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, commonmass (along with Geoffrey the Cat) plus our Wyoming-based friend Irish Patti and ...... well, each of you at Cheers and Jeers. Have a fabulous weekend.
ART NOTES - an exhibition of pastels by Edgar Degas is at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri through July 20th.
LATER THIS YEAR the two surviving members of The Who plan to record their first studio album in eight years, then retiring after a final, 50th anniversary tour.
CONTINUING A SERIES of analyses to mark the run-up to its 100th anniversary: the essay What World War I Did to the Middle East .... indicates its legacy has not ended.
THURSDAY's CHILD is Flint the Cat - a kitteh that a Louisiana shelter is nursing back from burns, and will be available for adoption following a full recovery.
FILM NOTES - a biopic on the late singer James Brown - with Mick Jagger among its producers - features Chadwick Boseman in the title role ..... who last year portrayed another icon: Jackie Robinson in the film "42".
ALTHOUGH predictions of it have been made before, a quiet boom in manufacturing in Africa is now taking place.
BRAIN TEASER - try this Quiz of the Week's News from the BBC.
FRIDAY's CHILD is leading in an online British poll (run by a shelter) to find a "Purr Minister" in a bid to raise money and attract publicity. However, some contestants think that Bosun the Cat has been the beneficiary of vote-rigging.
HAIL and FAREWELL to the patriarch of the television show "The Waltons", actor Ralph Waite - having twice (unsuccessfully) sought elected office as a Democrat - who has died at age 85. And to the long-time owner of NYC's longest-living rock club, Paul Colby - having run The Bitter End for the past forty-five years - who has died at the age of 96. A few years back, Neil Diamond did a free show there, in gratitude for the help Colby gave him early in his career.
Finally, with the death of Shirley Temple Black - there are only four people (besides Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr) featured on the cover of the Beatles' "Sgt. Pepper" album who are still alive. Two are not well-known by the general public: the Canadian-born singer/actor Bobby Breen and the artist/sculptor Larry Bell. The other two are: singers Dion (and the Belmonts) DeMucci, and Bob Dylan.
FATHER-SON? - the actor Jerry Mathers - yes, of "Leave It to Beaver" fame - and a high school photo of our very own .... Common Sense Mainer.
......and finally, for a song of the week ............... while the music genre known as power pop isn't my style, one practitioner of it that I have always liked is Marshall Crenshaw - who admits he is a bit off-put by the term. His influences range from the British Invasion to R&B to Burt Bacharach to Buddy Holly - whose visual resemblance to him paid off in a particular movie role. And while Crenshaw has not been in the pop vanguard since the 1980's, he has been active in a wide range of activities in the music world.
Growing up in the Detroit suburbs, he played in several high school bands. (One of his classmates was Curtis Armstrong who later appeared on the hit TV series "Moonlighting", the "Revenge of the Nerds" films and portrayed Atlantic Records president Ahmet Ertegun in the film "Ray").
One of the bands that Marshall Crenshaw was a member of was named ASTIGFA - an acronym for "A splendid time is guaranteed for all", a line from the Beatles song Being For the Benefit of Mr. Kite. That indicated one of his childhood influences, as he later responded to an ad in Rolling Stone and auditioned for a role in the Broadway musical Beatlemania. He was hired as a John Lennon understudy, then later performed the role when the show took to the road. Afterwards, he began a trio with his younger brother (Robert) on drums and bassist Chris Donato, based in New York City during the New Wave/punk era.
His break came from Alan Betrock, who like the band's music and had them record a single for his indie label Shake Records - and "Something's Gonna Happen" did well enough for major labels to express interest, leading to an offer from Warner Brothers in 1982, where he remained for the next seven years.
His self-titled debut album had as its hit single Someday, Someway – what would prove to be his only Top 40 hit. The next album "Field Day" also garnered some favorable reviews and he went on to three more Warners recordings that did well on AOR (album-oriented rock) radio stations before leaving to record one album (1989’s Life’s Too Short) for MCA before taking a hiatus of a few years.
Re-emerging in the mid-1990’s, he was no longer part of the pop vanguard: but went on to several more recordings that garnered critical praise, including a 1994 live album with his new label. In 1996 he co-wrote the tune Til I Hear It from You for the Gin Blossoms – who reached the Top Ten with it. His 1999 recording 447 garnered some of his best reviews in years.
All along the way, he has done other musical projects not involving performing. He has appeared on TV (on the Nickelodeon series "Pete and Pete") and in films: as a bandleader in Peggy Sue Got Married and most notably portraying Buddy Holly in La Bamba in 1987.
He published the book Hollywood Rock – A Guide to Rock & Roll in the Movies in 1994 and has contributed chapters to books on vintage guitar collecting. And (due in part to his own extensive personal record collection) he has helped record labels assemble music anthologies, most notably Hillbilly Music … Thank God – which garnered critical praise from some reviewers.
In recent years, he wrote the title track for the 2007 film Walk Hard – which (as sung by the film’s star John C. Reilly) received a Golden Globe nomination. He had a guest spot with some fellow Detroit musicians when the MC-5 reunited a few years back, released his latest studio album in 2009 and in 2011 began hosting a show on Fordham University’s radio station WFUV-FM (which has a 50-year history, dating back to future NYC disk jockey Pete Fornatale in 1964). And he appears to have liberal politics, with some caustic comments about our former president last decade.
His songs have been recorded by several performers in different genres. Some are "Someday, Someway" (by the rockabilly musician Robert Gordon), the Diane Warren-written song Some Hearts (of which Crenshaw's original recording spawned a cover by Carrie Underwood), "Brand New Lover" (by the blues singer Lou Ann Barton), "Whatever Way the Wind Blows" (by the alt-country singer Kelly Willis) and most of all You’re My Favorite Waste of Time by several singers including Bette Midler.
Via Kickstarter, he began a new program for his fans: with a series of exclusive three-song 10-inch, 45-rpm vinyl EPs (on Addie-Ville Records) over a two-year period.
At age 60, he has a fine 2000 compilation album to discover his music and begins a tour next week in Montclair, New Jersey with some dates including The Bottle Rockets .... and with so many pots on the stove, chances are the music world hasn't seen the last of him.
Of all of his songs, it is one from his second album Field Day that is my favorite. Whenever You're On My Mind has been covered by singers Marti Jones and former Ronettes singer Ronnie Spector. And below you can hear it.
I think about you and I'm weak though I'm in my prime
Set my watch and still lose the track of time
It seems to be ... but can it be ... a fantasy?
I never thought I'd be in this situation
It seems wherever I go, I'm with you
And though I never seem to find my place
At every turn I see your face
Whenever you're on my mind
Whenever you're on my mind
I leave the world behind
Whenever you're on my mind