Thursday, November 12, 2009

Lawrence Ferlinghetti (1957)

Thanks to a hip tip from Ivy Style, here is a great shot of the patron (secular) saint of North Beach - and one of the last surviving Beat Poets - Lawrence Ferlinghetti. It is dated February 1957, San Francisco. It looks to be a theater of some sort based on the backdrop. But your guess is as good as mine. All of the shots from this Time magazine photo-shoot can be seen here.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Blues Busters (1964)

This is a VERY cool and interesting clip. I first heard the song via Italian-American "blue-eyed soul" man Steve Alaimo. Digging through the crates at Rooky's record shop off of Fillmore one day, owner Dick Vivian, put this one on the hi-fi saying that he knew I would love it. He was correct. Released in the US on ABC-Paramount Records in 1964, it was a rare early example of a US ska disc cut by Alaimo and featuring a solid, swinging backing (Capitol Records studio, NYC, perhaps?). A few years later I got my ears on the original version by Jamaica's Blues Busters - equally cool and groovy. The Blues Busters are still one of my favorite acts from this era - perhaps because of their slightly more overt soul/R&B influence. The above clip is from a wonderful 1964 documentary This is Ska! which my pal Domenic Priore hipped me to years ago. I would LOVE to see someone get a hold of the original film and put it out on DVD, Blu-Ray, or whatever format they come up with next. But the real inspiration behind this post is the fact that I am off to LA this weekend to appear with Ron Silva & The Monarchs opening up for LA's kings of classic ska, Hepcat. See how it all ties in now? I thought so.

Monday, November 2, 2009

The Staple Singers (1962)

As a young boy, being raised as a Roman Catholic, I celebrated November 2nd as "All Souls Day". I must admit the succession of days around this time of year confused and (maybe) frightened me (a bit). Let's see. You have the secular holiday Halloween, proceeded by the pagan holiday Devil's Night and followed by the Holy Day of Obligation All Saints Day. After this is all over (and the sugar crash has faded away) comes All Souls Day, a day during which we were supposed to pray for the souls of all of the departed. Phew! That's a whole lotta hoodoo for one weekend. So this All Souls Day I am focusing what my soul needs. And I am thinking that entails some pre-crossover Staple Singers. Any suggestions on where to start?

Smarties [US Version] (1949)

A little background on what is still my favorite Halloween candy. Courtesy of idsgn.