The original from 1965 (music and lyrics by Sonny; yes, that Sonny) was a commentary on confusing times, when things were changing by the minute and also staying exactly the same. With lyrics like "Cars keep getting faster all the time / Bums still say Hey Mister, got a dime?" and "Men still keep on marching off to war / Electric-ly they keep their baseball score."
The tune and the beat is so catchy, and the original lyrics so goofy and poetic and serious, I was inspired to do a new twist on it to reflect on our confusing times where up is down and down is up. So I've mashed new lyrics in with some of the original ones. And with a little editing I've mixed my vocal with a Fantastic (!) new version of the song performed by Jeff Goldblum & The Mildred Snitzer Orchestra (yes, that Jeff Goldblum). Please to enjoy.
Feel the warmth of the sun on your face, cooled by fresh, gentle breezes. Put on good headphones, grab your favorite refreshment, sit back....
Well, after screaming at the TV news about morons packing into restaurants during a PANDEMIC, the Mad Dog would probably ingest a whole bunch of illegal drugs. And then... he would SING HIS FRICKIN' FACE OFF TO GET SOME RELEASE. That's what I just did (the singing, not the drugs). Enjoy, my friends!
Juel and Michael enjoying a swelterin' summer day in Central Park. By the Model Boat pond. By George and Ira.
Sheltering at home starts to get hard. Luckily my wife and I have this lady around, a Labrador retriever mix named Bridget who's been a sweet part of this family for a good long time. But there's no denying that human connections are missed so much at this time. We need it. We thrive on it. Our daughter Johanna is on the left coast in Seattle and it's hard not to be able to hug her. One thing that's been a blessing is to make music with friends near and far with the help of technology. So I offer up this, a cover of Harry Connick Jr's fun swing tune called Nowhere with Love. With faraway Jamie Saltman on piano (up in Brookline, Mass). We've been friends since high school, and it's been great to catch up about family, friends, music, and of course, the original Star Trek. :) Beam me up Scotty, this virus is out of control.
"It's better to be happy in a cardboard shack, than to be alone in a castle."
Hey folks. For the past month or so, I've tried turning the lemons of 'COVID 19 times' into some kind of lemonade. So I've been collaborating with friends via remote recording. On this one, my friend Rick Keena joins me, playing guitar. Get together and enjoy, from 6 feet apart:
I first heard Doug Largent's trio play at a Carrboro Music Festival gig a few years back at the Open Eye coffeehouse. It was a thrill to hear that Hammond organ sound up-close in this setting. They were playing Burt Bacharach's Wives and Lovers (Hey, Little Girl) -- a very cool and swingin' tune from the early '60s. I was hooked on his playing.
Cut to a year or two later and we met, and I invited him to play a gig with me. We've had a lot of fun playing jazz together since then in various groupings. We've got a gig coming up June 9th at Irregardless Cafe in Raleigh. And I recently sat down with Doug to learn more about his background.
MB: So you're a 'Chapel Hillian' originally. How did you first get introduced to music?
DL: Yes that's right, I grew up here. I had the usual introduction to music, taking piano lessons in elementary and middle school. I remember sitting in church, bored out of my mind, but fell in love with the organ. It sounded so cool, but it looked so difficult! I guess I just filed that information away for another day.
MB: You played bass for a number of years before getting into the Hammond organ, right?
DL: Yes I was playing electric bass my senior year at Chapel Hill High School. I viewed playing music as the thing that kept me sane in those years! I enrolled at UNC Chapel Hill for undergrad--
MB: In music?
DL: Actually my degree was in mathematical science with a computer science perspective -- making 3D graphics, that kind of thing. But music was ongoing for me. When I played for Jim Ketch (music professor at UNC) he said, well you're going to play acoustic bass too, right? I was so excited for an opportunity to play on the jazz band that of course I said yes without thinking about it! I took lessons with Robbie Link, played in the UNC orchestra and jazz band (and also went over to NCCU to play in jazz band there).
MB: And you went straight into music after college?
DL: That's right. I dove in. There were a lot of jazz gigs on Franklin Street then -- this was the mid 1990's. In 1994 or so I played at Irregardless. I started subbing for players at NC Theatre and the Duke Symphony Orchestra. It was a busy time. But eventually I felt it was time to stretch and try New York City. It was a struggle for a while, getting work in music. But I lucked into a union gig playing six nights a week at the Carlyle Hotel --
MB: Where Bobby Short used to play--
DL: That's right! There are two rooms at the Carlyle. Bobby held court in Cafe Carlyle -- he was the main draw for that hotel. I played with a group across the hall in Bemelman's Bar. It was a solid gig, like I said a union gig -- which meant unless you screwed up royally, you could count on employment! I also started doing a lot of studio work, and that paid well and was fun to do.
MB: So when did you switch over to the organ?
DL: I was about 36 years old when I started. I think I realized, you don't have to be great at it right away. Just work at it. The journey became more important I think. I studied as much as I could from teachers in NYC, before we moved back down to North Carolina.
MB: What led you to move back?
DL: Well our daughter Jessica was newborn. Nancy and I thought it was best to raise her in a place like Chapel Hill. New York would have been a struggle. From a music perspective, I knew there weren't a lot of organ players down here in the Triangle, so I would have a shot at standing out and getting work.
MB: What's next?
DL: Well I continue to work for an organization called Arts in Action, which brings music programs into the public schools. That's a great program, and takes a lot of my time. And I play out as often as I can!
Recently I've been poking around in their songs from the 1960's. So many gorgeous melodies, pleasing chord changes, memorable hooks, and classic lyrics... a lot of poetry. The Doug Largent Trio and I played a set of Bacharach/David at Wake Forest Listening Room in March. After that, Doug and I got together and recorded a couple of videos of their songs. Drummer Zsolt David joined us, playing the electronic congas. Check it out:
in which I'll occasionally improvise on the topic of jazz.