MORNING IN PEACHAM, VERMONT

I’ll have to tell you about the epic drive across northern New England. Not today, but when I’m a little more recovered. It turns out that all the high speed roads in New England run north-south. If you are way up in the far north and need to go somewhere else, westward, which is also in the far north … there are not a lot of roads.

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It turned out, you take Route 2 out of Skowhegan. After then, just keep driving, driving, driving, driving until you get to Danville, Vermont. Make a left. Voila.

I am omitting the fun details. It was the most awful journey through magnificent, glorious mountains. They took my breath away while dealing with the dreadful driving and primitive roads made us crazy. Ambivalence redefined. Remarkably, we are alive and here in Peacham, Vermont.

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I just have a few of pictures for you of the morning mist rising off the pond, and the river behind the house in which we are absorbing our coffee.

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There are stories to tell and I will tell them, but today … we rest. Recuperate. Breathe. And absorb some of the most incredible scenery in the world.


Reader’s Block – F.Y.I – I haven’t read a book since I went on vacation more than a week ago. Barely written anything, either. C’est la vie.

MORE OF ATTEAN POND – GARRY ARMSTRONG

All text is from The Forest Society of Maine website:

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In 1984 the Coburn family, who had owned much of Attean Township since 1916, faced the need to sell their land, but wanted to find a way to protect the township’s stunning natural beauty, outstanding forest resources, and recreational traditions.

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FSM was established by the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests to fill a unique niche and to conserve 18,067 acres in Jackman, Maine (Attean Township). The area includes important ecological areas, 15 miles of Attean Pond and Moose River shore front, scenic islands, mountain slopes, and productive forestland .

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At the time, the Attean easement was the largest conservation easement in the country, and the first easement in Maine to include the multiple values — recreational, ecological, and economic — produced by Maine’s forests.

Visit Jackman, Maine

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COVERING R&B MUSIC

Black artists and white singers, Rich Paschall, Sunday Night Blog

At the dawn of Rock and Roll in the 1950’s and even into the early 1960’s, it was not uncommon for white singers to cover African-American singers.  Black artists did not get radio play on white radio stations.  That shut them out of a lot of markets and kept much of America from hearing their songs.  This opened the door wide for white singers to record songs heard only on black R&B stations, leaving the impression in many areas that they were the original artists.

The Memphis area, Tennessee label, DOT, founded in 1950, became big by hiring white singers to cover black songs.  Indeed they made stars out of some of these singers.  Among the biggest was Pat Boone.  The crooner recorded Fats Domino’s 1955 song “Ain’t That a Shame,” which became a big hit.  It had been suggested that Boone change the lyric to “Isn’t That A Shame,” perhaps to sound more “white.”  Fortunately they resisted that bad idea.  Boone followed with a number of covers that made him a household name.  His next success was the Little Richard song, “Tutti Fruitti,” which Boone did not want to record.  To Boone “it didn’t make sense” but he was talked into it and it went to number 12.   A song that went all the way to the top was “I Almost Lost My Mind,” originally by Ivory Joe Hunter.  Nat King Cole even covered the song, but Boone had the hit.  The main reason was Boone got a lot of radio play.  The others did not.

DOT also made a star of Gale Storm when she covered the Smiley Lewis R&B hit, “I Hear You Knockin.”  She also recorded “Why Do Fools Fall In Love?”  Snooky Lanson and The Fontane Sisters also benefited from the era of covering other artists.  Eventually DOT cashed in off admitting to the practice with an album of 30 of these songs.  “Cover to Cover,” includes 7 recordings by Pat Boone alone.  It also includes a mediocre version of Chuck Berry’s Rock Classic, “Maybelline,” by Jim Lowe.

The white versions were generally slower and toned down in comparison to the R&B versions.  They were playing to a different audience so they produced versions they thought would be more appealing to that audience.  It was a sign of the racially segregated times and something that would not happen now.  Of course there are still many covers, but for various other reasons.

When Elvis Presley hit the scene, he also brought with him cover versions of other songs.  His 1956 hit “Hound Dog,” was originally by Big Mama Thornton, but Elvis may have been influenced by the 1953 novelty version by Jack Granger and his Granger County Gang, aka Homer and Jethro.  The 1954 hit, “That’s All Right,” belonged to Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup and was originally called “That’s All Right, Mama.”

One of the consequences of all these cover songs was they helped pave the way toward acceptance of this genre of music and eventually of some of the black artists who originated the songs.   Little Richard is said to have claimed that while teenagers and young music lovers may have had Pat Boone on top of their dressers, but they had “me in the drawer ’cause they liked my version better.” 

By the late 1950’s, with the segregation of music dying out, the Doo-Wop group Little Anthony and the Imperials came along and started to hit the big time.  While many of their early songs found great success for other artists, they found wider radio and television play than earlier Black R&B stars.

For a look at the Linda Ronstadt version of this song, see this past article.