Cuba Gooding Sr. was found dead in his car in Los Angeles, according to ABC. He was 72.
The soul singer was reportedly found slumped over inside his car in Woodland Hills, Calif. at 12:58 p.m. on Thursday, but he could not be resuscitated by CPR. A spokesperson with the Los Angeles Fire Department would not confirm Gooding Sr’s identity, but confirmed to Variety that they responded to a call on Ventura Blvd. and determined the death of an adult male at that same time.
Gooding had four children, of whom the best known was Cuba Jr., who won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in Jerry Maguire (1996), playing a wide receiver for the Arizona Cardinals. (“Show me the money!”) But you remember Cuba Sr. for this:
It jolts me a little, then a lot, to remember that “Everybody Plays the Fool” is forty-five years old.
“Feels” as a noun seems uncomfortable to me, especially when it’s rendered with a Z, but I suspect it’s too late to do anything about it now.
Wilmington, Illinois singer/somgwriter Kiara Saulters, known professionally as “Kiiara,” actually had the temerity to record a song called “Feels.” Released as the second single from her low kii savage EP, following the big hit “Gold,” “Feels” is weirdly atmospheric and liberally salted with F-bombs, perhaps even more so than “Two Weeks” by FKA twigs, whose emotional range it shares.
For my introduction to “Feels,” I am indebted to, yes, Rebecca Black, who cut an acoustic cover with Olivia O’Brien this week under the auspices of Vevo. If anything, the F-bombs seem even more prominent here, what with two voices joined together. If you stay for the whole video and wait for a couple of seconds, you get the audio (but not the video) for RB’s single “The Great Divide,” which in its Crash Cove remix dropped one spot on Billboard’s dance-club chart this week, to #34. And the fact that Vevo is getting involved makes me wonder if there’s going to be some industrial-strength push behind “Foolish,” the next Rebecca Black single.
The J. Geils Band embarked on a short U.S. tour in August/September 2012. However, they left for the tour without J. Geils. Geils filed an unsuccessful lawsuit against the other members of the group over use of the name for a tour without him. He named band members Richard Salwitz, Danny Klein, Peter Wolf and Seth Justman in the lawsuit filed in Boston Superior Court, claiming that they “planned and conspired” to continue touring without him, and were unlawfully using the group’s trademarked name. Geils, angry at his bandmates for what they did, permanently left the band.
Her family named her Kim Yu-jin, but for most of her life she’s been simply Uee, and you might think that one does not adopt a name shorter than Cher’s without some attitude slipping in. I’m not seeing any myself. I’d mentioned yesterday that she’d had a solo hit in 2011, and there were others, but most of her musical career has been spent as a member of the girl group After School.
“First Love,” whose title would seem to belie its pole-dancing imagery, sold over 600,000 copies for After School in 2013.
And Uee’s a far better singer, or actor, or dancer even, than she is a pitcher:
First week of April 1964, this was the very top of the Billboard Hot 100:
This moptop monopoly was made possible by the fact that three different record labels were involved. (Tollie was a subsidiary of Vee-Jay which released 48 singles over two years, eight of which charted, and four of which were by the Beatles.)
If this seems like a heck of a lot of Beatles, consider the next week, in which the Fab Four had a fab fourteen entries on the Hot 100, up from twelve. They’d vacated two spots in the Top 5, replaced by Terry Stafford’s “Suspicion” at #3 and Louis Armstrong’s “Hello, Dolly!” at #5, but they held down positions #7, #9, #14, #38, #48, #50, #52, #61, #74, #78 and #81. (Here’s the complete chart.)
And two more labels would eventually be involved, reissuing tracks from the 1961 Tony Sheridan sessions with “The Beat Brothers,” MGM with “My Bonnie” and “The Saints,” and Atco with “Ain’t She Sweet,” the only Sheridan track on which any Beatle sings lead. (Before you ask: it’s John.)
Still, I am heartened, five decades and change later, by the fact that there was still room in the Top Ten for the likes of Satchmo.
The typewriter is modified so that only two keys work; although many listeners have suspected that stenographers are enlisted to “play” the typewriter, Anderson reported that only professional drummers have sufficient wrist flexibility.
Suppose you had non-drummers and no orchestra? Then what?
“Challenge accepted,” say the Boston Typewriter Orchestra:
The sort of person who sends me a link to something like this can be safely said to, um, know me entirely too well:
A young man Kanan (Suraj Sharma) returns to India from Canada to marry his long-term girlfriend Anu (Mehreen Pirzada), but comes to know that as he is a manglik (born under an unlucky star) he has to get married to a tree before getting married to her. He very reluctantly marries the tree, which is duly chopped down after the completion of the ceremony. As a result, from that day onwards he is haunted by the spirit of a woman named Shashi (Anushka Sharma), who lived in that particular tree and hence claims to now be “married” to him.
In Hindu astrology, Mangal Dosha is an astrological combination that occurs if Mars (Mangal) is in the 1st, 2nd (Considered by South Indian Astrologers), 4th, 7th, 8th, or 12th house of the ascendant chart. A person born in the presence of this condition is termed a manglik.
It is believed to be unfavorable for marriages, causing discomfort and tension in relationship, leading to severe disharmony among the spouses and eventually to other bigger problems. This is believed to be caused due to the “fiery” nature of the planet Mars, named after the Roman god of war.
There is a belief that the negative consequences for a single-manglik marriage can be resolved if the manglik first performs a ceremony called a kumbh vivah, in which the manglik “marries” a banana tree, a peepal tree, or a silver or gold idol of the Hindu God Vishnu.
Her first release in 2017 is Phillauri, which doesn’t seem to have anything much to do with famed Hindu writer Shardha Ram Phillauri. There is, however, a lot of poetry, and, as mentioned before, a wedding to a tree. This being Bollywood, there is also a lot of music:
I’m the most bummed to report that my show on 4/8 at Union Hall is cancelled due to the recent fire at the venue. So glad everyone was okay and that the venue will be able to reopen soon, and I’ll look forward to rescheduling next time I’m out east!
Over her twelve-year career, she has opened for a dizzying number of acts, headlined a number of shows, and recorded three albums.
Her first album, Batten the Hatches, was self-released back in 2005 and picked up for reissue by the Nettwerk label two years later, largely on the strength of this song:
The song in question (1) appeared in the second-season premiere of the Showtime series Weeds and (2) was not, um, blipped therein as it is here.
In 2013, she exited The Closet for good and was wed to longtime girlfriend and LGBTQ activist Kristin Russo.
Jane Powell, I am delighted to report, is still with us today, her 88th birthday. She’s been performing for more than 75 years; before she was 13, she had a singing gig on a radio station in Portland, Oregon, making music and selling Victory Bonds for the war effort. (Yes, that war.) She was Suzanne Burce back then; in 1943, after winning a talent competition, she auditioned for Louis B. Mayer of MGM, was signed to a seven-year contract, and was promptly loaned out to United Artists for the lead in the 1944 musical Song of the Open Road, not at all related to the Walt Whitman poem of that title, playing a child star named, um, Jane Powell. MGM thought this name was swell, and before the film was even released, assigned her the stage name “Jane Powell.”
Those movies didn’t reflect reality. I was at MGM for 11 years and nobody ever let me play anything but teenagers. I was 25 years old with kids of my own and it was getting ridiculous. Publicity was froth. Everything you said was monitored. With me, they didn’t have to worry. I never had anything to say, anyway.
She did, however, have things to sing:
The Girl Most Likely, a 1958 RKO picture, starred Jane as a girl who wound up engaged to three guys. Capitol issued no single from the soundtrack, though I remember “I Don’t Know What I Want”. She did have one hit single: a cover of Cole Porter’s “True Love,” from the soundtrack of High Society (1956), where it was sung by Bing Crosby with a couple of words from Grace Kelly.
Jane’s recording (Verve 2018) charted at #15, not bad at all for a one-hit wonder, but nothing was going to beat der Bingle, who claimed the #3 spot.
Jane Powell was married five times, the last time to child star turned PR man Dickie Moore, whom she met in 1984 while he was writing Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star: (But Don’t Have Sex or Take the Car) They had 27 years together, from 1988 until Moore’s death last year.
When first responders are being taught to perform hands-only cardiopulmonary resuscitation, known as CPR, on an adult whose heart has stopped beating, they’re told to administer 2-inch sternum compressions (between the nipples) at a rate of around 100 beats per minute (bpm). That’s a little less than twice a second, and can be hard to approximate. So thank goodness for pop music.
“Staying Alive” by the Bee Gees is a classic example of a song that hits that 100 bpm benchmark (and has obvious connotations to the task at hand). Ditto Gloria Gaynor’s breakup anthem, “I Will Survive.” Looking for something a little less on the nose? Try Hanson’s mega-hit “MMMBop.” All of those tracks appear on a 100-bpm playlist released this week by New York Presbyterian Hospital.
And if you dig reverse psychology, there’s Norman Greenbaum’s evergreen “Spirit in the Sky” — and Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust.”
Jeanne Galice — call her Jain — is twenty-five, musically gifted, about ten degrees off plumb, and she has one album out: Zanaka (2015), which the cataloguers at Discogs have described as “Reggae, Funk/Soul, Pop.” Somewhere in the middle of that continuum is track eight, “Makeba,” a sort of tribute to the late Mama Africa, Miriam Makeba (1932-2008), unbelievably catchy and yet visually implausible.
That bit of drawing-room silliness at the beginning is actually the end of the video for “Come”, the first track from Zanaka. (“Zanaka” means “child” in Malagasy; Jain’s mother has roots both in France and Madagascar.)
The Grulke Prize winner for Developing Non-U.S. Act is Jain. A captivating French singer-songwriter, Jain has already reached Platinum status with her album Zanaka. Her unique sounds draw listeners in with their dazzling international flavor and magnetic hooks. Though success has been quick in Europe, she’s been working on her music since she was a teenager moving around the world with stops in the Congo, Abu Dhabi, and Paris.
Zanaka has no US distributor as yet, though Amazon will sell it to you as an import.
Robin Trower, after leaving Procol Harum, embraced the power-trio format, with James Dewar on both bass and vocals. By 1977, the trio had grown to a quartet, with Dewar still out front but Rustee Allen taking over on bass. This ensemble, with drummer Bill Lordan, cut In City Dreams, which eventually became my favorite Trower album, mostly due to its opening track, “Somebody Calling,” based on a ferocious bass line — Allen, after all, had replaced Larry Graham in Sly’s Family Stone — and featuring some Trower licks that Hendrix himself might have appreciated. The studio track still sounds amazing today — in fact, I spun a tape of it on Monday’s commute, mostly to help me forget it was Monday — but it’s deeply satisfying to know that Trower still has the chops.
This performance was recorded in Glasgow last fall. Trower turned 72 this month.
They buried John Schroeder last week, which struck me as slightly odd, since he died back on the 31st of January following a long battle with cancer.
Schroeder’s musical career was long and varied; where it intersected with my life was right in the middle of the British Invasion, when he teamed up with pianist Johnny Pearson at Britain’s Pye Records to provide, for lack of a better term, easy-listening sounds that could compete for radio airplay, and maybe even sales, with the beat groups.
At the end of 1964, using the name Sounds Orchestral, they cut this version of a Vince Guaraldi standard:
Pye had no formal US distribution in those days. Cameo-Parkway eventually acquired the US rights, and issued the 45 on Parkway 942 this week in 1965; it climbed to #10 in Billboard, and the subsequent LP made it to #11. Said LP contains two “Scarlatti Potions,” Number 5 and Number 9.
Schroeder and Pearson and various players kept up the Sounds Orchestral name through sixteen albums, the last of which came out in 1977. I saw only the first two of them here in the States until the CD-reissue era.
Singer Işın Karaca was born in London on this date in 1973 to a Cypriot mother and a Turkish father. (Perhaps understandably, she shortened her surname from Büyükkaraca.) Despite a degree in theatre, she didn’t start singing in earnest until her middle twenties, when she recorded songs for the Turkish version of Disney’s Hercules.
By the middle of last decade she’d put on something like 30 kg, and in 2005 she wrote a book titled Büyümek İçin Küçümek Lazĭm (“Need to get smaller to grow”), which, she said, would not be published until she got down to a size 36. The book came out in 2007.
The chap with her in the third picture is singer Sefa Chesmeberah, who duets with her on the single “Sevmekten Anladığım” (“What I understand about love”), from her so-far-unreleased album Eyvallah (“Okay,” more or less):
The single, the second from the album, was released this past January.
Which is that Taylor Swift/Zayn Malik song from Fifty Shades Darker. I note in passing that the original peaked at #33 on that same Dance Club chart. (Okay, yeah, it hit #2 on the Hot 100, but you I can’t have everything.)
Meanwhile, it’s back to the covers, this time a song first recorded by Katy Perry and released a whole two weeks ago. Whatever else you might say about Rebecca Black, she does pay attention to what The Industry is doing.
I opened up the Store and said, “If they have [insert song information here], I will sign up, and I will purchase that track, and no doubt there will be others to follow.”
They had that track. It was, in fact, “The West Wind Circus,” a narrative by Adam Miller that Helen Reddy cut back in ’73 for her Long Hard Climb LP; it has stuck in the back of my head for lo, these many years, but never pushed its way far enough to the front for me to track down either the LP or the current CD release. (Yeah, yeah, I know: Helen Reddy. Forget those 45s you threw away; this is a lovely song, beautifully sung.) Ninety-nine cents well spent, I’d say.
There are a couple of live versions on YouTube, but they stay so close to the studio-recorded original that you might as well listen to the LP track, which led off side two:
“Is that all there is to the circus?” Peggy Lee had asked four years earlier. Well, yeah, if you can retain your ironic detachment. Not here, though.
I grew up listening to polka, since I grew up in Northeastern Ohio, where there was a large Polish-and-other-Slavic immigrant community. (In fact, until I was in college, I just assumed everywhere had a radio station that played polka and broadcast in Polish for at least part of the day. Well, where I am now there are channels that broadcast Norteño music and broadcast in Spanish part of the day, so that’s similar — a lot of Norteño is polka-influenced.)
And in turn, Norteño, once inflected by other American styles, gave rise to something called Tejano. Did any of this reach the Anglo audience? I give you the Sir Douglas Quintet, practitioners of the Norteño two-step polka beat as filtered through a standard 12-bar blues, who achieved a #13 hit in 1965:
Some background information on Doug Sahm and the band here. Note that despite the lyric, “she,” at least in the video, isn’t much of a mover at all.
In 1974, I was in northern Turkey, assembling a hi-fi system when I wasn’t toting a rifle or doing other soldier-ish things. One of the discs I used to blast at overly high volume was the Waterloo album by ABBA, crisply recorded and full of pop hooks.
Forty-odd years later, Waterloo remains my favorite ABBA album, but the song I play most from it is not the verve-y title track, but this comparatively obscure number from side two, with its occasionally weird time signature and its gently cooing vocals:
It may be the least-played, least-covered ABBA track ever. I don’t care.