Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Music and Memories

Joined with Computer Woes and Blue Flowers

At a recent regularly occurring informal musical concert I attend, the name of singer, Jack Jones, was mentioned.

The name reminded me of many years ago when he appeared on the TV show with which I was associated then. His coming to our studio was no small effort by him, as it meant he had to arise early for this live hour and a half morning talk/variety show. He had been up into the wee hours the night before singing in his own local engagement limited performance.

As with many artists who appeared on our show, he was generous with his praise of our musicians and vocalist. In fact, performers often registered enthusiastic surprise with the talent of our musical quintet and would ask to sing or play with them. They often told us later they had intended to graciously decline performing using the excuse of the early morning hour. For the singers they could cite concern for their voice health that early in the day, but rarely, if ever, did they, after they heard our musicians.

The subject of Jack's famous father, Allan Jones became a show topic. You can also read about Allan HERE.
Many older viewers at home, we learned later, had fond memories from their parent's stories or from their own youth of his Dad's celebrity. Our live audience had similar thoughts brought to mind as did our popular vocalist, Jeanne Cummins, who provided her own recollections, stimulating interesting, sometimes humorous conversation with Allan's son, Jack Jones.

Jeanne surprised me in July of '06, not having known earlier I had returned to town for a short time, by coming to the airport as I was departing from the city where we first met. Fortunately, I had an hours wait for departure which allowed us special moments together to talk about so much in so little time. I might add that after all these years she appeared vivacious and attractive, much as I had remembered her. I have since phoned her across the miles as I have a heightened awareness of how important keeping in touch and renewing contact with old friends can be for all.

When she was "Jeanne Bennett", she sang with the Bernie Cummins Band, later married his vocalist brother, Walter. Scroll down on her name link for her reappearance in recent years in New York City. The orchestra had played all the famous NYC hotels along Park Ave., 5th Ave. for dinner and dancing. Here's a U Tube video link of the band's 1920's era performances before she joined them.

When they had toured the country, after starting in Akron, Ohio, one frequent performance location was at "Pappy's Showland" located between Dallas and Ft. Worth, Texas. Thanks to Cowtown Pattie at "Texas Trifles" who surprised me about a year ago having located some interesting photos associated with "Pappy's" HERE. Pattie has a fascinating treasure trove at her blog and access to more that I appreciate her having shared on occasion.

Music was evolving into a quite different style from the twenties music, while Jeanne was singing with the band. It wasn't until the late 1950's that I met her as the family was growing and the road tours stopping. I was young and single, delighted to visit their home for moonlight ice skating on a frozen pond, thanks to her daughter loaning me her skates. A nearby bonfire provided warmth when the winter's chill penetrated our woolen wear.

I had the good fortune to work with Jeanne when she created a weekly children's TV show. She selected for the shows theme a relatively unknown song, "Put On A Happy Face," from the Broadway musical titled "Bye Bye Birdie."

The lead character of this Bye Bye Birdie was patterned after that new gyrating white singer who made rhythm and blues music more acceptable to a young white audience in a place and during a time when segregation reigned supreme, but this post isn't about him, that music or social transition.

I wish there was a recording of Jeanne singing this song for me to enjoy, so I might provide a link. I could only wish that we'd had then the abundant inexpensive technology that is available today. I'd have her voice on a CD or a music video. So I have to just use my visual and auditory memory to recall the pleasure of hearing this song, with a sample by a male vocalist available HERE.

I've found myself thinking of these lyrics from time to time, as some of the little annoyances, much as we all experience, have complicated my life. In my case, issues associated with keeping my lawn and other greenery watered became a problem along with a few other matters. Then just as all seemed headed toward resolution, my computer became contrary. I would indulge in what seemed to indicate relatively normal operating as I was able to send occasional emails, make a comment on a blog. Then when I thought all was clear for blog posting, more commenting, other blogging activities, suddenly all went awry.

Night before last, several hours last night, now in the early hours today I have engaged in that tech dance during which I met seven new people with various levels of tech knowledge through my outsourced ISP. They were all quite nice, helpful, ready to acknowledge when they had reached the extent of their skills to solve my problem, thus referring me to another. I had the usual need for some verbal repeats from some of my "problem solvers," as might be expected when talking with some people using a second language.

I have learned a great deal. I like to learn. That is a good trait for anyone learning new skills and using a computer. Yesterday my problem was diagnosed as a line problem. Last night my problem was determined to be my modem. They said I might need a new modem within three to six months; that mine had aged to the point of being ready to "die," or whatever they do. But they had fixed everything for the time being while this "dying" process proceeds. Several hours later as I was contemplating my choices, what should occur again, but "the problem." I thought, dying so soon?

I called for help and am now told that once again I have a line problem they will address. Meanwhile, I'm on a dial-up connection that seems none too steady to me as I watch one or two of the green lights on my modem fluttering occasionally. Maybe someday I'll get back to my regular irregular activities in the blogosphere. Meanwhile, those activities will be more regularly irregular, or something like that. Wonder if it's my ISP and I should think about a change?

Meanwhile, "back at the ranch," (as used to be said in the days of movie westerns,) in honor of resolving my grounds watering issues, I purchased a plant I have wanted for years. It's not expensive. This plant first caught my eye many years ago upon entering the city where I now live. I planted my drought resistant plant that has touches of tiny white flowers at the upper edge of the blue flowers and it's thriving. The flowers look almost the same as the fresh ones when dried. I especially like blue flowers and these remind me of the ocean. Also, I'm taking better care of my dwarf citrus than I have the past year. They are now in bloom in their half whiskey barrels. Maybe everything, including me, is coming more to life again in 2007 in a more calmed less hyper manner.

Just to see me through as I await resolution of my computer problems, I'll keep these lyrics in reserve just in case I might need them on any given day. Read them below and HERE, while I re-live in my mind the sound of Jeanne Cummins' happy lilting voice delivering the promise of these words:

Gray skies are gonna clear up,
Put on a happy face;
Brush off the clouds and cheer up,
Put on a happy face.
Take off the gloomy mask of tragedy,
It's not your style;
You'll look so good that you'll be glad
Ya' decide to smile!
Pick out a pleasant outlook,
Stick out that noble chin;
Wipe off that "full of doubt" look,
Slap on a happy grin!
And spread sunshine all over the place,
Just put on a happy face!
Put on a happy face
Put on a happy face
And if you're feeling cross and bitterish
Don't sit and whine
Think of banana split and licorice
And you'll feel fine
I knew a girl so glooming
She'd never laugh or sing
She wouldn't listen to me
Now she's a mean old thing
So spread sunshine all over the place
Just put on a happy face
So, put on a happy face

7 comments:

  1. I remember Jack Jones well - and always liked his voice. I also like that song and it pretty much sums up my philosophy of life...LOL

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yes indeed sometimes we just need to put on a "Happy Face". Your off handed paragraph about R&B and that the post wasn't about that, triggered some memories but I'll not clutter my comment with some off beat stuff.

    The song I like to sing to myself when feeling the blues is Hoggy Carmical's "Blue Skies". But Joared I'll keep "Happy Face" in mind the next time the blues come my way.

    ReplyDelete
  3. A correction if you please, "Blue Skies" was penned by Irving Berlin. See http://www.lyricsfreak.com/i/irving+berlin/blue+skies_20068097.html

    ReplyDelete
  4. Ooooh, Jack Jones. Now that's a nice memory.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Boy, we've had our share of grey skies in these here parts, but I ain't gonna complain - rain is a precious commodity in the summer in Texas. Just why couldn't it come spaced over the entire summer months? OH, well, for the present, I'll just enjoy my lush green backyard....and monster skeeters.

    Thanks for the link! And you're most welcome. My blog, like my house is cluttered with all sorts of "good stuff that I just can't part with. I am a pack rat in every aspect of my life.

    Could be worse habits, I suppose.

    I can't get the mental picture of midnight ice skating and bonfire out of my mind. What an adventure!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I remember Jack Jones...and not just from the 'Love Boat' theme. I remember seeing pics of his dad, Alan, too...both were pretty terrific singers. Enjoyed your post Joared.

    ReplyDelete
  7. millie garfield7/01/2007 7:26 PM

    I didn't know much about Jack Jones - only that he sang the opening number on the TV show The Love Boat and then one winter he appeared at my complex in Florida.

    What a showman!! He's good looking, great personality and what a voice!!

    He put on an outstanding show, I'll alway remember how he belted out a song!!

    ReplyDelete