Sunday, June 17, 2018

Happy Fathers's Day!

What Makes A Dad

God took the strength of a mountain,
The majesty of a tree,
The warmth of a summer sun,
The calm of a quiet sea,

The generous soul of nature,
The comforting arm of night,
The wisdom of the ages,
The power of the eagle's flight,

The joy of a morning in spring,
The faith of a mustard seed,
The patience of eternity,
The depth of a family need,

Then God combined these qualities,
When there was nothing more to add,
He knew His masterpiece was complete,
And so, He called it ... Dad

by Anonymous

Thank you God for giving me such a wonderful father and teacher. 

I was one of the lucky ones!

Even after all these years, I still miss you Dad!

Saturday, June 16, 2018

At the Hop!

The Del-Vikings!



Biography by

The story of the Dell-Vikings (or Del Vikings, or Del-Vikings) is one of the most glorious, complicated, and frustrating of any successful doo wop group in music history. With two major national hits ("Come Go With Me" and "Whispering Bells") to their credit -- one more hit than most other successful doo wop groups ever had -- they had a jump on virtually all of their competition. Just as they were ascending those heights of fame and success, however, internal fractures and some greed and misdirected ambition helped destroy any chance they had of making a lasting place for themselves at the top of their profession. They left behind two hits and a large body of very good records that weren't nearly as well-known, as well as a reputation as one of the few successful integrated vocal groups of their era.

The group had its origins at the Pittsburgh Air Force Base, where five black enlisted men, Corinthian "Kripp" Johnson (first tenor), Clarence E. Quick (bass), Don Jackson (second tenor), Bernard Robertson, and Samuel Paterson, began singing together during 1955 at the camp hall. They won a talent contest on the base in early 1956, and then competed nationally in New York and Bermuda, where they placed first and second, respectively. By that time, they were starting to attract local attention, most notably from disc jockey Barry Kaye, who wanted to record the Del Vikings, as they were then known (just one "l," and no hyphen).
The origins of their name have been ascribed to various sources. Some stories say that the members had read of the Vikings in an encyclopedia and liked the sound, the "Del" being rather more mysterious. Others claim that Clarence Quick had known a basketball team called the Vikings in Brooklyn, and suggested the name.

The Del Vikings' lineup was fairly fluid due to the nature of military service, and by early 1956, Robertson and Paterson were gone, transferred to Germany. Their replacements were Norman Wright (lead tenor) and David Lerchey (baritone). Lerchey's presence in the group as its first white member was more a matter of expediency than design, as he was simply the talent that was available. It did make the group slightly more distinctive; although other integrated singing groups had already achieved considerable exposure, including the Meadowlarks ("Heaven and Paradise") and the Mariners, who had appeared nationally on Arthur Godfrey's network television show.
This second lineup was the version of the Del Vikings that Barry Kaye recorded. The resulting sessions yielded nine songs done a cappella, including early versions of Clarence E. Quick's "Come Go With Me" and Kripp Johnson's "How Can I Find True Love." The demo tapes, which contained only the most rudimentary backing, were sent around to all of the major labels, each of which passed on the chance to record the Del Vikings. Finally, the group was signed by Joe Auerbach, the owner of a small Pittsburgh-based label called Fee Bee. A new recording session yielded a fully realized version of "Come Go With Me," backed by the quintet's own band, including their resident backup men Joe Lopes (later a top recording engineer for RCA) and Gene Upshaw on sax, with the lead sung by new member Norman Wright.

The single, released late in 1956, quickly outgrew Fee Bee's ability to exploit it, and Auerbach leased it to Dot Records; that version appeared in early 1957 and began a 31-week run on the charts, reaching number four on the pop chart and number three on the R&B chart during the spring and early summer. The group was now a national phenomenon and was booked on tours across the country, as well as a featured spot in one of Alan Freed's Brooklyn Paramount shows. Their lineup had already changed again, the group acquiring its second white member, Gus Backus, who replaced Don Jackson as second tenor. Even so, military obligations sometimes prevented all of the members from participating at once in these performances.

The success of "Come Go With Me" should have positioned the group well for future success, but instead it began a process of fracturing their lineup.
Fee Bee tried to maintain the momentum by releasing a single early in 1957 on which the group had sung backup, but that disappeared without a trace. They finally got their all-important second hit, "Whispering Bells" (also written by Clarence Quick), in the late summer of 1957, which reached number nine on the pop charts.
Behind the scenes, however, maneuvers were taking place that were to nullify these two huge successes. With "Come Go With Me" storming the charts, the Del Vikings were suddenly in demand from many of the same major labels that had passed on them a year earlier. What made their interest possible at all, in the view of their manager -- who was also the legal representative for the air base where they were stationed -- was that the group's contract with Fee Bee had a major flaw, in that some of the members were under 21 at the time it was signed. Faced with the chance to make new and major amounts of money for all concerned, in the midst of the group's chart run with "Come Go With Me," their manager signed the group to Mercury Records under a contract that specifically covered the members who had been underage in 1956.

Meanwhile, the group -- or a version of it -- had released "Whispering Bells" on Fee Bee and Dot. The result was that the group split into two rival outfits, one called the Dell-Vikings (the spelling of the outfit that released "Whispering Bells") on Dot Records, with Kripp Johnson and the returned Don Jackson; and the Del-Vikings, as their name was spelled, on Mercury, led by composer Clarence E. Quick and featuring Norman Wright, David Lerchey, Gus Backus, and new member William Blakely.

The situation was extremely complicated: Mercury had the majority of the members who'd been on "Come Go With Me," as well as the man who had written it and the man who'd sung lead on it, but the Mercury group's members were still in the Air Force and not free to tour as they might have wanted; Dot Records had one founding member of the group in Kripp Johnson and another key singer, and they and the group they assembled were out of the Air Force and free to tour as they wished.

Further complicating the group's -- or groups' -- situation at the time were the demos they'd recorded for Barry Kaye. He sold these to Luniverse Records, a label whose co-owners included Dickie Goodman and George Goldner. In the midst of the chart run of Dot's "Come Go With Me," Luniverse redubbed the a cappella demo recordings with a full band and released eight of the nine songs in edited form on an LP, Come Go With the Del-Vikings, as well as issuing one 45 of "Over the Rainbow" and "Hey Senorita."

The Kripp Johnson-led "Whispering Bells" on Dot, recorded by the Dell-Vikings, was followed onto the charts by the Mercury Del-Vikings' "Cool Shake"; the latter was a fast-paced rocker sung by Gus Backus, which didn't do as well, probably as a result of the fact that record retailers and distributors, as well as radio programmers, were starting to get confused by the presence of two groups with nearly identical names on two different labels. By the summer of 1957, Mercury and Dot were both claiming the same single pairing of "When I Come Home" and "I'm Spinning" as their own. Court action followed, with Mercury winning the rights to the group and the name the Del-Vikings and any variations of it. Yet another group lineup, with Joe Lopes filling in for David Lerchey, appeared alongside Fats Domino and the Diamonds in the movie The Big Beat in 1957.

The Kripp Johnson version of the group, now known as the Versatiles and featuring Don Jackson, Chuck Jackson, Arthur Budd, and Ed Everette, kept recording, but without success, and by the end of 1957, Kripp Johnson was back with the Mercury Del-Vikings. Now the "classic" Del Viking lineup was restored and the group was back to full strength, but the moment had passed, and the Del-Vikings had no further national hits.

In 1959, the Mercury contract ended, and after a few detours, the group -- now a sextet including Johnson, Quick, Ritzy Lee, Billy Woodruff, Willie Green, and Douglas White -- signed with ABC-Paramount. They had little success at ABC, despite having made some excellent records. By the time of their ABC contract, the group had come to sound somewhat like the Drifters, especially in terms of the arrangements they were using. By 1965, it was over for the Del-Vikings. The group experienced a revival under Clarence Quick in 1972 amid the oldies boom, and they recorded a new version of "Come Go With Me" for the New York-based Scepter label that got some notice in Billboard early in 1973. By 1980, Kripp Johnson had reformed his own "Dell-Vikings" (the Mercury contract having long since ended, there was no party to lay final claim to the name) with Norman Wright, Ritzy Lee, John Byas, and David Lerchey, and his and Quick's Del-Vikings hovered around each other; avoiding direct confrontation by staying out of each other's way on tours through different parts of the country, until Quick's death in 1985 and Johnson's death in 1990.

Golden Classics
The juggling of the group membership, name, and label affiliation makes collecting the Del-Vikings (or Dell-Vikings) very complicated. The "Come Go With Me" group on Dot in the main moved over to Mercury as the Del Vikings without any major hits, so it is a good idea to own both the Dot and Mercury stuff. But the Mercury group (from late 1957 until 1959) included all of the key original members, and they eventually moved over to ABC-Paramount in 1960 or so, and MCA now owns both Dot and ABC; meaning that the collections of the group's work aren't simple to divide or arrange. MCA's Best of the Del-Vikings has the beginning and end of the classic group, late 1956 to mid-1957 with a jump to 1960-1963, while Mercury has the glorious middle, mid-1957 to 1959 (and both collections include "When I Come Home" and "I'm Spinning"). And Collectables has the original 1956 demos, with yet another lineup of Dell Vikings
  Whether they were spelling their name Del-Vikings, Del Vikings, or Dell-Vikings, the group left behind one of the most satisfying bodies of R&B and doo wop music this side of the Drifters. The lingering appeal of "Come Go With Me" and "Whispering Bells" -- used in movies like George Lucas' American Graffiti and Rob Reiner's Stand By Me -- has helped their music remain among the most accessible bodies of doo wop music well into the CD era.


Friday, June 15, 2018

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Oh! say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave!

The History Of  Flag Day

The Fourth of July was traditionally celebrated as America's birthday, but the idea of an annual day specifically celebrating the Flag is believed to have first originated in 1885. BJ Cigrand, a schoolteacher, arranged for the pupils in the Fredonia, Wisconsin Public School, District 6, to observe June 14 (the 108th anniversary of the official adoption of The Stars and Stripes) as 'Flag Birthday'. In numerous magazines and newspaper articles and public addresses over the following years, Cigrand continued to enthusiastically advocate the observance of June 14 as 'Flag Birthday', or 'Flag Day'.

On June 14, 1889, George Balch, a kindergarten teacher in New York City, planned appropriate ceremonies for the children of his school, and his idea of observing Flag Day was later adopted by the State Board of Education of New York. On June 14, 1891, the Betsy Ross House in Philadelphia held a Flag Day celebration, and on June 14 of the following year, the New York Society of the Sons of the Revolution, celebrated Flag Day.

Following the suggestion of Colonel J Granville Leach (at the time historian of the Pennsylvania Society of the Sons of the Revolution), the Pennsylvania Society of Colonial Dames of America on April 25, 1893 adopted a resolution requesting the mayor of Philadelphia and all others in authority and all private citizens to display the Flag on June 14th. Leach went on to recommend that thereafter the day be known as 'Flag Day', and on that day, school children be assembled for appropriate exercises, with each child being given a small Flag.

Two weeks later on May 8th, the Board of Managers of the Pennsylvania Society of Sons of the Revolution unanimously endorsed the action of the Pennsylvania Society of Colonial Dames. As a result of the resolution, Dr. Edward Brooks, then Superintendent of Public Schools of Philadelphia, directed that Flag Day exercises be held on June 14, 1893 in Independence Square. School children were assembled, each carrying a small Flag, and patriotic songs were sung and addresses delivered.
In 1894, the governor of New York directed that on June 14 the Flag be displayed on all public buildings. With BJ Cigrand and Leroy Van Horn as the moving spirits, the Illinois organization, known as the American Flag Day Association, was organized for the purpose of promoting the holding of Flag Day exercises. On June 14th, 1894, under the auspices of this association, the first general public school children's celebration of Flag Day in Chicago was held in Douglas, Garfield, Humboldt, Lincoln, and Washington Parks, with more than 300,000 children participating.

Adults, too, participated in patriotic programs. Franklin K. Lane, Secretary of the Interior, delivered a 1914 Flag Day address in which he repeated words he said the flag had spoken to him that morning: "I am what you make me; nothing more. I swing before your eyes as a bright gleam of color, a symbol of yourself."

Inspired by these three decades of state and local celebrations, Flag Day - the anniversary of the Flag Resolution of 1777 - was officially established by the Proclamation of President Woodrow Wilson on May 30th, 1916. While Flag Day was celebrated in various communities for years after Wilson's proclamation, it was not until August 3rd, 1949, that President Truman signed an Act of Congress designating June 14th of each year as National Flag Day.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Stuff you don't think about

Did you ever wonder how gold leaf is made??  (Kinda long, but worth watching!)

Gold leaf is gold that has been hammered into thin sheets by goldbeating and is often used for gilding. Gold leaf is available in a wide variety of karats and shades. The most commonly used gold is 22-karat yellow gold.
Gold leaf is a type of metal leaf, but the term is rarely used when referring to gold leaf. The term metal leaf is normally used for thin sheets of metal of any color that do not contain any real gold. Pure gold is 24 karats. Real, yellow gold leaf is approximately 91.7% pure gold. Silver-colored white gold is about 50% pure gold.
Layering gold leaf over a surface is called gold leafing or gilding. Traditional water gilding is the most difficult and highly regarded form of gold leafing. It has remained virtually unchanged for hundreds of years and is still done by hand.

Gold leaf (as well as other metal leaf such as vark) is sometimes used to decorate food or drink, typically to promote a perception of luxury and high value; however, it is flavorless. It is occasionally found in desserts and confectionery, including chocolates, honey and mithai. In India it may be used effectively as a garnish, with thin sheets placed on a main dish, especially on festive occasions. When used as an additive to food, gold has the E-number E175. A traditional (centuries old) artisan variety of green tea contains pieces of gold leaf; 99% of this kind of tea is produced in Kanazawa, Japan, a historic city for samurai craftsmanship. The city is also home to a gold leaf museum, Kanazawa Yasue Gold Leaf Museum.

Austrian Gold sparkling wine with gold leaves
In Continental Europe liquors with tiny floating pieces of gold leaf are known of since the late 16th century; originally the practice was regarded as medicinal. Well-known examples are Danziger Goldwasser, originally from Gdańsk, Poland, which has been produced since at least 1598, Goldstrike from Amsterdam, Goldwasser from Schwabach in Germany, and the Swiss Goldschläger, which is perhaps the best known in the United States.

 In Ottawa, Ontario, The Centre Block is the main building of the Canadian parliamentary complex on Parliament Hill, containing the House of Commons and Senate chambers, as well as the offices of a number of members of parliament, senators, and senior administration for both legislative houses. It is also the location of several ceremonial spaces, such as the Hall of Honour, the Memorial Chamber, and Confederation Hall. In the east wing of the Centre Block is the Senate chamber, in which are the thrones for the Canadian monarch and her consort, or for the federal viceroy and his or her consort, and from which either the sovereign or the governor general gives the Speech from the Throne and grants Royal Assent to bills passed by parliament. The overall color in the Senate chamber is red, seen in the upholstery, carpeting, and draperies, and reflecting the color scheme of the House of Lords in the United Kingdom; red was a royal color, associated with the Crown and hereditary peers. Capping the room is a gilt ceiling with deep octagonal coffers, each filled with heraldic symbols, including maple leaves, fleur-de-lis, lions rampant, clàrsach, Welsh Dragons, and lions passant. This plane rests on six pairs and four single pilasters, each of which is capped by a caryatid, and between which are clerestory windows. Below the windows is a continuous architrave, broken only by baldachins at the base of each of the above pilasters. On the east and west walls of the chamber are eight murals depicting scenes from the First World War; painted in between 1916 and 1920, they were originally part of the more than 1,000 piece Canadian War Memorials Fund, founded by the Lord Beaverbrook, and were intended to hang in a specific memorial structure. However, the project never eventuated, and the works were stored at the National Gallery of Canada until 1921, when the Parliament requested a loan for some of the collection's oil paintings to display in the Centre Block. The murals have remained in the Senate chamber ever since.