Rainy Days And Mondays

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In 1972, while visiting California, a friend of a friend got me into an A&M recording session. The singer in the studio was Paul Williams who was primarily known at the time as a songwriter for other singers, notably The Carpenters. They had just had a big hit with one of his songs, so Williams decided to record an album of his own version of his songs. This was the song he was working on the day I visited. It’s a perfect Monday song.

Thanks to YouTuber  marvin santiago

Billy Ray, Super Fly Cards Across

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The stage version of the cards across magic trick has always struck me as something less than compelling, but this performance by magician Billy Ray [aka anesthesiologist Dr. Millard Brooks] has got to be one of the most entertaining magic acts I’ve seen.

Thanks to YouTuber Millard Brooks

I’ll Be Back–Again

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Monday morning, The Austrian MonaLisa Twins again with a very good cover of The Beatles’ “I’ll Be Back.”

I always liked this song because it seemed to be structured differently from a lot of the pop songs of the time. There was a haunting quality to it as well. I never had enough musical knowledge to understand what was really going on, but these paragraphs from Wikipedia made it clear:

“Unusually for a pop song it oscillates between major and minor keys; it appears to have two different bridges and lacks a chorus. The fade-out ending also arrives unexpectedly, being a half stanza premature.[3]

The metric structure also is unusual. The verse is in 6-measure phrases in 4/4 time. The first and third bridges have a four-measure phrase in 4/4 followed by a phrase with 2 measures of 4/4 and one of 2/4; the second bridge has a 4-measure phrase followed by 5 measures of 4/4 and one of 2/4.”

More MonaLisa Twins at MonaLisa Twins

Mixed Magic

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Legend has it that “Buster” Keaton was given his monicker by Harry Houdini after he saw the young vaudevillian Joe Keaton being knocked around and taking pratfalls in his family stage act. Keaton always had a fondness for magic, and in 1936 he did a short two-reeler called Mixed Magic. The little known film, which can be difficult to track down, had Buster playing a magician’s assistant. The movie was a talkie and made after Buster’s great silent films of the twenties.

Frankly, the movie is not very good. I spent most of the time while watching lamenting the lost comic opportunities that Buster would have taken in the early days. There he is, Buster backstage, holding onto a stage curtain rope, trying to save his sweetheart up in the flies; think of the great daring acrobatic, athletic possibilities that Buster would have taken advantage of in the golden era. But they never happen. Instead there are just anemic cutaway shots that make me shake my head. Well, to be fair, there are actually a couple of good laughs, and those interested in magic and magicians will be especially interested in the posters and apparatus depicted. So with those limitations in mind, take a look at Buster Keaton in Mixed Magic.

You can buy the complete Lost Keaton series at: https://www.amazon.com/Lost-Keaton-Sixteen-1934-1937-Blu-ray/dp/B006P5KEOQ/

Drink Up?

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Yes, I know the question that’s keeping you up at nights: what if someone combined the talents of Charles “Think-a-Drink” Hoffman with water spouter Hadji Ali?

Rest easy, for Scottish magicians Barry and Stuart have pondered deeply on the question, and they’ve come up with a more than adequate answer.

Thanks to YouTuber The Next Great Magician

Good Vibrations

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Monday morning, the theremin calls, and you’re swept into one of the most innovative and influential popular rock songs of the 60s.

Carl Wilson on lead vocals. The song was produced by the Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson from countless short pieces of tape, and many session musicians were used as well.

There’s an excellent description of the song’s history, as well as a musical deconstruction, and how the song changed the history of the pop single, at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Good_Vibrations

Thanks to YouTuber tabouriefilms