Today is my birthday and I share it with several other musicians, including composer Carl Nielsen, bandleader/singer Fred Waring, soul singer Jackie Wilson, Hootie & the Blowfish bass player Dean Felber, Toad the Wet Sprocket bassist Dean Dinning, and legendary songwriter Cole Porter. June 9 is also the birthday of guitarist and electric guitar inventor Les Paul, who would have been 101 today.
This compilation offers some of Les & Mary's studio recordings along with a few bits from their radio show. All sound great and are accompanied by detailed liner notes from Les himself:
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Les had a musical and technical mind beyond my understanding. The electric guitar sounds heard here sound very familiar 60 years on, but back then they had never been heard before. Truly an historic, influential figure in the history of 20th century music. Happy Birthday, Mr. Paul.
Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: Did not chart
Tracks: My favorites are In The Mood, Nola, How High The Moon, Bye Bye Blues, and Brazil. The final track, a radio excerpt, "The Case of the Missing Les Paulverizer" is cheesy (or, as Mary puts it, "the corn sure is poppin' now) and, in my book, doesn't warrant repeated listenings.
Personal Memory Associated with this CD: I was visiting New York City in January, 1998 and had planned a trip to see The Metropolitan Opera with a friend, who suggested we eat dinner beforehand at Iridium, a restaurant he liked across the street from Lincoln Center. The food was delicious and the decor was funky:
I loved everything about the dinner, but figured I'd go to the men's room before heading over to the opera. I asked the maitre d' who directed me downstairs to the facilities. Down in the basement, there was a small jazz club that seated about 50. It had about 10 people sitting around while a trio was grooving on stage. I watched for a few minutes, took care of my business, and then headed back upstairs. Upon my return home, I was reading a copy of The New Yorker and realized what I'd briefly witnessed and missed:
1) I unwittingly chose the opera over Les Paul. Opportunity lost.
2) Only 10 people were listening to Les Paul?!? Wha?!?