Hey folks, if you haven't checked out the PopKrazy bloggers, you're really missing out. Where else are you gonna find a group like this, huh? Nowhere, that's where!
Just look at our stellar line-up! (click on their photos to go straight to their blogs)
EDDIE DEAN: Now here's a guy who knows how to write, and how! His 2008 book Pure Country: The Leon Kagarise Archives 1961-1971 shows the rare photo collection of country music fan Leon Kagarise, brilliantly elucidated by Eddie's text. This fall Eddie was on book tour with Ralph Stanley for his bio Man of Constant Sorrow: My Life and Times. Dr Ralph not being a man of constant conversation, the process honed Eddie's interviewing and writing skills to a lasar-like precision. The result: Dr Ralph's old-timey mountain voice leaps off the page!
OK, January's here and it's time to cull your overstuffed shelves. (Or you can just watch Hoarders and reassure yourself you're not that bad--you haven't resorted to covering the windows with tin foil yet.)
Now that hoarding is a recognized mental disorder, people like to make a clear distinction between hoarders and collectors. Collectors are proud of their collections, and eager to show them off. No matter how big their collections are, they are finite--defined by their rarity and relative worth.
If you believe that one, then you're not a real collector, or you're in denial about the 50 million records, cds, books, and moldy old ephemera crammed into your living space.
Do you think Sid and Frank are up there in pop music heaven on a fluffy white cloud singing My Way?
Sid's spastic blown-larnyx performance of Frank's signature song is a fine homage to Sinatra's pugnacious bombast, minus his suave phrasing, dynamics, pitch, arrangements, and stage banter.
Just watch em both! First, Sid singing My Way:
Now, Francis A sings his anthem:
29 years later and it's still news.
Next year is Lennon's 70th birthday. Well, we know what his old compatriots are up to these days--Mick is still preening on stage like a scrawny banty rooster, and Dylan's doing a demented Santa. (Paul and Ringo are off limits today.)
Pete Hamill, in his long article published in New York Magazine just weeks after Lennon's death, writes that Lennon imagined himself at 60 writing children's books. (Of course, he'd already written several books by the time he was 30.)
And, of course, if he'd lived on and was still walking the streets of New York today, there would be some snarking at his efforts. We are deprived of that privilege.
Every Thanksgiving I make my Sweet Potato Chiffon Pie.
I'm a big fan of the standard pumpkin pie, the one you make with the 15 ounce can of Libby's pumpkin and evaporated milk--it's the Mamie Eisenhower of pies--dependable, straightforward, not too rich or cloying. But after all the mashed potates and bread stuffing and gravy, I need some glamour. I like this recipe because like Ava (check out her museum) the daughter of a poor tobacco farmer from Grabtown North Carolina, it starts with the humble sweet potato and gets the Hollywood treatment.
Actually, I love chiffon pies just for their name alone--lemon chiffon, raspberry chiffon, chocolate chiffon--they sound like the prom queens and exotic dancers who favor that sheer floaty fabric. (I like to think of the delicate lemon as the Donna Reed of chiffon pies.) But Sweet Potato chiffon is my own concoction (adapted from a Marion Cunningham recipe) and my favorite for the way the earthiness of the sweet potato melds so delectably with the airy gelatin, whipped egg whites and cream. Adding bourbon to the recipe just heightens the effect.
I wish I could post an image of this pie, but all I have right now is a debauched slice three days old, with the beautiful whipped cream rosettes mashed down and the crust broken. The glamour shot will have to wait--
Memphis has Elvis and Rockford Illinois (my very nearly hometown) has Cheap Trick, the great and extant Power Pop band. I saw them back in the mid 70s at the Rockford Armory, a big concrete square where the sound ricocheted off every surface like rifle shot and made me deaf for days.
We know that geography shapes music--you couldn't have Jimmy Buffett without Key West, Fats Domino without steamy New Orleans, Dolly Parton without the Smokey Mountains. So it stands to reason that you can't have Cheap Trick without rock-rich Illinois.
There's a lot of Rocks in Illinois and southern Wisconsin--there's Rockton, Rock Cut State Park, Rock County just across the border in Wisconsin, with the mighty Rock River running through it all. This isn't Mt Rushmore sized rock, it's crushed rock, rock quarries, rocky limestone ledges squared off at neat right angles. It's the bedrock beneath the famously plainspoken midwestern character.
Like all manufacturing towns in the midwest, Rockford is a thirsty town, with a generous array of establishments for slacking ones thirst, like Rocky's Tap and The House of Bottles.
I've been reading about Lindsay Lohan and her hook up with stodgy Ungaro as celebrity fashion advisor/unholy marketing alliance. So the clothes are ugly and a great Paris design house looks foolish. blah blah blah. My complaint is this: why isn't Lindsay lining up with American business? Why isn't she releasing that crazy former child star/party girl-spiraling-out-of-control nuclear energy on some worthy American product? I don't mean she should do a K Mart & ex-Charlies Angels thing, or the much weirder Bob Dylan and Victoria's Secret, where, as Entertainment Weekly's Gary Susman puts it, the sextegenarian rock legend gets himself tangled up in blue panties. Our economic crisis is too desperate for ephemeral stuff like gel filled bras and the Jaclyn Smith Summer Expansion Top. We need to get durable goods moving to crank up this nation's economy. Just ask The Wall Street Journal! Why can't Lindsay and Brittney and Rihanna pair up with the likes of Oreck and Frigidaire and Armstrong (Flooring, not Lance)? It could lead to all sorts of creative juxtapositions.
Just look at Judy "Sock It To Me" Carne in a see-through raincoat with a trickster Chest Freezer:
It was 1966 or so. The 45 came in a box of potato chips, and it was mine, more or less, since no one else in my family called dibs on it. Until I heard Petula Clark, this is what Downtown was to me:
I thought it was pretty happening--we had the Majestic and Ellis movie theaters, Woolworth's (that's it at the end of the street, boarded up), a toy store, a shoe store, the A&P, the Gas Light Lounge. It was a revelation to me that there were downtowns in other cities, and they sounded a hell of a lot more interesting than Downtown Beloit.