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Pat Brenan of Neptune has been attending every Planotone concert for thirty years.

Pat Brenan of Neptune has been attending every Planotone concert for thirty years, dressed as Kenny and his guys do. Paul Goldfinger photo © 9/7/13. Ocean Grove, NJ. Great Auditorium.  Re-post from 4 years ago.

2013:   The official count for last night’s Doo Wops concert was 2,700, but it sure looked like more than that—downstairs practically all full, and the balcony seats about 1/3 full.  The crowd was wide awake, alive and well.  We lost count of the standing O’s, whistles, shouts and applause.  Each of the three performing groups thanked the audience for helping to keep a musical era alive—an era of nostalgic, romantic and understandable music.  This was music that you could dance slow with, under low twinkling lights in gyms decorated with crepe paper.

That music, in OG last night, clearly was attracting some people who were born after the actual Doo Wop times of 1950’s going into the ’60’s when it helped form the basis for rock and roll. The Beatles found inspiration in performers including Little Richard, Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis, the Drifters and many others.

Last night, the show opened with the Duprees–not my idea of a Doo Wop act, but they are polished performers. The Duprees have had many hits during their 50 year history (1962-2012) and they do put on a musically excellent show. Unfortunately the loudness of their presentation sometimes made the music a bit muddy.  The personnel of this group has changed many times over the years. The current group are all fine singers.

The Duprees are celebrating their 50th anniversary with a new album, and I did like their rendition last night  of the Bobby Darin hit “Beyond the Sea” from that album.

THE DUPREES, from their 50th anniversary album:   “Beyond the Sea.”

Shirley Alston Reeves, age 72, came on stage with two young women backup singers and her band.  She is the real deal,  and, although she did some girl group songs by the Supremes, the Chiffons, etc, which the audience loved, she really came alive when they did music by her old group:  The Shirelles.

“Will You Love Me Tomorrow”  undoubtedly broke a few hearts again in this audience.  One item that kept eyes on the stage were the two backup singers who, by some magic, managed to keep those low cut red gowns aloft.  Shirley also wore red, but her outfit was wisely  more demure.

THE SHIRELLES: “Will You Love Me Tomorrow”

But, the Great Auditorium came really alive when Kenny Vance and the Planotones were introduced by Big Joe Henry for act II.  Their entrance set the stage as they came on doing the Planotone walk.  Kenny, who is now 69, has revised his show and made it funnier, edgier and musically more interesting, while retaining the infrastructure of his best hits and perfect falsetto.  Those guys, in their black suits, their porkpie hats and shades—always not taking themselves too seriously—lit up the place with their presence and the quality of the music.  Johnny Gale, the guitarist and musical director, was superb, as usual, in multiple rolls on bass, guitar, and vocals.  He even did some fine blues.

The group  opened with an old favorite, but one that I had never heard before by them:  It was the Five Satins’  “In the Still of the Night” which the Planotones did in a totally unique way.  But later, Kenny again mesmerized an audience with his version of “Gloria”

Here’s a link to our article about that song and its importance to Doo Wop history, and you can hear Kenny Vance sing it.

Gloria link

And here is a song that Kenny seems to do at every concert.  Angel Baby is beautiful, but he always gets the audience to sing along, and that is especially poignant when  a few thousand people participate in the Great Auditorium.

KENNY VANCE AND THE PLANOTONES with “Angel Baby.”

—Paul Goldfinger, Music Editor @Blogfinger.net

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Paul Goldfinger, Editor.

Phillip Seymour Hoffman*  was a great actor, although he sometimes made weird movies. In 2010 he directed his first film called “Jack Goes Boating.” It’s supposed to be a romantic comedy, but the four characters are depressing. I forced myself to watch it for the sake of the soundtrack, but we couldn’t get  past the first half.

The music, on the other hand, is varied and interesting. We recently posted one of the songs on BF — a re-do of “Blue Moon,” which is quite wonderful.  Here is the link:

The song which opens the film, however, is “The Rivers of Babylon” by a reggae style (“rock steady”) Jamaican group from the 1960’s and 1970’s called the Melodians who had embarked on some Rastafarian themes in their work, resulting in an international hit called “The Rivers of Babylon” recorded in 1969.

The song was chosen to open the movie, and I really liked it. Then I listened carefully to the lyrics (I’m always first attracted to the music — then the lyrics.)

It turns out that the Melodians were using parables taken from Psalm 137 which tells the story of the invasion of the ancient kingdom of Judah in 586 BCE. This Jewish nation was destroyed by the Babylonians who , after demolishing the first holy Temple, carted off most of the Israelites to Babylon (now Iraq).

The rivers in the song title refer to the Euphrates and Tigris rivers. What does this Bible story have to do with the movie? — I ‘m not sure.

The middle east around 586 BCE.

The middle east around 586 BCE.

But here is “The Rivers of Babylon” from Jack Goes Boating. —   (*Phillip Seymour Hoffman passed in 2014.)

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Bacall moving in Bogies direction without any cold weather to propel her. Key West:   Bacall moving in Bogie’s direction without any change in the  weather to propel her.  (Internet photo)

 

By Paul Goldfinger, MD, Editor @Blogfinger  (Re-post from BF 2014)

 

A Ph.D. psychologist who lives in the Grove, collects seashells, and wears glow-in-the dark chartreuse sneakers, has evolved a hypothesis over 30 years or more having to with the behavior of women in late autumn, as the temperature grows cold.

 

He prefers to be sort of anonymous, but he is convinced that his observations, which have been consistent over the years, are true and real, even though they have never been subjected to scientific scrutiny. We’ll call him Walter after Walter Reed, MD who helped find a cure for yellow fever.

 

Walter says that his concept has its roots in human biology, specifically the procreation of the species. He refers to the mechanism as being “of mammalian origin.”  Basically the idea is that women are innately understanding that they must survive the winter and do so by finding a mate who can “keep them warm and have sex.”

 

The behavior reveals itself in a “subtle nuanced manner” since women, by nature, tend to be social and interested in the “other gender.” So what Walter has observed is that women, late in  autumn, become more friendly to men. It is an “extension” of how they normally behave, but men will find women to be more attentive to them than usual: to offer to have coffee, or to come visit, or to have conversations. Men may miss this phenomenon unless they are looking for it. I would guess that it would be more apparent to available men.

 

According to Walter, women become more agreeable, smiling more and being more polite. He sees women as being “warmer” towards men than usual as the weather gets colder.   He refers to this behavior as “controlled” but also being  “frenetic” beneath the surface, behavior which he describes as “scurrying” while, at the same time, being more sociable and personable.

 

The end result is often an increase in coupling, relationships, engagements, socializing and dating . Have any of you experienced Walter’s theory?

BERTIE HIGGINS.  “Key Largo:”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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By Paul Goldfinger, 2013 ©

By Paul Goldfinger, 2013 ©

BUDDY HOLLY:

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Stuffed Flounder With Shrimp

Eileen Goldfinger, Food and Garden Editor  @Blogfinger

Fish:

2 flounder fillets

1/4 teaspoon chili powder

1 tablespoon Smart Balance  margarine

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1/2 lemon

Stuffing:

6 medium shrimp, diced and peeled

1 scallion, diced

1 shallot, minced

1 small celery stalk, diced

1/2 teaspoon ground garlic

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

pinch of salt

4 tablespoons Eggbeaters

1/4 cup Panko bread crumbs

Prepare the stuffing:

Put the margarine and the oil in a 10 inch non-stick pan and heat on medium.

Add shrimp, scallion, shallot, celery, garlic, black pepper and salt.

Sauté until scallions soften, and shrimp turn pink, approximately  5 minutes.

Remove from pan and place in a bowl to cool.  Turn off heat under pan.

When the stuffing is cool, add Eggbeaters and Panko bread crumbs to the mix.

Prepare the fish:

Re-heat the pan on medium and add a little more oil if  necessary.

Rub the chili powder on both sides of the fillets. Lay the fillets, skin side down on the counter (the skins are removed), place half of the stuffing in each fillet. Pull the two ends of the fillet together, over the stuffing, and secure with a wooden toothpick.

Cook the fillets in the pan until they turn brown and then turn them over and brown the other side. While they are cooking, squeeze the juice from the lemon over them.

serves 2

Cookin’ Music:   Clifford Curry with “Mamma’s Home Cookin'”

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Crew-members: Doolittle raid on Japanese islands, April 18, 1942. 16 B-25B bombers took off from the deck of the USS Hornet.

By Kennedy Buckley of Ocean Grove, New Jersey   (Re-posted from 2012 on Blogfinger.)

I was 9, visiting Ireland, when the war started in 1939. To get home we embarked from Scotland, and Mom bought me some toy soldiers and a tank for the sea voyage home.

The bombing of Pearl Harbor was what changed life in the US; now we were in the war instead of watching. Lots of small banners with a blue star in the center started appearing in front windows, meaning a family member was in the service. My two older cousins from Philly went in, and  one would become an officer in the paratroopers (more about him later). Dad’s younger brother with no children was drafted — my dad not. Soon there were multiple flags in many windows.

Nobody was allowed to go up on the roof of my uncle’s tall apartment building in Brooklyn because a spy could see all the ships in New York harbor awaiting convoy. All  windows had to have heavy  drapes to prevent light shining out. If light could be seen, an Air Raid Warden blew a whistle until you fixed it. Rationing books were needed to buy food and things. Tin cans and tin foil were saved and collected for the “war effort.”

There was little car driving (gas and tires were rationed) so Esso (now Exxon) printed war maps instead of road maps on which you could follow the battle front as the Allies went through Europe and the Pacific. War news was really bad, defeat after defeat; however, our spirits were raised with very welcome GOOD news about a daring air raid on Tokyo by B-25 bombers flying off aircraft carriers. (The 70th anniversary of that raid just passed–in 2012.)

This family had 3 members serving. The service flag hung in many windows.

As the war went on, many of the BLUE stars in the windows started changing to GOLD, signifying the death of that serviceman.

Many of our neighbors in the tenements were Italian. Each family had a small storage room in the cellars. Italian families made wine there and stored it in big bottles. When V-E Day came, the celebrating started in the afternoon by bringing the wine to the street for huge block parties that went on into the wee hours. EVERYBODY drank. I was 14 and my buddies and I got falling drunk for the first time, rolling around in the street — nobody cared.

Newsreels of color war footage of the island by island battles in the Pacific were shown in the movie theaters. They were so gruesome that when the atomic bombs were dropped, nobody complained — soon after came V-J Day.  It was the end ….of that war.

4 brothers from the Demby family of Bayonne, NJ (Paul’s family) returned home after serving in WWII. Three were in the Pacific, and one (Marty) was in the convoys that plowed through the North Atlantic with supplies for Russia and England. PG family photo. 1945.  Front l to r.  Ben (Bronze star valor), “Duke” (subs), rear: Al on left (Sea Bees) and Marty  (Coast Guard).

 

Postscript by Ken:

The soldiers came back home in droves to try to begin a normal life. My cousin Jimmy, the paratrooper, was already back recuperating  in an Army Hospital. He had jumped twice in Europe, D-Day in France and later in Belgium. He lost most of his men in the 2nd jump and was badly wounded. He never really resumed a normal life. He married (I was in the Wedding Party) a wonderful, beautiful woman,  an ex-Rockette. He was in and out of Veterans hospitals until he died in his early 30’s.

I fear for the returning veterans from our recent and current wars. Will they get enough care? I really worry.

Kennedy Buckley   (Note:  Ken Buckley died earlier this year in Ocean Grove.)

 

MUSIC from that era:  A lot of the music was sentimental and often catered to the imaginations of homesick GI’s who literally spent years away from home and loved ones.

Here is Peggy Lee with the Benny Goodman orchestra with a song that undoubtedly reminded many GI’s of their girls back home.  —PG

 

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Mulberry Street, near Chinatown. By Paul Goldfinger © Sept 2013.

Mulberry Street, near Chinatown. By Paul Goldfinger © Sept 2013.  Click to enlarge.

Little Italy has been fading away for years. Yet you can still take a food tour there and visit family businesses that exist after more than one hundred years.

On Columbus Day,  the Italian-American community is celebrated —-Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.

 

SALISBURY CATHEDRAL BOYS AND GIRLS CHOIR   “The Lord is my Shepherd”

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8:30 am. Vicky Redfern of Harrisburg, Pa. surveys the empty Ocean Grove beach.

8:30 am. Vicky Redfern of Harrisburg, Pa. surveys the empty Ocean Grove beach.   Click images to enlarge. Re-post from the autumn of 2013.

Bikers whiz by an empty Ocean Pathway Paul Goldfinger photo Sept 4 8:30 am ©

Bikers whiz by an empty Ocean Pathway
Paul Goldfinger photo Sept 4, 2013,  8:30 am ©

 

By Paul Goldfinger,  Editor @Blogfinger.net

 

On a beautiful September 4 morning, there were just a few scattered walkers, joggers, bikers and dogs tugging on leashes.   The beach was totally empty.  Lifeguard stands were standing together in a bunch.

Vicky Redfern is in town to sign papers for her new OG year-round home.  She was wondering if there is anything to do here in the winter.  Anybody want to comment on that?     There are 12 comments below which are of interest.

My suggestion would be to take tango lessons.  Here’s Gato Barbieri from “The Last Tango in Paris:”

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Saturday night. Ocean Grove, NJ By Paul Goldfinger

SOUNDTRACK.  Joe Venuti. This song is usually done with a trumpet lead—Louis A. mostly.  But Joe Venuti is something else altogether.  He uses a violin for the lead, with the trumpet coming in later. His voice sounds like a combo of two Louis—Prima and Armstrong.  PG

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To my dear sister with all my love—Adelaide

By Eileen and Paul Goldfinger  (Re-post from 2012, but timeless.)

We found this photograph at the Ocean Grove flea market, some years ago. At first, we were drawn to it because it was in a beautiful blue glass frame.

But then we noticed  the lovely portrait of an elegant woman who seemed mysterious.  The hairdo  is probably from the twenties or thirties and is likely an example of a “finger wave.”  She’s wearing lipstick and she probably has makeup on.  Her expression is blank except for the slightest suggestion of a smile.  It looks like she is wearing a coat or jacket with a fur collar. The material is shimmery.  What is it?

There was no date, but there was a little dedication at the bottom. It says, “To my dear sister with all my love—Adelaide.”

The inscription is written in a delicate ornate and crystal-clear style. She separates a few letters with tiny spaces between–sort of a combination of cursive and printing.  People don’t write on photographs anymore, and, in fact, they often take their own digital photos and then leave them in their cameras or on their computers, never to be printed or shared, except in the form of digital images on phones, iPads, or Facebook pages. No one can actually touch such a picture.

But Adelaide had her portrait done by a professional photographic artist. She probably was very particular in her selection.  Every town back-when had a photo studio.  Remember the work of Disfarmer which we presented on this blog?   Blogfinger article about Disfarmer, portrait artist.

An actual photograph, made on film and printed on paper by an expert, as in this case, is an object of beauty that transcends the actual subject matter. Some photographers today are learning old black and white methods such as platinum or albumin printing or silver printing in a darkroom with special papers  in order to capture those wonderful textures, tints and gradations of grey seen in photographs like this one.

The name Adelaide is from the Germanic and means “noble kind.”  It was popular early in the 20th century, but by 1950, girl babies were no longer given that name.  But then, as if rising from the dead, the name has regained popularity starting in 2005.  Now it is said to be quite popular.

On the Broadway stage (1950,) there is a character named Miss Adelaide in “Guys and Dolls.” She is a nightclub performer who is Nathan Detroit’s girlfriend.

If we try to dig down into the inscription at the bottom of the photograph, we sense a deep expression  of loss or distance between the writer and her sister. There is a sadness there, compounded by the fact that this image wound up for sale to a stranger at a flea market.   “To my dear sister with all my love–Adelaide”  seems so heartfelt, as if it is more than a sister would say to another.  We’ll never know what was behind that emotional inscription.    But the song captures the sense of it all.

Renee Fleming, the opera star, often steps over the line to perform music in other genres.  This was recorded by her for the soundtrack of The Shape of Water which won the Oscar in 2018 for Alexandre Desplat.

“You’ll Never Know” was written for a 1943 movie called Hello, Frisco, Hello.  The song is based on a poem written by a young Oklahoma war bride named Dorothy Fern Norris.  In 1943 it won the Oscar for Best Original song, one of nine nominated that year.  Harry Warren and Mack Gordon were the composers.

 

 

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