. . .and the start of a new book.

. . . and the beginning of a new book.

CBS Radio – Reports on Surrender Ceremonies – September 1, 1945 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection

70 years ago today, and 6 years to the day since it first began, World War 2 was officially over. With the signing of the surrender by Japan, the war had finally come to an end.

And even though the process of disarming and returning to peace was going to take a little time, that book was closed and a new one was about to start.

Even as the surrender ceremonies were taking place, questions started being asked about the world as it stood in 1945. What was the role the Atomic Bomb going to take in all this? What would the Far East look like in the coming months/years?

Now that one, seemingly endless, story of war was over, the unsettling feeling that, maybe this might all happen again was surfacing.

But those were all questions which wouldn’t be answered on this day – this September 1, 1945 was the end of a long and brutal war – and a chance at a lasting peace, no matter how fleeting in the long run, seemed like a good thing to work for.

Here is an excerpt and a recap of the days activities, as reported by CBS World News on September 1, 1945.

Glass Animals - the new Millennium mind melt.

Glass Animals – the new Millennium mind melt.

Glass Animals – live at Reading and Leeds Festival 2015 – August 30, 2015 – BBC 6 Music

From yesterdays Reading/Leeds Festival lineup, a performance by Glass Animals, who are in the midst of a huge worldwide tour to promote their debut album Zaba. All signs are pointing to success – a lot of good press, great crowd turnouts and their second time back in the States this year. After putting in an appearance at Lollapalooza Berlin on September 12th they will be heading over to the West Coast, including a 2-night stint at The Wiltern here in Los Angeles and heading up and down the coast and eastward before they head back to the UK at the end of October.

Busy band – busy taking the message door-to-door.

I ran one of their Spring appearances earlier this year and its good to hear they’re keeping the momentum going. If you are just getting familiar with Glass Animals, I would suggest you head over to their site or their Facebook page and see where they are landing near you and see them.

If you can’t, head over to their site and pick up their debut album. In the meantime, check out what they were up to yesterday, captured by the handiwork of the venerable BBC 6 Music.

Nu-Psych is getting some new blood in its veins – and it’s all very exciting to witness.

Witness this one – loud.


It isn't Mount McKinley anymore.

It isn’t Mount McKinley anymore.

Purported last recording of President William McKinley – September 5, 1901 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection

When the highest mountain in North America was recently given back its old name; one that was around long before President McKinley was around, the big question was; Who was President McKinley?

William McKinley was the 25th President of the United States. He was in office from 1897 until 1901 when he was cut down by an assassins bullet while visiting the Pan-American Exhibit in Buffalo New York in September of year. His successor was Theodore Roosevelt, who was his vice-President at the time.

McKinley was regarded by some at the time of his assassination as the most beloved President the U.S. ever had – however, his popularity was eclipsed when his Teddy Roosevelt assumed The Oval Office in 1901. By the time the 1920’s rolled around. McKinley had taken a distant backseat in popularity and the general consensus since then was McKinley did not live up to expectations. The most controversial aspect of his presidency was the expansionism and the question of Imperialism – our possession of The Philippines as the result of the Spanish-American War was up for scrutiny.

The McKinley Years were regarded by many historians as something of a last-gasp; a Golden Age of a life about the change, as technology was evolving and social values were about to be questioned. During McKinley’s Presidency there were still the robber-barons, no taxes, the union movement was in its infancy, there were no health or safety standards for food or the workplace and politics were run by those with deep-pockets and bought connections.

But when McKinley died, a wave of mourning and re-naming monuments after the fallen President began, and the highest Mountain in Alaska, the one originally name Denali, was re-christened Mt. McKinley in 1917. Over the years, movements have struggled to get the mountain re-named for its Native heritage. And in 1975 the movement gathered steam. In 1980 an awkward deal was struck, where the National Park at the foot of Mt. McKinley was named Denali. But finally, in 2008 a move to rename the mountain itself took hold and President Obama signed legislation giving the mountain back its original name, after a little under 100 years.

As a reminder, although not an accurate one, since it came to pass, that this was a speech purported to be the last delivered by William McKinley just prior to his assassination – given at the Pan-American Exhibit, which was in-fact a re-creation by one of the popular actors of the day, and the recordings were used as a sort of memorial to the memory of the assassinated President. The words are McKinley’s, the voice is believed to be Len Spencer, a popular voice impressionist of the day.

So now you know – and when people ask you . . . . .



Amidst the sniping; carping.

Amid the sniping; carping.

Edward R. Murrow and The News – August 31, 1951 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection

News for this last day of August in 1951 was about the unsettled nature of things. The war in Korea was at the Charge and Countercharge stage – with claims of violations to the neutral zone around the town of Kasong. Peking radio claimed U.S. troops killed two Chinese police outside of Kasong and that we had dropped a flare over a General’s Headquarters, as well as a report that South Korean forces had pushed three miles into North Korean territory.

None of the claims had been substantiated, but fighting had been intensified throughout the war zone. NATO forces were making advances, while fending off enemy attacks in other areas.

Meanwhile, Secretary of State Dean Acheson left Washington to attend the signing of the Japanese Peace Treaty in San Francisco. Acheson told reporters the conference would provide a test for those nations that really want peace and those that do not. A UN Commission report released earlier in the day said Japan would be in better shape economically, when the peace treaty was signed than many other Asian neighbors who were, technically victorious in the war. The report indicated that, in some fields, Japan was well above their pre-war production level, and that Japan has again become the dominant industrial and commercial nation in the Far East. 6 years after the end of World War 2, the Japanese people were once again, the best fed people in Asia. The report warned however, that trouble lay ahead for the Japanese economy because it depended so largely on American raw materials and has been cut off from the traditional markets and supplies in Communist China.

Union leaders called off the nationwide Copper Strike after both sides agreed to a 15 cent an hour wage increase. It was a compromise between the 16 cents the union wanted and the 14 cents management offered.

The Senate Crime Committee hearings ended on this day, with a final report summarizing its work. The committee recommended that a private, nationwide organization be formed to fight crime; to keep the spotlight on organized crime, and political corruption. Congress would put up $100,000 to get the organization started. The report went on to say that “the tentacles of crime reach into virtually ever community throughout the nation”.

Presidential Adviser Averell Harriman returned to Washington from a fact-finding mission and said he saw no reason why the British and Iranians could not settle their oil dispute.

The FBI said it had arrested three more Communist Party leaders in Los Angeles – two of the three arrested were not, according to the FBI, citizens of the U.S. and deportation proceedings were underway.

Defense Secretary Marshall told reporters that General Eisenhower was giving “close and continuous study” to the possible use of tactical nuclear weapons in the defense of Western Europe. The use of such weapons had been taken into account in the buildup of the North Atlantic Pact Army.

Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas had a few words to say about Communist China, when he reached the San Francisco Conference. After a Summer spent along the souther frontiers of Russia and China, Douglas thought it was time the U.N. give diplomatic recognition to Communist China. He felt that move would break China’s political ties with Russia, and would capitalize on the struggle between Chinese Nationalism and the Russian desire to control and solidify the whole of the Far East.

The statement drew immediate fire from Capitol Hill, with a row breaking out in the Senate, and many claiming a Supreme Court Justice had no business meddling in Foreign Affairs – that he wasn’t the President, nor the Secretary of State either. Douglas had, in the past, been more outspoken in the area of Foreign Policy than most of his colleagues on the Bench. He had spoken, and written in a highly critical vein, of the Administration’s Asian policy before. This time however, he hit a few nerves.

And that’s a small slice of what went on this August 31 in 1951 as reported by the legendary Edward R. Murrow.

Circa Waves -up-and-comers.

Circa Waves. Up-and-comers.

Circa Waves – Live At Reading+Leeds Festival – August 29, 2015 – BBC 6 Music

The Summer Festival season is winding down – the last batch of mass music gatherings going on between now and the end of September are still packing in fans and die-hards. It was reported this past weekend that the Rock en Seine Festival in France had over 120,000 people attend. So, those of you who say Festivals are dead, aren’t going to the right festivals.

This weekend it was the Reading+Leeds Festival in the UK – with a stellar lineup, and Metallica closing the show.

Tonight it’s relative new-comers Circa Waves, together since 2013 and hitting the road this Summer promoting their debut album, Young Chasers which came out a few months ago.

High powered and well received, Circa Waves were a hit, and BBC 6 Music captured every second of it.

And now so can you.

Enjoy – play loud and stay tuned.

Healey Willan - Put Canada on the map for large-scale compositions.

Healey Willan – Put Canada on the map for large-scale compositions.

Healey Willan – Sonata in E Minor for Violin and Piano – Albert Pratz, violin – Leo Barkin, piano – CBC Transcription Service circa. 1956 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection

Continuing in Canada this week with music of Anglo-Canadian Organist and Composer Healey Willan, born in London in 1880 and migrating to Toronto in 1913, and who was prolific with over 800 compositions to his credit.

Primarily known for his religious music, Willan was alsoone of the first Canadian composers to work on large-scale pieces and was responsible for several operas. He was also one of the first Canadian composers to make a successful living as a composer; something which became an inspiration for a number of aspiring Canadian composition students.

This weekend it’s his seldom-performed chamber music. His Sonata in E Minor for Violin and Piano, in this circa 1956 CBC Radio session with Albert Pratz, violin and Leo Barkin, piano.

A name which may not ring any bells to some, but an important addition to Musical life in Canada from 1913 to his death in 1968.

Oliver Sacks - great, humane and inspirational.

Oliver Sacks – great, humane and inspirational.

NPR: Fresh Air with Terry Gross – Interview with Oliver Sacks – Nov. 6, 2012 – NPR

With the sad news today of the death of noted Neurologist and Writer Oliver Sacks, I ran across this interview from the NPR series Fresh Air, hosted by Terry Gross. Sacks is interviewed in 2012 on the occasion of the release of his then-latest work Hallucinations – which was a follow up to his previous book; The Mind’s Eye.

Sacks discusses his own use of mind-altering and hallucinogenic drugs during the 1960 and his fascination with the effects produced by them.

Oliver Sacks came to universal attention with the book The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat, as well as his 1973 book Awakenings, which was adapted into a major motion picture starring Robert DeNiro and Robin Williams.

He passed away earlier today (August 30) at the age of 82 from a long bout with ocular Melanoma.

Here is that interview with Terry Gross of Fresh Air, November 6, 2012.