Alias Smith and Jones

This television show only last three seasons from 1971-1973 and from reading the reviews of the day it attracted young viewers because of the young male leads Pete Duel and Ben Murphy. It’s a western comedy about two reformed non-violent bank robbers who are trying to go straight.

The Governor has promised them amnesty if they stay out of trouble for a while but no one can know so, they are still wanted. The episodes are humorous and different from the two big westerns at the time…Gunsmoke and Bonanza. The episodes tended to be uneven though but overall it was a good show.

Pete Duel was going through problems in his life at the time. During the first season, he was driving drunk and pulled into the path of an oncoming car. Two people were injured and one hospitalized. This would haunt him till his death and he would fight a drinking problem to the end.

Pete and Ben are in about every shot of the series. They both worked 12-14 hour days 6-7 days a week. Pete was never happy with the show. He was restless and wanted to do different things. When the second season started he was put on 2-year probation for the accident and lost his drivers license.

One quote from him around this time about being in a TV series was “It’s a big fat drag to any actor with interest in his work. It’s the ultimate trap.” He was very environmentally conscious and often spoke out on issues like pollution.

After being driven home from the set on December 30, 1971, he died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in the early hours of December 31, 1971.

The show continued on with Roger Davis taking over Duel’s character in the series. It lasted only 17 episodes after Duel’s departure.

This is from Wikipedia… it’s a sad commentary

Upon learning of Duel’s death, executive producer Jo Swerling, Jr., initially wanted to end the series, but ABC refused.  Swerling later stated:

ABC said, “No way!” They said, “You have a contract to deliver this show to us, and you will continue to deliver the show as best you can on schedule or we will sue you.” Hearing those words, Universal didn’t hesitate for a second to instruct us to stay in production. We were already a little bit behind the eight ball on airdates. So, we contacted everybody, including Ben (Murphy), and told them to come back in. The entire company was reassembled and back in production by one o’clock that day shooting scenes that did not involve Peter — only 12 hours after his death.

The Intro

Narrator: Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry – the two most successful outlaws in the history of the West. And in all the trains and banks they robbed, they never shot anyone. This made our two latter-day Robin Hoods very popular – with everyone but the railroads and the banks.

Jed ‘Kid’ Curry: There’s one we thing we gotta get, Heyes.

Hannibal Heyes: What’s that?

Jed ‘Kid’ Curry: Out of this business!

Sheriff Lom Trevors: The governor can’t come flat out and give you amnesty now. First you have to prove you deserve it.

Hannibal Heyes: Ah. So all we have to do is just stay out of trouble till the governor figures we deserve amnesty.

Jed ‘Kid’ Curry: But in the mean time, we’ll still be wanted.

Sheriff Lom Trevors: Well, that’s true. Till then only you, me and the Governor will know about it. It’ll be our little secret.

Hannibal Heyes: That’s a good deal?

Jed ‘Kid’ Curry: I sure wish the governor’d let a few more people in on our secret!

Raised Eyebrows: My Years Inside Groucho’s House

Steve Stoliar wrote this book about being a student at UCLA and working at Groucho Marx’s house starting in 1974. This book is not about the peak years of The Marx Brothers or Groucho…just the opposite. It’s the decline of Groucho Marx’s health and his eventual death.

Steve was in UCLA heading up a petition to get “Animal Crackers” released again to theaters for which he was successful. The Marx Brothers popularity was on the rise again. Groucho traveled to the campus to help out. Groucho’s PA Erin Fleming eventually hired Steve as a secretary and archivist. Steve worked in Groucho’s house for a little over 3 years. He was a huge fan not only of Groucho but of old Hollywood.

The number of famous people that passed through Groucho’s house was incredible. Old Hollywood stars and also new ones at the time. Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau, Bud Cort (Harold and Maude), Alice Cooper, Dick Cavett, Woody Allen, Mae West, Queen (they are not in the book though), and many writers from the early days of motion pictures.

The sad part of this story is Erin Flemming (no relation to Harpo’ wife Susan Flemming). She was mentally unstable and both helped Groucho and hurt him. She would scream, berate, and push Groucho to make appearances he had no business doing in his condition. She convinced Groucho that his kids were terrible and she actually tried to get him to adopt her as his daughter. She would fire people for any reason and be very unpredictable.

After Groucho passed on it took years before the court case between Erin and Groucho’s son Arthur Marx to settle. Erin ended up losing and she was in and out of mental hospitals and wandering the LA streets for the rest of her life.

Steve slowly builds a friendship with Groucho and many of the celebrities that passed through the house. Steve didn’t seem to embellish anything in the book. There is only a couple of celebrities he said anything bad about. One was Barbara Streisand.

As a matter of fact, there’s really only one time that I can recall being officially snubbed at Groucho’s house. It was when Elliott Gould arranged for his ex-wife, Barbra Streisand, to come with him one Sunday afternoon along with their young son, Jason. Streisand never made eye contact with me the whole time she was there nor acknowledged my presence in the room even when I was speaking. It was as though I didn’t exist. Others spoke to me and Streisand made comments to the people around me, but to her I was, apparently, invisible.

Groucho had a number of mini-strokes and year by year he worsened. He would have good days and bad ones but he never lost his wit.

Steve was/is a true fan. He relished working there with his hero. Imagine being nineteen years old and working for a celebrity you really admire.

Groucho’s health was fine until around 1972 and he had his first stroke. That is when he started to really age. In the early seventies, he would appear on talk shows with his quick wit and singing songs. After the stroke, you could tell a difference.

Steve was there until the very end and ended up as a television writer and a cartoon voiceover actor.

This is a very interesting book. I will say again that Steve is about a fair as you can get retelling stories. Groucho’s daughters would go on to say that he was very truthful. Some say he was too easy on Erin and some said he was too hard on her… I would say it’s only for Groucho fans but you get a lot of Marx Brothers stories and some information about old Hollywood.

Steve and Groucho

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Rob Zombie wants to make a movie out of this book. That kind of takes me by surprise…not that a movie could be made…but that Rob Zombie wants to do it.

https://1428elm.com/2018/06/16/waiting-for-groucho-marxs-raised-eyebrows-from-rob-zombie/

As it just so happens, in an interview Zombie mentioned that his favorite book was Raised Eyebrows written by Groucho’s former assistant, Steve Stoliar. It details the last years of the comedian’s life through Stoliar’s eyes.

SteveZombie2.jpg

 

 

The Bad News Bears 1976

This movie was a surprise hit in 1976. It’s about an inept baseball team that is coached by an alcoholic Morris Buttermaker. The kids are foul-mouthed and the coach could care less for most of the movie. When I watch this movie I’m in little league again.

The script is smartly written and the comedy is good. Sometimes this movie gets overlooked but it is a great baseball movie. The cast includes Walter Matthau, Tatum O’Neal, Vic Morrow, and Jackie Earle Haley.

The movie rings true today. As bad as the kids are in the movie, the adults are worse. Parents screaming at kids when they make bad plays and one parent (coach) is about winning at any cost.

The movie is so 1970s but it pulls the veil back on youth sports then and now. They really nail down what the adults are like in little league… I coached little league a few years ago and I had a parent actually call me about his son at 10pm because he thought he should be hitting 3rd instead of 5th…this was a team of 4 and 5 year olds. I saw a coach and parent have a fist fight in the back of the stands…

It reminds me so much of my little league experience. People are shocked now when I tell them. I had a coach when I was 11 and we would be at the park practicing. I usually played 3rd base, pitched, and sometimes was the catcher.

Our coach would be hitting grounders to each of the fielders from home plate. The infielders would throw to first and then throw back to home…normal right? Our coach would have a beer in one hand and would hand it to me when hitting the ball. I would hand it back while the first baseman was throwing it back to me. This would happen in each practice on the city field. We didn’t think anything about it. The catcher was also the official beer passer and holder.

We had a lot of fun. I just knew I was going to play for the Dodgers when I grew up and take Ron Cey’s place when he was ready to retire. It was like going to college to be an accountant…you were training to be what you were going to be.

If you have never seen this film you are missing a baseball classic.`

Brett Marx was in this movie. He is the grand-nephew of Harpo, Groucho, Chico. and Zeppo. He was Gummos grandson…

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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 to 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

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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.

 

 

 

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

 

Up and Down with The Rolling Stones

This was the first book I read on the Rolling Stones. It’s an easy read but a dark read. It’s written by Tony Sanchez, Keith’s drug dealer and sometimes partner in crime. Tony was also a photographer who took photos of the Stones and the Moody Blues. Spanish Tony, as he was called hung around with the Stones and also knew the Beatles.

It’s full of wrecked cars, heroin, dead friends, sleazy characters and some eventful journeys. I would take some of the stories with a grain of salt but some of the events were verified by Keith’s book “Life.”

Tony had some underworld connections like the famous Kray Twins of the 60s. He opened a club with some backing from the Stones and according to him saved Keith from some setups from time to time with his connections. The Nellcote period is covered well and the film of the 1972 tour that was never released except for a bootleg was explained.

Anita Pallenberg came off looking worse than anyone. Tony talks about Anita’s interest in black magic, Kenneth Anger and how she would practice some of the rituals. He described her as a very nasty and petty woman, especially to Bianca. She was first with Brian…then with Keith and a brief spell with Mick.

The book concentrates on Keith and Mick…big surprise there…also on Brian Jones. he goes through the dynamics between the three.  He talks about the bust at Redlands and Tony trying to bribe some high ranking police investigators to “lose” the evidence but it didn’t work.

He tells one story happened at Mick Jagger’s 26th birthday party at the club that Tony partly owned (The Vesuvio Club) and the DJ was playing their new song Sympathy for the Devil…In walks, Paul McCartney with the Hey Jude and Revolution single under his arm and it was played… people went nuts. Tony said that Mick felt upstaged…After that Tony had his cousin…a big Beatles fan…attempt to drive John Lennon home…but he could hardly drive the car because he was so nervous and John and Yoko were jerked all over the back seat so John ended up getting out and walking…

There are some funny stories in this about Keith and the world he created.

Tony was with the Stones until 1976 and he just walked away after some confusion backstage over a backstage pass…He was carrying dope to someone and so he says he checked himself in a rehab.

If you are a Stones fan you should like it.

 

You Can’t Take It With You 1938

I first watched this movie in the 90’s and I still watch it from time to time. Jimmy Stewart and Jean Arthur had great chemistry on screen. The following year they would be in “Mr. Smith Goes To Washington”…another great movie. Capra wanted Jean Arthur in It’s a Wonderful Life but she was committed to a Broadway show.

This movie is about a rich man named Tony Kirby (Jimmy Stewart) who is working reluctantly for his ruthless banker dad. He falls in love with his stenographer Alice (Jean Arthur). The father doesn’t really care but his mother is outraged that he would love someone beneath him. This part of the story you have seen before but it’s when the great Lionel Barrymore who plays Alice’s grandfather Martin Vanderhof enters the movie gets going.

Martin and his family do exactly what they want, his daughter Penny received a typewriter in the mail by mistake and thinks she is a novelist, Alice’s sister dances everytime music is played and a basement full of unemployed older gentlemen who like to invent things…especially firecrackers… It’s a crazy household but they live life and are not bothered by a thing.

This is the opposite of the Kirby family who is uptight, overwhelmed and disgusted by this family…except Tony of course.

The movie is full of off the wall humor and Alice’s family is great. Anyone that comes to the house wants to stay…and sometimes does. The grandfather goes out and finds one person (Mr. Poppins) who invents things but works at a terrible job and Martin invites him to live at the house with his family to be…”a lily of the field” and quit his dreadful job.

Here are some quotes from the meeting

Grandpa Martin Vanderhoff: How would you like to come over to our house and work on your gadgets?

Poppins: Your house? Well I don’t know, thank you.

Grandpa Martin Vanderhoff: Oh go on, you’ll love it. Everybody at over at our place does just what he wants to do.

Poppins: Really?

Grandpa Martin Vanderhoff: Mmm-hmmmm.

Poppins: That must be wonderful. But how would I live?

Grandpa Martin Vanderhoff: The same way we do.

Poppins: The same way? Well, who takes care of you?

Grandpa Martin Vanderhoff: The same One that takes care of the lilies of the field, Mr. Poppins, except that we toil a little, spin a little, have a barrel of fun. If you want to, come on over and become a lily too.

This is a screwball comedy and a good one. Lionel Barrymore is magnificent in this. Just a few years later he would play mean Mr. Potter in It’s a Wonderful Life.

This movie was directed by Frank Capra. Some critics in his day called him “Capra-corn” because of the optimism he showed for the everyday man. I think he was a great director. This is one of his best movies.

It’s a very good movie…any movie with Jimmy Stewart can’t be bad. The comedy holds up today. After the movie, you will want to be a lily of the field.

This movie is based off a play written by the great George Kauffman and Moss Hart.

Are You Being Served?

A fun British sitcom that aired from 1972-1985. This comedy is not subtle…it’s obvious and in the open.

The show is about a department store called Grace Bros. owned by the elderly Grace brothers. It is operated with the British class system. The show highlighted the Menswear and Womenswear departments and also the Floor Walker the pretentious Captain Peacock. It also featured the incompetent floor manager…Mr. Rumbold.

The Women’s department was run by Miss Slocombe. A lady that is known for her hair color changing every day and the love of her pussy cat…they get a lot of mileage out of that. She tries to elevate herself over the working class but that is just what she is…Her assistant is the young very pretty Miss Brahms who talks with a cockney accent and is proud of being thought of as working class.

The head of the Men’s department is Mr. Granger who is older and near retirement and seems to be in a sour mood most of the time. Two more men work in the department… The junior in the department is Mr. Lucas who is always late and flirting with Miss Brahms, never has money and always has to wait his turn before he can serve anyone and make money because the other two men have seniority, The other man is Mr. Humphries…probably the most popular character of the show. He hints at being gay every episode but never comes out and says it…this is really played up…remember it is the 70s. The writers go for the obvious jokes many times but it’s still funny.

The Grace brothers owned the store and “Young” Mr. Grace was in fact not young at all. He was stingy and he always had a very young attractive girl by his side.

The maintenance guy Mr. Mash and Mr. Harmon were great. They would make the devices to advertise the merchandise. Sometimes the machine they made would blow up or show some naughty things to the customers. They were union and they thumbed their nose at the everyone.

Mix these personalities and you got a funny show. The purpose of the sitcom basically was to expose the class system and to parody it.

The customers that shopped at Grace Bros department store usually left disappointed. The phrases I remember the most are “Are you free?” and while having a customer try on pants that obviously doesn’t fit…You would hear an employee say don’t worry ”They’ll ride up with wear.”

Some of the cast left and past away during the run of the show. They were replaced with different characters and the show went on. When the show ended in 1985 a spin-off was made called Grace and Favour.

The core cast was strong and the show was very good until the start of the 80’s and like most shows, they were reaching more for stories and repeating themselves. In 1979 when Trevor Bannister who played Mr. Lucas left it started to go down.

The sitcom had 69 episodes and a movie in 1977… well, you can say 70 episodes because in 2016 a new episode was made with different actors playing the same characters.

I wouldn’t compare this to Fawlty Towers because Fawlty Towers was better written… but this is a fun sitcom nonetheless. I remember it when I was young being broadcast on PBS. It is worth a watch if you like British humor.

The cast was

Mollie Sugden – Miss Slocombe

Frank Thornton – Mr. Peacock

John Inman – Mr. Humphries

Wendy Richard – Miss Brahms

Nicholas Smith – Mr. Rumbold

Trevor Bannister – Mr. Lucas

Arthur Brough – Mr. Grainger

Harold Bennett – Young Mr. Grace

Larry Martyn – Mr. Mash

Arthur English – Mr. Harmon

James Hayter – Mr. Tebbs

Alfie Bass – Mr. Goldberg

Mike Berry – Mr. Spooner

Kenneth Waller – Old Mr. Grace

 

 

 

 

Wild Tales: A Rock and Roll Life

This is Graham Nash’s autobiography.

Graham narrates the audible version and does a good job weaving through his personal history. He starts with his blue-collar family and how Alan Clarke and he knew each other since school and formed The Hollies. The most interesting part to me was the mid-sixties era living in swinging London.

He wrote about his friendship with the Beatles and him getting an advance tape of Sgt Pepper from Brian Epstein. He had a great hi-fi system at his flat and he would show it off to anyone that came over. When the Turtles came over from America they were blown away by Sgt Peppers at top volume. He went on about how Sgt Peppers changed everything and it would eventually lead him to leave the Hollies.

Graham describes being a pop star in the mid-sixties in London. Shouldn’t we all live that life? Paul McCartney calls him up and invites him over to the All You Need Is Love session for the “Our World” program to be broadcast to millions.

He talks about how his friendship with Mama Cass led to meeting David Crosby and eventually CSN being born. Graham covers the CSNY period and his romantic relationships including  Joni Mitchell. He does cover the drama associated with CSNY and the troubled David Crosby. What kind of Rockstar bio would it be without drugs… Graham did his share and Crosby did our share. Graham handled them better than some.

Graham would write simple songs compared to Crosby, Stills, and Young but many times his songs would be the hits that drove some of the later albums…songs like “Just a Song Before I Go” and “Wasted on the Way.”

One thing I can say is he didn’t hold back or pull punches…but he still comes off as a really nice guy but it is his book.

This book helped sever his relationship with Crosby…for now anyway but Nash stressed through the book how much he cared for Crosby.

I would recommend this book to not only Hollies and CSNY fans but fans of 60’s and 70’s music and culture. After reading this I listened to more Hollies songs and I really began to appreciate their psychedelic period with songs like King Midas in Reverse.

 

 

 

The Traveling Wilburys

In the eighties, I made no secret of my dislike for a lot of music during that period. When I heard The Traveling Wilburys in 1988 it was like an oasis in the desert. A band that contained George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison, Jeff Lynne and Tom Petty. I went out and bought the album Traveling Wilburys Volume 1 and wore it out. There is not a song on that album that I didn’t like.

George Harrison started the group with Jeff Lynne and eventually, they picked up Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison, and Tom Petty…not a bad choice of additions. Just hearing Bob Dylan sing lines like “You don’t need no wax job, you’re smooth enough for me If you need your oil changed, I’ll do it for you free” was the worth the price of the album.

Handle with Care was the first single and it went to #2 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Songs charts. I was surprised when I researched the other charting songs of The Wilburys first album… End of the Line went to #2 on Billboard Mainstream Rock Songs, “Last Night” #5, “Heading For The Light” #7 “Inside Out” #16

Tweeter and the Monkey Man is my favorite song off of that album. Bob taking playful jabs at Bruce Springsteen. The song reminded me of some of his earlier work.

Hearing Roy Orbison and Bob Dylan singing together was something I never thought I would ever hear. Roy’s voice was magnificent as always and it is sad that he died two months after the album’s release.

On the second album, Vol 3 of course… the songs as a whole were not as strong but I still like the album. They did miss Roy’s vocals and presence. Again Dylan sang my favorite song on the album with “If You Belonged To Me” with Dylan sounding vulnerable.  She’s My Baby went to #2  and The Wilbury Twist got some radio play but nothing like Handle With Care.

They also recorded two other songs Runaway and Nobody’s Child which was recorded for a benefit album. They did an excellent job of Nobody’s Child.

This helped revive the career of Orbison…unfortunately he didn’t get to enjoy the success of his solo album and hit “You Got It.”

Two bright spots in the late eighties for me was The Traveling Wilburys and Keith Richard’s solo album Talk Is Cheap.

I really wish older rockers would try to do this sort of thing now. Let’s say Fogerty, McCartney, Young, Richards, and throw in a younger David Grohl…or fill in your own names…No it wouldn’t be the same but I would like to hear the results.

You Know My Name (Look Up The Number) Beatles

I bought the Let It Be single by the Beatles in the mid-1970s from a relative’s yard sale. I loved Let It Be and then I flipped it over. The song started off with a catchy piano riff and then took a left turn never coming back.

I won’t even attempt to describe it because it would lose everything in words. It is a funny record (I don’t mean “My Love” bad funny… wo wo wo wo, wo wo wo wo…sorry Paul) it’s a comedy record. You could tell they were having a great time doing it.

Brian Jones played saxophone on the recording. Yes, that Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones. He dropped by the studio and John and Paul thought he would play some guitar but he had a sax so they thought of this tune and he played on it.

My friend and I would listen to this over and over. We would quote from it…”Welcome to Slaggers” at school. Sometimes…and this is probably sad but we still do.

The song was recorded in May of 1967 and June of 1969 and was released as the B side of Let It Be in 1970.

It’s just so off the wall. The thing that surprises me isn’t the 1967 sessions…it’s John and Paul working on this in 1969 when they were not exactly best mates anymore. How could you not get along and make this? I guess they went through bad and good periods like any friendship or partnership…

The original version was 6:08 long but John edited it down to 4:19 for the single release.

Here is a quote from John Lennon

“That was a piece of unfinished music that I turned into a comedy record with Paul. I was waiting for him in his house, and I saw the phone book was on the piano with ‘You know the name, look up the number.’ That was like a logo, and I just changed it. It was going to be a Four Tops kind of song – the chord changes are like that – but it never developed and we made a joke of it. Brian Jones is playing saxophone on it.”

 

Paul McCartney on Brian Jones

“I naturally thought he’d bring a guitar along to a Beatles session and maybe chung along and do some nice rhythm guitar or a little bit of electric twelve-string or something, but to our surprise, he brought his saxophone,”

“He opened up his sax case and started putting a reed in and warming up, playing a little bit. He was a really ropey sax player, so I thought, ‘Ah-hah. We’ve got just the tune.”

“It’s not amazingly well played but it happened to be exactly what we wanted. Brian was very good like that.”