30th & 31st December, 2010

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Boots & Rod. Photographed by Edward, May 2010. ©2010 By Stanyan Music Group. All Rights Reserved

A Thought for Today

And now a toast: I wish you heady harvests every day of every year, no unsure hours or sleepless nights, and happiness enough to make the valley’s of New England and the verdant hills of France forever green inside your heart.

 

TO BEGIN WITH

To close out the year here are some notes from all over.

.ASK ROD

QUERY FROM CLIFF IN TOKYO

Dear Rod, Hello from Tokyo! I hope you are well. I grew up in LA in the 60's playing with the group Ambrosia, was a member of the vocal group The Association for a year and spent 2 amazing years playing guitar with alto sax icon Art Pepper. That was pretty wild. In '72 Bob Hope sent me to Vietnam to boost morale of the troops, had some pretty wild adventures and I ended up in Japan.

I hope you'll allow me a question about The World I Used to Know: Sounds to me like a former wildman type is in a current stable relationship but built on sand for someday his wildman genes will come calling again. Am I wrong?

I'd be most grateful if you would share your intended meaning of this beautiful song. Thank you kindly and Happy Holidays, Yours Sincerely Cliff Woolley, Tokyo


Dear Cliff, You came as close to hitting it on the head as I’m willing to admit. I still sing The World I Used To Know and I’ve Been To Town at nearly every concert, both were written way back in the 1960’s. Incidentally I've written "The World I Used To Know" a couple of times over in different guises. What are the other songs? If I told you I'd have to, well you know.

The World I Used To Know was originally titled "Song With No Name" and at the Jimmie Rodgers recording session for it producer Randy Wood of Dot Records said I'm not releasing something called Song With No Name. So, I arbitrarily titled it The World I Used To Know, even though the title only appears in the song once.

You've had quite a varied career. Hope you enjoy Tokyo as much as I did when I first went there in 1954.

All My Best to you and yours for now and the coming year.
Warmly, Rod

KEVIN IN BOSTON

Dear Rod, Welcome back to your website; I was getting worried. Here's a suggestion: I was just wondering if you'd consider printing the full track lists for your two upcoming box sets for all us lifetime McKuenites. It would be a quick and easy way to fill up a two-day column, not to mention a nice bit of pre-promotion.

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year (and what the heck, I hope you have a great Easter, as well.) Oh and will New Ballads ever make its way to CD? Glen

Dear Kevin, Ah Boston & Symphony Hall, what sweet memories.

Rock Gently and the other songs on New Ballads have joined Pastorale, Sold Out at Carnegie Hall, The Beautiful Strangers, Grand Tour and a bunch of other albums and singles on LOVE'S BEEN GOOD TO ME: The Warner Bros. Years Vol. 1 (the next 8 CD set coming out in the new year as instalment two in Bear Family's overview of my career). It's in the works & has been too long in preparation. As for a track list, I’m working on it – too slowly to suit me and just about everyone else concerned.

By the way Glenn Campbell is a featured guitarist on many tracks in the upcoming Bear Family sets. Have you heard either of his two solo recordings of If You Go Away? Cheers & Happy Holidays, Rod

ALISON IN LONDON

Dear Rod, I want to thank you for all the pleasure your music has given me over the years. I was delighted to see that your London Palladium concert recording from 1970 has been released on CD. Was this your first appearance at the Palladium? A friend says we saw you there in the mid to late 60s, but I'm sure it must have been in May 1970. I'd be so grateful if you could settle the argument. Many thanks, and all good wishes, Alison Weir.

Thanks for the note. I'm pretty sure I only played The Palladium once in May of 1970. Several appearances at The Royal Albert Hall followed and I also performed at Festival Hall and The Rainbow Theatre. London audiences have always been very good to me. I recorded many of my appearances in The City of London (including, of course my TV series) but so far I haven't released any of the complete shows, other than The Palladium Concert titled "Live in London." My double LP "Grand Tour" contained tracks from Albert Hall.

Thanks again for asking Alison and all my best. Warmly, Rod

FROM PAULO IN ROME

Rod, In the late 1960’s I directed you for a segment of the TV series “Today in Rome” and I remember you sang a song inspired by Sergio Endrigo. Now that you have been working with Ennio Morricone is there a chance you’ll be returning for an Italian visit any time soon? Paulo Encarta.

Dear Paulo, nothing definite but you can bet there have been discussions regarding not only a visit but some recording dates in The Eternal City. Am not sure if anything will come of it. So far my work with Ennio has been long distance but I’d love any excuse to spend more time in Italy. Warmly, Rod

AND FROM PHILIP IN WALES

Hi, just wondered if there have been any Rod McKuen DVD’s, either studio or concerts? Thanks, Phil Mortimore

Dear Philip, The only DVD available at the moment are a few performances with Dolly Parton in her collection "The Dolly Parton Show." (Available from www.stanyanhouse.com.) Some solo DVD's are in the works, including the series I did for the BBC, a concert disc and a biographical DVD. Some individual performances will soon be available on line. Thanks For Asking. Cheers, Rod

RM 12/29/2010 Previously unpublished

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notable birthdays

Thursday 30 December

Suzy Bogguss o Joseph Bologna o Paul Bowles o Skeeter Davis o Bo Diddley o Heidi Fleiss o John Hartford o John Hillerman o Davey Jones o Dmitri Kabalevsky o Rudyard Kipling o Sandy Koufax o Matt Lauer o Eliza Little o Jack Lord o Mike Nesmith o Barbara Nichols o Bert Parks o Sheryl Lee Ralph o Del Shannon o Alfred E. Smith o Patti Smith o Noel Paul Stookey o Russ Tamblyn o Tracey Ullman o Jo Van Fleet o Meredith Viera o Fred Ward o Tiger Woods

Friday 31 December
NEW YEARS EVE

Rex Allen o Elizabeth Arden o Paula Barbier o Barbara Carrera o Jacques Cartier o Rosalind Cash o Lord Cornwallis o Burton Cummings o Joe Dallesandro o John Denver o Anthony Hopkins o Jonah Jones o Val Kilmer o Ben Kingsley o Tim Matheson o Henri Matisse o Joe McIntyre o Sarah Miles o Pola Negri o Bebe Neuwirth o Odetta o Nino Rota o George Schlatter o Patti Smith o Goran Sollscher o Jule Styne o Donna Summer

Rod's random thoughts There is no fresh air without love.

I wish you Christmas every time you close your eyes.

Temper ought to be tempered by compassion.

TOMORROW
The 1963 Holiday Card

I know that love is running in the snow.
I cannot see it but it’s there.
As sure as caterpillars tunnel in the leaves
and winter weight bogs down the trees.

And so I search the highways and the hills.

                 There was a time
when bar talk and Bartok did the job
and I would hurry home –
    a stranger in my arms or in my thoughts
to be content with San Francisco rain.

You’d be surprised
the way the dripping rain from rooftops
can ease a man from out himself
                  and into sun.

We’re all older now,
This past year we have lost Piaf’s smile,
                Kennedy’s promises
and Cocteau’s jokes on everyone
(he said the ship was going down
for all of us – remember.)

The year turns home.

Maybe tomorrow.

-from “Twelve Years of Christmas,” 1969

 
    AND FINALLY

See you on New Years Day for my annual greeting. Sleep warm. Really.

RM Holmby Hills CA / 7:40PM PST 29 December 2010

 
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