Saturday, July 04, 2015
I'm not sure of the title of this painting, or where it now resides. It was completed in 1845, no doubt based on accounts of the battle available to Ranney.
Cowpens was an important victory for the Continental Army, as it set back the British attempt to consolidate their earlier successes in the South--they had earlier captured Savannah in Georgia and Charleston and Camden in South Carolina--and helped to clear the way for the victory at Yorktown later that year.
Friday, July 03, 2015
"South Coast" is a song I've long liked, but I wondered if, as the Trio claim in their introduction to it during their performance at San Francisco's "Hungry i" club in 1958, which was recorded for their first live album, that it was "written 150 years ago." It wasn't; the lyrics were written by Lillian Bos Ross (1898-1959), author of The Stranger in Big Sur, with music by Sam Eskin and Rich Dehr. This isn't the only error in the Trio's intro; they also refer to "the Big Sur area of the Monterey Peninsula." The Big Sur is south of the Monterey Peninsula. Enjoy the song anyway.
Thursday, June 25, 2015
"Summertime Blues" has been covered a number of times, including by The Who and Blue Cheer.
Addendum: Paul Scanlon, who's probably forgotten more about rock music than I know, reminds me of Eddie's best song, "Cut Across Shorty," which I'll include as a TBT bonus (it's still Thursday, if only barely):
Saturday, June 20, 2015
The clip above shows the Holmes Brothers performing "Amazing Grace" at the Kitchener Blues Festival in Kitchener, Ontario in 2010. Today I learned the history of this widely beloved hymn. The author of its words, John Newton, was a slave ship captain who saw the error of his ways and became a clergyman and an ardent campaigner for the abolition of slavery.
This clip is of the Holmes Brothers doing "Feed My Soul" with another Dan Lynch regular, Joan Osborne.
Finally, here are the Brothers, with Joan Osborne and other backup singers, doing "Ain't No Grave Gonna Hold My Body Down" on Letterman.
Wendell Holmes died yesterday. Goodbye to a favorite musician, and friend.
Wednesday, June 17, 2015
In the video above, he plays "Lonely Woman" at Jazz à Vienne, in 2008. He's accompanied by Tony Falanga, bass; Al MacDowell, electric bass; and Denardo Coleman (his son), drums.
Let's see. They storm back from a bad outing by Gee, now designated for assignment, to win the rubber game of a series with the Braves. Syndegaard pitches well, gets little support, but they manage to hang on and beat the Jays in the 11th. Harvey, subject to rumors of problems following his Tommy John surgery, pitches well in a 5-3 victory in the second game against the Jays. The front office projects David Wright back soon after the All-Star Break. And they enjoy a two game lead in the NL East.
It all looks so good. I hope this observation doesn't collapse their Schrödinger wave function.
Thursday, June 11, 2015
"Sidewalk Surfin' " was Messrs Berry and Torrence's attempt to expand the demographic for surf music into more urban territory. As the story goes, Jan Berry tried to write a song about skateboarding, which was just becoming popular at the time, but came up blank. He turned to his friend Brian Wilson who, with his lyricist partner Roger Christian, came up with a song to the tune of the Beach Boys' then recent hit "Catch a Wave".
Bust yer buns!
Sunday, June 07, 2015
The Deity and I, you might say, got off in a bad way. When I was five or six, my mother would read to me from a book, published in the late nineteenth century, Bible Stories for Children: Volume 1, The Old Testament. Judging by its publication date, I can surmise that my great grandmother probably bought this book to read to my grandmother, who had in turn read it to my mother, then passed it on to her for my edification. The New Testament volume probably went to Mom's older sister, my Aunt Dorothy. This had a profound effect on the early development of my attitude concerning religion.
Instead of gentle Jesus, my introduction to Abrahamic faith focused on the stern though frequently providential God of the ancient Hebrews, his relationship with his often rebellious chosen people, and his merciless measures against those who opposed them, or just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. The nineteenth century Bible Stories text, though intended for children, did not stint on the harsher aspects of this narrative. One delightful bedtime story was derived from the Second Book of Kings, Chapter Two, verses 23 and 24, rendered in the King James Version as follows:
23 And he [the prophet Elisha] went up from thence unto Bethel: and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head.This was rendered in more up-to-date prose ("tare" I think was replaced by "slew"), and accompanied by an illustration quite similar or identical to the one at the head of this post. I know that I reacted to this with horror. I must have said something to my mother, though I can't recall what, nor can I her reply. I'm sure she tried her best to be reassuring, probably saying that God would never do such a thing to a good kid like me. Whatever she said, although I may have faked it, I wasn't consoled. I lay in my bed that night thinking that I hated God, and thinking that, at any moment, God might destroy me for that thought, just as he had the children of Bethel.
24 And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the LORD. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them.
In doing a Google search for pictures related to this story, I found this image of a painting by the seventeenth century French artist Laurent de la Hire, which depicts something not mentioned in, but implied by, the Biblical account, The Children of Bethel Mourned by their Mothers:
In recent years, I've sometimes asked Christian friends if they're familiar with this story; usually, they say "No." Once, I was in an on-line discussion with a conservative Christian* who allowed that the King James rendition of Elisha's tormentors as "little children" might not be accurate; that a better translation might be "young people." Indeed, the New International Version of the Bible says they were "youths" (though the New Revised Standard Version, used by the Episcopal Church, calls them "small boys"). But does it really matter whether the victims were the Rugrats or Beavis and Butthead?
At age five-going-on-six, when I first heard this story, I was soon to be introduced to the kinder, gentler side of Christianity: sweet Jesus, who liked children and lambs, went around telling scary but instructive stories, and died a gruesome death to protect kids like me from the wrath of his father. This seemed satisfying for a while, at least until adolescent rebellion
Several years ago we were guests at a seder given by the mother of one of my daughter's friends. The Passover story is another troubling one for me, involving as it does the slaying of babies and children whose only offense was to be the first-born offspring of parents of the wrong sort. It had been some years since I had last participated in this festive meal, so I had forgotten this portion of the Haggadah:
Midrash teaches that, while watching the Egyptians succumb to the ten plagues [of which the slaying of the firstborn was the tenth], the angels broke into songs of jubilation. G-d rebuked them, saying "My creatures are perishing, and you sing praises?"Then, at the Good Friday service at Grace Church, one of the clergy recited the Solemn Reproaches, a litany which is similar in its call-and-response structure to the Dayenu litany of the Haggadah. The penultimate of the Reproaches was:
As we recite each plague, we will spill a drop of wine--symbol of joy--from our cups. Our joy in our liberation will always be tarnished by the pain visited upon the Egyptians.
I grafted you onto the tree of my chosen Israel, and you turned on them with mass murder, and Holocaust. I made you joint heirs with them of my covenants, but you made them scapegoats for your own guilt.To this, as to all the other Reproaches, the response by the congregation was:
Holy God, holy and mighty,The "Holocaust" element in the Reproaches is obviously a very modern addition, though a welcome one. The reference in the Haggadah to Midrash indicates that the reference to God's mourning the Egyptians may have originated in the second through ninth century C.E.; many years after the Exodus story was committed to writing. Faith traditions evolve. Does God evolve with them? Certainly our understanding of God does.
Holy immortal One, have mercy upon us.
* For Fray alums, the person in question is "Locdog."
Thursday, June 04, 2015
I found his first hit, "Taxi", unsettling. It charted in 1972, as I was near the beginning of my career, and its story of youthful dreams washed away in a cold bath of reality was scary. I did like the song's having a narrative arc. Most of Chapin's songs were like this; he gave his third album for Elektra the title "Short Stories." One of the songs on that album is "W*O*L*D":
I first heard "W*O*L*D" on WNEW-FM, then New York's great album-oriented rock station, sometime in 1974. The DJ (was it Vin Scelsa?) wondered aloud if the title was a play on WNEW. That would seem logical, Harry being a New Yorker, but the song was about being a DJ at a small town top 40 AM station. Like "Taxi" it's about growing older and facing that frigid reality bath, with respect both to career and relationships.
Harry Chapin wrote most of the songs he recorded (although his only number one hit, "Cat's in the Cradle," was written by his wife) and therefore can be considered part of the genre of "singer-songwriters" who became popular in the late 1960s and early '70s; other examples are Joni Mitchell and James Taylor. Rock critics were, as a rule, disdainful of this group. Reviews of their work often included descriptors like "precious" and "self-indulgent." Lester Bangs, in an essay titled "James Taylor Marked for Death," wrote:
DECIDE whether you want to jump and caper with music that's alive or molder in the Dostoyevskian hovels of dead bardic auteur crap picking nits out of its navel and so sickly that to see it shake its ass would be a hilarious horror indeed.As I've recounted in an earlier post, one night at the Bells of Hell I had a "Bless me, Lester, for I have sinned" session in which, among other things, I confessed to liking Gordon Lightfoot. Lester's response was, "Hmph! I know Gord. Do you know what he does when he needs inspiration to write a song? He goes to the hardware store and stares at the labels on cans of paint." He didn't give me a penance; if he had, it would probably have been to listen to something like the album Blank Generation by Richard Hell and the Void-oids five times. I did go through my set of Lightfoot albums looking for song titles incorporating color imagery, but came up blank.
Lester, if you've broken away from frugging on the head of a pin long enough to read over my shoulder, please understand that there are times when I "want to jump and caper," but also times when I want to sojourn in "Dostoyevskian hovels." In other words, I'm not taking "DECIDE" as a command. No disrespect: to be true to what one believes is most admirable. I am made of less adamant stuff. And Harry, if you're having a peek, the only thing I can't forgive is your having unwittingly launched the career of Billy Joel, who tried to channel you in his first hit, "Piano Man".
We had dinner at Longchamps, where I was given a "Manhattan," which was ginger ale with a splash of grenadine and a maraschino cherry, served in a Martini glass. I felt very sophisticated. Longchamps is long gone.
The high point, in two senses of the word, of my first stay in New York was going to the observatory on the Empire State Building. I looked down and saw the R.M.S. Queen Elizabeth, then the world's largest ocean liner, docked at the Cunard pier on the West Side. Looking to the north and east, I saw the Chrysler Building, with its spiked helmet top, almost at eye level and a good deal taller than anything else in that direction, including the (then) RCA Building in Rockefeller Center.
The photo above shows midtown Manhattan, circa a year ago, as I photographed it with a zoom lens from the Brooklyn Bridge. Much has changed since 1951. Of the large buildings visible in Midtown, only the Chrysler Building remains from that time, and it was being overtopped by 432 Park Avenue, ten blocks further uptown. The overtopping is now complete, and I've expressed my dismal opinion of it here.
As I noted in my post about 432 Park, I'm distressed about the displacement of mostly young, creative, artistic people from what had been their traditional haunts, starting with Greenwich Village, where I used to live, and for which I blame myself, having been one of the yuppies who spelled its doom by enabling landlords to charge higher rents. I've reminisced about the Village, or at least about a particular bar, here; my friend Dave Coles and I have have both mourned it here.
I started this post over a year ago, but got distracted by other things, as well as by my inability to see where it might be going. It's still a work in progress; I'm going to let this be a teaser for some later posts in which I'll try to discuss the issues more extensively and, I hope, intelligently. I have been spurred to thinking about these matters by a couple of pieces by people I like and respect: one is Tim Sommer's "New York City and Taylor Swift (or How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love Change)"; the other is Francis Morrone's "No, New York City is not Losing its Soul". Both make interesting, provocative points that I will return to in later posts. Morrone, in particualr, points out that I'm giving myself too much credit--or should that be, claiming too much blame?--for the demise of bohemia in the Village. That process, he writes, began long before I arrived.
I've stolen the title for this post from an album by Eric Andersen, a singer whose songs I've long loved.
In the clip above, made in 2011, he sings "Violets of Dawn," probably his best-known (and often covered) song, at a venue called "Music on Main" in Woodbridge, New Jersey, As "Crossbow0106," one of the commenters on the YouTube clip, puts it:
Eric is one of very few artists I've heard that over time has adapted his songs to his voice. His voice now works perfectly with "Violets Of Dawn", a little fragility that resonates with beauty. His "young voice" worked with this song also, but I love that Eric can sing this 50 years on or so and it sounds just amazing. Bravo!Maybe Woodbridge, or some place like it, is where you have to go now to get the music characteristic of a Village venue in the 1960s. Or, as Bob Dylan put it, on "Talkin' New York" back in 1961, "So long, New York; howdy East Orange."
Thursday, May 28, 2015
Back when I was in law school (1967-70) at this time of the year, as final exams were finishing, lots of calls went from my classmates to the two big Boston top 40 AM stations, WMEX and WRKO, requesting this 1966 hit by the Bobby Fuller Four, a group that gave a harder edge to the Buddy Holly West Texas rockabilly sound.
The song was later covered by The Clash, completing a bridge from Buddy Holly to '70s punk.
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
I didn't expect the Mets to go into a vertiginous nosedive in which they would lose ten out of fifteen, including losses in all their road games; swept 4-0 by the Cubs and 3-0 by the Pirates. On top of this came the news that Wright had been diagnosed with spinal stenosis. G.M. Sandy Alderson is trying hard to seem optimistic, saying "I'm hopeful that we'll see him back sooner than some are speculating."
The Mets' travails had me in a bit of a funk. I remembered this Crain's editorial, and thought about the long series of players the Mets had acquired as free agents or in trades--Kevin McReynolds, Vince Coleman, Bobby Bonilla, Eddie Murray, Roberto Alomar--to name some (and, yes, I'd include Mike Piazza in the list), in search of quick fixes that didn't happen. I wondered if Granderson and Cuddyer would be added to that list. I also wondered about the decision to go with Wilmer Flores (photo), with his nine errors so far this season, at shortstop. This seemed to be grounded in a privileging of offense over defense, in turn based on the theory that it's home runs, not crisply turned double plays, that draws crowds to the stands.
In any event, the notion that the Mets could simply outscore their opponents despite having sketchy defense clearly wasn't working. In the fourteen games from May 11 through 24 they were outscored 68-42. Part of this is the fault of poor outings by pitchers at the top of the rotation, but problems at the plate were obvious. Some of this could be attributed to Wright's absence, but those who had done much to make up for that earlier in the season--Duda, Flores, and Lagares--were now having trouble reaching base.
It occurred to me that one contributing factor might be the sadistic-seeming string of twenty games without a break, beginning on May 8 and continuing through tomorrow, May 27, But the longest string of losses--five in a row from May 11 through May 15--happened early in the long march. This did make me curious enough to find out if a couple on Staten Island (possible Yankees fans?) were still doing the MLB season schedule. The answer is: no, they're not. In 2004 they were replaced by The Sports Scheduling Group, a company located in Butler, Pennsylvania, near Pittsburgh.
The Mets' win over the Phils yesterday brightened my spirits a bit. Colon, who got shelled the last time he was on the mound, got his seventh win of the season, and his second hit. Should he return next year, he will be denied any trips to the plate if the NL adopts the designated hitter rule. No, I can't write a baseball post without mentioning my disdain for the DH. Also, Flores' bat proved decisive with a three run dinger, and he made no errors. It's not the end of the world just yet.
Thursday, May 21, 2015
Below is a clip of King doing "Sweet Little Angel," one of my favorites of his songs:
Photo: B.B. King following a White House performance; Eric Draper, photographer (Wikimedia Commons).
Thursday, May 14, 2015
The Dollyrots (not to be confused with the Dolly Dots, a Dutch girl group popular in the '80s), have a style that's been described as "bubblegum punk." The group consists of a husband and wife--Luis Cabezas, who plays guitar, sings, and jumps around a lot, and Kelly Ogden, who plays bass and sings--and whatever drummer they happen to be working with. They've had more drummers than Spinal Tap, though I don't think any of them died in a bizarre gardening accident, choked on someone else's vomit, or underwent spontaneous bodily combustion.
Cabezas and Ogden met when they were students at New College in Sarasota, Florida, at the time a branch campus of my alma mater. They now call L.A. home. They have a daughter, River, who was in utero when they made their album Barefoot and Pregnant. They also do a nice cover of Melanie's 1971 hit "Brand New Key," which I'm including as a bonus, since it also counts as a TBT:
Monday, May 11, 2015
"This is the National League. You have to be on your toes."--Mets third string catcher Johnny Monell (photo) quoted in today's New York Times.
Monell was called up last week to back up backup catcher Kevin Plawecki, who became the starter when Travis d'Arnaud went on the DL. In yesterday's game at Philadelphia, the rubber game of a tied series, Terry Collins rested Plawecki--he decided to rest some starters in this third game of a sadistically scheduled twenty straight games without a break--and started Anthony Recker. In the eighth, with the Mets holding a 5-4 lead, Monell was the only lefty batter on the bench, so Collins sent him to the plate and he produced a two run double that gave the Mets their 7-4 margin of victory.
The Mets' record is now 20-11. It's no longer the best in MLB; it's only the third best in the NL. The Cards are 22-9 and the Dodgers 20-10. In the comparison that's most important to me and to most New Yorkers, the Mets are one half game ahead of the 20-12 Yankees. Still, they are below the fold in the Times sports section.
Should the Mets play .500 ball for the rest of the season, they would end with 86 wins, which could give them a shot at the wild card. It could even give them the NL East title, provided the Nats, now 3 1/2 games behind and playing .531 ball, don't do much better than .500 for the rest of the season, and neither the Braves nor the Marlins catch fire. The prospect of the Mets continuing to play at their present sizzling .645 rate, which includes a twelve game winning streak, seems unlikely. The chances of their playing better than .500, though, seem reasonably good, provided that third baseman David Wright and lefty reliever Jerry Blevins come off the DL in good shape and stay that way, starting RHP Noah Syndergaard lives up to the hype, and they're spared a further plethora of injuries (always a chancy assumption with the Mets). Closer Jenrry Mejia is serving an eighty game suspension for failing a banned substance test, but Jeurys Familia, with thirteen saves so far, has proved a most capable replacement.
Monell's quip sums up why I prefer the NL game to the dumbed down version played in That Other League.
Thursday, May 07, 2015
Treadwell did not pay the musicians well; this, along with the draft and personal problems caused many changes in The Drifters' membership between 1954 and '58. Several former members joined in a group they called "The Original Drifters"; a version of this group still exists today. In 1958 Treadwell fired the remaining non-original Drifters, then hired Ben E. King and three other musicians from a group called the Five Crowns and made them The Drifters.
With King as lead vocalist, The Drifters had several hits. This was partly attributable to King's vocal talent and partly to Ertegun's having entrusted the production of their recordings to Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, the two men behind, as songwriters and producers, so much of the best R&B of the late fifties and after. The King-led Drifters scored first with "There Goes My Baby," a mournful ballad with string accompaniment that made it to number two on the pop chart and number one on R&B in 1959. They made it to the top of the pop chart in 1960 with what is probably their best remembered song, "Save the Last Dance for Me." My favorite, though, is "This Magic Moment" (video above) released earlier in 1960, which charted at number sixteen. The "woo-woo" strings are cheesy, but the song showcases the dynamics and warmth of King's voice.
Ben E. King portrait by Mira Sasson.
Monday, May 04, 2015
Garner tells us that the original syntax, dating from the fifteenth century, was in the form "Christ College Cambridge graduated John" or, "more commonly," he writes, "John was graduated from Christ College Cambridge." This makes sense; the school graduates the student, not the opposite. In the nineteenth century, though, the "was" began to be dropped from the latter construction, thus going from the passive to the active voice and making "graduate" an ergative verb. (Hey, you learn something every day!) So it became "John graduated from Princeton." It's clear from this construction that John did nothing to Princeton (apart from receiving a diploma from it and, perhaps, leaving).
But then, Garner notes with sorrow, sometime in the mid twentieth century it became common to drop the "from," leaving "Jane graduated Yale," or the like. As he writes: "Although this wording is becoming increasingly common, it is best avoided." He continues:
As the Washington Post copyeditor Bill Walsh puts it, “When I hear ‘I graduated college,’ I want to answer ‘No, you didn’t.’ . . . [Y]ou call your education into question if you omit the from.”
Thursday, April 30, 2015
.The song was "You Can't Sit Down," a '63 hit for the Dovells, a Philadelphia group whose biggest hit was "The Bristol Stomp" and who recorded on Cameo Records, part of the Cameo-Parkway group that was central to the Philly rock and R&B scene in the late 1950s through the '60s.
Monday, April 27, 2015
This past Saturday, April 25, I walked from my home in Brooklyn Heights across the Brooklyn Bridge to attend the official re-opening of the Museum's historic ship collection. Approaching the Museum on Fulton Street, I took the photo above, which could have been a scene from over a century ago. The masts of the barque Peking loom over the rooflines of Schermerhorn Row, a group of commercial buildings dating from the early nineteenth century, which now house the Museum's visitor center and galleries, along with several commercial stores.
Wednesday, April 22, 2015
I remember somewhere this Dutch group's 1973 hit being voted the best song to listen to while driving. This live video must have been made in Holland; everyone in the audience seems so reserved. I'm guessing the bored looking women sitting on the edge of the stage are the band's girlfriends.
Tuesday, April 21, 2015
That's what lots of pundits argue for: make the National League conform to the American League rule that allows each team to have a designated hitter who substitutes for the pitcher in the batting order, thereby relieving the pitcher of any offensive duty. The arguments for the DH are: (1) increase scoring by eliminating an unproductive batter, and (2) speed up the game by eliminating pitcher changes when a pitcher has to be taken out for a pinch hitter, necessitating a warmup session for his substitute. However, it's been argued that the DH actually slows down games by allowing more intra-inning pitching changes, since these don't affect the batting lineup.
My arguments against the DH are well documented here. I think it dumbs down the game in an effort to appeal to fans who want more scoring. The only major sport I can think of that has more scoring on a consistent basis is basketball. I haven't compared statistics, but I'd be willing to wager that scoring in NFL football is about as frequent, on the average, as in major league baseball, if we count only touchdowns and field goals and ignore the point after the TD. As for hockey and soccer, I think it's evident that scoring is less frequent than in baseball in both.
With respect to speeding up the game, I'll confess to something idiosyncratic: I like regular breaks in the action that give me time to reflect on the situation, get a snack, chat with a friend, whatever. In any event, the evidence shows that the DH has little or no effect on game times. Besides, why must we assume that pitchers can't hit? Look at Bartolo Colon. Heck, look at Dwight Gooden back in the day, or Warren Spahn. Lots of pitchers--really good pitchers--can or could hit.
Thursday, April 16, 2015
Percy Sledge, who died Tuesday, is most remembered for his 1966 number one hit, "When a Man Loves a Woman." My favorite of his, though, is "Take Time to Know Her," which charted at number 11 (number 6 on the R&B chart) in 1968.
In the New York Times obituary linked above, critic Dave Marsh is quoted as having:
compared Mr. Sledge’s weighty, smooth wail to “the South itself, in all its bountiful, contradictory mystery.”Percy Sledge was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2005.
Monday, April 13, 2015
My sense: glass half full.
Saturday, April 11, 2015
Wednesday, April 08, 2015
Monday, April 06, 2015
The Mets share the division lead with their erstwhile nemeses, the Braves, who beat the Marlins 2-1. The other Eastern Division team, the Phils, got clobbered in an interleague game with the Red Sox, 8-0 (my wife is smiling; Joe Queenan is gritting his teeth). What does an opening day win portend? Evidently, for the Mets, not much. They hold the best record in the Majors for opening day, 35-19; their seasonal successes have been far fewer. But, as someone (my Tampa homeboy Tony La Russa?) said, "A win in April counts as much as a win in October."
Sunday, April 05, 2015
Collegium 1704 Prague Baroque Orchestra & Vocal Ensemble, under the direction of Vaclav Luks. The soloist is mezzo soprano Hana Blažíková, who sings the part of the Angel. This aria immediately follows the overture. A comment on the YouTube page gives this translation:
Doors of Avern [hell], open yourself! And be the dread all melted in flares, in front of the good light of an eternal God! Give way, dreadful doors, give way in front of the King of Glory, whose victory you are the first [to] honour!
Wednesday, April 01, 2015
The Detergents were Ron Dante, Danny Jordan, and Tommy Wynn, who were songwriters and session musicians for Aldon Music. The co-owner of Aldon, along with Al Nevins, was Don Kirshner, known for having launched the careers of Bobby Darin, Neil Diamond, and Kansas, among others, as well as having supplied songs for the Monkees.
Tuesday, March 31, 2015
Wednesday, March 25, 2015
"Walk Away Renée, by The Left Banke was a hit for this previously unknown New York group in 1966, rising to number five on the pop charts. The lyrics are by then sixteen year old, Brooklyn born and raised Michael Brown (born Michael Lookofsky), who died last week (on my birthday) at the now tender age of 65.
Brown was the keyboardist for the band; on this he plays harpsichord, not a usual rock instrument. His father was a classical and jazz pianist, and he had classical training. His father produced this song and other Left Banke cuts.
"Walk Away Renée" has been covered many times, most memorably by Motown legends The Four Tops, who took it to number fourteen in 1969, and most recently by Linda Ronstadt and Ann Savoy.