Friday, 31 March 2017

Dead Poets Society #32

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In Romney Marsh by John Davidson

As I went down to Dymchurch Wall,
I heard the South sing o'er the land
I saw the yellow sunlight fall
On knolls where Norman churches stand.

And ringing shrilly, taut and lithe,
Within the wind a core of sound,
The wire from Romney town to Hythe
Along its airy journey wound.

A veil of purple vapour flowed
And trailed its fringe along the Straits;
The upper air like sapphire glowed:
And roses filled Heaven's central gates.

Masts in the offing wagged their tops;
The swinging waves pealed on the shore;
The saffron beach, all diamond drops
And beads of surge, prolonged the roar.

As I came up from Dymchurch Wall,
I saw above the Downs' low crest
The crimson brands of sunset fall,
Flicker and fade from out the West.

Night sank: like flakes of silver fire
The stars in one great shower came down;
Shrill blew the wind; and shrill the wire
Rang out from Hythe to Romney town.

The darkly shining salt sea drops
Streamed as the waves clashed on the shore;
The beach, with all its organ stops
Pealing again, prolonged the roar.


Thursday, 30 March 2017

Last night's set lists

At The Habit, York: -

Da Elderly: -
Heart Of Gold
Out Of The Blue


Ron Elderly: -
10 Simple Words (song debut)
The River


The Elderly Brothers: -
Sea Of Heartbreak
Bad Moon Rising
Bye Bye Love


It was a crazily busy night in The Habit, with a full compliment of players already installed by about 9:30pm. Ron introduced a song he wrote a few years ago and it was well received - there will be a small prize for any FNB who can guess the "10 simple words" tomorrow night. Dave from Leeds performed a segue of Bill Nelson songs, the duo Dos Hombres treated us to some excellent latin-jazz instrumental music and several acts made their Habit debuts, including a duo who brought the house down with an unexpected Time After Time. Given the momentous political significance of the day, The Elderly Brothers, who were the final turn of the night, chose a special Brexit-style set list. Time ran out before we could play We Can Work It Out!

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Bill Evans Trio - On a Monday Evening


Unreleased Bill Evans Trio Album To Be Released March 24

DownBeat
31 Jan 31 2017  
Eddie Gomez (left), Eliot Zigmud and Bill Evans form the trio featured on On A Monday Evening (Fantasy Records), a new album of unreleased material recorded at the University of Wisconsin in 1976. (Photo: Phil Bray)

In the mid-1970s, jazz pianist Bill Evans was at the pinnacle of his career, releasing a string of seminal albums on the Fantasy label that would solidify his standing as one of jazz’s most nuanced and lyrical pianists.

The New Jersey-born Evans had been recording as a leader for 20 years, but his recordings from that era stand out, chief among them his powerful duo album with Tony Bennett and the stirring solo work Alone Together.

On March 24, Fantasy Records will again add to Evans’ impressive discography with the release of On Monday Evening, a never-before-issued recording of Evans and his trio—featuring bassist Eddie Gomez and drummer Eliot Zigmond—performing at the Madison Union Theater at the University of Wisconsin on Nov. 15, 1976.

Available in vinyl, compact disc and digital formats, the album will feature eight songs performed live in Madison and captured by two college-age DJs. Larry Goldberg and James Farber had interviewed Bill Evans for their college radio station, and Goldberg was able to use the station’s recording equipment to preserve the evening for posterity. The tracks have been remastered from the original analog tapes using the advanced technique of Plangent Processes for transfer and restoration.



In the album’s liner notes, Grammy-Award-winning writer Ashley Kahn says, “The Evans/Gomez/Zigmund union last just two years—Gomez being the first to depart in ’77—yet it still stands as one of the pianist’s most distinctive and memorable groups. On A Monday Evening is a rare- high-fidelity snapshot of that association; as Zigmund points out, ‘There’s really nothing like that, a definitive live recording of that trio. so it’s great that there’s finally an official recording out that represents our live side.’”

Evans’ set list that evening included three originals: “Sugar Plum,” “Time Remembered” and “T.T.T. (Twelve Tone Tune),” along with “Up With The Lark,” “Someday My Prince Will Come,” “Minha (All Mine),” “All of You” and “Some Other Time.”

In bringing this new record to light, Fantasy hits upon the same artistic purpose that Evans brought to his own work. In a radio interview conducted then by Farber and Goldberg, Evans said, “I just require for my own pleasure that music somehow touch me somewhere along the line and use the musical language in a way that speaks to me in some really human terms.” 

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Bob Dylan interview 2017

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Q&A with Bill Flanagan

bobdylan.com
22 March 2017

This is your third album of standards in a row – Shadows in the Night was a big surprise and a really nice one. Fallen Angels was a sweet encore. Now you really upped the ante. Did you feel after the first two, you had unfinished business?

I did when I realized there was more to it than I thought, that both of those records together only were part of the picture, so we went ahead and did these.

Why did you decide to release three discs of music at once?

It’s better that they come out at the same time because thematically they are interconnected, one is the sequel to the other and each one resolves the previous one.

Each disc is 32 minutes long – you could have put it all on 2 CDs. Is there something about the 10 song, 32 minute length that appeals to you?

Sure, it’s the number of completion. It’s a lucky number, and it’s symbolic of light. As far as the 32 minutes, that’s about the limit to the number of minutes on a long playing record where the sound is most powerful, 15 minutes to a side. My records were always overloaded on both sides. Too many minutes to be recorded or mastered properly. My songs were too long and didn’t fit the audio format of an LP. The sound was thin and you would have to turn your record player up to nine or ten to hear it well. So these CDs to me represent the LPs that I should have been making.

What’s the challenge of singing with a live horn section?


No challenge, it’s better than overdubbing them.
Image result for bob dylan 2017 triplicate unboxing
You like to be spontaneous in the studio, but here you’re working with tight arrangements and charts. Did that require a new way of thinking for you?

It did at first but then I got used to it. There’s enough of my personality written into the lyrics so that I could just focus on the melodies within the arrangements. As a vocalist you’re restricted within definite harmonic patterns. But you have more control within those patterns than you would if there were no boundaries whatsoever, it actually takes less thought, hardly any thinking. So I guess you could call that a new way of thinking.

At any point in the recording did you say to the musicians, “Look, we have to change this on the fly – just follow me…?”

No, that never happened. If I did that the song would fall apart, nobody would be able to follow me. Improvising would disrupt the song. You can’t go off track.

Are you concerned about what Bob Dylan fans think about these standards?


These songs are meant for the man on the street, the common man, the everyday person. Maybe that is a Bob Dylan fan, maybe not, I don’t know.

Has performing these songs taught you anything you didn’t know from listening to them?


I had some idea of where they stood, but I hadn’t realized how much of the essence of life is in them – the human condition, how perfectly the lyrics and melodies are intertwined, how relevant to everyday life they are, how non-materialistic.

Up to the sixties, these songs were everywhere – now they have almost faded away. Do they mean more to you when you hear them now?

They do mean a lot more. These songs are some of the most heartbreaking stuff ever put on record and I wanted to do them justice. Now that I have lived them and lived through them I understand them better. They take you out of that mainstream grind where you’re trapped between differences which might seem different but are essentially the same. Modern music and songs are so institutionalized that you don’t realize it. These songs are cold and clear-sighted, there is a direct realism in them, faith in ordinary life just like in early rock and roll.

It’s hard not to think of World War II when we hear some of these. You were born during the war – do you remember anything about it?

Not much. I was born in Duluth – industrial town, ship yards, ore docks, grain elevators, mainline train yards, switching yards. It’s on the banks of Lake Superior, built on granite rock. Lot of fog horns, sailors, loggers, storms, blizzards. My mom says there were food shortages, food rationing, hardly any gas, electricity cutting off – everything metal in your house you gave to the war effort. It was a dark place, even in the light of day – curfews, gloomy, lonely, all that sort of stuff – we lived there till I was about five, till the end of the war.

Between the Depression and the war, people had to swallow so much pain that songs that might sound overly sentimental to us had tremendous resonance. A line like “as a man who has never paused at wishing wells” – it might sound corny to people who haven’t lived too much. Can you get inside these songs in your 70s in a way you might not have been able to in your 20s and 30s?


Sure, I can get way inside. In my 20s and 30s I hadn’t been anywhere. Since then I’ve been all over the world, I’ve seen oracles and wishing wells. When I was young there were a lot of signs along the way that I couldn’t interpret, they were there and I saw them, but they were mystifying. Now when I look back I can see them for what they were, what they meant. I didn’t understand that then, but I do now. There is no way I could have known it at the time...


... People called Shadows in the Night a tribute to Frank Sinatra. Did you know Sinatra had recorded all those songs when you put that record out?

Yeah, I knew he did, but a lot of other people recorded them as well, it just so happened that he had the best versions of them. When I recorded these songs I had to make believe that I never heard of Sinatra, that he didn’t exist. He’s a guide. He’ll point the way and lead you to the entrance but from there you’re on your own.

There is a famous story that you and Springsteen were invited to a dinner party at Sinatra’s house around the time you did that TV tribute to him. Had you met him before? Did you feel like he knew your stuff?

Not really. I think he knew “The Times They Are a-Changin’” and “Blowin’ In the Wind.” I know he liked “Forever Young,” he told me that. He was funny, we were standing out on his patio at night and he said to me, “You and me, pal, we got blue eyes, we’re from up there,” and he pointed to the stars. “These other bums are from down here.” I remember thinking that he might be right...

More - so much more - here at https://bobdylan.com/news/qa-with-bill-flanagan/

Friday, 24 March 2017

Dead Poets Society #31

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Blues by Derek Walcott

Those five or six young guys
lunched on the stoop
that oven-hot summer night
whistled me over. Nice
and friendly. So, I stop.
MacDougal or Christopher
Street in chains of light.

A summer festival. Or some
saint's. I wasn't too far from
home, but not too bright
for a nigger, and not too dark.
I figured we were all
one, wop, nigger, jew,
besides, this wasn't Central Park.
I'm coming on too strong? You figure
right! They beat this yellow nigger
black and blue.

Yeah. During all this, scared
on case one used a knife,
I hung my olive-green, just-bought
sports coat on a fire plug.
I did nothing. They fought
each other, really. Life
gives them a few kcks,
that's all. The spades, the spicks.

My face smashed in, my bloddy mug
pouring, my olive-branch jacket saved
from cuts and tears,
I crawled four flights upstairs.
Sprawled in the gutter, I
remember a few watchers waved
loudly, and one kid's mother shouting
like 'Jackie' or 'Terry,'
'now that's enough!'
It's nothing really.
They don't get enough love.

You know they wouldn't kill
you. Just playing rough,
like young Americans will.
Still it taught me somthing
about love. If it's so tough,
forget it.


Thursday, 23 March 2017

Last night's set lists

At The Habit, York: -

Ron Elderly: -
Make You Feel My Love
Love Is (new song)
Can't Help Falling In Love


Da Elderly: -
Albuquerque
You've Got A Friend
Only Love Can Break Your Heart


The Elderly Brothers: -
Then I Kissed Her
When Will I Be Loved?
Words
You Got It
You Never Can Tell


A very quiet start to proceedings, with a half empty bar. But as the open mic kicked off folks started to drift in and very soon we had a sizable audience to witness the usual eclectic mix of performers and tunesmiths. Ron's new song Love Is was well received - a ballad with echoes of early Fleetwood Mac. The Elderlys dug out songs by The Bee Gees and Roy Orbison and paid their own tribute to the recently departed Chuck Berry. The after-party acoustic jam featured mostly Elvis and Neil Young, with a little Springsteen thrown in for good measure.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Colin Dexter RIP

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Colin Dexter obituary
Crime writer who created the deep-thinking Oxford detective Inspector Morse

Dennis Barker
The Guardian
Tuesday 21 March 2017

Though he thought of himself primarily as a school teacher, Colin Dexter will be remembered as the crime writer who created the curmudgeonly but entertaining Inspector Morse. Morse, the beer, crossword and Wagner-loving detective who drives a vintage Jaguar around Oxford, solves murders by deep thinking, often about chance remarks made by his sidekick, Sergeant Lewis.

Dexter, who has died aged 86, claimed that he was no writer, but could revise his “bad starts” into something that worked. The formula was certainly a success for some dozen Morse novels and many original scripts for television, the medium that delivered the doings of the idiosyncratic Morse to an audience across 50 countries. “I just started writing and forced myself to keep going,” he said. “And it’s been the same ever since.”

Intellectually rather like Morse, Dexter was a master of the literary high wire. Morse’s first name was kept under wraps for years, always presenting audiences with a riddle to be solved – a riddle almost as interesting as the one about why Morse, though presented as constantly falling in love with women, never married one.

Only gradually was it leaked out that his first name began with an E. But the secret about his first name – in real life it would have appeared on documents easily accessible at the police station – was not dispelled until 1996, when there was a landslide of useful publicity about the disclosure that the name was not Edward, nor Ernest, or even Enoch, as some pundits had speculated, but Endeavour – because Morse’s parents had been Quakers who greatly admired Captain Cook, whose ship bore that name.

Dexter happily went along with publicity strategies to boost Morse because he felt he owed a debt of gratitude to his publishers but, like Morse, he hated cant and pretentiousness. He made millions out of Morse but lived in the same four-bedroomed house in Oxford that he had occupied since moving to the city in 1966.

He was neither impressed by displays of wealth nor anxious to live up to his income, his main sybaritic expenditure being on red wine, Flowers beer, whisky and his car. The last of these was as elderly as Morse’s, but of a lesser make. The one extravagance to which Dexter would admit was his purchase of the first editions of the works of AE Housman. He had planned to write a book on Housman when he finished with his detective, but found by that time that other writers had cornered the market.

Dexter was born in Stamford, Lincolnshire. His father, Alfred, was a taxi driver who had left school at 12, as had Colin’s mother, Dorothy (nee Towns), and was determined that Colin and his elder brother, John, should be well educated. The boys were not required to do any domestic chores but were expected to spend every available moment studying. Both gained scholarships to the independent Stamford school, and Colin then went to Christ’s College, Cambridge, where he studied classics.

He became a classics teacher, claiming for the rest of his life that he was a born teacher rather than a writer: he took no interest in the moral welfare of his pupils but prided himelf on getting them better exam results than they thought they were capable of. He taught at schools in Loughborough and Leicester, and by his mid-30s was head of classics at a school in Corby, Northamptonshire. It was there that he discovered there was something seriously wrong with his hearing.

He was teaching The Aeneid, Book II, when he began to feel that there was something going on that he knew nothing about. In fact, pupils in the fifth form were playing pop music during his lessons at ever increasing volume, but he could not hear it. His family history might have warned him of approaching danger: all four of his grandparents, an uncle and his father became deaf.

This had the effect of making him seek a second career in which impaired hearing would not be a disadvantage. So he became a GCE examiner for the Oxford University Board. It required him to move to Oxford, and he remained there from 1966 until 1987, by which time Morse had changed his life.

The first of the Inspector Morse novels, Last Bus To Woodstock (1975), was written because, with his wife, Dorothy, and two sons, Dexter was on holiday in north Wales at a time when the rain never seemed to stop. Thoroughly miserable and bored, he read both the detective novels in their holiday accommodation, decided that they were not much good and thought he could do better. With the benefit of medieval and suburban Oxford as the setting (Dexter reckoned that he would never have become a writer had he moved to Rotherham), Last Bus to Woodstock proved the point.

The names for the characters were chosen with the same liking for intellectual riddles as the plots. He chose the name for Morse, and for all the others in the novel, except for the murderer, from a crossword, at a time when he entered regularly for the Observer Ximenes puzzle, which was won more often by Sir Jeremy Morse and a Mrs B Lewis.

Once it was obvious that he had found a winning character and setting, Dexter seriously set about writing detective novels. There were 12 more in the Morse series, including Service of All the Dead (1979), for which he won the Silver Dagger award of the Crime Writers’ Association, The Dead of Jericho (1981), another Silver Dagger-winner, The Wench is Dead (1989), for which he won the Gold Dagger, The Way Through the Woods (1992), another Gold Dagger-winner, and the last, The Remorseful Day (1999), which killed off Morse, as well as a short-story collection, Morse’s Greatest Mystery (1993).

The first of 33 episodes of the Inspector Morse television series was presented in 1987, with John Thaw as Morse and Kevin Whately as Lewis, and Dexter himself appearing in various cameos. When the novels ran out, Dexter wrote additional scripts for Morse before turning over the series to other writers. The last episode, in 2000, featured Morse’s death, and after Thaw’s death in 2002, Dexter stipulated that no other actor should reprise the role. However, the story continued in a spin-off series, Lewis (2006-15), and a prequel series, Endeavour, with Shaun Evans as the young Morse, which began in 2012.

Dexter was often asked whether he wrote for a readership or for himself. His answer was that he wrote for his old English teacher Mr Sharp. He would write a page and then ask himself, “Would Mr Sharp like that?” His aim was to feel that Mr Sharp would give it at least eight out of 10.

Dexter was appointed OBE in 2000. He is survived by Dorothy (nee Cooper), whom he married in 1956, their children Jeremy and Sally, and two grandsons, Thomas and James.


• Norman Colin Dexter, teacher and writer, born 29 September 1930; died 21 March 2017

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Chuck Berry RIP

Chuck Berry, wild man of rock who helped define its rebellious spirit, dies at 90
Chuck Berry, a charismatic singer, songwriter and one of the greatest guitarists of all time, died March 18 at at his home in St. Charles County, Mo. He was 90.

Terence McArdle
TheWashington Post
18 March 2017

Chuck Berry, the perpetual wild man of rock music who helped define its rebellious spirit in the 1950s and was the sly poet laureate of songs about girls, cars, school and even the “any old way you choose it” vitality of the music itself, died March 18 at at his home in St. Charles County, Mo. He was 90.

St. Charles County police announced the death in a Facebook post on its Website, saying officers responded to a medical emergency at Mr. Berry’s home and administered lifesaving techniques but could not revive him. No further information was available.

“While no individual can be said to have invented rock and roll, Chuck Berry comes the closest of any single figure to being the one who put all the essential pieces together,” reads Mr. Berry’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986.

A seminal figure in early rock music, he was all the rarer still for writing, singing and playing his own music. His songs and the boisterous performance standards he set directly influenced the Beatles and the Rolling Stones and later Bruce Springsteen and Bob Seger.

Mr. Berry so embodied the American rock tradition that his recording of “Johnny B. Goode” was included on a disc launched into space on the Voyager 1 spacecraft in 1977.

Besides Mr. Berry, members of the rock hall of fame’s inaugural class included Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, James Brown, Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard, Ray Charles, Sam Cooke, Fats Domino and the Everly Brothers. Of those he survived, Mr. Berry remained among the most indefatigable and acclaimed performers, playing concerts all over the world well into his 80s.

Despite John Lennon’s oft-quoted quip — “If you tried to give rock-and-roll another name, you might call it ‘Chuck Berry’ ” — Mr. Berry was an unlikely idol for a burgeoning teen subculture that he sang about at the dawn of the rock era.

He was 30, married and the father of two when he made his first recording, “Maybellene” in 1955. The song — a story of a man in a Ford V8 chasing his unfaithful girlfriend in a Cadillac Coupe de Ville — charted No. 1 on Billboard’s rhythm-and-blues chart and No. 5 on the pop music charts.

It was soon followed by “Rock and Roll Music” (“it’s got a backbeat, you can’t lose it”) and“Sweet Little Sixteen,” whose astute reference to the teen-oriented TV show “American Bandstand” (“Well, they’ll be rockin’ on Bandstand, Philadelphia, P.A.”) helped him connect to adolescent record-buyers.

With his lithe, athletic body, high cheekbones and perfectly pomaded hair, Mr. Berry personified the dangerous appeal of rock. He’d grin salaciously and telegraph the lyrics with a wide-eyed, almost childlike exuberance and then shoot across the stage, unleashing a staccato burst of bright, blaring guitar notes.

When he went into his signature “duck walk,” his legs seemed to be made of rubber, and his whole body moved with clocklike precision — the visual statement of his music’s kinetic energy. His charisma was the gold standard for all the rock-and-roll extroverts who followed.

He once told The Washington Post that he initiated the duck walk at the Brooklyn Paramount theater in 1956, based on a pose he sometimes struck as a child. “I had nothing else to do during the instrumental part of the song,” he said. “I did it, and here comes the applause. Well, I knew to coin anything that was that entertaining, so I kept it up.”

Mr. Berry was credited with penning more than 100 songs, the best known of which used carefully crafted rhymes and offered tightly written vignettes about American life. They became an influential part of the national soundtrack for generations of listeners and practitioners.

“Back in the U.S.A.” (1959), later covered by Linda Ronstadt, delighted in an America where “hamburgers sizzle on an open grill night and day.” And “School Day (Ring! Ring! Goes the Bell)” (1957), written about the over-crowded St. Louis schools of Mr. Berry’s youth, became an anthem for bored, restless kids everywhere.

The Beach Boys had a hit record with “Surfin’ USA” (1963), its melody borrowed without credit from “Sweet Little Sixteen.” The Beatles began their first U.S. concert, at the Washington Coliseum, with Mr. Berry’s “Roll Over Beethoven” (1956).

And when Bob Dylan turned toward electric rock-and-roll, he acknowledged that his “Subterranean Homesick Blues” (1965) borrowed its meter almost directly from Mr. Berry’s “Too Much Monkey Business’’ (1956).

Perhaps the most performed of his songs — indeed, one of the most performed of all rock songs — was “Johnny B. Goode” (1957). Its storyline embodied Mr. Berry’s own experience as a black man born into segregation who lived to see “his name in lights:”

Deep down Louisiana close to New Orleans

Way back up in the woods among the evergreens

There stood a log cabin made of earth and wood

Where lived a country boy named Johnny B. Goode

Who never ever learned to read or write so well

But he could play the guitar just like a ringin’ a bell

“The gateway from freedom, I was told, was somewhere near New Orleans where most Africans were sorted through and sold” into slavery, Mr. Berry wrote in his self-titled 1987 memoir. “I’d been told my grandfather lived ‘back up in the woods among the evergreens’ in a log cabin. I revived the era with a story about a ‘colored boy named Johnny B. Goode.’  ”

Mr. Berry said he knew the song could have a wider appeal. “I thought it would seem biased to my white fans to say ‘colored boy’ so I changed it to ‘country boy,’ ” he added.

In an interview with The Washington Post this year, rock historian Albin Zak called Mr. Berry a “very literate” wordsmith but that more important was the “durability” of his songs.

“In early rock-and-roll, there were so many one-hit wonders, but Chuck had so many hits that he was one of the most recognizable stars in the business,” Zak said. “When rock became solidified in 1964 and the British invasion comes along with bands like the Beatles and Rolling Stones performing Chuck Berry songs, it seals the deal on the vitality of that repertoire. His music became tradition at that point.”

Despite Mr. Berry’s charisma, race played a factor in preventing him from achieving Elvis-like levels of commercial success in Hollywood and Las Vegas. He had hits including “No Particular Place to Go” (1964) and “Dear Dad” (1965) and appeared in “The T.A.M.I. Show,” a 1965 concert film with James Brown, the Rolling Stones, the Beach Boys and Marvin Gaye. But Mr. Berry was relegated to the oldies circuit by the end of the decade.

In 1987, in the wake of his induction into the rock hall of fame, Mr. Berry released his memoir and was the subject of “Chuck Berry: Hail! Hail! Rock ‘n’ Roll,” a documentary and concert film featuring guest performers including Keith Richards and Eric Clapton.

At the time, Mr. Berry said he was wary of accepting a crown — bestowed by critics or peers — as a “king” of rock music.

“It’s not me to toot my horn,” he told The Washington Post. “The minute you toot your horn, it seems like society will try and disconnect your battery. And if you do not toot your horn, they’ll try their darnedest to give you a horn to toot, or say that you should have a horn. It’s them that creates the demand, so let them toot the horn.”

Charles Edward Anderson Berry was born in St. Louis on Oct. 18, 1926. His father was a carpenter and handyman.

He was 14 when he began playing guitar and performing at parties, but that was interrupted by a three-year stint in reform school for his role in a bungled armed robbery. After his release, he worked on an automobile assembly line while studying for a career in hairdressing.

On weekends, he sang at the Cosmopolitan Club in East St. Louis, Ill., with a group led by pianist Johnnie Johnson, who later played on many of Mr. Berry’s records.

At the urging of Muddy Waters, Mr. Berry took his demo tapes to Chess Records, the Chicago label that specialized in blues and urban rhythm-and-blues. Label owner Leonard Chess was impressed by “Ida May,” a country-and-western-styled tune, and said he would allow Mr. Berry to record it if he would change the name to “Maybellene.”

The song’s countrified style and Mr. Berry’s non-bluesy intonation reportedly led many disc jockeys to assume that he was white, and the song’s popularity with white record-buyers helped spur his quick rise in the music industry.

His savvy about the unsavory business practices of the day — giving co-writing credits to deejays, such as Alan Freed, in exchange for frequent airplay — also propelled his career.

His career was nearly derailed in 1959, when he was arrested on a federal charge of taking a 14-year-old girl across state lines for immoral purposes. Mr. Berry was convicted but granted an appeal on the basis of racist remarks made by the judge. A second trial also ended in a conviction. Mr. Berry eventually served 18 months of a three-year sentence and paid a $10,000 fine.

He was released in 1963, soon to find his career overtaken by a second wave of rockers and the so-called British invasion of bands, such as the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. He continued to be drawn into the headlines by legal troubles. In 1979, he served four months in Lompoc Federal Prison in California for tax evasion.

In 1989, Hosana Huck, a cook in Mr. Berry’s St. Louis restaurant, the Southern Air, sued him, claiming that he secretly videotaped her and other women in the establishment’s restroom. Huck’s suit was followed by a class-action suit by other unnamed women. Mr. Berry denied any wrongdoing but settled out of court in 1995 for $1.5 million.

In 1948, Mr. Berry married Themetta Suggs, known as Toddy. Information on survivors was not immediately available.

Mr. Berry receiveda Grammy Award for lifetime achievement in 1984 and the Kennedy Center Honors in 2000.

In later years, when Mr. Berry reflected on his age, he always made it clear that he intended to keep rocking as long as he lived.

“Elvis’s songs will always be there, and I hope mine will be after I’m gone,” he told the Los Angeles Times in 2002. “But you can’t compare that, because he’s gone and I’m not!”

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Derek Walcott RIP

Derek Walcott, Poet and Nobel Laureate of the Caribbean, Dies at 87

William Grimes
The New York Times
17 March 2017

Derek Walcott, whose intricately metaphorical poetry captured the physical beauty of the Caribbean, the harsh legacy of colonialism and the complexities of living and writing in two cultural worlds, bringing him a Nobel Prize in Literature, died early Friday morning at his home near Gros Islet in St. Lucia. He was 87.

His death was confirmed by his publisher, Farrar, Straus and Giroux. No cause was given, but he had been in poor health for some time, the publisher said.

Mr. Walcott’s expansive universe revolved around a tiny sun, the island of St. Lucia. Its opulent vegetation, blinding white beaches and tangled multicultural heritage inspired, in its most famous literary son, an ambitious body of work that seemingly embraced every poetic form, from the short lyric to the epic.

With the publication of the collection “In a Green Night” in 1962, critics and poets, Robert Lowell among them, leapt to recognize a powerful new voice in Caribbean literature and to praise the sheer musicality of Mr. Walcott’s verse, the immediacy of its visual images, its profound sense of place.

He had first attracted attention on St. Lucia with a book of poems that he published himself as a teenager. Early on, he showed a remarkable ear for the music of English — heard in the poets whose work he absorbed in his Anglocentric education and on the lips of his fellow St. Lucians — and a painter’s eye for the particulars of the local landscape: its beaches and clouds; its turtles, crabs and tropical fish; the sparkling expanse of the Caribbean.

In the poem “Islands,” from the collection “In a Green Night,” he wrote:

I seek,
As climate seeks its style, to write
Verse crisp as sand, clear as sunlight,
Cold as the curled wave, ordinary
As a tumbler of island water.


He told The Economist in 1990: “The sea is always present. It’s always visible. All the roads lead to it. I consider the sound of the sea to be part of my body. And if you say in patois, ‘The boats are coming back,’ the beat of that line, its metrical space, has to do with the sound and rhythm of the sea itself.”

There was nothing shy about Mr. Walcott’s poetic voice. It demanded to be heard, in all its sensuous immediacy and historical complexity.

“I come from a place that likes grandeur; it likes large gestures; it is not inhibited by flourish; it is a rhetorical society; it is a society of physical performance; it is a society of style,” he told The Paris Review in 1985. “I grew up in a place in which if you learned poetry, you shouted it out. Boys would scream it out and perform it and do it and flourish it. If you wanted to approximate that thunder or that power of speech, it couldn’t be done by a little modest voice in which you muttered something to someone else.”

Mr. Walcott’s art developed and expanded in works like “The Castaway,” “The Gulf” and “Another Life,” a 4,000-line inquiry into his life and surroundings, published in 1973. The Caribbean poet George Lamming called it “the history of an imagination.”

Mr. Walcott quickly won recognition as one of the finest poets writing in English and as an enormously ambitious artist — ambitious for himself, his art and his people.

He had a sense of the Caribbean’s grandeur that inspired him to write “Omeros,” a transposed Homeric epic of more than 300 pages, published in 1990, with humble fishermen and a taxi driver standing in for the heroes of ancient Greece.

Two years later, he was awarded the Nobel Prize. The prize committee cited him for “a poetic oeuvre of great luminosity, sustained by a historical vision, the outcome of a multicultural commitment.”

It continued: “In his literary works Walcott has laid a course for his own cultural environment, but through them he speaks to each and every one of us. In him, West Indian culture has found its great poet.”

As a poet, Mr. Walcott plumbed the paradoxes of identity intrinsic to his situation. He was a mixed-race poet living on a British-ruled island whose people spoke French-based Creole or English.

In “A Far Cry From Africa,” included in “In a Green Night” — his first poetry collection to be published outside St. Lucia — he wrote:

Where shall I turn, divided to the vein?
I who have cursed
The drunken officer of British rule, how choose
Between this Africa and the English tongue I love?
Betray them both, or give back what they give?


Derek Alton Walcott was born on Jan. 23, 1930, in Castries, a port city on the island of St. Lucia. His father, Warwick, a schoolteacher and watercolorist, died when he was an infant, and he was raised by his schoolteacher mother, the former Alix Maarlin.

Both his parents, like many St. Lucians, were the products of racially mixed marriages. Derek was raised as a Methodist, which made him an exception on St. Lucia, a largely Roman Catholic island, and at his Catholic secondary school, St. Mary’s College.

His education was Anglocentric and thoroughly traditional. “I was taught English literature as my natural inheritance,” he wrote in the essay “The Muse of History.” “Forget the snow and daffodils. They were real, more real than the heat and oleander, perhaps, because they lived on the page, in imagination, and therefore in memory.”

He published his first poem at 14, in a local newspaper. With a loan from his mother, he began publishing his poetry in pamphlets while still at St. Mary’s. His early models were Marlowe and Milton.

At the University of the West Indies in Mona, Jamaica, where he majored in French, Latin and Spanish, he began writing plays, entering into a lifelong but rocky love affair with the theater. His first play, about the revolutionary Haitian leader Henri Christophe, was produced in St. Lucia in 1950.

After earning his bachelor’s degree in 1953, Mr. Walcott taught school in St. Lucia, Grenada and Jamaica while continuing to write and stage plays. His verse dramas “Ione” and “Sea at Dauphin” were produced in Trinidad in 1954. “Ti-Jean and His Brothers,” a retelling of a Trinidadian folk tale in which Lucifer tries to steal the souls of three brothers, was produced in Trinidad in 1958.

Mr. Walcott studied directing with José Quintero in New York for a year and, on returning to the West Indies, founded a repertory company, the Little Carib Theater Workshop, which in the late 1960s became the Trinidad Theater Workshop. One of the group’s first productions was Mr. Walcott’s “Malcochon.”

His best-known play was “Dream on Monkey Mountain,” which received an Off Broadway production in 1971. He later wrote the book and collaborated with the singer and songwriter Paul Simon on the lyrics for “The Capeman,” a musical about a Puerto Rican gang member who murdered three people in Manhattan in 1959. The show opened at the Marquis Theater in 1998 and closed after 68 performances, becoming one of the most expensive flops in Broadway history.

With the publication of “In a Green Night” in 1962, Mr. Walcott captured the attention of British and American critics. Robert Lowell in particular was enthusiastic, and served as a point of entry to the American literary world. With each succeeding collection — “Selected Poems” (1964), “The Castaway” (1969), “The Gulf” (1970) and “Sea Grapes” (1976) — Mr. Walcott established himself as something more than an interesting local poet.

“Aficionados of Caribbean writing have been aware for some time that Derek Walcott is the first considerable English-speaking poet to emerge from the bone-white Arcadia of the old slaveocracies,” the poet and critic Selden Rodman wrote in a review of “The Gulf” in The New York Times Book Review. “Now, with the publication of his fourth book of verse, Walcott’s stature in the front rank of all contemporary poets using English should be apparent.”

The lyric strain in Mr. Walcott’s poetry never disappeared, but he increasingly took on complex narrative projects and expanded his vision of the Caribbean to accommodate an epic treatment of the themes that had always engaged him. The artistic self-portrait of “Another Life,” with its rich, metaphor-heavy intertwining of the artist’s developing sensibility and the lush landscape of St. Lucia, set the bar for Mr. Walcott’s later, increasingly ambitious poetry.

In “Omeros” — the title is the modern Greek word for Homer — Mr. Walcott cast his net wide, embracing all of Caribbean history from time immemorial, with special attention to the slave trade, and refracting its story through Homeric legend. In his hands, the Caribbean became not a backwater but a crossroads — what the scholar Jorge Hernandez Martin, writing in the magazine Americas in 1994, called “a dispersion zone, a sort of switchboard with input from and output to other parts of the world.”

Travel and exile were constants in Mr. Walcott’s poetry. “Tiepolo’s Hound” (2000) presented a dual portrait of the author and the Impressionist painter Camille Pissarro, who spent his childhood in the Caribbean before being transplanted to Paris. Like his father, Mr. Walcott was an accomplished watercolorist; his landscape paintings appear on his book jackets, and in “Tiepolo’s Hound” they are interspersed through the book.

The wanderings in “Omeros” were rivaled by Mr. Walcott’s own zigzag itinerary as a teacher and lecturer at universities around the world. He taught at Boston University from 1981 until retiring in 2007, dividing his time among Boston, New York and St. Lucia but constantly en route.

“The Prodigal” (2004), a late-life summation with a distinctly elegiac undercurrent, offered a glimpse of the author’s restless movements, which take him, in the course of the poem, to Italy, Colombia, France and Mexico. “Prodigal, what were your wanderings about?” he wrote. “The smoke of homecoming, the smoke of departure.”

Mr. Walcott’s three marriages ended in divorce. His survivors include his longtime companion, Sigrid Nama; a son, Peter; two daughters, Anna Walcott-Hardy and Elizabeth Walcott-Hackshaw; and several grandchildren. His twin brother, Roderick, a playwright, died in 2000.

In 2009, Mr. Walcott was proposed for the honorary post of professor of poetry at Oxford University. His candidacy was derailed when academics at Oxford received an anonymous package containing photocopied pages of a book describing allegations of sexual harassment brought by a Harvard student decades earlier. Mr. Walcott withdrew his name.

“I am disappointed that such low tactics have been used in this election, and I do not want to get into a race for a post where it causes embarrassment to those who have chosen to support me for the role or to myself,” he told The Evening Standard of London. He added, “While I was happy to be put forward for the post, if it has degenerated into a low and degrading attempt at character assassination, I do not want to be part of it.”

Mr. Walcott was always conscious of writing as a man apart, from a corner of the world whose literature was in its infancy. This peculiar position, he argued, had its advantages. “There can be virtues in deprivation,” he said in his Nobel lecture, describing the “luck” of being present in the early morning of a culture.

“For every poet, it is always morning in the world,” he said. “History a forgotten, insomniac night; History and elemental awe are always our early beginning, because the fate of poetry is to fall in love with the world, in spite of History.”

Friday, 17 March 2017

Dead Poets Society #30

Image result for james joyce

The Ballad Of Persse O'Reilly by James Joyce

Have you heard of one Humpty Dumpty
How he fell with a roll and a rumble
And curled up like Lord Olofa Crumple
By the butt of the Magazine Wall,
(Chorus) Of the Magazine Wall,
Hump, helmet and all?

He was one time our King of the Castle
Now he's kicked about like a rotten old parsnip.
And from Green street he'll be sent by order of His Worship
To the penal jail of Mountjoy
(Chorus) To the jail of Mountjoy!
Jail him and joy.

He was fafafather of all schemes for to bother us
Slow coaches and immaculate contraceptives for the populace,
Mare's milk for the sick, seven dry Sundays a week,
Openair love and religion's reform,
(Chorus) And religious reform,
Hideous in form.

Arrah, why, says you, couldn't he manage it?
I'll go bail, my fine dairyman darling,
Like the bumping bull of the Cassidys
All your butter is in your horns.
(Chorus) His butter is in his horns.
Butter his horns!

(Repeat) Hurrah there, Hosty, frosty Hosty, change that shirt
on ye,
Rhyme the rann, the king of all ranns!


Balbaccio, balbuccio!

We had chaw chaw chops, chairs, chewing gum, the chicken-pox
and china chambers
Universally provided by this soffsoaping salesman.
Small wonder He'll Cheat E'erawan our local lads nicknamed him.
When Chimpden first took the floor
(Chorus) With his bucketshop store
Down Bargainweg, Lower.

So snug he was in his hotel premises sumptuous
But soon we'll bonfire all his trash, tricks and trumpery
And 'tis short till sheriff Clancy'll be winding up his unlimited
company
With the bailiff's bom at the door,
(Chorus) Bimbam at the door.
Then he'll bum no more.

Sweet bad luck on the waves washed to our island
The hooker of that hammerfast viking
And Gall's curse on the day when Eblana bay
Saw his black and tan man-o'-war.
(Chorus) Saw his man-o'-war
On the harbour bar.

Where from? roars Poolbeg. Cookingha'pence, he bawls
Donnez-moi scampitle, wick an wipin'fampiny
Fingal Mac Oscar Onesine Bargearse Boniface
Thok's min gammelhole Norveegickers moniker
Og as ay are at gammelhore Norveegickers cod.
(Chorus) A Norwegian camel old cod.
He is, begod.


Lift it, Hosty, lift it, ye devil, ye! up with the rann,
the rhyming rann!

It was during some fresh water garden pumping
Or, according to the Nursing Mirror, while admiring the monkeys
That our heavyweight heathen Humpharey
Made bold a maid to woo
(Chorus) Woohoo, what'll she doo!
The general lost her maidenloo!

He ought to blush for himself, the old hayheaded philosopher,
For to go and shove himself that way on top of her.
Begob, he's the crux of the catalogue
Of our antediluvial zoo,
(Chorus) Messrs Billing and Coo.
Noah's larks, good as noo.

He was joulting by Wellinton's monument
Our rotorious hippopopotamuns
When some bugger let down the backtrap of the omnibus
And he caught his death of fusiliers,
(Chorus) With his rent in his rears.
Give him six years.

'Tis sore pity for his innocent poor children
But look out for his missus legitimate!
When that frew gets a grip of old Earwicker
Won't there be earwigs on the green?
(Chorus) Big earwigs on the green,
The largest ever you seen.

Suffoclose! Shikespower! Seudodanto! Anonymoses!

Then we'll have a free trade Gael's band and mass meeting
For to sod him the brave son of Scandiknavery.
And we'll bury him down in Oxmanstown
Along with the devil and the Danes,
(Chorus) With the deaf and dumb Danes,
And all their remains.

And not all the king's men nor his horses
Will resurrect his corpus
For there's no true spell in Connacht or hell
(bis) That's able to raise a Cain.