Mannix #atozchallenge

Let’s start with the opening theme for the 1967-1975 TV show Mannix, written by Lalo Schifrin.

I wasn’t much of a Mannix fan until after the show had completed its first run on CBS and was in reruns as part of The CBS Late Movie, where it ran back-to-back with Longstreet, a show about a blind detective. I think I was fighting depression at the time: it was the first quarter of sophomore year, I was taking classes towards a degree in Math and not doing well in any of them, and I felt no desire to do anything to make my situation better. Mannix reruns helped.

The show followed Joe Mannix, a private investigator. He was played by Mike Connors, who had some success as an actor on TV and in film.

Mike Connors as Joe Mannix, 1968 (source: CBS Television [Public Domain], via Wikipedia

During the first season, Joe worked for a detective agency called Intertect, which used computers to help solve cases. Mannix’s boss at Intertect was Lew Wickersham, played by another TV veteran, Joseph Campanella. Joe was often at odds with Lew and the other detectives, because unlike them, he ignored what the computer told him to do, openly disobeyed orders and argued with his boss, calling him “Big Brother” at one point.

We have Lucille Ball to thank for saving Mannix after the first season. She (the owner of Desilu, the studio where the show was made) and Bruce Geller (the producer) decided that viewers had a hard time relating to the high tech angle the show was based on, and in the second season Joe was on his own, assisted by Peggy Fair, his secretary whose husband, an LAPD officer, had been murdered. Peggy was played by the lovely Gail Fisher, one of the first African American women to play a leading role on a TV series.

Gail Fisher (source: famousbirthdays.com)

Mannix was notorious for the amount of violence in it. Joe was either being beat up or was beating someone up in every show. It was nonetheless a very popular show, earning Mike Connors four Golden Globe nominations (winning once) and four Emmy nominations, and Gail Fisher four Emmy nominations (winning once) and three Golden Globe nominations (winning twice, the first Black actress to have done so). The show earned two Emmy nominations and four Golden Globe nominations, winning once, and writer Mann Rubin won an Edgar award from the Mystery Writers of America for the episode “A Step In Time.” The show paved the way for other private investigator shows during the ’70’s, including Ironside, Cannon and Barnaby Jones.

Social conditions being what they were in the ’60’s and ’70’s, the chances for a romance between Joe and Peggy were practically nonexistent. I always thought they’d make a good couple.

MeTV in the US carries Mannix reruns, which unfortunately run at 2 AM Eastern weekdays or I’d be up watching every night.

Monday’s Music Moves Me: Music That Has Moved Me

So today, Kim asked us to share “Songs where a particular instrument has moved you – whether it’s a favorite vocal sound, bass line, drumming/beats, piano, guitar solo…” I never quite follow the instructions here, because there are a few places where I named more than one instrument or instrumentalist. But, you know what? I like these, and all of them move me, and that’s what counts.

  1. Blood, Sweat & Tears, “Snow Queen/Maiden Voyage” Maybe the only reason to own BS&T’s 1972 New Blood album is the almost 12-minute final track (two tracks, really, but they blend so nicely together) matching Carole King’s “Snow Queen” with Herbie Hancock’s “Maiden Voyage.” The horns are on fire here (Lew Soloff and Chuck Winfield, trumpet; Dave Bargeron, trombone; Lou Marini, saxophone), Larry Willis’s keyboard work anchors the rhythm section throughout, and he does a tremendous solo starting at about 2:45, and Georg Wadenius does an extended voice-and-guitar solo during the “Maiden Voyage” section. This is what jazz-rock should sound like.
  2. Django Reinhardt, “Limehouse Blues” How Django Reinhardt did all that he could do with the ring and pinky on his left hand essentially unusable blows me away.
  3. Toots Thielemans, “Bluesette” Having played guitar all those years ago, I can tell you that one of the hardest things to do is try to solo and sing the notes along with your soloing. Georg Wadenius did it in “Maiden Voyage,” above, and now we have Jean “Toots” Thielemans, not singing, but whistling as he plays guitar. He originally wrote it for the harmonica, by the way.
  4. Chase, “Open Up Wide” Bill Chase was a jazz trumpeter who decided to put together a rock band with four trumpets up front. This is the first track off of their 1971 eponymous debut album. There is some incredible trumpet in this, but listen to the job Dennis Johnson and Jay Burrid are doing on the bass and drums. That’s what’s incredible here.
  5. Vince Guaraldi Trio, “Samba de Orpheus” Monty Budwig, on bass, starts this one by playing the melody, and when Vince comes in, he seamlessly makes the transition to supporting player. Listen to what he’s doing behind Guaraldi. It’s incredible.
  6. Julie London, “Cry Me A River” Julie has this voice, you know? But it’s the tasty accompaniment by Barney Kessel on guitar and Ray Leatherwood on bass that makes this track unforgettable.
  7. June Christy with the Ernie Filice Quartet, “Taking A Chance On Love” Arlee Bird used this in a Battle of the Bands a while back, and I think my exact words were “damn, that quartet behind her swings!” Now, there are five guys there, but I always heard that they don’t count the bass player, which, as a former bass player, I think that sucks. June is just lovely, isn’t she? And what a voice…
  8. Chicago, “Poem 58” The jam between Terry Kath on guitar, Peter Cetera on bass, and Danny Seraphine on drums that takes up the first five minutes of this is … I don’t have the words. Just, wow.
  9. Bachman-Turner Overdrive, “Blue Collar” From their debut album, this is the largely-forgotten single that only reached #68 on the Hot 100. It has some of the jazziest guitar work in a rock tune I’ve heard, especially the last minute and a half.
  10. Paul Jackson Jr., “It’s A Shame” Paul Jackson Jr. takes a song written by Stevie Wonder and originally done by The Spinners and works his guitar magic. Listen especially at 2:45, the way he transitions out of solo mode and back into doing the melody.

And that’s Monday’s Music Moves Me for April 15, 2019. Hope you got your taxes done…

Monday’s Music Moves Me is brought to you each week by Marie aka X-Mas Dolly, Stacy, Cathy, Alana, Callie, and Michelle. Be sure and visit them, because they have the Linky for everyone else.

Song Lyric Sunday: “Scotch and Soda”/”Something Cool”

When I saw today’s prompt, “freeze/cold/ice,” my mind took a detour that took me far away from those specific terms, and presented me with two songs about drinking. Hey, cocktails have ice (at least some of them do), and most are served cold, at least in this part of the world, right?

Ciker Free Vector Images/Pixabay

I decided to present both songs for your listening pleasure. I’m almost positive no one will have wanted to choose either.

The first is “Scotch and Soda.” It was written by Dave Guard of The Kingston Trio and appeared on their eponymous album from 1958. Wikipedia tells us

“Scotch and Soda” was discovered by the Trio through the parents of the baseball player Tom Seaver, who had first heard it in a hotel piano lounge in 1932 when on their honeymoon in Phoenix, Arizona. They liked it so much that they had the piano player write it down for them so it would be “their song.” One member of the trio (Dave Guard) was dating Seaver’s older sister (Katie) at that time, and heard the song on a visit to the Seaver home. Although it is credited to Guard, the trio never discovered the real songwriter’s name, though they searched for years.

From their The Final Concert album, The Kingston Trio, “Scotch and Soda.” I love the way this starts…

The lyrics, via Metrolyrics:

Scotch and Soda
Mud in yer eye
Baby do I feel high oh me oh my
Do I feel high

Dry martini
Jigger of gin
Oh what a spell you’ve got me in, oh my
Do I feel high

People won’t believe me
They’ll think that I’m just braggin’
But I could feel the way I do
And still be on the wagon

All I need is one of your smiles
Sunshine of your eye oh me oh my
Do I feel higher than a kite can fly
Give me lovin’ baby I feel high

People won’t believe me
They’ll think that I’m just braggin’
But I could feel the way I do
And still be on the wagon

All I need is one of your smiles
Sunshine of your eye oh me oh my
Do I feel higher than a kite can fly
Give me lovin’ baby I feel high

Today’s second tune is “Something Cool.” Written by Billy Barnes, it appeared on June Christy’s 1954 album of the same name. She recorded it with her husband, saxophonist Pete Rugolo, and his orchestra. It established Miss Christy as a solo singer after years working with Stan Kenton. The song has been recorded by Julie London, Jane Monheit, Diamond Rio, and many others. Miss June Christy, “Something Cool.”

The lyrics, courtesy of SongMeanings:

Something cool,
Something cool,
Something cool,
I’d like to order something cool!

Something cool, (something cool)
I’d like to order something cool, (something cool)
It’s so warm here in town,
And the heat gets me down,
Yes, I’d like something cool! (something cool)

My! It’s nice to simply sit and rest awhile,
Now I know it’s a shame,
I can’t think of your name,
I remember your smile!

I don’t ordinarily drink with strangers,
I most usually drink alone.
You were so awfully nice to me,
And I’m so terribly far from home.

Like my dress? I must confess it’s terribly old,
But it’s simple and neat,
It’s just right for the heat,
Save my furs for the cold!

A cigarette? Well I don’t smoke them as a rule,
but I’ll have one,
It might be fun
With something cool!

I’ll bet you couldn’t imagine
That I one time had a house
With so many rooms I couldn’t count them all!
I’ll bet you couldn’t imagine
I had fifteen different beaus
Who would beg and beg to take me to a ball.

I’ll bet you couldn’t picture me
The time I went to Paris in the Fall,
And who would think the man I loved was quite so handsome,
Quite so tall?

Well it’s true, (something cool)
It’s just a memory I have, (something cool)
One I almost forgot
‘Cause the weather’s so hot!
And I’m feeling so bad (something cool)
About a date,
Oh wait!
I’m such a fool!
He’s just a guy
Who’s stopped to buy
Me something cool!

And that’s Song Lyric Sunday for April 14, 2019.

Lex (Luthor) #atozchallenge

Lex Luthor, as I’m sure everyone who reads comic books knows (come on, admit it), is the archenemy of Superman. He’s known for his bald head and his super-intelligence and really gives Superman a run for his money, but Superman always ends up winning and Lex ends up in jail. In the 1978 movie Superman with Christopher Reeve and Margot Kidder, Lex was played by the veteran actor Gene Hackman.

Gene Hackman as Lex Luthor (source: IMDB)

I bring this up because it’s crucial to the story…

Have you ever had a situation where you draw an absolute mental block on someone’s name? I have.

After my brother Pat’s high school graduation, we were all sitting at dinner at a very nice restaurant, and Mary and I are talking to my brother Jim and his wife Lisa. The subject was movies, and we were talking about a movie that Gene Hackman was in (since Pat graduated in 1993, I’m going to guess it was The Firm). And I said, “oh that’s the movie with…” And I drew a blank: not only could I not remember Gene Hackman’s name, I couldn’t remember anything he was in except Superman. So I went with it. “…the guy who played Lex Luthor in Superman.”

I thought Jim was going to wet his pants. “John! Gene Hackman? The French Connection, A Bridge Too Far, The Poseidon Adventure, and all you can remember is he was Lex Luthor in Superman?” I tried to protest, but he was having too much fun with it.

Incidentally, later in the same conversation, Mary is talking about going to Blockbuster (or Hollywood Video, I’m not sure) and picking out movies, and she says “Sometimes, when I’m feeling really generous, I’ll tell John to go out and pick a couple of movies for us to watch…”

Jim bursts out laughing again. “Oh, God, you let him pick out movies?” (My taste is a little on the, for lack of a better word, eclectic side, as you can probably guess.) “I can just imagine what he comes home with. There’s probably a section in the video store that’s covered in cobwebs and dust… the John section! you know, Mystery, Suspense, Drama, Comedy… JOHN!”

Mary has suggested that, if I should ever write the book everyone’s nagging me to write, I should name it The John Section. I was thinking Shanty Irish, but The John Section is growing on me…