Jul 13, 2013

George on George, Pick Your Roni With K&D, A DJ'S Shadow, Plus Esther's Free And A Gayelle Secret Song!


George Chakiris, your favorite hot Greek actor/dancer back in the day (not that he isn't hot today) (you know what I mean) didn't attain star status after his Oscar-nominated performance in "West Side Story," but his career was long and steady (and, yes, he was closeted) (which was necessary back in the day) (much like today if you want to be a leading man) (but I digress).

Happily, George also recorded several LP's, and in this So Greek Cheerful Exclusive! from 1962, he goes all-Gershwin, crooning "Someone To Watch Over Me," "Do It Again," and more. True, his singing style is as dated as his pompadour below, but like the hair, its also timelessly endearing.


Sometimes Google Image Search amuses me, especially when it burps up a mistake like below. I typed simply, "Roni Size," hoping to find a nice picture of the renown British DJ and producer whose "Heroes" is the first track remixed in Kruder Dorfmeister's "K&D Sessions." Anyway, look what it presented for me to choose from:


Which one is Roni Size? I'm not telling. Sadly, I was unable to duplicate this Google-burp when I tried it again, but I did get this priceless jewel:


After recovering from a serious case of the hahahas - there was no person of color in "Close Encounters" with a significant speaking role that I can recall - I realized Google, in its wisdom, believes that Roni Size is a mountain with a spaceship landing on its top, or perhaps an alien, which, when you think about it, is kind of awesome. Either that, or Spielberg went way-way Rasta back in the day.

But I digress (again). Now that the 90's are nostalgia fodder for VH1 and the like, it's time to recognize that decade as a golden era for electronica. I know, we can surely argue that point (but really, you know I'm right). The decade ended with two masterpieces. The first, "The K&D Sessions," was so outstanding that not even its creators were able to match its brilliance before or since (they disbanded as a duo shortly after). There's a few shockers if you haven't heard this 1998 double-CD in a while. First, it's surprisingly melodic - and fun. Try the first rendition of "Bug Powder Dust" or "Jazz Master." Is anything in electronica today as stylishly entertaining?


Also among the decade's best is DJ Shadow's 2-CD "Entroducing," which brilliantly melded hip-hop and electronica with countless different musical genres. It was considered a major breakthrough, and not just for electronica, but for pop music as a whole. You can still hear its influence in pop music today, from Lady Gaga to Daft Punk to Frank Ocean and more.


In another era entirely, Esther Phillips, or "Little Esther" as she was known on an early handbill below, was a master at blues, jazz, pop, soul and...well, the list goes on. There really wasn't anything she couldn't do.


She was discovered at a talent show by Johnny Otis when she was just thirteen-years-old, but life wasn't easy for Esther. Like Anita O'Day, she struggled with heroin addiction, yet after each bout, she rose like a phoenix, creating more records and exploring even more musical genres - even cutting a country LP and scoring a major hit with her cover of the Beatles' "And I Love Him (Her)."


I've been developing a real affection for Esther lately, especially after listening to "Set Me Free." Many compare her soulfulness to Aretha, her bluesiness to Dinah, but when you hear her take on Peggy Lee's "Fever," for example, or "Women Will Do No Wrong" (my favorite track here), you'll realize that there's only one Esther.


The Secret Song File is so-o-o tired of jokers. You know, the cranks who love swinging open the shower curtain and wielding a carving knife when you're trying to clean the goods? It's. Not. Funny. Any. More. Plus, isn't it sexist? A humor-free lesbian might claim as much, but then lesbians aren't known for their humor (you know, like the ones who wanted to be called "Gayelles") (and they weren't joking). And yet, and yet...


Every once in a while, a Gayelle comes along and breaks the stereotype, like "Ellen" (before she became "adorable"), or Jane Lynch, and a current Gayelle whom my Cuban Luvuh just adores (she's probably hated by Taylor Dayne...but that's another story). What else can I tell you? Oh, let's see. Did you know that "tig" is another name for "tag?" It's true. You can actually get "tigged" by someone. And say "no" to tarot card readings. Or "No Tarot!" But say it like one word and leave off the last "T."But whatever you do, don't tell Taylor Dayne! That gurl will cut you. But I digress...

And digress and digress and digress. I can't help it!

Go off on your own little tangent in the comments. You know I won't mind. 

11 comments:

Il Templare said...

Dear Cheerful, do you have the possibility to upload Esther Phillips album on another server? Cause Uploaded is obscured in Italy...
Thanks for the great work doing here....
Your italian fan...
Santo

The Cheerful Earfull! said...

Of course. Click again and you should be okay (and I won't use Uploaded again).

Kel said...

the esther phillips isn't opening when I type your password in. I've tried a number of times...

The Cheerful Earfull! said...

Kai, I just downloaded and tested it and it's fine. Maybe try downloading from another browser? And don't forget to check the box "Apply to All" if a "Default Encoding" message comes up when asking for your password.

Also, your unarchiver may be outdated. If you're on MAC, try this: http://www.kekaosx.com/en/
For Windows, try this: http://www.7-zip.org/

KH said...

Great stuff as usual. I do have the K&D Sessions already- essential music. TCE rules!

The Cheerful Earfull! said...

And it hasn't aged at all (!).

Il Templare said...

Ohh...so fast...
Thank you very much Cheerful
Love Esther Phillips....

Saluti dall'Italia
Santo

Faze said...

Maybe George Chakiris's singing style isn't what's dated, it's those arrangements. His "Love Walked In" is fine and mellow if you ignore the saxophones meandering around in the background. Little Esther once sang, "I like my men like I like my whisky, aged and mellow" -- a difficult-to-believe bit of commercial calculation if you ask me.

The Cheerful Earfull! said...

You're right. Maybe I'm too hard on George. The arrangements certainly don't help.

boppinbob said...

Wow, thanks for the Esther Phillips link. Did a post about her as it would have been her birthday today.
Regards
BoB
PS Merry Xmas

The Cheerful Earfull! said...

Happy Ho-ho, Bob. Great Esther post!