Friday, December 25, 2015

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays From Me to You, whoever you are.

Lisa, Gary, Suzi, & Ricky Saunders
A Brother Like That.

Paul received an automobile from his brother as a Christmas present. On Christmas Eve
When Paul came out of his office, a young boy was walking around the shiny car admiring it.

“Is this your car, mister?” he asked.

Paul nodded. “My brother gave it to me for Christmas.”

The boy was astounded. “You mean your brother gave it to you and it didn’t cost you nothing? Boy…I wish…” He hesitated. Of course Paul knew what the boy ws going to wish for. He was going to wish he had a brother like Paul’s brother, but what the lad said jarred Paul all the way down to his heels.

“I wish,” the boy went on, “that I could be a brother like that.”

Paul looked at the boy in astonishment then impulsively he added, “would you like to take a ride in my automobile?”

“Oh yes, I’d love that,” said the boy.

After a short ride, the boy turned and with his eyes aglow said, “Mister, would you mind driving in front of my house?” Paul smiled a little. He thought he knew what the lad wanted. He wanted to show his neighbors that he could ride home in a big automobile, but Paul was wrong again.

“Will you stop where those two steps are?” the boy asked. He ran up the steps.

In a little while Paul heard the boy coming back, but he was not coming fast. He was carrying his crippled little brother in his arms. He sat his brother down on the bottom step, then sort of squeezed up against him and pointed to the car. “There she is, Buddy, just like I told you upstairs. His brother gave it to him for Christmas and it didn’t cost him a cent. Someday I’m gonna give you one just like it…then you can see for yourself all the pretty things in the Christmas windows that I’ve been trying to tell you about.”

Paul got out and lifted the lad’s brother into the front seat of his car. The shining-eyed boy climbed in beside his brother and the three of the had an unforgettable holiday ride.

......................................................

A simple act elevates all

Rudy Favard, 17, cradled Sammy Parker, 8, as he carried him upstairs. 
Rudy Favard, 17, cradled Sammy Parker, 8, as he carried him upstairs. (Essdras M Suarez/Globe Staff)
By Yvonne Abraham Globe Columnist / December 23, 2010


MELROSE — Everybody was waiting for Rudy.
On Tuesday night, Patty and Rick Parker were in their cramped kitchen with their 8-year-old son Ben. Dinner was over. Bedtime was near.
Ben’s twin brother, Sammy, lay on a cot in the narrow hallway just outside the kitchen. Unable to see or speak or control his limbs, he coughed or let out a little moan every now and then. Rick and Patty took turns feeding Sammy, who has cerebral palsy, through a stomach tube. He cooed when they kissed his face or stroked his cheek, and when they cooed back, he opened his mouth into a wide, joyful O.
A few feet away was the narrow, winding stairway that is the family’s biggest burden lately.
Which is where 17-year-old Rudy’s simple, life-changing act of kindness comes in.

Until recently, Rick carried Sammy up those 14 stairs to his bedroom each night. But a few months ago, Rick had major surgery for a life-threatening heart condition, and now he can’t lift much at all, let alone a 75-pound child.
“We thought Rick was going to die, and we were terrified,’’ Patty recalled. “We knew right away he had to stop carrying Sam.’’
Patty couldn’t carry him, either. Desperate, she called her pediatrician, who put her in touch with Elizabeth Paquette, the nurse at Malden Catholic High School. Paquette said she’d take care of it. The boys at Malden Catholic are taught to embrace service: She’d find plenty of students to help.
Rudy Favard was the first kid Paquette came across after that call. At Malden Catholic on a partial scholarship from the Catholic Schools Foundation, this son of Haitian immigrants was one of Paquette’s treasures. The linebacker, cocaptain of the football team and honor roll student was always willing to lend a hand.
The nurse had barely begun telling Rudy about the Parkers before he said he’d help. Another boy would fill in for Rudy on game nights. And a third boy was on standby in case neither of the others could make it
.
When Paquette brought the boys to meet the family for the first time, the Parkers cried.
“Just to see this outpouring of people,’’ Rick Parker began, his eyes welling at the memory. “To see that these people were willing to put their hands and feet to what they believed. . .’’
It is profoundly isolating to have a child as severely disabled as Sammy. It’s hard even for well-meaning friends to understand the immense strain of his all-consuming needs. Patty and Rick — who tried for 8 years to get pregnant before Ben and Sam were born — grieve for one son’s lost potential every day, even as they struggle to give the other as normal a life as possible.

“You plan for your child’s future, but it’s hard to do that for Sam,’’ Rick said. “You have this pathway he should have taken, and the pathway he did take, and you don’t want to look at either one.’’
          Some volunteer because of challenges they themselves have faced. Others look out on the world and see a need they can fill. But whether providing aid to rural villages in Guatemala or bringing a smile to a sick child close to home, these local teenagers are making a difference.
And over it all hangs the certainty that Sammy’s condition will never improve — even as he gets bigger and heavier.
Into this world of love and hurt comes Rudy. Four nights a week, he leaves his homework and makes the 10-minute drive to the Parker house. Around 8 p.m., he carries Sammy upstairs, chats a bit, hugs everybody, and heads home to finish his work. After considerable effort, the Parkers convinced Rudy to take enough money to cover gas, with a little left over.

In the few months the Parkers have known him, Rudy has become not just a help with Sammy, but a salve for their pain. He and Rick talk about football. Patty quizzes him on girls. Ben usually parks himself as close to Rudy as possible, looking up at him adoringly. And most nights, Sam will tremble with excitement as Rudy picks him up.
“It’s like family,’’ said the shy senior. It goes both ways: The Parkers were on the field with Rudy’s mother the night Malden Catholic honored its senior football players.
And so Rudy had barely knocked on the door Tuesday night before Ben was at it, jumping up and down, yelling, “Rudy is here! Rudy is here!’’

He greeted the Parkers, and went over to Sammy, gently lifting the boy’s left arm and sliding his hands under his back, the way Rudy’s father, a professional caregiver, had shown him. He lifted Sammy and held him close to his chest, and as the boy made his joyful O, Rudy carefully maneuvered him around the corners on the narrow stairway.
You couldn’t help but be struck by the painful contrast between the two boys: The robust athlete cradling the pale, helpless child; the young man preparing to go out into the world carrying someone who never will.
It’s a comparison lost on nobody, least of all Rudy himself.
“Can I ask you something?’’ he said, sitting in the Parkers’ living room after Sammy was asleep. “Is it OK if this article is more about Sam than me?’’
Why?
“He’s done more for me than I’ve done for him,’’ Rudy said. “There are times when I don’t want to go to practice, and then I look at Sam. By God’s grace, I can do what I’m doing, so I should keep it up. I’ve never been one to complain a lot, but just seeing Sam reaffirms everything, you know?’’
The Parkers won’t have Rudy for long. He’s already been accepted at four colleges, and others are courting him. Where he goes depends on financial aid and football.
The Parkers hope to be out of this cramped house and into a bigger one — with no stairs — before Rudy leaves town in search of his degree.

Until then, Rudy will bound up to the modest, pale green house on Fairmount Street. He’ll carry Sammy up to his cozy room. Then, for a little while, he’ll carry the Parkers somewhere better, too.


Yvonne Abraham is a Globe columnist. She can be reached at abraham@globe.com

Saturday, December 19, 2015

I Interview THE DELTA BELL About Getting Wasted On Heartache And Tears, And Her Favorite Color.

fb // web // soundcloud // bandcamp // twit // youtubes // random acts of vinyl record label

   The Delta Bell is the AKA of Kate Gerrard, a Norfolkman living in Brighton, England. She has an excellent new single out called Wasted b/w The Back Of Your Mind (RandomActsOfVinyl 7") that I was turned on to by the records producer Paul Pascoe of the bands Mudlow and Fire Eyes.

   It's a refreshing sound, both country and not, British and not, but literate and well-crafted all around. I think it's fantastic. I wanted to find out more so Kate consented to an interview via Facebook message:

Rick Saunders (RS) :: You've got a cool voice for...country music? I want to call it country but is it? Listeners can decide, but would you agree that what you do is at least a hybrid of country music? I hate to say alt-country, as that seems a dead or unnecessary sub-genre now. Your music, filtered by an english voice, makes your sound instantly familiar, a sweet nostalgic twinge and whisper of old-timey music. I don't want to suggest that you play english country or old-timey music in the strict sense, but there seems to be a strong element of that.

Kate Gerrard (KG) :: Yes definitely, I love country music, mostly 60s/70s artists like Flying Burrito Brothers, Skeeter Davis, Townes Van Zandt, CCR. I love the honesty of country music, and that songwriting as an art is at the centre of it. That's how I write songs. Country's such a wide genre that one person's country might be very different from another's. When I talk about country, I mean those great songwriters who were singing and playing from the heart.

(RS) Agreed. There's a level of poetry in so much of the older stuff, and that's hard to come by these days. So much of country music, the horror that is pop-country, is that it's a bumpersticker slogan for a corporate beer commercial faux party.  On the other hand, one of the things I like about your work is the thoughtfulness of the lyrics and the music. How long have you been playing, and have you been in other bands?

(KG) Thanks. I take a lot of care with all the aspects of my music – arrangements, lyrics, through to photos and artwork. To me, it’s all art and deserves time and thought and consideration. I’ve been playing music since I was a kid, and I started on the guitar when I was about 13, so I’ve been playing for nearly 20 years. I started writing songs about then too. I’ve been in various bands over the last ten years or so, tried to get various things started. But I got to the point a couple of years ago when that got a bit frustrating, so I decided just to record my songs, and I got people to come and play on them – drums, pedal steel, strings, backing vocals, flugelhorn. I’m lucky to be in Brighton where there are a lot of great musicians around. I like the freedom of doing it like that, you don’t feel compelled to include an instrument just because you’ve got someone in your band who plays it. That being said, since recording the album I now have a five piece band – including Andrew Blake, who played the pedal steel on Wasted - and they're all great musicians, so I’m looking forward to bringing the songs to life, and I think future recordings will have more of a band feel.

(RS) The care you've taken in your presentation via the videos and graphics for the single, the overall sound of the production, plus the fact that you didn't just dump an album on the world all at once...it shows care, and thoughtfulness...and style.
I'm delighted to hear you say that you look at all of it as art. I have the same view. In this day and age you either craft it carefully or get ignored. Of course you can still be well-crafted and get ignored but...
I want to ask you about the album Bow Out Of The Fading Light but first I want to ask you about the single you did for the wonderful Random Acts Of Vinyl label. I've loved all the stuff I've heard from that label, particularly the single by your friends Paul Pascoe of Mudlow and his friend the great Sally Megee, And of course the Mudlow single. How'd that come about?

(KG) Yeah and I really enjoy crafting it, and thinking it through. And there’s no imperative to do things quickly, I’d rather let something come to fruition when it’s ready. Although that’s not to say it doesn't get frustrating now and again! Ah the wonderful Random Acts Of Vinyl! They’ve got/are some great bands – Palm Springs, Fire Eyes, Beat Hotel. I think the upcoming Fire Eyes single will be their 15th release, so they’ve got a good back catalogue too. My involvement came about because Davey (Pinnington, who runs the label with Jon Russo) saw my previous band at a night he was co-running at the time. He liked it and wanted to do a release. That was about two years ago, just when I’d started this set of recordings, and the band I was in was coming to an end, so it ended up being what became The Delta Bell. Davey and Jon have both been really supportive and encouraging. It was Davey who suggested doing the mixing and mastering with Paul Pascoe, which I’m so glad I did – he just got what I was doing, and took the extra time to master the songs onto tape which just gave it that extra warmth and magic. It feels very communal, and we’re all involved in each other’s music somehow – the great Sally Megee sang on one of my songs, I ended up playing piano for Palm Springs and doing some background vocals, that kind of thing. It shouldn’t be underestimated how fun it is doing it that way, there are a lot of good times in the RAOV world!

(RS) Paul has some great ears and taste to match, doesn't he? If I could afford to record my band by anyone he'd top my list.
Tell me about the name, The Delta Bell.

(KG) I was at a photography exhibition in London, and there were some photographs by William Eggleston. I love his work, it totally draws me in. There were a couple of photos next to each other, one was of a car in front of a food stall, and the sign said Delta Kreme. I liked the sound of Delta Kreme, but not wanting to sound like a donut vendor, I wrote some other words down. The next photo along had the ‘something bell’ on it -  I can’t remember what exactly – so one of the ones I wrote was The Delta Bell. I still liked it a few weeks later so I kept it.

(RS) Do you have a release date for the album, Bow Out Of The Fading Light? How are you going about putting it out? Do you have a label or are you going DIY with it? I love the title. Whats the source of it?

(KG) I don’t have a release date yet, but I think it will be early next year, and there might be another single before then on RAOV. I’ve only released one single so I’m at the very early stages of getting stuff out there so I’ll see how it goes. RAOV are keen to put the album out but as always it depends on finances, and they're supportive of me seeing if there are any other interested labels so we'll see how it goes. It will be out somehow early next year, mainly so I can get on with the next one! 
I’m not really sure where the album title came from, it’s just one of those phrases that I had knocking about in a notebook and it seemed to fit that collection of songs. I guess when I thought of it, it was at a time when there were a lot of changes in my life, so to me it’s kind of like closing the door on the past, not in a traumatic way, but just stepping aside from it all and starting anew. Kind of laying ghosts to rest, and moving on.

(RS):: Ok, last question: How fun was writing Wasted? The lines throughout are so good and quietly cutting, I love "wasted on heartache and tears." Anything else the world should know about The Delta Bell? Favourite writer? Favourite books, Color?

(KG): Ha, yes it was fun. I love playing it. I had part of the chorus knocking about for a while, and then the rest of it kind of tumbled out one evening. I think there’s that point when you’ve broken up with someone and you’ve done all the crying and drinking, and then you’re kind of left with this empty cynicism and just not wanting to have to bother thinking about it anymore. It was fun writing a song that was intended to be delivered so drily, and I always wanted to play it as if I couldn’t be bothered. That’s quite hard to do as it turns out, so it bounces a bit more than it did in my head! Favourite writers change a bit, but I always love Christopher Isherwood. He's a neutral observer, and I love that he lets you come to your own conclusions about characters. I also like it because I'm a bit of a history nerd, so I especially love the Berlin novels. My other 'release' this year is a chapter I've written on East German punk for a book on alternative music behind the Iron Curtain. So yeah, that's something you didn't know about The Delta Bell!

(RS) Thank You, Kate! I appreciate you taking the time to chat. I can't wait to hear more.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Monday, June 2, 2014

What Tallulah Bankhead Taught Me.

Maybe you know her name, or maybe you are into movies or old Hollywood and you'd heard her name and some salacious gossip...even today 45 years after her death.

I first became intrigued with Miss Bankhead while reading Milking The Moon, a bio of Eugene Walter. Here's the story of their first meeting recounted by Paste Magazine writer Charles McNair:

"He claimed as a friend Tallulah Bankhead. Ms. Bankhead bestowed her friendship on Eugene after he suggested a stage prop in one of her shows be given to “the state of Alabama because we ought to make a shrine over that like they made over Buddha’s tooth in Ceylon.” According to Eugene, Ms. Bankhead rewarded him with three of her pubic hairs for his suggestion … two of which he swapped for books or other treasures, and one of which he kept in a Chinese porcelain box until the day he died."

When I read a book I use a 4x11" folded piece of paper as a bookmark. I use that to make note of things I know nothing about, and things I want to know more about.

Here's what I learned from Tallulah Bankhead.


Via Tallulah - My Autobiography
062015 - Updated via Tallulah Bankhead - A Scandalous Life

Andre Ratoucheff

Princess Patricia regiment

Tamara Geva

Ammonia Coke

Estelle Winwood

Canada Lee

Caresse Crosby

Barnaby comic strip

film:: The House On 92nd Street
film:: A Royal Scandal

Traducer

Stark Young

Texas Guinan

The Talmadge Sisters

Laurette Taylor

David Belasco

Jobyna Howland

Margaret Case Harriman & The Vicious Circle

Beardley Rumi

Ninon D' Enclos

Lola Montez

Willie Collier

The Hottentot

Ethel Barrymore 

Declasse


Rachel Crothers

Willard Mack

Toper or Tosspot

Costermonger

Madam Blavatsky

Dastard

Poltroon

Gilda Gray

Chic Sale

Dick Wittington

Tenterhooks

Surcease

Welkin

Toffs

Lohengrin

Bricktop

Sadie Thompson

Chemin de fir

Tom Tiddler's Ground

Augustus John (painting of Tallulah)

sculpter Dobson

Gainesborough - Perdita

Ambrose McEvoy (Portraint of Tallulah)

Common Weal

James Thurber cartoon that Tallulah owned

Planter's Punch

Francois Villon: "Ou' sant les neiges d'antan?"


Sgt. Eugene List

Addlepate

Haridan

Estelle Winwood

Burris Jenkins

Bugs Baer














Saturday, May 17, 2014

What I learned From Jimmie Rodgers.

 
 When I read a book I use a bookmark made out of a sheet of paper folded to about four by eleven. I use it to take notes about things I want to know more about, or don't know about at all. 

Here's the list from Nolan Porterfield's JIMMIE RODGERS - LIFE & TIME: The Life and Times of America's Blue Yodeler::


ne plus ultra

apple knocker

Chick Webb - Sweet Sue 

Sinecure

Incunablula

The Happiness Boys - Billy Jones and Ernie Hare

The Silver Masked Tenor = Joseph White

Nellie Melba


Riley Puckett

Reverend Andy Jenkins

Edward Abbe Niles

Boyd Senter and The Senterpedes

Gene Austin

Simoleans

Bill Bruner

Joe Hanks aka Fine Arts (no info found)

William S. Hart

Hoot Gibson

Ben Turpin

Jimmie & I.N. Bronson

The Two Black Crows

Romans : 6

Bindlestiff 

Last songs recorded by Jimmie Rodgers (in order) =
Old Love Letters
Mississippi Delta Blues
Down Below The Mason-Dixon Line











Thursday, May 1, 2014

I Will Miss Your Company.




Fact.





Saturday, April 5, 2014

J. Geils Band - "Live" Full House: Greatest Live Album of All Time or First Sign of The Detroit Breakdown?



"Serves you right to suffer baby. 
Serves you right. 
You gonna live alone."

Is J. Geils Band LiVE Full House the greatest live rock album of all time? For me that'd be a two-way tie...maybe three-way. The tie is with the live side of ZZ Top's Fandango. So, tie and a half maybe. Third? Rush- All The Worlds a Stage. Bite me. I'm no big Rush fan (anymore ;0) but I do respect the hell out of them. More about that later*.
Why J.Geils Full House? About all I can say is you have to hear it. It's made loud to be played loud. The band is as tight as if they were all breathing from the same lung. Their set is filled with hard soul boogie and seriousass deep blues. Peter Wolf is one of the best post-Jagger leadmen in the history of rock. Magic Dick is a harmonica player who is tasteful and plays with the band and augments the band and knows when to wail and when to shut the hell up. Rare in a harp player. The whole album is only about forty minutes long and that's all J. Geils needs to kill and bury you. Trust me. This is one album that no collection is complete without. I bought my first copy on vinyl in 1972 when I was twelve after my brother told me he'd just blown his tweeters after repeated listens to Whammer Jammer. I got it and stretched my woofers from endlessly playing J. Geils cover of Hooker's Serves You Right to Suffer. That song helped make me the man I am today.

*Here's the deal with Rush- All The Worlds a Stage: As a kid I had a hand me down stereo I got from my older brother. It was one of those old jobs where the speakers are attached to the side and you could fold them back and flip the turntable up and it had a handle on the top which made the thing portable. One day I was listening to something as loud as that ol' stereo would go when all of a sudden it started smoking and one of the channels went out. I was crushed. I kept using the thing as a mono rig and didn't bother to buy any more records because I knew they'd sound like crap. But then All The Worlds a Stage came out and I had to get it. When down to the record store and picked it up. Put it on and it sounded like crap. At first. But but then that old stereo started smokin' again and the speaker started working again. The power of Rush repaired my stereo.





Friday, April 4, 2014

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Calling All Angels.

I went to a memorial for a college student today. A freshman. She died in a car accident on the way home for Christmas. She must have done something right, she must have lived right because the room was packed. Life is far too short no matter how long you have in it. 
Peace to her and her friends and family. And to you.