Get Rhythm

Amid all the Mickey Rooney film comedies and his Emmy-award winning starring role as a mentally disabled man in the TV movie Bill,  one of his most memorable roles is often forgotten, and it's my personal favorite: his portrayal of ruthless, psychotic comic and TV mega-star Sammy Hogarth, a former vaudeville funnyman,  in Rod Serling's teleplay The Comedian, adapted from Ernest Lehman's 1952 noveletteThis 1957 dramatic presentation that was one of the high points of the prestigious 1950's live TV dramatic anthology Playhouse 90, a program considered a gem of the first Golden Age of Television.  Other memorable Playhouse 90 adaptations by Serling included Requiem For A Heavyweight, starring the late Jack Palance.

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Mickey Rooney: Musician (And Blues Shouter!)

Monday, 07 April 2014 06:16 AM Written by

Hollywood legend Mickey Rooney, who died yesterday at 93, left his mark on American film and stage acting along with various TV roles. One thing not so well known today were Rooney's musical skills, more substantial than many realized. He was skilled on drums, piano, vibes and vocals. Virtually all movies featuring actors as musicians had professionals record for the soundtrack, but Rooney was the rare one able to it himself.  Check out these examples.

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The Jeannette School Board's decision to name their high school auditorium for Vaughn Monroe (1911-1973), Class of '29, is probably a mystery to the vast majority of the student body and a good many others below the age of 65. In an era of vastly different musics and technologies, Monroe, a vocalist and orchestra leader, is almost an ancient figure, a star of the 20th Century who gained stardom during the Big Band Era of the 30's and 40's.

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Christine McVie Before Fleetwood Mac

Friday, 28 March 2014 08:52 AM Written by

The buzz about Christine McVie rejoining Fleetwood Mac for their upcoming tour makes her early days worth examining. 47 years ago, when she in her 20's, she was a singer-pianist and artist known by her maiden name of Christine Perfect and like the original Fleetwood Mac, her roots were in the same British Blues movement that spawned Eric Clapton, Rory Gallagher, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, Rod Stewart, John Mayall, Mick Taylor, the Animals and even the Rolling Stones.

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David Nail Im A Fire cover


On this week's "Believe Your Ears" music podcast, I review David Nail's new album I'm A Fire.  Scott Mervis opens by interviewing Rachael Price of the Americana band Lake Street Drive.  Listen by clicking on this link.


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don williams reflections cover

On this week's "Believe Your Ears" music podcast, I review Country Music Hall of Famer Don Williams's new album Reflections, released last week on Sugar Hill Records, an album that continues the mellow, laid-back style that made him famous and gave him quite a few big country hits 40 years ago. At the beginning of the podcast, Scott Mervis interviews Adam Granduciel of The War on Drugs.   Click this link to listen.





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Bobby Jackson       Courtesy PubMusic

Earlier this month, the online Pittsburgh Jazz Channel and Jazz 88, WYZR-FM (88.1), began presenting The Roots Of Smooth, a syndicated hour-long show hosted by the late Cleveland jazz personality Bobby Jackson, who died December 9 at 57. It's heard Fridays from 6-7 PM, repeated Saturdays from 1-2 PM.

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Peter Griffin: 'Family Guy's' Country Music Critic

Tuesday, 18 March 2014 06:53 AM Written by

If there's one problem with some current writing about country music, and it's been true since the Garth Brooks era, it's that quite a few wouldbe country critics and journalists have little real knowledge of the music. They see it solely in the moment, not as part of a century-plus continuum even the most superficial Nashville hypemasters still claim it to be.  Some don't think that knowing the territory matters. I think it does.

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