Saturday Odds & Sods: Shapes Of Things

Abstraction by Rolph Scarlett.

I don’t have a helluva lot to add to what I said as the 13th Ward Rambler earlier this week. I’m still keeping my head down during the lockdown. We’ve had a few front porch visitors, which breaks the monotony and allows Paul Drake to make goo-goo eyes at company and get his nose prints all over the lower glass panes of our front door.

This week’s theme song was written by Paul Samwell-Smith, Keith Relf, and Jim McCarty in 1966 and represented a  sonic breakthrough for The Yardbirds. The tune’s Wikipedia entry is absurdly detailed and argues that Jeff Beck should have received a songwriting credit as well. It’s okay: Beck assumed de facto ownership of the song after recording it with The Jeff Beck Group on 1968’s Truth album.

We have three versions of Shapes Of Things for your listening pleasure: the Yardbirds original, the Jeff Beck Group, and David Bowie from Pin-Ups. They’re all shapely and thingy:

Now that we’ve shaped things and contemplated Jeff Beck’s guitar virtuosity, let’s jump to the break.

We’re not finished contemplating Jeff Beck’s virtuosity, here’s a number from his jazz-fusion period:

That tune was written by Stevie Wonder and he played clavinet on it as well. Since I name dropped Stevie, here’s a song in which *he* name drops:

We finally begin our second act in earnest with a look at the sporting news but not the venerable publication of that name.

State Of Play 2020: If I were a betting man, I’d bet against the major team sports resuming or starting play this year. It strikes me as unwise for the NBA and NFL to play because of the bodily contact between players. They’ve floated plans as have MLB but the notion of games in a few cities without fans is unappealing to me. There’s a lot of money involved, which is why it *might* happen. But should it?

In the WaPo, Rahm Emmanuel’s much nicer brother, Dr Zeke and Aaron Glickman outline how they think the NFL can safely play this fall. The plan is feasible but strikes me as grim and gladiatorial. Will the players want to live like this? Beats the hell outta me.

Also in the WaPo, veteran sports scribe Rick Reilly takes a satirical look at sports without fans. It’s hard to imagine the Saints playing without their rabid fans screaming like banshees but shit is weird right now so…

Speaking of crowds, here’s a musical interlude that has nothing to do with the NFL:

The crowd will always be with you according to songwriter Anna Ryder. One place that was NOT crowded in 1941 was Sportsman’s Park in St Louis when the Browns played. They tried taking a radical step, but history intervened.

Baseball In The City Of Angels, 1941: Los Angeles has a proud baseball tradition. In 1941, they had two teams in the Pacific Coast League: the Hollywood Stars and the LA Angels. In those days, the PCL was almost a third major league as many western players preferred to stay close to home rather than following in the footsteps of Joe DiMaggio and Ted Williams.

There’s a swell article at MLB.com by Mike Petriello wherein he discusses how the St Louis Browns were on the verge of moving to Los Angeles in 1941. The vote was scheduled for December 8, 1941. I think you know what happened the day before. The move was voted down; even the Browns owner voted nay. So it goes.

Petriello has some fun with the basic facts and plays what-if. It’s entertaining speculation, but I doubt that the team would have kept the name, Browns. Boring. I’m pretty sure they would have been the original MLB Los Angeles Angels.

The Browns didn’t escape St. Louis until 1954 when they became the Baltimore Orioles.

The last word of our second act goes to X:

We begin our third act with a new regular feature.

The Weekly Galbraith: I had a blast stealing from and writing about Ken Galbraith earlier this week at the Bayou Brief. Hence this new feature. Here’s 6’8″ worth of wit and wisdom:

Ken Galbraith died before Senator Aqua Buddha became a national figure. I suspect he would have enjoyed mocking him as much as I do.

Separated At Birth: I felt lazy SAB-wise, so I did a Twitter search and came up with this:

I usually skip insulting pairings, but Senator Aqua Buddha brings out my malicious side.

Saturday GIF Horse: I hate to repeat myself in this segment, but another great comic actor has died, Fred Willard. I first saw Fred as Martin Mull/Barth Gimble’s goofball sidekick, Jerry Hubbard, on Fernwood/America 2-Night. That character set the template for his career: clueless but hilarious.

Here’s a Willardian catch phrase:

Fred Willard always made me laugh, especially in the Christopher Guest mockumentaries. He will be missed.

The Movie List: The movie list has requested the week off. It’s nervous about theatres reopening across the country. And it’s vexed with me for refusing to attend. Hell, I’ve caught the odd summer cold just from sitting in the recirculated air, so no way, Jose. I’m not sure who Jose is but he wants me away from viral risks. The preceding was an elaborate and implausible cover story: the ugly truth is that I feel uninspired list-wise.

Instead of a list, you get another Traffic tune:

Ennui has never been so elegant, people:

That bit of word play made me wonder whether Weather Report had ever gone the video route. It turns out that they did.

Weekly Vintage Music Video: I don’t recall seeing this 1984 clip but the mere fact that Zawinul, Shorter, and company filmed a video tickled me.

That vintage video was swampy and swell. Let’s close things out with some more jazz.

Saturday Classic: I’m on the record as a huge fan of Bill Basie and his band. I’ve never met a Basie collaboration I didn’t like. This is a great collection of blues songs belted out by the great Billy Eckstine. What’s not to like?

That’s it for this week. I selected the last word image/meme this week as a way of illustrating how damn tall Ken Galbraith was. Here he is as Ambassador to India towering over then-President Rajendra Prasad, and then Veep Lyndon Johnson who was 6’4″. Ken was taller than tall. That’s all.

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