Posted by Seán Collins on 12 Aug 2013
Emile Griffith died earlier this summer. He was a boxer — a welterweight and middleweight world record holder. He battled his sexuality, too. In 1962, after Benny “The Kid” Paret used a Spanish vulgarism to refer to Griffith, he beat him to death.
The fight was a slugfest, and Paret nearly ended things in the sixth round. But after six more rounds, things ended for Paret as Griffith punched him senseless against the ropes, sending him into a coma from which he never emerged. He died ten days later. Norman Mailer, who was also in attendance that night in a ringside seat, wrote, “As he took those eighteen punches something happened to everyone who was in psychic range of the event. Some part of his death reached out to us. … As he went down, the sound of Griffith’s punches echoed in the mind like a heavy axe in the distance chopping into a wet log.” Mailer summed things up with the following words: “Paret died on his feet.”
—”Death at the Garden” by Jonathan Coleman, The New Yorker
The story of Emile Griffith is the subject of the opera “Champion” by Terence Blanchard.
Posted by Seán Collins on 1 Nov 2013
Louis Armstrong in 1946, William P. Gottlieb
All Saints Day is a time when many of us consider, with gratitude, those who have gone before us. Here’s the 1938 recording of “When The Saints…” made by Louis Armstrong or, as he calls himself, “the Reverend Satchmo.”
When The Saints Go Marching In
Recorded May 13, 1938
Track Time 2:44
Written by “Traditional”
Recorded in New York City
Louis Armstrong, trumpet, vocal; Shelton Hemphill, trumpet; J.C. Higginbotham, trombone; Rupert Cole, Charlie Holmes, alto saxophone; Bingie Madison, tenor saxophone; Luis Russell, piano; Lee Blair, guitar; Pops Foster, bass; Paul Barbarin, drums.
Originally released on Decca 2230
Read more about the recording
posted by Seán Collins on 8 August 2013
In September, the Public Radio Program Directors (PRPD) will meet in Atlanta for their annual conference. It’s like any industry get-together: except it’s much more… public radio.
For Music Inside Out, it’s our first opportunity to get this radio program on the radars of the men and women who do a good deal of the gate-keeping at public radio stations around the country.
Long before you ever hear a radio show on your station, a staff member of a public station has heard it, and liked it, and has bugged their program director about it. And it’s that program director who makes the decision to air the program in a local market.
So, we have been debating: Which shows should we highlight for the PRPD? If we were going to press a thumb drive into the hands of a potential champion of the program, which three shows would we like them to hear? What programs should we have them audition?
Let us know what you think. Which three hours would best highlight the scope and mission of the show? Do you have a favorite or two?
And wish us well at the PRPD.
Posted by Seán Collins on 9 Sept 2013
On 9 September 1957, Jerry Lee Lewis hit the top of the R&B and Country charts with “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On.” (The song would later hit #3 on the Pop chart, too.)
Lewis had recorded the song at Sun Records, in Memphis, back in February. He said he knew it was going to be a hit, but that Sam Phillips thought it was too risqué and wouldn’t be successful.
“If that’s risqué,” Lewis is reported to have said, “well, I’m sorry.”
While Jerry Lee Lewis is responsible for the driving boogie piano line that is so much of the song as we know it today, his was not the original version of the song.
That credit may go to Big Maybelle, Mabel Louise Smith, who recorded the song back in 1955, two years before Lewis, for Okeh records with a producer named Quincy Jones.
(Roy Hall also recorded the song in 1955, for Decca Records. And for the record, his publicity photo is not half as cute as Big Maybelle’s.)