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Swimwear from Victorians’ Secrets. Reposted from November, 2012. Maybe it’s fake news.

By Paul Goldfinger, history editor @Blogfinger

In 1869, the Founding Fathers founded Ocean Grove in Larry’s Park (later, the name was changed to Founders’ Park). Soon thereafter, many visitors came to this popular resort. Some people wanted to live here, but sleeping in tents began to wear thin, so a building boom began, and along with that came realtors in 1872.

They opened an office on Main Avenue and called it Century 19. Many of the realtors were young ladies who wore billowing dresses with hoops and crinolines that made them extra wide. It was fun watching 2 or 3 of them squeeze inside a tent. They drove their clients around in shiny buggies that said “20% down” on the back.

The sales pitch for selling houses here must have been a challenge because of all the limitations: no horses in town on Sunday, no alcoholic drinks, no tossing pie pans on Sunday, no carousing on Saturday night, and no hanky panky. (Well, that last one was quickly tossed out due to overwhelming opposition by the folks in the choir, especially the basses and the sopranos. Besides, Grovers did need something else to do on Sunday.)

Another reason why there was no “blue law” for sex is that a baby was born in the tent colony,  and that is where the term “Founding Father” was born.

One of the problems was that Rev. Stokes had organized a lot sale. People came from New York City and Philadelphia to buy land in this unique town. Then, somehow, it turned out that they had purchased a lease. “What the heck avenue,” they complained. But even today, no one knows why their house is sitting on somebody else’s land. Luckily, lawyers followed the realtors into town and they made it all official.

It should be noted that you couldn’t go to Asbury Park for fun back then, because it was a sedate place having just been founded in 1871. The Asburians tried to emulate the example of Ocean Grove, but good luck with that idea.

Watch for our next installment of OG Historical Snapshots when we will tell the story of Jewish Grovers and how they introduced bagels with cream cheese to God’s Square Mile.

And here is Dinah Washington, who knows what to do on Sunday:

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By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger    (Reposted from July 28, 2013 and 2015. )

Ocean Grove is known for its music programs. We have live music on the beach, in the parks, in the Auditorium, and on Main Avenue, but here’s something you may not know about. The Emburys are a group of shore guys who love to get together on a street corner or in an echo chamber like the Casino and bring back that authentic acapella doo-wop sound. This is how that early form of rock and roll developed, especially in the inner cities of New York and Philly. Boogie is the guy who sings bass and is one Grover whom many of us know. The bass always stands out in these groups.*

We found them on a Sunday afternoon performing an old tune by “Shep and the Limelites” in front of the Pathway Market at the corner of Mt. Hermon Way and Pilgrim Pathway in the shadows of the Great Auditorium where, just the night before, the Beach Boys were doing the surfing thing. But today, it was doo wops, and the guys hit the harmonies and the high/low notes with no backup instruments. This music is not easy to do. A small crowd had gathered to give them some deserved applause.

*Boogie,” Robert Napolitano, passed on April 27.

KENNY VANCE AND THE PLANOTONES: “Looking for an Echo”

And this is the full monty version by SHEP AND THE LIMELITES of “Daddy’s Home” (“ratta-tat”)

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Captiva Island, Florida. 2012. By Paul Goldfinger ©

Captiva Island, Florida. 2012. By Paul Goldfinger © Click left for full view.

ART FARMER (1928-1999)  made an album in 1958 with the great pianist Bill Evans. It is called “Modern Art.” The group consists of Art Farmer on trumpet,  Bill Evans on piano, Benny Golson on tenor sax, Addison Farmer on bass and Dave Bailey on drums.  

The song “Like Someone in Love” was written in 1944 for a film called “Belle of the Yukon.”  Jimmy Van Heusen wrote the music, and Johnny Burke—the lyrics. This is one of the great love songs of all time, but you won’t hear the lyrics on this version.    Being an old saxman, I love the interplay between the sax and the trumpet early in the song. Listen for it.

—-Paul Goldfinger  (reposted from August 2013 on Blogfinger)

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Ever since we began Blogfinger in 2009 we avoided commercialization. But we have always run “in the red.”   Now we are permitting some advertising on a trial basis , in cooperation with WordPress’ “WordAds” program, to help pay blog bills and to make some profit for our efforts.  If a video shows up, putting your cursor on the video will bring up the audio.

Blogfinger is viewed all over the world, and although we might not be as busy as a Kardashian butt-blog, quite a few readers enjoy our style of  communicating, so what the Heck Avenue?

We don’t know if this effort will be fruitful (and I don’t mean rotten fruits tossed in our direction), but we are looking at other options as well as this one, including publishing an e- book from the BF archives about Ocean Grove.

Meanwhile, Blogfinger will continue posting news, shtick, photographs, music,  and the rest of our smorgasbord of e-stuff. So don’t worry if you find a commercial while you are perusing our site.  Or maybe you won’t, but just be aware.

Please tell your friends about us and send links all over the place.  At the bottom of each post is an email icon which will send a link for that post to whomever you address with the email.

Thanks,  Paul

THE BEACH BOYS:

 

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Tammy Scheffer

This Disney song is on everybody’s favorite list. When the Disney cruise ship comes into port, it is playing this song.  But Tammy Scheffer, a young jazz singer, provides a new twist.  Tammy was raised in Israel, but now she lives in Brooklyn, NY where she composes, teaches and performs a style of music which she calls “contemporary jazz.” She works with musicians who share her interest in finding new sounds and musical techniques. Our featured selection is from her first CD (2010) : “Wake Up, Fall Asleep.”

This song, “When You Wish Upon a Star,” starts out with the melody, but then heads off into the starry night with an instrumental section featuring an alto sax and Tammy’s vocal interpretations.  Then, at the end, it returns to earth with a soft landing.

Reposted from August 21, 2012  —By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.net

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By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger

(This piece is re-posted. It was first presented on Blogfinger in July, 2014.)

It was Saturday night, July 18, 1925, at 8:15 p.m., when vocalist Paul Robeson and his accompanist Lawrence Brown strode onto the stage of the Great Auditorium to present a concert of “Soul Stirring Negro Spirituals” (1)  to an integrated audience of three thousand people. Mr. Robeson, an imposing black man, was twenty seven years old. He was already famous as a screen and stage actor as well as a singer.  He was a true Renaissance man who would become one of the most popular performing artists of the 1930’s and 1940’s.

Robeson, who was born (1898) and raised in New Jersey, was an All-American football player and Phi Beta Kappa at Rutgers University and an honors graduate of the Columbia University Law School. As a college student, Robeson was friends with the Day family who owned Day’s Ice Cream “Gardens” in Asbury Park and Ocean Grove. He had a summer job as a singing waiter at Day’s. (3)  When he came to Ocean Grove for his 1925 concert, he had just completed a triumphant run at The Provincetown Theatre in New York, where he performed the lead role in Eugene O’Neill’s “All God’s Children Got Wings.”

He had friends at the Algonquin Round Table in New York City, and it was there, with the encouragement of his colleagues, that he decided to do a concert tour with an entire program of “Negro” spirituals and secular songs also known as “slave or plantation music.” This would be the first time that this music would be performed in concert, and he would appear with his close friend Lawrence Brown, also an African-American, who was a gifted composer, pianist and singer. The two would work together for thirty years. The first stop on the tour was The Greenwich Village Theatre in New York City, and then, three months later, he appeared in Ocean Grove.

The concert was reviewed by the Asbury Park Press, which said, “Robeson showed an intelligent appreciation of his task and a splendid voice.” They called him “a talented son of this state” and they described “great applause” in the Auditorium. Among the songs which he and Lawrence Brown sang were “Go Down Moses,” “Weepin’ Mary” and “Swing Low Sweet Chariot.”

The following month he performed his concert in Spring Lake. They would tour for five years, all over the world, with this program. Later, Robeson would become the third most popular radio artist in the USA in the 20’s and 30’s. In the 1940’s he was the highest paid concert performer in the country and he was also successful as a recording artist. He would sing in the first production of “Showboat” and he would play Othello on Broadway and in England. He would star in eleven movies.

But his visit to OG that night was not only about music; it was also about recognition of African American culture and the elevation of that folk music to high art. In addition, Robeson always was about hope for African Americans, and performing that music was his way to offer pride and encouragement to his people. In 2004, when Barack Obama gave his “Audacity of Hope” speech at the Democratic convention, the first example he cited was, “…the hope of slaves sitting around a fire singing freedom songs.”

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Robeson would accomplish much in his life, but his greatest contribution would be his tireless and life-long advocacy for civil rights. In 1925, Martin Luther King wasn’t born yet, and the “civil rights movement” would not begin until the 1950’s. Imagine how much courage was required for a black man to step forward publicly on behalf of racial justice at a time when lynchings were still occurring in this country. In 1921 a race riot in Tulsa, Oklahoma resulted in the deaths of 20 whites and 60 blacks. In 1922, an anti-lynching bill was defeated by filibuster in the US Senate. In 1925, the year of the concert, there were 17 reported lynchings in the US. Jim Crow laws could be found in many states, but Paul Robeson pressed for racial justice wherever he went and for his entire life.

Robeson had been “eagerly” (1) looking forward to his concert in The Great Auditorium. It is likely that he was aware that many “extraordinary African Americans” (2) had appeared there in the past, including the famous Marian Anderson (1921),  Booker T Washington (1908), the singing evangelist Amanda Berry Smith (late 1800’s) and many renowned black  preachers. The Ocean Grove Historical Society has documented the African American History Trail in our town. (2)

In 1998, the Ocean Grove Historical Society celebrated the 100th anniversary of Robeson’s birth by a day-long commemoration featuring lectures, dance, a book signing and an exhibition. The centerpiece of the program was a re-creation of the 1925 concert in the Auditorium. They brought the noted African American bass Kevin Maynor, who used the original program and reproduced the concert from 73 years earlier. This remarkable event was made possible by a committee of Ocean Grovers led by Rhoda Newman (chairman), Kevin Chambers, Phillip May, Jr., and others.

Paul Robeson’s contributions have been recognized many times in the form of tributes at Carnegie Hall and NJPAC, plus many articles, books, exhibits and documentaries. He is a part of Ocean Grove’s musical heritage which includes Enrico Caruso, Duke Ellington, John Phillip Sousa, and Pearl Bailey (2). Paul Robeson died in 1976 at age 77. Five thousand people attended the funeral in Harlem.

Paul Robeson sings “Swing Low Sweet Chariot” from The Complete EMI Sessions 1928-1939, remastered 2008.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS:

1. Asbury Park Press Archives (Asbury Park Library)

2. Ocean Grove Historical Society Archives (Ms. Rhoda Newman)

3. Mr. Kevin Chambers, Ocean Grove Historian

4. Ocean Grove Times Archives (Neptune Township Library: Mrs. Marian R.Bauman, Director)

 

 

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Paris, c. 1994. By Paul Goldfinger ©

Paris, c. 1994. By Paul Goldfinger ©

REBECCA KILGORE and the Hal Smith California Swing Cats and Tim Laughlin:

 

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Party time in the Grove

This post was originally published by Blogfinger on July 17, 2012—exactly four years ago today.    The Bastille Day tradition in the Grove has continued and was celebrated  again this 2016 summer.

Here is the 2012 report:

July 14 was Bastille Day, and certain Grovers of French heritage had a party to celebrate. There were French foods including mussels and paté. Chandon champagne flowed, there was live entertainment, French sailors with red pom poms on their hats,  and lots of laughs. Notice the efficient use of outdoor space at OG parties.

Paris, July 14, 2012

If you are having a party, send us some photos so that we can all enjoy it vicariously. No names — just pictures.  You might recall our most recent Halloween party report last October.

These photos are by Lee Scogno of Ocean Grove who also added an Italian touch by bringing his own recipe:  pasta with clams. The naked photos of Bridgette Bardot in her prime have been rejected by our censors.  —-Paul Goldfinger  (Doigt d’or).

SOUNDTRACK;  Play this while you look at the photos. Madeline Peyroux sings “J’ai Deux Amours” which means “I have two loves.” That’s a French thing to do, but none of that was going on at the OG Bastille Day party, but then again, who knows?

Note:  Run your cursor along the bottom of the slide show, and a tool will appear to let you view the photos more carefully.  (Cursors—foiled again!)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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Carol Rizzo at the Law Enforcement Memorial Service 5/24/16 Paul Goldfinger photo ©

Carol Rizzo at the Law Enforcement Memorial Service, Great Auditorium.  5/24/16 Paul Goldfinger photo ©

To the Editor @Blogfinger:

I was walking home from a movie in Asbury Park Friday night, June 3,  just before midnight, when I bumped into Carol Rizzo on the OG side of the bridge. We talked for a few minutes, and  while we were talking we witnessed a hit and run accident less than a block away.

A drunk driver smashed into a parked car and then took off eastbound on Asbury Ave, Ocean Grove.

What I saw next surprised me. Carol immediately ran after the car yelling to the driver to stop, while running she called 911 and when she caught up to the car she stood in front of the vehicle preventing him from leaving the scene until the police came and eventually arrested the driver.

Let me say, I don’t know Carol Rizzo; Friday night was the first time we spoke. What I saw that night was someone acting bravely, throwing themselves into harm’s way to protect our town.

At the time it seemed very dangerous and a little foolish to stand in front of a car with a drunk driver behind the wheel. But later I realized she was only concerned with getting this drunk off the roads and preventing more property damage —- and potentially much worse that night.

BRIAN SCHUBEL

Ocean Grove, NJ.  June 5, 2016

CHAMBER ORCHESTRA OF LONDON:   This theme music is called “Such Good Luck” from Downton Abbey.  Soundtrack by John Lunn.

It’s for Carol Rizzo who fortunately was present when others needed her courage.

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Scotrun, Pennsylvania. Ashley (l), Gilly (c) and Piper. 1999. ©Paul Goldfinger. Click left to enlarge

Scotrun, Pennsylvania. Hunting dogs: Ashley (l), Gilly (c) and Piper. 1999. ©Paul Goldfinger. Click left to enlarge.

 

ALABAMA:

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