There goes the neighborhood.

There goes the neighborhood.

. . . or click on the link here for Audio Player – CBS World News Roundup – May 28, 1994 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection.

Scandals and Trade Agreements, this May 28th in 1994.

The flap over Helicopters and The White House had heads rolling. The matter known as Choppergate centered around Presidential Helicopters being used for Golf outings. Previously, it was disclosed one helicopter was used to transport White House officials to a Maryland Country Club. After President Clinton was informed of the indiscretion, it then came out that two helicopters were used to the tune of some $2,380 an hour each. As a result, Assistant to the President David Watkins, who set up the outing, was forced to resign. President Clinton and 13 Senior White House Officials pledged to reimburse the government and that “not one red cent” would have to be paid by the taxpayers.

Meanwhile, the controversy over Illinois Congressman Dan Rostenkowski was continuing, with The Chicago Sun-Times reporting Rostenkowski planned to “hang tough” over allegations of misuse of government funds. The powerful Chairman of the House Ways And Means Committee rejected a plea-bargain and will stand trial over the charges. Rostenkowski, pending any last minute changes of heart, was up for indictment shortly.

And overseas – North Korea was reported to have refused to suspend the refueling of a nuclear reactor so UN inspectors could test spent fuel to make sure the Koreans weren’t using it for development of a nuclear bomb. The UN Security council called for action to deal with the situation.

And Trade agreements with China prompted Kentucky Fried Chicken to announce plans to invest some $200 million in China with the hopes they would become KFC’s biggest market in 10 years.

Dunkin Donuts was ordered to turn off their surveillance microphones which they had placed in stores. The New Hampshire Attorney General ruled the devices violated the state’s eavesdropping law.

The 12th Annual Border Governors Conference for States along the Mexican border wrapped up with no solution to the question posed on who should pay for services provided to illegal aliens. The states said it was the government’s responsibility – the government said it was the State’s responsibility. The hot potato stayed in the air until next time.

And thats a small slice of what went on in the world, this May 28th in 1994 as presented by the CBS World News Roundup.

Groundhogs - went from Heavy blues to Heavy Prog with mind-melting precision.

Groundhogs – went from Heavy blues to Heavy Prog with mind-melting precision.

. . . or click on the link here for Audio Player – Groundhogs In Session at The BBC – July 29, 1970 – BBC Radio 1

Next to Blue Cheer, The Groundhogs may very well have been responsible for some hearing loss on my part in the late 60s/early 70s. One of the best bands to listen to under headphones, cranked up past the threshold of pain – they were a sonic feast and were the epitome of Heavy distortion-drenched Rock/Prog that went on to become the prototype for a lot of genres (including Grunge) over the coming decades.

I first knew them as a Blues band, having been around since 1963, but hearing them for the first time in 1968 when they issued Scratching The Surface. But it was around the time they did the landmark Thank Christ For The Bomb and their follow-up Split, that things took on a whole new meaning.

This session, done for Top Of The Pops on July 29, 1970, features mostly material from the upcoming release of Split.

If you’ve never heard Groundhogs before, you have missed something. But you can get caught up by way of this session. As one of the bands supplying the groundwork for the evolution of Rock, they are essential listening. When you listen to them, you can almost point your finger on who they’ve made an impression on later.

Crank this one up – maybe not to the threshold of pain but . . . .close.

The Dynamic Duo.

The Dynamic Duo.

. . . or click on the link here for Audio Player – Jean-Philippe Collard and Michel Beroff In Recital – May 20, 2015 – Radio France Musique

Over to Lyon, France this week for a concert given last week by celebrated Pianists Jean-Philippe Collard and Michel Beroff in a four-handed recital of music by Ravel, Debussy and Rachmaninov. Recorded and broadcast live by the venerable Radio France Musique on May 20th (last week), as part of their Surprise Wednesday series of concerts.

Here’s what’s on tap:

Concert live from the Salle Rameau in Lyon

Claude Debussy’s
Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun
Nocturnes for Two Pianos (transcription Maurice Ravel): -Nuages ​​-Festivities

Maurice Ravel’s
La Valse, choreographic poem

Serge Rachmaninov
Symphonic Dance for piano op.45

Jean-Philippe Collard , piano Michel Beroff , piano

A delightful concert – perfect for smoothing out the edges of an otherwise haywire week.

I would definitely get comfortable and turn off all other distractions.

Enjoy and breathe deep.

John Foster Dulles and President Eisenhower - still feeling the repercussions today.

John Foster Dulles and President Eisenhower – still feeling the repercussions today.

. . . or click on the link here for Audio Player – NBC Radio Funeral for John Foster Dulles – May 27, 1959 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection.

The name John Foster Dulles probably doesn’t ring a lot of bells these days, aside from the name of an Airport in Washington D.C. – time and new players have clouded the world events of the past, to a certain degree. But for a time, during the majority of the Eisenhower Administration of the 1950s, John Foster Dulles was one of the most powerful people in the world; shaping U.S. Foreign policy, creating lasting results.

With John Foster Dulles as Secretary of State, and his brother Allen Dulles as head of the CIA, many pivotal events took place which have come back to haunt over the years. Our involvement in Vietnam and Southeast Asia was largely at the maneuvering of the Dulles brothers. The overthrow of an elected government in Iran over the threat of Nationalizing Iran’s oil production (the famous Anglo-Iranian Oil dispute), the overthrow of the monarchy in Iraq, paving the way for a Military takeover and eventual rule of Saddam Hussein. The series of overthrows in South America, including the infamous CIA-supported military coup in Guatemala. The list is long and the influence was substantial.

As a staunch anti-Communist, Dulles was the architect of many Foreign policy decisions during the Cold-War period and was a pioneer in the concept of massive retaliation and brinksmanship. He actively expressed the view that Communism was Godless Terrorism, and it was this view that kept the threat of World War 3 always within the realm of possibility.

So when John Foster Dulles stepped down, diagnosed with terminal Cancer of April of 1959, it created a hole of uncertainty in just where America was going to head in this post-Dulles era. Oddly enough, there was some thaw in East-West relations by the end of 1959, but the U-2 incident in May of 1960 put an end to the thaw.

When he died on May 24th of 1959, it was the beginning of considerable outpouring of sadness, particularly in the Eisenhower White House. On May 27th he was buried at Arlington Cemetery with full military honors and it was carried by all radio and television networks and broadcast throughout the world.

Here is the Funeral of John Foster Dulles, as it happened on May 27, 1959.

French Premier Paul Reynaud  addressing the French people -  Belgium was a lost cause.

French Premier Paul Reynaud addressing the French peopleBelgium was a lost cause.

. . . or click on the link here for Audio Player – CBS Special Report – Situation in Europe/Address by Premier Paul Reynaud – May 27, 1940 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection.

75 years ago today, ominous news was coming from Europe. An unusual address at 8:30 in the morning Paris time, Premier Paul Reynaud informed the French people, and the world listening, that Belgium was now in German hands and that French and British forces were in a desperate situation, cut off and surrounded by advancing German troops.

The fear was, Britain would be next as the British and French armies were now separated and the German Army was heading for the coast. From there, it was felt, the Germans could increase attacks on Britain as well as mount an invasion.

The very real possibility of that caused the government to issue preparations for evacuation of children from immediate danger and a step up in the drafting of military-age citizens to meet the possibility of invasion.

In Berlin, sources were quoted as saying it was only a matter of days before the estimated 1 million Belgian, British and French troops, surrounded in Flanders would be forced to surrender, attempt to flee to England under a hail of German bombs or be destroyed. All of the German newspapers were on board with the same theme; We Are Sailing Against England. Sources went on to say that members of the German High Command were uncertain if an invasion of Britain would take place immediately, or if there would be a drive instead to Paris. If that were successful, it was thought there would be an offer of a separate peace to France.

But observers all agreed it was a confusing and grave time for the allies – and if it meant a drive to Paris or an invasion of Britain, the future looked grim, to say the least.

All that, and reports streaming in to the Columbia News Room in New York on this morning of May 27, 1940.


Eddi Reader -  From the Waterboys to an MBE.

Eddi Reader – From the Waterboys to an MBE.

. . . or click on the link here for Audio Player – Eddi Reader – Live at The Palladium, Edinburgh – August 12, 1997

To many people, Eddi Reader is instantly linked to The Waterboys, a highly influential Celtic Rock group from the early 1980s. But The Waterboys, and before that Fairground Attraction, were only two aspects to the remarkable career of Eddi Reader. I knew her as the sister of Frank Reader of The Trashcan Sinatras and added proof the fruit didn’t fall far from the tree, as Eddi’s lyrics have much of the bite so prevalent in the work of the Trashcan Sinatras.

When her second solo album came out in the U.S. via Warner Bros, it was well received and I remember it getting a lot of airplay via KCRW, here is L.A.

But Reader has had a wide and celebrated career over the years – acting and taking time off from performing – getting involved in a project regarding the legendary Scottish poet Robert Burns, which won her an MBE in 2006 – she has certainly not been sitting in the sidelines. And with some 11 solo albums (including one which came out this year), 7 live albums, as well as her recorded work with The Waterboys to her credit, she has been widely regarded as one of the finest singer-songwriters to come out of Scotland in many years.

So when I ran across this 1997 concert, recorded live at The Palladium in Edinburgh, it seemed a natural to run alongside the recent batch of sessions I’ve been running from this years London Calling festival. It’s further evidence that influence on todays artists come from a lot of places, consciously or unconsciously.

If you haven’t been turned on to Eddi Reader yet, I would seriously suggest you crank this concert up and give a close listen – there’s a lot to discover here – and her voice is pretty astonishing. And her tribute to Fred Neil with her version of The Dolphins is a tour de force.

‘Nuff said.

Looking good in principle and looking good in practice were two separate things.

Looking good in principle and looking good in practice were two separate things.

. . . or click on the link here for Audio Player – United Nations: Report From San Francisco Number 5 – May 26, 1945 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection.

While the war continued in the Pacific, efforts to establish a lasting and workable peace in Europe, which would eventually include those places currently embroiled in war, were slowly moving forward.

On this May 26th in 1945, meetings were held and issues brought up at this first United Nations Conference, held in San Francisco. The question of U.S./Soviet collaboration was brought up and the job of nailing down the framework established at the Dumbarton Oaks Conference was taking shape. At this point it was a matter of drafting and approving the resolutions being presented and discussed in order to be taken up for a vote by the whole Conference.

But some observers were noting potential problems with the Soviet Union as time went on. Notably, the way situations were shaping up in Eastern Europe. And many wondered if this wasn’t the precursor to potential confrontations and disagreements over the coming months/years, and would this have an impact on the future of The United Nations as a whole.

It was a disturbing and confusing issue to many, as Russian and American troops were working side-by-side in occupied Germany and both Russian and American troops had died defeating a common enemy. The notion that the Soviet Union could, at some point, be considered an enemy seemed strange and far-fetched. The facts, as many were reminded, were these; the Soviet Union and the United States had proved, in the most difficult geographic, economic and psychological circumstances, under which allies have ever attempted to act as allies, that they could work together in the difficult and trying prosecution of a total war. The United States and the Soviet Union had proved, at Dumbarton Oaks and at Yalta and at San Francisco, that they could reconcile their views and arrive at common understandings on problems which had resisted until then, the best efforts of the best diplomatic minds of many generations, and which had never been solved before this conference.

So for all the pessimism being expressed around San Francisco, there was also a goodly degree of optimism that the United Nations was not going to go the way of The League Of Nations; that this would be a success.

This was the fifth in a weekly series of reports broadcast to listeners on the progress being made at the San Francisco Conference, where issues were discussed and the matters of the conference were brought up before members of the State Department and key delegates to the Conference.

This is that broadcast, as it was heard originally on May 26, 1945.