Sunday, August 30, 2015

Happy 70th, Van Morrison!

It's been almost exactly 48 years since I sat in Hazen's sandwich shop on Mount Auburn Street in Cambridge, heard "Brown Eyed Girl" on the jukebox, and wondered, "Who is that?"

The following year, 1968, we were both in Cambridge, and you were gigging in some of the local venues. I was busy being a law student, so didn't get to hear you accompanying yourself on acoustic guitar, along with Tom Keilbania on upright bass and John Payne on flute. Later that year you went to New York to cut your first album for Warner, Astral Weeks, with a group of jazz musicians you'd never met before, though you manged to get Payne on to play flute. Below is a clip of the title track:

When I first heard the album I didn't like it. It was too subtle, too restrained, too "jazzy." As my tastes expanded with age and experience, I came to like it very much.

Tomorrow, August 31, 2015 you'll be seventy. I'll reach that milestone next March. As one near septuagenarian to another, I wish you many more years and many more songs.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

TBT: Chuck Berry, "No Particular Place to Go."

I'll be riding along in my (rental) automobile soon, so this by, in my opinion, the greatest rocker of all, was on my mind, despite my having a particular place to go. The clip below gives you the music, along with a great photo montage of vintage muscle cars.
The song charted in late 1964, just as I was starting college. Safety belts were a new thing then.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Grammar snobbery is the sort of thing up with which I will not put. Well, not too much.

There's a story, possibly spurious, that Winston Churchill was handed a draft of something he'd written; on it, an editor had written in the margin that he should change a sentence so that it didn't end with a preposition. Churchill's response, written below the marginal note, was, "This is the sort of bloody nonsense up with which I will not put."

I've never been keen on the rule that one should never end a sentence with a preposition. It's something I'm willing to put up with. Similarly, I'm no fan of the rule against splitting infinitives. "To boldly go" is certainly the best known violation of that rule, and it sounds, and reads, so much better than "To go boldly," My guiding rule on syntax is, if its meaning is clear and it isn't ugly, it's okay.

In general, I have no objection to neologisms, unless they're ugly or replace something that doesn't need replacing. This extends to making verbs out of nouns, including, as I can never resist adding, the verb "to verb." My wife, who is an archivist, hates to see "archive" used as a verb. She's fighting a losing battle; one that, in my opinion, isn't worth fighting. Yes, "archive" is a noun meaning a repository of historically significant materials, but to use "archive" as a verb meaning to add something to an archive (n.) doesn't create any confusion. Also, "I archived X" is shorter than "I added X to the archive." The fact that "archive" is now a button on some software programs probably means the battle is over.

There's one exception to my non-objection to the verbing of nons. That's the recently popular use of "gift" as a verb, replacing the already available and good "give." I made my argument here, then walked it back a bit, more in the sense of accepting the inevitable than changing my mind.

One thing I won't back down from is my struggle against apostrophe misuse. Using an apostrophe in a plural noun, as in "The Johnson's are coming to dinner," or failing to use one in a possessive noun, as in "That is Jims car," isn't creative or cute, it's just stupid. I've stated my case in full here.

I also get on my high horse about confusion of homonyms, such as rein and reign and throws and throes. My particular peeve now is a confusion of near-homonyms I see frequently on social media, the use of loose for lose.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

TBT: Jimmy Dorsey, "So Rare."

"So Rare" was written in 1937 and recorded and released that year by two big bands, Gus Arnheim and his Coconut Grove Orchestra and Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians. There were many subsequent releases, including one by Marian McPartland and George Shearing in 1953. Jimmy Dorsey recorded it in November of 1956, and it rose to number two on the Billboard pop chart in 1957. It has been called the last hit of the big band era, although the song's Wikipedia entry describes Dorsey's version as having "a decidedly rhythm and blues feel unlike the earlier versions."

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Party on a tanker? Yes, if it's PortSide NY's Mary A. Whalen.

A week ago PortSide New York, headed by my friend Carolina Salguera, played host to a weekend long festival aboard their historic coastal tanker Mary A. Whalen. I went on Saturday afternoon, when a folk music sing-along was scheduled.
Leading the singing were A. Heather Wood and Jerry Korobow of the Folk Music Society of New York.
Two macaws were among the visitors aboard.
Off in the harbor a fireboat was making a display of spray.
Looking aft, I saw cranes of the Red Hook Container Port and the skyline of lower Manhattan.

We sang some folk music chestnuts like "Where Have All the Flowers Gone" and labor songs like "Solidarity Forever" and "Union Maid." At my suggestion we did a couple of sea shanteys, "New York Girls," as performed below by Steeleye Span, with assistance from Peter Sellars on ukulele and verbal commentary,

and "Haul Away Joe," which I'd learned first from the Kingston Trio, then from the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem.

Heather and Jerry led us in a version of "Mary Had a Little Lamb" with which I was not familiar:

As I left the party, I took this photo of Mary A. Whalen's wheelhouse and funnel against a sunset sky:

Thursday, August 13, 2015

TBT: The Temptations, "I Wish It Would Rain."

Last week, as a nod to my friends in Florida, I TBT'd Creedence's "Who'll Stop the Rain?" This may have started a "rain" meme going in my head; that and the fact that, here in New York, we've been having a dryer than normal summer, and the leaves on the ginkgo trees outside our windows are fringed in brown. Anyway, this soulful hit from the spring of 1968 started playing on the tape loop of my mind. So, as the Pythons were wont to say: "And now, for something completely different...."

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Maritime views from an evening walk.

Yesterday evening I took a walk down to Brooklyn Bridge Park's Pier 5. As I walked out onto the pier, the sun had already set, but its rays were still reflected from clouds to the west.
As I reached the end of the pier and looked south, I saw the tug Miriam Moran "on the hip" of a barge loaded with cargo containers, taking them from the Red Hook container port; their probable destination being a railhead in New Jersey. You can find another photo of Miriam, and a link to an explanation of "on the hip," in this post.
The small container ship Nefeli was docked further down at Red Hook. Most ships using this facility bring containers loaded with bananas from Central and South America.
Looking to the west, I saw my old friend the self-unloading bulk carrier Alice Oldendorff coming through the channel between Governors Island and lower Manhattan, heading for her dock at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Like her sister Sophie Oldendorff, seen in this post, she will deliver a load of Canadian crushed stone.
The attractive motor launch Kingston was moored at the north side of the pier, waiting for the next day's work.

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

TBT: Creedence Clearwater Revival, "Who'll Stop the Rain?"

This is for my friends in Tampa, my old home town, although I'm sure you've heard it many times on local radio over the past few days. The Wikipedia entry for the song corrects what had been for me a mondegreen. The second verse begins, "I went down Virginia, seeking shelter from the storm." This made me hear subsequent lines as "Bobby plans a New Deal, wrapped in golden chains." "Bobby" seemed logical, as Robert Kennedy went to the University of Virginia Law School. Now I know it's "Five Year Plans and New Deals," implying what seems to me, though perhaps not to my more radical friends on both the left and right, an unfortunate parallel between FDR's liberalism and Stalin's totalitarianism.

At least my mondegreen wasn't as bad as someone's who heard "The girl with kaleidoscope eyes" in the Beatles' "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" as "The girl with colitis goes by." I suppose a helpful thing to say to her would be another mondegreen, this one from Creedence's "Bad Moon Rising": "There's a bathroom on the right."

Photo: Skip O'Rourke, Tampa Bay Times.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

TBT: The Lovin' Spoonful, "Summer in the City."

It was ninety degrees in the shade yesterday, so this may seem an obvious choice. Maybe too obvious. Still, I like the song. It's worn well.

In the photo at left the band are (from bottom to top): John Sebastian, Zal Yanovsky, Joe Butler, and Steve Boone. Yanovsky left the band in 1967 and Sebastian in '68, both to pursue solo careers. Yanovsky died in 2002. The group disbanded in 1969, but in 1991 Boone and Butler, along with Jerry Yester, who had replaced Yanovsky in '67, re-formed the band. The Lovin' Spoonful continue today with Boone, Butler, Yester, Mike Arturi, and Phil Smith.

Note: when I first posted this, I misidentified the order of the band members in the photo, and misspelled "Yanovsky." My friend and rock maven extraordinaire Michael Simmons set me straight, and I've corrected the post accordingly.

Photo: Wikipedia.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Steeleye Span at B.B. King's, New York, July 23, 2015.

When my wife said Steeleye Span were to appear at B.B. King's I was surprised, thinking the group, an old favorite of mine, had broken up years ago. They did break up in 1978, when lead singer Maddy Prior wanted to pursue a solo career. Nevertheless, Maddy later reconstituted the band, of which she is now the only original member. In the photo above the band members are (from left to right): guitarist and vocalist Julian Littman; fiddler and vocalist Jessie May Smart; Maddy Prior; bassist Nils JerusalemP, who recently joined the band in Seattle as a replacement for Maddy's son, Alex Kemp, who, according to Maddy, had some "paperwork problems" entering the U.S.; and drummer Liam Genockey.

The band opened with "Blackleg Miner," a song about a nineteenth century coal miners' strike. A "blackleg" was a strikebreaker, or scab. The clip above, made some years ago, shows an earlier lineup of musicians. Maddy carries the vocal by herself. At the performance last week, the other band members joined in harmony. Maddy, who will celebrate her 68th birthday on August 14, has a voice that is every bit as strong and in command of its full range as when she was younger, but the harmony vocals gave this song more of the "oomph" it needs.

Their next song came from my favorite of their albums, Commoners Crown. "Long Lankin" is a typical old English ballad, telling of betrayal, child murder, hanging, and burning at the stake. Some of Steeleye Span's songs, lovely as they are to hear, have very dark lyrics. This is because Medieval England, from which place and time these songs originated, was, for many, a place and time where life, to borrow the words of the seventeenth century philosopher Thomas Hobbes, could be "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short." The clip above is audio only; it starts with an image of the album cover, then goes to solid black. Dark indeed.

"King Henry" starts darkly: the King finds himself in a haunted house in the company of a horrific female ghoul who, in the words of Julian Littman, who introduced the song and took the lead vocal, forces him to "kill his household pets," which she devours, then to join her in bed. It ends on a bright note, though; he wakes up the following morning to find next to him the loveliest woman he's ever seen. It's good to be the King.

The band ended the concert (except for a lovely a cappella encore, the title of which I can't remember) with "Thomas the Rhymer." This song has a theme common to many of its vintage: a man, or sometimes a woman, is captured by an elf or fairy queen or king, goes through some sort of ordeal, and returns changed in some way. In the case of Thomas, it was supposed to be having the gift of prophecy. Another song, "Tam Lin", as done by another great English folk rock group, Fairport Convention, tells a tale of a man saved from the ordeal by the intervention of his lady love.

I didn't know what to expect of this concert, and was prepared to be disappointed. I was very pleasantly surprised. Maddy Prior is still in top form, and the new band members performed admirably. Special mention goes to Jessie May Smart, whose fiddle playing was extraordinary, and to Nils JerusalemP, who obviously has learned the band's repertoire quickly and adeptly.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

TBT: The Tams, "What Kind Of Fool Do You Think I Am?"

California in the 1960s had the Beach Boys; the East Coast, from Virginia down through the Carolinas and Georgia, had Beach Music. The Tams, from Atlanta, along with Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs, exemplified this easy rolling, party friendly style of rhythm and blues. Two versions of the Tams survive today.

Perhaps the best remembered of their hits is "What Kind Of Fool Do You Think I Am?" Hear it below:

Monday, July 20, 2015

Tania Grossinger, 1937-2015

Tania Grossinger's autobiography, Memoir of an Independent Woman, begins with the following paragraph:
I was born in Evanston, Illinois on February 17, 1937. My mother, Karla Seifer Grossinger, had, in her seventh month, been hospitalized for observation. The pregnancy, her first, was not going well. My father, Max, had been admitted to a separate wing ten days earlier with a second heart attack. She overheard two nurses speaking outside her door. "Isn't it a shame that Mr. Grossinger is dying." My mother told me this story when I was six years old; it was one of the rare times she ever mentioned my father. She begged the nurses to let her see him but was warned she might lose the baby if she left her bed. Two minutes later they picked her up from the floor. My heartbeat was undetectable, and a caesarean section was performed, ostensibly to bring out a dead fetus.
From this inauspicious beginning came a woman who would, over the course of her life, become friends with Jackie Robinson and Betty Friedan, and have meaningful encounters with John F. Kennedy, Hugh Hefner, Ayn Rand (who played a joke on her), and Johnny Carson, among others. Details are in her book; my review is here.

This morning I was greatly saddened to learn of her death on Sunday, July 19, at the age of 78. I wish I had been given more time to spend with her; not just to hear her stories of the good (and not so good) and great she had known, but to appreciate her own magnificence,

Addendum: my fellow Lion's Head alum Maureen O'Brien has these words:
RIP Tania Grossinger. You were amazing. I will always remember your infectious smile, laugh, sensitivity, smarts, and heart. Thank you so much for being my friend, Village neighbor, Lion's Head pal and non-stop cheerleader. You and your wonderful books will never be forgotten. You were one of the greats. xoxomo

Saturday, July 18, 2015

A tour of the historic Brooklyn waterfront, with the Working Harbor Committee.

On June 11 my wife and I went on another of the Working Harbor Committee's "Hidden Harbor" tours. A year ago we took one that left from the west, or Hudson River side of Manhattan and went past lower Manhattan, through the Buttermilk Channel between Brooklyn and Governors Island, then across New York Bay to the Kill Van Kull, which lies between Staten Island and Bayonne, New Jersey. Passing under the Bayonne Bridge, we went into Newark Bay, where we saw the huge complex of piers and cranes and the container ships docked there. See a photologue here.

Last month's tour went from Pier 17, adjacent to the South Street Seaport on the Manhattan side of the East River just south of the Brooklyn Bridge, and focused on the Brooklyn waterfront. After leaving the dock we headed north, passing under the Brooklyn Bridge (John Roebling, 1883; photo above).
Shortly after, we went under the Manhattan Bridge (Leon Moisseiff, 1912).  Behind the bridge is DUMBO ("Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass), once an industrial area but now filled with art galleries and studios, high end retail, tech company offices, and mostly very expensive residences.Near the shoreline is part of Brooklyn Bridge Park; at left is an apartment building under construction, revenue from which will help to fund the park's maintenance.
The self-unloading bulk carrier Sophie Oldendorff was discharging her cargo of crushed stone from Canada at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. The Yard opened in 1806, and from then until the mid 1960s built and serviced many U.S. Navy ships, including the battleships Maine, whose sinking in Havana harbor in 1898 helped to lead to the Spanish-American War, and Missouri, on whose deck Japan signed its surrender, bringing World War Two to a close. The Yard is now an industrial park controlled by a Development Corporation. In addition to docks and a ship repair facility, it is home to many industrial operations and to Steiner Studios, one of the largest production studios outside the Los Angeles area.
Proceeding upriver (technically, the East River isn't a river, but a tidal strait connecting Long Island Sound and Upper New York Bay) we passed under the northernmost of the three bridges connecting Brooklyn to Manhattan: the Williamsburg Bridge (Leffert L. Buck/Henry Hornbostel, 1903). When completed, it was considered by many to be an eyesore; later aesthetic judgments have been kinder. Beyond the bridge in the photo above is the former Domino Sugar Refinery, now, like so many former industrial buildings along the Brooklyn waterfront, being converted for residential use.
We went to the entrance of Newtown Creek, which serves as the boundary between Brooklyn and Queens.
Returning to the Navy Yard, we passed a base for FDNY fireboats.
We also saw Kennedy, training ship for the Massachusetts Maritime Academy, in drydock for repairs.
Continuing southward, we went under the Brooklyn Bridge again, then passed Jane's Carousel, in its pavilion designed by French architect Jean Nouvel. The colorful structure in the foreground is Tom Fruin's "Kolonihavehus." These are located in Brooklyn Bridge Park. The tall building in the background is One Main Street, formerly part of a cardboard box manufacturing complex and now residential.
This is Fulton Ferry Landing, the Brooklyn terminus of Robert Fulton's steam powered ferry from Manhattan. The steam ferry began service in 1814, but oar and sail powered ferries had plied the same route since the mid 1600s. The steam ferry led to the development of Brooklyn Heights as America's first suburb. Although the Brooklyn Bridge was completed in 1883, ferries continued to operate until 1908. Their death knell was sounded by the subways. Today, ferry service is back and ferries to and from Manhattan, Governors Island, Queens, and other Brooklyn locations dock at nearby Pier 1 in Brooklyn Bridge Park.

The white building with the tower is a former fireboat house, now occupied by the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory. The red brick building at the right, with fire escapes, has at different times been a railroad headquarters and a toilet bowl factory, and is now apartments. The white vessel with the canopy tied to the pier at right is Bargemusic, a popular venue for chamber music concerts. The taller red building at center is the Eagle Warehouse, completed in 1893 and designed by Frank Freeman, a prominent Brooklyn architect who worked in the Romanesque tradition of Henry Hobson Richardson. The building was named for the Brooklyn Eagle newspaper, edited for a time by Walt Whitman, the headquarters of which had earlier been on the site. Today, like many other commercial and industrial buildings on or near the Brooklyn waterfront, it has been converted to residential use. The tall beige buildings in the background were part of the Squibb pharmaceutical manufacturing complex, are now owned by the Watchtower Tract and Bible Society, better known as Jehovah's Witnesses, and used as part of their administrative and printing operations, As the Witnesses move their operations upstate, they are slated to be sold, no doubt for conversion to residential use.
We passed Brooklyn Bridge Park's landscaped Pier 1 (these were former commercial shipping piers, now converted to parkland) and one of Danish artist Jeppe Hein's "Modified Social Benches," part of his "Please Touch the Art" exhibition.

The Japan Coast Guard training ship Kojima (PL 21) was docked at Pier 7, just south of Brooklyn Bridge Park.
Laura, a small container carrying freighter, was at the Red Hook Container Port. The demise of this small port has been predicted for some years, as it lacks a railhead and vast acres of storage space, but most importantly, it sits on waterfront land desirable for residential development. Plans for expansion of container port operations in Brooklyn may save it.
Here we're entering the Erie Basin, named for the fact that it was where schooners laden with Midwestern grain discharged their cargo into grain elevators which then loaded them onto oceangoing ships that carried it overseas. The schooners got the grain in Albany, transshipped from Erie Canal barges (hence "Erie Basin") and carried it down the Hudson River. The barges had gotten it in Buffalo from ships that carried it eastwards through the Great Lakes.
The Erie Basin area has many nineteenth century warehouse buildings. The one on the left houses a supermarket on the ground floor; the one on the right has been used for art shows, and the trolley car in the foreground is of the PCC type previously used in Brooklyn.
This retired Lehigh Valley Railroad barge is now a waterfront museum.
After passing Erie Basin, we came close to the famous (or should it be infamous?) Gowanus Canal; from there I got this long-lens shot of the elaborate Gothic entrance to Green-Wood Cemetery.
Continuing southward, we saw the docks where barges from New Jersey load and unload freight cars destined to or from Long Island or New England. 
Looking south, we could see the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge (1964), connecting Brooklyn and Staten Island. From here, we returned to our dock in Manhattan.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

TBT: The Grateful Dead, "Cumberland Blues."

I am not now, nor was I ever, a Deadhead. I will confess--it is a confession, as I have some friends among the rock cognoscenti who make hatred of the Grateful Dead a kind of verbal secret handshake--that I do like, indeed like very much, some of their stuff. Since they officially disbanded last week, this seems a good time to acknowledge that.

Workingman's Dead is an album I love. All right, I love it mostly because it was the first music I heard after a terrifying ride, helmetless, on the back of a friend's motorcycle along California's coast and cliff hugging Highway One for about twenty miles ("How fast were we going?" "Oh, about eighty on the straights.") in October of 1970. After we re-crossed the Coast Range and headed back into Palo Alto, we stopped at the house of a friend of my friend, who greeted us warmly and invited us in where his wife provided a bottle of liebfraumilch and a pipe filled with Mexico's finest.  Our host asked if we'd heard the new Dead album. We shook our heads "no,"and he put it on. Well the first days are the hardest days, don't you worry anymore.... Yeah! I'm alive!

After I got the album and listened to it a few times, I decided that "Cumberland Blues," with its bluegrass accents, was my favorite. Hear it above.

Poster image: Brooklyn Museum; Wes Wilson.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Queen Mary 2 arrives in Brooklyn from England, celebrating 175 years of transatlantic service.

In July of 1840 RMS Britannia inaugurated the British and North American Royal Mail Steam Packet Company's transatlantic liner service. That company would later become the Cunard Line. Today, Cunard's Queen Mary 2 commemorated that voyage on its 175th anniversary, arriving at her American home port in Red Hook, Brooklyn after a voyage from Southampton, England. She was scheduled to arrive at 6:00 a.m., and your correspondent got himself to Pier 5 in Brooklyn Bridge Par to watch and photograph her arrival. In the photo above, the great ship was beginning to emerge from behind Governors Island.
The retired, now privately owned New York City fireboat John J. Harvey saluted Mary as she approached her berth.
The enormous ship had to be turned so that she would be berthed with her bow facing toward the sea. Meanwhile, the tug Kings Point was headed outward, as the high speed ferry Finest came in.
Here's Mary stern on, with Staten Island, an anchored Stolt tanker, and barges in the background.
Among the flotilla of vessels greeting Queen Mary 2 was the historic harbor tanker Mary A. Whalen, now owned by PortSide NewYork, headed by my friend Carolina Salguero.
The great Queen approaches her berth, ending an historic voyage. While she is used mostly for cruising, Queen Mary 2 makes a couple of transatlantic voyages each summer, keeping alive a worthy tradition.

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

TBT: John Stewart, "July, You're a Woman"

And I have not been known as the saint of San Joaquin...

Last week my TBT was about the Kingston Trio, featuring a song from their early days, when Dave Guard was their lead singer. Some Trio loyalists disdain anything they did after Guard left, but I liked his replacement, John Stewart, as well, and think some of their best albums were made with him. He left the Trio in the late 1960s and made as his debut solo album California Bloodlines, which ranks in my top ten rock/folk albums of all time.

I love all the songs on that album, but "July, You're a Woman" is appropriate to the month.

John Stewart died a little over seven years ago. I remembered him here, and you can hear two more of his songs by following that link.

Saturday, July 04, 2015

William Ranney, "The Battle of Cowpens."

This painting, by William Ranney (1813-1857), considered one of the foremost American painters of the early nineteenth century, depicts an incident in the Battle of Cowpens, which took place on January 17, 1781 in western South Carolina, near the location of present day Spartanburg. In the painting, "an unnamed black soldier" on the left fires his pistol, "saving the life of Colonel William Washington" (a second cousin once removed of George Washington) on the white horse in the center.

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

TBT: The Kingston Trio, "South Coast"

I've written before about the Kingston Trio, who were favorites of mine in my youth, and whose music I still enjoy. Back when they were at the peak of their popularity, in the late 1950s through the mid '60s, folk music purists derided them as button-down shirt wearing poseurs; rich white guys getting richer off poor people's music. There was some truth to this, and today they would be censured, and rightly so, for their fake "Speedy Gonzalez" accents in songs like "Coplas" and "En El Agua." But the majority of their work was, in my opinion, quite good, and some of it superb. They can, I think be credited with introducing American audiences to what came to be called "world music."

"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

TBT: Eddie Cochran, "Summertime Blues."

Eddie Cochran had a hit with "Summertime Blues" (which is what the Mets are having now)  in 1958, when he was nineteen, and died in a car crash when he was 21. He's remembered for his snarling voice and his guitar virtuosity, as well as for other hits like "C'mon Everybody." If James Dean had made music, he would have sounded like Eddie Cochran. 
"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):