Song Lyric Sunday: Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs, “Salty Dog Blues”

Jim wants bluegrass today, so I found this one. "Salty Dog Blues" was written by Wiley and Zeke Morris, and here we have Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs, and the Foggy Mountain Boys’ cover of it. Take it away, guys…

Standin’ on the corner with the lowdown blues
A great big hole in the bottom of my shoes
Honey, let me be your salty dog

Let me be your salty dog
Or I won’t be your man at all
Honey let me be your salty dog

Listen here Sal, well I know you
Rundown stockin’ and a worn out shoe
Honey, let me be your salty dog

Let me be your salty dog
Or I won’t be your man at all
Honey, let me be your salty dog

Down in the wildwood sittin’ on a log
Finger on the trigger and eye on the hog
Honey, let me be your salty dog

Let me be your salty dog
Or I won’t be your man at all
Honey, let me be your salty dog

Pulled the trigger and they said go
Shot fell over in Mexico
Honey, let me be you salty dog

Let me be your salty dog
Or I won’t be your man at all
Honey, let me be your salty dog

Let me be your salty dog
Or I won’t be your man at all
Honey, let me be your salty dog

Source: Lyrics.com

And that’s Song Lyric Sunday (and Song of the Day) for March 19, 2023.

Embarrassing Stretch Marks #socs

Hard to believe that it was almost 40 years ago that I started working for MSA, a software company that later became Dun & Bradstreet Software and Geac Computers (since I left, the company became Infor). I started out as a Technical Support Representative, or TSR, which also stood for "traveling social reject." I would go to client sites with a box full of magnetic tapes which contained the software and various utilities to get it to work. It took me the better part of a week to install most of our systems, sometimes longer.

Clients were supposed to send the tapes back after the software was installed, but rarely did so. In order to cut costs, we started using less-expensive tapes to deliver the software. One of the first things we would do during an installation was to make copies of the tapes my company delivered and conduct the remainder of the install from the client’s tapes, which were ostensibly of better quality than the ones we delivered. Surprisingly, it was rare that the delivered tapes developed problems bad enough that we had to order new tapes from Atlanta, such as what we called "embarrassing stretch marks," where the tape would stretch while it was being read and thus become all but useless for installing the software.

I was at a client in Hancock, Michigan one week. Hancock is, I believe, the northernmost point of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, right about where the Keweenaw Peninsula (on which resides the town of Houghton) begins. During the winter, it’s not unusual for Hancock to get 30 feet of snow. Naturally, I was there in the dead of winter…

The Keweenaw Peninsula. Hancock is indicated. The blue is Lake Superior.

Hancock is so remote that things sent FedEx Air Overnight take two days to arrive, or at least they did when I was there.

Anyway, I get there Monday morning and go through my pre-install spiel about what I’m going to do and how I’ll let them know what I did and blah blah blah. Well, we get to the point of the installation where we’re making copies of the tapes. The installation tape (which has the installer file and test files to prove that the software works) copies fine. The source tape gets to about block 2400 and stretches. I call Atlanta and they will have a tape to me as soon as they can. which is at least two days. I sat down and figured out what I would need to do to complete the installation (or as much as possible) without the source tape.

All goes remarkably well, all things considered, and by Tuesday afternoon I was finished with all the steps I needed to complete minus the ones that require a source tape. We sat around most of the day on Wednesday until the source tape got there. A little after 3 PM, the tape arrived.

We start the jobs that required the source tape at 3:30. The job that copies it reads about 1100 blocks, and, you guessed it, it stretches. We decided to call it a day and attack the problem first thing in the morning.

I called a couple of guys I knew and asked how they might go about getting a good tape, and all they could come up with was "order another tape, go home and fly back next week."

I got up the next morning and decided there had to be something that I could do to come up with one good tape from the two bad tapes I had. I went in and told the client that I was going to try one thing before I called Atlanta again. I used a utility called DITTO to copy the first 2300 blocks off the original tape, then to skip the first 2300 blocks on the second tape and copy the rest. I wasn’t sure that it would handle the stretch at block 1100 on the second tape, but it did! The resulting source tape worked pefectly, I completed the installation, and had an extra beer on the plane home to celebrate…

Linda hosts Stream of Consciousness Saturday. Now a word about Spring filter cigarettes. It air conditions the smoke!

Song of the Day: Big Daddy Kinsey & The Kinsey Report, “Bad Situation”

Blues singer, guitarist and harmonicist Lester "Big Daddy" Kinsey was born on this day in 1927. He moved from Mississippi to Gary, Indiana and worked in the steel mills. He and his sons formed The Kinsey Report in the early ’70’s. Big Daddy died in 2001, but the sons have kept the band going. "Bad Situation" is the title track from their 1985 album.

Five For Friday: Bert Kalmar & Harry Ruby

I wrote about the songwriting team of Bert Kalmar and Harry Ruby back in 2015, when I said

Bert Kalmar had been a vaudeville performer whose career as a dancer was cut short by a knee injury, after which he turned to writing songs full-time. Harry Ruby, who had worked for Kalmar as a song plugger, got Kalmar a songwriting job at the Tin Pan Alley firm of Waterson, Berlin, and Snyder. After working with several partners, Ruby felt a compatibility with Kalmar, and by 1920 they were writing songs and comedy scripts for Broadway and Hollywood, a partnership that lasted until Kalmar’s death in 1947. The 1950 movie Three Little Words, starring Fred Astaire as Kalmar and Red Skelton as Ruby, is based on their lives and careers.

A lot of their songs were written for Marx Brothers movies, and they contributed some writing to them as well.

Groucho Marx and Cast, “Hello, I Must Be Going”/”Hooray For Captain Spaulding” (Animal Crackers, 1930)

The Marx Brothers (Zeppo, Harpo, Chico, Groucho), “Everyone Says I Love You” (Horse Feathers, 1932)

Cast, “When The Clock On The Wall Strike s Ten” (Duck Soup, 1933)

Bert Wheeler and Dorothy Lee, Robert Woolsey and Ruth Etting, “Just Keep On Doin’ What You’re Doin'” (Hips Hips Hooray, 1934)

Duke Ellington & His Orhestra with The Rhythm Boys, “Three Little Words” (Check And Double Check, 1930)

Bert Kalmar and Harry Ruby, your Five for Friday, March 17, 2023.