Category Archives: Music

June 12 Music et al

June 12 Music et al

Camelot
June 12 – July 23, 1961, the original Broadway cast album from Camelot  Billboard’s #1,

 
June 12, 1963: following Byron De La Beckwith assassination of NAACP civil rights leader Medgar Evers, musicians wrote several songs about the incident.
Ballad of Medgar Evers, by Phil Ochs

In the state of Mississippi many years ago
A boy of 14 years got a taste of southern law
He saw his friend a hanging and his color was his crime
And the blood upon his jacket left a brand upon his mindToo many martyrs and too many dead
Too many lies too many empty words were said
Too many times for too many angry men
Oh let it never be againHis name was Medgar Evers and he walked his road alone
Like Emmett Till and thousands more whose names we’ll never know
They tried to burn his home and they beat him to the ground
But deep inside they both knew what it took to bring him down

 

 

And they laid him in his grave while the bugle sounded clear
Laid him in his grave when the victory was near
While we waited for the future for freedom through the land
The country gained a killer and the country lost a man

And they laid him in his grave while the bugle sounded clear
Laid him in his grave when the victory was near
While we waited for the future for freedom through the land
The country gained a killer and the country lost a manThe killer waited by his home hidden by the night
As evers stepped out from his car into the rifle sight
He slowly squeezed the trigger, the bullet left his side
It struck the heart of every man when Evers fell and died.And they laid him in his grave while the bugle sounded clear
Laid him in his grave when the victory was near
While we waited for the future for freedom through the land
The country gained a killer and the country lost a man
Only a Pawn in Their Game, by Bob Dylan

A bullet from the back of a bush
Took Medgar Evers’ blood
A finger fired the trigger to his name
A handle hid out in the dark
A hand set the spark
Two eyes took the aim
Behind a man’s brain
But he can’t be blamed
He’s only a pawn in their game
A South politician preaches to the poor white man
“You got more than the blacks, don’t complain
You’re better than them, you been born with white skin, ” they explain
And the Negro’s name
Is used, it is plain
For the politician’s gain
As he rises to fame
And the poor white remains
On the caboose of the train
But it ain’t him to blame
He’s only a pawn in their game
The deputy sheriffs, the soldiers, the governors get paid
And the marshals and cops get the same
But the poor white man’s used in the hands of them all like a tool
He’s taught in his school
From the start by the rule
That the laws are with him
To protect his white skin
To keep up his hate
So he never thinks straight
‘Bout the shape that he’s in
But it ain’t him to blame
He’s only a pawn in their game
From the poverty shacks, he looks from the cracks to the tracks
And the hoofbeats pound in his brain
And he’s taught how to walk in a pack
Shoot in the back
With his fist in a clinch
To hang and to lynch
To hide ‘neath the hood
To kill with no pain
Like a dog on a chain
He ain’t got no name
But it ain’t him to blame
He’s only a pawn in their game
Today, Medgar Evers was buried from the bullet he caught
They lowered him down as a king
But when the shadowy sun sets on the one
That fired the gun
He’ll see by his grave
On the stone that remains
Carved next to his name
His epitaph plain
Only a pawn in their game
Mississippi Goddam, by Nina Simone

The name of this tune is Mississippi goddam
And I mean every word of itAlabama’s gotten me so upset
Tennessee made me lose my rest
And everybody knows about Mississippi goddamAlabama’s gotten me so upset
Tennessee made me lose my rest
And everybody knows about Mississippi goddamCan’t you see it
Can’t you feel it
It’s all in the air
I can’t stand the pressure much longer
Somebody say a prayerAlabama’s gotten me so upset
Tennessee made me lose my rest
And everybody knows about Mississippi goddamThis is a show tune
But the show hasn’t been written for it, yet

Hound dogs on my trail
School children sitting in jail
Black cat cross my path
I think every day’s gonna be my last

Lord have mercy on this land of mine
We all gonna get it in due time
I don’t belong here
I don’t belong there
I’ve even stopped believing in prayer

Don’t tell me
I tell you
Me and my people just about due
I’ve been there so I know
They keep on saying ‘Go slow!’

But that’s just the trouble
‘Do it slow’
Washing the windows
‘Do it slow’
Picking the cotton
‘Do it slow’
You’re just plain rotten
‘Do it slow’
You’re too damn lazy
‘Do it slow’
The thinking’s crazy
‘Do it slow’
Where am I going
What am I doing
I don’t know
I don’t know

 

Just try to do your very best
Stand up be counted with all the rest
For everybody knows about Mississippi goddamI made you thought I was kiddin’Picket lines
School boy cots
They try to say it’s a communist plot
All I want is equality
For my sister my brother my people and meYes you lied to me all these years
You told me to wash and clean my ears
And talk real fine just like a lady
And you’d stop calling me Sister SadieOh but this whole country is full of lies
You’re all gonna die and die like flies
I don’t trust you any more
You keep on saying ‘Go slow!’
‘Go slow!’But that’s just the trouble
‘Do it slow’
Desegregation
‘Do it slow’
Mass participation
‘Do it slow’
Reunification
‘Do it slow’
Do things gradually
‘Do it slow’
But bring more tragedy
‘Do it slow’
Why don’t you see it
Why don’t you feel it
I don’t know
I don’t know

You don’t have to live next to me
Just give me my equality
Everybody knows about Mississippi
Everybody knows about Alabama
Everybody knows about Mississippi goddam, that’s it

June 12 Music et al

Back in My Arms, Again

June 12 Music et al

June 12 – 18, 1965: “Back in My Arms, Again” by The Supremes #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

 
The Family Way soundtrack

June 12 Music et al

June 12, 1967: US release of The Family Way soundtrack album by Paul McCartney and assisted by George Martin. (see Beatles Bible for more)  (see June 19)

 
June 12 Music et al
The Road to Bethel
June 12, 1969: Stanley Goldstein and Don Ganoung (minister and head of community relations) attend public meeting in Wallkill Town Hall in an attempt to allay antagonism toward festival.  Though town supervisor Jack Schlosser was against the event, he attempted to provide a fair hearing. (see June 14)
see Some Time in New York City for more
June 12, 1972, The Beatles post break-up: John Lennon released Some Time in New York City, his third solo album. It is a highly political album and panned by critics. (see August 30)

 

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Old Man Woodstock Reflections

Old Man Woodstock Reflections

The Irony of Woodstock

As we approach the 50th anniversary of the Woodstock Music and Art Fair, many find themselves reflecting about that iconic event and its impact.

Thank you to Charlie Maloney, Woodstock alum, Bethel Woods Center for the Arts volunteer, Museum docent, and a guy who "gets it" when it comes to the spirit of the 60s that Woodstock has come to epitomize. It was he, who while surfing the internet one recent night, found an article written by Robert Hilburn for the Los Angeles Times. It kept him up later than he'd planned, but it was worth the sleep loss.

1989 was the 20th anniversary of Woodstock. Like 50, 20 is also an number that summons reflection as well.

Robert Hilburn

Hilburn's point was that if Woodstock had been held in 1989 it would have been a very different event. By 1989 the commercialization of rock music had gone from the 1950s fear of rock to a late-20th century commercial takeover with branded events.

The article's first  example is Janis Joplin's bringing a bottle of Southern Comfort on stage with her in 1969. In 1989, such "product placement" would have cost the liquor-maker. For the article, famous concert promoter Bill Graham suggested that, "...Southern Comfort would pay her a million dollars for just holding that bottle...."

Hilburn wrote that Graham's viewed Woodstock, "...not principally as a great musical moment, but as the day corporate America saw the big money to be made in rock. Indeed, Woodstock itself was a grand attempt to escalate the scale of rock."

The article quotes Joe Smith, a Capital-EMI exec, "Woodstock legitimized rock 'n' roll, and it sent out the message that there was a lot of money to be made in it."

Lou Adler, one of the organizers of rock's "first" festival, the Monterey International Pop Festival, said, "If Monterey made rock 'n' roll an art form, Woodstock made it a business."

Really?

Old Man Woodstock Reflections

Woodstock Ventures didn't just lose its shirt that weekend, it lost its pants, shoes, had, and underwear. None of the four organizers, Michael Lang, Artie Kornfeld, John Roberts, or Joel Rosenman, ever got rich from it. They did continue to get plenty of grief and a mailbox full of law suits. Within days, Ventures sold the movie and music rights to to just begin to get out of the financial hole it found itself in. It was more than a decade later before that hole was filled. Not what I would call an acceptable rate of return.

If anything, it might be more accurate to say that corporate America saw the potential for "big money" in Woodstock's muddy aftermath and its may brethren festivals that summer.

It's many brethren? Until I began training as a docent at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts' Museum, I had, as most recollect and the article implies, that Woodstock was one of the two memorable festivals that year. The other, the sad counterpoint, being Altamont and its association with Hell's Angels violence and failed security.

Where were…?

That was not the case.  My research led me to dozens of other festivals that summer. None had the huge attendance that Woodstock had, but many had the same names. In fact, the lack of Black artists and bands at Woodstock (given the number available), stands in contrast to those other festivals. For example, none of the following were at Woodstock, but appeared throughout that summer at other festivals: The Chambers Brothers, Chuck Berry, Muddy Waters, Taj Majal, Elvin Bishop, Sun Ra, Bukka White,  Carla and Rufus Thomas, Ike and Tina Turner, Marvin Gaye,  Albert King, Albert Collins, Edwin Starr, Slim Harpo, Big Mama Thorton,  Champion Jack Dupree, John Lee Hooker, Edwin Hawkins Singers, Buddy Guy, Bo Diddley, Charles Lloyd, BB King, Little Richard, James Cotton Blues Band, Sam and Dave, Fred McDowell, Deacon John and the Electric Soul Train,  or Junior Walker and the All Stars,

I am not suggesting that Woodstock's invited line-up was a biased or poor one. It was great (others were, too). And I am certainly not suggesting that all of those listed above should have been there, otherwise the true musical coexistence that the spirit of Woodstock implies would ring hollow. But why not any?
Old Man Woodstock Reflections

 

As a Woodstock alum, myself, it is a thrill to hear "my" festival so celebrated and given such importance, yet when Lou Adler states that, ""My feeling has always been that if it hadn't rained, we may not have heard that much about Woodstock, or at least heard about it in a different way.....More than the music, it was the story of people pulling together against all these adverse elements. That's what made it such a dramatic and universal story" I cringe a bit.

The rain did happen, but the weekend was not a wash-out by any means. Sunburned backs attest to that. 
Old Man Woodstock Reflections
That those of us who attended did return home with a sense of solidarity seems to be accurate. The most common theme I note after conversations with returning Woodstock alum at the Museum was the sense of "Us" that we had there and afterwards.

Always remember that on that misty Monday morning when Hendrix finally closed the (actually) 4-day event, there were "only" 30- to 40-thousand people left. Most of us had gone home. We were tired. We were hungry. We were wet. We were muddy. We wondered whether our car was still there. And we had to get back to our jobs--whether that was a full-time one or a summer job before college began.

Love for Sale

Old Man Woodstock Reflections
Locals along 17B on Saturday 16 August selling hot dogs and soda. $1 each.
Woodstock's mythic story intensified what had already begun. FM rock stations and college stations (always underrated in terms of their influence) became a bigger influence. Hillburn writes that, "Woodstock changed the progressive rock format from an experiment to a boom."

The record industry did continue to increase its profits, but not, until the mid-70 did sales skyrocket: "$2.37 billion in 1975 . . . $2.73 billion in 1976 . . . $3.50 billion in 1977 . . . and $4.13 billion in 1978." And those profits are credited to Woodstock's fame.

The end result, by 1989, is that the counter-cultural music scene had gone mainstream. Stadium shows with commercial sponsors and ticket prices that make Woodstock ticket-buyer wax nostalgic.  The idealism of the 60s could still be found, but now part of a subset, not the primary aim.

A disillusioned Bill Graham quit the promotion business. Temporarily. He  returned to help create hundreds of stadium shows and help oversee a merchandising-related company. Ironically, he died in a helicopter accident after a successful meeting with Huey Lewis about doing a benefit concert.

By 2017, even a not-for-profit venue like Bethel Woods Center for the Arts has to charge what seem to many to be exorbitant prices for tickets to make ends meet. Ends, actually, that don't meet and depend on the generosity of others to close the gap and finally end in the black.

Apparently the intersection of Hurd and West Shore Roads will always be a beautiful, iconic, and historic site, but not a profit-making one.

Today you can find an exhibit at the Museum called "Love For Sale." The exhibit "examines the pervasive influence of the Counterculture on American popular culture and commerce." 

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June 6 Music et al

June 6 Music et al 

Beatles

June 6, 1962: two days after signing with EMI, the Beatles (with Pete Best on drums) recorded their first demos for EMI at Abbey Road Studios under the direction of George Martin and his assistant, Ron Richards.

George Martin let Ron Richards handle the session which saw the band record 'Besame Mucho,' 'Love Me Do,' 'PS I Love You' and 'Ask Me Why'. Richards didn't like what he heard or saw. Norman Smith, who was the engineer for the session liked "Love Me Do" and decided he should get George Martin to hear it. Martin didn't share Ron Richards opinion of the band or the music.

Norman Smith has said, "We gave them a long lecture about their equipment and what would have to be done about it if they were to become recording artists. They didn't say a word, not a word, they didn't even nod their heads in agreement. When he finished, George said 'Look, I've laid into you for quite a time, you haven't responded. Is there anything you don't like?' I remember they all looked at each other for a long while, shuffling their feet, then George Harrison took a long look at George and said 'Yeah, I don't like your tie!' That cracked the ice for us and for the next 15-20 minutes they were pure entertainment." (see June 11)

Chapel of Love

June 6 – 26, 1964, “Chapel of Love” by The Dixie Cups #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Hello Dolly!

June 6 – June 12, 1964, the original cast album of Hello Dolly! the Billboard #1 album.

Beatles on Sullivan

June 6, 1966: appeared taped on the Ed Sullivan Show. (see June 20)

The Road to Bethel and the Woodstock Festival

Work begins
June 6, 1969:a twenty-one person crew arrived in Wallkill to begin work. They will live at Rosenburg’s family retreat in nearby Bullville. [among them: Mel Lawrence, Michael Lang, Penny Stall ings, Lee Mackler (friend of John Morris), Bill & Jean Ward and five University of Miami artists] (see June6/7/8?)
Bands signed
June 6/7/8?, 1969: Sweetwater and Blood, Sweat and Tears ($15,000) signed for festival. (see June 7)

The Fourth Annual Memphis Country Blues Festival

and the

First Annual W.C. Handy Memorial Concert

June 6 – 8, 1969: its poster read:  The Memphis Sesquicentennial Inc. in conjunction with The Memphis Country Blues Society proudly presents The Fourth Annual Memphis Country Blues Festival and First Annual W.C. Handy Memorial Concert

          The Festival will officially begin Friday June 6 and Saturday June 7, 1969 with three daytime concerts and two evening concerts all in the Overton Park Shell, culminating with the W.C. Handy Memorial Concert in the Mid-South Coliseum on Sunday June 8th.

Tickets for the Shell concerts will be available at time of performance only 
 Tickets for the W.C. Handy concert will be on advance sale at many Memphis locations ($2.50 to $5.00)

         Claude Mabel (artist?)

         Johnny Winter, Canned Heat, Backwards Sam Firk,Bukka White,Carla and Rufus Thomas, Insect Trust, Fred McDowell & Johnny Woods, Nathan Beauregard, Sun Smith and the Beale Street Five, Elder Lonnie McIntorsch, Sleepy John Estes Blues Band, Lum Guffin, The World Greatest Jazz Band, Albert King, The Bar-Kays with Toni Mason, Jo-Ann Kelley, Furry Lewis, Slim Harpo, Rev. Robert Wilkins, John Fahey, Southern Fife and Drum Corps, Booker T. and the MGs, Moloch, Casietta George, Sid Selvidge, Soldiers of the Cross, Robert Pete Williams, Rev. Ishmon Bracey, and Wild Child Butler
June 6 Music et al

John Lennon and Yoko Ono

June 6, 1971: John and Yoko appeared on stage for the first time since 1969 when they join Frank Zappa for a show at the Fillmore East. (see July 1)

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