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Eyrie up!

The Monday Eyrie post has gone up a day late due to my recent calamitous loss of Internet access, but it can in no way, shape, or form be considered a dollar short. Entitled “Fake phony frauds,” this one covers plenty of ground: from limousine-liberal Bruce Springsteen, to Bob Grant, to Curtis Sliwa, to disgusting blob Al Sharpton, difficult though it might seem to discern any connection betwixt such a, ummm, diverse cast of characters. Preview ‘graphs:

Ah, how well I remember hearing Curtis Sliwa nail infamous shitstain Al Sharpton to the wall on the Bob Grant show with a tape Sliwa had recorded at now-defunct Freddy’s Fashion Mart up in Harlem, featuring the bloated, Marcelle-grease-stained bottom feeder calumnifying “white interlopers” and urging his biddable, low-IQ followers to violence.

Said incitement bore deadly fruit when a mentally-disturbed spook-a-loo and “protest” attendee finally heeded Sharpton’s blatant call to action, walking into Freddy’s carrying a full gas can and a loaded .38 and shooting several people in the course of burning the place to the ground, and leaving several corpses in his wake. Sharpton, of course, had denied ever saying anything at all in his daily “protests” that could possibly be construed as incitement to violence, which was just a bald-faced lie. 

And then Sliwa and Grant played, over and over again, the tape which exposed Sharpton as the liar, agitator, and all-round scumbag he always had been. It was beautiful, is what it was. It was beautiful, is what it was—a golden radio moment those of us who were around to hear it will never forget. SIDE NOTE: It was Sharpton’s use of a bullhorn to amplify his exhortations to violent action against Freddy’s that inspired Paul Shanklin to have Conk Boy always speak through one in his note-perfect parodies for the late, lamented Rush Limbaugh show.

And if that doesn’t constitute enough enticement to get you clicking on over to read the rest, I don’t know what on Earth might be.

Update! Humble thanks yet again to CA over at the indispensable WRSA, who has once again blowed up the ol’ Eyrie hit counter with a link, in the process including a most apposite quote:

If you aren’t stopping by Mike’s alternative station on a daily basis, you are missing a lot.

And that’s from a guy who firmly believes (or wants to believe, more likely) that his life was saved by the line from Thunder Road, “It’s a town full of losers and I’m pullin’ out of here to win”.

That would be the Springsteen song, not the classic Robert Mitchum flick, which is going to require another liberal dose of palate cleanser, I’m afraid.

For those who didn’t know already, Thunder Road was pretty much a Robert Mitchum joint entirely: he wrote the script; wrote and sang the title tune; produced it via his production company DRM; and cast his son James as his own character’s younger brother after Col Tom Parker had scotched Elvis Presley, for whom Mitchum had originally written the part. The movie also features a star turn by the delectable Keely Smith, who also sang the movie’s main theme, the haunting “Whippoorwill.”

Keely Smith, a most toothsome babe if I ever did see one, rose to stardom as the confection her real-life husband Louis Prima spent the majority of his onstage time mugging, clowning, and generally hamming it up around, to her bored, eye-rolling indifference. To wit:

Not the best example of what I was talking about, perhaps, but whatevs, I just like the song. There are better examples out there, if you care to look ‘em up. The Prima band was blessed not just with the enormously talented Smith and Louis himself, but with one of the all-time great sax players as well:

Sam Butera (August 17, 1927 – June 3, 2009) was an American tenor saxophonist and singer-songwriter best noted for his collaborations with Louis Prima and Keely Smith. Butera is frequently regarded as a crossover artist who performed with equal ease in both R&B and the post-big band pop style of jazz that permeated the early Vegas nightclub scene.

Butera was born and raised in an Italian-American family in New Orleans, where his father, Joe, ran a butcher shop and played guitar in his spare time. He heard the saxophone for the first time at a wedding when he was seven years old, and, with his father’s encouragement, he began to play.

Butera’s professional career blossomed early, beginning with a stint in big band drummer Ray McKinley’s orchestra directly after high school. Butera was named one of America’s top upcoming jazzmen by Look magazine when he was only eighteen years old, and, by his early twenties, he had landed positions in the orchestras of Tommy Dorsey, Joe Reichman, and Paul Gayten.

As the big band era wound down and heavy touring became less common among jazz musicians, Butera re-settled in New Orleans, where he played regularly at the 500 Club for four years. The 500 Club was owned by Louis Prima’s brother, Leon, and it was this connection that led him to his much-heralded Vegas-based collaborations with Prima and Smith.

Prima transitioned from big band to Vegas somewhat hastily, having signed a contract with the Sahara without having first assembled a back-up band. From his Vegas hotel room, Prima phoned Butera in New Orleans and had him assemble a band posthaste. Butera and the band drove from New Orleans to Las Vegas in such a hurry that they had not taken time to give their act a name. On opening night in 1954, Prima asked Butera before a live audience what the name of his band was. Butera responded spontaneously, “The Witnesses”, and the name stuck.

Butera remained the bandleader of The Witnesses for more than twenty years. During that time, he performed with Louis Prima and/or Keely Smith on such Prima-associated songs as “That Old Black Magic”, “Just a Gigolo/I Ain’t Got Nobody,” “Come on-a My House,” and “I Wan’na Be Like You” (from Disney’s The Jungle Book). Richard and Robert Sherman, composers of the songs for the Disney animated film, agreed to cast Prima, Butera and their band after executives from the Walt Disney Company urged them to travel to Las Vegas to witness the band’s live act in person.

Butera is noted for his raucous playing style, his off-color humor, and the innuendo in his lyrics. The arrangement he made with Prima of “Just a Gigolo/I Ain’t Got Nobody” has been covered by David Lee Roth, Los Lobos, Brian Setzer, The Village People, and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. In addition to his accomplishments as a saxophonist and composer, Butera is widely regarded as the inspiration for the vocal style of fellow New Orleans-born jazz singer Harry Connick, Jr.

There, see what I was talking about when I mentioned all those great music-biz stories the other day?


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