November 26, 2013
August 16, 2013
June 22, 2013
I loved the Supremes. And Diana Ross in particular. Her voice seemed weak, wispy, very fragile. And their songs were always about heart break. They were always dressed like a Vegas nightclub act. I didn’t like that much. Still there was that voice.
May 4, 2013
She was for a while the darling of American television. I loved her. She looked just like our neighbour. She was good natured, bubbly, down to earth, and funny. Very few people knew that she had suffered from polio. That she was a bit lame. She took a much younger man (Burt Reynolds) as a lover.
from my book The Saints of Jazz
check it out.
Dinah Shore (February 29, 1916 – February 24, 1994)
1950s. From shore to shore. Dyed blondes. In suburban homes. Black bodies bobbing up in the swamp. Like apples in a barrel. Big frilly dresses. Puffy sleeves. In the golden days of the Pharaoh. When men drove Chevrolets. Women in church. Happy on their knees.
Every Sunday evening. Black and white laughter. Dinah and her lovers. In alphabetical order. Dinah loved Tarzan. And his jungle. A general named Moose. A singer and his jingles. The Cantabile Choir Of Kingston. A drummer. From the old school. Several actors named Jimmy. A cat. Who wanted to be President. And a red headed kid with buck teeth. And a head too big for his hat.
America had a new home movie. It was called the ‘The Battle of Los Angeles’. UFOs attacked the city of angels. Through the smog. And the alleys. And all their mighty ships were shot down. But no one could find. Where they had crashed. And Dinah kept smiling. Her ankles like a necklace. Throwing a kiss. Across America. To Ed Gein and his buddies down at Biff’s . To the nurse in the E.R. To the waitress on the graveyard shift. And all the little blondes. Watching Dinah. Cracking a joke. Singing a song. America was in love. With being blonde.
March 30, 2013
March 29, 2013
This is such a wonderful version of a Jimi Hendrix tune….
March 29, 2013
One of the worst songs in the 70s. But it is catchy. Especially with pizza.
March 7, 2013
The first time I heard FEVER I must have been 13 or 14. That was one edgy song. I didn’t know if I should be listening to it. I turned around. My parents look bemused. Maybe they didn’t get it. My sister didn’t get it. She kept asking. “What’s she singing about?”
The illustration and poem below are part of a book called Saints of Jazz.
Peggy Lee (May 26, 1920 – January 21, 2002)
Eyes can be beautiful. So gay and young. Peggy’s step-mother had eyes. As black as coal. As hard as iron. The back of her hand. Across Peggy’s cheeks. Don’t think your daddy is going to save you now.
Peggy sang for her meals. In small joints. With fast cooks. And red necks. And the chorus of bacon and burning violins. Peggy joined the dreamers. Dancing into heartache. To the City of Angels. Where children were begging to be born.
300 Dutch ice cream salesmen protested. The shortage of appetite. While their wives organized their socks. And ironed their shirts. And while the salesmen marched on the parliament. Shoes were left at the doorstep. Curtains closed in haste. And Peggy sang about the neighbourhood boys. Who risked their lives. To appease. The appetite of salesmen’s wives.
An airplane crashed into the Empire State Building. The pilot begged the mayor. It was an accident. And 1942. No one doubted that he was telling the truth. Until they found his plans. And sweet Peggy almost died. A fall in a New York hotel. She was tripped. At the top of a set of stairs. By a man with no legs. He leaked a secret. Don’t be in such a rush.
Peggy sang. Quietly. Her voice simmered. Everyone leaned. Forward. The waiters hesitated to wait. No one dared slam a door. In the kitchen. Or in the parking lot. In the hotel rooms. Lovers held their breath. If silence were a dance. Singing was a substitute for love.
January 23, 2013
God it was cold today. Went out to see my mother and the cold stung. Reminded me why I like winter. You’re so preoccupied with getting warm and once warm grateful, that you forget all your other troubles.
January 10, 2013
This poem is from a book of poems from an ebook The Baltimore Catechism.
four riders dressed in white
came into our town late last night.
They had all no good looks
all looked mean
they did things to the darkness
no man has ever seen.
When they left
only their huff marks could be seen in the mud
and the deputy sheriff who was buried with a slug.
Nothing more was revealed
the sheriff’s son said he heard them speak
when he was hiding inside a chest
that the next time they returned
nothing would be left.