29 December 2007

End of Year Mystery Roundup (1) Solved

The Blog and The Website have a fair record in clearing up mysteries.

Sometimes it seems I just have to ask a question then sit back and wait for the answer to turn up in my Inbox.

Some examples:

Question: Did Jimmy Page play lead guitar on Security, a UK single by Thane Russal - actually Doug Gibbons - that was a hit in Australia and, as far as I can see, nowhere else?
Answer: No, that wasn't Jimmy Page, it was Bob Johnson (later with Steeleye Span).
The emailer: Mick Brill, who played bass on the record, a longtime associate of Doug Gibbons, now living in Italy.See: The Security page at The Website.

Question: Who was (E. Goldman), as he appears in the small print as the composer of Gene Pitney's lesser known gem Billy You're My Friend (1968)?
Answer: Ed Goldman, who wrote the song when he was still a piano major at the Juilliard School of Music.
The emailer: Ed Goldman. Can you imagine how excited I was to hear from him?
And Ed was delighted to learn that his song had charted in Australia, and to read comments at The Blog by a couple of Australians who had never forgotten Billy You're My Friend.
See: The small print: Ed Goldman, writer of Billy You're My Friend and earlier posts linked from there.

Question: Was Edward R. (Eddie) White the songwriter the same Edward R. White who appeared in some movie bit parts, notably Robert Duvall's Angelo My Love (1983)?
Answer: Yes, he was.
The emailer: John Sprung, who attended the premiere of Angelo My Love with his dad and Eddie White. Mr Sprung Sr and Eddie were old friends from the days when Eddie was in an orphanage where John's dad was a counselor. Following an exchange of emails with John, I ended up buying Eddie White's autobiography Yesterday's Cake, cleverly named from the practice of bakeries donating old cakes to orphanages. (It's a helluva story, something I'll save for a later post.)
See: Yesterday's Cake, Eddie White's autobiography and earlier posts linked from there.

Question: Who was the bearded panel operator for Melbourne deejay Barry Ferber, immortalised in their single The Bearded Beetle (1964)?
Answer: Dave Dexter, who later worked on air in New Zealand on Radio Hauraki.
The emailer: (1) Radio historian Wayne Mac identified Dave Dexter. (2) Dave's son Julian recently posted a comment, confirming our conclusions and providing some more background.
See: More on the Bearded Beetle, which includes Jake Dexter's comments.

Question: Who is Nick Lampe, whose fine single Flower Garden (1969) unaccountably charted in Melbourne, Australia and hardly anywhere else?
Answer: Singer-songwriter Nicholas Lampariello, who turned his back on the music business after one album on Atlantic, now a social worker in New York.
The emailer: Robert Thompson in Melbourne who read my post, persevered with his search for Nick Lampe, and ended up phoning him at his workplace in New York.
See: At last: the Nick Lampe story, probably the only biography of Nick Lampe on the Web, written with Nick as the primary source after Robert put him in touch with me. (Type "Nick Lampe" at Google, hit I'm Feeling Lucky, and you'll end up back here, at this very blog!)

There are others, but that's enough for now.

28 December 2007

Ah, that Robinson Crusoe theme!

Some lovely genius has posted to YouTube the opening 20 seconds of Les aventures de Robinson Crusoe (1964), a European series that was shown in Australia on ABC-TV. If you were there, you'll recognise the theme music, a stirring melody that I've never forgotten.

Internet Movie database lists three series composers, Robert Mellin, Gian Piero Reverberi and Georges Van Parys. A reviewer, Rob Neal, writes:
It is also worth noting that the haunting score is also now available in an expanded CD from Silva Screen. The original soundtrack was in mono, but it seems there was such a demand for this piece, that the composers recently recreated a medley with a full orchestra in stereo.
This was another of those series that the ABC used to show in the afternoons during school holidays. Sir Francis Drake was another: I wrote about it (and its equally haunting theme) last year.

[YouTube link]
[Soundtrack and series DVD at Amazon.co.uk]

19 December 2007

Close 'N Play!

After my post about Ol' Fatso by Augie Rios a commenter wrote: Don't know how, but I had the 45 of this in my "Close & Play" when I was a child.

I didn't know how, either, mainly because I'd never heard of a Close & Play, which turns out to be a record player for kids: CLOSE 'N PLAY AUTOMATIC PHONOGRAPH - CLOSE LID... RECORD PLAYS.

That would've been an exceptionally groovy present for a kid in the 60s or 70s.

07 December 2007

You study 'em hard and hopin' to pass...

CNN.com shows how to make James Brown sound tedious:

CNN Special Investigations Unit Classroom Edition: James Brown: Say it Proud ...

Teachers: Please preview this program, as its content may not be appropriate for all students.

Grade Level: 9-12, College

Subject Areas: Fine Arts, Social Studies


The CNN Special Investigations Unit Classroom Edition: James Brown: Say it Proud and its corresponding discussion questions and activity challenge students to:

1. Examine the legacy of James Brown;
2. Identify the historical context of key events in Brown's life;
3. Design an exhibit for a memorial to James Brown.

Discussion Questions...


01 December 2007

Is 128kbps good enough for an mp3?

A handful of years ago when I first started ripping mp3s it was commonly held that 128kpbs was as high as you needed to go, because after that the improvement in sound quality was unnoticeable.

I've stuck to that, and a recent online experiment at Cognitive Daily supports it. Read the full story here, and as usual the comments are worth reading too.

Cognitive Daily home: http://scienceblogs.com/cognitivedaily
Cognitive Daily feed: