Monday 31 August 2009

Dee Time... for those who remember. Simon Dee dies at 74.

Prefab Sprout - Let's Change The World Through Music review


August 30, 2009
Album: Prefab Sprout, Let's Change the World with Music, (Kitchenware)
Reviewed by Simon Price

Hot dog, jumping frog! Prefab Sprout are reborn
Prefab Sprout's Paddy McAloon has been showing an uncommon awareness of the ticking clock and the Reaper's claw since as long ago as 1988's "The King of Rock 'n' Roll" ("All my lazy teenage boasts/ Are my high-precision ghosts/ And they're coming round the track to haunt me..."), so actually reaching middle age - he turned 52 this summer - ought to suit his bittersweet muse magnificently.

And it does. But here's the Sproutian twist: as much as McAloon may now resemble an Amish tramp auditioning for the lead part in the Robert Wyatt story, he still sounds like a young dreamer.

The lyrical and lush Let's Change the World with Music (the Sprout's first album for eight years and only their ninth in a career that began in Newcastle back in 1978) is, above all else, an idealistic record. It is, in no small part, a concept album engaged in the anthropomorphism of a whole art form, before which McAloon supplicates himself before it, a bowled-over suitor: "Music is a princess/ I'm just a boy in rags..."

Pop about pop has always been his (piano) forte - see "Faron Young", see "Cars and Girls" - and he's indulging that to an extreme here, from the opening "Let There Be Music" (on which an apocalyptic robot announcer gives way to Barry White symphonic disco) through the top-hats-and-canes swing of "I Love Music" (which rhymes "Niles and Bernard" with "avant-garde") and the self-explanatory "Sweet Gospel Music" to the wise and weary "Meet the New Mozart" ("He's in the bed where commerce sleeps with art...")

Along the way, McAloon debates the possibility of righteousness with or without religion to a Franco-disco beat ("Ride") and, on the sweeping and sumptuous "Last of the Great Romantics", issues the immortal command "Come on, Gatsby, stand aside..."

Still sounds like a young dreamer? That's probably because McAloon now suffers from impaired vision and diminished hearing and most of the songs here have been knocking around in demo form since 1992. All of which only makes Let's Change the World...all the more bittersweet.

Earl Grey setlist

It was a raw night with a largely hammered clientele. Good experience for the sensitive singer/songwriter type.

Mind Your Own Business (Hank Williams)
One More Time (Me)
Guitar Man (David Gates)
On The Way Home (Neil Young)

Sunday 30 August 2009

Jack Kirby explained...

Jack Kirby (born Jacob Kurtzberg August 28, 1917) was one of the most influential and respected comic book artists, writers and creators to have worked in the medium.

Growing up poor in New York City, Kurtzberg entered the emerging comics industry in the 1930s. Although he enrolled at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, he only stayed a week and he was largely self-taught and cited as influences, a number of illustrators, like Hal Foster, Alex Raymond and Milt Caniff.

Kurtzberg drew various comic strips under different pseudonyms, such as Jack Curtiss and Curt Davis, before settling on Jack Kirby. Through the late 1930s he worked on various newspaper strips before joining Fleischer animation where helpwd fill scenes between major action sequences in Popeye cartoons, but he didn’t like the factory mindset and left to work in the burgeoning comic books business for a number of companies, including Fox Features, where he met his future partner, Joe Simon, with whom he would create and dvevelop Captain America for Timely Comics in 1941.

After serving in World War II, Kirby returned to comics and, initially reuniting with Simon, contributed to a number of publishers, including Archie Comics and DC Comics, working in a number of genres: crime, romance, science fiction, horror, monster, superhero and western, but perhaps his most acclaimed creation from the pre-Marvel period was the newspaper strip, Sky Masters of the Space Force, inked by Wally Wood.
Kirby wound up at Timely's 1950s version, Atlas Comics, while still working for DC on books like House of Mystry and House of Secrets. When he finally split with DC, he continued to work for Atlas, which later changed its name to Marvel, and, starting with The Fantastic Four in 1961, with writer Stan Lee, he created a number of superhero characters in the early 1960s that led a boom in the industry. Many of Marvel’s key characters were created by Lee and Kirby during the sixties - The Incredible Hulk, The Fantastic Four, The Black Panther, The Silver Surfer, The Mighty Thor, The X-Men, The Avengers, Doctor Doom, The Inhumans, Nick Fury, Galactus – and it remans a bone of contention just how much Kirby contributed to their creation and the plots that were initially credited to Lee.
Despite the high sales and critical acclaim of the Lee-Kirby titles, Kirby felt he was being treated unfairly, getting neither enough credit nor money and he left the company in 1970 for rival DC Comics, where he created his critically successful Fourth World saga spread over several titles. However, these and other titles proved commercially unsuccessful and were canceled, although characters he created and the Fourth World mythos have continued as a significant part of the DC Comics universe.

Kirby’s drawing style, especially for his figures,had always been expressionistic to some extent, but through the late sixties and early seventies, his figure drawing and, occasionally, sense of perspective, became looser, which may have been partially due to eye problems and partially due to the fact that the board used for the orignial art was considerably reduced in size. Unfortunately, while this was happening, othet artists were adopting a more realistic style and to some readers, Kirby’s work looked old fashioned and out of place.

Kirby returned to Marvel briefly in the mid- to late 1970s, creating new characters who still appear in the company’s comics and taking over his own flagship character, Captain America, but his run met with neither critical nor commercial success and he then ventured into television animation and independent comics.
In his later years, Kirby received consderable recognition for his career accomplishments, and is regarded by historians and fans as one of the major innovators and most influential creators in the comic-book medium.

Jack Kirby died in February 6, 1994 his Thousand Oaks, California.

In October 2006, The New York Times noted that Kirby had “created a new grammar of storytelling and a cinematic style of motion. Once-wooden characters cascaded from one frame to another — or even from page to page — threatening to fall right out of the book into the reader’s lap. The force of punches thrown was visibly and explosively evident. Even at rest, a Kirby character pulsed with tension and energy in a way that makes movie versions of the same characters seem static by comparison.”
In the 'Program Notes' for his novel, Carter Beats The Devil, author Glen David Gold says, 'Inspiration came from the unbeatable troika of storytellers: Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko [artist and plotter for Spider-Man and Doctor Strange]'.
Michael Chabon, in his afterword to his Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, noted, 'I want to acknowledge the deep debt I owe in this and everything else I've ever written to the work of the late Jack Kirby, the King of Comics.”

The Comics Journal Library Volume I: Jack Kirby, edited by Milo George (Fantagraphics Books; Seattle, 2002)
The Jack Kirby Treasury Volume II, text by Greg Theakston (Eclipse Books; Forestville, California, n.d.)
Kirby: King of Comics, by Mark Evanier (Abrams; New York, 2008)
The Art of Jack Kirby, by Ray Wyman, jr (The Blue Rose Press; Orange, California, 1992)
The Collected Jack Kirby Collector Volumes I-VII, edited by John Morrow (Two Morrows Publishing; Raleigh, North Carolina, 1997-2009)
Origins of Marvel Comics, by Stan Lee (Simon and Schuster; New York, 1974)
Son of Origins of Marvel Comics, by Stan Lee (Simon and Schuster; New York, 1975)
Men of Tomorrow: Geeks, Gangsters, and the Birth of the Comic Book, by Gerard Jones (Heinemann, 2005)


It's Grahame's Movie Night on Friday. He stunned us last time, can he do it again? Probably. 7.30pm start.


PJ has agreed to be the face of a new anti-ageing cream. Details to follow.


To retain the dynamic of the Friday Boy Project it will be necessary to recruit a new face to step into the shoes of the soon to be departed Da. I know he is irreplaceable, but it must be done. Nomination papers will be sent out within days, but initial groundings indicate that favourites are emerging. Big D has suggested we should put feelers out to Phillip Garrido, "to enable us to get inside the mind of a monster". Thanks Dave. I have gender-issues with Grahame's favourite candidate - thus his campaign to bring in Carla Bruni is doomed, while Terry's insistence that "all nominees must be Lit. and Phil. members" would rule out both Garrido and Bruni. Johnny (pictured) would seem a safe choice, but he's from Doncaster. Meanwhile, thanks to PJ who suggested that as a permanent memorial to Da a cascading fountain of Deuchars should installed on the post-demoliton site of the Egypt Cottage.
Given the differences of opinion there would appear only one choice. We need a man we can interact with, who has musical talent and enjoys a drink or two. Got Alex's number Da?

Saturday 29 August 2009

Jack Kirby

Comic book artist, writer and creator would've been 92 on Friday 28 August.

The above panels are from the first issue of the Incredible Hulk.

Women in Music #20


Empty Store!

Thursday 27 August 2009

Persistence Pays

Jim's relentless lobbying has paid dividends - it's Butlers!


So, Head of Steam?

No commentary intended

The O'Kanes! Remember?

A little Bish


Broooooooooooooooce! Not that one

Lily Allen lookalike

Ohhhhhhhhhhhh what a lonely boy....

Da's post-match notes

After a truely shocking first half, the Toon came out and conceded a 3rd goal. Just when you thought it was all over they completely turned the game around, actually played some football and scored 3 goals to go out 4 - 3 winners. As Colemanballs would have said "Remarkable!".

Later at the Cottage: the place was invaded by half a dozen texan oil men who demanded some Neil Young songs. So they got Only Love Can Break Your Heart and Birds. Finished off with Falling (an audience request!). Afterwards a guy clearly more refreshed than me, asked me to do a gig in Amble or somewhere. I made my excuses and left.

Ellie Greenwich RIP

US pop songwriter Greenwich dies
American songwriter Ellie Greenwich, who penned River Deep, Mountain High and other hits, has died, aged 68.

She died of a heart attack after being admitted to a New York hospital for pneumonia treatment, her niece said.

In a 50-year career, she was awarded some 25 gold and platinum discs. She collaborated with Phil Spector on Chapel of Love and Da Doo Ron Ron.

She wrote Leader of the Pack with her ex-husband, which became the basis for a Broadway musical based on her life.

Greenwich was a member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame and contributed to the success of many stars, including working with Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald.

She is also co-produced songs for Neil Diamond, including his hit Kentucky Woman.

Other compositions included Do Wah Diddy Diddy and Look of Love.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2009/08/26 21:35:41 GMT


Theater News
Songwriter Ellie Greenwich Dies at 69
By: Brian Scott Lipton · Aug 26, 2009 · New York

Ellie Greenwich, one of the foremost songwriters of the rock 'n' roll era, has died at age 69.

Greenwich's songs were the basis of the 1985 Broadway revue Leader of the Pack, which earned a Tony Award nomination for Best Musical. She also appeared in the production, alongside Patrick Cassidy, Dinah Manoff, Annie Golden, Jasmine Guy, Darlene Love, and other stars.

In addition to the song "Leader of the Pack," Greenwich wrote such iconic hits as "Be My Baby," "Chapel of Love," and "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)." In 1991, she and Jeff Barry, her former husband and songwriting and producing partner, were inducted into the Songwriters' Hall of Fame.

Greenwich's songs were also featured in three other Broadway revues: Uptown, It's Hot!, Andre De Shields' Harlem Nocturne, and Rock 'n' Roll! The First 5,000 Years.

During her career as writer and producer, Greenwich also worked with such top talents as Phil Spector, Neil Diamond, Frank Sinatra, Lesley Gore, Bobby Darin, Nona Hendryx, and Cyndi Lauper.

She is survived by her sister, Laura Weiner. Donations can be made to the VH1 Save the Music Foundation.

Goldmine interview:

Wednesday 26 August 2009

Bob's new album cover (Christmas is coming)

Must be Santa

Christmas in the Heart - it's real.



Bob Dylan will release a brand new album of holiday songs, Christmas In The Heart, on Tuesday, October 13, it was announced today by Columbia Records. All of the artist’s U.S. royalties from sales of these recordings will be donated to Feeding America, guaranteeing that more than four million meals will be provided to more than 1.4 million people in need in this country during this year’s holiday season. Bob Dylan is also donating all of his future U.S. royalties from this album to Feeding America in perpetuity.

Additionally, the artist is partnering with two international charities to provide meals during the holidays for millions in need in the United Kingdom and the developing world, and will be donating all of his future international royalties from Christmas In The Heart to those organizations in perpetuity. Details regarding the international partnerships will be announced next week.

“When we reached out to Bob Dylan about becoming involved with our organization, we could never have anticipated that he would so generously donate all royalties from his forthcoming album to our cause,” said Vicki Escarra, president and CEO of Feeding America. “This major initiative from such a world renowned artist and cultural icon will directly benefit so many people and have a major impact on spreading awareness of the epidemic of hunger in this country and around the world.”

Bob Dylan commented, “It’s a tragedy that more than 35 million people in this country alone -- 12 million of those children – often go to bed hungry and wake up each morning unsure of where their next meal is coming from. I join the good people of Feeding America in the hope that our efforts can bring some food security to people in need during this holiday season.”

Christmas In The Heart will be the 47th album from Bob Dylan, and follows his worldwide chart-topping Together Through Life, released earlier this year. Songs performed by Dylan on this new album include, “Here Comes Santa Claus,” “Winter Wonderland,” “Little Drummer Boy” and “Must Be Santa.”

Feeding America provides low-income individuals and families with the fuel to survive and even thrive. As the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief charity, our network members supply food to more than 25 million Americans each year, including 9 million children and 3 million seniors. Serving the entire United States, more than 200 member food banks supports 63,000 agencies that address hunger in all of its forms. For more information how you can fight hunger in your community and across the country, visit

Edward Kennedy RIP

Senator Edward Kennedy dies at 77
Veteran US Senator Edward Kennedy, the brother of ex-President John F Kennedy, has died at the age of 77, after a long battle with a brain tumour.

He became a Democratic Massachusetts senator in 1962, replacing his brother when he resigned to become president, and was re-elected seven times.

Senator Kennedy had been a dominant force in liberal US politics for almost half a century.

Recently he was an active supporter of President Barack Obama.

He has championed issues like healthcare and education.

In 2006 Time magazine named him as one of America's "Ten Best Senators" saying that he had "amassed a titanic record of legislation affecting the lives of virtually every man, woman and child in the country".

The BBC's Richard Lister in Washington says Senator Kennedy, known affectionately as "Teddy", will be remembered as one of the most effective and popular legislators in American history.

Our correspondent says he was also skilled at forging alliances across party lines: pushing an education initiative with President George W Bush, and immigration reform with Republican John McCain.

But he was also a fierce critic of the Bush administration, in particular over Iraq and the prisoner abuse scandal.

Senate Majority leader Harry Reid said the Kennedy family and the Senate had "together lost our patriarch".

"The liberal lion's mighty roar may now fall silent, but his dream shall never die," he said.

UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown said that Senator Kennedy would be "mourned not just in America but in every continent".

"Even facing illness and death,, he never stopped fighting for the causes which were his life's work. I am proud to have counted him as a friend."

'Joyous light'

The Kennedy family announced his death in a brief statement in the early hours of Wednesday.


•1932 Born, youngest of nine children
•1962 Becomes country's youngest senator
•1963, 1968 Brothers President John F Kennedy and Senator Robert F Kennedy both assassinated
•1969 "Chappaquiddick incident" - Kennedy flees scene after road crash in which his young passenger dies
•1980 Runs unsuccessfully for Democratic nomination against sitting President Jimmy Carter

"Edward M. Kennedy, the husband, father, grandfather, brother and uncle we loved so deeply, died late Tuesday night at home in Hyannis Port (Massachusetts)," the statement said.

"We've lost the irreplaceable centre of our family and joyous light in our lives, but the inspiration of his faith, optimism, and perseverance will live on in our hearts forever."

Edward Kennedy was the only one of four brothers to die a natural death.

His brother Joseph was killed in an air crash in World War II, and both President John F Kennedy and presidential hopeful Robert F Kennedy were assassinated in the 1960s.

He was widely expected to be the next Kennedy in the White House, but he was never able to fully overcome the scandal caused in 1969, when he drove a car off a bridge at Chappaquiddick near his home, killing his female passenger.

The incident helped derail his only presidential bid, more than a decade later.

But he remained active in politics right up until his death, famously endorsing Barack Obama for the Democratic nomination during a tight race with Hillary Clinton last year.

At his death, he was the third longest serving senator in US history.

Last week, he asked the Massachusetts governor to change state law to allow a speedy succession when his Senate seat became vacant.

Analysts suggest that Senator Kennedy feared a lengthy gap could deny Democrats a crucial vote on Mr Obama's flagship health reform.

His death comes weeks after that of his older sister, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, on 11 August.

“ The liberal lion's mighty roar may now fall silent, but his dream shall never die ”
Harry Reid Senate Majority leader

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2009/08/26 07:26:22 GMT


Tuesday 25 August 2009

Ian gets a drummer

Coney Island Baby


While walking at the Mill Dam at mid-day today I came across Big Dave taking a stroll in the opposite direction. After intense interrogation he admitted where he was heading - the Riverside pub for a lunchtime pint. I don't question his right to booze in the afternoon, but I question his choice of venue, just two doors down from The Steamboat, Camra's pub of the year. Seconds later 'Gardener' Dave Temple passed the scene, making no reference of his decision not to buy Grahame a birthday present. Meanwhile, PJ is campaigning hard to start off at Butlers bar on Friday.

This just in ...

Mayor charged with theft of undies
Tuesday, August 25 10:37 am

The mayor of a town council has been charged with breaking into women's homes and stealing underwear.

Ian Stafford, 58, who has reportedly resigned as Mayor of Preesall in Lancashire, was charged on Monday by Lancashire Police with three counts of burglary in connection with the missing garments.

Female residents called in police after their underwear kept disappearing and one woman even installed a hidden camera in her bedroom.

The part-time handyman and gardener will appear at Wyre Magistrates' Court next month.

A Lancashire police spokesman said: "Ian Stafford has been charged with three counts of burglary in a dwelling in connection with incidents at addresses in Preesall, Poulton-le-Fylde and Stalmine between January 1 and June 26 2009."

For those modern folks who prefer to go commando and may have forgotten what underwear is, here's FNB First Lady Carla Bruni lingering in her lingerie.Feels like Spring!

Saving for a rainy day?

Bob Dylan could soon voice sat nav systems

Bob Dylan, the legend of folk and rock music, could soon be directing drivers down Highway 61 as car giants frantically bid to sign him up as the new voice of their sat nav systems.

The singer - a global superstar who has sold more than 70 million albums in a 45-year career - revealed that two major motor manufacturers had approached him to provide a audio road map commentary.

The 68-year-old is currently enjoying radio success on BBC 2 and 6 with his unique "Theme Time Radio Hour" show delivered in tone once described as "sandpaper singing".

He disclosed the offers from the sat nav firms on his radio show on BBC6 on Sunday night.

Dylan told his late-night radio audience: "I am talking to a couple of car companies about being the voice of their GPS system. I think it would be good if you are looking for directions and hear my voice saying somnething like: left at the next street, no a right - you know what? Just go straight.

"I probably shouldn't do it because which ever way I go I always end up at one place Lonely Avenue."

Dylan has been an acknowledged influence on artists from John Lennon and Paul McCartney to Bruce Springsteen and David Bowie.

In April this year his latest album "Together Thru Life" went straight to the top of the UK album charts as well as the Billboard 200 in America.

Other celebrity voices already available as sat nav commentaries include a bossy John Cleese, a husky Kim Cattrall, the star of "Sex in the City", Homer Simpson, Alan Partridge and Mr T.

Monday 24 August 2009

Last night's set list

At the Earl Grey, Gosforth

Human Highway
Too Far Gone
Out On The Weekend

Sunday 23 August 2009

One for the Road

The Big Finish

Quiet Dreams

I can't resist!!!!

Breathless Charm


Lazy Bones

Maaaaaaaannnnn... hep cats!

Dreaming of a Song

Get Rhythm!

Hard Rain

Ken in a different light

Larry Knechtel RIP

Session musician and Wrecking Crew member Larry Knechtel has died
August 22, 11:06 AM
Houston Music Examiner
David Sadof

Los Angeles session musician Larry Knechtel, a keyboardist, bassist and harmonica player who contributed to a number of classic recordings has died at the age of 69.

Among his many credits, Knechtel was a member of The Wrecking Crew, a group of session musicians in Los Angeles during the 60’s and 70’s. The Wrecking Crew could handle any type of recording session whether it was backing The Carpenters or recording the theme song for The Munsters, they could do it all. Phil Spector famously used the Crew to create his “wall of sound.”

Some of Knechtel’s most notable performances include his piano playing on Simon and Garfunkel’s Bridge Over Troubled Water, bass and harmonica on The Byrds’ Mr. Tambourine Man, Hammond b-3 organ on The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds, and his bass playing on many of The Doors’ recordings. While The Doors did not tour with a bassist, they used several session musicians to play bass on their albums.

Knechtel was also a member of the soft-rock group Bread and played bass in Elvis Presley’s band on his 1968 comeback TV special.

Larry plays piano in the clip below with Elvis Costello & The Fairfield Four.

Saturday 22 August 2009

Older than the President (Younger than James Dean)

Wasn't born in Hawthorne, California,
Didn't write The Long Goodbye.
Never sang with Carl and the Passions,
He claims he did,
But it's a lie...

He arrived in summer,
Fifty years ago.
The Devil’s in the detail...
Here's what we know.

He didn't trust the Tyneside skies,
So he walked the line.
Signed a pact with Satan,
At the crossroads sign

Phoenix, Arizona,
4th Street and Vine,
An all American Boy,
Born to walk that line.

Older than the President,
Younger than the Queen,
Fifty years is a long time boy,
To live that American dream

Older than the President,
Younger than the Queen,
Fifty years is a long time boy
To live an American dream

Beer with Audie Murphy,
Pool with Willie Mays,
Crossing swords with Errol,
And all his wicked ways

Dining out with Fatty,
At the Coconut Grove,
Shared a wine with Judy,
Gave his love to Rose.

Older than the President,
Younger than the Queen,
Fifty years is a long time boy,
To live that American dream

Older than the President,
Younger than the Queen,
Fifty years is a long time boy
To live an American dream

Sat in with Ella,
Reading Catcher in the Rye
Called The Duke a coward,
It's a sin to tell a lie.

Introduced Monroe to Miller,
Best man when they wed
He campaigned for JFK -
Then he shot him dead.

Wasn't born in Hawthorne, California,
Didn't write The Long Goodbye.
Never sang with Carl and the Passions,
He claims he did,
But it's a lie...


Thursday 20 August 2009

Ken's mate


Grahame has asked everyone not to be over-generous in the gift stakes tomorrow night. He does not want to become overcome with emotion by the touching personal nature of your prezzies.
I post a photograph of Da looking, well, rather happy. Remember him this way.

Sinatra Box - early November


Frank Sinatra New York Boxed Set Due 11/3
Five-Disc Boxed Set Features All Previously Unreleased
Live Performances Of Ol’ Blue Eyes In "The Apple"
Collection Highlights Performances Recorded Between
1955 and 1990 At Iconic New York City Venues
Available From Reprise November 3
LOS ANGELES — Frank Sinatra may have been born in Hoboken, New Jersey, but the Chairman of the Board always held a special place in his heart for the city that never sleeps—"The Apple," as he called it. From a surprise appearance with Tommy Dorsey in 1955 to a 1990 concert at Radio City Music Hall, SINATRA: NEW YORK follows the singer onstage at various iconic New York City venues, living out one of his most famous lines: "If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere." The five-disc boxed set (4-CD/1-DVD) of previously unreleased live performances will be available November 3, at all retail outlets, including, for a suggested list price of $79.99 (physical) and $34.99 (digital).
The 71 previously unreleased performances gathered here (55 on CD/16 on DVD) capture the singer giving his electricifying best, reminding listeners why Sinatra’s celebrated baritone has been hailed as "The Voice." The set, produced by Charles Pignone, features deluxe packaging with rare, never-before-seen photos, tributes from Martin Scorsese, Tony Bennett, Yogi Berra, and Twyla Tharp, liner notes by Nat Hentoff, and essays by William Friedkin, director of The Exorcist and The French Connection; George Kalinsky, official photographer for Madison Square Garden for over 40 years; Tom Young, engineer for Sinatra; Joe & Sal Scognamillo, owners of Patsy’s Italian Restaurant in New York City; and Frank Sinatra Jr.
SINATRA: NEW YORK begins in February 1955, at the Manhattan Center, where Sinatra made a surprise appearance with Tommy Dorsey and his band during a concert celebrating the group’s 20-year anniversary. Sinatra, who first became a star singing with Dorsey in the early ’40s, sang a trio of his biggest hits with Dorsey: "Oh! Look At Me Now," "This Love Of Mine;" and "I’ll Never Smile Again," a song that spent 12 weeks at #1 in 1940. The remainder of the first disc was recorded in September 1963, at the United Nations. To celebrate U.N. Staff Day, Sinatra sang at the organization’s Manhattan offices, accompanied only by pianist Skitch Henderson, who incidentally played on Sinatra’s first solo recording session in 1942. During the show, the duo performed "I Have Dreamed" and "My Heart Stood Still" from The Concert Sinatra, an album released earlier that year.
Sinatra "retired" in 1971, at the age of 55, but returned in 1973, with Ol’ Blue Eyes Is Back. A year later, he launched a tour to benefit an international children’s charity that included a show at New York’s Carnegie Hall. The second disc features classics such as "I’ve Got You Under My Skin" and "Come Fly With Me." Sinatra also performed Joe Raposo’s "There Used To Be A Ballpark" and "You Will Be My Music" from Ol’ Blue Eyes.
From October 1974, the third disc contains the first night of Sinatra’s two-night stand at Madison Square Garden. The second night was televised and dubbed ‘The Main Event’ concert. With the famous arena set up for a boxing match—complete with ringside seats—Howard Cosell introduced Sinatra before the singer took the stage wearing boxing gloves. Bill Miller conducted Woody Herman’s Young Thundering Herd as the band accompanied Sinatra on signature hits ("The Lady Is A Tramp," "My Way"), ballads ("Let Me Try Again," "Angel Eyes"), and "Autumn In New York."
The final CD returns to Carnegie Hall for a sold-out June 1984 show, and Sinatra taps his extensive songbook for an eclectic evening of music that spans four decades: "Fly Me To The Moon"; "Pennies From Heaven"; "My Way"; and "Come Rain Or Come Shine." The second half of disc four, from Radio City Music Hall in June 1990, finds Sinatra performing with an orchestra conducted by his son Frank Sinatra Jr., and includes such hits as "Strangers In The Night," "Mack The Knife," and "Theme From New York, New York."
SINATRA: NEW YORK closes with a DVD containing the singer’s June 25, 1980, concert at Carnegie Hall. At the time, the two-week engagement set a record for the venue by selling out in just a day. The shows followed the release of 1980’s Trilogy, Sinatra’s ambitious triple-album comeback that featured "The Theme From New York, New York." Sinatra mixes "Summer Me, Winter Me" from that album with his hits "I’ve Got The World On A String" and "I’ve Got You Under My Skin." Foreshadowing the follow-up to Trilogy is "The Gal That Got Away"/"It Never Entered My Mind," a medley that would appear on She Shot Me Down in 1981.
Track Listing
Disc 1
Manhattan Center, 1955
1. Introductions: Martin Block and Tommy Dorsey
2. "I’ll Never Smile Again"
3. "Oh! Look At Me Now"
4. "This Love Of Mine" United Nations, 1963
5. "Too Marvelous For Words"
6. "They Can’t Take That Away From Me"
7. "I Have Dreamed"
8. Monologue
9. "A Foggy Day"
10. "My Heart Stood Still"
11. "I Get A Kick Out Of You"
Disc 2
Carnegie Hall, April 8, 1974
1. Overture: "All The Way"/"My Kind Of Town"/"You Will Be My Music"
2. "Come Fly With Me"
3. "I Get A Kick Out Of You"
4. "Don’t Worry About Me"
5. "If"
6. "Bad, Bad Leroy Brown"
7. Medley: "Last Night When We Were Young"/"Violets For Your Furs"/"Here’s That Rainy Day"
8. Bows – "You Will Be My Music"
9. Monologue
10. "My Way"
11. "You Will Be My Music"
12. "I’ve Got You Under My Skin"
13. "Send In The Clowns"
14. "That’s Life"
15. Bows – "My Way"
16. "There Used To Be A Ballpark"
17. "My Kind Of Town"
18. Bows – "My Way"
Disc 3
Madison Square Garden, October 12, 1974
1. Overture: "It Was A Very Good Year"/"All The Way"/"My Kind Of Town"
2. "The Lady Is A Tramp"
3. "I Get A Kick Out Of You"
4. "What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life?"
5. "Bad, Bad Leroy Brown"
6. "Let Me Try Again (Laisse Moi Le Temps)"
7. "Send In The Clowns"
8. "My Kind Of Town"
9. Monologue
10. "Autumn In New York"
11. "If"
12. "I’ve Got You Under My Skin"
13. "Angel Eyes"
14. "The House I Live In"
15. "You Are The Sunshine Of My Life"
16. "My Way"
17. Bows – "My Way"
Disc 4
Carnegie Hall, June 1984
1. "Fly Me To The Moon"
2. "Luck Be A Lady"
3. "This Is All I Ask"
4. "Come Rain Or Come Shine"
5. Monologue
6. "My Way"
7. "Teach Me Tonight"
8. "Pennies From Heaven"
Radio City Music Hall, June 1990
Carnegie Hall, June 1984
9. "For Once In My Life"
10. "Strangers In The Night"
11. Monologue
12. "Mack The Knife"
13. "Summer Wind"
14. "Theme From New York, New York"
15. Bows – "Good-Bye"
Recorded At Carnegie Hall, 1980
1. "I’ve Got The World On A String"
2. "The Best Is Yet To Come"
3. "The Lady Is A Tramp"
4. "When Your Lover Has Gone"
5. "This Is All I Ask"
6. "I’ve Got You Under My Skin"
7. "Summer Me, Winter Me"
8. "Street Of Dreams"
9. Medley: "The Gal That Got Away"/"It Never Entered My Mind"
10. "I Can’t Get Started"
11. "Send In The Clowns"
12. "Come Fly With Me"
13. "Guess I’ll Hang My Tears Out To Dry"
14. "You And Me (We Wanted It All)"
15. "The Song Is You"
16. "Theme From New York, New York"

Jane Randolph RIP

June 15, 2009
Jane Randolph: Actress best known for her work with Jacques Tourneur and Val Lewton on 'Cat People'

Jane Randolph was the actress so memorably terrorised by the suggestive effects of shadow, light and sound in the classic thriller Cat People (1942).

Although she appeared primarily in B-movies throughout the 1940s, they included at least four films that are regarded as among the finest of their kind - producer Val Lewton's celebrated masterworks, Cat People and The Curse of the Cat People (1944), and two stylish films noir directed by Anthony Mann, Railroaded! and T-Men (both 1947). The four films also showcased the versatility of the strikingly off-beat beauty with a distinctively smoky voice.

In Cat People Randolph was the self-confident working-girl Alice, silently in love with a colleague who is taken with the charms of a Serbian painter Irena (Simone Simon) who believes herself to be one of a group of "cat people" who become deadly panthers when roused by hatred or jealousy. Perceiving Alice as a rival, she begins to stalk her. In the sequel Randolph has become a loving and resourceful wife, concerned about her over-imaginative child. In Railroaded! she was a ruthless bookie and gangster's moll, and in TMen a coldly efficient forger who leads a gang of counterfeiters.

The superbly atmospheric Cat People , directed by Jacques Tourneur, featured
Randolph in two of the most effective scenes of implied menace ever put on film. In the first, she refuses the offer of her colleague to walk her home ("I'm a big girl now, I'm not afraid") and starts a lonely walk through Central Park, passing through a short tunnel then pausing by a lamp-post, suddenly feeling threatened. The only sounds are her clicking heels until Irena's faster steps can be heard behind her. As she quickens her pace the sense of menace grows, startlingly shattered when a growl merges with the loud hissing of a bus's brakes as the vehicle draws up beside her.

"Tourneur knew exactly what he wanted," Randolph said in a 1998 interview.

"Every time I go past Central Park or through that tunnel, that scene comes to mind. It was very spooky, and I've gotten many letters about that scene over the years." In a later sequence Alice takes a solitary swim in a hotel's indoor pool at night, and the echoing sound of the lapping water, which casts ominous shadows on the walls that conjure visions of a possible cat-like image, creates a terrifying sequence recently praised by director George Romero as "totally evocative" and, like the earlier scene, a classic example of a sense of terror conveyed with camera angles, sound and lighting without brutality or gore.

Randolph was born Jane Roemer in 1915 in Youngstown, Ohio, but grew up in Kokomo, Indiana, before attending DePauw University. Her father, George Roemer, a designer of steel mills, dissuaded her from early ambitions to be an actress, but in 1939 she moved to California where she won a scholarship to study at Max Reinhardt's school. "I will always be grateful to him," she said. "I did everything from Thornton Wilder's The Matchmaker to Shakespeare, plus a lot of improvisation and lots of Noel Coward."

Spotted by a talent scout for Warners, she was given bit roles as a singer in Dive Bomber (1941) with Errol Flynn, a hat-check girl in Manpower (1941) with Marlene Dietrich, and a secretary in The Male Animal (1942) with Henry Fonda. "I particularly liked Marlene. She couldn't sleep, so she would get up and bake. She made cakes and pies, and brought them in for the crew to eat".

Randolph was also one of two skating models used for the Bambi and Thumper ice-skating sequence in Bambi (1942), and when the Army magazine Yank started in 1942, she was the first issue's pin-up girl.

The same year she was signed by RKO and given a starring role in Highways by Night. "RKO quickly did a world of publicity on me. I was their 'Cinderella' girl."

Then came Cat People, which started life as a title dreamed up by the studio's production chief. Producer Lewton and writer DeWitt Bodeen wrote the original script and with director Tourneur fashioned a superior, moody chiller that deliberately forsook such clich├ęs as actors in panther suits.

"Lewton was such a kind man", recalled Randolph. "He was always considerate to everyone. Simone Simon was very temperamental though, always upset about something.

Tourneur and Simon were both French, so he directed her in French. He told her to cut it out. The crew didn't know what he said when he called her chienne [bitch] but many of us knew the language. She was brilliant in the film, though."

After Cat People, Randolph appeared in two films in the popular detective series featuring the debonair sleuth "The Falcon": The Falcon's Brother (1942) and The Falcon Strikes Back (1943). The latter benefited from the casting of comic Edgar Kennedy. "Edgar kept us entertained off camera as well. We laughed a lot with him."

The Curse of the Cat People had little resemblance to its predecessor, but as a study of child psychology it is a wistfully haunting and sometimes sinister film that has also gained classic status.

RKO then started to loan Randolph to other studios - she appeared in Otto Preminger's study of wartime wives, In the Meantime, Darling (1944) for Fox; at Republic she starred in a quirky film noir, Jealousy (1945); at Monogram she was in the comedy In Fast Company (1946); for Universal she played a villainess in the final serial made by the studio, The Mysterious Mr M (1946). In 1946 she was pleased to be cast opposite William Boyd in a Hopalong Cassidy western, Fool's Gold (1946). She was then cast by Anthony Mann in Railroaded. "Mann was an excellent director, very sharp and precise. He wanted the dialogue to snap along."

After playing in T-Men, Randolph went to New York, where she appeared on radio and television, but she returned to Hollywood to play an insurance investigator in Bud Abbott & Lou Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948), widely regarded as the best movie of the famed comedy team. Bela Lugosi played his trademark role of Dracula, and Randolph found him "old fashioned and polite". Her final Hollywood film was Open Secret (1948).

In 1949 Randolph married the Spanish producer and businessman Jaime del Amo and moved to Spain. "There was only one later film I would really love to have been in, Mervyn LeRoy's film version of Little Women (1949)."

Her husband was part of a dynasty that owned one of the largest Spanish land grants in southern California, and he helped develop the Del Amo shopping centre in Torrance, one of the first large shopping centres.

She became a leader of Madrid society, and when not entertaining enjoyed painting landscapes and skiing at St Moritz. She returned to the screen when director Terence Young, a friend, suggested she perform a cameo in That Lady (1955), filmed in Madrid.

After settling in Gstaad, Switzerland, where her husband died in the late 1960s, she led an active life until suffering two broken hips.

Tom Vallance

Jane Roemer (Jane Randolph), actress: born Youngstown, Ohio 10 October 1915; married 1949 Jaime del Amo (deceased; one daughter); died Saanen, Switzerland 4 May 2009.

Jules Dassin RIP

Film director Jules Dassin dies

American film director Jules Dassin has died in an Athens hospital after a short illness, at the age of 96.

Blacklisted in Hollywood after WWII, he went to Europe where he married the late Greek actress and later culture minister Melina Mercouri.

She starred in Mr Dassin's most famous film, Never on Sunday.

After her death in 1994, Mr Dassin fought to realise her main goal: the return of the Parthenon, or Elgin, marbles from Britain to Greece.

A spokesman for Hygeia hospital in Athens said Mr Dassin had been admitted for treatment two weeks ago.

"Greece grieves the loss of a rare human being, an important creator and a true friend," Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis said in a statement.

Oscar nominations

Mr Dassin was born in the US state of Connecticut on 18 December 1911.

He worked as an actor and theatre producer before becoming an assistant to film director Alfred Hitchcock.

He was active in leftist politics and in the early 1950s his promising Hollywood career was cut short when he was named as a communist and blacklisted.

He met Ms Mercouri at the Cannes Film Festival in 1955 where he won the best director prize for his film Rififi. Its long heist sequence, without dialogue, became a template for many later crime capers.

He directed his wife in seven films, including 1960's Never on Sunday in which she played a prostitute with a heart of gold. He received Oscar nominations for best director and screenplay.

Mr Dassin stopped making films in 1980 after Circle of Two starring Richard Burton performed poorly at the box office.

Ms Mercouri was elected to the Greek parliament in 1974 and in 1981 the newly-elected socialist government appointed her culture minister.

After his wife's death he created the Melina Mercouri Foundation to continue her campaign to have the 2,500-year-old marbles that were stripped from the Parthenon returned to Greece.

"He will be remembered for all his good work and struggles with Melina for his campaign for the return of the marbles, which will continue," said socialist opposition leader George Papandreou.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2008/04/01 01:39:40 GMT


Last night's post-match setlist

Don't Knock It Down (by request)
Long May You Run

Final turn of the night and somewhat the worse for drink.

Wednesday 19 August 2009

Roger Corman's Poe-sters Addenda Part III

This is a bit of a cheat in that they’re not Corman movies, but they did come from the American International Pictures stable and all three starred Price.

The director of the first two was Jacques Tourneur, at pretty much the nadir of his career, a long way, artistically-speaking, from Cat People, Out of the Past and FNB movie Night of the Demon.

Scripted by Richard Matheson, who had written all the earlier Corman Poe films except Premature Burial, Comedy of Terrors (1964) is in the comedic vein of The Raven, but it seems the director, although initially expressing admiration for the script, later claimed he was unhappy with the film and wouldn’t talk about it. Like Price, the other key members of the cast had all appeared in Corman’s Poe adaptations, although Lorre was ill at the time and it’s clear in some shots that he is replaced by a none-too-convincing ‘double’.

War-Gods of the Deep/The City Under the Sea (1965) was written by Charles Bennett, who had worked with Tourneur on Night of the Demon and with Alfred Hitchcock during his British period, but had latterly scripted Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea for Irwin Allen, so perhaps he seemed a good choice.

The plan was to reunite Price with Boris Karloff, but the latter had to opt out due to ill health. Tourneur allegedly liked this script too, but another writer, Louis M. Heyward, was brought in to add some broad humour in the shape of the David Tomlinson’s comic character Harold Tufnell-Jones and his pet rooster and the director felt he completely ruined the film. It was Tourneur’s last movie; Charles Bennett claimed the director was blamed for the film’s failure but noted, “He was not to blame at all.”

Although it was allegedly inspired by Poe’s poem, the only reference is when Price recites it at the end. No doubt Poe’s name on the poster was intended to exploit the success of the Corman-Price movies.

The final movie is Michael Reeves’ British horror film, The Witchfinder General (1968), which has built up a good critical reputation after its initial largely disappointing reviews. While it was distributed by American International Pictures, it has no Corman connection whatsoever and was made a few years after AIP’s Corman/Poe cycle. However, it did star Vincent Price, giving a more restrained performance than usual, and when it was distributed in the US, it was given the title Edgar Allan Poe’s The Conqueror Worm to cash in on the earlier films’ success, even though the only Poe reference is Price’s reading of extracts from Poe’s poem during the epilogue and prologue.

One point of interest is that the man who ruined the script of War-Gods of the Deep, Louis M. Heyward, was one of the film’s producers and, after the initial filming was finished, took it upon himself to oversee the shooting - with no involvement from Reeves - of some alternate scenes involving nudity for the release of the movie in Germany.