August 4: Late Jazz Legend Louis Daniel Armstrong Birthday

Louis armstrong

“If you have to ask what jazz is, you’ll never know.”
― Louis Armstrong

“Seems to me it ain’t the world that’s so bad but what we’re doing to it, and all I’m saying is: see what a wonderful world it would be if only we’d give it a chance. Love, baby – love. That’s the secret.”
― Louis Armstrong

“Louis Armstrong was the first important soloist to emerge in jazz, and he became the most influential musician in the music’s history.”
~William Ruhlmann (allmusic.com)

When The Saints Go Marching In:

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July 30: Johnny Cash recorded “Folsom Prison Blues” in 1955

Folsom Prison looms large in Johnny Cash’s legacy, providing the setting for perhaps his definitive song and the location for his definitive album, At Folsom Prison. The ideal blend of mythmaking and gritty reality, At Folsom Prison is the moment when Cash turned into the towering Man in Black, a haunted troubadour singing songs of crime, conflicted conscience, and jail.
~Stephen Thomas Erlewine (allmusic.com)

Wikipedia:

Single by Johnny Cash
B-side So Doggone Lonesome
Released December 15, 1955
April 1968 (re-recording)
Format 7″ single
Recorded July 30, 1955Sun StudioMemphis, Tennessee
Genre Rockabilly, country blues, rock and roll
Length 2:50
Label Sun
Songwriter Johnny Cash
Producer Sam Phillips

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July 27: Happy 73rd Birthday Bobbie Gentry

bobbie gentry

Can a song be so perfect, so successful, that it eclipses its creator? It can if it’s Bobbie Gentry’s Grammy-winning 1967 chart-topper Ode to Billie Joe, one of the most elegantly powerful pieces of storytelling ever to travel the airwaves.
~Dorian Lynskey (The Guardian)

Ode to Billie Joe:

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July 15: Happy 71th Birthday Linda Ronstadt

I have always believed that one learns more from failure than from success.
~Linda Ronstadt, Simple Dreams: A Musical Memoir

The essential elements of singing are voice, musicianship, and story. It is the rare artist that has all three in abundance.
~Linda Ronstadt

Ronstadt is Blessed with arguably the most sterling set of pipes of her generation … rarest of rarities – a chameleon who can blend into any background yet remain boldly distinctive … It’s an exceptional gift; one shared by few others.
~Christopher Loudon (Jazz Times, 2004)

Ronstadt was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in April 2014.

Part 1

Part 2

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Great Tom Waits Song – Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis

Hey Charley I’m pregnant
Living on 9th Street
Right above a dirty bookstore
Off Euclid Avenue
I stopped taking dope
And I quit drinking whiskey
And my old man plays the trombone
And works out at the track

One of Tom Waits’ most beloved songs from one of his more obscure albums, Blue Valentine, “Christmas Card…” is a live standard. The song showcases Waits playing a barroom piano melody, weaving words together — in essence, doing what he does best in one long, bittersweet song. The lyrics are essentially a reading aloud of what the title says it is — a Christmas card from a hooker in Minneapolis. Waits takes the voice of the female character: “Hey Charley, I’m pregnant…”; you can guess the rest. The song is littered with characters with names like Mario. There are references to the track, a filling station, and a used car lot. There is whiskey, dope, grease, a trombone, and Little Anthony & the Imperials. What more could you want from a Tom Waits song?
– Denise Sullivan (allmusic.com)

Studio version:

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