On Race Music

 

Underground is the opening number in Memphis: The Musical, which received 8 Tony nominations while winning 4 (2010) – including Best Musical. The story (loosely true) is about a white DJ in Memphis who played black music in the 1950s to a White audience. The musical’s script includes “race music” as a descriptive phrase.

In my almost 66 years, I haven’t heard “race music” before, well – until 10 days before attending a community theater performance of Memphis: The Musical when we saw the premier of a new play – Cincinnati King – a story about Cincinnati-based King Records. (Click for video ad.) From not ever hearing the term to it crossing my path twice within 10 days is a bit odd – but also a sign for a blog post.

Within a week after attending Memphis: The Musical, we saw a new movie (well, new at the time) – Green Book – many thumbs up! (Click for trailer.) Although not about race music, this movie involves both music and racism. Another timely event for my November and this post. However, this post is about Memphis and Cincinnati – so, let’s jump to Cleveland.

Cleveland is in the diagonally opposite corner of Ohio from Cincinnati – a 4 hour drive downtown-to-downtown. Cleveland is also home to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (Hall). Besides putting up the money to get the Hall, the location is based on Alan Freed, a Cleveland DJ (WJW) who coined the term rock and roll. Interestingly, Freed’s “sign-on” song was on the King Records label.

Then there is Terry Stewart, the Hall’s longest serving CEO and current President Emeritus, who said the following: “There are only three places in the country that can claim to be the birthplace of rock and roll: New Orleans, Memphis, and Cincinnati.” (Reminder of the two plays that I saw.)

Image from Wikipedia

King Records is the reason Cincinnati is in that quote. Syd Nathan, a local sales hustler, started King Records in 1943. With Cincinnati being home to one of the nation’s most powerful radio stations (WLW) and the local population having many Blacks and poor Appalachian Whites, Nathan saw a musical opportunity.

In time, Nathan grew King Records into one of the most successful independent record labels in the country, Nathan also controlled the recording, mastering, pressing, and shipping processes because they were typically done in-house – therefore a quick turnaround from recording to store shelves.

By realizing the importance of music to different populations, Nathan’s stable of artists included country & western, rhythm & blues, gospel, bluegrass, rockabilly, and boogie woogie. On the “B-side” of 45s, he often put a crossover song or artist to expand the music to different populations. Yes, Nathan promoted and distributed race music.

Fever was a hit for Peggy Lee in 1958 – but did you know that King Records Little Willie John recorded Fever two years earlier?

 

Everyone knows the success with The Twist. Did you know that the song was first done by Hank Ballard and the Midnighters on King Records? Ballard was unavailable for American Bandstand, so Dick Clark (who wanted the song on the show) turned to a local artist to perform the song as a cover – enter Chubby Checker.

 

Music buffs may know King Records names as Albert King, Grandpa Jones, Joe Tex, The Dominoes, The Charms, Freddie King, and John Lee Hooker – but the biggest name at King Records was none other than the Godfather of Soul – James Brown – with this mega-hit that won Brown his first Grammy Award (Best R&B Performance, 1966).

 

Syd Nathan died in 1968. Although King Records final demise would shortly follow, it’s impact on the music industry would last forever. Meanwhile, the City of Cincinnati is considering a King Records Museum. Let’s toast the pioneers of race music in Cincinnati and Memphis. Cheers!

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Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 358

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Cheers – the day has finally arrived – The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame will induct the Moody Blues this Saturday!

Did you watch the special musical event honoring Elton John? I enjoyed it!

Readers provide very interesting comments on the previous post about Lead and Follow. Thanks for the surprises!

It appears my invitation to the Royal Wedding got lost in the mail.

After playing for Easter services, no rest for the handbell choir as we are back playing at a service two weeks later. Here’s the next song on our agenda: Enjoy Song of Celebration (Arnold Sherman).

Need a laugh? This is a good read from a fellow blogger who occasionally visits my little corner of the world.

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I appreciate this comment by former Secretary of State Madeline Albright: “We should be awake to the assault on democratic values that has gathered strength in many countries abroad and that is dividing America at home.”

Count me in as one who thinks the latest use of chemical weapons in Syria was by the rebels who don’t want the US military to leave.

Interesting announcement by Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WS) about leaving Congress at the end of his term this year. I noticed something important in Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) in his comments about Speaker Ryan. … his speakership has yielded one significant accomplishment after another for his conference, his constituents in Wisconsin, as well as the American people.” Yes, I’m one who notices the order. Nonetheless, best wishes to Speaker Ryan for a positive future as he earn millions.

Congressional Republicans amuse me by pushing for a Balanced Budget Amendment after voting for the tax cut and a spending bill that increases the deficit and debt. What a hoot!

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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion explains how trade wars work. 

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Fender introduces new line of sympathy and bereavement guitars
Oat farmer seriously thinking about getting into barley
Unstable couple playing with fire by organizing game night
Retired Pope Benedict promises to donate soul for ecclesiastic research
Cows go extinct

Interesting Reads
An interview with a retiring Republican Congressman
The era of fake video is now
Bots and Twitter
Molly Ringwald revisiting The Breakfast Club
Relating male organ size to extinction 
(Photos) A trip to Antarctica
(Photos) A story of Sri Lankan tea-making

To send you into induction weekend, here’s another Moody Blues classic. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 344

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I’m not even close to being a Star Wars fanatic, but I get to attend a Cincinnati premier of the new film.

OMG – The Moody Blues are going into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame along with The Cars, Bon Jovi, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Nina Simone, and Dire Straits. Congratulations to all!

Our handbell choir continues focusing on music for the busy holiday season. The next solo piece is The Huron Carol: a tune many of you will recognize. Click here to listen.

Until I saw this, I didn’t realize President Trump sang Christmas carols.

A refreshing thought. While watching the Army-Navy football game, I noticed that players don’t bring attention to themselves after a play.

Cheers to the professional golf’s decision to stop issuing penalty strokes based on information from the television audience.

For those enjoying the beach walks, I only have 1 0r 2 left.

I worry about what the Supreme Court will rule in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission.

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On one hand, Doug Jones (D) defeating Roy Moore (R) for the Alabama Senate seat gives hope to humanity. On the other hand, the fact that a high percentage of voters supported Moore makes my hope very tepid.

I applaud this line from this ABC News Editorial: A nation can have a healthy, functional democracy only if its citizens are willing to go beyond the interests of their tribe and work for the common good.

For many years on these pages I warned that the political climate was not good for times when one party controls Congress and the White House … and I believe Democrats would be doing the same thing if the roles were reversed.

It didn’t take much time for some Democrats to seek the resignation of Sen. Al Franken (D-MN). But I ask this question: Would Democrats have done the same thing if Minnesota had a Republican governor?

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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion provides an infographic comparing shopping at a retail store and a thrift store.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Man with 3 kids going to make great father someday
Study finds controlling, possessive behavior most pure expression of love
Department of Labor response team seals off toxic workplace environment
Line of lizards winding out door outside National Geographic casting office
Frustrated wildfire spends hours stuck in L.A. traffic
Recording Academy reminds aging musicians to die before December 15th to be included in 2017 Grammy tributes

Interesting Reads
Views of gender differences
Debating USA’s role in the world
History of mince pies
The first Scrooge
Why dogs cock their heads
(Interactive) Compare your view on gender equality with others
(Photos) Wonderful images from space

To lead you into the weekend, it’s got to be the Moody Blues. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 337

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Cincinnati has a new major event this weekend, so I hope I get to report on Blink Cincinnati.

Last weekend our handbell choir played a good piece that is very melodic and peaceful (Draw Us In the Spirit’s Tether). To listen to a recording of the song (not by us), click here, then scroll down to find the Listen button under the paragraph, then click Listen.

Also last weekend I participate as a volunteer partner at a dance competition for the dancers with Down Syndrome and other disabilities. What a great event!

In case you missed it, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced the 2018 nominees that will be on the ballot – and The Moody Blues received their FIRST nomination.

Thanks to those who are interested with our trips to care for the issues of an elderly aunt. The situation is stressful on multiple fronts, but we are going in the right direction. Meanwhile, the next 6 weeks are critical.

Because of the time involved with an aunt, yesterday was the first time I’ve played golf in many weeks … and the weather has been great for golf!

I like watching for statistical milestones. Comment #75,000 is approaching – Post #2000 could happen in 2018 – along with views #300,000.

In my posts featuring local murals, I encourage readers to visit Resa, the one who motivated me to post about the murals. Cheers to Resa for reaching a milestone: Post #1000 – visit it here.

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Not that I need another top-shelf example of the impact of partisan politics, but the Senate Judiciary Committee negotiated an agreement to issue a subpoena? Just another example of those elected following the party-first mantra.

I find it interesting when opponents of the president/administration of one party complain, but they stay silent when the president/administration of their party does the same.

While polls show the majority of Americans want to improve the Affordable Care Act, Congressional Democrats are pathetically silent with suggestions. For the record, being in the minority is not an acceptable excuse.

Vice President Pence’s actions at a recent NFL game were nothing more than a political stunt at the expense of the American taxpayer while doing nothing about the issue being raised and inflaming the situation.

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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion defines common cooking terms.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Side salad clearly made from hamburger toppings
Stunned family watches as grandma wolfs down sandwich in 33 minutes
Subway sandwich emits noxious honey mustard spray as defense against predators
Man explains to visiting father that “Flatbread means pizza”
Mom has stacked dinner party roster
Food Network production assistants prep Guy Fieri with dry rub

Interesting Reads
Armenians and strangers
The growing partisan divide in American politics
The hermit of Qadisha Valley
The town losing its language
Generation Z and big questions
(Images) From the longest-running photography competition

For your weekend entertainment, a song and video from many legends that have left us – but fortunately their music stayed behind for us to enjoy. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

 

On Mid-Week Holiday 2016 Briefs

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Given the mid-week status of this post due to the approaching holiday, this is a variation of the weekly Opinion in the Shorts, which probably won’t reappear until after ringing in 2017.

The next post will be my holiday greeting, which I hope goes live in time for Christmas Eve in Australia/New Zealand. Hope everyone has a time to stop by as there will be quite the selection of goodies.

For the last week of December, I will have a few Explore posts, followed by a post to lead us into 2017.

The Electoral College has voted, so Election 2016 is over. In the aftermath since Election Day, hopefully Americans have learned more about the Electoral College. I know I have – but I’ll save that post for another day.

The fact that I’m not listing a “Obama’s Fault” list is Obama’s fault. However, columnist Charles Krauthammer recently wrote that President-elect Trump’s nominee to lead the Environmental Protection Agency is Obama’s fault.

For those needing some handbell music for the holidays, here’s a recording of the version we will be playing of It Came Upon a Midnight Clear.

For readers who enjoy a feel-good story, CBS News had this touching report about the origin of Secret Santa.

I was saddened to receive the news of the passing of a blogger – especially one who was kind and smart – let alone talented in her own craft. Blogging makes the world smaller. Even though most of us will never meet, we impact each other through our interactions. To Cynthia Jobin, aka Littleoldladywho, thank you for sharing yourself through your poems and in your interactions with me and others. Here is her last poem (and for those who don’t know, there is also an audio). To me, I heard her talking about herself – but I may be wrong.

The recent announcement of the latest inductees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the ceiling is starting to crack. Although no Moody Blues (which were not consider this year), the wait is over for three worthy bands: Electric Light Orchestra, Journey, and Yes.

On a Hall

I’ve criticized the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (Hall) on more than one occasion, especially regarding the Moody Blues. In order to satisfy my disapproval and curiosity, I decided to examine the qualifications established by the Hall for honorees.

According to the Hall’s website,

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame honors the legendary performers, producers, songwriters, disc jockeys and others who have made rock and roll the force that it is in our culture

… to recognize the contributions of those who have had a significant impact on the evolution, development and perpetuation of rock and roll by inducting them into the Hall of Fame.

Eligibility
the artist must have released a record, in the generally accepted sense of that phrase, at least 25 years prior to the year of induction; and have demonstrated unquestionable musical excellence.

We shall consider factors such as an artist’s musical influence on other artists, length and depth of career and the body of work, innovation and superiority in style and technique, but musical excellence shall be the essential qualification of induction.

Admissions and Omissions
In the list below, I selected performers in relationship to the status to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. They are randomly paired, and this doesn’t not imply that none of the honored shouldn’t be – but I feel the Hall is missing more than a few worthy artists. At the end is a song by an omission with a fitting title.

In – The Stooges
Out – Yes

In – Green Day
Out – Doobie Brothers

In – Joan Jett & the Blackhearts
Out – Jethro Tull

In – Sex Pistols
Out – Three Dog Night

In – The Staple Singers
Out – The Cars

In – The Clash
Out – Electric Light Orchestra

In – Lovin’ Spoonful
Out – Guess Who

In – Heart
Out – Journey

In – Hall & Oates
Out – Moody Blues

So … what do you think?

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 256

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While I appreciate the No-Labels organization and their agenda as the National Strategic Agenda (for problem solving), in the end, politicians remain loyal to their party. Nonetheless, this is a good read.

The Senate’s delay of dealing with confirming a new Attorney General is the type of political theater I deplore. All presidential nominees should be acted upon, thus not treated as political footballs … and that’s regardless of the president’s party and the majority party in the Senate. If the senators are hiding behind Senate Rules, then I suggest changing the rules.

Welcome to another edition of It’s Time for Truth with Presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX). Here’s the explanation from PolitiFact.

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Wayne LaPierre is the Executive Vice President of the National Rifle Association (NRA). Given a high position in many other organizations (if not most), remarks like he makes would have gotten him fired.

The Rock n Roll Hall of Fame recently inducted new members. Joan Jett before the Moody Blues? Joan Jett before Yes? That organization has no credibility – None, nada, zilch, zero. Their credibility level is near that of Baseball Commissioner Emeritus Bud Selig and Congress … and that’s not good company.

I had a lousy week of visiting your blogs. 😦

Our energy provider recently sent us this graph regarding energy use.

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Meals: The Musical is scheduled to return next week, which means I will announce Act 3’s theme on the next Monday Morning Entertainment.

No Saturday Morning Cartoons this weekend, but Saturday will bring a new Explore post.

Milestone alert – Approaching a quarter of a million hits, thus should surpass next week.

Body cameras on police is getting a lot of attention. To lead you into it’s headlines, The Onion offers a list of pros and cons regarding this issue.

On This Week’s Headlines from The Onion
Medical experts disappointed in man who failed to live up to life expectancy
Lethal injection least effective drug man took while in prison
Hand gestures transform friend’s story into immersive virtual reality experience
Relationship reaches point where breaking up, getting married would be equally huge hassle
Lovestruck Arabian princess begs father to spare John Kerry’s life

Interesting Reads
Columnist Dana Milbank on partisanship, the elected, and the electorate
Redefining India’s textile heritage
World War I Anzaks (and Anzak Day is Saturday)
How an octopus is coordinated
A short web & digital technology quiz from Pew Research Center

Your Weekend Celebrations
(Fri) Hairball Awareness Day, Satchmo Days, Meningitis Day, Arbor Day, Pigs in a Blanket Day, New Kids on the Block Day, Teach Your Children to Save Day, Puppetry Day, Sylvester the Cat’s Birthday, Natasha’s (Sesame Street) Birthday
(Sat) Anzac Day, DNA Day, Dance Day, Hug a Plumber Day, Bob Wills Day, Eeyore’s Birthday, Hairstylists Appreciation Day, Marconi Day, License Plates Day, Malaria Awareness Day, Go Birding Day, Herb Day, Penguin Day, Red Hat Society Day, Rebuilding Day, Save the Frogs Day, Sense of Smell Day, Spring Astronomy Day, World Day for Animals in Laboratories, World Healing Day, Veterinary Day, Tai Chi & Qigong Day, Telephone Day, Kiss of Hope Day, East Meets West Day
(Sun) Hug an Australian Day, Photography Day, Static Cling Day, Hug a Friend Day, Help a Horse Day, Audubon Day, Mother-Father-Deaf Day, Kids & Pets Day, Pretzel Day, Pet Parent’s Day, Richter Scale Day, Intellectual Property Day

There should be any doubt why these songs will send you into the weekend, Have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.