I was saddened today to read about the December 22 passing of Ruth Wallis, a singer from the 40's through 60's who specialized in creative naughtiness. Born in Brooklyn (where else?), she sang with Benny Goodman and owned her own record label, but it was her risque tunes like, "The Dinghy Song" ("He had the cutest little dinghy in the Navy") that brought her the most fame and which became the basis for an unlikely 2003 Broadway hit, Boobs! The Musical: The World According to Ruth Wallis. Here are a few classic couplets from the Wallis-penned title tune:
"You've gotta be filled
Two fried eggs will never grab him like grapefruits will
(And they're both breakfast foods)
But listen girls, don't try to fool your lover
Remember, he can go to Good Year if he wants rubber"
"Just think if all us girls had boobies with fluorination
We could take the cavities out of the whole damn nation
A nibble a day keeps the dentist away"
"Some push 'em up
Some stick 'em out
And some keep 'em flappin' in the breeze
Some tie then down because if they don't
They would hang down to their knees
Just you tease"
Now that Christmas has come and gone, and my need to hear Bobby Helms' "Jingle Bells Rock" has subsided — I'm not sure but I think it has something to do with those electric guitar flourishes, it's seems an appropriate time to say something about the continuing and astonishing turmoil in the record business which according to most sources experienced a nearly 20 percent decline in sales of physical product compared with last Christmas.
"Cavalcade of merciless repetition," is how Jimmy Page described touring in the Sunday Times last week. I still say they're gonna tour but give them credit: they're being coy about being dragged into accepting all that cash.
Needless to say, I'm not in London waiting in line at O2 arena but that doesn't mean my thoughts, like those of about every other music fan on the planet, aren't turned to what's going to happen this evening when Led Zeppelin ends two decades of silence and lets it rip in what's being billed as a one-off show for charity.
BOB MARLEY: Exodus: 30th Anniversary Edition
Island 314 586 408-2 (CD). 2007. Bob Marley & the Wailers, prods.; Karl Pitterson, eng.; Guy Bidmead, Terry Barham, asst. engs.; Chris Blackwell, Aston Barrett, Karl Pitterson, mix. AAD? TT: 37:18
Before I even turn on the recorder, Willie Nile is telling me his theory of how the granite under Manhattan Island conducts electricity, which accounts for the perceptible charge that many people feel makes New York City so special. It's also what draws artists like flies, none more passionate than singer-songwriter Nile, who's personally contributed a few volts during his years in NYC.
There are many nights when being a music writer comes down to the whining about the stark question: why am I dragging my ass out on the town again? What reason do I really have to see this act? Or to see this act one more time?
The new Miles Davis On The Corner set, which Sony says is the last metal boxed chunk of Miles they're gonna release, ever, is also the most beautiful, ever. Like the LP which reached its finest, most completely perfected form just before CDs came in, the boxed set is reaching its zenith with this one. The funky characters from the original cover are now stamped into the metal casing into which the set, book and CDs combined slip into. It's the same setup that Sony’s been using since the beginning of what has proved to be colossal reissue program.
Recording of October 2007: This Is Somewhere
Hollywood D00038502 (CD). 2007. Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, prods.; Mike Daly, prod., asst. eng.; Joe Chiccarelli, eng.; Kennie Takahashi, Travis Huff, Tim Bright, Wayne Warnecke, Otto D'Angelo, asst. engs. AAD? TT: 48:34