Thursday, March 28, 2013

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 3/25/63 to 3/31/63

Southeastern Airlines stirred up a lot of talk in Rome with an announcement of four commercial routes connecting Rome, Birmingham, Montgomery, and Panama City. The news turned out to be non-news, though, when the airline said that the announcement was premature and that no deal has been made.

ChieftainActs took place on Friday, March 29th; the theme in 1963 was "These Wonderful Years," and more than 200 students took part in the talent show on Friday and again on Saturday, March 30th. Lee Mowry was the master of ceremonies for the annual event.

Derrell Travis Brookshire, a sophomore percussionist at West Rome, and Warren Nelson Payne, a sophomore bassoonist who also played a pretty mean piccolo, won a scholarship to the Transylvania Music Camp at Brevard NC, a six-week course of intensive music study. Both students were members of the All-State Band as well. Band director Clyde Roberson described the camp as "a wonderful opportunity for the students; the finest directors and teachers in the nation are on the camp staff."

The annual Volleyball Tournament, held at Berry College, saw West Rome's girls B team defeat Armuchee's A team 15-5, after which they beat Pepperell's A team 11-6. West Rome's A team also won, defeating Pepperell's B team 13-9. West Rome's girls advanced all the way to the finals. (The Rome News Tribune included no names of Chieftains on the girls volleyball team, and they're not pictured in the yearbook, either; can anyone reading this identify our volleyball players?)

A group of black civic leaders called on the Rome City Schools to build a new high school to replace Main High; afterwards, the old Main High could be converted to an elementary school to replace the structure that burned down several months earlier. The cost for a new high school was estimated at approximately $100,000.00 (which probably wouldn't pay for a single classroom addition to a high school today!).

The growing national civil rights movement made its presence known in Rome when 62 black teens were arrested for staging sit-ins at the segregated lunch counters at four Broad Street businesses: Walgreen at Broad and 5th (I never knew that Rome had a Walgreen Pharmacy in the 1960s), Murphy's on the 400 block, Redford on the 300 block, and Enloe's on the 200 block. Each sit-in participant was sentenced to $50 fines or five days in jail--and those five days would not include the days spent in jail awaiting a hearing, according to City Recorder Henry Fulbright.

Plasticized paper milk containers were the big thing this week in 1963. In the course of four days, Dempsey Brothers, Sealtest, Mayfield, and Green Brothers all advertised their new "no wax" quart and half-gallon plasticized paper containers with gabled tops that "pour like a pitcher, won't break, won't flake, and won't leak." I never recalled major problems with milk cartons prior to this time--but then again, my mom was probably discouraging me from pouring milk most of the time, since I had a tendency to overfill the glass anyway...

The Shrimp Boat made it cheaper than ever to eat out with their mid-week fish dinner special (which included fish, slaw, fries, and hush puppies)for only 85¢.

Kelly's DuPont Paint Center opened at 516 Shorter Avenue this week in 1963 to take advantage of the building and remodeling boom taking place on Rome's west side. Back then, standard indoor or outdoor paint could be had for only $1.75 a gallon, while top-of-the-line Lucite Wall exterior house paint went for $6.90 a gallon.

Belk Rhodes advertised their wide selection of Easter fashions, including dresses "from toddler to teen, including chubbette." Yes, imagine if a store today advertised an entire line of clothing branded "Chubbette Fashions"--and they even trademarked it!

Piggly Wiggly made it affordable to eat in style with sirloin steaks for 89¢ a pound; they also offered orange juice for 29¢ a quart and turnip greens for a dime a pound. Kroger had ground beef for 39¢ a pound, corn dogs on a stick for a nickel each, and Eatmore brand margarine (no, I'm not making that name up!) for 8¢ per one-pound package. Couch's had ground beef for 33¢ a pound (this was back when no one mentioned the lean-to-fat content of the beef, of course), Duncan Hines cake mix for 33¢ a box, and sweet potatoes for a nickel a pound. A&P had salmon for 59¢ a can (did anyone buy salmon as fresh fish back then? I thought it only came canned!), bell peppers for a nickel each, and tomato soup for 9¢ a can. Big Apple offered T-Bone steak for 99¢ a pound, a 12-pack of doughnuts for 29¢, and 14-ounce frozen pizzas for 9¢ each.

If you wanted to catch a movie during the week, you had a choice of A Girl Named Tamiko at the DeSoto Theater, The Raven at the First Avenue, or Thank a Fool at the West Rome Drive-In. The weekend brought Marlon Brando's Julius Caesar to the DeSoto; Samson and the 7 Miracles of the World to the First Avenue, and Jack the Giant Killer to the West Rome Drive-In.

"He's So Fine" by the Chiffons climbed to #1 this week in 1963. Other top ten hits included "Our Day Will Come" by Ruby and the Romantics (#2); "The End of the World" by Skeeter Davis (#3); "South Street" by the Orlons (#4); "You're the Reason I'm Living" by Bobby Darin (#5); "Rhythm of the Rain" by the Cascades (#6); "In Dreams" by Roy Orbison (#7); Baby Workout" by Jackie Wilson (#8); "Our Winter Love" by Bill Pursell (#9); and "Blame It On the Bossa Nova" by Eydie Gorme (#10).

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 3/18/63 to 3/24/63

The issue of prayer in school made the headlines when the West Rome Hi-Y and Tri-Hi-Y clubs joined other Y clubs in Rome and Floyd County in support of a resolution stressing the value of prayer in public schools. Since I recall prayer in schools for several more years after this, I think it's safe to assume that this didn't become a major issue in West Rome right away.

Also in the news: spanking or paddling of unruly students. After a lawsuit was filed over a paddling in a neighboring county, the Rome News-Tribune checked into the policies in Rome City Schools and confirmed that spanking or paddling as a "last resort" was acceptable, and that it was up to individual school administrators to decide when it was appropriate.

Ted B. Peacock resigned as Rome Police Department Chief on March 18th, 1963, due to health issues; Nelson Camp, who had already assumed the duties as temporary chief while Peacock was on sick leave, was appointed as his replacement.

Large numbers of teenage girls and women were showing up for the Rome/Floyd County YMCA's classes in self-defense judo for women. The classes were so popular, in facat, that the Y was having to add extra sessions, and was looking at adding an advanced course in the late spring. Teenager Kay Wyatt was perhaps a little too excited about her judo prowess; she told the Rome News-Tribune that "I can't wait for somebody to really attack me!"

Alex H. Mills, executive director of the Rome Boys' Club, and William R. Dixon, director of the Boys' Club choir, were presented with Rome's annual "Civic Pride" Awards on March 18th for their work to benefit the community. I still remember walking to the Boys' Club in West Rome--and in particular, I remember that wonderful trampoline that they had. I'm sure I'm not the only Chieftain who appreciated what they brought to our community!

The Dairy Queen on Shorter Avenue held their famous 1¢ sale on Wednesday and Thursdays in the spring of 1963: buy one malt, sundae, shake, or cone and get another for free. As much as I loved ice cream as a kid, how did I miss out on this? Of course, with Candler Drug and their legendary nickel and dime ice cream cones just a couple of hundred feet away, I don't think I suffered from ice cream shortage...

Coach Paul Kennedy actually seemed pleased with his up-and-coming football team on March 18th, saying that "the young boys are finally looking good. And the fact that the Rome News Tribune was devoting its major sports section headline space to a story about football spring training tells you just how much of a football town Rome was in the 1960s!

All of this was a lead-up to the annual "W-Night" intra-mural football game at Barron Stadium on Thursday, March 21st. Coach Nick Hyder was in charge of the Green Team, which featured Chris Warren ("one of Georgia's finest passers"), Van Gray, Jim Lamb, Billy Mellon, & Gordon Walden. Coach Ralph Beeler took charge of the White Team, which included up-and-coming star Dickie Sapp, along with Gerry Law, Wayne White, and Jerry Coalson. The game ended with a 7-0 White Team Victory as Dickie Sapp scored the game's only touchdown.

Kroger offered pork and beans for a dime a can, toilet tissue for 29¢ per four-roll pack, and 8-inch fruit or cream pies for only 39¢ each. Piggly Wiggly had corn for a nnickel an ear, a twin-pack of Tom's Potato Chips for 49¢, and ground beef for 49¢ a pound. The Big Apple had cabbage for a nickel a head, fat back for 19¢ a pound, and peaches for 25¢ a pound. Couch's offered shortening for 69¢ for a three-pound can, eggs for 33¢ a dozen, and the ever-popular TV Dinners for 39¢ each.

If you wanted to catch a movie in Rome, you could see Days of Wine and Roses at the DeSoto, Follow the Boys at the First Avenue, or a double feature of Mighty Ursus and The War Lover at the West Rome Drive-In during the first half of the week. The weekend brought Thirty Years of Fun and Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea to the DeSoto, The Scarface Mob to the First Avenue, and The View from Pompey's Head and The Tall Men to the West Rome Drive-In. (Did the West Rome Drive-In ever offer any first-class movies?…)

Fifty years ago this week, we were listening to "Our Day Will Come" by Ruby and the Romantics (#1); "The End of the World" by Skeeter Davis (#2); "You're the Reason I'm LIving" by Bobby Darin (#3); "He's So Fine" by the Chiffons (#4); "Walk Like a Man" by the Four Seasons (#5); "Rhythm of the Rain" by the Cascades (#6); "South Street" by the Orlons (#7); "Blame It on the Bossa Nova" by Eydie Gorme (#8); "What Will my Mary Say" by Johnny Mathis (#9); and "In Dreams" by Roy Orbison (#10).

Meanwhile, the Beatles' first album Please Please Me was released in England this week in 1963. Alas, those of us in West Rome would know nothing about that unless we happened to be traveling to England, since no Beatles album was released in the US until early 1964.

Celebrating Comics' Super Boys

Super Boys: The Amazing Adventures of Jerry Siegel & Joe Shuster—The Creators of Superman by Brad Ricca
(St. Martin’s Press, $27.99 - scheduled for early June release)

Comics creators have been the subject of all too few biographies. Of those biographies that have been written, most are little more than chronicles of the writer or artist’s professional accomplishments. That’s not the case with Super Boys; Brad Ricca presents readers with a portrait of the people behind the greatest superhero icon the medium has ever known.

From their early days as high school students and avid science fiction readers through their glory days as the most famous creators in comics to their years in virtual creative exile to the final reconciliations and recognitions that left them happy in their final years, Super Boys is the story of two men who shared a dream that ultimately got away from them.
What makes Super Boys distinctive is the passion that Ricca brings to the book. He obviously cares for the two men whose lives he researched with such dedication—in fact, he cares intensely. He wants to know not just what they did, but how they felt, how their shaped by their creation. He wants to know about their personal successes and failures as well—and he shares all of that with his readers with the deft skill of a novelist bringing characters to life on the page.
Along the way, Ricca makes some fascinating discoveries: Jerry Siegel’s last unpublished story, buried in editor Julius Schwartz’s desk; the truth about the death of Michel Siegel, Jerry’s father; the origins of Lois Lane’s name.
But the most memorable aspect of Super Boys is not the discoveries, but the way Ricca brings these two men to life. We share in their exuberance as Superman is accepted, we witness their frustration and anger as the character slips away from them; we understand the acceptance and satisfaction that they found in their final years, as well as the creative sparks that never burned out.
Super Boys treats its subjects with the sort of respect and insightful analysis that is usually reserved for the Picassos and Hemingways and Fitzgeralds of the world; it’s fitting that Siegel and Shuster should receive such treatment.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 3/11/63 to 3/17/63

Georgia raised the minimum age for a death sentence judgment to 17 this week in 1963; until that time, anyone over the age of 10 could be sentenced to death!

Winter's cold gave way to the pre-spring mix of warmer weather, thunderstorms, and tornado watches on March 12th. 3.17" of rain fell on Tuesday afternoon, causing flooding problems in low-lying areas around Charlton Road, Conn Street, and Paris Drive.

Rome unemployment fell to 4.9% as the employment office in Rome placed 180 people in full-time jobs in the month of February. Oh, what we'd give for unemployment rates like that today!...

The Seventh District Science Fair was held at Berry College on Friday, March 15th, and Saturday, March 16th, 1963. 200 projects were entered in the fair, including several from West Rome High School

West Rome's football team got another chance to play East Rome on March 16th as the two teams scrimmages as part of the Annual Rome Football Clinic, organized by West Rome  Coach Paul Kennedy and East Rome coach Wallace Wilkinson. All Rome City and Floyd County Schools participated in the event. Coach Kennedy announced that the upcoming team was his best yet, although he described (in typical Coach Kennedy plain-talk fashion) the Wednesday pre-scrimmage practice as "the worst I can remember at West Rome." He was never one to mince words, was he?..

The Rome Three Rivers Swim Team, which included three students from West Rome High School (no names given--anyone know which Chieftains were a part of this team?), competed in the State High School Swim Meet at Emory University; from there, the group went on to Athens for the University of Georgia AAU Open Inivtational Age Group Swimming and Diving Championships.

The Chieftains Club met on Monday, March 11th; the meeting kicked off with a preview for Chieftain Acts (which was scheduled for March 29th and 30th) that included performance by the Four Fellows, a musical group comprised of West Rome students. as well as a dance routine by Cindy Blaylock & Jerry Smith. The business portion of the meeting focused on plans for a  health clinic at West Rome High, to be staffed by volunteer workers; and a request to the school board for additional funds to improve the school grounds--particularly the football practice field.

The Rome Bowling Lanes on Hicks Drive held their grand opening this week in 1963, complete with free hot dogs and cokes, free shoe rentals, and an appearance by "Mr. Bowler" Ralph Tucker. The bowling lanes were open 24 hours a day, seven days a week for your bowling pleasure, and offered 24 AMF bowling lanes.

If your family had a lot of money to spend on home entertainment, then Rome Radio Company had just what you needed: a 21" console color television for only $549.95. Remember, the inflation factor between 1963 and now is 7.52, so that's the equivalent of more than $4100 today!

Looking for a new car? Julian Harrison Ford had a 1963 Ford Fairlane for $1944, a 1963 Ford Falcon station wagon for $2121, and a 1963 Ford half-ton pickup for $1777.

Kroger was running a special on pork shoulder roasts at 23¢ a pound, cottage cheece at 10¢ per 8 ounce carton, and Star-Kist tuna for 25¢ a can. Piggly Wiggly countered with chicken breasts for 49¢ a pound, potatoes for 39¢ per ten-pound bag, and peanut butter for 39¢ per 10 ounce jar. Couch's had pork loins for 49¢ a pound, bacon for 39¢ a pound, and JFG coffee for 59¢ a pound. A&P had bananas for a dime a pound, rib roast for 69¢ a pound, and Bailey's Supreme coffee for 59¢ a pound. Big Apple offered cans of salmon for 33¢. mackerel filets for 49¢ a pound, and apples for 17¢ a pound.

Rome's theaters offered a mix of family films and more "sophisticated" fare this week fifty years ago. The DeSoto was showing Who's Got the Action? with Dean Martin & Lana Turner; the First Avenue continued with Phaedra starring Melina Mercouri (in her days as an actress, before she became a Greek politician) and Anthony Perkins; and the West Rome Drive-In kicked the week off with Boys Night Out starring Kim Novak, James Garner, and Tony Randall. The weekend movie lineup included Wild in the Country with Elvis Presley at the DeSoto, Follow the Boys with Connie Francis at the First Avenue, and a double feature of Geronimo! and Damn the Defiant! (two exclamation-point films--yes, the puncuation is actually a part of the title) at the West Rome Drive-In.

Once again, "Walk Like a Man" by the Four Seasons took first place in the top ten. Other songs in the top ten included "Our Day Will Come" by Ruby and the Romantics (#2); "You're the Reason I'm Living" by Bobby Darin (#3); "The End of the World" by Skeeter Davis (#4); "Rhythm of the Rain" by the Cascades (#5); "The End of the World" by Skeeter Davis (#6); "Ruby Baby" by Dion (#7); "Blame It on the Bossa Nova (#8); "What Will My Mary Say?" by Johnny Mathis (#9); and "He's So Fine" by the Chiffons (#10).

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

CSN: Comparative Sound Notes

Anyone who knows me won't be surprised to hear how much I love the Crosby, Stills, & Nash album--for those who think visually, that's the one that's often referred to as "the couch album." I played that album hundreds of times in the 1970s, and have probably purchased at least six different copies of it on CD, looking for the best version (if you're going for the CD, the best version is the Steve Hoffman-mastered 2011 Audio Fidelity gold CD release--a stunning improvement over anything that came before it insofar as digital is concerned).

So once I got back into vinyl, it was only natural that I would pick up a copy of Crosby, Stills, & Nash on album. I was thrilled to see that it was available as a 180g audiophile vinyl release through Rhino in conjunction with Atlantic, so I ordered it the day after I got my new turntable.

And it sounded like mud.

All the highs weren't. All the crispness was turned to mush. The voices were indistinct, the guitars were murky, the upper sibilance that often defined their harmonics seemed flat and lifeless. The entire thing sounded like a bad 8-track tape, not an excellent piece of vinyl.

The problem was the mastering; somehow, someone had adjusted all the levels to try to create a more contemporary sound, and they stripped the album of all life.

I heard that the Classic Records vinyl from 2009 is better, so I ordered a copy. "Better" is the key word. It sounds more like I remembered, but it was still muffled and restrained.

Is it possible that my memory of the past is colored by my enjoyment of the music? Did I simply think that the original album sounded better than it actually did? After all, I did have some pretty crummy equipment for audio playback way back in 1970--a Singer stereo system (yes, the sewing machine company also sold stereos) that remained my one and only record player until 1974, when Susan and I upgraded to a Harmon Kardon amp and a Dual turntable).

A few weeks ago, I ran across a late 1970s vinyl reissue of the album on Atlantic, so I picked it up, figuring this would be the version I remembered.

Still no go. It was better than either of the "audiophile" reissues, but still muddy and restrained, with less high end than I remembered and a flattened dynamic range.

Now I know, though, that my memory wasn't faulty...

I recently found a near-pristine copy of the original album (SD 8229, with ST-A-691576 carved into the inner groove of the vinyl), with its matte-finish lightly-textured gatefold cover and the old 1841 Broadway address for Atlantic Records on the center label of the album. The cover had a sticker mentioning that this album included the hit "Marrakesh Express," which meant it was definitely an early release.

So I picked it up and gave it a play this evening.

And the sound is stunning. Rich. Wide-ranging. Crisp highs, soaring harmonies, rich bass notes, hissing cymbals, voices so real that it's like CSN are hanging out in my basement.

I used to think that any audiophile reissue would by its very nature be better than the original. I now realize how wrong that assumption can be; sometimes it's impossible to improve on that initial release. Maybe the original master tapes were not available, maybe someone with a bad ear remastered the album for reissue--I can think of a lot of excuses, but the truth is, this is one album that seems to sound good only in its initial release.

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 3/4/63 to 3/10/63

Rome Kraft announced $2.5 million in improvements this week in 1963, expanding employment opportunities for West Rome with the addition of 200 new jobs. Of course, all of us in West Rome were greeted with fragrant reminders of Kraft's presence pretty much every day!...

The cold weather was gone, but the bad weather was still very much present as a tornado did almost $100,000 in damage in Cave Spring on March 6th; thankfully, West Rome suffered no major damage other than some downed trees on Horseleg Creek Road and Burnett Ferry Road, as the storm had weakened significantly by the time it reached our area.

Rome's push for expansion and growth led to a bid for daily air service at Russell Field by Southern Airways; this move was undertaken to fill a gap left by the surprise announcement that Eastern Airlines wanted to drop its Rome routes. It's still surprising to realize that Rome had multiple daily commercial flights by major airlines to both Atlanta and Chattanooga.

On March 4th, sculptor Walter Kirtland Hancock surprised everyone by announcing that his sculpture of Confederate generals that he was carving into the side of Atlanta's Stone Mountain was a mistake, and that he would not complete the project. He also abandoned his plans to carve a 65-foot sword-bearing figure athte mountain's base. The fully planned sculpture was never completed to match the grand designs that Hancock had outlined, and the sculpture remains in virtually the same incomplete condition he left it in today. So for all of us Chieftains who have ventured to Stone Mountain over the decades... well, now you know why it seems unfinished!

Country music fans mourned the death of Patsy Cline, who was the victim of a plane crash on March 5, 1963.  And whether you knew her music in 1963 or not, Cline's "Crazy" has become gone on to become one of popular music's all time greats.

Fifty years ago this week, Johnnie Jacobs announced his plans to move the Partridge Cafe to the old Gordon Theater space at 330 Broad Street; this is the location that almost all of us think of as the one and only location of the Partridge, but it turns out that he had been at 507 Broad Street for years before closing the deal for the 330 Broad location. National City Bank purchased the Partridge's formoer location for a major expansion of their bank facilities.

Rome's Boys Club Choir was named the best in the nation at the National Talent Search sponsored byt he Boys Club. As winners of the competition, the Boys Club Choir would be featured in their own record album (which, alas, did NOT make our top ten list--but it would be great to know if the record was ever released!).

The West Rome Dance Band, directed by Clyde Roberson, performed an all jazz concert at the City Auditorium on Friday, March 8th, to raise funds for their upcoming trip to Washington for the Cherry Blossom Festival. Performers included John Payne, Butch Mowry, Bill Babb, and Ashley Wiggins, who comprised the trumpet quartet; Derell Brookshire, drummer; Sid Garwood, string bassist; and Danny Beard, Anne Coalson, Sid Skelton, & John Butler, trombones. The all-girl jazz group included Jane Lewis, LaRay Gresson, Jane Rogers, and Ann Lee on clarinets; Celia Brookshire on piano; Lucia Oldham on string bass; and Patty Tolbert on drums. This was second of three fund-raising concerts on the schedule; the third, an all-march music show, was scheduled for March 16th and would feature the entire marching band.

Big Apple ran a special on Pepsi for only 23¢ per six-bottle carton; lamb loin was 99¢ a pound; and StarKist tuna was 29¢ a can. A&P offered chuck roast for 45¢ a pound; bacon for 39¢ a pound; and StarKist tuna for only a quarter a can. Couch's had spareribs for 39¢ a pound, eggs for 39¢ a dozen, and sirloin steak for 69¢ a pound. Piggly Wiggly had chuck roast for 39¢ a pound, mayonnaise for 39¢ a quart, and leg o' lamb for 69¢ a pound.

A week at the movies began with The Lion with William Holden and Trevor Howard at the DeSoto; Playgirl After Dark with Jayne mansfield at the First Avenue (I never realized that the First Avenue was the more risque of Rome's two theaters until I began writing this feature!), and Lolita at the West Rome Drive-In (which was advertised with the simple slogan,"How did they ever make a movie of Lolita?"). The weekend brought Bachelor Flat with Tuesday Weld and Sing Boy Sing with Tommy Sands at the DeSoto; Phaedra with Melina Mercouri at the First Avenue; and the eminently forgettable Ring-a-Ding Rhythm and Two Tickets to Paris at the West Rome Drive-In, which underscores the theory held by many that no one really went to the drive-in to see the movie…

"Walk Like a Man" by Four Seasons held on to first place in the top ten this week in 1963. Other songs in the top ten included "Ruby Baby" by Dion (#2), "Rhythm of the Rain" by the Cascades (#3); "Hey Paula" by Paul and Paula (#4); "You're the Reason I'm Living" by Bobby Darrin (#5); "Our Day Will Come" by Ruby and the Romantics (#6); "The End of the World" by Skeeter Davis (#7), "Wild Weekend" by the Rebels (#8); "What Will My Mary Say" by Johnny Mathis (#9); and "Walk Right In" by the Rooftop Singers (#10).

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

A Mixed Bag

Got the new Jimi Hendrix album People, Hell, & Angels today, and just finished listening to all four sides. Like all "new" Hendrix albums, this is comprised of studio tapes that had been previously unreleased in these specific versions; in some cases, other takes of the same songs have been released--but in those cases, the takes were sufficiently different that this new recording stands as its own song, not just a minor derivation of something already available.

The album is relatively stripped down in its mix--there aren't a lot of overdubs, there's little in the way of the effects that defined albums like Electric Ladyland, and it's often just a trio or quartet of musicians performing pretty much "live in the studio." In that regard, it's the purest form of Hendrix, I guess... but I'm one of those guys who prefers Hendrix at his most imaginative, using the studio as a means to a sound. Even so, I've enjoyed what I've heard here.

Part of the fun for me was a chance to hear "Somewhere," one of the songs that Hendrix recorded with Stephen Stills. Supposedly another Hendrix/Stills collaboration will show up on Stephen Stills' box set slated for release at the end of the month. Hard to believe that, more than forty years after their collaborative sessions, there are still songs that haven't been officially released (and reportedly a few that haven't even been unofficially released)...

Purists will be happy to hear that there are no posthumous session overdubs here; this is the music Hendrix recorded as he recorded it.  It may not be his best material, but it's his distinctive sound--and since the best material has long since been released, I knew going into this that I was going to get musical leftovers. The good news is that the leftovers are still better than a lot of the new music coming from other guitarists. And I actually like this better than one Hendrix album that was released when he was alive (that would be Band of Gypsys, which has always come across to me as a dreary album).

If you don't have any Hendrix, don't start here--but if you do, and you like what you've heard, then I strongly recommend this album. If you're a fan of Hendrix's blues guitar, you're going to be particularly happy.

Monday, March 04, 2013

Three Out Of Three Ain't Bad...

There was an old saying making its rounds in the comic book industry that asserted that, in order to get work in the comics industry, you had to be talented, fast, or likeable--and that any two of the three would do just fine.

Apparently three of the three doesn't work, however.

Jerry Ordway is one of the most remarkable talents working in comics today; like Wally Wood, Jerry has the ability to improve anyone's pencil work simply by inking it. His visual storytelling is impeccable; his finished art is simply remarkable; and his writing is top-notch. And anyone who knows Jerry can tell you that you'd be hard-pressed to find a more likeable or reliable man working in comics--or any other field!

Jerry has worked in comics for a third of a century now... but he's having trouble getting regular work. He's not sure why, and neither am I.

Jerry talked a little about the situation at his blog, which you can read here--he describes the problem better than I do. It's a frustrating story, and a very disappointing one.

I see lots of great responses in the comments, including statements from some writers trying to convince Jerry to work with them on a Kickstarter project. I hope he does so; I know I'll commit money to such a project, and I hope that many of you who read comics will, too.

You're one of the best, Jerry. We're lucky to have you, and I want to enjoy your work for a long time to come...

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 2/25/63 to 3/3/63

West Rome band members Sid Garwood, Jan Lewis, Nelson Payne, and Derell Brookshire were named to the All-State Band this week in 1963. This was the third consecutive year that members of West Rome's band had eanred a spot on the all-state band and orchestra.

Chieftains got to sleep late on Thursday, February 28th, and Friday, March 1st, as teachers had two days of in-service meetings that were held at West Rome High School.

Not all Chieftains got to sleep late, however: the annual science fair was held on Thursday, February 27th at West Rome High School, with winners scheduled to show their projects at the Chieftains Club meeting on March 11th.

Remember our reports about how cold it was in January and early February 1963? Well, February went out with a chill as well, with temperatures dropping to lows of 10 degrees on February 27th and highs just barely reaching the freezing point. The cold temperatures didn't last long, however, with highs returning to a more seasonable 51 by February 28th.

One of television's biggest hits joined the Rome News-Tribune comics section on March 3rd when The Flintstones were added to the paper's daily and Sunday comics. The modern stone-age family was a popular prime-time show on ABC, winning its Friday night 8:30-9pm timeslot and placing in the Top 30 Nielsen Ratings in early 1963. 

The Shrimp Boat continued their weekly specials with a scallops dinner (including hush puppies, french fries, and tartar sauce) for only $1. Fro those who wanted a choice of seafood or chicken, the White Columns Steak House had a choice of all-you-can-eat catfish or perch filet with french fries and hush puppies or chicken with all the trimmings for $1.25. This was also the week that Randy Brewer's Gaslite Restaurant opened in Rome. Redfords continued their baked ham dinner with vegetables and rolls for only 50¢.

Economy Auto was touting its "space age automatic defrosting" 13 cubic foot Temp-Master refrigerator-freezer at the new low price of $199.99. Hard to believe that a 13 cubic foot refrigerator was considered spacious enough for "even the largest family" in 1963, isn't it?

Piggly Wiggly had bananas for a dime a pound; Fab detergent for 59¢ for a giant box; and a case of 24 regular or king-size Coca Cola for 89¢. Kroger offered a large box of Cheer detergent for a quarter, oranges for 12¢ a pound, and Realfoot brand hot dogs for 49¢ (and if they name told you that they were made from real feet, how could you expect anything more?). A&P had Stokely ketchup for 19¢ a bottle, ground beef for 33¢ a pound, and two pounds of Maxwell House coffee for $1.35. Big Apple offered canned pink salmon for 59¢ a pound, apples for 19¢ a pound, and ham for 29¢ a pound. Couch's offered a two pound bag of crinkle-cut frozen french fries for 39¢, Hormel hot dogs for 39¢ a pound, and Armour Treet luncheon meat for 39¢ per can.

Moviegoers could start out the week with a choice of Diamond Head with Charlton Heston & Yvette Mimieux at the DeSoto; Taras Bulba with Tony Curtis & Yul Brynner at the First Avenue; and a double feature of Bird Man of Alcatraz and North by Northwest at the West Rome Drive-In. The weekend brought Lover Come Back with Rock Hudson & Doris Day to the First Avenue, State Fair with Bobby Darin, Pat Boone, & Ann Margret to the DeSoto, and The Hound Dog Man and The Most Dangerous Man Alive at the West Rome Drive-In.

If you were a comic book reader fifty years ago, you may well have picked up Sgt. Fury & His Howling Commandos #1, Marvel Comics' then-new war title produced by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby. What makes it particularly interesting is that this is the first appearance of Nick Fury, who many filmgoers got to know more recently for his role in various Marvel films, including last summer's The Avengers.

What were we listening to this week in 1963? Well, the Four Seasons' "Walk Like a Man" climbed to first place, followed by "Ruby Baby" by Dion (#2), "Hey Paula" by Paul & Paula (#3); "Rhythm of the Rain" by the Cascades (#4), "Walk Right in" by the Rooftop Singers (#5), "You're the Reason I'm Living" by Bobby Darin (#6), "Blame It On the Bossa Nova" by Eydie gorge (#7), "From a Jack to a King" by Ned Miler (#8), "Wild Weekend" by The Rebels (#9), and "What Will My Mary Say" by Johnny Mathis (#10).