THE RAMBLE UNPACKED

    This blahg will probably not make any sense unless you have seen/read my previous blahgScott Henderson, still cool at 58 THE FALSE DUCKS VIDEO BLAHG #4: OH, DIDN’T I RAMBLE.  In that blahg, I rambled about a number of things that I wanted to talk about this year.  This blahg will unpack some of those topics and will show how I’m doing this year with some of my projects.  There will be images, videos, and music, so I’d stick around if I were you.  That wasn’t meant to be a threat but hey, what are you going to do about it?  No, not you, I’m talking to the person standing behind you.  Made you look!    

   In case you skipped reading the aforementioned blahg, here’s the video so you can see what I’m talking about: 

At one point in that video I show the cuckoo clock that my mother gave me about five or six years ago which means it’s probably closer to 7 years ago.  It has been in a box by my desk since then and I decided to finally tackle the project of restoring the clock.  Here’s a front image of the clock before I began working on it: 

The front of the Cuckoo Clock before being restored

Notice that the door is missing at the top, the wooden balcony is missing below the dancers, and the Fraulein on the right at the bottom is also missing.  I had all of those parts but they still needed to be attached.  Here’s a shot of the inside of the clock: 

Inside of my cuckoo clock

The picture of the inside was taken after I had removed the inside mechanism and cleaned it up and then replaced everything.  I had not removed the bellows but you can see that the top parts of the bellows are missing. Below are some pictures of one of the bellows removed, the clockworks after it had been removed, as well as a shot of the clock housing when the mechanism was removed:

One of the bellows removed

The clockworks removed

The clock housing with clockworks removed

These were the only photos I took of the restoration.  Luckily, I did video document the repairs and you can see in the video below the complete restoration. 

In the video, I mention two companies where I purchased parts for the clock.  If you want to purchase parts in Canada, try:  https://perrinwatchparts.com and in the United States try  https://www.clockworks.com/.  There are some very good videos about cuckoo clock repair and one in particular that I found helpful was the one below: 

   Moving on…In my ramble I also mentioned some books that I want to read.  I detailed how I had ordered a book called “How To Be Topp.”  Let me back up a bit and detail something else that I explained in the video.  Happy ChristmasEvery Christmas I read from a book called “Happy Christmas.”  It is a book compiled by William Kean Seymour and John Smith.  From the dust-jacket:  “The contents have been drawn from English prose and poetry, from Elizabethan times to the present day.”  The “present day” being 1968 when it was first printed or 1978 when it was reprinted.  I would check out this book every year from the Picton library until one year my wife found it in the school library where she was working.  Either they were getting rid of it or she liberated it.  Regardless, I’m glad to own it. 

   There are several stories and poems that I enjoy reading from the collection and some are excerpts from books that I’ve never read or never known existed.  Ding-Dong Farely Merily For XmasOne of the entries that always intrigued me was “Ding-Dong Farely Merily For Xmas” from Geoffrey Willans’ “How to be Topp.”  The excerpt on the right, which will enlarge if you click on it, is the first page of the teaser.  The teaser being that the short excerpt is only three pages.  I’ve always wondered what the entire book would be like.  This year, I decided to steam full ahead and ordered a paperback copy of “How to be Topp.”  Both the hardcover and paperback are out of print but the a used copy of the book was a lot less than the hardcover and easier to obtain.  The images below are of the front cover and explanations on the inside from the editor and the author: 

How To Be Topp (front cover)

How To Be Topp (author's explanation)

How To Be Topp (editor's explanation)

I haven’t got around to reading it yet but it’s on my list to read after the current book I am reading which was also mentioned in my ramble. 

   Back in 1990 I started reading a short story published in either Canadian Author and Bookman or Canadian Forum.  I don’t know if I ever finished reading the story but because it was a library copy, and I couldn’t check it out, they allowed me to photocopy the pages.  I have kept those pages and over the years thought often about trying to find the novel from which the story was an excerpt.  Somewhere along the way, I lost one of the pages of the story and this past Christmas I decided to pull out what I had in an effort to track down the original novel.  Below are images of the two pages I photocopied back in December of 1990.  Again, click on each for a larger image.

excerpt from "Roses Are Difficult Here" (1)

excerpt from "Roses Are Difficult Here" (2)

I finally ordered a hardcover copy of the book “Roses Are Difficult Here” by W.O. Mitchell. 

Roses Are Difficult Here

It’s the story of a small prairie town in Canada through the eyes of the editor of the local paper.  I’m about 100 pages in, without having encountered the excerpts from above, and I’m thoroughly enjoying the book.  It’s well written with small town humour and quirky characters.  I highly recommend it even though I haven’t finished it yet. 

   Next up I want to go back to some of the albums I mentioned in my ramble video.  Over this past year it has been a treat to get out to thrift shops when they’ve been open.  I find myself always pouring through their used records and I’ve picked up quite a few jazz albums over the past year.  I’ll have to create another blahg just to talk about some of those acquisitions but right now I’m just going to address those featured in the ramble. 

   First up is “The Vancouver Scene” featuring Lance Harrison’s Dixieland band.  The Vancouver Scene (front)This is a Canadian record from 1965.  Here’s what I could find out about Lance Harrison.  This comes from the website https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/lance-harrison-emc

“Lance (Easton) Harrison, saxophonist, clarinetist, banjoist, singer, entertainer (born 23 June 1915 in Vancouver, BC; died 26 November 2000 in Langley, BC).

Lance (Easton) Harrison, saxophonist, clarinetist, banjoist, singer, entertainer (born 23 June 1915 in Vancouver, BC; died 26 November 2000 in Langley, BC). At first a banjoist and guitarist, Harrison switched to saxophone in his teens and played in the Vancouver dance bands of Trevor Page, Sandy DeSantis, and Dal Richards. After service during World War II in RCAF dance and show bands, he was a sideman for over 20 years in Vancouver pit, dance, and hotel orchestras.

In 1950 he also began leading his own dixieland band, which was heard on the CBC, both in variety series – eg, ‘Hotel Downbeat’ (radio), ‘The Twenties Roar’ (radio), ‘Some of Those Days’ (TV, summers 1961-6) – and on jazz programs. It also performed in Vancouver clubs (eg, Pillar and Post), on the Vancouver Island ferries, and, during the 1980s, at Troller’s Pub, Horseshoe Bay. Members of the band included the trumpeters Stew Barnett or Don Clark, the trombonist Jack Fulton, the pianist Bud Henderson, and the bassist Stan Johnson. It made several CBC broadcast recordings, including The Lance Harrison Dixieland Band (1965, RCI 263), as well as two commercial LPs, The Vancouver Scene (1965, RCA PCS-1043) and Happy Jazz (1972, Water St 1636).

Harrison was a convincing exponent of the dixieland and swing styles; his tenor saxophone style reflected the particular influence of Eddie Miller. Although Harrison rarely performed outside the Vancouver area, he was featured in the CBC TV special ‘A Visit to New Orleans,’ filmed during a trip to the birthplace of jazz in 1971, and he appeared with the US cornetist ‘Wild Bill’ Davison during club engagements made in Toronto and Ottawa in 1983. His band performed occasionally during the 1990s, and Harrison in 1994 joined the ensemble Red Beans and Rice, with Rice Honeywell, with whom he recorded the CD Runnin’ Wild in 1996. Harrison was a member of the BC Entertainment Hall of Fame.”

Here’s a partial scan of the back cover:

The Vancouver Scene (back cover)If you click on the image you will get a much larger scan of the cover and can read the cover notes and the track listings.  I don’t mind posting a couple of tracks here because this album is not on CD and this gives you a chance to sample the LP in case you’re thinking about tracking it down.  First up is “Ya Gotta Know How To Love”:

I believe that’s Lance Harrison on vocals on “Ya Gotta Know How To Love”.  Regarding the song, Lance Harrison mentions in the jacket notes that he first heard that song performed by the Denza Dance Band and that he still owns the Gene Austin 78rpm record of that song.  For the record, sorry about that pun, here’s a Youtube video/audio of Gene Austin’s version from 1926

The second track I’ll present from “The Vancouver Scene” is a swinging version of “At The Jazz Band Ball”: 

If anyone is interested in hearing more tracks from this fabulous album then let me know and I’ll post some tracks.

   The second album that I mention in my ramble video is “and now in person Jonah Jones.”  Jonah Jones LiveThis album is from 1966 and was “Recorded Live at the Crescendo On Hollywood’s Fabulous Sunset Strip”  This is another LP that I don’t believe has had a CD release.  Jonah Jones and his Quartet swing some great songs on this album with Jonah doing some vocals.  Here’s a scan of the back cover.  Remember to click on the image to see a larger scan. 

And Now In Person Jonah Jones (rear cover)

The first track I have chosen from the album is “From This Moment On”.  The band is really swinging on this one. 

I really like Jonah Jones and his quartet.  I have a couple of their other albums that I’ll have to dig out.  Finishing, up with this album, I’ve chosen another track from the first side of the album.  This time it’s the old chestnut “I Can’t Get Started.” 

   The third album that I mention in the video is “Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats – B Sides and Bonus Songs”.  Here are shots of the front and back covers: 

nathaniel rateliff & the night sweats b sides and bonus songs (front)

nathaniel rateliff & the night sweats b sides and bonus songs (back)

I haven’t listened to this album yet but I wouldn’t post tracks here because this is a new album and I don’t want to violate any copyrights.  I did get to see Nathaniel Rateliff in concert in Toronto last year with my son and NR was great.  He appeared this past weekend, February 13th as the musical guest on Saturday Night Live so I’ll link to two videos of his performances.  The first is the song “Redemption” which is a new song featured in the film “Palmer”:

The second is “A Little Honey” and it’s Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats: 

“A Little Honey” is off the 2018 album “Tearing At The Seams”.  Check out everything you can by Nathaniel Rateliff.  He’s a talented artist and his solo album from 2020  “And It’s Still Alright” is a gem  I particularly enjoy the song “Rush On” from that album.  Here’s the video for “Rush On”: 

   Stepping back to jazz, I’m going to talk about an album that I didn’t mention in my ramble.  This album was either one I had ordered and was expecting in the mail or was ordered after I recorded my ramble video.  I’m a fan of another jazz trumpeter, Billy Butterfield.  Back in December of 1978 Billy Butterfield appeared at the Manassas Jazz Festival in Manassas, Virginia.Swinging At The Elks' (front)  The label, Fat Cat’s Jazz, released an album called “Swinging At The Elks’, Billy Butterfield and his World Class Jazz Band”.  I received the album a couple of weeks ago and was very excited to listen to it.  Here’s a scan of the back cover: 

Swinging At The Elks' (rear)

Make sure you click on the back cover scan for a larger image.  After reading the jacket notes, I realized that I had actually heard most of the tracks on this album.  Last year I came across a music blog, https://jazzlives.wordpress.com/2020/01/24/brilliance-in-a-small-space-billy-butterfield-spiegle-willcox-kenny-davern-spencer-clark-dick-wellstood-marty-grosz-van-perry-tony-dinicola-manassas-jazz-festival-december-1-1978/ where the author of the blahg linked to a video of Billy Butterfield’s performance at the Manassas Jazz Festival on December 1st, 1978.  Lo and behold, all of the songs in the video are also on the album “Swinging At The Elks'”.  Here is the video of those performances from December 1st 1978:

Researching a little further, I found that there was another Youtube video from the Manassas Jazz Festival on December 3rd, 1978 featuring the songs SOMEDAY SWEETHEART / STARDUST / COTTON TAIL / & SINGIN’ THE BLUES.  Here’s that video: 

So where did that leave me with the album “Swinging At The Elks'”?  Well, if you read the back cover, there is one song on the album from December 2nd, 1978 with the following musicians: Billy Butterfield, Mason Thomas (clt), Spencer Clark (bass sax), Bill Allred (tbn), Larry Eanet (piano), Paul Langosch (str. bass), Cliff Leeman (drs).  That song is “Carolina In The Morning”: 

I don’t know if Billy Butterfield played any other songs on December 2nd, 1978 at the Manassas Jazz Festival but with the two videos above and the one track from the album, we are treated to 11 songs from Billy Butterfield at the Festival.  I guess the album purchase was worth it for that one song from December 2nd, 1978. 

   Before I conclude this blahg, I want to comment on one of the Blu-Rays featured in the ramble and one that was not.  I won’t comment on “Fedora” directed by Billy Wilder.  I haven’t watched it yet but friend Bryan has and he really enjoyed it.  I want to, however, comment on two ClassicFlix releases.  Africa Screams Blu-RayThe one featured in my ramble video was the Blu-Ray release of “Africa Screams” with Abbott and Costello.  This film has never looked so good and the extras include some sketches from their appearances on the Colgate Comedy Hour as well a radio show from May 5, 1948 with Bela Lugosi, and an Abbott and Costello 3-D comic (on screen) and a pair of 3D glasses.  There are other nice extras but you’ll have to purchase it to find out more. 

   ClassicFlix also released another film on DVD and Blu-Ray that I did not mention in my ramble.  For a long time I have had a gap in my Laurel and Hardy collection and my Harry Langdon collection.  That one film is Zenobia from 1939.  For what it’s worth, here’s the information from Wikipedia:

Zenobia is one of the few films after the teaming of Laurel and Hardy that features Hardy without Stan Laurel, the result of a contract dispute between Laurel and producer Hal Roach, who maintained separate contracts for each performer, rather than a team contract, which would have offered them more control over their careers. Zenobia was Roach’s attempt to create a new comedic pair without Laurel, and a series of films with Hardy and Langdon was planned. The dispute was short-lived, however, and Laurel and Hardy were reunited shortly thereafter.

Zenobia VHSThe film was issued in 1997 by Video Treasures on VHS as part of the Laurel & Hardy Classic Collection.  I owned all of the Laurel & Hardy VHS issues in that series and gradually disposed of them one by one as they became released on DVD.  The exception was, of course, Zenobia, Zenobia Blu-Raywhich I held onto until ClassicFlix released the film on DVD & Blu-Ray in November of last year.  I had ordered it and forgot about it until it arrived after my ramble video.  The only extras on the film are a Restoration Comparison and some other ClassicFlix trailers.  The film itself is the gem here.  I have never seen it look so good and it’s a cute little film with both stars.  I highly recommend it. 

   Finally, I want to give another shout out to the people who restored “Africa Screams.”  I mention in my ramble video that they’re working on restoring “Jack and the Beanstalk” with Abbott and Costello.  I’ve already donated to it but if you really want to support a worthwhile project, check out their Kickstarter:  https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/3dfilmarchive/help-restore-abbott-and-costellos-jack-and-the-beanstalk.  They’ve already reached their goal but with extra money they can always include extra content.  “Jack and the Beanstalk” has been in public domain with so many bad image DVD releases.  This is the chance to see this film restored to how those two great comics would have wanted us to see it. 

   So there’s the ramble unpacked.  I’ve addressed most of everything I mentioned in the video as well as a few other things.  I think I’ve also rambled enough for this blahg.  Until next time…Scott out.

 

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