4.27.2009

I NEED YOU: THE RATIONALS


This weekend as I was digging around in the archives at my rocker pal's house I ran into a picture of MGT and Scott Morgan the lead singer/guitarist of The Rationals and many more bands to come.

Dennis Thompson/Scott Morgan

I came home and flamed up You Tube searching for my favorite Rationals song "I Need You" and I found it! I LOVE THIS SONG



As a fearless teenage girl I hitch-hiked from Ypsilanti to downtown Ann Arbor one summer day with a pal and who picked us up? THE RATIONALS! They had a van full of guys and band equipment. They were on their way home from playing somewhere and gave us dizzy girls a ride to the Diag and off we went. Really nice bunch of guys and thanks for the ride in case we were too dumbstruck to say it then..


The Rationals had a big hit singing Respect, the famous soul tune first done by Otis Redding and of course our favorite diva Aretha Franklin. But to be honest as a girl from Ypsilanti I burned up my 45 copy of The Rationals version of RESPECT Last FM Love this one too Had You Told It Like It Was Scott's vocals on Respect are fabulous and it is blasting out of my 5.1 speakers right now as I write about Scott and his music.


As I have been delving into the life of Machinegun Thompson for his blog I keep running into Scott Morgan, Tony Slug and their bandmates online. They have a really hot band now THE HYDROMATICS Scott rocks harder than ever. CITY SLANG



By KEN SHIMAMOTO Whether you're a garage fanatic, an R&B lunatic, or a Motor City maniac (I claim all of the above), Scott Morgan's got the goods to satisfy your particular jones.When you think about sixties veterans with great R&B-inflected rock voices, the one that stands the tallest, in terms of uncompromising integrity and overall quality of recorded work, has to be the estimable Mr. Morgan.

Just look at the competition. Of his Detroit/Ann Arbor contemporaries, Mitch Ryder hasn't had it (IT being the confluence of talent, material, and band) since 1971's Detroit. Bob Seger started out like he might be the best of all (those songwriting chops!), but wound up spinning his pickup truck wheels in the morass of AOR pablum. Steve Marriott (RIP)? Paul Rodgers? Rod Stewart?

All of 'em had the pipes, the tunes, the bands; all of 'em enjoyed more commercial success, but somewhere along the line, all of 'em lost the essential spark that made them great to begin with. Scott is the noble exception. He's been kicking out the righteous jams since 1962, starting out as a junior high school kid in Ann Arbor, Michigan, fronting soulful garage kings the Rationals; moving on in the seventies to hard-rocking Detroit "supergroup" Sonic's Rendezvous Band (with Fred "Sonic" Smith from the MC5, Scott "Rock Action" Asheton from the Stooges, and Gary Rasmussen from the Up); soldiering on into the eighties and nineties, well below the radar of public consciousness, with his own vehicles the Scott Morgan Band and Scots Pirates (often in tandem with the unbeatable rhythm team of Asheton and Rasmussen). And he's still sho 'nuff doin' it. As garage bands go, the Rationals were almost too good to be true.

See Scott Morgan's Website HERE

 

4.24.2009

NOTHING BUT A HEARTACHE: THE FLIRTATIONS


THE FLIRTATIONS!

A British-based R&B female group, who originally came from the USA. The Supremes were extremely popular during the late 60s, and record companies were keen to record any female groups who sounded like them. The Flirtations were the beneficiaries of this phenomenon.

The members were sisters Shirley and Earnestine Pearce and Viola Billups. The Pearce sisters had earlier been in the Gypsies, but after minor success the group broke up. Recording in England for Deram Records, the Flirtations had a notable US hit in 1969 with a Supremes-styled number, "Nothing But A Heartache" (number 34 pop), which sounded rather retrograde in the soul market, where it did not chart. The track later became a favorite in Northern Soul clubs.... and one of my most favorite songs from the retro vault....


The members were sisters Shirley and Earnestine Pearce and Viola Billups. The Pearce sisters had earlier been in the Gypsies, but after minor success the group broke up. Recording in England for Deram Records, the Flirtations had a notable US hit in 1969 with a Supremes-styled number, "Nothing But A Heartache" (number 34 pop), which sounded rather retrograde in the soul market, where it did not chart. The track later became a favorite in Northern Soul clubs.... and one of my most favorite songs from the retro vault....

The Flirtations had it all... the excitement, the gorgeous mod pop styles, great harmonies, and hot pop songs and arrangements supplied by Bickerton/Watterton. "Nothing But a Heartache"

Watch this ultra cool video and those outfits are too die for....


4.19.2009

HELLO GORGEOUS: FUNNY GIRL!


Funny Girl is a 1968 musical film based on the stage musical of the same name. The semi-biographical plot is based on the life and career of Broadway and film star and comedienne Fanny Brice and her stormy relationship with entrepreneur and gambler Nicky Arnstein.

Its original title was My Man. The screen adaptation, directed by William Wyler, paired Barbra Streisand with Omar Sharif in the role of Nick Arnstein, while Kay Medford repeated her stage role, and Walter Pidgeon was cast as Flo Ziegfeld.

The film was a commercial and critical success, gaining Streisand an Academy Award for Best Actress. It became the top grossing film of 1968, and received seven Academy Award nominations


FUNNY GIRL was the very first Barbra Streisand film that I saw in a theater in 1968. It was an amazing experience to watch Barbra sing for the first time. From the moment Ms Streisand comes into view the theater audience was mesmerized. We sat engulfed for the entire length of the movie. Applause burst at the conclusion by a happy audience. Even the soldiers applauded what was soon to become one of the top chick flicks of all time.

Even more mesmerizing was the appearance of Omar Sharif onscreen. Omar was so handsome in that film... It was easy to identify with poor Fanny Brice falling in love with the gorgeous gambler.

The music from the film was addictive. I have had 4 copies of the albums and played them till the grooves were shot. Now I have the soundtrack on cd and on my Ipod too.


Funny Girl had a completely different feel to it compared to other Hollywood films. Barbra Streisand didn't fit the bill of the average movie star of the time. She had imperfections. Her face, her body type, and her voice were totally different. All the more reason that I identified with her character. The sheer force of her talent and unique style drove this film.


If you have never seen this film watch the clip and then run to the video store and buy/rent Funny Girl. My favorite scene and song is My Man

4.18.2009

BOBBY DARIN AND SANDRA DEE


One of the best parts of growing up in the 60's was watching television and seeing what are now legendary performers playing in really silly movies. One of my most favorite of these movies is "If a Man Answers"


Starring the ultra fabulous couple Bobby Darin and his wife Sandra Dee. It is based on a story about a young wife trying to get her newly wed husband to pay more attention to her and not take her for granted. So she begins sending flowers to herself and having someone call her home and hang up if bobby answers. What a plot line, but at about age 7 it was really funny.


Bobby and Sandra really were a magical pair. Both had tragic issues to contend with in their young lives. Bobby with congenital heath issues and Sandra having grown up as a Hollywood star with a very determined "stage" mother. For a brief moment in time we were able to see the glamour and talent of this very charming pair.

4.17.2009

VIETNAM: JIM RANDOLPH'S STORY


My grandparents, Ashton and Phillis Harvey, were caretakers of the "Detroit Hunt and Fish Club" in South Branch, MI. for over 30 yrs. This is a private club for some very wealthy and high profile members, who come from Detroit and the upper class suburbs.

It's also the place where I spent most of my summers as a kid. One of the members was an elderly man.. Cardinal John Francis Dearden from Detroit. He would come up to the club in the off season, when the children were in school....virtually guaranteeing peace and quiet during his stay. LOL

I was about 11 years old when I was visiting my grandparents and Cardinal Dearden was there on a mini vacation to do some fishing on the private lake that was located about 1000 feet in front of the lodge. My grandmother introduced me to him while he quietly ate his lunch before going down to the lake to fish. He was a gentle old man and very pleasent to talk to.

 After the Cardinal finished his lunch, my grandmother told me to go down to the lake and get a row boat ready for him. I prepared the boat like she asked.

John walked over to me and said, "Jim, do you fish?" I of course replied, "Yes Sir!" He said, "Would you like to go fishing with me?" Grandma warned me "NOT" to bother the Cardinal, but he was really nice, I said ...."OK".


So there I am sitting in a row boat fishing with Cardinal John Dearden not having a clue to who or what he was. I wasn't a Catholic so I didn't fully understand who he was. To me he was just a sweet old man I went fishing with when I was a kid.

About 6 years later...


At 17 I joined the Marine Corps and eventually went to Viet Nam (what was I thinking?)

I saw plenty of combat during my tour, as my job was to run Medivac missions. We had to go where the choppers could not or they would be shot down. I was a 19 yr. old Cpl. who just learned the meaning of the word, BULLSHIT.

As the crew chief on an amphibian tractor (Amtrac) we were always going in under fire to take out the wounded. We would bring them to the rear for transfer to a chopper for a ride back to a hospital. That was a scary time in my life for sure.

I joined the Marines believing in a just war only to realize...

I'd been had. We spent most of our time getting high on pot, to numb the fear we all felt inside, no matter how tough we thought we were. I never met anyone who was bullet proof. One afternoon, while there in the bush... living day to day, we finally got a long awaited "Mail Call". A letter from home was worth more than gold.

My grandmother sent me a St. Christopher's medal, scotch taped to a letter she wrote me. It said, "Sweetheart, I've enclosed a St. Christopher's medal that Cardinal Dearden has blessed". He said "Give this to my fishing buddy, Jim, and may God bring him home safe and sound".

Well, after my tour of duty ended, I came home..and not a scratch on me. I don't know if it was luck or the Cardinal's medal he blessed. Before I left Viet Nam, I told this same story to a buddy of mine who still had time to do in country. I took the medal off... and draped it around his neck. I said, "It worked for me, maybe it will work for you too. Promise me one thing, if you make it out of here alive.. please, pass it along to the next guy and so forth... keep the luck going until this damn war is over."


I never saw my Viet Nam buddy or Cardinal John Francis Dearden again... nor do I know what became of the St. Christopher's medal. But I will never forget that gentle old man ....and his fishing pole.....and I'm still here.

Jim :-)

4.13.2009

BYE BYE : PHIL SPECTOR CONVICTED



The Ronettes with Spector

Rock music producer Phil Spector was convicted Monday of second-degree murder in the shooting death of Lana Clarkson at his mansion six years ago, a verdict that will send him to prison for at least 18 years barring a successful appeal.

A Superior Court jury returned the verdict after about 30 hours of deliberations. The jury had the option of choosing the lesser charge of involuntary manslaughter, but did not do so.

As Phil awaits sentencing for murder I 'd like to remember the best thing that ever happened to Phil:


He went seriously downhill after the divorce and his mania went uncontrolled for decades. He was a mentally deranged guy with way too much money. Bye Bye Phil...

Phil Spector invented the 'Wall of Sound', a system to overdub scores of musicians to create a roar of sound, which changed music history.

See the Phil Spector Jukebox HERE

Born in the Bronx, Spector moved, with his mother, to LA after his father committed suicide. In school, Spector learned the guitar, and started to write songs with Marshall Leib and Annette Bard. They called themselves 'The Teddy Bears', and had a top ten hit in the US and UK with 'To Know Him Is To Love Him'(I hate that song ), the title taken from the inscription on Spector’s father's grave. They seemed destined for fame, then Spector disagreed with the record company, and the band disintegrated.

In the early 60's Spector began producing "girl groups". His most famous girl group was the Ronettes. Phil married lead singer Ronnie see her website HERERonnie was the ultimate 1960's rock n roll diva... wasn't she just marvelous?

Ronnie was married to Phil for 4 years he ended up ripping off ALL the royalties to HER band. Jerk! Well he is finally getting his pay back for all the rotten karma he has put out there.



The Ronettes were also professional singers and dancers at New York's Peppermint Lounge. There they were discovered by legendary disc jockey "Murray the K" (Murray Kaufman), who promptly hired them as dancers for his Brooklyn Fox Theater rock and roll revues.

Beginning in 1963, Ronnie Spector-as lead singer of the ultimate girl group, The Ronettes-recorded a long string of classic pop hits produced by Spector: like the Grammy Award-winning “Walking in the Rain,”, “Do I Love You,” “Baby I Love You,” “The Best Part of Breaking Up,” “I Can Hear Music,” and the international Number One smash “Be My Baby.” These records are among the best-loved and most-emulated recordings in the history of rock and roll.



The Fantastic Ronettes!

4.11.2009

THE MICHIGAN COED MURDERS

Sheriff Doug Harvey at Dawn Basom crime scene

As a 12 year old in 1967 I was living at Ft. Leonard Wood, MO with my family. News came from our relatives and friends about the "Coed" Killer in Ypsilanti/Ann Arbor area. Female college students from Eastern Michigan University were disappearing. Soon it was to include University of Michigan and West Junior High students as well.


We were back living in Ypsilanti in 1968 because my Dad was heading off for his first tour of Vietnam. The murders were still not solved and there was a mass panic across Washtenaw County and the entire country knew about this little town of Ypsilanti. The murders really put us on the map. Our parents were terrified to let us play outside even in our own yards.


Students were on the alert and coeds were being escorted to and from classes every day for security. The most frightening part was the fact that they thought the "killer" himself might be a local student. Trusting anyone became a huge problem.


The murders began with Eastern Michigan student Mary Fleszlar from Willis, MI on July 10, 1967. Her body was later found with multiple stab wounds, and grotesquely maimed on August 7. Mary was found just north of Ypsilanti near a farm where two teenage boys found her body and called police.

Dawn Basom was last seen walking these tracks

The youngest victim Dawn Basom, 13 was a year older than me. She went to my junior high but I didn't know her.

Old newspaper photo of Roy's Squeeze Inn, in Ypsilanti: John Norman Collins was spotted here in 1969 at the time of the coed murders

Dawn was found near Gale and Vreeland Roads on April 16, 1969. She was last seen the day before leaving a house close to Eastern Michigan University. She was strangled with a black electrical cord, and official believed she was killed in the barn where her clothes were found, and she was moved to where she was found.


By this time in 1969, my Dad had returned unharmed from Vietnam and we moved to Ft. McClellan AL. Far away from the threat of the "Coed Killer" The murders just kept happening.

The many different area law enforcement offices were at their wit's end trying to capture this guy. Thousands of tips poured in and just as many were crank calls and mentally unstable people.


Then famous psychic crime solver Peter Hurkos was called in to assist in the investigation. His services failed to help solve the case and the police officers were furious at his show boating for the media.


The last victim was Karen Sue Bieneman 18, of Grand Rapids, MI. This was her first year at EMU taking summer classes.


July 23, 1969, Karen Sue was seen accepting a ride on a motorcycle from a man she did not know. She sent a letter to her parents assuring them that she would be careful.

 
She was found off Riverside Drive near Huron River Drive strangled, beaten, and in the nude. She was killed elsewhere and then moved like the majority of the victims. This was the last body found before Collins' was caught, and evidence found on her led to his conviction.


John Norman Collins was born on June 17, 1947, in Center Line, Michigan. His father abandoned him, and left his mother as a single parent. She then remarried an abusive alcoholic, for whom John took his last name. She then divorced him when John was four years old.


He was described as a polite, yet timid young man as a child. Me made good grades, and played sports. He attended St. Clements High School, where he was an honors student, tri-captain of the football team, president of the C-Club, and star pitcher on the baseball team.

He dated regularly, many of the people who knew him said he was "quiet", "polite", "respectful" and "nice". However, his girlfriends claimed that he was angry most of the time. He was sexually aggressive, which was a possibly his killing motive.

http://www.mlive.com/news/ann-arbor/index.ssf/2008/12/former_ypsilanti_mayor_richard.html

My friend Anne whose Dad was the Mayor of Ypsilanti at the time told me she once went on a "date" with him and he terrified her. She refused his advances and he choked her in his car. She managed to wriggle free and ran to a phone to call her parents.


It was mentioned that the Coed killer may have been the "real" Boston Strangler as a lot of people believe Albert Desalvo wasn't the real strangler. The Boston strangler used very complicated nautical knots when strangling his victims. Anne's father told me that those same knots were used on JNC victims.


It seemed his pattern to pick brunettes with pierced ears . A similar pattern to Ted Bundy. The killer wasn't Ted he was busy back in Seattle and then Utah. It was also rumored that an older friend of JNC was the "real" killer. This friend was with him in California where another girl was murder in a similar fashion.


If it was the "friend" then he left town and thus stopped the killing spree when JNC was arrested. Oddly enough, right after we moved to MO JNC moved into the house next door to where we had just lived. We lived at 617 Emmett St. and JNC moved into 619. It was here that police found motorcycles and recently painted parts that may have been disguised.



John Norman Collins on August 19, 1970, was found guilty and sent to prison for life with hard labor. He is currently encarcerated at Marquette Prison and has been in prison nearly his entire life. Collins will be 62 years old this year and has spent 39 years behind bars.


There have always been lots of speculation on whether or not JNC killed all of the victims. He was convicted based on hair and fiber evidence found on the body of Karen Sue Beineman and in the basement of his Uncle's the state policeman's home.

What really mattered to me was this... The murders stopped after JNC was arrested.

Trutv/Crimelibrary has the most information though the author sides with Collins. Which of course is her opinion which she is entitled. Those of us that lived there at that time believe that John Norman Collins was involved in the killing of these young women. He may not have acted alone and there may have been more killers taking the opportunity to "copy cat". But he definitely deserves to be in prison for life.
The Coed Murders




floridanica moses
My mother actually met John at a party. She tells of a man sitting in a corner, alone, observing, but polite when she met him. Handsome and kind. I thank God at the time she was there with a boyfriend. Who knows if she could of been his next victim. S**T sorry Mom, but that's F up!!!!




Daniel W
I kinda knew Dawn Basom..Her sister Karen use to hang with us as a small gang of kids about 1953 or so..I saw Karen at K-Marts and said hi to her right after Dawn was killed and she woulden't speak..Guess I don't blame her..Dawn was a sweet little girl when I knew her so full of life..They should have put Collins to death..


motorcityquig
Collins, now known as John Chapman, proclaims his innocence to this day. Funny thing, blood and semen evidence were collected from most of the victims and never once has Collins filed an appeal demanding a DNA test.








Gator Mcluski
Evidence in the basement was extremely flimsy. They did find blood, however of course there was no DNA profiling back then and they were only able to type it. California had a stronger case then Michigan did. Everything in Michigan was circumstantial. UNTIL, just in the past couple years, DNA is being recently checked on victims and Collin's DNA WAS found on undergarments collected at numerous scenes.



funner223
Dawn was my cousin. My mother hung with her when they were little and remembers this whole experience.



C P
In 1969....my family had a coney island in Annarbor....across from the Michigan theater.....we all remember it well....I read the book and took the same tour....but at that time the old farm house was still standing....my brother and I went there late at night, and we walked the property....when U drive up the short driveway.....when U reach leavel....that's were the lilac plums were placed togather.....one extra flower to indicate there is an other death comming soon !


ProudKansan08
Thank you for doing this.I read a book called Michigan Murders, I think, in 1977 and I was shocked this happened.This really gives visuals to the descriptions the book gave and its interesting & sad to see where they were found, where they were last seen, where all the locations were.To this day, some 33 years after reading the book, it still haunts me.


dan c
dear retrokimmer & brother, I dearly love that you did this memorial to the poor victims of that sadistic monster, My father & I were going to do this very thing, but Then I got very badly injured,and couldn't finnish our memorial, (there;s next year) fine job thank you for remembering the girls !!!!!


Vince
I grew up on Leforge Rd. and used to walk those train tracks on Huron all the way down to Depot Town to buy comics. The two dilapidated houses, visible from the tracks, were owned by a strange man who used to try to get us to come in his house. We would find notes along the tracks telling us to come over and listen to polka music while playing hide and seek with him and his sister Mary. As it turned out his sister passed away years ago.


badhaircut77
My father in law was first detective in the state police. I indeed questioned that hair evidence. I asked " is he guilty"....'absolutely"















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