Jimmy Driftwood, “Battle of New Orleans”

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Battle of New Orleans (1959)

James Corbitt Morris (June 20, 1907 – July 12, 1998), known professionally as Jimmy Driftwood or Jimmie Driftwood, was an American folk music songwriter and musician, most famous for his songs The Battle of New Orleans and Tennessee Stud. Driftwood wrote more than 6,000 folk songs, of which more than 300 were recorded by various musicians.

Driftwood was born in Timbo, Arkansas. His father was folk singer Neil Morris.He is on the album Songs of the Ozarks. Driftwood learned to play the guitar at a young age on his grandfather’s homemade instrument. Driftwood used that unique guitar throughout his career and noted that its neck was made from a fence rail, its sides from an old ox yoke, and the head and bottom from the headboard of his grandmother’s bed. This homemade instrument produced a pleasant, distinctive, resonant sound.

Driftwood attended John Brown College in northwest Arkansas and later received a degree in education from Arkansas State Teacher’s College. He started writing songs during his teaching career to teach his students history in an entertaining manner.

During the 1920s and 1930s, Driftwood left Arkansas, eventually hitchhiking through the southwestern United States. In Arizona he entered, and won, a local song contest.

In 1936, Driftwood married Cleda Johnson, who was one of his former students, and returned to Arkansas to raise a family and resume his teaching career. During this period of his life Driftwood wrote hundreds of songs but did not pursue a musical career seriously.

He wrote his later famous Battle of New Orleans song in 1936, to help a high school class he was teaching become interested in the event.

In the 1950s, he changed his name to Jimmy Driftwood, both publicly and legally.

In 1957, a Nashville, Tennessee song publisher learned of Driftwood, auditioned him, and signed him to his first record deal. Driftwood recalled playing some 100 of his songs in one day, of which 20 were chosen to be recorded. Driftwood’s first album, Newly Discovered Early American Folk Songs, received good reviews but did not sell particularly well. The Battle of New Orleans was included on the album, but did not conform to the radio standards of the time because of the words “hell” and “damn” in the lyrics. Driftwood said that at the time those words could be preached but not sung in secular contexts for broadcast. Driftwood was asked to make a shorter censored version of the song for a live radio performance. Singer Johnny Horton, after hearing the song, contacted Driftwood and told him that he wished to record his own version.

Driftwood left Arkansas for Nashville and became popular by his appearances on programs including the Grand Ole Opry, Ozark Jubilee, and Louisiana Hayride. He was invited to sing for Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev as an example of traditional American music during the leader’s 1959 state visit to the United States. He became a member of the Opry in the 1950s.

The popular peak of Driftwood’s career came in 1959, when he had no fewer than six songs on the popular and country music charts, including Horton’s recording of his The Battle of New Orleans, which remained in first place on the country music singles chart for ten weeks, and atop the popular music chart for six weeks that year. The song won the 1959 Grammy Award for Song of the Year.

After Horton’s success, Driftwood performed at Carnegie Hall and at major American folk music festivals before returning home to Timbo, Arkansas in 1962. During his recording career Driftwood also won Grammy Awards for Wilderness Road, Songs of Billy Yank and Johnny Reb and Tennessee Stud. Driftwood songs were recorded by Eddy Arnold, Johnny Cash, Hawkshaw Hawkins, Homer and Jethro (the parody The Battle of Kookamonga), Odetta, Doc Watson and others. In 1959, Driftwood appeared as a guest on the television game show, To Tell The Truth.

For a time during the 1960s, Driftwood toured the United States and Europe with the Preservation Hall New Orleans jazz band, although as a separate act. Back home, he became a folklorist, establishing the Rackensack Folklore Society, an association of local folk singers and musicians, and began performing at the local county fair in Mountain View. Driftwood became interested in promoting Arkansas folk music and the local folk performers he knew in the area. He invited members of the Mountain View community to perform at a festival of his own devising. First held on April 19 and 20 of 1963, this festival grew over the years, and transformed into the annual Arkansas Folk Festival which would attract more than 100,000 people.

Driftwood helped establish the Ozark Folk Center to preserve Ozark Mountain culture. The Folk Center was later absorbed into the Arkansas State Park system and remains a popular tourist destination.

Driftwood became involved with environmental issues when the United States Army Corps of Engineers planned to dam the Buffalo River. He worked to defeat the plan, which ultimately resulted in the establishment of Buffalo National River. Driftwood had a major role in preserving Blanchard Springs Caverns which later came under management of the United States Forest Service. He recorded the song still heard in the orientation film in the visitor center.

Driftwood was appointed to direct the Arkansas Parks and Tourism Commission for his environmental efforts. He was also named to the Advisory Committee of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.. Due to his extensive knowledge of folk music he was appointed as a musicologist for the National Geographic Society.

During his later life Driftwood enjoyed performing free concerts for high school and college students. He died of a heart attack on July 12, 1998, in Fayetteville, Arkansas, at age 91.

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Thuy Trane

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Thuy Trang (December 14, 1973 – September 3, 2001)

Thuy Trang was a Vietnamese-American actress. She was known for her role as Trini Kwan, the first Yellow Ranger on the original cast of the television series Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.

Trang’s father was a South Vietnamese army officer who fled the country in 1975 after the fall of Saigon, leaving his family behind. When Trang was six, she and her mother and brothers boarded a cargo ship bound for Hong Kong, a difficult journey during which Trang became very ill. They reunited with Trang’s father in the United States in 1980 and settled in California. She enrolled at the University of California, Irvine to study civil engineering, but switched her focus to acting after a talent scout spotted her.

Trang was chosen for Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, her first major role, after participating in an audition process that included about 500 actresses. Like the other cast members, Trang mostly portrayed her character in scenes when she was out of her Power Rangers uniform; the in-costume fight scenes were footage adapted from the long-running Japanese television series Super Sentai, with Trang’s voice dubbed over the action. Trang appeared in 80 episodes in the series, which included the entire first season, and the first twenty episodes of the second. She performed many of her own stunts, and repeatedly got hurt on the set.

Trang left Mighty Morphin Power Rangers in the middle of the second season, along with fellow cast members Austin St. John and Walter Emanuel Jones, due to contractual and payment disputes and was replaced by Karan Ashley as the Yellow Ranger. She had a brief appearance in the film Spy Hard (1996), and played one of the lead villains in the film The Crow: City of Angels (1996). Trang had planned to appear in several films along with St. John and Jones, but none were ultimately made.

On September 3, 2001, the 27-year-old Trang was traveling with her friend, the actress and model Angela Rockwood, for whom Trang was to be a bridesmaid in her upcoming marriage to Dustin Nguyen.They were passengers in a car traveling on Interstate 5 between San Jose and Los Angeles, driving back late at night after having visited Rockwood’s maid of honor in San Jose. The driver, another bridesmaid named Steffiana de la Cruz, struck some loose gravel in a groove along the side of the street, and lost control of the vehicle. The car swerved violently across the road before hitting the roadside rock face, flipping several times before hitting the safety rail and plunging over the bank and into a second rock face. Rockwood was thrown 35 feet out of the car and survived, but her spinal cord was severed and she was rendered quadriplegic. The driver also survived the accident. Trang suffered internal injuries; and, after a paramedic inserted an endotracheal tube in her throat, blood began gushing out due to internal bleeding. A helicopter arrived to take her to the hospital, but she died along the way.

“All-of-a-Kind Family”

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All-of-a-Kind Family (Follett Publishing Company, 1951)

All-of-a-Kind Family is a 1951 children’s book by Sydney Taylor about a family of five American Jewish girls growing up on the Lower East Side of New York City in 1912. It was followed by four sequels.

All-of-a-Kind Family was based on the stories of Taylor’s childhood that she would tell to her daughter, Jo. The main characters are named for Taylor’s real-life sisters, Ella, Henny, Charlotte, and Gertrude, and the middle sister was given the author’s birth name, Sarah. Taylor has no plans to publish the story, but her husband secretly submitted the manuscript for the Charles W. Follett Award in 1951, and it won, launching Taylor’s career.

The book is noteworthy for its depiction of a joint Jewish American identity, with the characters expressing both pride in their Jewish traditions and American patriotism, following the trajectory of Taylor’s own family’s assimilation. “Not only are Jewish customs explained honestly and frankly, but Taylor makes them attractive and positive, drawing in her readers, both Jewish and non-Jewish,” the scholar June Cummins writes.

Taylor followed All-of-a-Kind Family with: More All-of-a-Kind Family, All-of-a-Kind Family Downtown, All-of-a-Kind Family Uptown, and Ella of All-of-a-Kind Family. The final novel was published shortly after Taylor’s death in 1978. In 2018 a picture book sequel called All-of-a-Kind Family Hanukkah written by Emily Jenkins and illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky was named a Kirkus best book of 2018 and won the Sydney Taylor Book Award for Younger Readers in 2019.

Taylor received the Charles W. Follett Award for All-of-a-Kind Family‘s contribution to children’s literature in 1951. All-of-a-Kind Family was also the first recipient of the Jewish Book Council’s National Jewish Book Award for children’s literature in 1952. The book is considered foundational to the development of American Jewish children’s literature, and the Association of Jewish Libraries’ annual children’s literature award is named the Sydney Taylor Book Award in honor of Taylor’s work. The publisher Lizzie Skurnick, who reissued the All-of-a-Kind sequels, describes Taylor’s depiction of American Jewish life as “completely singular. They’re the first series about a Jewish family ever, one that’s not only about the family, but about Jewish culture, New York, the turn of the century, vaudeville, polio, the rise of technology.”

Milkybar Wowsomes

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Milkybar Wowsomes (Nestle, 2018)

Nestlé unveiled Milkybar Wowsomes, the first chocolate using Nestlé’s new structured sugar to reduce sugar by 30% versus comparable bars. It was only available in the UK and Ireland.

Milkybar Wowsomes achieved the sugar reduction using only natural ingredients and with no sweeteners. It has milk as the main ingredient and contained crispy oat cereal and is a source of fiber.

Researchers at Nestlé changed the structure of sugar using only natural ingredients. They created an aerated, porous sugar that dissolved more quickly in the mouth. This allowed someone to perceive the same sweetness as before while consuming less sugar.

“Tucker’s Witch”

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Tucker’s Witch (CBS, 1982)

Tucker’s Witch is a comedy-detective series that aired on CBS television from October 6 to November 10, 1982, and again sporadically from March 31 to June 9, 1983. It stars Tim Matheson and Catherine Hicks as a charming married couple, Rick and Amanda Tucker, who own and operate a private detective agency in Laurel Canyon in Los Angeles. Amanda possesses psychic powers that help the agency solve cases but sometimes lead the couple into trouble.

The show’s pilot was first filmed in early 1982 as The Good Witch of Laurel Canyon and starred Art Hindle and Kim Cattrall. In May 1982, CBS announced that the series had been picked up with that title and cast.

However, Cattrall’s racy scene in the 1982 film Porky’s caused CBS to demand her replacement. The show was retitled Tucker’s Witch and the pilot was reshot with a new cast; Catherine Hicks replaced Cattrall and Tim Matheson was cast in Hindle’s role (Hindle had also played a small role in Porky’s). The original pilot never aired.

Tucker’s Witch aired at 10 p.m. Eastern on Wednesdays in its first run, and proved unable to compete with ABC’s Dynasty and NBC’s Quincy, M.E. The show was placed on hiatus after six episodes had aired; months later, it was brought back to burn off the remaining episodes. The program was switched to Thursday for the second half of its run.

The Flirtations, “Nothing But a Heartache”

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Nothing But a Heartache (Deram Records, 1968)

Nothing but a Heartache is a Pop and Northern Soul hit originally released on the Deram Records label in November 1968 by South Carolina trio The Flirtations. The song was produced by Wayne Bickerton and co-written by Bickerton and Tony Waddington, who were later responsible for the 1970s successes of The Rubettes.

Nothing But a Heartache reached the Top 40 in both the Netherlands (#33) and in the U.S., where it spent two weeks at #34 in late May 1969 during what was then considered a lengthy 14-week run on Billboard’s Hot 100 – especially for a hit that did not reach the top 30. The single also reached #31 on Cash Box and #25 on Record World charts.

In late April 1969, Nothing but a Heartache reached #3 in Boston on WRKO-AM. In Canada it reached #31 and in Australia it charted at #97. Two promotional videos—one in color and one in black-and-white—were filmed for the song. The colour video was shot at Tintern Abbey in Wales.

“Sahara”

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Sahara (MGM, 1984)

Sahara is a 1983 British-American adventure drama film directed by Andrew McLaglen and starring Brooke Shields, Lambert Wilson, Horst Buchholz, John Rhys-Davies and John Mills. The original music score was composed by Ennio Morricone.

Intent on winning a competition in place of her distinguished late father, beautiful young heiress Dale (Shields) takes on the guise of a man and competes in his spot, embarking on a car race that crosses the unforgiving Sahara desert.

The film was supposedly inspired by the then British Prime Minister’s son, Mark Thatcher, who became lost in North Africa in 1982 during an auto rally. It also came about due to the box office success of Raiders of the Lost Ark and Menahem Golan’s fondness for the Rudolph Valentino film The Sheik (1921).[3]

In May 1982 it was announced Guy Hamilton would direct Brooke Shields in Sahara with a $15 million budget. It was one of the biggest budgeted films from Cannon Films.

Finding the male lead took over a year. The film was meant to come out in December 1983. The release was delayed until February 1984. “We couldn’t get the theatres we wanted at Christmas so the decision was to wait,” said an MGM/UA spokesman. Other reports said the decision to push back a release were made after poor previews. It was released only in the West Coast states. “We decided to open it in half the country to see what we had,” said MGM. It made $550,848 on 344 theaters on the West Coast – a per screen average of only $1,601. The Chicago Tribune called the film “a dog.” It ended up making $1.2 million.

At the 1984 Razzies, Brooke Shields was nominated for Worst Actress and won Worst Supporting Actor as “Brooke Shields (with a moustache)”, making her the first and only actress to win this award.

“The Seeds of Love”

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Sowing the Seeds of Love (Fontana, 1989)

The Seeds of Love is the third studio album by British pop rock band Tears for Fears, released on September 25, 1989 by Fontana Records. It retained the band’s epic sound while incorporating influences ranging from jazz and soul to Beatlesque pop. Its lengthy production and scrapped recording sessions cost over £1 million. The album spanned the title hit single Sowing the Seeds of Love, as well as Woman in Chains, and Advice for the Young at Heart, both of which reached the top 40 in several countries.

Recording sessions for the album began in late 1986 with producers Clive Langer and Alan Winstanley, but Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith were unhappy with the results and so the recordings were scrapped in early 1987. Chris Hughes (who had produced both the previous Tears for Fears albums) was then brought back into the fold, but again conflicts arose over the direction of the new material. Orzabal in particular had grown weary of composing and playing music using machines and sequencers, as the majority of Tears for Fears’ music had been up to that point, and was striving for something more organic and a different way of working.

The song Sowing the Seeds of Love was written in June 1987, the same week as the UK general election in which Margaret Thatcher and the Conservative Party won a third consecutive term in office (reflected in the lyric “Politician granny with your high ideals, have you no idea how the majority feels?”). Hughes and longtime TFF keyboardist Ian Stanley both left the project later in 1987 citing “creative differences,” though their contributions to the track remained on the final album. After two failed attempts to make the album, the band opted to produce it themselves, assisted by engineer Dave Bascombe. Also in 1987, Orzabal and Smith flew over to the U.S. to track down a hotel lounge pianist/vocalist named Oleta Adams, whom they had seen playing in Kansas City during their 1985 American tour. Hoping she could add to the organic feel by bringing a soulful warmth to their music, they invited Adams to work with them on their new album. Adams would ultimately perform on three tracks (Woman in Chains, Badman’s Song and Standing on the Corner of the Third World), and a solo recording contract was also offered to her by the band’s record company Fontana.

Recording recommenced in early 1988 and lasted until the summer of 1989. Featuring an assortment of respected session players including drummers Manu Katché and Simon Phillips, bassist Pino Palladino, and a guest appearance by Phil Collins on drums, much of the album was recorded as jam sessions featuring different performances of the music and then edited down later. Some of the tracks, particularly Badman’s Song, were recorded several times in a variety of musical styles including, according to Holland, versions of the song that were reminiscent of Barry White, Little Feat and Steely Dan before settling on the jazz/gospel version that is on the finished album. Co-producer Dave Bascombe commented that the final version of the song was almost nothing like the original demo because it had gone through so many changes. The track Swords and Knives was originally written for the 1986 film Sid and Nancy (about the relationship between Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen), but was rejected by the filmmakers for not being “punk” enough.

Due to the starry cast of session players and lengthy production process, including the scrapped earlier recordings, the album reportedly cost £1 million to make (by comparison, Songs from the Big Chair cost approximately £70,000). The final mix of the album was completed at London’s Mayfair Studios in July 1989. Frustrations during the making of the album had also given rise to tensions between Orzabal and Smith, Orzabal having become something of an intricate perfectionist and Smith preoccupied with living a jet set lifestyle rather than focusing on the album (Smith’s first marriage had also ended in divorce during the making of the album). At one point, Orzabal considered calling the album Famous Last Words (the title of the album’s final track), commenting “it may well turn out to be our last album.” Indeed, the duo did not make any further recordings together for over a decade.

The Seeds of Love was an international success, entering the UK Albums Chart at number one, and top ten in other countries including the U.S. It has been certified Gold or Platinum in several territories including the United Kingdom, the United States, France, Germany, Canada, and the Netherlands. Despite its success, personal tensions during recording led to band members Curt Smith and Roland Orzabal splitting up at the conclusion of their 1990 world tour, with Orzabal remaining as the band’s sole official member until the two reunited in the early 2000s.

In October 2020, the remastered reissue of The Seeds of Love was released in several formats including a super deluxe edition, with B-sides, remixes, and a 5.1 surround sound mix.

Sowing the Seeds of Love was a worldwide hit, topping the Canadian RPM Top Singles chart and reaching the top ten in Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom and on the European Hot 100. In the United States, it reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #1 on both the Modern Rock Tracks chart and the Cash Box Top 100.

Woman in Chains was the second single and has been described as a “feminist anthem.” It was an international success, reaching the top 40 in several countries, including the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, France, and the Netherlands. The studio cut features Phil Collins on drums. “Tears for Fears just wanted me to do that big drum thing from ‘In the Air Tonight,'” Collins recalled. “‘We want you to come in here in a big way.'” The song prominently features vocals by Adams, who went on to achieve a successful solo career. It was re-released in 1992 – with a different B-side and now credited to “Tears For Fears featuring Oleta Adams” – to capitalize on the singer’s solo success and to promote the Tears for Fears compilation Tears Roll Down (Greatest Hits 82-92).

Advice for the Young at Heart was written by Roland Orzabal and keyboardist/singer Nicky Holland. The lead vocal was sung by Curt Smith (the only track on the whole The Seeds of Love album that he sang lead vocals on). The single only reached #89 in the US Billboard 100 but was a top 40 hit in the UK (#36), France (#31), Canada (#25) and The Netherlands (#22), and a top 20 hit in Ireland (#15). In 1992, when Tears for Fears released Tears Roll Down (Greatest Hits 82–92), Advice for the Young at Heart was re-released in Brazil.

Famous Last Words was released by the record company without the band’s involvement as the fourth and final single from the album in 1990 and peaked at #83 in the UK. The single was released on various formats including 7″ and 12″ vinyl, a limited edition 12″ vinyl picture disc (only 10,000 copies were pressed, and each copy is numbered), and a limited edition CD-Single (only 5000 copies were pressed, and each copy is numbered). A promo video was made for the single; this consisted mainly of performance footage from the Going To California live video overdubbed with the studio version of the song and additional video imagery added. When performed live in 1990, the band would often segue from Famous Last Words into a rendition of When The Saints Go Marching In.

Time’s Up: Title Recall

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Time’s Up!: Title Recall (R&R Games)

Based on the popular game Time’s Up!, Time’s Up: Title Recall challenges players to guess the titles of books, films, songs, and more. Players try to get their teammates to guess the same set of titles over three rounds. In each round, one member of a team tries to get their teammates to guess as many titles as possible in 30 seconds. In round 1, almost any kind of clue is allowed. In round 2, no more than one word can be used in each clue (but unlimited sounds and gestures are permitted.) In round 3, no words are allowed at all.

Paantu

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Paantu (October)

Paantu is a centuries-old festival that takes place on the island of Miyakojima, Okinawa three times in the year, though the largest takes place in October. During the festival, three men dressed as paantu—evil spirits covered from head to toe with mud and foliage—are given the task of driving out demons and cleansing the island of bad luck. The festival has these men run around the island chasing children and adults alike by throwing mud at them. It is believed that being touched by a paantu will bring good fortune for the coming year, though the scene of children crying (and some adults shouting) is not rare either.

This year’s Paantu festival was slated for sometime in early October. Dates are rarely confirmed until a few weeks before the event. So check back with Japanese tourism sites often in September and early October.