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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". For example:

THURSDAY's CHILD is Lenny the Cat - an upstate New York kitteh who was adopted from a shelter, then returned by someone ... claiming he broke wind all the time. But he has now been re-adopted, and is doing well.

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 reading this. If you celebrate it: Happy Easter.

ART NOTES - the traveling exhibition Romare Bearden: A Black Odyssey is at the Currier Museum of Art in Manchester, New Hampshire through August 17th.

PART OF THE REASON for the drop in crime rates the past twenty-five years may involve switching to a less-cash-intensive society, a new paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research suggests.

HOPING FOR IMPROVEMENT for the musician Glen Campbell - whose Alzheimer's affliction has progressed to the pomint where he has been admitted to a care facility.

A SONG for EASTER - regardless of whether or not you are Christian. Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer) was written by Duke Jordan, and recorded by Donald Byrd - with Herbie Hancock on piano and Kenny Burrell on guitar - and was performed at Martin Luther King's funeral.

PERHAPS LIKE YOU I avoided reading this man's obituary two weeks ago .... truly eager to ignore him. But this recounting of the death of financier Charles Keating - not only a swindler, but also a fundie moralist to boot - was fascinating to read.

THE WINDS of CHANGE continue to blow in tradition-bound Germany: the appointment of the first woman in their navy to be granted a commission on a submarine - where traditionally a female presence on-board was believed to bring bad luck ....... and a Palestinian who came to the capitol city of Berlin (from the West Bank) as a child - whose first job was making fries at Burger King - who could become the first mayor of a major German city with foreign roots.

FRIDAY's CHILD is Bella the Cat - an Arizona kitteh who lost a leg due to a building fire, and her family (who lost everything in the fire) was unable to keep her .... but has been adopted by a couple who say Bella is doing fine.

CHEERS to the Chilean judge Carlos Cerda - the only judge in Chile to pursue cases of human rights abuse by government forces while General Augusto Pinochet was in power - who has become the newest member of that nation's Supreme Court.

BRAIN TEASER - try this Quiz of the Week's News from the BBC.

By Request OLDER-YOUNGER BROTHERS? from Observer in Vancouver - the head coach of the NHL's Vancouver Canucks, John Tortorella - and the team's new president, Trevor Linden (whose uniform number was retired by the team after he retired as a player) - whaddya think?

   

...... and finally, for a song of the week .............................. a star musician in the 1950’s R&B field who also found success in the field of business is Lloyd Price -€“ who might have been an even bigger star had not a draft notice arrived in his mailbox. Unlike many of his contemporaries: "Mr. Personality" (as he became known) wrote nearly all of his own material, and has had a six-decade career.

Born in the New Orleans suburb of Kenner in 1933, he had trumpet and piano lessons as a child and sang in his mother'€™s Gospel choir. He and his brother formed a band while in their teens, after being inspired by hearing early R&B stars such as Louis Jordan and Amos Milburn on the jukebox at their mother'€™s fish-fry restaurant. And from her, he also developed a life-long interest in food preparation and the business practices necessary to sustain that in general.

His big break came when he was heard by another New Orleans legend, the bandleader Dave Bartholomew (who had Fats Domino in his band at the time). Rather than recommend Price to the label he was signed to (Imperial Records) during a time he had a dispute with them: he instead touted Price to Art Rupe - the visiting head of Specialty Records in Los Angeles (and who is still alive at age ninety-six). Rupe signed the nineteen year-old Price, to be backed by Bartholomew'€™s band.

And Lloyd Price hit #1 in the R&B charts with 1952'€™s Lawdy Miss Clawdy -€“ a song that Price himself had wrote. While not considered by historians to be a true rock and roll song: it was a preview of rock, and has since been performed by everyone from Elvis Presley to John Lennon to Elvis Costello.

He had a few more singles with Specialty, including Oooh, Oooh, Oooh and Restless Heart - before he was conscripted into the Army in 1954 and sent to Korea. One wonders what his career might have been during the advent of rock and roll had he not been away for three years, as upon his return he discovered that he had been dropped for Little Richard, and that his driver Larry Williams was now also recording for Specialty.

Now forming his own band, Lloyd Price'€™s group featured a rocking horn section (with Merritt Dalton as lead saxophonist) and back-up singers that became a model for others in just a few years. He then founded Kent Record Company (KRC) with Harold Logan and began recording again. His single Just Because gained some popularity, and Price leased it to ABC-Paramount (to gain national distribution). This led to much success from 1957 to 1959, with songs such as I'€™m Gonna Get Married, Come Into my Heart and Personality - which reached #2 on the pop charts and spawned his nickname. And he did so while retaining the rights to his music - thus retaining control of his own music.

In 1962, he ended his relationship with ABC in order to found a new label Double L -€“ also with Harold Logan (and which was the first label for Wilson Pickett). When the hit singles dried up after the British Invasion and the rise of Motown, he opened a Manhattan restaurant/club named Lloyd Price'€™s Turntable (which he had wanted to do in homage to his mother'€™s restaurant).

But the 1969 murder of his business partner Harold Logan (and the changing fortunes of the record business) led him to sell his businesses and relocate to Africa. In the 1970'€™s, he helped boxing promoter Don King promote two legendary Muhammad Ali bouts (in Zaire and Manila). He returned to the US in the 1980'€™s, but delved into building construction in his adopted metropolitan New York City. Thus, he had been out of music for the entire 1970'€™s and 1980'€™s, resisting calls for him to perform on the oldies circuit.

He finally agreed to a 1993 European tour (with Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard and Gary U.S. Bonds) which rekindled his interest at the age of sixty. And he has remained active (with a nine-piece band) from time-to-time, often appearing at his hometown New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. He toured in 2005 (with fellow stars Jerry Butler, Gene Chandler and Ben E. King) billed as the Four Kings of Rhythm and Blues -€“ with a PBS special/DVD resulting. There are two definitive compilation albums available: one from his earlier (and grittier) days at Specialty Records and the other from his later ABC-Paramount recordings.

In 2009, Lloyd Price released his autobiography and has been working on producing a Broadway play (entitled "Lawdy Miss Clawdy" after his first hit). He was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1998, into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame in 2010 on his 77th birthday, and his hometown of Kenner named Lloyd Price Avenue after him. More recently, he appeared on (and sang in) the first season finale of the New Orleans-themed of Tremé on HBO.

Lloyd Price still lives in the NYC suburbs and has a day job running his Icon Food Brands company, producing Southern specialties named after some of his hit songs. And at age 81, he will be appearing this weekend at the Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekend ... so his sixty-year career has yet to hear its final notes.

   

Of all of his work, my favorite was one that he did not write, but instead re-worked from the old New Orleans folk-blues standard Stack-O-Lee. Reworked as Stagger Lee - it reached the top of both the R&B and pop charts in early 1959, and one might find two different versions in various compilations.

That is because the violence hinted at in the lyrics (and at this link is more about the back-story) was deemed unacceptable to be heard on TV shows such as American Bandstand, thus a re-worked version was released.

Below you can hear the original version - named by Rolling Stone as #456 on its list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time list.

I was standing on the corner when I heard my bulldog bark
He was barking at the two men who were gambling in the dark
It was Stagger Lee and Billy, two men who gambled late
Stagger Lee threw seven, Billy swore that he threw eight

Stagger Lee told Billy, "I can't let you go with that"
"You have won all my money and my brand new Stetson hat"
Stagger Lee started off going down that railroad track
He said "I can't get you Billy, but don't be here when I come back"

Stagger Lee went home and he got his forty-four
Said "I'm going to the barroom just to pay that debt I owe"
Stagger Lee went to the barroom and he stood across the barroom door
He said "Nobody move" and he pulled his forty-four


Originally posted to DKOMA on Sun Apr 20, 2014 at 08:30 AM PDT.

Also republished by Shamrock American Kossacks.

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