Monday, June 29, 2015

Rape-Kidnap Survivor Sings

Yes, the music world is divided on this week's debut single from Michelle Knight.

Most find it cringeworthy. But...a number of listeners who are now accustomed to vocoders, monotonous repetition, and simple melodies are showing tearful approval, especially since, as the lyric says, she's been through hell and back.

Even without the gruesome backstory, even if she was just a Kendall Jenner or Rowdy Ronda Rowsey, there would be people cheering, "Say, this reality star, this MMA fighter is not a bad singer! Woo hoo!"

Knight was the most troubled of the three girls who became imprisoned by Cleveland animal Ariel Castro. The grimy bus driver simply decided to harvest sex slaves from a group not likely to be missed. One reason that his reign of sexual tyranny continued for so many years is that cops seemed to assume that his victims were runaways who had become addicts or hookers. If they were buried in shallow graves it was their own fault. Few suspected they were being held captive, and none had any idea where to look for them.

When, by a fluke of luck, they were discovered and hustled away to safety, Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus talked to reporters and seemed to have the best set of skills for reclaiming their lives and reuniting with friends or family. Knight was the first to be held captive, and spent years alone with her maniac tormentor. In 2002, only 21, she was lured to Castro's home. He told her he had a puppy for her. She didn't escape him until 2013. By then she had been beaten so often she went deaf in one ear and required constructive facial surgery. She also had five of Castro's punch-the-stomach abortions. Freedom was bitter for her; she had such a poor relationship with her own mother that she refused to see the woman. Instead, she was "adopted" by fellow victim De Jesus' family. It took a while before she was able to talk about her ordeal to reporters.

But all of that can be found elsewhere on the Net. As for the cowardly Castro, not long after he was jailed, and facing a lifetime without women to sexually torture, he hanged himself.

No, there's no reason to expect that there will be a singing career for Michelle Knight, but in a world that embraced obese Adele and Susan Boyle, and loves "reality stars," a great body or even talent can be trumped by a good story and fan empathy. The phrase "good for you" comes to mind. For a while, it seemed that Knight was the least likely to survive her traumas with any peace. Changes have come slowly, painfully, but they've come. The video she shot for "Survivor" doesn't have too many smiling images, but the triumph is that it was made at all.

"Good for you," Michelle Knight. And for those who actually like the singing, the melody or the production on this thing, well, good for you, too.

SURVIVOR Michelle Knight

JAMES TAYLOR - A Hypodermic Parody Tune

At 67, James Taylor just scored #1 on the Billboard charts for the first time since 1970. That was when he released his second album, "Sweet Baby James," propelled to the top by his sad, sensitive and heroic stoic ballad "Fire and Rain." That 70's disc even led to a cottage industry of Taylors (Livingston, Kate and Alex, all with new releases) and some powerful near-hits including "Mockingbird" with his then-wife Carly Simon.

All seriousness aside, when you consider that Carly (and Joni and Don McLean and Cat Stevens and just about every singer-songwriter from that era) can't get arrested, Taylor's "Before This World" is a triumph. It's a triumph I haven't heard, and don't care about. So what; Taylor in the 70's primarily appealed to women, and to a few guys who identified with cracking up, doing drugs, and conning women. That would explain peculiar tribute songs at the time such as "Keep Driving James" from Harriet Schock and "Oh James" by Andy Bown. As he aged, Taylor held onto his aging hippie-to-Yuppie fans, who were also glad to have escaped drug addiction for affluence, and to still have enough of their own teeth to have morning granola.

Back in the 70's the cockeyed and brooding singer with the soft voice seemed like he might kill himself. Gradually he emerged with a self-confident Anthony Perkins smirk, and today looks like he could stab somebody in a shower.

Look, no less a critic and artist than George Harrison once admitted, "I never cared for the Sweet Baby." He said it back in the 70's, perhaps still cringing about Taylor having been originally signed to Apple. Or he just found something creepy and formulaic about Taylor's "pity me" numbers, his predictable strumming, his very limited singing ability, and eventually his even more limited subject matter, which ended up including a cover of "Handy Man" and an ode to "branch water and tomato wine, creosote and turpentine, sour mash and new moon shine, Down on Copperline.").

Yes, here in Illvllle, we acknowledge a survivor, and James Taylor is that. He also turned in a beautifully sardonic turn as an egocentric, somewhat evil God in Randy Newman's "Faust." While sweet dreams and flying machines crashed along the way, and Carly was quite exasperated with the guy, he became that rarity, a living legend. His big hit on the new album is "Angels of Fenway," about his beloved Boston Red Sox. He'll be performing it at Fenway Park on August 6th, as part of his "You don't have to just wait around for Paul Simon or Jimmy Buffett to tour Tour."

Brother Alex is long gone. Kate never was much of a factor (although I play her stuff more than any of the other Taylors, and she did a nice job on her cover of "Harriet Tubman" as well as her light versions of Four Tops hits). Livingston? Oh, I did interview that guy and I found him pretty intimidating and intense at first, but we had some laughs.

Speaking of laughs, back when he was super-hot, James was given a different type of "tribute" via the National Lampoon "Lemmings" rock-parody show. The show was helmed by John Belushi, but the prime star was Christopher Guest, who co-wrote and performed skewering takes on both Bob Dylan and Mr. Taylor. Just how skewering did it get? Well, even in Illville, and even after all this time, one has to both laugh and shiver over the great line alluding to Taylor's hypodermic use and another hinting at lobotomy. It goes beyond the jabs at Taylor the sell-out and womanizer. Listen to the self-described "soulful, moody" Taylor bash called "Highway Toes"…

SKEWERING James Taylor

Squire Dies, but no, YES goes on, for All Good People incl. Vassar Devils

Bassist Chris Squire died (March 4, 1948 – June 27, 2015) but Yes will not cease and desist. When he was diagnosed with leukemia back in April, he gave his blessing to a summer tour without him.

"This will be the first time since the band formed in 1968 that Yes will have performed live without me,” he said.  “But the other guys and myself have agreed that Billy Sherwood will do an excellent job of covering my parts and the show as a whole will deliver the same Yes experience that our fans have come to expect over the years.”

That's why a quick check of the Yes itinerary showed a prominent picture of cadaverous Steve Howe, and a list of their tour dates in July with the equally infamous arena-rock group Toto.

A roundabout look at the history of Yes reveals that there have been many changes over the years, with Squire the leader who often decided who got tossed out and stayed tossed. For example, Jon Anderson had to leave the band in 2008, replaced by Benoit David. When Jon was ready to come back, Squire said "Not so fast." When David became ill in 2012, it was Jon Davison who became the new lead guitarist. Other names in and out of the Yes world include Bill Bruford and Rick Wakeman.

Cynics would say that all the various changes didn't impact the group much, because fans of this type of progrock are a bunch of drugged out idiots who only want to stagger to their feet and shout "WOOOO."

By way of tribute to this enduring band, here's "All Good People" as covered without guitars, busy bass, or synths by the a cappela Vassar Devils. You have to admire those cunts. (Oh, both the Vassar Devils ladies and Yes, I suppose). The Devils managed to turn in a rendition without the fancy underpinnings Yes always supplied, and Yes managed to make a classic out of a song with lyrics that are pretentious even by progrock standards. This 1971 classic features music by Mr. Squire with the lyrics by Jon Anderson.

"I've seen all good people turn their heads each day so satisfied I'm on my way! I've seen all good people turn their heads each day so satisfied I'm on my way! I've seen all good people turn their heads each day so satisfied I'm on my way!" It just never gets old, does it? Or as Lugosi once said to Karloff in "The Raven," 1935, "You are saying something profound."

"Take a straight and stronger course to the corner of your life. Make the white queen run so fast she hasn't got time to make you a wife. 'Cause it's time is time in time with your time and its news is captured...for the queen to use...surround yourself with yourself….'Cause it's time is time in time with your time and its news is captured...for the queen to use! Diddit diddit diddit diddit diddit diddit diddit didda…"

Yes, the music by Chris Squire launched millions of smiles and cheers, thousands of tabs of acid, and continues to help a variety of good people get through the day. As Tweeters love to Tweet: "RIP" and "He WILL be missed."

Here's "All Good People," from the appropriately named VASSAR DEVILS.

A Capella ALL GOOD PEOPLE…by those bad, bad VASSAR DEVILS

Friday, June 19, 2015

SIEMBAMBA - the South African Dead Baby Song

Yes, here and there, the blog's old links have withered. Some have been quietly replaced, but others, well, why leave it to chance that you'll ever find them?

Here's a re-up on "Siembamba," and this time, the live-in-concert version from the early 50's. The 50's was when a licensed professional brought recording equipment into a concert hall with permission, and the artists got paid.

"Siembamba" is sort of the South African version of "Rockabye Baby." We don't mind crooning to our kids about a baby hauled into a tree, and then falling to the ground when a limb breaks. Guaranteed, baby breaks a few limbs, too.

And so in South Africa, there was an equally charming old folk song called "Siembamba." The genteel, nearly forgotten husband and wife team of Marais and Miranda recorded it, along with such classics as "The Zulu Warrior" and "Marching to Pretoria." Today, folk singers are offering "Ducking from Pistorius," and "The Zulu Warrior signs with the Cleveland Cavaliers."

Goodwill ambassadors for South Africa during a naive age, fluent in songs involving both the conquering Dutch and the pissed off Africans, Marais and Miranda toured the world. They were sort of a European version of labelmates The Weavers, just two people short (or, two short people, as the album covers seem to suggest.) You can find most of their output fairly cheaply on eBay, or in one of the few record stores that is still in business.

South African Josef Marais (Nov 17 1905 - Apr 27 1978) and Amsterdam native Miranda (Rosa Lily Odette Baruch de la Pardo, Jan 9 1912 - Apr 20 1986) were kindly people. They used to sing a folk song about "Johnny with the Wooden Leg," but after the war, and mindful of injuries suffered by soldiers, they updated the lyric to "Johnny with the bandy leg." They dressed like classical concert artists, and almost never performed anything that could be considered tasteless. Almost never.

For any of you who are Dutch/South African, you'll recognize these lines:

Siembamba - mamma se kindjie. Siembamba - mamma se kindjie. Draai sy nek om gooi hom in die sloot. Trap op sy kop dan is hy dood.

"Die Sloot" doesn't have anything to do with wishing death on Joran Van Der Sloot, a walking promotion for abortion. Meanwhile, the download below includes the translation of the song and, especially for the early 50's, a slightly risque reference to what the politically correct now call "the B word."

With over-population a threat to kill us if global warming doesn't, here's...

The dead baby lullaby SIEMBAMBA.


Was he the Eurotrash version of Lawrence Welk? "Electric Light Orchestra" for guys in polyester underwear with outrageous sideburns, limp flat long hair and Gouda breath? Or "Blood Sweat and Abba" for guys in Gouda underwear, with polyester sideburns and limp dicks?

James Last (born Hans Last) preferred to call his zunshine music "happy party sounds." But the same could be said of belches and farts. But before more snarky comments can be made, "let's say something nice about Hans." OK: Billboard called him "the world's most commercially successful bandleader," for recording an astonishing 200 albums that sold — well, that's the most incredible part. They sold.

Even Billboard had to admit it was music familiar to "anyone who has spent time in a hotel lobby or elevator." Put it this way, he had enough money to NOT live in his native Germany, or in the God-forsaken flat, depressing Ass-country (Netherlands). He died in Florida, U.S.A., as far from the Europeans who adored him as he could possibly get.

Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass pioneered a genial, buttery horn sound, and Al Hirt put out albums "Honey in the Horn" and "That Honey Horn Sound." Last's bunch merely turned every possible piece of music into musical mucus, coating the ears and mind with a soothing glaze. It went beyond Bacharach, Hefti, or Buddy Morrow, purveyors and often the composers of legit "pop." Last is to music what lobotomy is to the brain.

To be fair (!) Last was no cynical commercial pap-smearer, but Nurse Ratched medicating the depressed. James led his garish group of Mens Wearhouse dropouts as they dazzled eyes with the glint off their trombones, saxes and trumpets. Thus hypnotized, the pounding percussion and the smell of horn-breath did the rest, putting people at rest, if not completely comatose.

Last's cheesy-listening music remains hugely popular at blogs aimed at flaccid Dutchmen, Swedish meatball-heads and the Zippyshare Uber Alles group of Zinfarts. "More, James Last," comes the cry, "I don't have EVERY album yet on my 2TB drive! But I don't want to buy any of it! Ach, too bad he moved to Florida. To think our grandparents nearly won the war and could've taken over America!"

Ah, Mr. Last. Herb Aspirin and the Sominex Brass. Acker Bilge. Something oozing out of the The Boston Pimple Pops. Last made Percy Faith seem like Percy Sledge. Whatever it was, it was narcotic, and after an evening of stealing music, eating a lot of cheese, posting moronic shit in blog shout boxes, and checking forums for bukkake starring an Adele look-alike, a few hours of James Last's stuff was far less challenging than Tchaikovsky or five minutes jogging on a treadmill.

While Ray Conniff disappeared around the same time people realized "Love Story" was the worst piece of crap ever recorded, James Last continued on with his Eurovision of music that was actually better seen than heard. That's EuroVISION…you can turn the sound off and still get that vibe of happy people dancing even if it looks like their feet are nailed to the floor.

Year after year, Last's record label had to forage for more raw vinyl. They cannibalized naugahyde seat covers and "gummi" underwear from the grandchildren of Nazis, especially those hiding in Holland. Last kept making more albums, and his label sent people out to pry licorice gum off the bottom of bus stop benches and shovel coagulated dog shit found at boot sales. Last still wouldn't stop making new albums, "popping" the classics, softening up rock songs, and running every movie theme through his oiled brassworks. His band gimped disco hits, and even made "happy" music out of marches. Oh, they were the finest musicians ever to play cruise ships and thankful for the steadier, if more sea-sick work with James.

Maybe now it's time to "say something else nice about Hansi." He's not making any more albums. But, all seriousness aside, it isn't being condescending to say that the people who like this guy's music also consider Burger King, KFC and Applebees to be fine dining. Put fat and sugar on anything you cook, and pipe in easy-beat big-band music, and you are not likely to lose money. Who doesn't like a Domino's pizza if one has been starving for several days? And really, Last's version of "Slaughter on 10th Avenue" would give Arthur Fiedler an erection. And he died in 1979, before the great 80's plague of bad music would've put a cancer in his eardrum and blackened his brain.

To yet another nice thing about Hans's music, you could tap your cane to it. It was a good laxative, too. 60's folks moving from middle-age to Alzheimer's liked The Brass Ring. From the 70's on, James Last provided easy listening to tired businessmen unable to cope with anything else, and unsophisticated jellyfish needing something to wobble to. He gave totally uncool dimwits from Holland, beak-faced Swedes, ruddy neo-Nazis, belching Belgies and sticky-bunned Danish people the illusion that they were music lovers.

Lastly, one might point to Hansi's big band versions of rock songs as proof that he could make anything "HAPPY." Below, James and his gang boil up some aural goo on the kettle drum, and use their flatulent brass holes to blow the roof off the dump, dumping sweet treacle on Alice Cooper's venemous "School's Out." Think Alice wasn't happy about this? He cashed a royalty check.

James "Don't Call Me Hans, It's a Stupid Name" Last SCHOOL'S OUT!

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

RONNIE GILBERT - The Female Weaver, Therapist and Phil Ochs fan

Ronnie Gilbert (September 7, 1926 – June 6, 2015) completed her autobiography but didn't live to see it in print. She's being remembered for many things…her work as an actress, her touring as "Mother Jones" in a one-woman show, her shows with Holly Near and others, and most certainly as one of The Weavers. As one of the few prominent women in the folk music world of the 50's, she no doubt influenced everyone from Mary Travers to Joan Baez. And for those who might wonder if they were a bit crazy for wanting to follow her into the uncertain world of the musician, well, she was a licensed psychologist!

Yes, the words "don't quit your day job" had a meaning even for someone who you'd think was making very good money off touring, and off royalties. But as Fred Hellerman (the other Jewish member of The Weavers, and now sole survivor) once said, "the airlines made the most money off the Weavers on tour." And hotels, and the managers and the owners of the venues. Hellerman also had outside work, and under various names, wrote songs and adapted old traditional songs into modern folk classics.

The Weavers, their name taken from a play by Gerhart Hauptmann, formed in 1949, in upstate New York. They kickstarted the renewed interest in folk music with several hits at the start of the 1950's, including "Goodnight Irene," and the improbable "Tzena Tzena Tzena," a Hebrew dance tune that not only could Gentiles Pete Seeger and Lee Hays sing correctly, but which had non-Jewish audiences joining in on the chorus. The foursome were hugely popular in concert until The Red Scare led to their blacklist.

They were fortunate to be able to mount a comeback in the late 50's, thanks to their manager Harold Levanthal taking a chance and booking them into Carnegie Hall. New York was a liberal town and the blacklist wasn't going to stop The Weavers there. At least, that's how it turned out. It also helped that the group really wasn't very political. They sang old songs, funny songs and sing-alongs. Ronnie recalled, “We sang songs of hope in that strange time after World War II, when already the world was preparing for Cold War.We still had the feeling that if we could sing loud enough and strong enough and hopefully enough, it would make a difference.”

Folk music shifted from old songs to passionate, topical new ones. The Kingston Trio dabbled in dark songs that mirrored current issues of lynchings and the death penalty ("Tom Dooley"), the Ivy League Trio offered the capital punishment "Ballad of Tim Evans" and Peter Paul & Mary would be the first to popularize Bob Dylan and "Blowin' In the Wind." Mary Travers knew The Weavers well; she'd been in the audience for their 1955 Carnegie Hall show.

Pete Seeger left the group in 1959, and Erik Darling and a few others tried to take his place. The Weavers toured for a while, and made a few more records, but gave up in 1964. Ronnie (born Ruth) had such talent that she could not only take the logical route of going solo, but she expanded into acting as well, having first appeared on Broadway in the 1958 production “The Man in the Glass Booth." After that she earned her M.A. in psychology. Probably her best critical acclaim came with her one-woman show as "Mother Jones," but music fans could sometimes get a surprise via a new album (usually with recording partner Holly Near) or some touring. She did some "HARP" concerts (first name of each singer) with Holly, Arlo Guthro, and Pete Seeger). The Weavers had a brief re-union for a documentary and a few concerts in November of 1980. It was just in time; Lee Hays, who had lost his legs to diabetes, died a year later, in August of 1981.

Ronnie Gilbert raised a few eyebrows when she married a woman in 2004. She had been married during The Weavers era, and had a daughter. Her frequent singing partner, Holly Near, has often been written up as a "Lesbian activist" as well as a performer. Adding to her credits, she transformed her "Mother Jones" show into a book, and here's my signed copy:

My favorite Ronnie Gilbert music is from her early solo days on Mercury. With The Weavers, she didn't solo much. Her voice was strongly identifiable in those harmonies, but the attention was usually on Seeger or Hellerman when they'd get up and do a talking blues or a folk humor piece like "The Frozen Logger." Solo, Ronnie recorded a wide range of songs, including several by Phil Ochs. Below is "The Power and the Glory," which contains that vivid caution: "Here is a land full of power and glory…(but…) she's only as rich as the poorest of the poor…"

Another line declares that America's "power shall rest on the strength of her freedom." It also rests on understanding what that word means. It doesn't mean hacking into someone's computer and posting private e-mails or documents and declaring this to be Assange-style "transparency." It doesn't mean posting some actress's nude photos copped off her cellphone, or copying entire discographies and every TV show ever made and making up lame excuses about "fair use"to toss it onto torrents. And it doesn't mean censoring somebody who said something you didn't like on Facebook, or threatening to expel somebody in a fan forum who politely shares a different point of view. It doesn't mean taping an awards show and clipping out a mild Caitlyn Jenner joke Clint Eastwood made because it "might" be offensive to some hyper-sensitive fruitcake. Or any of that crap. America's great includes a true understanding of what freedom really is.

Power and glory can't stop mortality, so here's a "so long, it's been good to know you" to the lady in the Weavers who helped popularize Woody Guthrie and so many others. Ronnie's work will continue to influence people who want to be enlightened.

"Here is a land full of power and glory…"


"The Patty Duke Show" theme - WITHOUT THE LYRICS

Here's a little tribute to the great Patty Duke, who has given us so much in both drama and comedy, and in her brave and important autobiography. She and her husband are going through one of those tough and anxious times: "Mike has been diagnosed with prostate cancer, surgery June 30. I know he will be ok, but many unknown factors..."

For many kids, Patty's role in "The Miracle Worker" was an inspiration. In telling the story of Helen Keller, there was also a message for all kids who felt alienated, who didn't understand what parents and teachers wanted, and who thought there was no hope that they could communicate or make something of themselves. And a few years later, she explored the schizoid world of teenagers by playing both "Patty" and "Cathy" in her sitcom; the party kid and the serious student. She was such a fine actress; she made "identical cousins" seem like two truly different people, just by her ability to reflect the different personalities of the girls, and shading one of the voices.

I know, that's getting awfully serious and analytical. But it's true. So is the fact that thanks to Patty's sitcom, every time I heard the "Maverick" theme song, I thought the line was "Natchez to New Orleans, livin' in Jackson, Queens." Patty's fictional home was in Brooklyn Heights, which probably wasn't much of a bus ride to Jackson Heights.

Which brings me to HER theme song, which was sung by the peculiar middle-aged Skip-Jacks, the group that contributed their weird sense of swing to Buddy Morrow's RCA album "Poe for Moderns," hepping up a few songs based on Edgar's stories and poems.

It was common, if not mandatory back in the 60's to have an exposition theme song that explained the premise of the show and who the lead characters were. Since we all know about the "crazy pair," and how a hot dog made Patty "lose control" STFU,'s the theme WITHOUT the words!

This un-sung version is the work of the unsung composer-arranger Carl Brandt (August 15, 1914 — April 25, 1991).

Brandt may be best known as an arranger for Spike Jones (working on Spike's Warner Bros album "In Stereo,") and supplying incidental music for all the Dick Tracy cartoons, as well as some of the "Adventures of Mr. Magoo." He supplied the background music for a lot of TV shows from "The Alaskans" in 1959 to "Mod Squad" in 1968, with "I Spy," "The Andy Griffith Show," and "Gomer Pyle" in between.

This track comes from a 1964 compilation album of TV themes he produced for Warners, where he was on the staff, arranging material for a variety of projects and composing incidental music for TV shows. He was pretty flexible in his stylings, and while he started in the Big Band era working with the colorfully named orchestra leader Dick Jurgens, he continued working into the era of rock and funk, composing music for the soundtrack to the blaxploitation film "Cleopatra Jones" in 1973.

So thank you music lovers, Carl Brandt, and a special thank you and get well to Patty and her husband.


Bruce Lundvall & his "Smooth" W.C. Fields "Dear Chester" single

Bruce Lundvall (September 13,1935-May 19, 2015) was saluted in obituaries for his long career in music, which included becoming the head of CBS Records, then Elektra's "Musician" label in 1982, and ultimately Blue Note where he revived the old jazz catalog and signed newcomer Norah Jones.

In Illville? He's "Smooth Lundvall." That was the name he used when he booked himself into a studio and recorded a fake W.C. Fields single.

At the time, he was an exec at Columbia (only a few years away from becoming CBS president). Ah, yes, nepotism. But forgive him. Instead of putting out entire albums simply because he could, he restricted his enthusiasm to "Dear Chester" b/w "Ode to Larson E. Whipsnade." Oh yes, and a cover of "Winchester Cathedral" b/w "I'm Gonna Spoil You Baby").

Adopting a W.C. Fields cadence, but sounding more like Rudy Vallee, Lundvall attempted to be part of the "Fields cash-in" that included new books, pop posters, and the arrival of "Uncle Bill" (imitating the Great Man in both TV commercials and on a novelty album). Aside from the "Smooth Lundvall" single, Bruce did a real service by having Columbia issue four albums of W.C. Fields radio shows, and it was very rare for a major label to bother with that kind of thing.

"Dear Chester" references "Chester Fields," a mythical son W.C. loved to mention on radio just to annoy his sponsor, the rival cigarette company Lucky Strike. Lundvall recites a script that goes from copping familiar Fields jokes into inventing lesser ones. A distracting piano offers some period flavor, and sort of echoes the musical choice Bill Fields (and his recording engineer Les Paul) used for "The Temperance Lecture," which he left a sanitarium in order to make. He died before it was released (along with "The Day I Drank A Glass of Water.")

Lundvall was once chairman of the RIAA, and also held high positions at other alphabet soup groups; Country Music Association (CMA) and National Association of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS). He received a presidential award (whatever that is) from NARM (whoever they are...the National Association of Record Merchants, whose job apparently is to wave farewell every time a record store closes.)

In his 70's, Bruce helped Blue Note continue to prosper, especially with Norah Jones' stuff selling millions. Cassandra Wilson, Al Green and Wynton Marsalis all had hits for the label. In a February 2009 article in the NY Times "Smooth" Bruce said "“I don’t want to sit around the house and mow the lawn. I don’t want to be a crossing guard for the Wyckoff, N.J., school system. I want to keep doing this.” Norah Jones declared, "I don't know where I would be in the world of music without Bruce as my friend and champion."

Don Was took over as Blue Note's CEO in 2010, as Lundvall's health took a turn for the nurse. Ahh, worse, unfortunately. Drat. The Fields imitator and music CEO was suffering from Parkinson's. Lundvall didn't completely retire; he ran some music festivals, and did so even at the assisted living home he was in. The festivals raised money for Michael J. Fox's Parkinson's research foundation.

Download "Dear Chester."

DEAR CHESTER No wait time, capcha codes, dopey Zinfart passwords or conjob demands to pay for a "premium account" so a cloud company can make the money the artist, writer and record label deserve.