Cream – Anyone For Tennis

I had just graduated and I had heard a lot of Cream before but it was a spring day and I had a new cassette of them in my car…I heard this song with the windows down and at first, I thought…no this can’t be Cream. It grew on me and I love the song. I like when a band does something different. After blitzing audiences with Crossroads, Whiteroom, Sunshine of Your Love, and Strange Brew…out comes this song. It’s not my favorite Cream song…that would be Badge but this one always makes me smile.

The song was written by Eric Clapton and Martin Sharp for the movie “Savage Seven.” It reached #64 on the Billboard Charts in America in 1968.

Unfortunately, this was nearing the end of Cream’s run.

Cream appeared on the Smothers Brothers and mimed this song. Who the hell knows what it means but when I heard “And the elephants are dancing on the graves of squealing mice. Anyone for tennis, wouldn’t that be nice?” I was hooked. It’s hard to get it out of your head once you listen to it.

Twice upon a time in the valley of the tears
The auctioneer is bidding for a box of fading years
And the elephants are dancing on the graves of squealing mice.
Anyone for tennis, wouldn’t that be nice?

And the ice creams are all melting on the streets of bloody beer
While the beggars stain the pavements with fluorescent Christmas cheer
And the Bentley driving guru is putting up his price.
Anyone for tennis, wouldn’t that be nice?

And the prophets in the boutiques give out messages of hope
With jingle bells and fairy tales and blind colliding scopes
And you can tell they’re all the same underneath the pretty lies.
Anyone for tennis, wouldn’t that be nice?

The yellow Buddhist monk is burning brightly at the zoo
You can bring a bowl of rice and then a glass of water too
And fate is setting up the chessboard while death rolls out the dice.
Anyone for tennis, wouldn’t that be nice?

Harpo Speaks

I have mentioned this book before but not in detail. It is my favorite autobiography I’ve ever read. He starts off in his childhood in the late 1800s and ends up in the 1960s. I have read this book at least 7-10 times. It’s always my traveling companion on trips just in case I need something else to read. I’ve read books by and about Groucho and others written about the Marx Brothers but this book that Harpo and Rowland Barber wrote tops them all. He doesn’t go through all of the movies by detail but he packed so much living in his life that his life was full enough without much info about the movies.

He was always himself no matter what. The Brothers never would conform to anyone’s standards. He was counterculture before counterculture. Harpo jumped out of the window in 2nd grade and never came back but ended up hanging out with some of the best-known intellectuals of the 20th century and was a member of the Algonquin Round Table but yet he could hardly spell. He frequently stayed at William Randolph Hearst’s super-estate San Simeon. He called himself a professional listener…the only one of the bunch.

He taught himself the harp and played with an unorthodox style. Professional harp players would ask him to show them how he played some of the things he did…

Harpo was a good friend of Alexander Woolcott and Wolcott would invite Harpo and a select few to Neshobe Island in Lake Bomoseen in Vermont that Woolcott owned for the summers to play games and hang out every day. Harpo could make life interesting in the dullest of surroundings. He was friends with Robert Benchley, Salvador Dali, Dorothy Parker, Charles MacArthur, Alice Duer Miller, George Bernard Shaw,  Beatrice Kaufman, and Ruth Gordon.

Wolcott also arranged for Harpo to tour Russia in the 1930s. Harpo actually did a bit of Spy work for the American government at the time…transporting some papers on his leg out of Russia to America.

If you read this just to read about the Marx Brothers movie career…don’t…if you want to know what they went through to get where they did…then yes read it. This book tells what old-time Vaudeville was really like. Not a romantic version of it by some old timers that told their story after they retired. Awful boarding houses, spoiled food, and harassment by promoters.

He never seemed to age in spirit. He kept up with new things and was not stuck in the past.

His son Bill Marx wrote a book later on about his life with Harpo. When the Beatles came out Bill…who studied jazz and played piano, hated them. Harpo told him in 1964 that he better start liking them because their songs would last through time. He said this in 1964 before the Beatles matured. The guy had been around George Gershwin, Oscar Levant, and Irving Berlin. Bill said in 1970 he was playing piano in a club somewhere and what was he playing? Let It Be… “Dad was right.”

Harpo married Susan Flemming when he was 48 in 1936. George Burns asked him in 1948 how many children did he want to adopt? Harpo said “I’d like to adopt as many children as I have windows in my house. So when I leave for work, I want a kid in every window, waving goodbye.”

Harpo was known to wake one of his children up in the middle of the night if he worked late just to play games with them.

They ended up adopting 4 children…below was the house rules for the kids…

  1. Life has been created for you to enjoy, but you won’t enjoy it unless you pay for it with some good, hard work. This is one price that will never be marked down.
  2. You can work at whatever you want to as long as you do it as well as you can and clean up afterwards and you’re at the table at mealtime and in bed at bedtime.
  3. Respect what the others do. Respect Dad’s harp, Mom’s paints, Billy’s piano, Alex’s set of tools, Jimmy’s designs, and Minnie’s menagerie.
  4. If anything makes you sore, come out with it. Maybe the rest of us are itching for a fight, too.
  5. If anything strikes you as funny, out with that, too. Let’s all the rest of us have a laugh.
  6. If you have an impulse to do something that you’re not sure is right, go ahead and do it. Take a chance. Chances are, if you don’t you’ll regret it – unless you break the rules about mealtime and bedtime, in which case you’ll sure as hell regret it.
  7. If it’s a question of whether to do what’s fun or what is supposed to be good for you, and nobody is hurt whichever you do, always do what’s fun.
  8. If things get too much for you and you feel the whole world’s against you, go stand on your head. If you can think of anything crazier to do, do it.
  9. Don’t worry about what other people think. The only person in the world important enough to conform to is yourself.
  10. Anybody who mistreats a pet or breaks a pool cue is docked a months pay.

 

If you are looking for an autobiography…get this book.

Here is a small portion of Chapter 1 of Harpo Speaks!

I’ve played piano in a whorehouse. I’ve smuggled secret papers out of Russia. I’ve spent an evening on the divan with Peggy Hopkins Joyce. I’ve taught a gangster mob how to play Pinchie Winchie. I’ve played croquet with Herbert Bayard Swope while he kept Governor Al Smith waiting on the phone. I’ve gambled with Nick the Greek, sat on the floor with Greta Carbo, sparred with Benny Leonard, horsed around with the Prince of Wales, played Ping-pong with George Gershwin. George Bernard Shaw has asked me for advice. Oscar Levant has played private concerts for me at a buck a throw. I have golfed with Ben Hogan and Sam Snead. I’ve basked on the Riviera with Somerset Maugham and Elsa Maxwell. I’ve been thrown out of the casino at Monte Carlo.
Flush with triumph at the poker table, I’ve challenged Alexander Woollcott to anagrams and Alice Duer Miller to a spelling match. I’ve given lessons to some of the world’s greatest musicians. I’ve been a member of the two most famous Round Tables since the days of King Arthur—sitting with the finest creative minds of the 1920’s at the Algonquin in New York, and with Hollywood’s sharpest professional wits at the Hillcrest.
(Later in the book, some of these activities don’t seem quite so impressive when I tell the full story. Like what I was doing on the divan with Peggy Hopkins Joyce. I was reading the funnies to her.)
The truth is, I had no business doing any of these things. I couldn’t read a note of music. I never finished the second grade. But I was having too much fun to recognize myself as an ignorant upstart.
 
 I can’t remember ever having a bad meal. I’ve eaten in William Randolph Hearst’s baronial dining room at San Simeon, at Voisin’s and the Colony, and the finest restaurants in Paris. But the eating place I remember best, out of the days when I was chronically half starved, is a joint that was called Max’s Busy Bee. At the Busy Bee, a salmon sandwich on rye cost three cents per square foot, and for four cents more you could buy a strawberry shortcake smothered with whipped cream and a glass of lemonade. But the absolutely most delicious food I ever ate was prepared by the most inspired chef I ever knew—my father. My father had to be inspired because he had so little to work with.
I can’t remember ever having a poor night’s sleep. I’ve slept in villas at Cannes and Antibes, at Alexander Woollcott’s island hideaway in Vermont, at the mansions of the Vanderbilts and Otto H. Kahn and in the Gloversville, New York, jail. I’ve slept on pool tables, dressing-room tables, piano tops, bathhouse benches, in rag baskets and harp cases, and four abreast in upper berths. I have known the supreme luxury of snoozing in the July sun, on the lawn, while the string of a flying kite tickled the bottom of my feet.

I can’t remember ever seeing a bad show. I’ve seen everything from Coney Island vaudeville to the Art Theatre in Moscow. If I’m trapped in a theatre and a show starts disappointingly, I have a handy way to avoid watching it. I fall asleep.
My only addictions—and I’ve outgrown them all—have been to pocket billiards, croquet, poker, bridge and black jelly beans. I haven’t smoked for twenty years.

The only woman I’ve ever been in love with is still married to me.

My only Alcohol Problem is that I don’t particularly care for the stuff.

Juinor’s Farm/Sally G. by Paul McCartney and Wings

Juinor’s Farm/Sally G. single by Paul McCartney and Wings.

I had this single as a kid. Juinor’s Farm and Sally G were both partially recorded in Nashville during Paul’s six-week stay there in 1974. Juinor’s Farm is one of my favorite songs by Paul McCartney. The song rocks and the solo was performed by a 21-year-old Jimmy McCulloch. The song reached #3 in America. The band stayed at a farm in Lebanon TN around 30 miles from Nashville. I remember at the time it being big news that Paul McCartney was going on record in Nashville. I was seven years old and remember seeing Paul on the local news.

Jimmy McCulloch was a guitar prodigy… He was playing in a band when he was 11. He was in a band supporting The Who when he was 14 and in the band Thunderclap Newman in 1969 when he was 16. He went on to play with John Mayall (That guy knew how to pick guitar players) and Stone the Crows… He then went to play with Paul McCartney and Wings in 1974. He gave Paul’s songs an edge and I wish he would have stayed in Wings longer.

He left Paul to play with the reformed Small Faces in 1977.  In 1979 died of heart failure due to morphine and alcohol poisoning. You have to wonder how much better this guy could have been…

The B side was Sally G. and it hit #17 on the Billboard charts and even #51 on the country charts. This song has stayed with me through the years. When I listen to it…I think, now this is more of a what a country song should sound like. I really hate modern country music. No pickup trucks or tractors in this song. Modern country music could learn a lot by listening to country songs in this period and earlier. Paul composed the song after visiting a club in Printer’s Alley in Nashville.

This was McCartney’s last release on Apple Records

sallyg.jpg

This is from the Tennessean about Paul’s 1974 visit to Nashville. It was written by Dave Paulson

1974
Paul McCartney touched down at Metropolitan airport with his family on the evening of June 6, 1974, emerging from the plane wearing a green battle jacket and flashing a peace sign. The Tennessean reported that Paul answered questions “briefly but willingly” and even humored a group of kids who were amused by his British accent (he said the word “elevator” at their request).
The music superstar told a crowd of about 50 fans and members of the press that he’d come to Nashville for his three Rs — rehearsing, relating and riding. Music producer and executive Buddy Killen, who would act as the McCartneys’ Music City guide during their six-week stay here that summer, greeted the family upon their arrival.
The McCartneys rented a 133-acre farm just outside of Lebanon from songwriter Curly Putman (“Green, Green Grass of Home”) for $2,000 a week. They had requested a farm within 50 miles of Nashville that had horses and swimming facilities.
“I’ve got a farm in Scotland,” McCartney told reporters during an informal press conference on the farm. “You’re not the only people who have farms, you know. Back in Scotland, we’re country people in our own way.”
During their stay, the family visited the homes of Johnny Cash and Chet Atkins and even took in a few movies at their local drive-in.
McCartney and his family caused quite a stir when they joined the audience at Opryland for the third annual Grand Masters Fiddling Contest on June 16, 1974. During the intermission, Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton performed their final show together before Parton embarked on her solo career. Linda McCartney got out of her seat several times to take photos of the duo. The McCartneys went backstage to meet with Wagoner and Parton, and then escaped into a waiting automobile.
McCartney told Nashville reporters that he was raised on country music, and he tried his hand at a bit of country songwriting while he was in town: He wrote the song “Sally G.” after a trip to Printer’s Alley.
McCartney drove around on a newly purchased motorcycle during the family’s Nashville visit. When a group of reporters waited at the Putman farm gate for a “highly informal” press conference, Paul and Linda rode past, smiling and waving.
Linda told The Tennessean she was “not much into materialism anymore,” though she had made a recent trip to Rivergate to purchase gifts for her family. Another big machine Paul loved — the Mellotron synthesizer — was not readily available in Tennessee at the time, to his chagrin.
As his time in Tennessee came to a close, McCartney told a group of local reporters that he hoped to mount a U.S. tour the following year, and that if it happened, Music City would definitely be on the itinerary.
“We just couldn’t skip Nashville,” he said. “We have too many friends here.”
McCartney continued to skip Nashville for the next 36 years.

When Paul did come I was there in 2010… he also came back in 2013 and I was there again. Three hours of one favorite after another…

New Musical Express Winners 1965 Concert

I have the video of this show. First, the lineup to this event included

  • The Moody Blues
  • Freddie and the Dreamers
  • Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames
  • The Seekers
  • Herman’s Hermits
  • The Ivy League
  • Sounds Incorporated
  • Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders
  • The Rolling Stones
  • Cilla Black
  • Donovan
  • Them
  • The Searchers
  • Dusty Springfield
  • The Animals
  • The Beatles
  • The Kinks

Think about the talent on that stage. To see the Stones, Animals, Van Morrison with Them, The Kinks and The Beatles all in the same day on the same stage. This would be a dream concert. Jimmy Saville hosted the event. It’s hard to watch the guy knowing what we know now about him.

It’s great to see The Rolling Stones with Brian Jones but you can tell the Beatles were THE Band of the day and were clearly the most anticipated.

You see a young Van Morrison fluff a line in “Here Comes The Night” but his voice comes through loud and clear. It’s a wonder you have a sound at all. In between songs you see roadies roll out amps and drums for the next band. They did quite well and it was never a long break between bands.

The sound quality is not the greatest but it’s good enough to watch considering the hectic way they had everyone perform.

The next year the Who, Rolling Stones, and the Beatles would play but The Beatles and Stones would not let their segments be recorded.

As far as I know, there is not an official release of this video…You can watch it on Youtube or order a bootleg DVD on various sites.

Deal by Bill Kreutzmann

The book is called Deal: My Three Decades of Drumming, Dreams, and Drugs with the Grateful Dead.

This book is what you would imagine from the drummer (one of them) of the Grateful Dead. Music, drugs, women, drugs, travels, guns, drugs, death, drink and more drugs. Actually, I really enjoyed the book. He is very open and very honest about his actions good and bad.

He is not a shy guy whatsoever. He shares his feelings about any subject that comes up. He does go into the music and how he feels about his bandmates. Most are positive but he does not hold back.

He covers the complete career of the band. He openly said he was very happy being the only drummer of the band when Mickey Hart quit and didn’t like it one bit when Mickey rejoined the band…at first anyway.

He goes into his relationship with Jerry Garcia. He also admits the guilt the band share in not trying to help Garcia more…but Jerry was his own man. He writes about the so-called keyboard player curse the band had in their career.

He tells us about the 72 European tour, shows they played near the pyramids and the Festival Express. I will say this…this band had fun. They were like a family and treated their employees well for the most part.

The only thing that I wish he would have shared more about was Pigpen. The band was apparently in the dark about how bad Pigpen was doing before he died. Maybe he didn’t share it with them.

I learned a lot about the Dead that I didn’t know about.

The book keeps going at a good pace. With the Dead’s long career he never lacks for stories. A lot of rock autobiographies are coming out and again this one takes the template that Keith Richards made with his book “Life” and fills it in.

Bill Kreutzmann from Deal about Garcia and heroin:

I’m pretty sure Jerry wasn’t into heroin during the making of Garcia; as far I know, he hadn’t even discovered it yet. But when he did, during subsequent Grateful Dead albums, it could become difficult just to get him to show up, unfortunately. That got to be really old, really fast, for all of us. We wanted to play music with him so badly that we’d put up with it, which—in hindsight—was crazy. Nobody else in the band would’ve been able to get away with it; at least, not to the extent that he did. But Jerry Garcia was the exception.
It also opens up a moral question that we can talk about now, but we can never truly answer, since he’s not with us. There was a certain feeling, toward the end, that Jerry was using the Grateful Dead to finance his drug habit. That’s a sad thought. I don’t think he ever intended it to be that way or for it to get to that point or to hurt anyone. He was as pure of a musician as they come. But heroin addiction will change a person in ways that are tragic and discouraging.

 

 

 

Duel

Duel was a TV movie that came out in 1971.

Steven Spielberg’s first full-length movie. It came out as a TV movie in the US but after some scenes were added it was released in theaters in Europe and Australia. It starred Dennis Weaver.

This movie was much better than your regular TV movie. Dennis Weaver was superb in it. Another star was the Truck itself. It had its own personality. This is one of the best TV movies ever made.

Steven Speilberg told Dennis Weaver at one time that he watches this movie at least twice a year to see what he did as far as techniques.

The story is simple but effective. It still works today.

It’s about a man who is driving to a business meeting and part of his journey is through the desert. He starts being followed by an ugly as hell diesel Peterbilt truck. The truck starts passing Weaver and then starts bumping him later on. The suspense in this movie is great. You cannot see the truck driver but he has plates from all over the US that makes you think he picks random people out and starts harassing them.

The movie reminds you of a Hitchcock film. The suspense builds and builds and you feel Dennis Weaver’s fear.

Weaver is run off the road by the truck and he sees a diner.

Weaver’s character stops at a diner and phones his wife about a fight they had the night before… He gets off the phone and thinks he finds the truck driver that’s been targeting him for miles inside the cafe…

If you like suspense movies the movie is worth a watch.

 

Ooh La La 1973

What a great song from The Faces. The song was written by Ronnie Lane and Ronnie Wood and sung by Wood. That is strange because The Faces had one of the best lead singers around at the time…Rod Stewart.

Stewart by this time was soaring as a solo artist and his interest in the Faces was waning. He claimed the song was not in his key to sing. He did do vocals for it then and Lane but Wood ended up singing the released version.

The Faces had one big hit…Stay With Me but this song is their greatest song to me. Rod Stewart finally covered the song in 1998 for a tribute to Ronnie Lane. Ronnie Lane did his own version with his band Slim Chance. Ronnie Wood also does it live in solo shows.

A song between Granddad and Son about the ways of love. The song never ages because the subject matter never changes and it is continually passed along. The song creates an atmosphere and Wood not known for his singing ability did a great job on this one.

The song was included in the 1998 film Rushmore and enjoyed renewed popularity.

It’s one of my favorite songs of all time. Just a beautiful melody and words.

Poor old granddad
I laughed at all his words
I thought he was a bitter man
He spoke of woman’s ways
They’ll trap you, then they use you
Before you even know
For love is blind and you’re far too kind
Don’t ever let it show
I wish that I knew what I know now
When I was younger
I wish that I knew what I know now
When I was stronger
The can can’s such a pretty show
They’ll steal your heart away
But backstage, back on earth again
The dressing rooms are gray
They come on strong and it ain’t too long
Before they make you feel a man
But love is blind and you soon will find
You’re just a boy again
When you want her lips, you get a cheek
Makes you wonder where you are
If you want some more and she’s fast asleep
Then she’s twinkling with the stars
Poor young grandson, there’s nothing I can say
You’ll have to learn, just like me
And that’s the hardest way
Ooh la la, ooh la la la yeh
I wish that I knew what I know now
When I was younger
I wish that I knew what I know now
When I was stronger