Tuesday, January 20, 2015

dancing goats... and the arrival of awards season

It's another groggy morning as I wait for my third cup of brew. That's 'brew' as in coffee. I've never had the fermented kind of brew this early in the day. I've nothing against it understand. But, well, perhaps it's due to the subliminal programming of advertisements, coffee just seems at home in the morning. They go together. I did break the coffee and cigarettes connection a number of years ago, and yes, I still miss it. But a morning without coffee is - what? Mourning? A morning wasted?

This particular story allegedly started with a 9th century Ethiopian goat herder named Kaldi - who noticed the effect of a red bean on his flock of goats, which were so energized after consuming the berries that they danced.

Kaldi then took the beans to a monk who decided they were 'the Devil's bounty' and threw them into a fire.

Other monks noticed the alluring smell and rescued the beans from the fire, ground them up into powder, and poured water over them.

And thus the elixir of life, a true gift from God, was discovered.

I prefer the version of the story that starts with Omar, known for his ability to heal the sick,  being exiled from Mocha. Living in a cave, he tried to eat red berries that he found growing nearby. The taste was horrible, so he tried roasting them, but that made the beans hard. He then tried boiling them to soften them up, noticed that the resulting liquid smelled pretty nifty and drank it, experiencing a revitalization of his energies. Word of his 'miracle drug' reached Mocha. Omar wasn't just invited back, after a sampling of his elixir, he was made a Saint. Seems logical.

Coffee still seemed to be on people's minds, or at least the minds of advertisers, in January of 1945 when the following appeared in the local paper.

Other clippings from that week's newspapers included the story of Elliot Roosevelt's dog. Roosevelt was the son of President Roosevelt. He had been home on leave; upon his return to the war, his dog was flown to the wife in Hollywood, bumping other servicemen from their flight. It became a bit of a scandal until a Congressional investigation cleared the Roosevelts of blame.


Twice a week, Sally's column appeared. It was really a form of paid advertising, but no one seemed to mind too much - it was handy to know what had been received at the stores, and the shopping hints and low cost ration point saving recipes were appreciated. There's been a couple I've unearthed that I do want to try...





On the radio that week of January 1945, awards season had begun with Billboard's, the Esquire Jazz awards, and so on. On the evening of the 19th, the Victory Parade of Spotlight Bands featured Charlie Spivak and His Orchestra. My radio show this past Saturday replayed that broadcast, and featured clips from shows which gave out some of those awards. Clips include the Ellington organization waxing musically eloquent, Billie Holiday singing "I Cover the Waterfront" backed by Ellington and His Orchestra; Lee Wiley singing 'Don't Blame Me' backed by Jess Stacy on piano and Tommy Dorsey on trombone; Red McKenzie singing 'Talk of the Town'; Earl 'Fatha' Hines, Art Tatum, Les Paul, Sidney Bechet, Jo Stafford, the King Cole Trio, Woody Herman, Mildred Bailey - and much more.

I hope anyone kind enough to listen enjoys this show as much as I enjoyed putting it together.

1 comment:

Rory Grant said...

I'd be dead now if it wasn't for coffee. There would be no point to life....