22 March 2021 JEOPARDY, R and B and SOUL HITS $800. 40 years later and partygoers still like to get on the dance floor and “celebrate good times” to a hit by this group. Triple Stumper, but I knew it instantly. I have the album on vinyl.
Richard Strauss: Four Last Songs – Jessye Norman (1983) (album)
Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814 – Janet Jackson (1989) (album). I LOVE this album. She performed much of it when I saw her at SPAC in 2018.

THE Find

Partners – Flaco Jiménez (1992) (album). I was not familiar with this artist, but he performs with Stephen Stills, Linda Ronstadt, John Hiatt, and Los Lobos on songs they wrote or co-wrote, plus Dwight Yoakam, Oscar Tellez, and Ry Cooder
Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What A Wonderful World – Israel Kamakawiwo’ole (1993) (single). I may have gotten a little teary-eyed when this played on the TV show E.R. just before Dr. Greene’s departure. Maybe not. Possibly.
Illmatic – Nas (1994) (album)
This American Life: The Giant Pool of Money  (May 9, 2008). “A special program about the housing crisis produced in a special collaboration with NPR News. We explain it all to you. What does the housing crisis have to do with the turmoil on Wall Street? Why did banks make half-million dollar loans to people without jobs or income? And why is everyone talking so much about the 1930s?”

A song that reminds me of myself

It could make you wonder why

KermitTheFrogTo a greater or lesser degree, LOTS of the songs I’ve linked to in the past several weeks remind me of myself. Certainly, the ones that made me happy or sad fall into that category.

Still, Having been Green my whole life, I know the wisdom of the song first sung by the great philosopher Kermit the Frog.

It’s not that easy bein’ green
Having to spend each day the color of the leaves
When I think it could be nicer bein’ red or yellow or gold
Or something much more colorful like that

Having been around flashy people, I know that’s just not me.

Bein’ Green was written by Joe Raposo and was originally performed by Jim Henson as Kermit on both Sesame Street and The Muppet Show.

It’s not easy bein’ green
It seems you blend in with so many other ordinary things
And people tend to pass you over ’cause you’re
Not standin’ out like flashy sparkles on the water
Or stars in the sky

It has been covered by a number of performers such as Ray Charles, Van Morrison, and Frank Sinatra.

However

But green is the color of Spring
And green can be cool and friendly-like
And green can be big like an ocean
Or important like a mountain
Or tall like a tree

In particular, being friendly-like is important to me, particularly at church, where I see myself as an ambassador of the membership to guests and relative newcomers.

Bein’ Green was sung by Big Bird (Caroll Spinney) at the two memorial services for Jim Henson in 1990.

When green is all there is to be
It could make you wonder why
But why wonder, why wonder?
I am green and it’ll do fine
It’s beautiful
And I think it’s what I want to be.

That’s the end of the 30-Day Music Prompt thing I’ve been participating in this year.

Tom Waits

Tom Waits, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame musician, turns 70 today. Chuck Miller wrote about him recently.

Someone posted these Tom Waits lyrics as condolences to a friend’s loss: “As we scramble on our wheels each day with lights and horns blinking blowing. the loss of such a ray of hope does cause us in our tracks to slow. reflect and remember, recall and assemble.” As was noted: “You may not like his voice but the man has a way with words.”

Three fictional characters, redux

Popeye the Sailor, who, as my sister correctly noted, was the reason I would eat spinach as a child while rejecting other veggies.

michael-badaluccomurrayslaughterillflyaway

I did this recent post about this Facebook meme of posting images of three fictional characters that define me, without describing them. And it was unsatisfactory. So this is a do-over.

I will say that Miles, who I haven’t actually seen this century, came closest to getting all the correct answers. He knew, as did Uthaclena. the first fellow is actor Michael Badalucco. But Miles knew he was playing Jimmy Berluti, one of the attorneys on the TV show The Practice in the late 1990s. He was, as Miles described, “an earnest, working-class guy who worked hard to become a good lawyer.” He wasn’t all shiny, and pretty, but a self-described schlub. Badalucco and I were in the same dorm my freshman year in college at SUNY New Paltz.

Miles nailed my next alter ego, played by actor Gavin MacLeod, who you may know better as Captain Stubing on The Love Boat. Here, though, he is Murray Slaughter on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Miles notes that he was “a wisecracking TV writer who skewered the dumbest people around with his rapier wit.” But he was also not as well-recognized as the very dumb TV anchor Ted Baxter.

The third guy IS a young Sam Waterston, as Miles suspected, before his lengthy stint on Law & Order as crusading ADA, and later District Attorney Jack McCoy. Instead, this is from a short-lived TV series called I’ll Fly Away. The IMDB describes him thus: “Forrest Bedford [named for a Confederate general] is a Southern lawyer in the late 1950s, generally content with his privileged life. But the winds of change are blowing, and he becomes increasingly involved with civil rights cases.” He’s a guy who, despite his initial wish to maintain the status quo, realizes that it’s unfair and untenable. It was a great show in the early 1990s that lasted only a couple of seasons plus a concluding TV movie.

dudley_do_right
kermit-two1
popeye

As for the other three characters, Dudley Do-Right was always intending to do the right thing, even if it happens by accident.

Kermit the Frog not only says that it’s not that easy being green, he knows you blend in with so many ordinary things. Surely, I have felt this.

Finally, Popeye the Sailor, who, as my sister correctly noted, was the reason I would eat spinach as a child while rejecting other veggies. I have what I believe to be a very long fuse. But there comes a point where, “That is all I can stands, ’cause I can’t stands no more.”

 

K is for Kermit the Frog

The great thing about Kermit is his every-man (every-amphibian?) quality.

Kermit_the_FrogI have been a big fan of the Muppet known as Kermit the Frog, at least since his first appearances on Sesame Street in 1969. But the character has a much longer history.

The earliest iteration of Kermit was on local television in the Washington, DC area, on WRC-TV’s Sam and Friends beginning in 1955. Here’s Kermit with Harry the Hipster from 1959, e.g. SamuraiFrog has clips of many appearances of Kermit, and the other Muppets in his blog Electronic Cerebrectomy, many of them quite early in the frog’s career, such as this video from 1966.

The Muppets Character Encyclopedia – yes, I own the book- establishes that Kermit was born in Leland, Mississippi alongside approximately 2,353 siblings.

The great thing about Kermit is his every-man (every-amphibian?) quality, where he fit in quite well in Sesame Street, which I watched, even though I was in high school and then college at the time.

But he also fit well on The Muppet Show, which aired 120 episodes between 1976 and 1981. From the Wikia: “Kermit the Frog and the Muppets put on a weekly musical/comedy revue at the Muppet Theater. Unfortunately for them, things never quite go according to plan, for the Muppets or their weekly guest stars.”

Kermit has appeared in a number of Muppets movies over the years, a few of which I have seen. He’s also been a guest or guest host on a number of talk shows over the years.

As of September 2015, there’s a new Muppets TV show, done in a “mockumentary-style series that follows their personal and professional lives,” including the romantic breakup, after a number of years together, of Kermit and the porcine diva Miss Piggy.

Kermit was voiced by Muppets creator Jim Henson, from the beginning of the frog’s career until Henson’s untimely death in 1990. Since then, Steve Whitmire has done the job.

Kermit is particularly known for two songs. Bein’ Green, a/k/a It’s Not Easy Bein’ Green, a/k/a my theme song, was written by Joe Raposo, was originally performed on Sesame Street and subsequently on The Muppet Show. It was later covered by Frank Sinatra, Van Morrison, Tony Bennett, and many other performers.

I so relate:

Having to spend each day the color of the leaves.
When I think it could be nicer being red, or yellow or gold-
or something much more colorful like that.

It seems you blend in with so many other ordinary things.
And people tend to pass you over ’cause you’re not standing out like flashy sparkles in the water-
or stars in the sky.

Listen

The Rainbow Connection was written for the 1979 Muppet movie The Muppet Movie. Music and lyrics were written by Paul Williams and Kenneth Ascher. The song reached #25 on the US Billboard Hot 100 in November 1979, with the song remaining in the Top 40 for seven weeks total. Williams and Ascher received an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song at the 52nd Academy Awards.

Listen

abc18
ABC Wednesday – Round 18

Things people should know before spending time with me

I think it’s true in all non-verbal communication that sometimes intent gets lost.

Sunday Stealing for October 30, 2011

1. One of my favorite TV shows recently changed the actors who played two characters. Have you ever been bothered by a TV show or movie series changing actors who play a character you love?

Actually, I did, but I got over it quickly. I was watching a soap opera called Another World back in the 1990s. The character Paulina was played by some waif of a woman named Cali Timmins, but then she was replaced by the far more zaftig Judi Evans. it was a shock, but Evans ended up defining the role.

2. A coworker recently shared a link to a blog listing the “five things you should know before dating a journalist.” As a journalist, I can honestly say the writer was spot-on. What are some things people should know before spending time with you?

I’m basically shy when I’m in new situations; I don’t like to talk just to talk when I haven’t anything to say; and if I’m bored, I don’t fake interest very well – best not to bring up the books/movies Twilight.

3. What is something you often do without realizing that you’re doing it?

Hum.

4. Who has the capacity to make you angrier than anyone else in your life, and what in particular does he or she do to make you so angry?

Certain relatives push your buttons more because they know you well. I have particular instances in mind, but I shall pass on that.

5. If a fairy waved a magic wand and gave you the house of your dreams, where would it be and what features would it have?

It’d be close to where I am now, maybe on a side street with less traffic. It’d have a movie viewing room, with comfy seats and real popcorn.

6. What’s a belief that you hold with which many people disagree?

That Nancy Grace should be banned from TV forever.

7. I used to talk in my sleep. In fact, I could carry on a conversation with someone when I was fully asleep, and my mom used this fact when I was a teenager to find out if I did anything wrong and was hiding it from my parents. If you were talking in your sleep tonight, what do you think you would say?

I probably do too, and they are either extensions of dreams or awake conversations.

8. Movie theaters started selling advance tickets for midnight showings months ago. Have you ever attended a midnight premiere showing of a movie?

I’ve been to premieres, and I’ve been to midnight movies, but no.

9. Tigers, lions, and bears were let loose in Zanesville, Ohio, by their owner before he committed suicide, leading to a hunt in which 49 of the animals, including 18 endangered Bengal tigers, were killed. How would you react if you saw “Caution exotic animals. Stay in your vehicle” being displayed on a road sign?

Probably wouldn’t believe it and would end up being mauled to death..

10. If a company opened a theme park aimed at adults, what would you name one of the rides?

Wonderarama. Loved that show.

11. Imagine you just moved onto Sesame Street. Which puppet would you want as your new roommate?

Kermit. We have the green thing going.

12. Have you ever had a weird crush on a famous person that didn’t make sense to you?

Yes. I’ve been fascinated by how certain people I think are attractive but sort of leave me cold (Jennifer Aniston comes to mind), yet other people who I think may be way less than perfect looking are quite fascinating.

13. If you get ten minutes to interview any celebrity of your choice, who would you like it to be?

Paul McCartney, hands down.

14. You’ve just won the complete DVD collection of all the movies starring one actor or actress. Which actor/actress would you pick?

Meryl Streep.

15. Actor George Clooney recently told People Magazine that he doesn’t use Twitter “because I will drink in the evening and I don’t want anything that I could possibly write at midnight to actually end my career.” What is something you’ve said through social media and then regretted it?

Very little if anything. Except that, and I think it’s true in all non-verbal communication, sometimes intent gets lost. But that’s happened in e-mail, especially when it was newer. Irony and sarcasm I tend to avoid in social media because it’s too easy to misconstrue.

16. VH1 has re-introduced its hit show “Pop-Up Video,” which gives behind-the-scenes facts for popular music videos. What musician would you be most interested in learning behind-the-scenes facts about?

Bruce Cockburn.

17. If you stumbled across someone’s personal written journal that was accidentally left in a public place, would you read any of the content?

Not after I had identified the owner. Might read enough to try to figure out whose it was if it weren’t labeled.

18. What is the title of a self-help book that you’d never want to see on a store bookshelf?

How Tea Partiers Can Be More Assertive.

19. Which Halloween costume do you think will be overdone this [past] year?

I would have guessed Gaga.

20. Should a marriage license have a renewal date or expiration date, like a driver’s license?

It’s a terrible idea. Functionally, they already do anyway.