In The Wall Street Journal this week, he interviewed actor Nick Nolte on growing up in Iowa, the pills his mom gave him when he felt too tired to get up for school, why he almost wound up banned from high school football, the turning point that led him to become an actor and the house he lives in today in Malibu that he built around a sycamore tree. Nick has a new memoir out, Rebel: My Life Outside the Lines.
Also in the WSJ, I interviewed Joely Fisher on her father, singer Eddie Fisher, and why Kate Bush’s The Man With the Child in His Eyes helped ease her frustration with the man she wishes were more like her daddy. Joely’s mom is Connie Stevens.
Spotted in England, my book, Anatomy of a Song, at a Waterstones book shop in Cheltenham, courtesy of Colin Goodall. Can’t make it to a book store? To buy in the U.S. In the U.K., My next WSJ “Anatomy of a Song” column will be up online on Monday and in Tuesday’s paper. Hint: It’s a song that was in the Top 20 as a duet and three years later was #1 as a solo recording.
Back in 2013, Bret Primack interviewed me for a series of videos he was producing for Prestige in support of the label’s anniversary. I totally forgot about it until the video wound up on my Facebook timeline. It is…
Hugh Masekela (1939-2018), a masterful South African jazz trumpeter whose Grazing in the Grass instrumental was a #1 Billboard pop hit in the States in 1968, died on January 23. He was 78. I interviewed Hugh for the WSJ in 2014 about Louis Armstrong’s When It’s Sleepy Time Down South. Hugh struck me as a gentle, thoughtful man who thoroughly loved jazz and never forgot Pops for giving him one of his horns and the jazz spirit (photo above of Hugh Masekela by Bruno Vasil in 2013). Hugh’s Grazing in the Grass…
Friends of Distinction’s cover of the song released a year later in 1969…
Albums you should dig.
Soho Scene ’63 (Rhythm and Blues Records) is the fourth double-CD in a terrific series on British jazz in the early 1960s. Compiled by Nick Duckett, the first CD features Brit jazzers such as Alan Elsdon’s Band, Johnny Hawksworth Trio, Dave Lee and Ronnie Ross, among others. On the second CD are influential tracks by American artists such as the Chris Columbo Quintet, Billy Mitchell, Dave Pike, Jack Wilson and Eddie Baccus, to name a few. Forty-nine tracks in all, plus a 24-page booklet by Simon Spillett.
Ohio Players: The Definitive Collection (Robinsongs). This funk-disco band from Dayton, Ohio, had seven major hits in the States in the 1970s and were notable for their suggestive, glossy album covers. Hits included Skin Tight, Fire and Love Rollercoaster. This three-CD set showcases their early years, the golden years and later and solo years.
Dave Bartholomew: Jump Children! (Jasmine). New Orleans trumpeter Dave Bartholomew is best known as the bandleader and arranger behind Fats Domino’s success. But Dave also recorded as a leader. This two-CD set remasters Dave’s Imperial singles plus additional singles between 1950 and 1962. If Fats was one of rock ‘n’ roll’s fathers, Dave was its first arranger. Notes by Bob Fisher. Back in 2010, I had a gumbo lunch with Dave in New Orleans at Dooky Chase’s Restaurant. I must transcribe my tape. For the album.
Update. Last week, I told you about three MPS albums that were recently remastered for CD. I now have a link from MPS to Mark Murphy’s Midnight Mood. Here again are all three with links to Amazon… In Tune: The Oscar Peterson Trio and the Singers Unlimited (1971), Monty Alexander: Here Comes the Sun (1971) and Mark Murphy: Midnight Mood (1968).
Roy Eldridge radio. WKCR-FM will present its annual “Roy Eldridge Birthday Broadcast” on Tuesday, January 30, celebrating the legacy and career of the trumpet virtuoso by playing his music for 24 hours, on Tuesday at midnight (EST).
What the heck. Ketty Lester singing Love Letters in 1961…
Oddball album cover of the week.
Short of the sound of someone purging, it’s hard to imagine what audio would help you develop a dislike for fattening foods—”without the need for will power!” And according to the cover, your only role is to “watch the pounds melt away.” The followup was probably Never Age. “Helps time stand still as friends grow old. Watch as gray hair turns black and old jeans fit perfectly as you listen.”