Friday, August 28, 2015

Impervious to the horror here in the heart of darkness


The Daily News slapped New York readers in the face Thursday. It slapped them in the face with a still sequence from a snuff video.

I think I know why the editors did that, and I won't outright condemn them for it because the benefit of the doubt says their motives were pure. The benefit of the doubt says  someone who thought that posting images from a snuff film made by a deranged terrorist -- a terrorist in the purest sense of the word -- would boost street sales is a terrible businessman, either that or someone who's calculated that America has reached some sort of psychopathic critical mass.

I don't know. Maybe it has.


I can understand -- maybe -- someone's curiosity getting the better of them and their watching the video. Once. Not a noble curiosity, but a human one nevertheless -- curiosity, after all, is what led Eve to the Tree of Life and a fatal taste of the forbidden fruit.

Alison Parker and Adam Ward
But gazing -- on the subway, at your office desk or over at the Daily News on your living room coffee table -- at the moment a young television reporter from Roanoke, Va., recoiled in terror as a devil with a handgun sent her to God, that is not something a normal person can stand for more than a moment. If that. Even a fleeting glance cannot be unseen.

Merely seeing the aftermath of such evil, such uncut horror, is why so many cops and paramedics end up messed up. Images like the last in the sequence the tabloid put on its front page, here for God and everybody to behold, are the pictures that combat veterans cannot get out of their minds. The moments of death that come to them in their dreams, cause them to awaken screaming in the night and, for some, cause them to blot out the terrible images with a bullet to the brain.

BUT THERE it is on the front page of the Daily News, the moment that gunshots cut down WDBJ reporter Alison Parker, 24. The moment she realized she was going to die. The moment before the gunman killed television photojournalist Adam Ward, 27, and shot a regional chamber of commerce director, Vicki Gardner, who survived.

To look into Alison Parker's eyes is to know her horror.

My hope is that the Daily News editors' intent was to force Americans to realize that the sudden horror that swept over Alison Parker as a fusillade from a Glock semiautomatic pistol began to tear into her body is, in fact, the unremitting horror of a gun-crazy -- no, an increasingly crazy crazy -- nation. An ongoing, largely preventable horror.

My conviction is that, if my hope is well placed, the Daily News editors are deeply naive. You can't argue with crazy people and bought-off politicians, and Americans today are stark, raving mad while their elected representatives, many of them, are wholly owned subsidiaries of the National Rifle Association.

I AM equally convicted that you could ambush seven out of 10 Americans and shoot them in the ass every single day for a year, then on the 366th morning, they would change the dressing on their hamburger buttocks and vow that if they had had an Uzi and eyes in the back of their heads, you never would have gotten the first shot off, you son of a bitch. Americans were not horrified by Columbine enough to insist that the Second Amendment was not drafted so that every citizen could amass an arsenal exceeding that of some small African nations.

Americans were not frightened enough by Virginia Tech to tighten up this country's firearm free-for-all one bit. Ditto for Aurora.

Sandy Hook upset folks a little bit, but it wasn't anything that the NRA and more The Bachelor and Dancing With the Stars couldn't nip in the bud.

By the time a fledgling neo-Confederate massacred nine praying African-Americans in a Charleston, S.C., church, an angry right-wing nut shot up a movie theater in Louisiana and a disgruntled ex-reporter gunned down his former colleagues in Virginia, we had come to the conclusion that the aftermath of yet another American gun massacre was an inappropriate time to talk about preventing yet more American gun massacres.

Just because we've become a nation of gun-worshiping lunatics doesn't mean we have to be indecorous. That is something best left to Donald Trump and late-night infomercials for herbal male-enhancement pills.

After all, this is America. The only thing we love as much as a big iron on our hip is a big iron in our pants. Fretting over the mounting death toll just distracts us from the important things in life . . . down here in the abyss.

And force-feeding deadly, intimate and graphic things we've no right to gawk at will not, at long last, cause those who live in this heart of darkness to see the light. If you ask me, The Horror is us.


* * *
 

POSTSCRIPT: I watched the video, alas, because I wanted to get my facts and my chronology straight. As I write, it is either very late or very early -- take your pick -- and I fear sleep, for fear of what I'll dream. God help us all.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

3 Chords & the Truth: Big show for the Big Show


This week's edition of 3 Chords & the Truth is so huge that I don't know where to start touting it.

Nice problem to have, eh?

To preserve some small semblance of mystery about this week's prompt proceedings -- yeah, the Big Show is a few days early this week -- I'll just highlight a couple of cool things and call it good. You'll have to listen to catch the rest . . . duh.

First, your Mighty Favog is proud to announce that we're unveiling the official Donald Trump campaign theme song at the top of this episode of 3 Chords & the Truth. This is a Big Show exclusive of the highest order -- you'll hear the song that will frame The Donald's run for the White House (and from his creditors) right here on the web channel well before it's unveiled by the Trump campaign itself.

Really,  it doesn't get much more exciting than this on the Internet, and 3 Chords & the Truth is proud and thrilled to get this scoop to you before everybody else.

Tune in for the big news, and then stay for the rest of the exceptional music on the Internet's most eclectic corner.

Well, that's it for now, so be sure . . . wait!

YOU'RE wanting the other tidbit about this week's Big Show, aren't you?

Allow me to sum it up thusly: You can hear this little bit of heaven now, or you can wait a while, live a good life, love Jesus and die so you can experience it later. And it won't cost you a cent.

It was the turn of a new decade, the dawn of the Space Age 1960s. And in the year of our Lord nineteen-hundred and sixty, Brook Benton released a new LP on Mercury Records with a deceptively simple -- simplistic, if you will -- title. Songs I Love to Sing, though, was a Benton masterpiece. 


Somewhere in the way-out stereophonic groovage of this Space Age, bachelor-paddish, mid-century modern pop classic resides the perfect version of Rube Bloom's and Johnny Mercer's musical masterpiece. I can't listen to it enough (and, too, there's the wild early-stereo production of the track to get into), and I'm betting you won't be able to get enough of it, either.

From the production, to the arrangement, to Benton's smooth, lush voice and his masterful and deft phrasing, this version of "Fools Rush In" is . . . simply heavenly. Obviously, this is one place that fools rushed in just ahead of the angels.


A good time was had by all.

SO, THAT'S the short version of this week's Big Show highlight reel. Or demo tape. Whatever.

Whatever you do, just do yourself a favor and listen to the thing.

It's 3 Chords & the Truth, y'all. Be there.  Aloha.


Tuesday, August 18, 2015

It's true! Zombie bug thrives with no food


In the news tonight, researchers across the country frantically attempt to unlock the mystery of why the deadly brain-eating amoeba is thriving in Louisiana despite a seeming lack of feeding grounds.

The latest brain-buster for top scientists is the Naegleria fowerli amoeba's appearance in the Terrebonne Parish water system. Theoretically, they say, this should not be possible with no nutrients for the organism to consume.

The baffled brainiacs cited the following article from the Houma Courier website:

Three residents are expected to address the Terrebonne Parish School Board on Tuesday about a member's racially charged Facebook posts.

Dorothy Murray, the Rev. Vernell Johnson and Ronald Williams are on the agenda to address the Confederate flag and an unspecified board member's Facebook posts.

The School Board is scheduled to meet at 6 p.m. in its office, 201 Stadium Drive, Houma.

The action comes after School Board member Vicki Bonvillain's posts about the flag last month sparked concerns from the Terrebonne Parish NAACP.

On July 14, Bonvillain shared a picture on her Facebook page that said if the Confederate flag represents racism in America then so do other symbols, including the NAACP's logo, Black History Month, the Democratic Party, the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, the United Negro College Fund, Hispanic Heritage celebrations and the Black Panther Party.

"Our 'elected officials' want to accommodate our HISTORY to PLEASE some. WELL shouldn't ALL 'MLK' BLVDs be removed nationwide?" Bonvillain asked in a post July 9.

The posts have since been removed.
IN OTHER NEWS . . . despite making the news -- unfavorably -- for one damn thing after another, the state of Louisiana still wonders whether the rest of America is laughing with it or at it.

Film at 11.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

3 Chords & the Truth: Musical peace and cooperation


In a world of strife and travail, how do these things coexist in one glorious place on the Internet?

The Temptations.

Bram Tchaikovsky.
 
Devo.

Nick Gilder.

Ray Charles.

B.B. King.

Jefferson Airplane.

Paul McCartney.

Glen Campbell.

Jackie Gleason's orchestra.

Patti Page. 

Bent Fabric.

Lou Rawls.

Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers.

BEATS the hell out of me. But they do -- on 3 Chords & the Truth.


Why don't you give the Big Show a listen and see how this whole musical peaceful-cooperation thing works in an angry world gone mad?

It's 3 Chords & the Truth, y'all. Be there. Aloha.


Thursday, August 13, 2015

This week's listening. So far.


Well, this is what I've been listening to so far this week.

I found a couple of cool 45 EP sets at an estate sale Sunday, along with a feast of LPs. I know, you're wondering what, exactly, is a "45 EP set." I don't blame you, really. The concept didn't stick for all that long.

A 45 EP set was an album, only on a couple -- or sometimes three -- 45s that typically had two songs to a side. They came in a little gatefold jacket that was a miniature version of a 12-inch LP jacket, and lasted as a format for about as long as there was a competition between LPs and 45s as a medium for record albums.

In that battle, the 45 r.p.m. record lost. The record industry more or less standardized release formats, with 45s being the common format for singles and 12-inch LPs being the common format for full albums. The 45 EP set largely disappeared by the end of the 1960s in the United States.

Basically, the sound quality wasn't as good as an LP record -- you're cramming a lot on music on a 7-inch record not really meant to hold that much. And, if you ask me, 45s by and large don't sound quite as good as LPs anyway. So there's that.

Then you have the "more records to mess with" factor, even if they're smaller records.

On the other hand, they are kind of cool. They're a curiosity, to be sure.

ANYWAY, the EPs we have here for my listening pleasure -- and soon yours, too, no doubt --  are the 45 version of Jackie Gleason's Music for Lovers Only, one of his 1950s albums with trumpeter Bobby Hackett fronting an orchestra "conducted" by The Great One. God help me, I love the stuff.

Jackie Gleason put the bachelor pad in "Space Age Bachelor Pad Music."

The other EP set is The Anthony Choir, a group that trumpeter Ray Anthony put together to perform with his orchestra, because somebody had to give Mitch Miller, Ray Conniff and Fred Waring a run for their money.

And, yes, your humble correspondent was born (1961) too late.




FINALLY on the agenda tonight was a little Bent Fabric.

Bent Fabric, the Danish pianist and composer born 90 years ago as Bent Fabricius-Bjerre. You know, the "Alley Cat" guy who, by Grammy logic, won for Best Rock & Roll Recording of 1962.

And, yes, Bent Fabric is still with us.

And -- once again -- God help me, I love this stuff. That is all. Nighty-night.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Screwed by the weather again


"I tell ya, the East Coast's gettin' the shaft."

The eighth-grader in me finds this AccuWeather forecast map hilarious. So did the WGN morning-news crew. Meanwhile, in other Chicago television news, Floyd Kalber is reported to be spinning in his grave.

More hump-day weather after this word from our sponsor . . . Trojans, keeping the East Coast dry since 1916.

Monday, August 10, 2015

How I spent my Friday night


This is how I spent my Friday night last week.

That would be, as you might discern from the photographs from my indispensable iPhone, spending an hour and a half or so at the Loretta Lynn concert at Omaha's Holland Performing Arts Center. Third row center.
 

As the cliché goes, "a good time was had by all." Especially Loretta, I think.
 

THE COUNTRY legend is 83 years old now, and she has more voice left than many singers 15 years younger than herself. She even fielded a few requests from the crowd of about 1,000, including one song she hadn't performed in a decade and a half.

She only struggled with a few lines. At 54, I doubt I would fare as well with a song I'd sung last week in the shower.

This was a new concert experience for me -- a show that was the stage equivalent of sitting down at your favorite aunt's kitchen table, drinking strong coffee and telling stories. That, my friend, is something that leaves you feeling blessed for the simple things in life, which turn out to be some of the biggest things of all.

Best yet, she says she's about to start on a new album with Jack White. Can't wait.


Putting lipstick on a . . . blog


Things may look a little different around here. Not a whole lot . . . but enough.

Welcome to the new look of Revolution 21's Blog for the People. The basic format is the same, but we've given the old girl a new set of duds and a little eyeliner and lipstick after several years. I like the new look, and I hope you do, too.

Probably the biggest thing you'll notice is that the blog now displays a lot better on tablets, courtesy of installing (and tweaking) a new Blogger template that, at long last, will keep all the elements of this thing where they're supposed to be, no matter how you size your browser window.

IT'S LONG overdue, and she'll be looking a lot less like a hot mess, all without you having to futz with the size of your browser on the computer screen. Here it is full screen on my Surface, on the right.

Before, it would have looked staggeringly weird. But you probably know that if you have a tablet and have ventured over to the blog.


So, that's all I have to say about that. Enjoy the new, more adaptable look of the Blog for the People.

Friday, August 07, 2015

3 Chords & the Truth: Staycation for your ears

 
Greetings from Omaha, by God, Nebraska. And welcome to the humble studio home of the Big Show, a little audio adventure we call 3 Chords & the Truth.

I, as always, am your Mighty Favog, and I'm tickled pink that you're able to join me again this week as we tiptoe through musical genres and play the best of it all on our foray into freeform radio on the Internet.

And, as always, we have a great program lined up for you -- one where we get from here to there seamlessly and without regard to musical pigeonholing. It doesn't matter where you are; wherever that might be is a great place for a staycation for your ears . . . and your soul.

This week on 3 Chords & the Truth, we begin the show with a late-1960s classic written by John Denver and memorably performed by Peter, Paul and Mary. Then we really kick things into gear.

WE'RE TALKING great music by Dinah Washington, for one. Rod Stewart 2.0 for another. Isaac Hayes and Santana engaging in a bit of funky synchronicity for a third bit of "Whoa!"

From the fusion of New Wave and ska to cruising with The King to a journey deep into classic jazz and big band, we're covering it all on the Big Show. And it's all as close as the digital device you're using right now.

I could go on and on, but I fear that would just ruin the surprise.

Nine out of 10 people who really love music highly recommend that you block out 90 fun-filled minutes to be entertained -- and edified. The tenth guy is just a grouch.One listen to 3 Chords & the Truth will prove that entertainment and edification are not mutually exclusive.

It's 3 Chords & the Truth, y'all. Be there. Aloha.


Thursday, August 06, 2015

Standing at the corner of Dumbass and Bigot


What's a fella gotta do to get a street named for him in St. Bernard Parish, La.?

You don't want to know.

You see, the president of the local chapter of the NAACP asked the parish council to rename Colonial Boulevard in the town of Violet for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. As it happens, more than 80 percent of the households on the boulevard petitioned the parish to make the change.

As it also happens, lots of white people who don't live on Colonial Boulevard -- and lots who don't even live in Violet -- ardently oppose that. When the measure went before the parish planning board last month, the opposition went something like this:
“My experience is that streets that are named MLK has been crime-ridden, drug-infested and unfortunately, it’s known to be black populated."

I DON'T KNOW what one does with that. Fumigate the council chambers for fear the commenter might be contagious? Redouble your efforts to get the brain-eating amoeba out of your water supply?


Ultimately, the parish council punted, saying the street was under state, not parish, jurisdiction. Except that Colonial Boulevard is controlled by St. Bernard Parish. Channel 4 in New Orleans reports:
A proposal to rename a street is sparking strong emotions in St. Bernard Parish. On Tuesday night, the parish council claimed the state had jurisdiction over the roadway and tabled the issue.

"It's a nice boulevard to be living on," said Violet resident Terry Grant.

For a decade and a half, Grant has lived on Colonial Boulevard. He's raised kids and watched his grandchildren at his Violet home. The street sign has remained the same until now.

"With our young kids that don't understand or know about are black leaders, they lived and died for their voting rights. I don't see a problem with them changing the name into Mr. King," said Grant.

An ordinance is being proposed to rename Colonial Boulevard to Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.

Rev. Kevin Gabriel with the St. Bernard Parish NAACP says 28 signatures from a total of 34 houses on the Boulevard were collected in favor of the name change.

"We really mean what we say. We want this street named Dr. Martin Luther King for the people of Colonial, not because it's black, not because it's white, but for the people. He was for all people," said Rev. Gabriel.

At Tuesday night's parish council meeting, opponents of the ordinance held up "say no" signs while the public got the chance to weigh-in.

"I grew up off of Colonial and 6th Street, from a little girl all the way through graduation until we lost the house because of Katrina. Colonial has a lot of good memories," said a woman attending the council meeting.

"Dr. Martin Luther King talked about peace, he brought people together. If we were naming one of these streets after someone who doesn't look like us in this community, it would not be a problem," said Violet resident Andrew Rhodes.

One group even claimed they'd collected more than 1,000 signatures parish-wide against replacing the Colonial Boulevard signage with the late civil rights' leader's name.

"Please do not let outsiders influence, break us down, divide us, nor force change in our community," said one woman attending the meeting.
THAT WOMAN must be related to this one who, at the planning board meeting, said this: “I mean, if the street’s name has to change, which is ridiculous, then name it after someone who’s done something for this parish."

This is where I point out that Colonial Boulevard intersects with East Judge Perez Drive. That used to be Goodchildren Drive until, in 1972, it was renamed to honor the late segregationist political boss of Plaquemines and St. Bernard parishes, Judge Leander Perez.

How bad a segregationist was Leander Perez? Excommunicated by the Catholic Church bad, that's how bad. From Wikipedia:
In the 1950s and 1960s, Perez gained attention as a nationally prominent opponent of desegregation, taking a leadership role in the southern Massive Resistance to change, particularly following the 1954 US Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education, which ruled that segregation of public schools was unconstitutional. Other nationally recognized figures who became known on this topic were Strom Thurmond, George Wallace (future governor of Alabama), and Ross Barnett of Mississippi. Perez was a member of the White Citizens Council and an organizer of the white supremacist Citizens Council of Greater New Orleans. Perez researched and wrote much of the legislation sponsored by Louisiana's Joint Legislative Committee on Segregation.

Perez tried to control the activities of civil rights workers by prohibiting outsiders from entering Plaquemines Parish via the bayou ferries, which were the chief way to cross rivers and enter the jurisdiction.

In 1960, while opposing desegregation of New Orleans public schools, Perez spoke provocatively at a rally in the city. His speech is credited with catalyzing a mob assault on the school administration building by some 2,000 white men, who were fought off by police using fire hoses. The mob ran through the city and attacked African Americans on the streets. When the schools were reopened, Perez organized a boycott by white residents. His group made threats to whites who allowed their children to attend desegregated schools. Perez arranged for poor whites to attend a segregated private school without charge , and he helped to establish a new whites-only private school in New Orleans. The Roman Catholic Church supported desegregation, and integrated its parochial schools. The bishop of New Orleans excommunicated Perez for his overt opposition to the church's teachings.
IN THE 1990s, the St. Bernard Parish Council rededicated Judge Perez Drive for Judge Melvin Perez, a state judge who served St. Bernard Parish, thereby distancing itself from the long-dead white supremacist, Leander. Then again, how many people do you reckon think of Melvin when you say "Judge Perez Drive"?

Obviously, the only thing as hard as naming a not-very-long street for Martin Luther King, Jr., in St. Bernard Parish is unnaming a major thoroughfare for a corrupt segregationist political boss. Here's more on Leander Perez from Wikipedia:
In 1919, Judge Perez launched a reign of bought elections and strictly enforced segregation. Laws were enacted on Perez's fiat and were rubber-stamped by the parish governing councils. Elections under Perez's reign were sometimes blatantly falsified, with voting records appearing in alphabetical order and names of national celebrities such as Babe Ruth, Charlie Chaplin, and Herbert Hoover appearing on the rolls. Perez-endorsed candidates often won with 90% or more of the ballots. Those who appeared to vote were intimidated by Perez's enforcers. He sent large tough men into the voting booths to "help" people vote. Many voters were bribed. Perez testified that he bribed voters $2, $5, and $10 to vote his way depending on who they are.

Perez took action to suppress African Americans from voting within his domain, but most were already disenfranchised due to the state constitution passed at the turn of the century, which added requirements for payment of poll taxes and passing literacy tests in order to register to vote. Subjective and discriminatory treatment by white registrars prevented most blacks from registering.
LOUISIANA: Home of both the "carefully taught" and the carefully bought.  Next parish council meeting should be another humdinger.

Monday, August 03, 2015

Coincidence? I think not



Of all the things Nebraska's bazillionnaire governor could throw his fortune behind that actually might benefit his state, what does Pete Ricketts choose to bankroll to the tune of $200,000?

Education initiatives for the state's poorest residents? Nope.

Higher education?  Nope.

Job training for the chronically unemployed? Nope.

Food banks? Nope.

After school programs for underprivileged kids? Nope.

Antiviolence efforts in north and south Omaha? Nope.

A petition drive to restore the death penalty, which was eliminated by the Nebraska Legislature over the veto of the governor, who likes to tout his pro-life Catholicism? Bingo!

Proceed to "GO" . . . and pick up a batch of black-market execution drugs on your way there. Gov. Pete still has hope.

FROM Saturday's Omaha World-Herald:
Gov. Pete Ricketts has doubled his monetary backing of the petition drive to restore the death penalty in Nebraska.

A report filed Friday shows the governor gave $100,000 to Nebraskans for the Death Penalty in early July, which comes on top of the $100,000 he gave to the campaign in June.

His donations account for nearly one-third of the funds raised by the group, which has less than a month left to gather signatures on a petition seeking to put the fate of capital punishment on next year’s ballot.

The referendum petition would ask voters whether they want to undo legislation repealing the state’s death penalty. 
Ricketts’ role in financing the petition drive appears to be a first, at least in recent decades. Past governors have signed petitions or thrown their political support behind them but have not been top contributors to the drives.
PERHAPS the governor's parish priest needs to have a loooooooong talk with hizzoner. For a "pro-life" kind of guy, Pete Ricketts surely does seem to be quite enamored with killing.

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
2266 The efforts of the state to curb the spread of behavior harmful to people's rights and to the basic rules of civil society correspond to the requirement of safeguarding the common good. Legitimate public authority has the right and duty to inflict punishment proportionate to the gravity of the offense. Punishment has the primary aim of redressing the disorder introduced by the offense. When it is willingly accepted by the guilty party, it assumes the value of expiation. Punishment then, in addition to defending public order and protecting people's safety, has a medicinal purpose: as far as possible, it must contribute to the correction of the guilty party.
2267 Assuming that the guilty party's identity and responsibility have been fully determined, the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor.

If, however, non-lethal means are sufficient to defend and protect people's safety from the aggressor, authority will limit itself to such means, as these are more in keeping with the concrete conditions of the common good and more in conformity to the dignity of the human person.

Today, in fact, as a consequence of the possibilities which the state has for effectively preventing crime, by rendering one who has committed an offense incapable of doing harm - without definitely taking away from him the possibility of redeeming himself - the cases in which the execution of the offender is an absolute necessity "are very rare, if not practically nonexistent."
AUSTIN POWERS, call your office. Nebraska needs your help.

Friday, July 31, 2015

3 Chords & the Truth: Once in a blue moon


There's a moon out tonight, and it's blue.

Once in a blue moon comes out to about -- on average -- once every 2 1/2 years. That's how often you get two full moons in the same month.

In my native south Louisiana, we'd call that lagniappe. A little something extra.

AND IT occurs to me that's how often you'll find something like 3 Chords & the Truth . . . something as wonderfully diverse, broad-ranging, quirky and sometimes surprising as this here little musical venture on the Internet. The goal here is to always give you a little something extra. 

Just like a blue moon.

Bom ba ba bom ba bom ba bom bom ba ba bom ba ba bom ba ba dang a dang dang,
Ba ba ding a dong ding . . . blue moon.


And, boy oh boy, are you going to get your blue moon's worth this week on the Big Show.

It's 3 Chords & the Truth, y'all. Be there. Aloha.


Along with the sunshine. . . .


If there's a better country-pop song than "(I Never Promised You a) Rose Garden," I don't know what it might be.

And now both artists responsible for this masterpiece in 2:55 are gone. Writer Joe South died in 2012. The woman who had the smash hit with it in 1970, Lynn Anderson, died last night.

From The Tennessean in Nashville:
Country singer Lynn Anderson, best known for her classic recording “(I Never Promised You a) Rose Garden,” died Thursday night of a heart attack at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

She had been hospitalized for pneumonia following a trip to Italy. She was 67 years old.

Lynn Rene Anderson was born Sept. 26, 1947 in Grand Forks, N.D., and raised in California. She came from a musical family: Her parents Casey and Liz Anderson were both songwriters; the latter penned the Merle Haggard hits “(My Friends Are Gonna Be) Strangers” and “I’m a Lonesome Fugitive.”

Ms. Anderson’s debut single, a duet with Jerry Lane called “For Better or for Worse,” was released in 1966, when she was just 19 years old. It failed to chart. However, later that year her single “Ride, Ride, Ride,” cracked the country charts, and its successor, “If I Kiss You (Will You Go Away)” was a Top 5 hit.

For two years during the late 1960s, Ms. Anderson was a regular on the popular “Lawrence Welk Show,” an outlet which exposed her to a nationwide audience. "It was appointment viewing," said WSM DJ and Grand Ole Opry announcer Eddie Stubbs. "Lynn Anderson really helped expand the boundaries of country music because there wasn't a lot of (it) on network television at that time."
Ms. Anderson wed producer/songwriter Glenn Sutton in 1968. He produced several of her hit songs—and wrote some too, including “You’re My Man” and “Keep Me in Mind”—but the couple would divorce in 1977.

In 1970, Ms. Anderson moved from California to Nashville, and signed with Columbia Records. In October of that year, she released what would become her signature song, and one of country music’s classics. The lilting “(I Never Promised You a) Rose Garden,” penned by Joe South, became a worldwide hit with its immediately recognizable intro and catchy lyrics. In the U.S., it spent five weeks atop the country music charts and crossed over to the pop charts as well. The recording also netted Ms. Anderson a Best Female Country Vocal Performance Grammy Award, and in 1971, the Country Music Association named her Female Vocalist of the Year. Over the last four decades, “Rose Garden” has been covered numerous times by a wide variety of artists including k.d. lang, Martina McBride, Suicide Machines and Southern Culture on the Skids.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

3 Chords & the Truth: It's a smash!


Did you hear the big news?

The Big Show is a BIG SMASH! And we're not talking about what happens to your fedora when you accidentally sit on it, either.

No, the kind of "smash" we're talking about when we're talking about 3 Chords & the Truth is the good kind of smash . . . as in "smash hit." As in "smashes down the boundaries of excellence in music programming."

Yes, in that respect, your favorite music podcast is indeed a smash.

THIS WEEK,  we'll be doing more of our customary smashing of barriers that dictate what you can and can't do with a music format. And we'll be smashing any notion that you might guess what we'll be doing next -- or playing next on the Big Show.

That's the Big News about 3C&T all wrapped up in a petite promotional package. And the big news is, of course, very good news.

Even more succinctly, let me put it this way: Give the Big Show just 90 minutes of your valuable time, and we'll give you an entire world of music. Sound fair? Good. We'll meet you over at the podcast player.

It's 3 Chords & the Truth, y'all. Be there. Aloha.


Friday, July 24, 2015

Ads that will embarrass y'all in 60 years


For the hell of it, I've been going through some mid-1950s editions of Television magazine, immersing myself into an archival wayback machine.

Trade advertising was fascinating then -- at least to me -- sometimes dry, sometimes cute, occasionally  sophisticated . . . and too often, through the clarifying lens of 2015, horrifying.

Let's just say my little "wayback" exercise is a quick and effective manner of coming to grips with how a culture you were reared in -- and, frankly, didn't think much about at the time because people never see the forest for the trees -- actually was pretty horrifying in many ways.

IN THIS CASE, looking back at 1955 and 1956 through the lens of a television camera, we see a culture that was both deeply racist, quick to stereotype and completely hung up on the glories and nobility of "the Lost Cause." We see a culture dedicated to whitewashing (both literally and figuratively) its defining narrative and embracing an identity that you could sum up as They Who Give the Finger to the Yankees.

The South's past: Not forgotten because it's not really past.

Of course, to be fair. one Minnesota TV station had a trade ad touting itself via the ugg-a-mug stereotypical language of the American Indian, but you have to admit that the South set the standard for casual bigotry in the United States. We Southerners leave our subtlety at the door.

NOW, this has me thinking about matters not of the past but of the future.

My wondering goes something like this: When future generations of Americans -- or whomever -- look through the cultural output of post-millennial America, what things will horrify them that we hardly think about at all? Which of our cultural assumptions will testify against us and our age?

You know, sort of like watermelon-eating black children, branding yourself with the Confederate battle flag or the "gallantry" of Nathan Bedford Forrest?





Saturday, July 18, 2015

3 Chords & the Truth: A minute better

 
The last couple of weeks, the Big Show has run a minute long.

I interpret this as there being just too much spectacular stuff to fit in a mere 90 minutes of 3 Chords & the Truth.

You know that great Billy Eckstine album I was telling you about earlier on the blog? We're leading the show with the best cut. This is called "getting off to a fast start."

And then we don't let up a bit -- a great number, recorded live in 1987, from the late tenor-sax great Stan Getz. And then after that. . . .

WELL, we don't need to lay waste to the mystery of this edition of the Big Show, do we? No, we don't.

Not knowing what's next is half the fun of it all -- am I right?

Anyway, it's another good 'un, and you just might want to make 3 Chords & the Truth appointment listening. This is called "the smart thing to do."

In a wee housekeeping note, you'll notice that we've made just a few format tweaks in honor of this being episode No. 301 of the program. The biggest tweak is this: After more than 7 1/2  years, we're getting a new primary opening theme. Let's just say Gruppo Sportivo's Superman spoke to my radio-guy soul the other day.

THAT'S about it for this week. Just listen . . . and just have fun here in 3C&T land.

It's 3 Chords & the Truth, y'all. Be there. Aloha.