The Decline And Fall Of Rock And Roll

Old Music

The invention of the wireless (radio), and the gramophone (record player), created a market for music. Folks were listenin’ to these new-fangled gadgets, and they wanted to be entertained. This all created a new profession – song-writer. All that new music had to come from somewhere.

In the early part of the 20th century, most of it, at least in North America, came from a small area in New York City known as Tin Pan Alley – from a group of a couple of dozen professional song writers. They might be approached to compose a song about a specific theme, and/or for a particular performer. They produced songs for stage musical comedies – and later for movies, when they gained sound.

They wrote songs about whatever came to mind – everything, and nothing. The songs had no soul. (Not Negro Soul – that came later.) During the feel-good, bath-tub gin, Flapper Girl, Roaring 20s, many of the songs were light, happy little lilts. In the Dirty-30s Depression era, people had to be convinced that things would get better, with even more happy little lilts, songs like Happy Days Are Here Again.

During WW II there were patriotic songs for the troops, and upbeat Musical Comedy songs for those left at home. Tin Pan Alley had almost disappeared. More songs were being written by more people, but they were all formulaic – all just X number of bars long, all just X number of minutes play-time.

In the late ‘40s and early ‘50s, Big Band Sound regained popularity. There was more pure music, with fewer lyrics. The popular music scene all began to change in the mid-50s, when the Baby-Boomers began to come of age.

It all started with the likes of Canadian, Paul Anka, who wrote and sang a song about an older babysitter that he’d had the hots for. Then, because he did it his way, he wrote ‘I Did It My Way,’ for Frank Sinatra to make a hit of. They were about “something.”

Many of the new, young music makers were disillusioned, cynical, and angry, tired of a status quo which had brought a Great Depression, two World Wars, the Korean War, and threatening to involve America in the Viet Nam War.

A new word and category had been created – singer/songwriter. Soon, hundreds of teenagers were recording their own songs – and millions more were buying them. At first, the powers-that-be dismissed them –They’re just rebellious. They’re just Anti-(insert random cause here.) Soon though, attempts were made to outlaw this seditious music.

These new performers weren’t just anti…. Government corruption and brainwashing, corporate greed and toxic waste, Christian manipulation and control! They wrote songs about what they were for…. Negro civil rights, feminism, LGBT respect, a living wage.

They also wrote about things that affected their lives, and the lives of millions of other young Boomers who listened to them. They sang about THINGS – surfing, car racing, personal relations, travel, what touring with a band was like, the pros and cons of drug use, sexual abuse, alcohol, ecology, sex, love, and finally, what DJ Alan Freed had dubbed this new aggressive music genre, Rock And Roll.

Rock and roll has held on for over half a century. It defeated the upstart, Disco, but it is losing its edginess, its social concern, its cynical dissatisfaction. Elvis made a fortune, singing Black music to white folks. Nowadays, Snowflakes would have a meltdown about cultural appropriation.

Justin Bieber’s stuff is bright and tuneful, but about as exciting as a how-to manual for frying eggs. Alanis Morisette can’t read a dictionary, and if Taylor Swift weren’t so high-maintenance, she wouldn’t have 18 songs about ex-boyfriends.

None of it has the syncopated beat, the drive, the barely repressed anger, the social concern, anymore. Ed Sheeran’s work has a little bit more body to it, but it’s all become nice, and I don’t want “nice.” I miss the good old days when I could get a little Alice Cooper, AC/DC, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Ram Jam, Ozzy Ozbourne, Queen, or Fleetwood Mac.

‘They’ say that a population gets the government that they deserve. I guess the same is true about music. I’m all for civilized behavior, but if this keeps up, we won’t have to worry about China or North Korea. We’ve become so limp and whiny that we could be taken over by a Girl Scout troop from Iceland.

Stop back again in a couple of days, and I’ll sing you another tune. 😉

Fun With Travel

Elvis

Travel Jokes

Las Vegas

I phoned up to buy tickets for an Elvis tribute act.
It was an automated phone system which said:
‘Press 1 for the money / 2 for the show’

Hotel Reception

Two men in full armor walk into a hotel lobby.
One says, “A room for two knights please.”

Snow & Skiing

How does a penguin build its house?
Igloos it together.

Hotel Restaurant

The waiter asked me, “Would you like to hear today’s special?”
“Yes please,” I smiled…
“Today is special.” he replied, then sashayed off.

Swimming Pool 

A man climbs the diving board with a fish.
The pool guard says: “What are you doing with that fish?”
The man replies: “Triple somersault with pike.”

Hotel Gym

Exercise bikes get you nowhere.

Cruise Ship

I’ve been watching a documentary about how they build cruise ships.
It was riveting.

Train Journey

If you see someone doing a crossword today, lean over them and say  7 Up is Lemonade!

Holiday Photos

My camera keeps falling off the strap.
It’s a bit of a loose Canon.

Hotel Garden

Just saw the hotel Gardener crying over his lawnmower.
He is just going through a rough patch!

Airline

Cabin Crew said to me, sir, would you like to have dinner?
Me: What are the options?
Cabin crew: Yes or no.

Egypt

My wife just asked me, “Can we go on a camel?”
I said, “No way….it would take ages to get there on a camel!”

USA Burgers

How did the hamburger introduce his girlfriend?
Meat Patty

 

’17 A To Z Challenge – P

Challenge2017

letter-p

Only because I let him, my dog eats

Peanut Butter

PEANUT BUTTER

Born a slave, George Washington Carver spent his life improving the peanut plant, and championing its uses and the planting of it as a crop in the Southern U.S. Like the oats which made Scottish warriors the men they were, one of his best reasons was that peanuts were a cheap, plentiful food for Negroes, rich in protein and other nutrients.

The peanut plant is a nitrogen-fixing legume which fertilized and re-enriched soil made poor from constant growing of cotton. While he sometimes took public credit for the discoveries of others, aside from the food value of peanuts, Carver found many uses for the nuts and plant.

Peanuts have a variety of industrial end uses. Paint, varnish, lubricating oil, leather dressings, furniture polish, insecticides, and nitroglycerin are made from peanut oil. Soap is made from saponified oil, and many cosmetics contain peanut oil and its derivatives. The protein portion is used in the manufacture of some textile fibers. Peanut shells are used in the manufacture of plastic, wallboard, abrasives, fuel, cellulose (used in rayon and paper), and mucilage (glue).

The food value was where Carver concentrated. He published a small brochure, listing 105 recipes/uses for peanuts.  One of the greatest things to come from peanuts, is peanut butter.  I dig a small dollop onto the tip of a kitchen knife, and dip the dog’s daily antihistamine pill in it.

Peanut butter is just basically finely ground peanuts, although commercial producers add sugars, salt and stabilizers. In my little neck of the universe, in the late 1940s and ‘50s, we still had to stir jars of peanut butter, because the oils would separate out.

In 1922, a chemist developed a process for homogenizing it. In 1928, he sold the rights to a company which marketed it as ‘Peter Pan.’  Apparently before conflict of interest/competition contracts, in 1932, he began producing his own peanut butter under the name ‘Skippy.’  Later, he churned in recovered peanut bits, creating the first chunky peanut butter.

For reasons unknown to me, the son recently stirred the top half of a new jar. Apparently that negates the homogenizing effect, and now the oils must be stirred back in each time we open it.  It also changed the peanut butter from a semi-solid paste, to a drippy sauce.  You have to move quickly to get it where it’s going, or have it run off the knife, onto the kitchen counter.

Peanut butter….it goes anywhere, any time –white bread, rye, bagels, plain or toasted, crackers. It finds its way into Thai food with peanut sauce.  It goes with anything….spread it along with honey, or jam, (Good Old P. B. & J!)  Elvis Presley used to like it in peanut butter and banana sandwiches – although he wanted the bananas mushed, and the assembly fried, like a grilled cheese.

Me? I slice a banana into 3 slabs, lengthwise, and lay it over the PB, on toast – usually rye.  On white toast, I slather Miracle Whip on top of the PB.  It has a spicier taste than plain mayo, and sets off the peanut butter’s taste.  You Americans don’t know what you’re missing.  Then again, I’ve been known to put catsup ketchup, even my Spicy Ketchup, as a spread on toast, and you’ve been lucky enough to miss that, too.

I gotta go check with my bathroom scale, to see if I’m allowed some peanut butter and rye crackers as a snack today. The dog is already looking at me suspiciously.  How about you guys??  Eat it?  Leave it?  Like it?  Hate it?  Partner it with what??  😕

Hit Me With Your Best Shot

Birthday Cake

As threatened promised last week, this is my birthday-blog roast-post. What have you got to say about it?

71 years ago today, I burst upon the scene in a small Ontario town, and I haven’t stopped talking since. Today, I promise to keep it down to just my Elvis impression – Thenk yoo! Thenk yoo vurry much! This is your day to make any and all comments, suggestions, and (humorous) insults.

Do I feel lucky, punk?? Well, do I? Go ahead – make my day!

I hope I enjoy this as much as you.

Lay on MacDuff,
and cursed be he
who first cries,
Enough!

Welcome, and thank you to all my visitors!

 

ARCHON

Flash Fiction #37

Mansion

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Grace Under Pressure

Once, it was enough if you could sing, dance or act.  Those who did it better than others became stars.

In the turbulent, rebellious ‘60s, Elvis Presley became a superstar, not for his less-than-stellar abilities, but because of those of his agent, who promoted the Hell out of him.

Paul Simon, another performer with perhaps as much talent, but less marketing, sang of going to his mansion, ‘Graceland.’  Decades after he died, Presley’s estate still makes more in a year than I did my entire life.

And so I am here, willingly, foolishly, adding my money to theirs.

 

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a complete 100 word story.

 

Attawapiskat

The title of this post is a Cree Indian word meaning, “If white man and red man co-operate, we can really f**k things up!”  Attawapiskat is really the name of an Indian reservation on the western shore of James Bay, in Northern Ontario.  It’s so far north, you can barely see The Harem Master’s back door.

In colonial times things were often done that we are now not proud of, nor happy with the results.  The white men gathered all the Indians, who had made a subsistence living from hunting and fishing, and said, “In return for stealing all your land, you have to live on this reservation, but we will take care of you.”  For over a hundred years the government has thrown money at them, actually, a lot of money, but last year we found that sending money wasn’t the same as *taking care of them*.

Stories leaked to the press about Indians living in squalor, in moldy shacks, and tents, up where temperatures can get down to minus forty.  It doesn’t matter whether Celsius or Fahrenheit, at that level, they’re the same thing.  The white men stuck them on swampy ground.  They have no reliable water supply.  They have no sewage system.  People, especially children, are getting sick from contaminated water.

This is a little town of less than 2000 people.  White men taught the Indians how to live in a town like the white men do.  White men gave them money to support themselves, but white men didn’t teach them how to manage the money.  This is like Jeff Foxworthy talking about giving money to rednecks.  You just know that they’re going to buy a fancy belt-buckle, and an Elvis, Jack Daniels decanter.

In the five years from 2006 to 2011, the Federal Government gave ninety million dollars to the band.  Besides that income, they are receiving royalties from the recently opened Canadian diamond mines, so why are so many living in crappy conditions?  The government has tied its own hands.  All monies are paid to the band, and the government is forced to remain at arm’s length, and cannot tell them how to administrate it.

This town of 2000 has three chiefs, or mayors, each earning $100,000/year.  The tiny town has 18 councillors, each earning (well, let’s say receiving) $90,000/year, as well as other well-paid bureaucrats.  It’s unknown how many are in it, but the school board is also fully paid.  There’s a funny story about the school board.  The school also was full of mould, and derelict, so it was pulled down….and replaced with an arena.  And, now that they’ve got a new arena, they bought a Resurfice ice-machine, made in nearby Elmira, for it.  With all the extras, this machine cost $96,089.55, but it cost almost that much again, to have it shipped north.  It got trucked to Cochrane, sent by train to Moosonee, and sent by barge to the town.  The band already has a 1997 model in the arena they now plan to pull down.  They claim that income from bingo games paid for the new machine, more government money from a Southern Ontario casino paid to get it to Moosonee, and the barge company hauled it for free.

Despite the outrageous shipping-included costs of everything, these people are status Indians.  They pay no taxes, no income tax, no sales tax!  Their $100,000/yr. is like our $200,000/yr.  Other than the few local streets, they are two hundred miles from the nearest road, and yet there are a number of beautiful big sport-utes in evidence.  $40,000 to buy and $50,000 to ship, and gasoline at $4/liter to run them.  The government sent an investigator north to have a look at the situation, but he was perceived as a white man, interfering in Indian affairs, and was forced to leave.  He reported what little he found to a Federal judge, who finally ruled that there were no financial improprieties.

People were outraged; surely there are improprieties – but it’s the hands-off regulation again.  Within their community, they are allowed to make their own rules.  If they want to select three chiefs, if they want to pay them, and the bureaucrats, and the school board, if they want to tear down the school and put up an arena c/w brand-new ice machine, that’s their business.

I wrote recently about a man who asked if it was moral to kill pigs, just so that we could eat bacon.  Here is another place where it seems to be a good idea to ask the question, “Is it moral to revise the statute, so that the government can step in and take care of those who cannot take care of themselves and those they are responsible for?”  It’s the thin edge of the wedge.  I don’t trust white bureaucrats any more than Indians do.  President Ronald Reagan said the most dangerous words were, “I’m from the government.  I’m here to help.”  And yet, can we stand by and do nothing?

This situation spills over into other social areas.  Charities say that they are having increased trouble collecting funds for worthy causes.  Canada sent $25 million to Haiti after the earthquake and still the people have no homes, no food, no safe source of water.  What we do see is even more politicians driving Cadillac Escalades past the shanty-towns.  What we see is Somali war-lords taking Red Cross food before it reaches the people who need it.  I feel extremely sorry for the northern Cree, the common Haitians and the poverty-stricken Somalis, but why should I donate, when I see that my money will not help those in need?

It took several hundred years in England and Europe to establish the concepts of social equality and concern for others.  We can only hope that other sections of the world learn faster.  The Canadian troops have returned from Afghanistan.  BrainRants is still there with folks who are trying to teach them better manners, but it’s a long road.  We can’t even get rid of three petty warlords chiefs in Ontario, how can we change the entire middle-east?  Far too many outside North America think in hierarchies, first me, then my family, then my clan, then my village, then my valley.  Equality, democracy and concern for others are a long way down the scale.  It’s sad, but it’s a fact of global life, that we can only hope and try to change.