Thursday, November 18, 2021

THROWBACK THURSDAY: Hey Annie, It's Hank Ballard's Birthday!


On this day in 1927, a baby named John Henry Kendricks was born in Detroit. He grew up to become an R&B belter named Hank Ballard, who in the early 1950s made some good old fashioned suggestive, scandalous rock 'n' roll, getting most of his well-known tunes banned on radio stations all across the land of the free.

As his page on the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame website says, "His success is a perfect representation of rock and roll appeal—it behaves so bad but it sounds so good."

Happy birthday, Hank.

Ballard died in 2003. But I had the pleasure of interviewing him by phone before a Santa Fe concert in April 1989 and then meeting him backstage before the show at the old Sweeney Convention Center. (I also got to meet Ballard's wife and manager Theresa McNeil, who was killed just a few months later in a hit-and-run crash.)

In that phone interview, Ballard talked to me about the state of music back when he recorded "Work With Me Annie."

"We was still in the Victorian Age," he said with a knowing laugh. "Man, as young as we were, we didn't think we wereb being insulting to anyone. We were just having fun."

But, as I noted in my story, Ballard wasn't claiming complete innocence. "The kids like them risque songs. They still do. ... It was a wonder that we didn't get arrested."

Ballard was born in Detroit, but, as he told me, his family moved to Alabama when he was very young, where he grew up singing in his church choir.

But another huge influence on his music, he told me, was cowboy music. "Gene Autry was my first idol," he said. "I also liked The Sons of the Pioneers. Remember `Cool Water'? Man, I still love it."

Ballard still is best known for this song, which, he told me,  was about an old girlfriend from Louisville, Kentucky. "She's a school teacher in Chicago," he told me in 1989. "She's been doing that for about 25 years. We played a gig over there and she happened to be present. I introduced her as the real Annie and people lined up to get her autograph."

Work with me here:

I guess Annie had to take maternity leave. (Though Ballard insisted that his Kentucky sweetheart did not have his baby.) 

In that 1989 interview, he told me that this next song was a rush job, recorded "at some woman's house in Washington, D.C. during a break in a gig." This version of "Annie Had a Baby" is from the wonderful old show Night Music, from around the same time I saw Ballard at Sweeney Center.

And the third part of Ballard's Annie cycle was an ode to Annie's Aunt Fannie.

"Annie" inspired a lot of 1950s singers, including Etta James, who cleaned up "Work With Me Annie" into a tune called "The Wallflower, which had the refrain, "Dance With Me Henry." Also Buddy Holly expanded on the character of Annie and put her to work on the "Midnight Shift":

And years after the Annie songs, Ballard wrote a little tune about a little dance. His version wasn't the hit one however. That distinction goes to a guy named Ernest Evans who Dick Clark reinvented as Chubby Checker:

And finally, a Ballard tribute from Ronny Elliott. As Ronny said, "I never liked Chubby Checker ..."



Sunday, November 14, 2021

TERRELL'S SOUND WORLD PLAYLIST




Sunday, November 14, 2021
KSFR, Santa Fe, NM
Webcasting!
10 p.m. to midnight Sundays Mountain Time
Host: Steve Terrell 101.1 FM
Email me during the show! terrell(at)ksfr.org

Here's my playlist :

OPENING THEME: Let It Out (Let it All Hang Out) by The Hombres
Hot Smoke and Sassafras by Bubble Puppy
Where's My Pebble by NRBQ
A Question of Temperature by Balloon Farm
Whisperer by Ty Segall
Catfight by The Barbarellatones 
Tip My Canoe by Dengue Fever
Treat Her Right by Los Straitjackets with Mark Lindsay
Born With a Tail by Jesse Dayton
My Way by Sid Vicious

I Got Loaded by The Cadets
Let's Talk About Girls by The Chocolate Watchband
Over the Cliff by Old 97s
Ain't That Just Like Me by The Searchers
Stranger to Me by The Monsters
Jungle Fever by Charlie Feathers
Tapioca Tundra by The Monkees
Hoodoo Lady by Memphis Minnie

Negativland  Mini-Set

Negativeland at Meow Wolf, Santa Fe
Nov. 12, 2021


Don't Don't Get Freaked Out 

No Brain 

This is Not Normal

Create the Visitor




Feel the Pain by Dinosaur Jr.
We're Laughing by Psychedelic Aliens
I Love You So by The Chantels
Hucklebuck by The Riptones

In the Rut by Alto Street
Man Downstairs by Junior Wells
Party While You Still Can by Shinyribs
You're Just in Love by Louis Prima
Bye and Bye by Corey Harris
Time by Lindsey Buckingham
Love Letters by Ketty Lester
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

WACKY WEDNESDAY: Happy Birthday Carl Stalling!


On this day 130 years ago, a child of German immigrants was born in Lexington, Missouri. Carl Stalling would grow up to become undoubtedly the greatest creator of cartoon music in the history of film.

Stalling,  Allmusic says, was:

Stalling at work
...  the visionary behind the kaleidoscopic music beating at the heart of the classic cartoons produced under the aegis of Warner Bros. Studios during the middle of the 20th century. Frenzied and impassioned, his work broke new ground by following the visual trajectory of the on-screen action instead of the accepted rules of composition; the result -- a technique not anchored in conventional senses of time, rhythm, or thematic development -- was unprecedented in its extremism, as melody, style, and form crashed together in a glorious pile-up of sound and image. A maverick whose reach extended from pop to jazz to classical and beyond, Stalling's revolutionary cut-and-paste compositions remain a clear forerunner of the experimental music created in his wake -- in fact, it could easily be argued that he succeeded in introducing entire generations of young cartoon fanatics to the music of the avant-garde.

... Working with Warner's 50-piece orchestra under the direction of conductor Milt Franklyn, Stalling scored each cartoon in about three hours at a staggering rate of at least one a week, absorbing the influences of current pop hits, classical symphonies, and the like, and then quoting whatever seemed to fit ...

And, according to The Stephen W. Terrell (Music Web Log) "It's hard to imagine the music of Spike Jones or Frank Zappa without Carl Stalling." (Steve Terrell 2021)

Stalling learned to play piano at the age of six. By the time he was 12, he started a career as a pianist at silent movie theaters. (Silent movies depended on live musicians for their "soundtracks." I remember my grandmother telling me that as a girl in Oklahoma City she had a big crush on a clarinet player who worked in the band at her local silent movie joint. She called him "Clarinetti," but that's a whole other topic.)

But before silent movies had the opportunity to die, Stalling's career took an upward turn when, working at the Isis Movie Theater in Kansas City, he met a young filmmaker named Walt Disney who admired his work.

In 1969 interviews, (compiled and published in 1971, a year before Stalling's death) the composer told Michael Barrier, Milton Gray, and Bill Spicer that he met Disney in the early 1920s:

He used to come to the Isis Theater, where I played the organ and had my own orchestra. This was music to accompany silent movies, and I played the whole afternoon and evening. When I wasn't at the organ, I'd be conducting, or playing the piano and conducting. I had a pianist for a number of years, and then I just conducted. Walt was making short commercials at that time, and he'd have us run them for him. We got acquainted, and I had him make several song films. The End of a Perfect Day, showing a sunset…Victor Herbert's A Kiss in the Dark. The words would come on one at a time, with the music. This was before sound, of course.

Like Disney before him, Stalling, in the late 1920s, left Kansas City for Hollywood. He scored a couple of Mickey Mouse shorts for Disney. But probably his most memorable work there was his music for Disney's Silly Symphonies series. The first of these (1929) was called The Skeleton Dance. From that same interview:

The Skeleton Dance goes way back to my kid days. When I was eight or ten years old, I saw an ad in The American Boy magazine of a dancing skeleton, and I got my dad to give me a quarter so I could send for it. It turned out to be a pasteboard cut-out of a loose-jointed skeleton, slung over a six-foot cord under the arm pits. It would "dance" when kids pulled and jerked at each end of the string.

Listen to Stalling's music and shake your bones!

Stalling left full-time employment Disney Studios in 1931 to freelance for Disney and other studios. In 1936 he was hired by Warner Brothers, where he'd work for the next 20-plus years. Here's a medley of some of his early work there: 


Here's one especially appropriate for Wacky Wednesday, "Porky in Wackyland" (from 1938, along with "Dough for the Do Do" from 1949.) 

If you play this one backwards you'll hear a sinister voice saying "Elmer Fudd sucks cocks in Hell!"


Sunday, November 07, 2021

TERRELL'S SOUND WORLD PLAYLIST




Sunday, November 7, 2021
KSFR, Santa Fe, NM
Webcasting!
10 p.m. to midnight Sundays Mountain Time
Host: Steve Terrell 101.1 FM
Email me during the show! terrell(at)ksfr.org

Here's my playlist :

OPENING THEME: Let It Out (Let it All Hang Out) by The Hombres
Justine by The Righteous Brothers
You Can't Hide by Al Anderson
Bulbs of Passion by Dinosaur Jr.
Woman Alone by Nots
Little Girl by John & Jackie
I Believe the Woman by Pocket FishRMen
Agile, Mobile and Hostile by The Goldstars
Bad to the Bone by Sloks
Born in a Barn by Scroat Belly
Don't Let Go by Bloodshot Bill
Rawhide by Legendary Shack Shakers

Mystery Writers by Divine Horsemen
Ice Cream Phoenix by Jefferson Airplane
Crawl by Eilen Jewell
Turncoat by Imperial Wax
Monkey Business by Eddie Hill
The Ray Charles-ton by Chubby Checker
Truckin' My Blues Away by Blind Boy Fuller

Bionic Trunk by Old Time Relijun
The Torture Never Stops by Frank Zappa
On My Way to Houston by Powell St. John & The Aliens
Broke Down by Mal Thursday
Willow Gardens by The Meat Purveyors
No More Hotdogs by Hasil Adkins
Tallahassee Lassie by The Flamin' Groovies

Merseysong by Rico Bell & The Snake Handlers
Not Long Ago by The Mekons
Cry Cry Cry by Sally Timms
Pappa Was a Rollin' Stone by Ray Wiley Hubbard & The Band of Heathens
I Pity the Fool by Bobby "Blue" Bland
The Virginian by Neko Case & Her Boyfriends
Pale Blue Eyes by The Velvet Underground
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis

Like the Terrell's Sound World Facebook page

Thursday, November 04, 2021

THROWBACK THURSDAY: Happy Birthday Tommy Makem

 


On this day 89 years ago, Tommy Makem, who with his pals The Clancy Brothers helped popularize traditional Irish music in the U.S. during the 1950s and '60s, was born in County Armagh in Northern Ireland.

Happy birthday, Bard of Armagh!

Makem, whose parents both were musicians, emigrated to these United States in 1955, first going to Dover, New Hampshire 

According to his obituary in The New York Times:

His uncle took him to New York in 1956 for the St. Patrick’s Day parade, at which he met two of the Clancy brothers, Paddy and Tom. He already knew Liam Clancy, who soon returned from Ireland and joined the group. After one of their first appearances, Pete Seeger, the folk singer, and Alan Lomax, the folklorist and musicologist, encouraged them. Bob Dylan, in the early days of his career, solicited songwriting tips from Mr. Makem.

Tommy, who played banjo, tin whistle and other instruments, began recording with the Clancy boys as a group for Tradition Records. Their first release together was titled The Rising of The Moon: Irish Songs of Rebellion. After an appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1961, the group signed with Columbia Records.

Makem left the Clancys in the late '60s to pursue a solo career, but he always was best known as the Clancy Brother who wasn't really a Clancy Brother. In 1975 he teamed up with his old bandmate Liam Clancy to form a duo that lasted 13 years.

He died in 2007 at the age of 74.

So let's get on with the music.

Here's Tommy with the Clancys on Ed Sullivan in 1961:


Here Tommy & The Clancys perform "We Want No Irish Here" at a 1963 White House event for President John F. Kennedy:


Here's Tommy & The Clancy Brothers in 1965 on the very first episode of Pete Seeger's  television show Rainbow Quest on WNJU-TV (Channel 47), a New York City-based UHF station . Tommy sang lead on "Butcher Boy":


Finally, here's Tommy in his later years singing "Four Green Fields."




THROWBACK THURSDAY: Hey Annie, It's Hank Ballard's Birthday!

On this day in 1927, a baby named John Henry Kendricks was born in Detroit. He grew up to become an R&B belter named Hank Bal...