Jazz Vocalist Mildred Bailey

Jazz Vocalist Mildred Bailey

Remembering, recognizing, and appreciating
February 27, 1903 – December 12, 1951

Jazz Vocalist Mildred Bailey


Given our culture’s propensity to caricature Native Americans as noble savages stuck in a stone age, the notion that they have had a significant contribution to popular music is surprising.


It should not be so.

Jazz Vocalist Mildred Bailey

Background


Jazz Vocalist Mildred Bailey


Mildred Bailey’s mother was a Coeur d’Alene Native American and Mildred, born Mildred Rinker, lived her early life on their reservation in Idaho which is about an hour’s drive south of Spokane, Washington.


She had shown an early aptitude for music, playing the family piano throughout her childhood. Around 1913 her family moved to Spokane, but after her mother passed away in 1916, she was sent to live with an aunt in Seattle. As a teenager there she earned money playing in silent-movie houses and demonstrating sheet music for customers at Woolworth’s Department Store.


Jazz Vocalist Mildred Bailey

Los Angeles

She found some singing success there and moved to Hollywood to seek more.


Mildred Bailey (she  kept his name because it sounded more American than the German-Rinker) did find more success there. A white woman singing jazz was unusual. A white woman because she hid the fact that she was also a Native American.


Jazz Vocalist Mildred Bailey

Brother Al and friend Bing

Mildred’s brother Al played piano.  Al met Bing Crosby in Seattle and the two teamed up.  They eventually went to Los Angeles like Al’s sister and they, too, found a bit of luck when New York band-leader, Paul “The King of Jazz” Whiteman — invited them to become part of  Paul Whiteman’s Rhythm Boys.


In 1929, Rinker introduced Mildred to Whitman who hired her. With that job, Mildred Bailey became first national-level orchestra to feature a female vocalist, Bailey cut her debut recording, “What Kind O’ Man Is You,” for Columbia.



It was in 1932 that Bailey found national success. She debuted  the song “Ol’ Rockin’ Chair’s Got Me.” The song became such a big hit that she became known as the “Rockin’ Chair Lady.”


Jazz Vocalist Mildred Bailey

A historyling article said that, “Bailey… gained attention by recording tunes with the same top players who backed Billie Holiday’s classic sessions — and plenty of people took notice of her trail-blazing ways when she began fronting an all-black combo, Mildred Bailey and Her Oxford Browns. Bailey also married jazzman, Red Norvo, they became known as “Mr. and Mrs. Swing,” and his combo backed her on a series of fine hits.”


She and Norvo divorced, but career continued successfully.  She performed at top New York nightclubs and had her own CBS radio series in 1944


Jazz Vocalist Mildred Bailey

Still Unknown

To most people,  Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, and Tony Bennet are household names, but the name Mildred Bailey is not. It is ironic because it was she who influenced their styles.



Bailey suffered from diabetes and she was often forced to put her singing career on hold while she recovered her strength. She died on December 12, 1951 in  Poughkeepsie, NY from a heart attack.

  • In 1989, Bailey was inducted into the Big Band and Jazz Hall of Fame.
  • In 1994, the US Postal Service issued a 29-cent stamp her honor. The stamp incorrectly has her birth year as 1907.
Jazz Vocalist Mildred Bailey

 

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Woodstock Music Art Fair Pictures

Woodstock Music Art Fair Pictures

My Woodstock Story

My Woodstock story is a straightforward one. High school friend Tony and I left NJ and got close to the site on Friday night, walked in on Saturday morning, and hitch-hiked back to the car on Sunday afternoon.

I had borrowed my girlfriend’s father’s 35mm camera and his binoculars. I bought one roll of Kodachrome slide film and loaded it into the camera.

As Tony and I walked toward Bethel and the site on Saturday morning I took a few pictures. On Saturday I took several more. Once during the night I took a picture. I finished the roll on Sunday before we left. A few times I experimented and put the binoculars up to the camera’s lens and improvised a telephoto lens.

Tony and I hardly moved the time we were there. We staked out our 8-foot square and only left a few times in an unsuccessful search for food and to use the porta-johns.

Here are those pictures. Click on the picture to “open” it up and see a larger size.

Woodstock Music Art Fair Pictures
It was a foggy misty Sullivan County, NY morning. It is interesting today when I show these Rt 17B pictures to friends and guest at the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts Museum, what they see. Many love looking at the cars and tell me how they had that model or how their neighbor had one like it.


Woodstock Music Art Fair Pictures
More parked cars. Traffic was literally at a standstill. The time was approximately 7 AM

My Woodstock Story
We would ask people, “How much farther?” and their answer always was, “Just up ahead.”


Woodstock Music Art Fair Pictures
We do not have one picture of ourselves that weekend other than this picture which includes the back of Tony (blue shirt carrying a sleeping bag). We were getting closer, but we didn’t realize it.

Woodstock Music Art Fair Pictures
While most locals were unhappy with the traffic and idea of a rock festival, these enterprising people set up a hot dog and soda stand. $1 a dog; $1 a soda. We decided to wait than pay such a high price.

Woodstock Music Art Fair Pictures
We found a spot a hundred yards + from the stage toward the left, spread out our sleeping bags, and sat down. This guy was in front of us. His hat and umbrella were unusual to me, so I took his picture. The umbrella was a parasol for the sunny afternoon. Saturday was a beautiful day.


Woodstock Music Art Fair Pictures
Most of my pictures, as you’ll see, were simply of the crowd.

Woodstock Music Art Fair Pictures
Two lighting towers and the still unfinished artists tent in the background.

Woodstock Music Art Fair Pictures
Quill. Saturday’s opening act. This is one of the shots through my binoculars.

Woodstock Music Art Fair Pictures
When you get tired of group shots, you take a picture of a balloon. In the distance you can see one of the large tent areas that another farmers rented space for.

Woodstock Music Art Fair Pictures
I often ask people to “look for the hippies” in these pictures. You won’t see many.

Woodstock Music Art Fair Pictures
After Santana finished “Soul Sacrifice” 500,000 people stood to cheer, applaud, stomp, shout, and whistle. It was a physical event. I stood and took two pictures. This one and the next.

Woodstock Music Art Fair Pictures


 

Woodstock Music Art Fair Pictures
Not a crowd shot, but simple a peace pillow on top of the typical sleeping bag many of us brought.

Woodstock Music Art Fair Pictures
Another crowd shot. Perhaps there was a reason why, but it’s lost in my memory.

Woodstock Music Art Fair Pictures
When I try to explain who was at the festival, I sometimes half-jokingly say, “White kids getting sunburned.”

Woodstock Music Art Fair Pictures
Everyone was high? Not quite, but these friendly people offered a hit to Tony and me. We politely declined.

Woodstock Music Art Fair Pictures
This lucky guy scored a can of soda. Now he has to find his way back.

Woodstock Music Art Fair Pictures
Yet another crowd shot.

Woodstock Music Art Fair Pictures
Evening. Hungry. We meandered to the Food for Love tents. Empty. Neither food nor love.

Woodstock Music Art Fair Pictures
The one night shot. Pretty sure it’s Mountain playing. Note the lighting on the left along the wooden walkway built for staff and musicians to get from the other side of the road to the staging area.

Woodstock Music Art Fair Pictures
The Who had finished, the misty Sunday sunrise appeared, and the Jefferson Airplane would close Saturdays 18-hour marathon of music.

Woodstock Music Art Fair Pictures
Some Sunday risers while some still sleep in their blow-up tents.

Woodstock Music Art Fair Pictures
More Sunday morning risers with an abandoned tee-pee framework.

Woodstock Music Art Fair Pictures
Waiting for Sunday’s music to begin.

Woodstock Music Art Fair Pictures
Click for sure to enlarge and read the sign of this guy who walked around with his banner–“Love Your Animal Friends, Don’t Eat Them.”

Woodstock Music Art Fair Pictures
Sunday music began with Joe Cocker. One of those binocular shots.

Woodstock Music Art Fair Pictures
My last shot. This woman had the largest afro I’d ever seen and it was bleached white besides. Note the kid (headband) sitting on his Jeep seat.

Woodstock Music Art Fair Pictures

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Unknown Anderson Theater

Unknown Anderson Theater



Unknown Anderson Theater


Plant based Mexican food

Unknown Anderson Theater

 


I wonder how often diners enjoying some plant based Mexican cuisine al fresco at Bar Verde at  look across the street and notice the curtain cartouche atop 66 Second Avenue across the street?  And if they notice it, do they think it’s simply an architectural flourish or that it signifies something more?


For those of us who love live rock and roll, it’s more.


When it comes to the “best” of something, we are often age-myopic, that is, we narrow potential candidates to own personal or generational memories.


Ask a Boomer, “What was the best NYC rock venue?” and the Fillmore East will be at or near the top selection. While there are many other venues that had great music, Bill Graham’s venue had a cachet  that set it apart.


Ironically, for all its historic weight, the Fillmore East provided its musical paradise only over only 3 years, 3 months, and 20 nights.

Unknown Anderson Theater

Neil Louison and Sandy Pearlman

Neil Louison and Sandy Pearlman attended Stony Brook University on Long Island about an hour and a half away from New York City.  Louison and Pearlman organized some concerts at Stony Brook. Pearlman also managed Soft White Underbelly, a Stony Brook-based band that he’d eventually re-name Blue Oyster Cult.


Unknown Anderson Theater

Crawdaddy magazine

Unknown Anderson Theater

After he graduated from Stony Brooke in 1966, Pearlman wrote for Paul William’s Crawdaddy magazine [a journal that John Rockwell said in a NY Times article was ” “the first magazine to take rock and roll seriously.”] Pearlman and the magazine decided that a concert venue would be a great idea.


The first location they looked at was the Village Theater at 105 Second Avenue.  The venue was originally built as a Yiddish theater in 1925-26 .


The deal quickly fell through, but they soon found another old theater just two blocks away. It had opened in 1926 as the Public Theatre and “had focused on Jewish acts including Yiddish Vaudeville as well as the showing of Yiddish films.” (from Cinema Treasures)


The theater had been renamed the Anderson Theater by 1968 and though smaller than the 105 Second Avenue location, 66 Second Avenue looked fine.

Unknown Anderson Theater

February 2, 1968

And so on February 2, 1968 the Anderson Theater opened for rock shows with Country Joe and the Fish, Jim Kweskin and the Jug Band and–no surprise here–Pearlman’s Soft White Underbelly.


Some of the names associated with the Anderson are very familiar to Boomer rock enthusiasts. A light show by Joshua White (Joshua Light Show site) .  John Morris helped organize and the following year was a big part of the Woodstock Music and Art Fair. Chip Monck was also associated–another Woodstock MC.


Unknown Anderson Theater

Hells Angels Little Rascals

On one hand the inexperience of the managers gave the enterprise an Our Gang feel, but given the financial stakes it also could turn ugly at times. John Morris remembers “catching a Yale lock that had been thrown across the hall just before it hit my wife… It was a zoo.”


Yet the acts that were part of the Anderson’s short lifespan are well-known. Big Brother and the Holding Company’s first NYC appearance was at the Anderson on February 17 with BB King.


On March 6, the theater hosted a benefit concert for war resisters.


The Yardbirds played on March 30.


Unknown Anderson Theater

Enter Bill Graham

Bill Graham was already successfully presenting rock concerts in San Francisco. He attended the Big Brother concert at the Anderson and thought that New York could be a good spot, too. And what specific spot was Graham looking at?

The Village Theater, 105 Second Avenue.

Unknown Anderson Theater

March 8, 1968

And so on March 8, 1968 Graham’s Fillmore East opened and it’s amazing historic run began.


And Graham invited many of those people working at the Anderson to become part of it. They did.


The Anderson Theater slowly faded away given the Fillmore competition, Graham’s expertise and determined style, as well as the inexperienced Anderson crew.

Some of the other shows were:

  •  March 6, 1968, the theater hosted a benefit concert for war resisters featuring Country Joe and the Fish and the Fugs.
  • Eric Burdon and the Animals, March 1968

    Unknown Anderson Theater


  • November 23, 1970: Traffic, New Riders of the Purple Sage, and the Grateful Dead

  • The Cockettes in November 1971
  • Captain Beefheart, January 15, 1972
Unknown Anderson Theater

CBGB Theater

By the late 1970s, the Anderson Theater was empty.


Hilly Kristan had opened his famed CGBG venue at 315 Bowery on December 10, 1973.  Four ears later, he decided to open a second venue nearby. Nearby by ( 3/10ths of a mile) was, what else, the Anderson Theater.


And so the Anderson Theater, renamed the CGBG Theater, opened on December 27, 1977 “with Talking Heads headlining, supported by the Shirts and the Tuff Darts. The next night it was the Dictators, the Dead Boys, and the Luna Band (formerly Orchestra Luna). Then Patti Smithheadlined December 29, 30, and New Year’s Eve. (20thcpunkarchives article)


The attempt was a short-lived one. According to Roman Kozak’s This Ain’t No Disco: The Story of CBGB: After the Patti Smith dates the Theater closed. The place was briefly used as a rock and roll flea market and there was a show with the Jam the following March” [March 31, 1978]


Punk had arrived at the Anderson, but not for long. 


Today only the aforementioned curtain cartouche indicates that the building was ever something other than apartments with a first floor commercial space.


Unknown Anderson Theater

Sandy Pearlman

Sandy Pearlman’s life with music did not end with the Anderson Theater. He continued to be a part of Blue Oyster Cult and it’s success as well as being the Black Sabbath’s manager from 1979-1983.


He founded Alpha & Omega Recording in San Francisco and was a pioneer of digital music as a vice president of Goodnoise Corporation, later eMusic.


He was a professor at McGill University in Montreal and then at the University of Toronto.


He died on July 26, 2016 (NY Times obituary)


Unknown Anderson Theater

 

 

 

 

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