Comments? Suggestions? Requests? Use the Paper and Pen Open Page!

Have requests?  Comments?  Suggestions?  Now you can post them here on the new Paper and Pen page.

To comment on the Pen and Paper page, go to that page (click on the Pen and Paper menu heading, below the picture of the studio at top), scroll down to the end of the Comments, and add yours.  Newest comments are always at the bottom.  /CL

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The Harvard Football Schedule—HAH Lightly Affected (Mostly)

Looks like the pre-game shows preempt only half an hour of HAH, except for 4Oct and 23Nov (an hour and a half).  Remember you (especially west-coasters) can record HAH, thereby freeing yourselves from the show ending right after you get up!  See here. /CL                

Football Airtimes 2014

* Fri 19Sep:    vs. Holy Cross FRIDAY night game Pre-game 6:30 pm, game 7:00 pm

(No effect on HAH Saturday)

* Sat 27Sep:   at Brown Night game Pre-game 5:30 pm, game 6:00 pm

(No effect on HAH)

* Sat 4Oct:     at Georgetown           Pre-game at 11:30 am, game at 12 noon

(HAH ends at 11:30—Prerecorded)

* Sat 11Oct:   vs. Cornell                          Pre-game at 12:30 pm, game at 1:00 pm

(HAH ends at 12:30—Prerecorded)

* Sat 18Oct:   vs. Lafayette             Pre-game at 12:30 pm, game at 1:00 pm

(HAH ends at 12:30)

* Sat 25Oct:   at Princeton                 Pre-game at 12:30 pm, game at 1:00 pm

(HAH ends at 12:30)

* Sat 1Nov:     at Dartmouth odd time Pre-game at 3:00 pm, game at 3:30 pm

(No effect on HAH)

* Sat 8Nov:     vs. Columbia            Pre-game at 12:30 pm, game at 1:00 pm

(HAH ends at 12:30)

* Sat 15Nov:   at Penn                   Pre-game at 12:30 pm, game at 1:00 pm

(HAH ends at 12:30)

* Sat 22Nov: vs. Yale                       (131th playing of The Game)

         Pre-game (1 hour long) starts at 11:30 am, game at 12: 30 pm

(HAH ends at 11:30)

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In Which We Win an Award . . .

From the International Bluegrass Music Association!

I have been remiss in not posting a note about “Hillbilly at Harvard” winning a Distinguished Achievement Award from the IBMA.  And we’re not even a bluegrass show!

It’s of course a considerable honor, and a great excuse to attend the IBMA’s World of Bluegrass convention and festival. Dr. Janie and I will be heading down to Raleigh on Wednesday, October 1st.  We would have taken the train, but it’s 15 hours, and gets in a little late, so we have elected to fly on Jet Blue.  We will be taking the train back, first Amtrak no. 80, the Carolinian, from Raleigh to Richmond on Saturday, October 4th, where we’ll be visiting with daughter Sarah and family in Powhatan; and then we return on Sunday the 12th, on Amtrak’s Northeast Regional no. 88.  So we’ll be getting a good deal of train-riding in.  But I’ll be missing two Hillbilly shows, on October 4th and 11th; those will be pre-recorded.

Want a chance for a free train ride to Raleigh (on the Northeast Corridor)?  Amtrak is sponsoring a ‘Rhythm of the Rails’ drawing for free round-trip tickets from Boston, New York City, and Washington, DC.  “Up to four tickets will be given away to a winner from each of the three cities.”  The sweepstakes ends Sunday, September 21st, so move quickly!  For the details go here, and click on the Official Rules link.

Maybe we’ll see you there!

Here’s the official press release for the Distinguished Achievement Awards.  As you can see, we’re in mighty good company; how we ended up amongst such luminaries of bluegrass and country music, I don’t know, but it’s gratifying nonetheless.  Besides, it’s a free lunch!  /CL

August 13, 2014

NASHVILLE, TN – Each year, the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) recognizes up to five individuals for their significant contributions to bluegrass music with its highest honor outside of induction into the Hall of Fame–the Distinguished Achievement Award. This year’s recipients of IBMA’s Distinguished Achievement Awards include:

Deering Banjo Company: Greg and Janet Deering started the Deering Banjo Company as a family business in 1975. In its 39-year history, the company has created more than 100,000 banjos, all built by hand in Deering’s Spring Valley, California facility. The company’s mission statement is “to champion the banjo and inspire creativity around the globe by supplying the best quality, American-made banjos to players of all abilities.” Noted Deering players are many, and include Béla Fleck, Jens Kruger and Eric Gibson.

The Delmore Brothers: The brother-style duets of the Delmore Brothers have influenced generations of performers, but many would argue that it is their superb songwriting that cemented the duo’s stamp on bluegrass history. Artists from Vince Gill to the late Doc Watson have recorded songs from brothers Rabon and Alton Delmore’s rich catalog. “Gonna Lay Down My Old Guitar,” “Blues Stay Away From Me” and “Big River Blues” (also known as “Deep River Blues”) are just some of the signature songs that have left a lasting impression on bluegrass music.

European Bluegrass Music Association: Since its inception in 1995, the European Bluegrass Music Association has worked to support bluegrass music across borders, both regional and national. The non-profit organization produces a magazine (Bluegrass Europe) for its members, promotes bluegrass festivals held throughout Europe, and holds regular gatherings, known as Bluegrass Summits, aimed at supporting and encouraging the burgeoning bluegrass scene across Europe.

Hillbilly at Harvard: The radio show Hillbilly at Harvard, broadcast weekly over Harvard’s student-run radio station, WHRB, has been an influence and inspiration for generations of bluegrass and country fans in New England since it debuted in 1948. Billed as “Boston’s original Saturday morning country-music jamboree,” it directly influenced the founders of Rounder Records (now in its 44th year) and the Boston Bluegrass Union, formed in 1976. The show has also had an ongoing impact on many generations of musicians in the fertile Northeastern scene, and now, via the Internet, can be heard all across the globe.

Bill Keith: Bill Keith has had a great impact on modern banjo playing, particularly in what is often termed “newgrass.” Influenced by both Earl Scruggs and Pete Seeger, Keith developed his own unique style, which became known as the melodic, chromatic or “Keith”- picking style. Keith has toured and performed with top bluegrass bands – including a brief stint with Bill Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys in the early 1960s – and with artists like Jonathan Edwards, Ian & Sylvia, Judy Collins, The Jim Kweskin Jug Band, and Muleskinner.

The IBMA’s Distinguished Achievement Awards will be presented at a Special Awards Luncheon on Thursday, October 2 during IBMA’s World of Bluegrass event. Those who would like to attend must purchase a business conference pass for Thursday.

 

Posted in Administrivia, Bluegrass, Country Calendar, Country News, Radio Talk | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Jim Rooney Has a New Book Out, and Is Coming to HAH to Talk about It!

Old friend Jim Rooney will be coming in this Saturday, 13Sep, to talk about his new autobiography.  He’s bringing a CD full of songs he performed, recorded, produced, published, or which influenced him over his long (continuing) career.  We’ll listen to them together, between 10 AM and noon.

From the University of Illinois Press blurb:

In It for the Long Run: A Musical Odyssey
The memoir of the songwriter and Grammy-winning record producer

Inspired by the Hank Williams and Leadbelly recordings he heard as a teenager growing up outside of Boston, Jim Rooney began a musical journey that intersected with some of the biggest names in American music including Bob Dylan, James Taylor, Bill Monroe, Muddy Waters, and Alison Krauss. In It for the Long Run: A Musical Odyssey is Rooney’s kaleidoscopic first-hand account of more than five decades of success as a performer, concert promoter, songwriter, music publisher, engineer, and record producer.

As witness to and participant in over a half century of music history, Rooney provides a sophisticated window into American vernacular music. Following his stint as a “Hayloft Jamboree” hillbilly singer in the mid-1950s, Rooney managed Cambridge’s Club 47, a catalyst of the ‘60’s folk music boom. He soon moved to the Newport Folk Festival as talent coordinator and director where he had a front row seat to Dylan “going electric.”

In the 1970s Rooney’s odyssey continued in Nashville where he began engineering and producing records. His work helped alternative country music gain a foothold in Music City and culminated in Grammy nominations for singer-songwriters John Prine, Iris Dement, and Nanci Griffith. Later in his career he was a key link connecting Nashville to Ireland’s folk music scene.

Writing songs or writing his memoir, Jim Rooney is the consummate storyteller. In It for the Long Run: A Musical Odyssey is his singular chronicle from the heart of Americana.

“Rooney is best known for producing records by people like John Prine, Townes Van Zandt and Nanci Griffith. . . . Fortunately for readers, he’s also a gifted storyteller, with a humorous sense of perspective and wry self-awareness. Could you really ask for anything more from a musician’s memoir?”–Nashville Scene

“A love letter to friendship and music.”–The Tennessean

“Wonderful fellow with an interesting life equals great story.”–John Prine

“Without Jim Rooney’s early encouragement, I would not have a career.”–Nanci Griffith

To purchase a copy of In It for the Long Run and Jim’s other books, go to Jim’s website.

UPDATE: Rooney got in a little early, but still stayed until noon.  He was his usual affable self, and told many stories from In It for the Long Run.  Rooney may be the easiest interview I’ve had, with the possible exception of Jim Hurst: wind him up, and it’s hard to get a word in edgewise.  Which is fine, as we heard lots about performing and recording with dozens of artists most of us know only from their music.  Only one caller complained about too much talk (not enough music); the rest of the calls were enthusiastic: “The best show I’ve ever heard!” said one.  It was a lot of fun, and a great opportunity to experience, vicariously, some of the highlights of that “Long Run.”  And long may it continue!  /CL

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The Complainer-in-Chief Strikes Again

Gordy Brown is an old friend of Hillbilly at Harvard, and has done enormous service to country music in the region as historian and keeper of memorabilia with his New England Country Music Historical Society (now defunct).  But I’ve had to give him the unofficial title of Complainer-in-Chief, because the only time I hear from him is when he feels impelled to complain about something.  Today’s complaint concerns the classic Bob Wills instrumental, “Big Beaver.”  Gordy writes:

MA Hall of Fame DJ, Lynn Joiner played a big band jazz piece on the 10:30 AM Hillbilly At Harvard show today–not a fiddle or a guitar throughout. Could have been by Bob Crosby & the Bob Cats, or any other big band pop artist of the 40’s if you did not hear the Bob Wills intro.

You will not, however, hear any of the many country standards featuring steel guitar and 5-string banjo from any of the 70 or so albums by Mass. native, Danny Davis his Nashville Brass. Just one of many idiosyncracies and country/bluegrass disconnects Lynn suffers from.

Care to voice your opinion?  Email —   Hillbilly@WHRB.org

Now I wouldn’t ordinarily post a personal email on this public blog without the writer’s permission, but in this case Gordy obviously sent it to a mailing list (not individually identified), and even invites his recipients to email me with their opinions.  That’s fine.  I like hearing from listeners, pro and con, though I’m happy that there aren’t too many cons (and most of them are from Gordy).  But as far as I’m concerned, it’s already published, and fair game.

In this case, Gordy is absolutely right: Bob Wills’s 1940 recording of “Big Beaver” is big-band, what I call ‘Eastern’, swing.  Yet somehow it fits.  How can that be?

It will take a bit of explanation.  Back in the day, Steve Morse, then of The Boston Globe, asked us what our criteria for including songs on HAH were.  “It’s got to be good, and country,” Sinc said.  Obviously ‘good’ is subjective. It may surprise you to know that ‘country’ is, too.  I spend a good deal of time listening to ‘Americana’ releases, many of which are touted as having country roots, recorded in Nashville with well-known country musicians and producers, and yet few tracks make the ‘country’ cut.  Sometimes, even though it’s iffy, to my ear, I might try out a track on HAH, because I think it might work; it may not be very country, but it might be very good.

Obviously there is plenty of good music that is in no wise country, and plenty of country music that is no wise good.  It comes down to a question of judgment.  In the old days (I guess I have to call them that, now that it’s been more than a decade since we lost him) Ol’ Sinc and I agreed about 97 percent of the time (that, by the way, is a spurious statistic, the kind that junk ‘scientists’, like climate alarmists, are fond of making up).  What it comes down to is this: All radio programs reflect choices.  Commercial country radio plays what program directors decide to play, for reasons that may have little to do with content, and much to do with what the record labels are pushing.  Specialty programs like Hillbilly at Harvard reflect the choices of their hosts.  In this case, the host is me, and I play what I like—not just what I prefer, but what I enjoy.

And why not? If I didn’t enjoy the music I play, I wouldn’t bother getting up at 6:15 AM on Saturday morning and schlepping in to spend a good part of the day at WHRB.  At the same time, it has to fit the show.  I like classical music, but I won’t play Bach or Piston on HAH.  Sinc used to like Jimmy Buffet, but he didn’t play him on HAH.  I adhere to our rough-and-ready rule: if it ain’t good, and if it ain’t country, I won’t play it—except. . .

Except when I will.  I make the rules, so I can break them, too.  I play novelties, like “The Combine Harvester Song,” and Vast Variety Vault singles that aren’t very good (though of course, some are), because I like introducing variety, keeping the listeners on their toes (and keeping me awake).  And I play singer-songwriters who aren’t very country, like Brigette DeMeyer, because they have a country feel, and are interesting, maybe even compelling.  And, to get back to the ostensible topic, I will play an instrumental like “Big Beaver,” even though Bob recorded it in his big-band period (probably envious of the enormous national stature of performers like Benny Goodman), because (a) Bob wrote it, and (b) it’s become a part of the Western Swing and Country Music repertoire, and (c) it didn’t seem jarring or horrendously out-of-place at the time, and (d) I was in a hurry because I was chatting with Sheila Selby and didn’t notice the previous record ending, and (e) it was the half-hour and break time, and I needed an instrumental (part of our ancient, self-imposed format), and (f) most important of all: I like it!

A Texas historian named Sam McIlhaney writes,

. . . During the time in which Wills was at his peak of popularity, it also was the era of the Big Bands. Ballrooms and radio broadcasts across the country featured the Big Sounds of bands such as Tommy Dorsey, Bennie Goodman, Guy Lombardo, Wayne King, Harry James, Woody Herman, and of course, Glenn Miller and his Army Air Corps band.
It should come as no surprise to learn that some of the recording cuts of Wills sound as good as any of the famous Big Bands of the era. Complete with saxophones, clarinets and trumpets, Wills and his outfit WAS a big band, with anywhere from 14 to 20 instruments, and the men to play them — the Texas Playboys.
Get someone to listen to the recording of “Big Beaver” for the first time, and tell them it is from a recording of ANY of the above-mentioned Big Bands, and they should have no trouble believing you. But it would not be the truth. “Big Beaver” is a Wills recording.**
The only clue it belongs to Wills is the famous yell in the middle of the piece. When Wills felt enthusiasm for a song, he would let loose with a holler. That enthusiasm was infectious, and the fans at the dances or listening to the music on records picked up on that enthusiasm. This was the heart and soul of his success. . .
** “Big Beaver,” music and lyrics by Bob Wills, recorded April 16, 1940 with a 16-piece band by Wills and the Texas Playboys

http://mybrothersblog.wordpress.com/2008/05/19/what-makes-bob-holler-by-sam-mcilhaney/

Now you’ll note that, according to Mr. McIlhaney, there were 16 musicians in the band.  There was obviously a rhythm section, and despite what Gordy says, there were probably also fiddles and guitars, maybe even a steel guitar—I can’t hear them, as the mic is on the prominent horns and winds.  See for yourself:

The tune was a hit for Bob Wills, and covered by many others over the years.  Here’s Ernest Tubb’s Texas Troubadors with Leon Rhodes and Buddy Charleton on guitars (no video; just click on the audio link):

http://www.zeroto180.org/?cat=282

Here’s Hank Thompson’s Brazos Valley Boys, string band and winds:

And a more modern revival group, The Tulsa Playboys:

Obviously all these groups think “Big Beaver” is a Western Swing tune.  So what the heck.  I play plenty of Eastern Swing tunes done by Western Swing musicians, but I don’t play Benny Goodman.  But this is Bob Wills, and he even hollers throughout the song (not just once), to make sure you know who it is.  Fair game for HAH, I say.

So why not Danny Davis and the Nashville Brass?  Pretty simple, for me.  They’re not very country, and to my ear, they are not very good: as far as I am concerned, they are unadulterated schlock, the Lawrence Welk of country music.  If you don’t believe me, take a listen:

Of course, as they say here on the Internet, YMMV (Your Mileage May Vary).  Or as Ol’ Sinc would say, “Tweak his own.”

/CL

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Independence Day 2014

It’s a cloudy day, with heavy rain predicted for this afternoon and evening, thanks to Hurricane Arthur, now out to sea eastwards.  It was a prettier day last year.  See here, and remember why we celebrate the Fourth of July. /CL

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How to Record HAH—and Listen Whenever You Want!

I am often asked whether WHRB archives Hillbilly at Harvard, and whether the shows are available as ‘podcasts’.  The answer is: No.  The reason is that making copyrighted music available for download over the Internet would require the station to become a vendor, like iTunes or Amazon, and sell it.  Some stations do archive their programs, and make them available for listening online, but not for downloading, maybe for a couple of weeks.  Conceivably this could happen at WHRB, but probably not any time soon.

So in the meantime, here’s the solution.  Fly-over folks and west coasters especially, pay attention!  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard complaints about missing the first hour or two of HAH because listeners are in earlier time zones.  Here’s what you can do:

Record the show!  The computer age and the Internet has made recording easy.  Of course if you’re in our broadcast area, you can record from your radio/receiver directly to a tape deck, if any of you still have those.  But for those who have computers, and that obviously includes anyone listening to our Internet stream, it’s easy and inexpensive to record on your computer.

First you need software, an audio-recording program (or application).  I recommend two:

• For Macintosh users, use Audio Hijack Pro, from a company called Rogue Amoeba (click on ‘Audio Hijack Pro’ to get there).  You can download the program from Rogue Amoeba for a free trial, but the free ‘demo’ version is limited to 10 minutes at a time, so go ahead and buy it: it costs just $32.  With Audio Hijack Pro, you can record any Internet stream, or from your connection to a radio or TV, or audio from any application, like Skype.  And you can schedule your recordings to take place automatically whenever you want.

System Requirements: For Mac OS X 10.7 or higher.  [Update: For earlier versions of OS X: You can download legacy versions of Audio Hijack Pro for older operating systems, back to 10.2. Go here.  Hat tip to Chris Barajas at Rogue Amoeba.]

• For Windows users, use Total Recorder, from High Criteria (click on ‘Total Recorder’ to get there).  You can download the program for a free trial, but the demo version is crippled, so go ahead and buy it; the Standard Edition is only $17.95; the Professional Edition is $35.95 and includes more audio-processing/editing features.  Like Audio Hijack Pro, you can record any sound from your computer, or from an external source.  See the website for details.

System Requirements
Total Recorder Standard Edition requires: a sound card, and a 32-bit or 64-bit version of Microsoft Windows XP (SP2 or later), Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8 or Windows 8.1. If you want to use Total Recorder with an older operating system, please follow this link.

I record from my receiver to my iMac; it’s easy.  Once you have the program on your computer, you can sleep in Saturday mornings, and listen any time you wish.  Try it!

Any questions, post in the Comments, and I’ll try to answer them. /CL

UPDATE: Steve Bartlett comments on the Paper and Pen page, here.  I’m repeating his comment here, as it’s an important addition:

More on Recording HAH:

I use Winamp, a free download program, to listen to the HAH stream.

It is extremely stable and does not hiccup or hesitate when I use the computer for other, simultaneous activities. However, if the stream is interrupted, Winamp in its natural state will not restart the stream. If it stops, it stays stopped.

I found this extremely frustrating, as it usually happened, per Murphy’s Law, when I had to leave the house.

Searching the web last year, I found The Silence Detector, a third-party plugin, that runs in Winamp and will restart the stream after a brief gap. It works well. Its only drawback, it it is such, is that if I hit the Winamp stop button, the play will always resume after the timeout. I don’t consider that to be a fatal flaw…

You can check it out at

Incidentally, Total Recorder easily starts itself, Winamp, and the web stream when recording by its timer function. All you have to do is set it up and have your computer running.

Steve Bartlett

The link to The Silence Detector is here.  I’m not sure how iTunes or other audio software handles stream interruptions, as I normally record off the air (from my receiver to the computer).  I’ll ask around. /CL

 

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Banjoist Jayme Stone Launches Alan Lomax Project

Email today from a banjo player (sorry, ‘banjoist’) named Jayme Stone:

Big Day, Cousin! I just launched my first-ever Kickstarter campaign to make an album with Grammy-winning singer Tim O’Brien, Bruce MolskyBrittany Haas, Moira SmileyMargaret Glaspy, Eli WestGreg GarrisonJulian Lage and more. We’d love for you to share the campaign on your blog, on Facebook and Twitter. Be among the first to feature our short documentary. Here are links for a high res photo and the campaign.

Well, we know some of those folks, so what’s this all about?  To find out, I click on a link and go here:

UNEARTHING AND REINVENTING SONGS COLLECTED BY FIELD RECORDING PIONEER ALAN LOMAX

Focusing on songs collected by folklorist and field recording pioneer Alan Lomax, this “collaboratory” brings together some of North America’s most distinctive and creative roots musicians to revive, recycle and re-imagine traditional music. The repertoire includes African-American a cappella singing from the Georgia Sea Islands, Bahamian sea shanties, ancient Appalachian ballads, fiddle tunes and work songs collected from both well-known musicians and everyday folk: muleskinners, roustabouts, sawyers, prisoners, homemakers and schoolchildren. . .

The plan is to put together an album of these songs collected by Alan Lomax (how to choose amongst the hundreds, probably thousands, of songs—must be quite a challenge!).  Jayme plans to raise funds for this project using Kickstarter.  For those not familiar with Kickstarter, as I understand it you set an account goal and a deadline.  If you don’t raise the dollars you’ve set as a goal, the contributors don’t get charged, and you’re back to square one.  For a recording, it’s a form of ‘pre-selling’ the album in order to raise money for recording and producing.  In the Internet age, you can have the help of a Web agency like Kickstarter to keep it all up front.

Our Kickstarter goal of $25k will cover only the essentials: studio time, engineering, editing, mixing, mastering, modest musician fees and manufacturing. Because Kickstarter is all-or-nothing funding, we felt it important to set a goal that will ensure the album gets made and that we hope is within reach. That said, we would love to surpass our ask and secure the funding needed for the full expression of the project. The actual budget is $50k, so all pledges beyond our goal will go towards other key elements: design, a national publicity campaign, scholarly liner notes, a double album, documentary film and an interactive website with exclusive interviews and links to listen to source field recordings. . .

Well, that’s a lot more than just a CD.  But now it’s up to you.  If you think this is a worthy project, and want to support it, go to the link above and read about the contribution levels and what you’ll get for them (beyond supporting the project), starting with a download of the recording and arriving at (for $5,000 backers) a concert in your home.

Jayme Stone describes himself as “Banjoist, Composer, Instigator.”  He’s not just a banjo picker, and maybe doesn’t know any tuning jokes.  He and other virtuoso artists have been making albums of world folk tunes and original compositions—to learn more, go to his website.

The Lomax Project seems to me a worthwhile endeavor; the work of Alan (and his father, John) was essential to bringing to light and preserving the vast amount of traditional music from which country and bluegrass stem.  If this will bring the Lomax legacy back into public consciousness, that’s all to the good.  My only worry is the tendancy of folkies to lose the rough-and-rowdy edge of our musical roots in favor of overly sophisticated—not to say ‘boring’—renditions.  Remember that the performers of dance tunes or a capella ballads of the past were not afraid to cut loose, nor to worry about wrong notes.   Let’s hope that in reinterpreting the originals, Jayme and his colleagues don’t stray too far from them. /CL

UPDATE: Jayme responds:

Thanks so much for your support, Lynn.  Really.

I appreciate your “warning” at the end.  I too like rough-hewn edges and some grit in this music and we’re definitely aiming to keep it real.  Lomax used to say he liked his bluegrass “with the bark still on.”  We recorded the first session all in one room, with no headphones and the vocals and harmonies sung live around a single mic.  Good times.

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Tia

IMG_7284 copy_thumbWe had to put our dog Tia down last Wednesday. Tia and her brother Ali came to us back in 2004, when Number Two Son Nathan called from Logan Airport and asked for a ride. “Take the shuttle,” we said. “Well,” he said, “I’ve got a present for you. It’s a puppy. Actually, it’s two puppies. And they screamed all the way from Newark.” We picked him up.

Nathan and some college friends had taken a spring break in Baja, Mexico. There they encountered a street dog with a litter of new puppies. A kid claimed they were his, and said he’d sell them for $5 apiece. Nathan took two. He stopped at a vet on the way home and got some treatment, then managed to smuggle the pups across the border and drive to Phoenix. At the airport, the attendant said, “You can take only one animal on the plane, not two.” The puppies were cuddled up together in a basket, so Nathan offered, “Hey, they look like just one!” Nathan can be very convincing, so on they went. I think they slept on the first leg to Newark, but from there to Boston caterwauled for the benefit of all the passengers.

We were at first somewhat appalled at having two new dogs. We had two older ones, Rikki, a half-lab, and her well-mixed daughter Sophie; they tolerated the pups, and even mothered them. I can remember one time when they were wrestling in the dog yard, and Tia managed to get her lower jaw caught under Ali’s collar, choking him. Sophie started barking in an alarming way; fortunately I was home, and was able to get the collar off, and Ali was able to start breathing again.

Tia was a sweet, friendly dog, and I think we gave her (and her brother, who’s still with us) a much better life than they would have had on the streets of Baja. In 2012 Tia tore the tendon in her right hind leg on Thanksgiving Day.

We got the leg repaired at the Foster Hospital, part of Tufts Veterinary School, and helped Tia through a long convalescence in a pen we put in the living room. She regained full use of the leg, and all was well until last fall, when she developed a limp. Turns out it was osteo-sarcoma in the left front leg. There is no cure, as the cancer cells eventually end up in the lungs. The only treatments are palliative: amputate the leg, or treat it with radiation. We elected radiation, and that helped. Tia limped, but was pretty mobile, and able to get out to the park with us now and then.

But a month or so ago, the leg swelled, and she was clearly having more pain. After one more radiation treatment, the oncology vet said it would not avail her any further. Finally, when she could barely get herself up on the remaining three good legs, and when she started moaning at night, we decided it was time to spare her further pain.

Rikki and Sophie died a few years ago, but Ali is still with us. Whether he misses his sister I cannot tell. But we do.

The two puppies are up top; here’s one of Tia this winter:

IMG_6677_thumbOn the show Saturday I played Red Foley’s “Old Shep.”*  It’s too sad a song to play often, but the time seemed right.

/Cousin Lynn

* Written by Clyde J. (“Red”) Foley and Arthur Willis

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It’s Opening Day—Time for “The Red Sox Song”!

Yes, we should be playing it tomorrow (the 5th).  The Red Sox lost their first game today, but it was a day of much ceremony and significance (with remembrances of the two firemen who died just a few days ago on Beacon St., and the Boston Marathon bombing still too recent; and, of course, the World Series win last fall), all masterfully described by Chad Finn, here:  Red Sox drop home opener, but no matter, for there was so much worth celebrating

But I’m staying home, HAH will be pre-recorded (see here), so “The Red Sox Song” will have to wait until next week.  Except for a few years when we lost the single, we’ve been playing Pine Tree John and the Designated Hitters since the record was released back in 1976.  From Wikipedia:

The Red Sox Song was written about the Boston Red Sox right after the 1975 World Series against the Cincinnati Reds. It was written, copyrighted and published (BMI) in 1976 by Wayne Ulaky, a founding member of the rock band The Beacon Street Union.

Wayne Ulaky produced the recording with studio musicians under the fictitious name of Pine Tree John and the Designated Hitters. The lead vocal was performed by John Lincoln Wright, also a former member of the Beacon Street Union.

The recording was pressed into 45 rpm records and released as a single. It was played occasionally on many radio stations around New England, and appeared in many juke boxes in night clubs at the time. Boston TV channel 38 (WSBK) was broadcasting the Red Sox home games that year, and used The Red Sox Song (A Day In Fenway Park) as a theme song for their promotional video about upcoming game broadcasts. It was also played occasionally at Fenway Park by organist John Kiley.

The song was sold in a few record stores around greater Boston, including the Strawberries music chain. It was also sold at Twins souvenir shop on Yawkey Way next to Fenway Park.

Fortunately, someone called ‘Fenway146891427′ has uploaded the single to YouTube, so here it is:

 

 

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