So let get me this straight. Orrin Hatch, Republican senator from Utah, is one of the heavy hitters whose deluge of 11th hour phone calls not only springs music producer Dallas Austin out of a Dubai jail for coke possession, but it also helps to turn a four year jail sentence into a pardon?
For the musically literate it’s an old story but one that I never tire of telling. It was the scruffy, outlaw country singer warbling Irving Berlin, Duke Ellington and the Gershwins? He wasn’t singer enough to carry it, they all said. And even if by some miracle he did, his label was convinced it would never find an audience, it would never sell. When Booker T. Jones of Stax Records fame signed on as producer, heads were scratched, skeptical eyes rolled northward and virtually everyone had their doubts.
Just prior to the morning hour at which most liquor stores open, Don Byron and I are sitting outdoors at a sidewalk cafe on a steamy Park Avenue South (Technology Gulch)when a scene breaks out on the sidewalk.
Byron (head turns and he murmurs): "Oh my god."
A stringyhaired, smelly, obviously intoxicated woman staggers after a younger, taller man who's also worse for wear, and hollers in a drunken growl: "I got my own phone now. Yes it is. It works you used it."
Byron (laughing): "It's the metropolitan wino scene. You know what I mean? You know the scene in Firenze, now here it is in New York. It has all the elements: the dirty clothes, the ruddy skin, the formaldehyde lips."
The movement towards a super premium vinyl “experience,” and the larger notion of vinyl as a lifestyle is getting another eager supporter as a new subscription-only label, Newvelle Records, launched this week via a Kickstarter campaign.
Last night in a torrential rain storm, I trucked northward along the Hudson to Tarrytown, NY. A half hour's ride across the Tappan Zee bridge and we were in Piermont, NY at a club called the Turning Point.
So there I am, sitting eating my lunch, watching the news on TV, waiting like the slavering dog that I am for more Mel goes Mad, when none other than Alice Cooper a.k.a. Vince Furnier, he of the large pearly whites and the exquisitely died hair, comes on CNN and begins batting his bright eyes and cheerfully expounding on his new youth center in Phoenix.