10 November 2010


Charles Mingus was into Andres Segovia, who never had much to say about rockabilly. Sam Philips did, though: "If I could find a white man who had the Negro sound and the Negro feel, I could make a billion dollars." And Buddy Holly never recorded at Phillips' Sun Studios, but Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Elvis Presley & Johnny Cash did. In fact, there's a 1956 Sun Studios recording of an impromptu session (now the subject of a Broadway play) featuring Lewis, Perkins, Presley & Cash all jamming together. That same year, Mingus recorded Pithecanthropus Erectus for Atlantic Records. Also in 1956, John Wayne starred in The Searchers, which the AFI has since nominated as "greatest Western of all time." Wayne's character, "Ethan Edwards," is an Indian-hating racist. The refrain of Buddy Holly's song "That'll Be The Day" was inspired by dialogue spoken by the Ethan Edwards character. Saxophonist Buddy Collette never said much about Segovia, but once remarked that Charles Mingus "was always a disaster to have around. I loved him, but he was worse than a child. He didn't know how to clean up behind himself. He could cook, but there would be eggs on the floor and the ceiling. Couldn't find his shoes when he had to go to work, didn't have a white shirt, couldn't write a check. All he could really do was play the bass and write." Collette, who died on Sept. 19 of 2010, once organized a concert in support of politically-conscious actor Paul Robeson. In 1956, Robeson, who had visited Russia and admired the racial equality he witnessed there, was called to appear before the House of Un-American Activities. At one point, a senator asked Robeson why he didn't choose to remain in Russia. His reply: "Because my father was a slave, and my people died to build this country, and I am going to stay here, and have a part of it just like you. And no Fascist-minded people will drive me from it. Is that clear? I am for peace with the Soviet Union, and I am for peace with China, and I am not for peace or friendship with the Fascist Franco, and I am not for peace with Fascist Nazi Germans. I am for peace with decent people." Andres Segovia was sixty-three years old at the time.

No comments: