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Best Wishes for 2017

Happy New Year to you.

(Though I must confess I haven’t felt less optimistic about the prospects for a new year in my entire life.)

Debbie Reynolds

Given she was 84 it’s not too surprising that Debbie Reynolds has died. That it occurred the day after her daughter, Carrie Fisher, must make it harder for her son Todd, though.

As Kathy Shelden in Singin’ in the Rain she was not overpowered, as given her youth she might have been, by the male leads Gene Kelly and Donald O’Connor. Her performance in that alone would have secured her a place in public affection.

Here’s a song she recorded in 1959 that also became a big hit later for Engelbert Humperdinck. I prefer Debbie’s version.

Debbie Reynolds: Am I That Easy to Forget?

Mary Frances “Debbie” Reynolds: 1/4/1932 – 28/12/2016. So it goes.

Four Days to Go

Liz Smith, Richard Adams and Carrie Fisher, just since yesterday.

So it goes.

2016 Strikes Again

I leave here for five minutes (well, two days, but I had good reasons; the 24th is my birthday and yesterday was Christmas) and two more rock stars have departed this world.

I had barely begun to think about what song I would mark Rick Parfitt‘s passing with when the news came of George Michael‘s death.

Parfitt was more my era but, unlike some, Status Quo had staying power: as did George Michael.

It’s been some year.

And it’s not over yet.

Reelin’ In the Years 127: Lucky Man

Now add Greg Lake to the growing list.

Founder member of King Crimson and Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Lake of course found individual fame with his 1975 hit I Believe in Father Christmas.

Lake apparently wrote Lucky Man when he was twelve having received a guitar from his mother as a present. It was one of the first times a Moog synthesiser had featured on a record.

Emerson, Lake and Palmer: Lucky Man

Gregory Stuart “Greg” Lake: 10/11/1947 – 7/12/2016. So it goes.

Fidel Castro

Whatever your opinion of him, Fidel Castro, who died yesterday, was undoubtedly one of the most significant figures of the Twentieth Century.

Not only did he somehow contrive from a very small personnel base to overthrow the government of Fulgencio Batista he managed to sustain his regime against the efforts to undermine it of a great power whose territory began only 103 miles away even when his backer, the Soviet Union, which that confrontation drew him to had fallen into the jaws of history.

The nationalisation of all US-owned businesses on the island naturally poisoned relations with it, as, no doubt, did the treatment of Batista suporters and the suppression of opposition voices. Castro did, though, institute free medical care for all and a well regarded education system.

The Cuba-US stand-off provided the biggest world crisis since the Second World War when USSR missiles were stationed on Cuban soil. Thankfully cool heads prevailed on the part of both the great powers to procure their removal.

Despite many increasingly lunatic plans to remove Castro or his influence (see first link above) he survived them all and was able to pass on his leadership peacefully.

Even if that was only to his brother he did not continue to cling to power beyond his capacity to wield it, unlike many.

Here are two opposing musical views.

Focus: Sugar Island

The Skatalites: Fidel Castro

Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz: 13/8/1926 – 25/11/2016. So it goes.

EM-Drive?

This peer reviewed paper seems to be experimental proof of an electromagnetic space drive capable of getting to Mars in 70 days.

At least according to the Daily Galaxy.

It may not turn out that way though (on the face of it it breaks the laws of Physics which of course “You cannae change, Captain,”)* but it still makes me feel like I’m living in the future.

*From this clip Scotty actually said “can’t” rather than “cannae”:-

It Just Keeps Coming….

Now it’s Leon Russell……

Never as commercially successful in his own right as he perhaps deserved his songs are better known in their cover versions.

For Joe Cocker’s take on Delta Lady see here.

This is a much less rocky track perhaps most famous in its performance by The Carpenters.

Leon Russell: A Song For You

Leon Russell: 2/4/1942 – 13/11/2016. So it goes.

Closing Time: Leonard Cohen, Robert Vaughn, Jimmy Young

I had intended to publish remembrance posts today in the one day this year between Armistice Day and Remembrance Day but 2016 just keeps piling it on.

Now it’s Leonard Cohen who has left us.

Not to mention actor Robert Vaughn – aka Napoleon Solo in the Man From U.N.C.L.E. but whose best performance was as a conscientious German officer, Major Paul Kreuger, undone by circumstances in the film The Bridge at Remagen – and, earlier in the week, a voice from my youth (though he was too soft-edged to be a anything like a favourite,) Jimmy Young, once a stalwart of BBC Radio 2.

I suppose everybody will be using Hallelujah to sign Leonard Cohen off. Here instead is one of his songs from 1992, Closing Time.

Leonard Norman Cohen: 21/9/1934 – 7/11/2016. So it goes.
Robert Vaughn: 22/11/1932 – 11/11/2016. So it goes.
Leslie Ronald “Jimmy” Young: 21/9/1921 – 7/11/2016. So it goes.

Friday on my Mind 138: Take Good Care of My Baby: RIP Bobby Vee

In the early 1960s it seemed that all you needed to be a successful North American male singer was to be called Bobby. Bobby Darin, Bobby Vee, Bobby Rydell all had hits then. The middle one of those, Bobby Vee, died this week.

Singer of the outrageously catchy Rubber Ball, and teen ballads like More Than I Can Say and Run to Him, the admonitory The Night has a Thousand Eyes and the yearning Take Good Care of My Baby, Vee’s star fell along with that style of recording once the Beatles came along.

Take Good Care of my Baby was a typically breezy sounding song written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King with an attendant less than breezy lyric. Note those plucked strings fixing its vintage.

Bobby Vee: Take Good Care of My Baby

Robert Thomas Velline (Bobby Vee): 30/4/1943–24/10/2016. So it goes.

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