Johnny Cash – Folsom Prison Blues

But I shot a man in Reno, Just to watch him dieJohnny Cash

It doesn’t get much better than that.

The man in black was The Man. Not many performers can cross genres like Johnny Cash did and still does. He first recorded this song in 1955 at Sun Records as the B side to “S3o Doggone Lonesome” but it was the live 1969 version that hit.

The At Folsom Prison album helped revitalize Cash’s career. Up to this point, his last Country top 40 entry was in 1964. This was recorded live at Folsom Prison in California on January 13, 1968, and that album came to define his outlaw image. The record company told him it wouldn’t work but Johnny recorded at the prison anyway.

Folsom Prison Blues peaked at #1 on the Billboard Country Charts, #1 on the Canadian Country Charts, #32 on the Billboard 100,  and #17 on the Canadian Pop Charts.  The song and album generated a lot of interest in the rebellious Johnny Cash, who made prison reform his political cause of choice. He started regularly performing in jails, doing about 12 shows a year for free mostly in Folsom and San Quentin.

The album peaked at #1 in the Billboard Country Charts, #13 in the Billboard Album Charts, and #27 in Canada.

Johnny Cash Flipping Bird

This iconic picture came from Folsom Prison. According to photographer Jim Marshall…he asked Cash to express what he thought of the prison authorities when he played the show. Marshall told Cash “let’s do a shot for the warden” and the picture was born. 

Cash saw Crane Wilbur’s 90-minute film Inside the Walls of Folsom Prison while stationed in Germany. It left an impression on Cash, who emphasized the tale of the imprisoned men, and inspired him to write a song. Johnny Cash: “It was a violent movie, I just wanted to write a song that would tell what I thought it would be like in prison.”

Cash’s first prison performance occurred in 1957 when he performed for inmates at Huntsville State Prison. The favorable response inspired Cash to perform at more prisons through the years. His next hit, recorded in San Quentin Prison, was the humorous “A Boy Named Sue,” which proved that he could be clever and funny.

Cash came off as a champion for the oppressed.  He got his own national TV show in 1969 and became one of the most popular entertainers of his era. His guests included Derek and the Dominos,  Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Linda Ronstadt, Kris Kristofferson, Mickey Newbury, Neil Young, Gordon Lightfoot, Merle Haggard, James Taylor, Tammy Wynette, and Roy Orbison.

Isn’t that list incredible? Cash was considered a Country-Folk artist but look at the range of performers. The late sixties and seventies were like this ….and it’s the reason I like them so much…all the generations intersected at that point in time. I mean you have Eric Clapton and then you have Tammy Wynette on the guest list.

The lyrics to this song were based on a 1953 recording called Crescent City Blues by a bandleader named Gordon Jenkins with Beverly Maher on vocals. After filing a lawsuit, Gordon Jenkins received an out-of-court settlement from Cash in 1969. I have to say it does sound really close.

Johnny Cash: “I don’t see anything good come out of prison. You put them in like animals and tear out the souls and guts of them, and let them out worse than they went in.”

Rosanne Cash: “He was a real man with great faults, and great genius and beauty in him, but he wasn’t this guy who could save you or anyone else.”

Folsom Prison Blues

(Hello, I’m Johnny Cash)

I hear the train a-comin’
It’s rollin’ ’round the bend
And I ain’t seen the sunshine
Since I don’t know when
I’m stuck in Folsom Prison
And time keeps draggin’ on
But that train keeps a-rollin’
On down to San Antone

When I was just a baby
My Mama told me, “son
Always be a good boy
Don’t ever play with guns”
But I shot a man in Reno
Just to watch him die
When I hear that whistle blowin’
I hang my head and cry (play it to the verse, yeah)
(Sue it)

I bet there’s rich folks eatin’
From a fancy dining car
They’re probably drinkin’ coffee
And smokin’ big cigars
Well, I know I had it comin’
I know I can’t be free
But those people keep a-movin’
And that’s what tortures me (hit it)

(Howdy-ho)

Well, if they freed me from this prison
If that railroad train was mine
I bet I’d move it on, a little
Farther down the line
Far from Folsom Prison
That’s where I want to stay
And I’d let that lonesome whistle
Blow my blues away

(yeah)

Charles Monroe Schulz 

The Banner

On November 26, 1922…Charles Schulz was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He would have been 100 years old today. He would read the Sunday cartoon feature with his dad every week. Schulz had asthma and his mom would give him a pencil and paper in bed to draw and that started it all.

He created the Peanuts strip (originally entitled Li’l Folks) in 1950, introducing a group of characters based on semiautobiographical experiences.  That first year, the comic strip came in last place in the New York World Telegram’s reader survey of cartoons… however, a book of Peanuts reprints helped the strip gain a larger audience. Shulz encapsulated the kid’s point of view as good or better than anyone. The grownups didn’t talk; it was all about the kid’s world. When I was growing up I would not miss a Sunday Cartoon feature or holiday special…not to mention the movies that came out.

Schulz channeled the loneliness that he had experienced in his army days and the frustrations of everyday life into Charlie Brown. Charlie Brown was familiar because he was us. . Linus was named after a friend and fellow cartoonist Linus Maurer. Peppermint Patty was inspired by his cousin Patricia and Snoopy is based on Schulz’s intelligent childhood pet dog. Woodstock is just a miniature of Snoopy…he is drawn the same way.

Philip Van Pelt’s wife, Louanne, inspired Lucy Van Pelt, Linus’ sister. Schulz introduced the feisty…some say mean brunette, known for pulling away footballs just as Charlie Brown is about to kick them, to the cartoon strip in 1952.

The comic strip would explode and be a pop culture icon in the 50s until now. So Happy Birthday Charles Schulz!

When I was a kid I would occasionally get a Peanuts item…watch or something with them on it. My favorite characters were Schroeder and Pigpen since I stayed dirty much to my mom’s horror. No matter how much she tried…and she tried and tried to get me somewhere clean…it hardly ever happened. She got me ready for Church one morning and she had a brainstorm. She got me ready 15 minutes before we left. It was a cool spring day so she put a scrubbed-clean Max into the back seat of our car. When she came out she was horrified…I had dug around in the ashtray and was filthy…therefore Pigpen suited me fine.

In the late 1990s while my wife and I were dating…we would go to flea markets and antique shops and buy Peanuts memorabilia. We both had rediscovered The Peanuts in our 20s. Over 2-4 years we bought thousands of dollars of older collectibles. If being late on rent meant getting a rare Peanuts item…so be it! No, we were not the most responsible around at the time. It was a cool bonding activity between us and we still have all the things that we bought. At Christmas, we get a lot of it out and decorate the house. We slowed down when our son Bailey came along and we realized…hmmm better start saving money!

So the Peanuts were with me as a child and an adult and if we ever see a Peaunts item out and about…we usually get it.

If you get in the mood to watch The Peanuts… try A Boy Named Charlie Brown and Snoopy Come Home…their first two movies.

My role model Pigpen

 

 

Fats Domino – My Blue Heaven

Fats Domino (Antoine Dominique Domino Jr.) was a one-of-a-kind artist. He wasn’t wild or flashy like his peers but he was just good or better. When I think of the fifties…this is just me personally…I think of Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, Buddy Holly, Everly Brothers, Elvis, and last but not least… Fats Domino. Vastly different styles but all are great.

Domino was the youngest of eight children in a musical family, he spoke Creole French before learning English. At age 7 his brother-in-law taught him how to play the piano. By the time he was 10, he was already performing as a singer and pianist.

My Blue Heaven was released in 1956. It peaked at #19 on the Billboard Charts, #5 on the R&B Charts.

My Blue Heaven was written by Walter Donaldson and George A. Whiting in 1924. The lyrics were written by George Whiting and the music was composed by Walter Donaldson. The music was published by Leo Feist Inc. of New York, New York in 1927. The song was used in the Ziegfeld Follies of 1927.

Gene Austin released this song in 1928. It charted at #1 including one million sales of sheet music. This has been covered by the Smashing Pumpkins, Frank Sinatra, Glenn Miller, Al Jolson, and Dolly Parton to name a few.

There are two different movies called My Blue Heaven, and both used this song. The first was a 1950 musical where it was performed by the stars, Betty Grable and Dan Dailey. The second was a 1990 comedy starring Steve Martin and Rick Moranis. Fats Domino’s version was the theme song in that one.

My Blue Heaven

Day is ending
Birds are wending
Back to the shelter of
Each little nest they love

Nightshades falling
Lovebirds calling
What makes the world go round?
Nothing but love

When Whip-poor-wills call
And ev’ning is nigh
I hurry to
My blue heaven

I turn to the right
A little white light
Will lead you to
My blue heaven

You’ll see a smiling face,
A fireplace,
A cozy room
A little nest
That’s nestled where
The roses bloom

Just Mollie and me
And baby makes three;
We’re happy in
My blue heaven

doo doo doo doo doo
da da da da da

You’ll see a smiling face
A fireplace,
A cozy room
A little nest that’s nestled where the roses bloom

Just Mollie and me
And baby makes three;
We’re happy in
My blue heaven

We’re happy in my blue heaven

Carl Perkins – Everybody’s Trying To Be My Baby

I learned about Carl Perkins through George Harrison and The Beatles. On their first tour, they all adopted “stage names” and George’s was George Perkins. A wonderful title for this song.

This gets kind of confusing. It was written by Carl Perkins, but it’s also very similar to another song by the same title by Alabama country singer Rex Griffon in 1936. Carl modernized it by the same sound he was getting out of Blue Suede Shoes.” Meanwhile, the melody was also borrowed from the Hank Williams song “Move It On Over” and “Mind Your Own Business.” Rock Around The Clock also borrowed from this.  Anyway…it is credited to Carl Perkins.

Carl Perkins was on the rise fast in 1956. He just had 3 top-10 hits in that year. On March 22, 1956, Perkins was severely injured when the car he was riding in crashed on Route 13 between Dover and Woodside, Delaware. Perkins and his band were headed to New York City for a Mar. 24, 1956, appearance on NBC-TV’s Perry Como Show after playing a show in Norfolk, Virginia, on Mar. 21, 1956. Perkins had sustained three fractured vertebrae in his neck, a severe concussion, a broken collar bone, and lacerations all over his body. Perkins remained unconscious for an entire day.

Worse than that…his brother Jay Perkins had a fractured neck and severe internal injuries. Later he developed a malignant brain tumor and died in 1958.  It had been planned on the Como show to present Carl with a gold record for Blue Suede shoes. When the wreck happened the song had peaked at #1 on the Country Charts and #2 on the Hot 100. Perkin’s career was never the same after that.

After 1956 he had 6 more top 40 hits in the country charts but never a top 10 hit again. One of those songs peaked at #31 in 1986 called “Birth of Rock and Roll.” Throughout the rockabilly revival of the 80s Perkins worked with Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and many more.

Carl Perkins continued to achieve many successes throughout his career, such as writing the 1968 number one country hit “Daddy Sang Bass” as recorded by Johnny Cash as well as Glen Campbell and The Statler Brothers. He played for about ten years with Johnny Cash, playing lead guitar on Cash’s number one country hit “A Boy Named Sue.” He even appeared on the Johnny Cash Show playing “Matchbox” with Derek And The Dominoes.

Everybody’s Trying To Be My Baby was recorded in March of 1956 in Sun Studios with no other than Sam Phillips producing.

The Beatle’s version was recorded their version on October 18, 1964. They did it in one take not counting Ringo overdubbing a tambourine and George doubling his voice. It was released on the Album Beatles for Sale released in December of 1964. It was not their best album by any stretch. They were worn out and the album included a lot of covers. The album was not available in the United States and Canada until 1987. The song appeared on their US-only album Beatles 65.

George Harrison sang lead because he was a huge fan of Perkins. It was his showcase song on early tours.

Everybody Is Trying To Be My Baby

Well they took some honey from a tree
Dressed it up and they called it me

Everybody’s trying to be my baby
Everybody’s trying to be my baby
Everybody’s trying to be my baby, now

Woke up last night, half past four
Fifty women knocking on my door

Everybody’s trying to be my baby
Everybody’s trying to be my baby
Everybody’s trying to be my baby, now

Went out last night, I didn’t stay late
‘Fore I got home I had nineteen dates

Everybody’s trying to be my baby
Everybody’s trying to be my baby
Everybody’s trying to be my baby, now

Went out last night, I didn’t stay late
‘Fore I got home I had nineteen dates

Everybody’s trying to be my baby
Everybody’s trying to be my baby
Everybody’s trying to be my baby, now

Well they took some honey from a tree
Dressed it up and they called it me

Everybody’s trying to be my baby
Everybody’s trying to be my baby
Everybody’s trying to be my baby, now

Johnny Watson – Space Guitar

The first “shredding” guitar instance? Johnny Watson plays guitar in bursts in this recording from way back in 1954. When you keep that in mind while listening to it…it’s remarkable.

It’s not that this instrumental sounds so impressive…it’s the techniques used here by Watson that inspired a generation of guitarists, including Frank Zappa and Eric Clapton. You can also hear where Jimmy Page would have been inspired by this. Watson’s guitar work laid the groundwork for such guitar players such as Joe Satriani.

He pioneered the use of feedback and reverberation. Unfortunately for him and his recording label Federal Records, the public of the early 1950s, before rock-and-roll, was not prepared for his kind of music, and the record did not sell very well. He had greater success in 1955 with his song “Those Lonely, Lonely Nights,” recorded on the Modern label.

Space Guitar seemed ahead of it’s time. He has been cited as a pioneer of reverb and feedback and in the early fifties… fans had to be a little confused with the strange sound.

Johnny Watson:  “Reverb had just come out. Everybody really didn’t understand what it was all about, man, and I was experimenting with it.”

Jerry Lee Lewis 1935-2022

Jerry Lee Lewis passed away today. He is one of… if not the last of the great 1950s artists that was still around. He was not an angel in life (who is?) but what a performer! The man was pure rock and roll and was hated by parents everywhere…and that is a rock and roll seal of approval. When I see those fifties clips of him live they are incredible. His blonde hair would unravel by the middle of the song and would be pounding the piano till the end.

I always thought that Jerry Lee and Little Richard were the two raunchiest 50s performers live…and I mean that in the best way. He went through controversies like we go through socks. He was successful in Rock and Roll and later in Country Music.

He was never short on confidence…he talks about moving to Memphis: “I was reading a lot of magazines about Sam Phillips and Sun Records … so I told my dad, this is the man we need to go see. And we did. We drove down from Ferriday into Memphis and pulled up in front of Sun Records. I came in and auditioned for Jack Clement, who said I could never make it playing the piano. He said rock ’n’ roll was out, cause Elvis had it all tied up. He said I could forget that. Well, I said, ‘I don’t think so.’ I said, ‘I’m a hit.’ He said, ‘They all say that, son.’ I said, ‘I’m not all. I’m different.’”

It’s a sad day for rock and roll.

Favorite Rock Lyrics

Here are some cool lyrics to some songs. My all-time favorite is the first one…I’ve used this one over and over whenever at work and in our world. I could have filled this up with Dylan lyrics but I wanted to spread the wealth.

The Who | Music legends, Music pics, Rock and roll

Meet the new boss/same as the old boss…The Who (No truer words have been spoken)

What isn't shown in The Beatles: Get Back — Class A drugs, Yoko baiting and  the dodgy accountant | Times2 | The Times

And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make…The Beatles

Chuck Berry: 20 Essential Songs - Rolling Stone

I saw her from the corner when she turned and doubled back
And started walking toward a coffee-colored Cadillac… Chuck Berry

Jimmy Webb on John Lennon's Lost Weekend, Frank Sinatra - Rolling Stone

And I need you more than want you,
And I want you for all time…Jimmy Webb

How Peter Gabriel Conquered the World With 'So'

You can blow out a candle but you can’t blow out a fire…Peter Gabriel.

Grateful Dead - Wikipedia

Shake the hand that shook the hand of P.T. Barnum and Charlie Chan… Grateful Dead

Revolutions: Rolling Stones "Beggars Banquet" - YouTube

I wasn’t looking too good but I was feeling real well… Rolling Stones

Johnny Cash photographer reveals truth behind San Quentin Prison shot

But I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die… Johnny Cash

Bruce Springsteen – The Highlight Reel (1973-1975) – Pretty In Sync.

We learned more from a three-minute record, than we ever learned in school…Bruce Springsteen

Why Hank Williams Won't Be Reinstated in the Grand Ole Opry - Rolling Stone

The silence of a falling star lights up a purple sky… Hank Williams Sr.

The Band Shares Previously-Unreleased "The Weight" From Royal Albert Hall,  1971 [Listen]

I just spent 60 days in the jailhouse/for the crime of having no dough…The Band

lynyrd skynyrd - one more time

I drank enough whiskey to float a battleship around… Lynyrd Skynyrd

Jimmy Buffett

I blew out my flip-flop stepped on a pop-top/cut my heel had to cruise on back home… Jimmy Buffet

Bob Dylan

She knows there’s no success like failure and that failure’s no success at all… Bob Dylan

Bob Seger

Wish I didn’t know now what I didn’t know then… Bob Seger

TW

In Jersey, anything’s legal, as long as you don’t get caught… The Traveling Wilburys

Ricky Nelson

You see, ya can’t please everyone, so ya got to please yourself…Ricky Nelson

Kinks

Because celluloid heroes never feel any pain and celluloid heroes never really die… Kinks

Hank Williams – Jambalaya (On the Bayou)

Hank Williams only lived to be 29 years old. It’s hard to believe because he wrote so many classic songs during his short recording career. “The Hillbilly Shakespeare” was one of his nicknames.

He had not been in a studio for 6 months but this song brought him back. He recorded it on June 13, 1952, in Nashville. There was speculation that Hank Williams co-wrote the song with a gentleman named Moon Mullican. Williams had the sole credit but it has been said that Williams’s publishing agent Fred Rose stepped in and wanted William’s publishing company to get the credit and the money. It has been said that Rose possibly paid Mullican so he wouldn’t have to split the publishing with Moon’s label King Records. Williams got the inspiration for the song while listening to Cajuns talk on a bus trip.

The melody is based on the Cajun song “Grand Texas.” The song peaked #1 on the Country Charts for fourteen, non-consecutive weeks. The song also peaked at #20 on the US Billboard Most Played By Jukeboxes. Hank Williams was born with spina bifida occulta, a disorder of the spinal column and he killed the pain with narcotics and alcohol. If you look at pictures of Williams he looks much older than in his twenties, especially in the last year of his 29 on earth.

Before his death, he had been known to take morphine and drink heavily. On New Year’s Day 1953, he took his seat in the back of his 1952 powder blue Cadillac. As his driver, college student Charles Carr, headed toward a New Years show in Canton, Ohio, Williams’ health took a turn for the worse. Finally, after not hearing from the singer for two solid hours, the driver pulled the car over in Oak Hill, West Virginia, at 5:30 in the morning. Williams was pronounced dead a short while later.

Hank Williams was a genius when it came to songwriting. He influenced so many genres of music from Johnny Cash, The Beatles, Bob Dylan, and many more. He left a huge mark on the world in such a short time.

Williams was among the first class of artists inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1961, and in 2010, the Pulitzer Board awarded him a special citation for songwriting.

Charles Carr, the teenager who was driving Williams to his concert:

“Hank’s song ‘Jambalaya’ was just out on the radio and he asked me what I thought of it, I told him I didn’t care for it, that it didn’t make a bit of sense to me. Hank laughed and said, ‘You son of a bitch, you just understand the French like I do.

“We were just a couple of young guys on a car trip having fun.”

My favorite version of this song was by John Fogerty.

Jambalaya (On the Bayou)

Goodbye Joe me gotta go me oh my oh
Me gotta go pole the pirogue down the bayou
My Yvonne the sweetest one me oh my oh
Son of a gun we’ll have big fun on the bayou

Jambalaya and a crawfish pie and filé gumbo
Cause tonight I’m gonna see my ma cher amio
Pick guitar fill fruit jar and be gay-o
Son of a gun we’ll have big fun on the bayou

Thibodaux Fontaineaux the place is buzzin’
Kinfolk come to see Yvonne by the dozen
Dress in style and go hog wild me oh my oh
Son of a gun we’ll have big fun on the bayou
Settle down far from town get me a pirogue
And I’ll catch all the fish in the bayou

Jambalaya and a crawfish pie and filé gumbo
Cause tonight I’m gonna see my ma cher amio
Pick guitar fill fruit jar and be gay-o
Son of a gun we’ll have big fun on the bayou

Later on, swap my mon, get me a pirogue
And I’ll catch all the fish on the bayou
Swap my mon, to buy Yvonne what she need-oh
Son of a gun we’ll have big fun on the bayou

Jambalaya and a crawfish pie and filé gumbo
Cause tonight I’m gonna see my ma cher amio
Pick guitar fill fruit jar and be gay-o
Son of a gun we’ll have big fun on the bayou

Little Richard – Ready Teddy

Ready, set, go man go, I got a girl that I love so.

What else do we need to have a great rock and roll song? Not exactly Shakespeare but Shakespeare couldn’t write Gonna kick off my shoes, roll up my faded jeans, Grab my rock ‘n’ roll baby, pour on the steam. The song was written by John Marascalco and Robert Blackwell with probable help from Little Richard. Most Little Richard songs are like a shot of adrenaline…this one is no different.

This was originally a B-side to Rip It Up. Little Richard claimed to have helped write this song but he said he didn’t have the business sense at that time to demand credit. He said: “They brought me the words and I made up the melody, and at the time I didn’t have sense enough to claim so much money, because I really made them hits. I didn’t get the money, but I still have the freedom.”

The song peaked at #44 on the Billboard 100 and #8 on the R&B charts.

The song is about a girl who wants sex… a ready teddy. Like most of Little Richard’s songs, this contains a lot of innuendoes but most people were too busy listening to the music to notice or didn’t get the reference. If sex had a voice…it would be Little Richard.

This song was covered by a lot of artists including  Buddy Holly, The Tornados, Elvis Presley, Tony Sheridan, and others. Elvis did this song on one of his Ed Sullivan appearances.

My dad told me about Little Richard before I ever heard him. He said he had the biggest voice he ever heard. He talked about a song called Long Tall Sally. I first heard it…it blew me away. Such a raw emotional power in that voice. He would take us to the edge of the cliff and then at the last minute pull us back.

His voice was one of a kind…

Ready Teddy

Ready, set, go man go
I got a girl that I love so

I’m ready, ready, ready teddy
I’m ready, ready, ready teddy
I’m ready, ready, ready teddy
I’m ready, ready, ready to a rock ‘n’ roll

Going to the corner, pick up my sweetie pie
She’s my rock ‘n’ roll baby, she’s the apple of my eye

I’m ready, ready, ready teddy
I’m ready, ready, ready teddy
I’m ready, ready, ready teddy
I’m ready, ready, ready to a rock ‘n’ roll

All the flat-top cats and the dungaree dolls
Are headed for the gym to the sock hop ball
The joint is really jumpin’, the cats are going wild
The music really sends me, I dig that crazy style

I’m ready, ready, ready teddy
I’m ready, ready, ready teddy
I’m ready, ready, ready teddy
I’m ready, ready, ready to a rock ‘n’ roll

Going to the corner, pick up my sweetie pie
She’s my rock ‘n’ roll baby, she’s the apple of my eye

I’m ready, ready, ready teddy
I’m ready, ready, ready teddy
I’m ready, ready, ready teddy
I’m ready, ready, ready to a rock ‘n’ roll

All the flat-top cats and the dungaree dolls
Are headed for the gym to the sock hop ball
The joint is really jumpin’, the cats are going wild
The music really sends me, I dig that crazy style

I’m ready, ready, ready teddy
I’m ready, ready, ready teddy
I’m ready, ready, ready teddy
I’m ready, ready, ready to a rock ‘n’ roll

Gonna kick off my shoes, roll up my faded jeans
Grab my rock ‘n’ roll baby, pour on the steam
I shuffle to the left, I shuffle to the right
Gonna rock ‘n’ roll to the early, early night

I’m ready, ready, ready teddy
I’m ready, ready, ready teddy
I’m ready, ready, ready teddy
I’m ready, ready, ready to a rock ‘n’ roll

Johnny Burnette Trio – Train Kept A Rollin’

Grease your hair and get the leather jacket…this will be a 1950s weekend at powerpop. I wanted to start it off with a bang. Power Pop Friday will return next week. I know some will see the post and go to the Zeppelin or Aerosmith versions automatically but this version is just as nasty in many ways.

I first heard this song by The Yardbirds and then by Aerosmith. The song was rollin’ in the 50s as well with this Johnny Burnette take of it. I’ve never heard a version that sounded bad. It’s like Johnny B Goode…a rock and roll classic.

Paul Burlison, the Trio’s lead guitarist, had dropped his amp and knocked one of its vacuum tubes loose. When he played through it, he found that his guitar made a new, menacing sound, fuzzy and distorted, and though he repaired the amp, he started deliberately loosening his tube to recreate the sound. That is where the tone started with this song. The song failed to chart.

The song was written by Tiny Bradshaw, Howard Kay, and Lois Mann, it was originally performed by Tiny Bradshaw’s Big Band in 1951. Johnny Burnette recorded a rock version in 1956, and The Yardbirds popularized the song with their rendition in 1965.

Aerosmith covered it in 1974, often playing the song as their encore in their early years. In the ’60s, Steven Tyler was on the same bill as The Yardbirds for some early shows before Zeppelin.

It was the first song Zeppelin played at their first rehearsal in Soho, their performance of it at the Texas International Pop Festival in 1969 was captured on tape and they were still playing it on their final tour.

On August 14, 1964, Burnette’s unlit fishing boat was struck by an unaware cabin cruiser in Clear Lake, California. The impact threw him off the boat, and he drowned. He had a son named Rocky Burnette who had a hit in 1980 with Tired of Toein the Line.

Watch for Bettie Page in this one!

Train Kept A Rollin’

I caught a trainI met a dameShe was a hipsterAnd a real gone dameShe was prettyFrom New York CityAnd we trucked on down that old fair laneWith a heave and a hoWell, I just couldn’t let her go

Get along, creepy little womanGet along, well, be on your wayGet along, creepy little womanGet along, well, be on your wayWith a heave and a hoWell, I just couldn’t let her go

Well, the train kept a-rollin all night longThe train kept a-rollin all night longThe train kept a-movin all night longThe train kept a-rollin all night longWith a heave and a hoWell, I just couldn’t let her go

We made a stopIn AlbuquerqueShe must’ve thoughtThat I was a real gone jerkWe got off the train at El PasoOur lovin was so good, JackI couldn’t let her goGet alongWell, I just couldn’t let her go

Get along, creepy little womanGet along, well, be on your wayGet along, creepy little womanGet along, well, be on your wayWith a heave and a hoWell, I just couldn’t let her go

The train kept a-rollin all night longThe train kept a-rollin all night longThe train kept a-rollin all night longThe train kept a-rollin all night longWith a heave and a hoWell, I just couldn’t let her go-oh-oh

View-Master

I had view masters as a kid and loved them…tonight I was able to see some view master slides in a view master projector with a screen. I always wanted one as a kid but never could get it. I had the “click” model you held in your hand.

A few months ago…my cousin Mark came over. He and I collect things from the 50s-70s. Mark has been collecting View-Masters and the round slides. He shopped on Market Place and found someone with a 1950s View-Master projector. The projector is very clear.

dav

All of us (wife, son, Mark, and myself) spent over an hour watching the view-master slides on a screen that he bought from different people.

Of course, the slides are not 3-D when projected but it still was really cool. We saw Busch Gardens, Silver Dollar City, Acapulco, Sequoia, Kings National Park (I think), and some other places. It was like stepping back in time to the 60s or 70s which I guess was the idea. All the pictures came from the 50s through the 70s.

As a kid, I would spend hours clicking the round slide over and over. For some reason, I remember an outer space slide selection I had. The 3-D made it look like you could touch it. When my son was around 5 we got him one and he loved it. I would recommend picking one up if you see one somewhere…no matter how old you are…they are still fun!

Small View Master

The View-Master was based on the stereoscopic viewer, which dates all the way back to the 1800s.

stereoscope

Elvis Presley – All Shook Up

I was still on my blogging sabbatical when August 16 came around and I missed the anniversary of Elvis’s death in 1977. So I wanted to include an Elvis post.

This is one of those songs that I grew up on and I would play over at my relative’s house. I mean…how could you ever not listen to a song that starts off with:

A well’a bless my soul
What’sa wrong with me?
I’m itchin’ like a man in a fuzzy tree
My friends say I’m actin’ wild as a bug
I’m in love
I’m all shook up

Not exactly poetry but the Big E made it flow so well. This is the Elvis that I like a lot…the pre-army Elvis. He was THE rock star at the time. Don’t believe me? He had 12 number 1 songs from 1956 through 1959. After he entered the Army…he wasn’t the same…still good…but the danger was gone quicker than you could say, Colonel Tom Parker.

Otis Blackwell wrote this on a dare. One of the owners of Shalimar Music (Blackwell’s publishing company) wandered into Blackwell’s office as he struggled to create a follow-up to Don’t Be Cruel. Al Stanton approached Blackwell, Stanton was shaking a bottle of Pepsi. Stanton said to Blackwell, “I’ve got an idea. Why don’t you write a song called All Shook Up? Otis then finished the song a couple of days after that.

All Shook Up peaked at #1 on the Billboard 100, in Canada, in the UK in 1957. It was ranked #352 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

Although Otis Blackwell is listed as the sole composer, Presley shared the songwriting credit. The reason is that it was demanded by Colonel Tom Parker. Parker had said…Elvis doesn’t record the song unless he gets songwriting credit. The same thing happened with Don’t Be Cruel. Personally, I think this was wrong on many levels but unless the songwriter had money and clout…if he wanted it recorded by Elvis…he had to go along with it.

Speaking of the Colonel…there is a famous story about Dolly Parton’s song that she wanted Elvis to record. It happened in 1974, just after the release of Parton’s hit single I Will Always Love You. Presley’s manager Colonel Tom Parker made an effort to reach out to Parton with an offer in exchange for Presley recording her song. Again Parked demanded that Elvis get the co-writer credit on the song. She turned Parker down and kept the song to herself. That was a smart decision that paid off when Whitney Houston recorded the song and it made millions for Parton.

Dolly Parton: “I was desperate for Elvis to sing my song and I’d told everyone he was going to sing it, but I couldn’t let that happen. It’s my song, my publishing rights. It broke my heart but I had to turn him down.”

A well’a bless my soul
What’sa wrong with me?
I’m itchin’ like a man in a fuzzy tree
My friends say I’m actin’ wild as a bug
I’m in love
I’m all shook up
Mm mm mm, mm, yay, yay, yay

Well, my hands are shaky and my knees are weak
I can’t seem to stand on my own two feet
Who do you think of when you have such luck?
I’m in love
I’m all shook up
Mm mm mm, mm, yay, yay, yay

Well, please don’t ask me what’sa on my mind
I’m a little mixed up, but I’m feelin’ fine
When I’m near that girl that I love best
My heart beats so it scares me to death!

Well she touched my hand what a chill I got
Her lips are like a volcano when it’s hot
I’m proud to say that she’s my buttercup
I’m in love
I’m all shook up
Mm mm mm, mm, yay, yay, yay

My tongue gets tied when I try to speak
My insides shake like a leaf on a tree
There’s only one cure for this body of mine
That’s to have that girl that I love so fine!

She touched my hand what a chill I got
Her lips are like a volcano that’s hot
I’m proud to say that she’s my buttercup
I’m in love
I’m all shook up
Mm mm mm, mm, yay, yay, yay
Mm mm mm, mm, yay, yay
I’m all shook up

TV Draft Round 10 – Pick 5 – Keith Selects – The Untouchables

Welcome to the Hanspostcard TV Draft. I hope you will enjoy it! Today’s post was written by Keith at https://nostalgicitalian.com/

untouchables_artwork

We have reached the final round of the Hanspostcard TV Show Draft. I want to take a moment and thank Max from the Power Pop Blog for taking up the reigns and helping us continue this round in Hans’ absence. It truly has been a fun draft!

For my final pick, I have gone back to another classic – The Untouchables. The show ran from 1959 to 1963 and starred the great Robert Stack as Eliot Ness. It is hard to imagine anyone but Robert Stack in the role of Ness, but believe it or not, Desi Arnaz had originally offered the role to actor Van Johnson. Supposedly, he wanted double what they were offering to pay for the role, and it ultimately went to Stack.

When asked about the character some years later, Stack said, “Ness was a precursor of Dirty Harry. He was a hero, a vigilante in a time when breaking the law meant nothing because there was no law because Capone owned Chicago, he owned the police force.”

Robert_Stack_Eliot_Ness_1960

The show was based on the book of the same name written by Eliot Ness and Oscar Fraley. Brian De Palma would use the book as the basis for his 1987 film of the same name.

According to Wikipedia:

The series originally focused on the efforts of a real-life squad of Prohibition agents employed by the US Department of Justice and led by Eliot Ness (Stack) that helped bring down the bootleg empire of “Scarface” Al Capone, as described in Ness’s bestselling 1957 memoir. This squad was nicknamed “The Untouchables” because of its courage and honesty; squad members could not be bribed or intimidated by the mob. Eliot Ness himself had died suddenly in May 1957, shortly before his memoir and the subsequent TV adaptation were to bring him fame beyond any he experienced in his lifetime.

The pilot for the series, a two-part episode entitled “The Untouchables,” originally aired on CBS’s Westinghouse Desilu Placyhouse (and was introduced by Desi Arnaz) on April 20 and 27, 1959. Later re-titled “The Scarface Mob”, these episodes, which featured Neville Brand as Al Capone, were the only episodes in the series to be more-or-less directly based on Ness’s memoir, and ended with the conviction and imprisonment of Capone. CBS, which had broadcast most of Desilu’s television output since 1951 beginning with I Love Lucy, was offered the new series following the success of the pilot film. It was rejected it on the advice of network vice president Hubbell Robinson. ABC agreed to air the series, and The Untouchables premiered on October 15, 1959. In the pilot movie, the mobsters generally spoke with unrealistic pseudo-Italian accents, but this idiosyncratic pronunciation was dropped when the series debuted.

The weekly series first dramatized a power struggle to establish a new boss in Capone’s absence (for the purpose of the TV series, the new boss was Frank Nitti, although this was, as usual for the series, contrary to fact). As the series continued, there developed a highly fictionalized portrayal of Ness and his crew as all-purpose, multi-agency crime fighters who went up against an array of 1930s-era gangsters and villains, including Ma Barker, Dutch Schultz, Bugs Moran, Lucky Luciano, and in one episode, Nazi agents. On many occasions during the series run, Ness would blatantly violate suspects’ Fourth Amendment rights with no legal ramifications.

The terse narration by gossip columnist Walter Winchell, in his distinctive New York accent, was a stylistic hallmark of the series, along with its ominous theme music by Nelson Riddle and its shadowy black-and-white photography, which was influenced by film noir.

a-new-kind-of-series-prZK3LGvFiV-BxP8SbfCnU5.1400x1400

The series produced 118 episodes which ran 50 minutes each. Though the book chronicled the experiences of Ness and his team against Capone, and in reality the Untouchables disbanded soon after Capone’s conviction. The series continued after the pilot and book ended, depicting the fictitious further exploits of the Untouchables against many, often real life, criminals over a span of time ranging from 1929 to 1935.

The show came with some controversy. Italian-American groups protested over what they felt was an unfair presentation of their people as Mafia-types. “We are plagued with lawsuits after certain shows” one of the show’s producers Josef Shaftel explained, noting that the series was “heavily insured against libel.” With good reason – the first lawsuit against the show was instigated by Al Capone’s angry widow. She didn’t like the way her deceased husband was made into a running villain on the show and wanted a million dollars for unfair use of his image. (She lost.)

The FBI and J. Edgar Hoover were ticked off too. They were the ones who collared the famous names that Ness was supposedly busting each week on TV and they rightfully wanted credit for it. The second episode of the series, for example, depicted Ness and his crew involved in the capture of the Ma Barker gang, an incident in which the real-life Ness played no part. The producers agreed to insert a spoken disclaimer on future broadcasts of the episode stating that the FBI had primary responsibility for the Barker case. Even the Bureau of Prisons took offense, complaining that the show made their treatment of Al Capone look soft.

The show itself was considered one of the most violent television shows of its time. Of course, by today’s standards it’s not that bad, but it was violent enough at the time to spark protests from parents who were worried about their children seeing this violence.

TBDWEDE EC020

My Thoughts

This is one of those shows that I just love! Robert Stack’s delivery of almost every line as Ness is perfect. He won an Emmy in 1960 for Best Actor in a Dramatic Series for his portrayal of Ness.

Despite the fact that many of the stories are fictionalized to work the Untouchables into them, they are great! The show really was a forerunner to shows like The FBI, Crime Story, and even Hawaii 5-0. I love the film noir feel of it. Every episode plays like a good 50 minute movie.

The Lebanon Pennsylvania Daily News said of The Untouchables: “Between the hard-nosed approach, sharp dialogue, and a commendably crisp pace (something rare in dramatic TV at the time), this series is one of the few that remains fresh and vibrant. Only the monochrome presentation betrays its age. The Untouchables is one of the few Golden Age TV shows that deserves being called a classic.” It really does hold up well.

As I have mentioned before, one of the things I love about these old shows is seeing big stars (who are not quite yet stars) show up. In regular roles throughout the series you could see Raymond Bailey (Mr. Drysdale on the Beverly Hillbillies), Barbara Stanwyck, Barbara Nichols, Ed Asner (Lou Grant), Harry Morgan (Col. Potter on MASH), and Henry Silva.

The list of guest star appearances is long and amazing. They include: Jack Elam, Paul Frees, Jim Backus, Sam Jaffe, Martin Balsam, John Dehner, William Bendix, Whitt Bissell, Charles Bronson, James Caan, James Coburn, Mike Conners, Robert Duvall, Peter Falk, Norman Fell, Alan Hale Jr., Brian Keith, Jack Klugman, Cloris Leachman, Jack Lord, Lee Marvin, Telly Savalas, Elizabeth Montgomery, Leonard Nimoy, Robert Redford, Ricardo Montalban, Rip Torn, Jack Warden, Dick York, Cliff Robertson and so many more!

"The Untouchables"Paul Picerni, Robert Stackcirca 1961

You know, they play reruns of Law and Order on TV all the time. Many of the shows I have seen numerous times. I know what’s going to happen, yet I still watch (a lot like my previous picks – Perry Mason and Columbo). The Untouchables is a show that could very easily be rerun like a Law and Order. It is that good.

I love Walter Winchell’s narration

And I love the theme song!

It has been so much fun writing on some of my favorite shows. It’s been just as fun to read about the shows picked by other members of the TV Show Draft. I hope you have enjoyed my picks…

Thanks for reading!

TV Draft UPDATE

Tomorrow morning we will kick off our last TV draft round! We have 8 more TV Shows coming…we all want to thank you… the readers who have made this possible and a fun experience. I also want to thank the bloggers who have reviewed all of these shows and we have covered every decade from the 1950s until now. Below are the picks that began in January and will end on July 3. Thank you… Paula, Lisa, Dave, John, Keith, Mike, Liam, Vic, Hanspostcard (who started it), and Kirk for all of the reviews below.
Round 1 TV Show Who Posted Home Site
1. Doctor Who Vic https://cosmic-observation.com/blog-posts/
2. The Sopranos Mike https://musiccitymike.net
3. Bozo’s Circus John https://thesoundofonehandtyping.com 
4. Barney Miller Max https://powerpop.blog
5. The Wire Kirk https://slicethelife.com/
6. Police Squad Keith https://nostalgicitalian.com/
7. Only Murders in the Building (OMITB) Paula http://paulalight.com
Round 2
1. The Odd Couple Mike https://musiccitymike.net
2. Cartoon Town John https://thesoundofonehandtyping.com 
3. Fawlty Towers Max https://powerpop.blog
4. Rockford Files Kirk https://slicethelife.com/
5. Mission Impossible Keith https://nostalgicitalian.com/
6. Firefly Vic https://cosmic-observation.com/blog-posts/
Round 3 TV Show Who Posted Home Site
1 Hogan’s Heroes John https://thesoundofonehandtyping.com 
2 Seinfeld Mike https://musiccitymike.net
3 Starsky & Hutch Vic https://cosmic-observation.com/blog-posts/
4 Perry Mason Keith https://nostalgicitalian.com/
5 Upload Paula http://paulalight.com
6 Lovecraft Country Lisa https://tao-talk.com/
7 King Of The Hill Dave https://soundday.wordpress.com/
8 Adam 12 Max https://powerpop.blog
Round 4 TV Show Who Posted Home Site
1 Breaking Bad Mike https://musiccitymike.net
2 The X-Files Vic https://cosmic-observation.com/blog-posts/
3 Columbo Keith https://nostalgicitalian.com/
4 Six Feet Under Paula http://paulalight.com
5 Shameless Lisa https://tao-talk.com/
6 Friends Dave https://soundday.wordpress.com/
7 Monkees Max https://powerpop.blog
8 JAG John https://thesoundofonehandtyping.com 
Round 5 TV Show Who Posted Home Site
1 Sisters Vic https://cosmic-observation.com/blog-posts/
2 30 Rock Keith https://nostalgicitalian.com/
3 One Day At A Time Paula http://paulalight.com
4 Ray Donovan Lisa https://tao-talk.com/
5 Emergency Dave https://soundday.wordpress.com/
6 The Andy Griffith Show Max https://powerpop.blog
7 CSI: Miami John https://thesoundofonehandtyping.com 
8 Mad Men Mike https://musiccitymike.net
Round 6 TV Show Who Posted Home Site
1 The Twilight Zone Max https://powerpop.blog
2 Tell Me Your Secrets Paula http://paulalight.com
3 My Name Is Earl Lisa https://tao-talk.com/
4 Ed Dave https://soundday.wordpress.com/
5 Get Smart Keith https://nostalgicitalian.com/
6 The Unicorn John https://thesoundofonehandtyping.com 
7 The West Wing Mike https://musiccitymike.net
8 The Gong Show Max https://powerpop.blog
Round 7 TV Show Who Posted Home Site
1 All In The Family Paula http://paulalight.com
2 Trailer Park Boys Lisa https://tao-talk.com/
3 Downton Abbey Dave https://soundday.wordpress.com/
4 Life On Mars Max https://powerpop.blog
5 Burn Notice John https://thesoundofonehandtyping.com 
6 Friday Night Lights Mike https://musiccitymike.net
7 The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show Liam https://othemts.wordpress.com/
8 The Honeymooners Keith https://nostalgicitalian.com/
Round 8 TV Show Who Posted Home Site
1 New Tricks Lisa https://tao-talk.com/
2 SCTV Dave https://soundday.wordpress.com/
3 WKRP In Cincinnati Max https://powerpop.blog
4 The Two Ronnies John https://thesoundofonehandtyping.com 
5 Star Trek: Voyager Mike https://musiccitymike.net
6 Siskel & Ebert Liam https://othemts.wordpress.com/
7 Sherlock Keith https://nostalgicitalian.com/
8 Curb Your Enthusiasm Paula http://paulalight.com
Round 9 TV Show Who Posted Home Site
1 Jeopardy Dave https://soundday.wordpress.com/
2 Saturday Night Live Max https://powerpop.blog
3 Riverboat John https://thesoundofonehandtyping.com
4 Suits Mike https://musiccitymike.net
5 The Kids In The Hall Liam https://othemts.wordpress.com/
6 Arrested Development Keith https://nostalgicitalian.com/
7 L.A. Law Paula http://paulalight.com
8 Resident Alien Lisa https://tao-talk.com/
Round 10 TV Show Who Posted Home Site
1 Max https://powerpop.blog
2 John https://thesoundofonehandtyping.com
3 Mike https://musiccitymike.net
4 Liam https://othemts.wordpress.com/
5 Keith https://nostalgicitalian.com/
6 Paula http://paulalight.com
7 Lisa https://tao-talk.com/
8 Dave https://soundday.wordpress.com/

Gene Vincent – Bluejean Bop

His sound, voice, and echo draws me in and keeps me there. The slow intro and then music kicks in. His voice goes with that slapback echo better than any other singer. His influence can be heard through the decades including Springsteen in Glory Days.

This was released in 1956  from their debut album of the same name. Like many of the songs on the record, it only came in at around two and a half minutes long… but those two and a half recordings rocked. This gem was written by Gene Vincent and  Hal Levy. The song peaked at #16 in the UK in 1956.

Vincent was injured in a car accident on April 16, 1960…with Eddie Cochran in a taxi which killed Cochran. Vincent whose leg was weak due to a wound incurred in combat in Korea…was injured. He walked with a noticeable limp for the rest of his life. In 1962 he was in Hamburg and played on the same bill as the Beatles. The Beatles got close to him.

George Harrison told a story about going with a drunk Vincent to his hotel room. Vincent thought his girlfriend was cheating on him so he shoved a gun in Harrison’s hand. George was shocked and didn’t want any part of that.

The Beatles played at least 14 of Gene Vincent’s songs in their sets before they made it. A song like Somewhere Over The Rainbow that the Beatles would never think of covering until Gene Vincent covered it and gave the song his ok.

Paul McCartney:  “I remember hearing Blue Jean Bop on an album that I think John had; going to a place near Penny Lane for the afternoon, having a ciggy, and just listening to records. Blue Jean Bop was always one of my favorites. The first record I ever bought was Be Bop-A-Lula. We loved Gene.”

Bluejean Bop

Bluejean baby, with your big blue eyes
Don’t want you looking at other guys
Got to make you give me, one more chance
I can’t keep still, so baby let’s dance

Well the bluejean bop is the bop for me
It’s the bop that’s done in a dungaree
You flip your hip, free your knee
Squeal on your heel baby, one to three
Well the bluejean bop, bluejean bop
Oh baby, bluejean bop, bluejean bop
Oh baby, bluejean bop, baby won’t you bop with Gene (bop Blue Caps, bop)

Well bluejean baby when I bop with you
Well my heart starts hoppin’ like a kangaroo
My feet do things they never done before
Well bluejean baby, give me more more more
Well the bluejean bop, bluejean bop
Oh baby, bluejean bop, bluejean bop
Oh baby, bluejean bop, baby won’t you bop with Gene (rock again Blue Caps, go)

Well the bluejean bop, bluejean bop
Oh baby, bluejean bop, bluejean bop
Oh baby, bluejean bop, baby won’t you bop with Gene (Blue Caps, bop with Gene now, let’s go)

Well it’s, bluejean bop, bluejean bop
Bluejean, bluejean bop
Oh baby, bluejean, bluejean bop
Bluejean, bluejean bop
Bluejean, oh baby, won’t you bop with Gene