Monday, August 23, 2010

THE SNAKES CRAWL AT NIGHT by CHARLEY PRIDE



My mother use to say " thats one handsome Cat!"

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Monday, July 19, 2010

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Many thanks to our listeners


Im always presently surprised when one of our listeners pops up on my yahoo IM (jahlaune is my yahoo messenger name) and never moreso than today. Just as I was diggin thru the archives ror a episode for this weekend Bayou popped on explaining how long it took to download our show 3 hours and hes overseas in Africa. This was the third complaint about the lengthy time our show takes to download and since I was the only person on deck today (as I am every saturday) I took the time to see if it could be remastered and set to a FM bandwith.
I am listening and I thank you for your sugguestions.
Anthony McCowan i would like to thank you for sharing our Sunday gospel show with so many people on Face Book! The "Just A Closer Walk" Series is close to my heart and yes! I promise to keep the praise and worship at least twice a month on our roster...
Many thanks to our legions of jazz fans! WQe have indeed covered the waterfront the last season with the likes of Mamie Smith, Noble sissle, Count Basie, Ahmad jamal and more and I thank each of you for your kind remarks from our "Live at the Mars Club" PLEASE!!!! Remember that is a virtual club LOL with a really truly name !
I love you all so much and without you I would have given up long ago!

Jahlaune K Hunt

Monday, July 05, 2010

Underneath A Harlem Moon: the Harlem to Paris Years of Adelaide Hall



by
IAIN CAMERON WILLIAMS
with a foreword by Dame Cleo Laine

The first major biography of Adelaide Hall


Often seen as the most important and influential female star of Harlem’s Renaissance, Adelaide Hall dynamically pushed down the barriers that had previously prevented black entertainers from reaching mass recognition. Though she will always be associated with Harlem’s famous Cotton Club and her wordless vocals on some of Duke Ellington’s most famous tunes, it was the astounding media attention Adelaide Hall received on both sides of the Atlantic during her two year starring role in Lew Leslie’s Broadway revue “Blackbirds of 1928″ that turned her into what can only be termed the first modern-day international black female superstar.

With fame came controversy. Her Broadway performance incited a riot. The persecution she encountered from her racist neighbours after purchasing an exclusive estate in Larchmont, a predominantly white suburb in Westchester County, hit national headlines.

Iain Cameron-Williams takes the reader on a fascinating roller-coaster ride from the birth of Adelaide in Brooklyn and her humble childhood in Harlem, through her triumphs on Broadway to the glamour of Paris’ Moulin Rouge, appearances at the most sophisticated and celebrated nightclubs in the world and across two continents on a ground-breaking eighteen month RKO tour. By the end of 1932, Adelaide had performed to millions and in the process had become one of America’s wealthiest black women.

Adelaide’s celebrity status afforded her the privilege of befriending many stars from the world of showbusiness. The book includes many accounts of such friendships including her encounter with Rudolph Valentino, her close acquaintance with Maurice Chevalier, her stormy relationship with the Broadway impresario Lew Leslie, her meetings in Chicago with Al Capone, her amusing account of an evening she spent in the company of Gloria Swanson, her exciting visit to Douglas Fairbanks house “Pickfair” in Beverly Hills and accounts of all the famous black stars she knew from the Harlem Renaissance including Duke Ellington, Ethel Waters, Fats Waller, Louis Armstrong, Sam Wooding, Bojangles, Aida Ward, Florence Mills, Lottie Gee, Valaida Snow etc. The book also explains in depth the continual rivalry and hostility Adelaide received from Josephine Baker. For the first time ever in print the book dates exactly when, where and how Adelaide discovered the blind pianist Art Tatum and also explains Adelaide’s lifetime claim that it was she who helped name New York the “Big Apple.”

In 1935, Adelaide and her husband moved to Europe and set up home in Paris where her career continued to flourish. Here, she opened her own nightclub “La Grosse Pomme” and employed Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli’s Quintette du Hot Club de France as the resident in-house band. Not content with being dubbed the Parisian “Queen of Montmartre” Adelaide set her sights on conquering Britain. The book concludes with her mysterious disappearance in November 1938, which until now has never been publicly explained.

Iain Cameron-Williams
Underneath A Harlem Moon is Iain Cameron-Williams’ first biography, having previously worked as a musician, producer and composer. He released three records under various stage names and co-wrote the song ‘Give Me One More Chance’ which represented the United Kingdom in the 1990 International Song Festival. He was a close friend of Adelaide Hall from 1971 until her death in 1993. He live’s in London’s Notting Hill Gate.

Underneath A Harlem Moon by Iain Cameron-Williams is published by Continuum, 428pp, 75 illustrations, Hardback price ?20.00. ISBN 0826458939. Available from all good bookshops.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

From the vaults "Rod Stewart" Gasoline Alley

 
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From The Vaults! Rod Stewart "Have I told You lately?"

 
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From the vaults Bette Midler "Wind Beneath My Wings"

 
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From the vaults " Bette Midler " Under the Boardwalk"

 
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Where does the show get the music? We welcome you to our vaults!

 

Over the next few weeks I will bwe sharing the music from our most remembered shows! Yes we dont use MP3s our archive is very extensive contributed from personal collections and just music we grew up with over the years or stolen from Mommys basement ENJOY!
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Co Workers

 


This was the greatist team! Never an argument Betwixt us. We appered on some cable show back in early 2002 this was after
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Belinda Carlisle - Heaven Is A Place On Earth



The voice of summer circa 1980's Berlinda from the Go Go's !

Friday, June 18, 2010

TRUE URBAN HAVOC HAVOC ENTERTAINMENT HONORS THE MOTHER OF MODERN JAZZ SINGING "MISS.ETHEL WATERS"


Authors Note: a special thank you goes out to blogger Corey Jarrell from the "I've got you posted" blog for his corrections which were taken and used to help make this a better, correct blog! Thank you my brother!


This week we will enjoy two clips from Ethel Waters and The Brown Sisters. http://trueurbanehavoc.podOmatic.comFeatruring the song Underneath The Harlem Moon, and Am I Blue ( from on with the show!" By: Jahlaune K: By the early 1930's Ethel Waters was already a huge star. Apperaring on stage and screen and a frequent guest of the top society people in New York (think of author Carl van Vechtin author of the book Nigger Heaven). Her songs such as Dinah! Recorded in the 1920's was already beloved along with so many of her other hits such as, "At the New Jump Steady Ball, Birmingham Bertha and of course Am I Blue?' One of her songs she is famous for and which is rarely heard today is "Underneath The Harlem Moon" by today's standards its consdiered extremly racist but in the early 1930's it was a very popular pop tune recorded (as was the usual in those days) by many diffrent bands and vocalists but I think many people will agree the two definitive versions are by Ethel Waters and The Brown Sisters. On todays Ethel marathon we compare these two video clips back to back. And yes thats a very young Sammy Davis Junior in the clip ( from Rufus Jones for president) with Miss. Waters. visit our new fan page on facebook!!!http://www.facebook.com/pages/True-Urban-Havoc-Entertainment-Hour/132173473467821

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Monday, May 24, 2010

Alex cuba band - Dime si despues


I love this guy this song "Tell nme then...." sums it all up perfectly!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

WELCOME TO OUR NEWEST SUNDAY OFFERING! PLAYTIME IS OVER!

L Description: With all this shouting I offer a very special shout out to my bff Mikey Reidout in Miami Fla, Bernadette Blair- Young In Thomasville, NC and all the others that helped make this project a reality. Their are so many of you : Tammy Dawson who took me to my first all night tarry service in Hempstead New York, The choir and members of Bethel Gospel Tabernacle Church, On New York Blvd in Jamacia, NY. during the time of Bishop Roderik Ceaser, Sr Your Youth For Christ choir is simply AWESOME!All these years later I can still here them making that recording to many years ago to disclose! To Dee Peters from Queens who cant sing but can SANNNNNGGGG! Elder Lawrence Harper who first introduced me to the COGIC church in the Bronx, Thank You! I learned so much in the past few months from COGIC elders, Pentacostals, Holiness, Apostolic and all the various degrees of Protestant. To one of the greatist singing Pastors from my child hood "Uncle Willie" The Rev. Wilfred Quimby from the Christ Gospel Baptist Church of Jamacia New York. Thanking Refuge Baptist Church in Brooklyn, NY for all the great music I listened to NON Stop. This podcast is for all of you! May you enjoy this praise and worship podcast. Featuring: Elder Moore on Organ, and a variety of what I feel is the best praise music I have ever heard in my entire life!
video

Saturday, May 22, 2010

What a program we have instore for you tomorrow! Its titled "PLAY TIME IS OVER" ITS PRAISE TIME WITH JAHLAUNE AND FRIENDS! We came with the best of the Baptist, COGIC, Pentacostal churches and chiors and even a special performance by one of my favorites "The Roberta Martin Singers!" our line up this week includes: On the praise organ Brother Chris Edwards, The Georgia Mass Chior, Sister Albertina Walker, The Edwin Hawkins Singers, Stephanie Mills, Helen Baylor, The Chicago Mass Chior with Lemmie Battles on lead! and so much more! Your host and yes Im talking! Jahlaune K and friends....only on podomatic.com or click here on blogger to experience this time of praise yourself!
 
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Simply Jazz with Jahlaune K

What a delcious program we put together today! Totally diffrent than most of our jazz shows!We ventured into the eclectic with the likes of Lester Youngs quartet! Then a bit of Babette Van Veen who I must say is a very capable vocalist. True to True URban Havoc Entertainment form we threw in some Ethel Waters who is a regular at our studio! and of course a tease of Nancy Wilson singing from the Billie Holiday songbook! A great show! Enjoy and share with a friend!

 
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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Friday, May 07, 2010

Lex Eboni And The Smart Set


New podcast featuring DJ Lex Eboni and the smart set. Lex Eboni was born Lexington McCowan May 6, 1984 in Brooklyn NY. Raised in West Babylon NY He began DJing local parties at the age of 13.

Lex Eboni is the current DJ for the True Urban Havoc Entertainment Hour. His first effort is titled Ijerk a 15 plus minute set of jerk tunes a nod to the jerk nation movement.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

New Boyz "You're A Jerk" OFFICIAL Music Video HD Extended / Uncensored *...

IM HOPING THIS SUMMER IS AS FUN AS LAST SUMMER!!! REMEBER THE NEW BOYZ RECORD THAT WAS EVERYWHERE "YOUR A JERK" (THE SKINNY JEANS SONG?...iT TOOK MY AZZ TILL FALL TO LEARN THE DANCE GOOD SO WHATS GONNA BE UP THIS SUMMER!!??? IM DYIN TO KNOW...COME SUMMER COME!


Sunday, February 21, 2010

AND THEIR IS THE OTHER ETHEL.....ETHEL BEATTY





The world of music to me is sometimes as hard to figure out as a oft quoted scripture from the Bible. Music holds a mystery one that many of us long to master yet few are blessed to understand and even fewer are able to leave a mark.




Our series offfers a fun tribute to performers of modern times that share a first name with someone remarkable from quote another era. Yes, we who love and respect jazz know of the legendary Ethel waters and a few of us are fortunate to know of Ethel Beatty.




I became aware of Ethel Beatty the summer of 1984 when going through my mothers vast record collection I stumbled upon the Broadway album "Bubbling Brown Sugar" a revue which my parents had seen in 1976. I remember taking it out of its case. almost reverantly (in our home their were few African American soundtract albums and even fewer that intriqued me. I remember scanning the songlist and seeing titles like "God Bless The Child" and "Honey Suckle Rose" and a song I had just heard on another album...."I Got It Bad"




I quickly took the record from the basement to my second floor bedroom and put it on my stereo sysytem looking at the clock. It was little before 4:00PM I had one hour to hear it and get it out the room or hidden.




Of course at that young age I was about 10 or eleven this music was not suitable My mother bought me "Golden records" those mother goose shits with songs like "little Red Caboose" and the like. My father, who had found religion had denounced all of his records as worldly and strangly enough hadn't thrown them away but set them up by his prehistoric Hi-Fi which was in the basement.




After a first listen to "I got it bad" I figured Ethel Beatty was a old woman with a powerful set of lungs and loved her! I Imaginged she wore wigs and that brown powder and coral lipstick like my mother friends and maybe carried one of those pocketbooks they were always talking about that had 14 compartments and your first and last initial. But I dug her. I just thought she was old.




Over the years I admit I did absolutely no research on the woman. Until I started this blog series imagine my shock when I found out. She was a young good looking woman in the 80's! It nearly blew me away and I will be quite honest I just found this out two days ago.
I quickly listened once again to her moving rendition of the song and checked youtube for some of her other work. I was amazed!
Preassumptions are something are they not?









BIOGRAPHY



ETHEL BEATTY BARNES IS A GRADUATE OFC.W. POST COLLEGE OF LONG ISLAND
UNIVERSITY. SHE OBTAINED HER DEGREE IN MUSIC EDUCATION, SPECIALIZING IN VOCAL
PERFORMANCE, AND VOCAL PEDAGOGY. HER HONORARY DEGREE IN THEOLOGICAL
MUSIC IS A DIVINE GIFT FROM SHILOH THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY. ETHEL WAS AWARDED
WITH THE ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF HER TRUTH IN THE USE OF HER WONDROUS
INSTRUMENT. ETHEL HAS SUNG IN DISTINGUISED PLACES SUCH AS THE OPERA HOUSES IN
GUANAJUATO AND GUADALAJARA, MEXICO, THE RENOUND ST. PETER’S BASILICA, THE
MEDICI PALACE AND VATICAN RADIO IN ROME, THE WESTMINSTER ABBEY IN ENGLAND, THE
“PALACE DE VERSAILLES”, THE “CATHEDRAL DE CHARTRES” IN FRANCE AND THE ROYAL
PALACE OF LUXEMBOURG. ETHEL WAS A SOLOIST IN THREE INTERNATIONAL TOURS OF
MADRIGAL AND CHAMBER SINGERS AND A PARTICIPANT IN A CARNEGIE HALL CHORAL
EVENT WITH THE NEW YORK ORCHESTRAL SOCIETY.

ETHEL MADE HER BROADWAY DEBUT AS “ELLA” IN BUBBLING BROWN SUGAR. HER OTHER
BROADWAY CREDITS AS A FEATURED PERFORMER INCLUDE EUBIE, DREAMGIRLS AND
SHOW BOAT. HER OFF BROADWAY CREDITS ARE THE PRODIGAL SISTER, BINGO LONG,
BLUES IN THE NIGHT AND SUGAR HILL. HER MOVIE CREDITS ARE “GARBO TALKS”,
DIRECTED BY SIDNEY LUMET AND FRANCIS FORD COPPOLLA’S “THE COTTON CLUB”.
(FEATURED VOCALIST SINGING, “BANDANA BABIES”.) ETHEL HAS RECORDED WITH THE
GREAT ROY AYERS AND THROUGH HIS DIRECTION OF VOCAL USE AND STYLE VARIATION;
SHE WAS CHOSEN TO SING HIS ARRANGEMENT OF “STAIRWAY TO THE STARS”. THERE
WAS A LENGTH OF TIME WHEN A WELL KNOWN NEW YORK RADIO STATION’S MOST
RENOUND “D.J.” CLOSED OUT EACH NIGHT WITH THAT SONG. THE GREAT PIANIST JOE
KURASZ CHOSE ETHEL TO RECORD A DUET WITH HIM ON HIS CD. THE SONG, “SOFT MUSIC”
IS ONE OF THE FEATURED SELECTIONS. WHENEVER CONTRACTED IN THE STUDIO AS A
BACKGROUND VOCALIST, ETHEL’S GREAT INSTRUMENT HAS ALWAYS BEEN FEATURED.
(HER RESUME LISTS ALL OF THE CREDITS.)

FIFTEEN YEARS AGO, ETHEL BEGAN A PERFORMING ENSEMBLE OF CHILDREN RANGING
FROM AGES FOUR THROUGH THIRTEEN. THIS WAS KNOWN AS “PERFORMING ARTS AFTER
SCHOOL”. THE STUDENTS WERE TRAINED TO PERFORM AND WERE FEATURED IN THREE
MUSICAL PRODUCTIONS PER YEAR. THIS HAS BEEN MAINTAINED THROUGH GROWTH AND
LOCATION CHANGES AND IS NOW KNOWN AS “MISS ETHEL’S KIDS!” THERE IS A GREAT CD
OF MESSAGE COMPLETED AND FOUR NEW SINGLES ARE IN PRODUCTION. ETHEL SEES
THE NEED FOR THE COMMITMENT OF PASSING THE ARTS ON TO OUR CHILDREN. SHE
ENCOURAGES OTHER ARTISTS TO DO THE SAME. SHE HAS WRITTEN A WONDERFUL
CHILDREN’S TELEVISION SHOW AND SEVERAL LIVE MUSICALS FOR ENTIRE FAMILIES.

HAVING BOTH THE ACADEMIC AND PROFESSIONAL PERFORMANCE CREDENTIALS, ETHEL IS
HIRED BY ORGANIZATIONS, SCHOOLS AND CORPORATIONS AS A CONSULTANT FOR
FURTHERING THE ARTS AND ADHERING THEM TO THE STIPULATIONS OF GRANTS
RENDERED.

ETHEL HAS CONTINUOUSLY DONATED HER TIME AND HER TALENT TO HER CHURCH
THROUGH PROFESSIONALLY DEVELOPING A DRAMA TEAM, AND A CHILDREN’S CHOIR.
ETHEL IS HONORED AND REQUESTED BY MINISTRIES AS A SOLOIST AND IS REGULARLY
PRESENTED IN CONCERT.



COMPLETE PORTFOLIOS, VIDEOS, AUDIO TAPES AND CDs ARE AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST.



THE PERFORMING ARTS IS A DIVINING ROD!
HAVE YOU BEEN TOUCHED BY A DIVINING ROD? KNOW THIS… I HAVE

AND THEN THEIR WAS THE OTHER JOSEPHINE....JOSEPHINE PREMICE









Born on July 21, 1926, in Brooklyn, NY; died on April 13, 2001, in Manhattan, NY; daughter of Lucas Premice; married Timothy Fales, November 14, 1958; children: Enrico, Susan.

Career

Singer, 1950s-1970s; theatrical and television actress, 1943-59, 1965-93.

Life's Work

Josephine Premice was one of the premier stage actresses of the 1940s and 1950s. She appeared in numerous Broadway plays including Blue Holiday, Jamaica, A Hand is on the Gate, and Bubbling Brown Sugar, twice garnering Tony award nominations for her performances. She was also known for her calypso music which she often performed at night clubs between acting stints, and would go on to record for Virgin Records. Though she left the acting business for close to six years in the mid 1960s, she came back strong in the 1970s, performing not only on the stage but branching out into television as well with roles on popular programs such as The Jeffersons and A Different World. When Premice died in 2001, she was hailed by many in the acting industry as a role model of how to survive through adversity and how to change with the times to keep an acting career alive.

Josephine Mary Premice was born in Brooklyn, New York, on July 21, 1926. Her parents were Haitian immigrants and part of the aristocracy of their birth country. Her father, Lucas Premice, who allegedly had claim to the title Count de Bodekin, had fled Haiti with his wife when he was part of an unsuccessful coup to try to oust the current dictator of the country. They eventually immigrated to New York where Mr. Premice became a furrier. They were extremely proud people and raised Premice to have a strong belief in her own self worth. At a time when African Americans were considered second-class citizens even in the northern states, Premice and her sister, Adele, were given the education and training of an "at-home finishing school" and treated like part of the elite.

Launched Career on Broadway

As a child, Premice was happy and outgoing. From the very beginning she was a natural performer. She pressured her parents to let her take dancing lessons and eventually she studied with Martha Graham and Katherine Dunham. At 14 she choreographed a Harlem Theatre production of "Jason and the Golden Fleece" for Owen Dodson, a family friend. At 16 she auditioned for and got a part in a performance of Katherine Dunham's dance company, but her aristocratic father literally pulled her off the stage, declaring she was to dance solo, as a star, or not at all. By 1943 she had lived up to his expectations and was acclaimed as an outstanding performer when she danced in the First African Dance Festival at Carnegie Hall to sold-out audiences that included Eleanor Roosevelt. She launched her career from the Village Vanguard, a West Village nightclub where such greats as Harry Belafonte and Judy Holiday launched their careers and many famous stars habitually hung out. It was common to see Charlie Parker, Fred Astaire, or Tallulah Bankhead among the patrons. She also spent seven months performing at the Blue Angel, a swanky East Side nightclub.

Premice was a tall, skinny, sophisticated brown-skinned woman who was often reminded that she wasn't "pretty." She laughed at her detractors and carried herself with so much self-esteem and poise, that she made her own presence. In 1945 she repeated her success, dancing in the Second African Dance Festival at Carnegie Hall and then toured the country with blues singer Josh White.

Her initial Broadway performance was in the 1945 production of Blue Holiday at the Belasco Theatre with Ethel Waters and Josh White. She followed this in 1947 with a performance in Caribbean Carnival at the International Theatre. Richard Watts of the New York Post reviewed the show, noting that it had some good points: "Point one is Josephine Premice ... a fine, tall, delightful girl, who sings amusingly, engagingly and with distinction." In 1954 she opened with the cast of House of Flowers in Philadelphia, but left the cast before it moved to Broadway. House of Flowers also starred Pearl Bailey and Diahann Carroll. She returned to Broadway in 1956 in Mr. Johnson at the Martin Beck Theater. She played the wife of Earl Hyman who starred in the title role.

Marriage Changed Her Career

During 1957 and 1958 Premice performed in over 500 performances of the vastly popular musical Jamaica at the Imperial Theatre on Broadway. The musical starred Lena Horne and Ricardo Montalban. Premice played Horne's best friend. The part earned her a nomination for a Tony Award as Best Featured Performer.

It was during a performance of this play that her future husband, Timothy Fales, saw her and made the instant decision that she would be the mother of his children. Fales was very much a part of the White Anglo-Saxon aristocracy of Upper East Side New York. He was also very rebellious against the very staid, "proper" life that his parents attempted to mold him into. After several months of heavy courtship, the two moved in together and then married in a very quiet ceremony on November 14, 1958. Fales had won over Premice's very strict father by their mutual love for and service on the sea, but Fales' father refused to accept the inter-racial marriage until years later and didn't speak to his son for several years. Premice worked hard to create an environment for her family that would ignore the hatred and prejudices associated with mixed marriages at the time. Because of her star status and his social standing, their marriage made the headlines and caused a lot of negative feelings from some of the more radical groups across the country.

With her marriage, Premice made the decision that her husband and subsequent family were her priority and it affected on her career. Several months after they were married, Fales moved the family to Rome. They lived there for six years while Fales was an executive in a shipping company. Their son, Enrico, was born in 1959 and daughter, Susan, in 1962. Her career, however, never recovered from the break. Broadway producers have short memories, and the six-year break in her career came at a time when she was very successful.

Family Life Degraded as Career Restarted

In 1966, as part of a group of talented black artists, Premice received her second Tony nomination for her performance in A Hand is on the Gate. This was an evening of black poetry and song at the Longacre Theatre. It starred such notables as Cicely Tyson, James Earl Jones, and Moses Gunn among others. For the next ten years, Premice appeared in a limited fashion in several all-black shows like The Cherry Orchard at the Public Theater in 1973. For the most part, she was a renowned hostess and fundraiser of the social elite. In her personal life, her marriage had deteriorated and her roving husband spent a lot of time away. They maintained a relationship because it was expected of them and the publicity if they had split would have been an embarrassment to both of them. For years, Timothy stayed at home and worked on writing a book. Then he eventually joined the merchant marine and captained ships sailing around the world. He was gone for long periods of time.

In 1976 Premice returned to Broadway with the cast of Bubbling Brown Sugar, which had a full two-year run and almost 800 performances before it closed. A New York Times review of the show said that Premice "can almost make a feather boa come alive." Then in 1978 Lena Horne called and asked her to play the salty sidekick in a new performance of the musical Pal Joey. This seemed to be a chance of a lifetime, but required Premice to move to Los Angeles. For over 20 years she had put her family and children first and curtailed her career by eliminating the ability to travel around the country. Now she hired a governess for her kids since her husband was at sea and took off for California. The show had only limited success and caused a further rift in her marital life. Her performance, however, brought her to the notice of some television executives, and she had roles on The Jeffersons in 1979 as Louise Jeffersons' sister and on A Different World in several roles from 1991 to 1993.

In 1984, as their daughter graduated from Harvard with honors, Premice's marriage received it's final death blow. Fales separated from his wife and moved to Paris where he lived with a 21-year-old girl from Senegal. The separation was a blow to Premice and more than anything else in her life affected her self-esteem and outlook on life. They never divorced, and remained cordial but estranged for the rest of her life. This final break started a downward spiral where Premice neglected her finances and her health, ultimately leading to her losing battle with emphysema. She died on April 13, 2001, at home in her Manhattan apartment. She was survived by her estranged husband, Captain Timothy Fales, her daughter, Susan Fales-Hill, her son, Enrico Fales, and her sister, Adele Premice. Her memorial service was attended by a long list of socialites and stars who paid homage to her talent and spirit. She had spent her years smiling at life and her friend's remembered and loved her for it. In tribute to her mother's illustrious career, Susan Fales-Hill released a moving biography, Always Wear Joy, in 2003.

BLOGGERS NOTE: WE HAVE SHOWCASED JOSEPHINE PREMICE IN OUR PODCAST PRODUCTIONS MOST RECENTLY IN OUR "STARS OVER BROADWAY" REVUE WHERE SHE CAN BE HEARD DOING A DO OR DIE (REALLY IS THEIR ANY OTHER WAY TO COVER A VERSION OF THE ETHEL WATERS SONG?) PERFORMANCE OF "THEY'LL BE SOME CHANGES MADE" WE WILL REPEAT THIS EPISODE APRIL 18,2010.





Thursday, February 18, 2010

HOW THE INTERNET BEGAN

HOW THE INTERNET BEGAN
Click here: Beginning

THE MOST CLEVEREST EMAIL!

This has got to be one of the cleverest
E-mails I've received in awhile.
Someone out there
must be "deadly" at Scrabble.
(Wait till you see the last one)!



PRESBYTERIAN:
When you rearrange the letters:
BEST IN PRAYER



ASTRONOMER:
When you rearrange the letters:
MOON STARER



DESPERATION:
When you rearrange the letters:
A ROPE ENDS IT



THE EYES:
When you rearrange the letters:
THEY SEE



GEORGE BUSH:
When you rearrange the letters:
HE BUGS GORE



THE MORSE CODE:
When you rearrange the letters:
HERE COME DOTS








DORMITORY:
When you rearrange the letters:
DIRTY ROOM

SLOT MACHINES:
When you rearrange the letters:
CASH LOST IN ME



ANIMOSITY:
When you rearrange the letters:
IS NO AMITY



ELECTION RESULTS:
When you rearrange the letters:
LIES - LET'S RECOUNT



SNOOZE ALARMS:
When you rearrange the letters:
ALAS! NO MORE Z 'S



A DECIMAL POINT:
When you rearrange the letters:
I'M A DOT IN PLACE


THE EARTHQUAKES:
When you rearrange the letters:
THAT QUEER SHAKE



ELEVEN PLUS TWO:
When you rearrange the letters:
TWELVE PLUS ONE


AND FOR THE GRAND FINALE:

MOTHER-IN-LAW:
When you rearrange the letters:
WOMAN HITLER

Wednesday, February 17, 2010



SEE ANY STREET, ANY ADDRESS

This is really amazing.
When you enter an address you will see a picture of that place. There's a little map with a little man on it - you can move the little man up and down the block if you need to. I just looked at my childhood home! Really nice website!


http://www.vpike.com/

thatz the way of de world sun





Sunday, February 14, 2010

SUPERBOWL

John receved a free ticket to the Super Bowl. Unfortunately. John's seat was in the last row in the corner of the stadium. He was closer to the Goodyear Blimp than the stadium. He noticed an empty seat 10 rows up from the 50-yard line. He decides to make his way to the empty seat. As he sits down he asks the man next to him if anyone is sitting there. The man told him no, it was empty. John is very excited to have a seat like this at a Super Bowl and asks why in the world no one is using it? The man replied that it was his wife's seat but she passed away. He said this was the first Super Bowl that they have not attended together since they were married in 1968. John said that it was really sad and asked if he couldn't find someone, a relative or a close friend to take the seat?

"No" replied the man, "They're at her funeral!"

HAPPY PRESIDENTS DAY "ONLY IN AMERICA"



Only in America ......do drugstores make the sick walk all the way to the back of the store to get their prescriptions while healthy people can buy cigarettes at the front.


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Only in America .....do people order double cheeseburgers, large fries, and a diet coke.


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Only in America ......do banks leave vault doors open and then chain the pens to the counters..


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Only in America ......do we leave cars worth thousands of dollars in the driveway and put our useless junk in the garage.


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Only in America ..........do we buy hot dogs in packages of ten and buns in packages of eight..



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Only in America .....do they have drive-up ATM machines with Braille lettering.


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EVER WONDER ...

Why the sun lightens our hair, but darkens our skin?


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Why can't women put on mascara with their mouth closed?


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Why don't you ever see the headline 'Psychic Wins Lottery'?


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Why is 'abbreviated' such a long word?


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Why is it that doctors call what they do 'practice'?


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Why is lemon juice made with artificial flavor, and dishwashing liquid made with real lemons?


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Why is the man who invests all your money called a broker?


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Why is the time of day with the slowest traffic called rush hour?


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Why isn't there mouse-flavored cat food?


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Why didn't Noah swat those two mosquitoes?




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Why do they sterilize the needle for lethal injections?


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You know that indestructible black box that is used on airplanes? Why don't they make the whole plane out of that stuff?!


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Why don't sheep shrink when it rains?


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Why are they called apartments when they are all stuck together?


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If con is the opposite of pro, is Congress the opposite of progress?


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If flying is so safe, why do they call the airport the terminal?

Saturday, February 13, 2010

black history

BIRTHDAY

A BEACH STORY

A widowed Jewish lady, still in good shape, was sunbathing on a most deserted beach at Ft. Myers Florida.
She looked up and noticed that a man her age, also in good shape, had walked up, placed his blanket on the sand near hers and began reading a book.


Smiling, she attempted to strike up a conversation with him.

"How are you today?"


"Fine, thank you," he responded, and turned back to his book.


"I love the beach. Do you come here often?" she asked.


"First time since my wife passed away 2 years ago," he replied and turned back to his book.


"I'm sorry to hear that. My husband passed away three years ago and it's very lonely," she countered. "Do you live around here?"


"Yes, I live over in Cape Coral," he answered, and again he resumed reading.


Trying to find a topic of common interest, she persisted," Do you like pussy cats?"


With that, the man dropped his book, came over to her blanket, tore off her swimsuit and gave her the most passionate lovemaking of her life.


When the cloud of sand began to settle, she gasped and asked the man, "How did you know that was what I wanted?"


The man replied. "How did you know my name was Katz?"

Sunday, February 07, 2010

ALABAMA STATE BAND

 

 

 

 


COURTESY OF MY FRIEND TWAN GREAT PHOTOS!
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Saturday, February 06, 2010







once again its black history month and as you know I must add a new twist to the Billie Holiday 101 series. Tho I admit I havent listened to her in a year I still love her and always find people coming out of the closest with "new" info fascinating! Enjoy

Volume 52, Number 12 ·
Street Diva
By arthur kempton
In the spring of 1947, Jimmy Fletcher heard from his bosses at the Federal Bureau of Narcotics that it might be a convenient time to visit Billie Holiday at home. Her manager, a former fight-fixer, whoremonger, and running dog in Al Capone's pack, had offered up the celebrated Negro "torchchanteuse" and notorious dope fiend as grist for Harry Anslinger's publicity mill.

Anslinger, the bureau's first and only commissioner, was the public face of America's war on drugs, and he hustled as hard, if not as well, as his envied rival J. Edgar Hoover. Splashy arrests kept the congressional purse holders mindful of who stood between America's schoolchildren and the ravening scourge of narcotics. For doers of the commissioner's bidding, Billie Holiday was "an attractive customer," a reliable source of repeat business.

Fletcher was a veteran black undercover operative who knew Holiday from long years of going around. It fell to him, and a colleague named Cohen, to bring her in. They rousted Billie out of bed in a Harlem residence hotel, and found nothing they were looking for, either in her rooms or among her belongings. Agent Cohen suggested then that a policewoman be brought in to inspect their suspect's body cavities. They could look for themselves, Billie allowed, if they'd agree to leave without her if she proved "clean." Ignoring their demurrals, she stripped bare, straddled the toilet bowl, and urinated. Cohen tried to close the bathroom door. Choosing shamelessness over complicity in her own humiliation, she pushed it back open, "forcing both of them to see her nakedness and her defiance." She never averted her stony eyes from the faces of her onlookers.

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Fletcher knew then that he was in the presence of a thoroughbred—a true-to-the-game "mud-kicker" in the parlance of the streets she came from—who could take life's worst without a snivel. "She sealed herself closer to me that morning," he remembered. "She sealed our friendship."
But fondness couldn't trump his calling. Within a couple of weeks, Fletcher had managed her arrest in New York, on a flimsy drug charge that cost her a year in a West Virginia prison. But at least he felt badly about it, more than could be said of other men she knew better and who used her as currency to exchange with Fletcher and his like for favors, or their freedom.

The very qualities Jimmy Fletcher saw in her and admired on that occasion were regularly disclosed in the performances that won for Billie Holiday the audiences she turned into cult followers during more than a quarter-century of playing the high-class joints, the low-class joints, and even some of the honky-tonks in America's cities and bigger towns. In the four and a half decades since her death, "Lady Day," though venerated in a smaller church, has become almost as much of a cultural icon as Marilyn Monroe, and nearly as written about.

The latest addition, With Billie, authored by the British writer Julia Blackburn, has been assembled from a cache of recorded interviews and documentary scraps left behind by Linda Kuehl, a devotee with a book contract, who spent most of a decade talking to anyone she could find who'd known the singer at any point in her life. Twenty-six years ago, Kuehl plunged out of the window of a Washington hotel room, leaving behind a suicide note and two shoe boxes of "carefully named and numbered" audiotapes, partially transcribed.

These passed through her family's custody into the hands of a private collector. Lately, they have been culled, "untangled," rethreaded, and worked by Blackburn into a tapestry of tales told by persons who worked, hung out, and grew up with Billie Holiday. Blackburn does her best to sort out people's versions of truth with a biographer's sense of duty to the facts, while drawing inferences with a novelist's license. Now and then, she may take a step too far into speculating on states of mind, but Blackburn's way of working her raw material into a narrative gives an impressionistic portrait of her subject which conveys about as much that was true of Billie Holiday as can be had on a printed page.

All accounts of Holiday's life—including her own—are mostly just stories like these that have gotten themselves certified as history: apart from government records and newspaper reports, goods of casual provenance. Even at the source. "Billie had always invented huge chapters of her life," Blackburn writes, "telling stories that made emotional sense, even if they bore no relationship to the facts."

More of the truth of her story was revealed when she sang other people's songs. "She had a very small voice," said Bobby Tucker, a pianist who accompanied Holiday during several years of her late prime, "but she could tell a story, that's what she could do, and she had a thing about how she felt." He guessed that "thing" he was trying to describe "might be her pain."

Blackburn casts light on the origins of that pain in Holiday's shambled childhood. Born in Philadelphia in 1915, raised in Baltimore, her mother's hometown, the girl Eleanor, of variable surname, lived her first eight years mostly in the care of an uncle-in-law's mother. Adjudged a chronic truant and unsupervised child, she spent her ninth year in a reformatory.

About a month after her release, she stopped going to school altogether. Raped by a neighbor at eleven, she used to get drunk on corn whiskey and accost men in the street, then run away, taunting and cussing them until one could be provoked into chasing, catching, and beating her. At fourteen, she joined her mother in New York, where they lived in a Harlem brothel. Within several weeks of Eleanor's arrival, she and her mother were picked up in a police raid.

Facing a judge "notorious for giving harsh sentences [to]...what she called 'wayward minors,'" too-grown-too-fast Eleanor was found guilty of being a "vagrant and dissipated adult." She served six months, chiefly among convicted prostitutes, in the city's workhouse on Welfare Island. When she got out, she "did a little prostitution," waited tables, and sang for money thrown on barroom floors.

At sixteen, she was "a fat thing with big titties," who'd worked her way up to singing in a Harlem saloon for two dollars and tips "in the same [common] dress every night." Around that time, she changed her name to "Billie Holiday," after the actress Billie Dove and her father, Clarence, a guitarist with Fletcher Henderson's band.

As soon as she started working in bars, she'd kept the steady company of musicians, drinking, coupling, and smoking weed. "Lady was always part of the band," the tap dancer and comic James "Stump" Cross later observed. She graduated from the noisome chaos of the street into the irregular rhythms of life as a working musician without any mediating institution but jail in between. She was an unruly ghetto child, a "tackhead" with a transcendent gift.


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A dancer who knew her then attested that even as a fleshy kid "in tacky dresses," Billie "already had something in her voice that struck the public like lightning." Before she turned twenty, she'd acquired a following among cognoscenti and show people drawn uptown to see her at the Hot Cha Club. Holiday was barely twenty-two when she vaulted out of Clark Monroe's "downstairs place on 134th Street and Seventh Avenue" onto the road with Count Basie. A year later, she bore the brunt of integrating Artie Shaw's band on its Southern tour.

At twenty-four, during a nine-week engagement at Café Society, Holiday stirred New York's left-leaning intellectuals and claimed the notice of a wider world when she introduced "Strange Fruit," an anti-lynching song thought subversive by official America's Red-scared, especially Hoover. When it came out in the spring of 1939, her recording of "Strange Fruit" was a fair-sized hit, and eventually sold close to a million copies.

Once she became a star in the early Forties, Blackburn notes, Holiday "gave [money] away as fast as she earnt it." In her autobiography Billie described the Harlem apartment she shared with her mother as a "combination YMCA, boardinghouse for broke musicians, soup kitchen for anyone with a hard-luck story, community center, and after-hours joint where a couple of bucks would get you a shot of whiskey and the most fabulous fried chicken breakfast, lunch or dinner anywhere in town."

Among its clientele was Babs Gonzales, an avant-garde scat singer who never did much business. "Any musician could go there and eat and get money for the subway or to go to the movies," he recalled, "and if she was out of town she would leave money with mother." "[Billie] always respected musicians," one of her bass players told Linda Kuehl. "She was always trying to keep a hard front... [but] she was generous to a fault."

"She romanced everybody in the band, so far as friendship was concerned," fellow Basieite Harry "Sweets" Edison remembered. "Because she was your friend." Billie was ever one of the boys, even when she could afford to wrap herself in $17,000 worth of blue mink. "No matter how much of a star she was," a childhood friend reminisced, she never had an entourage, preferring the fellowship of players and the caterers of her bad habits. "She'd go down in the slums, in the bars, and she'd have her mink... and she'd just throw it on the chair and sit down with a little booze and buy for everyone else. And say 'bitch' and 'motherfucker'...and...tell jokes in different voices...."

And always, "behind the pimps and the parasites," "Stump" Cross remarked, "were these virtuoso piano players that loved her secretly." She had an affinity for piano players, and a knack for picking them. One said he loved to play for her because "you could go anywhere and she'd be there...." "[Billie] could find a groove wherever you put it. Wherever it was, she could float on top of it." In 1939, she'd told an interviewer, "I don't think I'm singing...I feel like I'm playing a horn."

Holiday once advised an awestruck, twenty-year-old pianist who was playing with her for the first time, "You don't have to worry about my music. If you can play 'The Man I Love,' you can play for me...." Her accompanists enjoyed their working conditions, because even though she "didn't know one note of music," Billie was every bit the musician they were.


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If she favored piano players as road partners and confidants, she mostly chose lovers from other sections of the band, and husbands of the outlaw caste. The first of these was Jimmy Monroe, "a suave sort of cat...a very fair-complexioned, nice-looking, frail type," a hustler lately returned to Harlem from several years in Paris. He was married to an actress when Billie met him, and reputedly pimping whores on the side. It's said he introduced Billie to smoking opium and sniffing cocaine. She broke with her mother over Monroe, which soon became a source of regret, since the marriage lasted less than a year. Monroe left for California with "most of Billie's money," which he apparently used to "set himself up with a stable of women there." In 1942, he was arrested for drug smuggling, and sentenced to a year in prison. She paid for his lawyers, but divorced him as soon as he got out.

By then, Holiday was twenty-eight and the toast of New York, where she was celebrated as the "Queen of 52nd Street." She'd moved on to a dope-fiend bass player named John Simmons, and had begun to recoil at the approaches of strangers who presumed to think that because they knew something of her they knew who she was. "She got to the point," Simmons said, "where she thought everyone was trying to use her and so she said 'Fuck the world!'" She'd decided by then, Blackburn says, "that nothing really changed, no matter how successful she became."

In 1947, at the height of her career, Billie was "a sometimes addict" being hounded cross-country by federal narcotics police. She was making about $50,000 a year, and keeping next to none of it. At the time, she was living with another "hop head," the trumpeter Joe Guy. She and Guy eluded an attempt to arrest them in Philadelphia, but a couple of weeks later, in New York, a small amount of his heroin was found by law enforcers outside the window of their room at the Grampion Hotel.

Holiday wasn't present and wasn't charged, but was held anyway, as a material witness. Under questioning, she took responsibility for the drugs that had been found in their hastily vacated Philadelphia hotel room, thus sparing Guy. Disdaining a lawyer—on advice of the same manager who'd sold her out to the Bureau of Narcotics—she was in a courtroom within hours to enter a guilty plea, asking only that the judge send her to a hospital for treatment.


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In fact, Holiday was never the hope-to-die heroin addict she was made out to be. Cannabis and alcohol were truly her drugs of choice. "Billie's heroin addiction was never particularly dramatic," Blackburn suggests. "Few people ever saw her injecting and it seems that whenever she stopped using heroin, ...she always managed to avoid the usual traumas of withdrawal...." Nevertheless, she was sentenced to a year and a day in a federal reformatory for women. Joe Guy was tried and acquitted. Her career was never the same, or her state of mind. "A lot of people go to jail," Bobby Tucker told Linda Kuehl, "but Billie took it personally."

When she came out of prison in 1948, she felt herself the target of any crimebuster who needed to look busy in public. Once she became a federal parolee, the local authorities revoked her license to work any place in New York City where alcohol was sold. In the center of her commercial universe, she was only allowed to sing in theaters and concert halls and so was forced into full-time itinerancy to make a steady income.

That year, she hooked up with John Levy, an "Italian-looking," yellow Lincoln Continental–driving, opium-addicted, self-described "half-Negro, half Jew" from Chicago. One of her piano players characterized Levy as a "sadistic pimp," then added, "and Billie admired pimps." Levy became her "manager," and kept her humping, kept her high, and kept her broke, since he was handling all her business and he was the one her employers paid. "If she asked him for fifty dollars," another of her piano players recalled, "he'd say, 'Don't ask for money in public,' and he'd knock her down literally, with his fist in her face, in the stomach, anywhere."
Four days into 1949, federal agents broke in on the couple in their San Francisco hotel room, catching Billie in the act of trying to flush away the opium and pipe John Levy had put in her hands. Clad in white silk pajamas, Levy, an inveterate police informer, bargained, while she "sat there... sober and clear-headed...very quiet and passive." He avoided prosecution and fled California, leaving Holiday in San Francisco to finish her engagement there, and face her trouble alone.

"We could have indicted Levy if we had wanted to," the district attorney there reportedly told her lawyer, "but Billie Holiday is the name and we want to get some publicity." She appeared for trial, two months later, with an eye blackened by Levy, and "no trace of drugs...in her system." Holiday's lawyer contended that Levy had conspired with a federal agent in her arrest, and produced a photograph of the two men chatting amiably at a table in the local night spot where she was working at the time of the raid. "[Levy] was turning Billie over," he suggested. "[He] wanted to get rid of her. He had cleaned her out of money...."

In court, she "act[ed] dumb," Blackburn reports, and "simply said that John Levy was her man and she loved him so." She beat the case. A month and a half later, when she was back in town, working at the same place, she was arrested again on the charge for which she'd already been acquitted. "The police and other government agents were always at her shows," Blackburn says, "...heckling, threatening, raiding her dressing room, making embarrassing enquiries at her hotel and spreading rumours at the clubs where she was booked to sing."

"I came out [of jail] expecting to be allowed to go to work and to start with a clean slate," Holiday told Ebony magazine. "But the police have been particularly vindictive, hounding... and harassing me.... They have allowed me no peace...." According to Bobby Tucker,

Billie's sense of insecurity was worse than ever. She was amazed that people hadn't forgotten her, but she was afraid they had only come to see what a woman prisoner looked like.
No matter her states of mind or being, Billie stayed out on the road, grinding away. John Levy once told Carl Drinkard, Holiday's piano player du jour, "You gotta keep your foot up them bitches...otherwise they get lazy on you...."

"Throughout the 1950s," Blackburn writes, "Billie was...on the move more or less all the time. Three weeks in San Francisco, one week in Los Angeles, back to New York for a single performance...." She was home for only four months of 1950 and 1951. John Levy had bought with her money a house among those of the other stars of jazz who'd settled in St. Albans, Queens, and held it in his name. He wasn't there much when she was, since he was busy gambling, tending his night club, juggling "property deals and at least two other women...." They were no longer together when Levy died of a brain hemorrhage late in 1956. Upon hearing of his death, Billie declared it "the best Christmas present I ever got." By then, she'd moved on to her terminal husband, Louis McKay. He was "the real true man she always dreamed of," Carl Drinkard believed. "He could knock her unconscious with a single blow...."

"For Billie," the "other" John Levy—this one a bassist—concluded, "her manager must be her man or her husband." Louis McKay became her man and manager in 1951. They were married six years later. Some said McKay was a bit better than preceding others, but he was nothing like the helpmeet Billy Dee Williams portrayed in the movie version of Billie's "autobiography," Lady Sings the Blues.

Blackburn reproduces "a slightly shortened version" of the transcription of a telephone conversation that was secretly recorded early in 1958. The participants were Louis McKay and Maely Dufty, the wife of Billie's ghostwriter Bill, and herself a manager of jazz musicians. McKay was just back in town, and looking for his wife. Apparently, she'd misspent some money he gave her. He was ranting, and his interlocutor was goading him on under the guise of calming him down. "You know I got the wire," he fumed, at one point in their exchange.

I know what this woman done.... Fuck the seven hundred dollars.... I want some of her ass this morning for playing me cheap. If I got a whore, I get some money from her or I don't have nothing to do with the bitch....
Basing her account on Holiday's accompanist, Blackburn has Billie wondering ruefully why she'd known

so many men...who were good and kind and gentle...but instead... had been drawn irresistibly to the hustlers and the pimps; she had chosen to be cheated and beaten and humiliated, and shared with other women and discarded when she was no longer useful.
To Carl Drinkard the reason seemed clear enough. "She'd grown up in that pimp-whore environment," he said, "[and] felt and believed that if a woman was making money, the man should have it...." If she hadn't been able to sing, Holiday would likely have been whoring, or thieving, or jailing for most of a short life, like thousands of other hard-knocked and tenderhearted females who came from the same places she did, and never got out. However far she got beyond the low places she was bred to, Billie could never view life from any other outlook than the one she'd acquired when higher ground seemed unreachable.

But for all the hard men she submitted herself to, the softer men with whom she engaged in a "little light housekeeping," and numberless others she merely laid down with, her truest love was never her lover. The most important of Holiday's relationships was the one she had with Lester Young, a player of the tenor saxophone who was among the twentieth century's great masters. They met in New York in 1936, where he lodged for a time with Holiday and her mother. They worked and recorded together regularly during the late Thirties.

Young was an eccentric: idiosyncratic and bohemian, down to his dress and bearing. A colleague, the pianist Bobby Scott, described his walk as having "something Asiatic about it, a reticence to barge in. It was in keeping with the side-door quality of his nature." But, as with the tale-telling about Holiday's addictions, legends about Young's peculiarities have ripened into myth, and masked such of his authentic characteristics as discipline, wit, intelligence, and perceptiveness. Fiercely private, inclined to melancholy, his sensibilities, like Billie's, were easily abraded by contact with the world.

There was no one of whom she ever spoke more highly, or fondly, or to whom she was more loyal, or liked as much. Blackburn characterizes them as being "like a brother and sister who shared many character traits." Claire Lievenson, a neighborhood pharmacist's wife who befriended Billie in the mid-Thirties, remembered that "when they saw each other they wouldn't kiss, but their faces would just light up." Holiday used to call Lester Young "the greatest motherfucker she ever met." Blackburn quotes Jimmy Rowles, a pianist who'd played with both Young and Holiday over the years, describing what it had been like between them whenever "they'd bump into each other."

Lester would say, "How are you, Miss Lady Day? Lady Day?" Puffing out his pale cheeks and bobbing up and down in a long dark coat, a milk glass full of old Schenley bond proof whiskey clasped in his hand, and the flat black porkpie hat fixed to his head as if it grew there.
And Billie would say, "Hey, Buppa Baby, you motherfucker!" and they'd be smiling and weaving and touching....
On records, the interplay between her voice and his horn can seem like a private conversation between two halves of a Platonic whole. "Sometimes I would sit down and listen to myself and it would sound like two of the same voices," Young once said of those recordings. "[He] used to know all the words to all the verses of a song," Blackburn asserts, "thinking with them as he played."

Holiday told Bill Dufty, who wrote her autobiography, "Lester sings with his horn. You listen to him, and you can almost hear the words." She said that when she sang, nobody but Young could "fill up the windows" behind her voice. Their collaboration was a form of intimate congress. In art and life, they moved through each other's interior spaces with the ease and grace of swans.

3.
With Billie ends with an evocation of Holiday's three-and-a-half-minute performance of a signature song, "Fine and Mellow," on a television program called The Sound of Jazz, accompanied by an all-star cast comprised mostly of old friends. Blackburn relies on the accounts of writer Nat Hentoff and a couple of the participants, in setting the scene at rehearsal on the day before the broadcast in early December of 1957. "Even Lester Young had made it," Blackburn writes, "although he was sitting by himself on a bench and wearing carpet slippers because his feet hurt...looking much older than his forty-eight years." The trumpeter Doc Cheathem noticed that Young "just kept to himself, sat apart. He was very quiet and sad that day." By then, he was sick, doing bad, willing himself out of life. He hadn't used alcohol before he knew Billie; now, a bit more than twenty years later, he was almost finished drinking himself to death.

During the show, when Young's turn to solo came, the camera moved to his face, and, as Blackburn says, "Lester looks as though he has been crying for weeks, his eyes are so swollen and puffy." Once, years before, "Stump" Cross had been struck by "the look in his eyes when he played for her.... He'd play his whole soul." That night, Young's brief solo was slow and spare, the silences between notes seeming to throb with ache. As he was playing, the camera mostly gazed at Billie gazing at him.

All the meanings her face bespoke can never be known, but it can be said that she bore him a look of unspeakable tenderness. "Sitting in the control room I felt tears," Nat Hentoff wrote, "and saw tears in the eyes of most of the others there." Later, when asked about Young by a magazine writer, Billie pledged her allegiance: "Lester's always been the President to me. He's my boy."

Both Lester Young and Billie Holiday died in 1959, within four months of each other. He went first, right on the edge of winter and spring. Back in New York from a last-gasp engagement in Paris, he sat in an armchair by the window of his room at the Alvin Hotel "for half a day and half the night and drank a bottle of vodka and most of a bottle of bourbon. Then he went to bed and died at around 3 a.m...." Billie wanted to sing at his funeral, but his wife "stopped her, saying that she might make a fuss and cause trouble."

She'd become as famous for her troubles as her singing. "I have no understudy," she reportedly said, wearied and resigned near the end of her life. "Every time I do a show I'm up against everything that's ever been written about me." By then, she'd been three years saddled with what she'd ostensibly written about herself in an "autobiography" that both she and her ghostwriter would later characterize as largely fiction. Laced with titillating revelations, Lady Sings the Blues quickly became a best seller, and has never since been out of print.[*]

Billie died at forty-four, from the effects of liver cirrhosis. While she was in the hospital for the last time, a nurse who may have been an undercover policewoman reported the discovery of a "suspicious white powder." Holiday was arrested and denied bail. A police detail was posted day and night to guard at the door of her room. Her deathbed arraignment marked the fourth time since she'd gotten out of prison in 1948 that Billie had been detained on vaporous drug charges. Plans were made to transfer her to a prison ward as soon as she was well enough to move, and a court date was set for which she was never able to appear.

Cardinal Spellman denied a request to hold her funeral mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral. No matter how high she rose, from the viewpoint of official America, Billie Holiday would always be regarded as a lawbreaker and never a citizen. She left behind most of what there is to know of her authentic self in the grooves impressed into the shellac and vinyl on which her voice was preserved. Her recordings disclose the innate refinement of the street urchin who became an artist famously expressive of tender feeling, and a woman whose "first and last word was always 'bitch.'"

Notes
For as long as he lived, William Dufty railed against Doubleday, its publisher, for offenses done to his book. Written in a month, based on newspaper articles and a few days of conversation he had with Holiday, Lady Sings the Blues, though nominally an "as told to" autobiography, was very much Dufty's creation. She didn't see a copy, didn't know what was in it, until weeks after "her" book was in stores.

Dufty set out to write a confessional, and suggested the dope-fiend angle as a commercial "gimmick." But he later complained that Doubleday's prissiness about language deprived him of Billie's authentic voice. Then, after she got arrested again within days of the original publication date, "instead of cashing in," as Dufty put it, the publisher "panicked and, on the advice of lawyers, hacked the book to pieces, taking out anything which they felt might cause trouble." According to Blackburn, the book's editor, Lee Barker, agreed with Dufty, saying that as a result of these cuts "almost everyone of note disappeared [from it] without a trace."

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