Good evening everyone, and have a sentimental Mother’s Day weekend!

Every Friday night we smooth our way into the weekend with music, the universal language. These selections demonstrate that despite what is being passed off as art today, there is plenty of really good music available. Come along and enjoy.

Did you know that the woman who was the inspiration for creating Mother’s Day later wanted it banned?

Anna Jarvis of Philadelphia is credited with originating Mother’s Day. Her own mother had organized women’s groups to promote friendship and health. On May 12, 1907, Anna Jarvis held a memorial service at her late mother’s church in West Virginia. States around the country began their own observances. In 1914 President Woodrow Wilson made it a national holiday.

People started sending cards and giving gifts. In her last years Jarvis, upset over the day’s commercialization, tried in vain to get rid of the very holiday she gave America.

This week, some of my mother’s favorite music in my musical Mother’s Day card to her and all moms. Enjoy.

The inspiration for this week’s feature came a few weeks ago when our family vacationed in Disney World. On a scorcher (there were plenty of 90-plus degree days that trip) we were standing in a long line to get into this ride in the Hollywood Studios park:

Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway | WanderDisney

Music of the 30’s and 40’s had been playing throughout the park so it was no surprise we heard a recording of a contemporary group over loudspeakers performing this Tommy Dorsey classic. Mom was a Dorsey and big band fan, and since we always like a rousing opening…

Home

Wow!

That definitely blows the roof off!

Tommy Dorsey’s recording had strings. And the vocal group “The Mills Brothers” had their own lyrics:

I’m rackin’ my brain to think of a name
To give to this tune, so Perry can croon
And maybe old Bing will give it a fling
And that’ll start everyone hummin’ the thing


The melody’s dumb, repeat and repeat
But if you can swing, it’s got a good beat
And that’s the main thing, to make it complete
‘Cause everyone’s swingin’ today

Tommy had a brother Jimmy, and the two played in the same orchestra. But they each had a terrible temper, and a nasty feud sent them on their separate ways and separate bands.

Trumpeter Max Kaminsky wrote in his book Jazz Band: My Life in Jazz:

“They had been brought up in a feisty Irish family where love was expressed with fists as much as kisses. Both Tommy and his brother Jimmy were natural born scrappers. When they had their own Dorsey Brothers orchestra they fought around the clock. Tommy would kick off the beat. Jimmy would growl, ‘Always the same corny tempo!’ Tommy would snarl, ‘Oh yeah! And you always play those same corny notes!’ Jimmy would leap up, snatch Tommy’s trombone and bend it in two. Tommy would seize Jimmy’s sax and smash it on the floor, and the fight was on.”

One of Mom’s ultimate favorites was Rosemary Clooney, best remembered for her starring role with Bing Crosby in White Christmas. The Wall Street Journal called her, “A pop icon and spoken in the same breath as Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald.”

A&E’s bio of Clooney said, “The distinctively unpretentious, deep, rich, and smooth voice of Rosemary Clooney earned her recognition as one of America’s premiere pop and jazz singers. According to Clooney’s record company press biography, Life magazine, in a tribute to America’s ‘girl singers’ named her one of ‘six preeminent singers … whose performances are living displays of a precious national treasure … their recordings a preservation of jewels.’ First-class crooner Frank Sinatra stated, as was also reprinted in Clooney’s press biography, ‘Rosemary Clooney has that great talent which exudes warmth and feeling in every song she sings. She’s a symbol of good modern American music’.”

Nominated several times for Grammy Awards, Clooney never won. But she received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award on February 28, 2002.

The previous month Clooney underwent lung cancer surgery. She remained hospitalized at the Mayo Clinic until early May, when she was able to go home to Beverly Hills and share Mother’s Day and her birthday with her family, which included five children, ten grandchildren, brother and sister-in-law Nick and Nina Clooney, and sister Gail Stone Darley Clooney died on June 29, 2002.

This track is from a 2001 album, Clooney’s last studio recording.

Show full-size image of White Christmas Danny Kaye Rosemary Clooney Bing Crosby 12x18  Poster

From the liner notes of the above album written by respected jazz critic Will Friedwald:

To put the statistics of Clooney’s career into perspective, whenever the day comes that she decides to hang up her microphone (and I hope it never does!) after this album (her 27th Concord release), she’ll already not only be one of the most prolific female singers of all time, but, thankfully, probably the one who recorded the most in the later part of her career-with not only the most consistently excellent but the most amazingly personal series of statements since Thomas Edison ever tinkered with tinfoil.

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Robert Kennedy campaigns with Rosemary Clooney and Andy Williams in San Diego on June 3, 1968, the day before the Democrat California primary. Four hours after the polls closed in California, Kennedy claimed victory as he addressed his campaign supporters just past midnight in the Ambassador Hotel.  On his way through the kitchen to exit the hotel, he was mortally wounded by assassin Sirhan Sirhan. Standing beside RFK during the shooting was Clooney, and his death traumatized her for years. She suffered a deep depression requiring psychiatric hospitalization. Her entertainment career was never the same.

One more note. You probably know Clooney is the aunt of actor George Clooney. He was a pallbearer at her funeral.

Our next tune was a real favorite of Mom’s, so much so that when she’d play it on the stereo she couldn’t resist singing along. A George Gershwin composition (so you know it has to be good), this one dates all the way back to 1927, the biggest hit in the Broadway musical Funny Face.

Recorded live in Rio de Janeiro, November, 2008….

https://coversblog.files.wordpress.com/2009/07/dianakrall-liveinrio.jpg

So now we’ve enjoyed female vocalists, two in a row. The trend continues.

From writer Bruce Eder:

The mere mention of the name the McGuire Sisters (Christine, Dorothy, and Phyllis) evokes images of ’50s America and comfortable, white middle-class life and aspirations. Their work was the perfect musical embodiment of the popular white culture of the period… and Dwight Eisenhower’s America. They even came from a place called Middletown. 

(The McGuires were) the daughters of Asa and Lillie McGuire. Lillie McGuire was an ordained minister, and the girls’ first singing experiences were in church — indeed, secular music was frowned upon in the household — They sang at weddings, funerals, and revival meetings, revealing a special knack for close harmony.

In 1949, they were recruited to tour veterans’ hospitals and military bases, and it was during this period that they took the opportunity to learn material other than the hymns and inspirational songs. By the time the tour was over, they’d come to the attention of a local bandleader, Karl Taylor, who got them a series of appearances on radio, broadcasting from the Van Cleef Hotel in Dayton, Ohio. During a break in one of these broadcasts, they were encouraged to try out for the Arthur Godfrey Talent Scouts program in New York. The trio pooled their resources and borrowed enough money to make the trip and, in their innocence about the ways of the entertainment industry, simply went to the CBS studio where the show was broadcast. Their manner was so unaffectedly beguiling that they got an audition from the program’s producer, which resulted in a promise to get them on the air once he had presented the whole matter to Godfrey, who was away on vacation.

Godfrey contacted the McGuire Sisters and signed them up for his Talent Scouts show, which he followed by booking them on his morning program. It was the start of a seven-year gig that made the McGuire Sisters one of the most well-known vocal groups in the country.

These two songs both went to #1.

Seen around New York: Their biggest hit recordings were Sugartime, Sincerely and Picnic, all from the middle of the 1950s; they are pictured at Manhattan's El Morocco Nightclub in 1956

Phyllis McGuire, the last surviving member of the group, died on December 29, 2020.

When the sisters were performing at the Desert Inn in Las Vegas in 1959, Mafia leader Sam Giancana saw her onstage and told the pit boss to “eat the marker” on the thousands of dollars of debt she owed at the blackjack tables. Their romance began.

“When I met him I did not know who he was, and he was not married and I was an unmarried woman, and according to the way I was brought up there was nothing wrong with that. And I didn’t find out until sometime later really who he was, and I was already in love,” McGuire said. “It was really hurting the career and it was really breaking my parents’ heart, and I also had an ultimatum from my sister’s husband that if this didn’t end that the trio would be over. So that was very painful for me to think of, and so I tried twice but it didn’t work.”

That’s it for this week.

Goodnight.

Sleep well.

Don’t forget Mom.

I’ve written in the past that Mom liked Barry Manilow who did a big band album in 1994 featuring one of her all-time favorite songs. Here’s a brief clip:

I love this ending. Did I mention Mom loved the big bands?

On April 24, 1967, Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass had their first TV special on CBS, sponsored by the Singer Sewing Machine Company.

There’s a scene at the Aragon Ballroom in Santa Monica that’s a tribute to big bands and halls once packed with enthusiastic crowds and dancers. Another great Tommy Dorsey classic.

Friday Night Forgotten OIdie: Roses

Baker Knight wrote “The Wonder Of You” in 1959. Ray Peterson recorded the song and it peaked at #25. Peterson’s next single did much better in 1960, “Tell Laura I Love Her.”

Knight recalls Elvis took notice of “The Wonder of You.”

“In fact, Presley liked Ray Peterson’s version so much that he asked Ray to visit a movie set and meet with him. Elvis took Ray out to lunch, almost asking permission to cut the number,” said Knight.

“Elvis did not record the song then. But he never forgot it, either. A decade later, Knight got a call that sent him into the clouds. ‘I had just gotten a divorce, was living in an apartment in Ventura. I was always a night person and slept during the day. Anyway, the phone rang 7:30 in the morning. I couldn’t imagine who would be calling me at that time. On the line was one of the folks in Elvis’ band, Glen Hardin. He asked me if I could give him the words to ‘The Wonder Of You’. Elvis needed them because he had decided to do the song on stage that very night.” That evening Elvis sang “The Wonder of You” for the very first time in front of a sellout crowd at the International Hotel in Las Vegas. His live version was released as a single, sold more than two million copies, and reached #9.

But that’s not this week’s forgotten oldie. Flip the single over…

Lot Detail - 1972 RCA In-House Gold Record Award for Elvis Presley's "The  Wonder of You" 45 Single

Today’s highly interesting read (05/07/21): NPR at 50 Years: Still a Liberal Sandbox

Spread the Word: Help NPR and PBS Stay on the Air - GOOD

NOTE: I worked at WUWM Milwaukee Public Radio from May 1978 to August 1989 when my contract wasn’t renewed. I then went to work at WTMJ Radio in Milwaukee.

Today’s read is from Tim Graham, director of media analysis for the Media Research Center. Here’s an excerpt:

National Public Radio is celebrating its 50th anniversary this week in a classic way: asking its fans for money.

If you’re a conservative, you see NPR as a sandbox for liberals and object to your tax dollars going to that propaganda. If you’re a liberal, you love it dearly and fight any attempt to cut its federal funding.

I would like to ask for a refund. I’ve been paying taxes for more than 40 years, and I would like my involuntary donations to NPR returned to me.

Read the entire column here.



What dopy thing did WTMJ’s Steve Scaffidi say on his show today?

When former Oak Creek Mayor Steve Scaffidi first started working as a talk show host at WMTJ in the time slot formally held by Charlie Sykes (who I filled in a lot for when I worked there) I made a point to make a personal phone call to him and wish him well.

That honeymoon period is long over with.

He claims he’s Republican. If so, he’s a weak one. His total lack of experience as a broadcaster is glaring. His shows are public radio-light. Rarely takes phone calls. He stacks his shows with guest after guest after guest so the burden isn’t on him to talk and actually carry a show. He invites guests constantly so as to hold his hand and get him through the morning broadcast.

Today I was in the car transporting my daughter to an orthodontist appointment when I heard, since it was a Thursday, it was time for “Scaffidiology.” What the hell is “Scaffidiology?” 

Steve said he would discuss “hot-button issues” and get listeners’ views on these hot topics.

Hot topics? Try lukewarm at best.

Scaffidi launched into “snow days” at schools. It’s frickin’ May.

I had to leave the car for a bit but when I checked back later Scaffidi became parent-lecturer. He mentioned parents like to take vacations when they could avoid, for example, spring break, for obvious reasons. Parent expert Scaffidi proceeded to scold.

“Don’t take your kids out of school when it’s not vacation,” he said. “I know it’s cheaper. Buck up.”

My response to Scaffidi? Just shut up.

In schools all across the country parents don’t wait for a specific time-off period to vacation with their kids. I don’t see a crisis.

At the end of this past March our family spent 10 days in WDW to celebrate our daughter’s birthday.

May be an image of 2 people, people sitting, people standing and outdoors

We returned during the start of spring break. As a result our 6th grader spent an entire week getting caught up on what she missed at home. As for Scaffidi? i guess what I was wrong ans aweak so and so to dare take got to Florida when the school calendar said don’t.

What an idiotic viewpoint. Parents take vacation when they can. And he’s telling them to “buck up?”

Scaffidi is not the most insightful talk show I’ve ever heard. So I rarely listen. Today was an exception. I’ll not be back for a long time.

I understand Charlie Sykes has gone off the reservation. I miss him and would still take him over lightweight Scaffidi.

Today’s highly interesting read (05/06/21): Why I Haven’t Gotten The Shot (Yet?)

Kira Lundell, 16, who is on the autism spectrum, receives a coronavirus vaccine at Variety - the Children’s Charity of the Delaware Valley during a vaccine clinic on their campus in conjunction with Skippack Pharmacy in Worcester, Pennsylvania, April 29. REUTERS/Hannah Beier

Today’s read is from columnist Derek Hunter. Here’s a brief excerpt:

But it’s not just by lack of desire to hit the bars or the fear of some doorknob licking fetish returning that has me waiting to get the COVID 19 vaccine, it’s that it is so new.

Operation Warp Speed was a miracle, and one we desperately needed. It makes me proud to be an American that our country did it and it yielded multiple vaccines that work. And I have no doubt that they work. I just don’t know what else, if anything, they do.

Read the entire column here.

Media quiet about Milwaukee City Attorney controversy

Amy Hemmer defeats Joe LeBlanc for Merton seat on Arrowhead School Board

I first started blogging in 2007 on the old FranklinNOW, one of several sites run by Journal Communications dedicated to Milwaukee-area suburbs. Many talented writers contributed to fill a huge void in suburban news coverage by the Journal Sentinel. All the blogs were dumped a few years ago.

One of those blog writers was Amy Hemmer (above) from the Lake Country area. She’s one of my Facebook friends, and recently after reading some of her comments I reached out and asked her to be a guest blogger. I had no idea she had already written a piece for Wisconsin Right Now about harassment accusations against Milwaukee City Attorney Tearman Spencer that you can read here.

She’ll be writing a guest blog for me soon.

Today’s highly interesting read (05/05/21): What I Admire About Liberals

Quotes ~ Quotes On Anger Management Controlling And Relieving Stress Quote  Of Fantastic Photo Fantastic Quote Of Anger Photo Inspirations.

Today’s highly interesting read is from John Hawkins of Right Wing News. Here’s an excerpt:

There is very little good that I can say about liberalism. It’s spiteful, cruel, mean-spirited, miserable, impractical, anti-American, hypocritical, intolerant, illogical, and it wallows in victimhood, censorship, and totalitarian impulses. There are some good people that are liberals, but that’s because liberalism tends to be like an infection. A person can tolerate it before it becomes severe, but once that same person is on fire with it, it consumes them.  It’s a dishonorable philosophy that does little good and much harm. That being said, there are things conservatives can learn from liberals. Maybe not morally or economically, but tactically? Absolutely. Do you know what I admire about liberals?

Read the rest here.

Big changes coming at Franklin’s middle school

No photo description available.

The city of Franklin has received an application for approval of a proposed land combination for Franklin Public Schools. Three properties located at West Forest Hill Avenue: 8225-8255, Forest Park Middle School (39.39 acres), 8429, formerly “Luxembourg Gardens” (9.68 acres) and 8459 (3.85 acres), would be combined to enlarge the site for Forest Park Middle School resulting in a site approximately 54 acres.

Franklin Public Schools shall pay to the city of Franklin the amount of all development compliance, inspection and review fees incurred by the city of Franklin, including fees of consults to the city of Franklin, for the Forest Park Middle School land combination project, within 30 days of invoice. Any violation of this provision shall be a violation of the Unified Development Ordinance, and subject to penalties and remedies provisions.

Dan St Pierre, Project Engineer of Point of Beginning wrote the following earlier this year to Regulo Martinez-Montilva, Principal Planner of the Department of City Development for Franklin:

Question: What is the proposed use for the properties to be combined? This Information Is required per UDO §15-9 0312 A 2

Answer: The Franklin Public School District purchased the properties located at 8429 and 8459 West Forest Hill Avenue to expand the site that It owns to the east which contains Forest Park Middle School and the Education and Community Center. In the development of the existing middle school site for the new middle school, the school district lost acres of previously usable property to the delineation of wetlands, wetland buffers and conservancy areas. Consequently, there Is less usable open land on the site for the larger school population as well as for community recreational use. The District added the Luxembourg Gardens properties to the middle school site to add space to this site for current and future needs. The school district Is currently in the process of assessing which of those needs It will pursue on the new property. This use will most likely be a combination of multi-use grass fields for sports such as soccer and lacrosse, as well as district and recreation related facilities. There Is interest in using the site for classes run by the Recreation Department for senior citizens and others especially for use during the day.

City staff has recommended the Common Council approve this project. The Council considers the matter at its meeting tonight.

Today’s highly interesting read (05/04/21): The Peculiar Institution of Higher Education

UWM Helene Zelazo Center for the Performing Arts

Writer Victor Davis Hanson is one of the best, and he has another beauty. Here’s an excerpt:

The university from the late 1940s to 1960 was a rich resource of continuing education. It introduced the world’s great literature, from Homer to Tolstoy, to the American middle classes. 

But today’s universities and colleges bear little if any resemblance to postwar education. Even during the tumultuous 1960s, when campuses were plagued by radical protests and periodic violence, there was still institutionalized free speech. An empirical college curriculum mostly survived the chaos of the 1960s.

But it is gone now.

Instead, imagine a place where the certification of educational excellence, the B.A. degree, is no guarantee that a graduate can speak, write, or communicate coherently or think inductively.

There’s more. Lots more. Read the entire column here.