Saturday, January 04, 2020

On The 100th Anniversary (1919) Of Newly-Fledged German Communist Leaders Rosa Luxemburg And Karl Liebknecht-Oh, What Might Have Been-*HONOR ROSA LUXEMBURG-THE ROSE OF THE REVOLUTION

On The 100th Anniversary (1919) Of Newly-Fledged German Communist Leaders Rosa Luxemburg And Karl Liebknecht-Oh, What Might Have Been-*HONOR ROSA LUXEMBURG-THE ROSE OF THE REVOLUTION

By Frank Jackman

History in the conditional, what might have happened if this or that thing, event, person had swerved this much or that, is always a tricky proposition. Tricky as reflected in this piece’s commemorative headline. Rosa Luxemburg the acknowledged theoretical wizard of the German Social-Democratic Party, the numero uno party of the Second, Socialist International, which was the logical organization to initiate the socialist revolution before World War II and Karl Liebknecht, the hellfire and brimstone propagandist and public speaker of that same party were assassinated in separate locale on the orders of the then ruling self-same Social-Democratic Party. The chasm between the Social-Democratic leaders trying to save Germany for “Western Civilization” in the wake of the “uncivilized” socialist revolution in Russia in 1917 had grown that wide that it was as if they were on two different planets, and maybe they were.

(By the way I am almost embarrassed to mention the term “socialist revolution” these days when people, especially young people, would be clueless as to what I was talking about or would think that this concept was so hopelessly old-fashioned that it would meet the same blank stares. Let me assure you that back in the day, yes, that back in the day, many a youth had that very term on the tips of their tongues. Could palpably feel it in the air. Hell, just ask your parents, or grandparents.)

Okay here is the conditional and maybe think about it before you dismiss the idea out of hand if only because the whole scheme is very much in the conditional. Rosa and Karl, among others made almost every mistake in the book before and during the Spartacist uprising in some of the main German cities in late 1918 after the German defeat in the war. Their biggest mistake before the uprising was sticking with the Social Democrats, as a left wing, when that party had turned at best reformist and eminently not a vehicle for the socialist revolution, or even a half-assed democratic “revolution” which is what they got with the overthrow of the Kaiser. They broke too late, and subsequently too late from a slightly more left-wing Independent Socialist Party which had split from the S-D when that party became the leading war party in Germany for all intents and purposes and the working class was raising its collective head and asking why. 

The big mistake during the uprising was not taking enough protective cover, not keeping the leadership safe, keeping out of sight like Lenin had in Finland when things were dicey in 1917 Russia and fell easy prey to the Freikorps assassins. Here is the conditional, and as always it can be expanded to some nth degree if you let things get out of hand. What if, as in Russia, Rosa and Karl had broken from that rotten (for socialism) S-D organization and had a more firmly entrenched cadre with some experience in independent existence. What if the Spartacists had protected their acknowledged leaders better. There might have been a different trajectory for the aborted and failed German left-wing revolutionary opportunities over the next several years, there certainly would have been better leadership and perhaps, just perhaps the Nazi onslaught might have been stillborn, might have left Munich 1923 as their “heroic” and last moment.  

Instead we have a still sad 100th anniversary of the assassination of two great international socialist fighters who headed to the danger not away always worthy of a nod and me left having to face those blank stares who are looking for way forward but might as well be on a different planet-from me. 



Every January leftists honor three revolutionaries who died in that month, V.I. Lenin of Russia in 1924, Karl Liebknecht of Germany and Rosa Luxemburg of Poland in 1919 murdered after leading the defeated Spartacist uprising in Berlin. Lenin needs no special commendation. I made my political points about the heroic Karl Liebknecht and his parliamentary fight against the German war budget in World War I in this space earlier (see review in April 2006 archives) so I would like to make some special points here about the life of Rosa Luxemburg. These comments come at a time when the question of a woman President is the buzz in the political atmosphere in the United States in the lead up to the upcoming 2008 elections. Rosa Luxemburg, who died almost a century ago, puts all such pretenders to so-called ‘progressive’ political leadership in the shade.

The early Marxist movement, like virtually all progressive political movements in the past, was heavily dominated by men. I say this as a statement of fact and not as something that was necessarily intentional or good. It is only fairly late in the 20th century that the political emancipation of women, mainly through the granting of the vote earlier in the century, led to mass participation of women in politics as voters or politicians. Although, socialists, particularly revolutionary socialists, have placed the social, political and economic emancipation of women at the center of their various programs from the early days that fact was honored more in the breech than the observance.

All of this is by way of saying that the political career of the physically frail but intellectually robust Rosa Luxemburg was all the more remarkable because she had the capacity to hold her own politically and theoretically with the male leadership of the international social democratic movement in the pre-World War I period. While the writings of the likes of then leading German Social Democratic theoretician Karl Kautsky are safely left in the basket Rosa’s writings today still retain a freshness, insightfulness and vigor that anti-imperialist militants can benefit from by reading. Her book Accumulation of Capital alone would place her in the select company of important Marxist thinkers.

But Rosa Luxemburg was more than a Marxist thinker. She was also deeply involved in the daily political struggles pushing for left-wing solutions. Yes, the more bureaucratic types, comfortable in their party and trade union niches, hated her for it (and she, in turn, hated them) but she fought hard for her positions on an anti-class collaborationist, anti-militarist and anti-imperialist left-wing of the international social democratic movement throughout this period. And she did this not merely as an adjunct leader of a women’s section of a social democratic party but as a fully established leader of left-wing men and women, as a fully socialist leader. In fact one of the interesting things about her life is how little she wrote on the women question as a separate issue from the broader socialist question of the emancipation of women. Militant women today take note.

One of the easy ways for leftists, particularly later leftists influenced by Stalinist ideology, to denigrate the importance of Rosa Luxemburg’s thought and theoretical contributions to Marxism was to write her off as too soft on the question of the necessity of a hard vanguard revolutionary organization to lead the socialist revolution. Underpinning that theme was the accusation that she relied too much on the 'spontaneous' upsurge of the masses as a corrective to either the lack of hard organization or the impediments reformist socialist elements throw up to derail the revolutionary process. A close examination of her own organization, the Socialist Party of the Kingdom of Poland and Lithuania, shows that this was not the case; this was a small replica of a Bolshevik-type organization. That organization, moreover, made several important political blocs with the Russian Bolsheviks in the aftermath of the defeat of the Russian revolution of 1905. Yes, there were political differences between the organizations, particularly over the critical question for both the Polish and Russian parties of the correct approach to the right of national self-determination, but the need for a hard organization does not appear to be one of them.

Furthermore, no less a stalwart Bolshevik revolutionary than Leon Trotsky, writing in her defense in the 1930’s, dismissed charges of Rosa’s supposed ‘spontaneous uprising’ fetish as so much hot air. Her tragic fate, murdered with the complicity of her former Social Democratic comrades, after the defeated Spartacist uprising in Berlin in 1919 (at the same time as her comrade, Karl Liebknecht), had causes related to the smallness of the group, its political immaturity and indecisiveness than in its spontaneousness. If one is to accuse Rosa Luxemburg of any political mistake it is in not pulling the Spartacist group out of Kautsky’s Independent Social Democrats (itself a split from the main Social Democratic party during the war, over the war issue ) sooner than late 1918. However, as the future history of the communist movement would painfully demonstrate revolutionaries have to take advantage of the revolutionary opportunities that come their way, even if not the most opportune or of their own making.

All of the above controversies aside, let me be clear, Rosa Luxemburg did not then need nor does she now need a certificate of revolutionary good conduct from today’s leftists, the reader of this space or this writer. For her revolutionary opposition to World War I when it counted, at a time when many supposed socialists had capitulated to their respective ruling classes including her comrades in the German Social Democratic Party, she holds a place of honor. Today, as we face the fourth year of the war in Iraq we could use a few more Rosas, and a few less tepid, timid parliamentary opponents. For this revolutionary opposition she went to jail like her comrade Karl Liebknecht. For revolutionaries it goes with the territory. And even in jail she wrote, she always wrote, about the fight against the ongoing imperialist war (especially in the Junius pamphlets on the need for a new International). Yes, Rosa was at her post then. And she died at her post later in the Spartacist fight doing her internationalist duty trying to lead the German socialist revolution that would have gone a long way to saving the Russian Revolution. This is a woman leader I could follow who, moreover, places today’s bourgeois women parliamentary politicians in the shade. As the political atmosphere gets heated up over the next couple years, remember what a real fighting revolutionary woman politician looked like. Remember Rosa Luxemburg, the Rose of the Revolution.

In The Twilight Of The Folk Minute- Peter Seeger And Arlo Guthrie In Concert In The Late 1980s

In The Twilight Of The Folk Minute- Peter Seeger And Arlo Guthrie In Concert In The Late 1980s

By Zack James

[As of December 1, 2017 under the new regime of Greg Green, formerly of the on-line American Film Gazette website, brought in to shake things up a bit after a vote of no confidence in the previous site administrator Allan Jackson (aka Peter Paul Markin in the blogosphere) was taken among all the writers at the request of some of the younger writers abetted by one key older writer, Sam Lowell, the habit of assigning writers solely to specific topics like film, books, political commentary, and culture is over. Also over is the designation of writers in this space, young or old, by job title like senior or associate. After a short-lived experiment by Green designating everybody as “writer” seemingly in emulation of the French Revolution’s “citizen” or the Bolshevik Revolution’s “comrade” all posts will be “signed” with given names only. The Editorial Board]

[Although I am also a much younger writer I today stand in agreement with Bart Webber and Si Lannon, older writers who I admire and whom I have learned a lot from about how to keep it short and sweet but in any case short on these on-line sites. And now Lance Lawrence from the younger writers.  .

In any case the gripe the former two writers and Lance had about the appropriateness of this disclaimer above or whatever it purports to be by the "victorious" new regime headed by Greg Green and his hand-picked Editorial Board is what I support. As Bart first mentioned, I think, if nothing else this disclaimer has once again pointed told one and all, interested or not, that he, they have been “demoted.”  Same here.

In the interest of transparency I was also among the leaders, among the most vociferous leaders, of what has now started to come down in the shop as urban legend “Young Turks” who fought tooth and nail both while Alan Jackson (aka Peter Paul Markin as blog moniker for reasons never made clear, at least to me) was in charge and essentially stopped young writers from developing their talents and later when we decided that Allan had to go, had to “retire.” But I agree with my fellow three writers here that those on the “losing” end in the fierce no-holds barred internal struggle had taken their "beating" and have moved on as far as I can tell. That fact should signal the end of these embarrassing and rather provocative disclaimers. Done. Zack James]


 “Jesus, they charged me fourteen dollars each for these tickets to see Pete Seeger and Arlo Guthrie. Remember Laura about ten or fifteen years ago when we saw Pete for five bucks each at the Café Nana over in Harvard Square (and the price of an expresso coffee for two people and maybe a shared piece of carrot cake since they had been on a date, a cheap date when he didn’t have much cash and at a time when the guy was expected to pay, no “dutch treat,” no Laura dutch treat expected anyway especially on a heavy date, and that one had been s when he was intrigued by her early on) and around that same time, that same Spring of 1973, Arlo gave a free concert out on Concord Common,” said Sam Lowell to his date Laura Peters and the couple they were standing in line with, Patrick Darling and Julia James, in front of Symphony Hall in Boston waiting for the doors to open for the concert that evening. This would be the first time Pete and Arlo had appeared together since Newport a number of years back and the first time this foursome had seen either of them in a good number of years since Pete had gone to upstate New York and had been spending more time making the rivers and forests up there green again than performing and Arlo was nursing something out in Stockbridge. “Maybe, Alice,” Patrick said and everybody laughed at that inside joke. 

Sam continued along that line of his about “the back in the days” for a while, with the three who were also something of folk aficionados well after the heyday of that music in what Sam called the “1960s folk minute” nodding their heads in agreement saying “things sure were cheaper then and people, folkies for sure, did their gigs for the love of it as much as for the money, maybe more so. Did it, what did Dave Van Ronk call it then, oh yeah, for the “basket,” for from hunger walking around money to keep the wolves from the doors. For a room to play out whatever saga drove them to places like the Village, Harvard Square, North Beach and their itch to make a niche in the booming folk world where everything seemed possible and if you had any kind of voice to the left of Dylan’s and Van Ronk’s, could play three chords on a guitar (or a la Pete work a banjo, a mando, or some other stringed instrument), and write of love, sorrow, some dastardly death deed, or on some pressing issue of the day.”

After being silent for a moment Sam got a smile on his face and said “On that three chord playing thing I remember Geoff Muldaur from the Kweskin Jug Band, a guy who knew the American folk songbook as well as anybody then, worked at learning it too, as did Kweskin, learned even that Harry Smith anthology stuff which meant you had to be serious, saying that if you could play three chords you were sure to draw a crowd, a girl crowd around you, if you knew four or five that  meant you were a serious folkie and you could even get a date from among that crowd, and if you knew ten or twelve you could have whatever you wanted. I don’t know if that is true since I never got beyond the three chord thing but no question that was a way to attract women, especially at parties.” Laura, never one to leave something unsaid when Sam left her an opening said in reply “I didn’t even have to play three chords on a guitar, couldn’t then and I can’t now, although as Sam knows I play a mean kazoo, but all I had to do was start singing some Joan Baez or Judy Collins cover and with my long black hair ironing board straight like Joan’s I had all the boy come around and I will leave it to your imaginations about the whatever I wanted part.” They all laughed although Sam’s face reddened a bit at the thought of her crowded with guys although he had not known her back then but only later in the early 1970s.                     
Those reference got Julia thinking back the early 1960s when she and Sam went “dutch treat” to see Dave Van Ronk at the Club Blue. (Sam and Julia were thus by definition not on a heavy date, neither had been intrigued by the other but folk music was their bond and despite persistent Julia BU dorm roommate rumors what with Sam hanging around all the time had never been lovers). She mentioned that to Sam as they waited to see if he remembered and while he thought he remembered he was not sure. He asked Julie, “Was that the night he played that haunting version of Fair and Tender Ladies with Eric Von Schmidt backing him up on the banjo?” Julie had replied yes and that she too had never forgotten that song and how the house which usually had a certain amount of chatter going on even when someone was performing had been dead silent once he started singing.

Club Blue had been located in that same Harvard Square that Sam had mentioned earlier and along with the Café Nana, which was something of a hot spot once Dylan, Baez, Tom Rush and the members of the Kweskin band started hanging out there, and about five or six other coffeehouses all within a few blocks of each other (one down on Arrow Street was down in the sub-basement and Sam swore that Dylan must have written Subterranean Homesick Blues there). Coffeehouses then where you could, for a dollar or two, see Bob, Joan, Eric (Von Schmidt), Tom (Rush), Phil (Ochs) and lots of lean and hungry performers working for that “basket” Sam had mentioned earlier passed among the patrons and be glad, at least according to Van Ronk when she had asked him about the “take” during one intermission, to get twenty bucks for your efforts that night.

That was the night during that same intermission Dave also told her that while the folk breeze was driving things his way just then and people were hungry to hear anything that was not what he called “bubble gum” music like you heard on AM radio that had not been the case when he started out in the Village in the 1950s when he worked “sweeping out” clubs for a couple of dollars. That sweeping out was not with a broom, no way, Dave had said with that sardonic wit of his that such work was beneath the “dignity” of a professional musician but the way folk singers were used to empty the house between shows. In the “beat”1950s with Kerouac, Cassady, Ginsberg, and their comrades (Dave’s word reflecting his left-wing attachments) making everybody crazy for poetry, big be-bop poetry backed up by big be-bop jazz the coffeehouses played to that clientele and on weekends or in the summer people would be waiting in fairly long lines to get in. So what Dave (and Happy Traum and a couple of other singers that she could not remember) did was after the readings were done and people were still lingering over their expressos he would get up on the makeshift stage and begin singing some old sea chanty or some slavery day freedom song in that raspy, gravelly voice of his which would sent the customers out the door. And if they didn’t go then he was out the door. Tough times, tough times indeed.             

Coffeehouses too where for the price of a cup of coffee, maybe a pastry, shared, you could wallow in the fluff of the folk minute that swept America, maybe the world, and hear the music that was the leading edge then toward that new breeze that everybody that Julie and Sam knew was bound to come what with all the things going on in the world. Black civil rights, mainly down in the police state South, nuclear disarmament, the Pill to open up sexual possibilities previously too dangerous or forbidden, and music too, not just the folk music that she had been addicted to but something coming from England paying tribute to old-time blues with a rock upbeat that was now a standard part of the folk scene ever since they “discovered” blues guys like Mississippi John Hurt, Son House, Bukka White, and Skip James. All the mix to turn the world upside down. All of which as well was grist to the mill for the budding folk troubadours to write songs about.

Julie made her companions laugh as they stood there starting to get a little impatient since the doors to the concert hall were supposed to open at seven and here it was almost seven fifteen (Sam had fumed, as he always did when he had to wait for anything, a relic of his Army days during the Vietnam War when everything had been “hurry up and wait”). She had mentioned that back then, back in those college days when guys like Sam did not have a lot of money, if worse came to worse and you had no money like happened one time with a guy, a budding folkie poet, Jack Dawson, she had a date with you could always go to the Hayes-Bickford in the Square (the other H-Bs in other locations around Boston were strictly “no-go” places where people actually just went to eat the steamed to death food and drink the weak-kneed coffee). As long as you were not rowdy like the whiskey drunks rambling on and on asking for cigarettes and getting testy if you did not have one for the simple reason that you did not smoke (almost everybody did then including Sam although usually not with her and definitely not in the dorm), winos who smelled like piss and vomit and not having bathed in a while, panhandlers (looking you dead in the eye defying you to not give them something, money or a cigarette but something) and hoboes (the quiet ones of that crowd  who somebody had told her were royalty in the misfit, outcast world and thus would not ask for dough or smokes) who drifted through there you could watch the scene for free. On any given night, maybe around midnight, on weekends later when the bars closed later you could hear some next best thing guy in full flannel shirt, denim jeans, maybe some kind of vest for protection against the cold but with a hungry look on his face or a gal with the de riguer long-ironed hair, some peasant blouse belying her leafy suburban roots, some boots or sandals depending on the weathers singing low some tune they wrote or reciting to their own vocal beat some poem. As Julie finished her thought some guy who looked like an usher in some foreign castle opened the concert hall doors and the four aficionados scampered in to find their seats.                 

…As they walked down the step of Symphony Hall having watched Pete work his banjo magic, work the string of his own Woody-inspired songs like Golden Thread and of covers from the big sky American songbook and Arlo wowed with his City of New Orleans and some of his father’s stuff (no Alice’s Restaurant that night he was saving that for Thanksgiving he said) Sam told his companions, “that fourteen dollars each for tickets was a steal for such performances, especially in that acoustically fantastic hall” and told his three friends that he would stand for coffees at the Blue Parrot over in Harvard Square if they liked. “And maybe share some pastry too.”      

The World Gone Amok- Robert Downey, Jr. And Friends- “The Avengers: The Age Of Ultron” (2015)- A Film Review

The World Gone Amok- Robert Downey, Jr. And Friends- “The Avengers: The Age Of Ultron” (2015)- A Film Review

DVD Review

By Kenny Jacobs

The Avengers: The Age Of Ultron, starring Robert Downey, Jr. Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johannsson, Marvel Studios, 2015 

[WT…. no I know what you thought was coming next but no we, Greg Green, the impresario of this site and his band of eminent Editorial Board members selected for their independence and acumen, have come to an understanding about my future exploits which may match some of the super-heroes in the film under review The Avengers: The Age Of Ultron. We have unanimously agreed that I will share review duties with the legendary writer and Bogie aficionado Phil Larkin on the upcoming The Maltese Falcon review. The idea, partially mine, but mostly that of the ever creative Mr. Green, was to get the collective takes of a younger writer and an older writer on that world-historic classic film. Otherwise I would have been forced to flee this previously barren planet site and gone to venues which would have appreciated my talents with a big by-line and who knows what else.    

The fuss up, or to use the now retired but still hanging around the water cooler Sam Lowell’s expression “tempest in a teapot,” centered on my demotion to having to grind out yet another one of these admittedly by all concerned dim-witted super-hero mutant reviews which are beneath my skill level, maybe beneath any writer on this site’s skill level. That notion makes me think that perhaps the old regime under the now mostly forgotten and exiled Allan Jackson might have had something on the question of what to review, and more importantly, what not to review. I understand that Jackson would have thrown a fit if anybody had even suggested doing such kiddie comic reviews except maybe as background for the decline in civility, decline in youthful reading in the age of the Internet, social media, and texting habits, and the fake wisdom of the greed-heads (Phil Larkin’s word) who figured out that while the kids won’t read a twenty minute comic book they will sit forever for this cinematic action adventure stuff. Or as long as the popcorn and soda hold out.

Like I said Greg saved the day and I will wrap this beast of s review up in a couple of minutes which maybe is about a minute or so more than it is worth and get ready to do battle with the beloved old master writer Phil Larkin on that new project. Everybody knows Phil’s credentials to do justice to his part in the bargain since he is widely known as a Bogie aficionado of long standing who just posted a lesser Bogie film, Across The Pacific, as a little warm-up. Of course other than as an acknowledged up and coming writer here under the guidance of Greg and the Board my credentials are almost as stellar. I had the privilege, although I did not know it at the time, of being taken when young to many film festival retrospectives by my parents so these old-time black and white classics are kind of in my DNA so to speak. That should speak for itself. Kenny Jacobs]
One thing that Phil Larkin has right, as many previous disagreements as we have had, is that these super-hero action adventure stories from comic land are mind numbing, are strictly for sleep aids (except for the poor buggers like me who have to earn our keep by reviewing this kickass a minute stuff). Nevertheless the only really good thing about this film as far as I can see is that Tony Stark, aka Ironman, played by the lovely Robert Downey, Jr. finally f—ked up. Let things get out of hand in Avenger Land wherever those guys and gals hang out. Tony went off the deep end because he wanted to test the edges of science in an attempt to bring some little modicum of peace to this wicked old world via his various experiments. Generally not a bad idea although a one man band approach seems kind of goofy even when a cohort of super-heroes and hangers-on to feast on. This time he was trying to create a robotic thing who could chill everybody out. Hey, that is what humankind has been doing since Adam and Eve maybe earlier, trying to get back to the garden. Where Tony f—ked up and it took a whole two hours plus (and an audience refill tub of butter-drenched popcorn and a river of cupped soda with ice) to straighten out was to let this Doctor Banner, aka the Hulk, played by savvy Mark Buffalo, no, Ruffalo, a mutant of extraordinary ugliness and brute strength within a mile of any lab. Jesus, can you believe letting a guy next to the next best thing in world peace and human-hood. Letting a guy who couldn’t control his own simple lab experiments without turning into a raving beast who rightly should be buried about fifty feet underground in concrete for the good of that humankind I have been talking about muck around with A.I or hell simple high school chemistry experiments.        

Guess what. Poor good-hearted Jarvis (if it has a heart)who has done yeoman service by Tony takes a beating by this run amok Ultron who is, get this logic, committed to saving the whole planet by killing all humanity. Some tree-hugger’s crazed fantasy. The Nuremburg trials would be too good for whoever let such savagery loose in the land. Of course in trying to control this monster A.I. which they had unleashed a goodly portion of the planet took some destruction as the Hulk, yes, unleashed Doctor Banner, went on a rampage until Tony as Ironman beat his brains in. They are still counting the dead and wounded as well as insurance-covered property damage on that little tryst. That rampage and other destructive incidents had led them to hiding out for a while before the vigilantes came after them. Fortunately the Avengers were able to declare a truce with a sullen world. But who knows what is next except Hulk will explode if he isn’t put to sleep, doesn’t take the big step-off he deserves since it is obvious he can’t control his rages at all even when some little old lady bumped into him on the subway. In any case enough of the cornball swill and let’s get to real adventure with dizzy dames and blackened birds and private eyes to figure that whole small-sized human mess out. I’m coming Phil.       

Friday, January 03, 2020

Will The Real James Bond Stand Up-Pierce Brosnan’s “Goldeneye” (1995) –A Film Review

Will The Real James Bond Stand Up-Pierce Brosnan’s “Goldeneye” (1995) –A Film Review

DVD Review

By former Associate Film Critic Alden Riley  

[I personally do not like the new regime’s,  under Greg Green’s steady guidance, policy of getting rid of  titles which were the hallmark of  the now safely departed and exiled Allan Jackson who used to run the show here. It took many years for me to get it and I resent being thrown on the dung heap and placed with everybody else with just their names on the by-line line. For now I will use my old title in the past tense until we go back to titles or Greg make a big deal out of my moniker and tries to shut it down. Then I will go back to being an Everyman like Sandy Salmon and Si Lannon have mentioned elsewhere. Alden Riley]    

Goldeneye, starring Pierce Brosnan, based on the character created by Ian Fleming although not on any of his novel series plot-lines, 1995

Sometimes writers, especially a coterie of writers of film reviews, will sometimes come up with the screwiest things to argue about in those dark getting to dawn hours when the booze has been flowing generously and the dregs of writing under deadline have passed by without comment. Especially when there are other disputes hanging in the shadows making things tense before the storm like the big blow we just went through at this site which basically came down to a battle royal against the old guard caught in their daydreams of 1960s growing up in turbulent times grandeur by the “Young Turks” whose frame of reference is later times and later connections, Reagan “trickle down” times, post-Soviet monster Clinton times, Bush-Obama boom and bust times, hip-hop, techno, social media explosion times.

That shadow battle got exploded a few months ago when I, ignorant of the hagiology of the 1960s musical scene which all the older guys carry with them like a lodestone, mentioned to then Senior Film Critic Sandy Salmon that I did not know who Janis Joplin was. Sandy, to be fair, was willing to forgive me my transgression but Pete Markin, the “boss” got wind of it and “forced” me to do a review of a Joplin bio-pic over Sandy’s head. That was one is a series of grievances we younger non-1960s devotees had built up inside.     

The way these “troubles” hit before getting resolved was the big blow-out Sandy and I did have over reviewing the myriad James Bond, you know, 007, films. Sandy has started reviewing the first four Sean Connery films, I don’t think in order which he usually doesn’t give a fuck about, Doctor No, From Russia With Love, Goldfinger and Thunderball and had asked me to continue the series, at least the Sean Connery part which is all he cared about covering since for him Connery was Bond, was James Bond end of discussion.

When I mentioned that I thought Sean Connery was probably a good Bond for the 1960s although I hadn’t seen any of his films except Goldfinger where I thought he was a little over the top Sandy flipped.  I figured I was going to be assigned the litany without any recourse or appeal especially if fellow Sean Connery devotee Peter Markin got wind of my ignorance and would have probably added that I had to review Ian Fleming’s books as well. I finally was able to get Sandy to see reason, to see that a younger man whose frame of Bond reference was not Connery but the man who played 007 in the film under review Goldeneye the beautiful rather than handsome Pierce Brosnan should have an opportunity to compare the two or at least to show that different actors working in different times would have a different sensibility. Once he saw reason he mentioned that he would finish up the Sean Connery films and I could do “pretty boy” Brosnan (Sandy’s term) and we would fight out the battle when the reviews were done. Fair enough.

Now everybody knows that there will be plenty of high tech gadgetry, plenty of physically over-the-top action and plenty of sexy women either chasing or being chased by any actor who plays Bond. That goes with the territory even though this first Pierce Brosnan Bond vehicle was not created out of Fleming’s stockpile. Brosnan brings not only a “pretty boy” as against Connery’s dashingly handsome demeanor but is much more physically agile and adept than Connery ever was. And plays the role with more cheek.

Of course each film has a storyline roughly similar, some criminal operation here the nefarious Janus syndicate which wants to create a meltdown of the London stock exchange and the British economy in general. Reason: the head of the organization who is MI6 turned rogue had Cossack parents in Russia who collaborated with the Nazis against Stalin and the British after the war sent them back to Uncle Joe after falsely promising asylum. WTF. What did the parents, what did the rogue MI6 expect with Uncle Joe an ally then before Winston Churchill pulled the “iron curtain” down.

In any case to create the meltdown Janus steals a super Euro helicopter which he will use to help when he with inside help is able to use a Russian space probe to deflect some action and destroy London for good measure. Come hell or high water he will not get away with such a dastardly deed not if Bond and his fetching Russian super-technician have anything to say about it. And they do- God Save The Queen or something like that. Pierce does it in style. 

Just Before The Sea Change, The Big 1960s Mix And Match-Up - With The Dixie Cups Going To The Chapel Of Love In Mind

Just Before The Sea Change, The Big 1960s Mix And Match-Up - With The Dixie Cups Going To The Chapel Of Love In Mind

By Lance Lawrence  

[As of December 1, 2017 under the new regime of Greg Green, formerly of the on-line American Film Gazette website, brought in to shake things up a bit after a vote of no confidence in the previous site administrator Allan Jackson (aka Peter Paul Markin in the blogosphere) was taken among all the writers at the request of some of the younger writers abetted by one key older writer, Sam Lowell, the habit of assigning writers solely to specific topics like film, books, political commentary, and culture is over. Also over is the designation of writers in this space, young or old, by job title like senior or associate. After a short-lived experiment by Green designating everybody as “writer” seemingly in emulation of the French Revolution’s “citizen” or the Bolshevik Revolution’s “comrade” all posts will be “signed” with given names only. The Editorial Board]

[Although I am a much younger writer I today stand in agreement with Bart Webber and Si Lannon, older writers who I admire and whom I have learned a lot from about how to keep it short and sweet but in any case short on these on-line sites. Originally I had agreed with both men as far as Phil Larkin’s, what did Si call them, yes, rantings about heads rolling, about purges and would have what seems like something out of Stalin’s Russia from what I have read about that regime were  dubious at best. Now I am not sure as I have heard other younger writers rather gleefully speaking around the shop water cooler about moving certain unnamed writers out to pasture-“finally” in the words of one of them.

In any case the gripe the former two writers had about the appropriateness of this disclaimer above or whatever it purports to be by the "victorious" new regime headed by Greg Green and his so- called Editorial Board is what I support. As Bart first mentioned, I think, if nothing else this disclaimer has once again pointed told one and all, interested or not, that he, they have been “demoted.”  That I too, as Si pointed out, chafed as an Associate Book Critic and didn’t like it am now just another Everyman and don’t like it. This is the second time I have had the disclaimer above my article so I plead again once should be enough, more than enough.

In the interest of transparency I was among the leaders, among the most vociferous leaders, of what has now started to come down in the shop as urban legend “Young Turks” who fought tooth and nail both while Alan Jackson (aka Peter Paul Markin as blog moniker for reasons never made clear, at least to me) was in charge and essentially stopped young writers from developing their talents and later when we decided that Allan had to go, had to “retire.” (I am sure Phil Larkin will take those innocent quotation marks as definite proof that Allan was purged although maybe I should reevaluate everything he has said in a new light.) But I agree with Bart and Si’s sentiment that those on the “losing” end in the fierce no-holds barred internal struggle had taken their "beating" and have moved on as far as I can tell. That fact should signal the end of these embarrassing and rather provocative disclaimers. Done. Lance Lawrence]


There were some things about Edward Rowley’s youthful activities that he would rather not forget, things that defined his life, gave him that fifteen minutes of fame, if only to himself and his, that everybody kept talking about that everyone deserved before they departed this life. That is what got him thinking one sunny afternoon in September about five years ago as he waited for the seasons to turn almost before his eyes about the times around 1964, around the time that he graduated from North Adamsville High School, around the time that he realized that the big breeze jail-break that he had kind of been waiting for was about to bust out over the land, over America. It was not like he was some kind of soothsayer, could read tea leaves or tarot cards like some latter day Madame La Rue who actually did read his future once down at the Gloversville Fair, read that he was made for big events anything like that back then. No way although that tarot reading when he was twelve left an impression for a while.

Edward’s take on the musical twists and turns back then is where he had something the kids at North Adamsville High would comment on, would ask him about to see which way the winds were blowing, would put their nickels, dimes and quarters in the jukeboxes to hear. See his senses were very much directed by his tastes in music, by his immersion into all things rock and roll in the early 1960s where he sensed what he called silly “bubble gum” music that had passed for rock (and which the girls liked, or liked the look of the guys singing the tunes) was going to be buried under an avalanche of sounds going back to Elvis and forward to something else, something with more guitars all amped to bring in the new dispensation. More importantly since the issue of jailbreaks and sea changes were in the air he was the very first kid to grasp what would later be called the folk minute of the early 1960s (which when the tunes, not Dylan and Baez at first but guys like the Kingston Trio started playing on the jukebox at Jimmy Jack’s Diner after school some other girls, not the “bubble gum” girls went crazy over). So that musical sense combined with his ever present sense that things could be better in this wicked old world drilled into him by his kindly old grandmother who was an old devotee of the Catholic Worker movement kind of drove his aspirations. But at first it really was the music that had been the cutting edge of what followed later, followed until about 1964 when that new breeze arrived in the land.

That fascination with music had occupied Edward’s mind since he had been about ten and had received a transistor radio for his birthday and out of curiosity decided to turn the dial to AM radio channels other that WJDA which his parents, may they rest in peace, certainly rest in peace from his incessant clamoring for rock and roll records and later folk albums, concert tickets, radio listening time on the big family radio in the living room, had on constantly and which drove him crazy. Drove him crazy because that music, well, frankly that music, the music of the Doris Days, the Peggy Lees, The Rosemary Clooneys, the various corny sister acts like the Andrews Sisters, the Frank Sinatras, the Vaughn Monroes, the Dick Haynes and an endless series of male quartets did not “jump,” gave him no “kicks,’ left him flat. As a compromise, no, in order to end the family civil war, they had purchased a transistor radio at Radio Shack and left him to his own devises.

One night, one late night in 1955, 1956 when Edward was fiddling with the dial he heard this sound out of Cleveland, Ohio, a little fuzzy but audible playing this be-bop sound, not jazz although it had horns, not rhythm and blues although sort of, but a new beat driven by some wild guitar by a guy named Warren Smith who was singing about his Ruby, his Rock ‘n’ Roll Ruby who only was available apparently to dance the night away. And she didn’t seem to care whether she danced by herself on the tabletops or with her guy. Yeah, so if you need a name for what ailed young Edward Rowley, something he could not quite articulate then call her woman, call her Ruby and you will not be far off. And so with that as a pedigree Edward became one of the town’s most knowledgeable devotees of the new sound. Problem was that new sound, as happens frequently in music, got a little stale as time went on, as the original artists who captured his imagination faded from view one way or another and new guys, guys with nice Bobby this and Bobby that names, Patsy this and Brenda that names sang songs under the umbrella name rock and roll that his mother could love. Songs that could have easily fit into that WJDA box that his parents had been stuck in since about World War II.

So Edward was anxious for a new sound to go along with his feeling tired of the same old, same old stuff that had been hanging around in the American night since the damn nuclear hot flashes red scare Cold War started way before he had a clue about what that was all about. It had started with the music and then he got caught later in high school up with a guy in school, Daryl Wallace, a hipster, or that is what he called himself, a guy who liked “kicks” although being in high school in North Adamsville far from New York City, far from San Francisco, damn, far from Boston what those “kicks” were or what he or Eddie would do about getting those “kicks” never was made clear. But they played it out in a hokey way and for a while they were the town, really high school, “beatniks.”  So Eddie had had his short faux “beat” phase complete with flannel shirts, black chino pants, sunglasses, and a black beret (a beret that he kept hidden at home in his bedroom closet once he found out after his parents had seen and heard Jack Kerouac reading from the last page of On The Road on the Steve Allen Show that they severely disapproved on the man, the movement and anything that smacked of the “beat” and a beret always associated with French bohemians and foreignness would have had them seeing “red”). And for a while Daryl and Eddie played that out until Daryl moved away (at least that was the story that went around but there was a persistent rumor for a time that Mr. Wallace had dragooned Daryl into some military school in California in any case that disappearance from the town was the last he ever heard from his “beat” brother). Then came 1964 and  Eddie was fervently waiting for something to happen, for something to come out of the emptiness that he was feeling just as things started moving again with the emergence of the Beatles and the Stones as a harbinger of what was coming.

That is where Eddie had been psychologically when his mother first began to harass him about his hair. Although the hair thing like the beret was just the symbol of clash that Eddie knew was coming and knew also that now that he was older that he was going to be able to handle differently that when he was a kid.  Here is what one episode of the battle sounded like:                   

“Isn’t that hair of yours a little long Mr. Edward Rowley, Junior,” clucked Mrs. Edward Rowley, Senior, “You had better get it cut before your father gets back from his conference trip, if you know what is good for you.” 

That mothers’-song was being endlessly repeated in North Adamsville households (and not just those households either but in places like North Adamsville, Hullsville, Shaker Heights, Dearborn, Cambridge any place where guys were waiting for the new dispensation and wearing hair a little longer than boys’ regular was the flash point) ever since the British invasion had brought longer hair into style (and a little less so, beards, that was later when guys got old enough to grow one without looking wispy, had taken a look at what their Victorian great-grandfathers grew and though it was “cool.” Cool along with new mishmash clothing and new age monikers to be called by.).

Of course when one was thinking about the British invasion in the year 1964 one was not thinking about the American Revolution or the War of 1812 but the Beatles. And while their music has taken 1964 teen world by a storm, a welcome storm after the long mainly musical counter-revolution since Elvis, Bo, Jerry Lee and Chuck ruled the rock night and had disappeared without a trace, the 1964 parent world was getting up in arms.

And not just about hair styles either. But about midnight trips on the clanking subway to Harvard Square coffeehouses to hear, to hear if you can believe this, folk music, mountain music, harp music or whatever performed by long-haired (male or female), long-bearded (male), blue jean–wearing (both), sandal-wearing (both), well, for lack of a better name “beatniks” (parents, as usual, being well behind the curve on teen cultural movements since by 1964 “beat”  except on silly television shows and “wise” social commentary who could have been “Ike” brothers and sisters, was yesterday’s news).

Mrs. Rowley would constantly harp about “why couldn’t Eddie be like he was when he listened to Bobby Vinton and his Mr. Lonely or that lovely-voiced Roy Orbison and his It’s Over and other nice songs on the local teen radio station, WMEX (he hated that name Eddie by the way, Eddie was also what everybody called his father so you can figure out why he hated the moniker just then). Now it was the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and a cranky-voiced guy named Bob Dylan that has his attention. And that damn Judy Jackson with her short skirt and her, well her… looks” (Mrs. Rowley like every mother in the post-Pill world refusing to use the “s” word, a throw-back to their girlish days when their mothers did not use such a word.)     

Since Mrs. Rowley, Alice to the neighbors, was getting worked up anyway, she let out what was really bothering her about her Eddie’s behavior, "What about all the talk about doing right by the down-trodden Negros down in Alabama and Mississippi. And you and that damn Peter Dawson, who used to be so nice when all you boys hung around together at Jimmy Jacks’ Diner [Edward: corner boys, Ma, that is what we were] and I at least knew you were no causing trouble, talking about organizing a book drive to get books for the little Negro children down there. If your father ever heard that there would be hell to pay, hell to pay and maybe a strap coming out of the closet big as you are. Worst though, worst that worrying about Negros down South is that treasonous talk about leaving this country, leaving North Adamsville, defenseless against the communists with your talk of nuclear disarmament. Why couldn’t you have just left well enough alone and stuck with your idea of forming a band that would play nice songs that make kids feel good like Gale Garnet’s We’ll Sing In The Sunshine or that pretty Negro girl Dionne Warwick and Her Walk On By instead of getting everybody upset."

And since Mrs. Rowley, Alice, to the neighbors had mentioned the name Judy Jackson, Edward’s flame and according to Monday morning before school girls’ “lav” talk, Judy’s talk they had “done the deed” and you can figure out what the deed was let’s hear what was going on in the Jackson household since one of the reasons that Edward was wearing his hair longer was because Judy thought it was “sexy” and so that talk of doing the deed may well have been true if there were any sceptics. Hear this:      

“Young lady, that dress is too short for you to wear in public, take it off, burn it for all I care, and put on another one or you are not going out of this house,” 

barked Mrs. James Jackson, echoing a sentiment that many worried North Adamsville mothers were feeling (and not just those mothers either but in places like Gloversville, Hullsville, Shaker Heights, Dearborn, Cambridge any place where gals were waiting for the new dispensation and wearing their skirts a little longer than mid-calf was the flash point) about their daughters dressing too provocatively and practically telling the boys, well practically telling them you know what as she suppressed the “s” word that was forming in her head. 

She too working up a high horse head of steam continued, "And that Eddie [“Edward, Ma,” Judy keep repeating every time Mrs. Jackson, Dorothy to the neighbors, said Eddie], and his new found friends like Peter Dawson taking you to those strange coffeehouses in Harvard Square with all the unwashed, untamed, unemployed “beatniks” instead of the high school dances on Saturday night. And that endless talk about the n-----s down South, about get books for the ignorant to read and other trash talk about how they are equal to us, and your father better not hear you talk like that, not at the dinner table since has to work around them and their smells and ignorance over in that factory in Dorchester.  And don’t start with that Commie trash about peace and getting rid of weapons. They should draft the whole bunch of them and put them over in front of that Berlin Wall. Then they wouldn’t be so negative about America."

Scene: Edward, Judy and Peter Dawson were sitting in the Club Nana in Harvard Square sipping coffee, maybe pecking at the one brownie between, and listening to a local wanna-be folk singing strumming his stuff (who turned out to be none other than Eric Von Schmidt). Beside them cartons of books that they are sorting to be taken along with them when head South this summer after graduation exercises at North Adamsville High School are completed in June. (By the way Peter’s parents were only slightly less irate about their son’s activities and used the word “Negro” when they were referring to black people, black people they wished their son definitely not to get involved with were only slightly less behind the times than Mrs. Rowley and Mrs. Jackson and so requires no separate screed by Mrs. Dawson. See Peter did not mention word one about what he was, or was not, doing and thus spared himself the anguish that Edward and Judy put themselves through trying to “relate” to their parents, their mothers really since fathers were some vague threatened presence in the background in those households.)

They, trying to hold back their excitement have already been to some training sessions at the NAACP office over on Massachusetts Avenue in the Roxbury section of Boston and have purchased their tickets for the Greyhound bus as far as New York’s Port Authority where they will meet others who will be heading south on a chartered bus. But get this Pete turned to Edward and said, “Have you heard that song, Popsicles and Icicles by the Mermaids, it has got great melodic sense.” Yes, we are still just before the sea change after which even Peter will chuckle about “bubble gum” music. Good luck though, young travelers, good luck.

From The Partisan Defense Committee- Honoring a Class-War Prisoner Tom Manning 1946–2019-All honor to Tom Manning! Free Jaan Laaman- He Must Not Die In Jail ! The Last Of The Ohio Seven -Give To The Class-War Political Prisoners' Holiday Appeal

From The Partisan Defense Committee- Honoring a Class-War Prisoner  Tom Manning  1946–2019-All honor to Tom Manning! Free Jaan Laaman- He Must Not Die In Jail ! The Last Of The Ohio Seven -Give To The Class-War Political Prisoners' Holiday Appeal

Workers Vanguard No. 1159
23 August 2019
Honoring a Class-War Prisoner
Tom Manning
After more than three decades of torment in America’s dungeons, class-war prisoner Tom Manning died on July 30 at the federal penitentiary in Hazelton, West Virginia. The official cause of death was a heart attack, but it was the sadistic prison authorities who were responsible for the death of Manning, one of the last two incarcerated Ohio 7 leftists. In retaliation for his unwavering opposition to racial oppression and U.S. imperialism and his continued political activism, the jailers treated his medical needs with deliberate indifference and delayed necessary medication. His comrade and former prisoner Ray Luc Levasseur bitterly remarked, “Supporters scrambled to get a lawyer in to see him, but death arrived first.” Although we Marxists do not share the political strategy of the Ohio 7, we have always forthrightly defended them against capitalist state repression.
Born in Boston to a large Irish family, Manning knew firsthand the life of working-class misery. In a short autobiographical sketch appearing in For Love and Liberty (2014), a collection of his artwork, he described how his father, a longshoreman and a postal clerk, worked himself to death “trying to get one end to meet the other...he always got the worst end.” A young Tom shined shoes and sold newspapers, while roaming the docks and freight yards looking for anything that could be converted into cash or bartered. Later, he worked as a stock boy and then as a construction laborer. After joining the military in 1963, he was stationed in Guantánamo Bay and then Vietnam.
After returning to the U.S., Manning ended up in state prison for five years. “Given the area where I grew up, and being a ’Nam vet,” he wrote, “prison was par for the course.” There he became politicized, engaging in food and work strikes and reading Che Guevara. As Levasseur observed in 2014, “When Tom Manning and I first met 40 years ago, we were 27 years old and veterans of mule jobs, the Viet Nam war, and fighting our way through American prisons. We also harbored an intense hatred of oppression and a burning desire to organize resistance.”
Moved by these experiences, Manning joined with a group of young leftist radicals in the 1970s and ’80s. Early on, they participated in neighborhood defense efforts in Boston against rampaging anti-busing racists and helped run a community bail fund and prison visitation program in Portland, Maine. They also ran a radical bookstore, which the cops targeted for surveillance, harassment, raids and assault.
The activists, associated with the Sam Melville/Jonathan Jackson Unit in the 1970s and the United Freedom Front in the ’80s, took responsibility for a series of bombings that targeted symbols of South African apartheid and U.S. imperialism, which they described as “armed propaganda.” Some of these actions were directed against Mobil Oil and U.S. military installations in solidarity with the struggle for Puerto Rican independence by the Fuerzas Armadas de Liberación Nacional (Armed Forces of National Liberation). For these deeds, the Feds branded them “terrorists” and “extremely dangerous”—that is, issuing a license to kill.
As targets of a massive manhunt, the young anti-imperialist fighters went underground for nearly ten years and were placed on the FBI’s ten most wanted list. Manning was captured in 1985 and sentenced to 58 years in federal prison. He was also sentenced to 80 years in New Jersey for the self-defense killing of a state trooper in 1981.
The Ohio 7 became the poster children for the Reagan administration’s campaign to criminalize leftist political activity, declaring it domestic terrorism. In 1989, three of them—Ray and Patricia Levasseur and Richard Williams—were tried on trumped-up charges of conspiring to overthrow the U.S. government under the RICO “anti-racketeering” law and a 1948 sedition act. With Ray Levasseur and Williams (who died in prison in 2005) already sentenced to enough years to be locked up for the rest of their lives, the prosecution served no purpose other than to revive moribund sedition laws, which have been used historically to imprison and deport reds and anarchists. Despite the fact that the government spent nearly $10 million on the trial, the jury refused to convict.
Manning spent half a lifetime in prison hell, marked by his torturers as a cop killer and brutalized for his left-wing political views. Stun-gunned, tear-gassed and dragged around by leg irons, he was kept in solitary for extended periods. Shortly after his arrest, he was body-slammed onto a concrete floor while cuffed to a waist chain and in leg irons, resulting in a hip fracture that was not repaired until years later. On a separate occasion, his right knee was permanently injured when five guards stomped on it. Yet another beating with his hands behind his back severely injured his shoulders. All in all, he had a total of 66 inches of scar tissue. But Manning remained unbroken. Among other things, he spoke out on behalf of other class-war prisoners, and he was also an accomplished artist behind bars.
The actions of the Ohio 7 were not crimes from the standpoint of the working class. However, their New Left strategy of “clandestine armed resistance” by a handful of courageous leftists despaired of organizing the proletariat in mass struggle against the bourgeoisie. The multiracial working class, under the leadership of a revolutionary party fighting for a socialist future, is the central force capable of sweeping away the capitalist system and its repressive state machinery, not least the barbaric prisons.
The Ohio 7 differed from the bulk of 1960s New Left radicals by their working-class origins and dedication to their principles; they never made peace with the capitalist order. Unlike most of the left, which refused to defend the Ohio 7 against government persecution, the SL and the Partisan Defense Committee have always stood by them, including through the PDC’s class-war prisoner stipend program.
In an August 2 letter to the PDC, Manning’s lifelong comrade-in-arms Jaan Laaman (the last remaining Ohio 7 prisoner) eulogized:
“Now Tom is gone. Our comrade, my comrade, who suffered years of medical neglect and medical abuse in the federal prison system, your struggle and suffering is now over brother. But your example, your words, deeds, even your art, lives on. You truly were a ‘Boston Irish Rebel,’ a life long Man of and for the People, a warrior, a person of compassion motivated by hope for the future and love for the common people, A Revolutionary Freedom Fighter.”
All honor to Tom Manning! Free Jaan Laaman!

Upon The 50th Anniversary Of The Death Of "King Of The Beats" Jack Kerouac-*Those Oldies But Goodies…Out In The Be-Bop ‘50s Song Night-The Teen Queens’ “Eddie My Love” (1956)- A 55th Anniversary, Of Sorts

Click on the headline to link to a YouTube film clip of the Teen Queens performing the classic Eddie My Love.

Markin comment:This space is noted for politics mainly, and mainly the desperate political fight against various social, economic and moral injustices and wrongs in this wicked old world, although the place where politics and cultural expression, especially post World War II be-bop cultural expression, has drawn some of my interest over the past several years. The most telling example of that interest is in the field of popular music, centrally the blues, city and country, good woman on your mind, hard working, hard drinking blues and folk music, mainly urban, mainly protest to high heaven against the world’s injustices smite the dragon down, folk music. Of late though the old time 1950s kid, primordial, big bang, jail-break rock and roll music that set us off from earlier generations has drawn my attention. Mostly by reviewing oldies CDs but here, and occasionally hereafter under this headline, specifically songs that some future archaeologists might dig up as prime examples of how we primitives lived ,and what we listened to back in the day.

(Aaron Collins / Maxwell Davis / Sam Ling)

The Teen Queens - 1956
The Fontane Sisters - 1956
The Chordettes - 1956
Dee Dee Sharp - 1962

Also recorded by:
Lillian Briggs; Jo Ann Campbell; The Sweethearts.

Eddie, my love, I love you so
How I wanted for you, you'll never know
Please, Eddie, don't make me wait to long

Eddie, please write me one line
Tell me your love is still only mine
Please, Eddie, don't make me wait too long

You left me last September
To return to me before long
But all I do is cry myself to sleep
Eddie, since you've been gone

Eddie, my love, I'm sinking fast
The very next day might be my last
Please, Eddie, don't make me wait too long

You left me last September
To return to me before long
But all I do is cry myself to sleep
Eddie, since you've been gone

Eddie, my love, I'm sinking fast
The very next day might be my last
Please, Eddie, don't make me wait too long

Please, Eddie, don't make me wait too long

(Transcribed from the Teen Queens
recording by Mel Priddle - May 2006)

If I said teen angst and teen alienation on this one that is all I need to say, right? We all, one way or the other, went through those emotional turmoils whether we knew enough to know about the words alienation and angst or not. And we related to songs, rock, doo wop, or whatever that spoke to those trials and tribulations. Eddie My Love is a classic in that genre. Not one that you and your sweetie would call a favorite, not one that you prayed to the teen music local school dance record hop dee-jay gods to play for the last dance but one that you keep playing to keep your own blues away.

Now the story line here is classic teen angst. I am right this minute constructing a very complicated instrument, a technological marvel of the ages, an angst-o-meter, to give an accurate reading of how high or low each song in this series ranks. This one, with or without, instrumentation ranks high. Why? Eddie, a summer love apparently, has flown the coop and, ah, let’s call her Betty, Betty and Eddy, ya that sounds right is pining away to no avail. Maybe she is thinking about those words from the song Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow? after letting Eddie have his way on that sandy beach last summer. And she is now frantic about being left behind just in case. Just in case, you know, she is as we say, euphemistically, “in the family way.” Hell, we are all adults here and it is 2011 so we need not shilly-shally around, and besides no self-respecting child over the age of about eight would be reading this stuff. She might be pregnant. That would account for the distress, duress, and near suicidal frenzy of her plea.

Betty, Betty forget it. Eddie, old two-timing, love ‘em and leave them, Eddie ain’t coming back. Whether you are sinking fast or not. Truth: old Eddie was last seen down in San Juan, Puerto Rico using the name, Juan Cintron, and, Betty, brace yourself, walking, walking very closely with Linda, and she’s a beauty.

But here is my post hoc advice for what it is worth. Why didn’t you decide to go out with steady as a rock Billy, that sensitive, maybe a little nerdy, soul who was pining away for you while you had nothing but eyes for old fast-moving, sweet dual carb, hot rod-driving, fast-talking speedo Eddie? Now it’s too late, girl. Oh, by the way, you were much better off without old petty larceny, world-owes-him-a-living, lamp-shade-on-his-head life of the party that he turned out to be Eddie. And that ain’t no lie.

Happy Birthday To You-Back In Good Ole Boy (And Girl) Television Days- “The Ozark Jubilee”

Happy Birthday To You-

By Lester Lannon

I am devoted to a local folk station WUMB which is run out of the campus of U/Mass-Boston over near Boston Harbor. At one time this station was an independent one based in Cambridge but went under when their significant demographic base deserted or just passed on once the remnant of the folk minute really did sink below the horizon.

So much for radio folk history except to say that the DJs on many of the programs go out of their ways to commemorate or celebrate the birthdays of many folk, rock, blues and related genre artists. So many and so often that I have had a hard time keeping up with noting those occurrences in this space which after all is dedicated to such happening along the historical continuum.

To “solve” this problem I have decided to send birthday to that grouping of musicians on an arbitrary basis as I come across their names in other contents or as someone here has written about them and we have them in the archives. This may not be the best way to acknowledge them, but it does do so in a respectful manner.    

A YouTube's film clip of Sonny James performing his 1957 classic "Young Love". Who said technology isn't great.

DVD Review

Hillbillies On TV: The Ozark Jubilee, various artists including host Red Foley, Brenda Lee and “Young Love” by Sonny James, Stamper Records, 1957

Okay, okay laugh at me. What is a certified urban-dwelling boy who gets nervous when he cannot see the bright lights of the city nearby , or the road is not macadam, doing reviewing some Podunk black and white television show featuring Red Foley, Brenda Lee and Rex Allen? That bill of fare is not exacting The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, The Doors and a host of other musicians that I have reviewed in this space.

Well let me say this first for all you “effete” snobs. Many years ago I used to listen to a radio program on Saturday mornings called “Hillbilly At Harvard”. That program featured many of the artists like Norman Blake, June Carter, Townes Van Zandt and a host of iconic figures in mountain music, outlaw country music, folk and other genres that are “hip” today. So to paraphrase an old cliché what is good enough for Harvard is good enough for this reviewer. Got it?

Seriously, though, I picked up this DVD as part of the continuing string of reviews that I have been doing highlighting the mountain music traditions that are part of my heritage that I had previously scorned. However, like many things, not all “mountain” music and musicians are created equal. That, sadly, is the case here as the performances and chitchat of this country variety show format, for the most part, set my teeth on edge. There are two exceptions, one is the performance of a rapid fire traditional banjo player whose name I do not remember and the other is hearing Sonny James doing his 1950s teen hit classic, “Young Love”. Should you get this thing? NO, except the old time commercials for Beechnut gum and Clorets for you breathe seemed really quaint against today’ s high-powered subliminally sex and power -driven attempts to interest you in some product. When I am mentioning the virtues of the commercials I think that tells the tale on this one.

Note: I usually, particularly for the old black and white productions whose graininess and almost amateur production values by today’s standards are part of the visual charm for me, do not comment on the technical quality of a film. However, on this one the lack of quality definitely interfered with the flow of the work.

"Young Love"-Sonny James

They say for every boy and girl there's just one love in this old world
And I know I've found mine
The heavenly touch of your embrace tells me no one can take your place
Ever in my heart
Young love first love filled with true devotion
Young love our love we share with deep emotion

[ guitar ]

Just one kiss from your sweet lips will tell me that your love is real
And I can feel that it's true
We will vow to one another there will never be another
Love for you or for me
Young love first love...