Jackie & Roy - The First Couple of Jazz Vocals.

Jackie & Roy – The First Couple of Jazz Vocals.

Jackie & Roy – live at Art Park Festival – September 1979 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection

Jackie & Roy this week, from a concert recorded by NPR for their Jazz Alive series, at the Art Park Festival in Boston in September 1979. Long considered Jazz’ First Couple, Jackie Cain and Roy Kral got their start as part of the legendary Charlie Ventura and His Bop For The People group in the late 1940s. After leaving Ventura’s group, Jackie & Roy got married and continued working as a Jazz vocal duo, gaining a wide popularity in the Jazz world from the 1950s on. They were actively performing up until Roy’s death in 2002. Jackie withdrew from the public eye in 2010 after suffering a stroke and died in 2014.

Noted Jazz critic Nat Hentoff said of the two: “Their work had a delicacy, a subtlety and a sense of joy to it. They were having fun and it was infectious”.

Jazz vocal duos aren’t all that common – we mostly consider Jazz vocals the sole domain of the Ella Fitzgeralds, Billie Holidays, Mel Tormès and Johnny Hartmans of the world – yet Jackie & Roy carved out a niche for themselves, and their repertoire, which went from bop to standards, was such a part of the complex fabric of Jazz that it’s hard to consider the world of Jazz without including them in the picture.

If you aren’t familiar with this legendary duo – and time has certainly faded much of it from view, for no good reason other than lack of access to their numerous recordings – do yourself a favor and check their catalog out where you can. They were an important part of the legacy of Jazz – and maybe not a huge slice of it, but an integral part of it. And you owe it to yourself to dive into the stuff infused with joy and subtlety. Comes in handy on cold nights.


Neil Young - one of Rock n' Roll's Greatest Song Writers - a fact.

Neil Young – one of Rock n’ Roll‘s Greatest Song Writers – a fact.

Neil Young and Crazy Horse – Live At Auditorium Theatre, Chicago – November 15, 1976

Neil Young is arguably one of Rock n’ Roll’s greatest songwriters. With a catalog of unforgettable songs going back decades, Neil Young continues to be a vital force and endless reservoir of great music. Continuing a legacy which began with Buffalo Springfield, transitioned to Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, and has enjoyed a lasting legacy as a solo artist ever since.

This concert, with his reformed band Crazy Horse from the mid-1970s, came on the heels of a number of personal struggles. It was also a period of transition and a brief reunion with Crosby, Stills and Nash.

This incarnation of Crazy Horse features Frank Sampedro on guitar and keyboards, Billy Talbot on bass and Ralph Molina on drums. It also comes ahead of the release of The Stills-Young Band release of Long May You Run, a project recorded in February of that year as a reunion between the two former Buffalo Springfield founders and an attempt to pick up where they left off during those years.

But an early tour with the Stills-Young Band ended abruptly in July, with Young leaving mid-tour. This particular concert with Crazy Horse comes a few days before Young’s guest appearance with The Band on November 25th in a farewell concert which would become immortalized in film by Martin Scorsese as The Last Waltz.

Recorded in Chicago, at the Auditorium Theatre on November 15, 1976 – Neil Young and Crazy Horse, giving one of their many memorable concerts during a year where a lot was going on, and a career marked by incredible highs and lows. But one of the most enduring and essential artists in the world of Rock whose contributions, not only to the sound of rock, but its poetic conscience has been inestimable.

Play loud – and enjoy often and dive into his catalog if you aren’t familiar – it’s a veritable embarrassment of riches.

The Actor - that curious mixture of Ham, Introvert and Fabergè egg.

The Actor – that curious mixture of Ham, Introvert and Fabergè egg.

NBC Radio – Biography In Sound – The Actor – March 6, 1955 – The Gordon Skene Sound Collection

Although this documentary concentrates primarily at Acting for the Stage in 1955, the sentiments and reflections on the craft spill easily over into film, as was evidenced by Rock Graziano’s encounter with a young Marlon Brando, whose performance in A Streetcar Named Desire was one of the great hits on Broadway.

And there are numerous interviews with a number of Theatre legends; Uta Hagen, Henry Miller, Talulah Bankhead and a host of others. But the craft of Acting is the same – the demands are the same, the rejection is the same and the rewards are (mostly) the same. The life expectancy of a working actor in the public eye is considerably longer on the Stage than it is in Film. But this glimpse into the world of the Theatre and performance is as fascinating as it is historic.

Unless you’re a fan, or are studying acting or are interested in the Theatre, most of these names will be unfamiliar to you. Suffice to say, these were some of the greatest actors, writers and directors on stage and film from the 1920s through the 1950s and beyond. Some names, of course, don’t need any reminding. But this was the status of the Actor and the craft of Acting 60 years ago. Obviously, a lot has changed – schools of acting have changed – Film and Theatre have changed considerably – subject matter which was relevant in the 1940s and 1950s is not so relevant today. Some of it has been abandoned for no good reason – and a lot of Theatre, and film, is geared towards box office. Not that it ever wasn’t – but Theatre, like Film, was allowed to find its audience – and not everything that was popular was immediately cloned or turned into a franchise.

So maybe this look at the craft of Acting in 1955 may seem quaint and highly out of date. The fundamentals of the craft however, haven’t changed – the basics – as well as the desire of the Actor to achieve a level of popularity and to make it a life’s work is still there. That will never change.

For the next 53 minutes, check out what the world of acting was like 60 years ago. Can’t hurt – and you might enjoy it.

Ash - Looking at them, you get a certain "crazy uncle" feel about the band.

Ash – Looking at them, you get a certain “crazy uncle” feel about the band.

Ash – Live At Pinkpop 2011 – June 11, 2011 – VPRO/3VOOR12 – The Netherlands

Perennial favorites Ash tonight, recorded live at Pinkpop 2011 in The Netherlands on June 11th. Certainly a band with their fair share of ups and downs, they have weathered it all and have come out the other end to be one of the most critically acclaimed Post-Punk bands of the 90s and 2000s – a band once referred to Mojo Magazine as “one of the 50 bands you need to see before you die”, and since I am a die-hard fan of Mojo, I believe them wholeheartedly. Their 1996 album 1977 was also named one of the 500 Greatest Albums Of All Time.

Still gathering an audience in the U.S., they have achieved huge popularity in the UK and Europe. Their 2012 tour of the East Coast of the U.S. and an appearance at the 2012 SXSW Festival have gotten the ball rolling in that direction.

Starting off as a three-piece, but adding a fourth member (Charlotte Hatherley, 2nd guitarist and vocals) before eventually going back to a three piece with Heatherley’s departure in 2006. The band have stayed with that lineup ever since, although word got out in 2011 that Heatherley would return, but not confirmed for how long.

Earlier this year they released their 6th studio album Kablammo! to enthusiastic reviews and a Summer tour this year. Ash are slated to hit the road starting this month for a tour of the UK and Europe, ending up on December 20th with a concert in Belfast.

But tonight it’s a return to Pinkpop 2011 and a set from a band who are, at the very least, powerhouse. With a renewed energy, Ash are back in the saddle, and this 2011 concert gives you some idea of they’re up to. For those not familiar with Ash, this set gives you a good introduction to a band Mojo says you’ve got to see before you die. Don’t take my word for it.

Play loud.



Hamilton Fish - concerned with the creeping drumbeat for war.

Congressman Hamilton Fish – concerned with the creeping drumbeat for war.

Hamilton Fish Radio address – November 23, 1940 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection

As the war in Europe was entering its second year, the calls for increased U.S. involvement, aside from it’s sending aid to Britain, were getting louder and more persistent. A movement to maintain our neutrality had been going on since the mid-1930s when the threat of a war was imminent, but hadn’t reached the crisis stage. Calls for our refusal to aid those fighting Fascism and Nazism were increasing in number, and many of those on Capitol Hill were some of the most vocal against an escalation of War.

One of those was Congressman Hamilton Fish, who was not only an outspoken critic of President Roosevelt and The New Deal, but was a vocal opponent of our escalating involvement in the European conflict. He was a staunch anti-communist, but was also actively campaigning against intervention, until the Pearl Harbor attack in December of 1941 forced us into war. Fish also introduced a number of measures in Congress aimed at helping the increasing number of Jews fleeing Germany.

Ironically, in 1930 it was Fish who introduced House Resolution 180 which called for the establishment of a Committee to investigate Communist activities in the U.S. – called The Fish Committee, it undertook extensive investigations of people and organizations suspected of being involved in activities considered Communist or subversive in nature. One of those organizations it investigated was The American Civil Liberties Union. It recommended the Justice Department more authority to investigate suspected groups and strengthen immigration and deportation laws from preventing more suspected Communists from entering the country. In 1933 however, Fish had sponsored the translation and publication in the U.S. of a book entitled Communism In Germany by Adolf Ehrt, which was purported to link Jews to Communist groups in Germany. Fish and members of his committee later disavowed the book.

In this 1940 broadcast address, Hamilton Fish makes his continuing case against our involvement in the European War – in 1940 there was still a strong case against it, but as time went on, news reports and German conquests were making our isolation less and less feasible.

Here is that broadcast, given by Congressman Hamilton Fish on November 23, 1940.

William Schroeder - Jarvik 7 recipient - so far, so good.

William Schroeder – Jarvik 7 recipient – so far, so good.

CBS World News Roundup – November 27, 1984 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection

Cautiously optimistic news for this day in Medicine. Jarvik 7 artificial heart recipient William Schroeder, who only three days earlier wasn’t expected to last the weekend was awake, alert and asking for a can of beer.

The operation was a success. So successful, that the endotracheal tube which assisted Schroeder’s breathing was already removed and the patient was breathing on his own. Dr. William De Vries, the Chief Surgeon who performed who implanted the mechanical heart, asked the patient if he could get anything for Schroeder. Schroeder responded he would like a can of beer. If all continued to go well, power from the portable unit that could allow Schroeder mobility was to be tested in a few days.

Meanwhile, the rest of the world was less optimistic. However, reason took the high road, as the hijacking/hostage drama at the Addis Ababa airport in Ethiopia came to a successful end. The 5 Somalian gunmen, holding some 100 passengers on the Somali Airlines Boeing 707 decided to give up and release the hostages after a 3 day stand-off. The hostage release was the end result of a long and painstaking negotiation between the Ethiopian government, the Somali government, with the Italian Embassy in Addis Ababa acting as intermediary between the two. The hijackers surrendered and surrendered their weapons in exchange for political asylum in Ethiopia if they desire it as part of the deal.

Back home – the question of Taxes came up on Capitol Hill with Treasury Secretary Donald Regan readying to introduce a new form of taxation to keep the flow of dollars coming. The bill, being introduced this day, was aiming to cut the average tax payers bill by 8 1/2%, but it would increase the tax bill of most heavy industries. Overall, the tax rates would be lower; the highest being 35%, instead of the present 50% – but some individuals would pay more, because many tax deductions would be eliminated, but not the Home Mortage Deduction, which sources said was safe. The White house felt that, by laying out the plan publicly, the Reagan Adminstration would have a better idea what Business, Industry and Congress would accept. The President would include those points in his own plan, to be presented in January.

And that’s just a little of what went on, this November 27th in 1984, as presented by The CBS World News Roundup.


The inimitable Steven Tyler in 1975.

 Aerosmith’s inimitable Steven Tyler – tearin’ it up in 1975.

Aerosmith – Live at The Schaeffer Music Festival, New York – August 29, 1975 – WCKG-FM

Since most of you are probably going into Tryptophan overload from your Thanksgiving extravaganzas, I can’t think of a better way to burn calories, than to crank this classic offering from Aerosmith, recorded live at the Schaeffer Music Festival in Central Park on August 29th 1975.

Vintage Aerosmith, with Steven Tyler at his best and highest-voltage, and featuring the essentials, Walk This Way, and Sweet Emotion – from their seminal album Toys In The Attic, which was released in April of that year.

Aerosmith, in a very short period of time, cemented their status as one of the premier American hard-rock bands of the 70s – during a time when music was looking for its direction – having splintered into so many avenues and genres from the late 60s on, Aerosmith took Rock n’Roll back to its roots – hard driving and non-stop. With the charismatic Steven Tyler fronting the unit, they were easily one of the most popular bands on the touring circuit as well as a staple in the diet of just about every Rock FM station throughout the country.

And they maintained that status throughout the 70s. And even though tensions, feuds and wretched excess were making their presence and damage known in the 1980s, they were still a household name, withstanding changes of taste and the MTV generation. In the years since, they have consistently maintained a strong popularity, providing a substantial amount of influence for bands coming up ever since.

Further evidence of their continued popularity is their induction in the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame, Rolling Stone and VH1’s lists of the greatest rock n’ roll bands of all time, Songwriter’s Hall of Fame, not to mention their music showing up on countless video games over the years.

So to remind of the early, breakthrough years – crank up this concert from 1975 – broadcast by WCKG-FM in Chicago.

Get ready for the long weekend.