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#1 2010-08-02 14:06:11

Elliot K
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From: Santa Rosa, CA
Registered: 2005-10-11
Posts: 132
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R. I. P. Mitch Miller

Well, this probably won't mean much to those of you under 40 (maybe 50), but Mitch Miller passed away today at the age of 99. For good or ill, he was a big part of the musical landscape when I was growing up. If the name doesn't ring a bell, think "Sing Along with Mitch". My folks were big fans...

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#2 2010-08-02 14:54:55

radi0gnome
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From: Kingston NY
Registered: 2006-12-29
Posts: 1030
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Re: R. I. P. Mitch Miller

Talk about memories. What's with this "for good or ill" stuff? True, it wasn't my favorite either when I was 6, the Beatles with their bubblegum music (let's face it, that's what it was in their early years) got me hooked. But, I've got to admit I sang along with the bouncing ball all on my own accord, and some songs like "Marching to Pretoria" for some reason are particularly memorable. It was kind of like barbershop for the masses, with an entire nation singing along in unison. At least 20 years before Pepsi started their "teach the world to sing" marketing campaign.

I'd play Tamuke for him but I haven't learned it yet. I guess I'll have to settle for singing along with him for just a little bit more: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9dY9gtYeHhk

BTW, it looks like he introduced the world to some pretty respectable artistry too: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QaWf51mj … re=related


"Now birds record new harmonie, And trees do whistle melodies;
Now everything that nature breeds, Doth clad itself in pleasant weeds."
~ Thomas Watson - England's Helicon ca 1580

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#3 2010-08-02 15:19:01

Rick Riekert
Member
Registered: 2008-03-13
Posts: 100

Re: R. I. P. Mitch Miller

radiOgnome wrote:

What's with this "for good or ill" stuff?

In his book "Jazz Singing" Will Friedwald hit the ill on the head: "Miller exemplified the worst in American pop. He first aroused the ire of intelligent listeners by trying to turn — and darn near succeeding in turning — great artists like Sinatra, Clooney, and Tony Bennett into hacks. Miller chose the worst songs and put together the worst backings imaginable — not with the hit-or-miss attitude that bad musicians... traditionally used, but with insight, forethought, careful planning, and perverted brilliance."


Mastery does not lay in the mastery of technique, but in penetrating the heart of the music. However, he who has not mastered the technique will not penetrate the heart of the music.
~ Hisamatsu Fūyō

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#4 2010-08-02 16:43:36

radi0gnome
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From: Kingston NY
Registered: 2006-12-29
Posts: 1030
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Re: R. I. P. Mitch Miller

Rick Riekert wrote:

radiOgnome wrote:

What's with this "for good or ill" stuff?

In his book "Jazz Singing" Will Friedwald hit the ill on the head:

Hmm... I googled the guy, he was born in '61 and the book was published in 1990 at the ripe old age of 29. I wonder if there's a possibility he has changed his opinion. It's been known to happen. 

Rick Riekert (quoting Will Friedwald) wrote:

"Miller exemplified the worst in American pop. He first aroused the ire of intelligent listeners by trying to turn — and darn near succeeding in turning — great artists like Sinatra, Clooney, and Tony Bennett into hacks. Miller chose the worst songs and put together the worst backings imaginable — not with the hit-or-miss attitude that bad musicians... traditionally used, but with insight, forethought, careful planning, and perverted brilliance."

I've got to admit he's got a point. However, Mitch Miller is by far not the only pop phenomena that wasn't accepted well by critics (of course this particular critic waited 30 years to criticize, I wonder what the critics were saying in the 50's). There are many examples of popular culture latching on to music that isn't really all that good. Just as what music you decide to put on your Ipod is what you personally need at that point in time for healing or personal growth, the music that a particular culture decides to listen to is that which will fit that culture's needs for healing and growth. Mitch Miller filled the gap that many were missing with advent of the new entertainment medium of television. Prior to television, a lot more people entertained themselves with sing-alongs and such.

I had an opportunity recently to join in on an old-fashioned campfire sing-along. By musical standards it sucked, but as far as personal fulfillment it went a whole lot farther than cranking up the latest Lady Gaga hit that any critic will tell you is awesome. It seems to me that Mitch Miller probably helped keep a nation from becoming ill.


"Now birds record new harmonie, And trees do whistle melodies;
Now everything that nature breeds, Doth clad itself in pleasant weeds."
~ Thomas Watson - England's Helicon ca 1580

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#5 2010-08-02 18:21:37

Rick Riekert
Member
Registered: 2008-03-13
Posts: 100

Re: R. I. P. Mitch Miller

RadiOgnome wrote:

Hmm... I googled the guy, he was born in '61 and the book was published in 1990 at the ripe old age of 29. I wonder if there's a possibility he has changed his opinion. It's been known to happen.

I was endorsing Friedwald's opinion. As I'm not writing Friedwald's biography how old  he was when he expressed it and whether he still holds the same opinion is beside the point. I believe it's the truth though not of course the whole truth. I doubt that "Mama will Bark" healed the nation or brought anyone personal fulfillment, but like many of Miller's hits it sold really well, which was and still is the whole point.


Mastery does not lay in the mastery of technique, but in penetrating the heart of the music. However, he who has not mastered the technique will not penetrate the heart of the music.
~ Hisamatsu Fūyō

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#6 2010-08-02 21:05:51

radi0gnome
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From: Kingston NY
Registered: 2006-12-29
Posts: 1030
Website

Re: R. I. P. Mitch Miller

Rick Riekert wrote:

I doubt that "Mama will Bark" healed the nation or brought anyone personal fulfillment,

Yes, maybe I did go a little overboard there. smile


"Now birds record new harmonie, And trees do whistle melodies;
Now everything that nature breeds, Doth clad itself in pleasant weeds."
~ Thomas Watson - England's Helicon ca 1580

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#7 2010-08-02 21:24:22

Moran from Planet X
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From: Here to There
Registered: 2005-10-11
Posts: 1524
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Re: R. I. P. Mitch Miller

radi0gnome wrote:

Rick Riekert wrote:

I doubt that "Mama will Bark" healed the nation or brought anyone personal fulfillment,

Yes, maybe I did go a little overboard there. smile

Healing a nation or bringing anyone to personal fulfillment seems like a tall order for any piece of music.


"I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass...and I am all out of bubblegum." —Rowdy Piper, They Live!

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#8 2010-08-02 23:18:56

radi0gnome
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From: Kingston NY
Registered: 2006-12-29
Posts: 1030
Website

Re: R. I. P. Mitch Miller

Chris Moran wrote:

Healing a nation or bringing anyone to personal fulfillment seems like a tall order for any piece of music.

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word,...

If one word can bring forth creation, shouldn't a whole song be able to do even more?


"Now birds record new harmonie, And trees do whistle melodies;
Now everything that nature breeds, Doth clad itself in pleasant weeds."
~ Thomas Watson - England's Helicon ca 1580

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#9 2010-08-03 01:58:17

Moran from Planet X
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From: Here to There
Registered: 2005-10-11
Posts: 1524
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Re: R. I. P. Mitch Miller

radi0gnome wrote:

Chris Moran wrote:

Healing a nation or bringing anyone to personal fulfillment seems like a tall order for any piece of music.

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word,...

If one word can bring forth creation, shouldn't a whole song be able to do even more?

Yeah, yeah, yeah .. but what about personal fulfillment, dude?


"I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass...and I am all out of bubblegum." —Rowdy Piper, They Live!

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#10 2010-08-03 02:03:13

Moran from Planet X
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From: Here to There
Registered: 2005-10-11
Posts: 1524
Website

Re: R. I. P. Mitch Miller

Rick Riekert wrote:

In his book "Jazz Singing" Will Friedwald hit the ill on the head: "Miller exemplified the worst in American pop ... "

LOL! Obviously Friedwald missed the Japanese version of the show Kyoku no Mitch

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4076/4855617219_ffe2bf87af.jpg


"I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass...and I am all out of bubblegum." —Rowdy Piper, They Live!

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#11 2010-08-03 09:47:26

mrwuwu
Member
From: Chicago, Illinois
Registered: 2007-11-23
Posts: 160

Re: R. I. P. Mitch Miller

Hey!  Are you doing all this Photoshop at work using company time?   I'm tel-l-l-l-l-l-ing!       Mr. Whistleblower,  saving America one step at a time.

Last edited by mrwuwu (2010-08-03 09:48:39)


" You know, it's been three years now, maybe a new teacher can help you? ...... " Sensei

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#12 2010-08-03 16:18:44

Moran from Planet X
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From: Here to There
Registered: 2005-10-11
Posts: 1524
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Re: R. I. P. Mitch Miller

Wha-a? You think I don't have Photoshop at home? You think I'm just a poor little mangy sewer rat who sleeps in a barn? Eh? .... EH?!

I have my own computer. I have a car. I even own a mattress.

HA HA. What do you think now, woo-woo-san?

My shakuhachi are all Kindo and Shigemi. I have many Jin Nyodo that I use as hat racks.  I have a few old Shiro used by Goro in his recordings. They are my toothpicks. Crooked though.

Ha! NOW whattdoyouthink Mr. Mu-mu????


"I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass...and I am all out of bubblegum." —Rowdy Piper, They Live!

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#13 2010-08-03 17:30:07

radi0gnome
Member
From: Kingston NY
Registered: 2006-12-29
Posts: 1030
Website

Re: R. I. P. Mitch Miller

Chris Moran wrote:

I have many Jin Nyodo that I use as hat racks.  I have a few old Shiro used by Goro in his recordings. They are my toothpicks. Crooked though.

Can I have one, I'll pay postage.


"Now birds record new harmonie, And trees do whistle melodies;
Now everything that nature breeds, Doth clad itself in pleasant weeds."
~ Thomas Watson - England's Helicon ca 1580

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#14 2010-08-03 19:08:20

Moran from Planet X
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From: Here to There
Registered: 2005-10-11
Posts: 1524
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Re: R. I. P. Mitch Miller

radi0gnome wrote:

Chris Moran wrote:

I have a few old Shiro used by Goro in his recordings. They are my toothpicks. Crooked though.

Can I have one, I'll pay postage.

They don't have hanko. Somebody once said, somewhere, some time ago that Shiro made them so now they are worth $40,000 each.

I still use as toothpicks though. I have very expensive teeth.


"I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass...and I am all out of bubblegum." —Rowdy Piper, They Live!

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#15 2010-08-03 21:15:44

Moran from Planet X
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From: Here to There
Registered: 2005-10-11
Posts: 1524
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Re: R. I. P. Mitch Miller

Straying back to the topic ...

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4114/4858239377_2eb4659123.jpg

Fifteen cents for a weekly magazine was no chump change in 1961. Coffee was a nickel.


"I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass...and I am all out of bubblegum." —Rowdy Piper, They Live!

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#16 2010-08-03 22:55:45

mrwuwu
Member
From: Chicago, Illinois
Registered: 2007-11-23
Posts: 160

Re: R. I. P. Mitch Miller

Holy Shikuhachi!!!   Lookit the gompers on that guy!   If I had two front teeth like Mitch I could focus a double airstream simultaneously at my utaguchi and not only play the fourth octave but also perform a double humpback camel tamane on Shika No Tone!!!!!!      This is thee most seamless and believable Photoshop job you have ever done on his teeth,  X-Mo.   Outstanding, Young Sir!!!!


" You know, it's been three years now, maybe a new teacher can help you? ...... " Sensei

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#17 2010-08-04 00:23:05

Moran from Planet X
Member
From: Here to There
Registered: 2005-10-11
Posts: 1524
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Re: R. I. P. Mitch Miller

mrwuwu wrote:

Holy Shikuhachi!!!   Lookit the gompers on that guy!

For a couple of minutes (seconds, maybe) I didn't understand the 'gompers' reference as meaning teeth.

So I immediately looked to Mitch's cupped hands and their placement on his chest and thought, "O, Mr. WuWu, we really are stooping to a new low."


"I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass...and I am all out of bubblegum." —Rowdy Piper, They Live!

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#18 2010-08-04 02:59:01

Jim Thompson
Moderator
From: Santa Monica, California
Registered: 2007-11-28
Posts: 421

Re: R. I. P. Mitch Miller

Just to fill in a couple of details, he started out as a oboist for the NBC orchestra and after his successful T.V. show he did a stint in the joint for income tax evasion. Let's see- Oboe, schlock and prison- a truly unique combo.


" Who do you trust , me or your own eyes?" - Groucho Marx

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#19 2010-08-04 09:05:08

mrwuwu
Member
From: Chicago, Illinois
Registered: 2007-11-23
Posts: 160

Re: R. I. P. Mitch Miller

Well, Mr. X-Mo,  it's obvious you young guys didn't know gompers was a reference to someone's large set of teeth back in the 50's when I was in my prime.      Even the double-cupped hands with thumb and forefinger together are obvious signs of a student of Zen ,   and tax evasion, and hopeful prayer that he doesn't drop his soap on the floor and be made to sing  " Mama Will Bark" .


" You know, it's been three years now, maybe a new teacher can help you? ...... " Sensei

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#20 2010-08-04 13:14:10

Jim Thompson
Moderator
From: Santa Monica, California
Registered: 2007-11-28
Posts: 421

Re: R. I. P. Mitch Miller

mrwuwu wrote:

and hopeful prayer that he doesn't drop his soap on the floor and be made to sing  " Mama Will Bark" .

Well that takes me to " Sing Along with Bitch."


" Who do you trust , me or your own eyes?" - Groucho Marx

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#21 2010-08-04 13:47:12

mrwuwu
Member
From: Chicago, Illinois
Registered: 2007-11-23
Posts: 160

Re: R. I. P. Mitch Miller

Very Good, Mr. Thompson!


" You know, it's been three years now, maybe a new teacher can help you? ...... " Sensei

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#22 2010-08-07 22:53:35

Moran from Planet X
Member
From: Here to There
Registered: 2005-10-11
Posts: 1524
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Re: R. I. P. Mitch Miller

radi0gnome wrote:

Chris Moran wrote:

I have many Jin Nyodo that I use as hat racks.  I have a few old Shiro used by Goro in his recordings. They are my toothpicks. Crooked though.

Can I have one, I'll pay postage.

You know the Shiro shakuhachi that Goro used, named "ten raku"?

I have eleven raku.


"I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass...and I am all out of bubblegum." —Rowdy Piper, They Live!

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#23 2010-08-08 07:59:18

mrwuwu
Member
From: Chicago, Illinois
Registered: 2007-11-23
Posts: 160

Re: R. I. P. Mitch Miller

Geez, you can count to eleven, eh?


" You know, it's been three years now, maybe a new teacher can help you? ...... " Sensei

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#24 2010-08-08 21:26:03

Moran from Planet X
Member
From: Here to There
Registered: 2005-10-11
Posts: 1524
Website

Re: R. I. P. Mitch Miller

mrwuwu wrote:

Geez, you can count to eleven, eh?

Why, yes,

                      ... I can.


http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4099/4873504541_b2f69fe582.jpg


"I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass...and I am all out of bubblegum." —Rowdy Piper, They Live!

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