Rich Kienzle

Rich Kienzle

 

marcels 1961

For those who noted Scott Mervis's Tuesday obituary for Ron "Bingo" Mundy, an original member of the Pittsburgh based vocal group "The Marcels," he provides an excellent account of Mundy's career before and after their iconic 1961 # 1 doo-wop recording of the pop standard "Blue Moon," which topped Billboard's charts for three weeks.

1961: "Blue Moon" The original hit single.

Film of the original Marcels is not easily found. This is one exception: showing them performing in the 1961 film Twist Around The Clock. At the start, before the choreography, Mundy is standing second from left.

1961 "Merry Twist-Mas"

 

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cannedheat up country

In a time when "borrowing" and outright theft of songs are leading to major court cases, this new occasional feature, Noted Sources, will look at landmark songs derived from earlier material. It's a way of showing how country, pop, jazz, blues and rock standards often had antecedents.  We'll go back nearly half a century years for the first.

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andygriffith-face

Today at 5:45 Turner Classic Movies will run A Face In The Crowd, the 1957 Elia Kazan film starring Andy Griffith (his first movie role) as unsavory Arkansas drifter Lonesome Rhodes, whose ambition and ability to appeal to the masses results in a phenomenal rise to radio then TV fame and an equally spectacular fall.  The showing, according to TCM, honors the movie's co-star, the late Patricia Neal.  The irony of the film running the day Donald Trump, whose appeal to the masses propelled him to the Presidency, is hard to shake.   But bear in mind, despite the parallels, Trump was only ten years old when the movie premiered.

It's a movie borne of the pre-Internet media and to the country music of the 50's.  Nonetheless, the message is totally modern.   It will likely be available on TCM's On Demand section as well.   If you you haven't seen it, and want a bit of a preview and an idea of the context,  read on. 

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My survey of the legacy of legendary country singer-songwriter-guitarist Merle Travis (1917-1983) in his century year.

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Joe Negri's Online Mini-Concert

Wednesday, 18 January 2017 06:31

negri-nate-2012

 

Joe Negri hasn't appeared at the Fairmont Hotel lobby since October, but remains busy. He continues to teach at Pitt and Duquesne as he has for decades. His granddaughter Nina Leven posted a video to commemorate his 90th Birthday in June. Earlier this week, Nina posted three new videos of his solo guitar performances, four songs in all, proving why in the right hands, the guitar, like the piano, is an orchestra unto itself.

Joe remains a vital and inventive player, one of the few remaining of the first-generation of bebop guitarists who emerged just after World War II. His history is well known and need not be repeated, but he remains a Pittsburgh treasure.  (Photo above: Nate Guidry,  Post-Gazette)

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 My podcast review of this 56 song compilation of Buck's first 28 singles for Capitol, starting with his 1957 teen-pop material, ending with his 13th # 1 country single.

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buddy greco on stage

In the first major musical death of 2017, Buddy Greco, the famed singer-pianist, a member of the Rat Pack and friend of Marilyn Monroe, died yesterday at 90 in Las Vegas, ending a career that began in his native Philly, and continued well into the 21st century.  Greco, while long associated with Vegas, actually has roots a lot closer to here.

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jimmypage lespaul

Today Jimmy Page (OBE) turns 73. The former Led Zeppelin guitarist, like everyone else, had to start somewhere. Here's a bit of him well before he became a household word in Britain, much less the world.  The above shot, with his Les Paul Deluxe, was taken during his days as a studio guitarist.  We did this three years ago on his 70th Birthday, but these are new clips, not a rehash of the ones from 2014.  If you missed it,  You can find that blog entry here.

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Rodney Crowell's 'Close Ties' Out March 31

Monday, 09 January 2017 06:22

 

crowell-close ties-cover

Singer-songwriter Rodney Crowell's next album, Close Ties, will be released by New West Records on March 31. It takes an autobiographical tone, featuring a duet with ex-wife Rosanne Cash and ex-Civil Wars member John Paul White on "It Ain't Over Yet."

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Music Critic Rich Kienzle reviews Detroit session guitarist and Funk Brothers member Dennis Coffey's never-heard 1968 live album.

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