Midweek Music: Nina Simone

Today marks the birth anniversary of the late, great, talented and beautiful Nina Simone. She was born on this day in 1933 and passed away on 21 April 2003. She would have celebrated her 85th birthday today.

Also called “the High Priestess of Soul,” she was a singer, songwriter, pianist, arranger, and a prominent figure in the Civil Rights Movement. Nina’s broad range of musical styles and influences included classical, jazz, blues, folk, R&B, gospel, and pop.

Her words from her autobiography, I Put a Spell on You, continue to inspire me. She wasn’t an artist who could be easily classified or pigeonholed, either.

Enjoy the musical selection.

R.I.P Fats Domino, 89, Musical Legend, Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Famer and New Orleans Native

GOOD BLACK NEWS

Mr. Domino performing in 2007 on NBC’s “Today” show. (Photo Credit: Richard Drew/AP)

Jon Pareles and William Grimes via nytimes.com

Fats Domino, the New Orleans rhythm-and-blues singer whose two-fisted boogie-woogie piano and nonchalant vocals, heard on dozens of hits, made him one of the biggest stars of the early rock ’n’ roll era, has died in Louisiana. He was 89.

His death was confirmed by his brother-in-law and former road manager Reggie Hall, who said he had no other details. Mr. Domino lived in Harvey, La., across the Mississippi River from New Orleans. Mr. Domino had more than three dozen Top 40 pop hits through the 1950s and early ’60s, among them “Blueberry Hill,”“Ain’t It a Shame” (also known as “Ain’t That a Shame,” which is the actual lyric), “I’m Walkin’,” “Blue Monday” and “Walkin’ to New Orleans.”

Throughout he displayed both the buoyant spirit of New Orleans…

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Ah, Chuck…

Charles Edward Anderson “Chuck” Berry: 18 October 1926 – 18 March 2017

Damn…I was doing some gaming and listening to the 70s station on Sirius XM Satellite Radio, and heard of the passing of one of the REAL kings of Rock & Roll, the notable, legendary, musical genius known as Chuck Berry. He passed away today at the age of 90; it isn’t lost on me that he was born on the 18th of October, and left this world on the 18th of March.

He was due to release an album later this year, according to his official website. What a man! What a musician! What a legend! Sheer genius, and that is never a term I toss about lightly. Some people overuse words such as “passion,” “genius,” or “eclectic,” but they really don’t know the true meaning of those words. Not trying to insult those folks; I just feel that they grabbed onto a “clickbait” word in order to drive traffic to their Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and WordPress sites.

My son just sent me a text about Chuck’s death. That’s one way I know that I have imparted some true knowledge and genuine love of music to at least one Millennial! Most people in his age group say, “Chuck Berry? Should I know who that is?” – but they will mention Justin Beiber, Lady GooGooGaGa, or Nikki Minaj in the same breath, as if those scumwads were worthy of the status of Chuck Berry, David Bowie, B.B. King, Prince, or Jimi Hendrix.

If you know the “Duck-Walk,” then you know Chuck Berry. He made that move famous, just as Michael Jackson was the master of the “Moon-walk.” Chuck’s music was often played on the radio, and “My Ding-A-Ling” was the first one that I recall hearing. He had so many epic, timeless, awesome songs! I don’t think that I can say anything that would truly give due credit to this truly talented man, so I give you my favourite seven hits of his for your enjoyment.

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Monday Musings…25 April 2016

It’s a nice quiet Monday after one hell of a busy weekend! Had to attend a retirement dinner for friends of family on Saturday, which entailed a bit of driving around in cruddy traffic. Portland, Oregon, has some of the worst traffic in the country, and Seattle isn’t much better! Trying to time how bad traffic will be at any given time, weekday or no, is next to impossible. Still, all of the hassle was worth it because I got my noms on hardcore: oysters and sushi at my two favourite places to go on the rare occasions we dine out! I’ll download and post the pics later; damned cell-phone update has my settings buggered, so I need to mess with it a bit!

Billy Paul: 1 December 1934 – 24 April 2016

I wanted to note the passing of a legendary singer, Billy Paul. He is best known for the hit song “Me & Mrs. Jones,” which a good friend of mine, Earl “The Pearl,” covered on a regular basis at a local karaoke hangout in Seattle. Billy Paul sang many other epic songs as well, so if you get a chance, look up a few of his other hits – I don’t think that you’d be disappointed!

Speaking of karaoke, did you know that yesterday marked the beginning of National Karaoke Week? I used to be a karaoke superstar in a way, LOL – one of the few singers that did service to that form of entertainment! Yes, I entered a few local (non-televised) contests, and yes, I won money! I wasn’t enough of a performer to win first place, but I definitely placed high enough on a regular basis that I had my own fan-following, LOL

Speaking of entertainment, I have supposedly gotten the notice of the gamer known as SypherPK – “he” has a comment waiting for publication, but I figured I’d go one better and dedicate a post solely to the comment, and my imaginary response, since it isn’t as if we’re having a standard dialogue! If such a major gaming celebrity took the time to notice my Random Ramblings and Myriad Musings, then tried to correct and “man-splain” The Elder Scrolls Online to me, someone who is actually IN a fucking video-game, I figured that “he” deserves a post acknowledging his privilege and prowess! Stay tuned…you all will get a kick out of it, I’m certain! I’m also working on my long-overdue response to TheHumanFloyd, another gamer who seems to think that he knows ALL about the role-playing community. That respective community is extremely exclusive in the way that the Ku Klux Klan is…so, my verbal shredding of that bigot will be almost as enjoyable as taking down “Sypher!” I’ll be deactivating my Enjin guild-site soon and moving it to Facebook, as well. I’ll have a Facebook account of sorts, very soon…and I’m not quite certain how I feel about having to do so, LOL!

This movie just started on TV, so I’m off to watch it…it’s hilarious, and I could do with some laughter in the midst of my mourning…enjoy the clip!

Good Night, Sweet Prince…

Prince Rogers Nelson: 7 June 1958 – 21 April 2016

Ah, me…an icon from my high-school days passed away. The artist known as Prince was found dead in an elevator in his Minnesota home, Paisley Park. From ABC News:

Prince, one of the most inventive and influential musicians of modern times with hits including “Little Red Corvette,” ”Let’s Go Crazy” and “When Doves Cry,” was found dead at his home on Thursday in suburban Minneapolis, according to his publicist. He was 57.

His publicist, Yvette Noel-Schure, told The Associated Press that the superstar “died at his home this morning at Paisley Park.” The local sheriff said deputies found Prince unresponsive in an elevator late Thursday morning after being summoned to his home, but that first-responders couldn’t revive him.

No details about what may have caused his death have been released. Prince postponed a concert in Atlanta on April 7, saying he had fallen ill with the flu, and he apologized to fans during a makeup concert last week.

President Barack Obama, for whom Prince was a White House guest last year, said he and his wife “joined millions of fans from around the world” in mourning Prince’s sudden death.

“Few artists have influenced the sound and trajectory of popular music more distinctly, or touched quite so many people with their talent,” Obama said in a statement. ” ‘A strong spirit transcends rules,’ Prince once said — and nobody’s spirit was stronger, bolder, or more creative.”

The dazzlingly talented and charismatic singer, songwriter, arranger and instrumentalist drew upon musicians ranging from James Brown to Jimi Hendrix to the Beatles, creating a gender- and genre-defying blend of rock, funk and soul.

He broke through in the late 1970s with the hits “Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad?” and “I Wanna Be Your Lover,” and soared over the following decade with such albums as “1999” and “Purple Rain.” The title song from “1999,” his funky and flippant anthem about an oncoming nuclear holocaust, includes one of the most quoted refrains of popular culture: “Tonight I’m gonna party like it’s 1999.”

Another name to add to the list of artist I won’t get to see live and in concert…what a shame. He only stood 5′ 2″ – but was a giant on the stage. When he picked up that guitar, it became just as much a part of his body as his own limbs, and he made it talk. I would list him as one of the guitar greats, right up there with Jimi Hendrix, Frank Zappa, Carlos Santana, and many, noted others. I can’t really say anything else except through his music…enjoy.

Happy Birthday Bob

Belated birthday blessings to a wonderful, loving, talented genius of a man…thank you for this reminder, Deanne!
😀

Belated Tribute: Sir Christopher Lee

Sir Christopher Frank Carandini Lee, CBE, CStJ: 27 May 1922 – 7 June 2015

It is rare that I will give a tribute to an actor, since movies and television rank lower in importance to me than books, music, and computer games. Some actors, however, are multi-talented and weave their way into my world. Sir Christopher Lee was one who did so.

From his role as Scaramanga in The Man with the Golden Gun, to his superb portrayal of Saruman in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies, this talented man made each villain impressive. Tall men with baritone voices tend to do this, but Sir Christopher did it better than most – if not all. From IMDb:

Sir Christopher Frank Carandini Lee was perhaps the only actor of his generation to have starred in so many films. Although most notable for personifying bloodsucking vampire, Dracula, on screen, he portrayed other varied characters on screen, most of which were villains, whether it be Francisco Scaramanga in the James Bond film, The Man with the Golden Gun (1974), or Count Dooku in Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones (2002), or as the title monster in the Hammer Horror film, The Mummy (1959).

Lee was born in 1922 in London, England, where he and his older sister Xandra were raised by their parents, Contessa Estelle Marie (Carandini di Sarzano) and Geoffrey Trollope Lee, a professional soldier, until their divorce in 1926. Later, while Lee was still a child, his mother married (and later divorced) Harcourt George St.-Croix (nicknamed Ingle), who was a banker. Lee’s maternal great-grandfather was an Italian political refugee, while Lee’s great-grandmother was English opera singer Marie (Burgess) Carandini.

After attending Wellington College from age 14 to 17, Lee worked as an office clerk in a couple of London shipping companies until 1941 when he enlisted in the Royal Air Force during World War II. Following his release from military service, Lee joined the Rank Organisation in 1947, training as an actor in their “Charm School” and playing a number of bit parts in such films as Corridor of Mirrors (1948). He made a brief appearance in Laurence Olivier‘s Hamlet (1948), in which his future partner-in-horror Peter Cushing also appeared. Both actors also appeared later in Moulin Rouge (1952) but did not meet until their horror films together. Lee had numerous parts in film and television throughout the 1950s. He struggled initially in his new career because he was discriminated as being taller than the leading male actors of his time and being too foreign-looking. However, playing the monster in the Hammer film The Curse of Frankenstein (1957) proved to be a blessing in disguise, since the was successful, leading to him being signed on for future roles in Hammer Film Productions. Lee’s association with Hammer Film Productions brought him into contact with Peter Cushing, and they became good friends. Lee and Cushing often than not played contrasting roles in Hammer films, where Cushing was the protagonist and Lee the villain, whether it be Van Helsing and Dracula respectively in Horror of Dracula (1958), or John Banning and Kharis the Mummy respectively in The Mummy (1959).

I find that interesting: “Discriminated against for being taller and “too foreign-looking.” I would never have thought that, personally. At any rate, his film career was long and he certainly became well-known and respected for it. He also served in the military, seeing war and death up close and personal. From Badass of the Week:

I’ve seen many men die right in front of me – so many in fact that I’ve become almost hardened to it. Having seen the worst that human beings can do to each other, the results of torture, mutilation and seeing someone blown to pieces by a bomb, you develop a kind of shell. But you had to. You had to. Otherwise we would never have won.
-Christopher Lee, discussing his service in WWII

Credit: petercushingblog.blogspot.com

He was also a musician…no surprise, considering who his great-grandmother was! He recorded two symphonic metal albums; I’ve not heard them yet, but I believe I will purchase them both before they are impossible to find. The first, recorded in 2010, is titled Charlemagne: By the Sword and the Cross; the second, released 27 May of 2013, is titled Charlemagne: The Omens of Death. Sir Christopher was honoured with the “Spirit of Metal” award at the 2010 Metal Hammer Golden God awards ceremony.

I doubt that I can write any more about this man that would do his long life and career due justice. Rest easy, good sir. You shall be missed by multitudes.

Credit: comicbook.com

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