Tuesday, 16 July 2024

CyberSoulMan: Appreciation for greats who are gone

T Watts at the KPFZ microphone. Courtesy photo.

Let us attend to first things first. The correct first name of the actor, Mr. Brody who played Leonard Chess in Cadillac Records is Adrian. Last week I cast the d into CyberSoulSpace and it appeared to you as “Arian.”

I would also like to thank Lake County News reader Social Worker Ken who brought out the very important point of Eartha Kitt’s 1968 visit to the White House in his response to this blog ... Wikipedia reports it thusly:

“However, in 1968, during the administration of President Lyndon B. Johnson, Kitt encountered a substantial professional setback after she made anti-war statements during a White House luncheon.

"In 1968 she was invited to a White House luncheon and was asked by Lady Bird Johnson about the Vietnam War. She replied: 'You send the best of this country off to be shot and maimed. No wonder the kids rebel and take pot.' The remark reportedly caused Mrs. Johnson to burst into tears and led to a derailment in Ms. Kitt's career.

“The public reaction to Kitt's statements was much more extreme, both for and against her statements. Publicly ostracized in the US, she devoted her energies to overseas performances.”

Ken also posed the question: Who could play Matriarch of the Blues, Etta James, if and when her life story is given a film treatment? The CyberSoulMan would like to submit for your approval one Teeny Tucker, daughter of acclaimed Chess/Checker recording artist, Tommy Tucker.

Mr. Tucker is the writer and original performer of the famous 1964 hit song, “Hi-Heel Sneakers,” which rocketed to No. 11 on the Billboard Top 100. The song has been recorded and covered by legions of artists from Sammy Davis Jr., the Grateful Dead, Jose Feliciano, Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis Presley, Leon Russell, to the Rolling Stones and others.

Teeny Tucker has now recorded her third CD to critical acclaim. Titled “Two Big M’s,” the CD has been nominated for the best independently produced Blues CD of 2008 by the Memphis, Tenn.-based Blues Foundation. With the looks and pipes reminiscent of a young Etta James, Tucker, in my opinion, would be perfect for the part of Etta on the big screen.

For more information on Teeny Tucker, visit her website at www.teenytucker.com. On Monday Jan. 26, the CyberSoulMan will be interviewing Teeny Tucker on Blue Monday, broadcast on KPFZ, 88.1 FM Lake County Community Radio at 8 a.m. It will be rebroadcast on Wednesday Jan. 28, at 6 a.m.

The Teeny Tucker interview also will be streamed over the Internet at 2 p.m. on In The Blues Spot at www.theworldofblues.com.

* * * * *

I’ll be the first to admit that frequently in my life, I don’t appreciate the greatness of an artist until after they are no longer with us.

When Jazz trumpet great Freddie Hubbard passed away on Dec. 29, 2008, I pulled out all of his work in my library and spent time with a critical ear glued to the representative performances that I have access to.

Hubbard was a great melodic, hard boppin’ player. I came away with a new respect for the man who, throughout his career, was overshadowed in popularity by Miles Davis.

I remember seeing Freddie Hubbard headline the Berkeley Jazz Festival in about the year 1970. At one point he was understating melodically a section of a ballad. It was pianissimo to the max. It required intense listening and had the crowd was doing just that.

He was playing so softly, it was just his horn and our ears sharing this quiet space. Suddenly some idiot shattered the stillness with a rude shout, “Freddie you can play, but you can’t kick like Miles.”

It broke the mood. People in the crowd laughed nervously. Hubbard did his best not to show pain that was difficult to conceal in such a vulnerable moment. People can be so cruel …

* * * * *

Upcoming cool performance … Morris Day and the time will play Cache Creek Casino on Valentine's Day, Feb. 14. That’s a gig that I might just have to make.

Hope your life is free flowing despite the ills of the world. Keep prayin’, keep thinkin’ those kind thoughts. Until all of us are free, none of us are free.

T. Watts is a writer, radio host and music critic. Visit his Web site at www.teewatts.biz.


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