Thursday, April 27, 2023

THROWBACK THURSDAY: Happy Birthday, Woodpecker Wizard!

 


On this day, 124 years ago in New Rochelle, N.Y. a first-generation Italian-American boy named Walter Benjamin Lantz was born.


From the Hollywood Walk of Fame website:


Lantz was born in New Rochelle, New York to Italian immigrant parents, Francesco Paolo Lantz and Maria Gervasi. ...  Walter Lantz was always interested in art, completing a mail order drawing class at age twelve. He saw his first animation when he watched Winsor McCay’s cartoon short, Gertie the Dinosaur.


While working as an auto mechanic, Lantz got his first break. A wealthy customer named Fred Kafka liked his drawings on the garage’s bulletin board and financed Lantz’s studies at the Art Students League. Kafka also helped him get a job as a copy boy at the New York American, owned by William Randolph Hearst. Lantz worked at the newspaper and attended art school at night.


By the age of 16, Lantz was working in the animation department under director Gregory La Cava. Lantz then worked at the John R. Bray Studios on the Jerry On The Job series. In 1924, Lantz directed, animated, and even starred in his first cartoon series, Dinky Doodle. He moved to Hollywood, California in 1927, where he worked briefly for director Frank Capra and was a gag writer for Mack Sennett comedies.


Dinky Doodle! I got yer Dinky Doodle right here!

Woody's original, crazier  look.
(I've always liked this one better
.)


Lantz, who died in1994 ar the age of 93.  worked in several studios in the early animation biz for years, creating characters like Oswald the Rabbit and Andy Panda before Woody came knocking.


According to the origin story Lantz always told, it was during his 1941 honeymoon with actress Gracie Stafford at a lakeside cottage near Reno, Nevada that he found the inspiration for his most famous character.


"We kept hearing this knock, knock, knock on the roof," Lantz told The Los Angeles Times in 1992. "And I said to Gracie, 'What the hell is that?' So I went out and looked, and here's this woodpecker drilling holes in the shingles. And we had asbestos shingles, not wood. So, to show you how smart these woodpeckers are, they'd peck a hole in the asbestos shingles and put in an acorn. A worm would develop in the acorn, and a week later the woodpecker would come back, get the acorn and fly away, letting out this noisy scream as he flew away."


A honeymoon with woodpeckers, worms and asbestos. That sounds romantic... 


So, according to the story, Gracie suggested Lantz use an annoying woodpecker for a new cartoon character. So he did. 


But that' probably not what really happened. After all, Lantz got married in 1941 and Woody debuted in November 1940 as a supporting character in an Andy Panda short called "Knock Knock." So, unless they were time travelers ... 


Whatever way it came down, the great Mel Blanc provided Woody's voice for the first few cartoons. But when Mel signed an exclusive deal with Warner Brothers, Gracie took over on vocal duties for Woody Woodpecker. It's her voice that most of us remember.


Because this is a music blog, let's take a look at the song stylings of the beloved woodpecker. There was plenty of music in Woody Woodpecker cartoons


We'll start out with some variations on a song I actually remember from the show:

 


Even woodpeckers love to polka!



Woodpeckers apparently also like opera:



I guess Woody also was a fan of The Trashmen:



But when most people think of Woody Woodpecker music, this song, recorded in 1948 by Kay Kyser (featuring Gloria Wood on lead vocals and Harry Babbitt's insane laugh) undoubtedly is the first thing that comes to mind:




Sunday, April 23, 2023

TERRELL'S SOUND WORLD PLAYLIST




Sunday, April 23, 2023
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
Louie, Louie by Joan Jett & The Blackhearts 
Killer McHann by The Jesus Lizard
He's A Whore by Big Black
Plan B (adopt a lap dancer) by King Automatic
Cuckoo At The World by Thinking Fellers Union Local 282
Revenge by Reach Around Rodeo Clowns
You Got That Thing by Holly Golightly 
My Gal by Jim Kweskin Jug Band
I Like My Baby's Pudding by Wynonie Harris
Happy Unhappy by He Who Cannot Be Named

Ghost of Mae West  by Trailer Bride
Shoppin' For Clothes by The Coasters
Pretty Lord Sundance Part 1 by Lord Sundance
Hank's Checkout Line by Nick Shoulders
Egyptian Maiden by Legendary Stardust Cowboy 
The New Pollution by Beck
The City Sleeps by MC 900 Ft. Jesus 

Celebrating One Year of Prohibition-free New Mexico!



If You're A Viper by Bob Howard & His Boys
All The Jive Is Gone by Andy Kirk & His Twelve Clouds Of Joy 
Don't Step on the Grass by Steppenwolf 
Free Mexican Airforce by Peter Rowan

Full Time Plagiarist by Billy Childish & CTMF
Deep Bosom Woman by Wayne
Ants On The Melon (With Due Regards To Virginia Adair) by The Gourds 



Too Little Too Late by Steve Leon & The Accusations
Stranger In Town by Dave Alvin
Old Time Music Is Here To Stay by Robbie Fulks
Given to Me by Southern Culture On The Skids
The Ballad Of Sally by The Mekons
Hilltop by Julie Christensen  
Tumbling Tumbleweeds by Michael Nesmith
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis



Wednesday, April 19, 2023

WACKY WEDNESDAY: MAE WEST, PUBLIC MENACE

 

A poster for the play that landed Mae West in jail
"Jane Mast" was a pen name for West herself

Today, April 19, 2023, is the 96th anniversary of a New York judge sentencing American icon Mae West to 10 days in jail after she was convicted on charges of "obscenity and behavior designed to corrupt the morals of youth."


Yes, gentle reader, it's always about protecting the children.


According to an article on the PBS website:


West came up in the world of burlesque prior to her arrival in Hollywood. As her career struggled, she took the bold step of writing a play in which she had the starring role of a sex worker. West probably knew that Sex would be controversial at a time when American culture was coming under increasing scrutiny and censorship, even though her play was less about sex and more about the power dynamics between men and women. Despite being panned by critics, the play was a sensation that drew large audiences.


A website called Village Preservation explains:


Her bawdy 1926 play Sex, the story of a Montreal prostitute, filled the house for a year before New York’s deputy police commissioner raided West and her company, charging them with lewdness and the corrupting of youth. The star spent the night in the Jefferson Market Courthouse and the tabloids went crazy, and on April 19th, 1927, was sentenced to ten days in jail.


However, Mae spent only eight days in the slammer. She got two days off for "good behavior," a phrase the star probably found libelous. 


Village Preservation goes on:


The court offered to drop the charges if she would close the show, but West was too savvy an entrepreneur to go quietly. Her instincts told her that in the business of show, crime pays.  She used the opportunity to ride to the prison in a limousine, report from inside prison that she was enjoying dining with the prison warden, and let loose to the tabloid press that she wore silk panties under her prison uniform.  And that was “marketing gold!”


There is contradictory evidence about those silk panties though. According to PBS, West "later said that the only thing that bothered her about [her jail time] was that she had to wear cotton underwear."


A year later, West would get busted for yet another bawdy play, one called The Pleasure Man, which included a scene with (gasp!) drag queens! 


She and the whole cast were accused of "unlawfully, wickedly and scandalously, for lucre and gain, produce, present and exhibit and display the said exhibition, show and entertainment to the sight and view of divers and many people, all to the great offence of public decency."


Well clutch my pearls and call Ron DeSantis!


But the trial, which took place in 1930 ended in a hung jury.


I bet Mae liked that!


But the notoriety of her obscenity trials helped launch West's Hollywood career. Again from Village Preservation:


Due to her newfound notoriety, West, despite being 38 years old at the time, found herself starting a movie career when Paramount Pictures offered her a contract at $5000 a week ($80,000 now). What’s more, they allowed her to re-write her lines in the films...  Within three years she was the second highest paid person in the United States behind only William Randolph Hearst.


Of course, some watchdogs of public morality still took umbrage to West's work. 


According to a 1936 column in the Rochester Journal:


With this record of police raids, indictments, conviction, a fine and term in the Workhouse on Welfare Island for criminal offense, Mae West was approached by the moving picture business as a fit subject to introduce into the wholesome homes of the country and present to the young people of clean moral families.


There's no panic like a moral panic. And again, we must protect the children!


But this is a music blog, so let's have a musical tribute to one of America's sexiest jailbirds and public menaces, Miss Mae West:


This one's from 1933 and called "I Like a Guy What Takes His Time."  She performed it in her classic 1933 movie She Done Him Wrong:




Also from She Done Him Wrong, this one's called "I Wonder Where My Easy Rider's Gone":




Here's "I Found a New Way to Go to Town," from West's 1933 film I'm No Angel




Finally, here's "He's a Bad, Bad Man" from the film Goin' to Town (1935):


Sunday, April 16, 2023

TERRELL'S SOUND WORLD PLAYLIST




Sunday, April 16 , 2023
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
Roam by The Yayhoos
Gypsy by LoveStruck 
Don't Take Your Bad Trip Out on Me by The Electric Mess
Mr. Dynamite by Killer Kin
Sitting On Top Of The World by The Grateful Dead
Love Is All Around by Hüsker Dü 
TV Party by Henry Rollins 
South Street by The Orlons 

Down In The Valley by Solomon Burke
Sometimes by The Residents 
Please Don't Bring Me Down by The Lords
Whiskey In The Jar by Hazeldine
Lonesome Cowboy Burt by Frank Zappa with Jimmy Carl Black
Lonesome Cowboy Bill by The Velvet Underground 
Broadway Song by Lou Reed 
Bad Things by L7
Gimme Dat Ding by The Pipkins

Watching the River Flow by Bob Dylan
Watching the River Go By by John Hartford
Let the Old Dog In by Robbie Fulks
Datin' with No Dough by Royal Crown Revue
George Walked with Jesus by The Waco Brothers
Earn Your Heaven by The Yawpers
Can't We Move This by Dinosaur Jr
The Way You Walk by The Courettes

Friend of the Devil by Ministry
Waitin' for My Sweetie Pie by NRBQ
Honky Tonker by Harlan Sanders
The Band Played On by Richard Thompson & Christine Collister
Another Drunken Sailor Song by Chuck E. Weiss
Mysterious Teenage by The Vels
No Easy Way Down by Mark Eitzel
The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Julie Christensen
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis






Thursday, April 13, 2023

THROWBACK THURSDAY: Send it in Care of the Birmingham Jail

 


I bet a lot of folks my age first heard this song on the Andy Griffith show, with Andy on guitar and his girlfriend Peggy (Joanna Moore) serenading Opie. 


Here's what I'm talking about:


I can't confirm the rumor that Deputy Barney Fife started his law enforcement career in the Birmingham jail, where he was fired for brutality. But I find it suspicious that Andy's version omits any mention of that correctional facility. Coincidence????!!!??)


But "Down in the Valley," aka "Birmingham Jail" and several other titles, has roots that go far deeper than Maybury.


According to the website Ballad of America, ace American folklorists John and Alan Lomax considered "Valley" to be a "jailhouse song" because they found it common in prisons. The Lomaxes found that some of the versions of the song referred to a specific jail and a loved one on the outside. ("Write me a letter, send it by mail / Send it in care of the Birmingham jail ...") 


John and Alan also considered the song as part of the British courting song traditions, that still could be found in the Appalachian and Ozark Mountains throughout the nineteenth century.


From Ballad of America:


In the first half of the twentieth century, "Down in the Valley" was printed in folk song collections from Missouri, Kentucky, Texas, North Carolina, and Virginia. More than twenty artists recorded it between 1927 and 1940, spreading its popularity nationwide. Printed and recorded versions exhibit variations in melody, lyrics, and title, which include "Birmingham Jail," "Bird in a Cage," "Twenty-One Years," "Down on the Levee," and "Little Willie's My Darlin'." Inclusion in countless church, camp, and school songbooks, as well as placement in movies and television, has rendered "Down in the Valley" one of the best-known American folk songs.


The first known recording of the song was in 1927 by Tom Darby & Jimmie Tarlton. Its flip side was another classic lovelorn jailbird song, "Columbus Stockade Blues." The song was such a hit that Tarlton, according to BHAM Wiki, was invited to the ceremony to dedicate the new Birmingham jail at 425 6th Avenue South in 1937. Of course, this song isn't the only thing that made this jail famous.


Tarlton reportedly claimed that he'd written "Birmingham Jail" while in the slammer for moonshining. I can't swear that's true, but I do hope it is.


Lead Belly supposedly sang the song for Texas Governor Pat Neff at the Sugarland Penitentiary in 1924. In this version, which he called  "Hear the Wind Blow," he refers to the Birmingham jail, though reportedly in other versions, the sad narrator's residence is in the Shreveport jail.


The Andrews Sisters took "Down to the Valley" to an audience beyond the hillbilly and blues markets.




Johnny Cash made it nice and mournful.




Flatt & Scruggs found bluegrass growing in the valley -- though, like Lead Belly, they called their version "Hear the Wind Blow."




And "Valley" got a little hippiegrass treatment by Jerry Garcia & David Grisman in the early '90s:



Solomon Burke in the early 1960s turned "Valley" into a soul classic. It one of the first 45s I ever bought as a child. (Otis Redding used a similar arrangement.) Here's King Solomon doing a live version at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 2006.



But besides country, blues, bluegrass, pop and soul, "Down in the Valley" also made it to the world of opera, courtesy of Kurt Weil and Arnold Sundgaard. Here's what a layman like myself might call the title song of this 1948 "folk-opera in one act."




For more deep dives into songs, check out The Stephen W. Terrell Web Log Songbook

Sunday, April 09, 2023

TERRELL'S SOUND WORLD PLAYLIST




Sunday, April 9, 2023
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
Hush Money by The Collins Kids 
Keep Movin' by Freddy Cannon & The Gears 
Can't Find My Mind by The Cramps
The Vampire Dog Of Jesus Christ by Gregg Turner Group 
Go Where You Feel the Most Alive by Råttanson
Draggin' The Line by Tommy James & The Shondells
I Smile Through My Tears by Waco Brothers 
Murline by Deano & Jo
Peter Cottontail (Take 4) by The Bubbadinos

A Little While by Angry Johnny & The Killbillies 
The Girl Next Door by T. Tex Edwards & Out On Parole
The Laughing Song by Dan Hicks & The Hot Licks
Cinderella by The Flesh Eaters
Devils River by Divine Horsemen
The Call of the Wreckin' Ball by The Knitters
Johny Hit And Run Pauline by X
Reckless Rider by The Thick Uns 
Trail Of The Lonesome Pine by Laurel & Hardy

Slim Harpo's Heartbeat by Ronny Elliott 
Baby Scratch My Back by Slim Harpo
Damned and Doomed by Killer Kin
I'm A Midnight Mover by Wilson Pickett
Chameleon by Sleeve Cannon
I'm Gonna Dig Up Howlin' Wolf by Mojo Nixon
Hoodoo Party by Tabby Thomas
Pinon Lurker by Gluey Brothers

We Went Away by Dion & The Belmonts
Molly and the Old Man by Robbie Fulks
There Is A War by Leonard Cohen
How He Lost Her by Julie Christensen
Winter Song by Loudon Wainwright III
The Kiss by Judee Sill
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis






Wednesday, April 05, 2023

THE RETURN of WACKY WEDNESDAY !!! (Mash it good!!!!)


Yes, Wacky Wednesday is back. I took a near year-long break from doing this little blog feature -- as well as my Throwback Thursday feature -- nearly a year ago. Burned out, I guess.

I'd like to say that I'm resuming this due to popular demand. truth is, hardly anyone noticed it was gone. (Same is true for The Big Enchilada podcast, which I stopped doing nearly two years ago.)

So to Hell with you guys! I'm doing this again just for my own amusement whether anyone cares or not.  

Now let's get to some crazed mash-ups.

The Maharishi of the mash-ups, Bill McClintock  did this one to show the country side of Van Halen:


Have you ever wondered how the Wu-Tang Clan would sound with  B.B. King? 


If you listen to this Pink Floyd/Bee Gees mash-up while watching The Wizard of Oz, YOU WILL DIE!


My only complaint about this next one, featuring Laurel and Hardy dancing to a mash-up of the Red Hot Chile Peppers and Aerosmith is that they should worked in an actual Laurel & Hardy song. I mean, come on, "Shine on Harvest Moon" or "Trail of the Lonesome Pine" would have sounded great here.


Mash-a-palooza! Find more fabulous mashups HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE

Sunday, April 02, 2023

TERRELL'S SOUND WORLD PLAYLIST




Sunday, April 2, 2023
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
Other Way Around by The Heathens
Are We Crazy? by Xposed 4Heads
My Love by Ole Devil & The Spirit Chasers 
Gotta Get Fired by The Sloths
Rave On by Sonny West 
Bottle Up And Go by The Mile Ends
The Phone Conversation by Chuck E. Weiss 
Naked Cousin by PJ Harvey

Backstage at the Boneyard by Waco Brothers 
Hold Watcha Got by Deano & Jo
Ain't It Hard by Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings
Don't Crowd Me by Keith Kessler
Hulkster's In The House by Hulk Hogan & The Wrestling Boot Band
Talking Main Event Magazine Blues by Mike Edison
Polka De Nalgas by The Imperial Rooster 
Gaslit by Churchwood

Six Minutes Of Satisfaction by The Residents
Tell Tale Tit by The Roulettes
7&7 Is by The Standells
Don't Blow Your Mind by The Spiders
Driftin' Blues  by B.B. King & Bobby "Blue" Bland 
Stuck in Thee Garage by The Dirtbombs
Crucifixion of Donny by Coco Steel & Love Bomb
Just Dropped In by Jerry Lee Lewis 

Wind Chimes by Brian Wilson
Love Letters In The Sand by Mac Wiseman
The Face Of A Fighter by Willie Nelson
Goldbridge Road by Julie Christensen
I'll Take Care Of You by Gil Scott-Heron
On The Nickel by Tom Waits 
CLOSING THEME: Over the Rainbow by Jerry Lee Lewis

TERRELL'S SOUND WORLD PLAYLIST

Sunday, February 25, 2024 KSFR, Santa Fe, NM, 101.1 FM  Webcasting! 10 p.m. to midnight Sundays Mountain Time Host: Steve Terrell E...