June 25, 2010

"Ride My See-Saw"

From the Wikipedia entry:

"Ride My See-Saw" is a hit 1968 single by the English progressive rock band The Moody Blues. It was written by the band's bassist John Lodge, and was first released on the Moody Blues 1968 album In Search of the Lost Chord. It was the second of two singles from that album, the other being "Voices in the Sky." "Ride My See-Saw" is one of John Lodge's signature high-energy rock and roll songs, and is sometimes regarded as his most popular composition for the Moody Blues, along with "I'm Just a Singer (In a Rock and Roll Band)."

The single was released later in October 1968, with Mike Pinder's "A Simple Game" on the B-side. As "Simple Game" the Four Tops recording of this song went to #3 in the UK charts in 1972.

The opening laughter from "Departure" was removed for the single release.

At most of the Moody Blues' concerts, "Ride My See-Saw" is the encore presentation at the end of the shows. When performed live, it is usually opened by a lengthy keyboard and drum duet as the band members make their way back out to the stage for the encore.

"Ride My See-Saw" was also another piece of recording history made by the Moody Blues. It was one of the first rock singles ever to be recorded on 8 track multi-track recording. While 8 track had been used on albums before (notably on the Moodies own AOR classic Days Of Future Passed) it was not really considered for a single until the time that See Saw was recorded.

Here they do a bang-up job of lip syncing on the September 1968 episode of Colour Me Pop, a British music TV show broadcast on BBC 2 from 1968-1969. I could be wrong about this, but with the first part of "Ride My See-Saw" ("Departure"), it would seem the Moody Blues had Pink Floyd (around 1:55) beat by about a year with the crazy, lunatic laughter/spoken word thing:

Hayward and Lodge

June 22, 2010

Houston City Hall

In downtown Houston, the 1939, Art Deco City Hall buidling, designed by architect Joseph Finger:

houston city hall

Ceiling murals by artist Daniel MacMorris:
city hall ceiling mural
city hall ceiling mural
I thought this one looked familiar:

Houston Deco: Modernistic Architecture of the Texas Coast

The lawgivers grille, including Hammurabi and Thomas Jefferson:
lawgivers grille on city hall
city hall entrance frieze
city hall

More pics of City Hall

June 21, 2010

"Theme from A Summer Place"

A song I first heard in Animal House of all places, the "Theme from A Summer Place" makes me want to be an American college kid alive back in the early, early sixties:

Percy Faith and Orchestra doing it live and nationwide

The original recording:

June 18, 2010

Austin historic sites

former conoco station in austin
I was just recently in Austin and did a post about several vintage neon signs I was able to locate. The focus this time will be on structures (such as private residences) which are considered to be historic sites.

Sometimes I get to these historic sites and the sun is in a bad spot or trees obscure my view, as was the case with The Martin House, considered to be a significant example of a Late Victorian T-plan, one-story house, constructed in 1897, today invisible (and in a "rough" neighborhood):

the martin house

or this, The Robinson-Macken House, c. 1876, French Second Empire/Italianate style:
robinson-macken house

I least I got a good glimpse from the side:
robinson-macken house

And if there isn't an issue with either the sun or trees, sometimes these old places are either gone or irreparably diminished by the time I get to them, like with The John Henry Brewer House, c. 1926:

the john henry brewer house

Here is why this place is considered to be important (from the Texas Historical Commission Atlas narrative):

In early 1995 the house is in poor condition and under threat of demolition by the City of Austin. Despite its condition, the house retains a significant degree of integrity and may be repaired.

The John Henry and Minnie Tate Brewer House (1926) served as the principal and only remaining residence of the well-known Brewer family of East Austin. The Brewers played a significant role in the development of Austin's African- American community for most of the 20th century. Because of its proximity to Huston-Tillotson College, the Brewer House served as a reception area, center of social life, and occasionally dormitory. Moreover, John Mason Brewer, nationally recognized chronicler of African-American folklife and folklore, lived in the house at various times during his most productive teaching and writing years (1928- 1968). This is the only extant property closely associated with him.

the john henry brewer house

So, this is why it is so nice when I have found a place, the sun/sky is good, I can work around the trees (if there are any), and it looks pretty much like it does in any old photographs I've seen of it, such as with The Covert House, a Queen Anne Victorian, estimated to have been built around 1898:

covert house
Nice, huh? And I found the presence of children's toys out front gave it strangely, yet pleasantly, a Victorian mood.

a side view in different light:

covert house

The Page-Gilbert House, c. 1895, Victorian
the page-gilbert house

The Connelly-Yerwood House, c. 1904, Late Victorian/Queen Anne
the connelly-yerwood house

Community Center, c. 1929-30, Mission/Spanish Revival
community center

The Haynes-Delashwah House,
ca. 1890, Queen Anne/Eastlake Victorian
the haynes-delashwah house

The Gilfillan House, c. 1905, Spanish style
gilfillan house
west side of gilfillan house

La Casa de Suenos, c. 1947-53 (main house), Mexican-American folk art
la casa de suenos

The North-Evans Chateau
north-evans chateau
Begun as family residence by Mrs.Catherine North in 1847. Completed in style of a French chateau by Austin banker, Maj. Ira Evans, 1892.

The North Cottage, c. 1879, Italianate style
north cottage

The Eugene Bremond House, c. 1874, Italianate Victorian
the eugene bremond house

The Pierre Bremond House, c. 1880s, Queen Anne Victorian
the pierre bremond house

The John Bremond House, c. 1886, French Second Empire style
the john bremond house
The Bremonds must have been something, huh?

The J.P. Schneider Store, c. 1873, Commercial Victorian
j.p. schneider store
This place may not look like much, but there it has been as the downtown area has completely changed around it for one hundred and thirty years. The Schneiders first had a store on this spot in 1870. Their personal residence was right across the street, which is where the busy Warehouse District is now.

j.p. schneider store

The Daniel H. Caswell House,
c. 1900, Late Victorian/Colonial Revival/Chateauesque styles
the daniel h. caswell house
the daniel h. caswell house

The William T. Caswell House, c. 1906, Classical Revival
william t. caswell house

The William Braxton Barr House,
c. 1898, Queen Anne Victorian/Colonial Revival
the william braxton barr house

House at 209 East 39th Street (my current desktop wallpaper)
house @ 209 east 39th street

and last, but not least:

The Col. Monroe M. Shipe House,
c. 1892, Swiss Chalet/Eastlake/Stick styles
the col. monroe m. shipe house

June 17, 2010

"The Song of Ultraman"

I was totally into Ultraman after it started being shown on one of the four TV channels we would have had in Galveston back around 1972 or 1973. I was around seven or eight years old. Once upon a time, I was known for striking poses such as the one pictured above. Thing is though, I think the show really creeped me out.

I thought the uniforms and gadgets (especially the thing Hayata uses to change into Ultraman) of the Science Patrol were really cool. I wanted to be one of them.

Hayata, a.k.a., Ultraman - no doubt an early hero of mine

Ironically, despite my fascination with the show, it no doubt scared the absolute heck out of me. Each episode, beginning with that weird, strangely shiny, swirling melting effect pictured above, was full of things that no doubt permanently traumatized me to some extent and made appearances in the kind of nightmares only children can have.

Even Ultraman, the "hero" of the show, scared the bejeezus out of me. The whole thing was/is just strange, as is most Japanese culture to us Westerners. Here is the Misuzu Children's Choral Group performing the show's surf guitar-inflected (for the Americans!) theme song, something which is forever burned deep into my brain: