Saturday, December 09, 2017

The Advent Jukebox, Day 9... Christmas In America, 1952.

In America, Christmas 1952 was the time of Eisenhower rising.

It was also the time of Nelson Algren:

...So accustomed have we become to the testimony of the photo-weeklies, backed by witnesses from radio and TV, establishing US as the happiest, healthiest, sanest, wealthiest, most inventive, funloving, and tolerant folk yet to grace the earth of man that we tend to forget that these are bought-and-paid-for witnesses and that all their testimony is perjured...

Of course, Mr. Algren wrote about a very different America.

I realize now that...

When I listen to the story songs from Iantown the ghost of Algren is there too, hovering, wordsmithing, and character sketching in the wings.

Here is my version of young Ian's (he of the Felice Brothers who will cover absolutely anything brilliantly), only Christmas tune (I think):

Image at the top of the post is of Nelson Algren at the Chicago YMCA, located at the corner of Division Street and Milwaukee Avenue in 1956...For those who have read 'The Man With The Golden Arm' it is not an unfamiliar locale...
As always, you can peruse the entire Advent Jukebox oeuvre, and read a bit more tune/theme-related tidbits...Here.


Friday, December 08, 2017

The Advent Jukebox, Day 8.....Wish I Had A River.

When I was a kid my mom's mom lived on the edge a farmer's hayfield above Saanich road in Victoria.

Across the road and down the hill was Swan Lake before it became a bird sanctuary.

Back then nobody controlled the flooding of the lake across the lower hayfield.

Which meant once or twice a winter when it got cold and crisp for a week or that flooded field, where the water was only a few inches would freeze.

And we would go crazy skating and skating and skating long into the night, especially if there was a big moon and some snow around to reflect it.

Given the foggy wet nights we're having at the moment, plus the passage of time and place it sure takes a lot of imagination to conjure up the exhilarating feeling of it all.

Here's my version of that Miss Mitchell tune where she's pining for just such a feeling....

Somewhere there's a picture of my Mom out skating on that frozen field when she was a kid, gliding on one foot...Gotta find that one.
Ms. Mitchell's 'River' has been covered more than 600 times so far...Makes sense to me.


The Keef Report....Cherry Picking.


Last night the good Mr. Baldrey told Global watchers and readers that, when it comes to Site C, he figures the provincial Dippers are finally acting like folks who are governing rather than activisting.

In addition, after noting, without actually coming out and saying it, that he has lost his insider access card because no one in the legislative corridors will tell him anything concrete (a good thing!), Mr. Baldrey threw out his 'Points to Ponder'.

Here is point #1.

  • If cancellation causes BC Hydro rates to increase by more than 10 per cent (something that the power authority said would happen), what would that do to the NDP’s mission to make life more affordable for people?


Do you see what is missing from the good Mr. Baldrey's pearly point re: the cost to ratepayers if the darned thing is actually completed (not to mention how BC Hydro costs have already been blown up big time - see Norm Farrell's point in the comments)?


Previous Keef Reports can be found...Here.
And, for more Advent Jukebox tidbits...Including a little digressive research of a superfluous kind into many of the tunes and/or the folks that have sung them go....Here.


Thursday, December 07, 2017

Advent Jukebox, Day 7....The Rolling Hills Of Oregon.

The title to this edition of the Advent Juke comes from a line in from an Ian Felice song called the 'Mating Of The Doves' which has absolutely nothing to do with the holiday season, at least in a conventional sense.


Here is the broadest definition of 'advent':

"The arrival of a notable person or thing"

Which, taken in either very broad or very specific seasonal terms, pretty much fits Mr. Felice's tune, to a 'T I reckon'.

Here's my version....

Image at the top....The two E's, in earlier times, rambling across some rolling, if sandy hills of coastal Oregon.
As always....If you'd like to peruse the various tunes and tales in this year's Jukebox, they're all collected (with a few bonus bits of linear type).....Here.


Wednesday, December 06, 2017

The Advent Jukebox, Day 6.... The Little Drummer Weird.



That's right.

'Twas Bing and Bowie, together, in the year punk broke...

One of the most successful duets in Christmas music history -- and surely the weirdest -- might never have happened if it weren't for some last-minute musical surgery. David Bowie thought "The Little Drummer Boy" was all wrong for him. So when the producers of Bing Crosby's Christmas TV special asked Bowie to sing it in 1977, he refused.

Just hours before he was supposed to go before the cameras, though, a team of composers and writers frantically retooled the song. They added another melody and new lyrics as a counterpoint to all those pah-rumpa-pum-pums and called it "Peace on Earth." Bowie liked it. More important, Bowie sang it.

The result was an epic, and epically bizarre, recording in which David Bowie, the androgynous Ziggy Stardust, joined in song with none other than Mr. "White Christmas" himself, Bing Crosby...

The show was taped in September for broadcast during 1977's Christmas season.

Unfortunately, Mr. Crosby never saw it because he died in October of that year.

Mr. Bowie, of course, kept on keepin' on for another 40 years.

Here's my version of the tune in question...

You can see and hear the dynamic duo do LDB, after a bit of bizarre pre-amble....Here....The whole show is...Here.
As for the sub-header....Well....This.
You can peruse and/or listen to all this year's Advent Juke tunes, and find a few more odds and ends...Here. 


Tuesday, December 05, 2017

The Advent Jukebox, Day 5.....The Ultimate B-Side.

'The Christmas Waltz' was written in Los Angeles during a heat wave in 1954 by Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne for Sinatra because 'Frank wants a Christmas song'.

In the end it became the B-side to the Chairman of the Board's version of Irving Berlin's 'White Christmas'.

Me, I'm partial to the 3,847th cover of the tune by M. Ward and Z. Deschanel.

Here's E's version...

Image at the top of the post is from the good folks at ASCAP with Sammy Cahn (left), Sinatra and Jimmy van Husen.
You can peruse all this year's Advent Jukebox tunes so far over at our 'mirror plus a little more' site....Here.


The Keef Report....He Now Needs A Weatherman To Know Which Way The Wind Blows.



It would appear that the good Mr. Baldrey has somehow gone and lost his insider access pass.

I imagine the Dean will not be amused.


Anyway, on a more serious note (kinda/sorta)...

While I was riding my bike in to work this morning, and doing my darndest not to slide into traffic, a thought popped into my head pretty much out of nowhere.

Which, and I know this might get me into some hot water with some readers, is the possibility that the Site C decision just might be John Horgan's 'Sister Souljah' moment.

Stay with me, at least for just a moment, on this one...



I support collective bargaining.

And I fully support the de-Hochsteining of our trades.

And I truly know all the good that unions have done for British Columbians over the years and decades.

And I have no issues whatsoever with the BC NDP's historical allegiance to labour.

In fact, when it comes right down to it, as Billy Bragg says, you're likely much better off trusting an upstanding labour union than any political party.


I see no reason that our future fiscal health and well-being should be held hostage to a small number of made-up jobs, union or otherwise.

Especially when we could take the savings in cash and treasure and create oodles of good union jobs to build and do things we really need.


With all that said, in addition to the fact that killing Site C is the right thing to do, let's consider things from a purely pragmatic, real-politik, triangulating point of view.

And then lets put that triangulation together with the Dipper/Green levelling of the fundraising field.

Taking all those things together it seems to me that, if he can see his way through the short term pain, Horgan can't lose politically in the longterm if he's willing to say no to the labour groups involved this one time and do the right thing for everyone in British Columbia.


(and feel free to fire away Beer - I'm pretty certain you don't agree)

Meanwhile, Norm Farrell, in his efforts to operationalize his plan to publicize why kiboshing Site C is the right thing to do for purely pragmatic, real world (i.e. non-political reasons), has zoomed past his original fundraising goal of $2,500....Thanks Everyone!....You can still contribute (and do so entirely anonymously and easily if you like)....Here.
Update: Late Tuesday afternoon...Beer disagrees...But, in a surprise to me at least, for reasons of real politick....Hmmmmm....Going to have to go searching for hard polling numbers...


Monday, December 04, 2017

The Advent Jukebox, Day 4....Blue Christmas


My Mom sure did love that Elvis Christmas album...

All of this year's jukebox tunes are available for your listening pleasure....Here.


High Wattage BC Liberal Leadership Candidate Fights Back Against The Obviousness Of Ron.


Well, well, well....

The campaign of one Ms. Diane Watts has started leaking internal polling for wurlitzering and, surprise!, their highly adulterated tea leaves say she's way out in front.

Or some such codswallop.

Bob Mackin has the story. Here's a chunk out of his lede:

Dianne Watts’ pollster, Innovative Research Group, surveyed BC Liberal members on the final weekend of November, and claims 30% prefer the former Surrey Mayor on the first ballot.

The one-page summary leaked to theBreaker contains no details about the polling methodology. Internal polls are not always the most-reliable barometer, because they are not independent and sometimes used strategically to rally volunteers and donors.

Innovative claims Watts’ closest challenger is Mike de Jong, with 14% first ballot preference, followed by Todd Stone (11%), Andrew Wilkinson (9%), Michael Lee (5%) and ex-Vancouver Mayor Sam Sullivan (4%)...

What's it all about this time Alfie?

For answers (or not), see...This.

Another interesting tidbit in Mr. Mackin's piece?....
Well, in addition to Marky Mark, clean slate candidate Michael Lee, a very fine fellow whom Ron Obvious recently described as 'young, smart, articulate, telegenic and highly likeable', is also being run by a  local Liberal pary rainmaker  who, according to the Horsemen at least, partook in a most interesting conversation with Mr. David Basi back in the days of yore.
Hey!....If you are even remotely thinking of helping Norm Farrell save BC Hydro from financial ruin, head on over to his 'Go Fund Me' page right now...He's only $75 from his goal (in less than one day!).


Sunday, December 03, 2017

The Advent Jukebox, Day 3....It's Christmas Time.


I remember first hearing this Sufjan Stevens tune from one of those ukulele kids doing their DYI covers a few years ago on the YouTube, back when the amateurs were still just that.


The song itself is simple and unadorned at its core.

Not to mention incredible catchy and fun and, somehow, melancholy all at the same time.

Bigger E takes the lead on this one...