A guide to some of the important dates, events and recordings of the 20th century.
A guide to some of the important dates, events and recordings of the 20th century.
Christina Blenkhorn scatters glitter, beads, multicoloured wire and glass ornaments around tables at the Paragon Theatre. She is wearing a Santa Claus hat and several pieces of homemade jewelry.
On Monday evenings at the University of King’s College, the harmony of strings, clarinets, flutes and horns resonates throughout the hallways of the school.
Before the King
By Max Leighton
Often regarded as the King and founding father of rock ’n’ roll, Elvis Aaron Presley recorded some of the seminal tracks of early rock, mostly for the Sam Phillips’s Sun Records in Memphis, TN.
As the story goes, Elvis walked into Sun studios in the summer of 1953 saying he “don’t sound like nobody.” In only three years, Elvis united the sounds of black rhythm, blues, white country and western music, creating a hybrid style that announced the rock ’n’ roll age.
Elvis became the first marketable rock ’n’ roll superstar – a national spokesperson of the new genre. He had many great predecessors spanning genres like blues, R&B, country and pop. Here are three relatively unknown artists who helped develop the rock ’n’ roll sound.
Wynonie Harris was born in Omaha, NE arguably the least rocking state in America. In the 1930s he was a swing performer in Lincoln city’s jazz nightclub scene. He later became a regular performer in the nightclubs of Kansas City where he was influenced by the blues shouting styles of Jimmy Rushing and Big Joe Turner.
Harris hit it big during the Second World War as front man for the Lucky Millender group cutting some of his earliest chart toppers for the Decca Label including “Who Threw the Whiskey in the Well.”
In 1948 Harris recorded his defining track, a cover of Roy Brown’s “Good Rocking’ Tonight.” The song, now among the most famous of the rock ’n’ roll era and later became an Elvis Presley standard.
Harris saw little of the action. He continued to tour in relative obscurity until his death from cancer in 1969.
“Harmonica” Frank Floyd was born in 1908 to sharecropping parents from Toccoploa, Miss., who left him to his grandparents. By age 10 he hit the road, touring in the
travelling “medicine show” circuits.
That year, he named himself Frank Floyd and soon earned a reputation for his ability to switch between hillbilly and deep blues styles to suit the taste of his audience.
Floyd favoured vulgar country blues and his claim to fame was his ability to play guitar, sing and accompany himself on a harmonica held between his teeth.
Floyd got his break in 1951 when he was picked up by a young Sam Phillips, who was cutting records in Memphis for license to Chicago’s Chess records. Phillips saw the potential in Floyd for a white musician to cross over into the R&B market and earn valuable playing time on the white-only radio stations of the southern U.S.
Floyd had a couple of local hits with Phillips, notably “Howlin’ Tomcat” and “Step It Up and Go,” which, though definitive in retrospect found little favour on the charts during his own day.
Phillips eventually abandoned Floyd but his dream of crossing the racial lines of the recording industry remained his career focus. He eventually found it in a younger and more marketable Elvis Presley.
Floyd was resurrected from obscurity during the folk revival of the 1960s and 70s, when he was finally given carte blanche to record some of the best rockabilly blues ever recorded.
He died from complications of diabetes in 1984.
Johnny Burnette and the Rock ’n’ Roll Trio made some of the toughest rockabilly ever to come out of Memphis. The group was made up of brothers Johnny and Dorsey Burnette, as well as amateur boxer Paul Burlison from the city’s Lauderdale Court housing
projects. They were among the first groups to play with Elvis Presley, another resident of the courts who admired their early country infused R&B.
The group began performing live in 1956 on Ted Mack’s Original Amateur Hour, a TV show filmed in New York City. They won the contest three times and earned a contract with Coral Records.
They released one self-titled album and several singles for Coral, none of which sold well but have since become rockabilly standards.
Unfortunately, there was little room in the America of Pat Boone and Doris Day for a group with the raunchy hillbilly sound of the trio. By 1957 they were obsolete.
Johnny Burnette went on to lead an uneventful career performing with “teen idol” Ricky Nelson and cutting crooner pop tunes for Liberty Records. His obvious talent was all but disregarded.
He died in a boating accident in 1964.
Next week: The American Wanderer, the story of American music on the road.
This is not your typical movie review. In an attempt to dissect the themes of sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll in today’s movie spectrum, a movie review panel was set up for the
For an entire evening, panel members sat in front of a coffee table filled with munchies as they flicked through movies that have attained certain cult notoriety.
Below are the members of the Sex, Drugs ’n’ Rock and Roll movie review panel.
JM: “Is it safe to mix pickle juice with these cheese puff hors d’oeuvres?”
ML: “More peanut butter cookies please!”
JS: “We’re out of gin!”
JM: “Am I missing some kinky significance in this movie? Are they getting high off bad jazz or from simply saying the word
ML: “I’m pretty sure they still show this movie in schools.”
JS: “So, marijuana makes you want to kill people and laugh like Hannibal Lecter?”
JM: “Why does it feel like I’m watching an awkward Woody Allen film?”
ML: “Are they going to do it or what? Just do it!”
JS: “Less talk, more sex! Stop internalising everything, guys!”
The story of Frankie Wilde, a famous DJ who took so much coke that it made him completely deaf and isolated him from the world, Howard Hughes style. The
inspirational story shows how Wilde
managed to conquer the dance billboard charts after losing his sense of hearing.
JM: “I’ve always wondered what it would be like to be bent over a tennis net! Man, that looks painful!”
JS: “This movie has it all; sex, drugs and rock and roll. I think we’ve got a winner!”
JM: “This movie is actually quite sad for such a catchy title.”
ML: “This movie needs a 30-per-cent decrease in sadness and a 60-per-cent increase in sex.”
JS: “I want to go dancing now! Where’s my roller skates?”
Consensus: Stick to movies like It’s All Gone Pete Tong if you want to get into party mode. Be wary of titles that offer more sex than the movie does.
Terry Bremner, the national support group coordinator for the Chronic Pain Association of Canada, highlighted the lack of resources for pain sufferers in a lecture given at Delta Halifax this past Saturday.
By Sam Riches
“I don’t like exercise,” says Jim Hoyle, as the autumn leaves crunch beneath his feet. “So I join a lot of clubs, then I’m forced to do it.”
Hoyle is a member of the Chebucto Hiking Club, an independent organization founded in 2001 by William Parker and Ruth Henderson.
Their mandate was to get people outside and use the natural trail systems throughout the Chebucto Peninsula.
Over the past nine years the group has seen its membership steadily increase and the current enrolment of more than 130 members is the highest total of their short history.
This past Friday, the club met for a 10 kilometre hike of the Sackville Lakes trail. About 20 people gathered for the evening journey.
“We’re here because we enjoy nature, we respect it and it’s a healthy lifestyle,” says Dorothy Turner, now in her seventh year with the organization.
For many who are new to the Halifax region, organizations such as the Chebucto Hiking Club present an excellent opportunity to meet fellow hikers and discover the area.
“We just want to encourage people to come out and walk,” says Nancy Parsons, the public relations representative for the club.
The group meets twice a week, varying its walks on either Friday or Saturday and a regular Tuesday night walk in the Bedford area.
“It’s always a good work out and it’s always led by someone different who gives us a new challenge,” says Parsons.
The club takes pride in tackling these challenges.
“It’s a workout and that’s what Chebucto is known for, being a little bit faster than some of the other groups in the area, but it’s really more for the exercise and the camaraderie that we have.”
That sociability is evident as the group marches along, sharing stories and exchanging tales of past walks.
“Cape Split is one of my favourites, when people come visit that’s the one to take them on,” says Parsons, referring to the trail on the Bay of Fundy coastline.
“Locally, Blue Mountain is a good one.”
With an elevation of 154 metres, Blue Mountain is the highest point on the Chebucto Peninsula.
“We’re licking right along, aren’t we?” Hoyle chimes in.
At 76, Hoyle is the oldest member of the club.
Exercise and appreciation of nature form the nucleus for much of the group.
“We’re very serious about not damaging the areas we hike in. There’s a lot of species in the area, flora and fauna that are protected,” says Turner. “There are trees that are well over 100 years old.”
In addition to their appreciation for the landscape of the HRM, the club also votes on an annual hike away from the region.
This year the choice was Cape Breton.
“We were there for five days, hiking through the highlands” says Parsons.
The members hike year round, regardless of weather conditions.
This resilience was evident later in the evening, when the club approached an unexpected flooded area. Rather than be deterred from completing the journey, the group simply spun around and ambled off in a new direction.
Spirits remained high throughout the evening and when the hike eventually came to a close, many of the members went to a local restaurant to relax and enjoy each other’s company.
The club is working on its schedule for 2011.
By Schenley Brown
While increasing the number of events is the goal for the proposed convention centre, critics accuse Trade Centre Ltd. of setting unrealistic projections in its report to the government.
The government is relying on Trade Centre’s report, Market Projections For A Proposed New Convention Centre, to justify the $159 million project.
The report forecasts an increase of 314 per cent in international events, a 193 per-cent-increase in national association events, and a 200 per-cent-increase in national corporate events from 2015 to 2025.
Dr. Kuan Xu, professor of economics at Dalhousie University, says the report should have included optimistic, pessimistic and average predictions. It’s best to consider the worst-case scenario and then work to prevent it, he says.
“You are not only building a centre, but you have to maintain it,” says Xu. “So if you always go for optimistic, you might not have the cash flow.”
The province wants the city to match its $56 million payment, and the federal government has been asked to cover the remaining $47 million.
The federal government has not made any decision as to whether they will be involved.
The proposed project would be part of a larger complex, including a hotel, retail space and an office tower, and would replace the current convention centre located in the centre of downtown.
Susan Fougere, manager of corporate communications at Trade Centre, says the new centre would be geared towards hosting national and international events, because they create the most money for the province.
“You’re actually attracting people who come and spend new money in the economy, so that in turn drives new money being created in the province,” she says.
Coun. Jennifer Watts, who represents Connaught-Quinpool, agrees that international and national events will “bring in the money.”But Watts says some people are wondering whether Trade Centre, the provincial crown corporation operating the current convention centre, can offer an objective assessment.
Dr. Heywood Sanders, professor at the University of Texas-San Antonio and acclaimed independent critic of publicly financed convention centres, thinks the projections for international events “are frankly, absurd.”
Sanders says the notion that a city could go from a 2008 base year where there are only seven international events, to 29 events over 10 years, is something he hasn’t seen in any convention centre in North America.
“I mean, if one is contending that there will be such a large increase and consistent annual growth in the convention business,” he says. “One would think you could be pointed to other cases where that occurred.”
A review of the 2009 data, rather than 2008 data the Trade Centre used, shows the number of events in Canada has declined significantly, says Sanders.
Dr. Talan Iscan, a professor in the department of economics at Dalhousie, also questions the forecast.
Iscan says the number of international and national conferences will increase if out-of-province and foreign incomes rise.
Can income increases be predicted?
Iscan says, “it becomes an educated guess when you go beyond the three- to five-year horizon.”
Kevin Lacey, Atlantic director for the Canadian Federation of Taxpayers, says even if the convention centre was able to bring in 29 international events by 2025, the government would still be losing about $5 million a year from lost revenue such as property taxes on another building that could be built there.
Fougere is still confident in Trade Centre’s report.
“We certainly feel that we understand our business, that we understand our customers,” she says, “and we understand our true market potential in Canada.”
Mayor Peter Kelly says if the predictions didn’t pan out, he would be concerned since it would cause financial problems for convention centre operations, especially if the city has to split the financial losses with the province.
That’s why government is exploring other options, such as a convention levy, in order to offset these potential losses, he says.
Kelly is still optimistic about the prospects for a new convention centre. “Hopefully this will be the impetus to bringing that downtown investment that we’ve been accused of not doing,” he says.
The Internet, often credited with destroying music, seems to be doing the opposite.
Nervous laughter filled the Plutonium Playhouse last weekend as Thom Fitzgerald, artistic director and playwright, told the audience that the films they were about to see were chosen based on whether they made him laugh — or made him horny.