Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Lou Reed's doowop, John Cale's secret, the Gutenberg project , Sumerian poetry

Thank you everyone for all the nice comments.

I know many of you are Velvet Underground fans, as am I. Here are clips of Lou Reed and John Cale in their pre-VU days.

From 1958, here is a pretty good - and well known to collectors - recording of "So Blue" by the Jades. Lou Reed wrote, played guitar, and sang background on this, though you can't distinguish his voice.

The great John Cale, amazingly enough, appeared on the quiz show "I've Got a Secret" in 1963 re his participation in an 18 hour 40 minute piano performance of Eric Satie's "Vexations". Joshua Rifkin, who was a major player in the revival of interest in Scott Joplin's music in the 1970's,was another one of the pianists.

I love the Gutenberg Project. Sometimes I will browse through the intriguing book titles, well over 99% of which I'll never read. It reminds me of times I'd be in a large academic library, and randomly walk over to a shelf, close my eyes, pull out a book and browse through it. And I wonder why I frequently failed to get work done.


The worlds oldest known love poem is over 4,000 years old and from Sumeria. Here it is.


The album cover of the day is:


Sunday, June 28, 2009

Communist chic, singing mice, and photography

I'm going to be talking quite a bit about history, fashion, nostalgia, and political culture. Here's an interesting article on "communist chic" that combines all of these.


And for something totally different. Here's a somewhat bizarre article from the February 1937 issue of Natural History magazine on three singing mice


One more record to add to my million record want list is "Famous Photographers Tell How".

Here's the interview with "Weegie",an amazing new York crime and street photographer form the 1930's and 40's. The voice Peter Sellers used in Dr. Strangelove is based on Weegies. There is also an interview with Henri Cartier-Bresson here.


Many more posts coming soon. Thanks for reading everyone.

Saturday, June 27, 2009


Lipograms are poems, paragraphs or longer writings where one or more letters are not used, The most common lipograms omit the letter "e", the most commonly used letter in English.

Here are some well known poems rewritten as lipograms.


The best known lipogram, which omits the letter "E", is the 50,000 word novel Gadsby, written by Ernest Vincent Wright in 1939. . Wright taped down the "E" on his keyboard so that he wouldn't use it by mistake. It surprised me to find it online. I've read about 1/4 of it (it's best read in small segments). It's pretty bizarre, frequently funny, and quite an achievement.


Michael Jackson tribute; Jr. and His Soulettes

As I often will in this blog I will link to and/or discuss obscure music from every era.

In tribute to Michael Jackson, here is a link to "Big Boy", an early 1968 release by the Jackson 5 on the Steeltown label that was a local hit in the Chicago/Gary area. This and several other songs were recorded before The Jackson 5 signed to Motown and became national and international stars with "I Want You Back".


They are a long, long way from the Jackson 5 in terms of talent, but they are great! Here are Jr. and his Soulettes, a preteen band that recorded one LP in 1971. Only 300 copies were pressed , and supposedly most were ruined when they were shrink wrapped on a meat packing machine.

They have an interesting group of My Space followers as well.


Hello everyone!

At long last I've launched my blog. I've been a bit hesitant as some of you know, but it's good to finally get it going. It will probbaly look a bit primitive for a while, until I get used to blogging.

I'm going to comment and post links to a variety of topics here: music perhaps most of all, but also , fashion , current events , history ,science, and odd culture in general.I'm really looking forward to your comments, and open to any suggestions as to the direction my readers would like to see the blog take.

The blog title comes,a s many of you know, from the great Kinks song "Waterloo Sunset", from 1967. It's one of their best.and was, as many UK records of the 60's were, a big hit in the UK, and a flop in the U.S.

And here it is