You are at the Gravy Bread blog personal home page, but if you (like most people here) are seeking the massive TUNES links on the Mega Super Mammoth MP3 Blog List, then click on the banner.
You are at the Gravy Bread blog personal home page, but if you (like most people here) are seeking the massive TUNES links on the Mega Super Mammoth MP3 Blog List, then click on the banner.
I never was really close to my father. He worked for most of the second half of the 20th century as a blue-collar tool-and-die maker at a factory in Louisville’s West End, and became a union member and later a long-time president of his local, which made me proud of him. When I became a Reagan-voting fascist yuppie Republican in the 1980s he didn’t disown me, but tried vainly to warn me about the downside of Voodoo economics and the robber-baron philosophies that led to such things as labor unions in the first place. He knew history and reality better than I did at that point. A child of the Depression, he once told me how one Christmas he was lucky to get a banana. At the time, the idea was so foreign to me that I could only respond with a nervous laugh. When he and his union went on a lengthy strike in the early ’70s, he made sure that my sister and I were sheltered from the impact. We never noticed anything wrong or missing from our comfortable post-war Baby Boom suburban existence, even though income was not coming in. He always made sure we lived in a way that he never did as a youth. At the time, we thought the way we lived was how everyone lived. We had no clue.
Dad wasn’t much of a talker at home. He seemed to use up all his oration energy for work and union business, or for the “beer joint,” as he called it.
The booze reference is appropo because one of the things that helped bond us somewhat was the Foster Brooks Pro-Celebrity Golf Tournament, a Louisville institution for a quarter century, from 1970 to 1996. We’d stroll the Hurstbourne Country Club course to stargaze and enjoy some decent golf from the pros. Bob Hope was undoubtedly the biggest star we saw there, but there were lots of others such as Alex Trebek and Jose Ferrer and Dick Butkus and Bobby Knight. (A fellow tournament attendee told me he once witnessed Hope cussing out some kid for wanting an autograph. Ah, thanks for the memory).
The golf tourney eventually ended in acrimony over where the money was going, with even Brooks himself disowning the tourney. (Brooks was a local radio/TV celeb who made it big in Vegas and took his comedy drunk act to big audiences as a regular on those fab Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts that used to turn up on NBC in the ’70s).
Even though the golf tourney brought in millions for Kosair (hospital) Charities and attracted hundreds of thousands of Louisvillians and undoubtedly led to many good times, its impact seems to have receded far and fast from the consciousness of the locals.
A search for “Foster Brooks Pro-Celebrity” on Google only turns up a dozen references, most of those to people selling commemoratives on Ebay. Not one photo. Zero images of the event to be found on the ‘net. They’re all molting and fading away in photo albums all over Louisville. (We never took any; maybe there’s a program stashed away somewhere at my Mom’s house). There are people who went to most or all of these and took photos. Anyone—a local golf enthusiast retiree perhaps—up to the task of putting a Foster Brooks Pro-Celebrity memorial website online?
Another attendee of the golf event, as well as a frequent performer on the (still-going) WHAS Crusade for Children, was Pee Wee King.
(Or maybe it was local baseball legend and Hall of Famer Pee Wee Reese, or maybe it was both. I know it wasn’t Pee Wee Herman. Humor me here.)
At the time, I had no idea who the man was or why I should be impressed.
For Louisvillians of the ’50s and before, King was a big deal. Operating with his “hillbilly” band between Louisville and Nashville in the ’30s and ’40s, King was a radio star, Grand Ole Opry regular and innovator of something akin to western swing. King brought drums and the electric guitar to the Opry for the first time. He had many hit records and co-wrote what became the Tennessee state song, “The Tennessee Waltz.” He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of fame in 1970.
Ironically, even though I didn’t know who King was during those golf-event years, I had unknowingly often played one of his records as a child. It was a 1955 RCA recording of “Tweedlee Dee,” a catchy, bouncy record that highlights King’s unusual instrumentation and arrangements. You can hear/download the 45 rpm record (and its flipside) at my Outer Galaxy Lounge blog.
It also serves as a souvenir reminder to me of some of the things that are now lost in Louisville: the factories where my Dad and Mom worked, the late King and Brooks, the Pro-Celebrity, my Dad.
I’m not sure where all this is leading, but somehow I wanted to convey the idea of how this city, like all cities, is a kind of a ghost town. Where new things stand, I still see the things that once stood; think about the people and places that were. Think about my Mom and aunt and uncle, who are all in the 75- to 90-age range—part of a dwindling minority of survivors who are taking the last of the memories of what was Louisville with them.
It’s kind of a privilege really, to stand between two eras, two generations: To have some sense of my parents’ world, and to know things that my own children don’t. To be able to see a multi-dimensional world, a past and a present world co-existing—if only in my mind’s eye.
What baffles me are people who don’t care to know, or to find out.
Billionaire entrepreneur Robert Sillerman owns the “likeness” of Elvis Presley.
He bought it from Priscilla Presley and the Elvis estate for $100 million.
And, loathe though I am to side with monolithic corporate control of what should be public-domain national treasures, part of me is rooting for Sillerman to take decisive control of the Elvis Presley “brand.”
Because the cheap debasing of Elvis has gone on long enough. And it’s not funny anymore, folks.
Yes, I laughed at the affectionate horror-comedy film Bubba Ho-tep, with Bruce Campbell essaying a poignant serio-comic portrayal of an aged Elvis. Elvis was made fun of, but the overall film was sympathetic to Elvis and to the past, and it justly criticized society’s warehousing of the elderly.
I’ve laughed at the Flying Elvi, Elvis fat jokes and drug and toilet jokes. I even had my own “Elvis sighting” (or maybe it was Conway Twitty) and joked about it with friends.
At some point, however, the parody Elvis, or the idea of the campy Elvis has overtaken the real Elvis in the minds of the public. I daresay that for most young people now, the parody Elvis is the one that first—and probably exclusively—comes to their minds.
Mind you, I’m not one of those Elvis fans who treats the man like a religion and who deny the darker sides of the King. There’s room for Elvis parody, spoof, satire or whatever in my universe.
But at some point, it became too easy, a too-cheap shot, the proverbial shooting of the fish in the barrel.
And the 30,000 Elvis impersonators with their “homages” of varying quality have not necessarily helped matters.
(Maybe 30,000 Elvis “fans” can be wrong).
What has set me off is seeing the continued proliferation of these over-the-top caricatures after watching or re-watching several of the real Elvis’ televised concerts.
Have you seen the DVDs of “Elvis, That’s the Way it Is,” or of the TV specials “1968 Comeback” or “Aloha From Hawaii”? Elvis is sensational in these programs. He could do it all. Even the big-white suited Elvis doesn’t come off campy so much as cool. Yes, I said cool.
If you haven’t seen these shows, you really are missing great entertainment. In them, Elvis looms large and commands respect. His talent is awesome.
I had never been a “fan” per se of Elvis before, but watching these shows converted me. It also provided me a mini-cause to try to change people’s misguided perceptions about Elvis, as an artist and showman.
Watching these shows makes you realize how far the caricatures have strayed from the real Elvis.
The proverbial last straw for me was a banner atop an mp3 site, Albumbase.com, which features yet another outrageous pompadour and white-suited Elvis caricature.
Yep, that’s original.
Here in the Louisville, Ky., area alone, several business use unauthorized depictions of Elvis to sell their wares. Here’s the website of the Third Avenue Cafe, just a mile up the road from my work on Third St. Notice the outrageous caricature of Elvis dining. I’ve been to this pseudo frou-frou eatery before; they have a mannequin suited up as the white-cloak Elvis (of course) that sits at a window seat (and outside during the summer).
This local auto dealer, Jim Butner Auto Sales, uses Elvis in its slogan and features a white-suited you know who in its TV advertising. Guess it’s easier to make fun of Elvis and divert attention from the fact that your own name is But-ner.
Sillerman has already indicated that the gravytrain may be ending for the Elvis impersonators. Once he gets control of the brand, only “authorized” Elvi—no doubt with a hefty kickback to Sillerman—will be allowed to publicly perform.
On this I have mixed feelings. There are no doubt some impersonators who do the King justice. Most of the ones I’ve seen, though, look ridiculous and do no service to the artist’s legacy.
But, it is America, and we’re supposed to be free to imitate the famous, to do impersonations and to look stupid doing so.
And getting the Elvi clones in line won’t do much to stop the proliferation of other goofy Elvis imagery, especially on the internet.
Maybe in getting richer, Sillerman will make the world less interesting, a little less crazy, messy and wild. Corporate control tends to do that.
But I’m not going to mourn too much if one more stupid, lame, unimaginative Elvis caricature bites the dust.
Outer Galaxy Lounge is a new blog I’ve started devoted to MP3s of EZ, retro, Brazilian, jazz, blues, old R&B, soul, miscellaneous oddities, my own mix comps and more. Now that I finally have one of my old turntables back in order again and a decent laptop hooked-in setup I’m ready to convert some of my old 45s from the 70s (and some of my Mom’s and Dad’s from the ’50s) into digital format. Also coming will be some LPs and sets that have never been issued on CD. I’m looking for this to help give me the incentive to undertake a long-overdue project of converting the massive 28-set (40 tracks per set) LP series “Giants of Jazz” issued by Time-Life in the late ’70s and early ’80s. It is one of the best sounding, best compiled retro sets ever released in any format.
It sure will be nice to finally have CDs and MP3s of those. Until now all that great stuff was inaccessible or only partially available in inferior CD compilations from other source materials. More on that as I progress. For now, I get the Lounge off to a modest start with an oddity: a 33 1/3 recording by the faux band “The Sugar Bears” that I cut off the back of a circa 1971 Post Super Sugar Crisp cereal box back in my youth. The record, made of thin cardboard with a coating of some vinyl/plastic material, is in surprisingly good shape and sounds fairly good considering. Check it out at Outer Galaxy Lounge.
[I posted this in early 2007 in the hopes that our derelict Congress would finally do its job of checking and balancing, but a year and a half after the great Democratic sweep they having proven so wimpy and impotent that they’ve managed the amazing feat of garnering themselves even lower approval ratings than Bush himself. I repost this article in memory of my former optimism. -EG]
“The time has passed for accepting this administration’s assurances at face value. The human cost of its repeated assurances is too great.”
(-Rep. Rahm Emanuel, D-Ill.)
Scratching their underarms, stretching and yawning, and batting their sleep-laden eyelids, our hibernating legislators are emerging from their caves to behold with a double-take the wrecked landscape—the result of six years of blissful somnolent denial, of handing the unchecked reins of government to a cultic, fanatical cabal then turning over to snore and get another 400 winks.
Yes, finally, maybe, the Congressional Iraq War debate is a sign that our absentee representatives have checked the alarm clock, seen that the time is way past for them to get up, brush their teeth and hair, dress the part and then hurry up and race to work to get busy and do their jobs, part of which is to check and challenge and, yes, even deny and disallow the extreme inclinations that obsess and self-delude the out-of-touch royals holed up in their fantasy palace of Versailles.
The sacrifice of those delusions is never borne by their well-heeled, secluded, blanket-wrapped originators; only by those easily persuaded or in denial themselves. Now that in our vengeful fury tens of thousands more have died and been injured than in the 9/11 attacks—very few of whom were actual terrorists and none of whom were the original 9/11 terrorists and most of whom have been our soldiers, innocent civilians and people who have since converted to insurgency as the result of our occupation—it is finally time to say enough is enough.
Saddam is dead. The weapons of mass destruction are elsewhere. They are wherever the old Soviet stockpiles are ending up, not in Iraq. Mission Accomplished. We’ve stirred the hornet’s nest; we whipped up this civil war. The glue that kept tribalism at bay, however heinous, is dissolved. We’re traipsing around lumpenly, fighting the wrong enemy in the wrong place, and leaving a mess—one that won’t be cleaned up or cleared up or organized any better or any more efficiently than the derelict and mishandled response to Hurricane Katrina. There are those who say we have to stay and finish what we started. At least they have one thing right, we started it. Neither Osama nor his minions were in Iraq, now they are. The Project for a New American Century couches its realpolitik in grand words, just like Bush. The subtext of the Project’s idealism becomes clear in action: to wage perpetual war. With living wage jobs shipping offshore, war keeps the remaining American business interests fat. It’s quite elegant in a way, send a taxpayer-funded war machine into a country, destroy it, then send more taxpayer dollars into the coffers of the privatized profiteers to “rebuild.” But when is the rebuilding done? When does the broken seive that is this gravytrain end? It’s kind circular in a way. My American dollar goes from my wallet into the wallets of Cheney’s pals, ensuring the widening income gap and prepping us all to accept the lower New World Order wagescales. Iraq is the place—appropriately enough, the front—where this money exchange takes place. Like a Mafia money laundering scheme, more money goes in than seems to come out. It has been well known for several years (if you’ve paid any attention to the rightly skeptical alternative media) that $9-plus billion of your taxes have disappeared, unaccounted for, into the nebulous morass that comes with shady bribes and payoffs, no-bid contracts and unaudited overcharges. Only now is some of this actually being addressed.
So congratulations Congress. You’ve finally taken some wobbling, timid steps up to the plate. So hit a good one and bring all the runners in, and bring our young men and women home.
Not one but two incompetent drivers endangered my life this morning by pulling sudden, illegal maneuvers as I biked south on the painted cycling path down Louisville’s Third St. on my way to work. My Road Hogs page tells the nearly-gory details (offline at present while blog renovation is under way). In the first incident, a driver on my left pulled around and in front of me to make a right hand turn, cutting me off as I headed into an intersection.
In the second case, illustrated here at left, the stupid broad in the auto (on a goddamned cell phone, of course) actually momentarily braked at the stop sign as she was supposed to in order to await passing perpendicular traffic (me—with the right of way—as represented in the little biker icon tooling up the bike path). She pulled out slowly into Third Street and stopped a little more, presumably waiting for me to pass. Then, unable to stand the idea of waiting one more second for me, she suddenly darts out right as I reach the intersection. I had to swerve hard left into the next lane to miss her. Needless to say, if another car had been to my left (like the other guy this morning), I would have been toast. What is it with you inconsiderate assholes?
Thus, I dedicate today’s Rapidshare-linked tunes to you idiots of the infernal machine. The first is Blind Willie McTell’s 1930 recording of “Broke Down Engine Blues.” I hope that all you reckless road menaces—like our poor ole bluesman—find yourselves wailing and moaning that you “ain’t got no driving wheel” anymore. Also, appropo our artist’s sightlessness is the blindspot that auto jockeys have for cyclists. The next tune, “You’re Driving Me Crazy,” comes from the primetime 1937 period of the great Django Reinhardt and the Quintet of the Hot Club of France. It’s a bouncy tune, perfect background for nailing hapless pedestrians, bikers and law-abiding motorists.
(A lot people seem to be accessing this posting—which is out of date—so here’s the shortcut link to the Mega Super Mammoth MP3 Blog Sites List. It is always “in progress” but is now up and usable. The rest of the posting that follows is out of date, FYI).
For those of you who like to hear and collect all the wonderful musical gems that have come to life thanks to the Internet and especially the blogosphere therein (and no thanks to the tight-fisted, message- controlling, homogenous, tastekilling, mass-market music industry), I am providing my master list of music blogs. Because I refer to these a lot, I decided to scour a number of other large lists on bloggers’ sites (including the ultimate and great one on the Nau Pyrata blog) and refine the lists to match my musical tastes which run a wide gamut (see my Stuff I Like & Not page). The advantage of this listing is that I’ve given a very brief, quick-view one-line nutshell of the type of music(s) offered at said blogsites in addition to pithy comments on how often they are updated. This is important because some sites are prolific and need constant monitoring while others post less frequently and can be surfed once a month or less. It’s easy to fall behind on some of the more prolific sites, or lose out on stuff that expires or gets deleted. (NOTE: I have found a number of “dead” blogs on the Nau Pyrata site that I have weeded out, no doubt some others posted here ill die similarly. In some cases I deleted a few sites devoted to stuff like rap that I have no interest in).
REMEMBER: This is a work in progress, I still have to insert bold headings for the blog titles and place URL links on all of them; that’s going to take a few more days.