I’m not going to be watching “Wicked”, even if you tie me into a chair Alex-from-Clockwork-Orange-style and pry my eyes open.
Why? Because I HATE adaptations that completely run roughshod over the original material.
The Wicked Witch Of The West in the original novel was a villainess.
The WWW in the movie was a villainess.
Apparently, the WWW in the Broadway show was a kind-hearted good person inside who sings uplifting songs, and embraces Dorothy at the climax.
All I can think of is “Springtime For Hitler”.
That being said, I can hardly wait for the Broadway musical version of “Silence of the lambs”, with Hannibal Lecter as a misunderstood chef who ends up singing a duet with Clarice Starling at the slow’s climax and embracing her passionately. Jame Gumb is the comic relief who gets tired of tripping on his ding-dong and tucks it away, with hilarious results.
I’ve got a friend Dave, who’s examining the cost analysis with ROI and has started taking VoC polls for it.
I had hoped to have a full-blown Odds & Sods post this week. The fates have conspired against my plans. We’ll have to make do.
My old computer has been ailing for quite some time. I left it at home during our brief Ida exile and when we returned it was at death’s door. Last Monday, I ordered a new one directly from HP, but they use the dread FedEx as their delivery service. My new computer is sweltering in a trailer in Covington, LA. Oy just oy.
Since I’ve been on a Todd Rundgren/Utopia jag this month, our theme song is one of Todd’s signature tunes. It was written in 1977 for Utopia’s Oops Wrong Planet album. It has remained a mainstay in his setlists ever since.
We have two versions of Love In Action for your listening pleasure.
We’d usually try and stop love in action after the break but there’s no break today.
It can’t be stopped, it’s also the answer:
We begin our second act by skipping it altogether.
Our third act commences with our favorite stolen feature.
Separated At Birth: This time two cartoon villains: Jeff Bezos and Dr. Evil.
Saturday GIF Horse: I had a lot of fun writing The Staplingabout my head injury and the stories it inspired. I’m getting unstapled today,
I mentioned my newfound identification with Boris Karloff. It is not shared by his putative bride played by Elsa Lanchester.
Saturday Classic: One of my favorite anthology albums. Guess who the artist is:
The opening track asks the immortal question: Who’s the crybaby now?
That’s all for this week. The last word goes to Utopia circa 1977.
This week, the cover of a 2005 benefit album that I’d never heard of until recently. I was living it back then. A bunch of prog rockers put together this album: After The Storm: A Benefit Album For The Survivors Of Hurricane Katrina. Thanks, y’all.
The cover is by Michael Bennett:
I couldn’t find the whole album online so here’s a cut from Camel:
Welcome to an atypical edition of the Friday Cocktail Hour. It’s tightly focused on one artist, Todd Rundgren. It’s a sign of the times: Todd and Utopia have been the soundtrack of my Hurricane Ida experience.
I Saw The Light was written by Todd Rundgren in 1971. In twenty minutes. I am not making this up. It first appeared on the Something/Anything? album on which Todd played all the instruments and sang all the vocals. He wasn’t kidding when he later dubbed himself A Wizard, A True Star.
We have two versions of this Todd tune. We begin with the studio original.
The featured image is of Daryl Hall and Todd Rundgren on Live From Daryl’s House. The episode was shot at Todd’s spectacular digs in Hawaii.
I love it when those Philly boys sing together. They sound like brothers.
That’s it for this eventful and tumultuous week. I’d like to propose a toast to everyone in South Louisiana and those who came to help. It’s what Bogie, Betty, and Frank would want. Never argue with them.
Saturday Odds & Sods will return on September, 18.
The summer of our discontent continues with Hurricane Ida in the Gulf of Mexico. Dr. A and I are planning to ride it out. I’m not eager to evacuate with Claire Trevor. She hates riding in the car and she’s a biter. She’s not as sweet as she looks but we love her anyway.
The weather is one reason I’m keeping this week’s entry short and focused. The second act is a tribute to the late, great Stones drummer Charlie Watts. Hence the Ron Wood featured image.
This week’s theme song was written in 1966 by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. It’s as good an example of Charlie’s drumming as I can think of. Bim-bam-boom.
Since this is a tribute to Charlie Watts, I’m skipping the covers of Paint It Black and sticking to the Stones. A solid plan in my estimation. We have three versions: the studio original and live in 1990 and 2006.
I almost forgot this version by Charlie Watts with the Danish Radio Big Band:
Now that we’ve faded away and not faced the facts, let’s jump to the break.
In 1952 Norman Granz of Verve Records convinced Fred Astaire to record some jazz versions of tunes he sang onscreen. The band leader was Oscar Peterson. The featured image shows Astaire at the piano and Oscar with Ray Brown’s bass. I have no idea why.
A Fine Romance was written in 1936 by Jerome Kern and Dorothy Fields for the George Stevens directed Astaire-Rogers movie Swing Time. It was a duet between Fred and Ginger. We’re skipping that and beginning with Fred jazzing it up.
We begin our survey of A Fine Romance with The Astaire Story:
Speaking of Oscar Peterson, he plays on this Ella-Satchmo duet.
Artist/Graphic Designer Saul Bass was best known for his film work with such luminaries as Otto Preminger and Alfred Hitchcok to name a few. I featured his album cover for Anatomy of a Murder in this space 4 years ago.
Here are some more examples of Saul Bass’ album cover work:
Since The Smithereens are one of my favorite bands, I give you Blow Up via Spotify:
There’s an environmental component to my righteous indignation this week. It’s fucking hot even for New Orleans. There’s a high keeping tropical stuff away from us but that puts us in the high Nineties. Oy just oy.
On to more pleasant things.
Ray Davies wrote this week’s theme song in 1965. It was one of the earliest Kinks hits.
We have three versions of Tired of Waiting For You for your listening pleasure: the Kinks original, a 1994 live version, and a brilliant cover by Dwight Yoakam in which he transforms it into something that would fit in on the Friday Cocktail Hour.
I assume that you’re not too tired to hear this swell tune by Dwight and Deanna Carter:
It’s time to escape Hopper’s chair car by jumping to the break.
This feature began life with torch songs, the sadder the better. I’ll continue to post them but given how grim things are this summer, I’m keeping it light today.
You Make Me Feel So Young was written in 1946 by Josef Myrow and Mack Gordon. It was recorded several times before the patron saint of the Friday Cocktail Hour took ownership of the song in 1956. That’s where we begin.
Ella Fitzgerald put her own spin on it 3 years later.
Alt-country singer-songwriter Jason Isbell is one of those artists I’ve been meaning to familiarize myself with for quite some time. What I’ve heard has sort of a Band/Lowell George/Rodney Crowell vibe to it, which is a good thing indeed.
I enjoy following Isbell on Twitter, he’s one of the more intelligent and insightful musicians on social media. Recently, he’s been outspoken in his pro-vaxx and anti-mask warrior views.
Isbell is putting his money where his mouth is by requiring concert attendees to be either vaccinated or tested:
From the conduct of such artists, to the criticism of Isbell’s virus precautions, the pandemic has laid bare one of country music’s longest running divides. Before those ongoing rows, Isbell regularly traded barbs with right-leaning followers who implored him to focus on music and forget politics.
A greater part of country lore occurred backstage at Willie Nelson’s 70th birthday concert in 2003, when a Nashville chart topper argued with elder singer-songwriter Kris Kristofferson about his “lefty shit”.
“There’s more than one kind of country singer, and if everyone outside our community learns we aren’t all big dumb hillbillies then that’ll be a nice side-effect to all this. But I’m not setting out to do that, I just want everyone to be safe,” says Isbell. “A lot of country stars look just like me. And we have a lot of white men in our audiences who feel disadvantaged these days. But if the music had been more inclusive of other stories, we’d have a broader cross section,” he says, before adding that this has compelled him to support female African American country singers like Adia Victoria, who has frequently opened for him.
The music world needs more people like Jason Isbell and fewer people who tell him to shut up and strum.
Up from the basement came one of country music’s brightest stars (who shall remain nameless). At that moment in time, the Star had a monster radio hit about bombing America’s enemies back into the Stone Age.
“Happy birthday,” the Star said to Willie, breezing by us. As he passed Kristofferson in one long, confident stride, out of the corner of his mouth came “None of that lefty shit out there tonight, Kris.”
“What the fuck did you just say to me?” Kris growled, stepping forward.
“Oh, no,” groaned Willie under his breath. “Don’t get Kris all riled up.”
“You heard me,” the Star said, walking away in the darkness.
“Don’t turn your back to me, boy,” Kristofferson shouted, not giving a shit that basically the entire music industry seemed to be flanking him.
The Star turned around: “I don’t want any problems, Kris – I just want you to tone it down.”
“You ever worn your country’s uniform?” Kris asked rhetorically.
“Don’t ‘What?’ me, boy! You heard the question. You just don’t like the answer.” He paused just long enough to get a full chest of air. “I asked, ‘Have you ever served your country?’ The answer is, no, you have not. Have you ever killed another man? Huh? Have you ever taken another man’s life and then cashed the check your country gave you for doing it? No, you have not. So shut the fuck up!” I could feel his body pulsing with anger next to me. “You don’t know what the hell you are talking about!”
“Whatever,” the young Star muttered.
One of the best dressing downs of a chicken hawk I’ve ever heard.
The “lefty shit” story is a good example of what artists like Jason Isbell have to deal with.
Keep up the lefty shit, sir. Never listen to anyone who tells you to shut up and strum.
The last word obviously goes to Jason Isbell as suggested by Val McGinley:
I’m keeping the nautical theme this week. That harbor water looks cool as well as cooling. Anything to beat the August heat in New Orleans. Merci, Monsieur Matisse.
Dr. A is visiting family in Richmond, Virginia. She’s braver than I am and flew. She double masked on the flight and seems to have survived nicely. My goal during her absence is to convince young Claire Trevor to become a lap cat. Last night, she sat on an end table by the couch and nearly jumped in my lap. Close but no cigar. Stay tuned.
I did something last Monday that I never do on First Draft. I complained about restaurant service in a post about the difficulty of living in TFC: This Fucking City. It’s important to me since I come from a restaurant family. I suspect you’ve heard of Greek diners. My folks never ran one, but my extended family is honeycombed with restauranteurs.
In this case, a public complaint resulted in burying the hatchet (cleaver?) with the eatery in question:
A service update. I’ve had a constructive conversation with @toupsmeatery. They agree that the service my party received is unacceptable and not up to their standards. I think they’re sincere and am willing to give them another chance. https://t.co/dLDn2xc92F
This week’s theme song was written in 1958 by Eddie Cochran and his manager Jerry Capeheart. It’s been covered many times but I’m sticking to three versions. We begin with the Cochran original followed by Brian Setzer who played Eddie in the 1987 Richie Valens biopic La Bamba,
As far as I’m concerned, the definitive version of Summertime Blues is by The Who. It’s long been a highlight of their live shows, especially when John Entwistle was still with us.
We’ll continue our search for a cure for the summertime blues after the jump.
Nils Lofgren is best known as a sideman to Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen. But he’s had a lively career as a solo artist. What’s not to love about a cover inspired by sideshow banners? Not a damn thing.
Lofgren fans call this eponymous 1975 record The Fat Man Album. He looks nothing like Jackie Gleason, William Conrad or Sydney Greenstreet. Neither does Nils.