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  1. So, What Are You Listening To NOW?

    Still one of my favorite Sinatra albums. FS was in his prime and every track here works flawlessly. The album works especially well because Billy May's arrangements dance on their own. This is one instance where I think the album works best by itself. The CD bonus tracks pale in comparison, even the duets with Keely Smith.
  2. John Coltrane - Blue World

    I know Rod Serling was unhappy with Night Gallery, especially as the seasons went on and the show's producer kept taking it more in the direction of what Tales From The Crypt would later become. Still, Mr. Serling wrote several segments for the series each season.. In addition to the "Tim Riley's" episode there was "Midnight Never Ends", a very haunting tale that I don't want to say too much about for risk of spoiling it. It's another show that really captured my imagination as a kid. Then there is "The Messiah On Mott Street", a "Christmas" story of sorts which has in addition to Mr. Serling's wonderful script, a powerful performance by the one and only Edward G. Robinson. He was a great actor with incredibly expressive eyes and he gave the performance of his career in this episode. There was also "Green Fingers", a creepy little tale that scared the beejeezus out of me as a kid. It starred Elsa Lanchester. (This show had an amazing array of great actors on it, I think especially for the scripts Mr. Serling himself wrote.) I found a script to "Tim Riley's" online here. This little bit of writing (spoken by the secretary of William Windom's character after he has just been dismissed by his employer on the occasion of his 25th anniversary with the company) seems to be personal cri de coeur for Mr. Serling: In exchange for twenty-five pretty good years, you've given him the boot and the back of your hand. Now he's alone and tired and a little frightened. Maybe the least you could have given him would have been a gold watch. That wouldn't have been bad. But just a. . . a word . . . a gentle word would have been better. Just a reminder to him that he's not obsolete. He's not unloved. He's not a relic to be carted off to the dump. Now he's chasing ghosts . . . when all he really needed was that one word to tell him he had worth. That much you could have given him.
  3. John Coltrane - Blue World

    It's surprising sometimes what speaks to us individually. One of the most indelible memories of TV viewing I have from a kid is watching an episode of Night Gallery which included Rod Serling's "They're Tearing Down Tim Riley's Bar". I don't know why this particular story so captured my imagination as an 11 or 12 year old kid. It has no real supernatural or horror elements to it. It's not suspenseful or action-packed. It's just about an old guy (well, he was old to me as a kid, but then every one over 30 seemed really old then) realizing time has passed him by and he is caught between living in the present, full of its ever diminishing prospects, and living in the happier memories of his past. William Windom gave an unforgettable performance and Rod Serling wrote a beautiful script about people one might actually know, not stock characters. This story grabbed me as kid even though I could not fully understand it. Now, some 47 years later, it makes a lot more sense and it still holds up as outstanding TV. "They're Tearing Down Tim Riley's Bar" can be viewed here:(albeit image reversed and slightly slowed down) https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x5g5gbp
  4. I used to have this LP. As I recall, my copy sounded as crackly as the one played in this video. Pretty crappy 1980's pressing/vinyl. But man oh man, how I loved this title track!
  5. You Honor, the People would like to present the following as "Exhibit A" in the ongoing matter of What Cha Do vs. The Way That Cha Do It --
  6. One of the most amazing discoveries for me as a child was learning that Kitty Carlisle, the perennial dim bulb matron on To Tell The Truth, was once in a Marx Bros. movie. It staggered my little mind. And then she would go on to also appear in a Woody Allen movie -- has any one else accomplished that feat? Allan Jones is by far the best Zeppo Marx stand in the boys ever had. The Stateroom Scene still stands up after all these years. Still, this has got to be my favorite moment of the film Sure the kids are actors, but that laughter sounds largely genuine.
  7. I avoided this movie for years because it looked like a really lame, Hollywood all-star parody. Surprise, surprise -- it's actually quite good and pretty funny. Granted, it's Neil Simon so it is comedy with the seatbelts on, but still I laughed at several points in the film and appreciated the attention to detail and clever nods to the original movies this one honors. It's a loving tribute/parody/mashup of Casablanca, The Maltese Falcon and The Big Sleep. The cast is quite good. It's a role custom made for Peter Falk and he made the most of it. Louis Fletcher gives a captivating Ingrid Bergman performance and I love the prominent beauty spot light they frequently have highlighting her eyes. The only jarring note is John Houseman in a ridiculous fat suit trying to be Sidney Greenstreet. It just doesn't work. I wonder if they even tried to get Orson Welles or Marlon Brando or even Robert Morley for the role. It would only have been a couple of days work, and any of them could have been better in the role. I'm not a big fan of post-YSOS Sid Caesar, but he's actually funny here. If you're a fan of any of the Bogart films mentioned above, I think you will enjoy this film.
  8. So, What Are You Listening To NOW?

    Beautiful arrangements & playing. Rest In Peace Jim Cullum, Jr. I bought this last month and had told myself I would wait until the holiday season to listen to it. But the allure of new (to me) Johnny Adams was too much, so I played it today. While I'm not too crazy about the use of synthesizers and an "Arp String Ensemble", Mr. Adams sounds fine. This is a disc guaranteed to get played each Christmas. One of my favorite "later era" McCoy Tyner recordings. Ralph and Ruby made a great team. I love these Sunny's Rendezvous recordings.
  9. RIP Jim Cullum Jr.

    OMG! This is so weird -- without even knowing this news, this morning I listened to this CD: It's a wonderful treatment of this classic music. Arrangements are by the group's pianist, John Sheridan. Some excellent playing by all the musicians, but Mr. Cullum is particularly expressive on many of the tunes and clarinetist Allan Vache really shines. I could only find samples from a "Live" recording of this material (the CD I have was recorded in studio in 1985 & 87), but this version of "Bess, You Is My Woman Now" will give you an idea of the beauty and sincerity with which this music is presented. Thanks for some wonderful music Mr. Cullum. I for one will miss you and your music. Rest In Peace.