September 15, 2019

Roy Acuff ~ Caruso of Mountain Music

Roy Acuff & his Smoky Mountain Boys 
publicity photo

Today is  the birthday of Roy Acuff; he would have been 116 years old, if he were still alive. He was known as the "King of Country Music (links below)."     

According to Acuff's New York Times obituary (link below), he was a "protest candidate" for governor in the 1944 primaries on the Republican and Democratic ballot. The reason? In 1943, then-Tennessee governor Prentice Cooper disparaged country music by declining to attend a party feting the Acuff-hosted Grand Ole Opry radio show going nationwide. According to the book Smile When You Call Me a Hillbilly: Country Music's Struggle for Respectability, 1939-1954, in Cooper's eyes, Acuff was making Nashville and Tennessee the "hillbilly capital" of the U.S.      

Smile When You Call Me a Hillbilly:

Four years later, however, the country legend emerged from the primaries as the Republican candidate, on a platform the New York Times noted centered on the Ten Commandments and the Golden Rule. "If they don't work in the Capitol, then I don't want to be governor," Acuff reportedly said.
In 1991, he was awarded the National Medal of Arts, and given a lifetime achievement award by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the first Country music act to receive the esteemed honor. Roy Acuff died in Nashville on November 23, 1992 of congestive heart failure at the age of 89.        

NY Times - November 24, 1992

Viewfinder links:     
Roy Acuff           
Net links:     
Hill Billy Music ~ Roy Acuff and His Smoky Mountain Boys      
NY Times obit  ~ Caruso of Mountain Music      
YouTube links    
Styrous ~ Sunday, September 15, 2019            

August 28, 2019

20,000 vinyl LPs 194: Woodstock ~ Looking back after 50 years

Woodstock vinyl LP gatefold cover open
left photo photographer unknown, right photo by Burk Uzzle
photo of album cover by Styrous®

Fifty years ago this month, in 1969, a miracle called Woodstock was staged on a remote 600-acre dairy farm in Bethel, New York and music as well as the world was never the same.   

My favorite film dealing with the event is Taking Woodstock directed by Ang Lee and based on the memoir Taking Woodstock: A True Story of a Riot, a Concert, and a Life by Elliot Tiber and Tom Monte.     

I was going full speed ahead with my corporate ambitions (I would "drop out" a few months later) so did not go to the event, unfortunately, but my friend Genie was there and here's what she had to say about it.     

"I haven’t really thought about it much in the years since. My memory is that it was an extremely peaceful event given the incredibly stressful situation with rain, mud, lack of water and other things . . .  toilets. I don’t remember ever seeing any fights break out, I don’t even remember drunken things, people being drunk and obnoxious. Now, we know there were other mind altering drugs but I think that was very amazing.    

Yes, everyone was using mood altering stuff to enjoy this incredible party but even when it was raining and mud still, there was an amazing magic kind of thing because it was just really peaceful, helpful and joyful people. 

I remember trying to get to a potty and walking through crowds and crowds of people and wondering if I would find my way back to my people. But we did and it was some magical thing going.   

The music was obviously out of this world and never to be experienced again. I think most people at the moment, including myself, weren’t thinking much of the history, only of the moment, but then we all kind of went back to the “Summer of Love” thing. It was just very much all about finding a new way, you know.       
It was very hard because there was no food. Mr. Yazgur had cows and some of the more daring young men went out and got corn, we ate what I called “cow corn”; we would roast it and eat it. It was just terrible food but it was better than nothing.         

Max Yazgur farm - 1968 
photographer unknown

It was such an enormous group of people, so things could have been happening that we would never have known about where we were in that massive group of people. So, I have a recollection of that [the sandwich distribution] but my people didn’t go running for the sandwiches because there was no way they could have fed all those people.  

Woodstock Opening Ceremony 
photographer unknown

Anyway, by the time the sun came out, it was still a mess, I mean the mud and the steam and all that happens in that kind of weather. It’s something you really DO want to forget because it is really awful.      

Woodstock rain
photographer unknown

Over arching was the art, the music, the joy, the people getting along no matter what and no matter how much drugs or alcohol people had it was all about the fun and the wonderment of it all coming together.

I think that what happened in the media was all true. The superstars were truly superstars. Everybody wanted to see Jimi Hendrix and he, of course, was a show stopper. So, I think that the truth is everything that was recorded by all others, every band that was given stardom really did take the show away.

And people played all night long, all day long. I can’t remember specifically anymore, many of the stars, let’s say, Grateful Dead and Big Brother, would play together when there was nothing going on. I remember to some degree, people in the crowd getting up on stage being able to sing or play instruments with these stars. It was everybody just getting along."     

Woodstock vinyl LP gatefold interior open
left photo photographer unknown, right photo by Burk Uzzle
photo of album cover by Styrous®    

Side one
  1. "I Had a Dream" (John Sebastian) – 2:38 (2:53)
  2. "Going Up the Country" (Alan Wilson) – 3:19 (5:53)
  3. "Freedom (Motherless Child)" (Richie Havens) – 5:13 (5:26)
  4. "Rock and Soul Music" (McDonald, Melton, David Cohen, Barthol, Hirsh) – 2:09 (2:09)
  5. "Coming into Los Angeles" (Arlo Guthrie) – 2:05 (2:50)
  6. "At the Hop" (Artie Singer, David White, John Medora) – 2:13 (2:33)
Side two
  1. "The "Fish" Cheer/I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die Rag" (McDonald) – 3:02 (3:48)
  2. "Drug Store Truck Drivin' Man" (Roger McGuinn, Gram Parsons) – 2:08 (2:38)
    • Performed by Joan Baez & Jeffrey Shurtleff.
  3. "Joe Hill" (Alfred Hayes, Earl Robinson) – 2:40 (5:34)
  4. "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes" (Stephen Stills) – 8:04 (9:02)
  5. "Sea of Madness" (Neil Young) – 3:22 (4:20)
Side three
  1. "Wooden Ships" (Stills, David Crosby, Paul Kantner—Kantner not credited on original release) – 5:26 (5:26)
  2. "We're Not Gonna Take It" (Pete Townshend) – 4:39 (6:54)
    • Performed by The Who. (The performance on the album picks up mid-song at the very end of the "We're Not Gonna Take It" portion and then finishes with the "See Me, Feel Me" and "Listening to You" sections.) The final 1:50 of the track is an emergency announcement and the statement that declared "It's a free concert from now on".
  3. "With a Little Help from My Friends" (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) – 7:50 (10:06)
    • Performed by Joe Cocker. In the CD version, the first disc would close with this track, with a 1:30 long recording of the rainstorm.
Side four
  1. "Soul Sacrifice" (Santana, Rolie, Brown, Carabello, Shrieve, Areas) – 8:05 (13:52)
    • Performed by Santana. The first 3 minutes of the track is the "Crowd Rain Chant," a chant started by the crowd as an attempt to stop the rainstorm.
  2. "I'm Going Home" (Alvin Lee) – 9:20 (9:57)
Side five
  1. "Volunteers" (Marty Balin, Kantner) – 2:45 (3:31)
    • Performed by Jefferson Airplane. The final 34 seconds or so of the track is a speech by Max Yasgur, praising the crowd for coming to the festival.
  2. "Medley" (Performed by Sly & the Family Stone) – 13:47 (15:29)
  3. "Rainbows All Over Your Blues" (Sebastian) – 2:05 (3:54)
Side six
  1. "Love March" (Gene Dinwiddie, Phillip Wilson) – 8:43 (8:59)
  2. "Medley" (Performed by Jimi Hendrix.) – 12:51 (13:42)
    • "Star Spangled Banner" (Traditional, arrangement, Jimi Hendrix)– 5:40
    • "Purple Haze" (Hendrix) – 3:28
    • "Instrumental Solo" (Hendrix) – 3:43 (retitled and re-edited when Hendrix's Woodstock show was released more fully in the 1990s. The improvised, fast solo section immediately following "Purple Haze" was heavily cut in the original Woodstock film and soundtrack, and most of the track here is what would later be titled "Villanova Junction", a slow bluesy ballad with the band joining in the background. The uncut version of the solo was restored in the director's cut of Woodstock and on the video of Jimi Hendrix: Live at Woodstock and titled "Woodstock Improvisation")

Viewfinder links:     
Joan Baez      
Joe Cocker      
Jerry Garcia     
Grateful Dead       
Jimi Hendrix      
The Who      
Net links:     
Woodstock website       
Rolling Stone ~ Woodstock: ‘It Was Like Balling for the First Time’ 
Consequenceofsound ~ How much each artist earned from playing Woodstock         
Rockhall ~ Woodstock at 50 exhibition          
CBS News ~ Woodstock at 50       
Smithsonian ~ Woodstock—How to Feed 400,000 Hungry Hippies           
NBC News ~ Woodstock 50: How the golden anniversary festival went off track    
USA Today ~ Woodstock 50: What has gone wrong? ~ Canceled Woodstock 50        
YouTube links     


Genie - 2013
photo by Styrous®

"It was amazing!"
                        ~ Genie - August 25, 2019

Styrous® ~ Wednesday, August 28, 2019            


August 27, 2019

JABC sewer mural


Viewfinder links:        
Street art/graffiti articles       
Jingletown Arts & Business Community           
Net links:                 
JABC (Jingletown Business & Arts Community)                
Styrous® ~ Tuesday, August 27, 2019   


August 11, 2019

Summer Salon @ the Gray Loft Gallery closes


The Gray Loft Gallery ended the exhibition, Summer Salon, with the usual bang at the gallery's closing reception for the show, (links below).        

Dick Winter came through once again when he poured the special wine created at the Alameda based Rock Wall Wine Company.       

Dick Winter - Rock Wall Company

                    Rock Wall Company         

And Rachel LaPell gave what she calls her ArtTalk, an improvised performance referencing the works in the exhibition (link below).       

Rachel LaPell & Jan Watten

Steve Nakashima & John Wood

Leslie Frierman Grunditz showed and explained to me the fascinating signifiers present in her & her husband, Ake's "sculpture"/installation piece. They both decided they needed to document the history behind the piece; I think it's a fantastic idea. Go for it Kids!     

Summer Salon artists
Dorie Meister, Ake Grunditz, Susan Tuttle, Jan Watten & Leslie Frierman Grunditz     

Viewfinder links:          
Gray Loft Gallery 
Akë Grunditz     
Leslie Frierman Grunditz           
Rachel LaPell: ArtTalk         
Dorie Meister           
Summer Salon 2019     
Susan Tuttle          
Net links:           
Gray Loft Gallery        
Dorie Meister      
Jan Watten         
Styrous® ~ Sunday, August 11, 2019          


Rachel LaPell: ArtTalk, Gray Loft Gallery interactive performance

Rachel LaPell 
Artist Talk
photos by Styrous® 

Rachel LaPell presented her ArtTalk, an interactive performance, during the closing of the exhibition Summer Salon at the Gray Loft Gallery (links below). In her "Talk" she ruminated on the work in the show, not in formal artistic or technical references, but how they might strike someone emotionally, interact socially or change one's outlook on the world; there was humor, pathos and truth in her observations.        

Near the end of her ArtTalk she invited members of the audience to throw out words referencing the works in question on which she then spoke extemporaneously with hilarious results. It was great fun.           









Viewfinder links:      
Gray Loft Gallery       
Summer Salon 2019      
Net links:      
Gray Loft Gallery        
Styrous® ~ Sunday, August 11, 2019