Get Rhythm

'Mad Men' Music: Three Songs, One Bonus

Tuesday, 21 May 2013 06:15 AM Written by

Three interesting songs in last night's "Mad Men," and one bonus of interest.

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The Doors' Ray Manzarek: 1939-2013

Monday, 20 May 2013 07:01 PM Written by

Keyboard player Ray Manzarek, who gave the Doors their instantly identifiable, astringent organ sound in the 60's and well beyond, died today of cancer at a clinic in Germany.  He was 74 and suffering from bile duct cancer. 

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Bing Crosby: Beyond the Fan Club

Monday, 20 May 2013 06:07 AM Written by

Mackenzie Carpenter offered an interesting look at the fan clubs of long-deceased pop culture figures, Nelson Eddy & Jeannette McDonald, Doris Day, Ava Gardner, Clayton Moore (the Lone Ranger) and Bing Crosby.

The article made some excellent points, though in Crosby's case, things aren't quite as simple. True, his fan base, especially those who grew up as fans, is fast shrinking. Beyond that, however, Crosby's career remains the subject of substantive study beyond fan clubs, transcending the popularity of "White Christmas" or the "Road" comedies with Bob Hope.

One reason Crosby's appeal transcends fan clubs is his importance to the history of popular music, as important in its day as Sinatra's or Elvis Presley's was later on. The truth is, the young Bing was far more revolutionary at the start than today's view of him as a safe, conservative artist, with a reputation for boozy hellraising at times. 

Thinking of Bing as a businessman is a major part of his story. Everyone here knows he was part-owner of the Pirates. Fewer realize he also helped finance (to the tune of $ 50,000 in 1947 dollars) the then-revolutionary multi-track Ampex tape recorders that changed recording in the 1940's until digital came along.  Les Paul got one of the first models.

Read on after the jump.

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Ray Price

An updated Facebook posting by country legend Ray Price's wife Janie indicates the singer is improving after a recent bout with dehydration, tied to his treatments for pancreatic cancer.   Since announcing his illness last November, the 87 year old vocalist, has resumed performing with his Cherokee Cowboys, and remained healthy enough to briefly duke it out with Blake Shelton over Shelton's ill-phrased, if misinterpreted "old fart" comments, which ended with a friendly meeting at a Price concert between the singer and Shelton, who attended with wife Miranda Lambert.

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This week's "Believe Your Ears" Music podcast will review Brazilian singer Eliane Elias's new album I Thought About You: A Tribute to Chet Baker. Nearly all jazz fans know Baker and his trumpet as one of prime movers of the West Coast jazz scene of the 50's, which in fact had a profound impact on Brazilian jazz.

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And no, I don't mean Don and Sylvia. Mad Men musical director David Carbonara continues to mine the era for appropriate songs.  For last week's episode, which took place in the spring of 1968, he reached back three years earlier for Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels' 1965 "Baby Jane."

This week, a darker, foreboding mixture of change, upheaval and uncertainty, he went back to the period covered, June '68, for the virtually forgotten folk-rock ballad "Reach Out Of The Darkness" by Friend & Lover, a single (on the progressive rock oriented Verve Forecast label, for whom the late Richie Havens also recorded) that made it to # 10.  Part of the song runs under the authentic soundtrack of TV news reports of Bobby Kennedy's shooting in LA.  As usual, there's more to the story.

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On June 18, New West Records releases a new album by Texas roots musician Delbert McClinton, whose 2006 album The Cost of Living won a Contemporary Blues Grammy, reunites him with his collaborator of 40 years ago: singer-songwriter Glen Clark.

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Family Guy's 'Mr. Booze' Number

Tuesday, 07 May 2013 06:17 AM Written by

A popular Family Guy episode from 2011. "Friends of Peter G" featured the hapless Peter Griffin and his literate, alcoholic dog, Brian, sentenced to 30 days of Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. The pair proceed to undermine the whole premise of the meetings which include many of the regular characters (Tom Tucker, Ollie Williams, Dr. Hartman, etc.) by hauling beer into the meeting and getting everyone drunk and noisy.

When they see a police car pull in front of the place, they immediately and magically transform the AA meeting turned beer party into a revival meeting and go into this production number, which is what Officer Joe Swanson, Peter's wheelchair-bound neighbor, finds when he gets inside.   This is it.

Whoever posted this actually put up ten hours worth of the same performance over and over. Playing it once is enough. The song: "Mister Booze."

Think it was something Seth McFarlane, lover of the Rat Pack created from scratch?

Well, the animation routine for sure was his and his team's. But "Mister Booze," the song Peter, Brian and the others sing, in fact the whole routine, was affectionately appropriated (all legit, with required royalties paid) from a classic Rat Pack movie: 1964's Robin And the Seven Hoods, starring Frank, Dean, Sammy and non-Packer Bing Crosby (whose own wild lifestyle peaked in the early 30's).  Sinatra's now-famous "My Kind of Town" was first heard in the movie.

In this sequence, they aren't transforming the place to avoid the cops, but to avoid a gang of mobsters and a corrupt sheriff. The rival mobster, Guy Gisbourne, is played by Peter Falk.

Seth even re-created the song in the original key of B-flat. Not profound, but interesting.

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