The Musical Side Of Ben Franklin

Have you ever heard of a musical instrument called the glass armonica? If you think you have, then you might also think I meant to type 'harmonica' but you'd be wrong. A glass harmonica is the name used to describe the process of playing music with a wet finger on a row of glasses, and … Continue reading The Musical Side Of Ben Franklin

What If Saxophones Had Never Been Invented?

I've mentioned a few times before that I played the clarinet as a kid (and compared myself to Benny Goodman) but I've also always had a fondness for the sound of a saxophone. I've never played one -- it was all I could do to manage the clarinet -- but I had a couple of … Continue reading What If Saxophones Had Never Been Invented?

The Redemption Of Johnny Carroll 

One of the most unappreciated rockabilly artists of the 1950s was Johnny Carroll, a talented and magnetic performer who was in many ways reminiscent of his friend, the much more successful Gene Vincent. In fact, Carroll's surge of popularity later in his career was partly due to his appreciation for Vincent's music, along with his … Continue reading The Redemption Of Johnny Carroll 

Fantastic Foursome – Astaire Redux

Today's featured song on the GMC Special Feature known as Fantastic Foursome is another with a strong connection to Fred Astaire. For a guy who always comes to mind first and foremost as a dancer, he had quite an impact in many other ways during his long career. In this case, he not only introduced … Continue reading Fantastic Foursome – Astaire Redux

The Sound Of Royal Sax

A while back I posted a piece about a pair of 1960's combos with very similar names -- Tornados and Tornadoes -- but today it's a different kind of name thing. If you're at all interested in jazz, you might have run across a great saxophonist who worked with everybody from Ellington to Basie to … Continue reading The Sound Of Royal Sax

Frankie Randall Had A Helping Hand From Sinatra

Way back in 2007 I put together a post titled The Quintessential Italian Crooner, in which I wrote about some of the better-known Italian/American smoothies. But even though I didn't intend that post to be all-inclusive and have written about quite a few more since then, it's still surprising how many others remain. One who … Continue reading Frankie Randall Had A Helping Hand From Sinatra

One Of A Kind – Yma Sumac

It seems to me that I often open by writing about how a name might be unfamiliar to modern music fans, and I'm guessing today's spotlighted singer will baffle most. And yet, Yma Sumac was a pretty big deal in her day. A flamboyant performer whose voice covered more than four octaves, she was a … Continue reading One Of A Kind – Yma Sumac

Country Catalyst – Back To The Teepee

We're overdue for another edition of Country Catalyst, the Special Feature that offers a classic country song while hoping to open a few ears and make some new fans. As it happens, today's song is another one with an American Indian theme, sort of like our previous post, but this one has quite a pedigree. … Continue reading Country Catalyst – Back To The Teepee

Johnny Preston Got A Boost From The Big Bopper

Exactly six years ago today we spotlighted J.P. Richardson, better known as the Big Bopper, a DJ and songwriter-turned performer who had the misfortune to go down in the same 1959 plane crash that took the life of Buddy Holly. But just before that, he was instrumental in getting another rock and roller off to … Continue reading Johnny Preston Got A Boost From The Big Bopper

Barney Bigard Chose The Clarinet

Regular visitors to the GMC might remember that I once played the clarinet myself, and that probably contributes to my fondness for spotlighting clarinetists from the past. (The real thing, not hapless amateurs like me.) One of the best was Barney Bigard, whose career began in the 1920s and stretched for a half-century -- even … Continue reading Barney Bigard Chose The Clarinet