Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Web Surf # 2-Reparata and The Delrons to Coco Rocha to Eero Saarinan

Reparata and the Delrons-Mid  1960's lineup Lorraine, Reparata, and Nanette.
I discovered the obscure New York girl group, Reparata and the Delrons whilst looking up  backing musicians. The group's lead singer, Reparata (her  real name was Mary Aiese) took her stage name from a nun who was one of her teachers. Mary Aiese left the group in 1970 to be a teacher herself. The tall girl, Lorraine Mazolla , later sang with Barry Manilow's backing group, Lady Flash. Nanette Licar,  well I don't know anything about Nanette. Some  other chicks sang with the group as well.

This vocal trio never had an American Top 40 hit, yet somehow continued to make records between 1964 and 1972.  They only made two studio albums.  One of the group's claim to fame is that  they were among they were among the backing singers on the 1969 Rolling Stones hit, "Honky Tonk Women". They also were one of the opening acts on the Stones 1965 Tour of North America.

 Reparata  and the Delrons did have a Top 20 hit in the UK with a song called "Captain of Your Ship". The video  of "Captain of Your Ship"  above is from a German TV-show. It is the only archival television footage of them.

  The girls performing" I'm Nobody's Baby Now" -a great song written by Jeff Barry.

TWA Terminal, JFK Airport, 1962

Reparata and The Delrons -Look In My Diary

The  song below (Look in My Diary) was actually not released till the 1997. Hard to believe, since it sounds like a hit to me. It's my favorite song right now. It was recorded around 1966 but used on any of their singles or albums.

The video above  is actually a unofficial  mash-up video  compiled by Mr. Trubec. The first bit is from a Longchamp commercial featuring super model Coco Rocha. She is a Canadian born model of Irish-Welsh and Russian descent. I don't now where the other bits  with the oriental girls and the redheads are taken from.

The original  2013 Longchamp commercial (above)  featured the Bee Gees song-"You Should Be Dancing". The other model featured  is another Canadian  Liisa Winkler. Yes that's two"i"s.

 The airport terminal where the video was filmed  is unmistakably  the  former TWA terminal building at JFK International in NYC. Surprisingly,  Eero Saarinan's   classic space age  terminal is no longer fully in use.

TWA Flight Center at Wikipeida
To learn more TWA's terminal five

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Web surf # 1…from Grant-Lee Phillips to Back to the Future

Web surf # 1…from Grant-Lee Phillips to Back to the Future   

Courthouse Square
I was listening in the car to FM Radio on the low end of the dial where all the public radio stations are-and came upon a folk-rock song with vocals that sounded a little like Bono.  The DJ didn’t say what the song was –and so when I went home, I tried to figure it out.  I had trouble googling the lyrics because I hadn’t been able to  make out the words to well.  All I could remember was “She is a lily” or “She is like lily”.  So I tried figuring which radio station I had been listening to –it turned out to be WUMB and then I looked on their website to see if they had a playlist-they did. 
The song was called  “Lily-a-passion” by Grant- Lee Phillips.  It’s an original song  available on a solo album of his called Virginia Creeper.  So what’s a “Lily–a-passion”? I don’t know, maybe Grant is referring to the flower called the Passion Lily.  Yes indeed so here's the video for that song -assuming it' working at the time you read this 

I had vaguely remembered an act called  Grant Lee Buffalo-and that it  had some sort of connection with Husker Du. The connection turned out that Grant Hart , one the  members of Husker Du also had the first name Grant, and that another Husker-Du-er , Bob Mould , had helped release one of Grant Lee Buffalo's  recordings . I eventually figured out that Grant Lee Buffalo had disbanded and that Phillips  now went by the Grant-Lee Phillips moniker and that   he was a recurring character on the Gilmore Girls TV show-where he played  a troubadour who sang songs in the town square on the show.  There is a  video that compiled Grant's appearances on the Gilmore Girls on YouTube (see below).

The town square on the video looked familiar-and I thought to myself that it was the same town square that was used for  the Back to the Future movies. Well I was correct , the location was a back lot called Courthouse Square which is movie set for Universal Studios. Somehow from there I looked up the Back to the Future movies and learned that Eric Stoltz (of Mask fame) was the original Marty McFly.  Five  weeks into the shooting of the film, director,  Robert Zemekis recast McFly because Eric Stoltz wasn’t funny enough.  Michael J. Fox took over the role and the rest is history and future history.  I was also reminded that the second and third Back to the Future movies were shot  back to back-one of the earliest set of  big budget films  to be filmed in tandem, so as to save production costs.

Eric Stoltz playing Marty McFly. Eric with dark hair-that's wrong right there!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

You can't go home again if they changed the roads...

Recently, I saw a link about the movie, Lilith. It's a 1964 movie starring Warren Beatty that was partly filmed in the town of Rockville, MD which was where I lived for the greatest portion of my life.  Right away I was struck about how much at changed in 50 years  since the movie, and all at various times. To start with the mental hospital (Chestnut Lodge) , that was  depicted (but not shown) in the movie, has been closed (apparently the main lodge burned down) and the land  turned into a housing development/ Of course, much of the old Rockville town center depicted in the movie was demolished in the late 1960's. And going from that beginning, I discovered that the Giant  grocery store next to my house, that was once busy, has now been closed. (I haven't been there in few years).

The infamous Rockville Mall in the distance under construction with the old Rockville library  on the immediate left.

Rockville, MD. is in Montgomery County, a  prosperous suburb of Washington, D.C.  Rockville is far enough away from downtown D.C (15 miles) that till recently, farmland still existed in it's environs.  Since WWII , Montgomery County has been quite a rich county, largely recession proof due to it's proximity to the federal government and it's well educated workforce that comes from all over the country and the world.  Partly due to the availability of  sections   of  undeveloped or partly undeveloped land in most  of the county, there has been a constant flow of development and redevelopment  all through out  the post war period.  Thus, many of the streets, plots, buildings, highways, in Rockville have all been redeveloped since I first moved there in 1972. I moved there from a residential district in Northwest Washington D.C.called Chevy Chase. I lived in Chevy Chase in the 1960's.

Back where I used to live in Chevy Chase D.C.things haven't really changed that much, I can still visit the neighborhood I first lived in the 1960's and find many places haven't changed,my old house and  street are  the same, my church, is mostly the same , the old red brick elementary school that I attended was renovated and added too but still similar on the outside, the last time I looked the library was the same, the local grocery stores slightly renovated but similar, and  the road patterns are the same.

But ,The Rockville of 1960's is nearly almost un-findable today,  They blew up the downtown to build the Rockville Mall in the early 1970's and the renovated the mall a couple times before demolishing it. In recent years they restored some of the streets that were taken away to build the mall.

The main library was rebuilt, my elementary school built in the 1960's entirely rebuilt, the main shopping strip on Rockville Pike has been  redeveloped constantly. The main highway through Rockville, was widened to become a 12 lane parking lot.  One of the  main roads into town, Montrose Road was redirected in the 1990's. Another road,  the Wootton Parkway was slowly built as sort of a town beltway. Over time all the little bits of open land around  where I lived became developed.

Granted the area still looks nice because there is considerable parkland, and green space, but it has changed. One of the changes for the better in my immediate neighborhood, is that the trees are all mature, when I moved most of the trees were new.

Every time I go back to Rockville , I feel more and more like Thomas Hardy, or R.E.M or Bon Jovi or somebody....

Rockshire Development 1970, right before my house was built.

A closeup on the same spot after development
Related Posts at Felpin's Pond  : What happened to Roy Rogers Restaurants. What happened to Roy Rogers restaurants?

A history of Rockshire A history of Rockshire

I remember Chevy Chase felpinspond.blogspot.com/2012/09/i-remember.html

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The 2013 Red Sox had the best record in baseball.

 The 2013 Red Sox had the best record in baseball.

Boston Strong is the motto of the 2013 Boston Red Sox
I was surprised to see that this year’s edition of the Red Sox tied for the best record in baseball with a won-loss record of 97-65. The Red Sox have had the best record in baseball in only one other year (2007) since 1946.  So that is something to be celebrated. 

 Yet, I must admit I am bored by the Red Sox, I used to be big fan, but over the past few years I would just say I am fan.  The team just doesn’t hold my interest.  I became a Red Sox fan during the 1970's  when the Red Sox had great teams and a lot of bad luck.  Prior to 2004, the Red Sox had a number of legendary teams that found a way  to lose big at the last minute (1946, 1948, 1972, 1974, 1978, 1986, and 2003 just  to name a few). The Red Sox broke the string of  bad luck  in a spectacular fashion in 2004 by coming back from a three games to none deficit in a league championship series against the Yankees, and then went on to win the World Series for the first time since 1918.They won the world series again in 2007.

Luck is no longer a factor, now that the curse is over, but that makes the team less interesting.  The team doesn't have really have too many stars with personality-though admittedly baseball stars in general  have less personality then they did in 1970's.  It is considerably more expensive  to see a baseball game .Baseball players make such huge salaries that  it costs a lot more to see a game than it did in the 1970’s and as a result I have been to only one Red Sox game since I moved to New England. I saw the team a lot more when I lived in Maryland.

 Over the past three seasons, The Red Sox have been a Jekyll and Hyde team.  In 2011 they had the 2nd best record in baseball up till a late season collapse, the worst ever in baseball history. They lost 18 of their last 24 games, and fell out of playoff contention on the last day of the season. That  season  was hardly the Greek tragedy of previous Red Sox collapses, because by the end of the season people  were glad that the 2011 Red Sox  were not  playing in the post-season since they had become that embarrassingly bad and unlikable.
The team continued their late seasons woes of 2011, throughout the entire 2012 season, and they ended up in last place in their division with a 69-93 record.  It was their worst season in 46 years.
Surprisingly, the top notch early 2011 team returned to the  playing field  in 2013, and thus they had 28 more wins in 2013 than in 2012. This actually was more of a turnaround than the 20 game win increase  of from 1966 to 1967 when people were amazed by the1967  Impossible Dream team.

I think this Red Sox team lacks the pizzaz of the great Red Sox teams of the past.  They have no pitcher with more than 15 wins, their best pitcher, Clay Buckholz  had only 12 wins.  Clay’s career year was marred by a injury in the middle of the season, but the rest of year he won 12 out of 16 starts (with only one loss) and had an amazing 1.74 Earned Run Average.
Only one of the team's  batters  had good slugger numbers-that was David Ortiz with his 30 home runs and 102 RBI's.  Indeed, other than David Ortiz and Clay Buchholz, none of their regulars  had outstanding years. The Red Sox succeeded this year  because they have a well coached deep team with a lot of talent, solidarity,  and experience.    The post season will tell us whether or not this is a great Red Sox team or simply an overachieving one.

UPDATE:October 30, 2013 The Red Sox defeated the St.Louis Cardinals  in six games to win the 2013 world championship.

2nd UPDATE:October 5, 2014 The Red Sox went back to their losing ways and were last in their division with a 71-91 record in 2014. They became the first team to go from worst to first to worst. 

Also in Felpin's Pond-  A tribute to Nomar Garciaperra http://felpinspond.blogspot.com/2010/03/nomar.html

Monday, August 5, 2013

Eva Cassidy, Dark Eyed Molly, Fairport Convention and Me.

DARK EYED MOLLY crosses the decades...

"Deep and dark are my true love's eyes,
Blacker still is the winter's turning
As the sadness of parting proves."

That  is  Eva Cassidy's take on "Dark Eyed Molly'. The recording is found on her album, American Tune.  "Dark Eyed Molly" is  a reconstructed  folk song first written and recorded in 1976 by Scottish singer/songwriter Archie Fisher, M.B.E.

All right,  so why do  I feature this song?   It's not a well known song-unlike many of the songs that Eva Cassidy sung.  Her performance is quite  good, but there any many better known songs by her.

So, let me elaborate further.   In the late 1980's the British folk/rock group, Fairport Convention became my favorite current group-but it actually took me a little while to warm up to the Simon Nicol version of the group.  In the 1960's, Simon Nicol was originally the group's non singing rhythm  guitarist-and the the group originally was fronted by  folk legends Sandy Denny (a intense  singer very much like Eva Cassidy), and Richard Thompson.  The lineup for the group changed many times, the group's first 9 albums boasted eight different lineups- that is part of the group's charm-but truth be told , that  as enjoyable as all of  the group's work is-most of the group's reputation rests  on the  three remarkable albums that the  Sandy Denny/Richard Thompson lineups  released in 1969.  Indeed, Eva Cassidy recorded a Sandy Denny  song from  this period-"Who Knows Where the Times Goes".

Over the years during in the 1970's,  Simon Nicol began singing more, and due to attrition by 1985-he had become  the group's main lead singer,and  somehow, over time he had became a better singer, with a deeper voice.  Under his leadership, the group's repertoire, now became mostly modern folk songs written by others, as opposed to self-penned  songs, or folk songs of the 1800's, that had been  found on most of Fairport albums from 1960's and 1970's.

Anyway so "Dark Eyed Molly" was recorded for Fairport's late 1988 album-Red and Gold

" The compatibility of unrequited love and strong drink has been the theme of many a traditional song. Speaking from experience, it doesn't help in the long run, but think of the songs we'd miss without the experiment. The melody is that of a Basque lullaby and the words are my reconstruction from a line or two of Gaelic poetry." -Archie Fisher

Archie Fisher wrote about this about  "Dark Eyed Molly -which is a song about how unrequited love often makes you want to sit in a bar-and get drunk.  It's a powerful emotion- that I  have experienced many times, even though I  never spent any time in a bar.  

I felt that way about some women in 1989-although not very strongly-but she did have dark eyes-so the song seemed appropriate.

Well, apparently two years later,  on April 28, 1991 Eva Cassidy, myself  and  100 or so others saw Fairport Convention perform the song at a concert   at the Birchmere night club in Alexandria, VA .
 Laura Bligh's website says that Eva  got the idea to perform "Dark Eyed Molly", from having seen Fairport Convention play the song  at the Birchmere.  Now it might have been another year that she saw them, but 1991 was the only year they performed that song at the Birchmere. So perhaps , Eva Cassidy was only a few feet away from me that night and I had no idea who she was.  At the time she had not released any  records.  Over the next few years, she recorded or sung a remarkably varied repertoire of songs and  excelled at singing in many genres. Sadly, illness overtook her and in November 2, 1996 Eva died at age 33 of melanoma.  She never became famous in her lifetime, but became so in 2001 after Great Britain took her to heart after hearing her on  Terry Wogan show and on the Top of the Pops.

Eva's  vocals combine purity, power and interpretive ability.  The purity is probably what  awes many listeners when they first her one of her recordings.  Their is no emotional separation between the singer and the song.   She is not  trying to have a hit-she is just singing a song.

What I find unusual about her is that she covered so many well known songs (many of which have only been sung well by their original artists) -and yet most of her versions stand up well to the originals-that is very hard to do. 

I can relate to Eva Cassidy  in another small way. She was born in the same city  I was, a  few weeks after I was, and she left the Washington area the same week I did-she left by passing away, and  I by moving away.   

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Billy Joel- Until the Night and 52nd Street

The original 52nd album cover superimposed on a  picture of the location it was taken...*

"Until the Night" is from Billy Joel's 52nd street album.  52nd Street won the Grammy for the best album of the year for 1978, against the tough competition of the time.  It was one of those albums where I find myself preferring the album tracks to the hits.  I loved the light jazz of "Zanzibar", and "Rosalinda' Eyes", and the percussive insistent piano work of "Stiletto".  But "Until The Night" was my favorite, a wonderful melodrama evoking the Righteous Brothers at their best.

Although I am sometimes uncomfortable with all the copyright infringement that occurs on Youtube, I am happy that you often get to hear some excellent performances that were otherwise unavailable.  Here is a case in point.  This performance  was originally only  available in fan upload, but Billy's label, CBS has now uploaded an official version.

This is a 1982 live performance by Billy Joel and his band of his song "Until the Night".   This performance was left off the commercially available video from that time called Live in Long Island. It's an excellent concert video that has yet to be released in it's entirety on DVD.  At the point that this  was recorded  most  of Billy's classic band is still there, and Billy still has hair.  This video is unusual , in that you get to hear guitarist  Russell Javors sing some lead parts- almost making the song a duet.  Javors  actually provides a perfect complement to Billy Joel's  smoky unnaturally low voice.  The best part of the song is at the end, when Mark Rivera comes out for the dramatic horn solo, that in the original studio version was performed by Richie Cannata.

* The cover image shown above comes from Bob Egan's fascinating website-Pop SpotsNYC

Friday, February 22, 2013

The great big book of horrible things : the definitive chronicle of history's 100 worst atrocities / Matthew White

The great big book of horrible things : the definitive chronicle of history's 100 worst atrocities / Matthew White

An excellent straight forward historical read.
You will learn a lot of things you didn't know, which is  one of my  criteria for a good non--fiction book....  

The book ranks the events of history in terms, of the number of people who died. 

Here is description from Amazon.com:

A compulsively readable and utterly original account of world history—from an atrocitologist’s point of view.
Evangelists of human progress meet their opposite in Matthew White's epic examination of history's one hundred most violent events, or, in White's piquant phrasing, "the numbers that people want to argue about." Reaching back to 480 BCE's second Persian War, White moves chronologically through history to this century's war in the Congo and devotes chapters to each event, where he surrounds hard facts (time and place) and succinct takeaways (who usually gets the blame?) with lively military, social, and political histories. With the eye of a seasoned statistician, White assigns each entry a ranking based on body count, and in doing so he gives voice to the suffering of ordinary people that, inexorably, has defined every historical epoch. By turns droll, insightful, matter-of-fact, and ultimately sympathetic to those who died, The Great Big Book of Horrible Things gives readers a chance to reach their own conclusions while offering a stark reminder of the darkness of the human heart. 20 black-and-white illustrations and 4 maps 

Friday, February 15, 2013

Legend of a Girl Child Linda

This is one of those filler posts - some video I have found interesting...
It's a song I like-oh I have to go pick one-I wasn't sure which one...
Just a minute...

OK this one is about a modern folk song called "Legend of a Girl Child Linda".
It was written by Donovan... Donovan Leitch-the eccentric but successful Scottish singer/songwriter. The song  was recorded for his Sunshine Superman album, and was written about a women named Linda Lawrence, who become his spouse.  

The song was covered in 1967 by Joan Baez, Judy Collins and Mimi Farina... The 1967 (live?) recording was only available on a obscure charity album until it was finally re-released on the second disc of Joan Baez' s 1993 box set called Rare, Live and Classic..

  I don't why the track wasn't better known , though back in the sixties and the seventies record companies were reluctant to let their artists work with other successful artists. Especially if they were on a different label.. While most people should know who Joan and Judy are, many don't remember Mimi Farina.  Mimi was Joan's sister. She worked in a duo with Richard Farina and also did solo work, she died in 2001. This song features Mimi on the main lead vocal, but Joan and Judy sing lead parts as well. I love the song-the weird lyrics, the harmonies, the shared  lead vocals.
The video shows a picture of three of them (Mimi in the middle)  but sadly doesn't feature a live performance of the song...

More about Linda Lawrence, the subject of the song...
Born Late:Legend of a Girl Child Linda

On writing....

Sometimes your  just not sure where you want to go!

So here's a new post...On the process of writing...They say that the one way to create traffic for your blog to create lots of posts. That may explain why some bloggers post too much, and create lots of filler posts. Other bloggers are actually good at creating interesting material on a regular basis, and I suppose those are the bloggers that are actually commercially successful.

I just like to write, I have a list of ideas to write about-that sits unpublished on this site-eventually I will probably get to some of the ideas on the list.  The  things on the list are things  that I want to write about, or things I have some knowledge of. I usually find, that  I don't have the patience to write an article and get it to communicate exactly what I want to  communicate and when I go back to read such articles I am not quite happy.   The first book I wrote was a genealogy book, it took over ten years to finish it, simply because I envisioned it being a certain way, and until I could it get there I wasn't going to be happy.

A have long planned a ABBA discography book based on my ABBA website-but I have never finished it-because I am not sure it would come out the way I want it too..But it will come out eventually, as well at least one of my novels..

Well anyway, so there's a new post ...  Here's a picture or two....

My house from above...
A doodle by Stevie!