Thursday, August 05, 2010

Sad Roundup

Seems that over the past weeks I have been drawn to a number of obituaries. I haven't troubled you, because the "blog" likes to avoid sad things, as you know. But we could think of this as celebrating accomplishments. Also, they are beginning to stack up, these obituaries, and that's a bad feeling. One of the creators of HEE HAW died. Also, Margaret Ann Rich, a songwriter so beloved by Kelly Hogan that Kelly had planned at one time (if I am remembering correctly) to record an entire album of her work. FOOD ARTS and FOOD & WINE founder Michael Batterberry passed away. He was an eloquent and elegant and worldly gentleman with a commanding voice. I was once on a panel with him at the Southern Foodways Symposium, and he outclassed me in every conceivable way yet somehow made me feel comfortable enough to carry on - as I say, a true gentleman. And Bobby Hebb! I mention Bobby Hebb in my "lost novel" SHUT UP, UGLY, which is unimportant. He wrote and performed one of my favorite 45s, "Sunny." I can't find a clip of him performing the song live on youtube, but live covers are easy to find because everybody covered that great song, including Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye. You know your song is good when Stevie Wonder AND Marvin Gaye cover it. PLUS James Brown (see for yourself). On youtube, you can see Ella Fitzgerald and Tom Jones performing a duet of it... that's pretty close to a novelty rendition, though (I blame the arrangement, not the great Ella, who acquits herself with gusto under the circumstances - forced to sit in a rocking chair and banter about it, for example!). Dusty Springfield does a respectable job. And there are many many clips of people doing "Sunny" in the privacy of their homes. Why not? But do yourself a big favor and get the original recording by Mr. Hebb if you don't have it. And if you don't, why don't you? You're crazy!