(Roughly) Daily

Posts Tagged ‘Elvis

“Collecting is my passion”*…

 

https://i2.wp.com/farm9.staticflickr.com/8482/8239430619_3bf409954f_z.jpg

Girls on Donkeys #0117

The collector: Lisa Wood, artist and jewellery designer, San Francisco.

The collection: Photo postcards of girls on donkeys.

The story behind the collection…

This collection started about 5 years ago when I came across my first photo postcard of a young girl on a donkey taken around 1910. She was clothed in a beautiful dress, a big bow in her hair and shiny black boots that buttoned up the side. I loved the juxtaposition of the girl dressed in her Sunday best on a seemingly stinky old donkey…

One of the many labors of love on display at Obsessionistas, a showcase for unique and evocative collections.

We believe that in a world of homogeneous ‘me too’ lifestyles, products and brands, individuality can at least in part be expressed through our particular obsessions and what we seek out, keep and collect.

More on Ms. Wood’s collection here.

* Ursula Andress

###

As we dust our shelves, we might recall that it was on this date in 1956 that serendipity yielded one of the coolest collectibles ever:  rockabilly legend Carl “Blue Suede Shoes” Perkins was recording at Sam Phillips’ Sun Records in Memphis; Perkin’s buddy Johnny Cash, a Sun artist and a country star by virtue of his recent hits “I Walk The Line” and “Folsom Prison Blues,” was hanging out in the booth; and soon-to-be-famous Jerry Lee Lewis was playing piano (for a $15 dollar session fee– “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” was set for release a few weeks later).

A couple of years earlier, Phillips had launched Elvis Presley with “It’s Alright Mama”; but in 1955, as Elvis’ career exploded, Phillips had sold his contract to RCA, and Elvis moved on.  But The King was back in Memphis that fateful day; he stopped by Sun to say hello… and an impromptu jam ensued.  Phillips had the presence of mind to order his engineer, Jack Clement, to roll tape– a tape that was promptly shelved, forgotten, and unheard for 20 years.  The recordings of what was arguably the first “supergroup” were found in 1976 and finally released in 1981… since when, they’ve been treasured by fans– a new crop of which has emerged with the success of the Broadway musical Million Dollar Quartet.

https://i1.wp.com/farm9.staticflickr.com/8200/8239430651_733906291d_o.jpg source

Written by LW

December 4, 2012 at 1:01 am

So You Want To Be a Rock and Roll Star…

Hooktheory, a system for learning to write music, analyzed 1,300 popular songs for how chords were used.

First we’ll look at the relative popularity of different chords based on the frequency that they appear in the chord progressions of popular music. Then we’ll begin to look at the relationship that different chords have with one another. For example, if a chord is found in a song, what can we say about the probability for what the next chord will be that comes after it?…

It will surprise no one who has done time playing rhythm in a band that the most common chords used overall were G, F, and C.

[TotH to Flowing Data]

***

As we reach for the Rickenbacker, we might recall that it was on this date in 1968 that Elvis Presley took the stage for the first time in over seven years to record the NBC television special Elvis, remembered now as “the ‘68 Comeback Special.”  The King’s informal jam session, recorded that night in front of a small audience, was the inspiration for the “Unplugged” concept, later popularized by MTV.

(The chords that ran through the repertoire fit Hooktheory’s pattern precisely; c.f., “Can’t Help Falling in Love With You.”)

Elvis in his ’68 Comeback Special

source

Written by LW

June 27, 2012 at 1:01 am

The man who made the clothes that make the man…

 Nudie Cohn, perched on one of his 18 custom cars (source)

Nuta Kotlyarenko immigrated to America from Kiev at age 11, and bought into the American Dream big time.  After kicking around the country as a shoeshine boy and a boxer (and indeed, he claimed, as a companion of Pretty Boy Floyd), Kotlyarenko– by then, “Cohn”– and his wife opened a New York lingerie store, Nudies for the Ladies, specializing in custom-made undergarments for showgirls.

In 1947, after relocating to Los Angeles– and taking “Nudie” as his given name– Cohn persuaded a young, struggling country singer named Tex Williams to buy him a sewing machine with the proceeds of an auctioned horse; in exchange, Cohn made clothing for Williams.  The creations were so popular that Nudie opened a North Hollywood store to feature his chain-stitched and rhinestone-studded creations.

Over the years, Nudie gave dozens of performers their signature looks, from Elvis’ $10,000 gold lame suit to the costumes of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans.  But his specialty was country (and country rock) singers: e.g., Porter Wagoner (a peach-colored suit featuring rhinestones, a covered wagon on the back, and wagon wheels on the legs), Hank Williams (a white cowboy suit with musical notations on the sleeves), and Gram Parsons (the suit he wears on the cover of the Flying Burrito Brothers album The Gilded Palace of Sin, featuring pills, poppies, marijuana leaves, naked women, and a huge cross).  John Lennon was a customer, as were John Wayne, Gene Autry, George Jones, Cher, Ronald Reagan, Elton John, Robert Mitchum, Pat Buttram, Tony Curtis, Michael Landon, Glenn Campbell, Hank Snow, and numerous musical groups including “that little band from Texas,” ZZ Top.

Nudie with The King in “the Suit” (source)

Nudie died in 1984; the store (which remained open under the management of his daughter) closed in 1994.  But his work remained prized–  Porter Waggoner reckoned, just before he died in 2007, that he had 52 Nudie Suits, costing between $11,000 and $18,000 each (and worth by then much, much more).

And Nudie’s legacy remains strong.  His glittering garments were a bright stab at the conformity of their times… and set the precedent (if they didn’t in fact lay the foundation) for the Culture of Bling that has erupted out of Rap and Hip Hop into life-at-large.

For more wonderful photos of Nudie, his creations, and his cars visit Nudie (“the official site”) and check out the wonderful pictorial essay at The Selvedge Yard.

As we smile at the irony of a clothier named “Nudie,” we might wish a tuneful Happy Birthday to James Henry Neel Reed, better known simply as Henry Reed; he was born on this date 1884, in the Appalachian Mountains of Monroe County, West Virginia.  Reed was a master fiddler, banjoist, and harmonica player whose repertoire consisted of hundreds of tunes, performed in several different styles.  But beyond his importance as a performer, he became, in effect, the Ur Source for academic research into the history of U.S. fiddle music.  (Learn more about Reed, and hear him play, at the Library of Congress’ Henry Reed Collection.)

Henry Reed (in street clothes), 1967 (source)

Pencil it in…

source

“I’m known as the pencil guy,” laughed Dalton Ghetti, 49. “I don’t mind that at all.”

The Bridgeport artist creates impossibly detailed miniature sculptures on the tip of a pencil.

He shuns a magnifying glass and uses simple tools like razor blades and needles to create delicate little figures – from a tiny, jagged handsaw to a minibust of Elvis in shades…

Readers can find the full, photo-laced story in The NY Daily News (and more in The [U.K.] Daily Mail); and readers in the Northeast can see the Brazilian-born carver’s work at the New Britain Museum of American Art, as part of its “Meticulous Masterpieces” exhibit, through this Sunday.

(Many thanks to reader PL.)

source

As we ponder altogether new meanings for “sharpen my pencil,” we might recall that it was on this date in 1940, at the New York World’s Fair, that the world’ first Parachute Wedding was conducted.  Arno Rudolphi and Ann Hayward, were married on the Parachute Jump, a 26-story high ride created for the World’s Fair (though now working on Coney Island). The entire wedding party– minister, bride, groom, best man, maid of honor & four musicians– was suspended aloft until the newlyweds completed their vows.

The Parachute Jump in operation at the World’s Fair

So you wanna be a rock and roll star…

Q: How do you get a drummer off of your front porch?

A: Pay for the pizza.

In a recent interview, Mick Jagger (who studied, one might remember, at the London School of Economics) observed that the financial lot of a recording artist has been pretty dodgy since the beginning of the 20th century.  As the BBC reports:

“When the Stones started out they didn’t make any money out of records because record companies didn’t pay you,” he said. “Nobody got paid. I always wonder if Frank Sinatra got paid.

“Your royalty was so low. If you sold a million records you got a million pennies. It was all very nice, but not what you imagined you were going to get.”

However things changed as musicians became more adept at controlling their creations.

This came at about the time the Stones hit what many see as their peak, which included the 1972 release of the critically acclaimed Exile on Main Street.

Later the boom in music sales through the development of the compact disc bolstered the earnings of those on lucrative royalty deals.

“There was a small period from 1970 to 1997 where people did get paid and they got paid very handsomely,” Sir Mick said.  “They did make money but now that period’s done. If you look at the history of recorded music from, say, 1900 to now, there was that period where artists did very well but the rest of the time they didn’t.”

So how does a musician fare these days?  According to a recap in The Root…  well, You Can’t Always Get What You Want:

Read the whole sad story at The Root.

As we reconsider taking out a loan to pay for that additional floor tom, we might recall that it was on this date in 1954 that Sun Records released the first single by Elvis Presley, “That’s All Right (Mama)”/”Blue Moon of Kentucky.”

The tracks were covers that clued early listeners to the influences that Presley would marry with such power as he rose to royalty: “That’s All Right” is a blues song by Arthur “Big Boy” Cruddup, while “Blue Moon of Kentucky” is a bluegrass ballad by Bill Monroe.

But that stardom was still in the distance; while Presley’s renditions became instant hits in Memphis, hometown of both Elvis and Sun, the 45 received mixed reviews in the rest of what would become Presley’s kingdom.

source

Evidence of the epistolary kind…

Letters of Note is an array of “correspondence deserving of a wider audience.”  Updated every weekday, it showcases letters, postcards, faxes, and telegrams of particular interest (and/or poignancy).  The collection contains notes from Mark Twain (complaining about the telephone), Elvis (offering his services as a “Federal Agent at Large” to Richard Nixon) , and Winston Churchill (praising his wife); and notes to Sid Vicious (offering redemption after Nancy Spungeon’s death), FDR (from the Commissioner of Baseball, asking if America’s Pastime should continue after the outbreak of WWII), and Hauptmann’s ransom note to Charles and Anne Morrow Lindbergh.  By way of example, this letter from Charles Darwin:

11th January, 1844: Charles Darwin, in a letter to renowned botanist and great friend Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker, begins to reveal the idea of Natural Selection (or “the simple way”). He says of the revelation, “It is like confessing a murder.” His theory would not become common knowledge for another 15 years with the publication of On the Origin of Species.

Transcript

Down. Bromley Kent

Thursday

My dear Sir

I must write to thank you for your last letter; I to tell you how much all your views and facts interest me. I must be allowed to put my own interpretation on what you say of “not being a good arranger of extended views”  which is, that you do not indulge in the loose speculations so easily started by every smatterer & wandering collector. I look at a strong tendency to generalize as an entire evil.

What limit shall you take on the Patagonian side – has d’Orbigny published, I believe he made a large collection at the R. Negro, where Patagonia retains its usual forlorn appearance; at Bahia Blanca & northward the features of Patagonia insensibly blend into the savannahs of La Plata. The Botany of S. Patagonia (& I collected every plant in flower at the season when there) would be worth comparison with the N. Patagonian collection by d’Orbigny. I do not know anything about King’s plants, but his birds were so inaccurately habitated, that I have seen specimen from Brazil, Tierra del & the Cape de Verde Isd all said to come from the St. Magellan. What you say of Mr Brown is humiliating; I had suspected it, but cd not allow myself to believe in such heresy. FitzRoy gave him a rap in his Preface, & made me very indignant, but it seems a much harder one wd not have been wasted. My crptogamic collection was sent to Berkeley; it was not large; I do not believe he has yet published an account, but he wrote to me some year ago that he had described & mislaid all his descriptions. Wd it not be well for you to put yourself in communication with him; as otherwise some things will perhaps be twice laboured over. My best (though poor) collection of the Crptogam. was from the Chonos Islands.

Would you kindly observe one little fact for me, whether any species of plant, peculiar to any isld, as Galapagos, St. Helena or New Zealand, where there are no large quadrupeds, have hooked seeds, such hooks as if observed here would be thought with justness to be adapted to catch into wool of animals.

Would you further oblige me some time by informing me (though I forget this will certainly appear in your Antarctic Flora) whether in isld like St. Helena, Galapagos, & New Zealand, the number of families & genera are large compared with the number of species, as happens in coral-isld, & as I believe? in the extreme Arctic land. Certainly this is case with Marine shells in extreme Arctic seas. Do you suppose the fewness of species in proportion to number of large groups in Coral-islets., is owing to the chance of seeds from all orders, getting drifted to such new spots? as I have supposed.

Did you collect sea-shells in Kerguelen land, I shd like to know their character.?

Your interesting letters tempt me to be very unreasonable in asking you questions; but you must not give yourself any trouble about them, for I know how fully & worthily you are employed.

Besides a general interest about the Southern lands, I have been now ever since my return engaged in a very presumptuous work & which I know no one individual who wd not say a very foolish one. I was so struck with distribution of Galapagos organisms &c &c & with the character of the American fossil mammifers, &c &c that I determined to collect blindly every sort of fact, which cd bear any way on what are species. I have read heaps of agricultural & horticultural books, & have never ceased collecting facts – At last gleams of light have come, & I am almost convinced (quite contrary to opinion I started with) that species are not (it is like confessing a murder) immutable. Heaven forfend me from Lamarck nonsense of a “tendency to progression” “adaptations from the slow willing of animals” &c, – but the conclusions I am led to are not widely different from his – though the means of change are wholly so – I think I have found out (here’s presumption!) the simple way by which species become exquisitely adapted to various ends. You will now groan, & think to yourself ‘on what a man have I been wasting my time in writing to.’ – I shd, five years ago, have thought so. I fear you will also groan at the length of this letter—excuse me, I did not begin with malice prepense.

Believe me my dear Sir

Very truly your’s

C. Darwin

As we read other peoples’ mail, we might recall that on this date in 1859, Norton I distributed letters to the newspapers of San Francisco proclaiming himself Emperor of North America…

At the peremptory request and desire of a large majority of the citizens of these United States, I, Joshua Norton, formerly of Algoa Bay, Cape of Good Hope, and now for the last 9 years and 10 months past of S. F., Cal., declare and proclaim myself Emperor of these U. S.; and in virtue of the authority thereby in me vested, do hereby order and direct the representatives of the different States of the Union to assemble in Musical Hall, of this city, on the 1st day of Feb. next, then and there to make such alterations in the existing laws of the Union as may ameliorate the evils under which the country is laboring, and thereby cause confidence to exist, both at home and abroad, in our stability and integrity.

– NORTON I, Emperor of the United States.

source: Wikimedia

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

And now, the good news…

Eat Less, Live Longer…

The chart above (courtesy of the OECD, via Swivel) plots relative levels of unemployment against life span…  and suggests that there may be a silver lining in the dark cloud of recession: there’s evidence that life expectancy increases during times of high unemployment.

Specifically, this data shows the relationship between unemployment and life expectancy for the USA between 1960 and 2006. The following series are shown:

* LIGHTER PURPLE: residual life expectancy – the difference between the actual and expected life expectancy, in lay-terms, how much longer people lived than they were expected to
* DARKER PURPLE: unemployment % – the unemployment rate for the year

For another dose of encouragement, see this Freakonomics post… and relaaaaax…

As we denominate our blessings in something other than dollars, we might recall that on this date in 1956, Elvis Presley sang “Don’t Be Cruel” in the first of his three appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]
%d bloggers like this: