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What is it about nice people that attract total idiots?Nice people are martyrs. Idiots are evangelists.


Friday, April 26, 2013

Time Machine week 65.

It's April 25th, 1971. And it's raining in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil.  In fact, in this 24-hour period 15 inches will descend from the heavens, washing away 100 lives, the health of 2,000 more, and the homes of 11,000.

Welcome to this week's Time Machine!  If you were here hoping for the Tiny Tim covers I promised last week, well, that was a joke, and you may need to contact your local mental health helpline.  What I actually have is some pretty good features, including a six degrees that Laurie suggested that will connect Pebbles Flintstone and Tony the Tiger, John Wayne and Billy Graham, Rosemary Clooney and the Grinch that stole Christmas!  Also, the amazing connection between Kenny Rogers and Tim Taylor, the incredible story of the man called "Piano Roll", and a band called the Joy Of Cooking!  One thing we won't have this week, though, is a video.  My feelings were hurt by a spam e-mail last week:

Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally, it seems as though you relied on the
video to make your point. You clearly know what youre talking about, why waste your intelligence on just
posting videos to your blog when you could be giving us something informative to read?

Guess ya can't please everyone.
Grab a seat and let's go!

We have 14 debut tunes this week, 5 of which get a special mention.  The Stones (You know, that geriatric rock band charging $65 for the cheap seats at the United Center this summer?) come in at 53 with Brown Sugar.  Ringo Starr comes in at 64 with It Don't Come Easy; Jerry Reed at 84 with When You're Hot, You're Hot; and Carly Simon at 93 with That's The Way I Always Heard It Should Be.

Oh, and at 100, I was curious about the song Brownsville.  It was performed by a 2-girl, three guy folk-rock outfit with the unusual name of The Joy Of Cooking.  Led by ladies Toni Brown and Terry Garthwaite, the wiki article said that they were big on feminist themes, but Brownsville I don't believe was one of those.  Just a nice music out on the front porch song that Billboard peaked at 66 on the pop charts and 27 on AC.  (That's adult contemporary, not air conditioning.)

Terry on the left, Toni on the right- but what WERE they cooking?

The birthday bunch is a bit smaller than the last few weeks, but we do have one big one.  The 30-years olds after this week include Eddy Grant's Electric Avenue, Kajagoogoo's Too Shy, and for those like me who own Golden Earring's Greatest Hits, their song The Devil Made Me Do It.  Turning 35, Rod Stewart's I Was Only Joking and another one of those "only Chris remembers it" tunes, Beach Boy Mike Love and his band Celebration with Almost Summer.  Turning 45 is Ohio Express' Yummy Yummy Yummy- oh and that big one I mentioned:  Simon and Garfunkel with Mrs. Robinson.  Blow Out The Candles...

Remember last week I said third times the charm for Murray Head and the Trinidad Singers?  Well, DO YOU?  Anyway, their title theme from Jesus Christ Superstar gets the big jumper award this week, leaping 17 spots to #69.  The big dropper is Proud Mary plunging from the top 40 24 places to 43.

And that brings us to #50 and the Where Are They Now victim du jour- Someone Who Cares by Kenny Rogers and the First Edition.  You basically know the story here- young and restless musicians feeling stifled by their tenure in the New Christy Minstrels, form their own band and delve into country pop (Ruby Don't Take Your Love To Town) and psychedelic (Just Dropped In), but the voice of the band becomes bigger and bigger and band breaks up.  The early incarnations of the band were built around Rogers, Terry Williams, and Mickey Jones.  Mike Settle joined for a while, replaced later by Kin Vassey, as did opera-trained Thelma Camacho.  When Thelma left, Mary Arnold won the audition, beating out a young singer named Karen Carpenter.  Mary would go on to become Mrs. Roger Miller, and has run his estate since his death.  Thelma runs a jewelry store in California, Mike retired from music and a career in journalism.  Terry is mostly retired, but continues to compose Contemporary Christian music, Vassey passed away in 1994.  And Mickey Jones?  Well, he might just be one of the boys from K&B Construction...

That would be me, Tim!
That's right, Mickey is Pete from K&B on Home Improvement!

And now we enter the top 40, with the following new debuts.  Moving up 3 spots to #40 are Sugarloaf with Tongue In Cheek (sorry, it's no Green Eyed Lady); up ten spots to 39, Lobo with Me And You And A Dog Named Boo; climbing 12 to #35 is Aretha Franklin with her gospel-tinged take on Bridge Over Troubled Waters; The Doors open to #33, also up 12, with Love Her Madly; and climbing 10 spots to 32, the fancy sounding Ray Charles Orchestra (you can guess where this is going can't you?) with the lovely strains of their tune, Booty Butt. 

This week's lookback saw me back in 1950, and the big mover this week leapt from 37 to 11.  And the story behind this one is best told from the beginning.  In 1889, the Reverend Jacob Lincoln Cook and his second wife had a son.  Dad, the founder of the First United Presbyterian Church of Athens, Tennessee, wanted him to also be Jacob Lincoln, but mom didn't like either name.  As a compromise, they named him J.L.  (This was from the dude's own autobiography, I ain't making it up!)  With some relations calling him Jake and some calling him Larry, he became J. Lawrence Cook.  He was orphaned fairly soon on, his birth mom died when he was one, and his father and his third wife- the only mother he really knew, died when he was 14- his dad was only 33.  Eventually the law needed a first name, and knowing that his birth mom had liked the French name Jean but was leery of its feminine seeming, he finally became Jean Lawrence Cook.  But when he found his calling in life, he received yet another name- "Piano Roll".  A piano roll is the music roll that a player piano plays.  And Cook was the master of piano rolls- he recorded between 10 and 20 THOUSAND of them.  In fact, one site claims that almost all of the piano rolls recorded between 1931 and 1961 were by Lawrence "Piano Roll" Cook.  However, he wasn't a big mainstream recording star, not recording on vinyl until he hit the charts with that song that stared this whole thing, The Old Piano Roll Blues, with vocals by the Jim Dandys ( who were Artie Malvin and some OTHER guy named Ray Charles), and again the next year with Down Yonder.

Last week we had 5 new top ten songs; this week, NOBODY falls out.  However, I do have an almost but not quite shoutout- Cat Stevens stopped at 18 with Wild World last week; it falls to 34 this week.

Due to the rarified nature of Laurie's contribution to the six degrees feature, I'm going to run with it right now.  The whole thing started with Laurie bringing up wondering where the guys on This Old House lived.  And this reminded her of an old song.  Or maybe it starts with radio's first singing cowboy.  Yeah, let's start there.

Stuart Hamblen was the first of the airwaves' singing cowboys, starting way back in 1926.  Now Stuart wasn't exactly able to handle the fame he received, and he began to struggle with alcohol.  That ended in 1949 when an up-and-coming preacher named Billy Graham led him to salvation.  This led his fame in a new direction.  Gone were the spots for beer (and his radio job), but he began running his own gospel show and went on crusade with Graham, raising the audiences by the thousands as he sang his trademark It Is No Secret What God Can Do.

No, that's not the song. 

Later on he did a song called I Won't Go Huntin' With You Jake (But I'll Go Chasin' Wimmin) which hit #3 on the country charts ( and I bring up because this was the flip side of Jimmy Dean's Big John and Laurie knows it very well).  Another song he wrote, he recorded with his wife, his two daughters, and two of their friends.  He recorded it at 33 rpm speed and put it on a 45, named them the "Cowboy Church Sunday School"; the name of the song was Open Up Your Heart And Let The Sunshine In, and it became famous again 11 years later when Pebbles Flintstone and Bam-Bam Rubble did it on the Flintstones. ( a side note here, Bam-Bam was a singer we've hit on six degrees before- Ricky Page, and Pebbles was her mother Rebecca).  Neither of these were the song in question, either.

That song begins with a hunting trip in 1954 that Stuart went on with fellow cowboy John Wayne.  The two of them found a tumble-down shack way up in the mountains and went inside.  There they found an old man, dead for a while, and his half starved dog guarding him.  The scene caused Stuart to come up with the song This Ole House.

 Ain't they gonna need this house no longer
Ain't they gonna need this house no more
Ain't got time to fix the shingles
Ain't got time to fix the floor
Ain't got time to oil the hinges
Nor to mend the windowpane
Ain't gonna need this house no longer
He's a gettin' ready to meet the saints

Rosemary Clooney recorded this as an upbeat tune rather than the dirge that Stuart intended, and hit #1.  But the story doesn't end there.  She was joined on the record by the deep baritone voice of  Thurl Ravenscroft.  And who, pray tell, was Thurl Ravenscroft?  Why, he was the uncredited singer of the song "You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch" that everyone just assumed was narrator Boris Karloff.  He was a baritone on a lot of other movie songs as well, along with one particular voice that was his job for 50-some years....

That's right, Thurl was Tony The Tiger!!!

And there is one more little wrinkle to the story... but I'm going to save it for next time.

And that at last brings us to this week's top ten.

Andy Williams holds at 10 with the Love Story Theme.

Dropping a quick 7 notches to #9, The Temptations with Just My Imagination.

Brewer and Shipley climbs a notch to #8 with One Toke Over The Line.

Paul McCartney shifts out of neutral, climbing a notch to #7 with Another Day.

Tom Jones slips a pair to #6 with She's A Lady.

So does Marvin Gaye with What's Going On at # 5.  That makes three former #1s in the top ten.

Neil Diamond nudges up to #4, a one-place climb with I Am... I Said.

The Jackson Five, frequent tenants of this area of the countdown, shoot from 7 to 3 with Never Can Say Goodbye.

Ocean rises 4 spots to #2 with Put Your Hand In The Hand.

And this week's #1 song... again...

.... Three Dog Night, for the second week, with Joy To The World!!!!!

See, it was worth all that rain, wasn't it?


  1. CWM:
    WHen I saw the pic of Mickey Jones, I thought "He looks like 'Chris' from the TV series ' (not for Vendatta - that OTHER ''with Michael Ironside and Marc Singer...)

    And I was about a photgraphic MY age...LOL.
    Talk a "wow" factor there.

    And that was a GREAT segment on J. Lawrence Cook...never knew that about piano rolls (and I've herad my share back in the day) come Black History Month NEVER speaks about notable people like HIM?

    I knew Ravenscroft was in there somewhere when you mentioend Tony and Grinch, and I DO remember "this ole house"...(when I was REALLY young), but the tie-in is fantastic!

    Absolutely LOVE Diamond's I am...I said...!!!

    That was one heckuva ride this week, and I'm tuckered out, but it was certainly WORTH every minute reading it, as always.
    Great post.

    Stay safe up there.

  2. I absolutely agree with you on Cook... I've found a lot of good examples for them that I've never heard of on TM.