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Richard Tauber

Filmed on June 20, 1936, the day of his wedding to Diana Napier [nee Molly Ellis, 31.1.1905 – 12.3.1982] at Marylebone Register Office in London. One commenter: I would describe her as a pretty tough cookie; and she never felt sorry for herself. She got on with things. She was also a very brave woman in the War, and was duly decorated by the Poles for her sterling work. I’m sure she really loved Richard [all women seem to have done], but also found him infuriating. In the books she shows both sides of her feelings well:

From the operetta Paganini, composed by Franz Lehar. In 1947, Tauber sought medical attention for a persistent cough. He was diagnosed with lung cancer: one lung was already useless and the other nearly so. He sang in Don Giovanni (Don Ottavio) at Covent Garden on 27th Sept 1947. A week later, Tauber entered hospital to have his left lung removed, but it was too late; he died on 8 January 1948.…

Musical mix

Rossa: My Uncle Jimmy (the sound engineer) welcomed this guy into the bar he ran in Flagstaff over 26 years ago. One of his favourites but not one I’ve come across before. Vid was filmed in France. Thought it might be an interesting one for the musical slot.

Let’s add a few more. Country, eh?…

The ubiquitous, detested artist


Glad the question of Bono came up again and the first question I have is why he and Phil Collins were/are so detested by so many.  Or is it just that they’re so bland and forgettable/

In exploring this, there was link after link after link from people saying they don’t hate Bono or they don’t hate Collins.  Yet every one of those people writing recognizes that there is great disdain for them but of course, they’re not part of that. Collins himself agreed he was disliked by the majority and that’s why he left the “industry”.…

The primitive core of a song

For some, the melody, the rhythm, the trills and variations. All those are important – the melody line is introduced and various elements are brought in along the way to provide the variation.  Vital stuff.  But not enough for me.

For me it’s the engine room which counts, a dominant bass and understated but persistent drumming [except with the Keith Moons]. I was talking music with a young lady and she liked this melody or that but in each youtube she sent, the drumming was insipid and the bass almost inaudible, a la piano lounge. Everything was the singer.

I realize you have to have the singer, the lead, the organ, the piano but I like songs best where at some point they give up all pretence at melody and just let bass and drum take it away in a monotone, unhindered. At about 2.08 in the song above, that happens but then it needs to be rescued about a minute later – like sex, one can only go at it for so long without a breather.…

Pre rock ‘n roll

How jazz, blues and even country slowly merged into rock ‘n roll.

Clarence “Pine Top” Smith (1904-1929) who first used the term “boogie woogie” in his 1928 recording Pine Top’s Boogie Woogie . This song had a great influence on all other tunes of its kind and will be used by Albert Ammons in his Boogie-Woogie Stomp.

He was a regular in barrel-houses and rent-parties, and died accidentally in a shooting:

John Adam Estes (January 25, 1899[2] – June 5, 1977), best known as Sleepy John Estes or Sleepy John, was an American blues guitarist, songwriter and vocalist, born in Ripley, Lauderdale County, Tennessee. In 1915, Estes’ father, a sharecropper who also played some guitar, moved the family to Brownsville, Tennessee. Not long after, Estes accidentally lost the sight in his right eye when a friend threw a rock at him. At the age of 19, while working as a field hand, he began to perform professionally.…