From the Rockmine Almanac for today:
1941. Captain Beefheart born Don Van Vliet in Glendale, California.
1998. Neil Tennant‘s AIDS charity Red Hot stages a fund-raising show at London’s Park Lane Ballroom. Among those appearing are Shola Ama, The Divine Comedy, Sir Elton John, The Pet Shop Boys, Suede and Robbie Williams. The show is televised for showing in April when it will form part of the celebrations to mark the centenary of the birth of Noel Coward.
1997. Carolyn Garcia, one of Jerry Garcia‘s ex-wives wins a court battle with another wife, Deborah Koons Garcia. Carolyn had been paid about $ 400,000 a month before Garcia died but his widow, Deborah, stopped the payments claiming the 1993 divorce agreement that gave her the payments was invalid. She alleged that it had been signed under duress when Jerry Garcia was in a drugged state. The judge found in Carolyn’s favour and awarded her $ 5 million.
1998. James Brown is hospitalised on a judge’s orders in Aiken County, South Carolina. The soul star’s family had become worried about his addiction to pain killers following a back complaint and applied to the probate court when they feared for his worsening health. Sheriff’s deputies called on Brown and transported him to hospital.
1968. The Monkees (U.S.A.) with an episode entitled, “Monkees Watch Their Feet”
1998. Blues legend Junior Wells dies in a Chicago hospital aged 63. He had been seriously ill since September when he suffered a heart attack and slipped into a coma while being traeted for cancer of the lymphatic system. His last recorded work before becoming ill was a track for “Paint It Blue : Songs Of The Rolling Stones”. He’s now the third bluesman involved in the Stones tribute album to have died since the recording. The other two are Luther Allison and Johnny Copeland.
The Idle Race – “The Birthday Party” (1968)
How long is it since I’ve listened to this? Years or decades, I can’t remember. Overcome with nostalgia, I started playing it. Initially it sounds so dated but then a warm glow overcomes you. It’s odd that The Idle Race was largely ignored by the record buying masses when their work at this time was intelligent, melodic pop. Much of that is down to Jeff Lynne, who was the main writer for the album. Listen and you’ll hear many touches that will be reworked and fine tuned for his later project, E.L.O. Personally, I think I prefer this. I’d love to have a good enough memory to remember what I thought of this as an eleven year-old, when it came out.
40 years on, it still stands up. There’s a humourous edge that we’re unused to nowadays but was commonplace at the time. The recurring chorus of “Mrs. Ward” has the music-hall feel of “Don’t put your daughter on the stage, Mrs Worthington” which expects an awareness of older musical styles from the audience that would be pointless nowadays. It might be lightweight psychedelia but that’s only to modern ears. There’s a lot here that was pushing the boundaries of 60’s pop. I definitely need to listen to this properly.
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