On the 'tube

Frank and Merle

1

I've been listening through the 58-CD audiobook version of James Kaplan's meticulous biography of Frank Sinatra. I've made it, gig by gig, to 1954.

So I hadda check From Here to Eternity out of the library and watch it again.

Imagine my astoundernation when I spied a Bigsby headstock stickin' out of a Martin being played in strum-n-pick fingerblues style by a barracks-mate. I put the time and place together in my head quickly and realized it could only be one of the Bigsby-neck conversions Paul had done for...yeah! Merle Travis.

And it WAS Merle Travis, featured in that song and a complete rendition of "Re-Enlistment Blues."

Well I be. Talk about yer roots.

You probably all knew this, but I didn't. I thought it was cool.

(But no. Frank's not singing along with any drunken rural blues. This was strickly an acting gig.)

2

An epic film I try to see once a year. Ernest Borgnine as a piano pounding sadist, Donna Reed as a hooker, Burt Lancaster hefting Deborah Kerr then a 50 caliber machine gun. The book is excellent too, with many musical motifs, especially Django.

Now you have to go see Frank in Man with the Golden Arm where he plays a drummer, Kim Novak is a luminescent vision and Eleanor Parker is amazingly nuts. Cameos by Shelly Manne, Ralph Pena and Shorty Rogers.

3

Oh, I've seen that one. Great film - really a much better performance from Frank than Maggio. And Kim Novak. Man. As radiant as Shirley Jones in Oklahoma.

4

Ah the good old days of American cinema -- RIP Kirk Douglas, also.


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