don watt


Howlin’ Wolf – The London Howlin’ Wolf Sessions

Chess/Geffen/Brookvale Records, 2015 (Original release by Chess Records, 1971)

Illlustration by Don Wilson, Photography by Peter Amft [Inside Cover Photo] and Jo McDermand [Sessions Photos]

Newly remastered Limited Edition 180-Gram Black
Foil-Stamped & Numbered 2443 out of 3500
Official 2015 RSD Black Friday Selection

Bei Mir Bist Du Schön (Means That You're Grand)
Andrews Sisters
Bei Mir Bist Du Schön (Means That You're Grand)

Song: Bei Mir Bist Du Schön / Nice Work If You Can Get It

Artist: Andrews Sisters

Record Label: Decca Records 1562

Recorded: November 24, 1937

Location: Fighting McDonagh’s Tavern, Eve’s Garden, Kyburz’s Office, Mermaid Lounge jukebox

It’s about time for a revisit to this song. Just as popular in Rapture as it was in the surface, this song can be heard from Neptune’s Bounty to Fort Frolic to Hephaestus and all the way to Siren Alley.

Earlier, I featured a record from the album set, The Andrews Sisters, which was released in 1946 and featured repressings of their most popular songs. That record was backed with another Yiddish song, “Joseph! Joseph!”

However, this is the original record from 1937 that sent customers and record store clerks scrambling for copies of that French hit “My Mere Bits of Shame”, “Buy a Beer, Monsieur Shane”, “Mr. Barney McShane”, or “My Dear Mr. Shane”. Title-mangling aside, the song has a uniquely cosmopolitan feel as a Yiddish tune with a Germanized title along with Italian and German lyrics.

After several false starts, the Andrews Sisters were still struggling to find a hit record. Then on a cold January morning, they were awoken by their father in their Manhattan apartment who hurried them to a record shop on 45th and Broadway. Traffic had come to a stop and people were crowded around a speaker playing a new song. Soon the sisters would be launched from vaudeville obscurity to stardom.

The records sold at least a quarter million copies by the end of January. The song was so popular for the fledgling Decca label that it was reissued at least three times for the next ten years.

The Andrews Sisters (left to right: Patty, LaVerne, Maxene) with Sholom Secunda, the composer of “Bay mir bistu sheyn“

After having moderate success singing for the hotel circuit with their arranger, pianist, and trumpeter Vic Schoen, The Andrews Sisters were nearly ready to pack up and head home to Minnesota. Their Greek parents wanted them home in Minneapolis and attend secretarial school.

Stories vary widely, but Dave Kapp somehow managed to hear the Andrews Sisters on one of their last broadcasts with the hotel orchestra. His brother, Jack Kapp was president of Decca Records and was searching for a replacement for the Boswell Sisters who retired in 1935. They were Andrews Sisters early idols, so much that they tried to sing with the Boswells’ Southern accents.

The Andrews Sisters’ first record for Decca was “Why Talk About Love?” and “Just a Simple Melody” with Vic Schoen as their arranger. They were awarded a flat fee of $50 instead of royalties. They pioneered their close harmonies and swing vocal techniques that would prove to be their success in later years. However, the record didn’t sell well.

Although they were worried that Decca would drop them, Jack Kapp invited the Andrews Sisters back for a second recording session on November 24, 1937.

The A-side was meant to cash in on the hit George and Ira Gershwin song “Nice Work If You Can Get It” sung by Fred Astaire in A Damsel in Distress

The B-Side was meant to be filler with an obscure song composed by Sholom Secunda with lyrics by Jacob Jacobs for a 1932 Yiddish musical I Would If I Could. The original Yiddish title “Bei Mir Bistu Shein” translates to “To Me You’re Beautiful”.

However, Sammy Cahn and Saul Chaplin discovered the song in 1937 and re-orchestrated it for a swing tempo while translating it into English. The Yiddish title was retained as “Bei Mir Bistu Shein” but was also Germanized as “Bei Mir Bist Du Schön”.

Stories again vary on who gave the song to the Andrews Sisters. Lyricist Sammy Cahn said that he found the sheet music and showed it to Lou Levy, manager of the Andrews Sisters and his roommate. Patty Andrews said that she found the sheet music that Cahn was translating in his apartment, thought it was a Greek song, and asked him to play a sample. Vic Schoen said that he found the sheet music in the shop of a lobby of a Yiddish theater in 2nd Ave and passed it to Levy who gave it to Cahn and Chaplin. Lou Levy said that he bought the sheet music for 15 cents and gave it to the sisters.

Maxene Andrews had a more inclusive story saying that Lou Levy had offered his apartment, whom he shared with Sammy Cahn, for the sisters to rehearse. Levy came in suggesting this song and warbled a few bars in Yiddish. Vic Schoen plucked out a quick head arrangement on the piano which the sisters liked. In lieu of English lyrics, later supplied by Cahn, Levy taught the song in Yiddish phonetically.

However the song got the the Andrews Sisters, Vic Schoen arranged it with then-unknown studio musicians, many who would go on to have famous careers: Bobby Hackett on trumpet, Al Philburn on trombone, Don Watt on clarinet, Frank Froeba on piano, Dave Barbour on guitar, and Stan King on drums. 

The sisters had to borrow $25 from a friend to buy Christmas presents for their parents. The record hit the streets in December 1937 and the rest is history.

Future reissues of this song would give Vic Schoen full orchestra credit, his last name coincidentally corresponding with the title.

Listen to the flip side “Nice Work If You Can Get It Here”.

#TwinPeaks Actors Matthew Lillard, Everett McGill, Kimmy Robertson, Tim Roth, James Marshall, Kyle MacLachlan, Don Murray, Naomi Watts and Dana Ashbrook from Showtime’s Twin Peaks pose for a portrait during Comic-Con 2017 inside the TV Insider Studios at the Hard Rock Hotel San Diego on July 21, 2017 in San Diego, California.

Why Watt’s is the best

In five minutes, he is established as a sassy bastard who does not care about others in the best way possible.

He mocks Cinder, thinking she can’t respond, and once that joke is ruined, he just looks disappointed. 

“What happened to Tyrian’s Tail?”  That’s fucking cold man, COLD.  I see some people thinking that Tyrian’s original tail might have been a construct, but I don’t think so.  Watt’s response is both mocking, and the resignation of a man having to fix something an “idiot” broke.  I’m sure Watts is the tinkerer of Salem’s inner circle, and this is not the first time he has had to do something like this.

I did not like Tyrian as a villain, he was just too…simple.  Jacques is in the same camp, he lacks a lot of depth.  Every other villain, however, has a nuance to them.  Roman was a great thief, CMNE is just all sorts of awesome, Adam is so bad I hate that I kinda like him, and Hazel is badass villain 2k17.  Watts is also Rick without the alcholism and abuse towards 14 year olds (Although he might beat up a 15 year old, who knows).  He’s the worst kind of gentlemen, and it gives him a depth that makes him worth watching.

10 Things We Learned at the #TwinPeaks Comic-Con Panel

by Maureen Ryan Chief TV Critic Variety 

At the San Diego Comic-Con panel for Showtime’s revival of “Twin Peaks” on Friday, things got a little weird at times, but the love for the strange soap opera — among the cast and fans assembled in Hall H — was palpable.

Cast members Kyle MacLachlan, Tim Roth, Dana Ashbrook, Kimmy Robertson, Everett McGill, Matthew Lillard, James Marshall, Don Murray, and Naomi Watts were joined by moderator Damon Lindelof. Here are some highlights from the hourlong discussion of the drama:

1. There would be no “Lost” without “Twin Peaks.” Lindelof said that when the show first premiered in 1990, when he was 16, it completely rocked his world. “I was lonely,” Lindelof said. “The world was scary and confusing and I felt like it didn’t understand me.” But then, after the drama created by David Lynch and Mark Frost arrived, “suddenly I was no longer alone — I was in ‘Twin Peaks.’” Lindelof said he couldn’t describe what it felt like to meet the array of characters, but “I can tell you this; I loved every single one of them because they were all weirdos.” After citing just a few of the shows influenced by “Twin Peaks” — including “The Sopranos,” “Stranger Things,” and “Fargo” — Lindelof said, “I owe my entire career to this show, and I can think of no better place to say that than Hall H at Comic Con, in a room full of weirdos like me.”

2. Mastermind Lynch was present — in spirit and on film. Though Frost and Lynch did not make it to San Diego, Lindelof kicked things off with a film from Lynch. It was a short, strange piece that kept cutting out and piling on the strange developments. Lynch began by saying hello, but then he started yelling at someone off-camera. At that point, it sounded like a man fell from a great height. Lynch came back and said, “I’ve got to show you something” — and lifted up what looked like a dead hand. There was something in the hand: “This supposedly is the last golf ball O.J. Simpson hit before going into prison.” The film cut out again and then Lynch was back: “Today you’re going to meet some great actresses and actors …” Lynch began, but then, off-camera, it sounded like total chaos was breaking out. Lynch: “You can’t bring a horse in here. Manuel, take that gun away.” Fans packed into Hall H heard the sound of a horse whinnying. And then the film finally abruptly cut out. “That was even more than I could have hoped for,” said Lindelof, who said he was seeing that Lynch video for the first time.

3. Matthew Lillard has still not seen the original “Twin Peaks.” “I’m going to watch it tonight!” he joked. “I think it’s weird. Anyone else? If you’re not a ‘Twin Peaks’ dude and you come in, it’s a little strange.” Even the casting process was offbeat, Lillard said. “His casting process is very interesting,” he said. “They put a video camera on your face and you just talk about life in general. Then they invite the actor to come over and read pages.” And once he was on board, he was always wondering what was coming next. “When you’re reading a David Lynch script, you have no idea where it’s going to go,” Lillard said. “I got to this scene in Episode 9, and it’s the scariest thing I’ve ever read as an actor. In the middle, the character breaks down hysterically, sobbing. And you sort of know, being a fan of David’s movies and shows, what that looks like. It was intimidating. In his world, you get two takes. So you want to be really good really fast.”

4. Naomi Watts only saw her scenes with Dougie before cameras rolled. She didn’t see anything else from the scripts. But she had certainly hoped to work with Lynch again, after their experiences working together on “Mulholland Drive” years ago. “I had actually gone up [to Lynch’s house] more than a year ago with Laura Dern,” Watts said. “We were trying to coax him into some ideas and to get something going. That’s what you do with David — ‘Come on, hire me again.’ It’s just so good to be on a set with him or just in a room. He was talking about some ideas as he smoked, and smiling a lot, but not really saying yes or no. Finally I heard the rumor that ‘Twin Peaks’ was happening. I wasn’t part of that original team, so it would be wrong for me to be pushy about it. But I did drop some hints. I got a call.” Watts said Lynch “sat me in his chair that he built next to a table he built. I sat there for a good hour or so and read these pages. I don’t know anything about what happened before my part or after.” Did she know that Kyle would play Dougie? “It was not told to me, but I certainly posed that question, which he did not clarify,” Watts said.

5. Even getting the phone call to come back to “Twin Peaks” was unnerving, but also thrilling. While talking to Lynch, “I slid off the bed, which was really high at the time,” Robertson said. By the end of the call, “I was was looking at the bottom of my bed — I had somehow crawled under my bed. Because it was just so unexpected.” McGill said he was worried about being able to access “the emotions and vulnerability” of his character again. “But seeing everybody on the set, seeing how warm David was — it was great.” “Everybody gets exactly the same respect” on Lynch’s sets, and that creates a very creative atmosphere among the cast and crew, James Marshall said.

6. A few of the actors haven’t watched the new series on TV, but they hope to do so soon.“I’m going to wait until it’s done and watch everything from the first series [and the new episodes], all the way through, with my kids. I don’t know what that’s going to do to us,” Roth said.

7. His work can go into dark and strange areas, but working with Lynch is nothing but pleasurable. “He has this peace about him that is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced,” Lillard said. “His belief in his process and his vision and his point of view is so profound and focus, and he inspires me that way,” MacLachlan added. “He follows this dream in his mind and I find that inspirational in my life, to go after the thing I believe in.” “He really shows great appreciation for other people’s work,” cast member Murray said. “And he never fails to do that. You go home from a day’s work with David and you feel good about it and about the world because you’ve had that experience.” “He knows how to get a performance, he digs deep,” McGill noted.

8. Asked for “a hot take” about Dougie, many members of the cast were a bit stumped.Eventually Robertson gave her opinion: “It’s very easy, if you ever meet any families who live out in the suburbs and work [there], it’s very easy to slip through the cracks and say one word a month without anyone noticing. And what wife wouldn’t like that?”

9. The Black Lodge set is very different from anywhere else in the “Twin Peaks” world. “It feels very focused and like electricity is buzzing around,” MacLachlan said. “It is a very unusual environment. That [black and white] floor gives you a very different state of being.”

10. An audience member who had never seen “Twin Peaks” asked the cast to “describe it in a nutshell.” “Just throw the nut away,” MacLachlan said. “Keep the shell,” Watts added.

Link (TP)