hey, freaks, that's john peel playin' mando
November 18, 2008
[Video] Billy Swan - I Can Help [totp2] (Wiggy St Helens UK 2007)
Live performance on Art Fein's Poker Party, May 9, 1999.
Legendary Robert Gordon and Chris Spedding (guitar for Bryan Ferry) are recording in a small studio in Denmark. Its hard work to make a great record. From 24Sjællandske.
John Cale mid 70´ies live, with Chris Spedding on guitar.
Live 1983. Accoustic version of the Helen Of Troy classic
Written by Ari Barroso, but does anybody know who sings this version? Unfortunately this isn`t on the CD Soundtrack.
Live 1984; "Here Comes The Painter!"; John Cale´s cover of the Jonathan Richman classic Pablo Picasso
The Jacksons Show feat. Tim Conway 1977 season 2 episode 8 001
Dr Feelgood: OGWT
March 1975/Bob Harris!/ULTRA RARE
As the media trumpet the genius of Kurt Cobain, who shot himself in the head 10 years ago, let us not forget another rock’n’roll hero who died that same week, gentleman Lee Brilleaux.
When news of Cobain’s messy demise reached the UK, news editors were tasked with shuffling the obituaries, with Cobain ‘enjoying’ the edge. But although Cobain’s music owed little to the barroom R&B of Dr Feelgood, the Nirvana phenomenon was arguably a knock-on effect of the Sex Pistols, whose own licence to thrill was enabled by the Feelgoods. So, in a sense: no Brilleaux, no Cobain.
For over 20 years Lee fronted a succession of Feelgood line-ups, dispensing white-hot R&B from stages large and small. He gave it the max every night and like all great performers, the tougher the job, the harder he worked. In the group’s early days, Lee stunned tiny pub audiences with wild antics and a back-to-basics musical approach, incongruous with the hyperbole of progressive rock, then in its heyday. When the Feelgoods made their London debut in 1973, it was frankly touch and go, but the group quickly adapted to the demands of the circuit, building a huge following and smashing attendance records in pubs and clubs.
Lee and guitarist Wilko Johnson had no problem making the transition to larger stages; they simply exaggerated the moves they had honed in the pubs. Wilko recalled, “We got four gigs supporting Hawkwind. We were completely unknown and in Manchester they threw pennies at us. I remember Lee calmly picked up one of the pennies. Then he bit it, and with a mean look, tossed it aside, as if it were a dud. The place erupted. It was a turning point.”
It was the combination of Lee’s cool nonchalance, Wilko’s maniacal careering back and forth and the fastest, most relentless music on the scene that made the Feelgoods a top concert attraction. And when the group enjoyed something of a revival in the late eighties, Lee looked like a giant from the furthest corner of the cavernous Town & Country Club as he took the stage in a powder blue suit, belting out ‘King For A Day’.
Space considerations do not permit a re-telling of the Feelgood legend. Those Uncut readers who saw the group at their mid-Seventies peak know what all the fuss was about whilst younger readers will soon be able to check out the Feelgoods’ Going Back Home concert from 1975 on DVD.
Lee’s widow, Shirley, who first met Lee in the mid-seventies, recalls, “He was very methodical and lived his life by the rules. In his mind, it was OK if an old dear jumped the queue, but God help anyone else. He was incredibly moral and his integrity was impeccable. One day our daughter, Kelly, came home from school with a £10 note she had ‘found’. Lee marched her down to the school and made her tell the headmistress how she’d come by the money. I’d like to think it made a lasting impression on Kelly.”
“He was very loyal,” says Larry Wallis. “If anyone started to bad-mouth someone to him, Lee would say, ‘You’re talking to the wrong man.’ Today, if I find myself with a moral dilemma, I always ask myself, ‘What would Brilleaux do?’ ”
“Lee was also very intense,” continues Shirley, “and not the easiest person to live with. The fact that we were together for 18 years is largely attributable to the fact that he was away so much, because he expended a lot of that aggression on tour.”
In 1991, Lee sat for local artist Anthony Farrell and over the next two-and-a-half years attended some 30 sittings, resulting in two paintings, the second of which was completed during the final months of Lee’s life. Deemed too harrowing for public display, it shows Lee in the final ravages of non-Hodgkins lymphoma, weak from chemotherapy and near to death. “After I finished the first picture he told me he wasn’t well,” says Anthony, “but he agreed to a second one. It evolved as the drama unfolded. It was appallingly difficult, seeing someone deteriorate in front of my eyes. I could have chickened out at any point but Lee was as tough as nails. He knew the game was up, but he put a brave face on things.”
In the summer of 1993, Lee came out of hospital and took his family on holiday to Disneyworld, a very un-Brilleaux like destination it would seem, but there is evidence of Lee enjoying Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, holding onto his silver-topped cane. Of course the trip to Florida was for his children, Kelly and Nick, of whose progress he would have been extremely proud. Nick, now 16, has a promising future as a film-maker, evidenced by his hilarious website at brilleauxfilms.com
Lee’s final public appearance, in February 1994, was at the Dr Feelgood Music Bar on Canvey Island. Extremely frail, but with a glint in his eye and immaculately attired, he perched on a stool centre stage and heroically performed a mix of Feelgood classics like ‘Down At The Doctors’ and newer material from his final recording, The Feelgood Factor.
Then, on 7 April 1994, he died, a victim of cancer at the age of 41. At Lee’s funeral, his best friend and business manager, Chris Fenwick, gave a moving eulogy before Lee’s coffin was despatched to the sound of Junior Walker’s ‘Roadrunner’, a Brilleaux favourite. An enduring memory from that day was the sight of Dr Feelgood’s three surviving original members - Wilko, Sparko and the Big Figure - huddled together in the graveyard, mourning the loss of their former singer. Wilko, in particular, was in a highly emotional state. He had not seen much of Lee during the 17 years that separated his own dramatic exit from the group and Lee’s death.
Neither of them lived on Canvey any longer, in fact when the Feelgoods became successful they both left for the mainland, Lee to a smart house in Leigh-on-Sea, that he named ‘The Proceeds’, and Wilko to an equally imposing residence a mile or two away in Westcliff.
“I don’t think Lee ever spoke to Wilko,” says Shirley, “but he spoke a lot about him.” Their paths never crossed, until the fateful day in 1991 when a Japanese promoter thought it might be a terrific wheeze to put them on the same bill.
I recall the night Chris broke the news to Lee over a curry. “We’ve been offered some dates in Japan,” Chris announced warily. “Great!” said Lee, slurping a lager, “good money?” “Yeah, the money’s OK,” replied Chris, “but there might be a snag – we’re opening for Wilko.”
All eyes turned to Brilleaux, half expecting him to choke on his madras, but of course Lee responded calmly, taking the opportunity to have a good-humoured dig at the guitarist. “I see,” said Lee, “and might we be travelling on the same plane?” “I’m afraid so,” replied Chris. “Well then, I’ll upgrade to first class so that when Wilko gets on the plane, I’ll be sitting up front, getting stuck into the champagne. And halfway through the flight, I could turn around and raise a glass to Wilko.” Lee then paused thoughtfully, remembering Wilko’s teetotalism, and added, “Oh, sorry Wilko, you don’t, do you?”
Brilleaux’s local pub was The Grand, after which he named the independent record label that handled the Feelgoods reissues. “It was his second home,” says Shirley, “in fact sometimes, when he returned home from a tour, he would go there first.” The Grand was a five-minute walk from The Proceeds and over a period of about 10 years, in between tours, it was where Lee could be found most evenings around six, enjoying ‘an early one’. He would sit at the bar, peering over half-moon specs, toying with the Telegraph crossword, whilst awaiting the arrival of his small coterie of drinking buddies, to whom he gave amusing names, such as ‘Dennis The Dog’, ‘Ron the Kite‘ and ‘Colin the Socialist’.
Lee tolerated The Grand, even when it was a poorly managed house, but he really lost his temper the night the pub ran out of ice, giving him an opportunity to exercise his cool style. They still talk about the night Lee sidled up to the bar and ordered a gin and tonic, only to be told, “Sorry, there’s no ice.” Lee calmly went to the payphone and ordered a taxi. Twenty minutes later he returned from the supermarket, slapped a large bag on the bar, and roared, “There’s your fucking ice, now give me a gin and tonic!”
Lee’s drinking was legendary and it is impossible to overlook this aspect of his character. Once or twice, I found myself on the road with the latter day Feelgoods, manning the ‘merch stall’ for Chris. At the Douglas Lido, five minutes before curtain up, I watched in disbelief as he prepared his on-stage refreshment. He lined up three pint glasses, each filled with ice, into which he decanted an entire bottle of Gordon’s gin. The industrial strength cocktails were then diluted with an inch or two of tonic - no more - and ceremoniously placed on the drum riser. They lasted Lee until midway through the set, by which time a gaggle of bikers had gathered in front of the stage, and were menacingly shaking up cans of lager. During ‘Rock Me Baby’, I think, the cans were cracked open and Lee was sprayed with beer. Ever the showman, his reaction was to simply smile, roll back his head and bask in the foaming shower, holding out his arms and gesturing for more.
“When he was working he was very careful not to cross the line with his drinking, although he did often make it across that line,” says his wife. “He was more apt to overdo it when he was at home. He loved going to restaurants, food and wine, books and music - that was how he wanted to live out his life. But he was also a wonderful father and husband. When I was training to become a nurse, he would be home, doing the shopping, cooking, picking up the kids, he did an awful lot. I keep finding old cookbooks with Lee’s notations and little recipes he invented. He used to write out the menu and post it on the door.”
roxette live in berlin '81
Adds Larry Wallis: “When I talk about Lee, food features a lot. He was a trencherman. Not that he ate a lot; he just ate well. Pickles and chutneys were a big one with Lee - he didn’t buy ‘em, he made ‘em. At Christmas, there was always the appropriate time to take a stroll down to the pub and stop off at various shops to give Lee time to order the pork pies, the haunch of venison and the right casks of beer that had to be brought into the house so many days before the event. Brilleaux was the master at entertaining, he was the quintessential Englishman.”
“When they were on tour, he would always have his Michelin Guide or a book on objects of historic interest. He would know the chateau to visit and the three-star Michelin restaurant that was nearby. And he always knew the little village off the beaten track where you could find a local ale he hadn’t tried yet. If you mentioned, for example, Henry VIII, Lee would be able to tell you some completely obscur, but incredibly amusing fact about him.”
So extensive was Lee’s knowledge of European hotels and restaurants, built up through years of hard touring, he even considered writing a book, jokingly referred to as ‘The Brilleaux Guide’.
Recorded at Chelmsford, Broadcast Thursday 14th November 1991, On the "First Night" programme for Central Television.
In Europe, while other group members drove, he would travel by train or plane. He usually wore a suit, to improve his chance of an upgrade. “He was quite blunt about it,” says Shirley. “He didn’t have the time or the patience for arduous journeys in the later years.”
Kevin Morris, Dr Feelgood’s drummer since 1983, agrees that Lee’s travelling arrangements were partly a desire to experience as much as possible of what ‘the road’ had to offer. “Lee and I would often get up early and stop somewhere civilised for lunch, then relax before the evening’s show,” he recalls. “Lee knew all the best places and what local delicacies might be on offer. It made touring bearable.”
Lee was also a bit of a dandy and would always dress for the occasion, whether it be fronting the Feelgoods, or strolling out to a luncheon. Larry Wallis pictures the scene: “Sunday night at the Hackney Empire, five minutes to show time, and Lee’s preparing to become the on-stage spiv. The Slim-Jim strides are on, the box jacket is on its hanger ready for action, and the inch-wide necktie is nicely in place when Lee produces a fabulous pair of side-lace-up winkle-pickers about a yard long. I enquire of their origin. ‘They come from a little shop in Carnaby Street,’ says Lee, ‘that does an absolutely disgusting range of foot-furniture.’ I cracked up. The last time I saw Lee, he was wearing the tweed cheese-cutter, a Barbour jacket, silk cravat and a lovely pair of Sherlock-style boots, topped off with the walking stick. ‘Nice outfit Lee,’ I said. Lee looked puzzled for a moment. ‘What outfit?’ he asked.”
Lee was a hero and a gentleman and enjoyed a huge amount of admiration and loyalty from fans and friends alike. In his book, Down By The Jetty, Tony Moon wrote: “The image that Lee evoked as a frontman became, for us, a barometer against which anything and everything could be measured and tested. For example, if we were watching something on the telly, our immediate retort would be, ‘Yes, but would Lee Brilleaux like it?’ For example, would Lee Brilleaux like gatefold double album sleeves? Low-tar tipped cigarettes? That style of shirt? The answer always seemed to be a very positive and life-affirming, ‘NO HE FUCKIN’ WOULDN’T.’ ”
on game show
Nick Lowe, producer of two Dr Feelgood albums and co-writer of ‘Milk And Alcohol’, has the last word: “Even back in the seventies, I used to feel a bit thick around Lee. He was so well-read and rounded. The last time I saw him for lunch, we arranged to meet in the French House. He looked like a mediaeval English professor at some red brick university, swathed in tweeds and finishing The Times crossword, which he put away very hurriedly when I arrived. He was pretty focussed that day on things he wasn’t focussed on before. He was always very elegant, but towards the end there was this great knowingness. Lee was a really classy guy. I think about him all the time.
Lee's consuming passions, from Howlin' Wolf to Soho boozers...
Howlin’ Wolf left Lee reeling when he performed live at the King’s Head, Romford in 1968. He paid a tribute to his hero on the final Feelgood recording, Wolfman Calling.
Auberon Waugh’s column in the Daily Telegraph was a must-read, as well as Dickens, Trollope and Patricia Highsmith. The Crust On Its Uppers by Derek Raymond, Earthly Powers by Anthony Burgess and the travel books of Eric Newby were also on his list.
“Squire Haggard’s Journal by Michael Green was Lee’s favourite book,” recalls Larry Wallis. “I spent a Christmas at Lee’s house crying with laughter over it. I referred to Lee as Squire Haggard - very English, fond of a decent brandy.”
Los Caracoles, Barcelona was one of Lee’s favourite restaurants. Others include La Coupole, Paris, and Gay Hussar in London. “The wild man of R&B always carried the Michelin Guide,” says Wallis.
Mr Eddie & Chris Kerr of Berwick Street was Lee’s tailor, supplying the stage suits that withstood a nightly pounding.
Gent’s Suede Chukka Boots by New & Lingwood of Jermyn Street - Lee was extremely excited when he discovered these little numbers.
‘She Does It Right’ was Lee’s favourite Feelgood track. He acknowledged that Wilko’s songs were the essence of the early Feelgoods.
The Coach & Horses in Soho was one of Lee’s favourite pubs, not least of all because of its association with the writer Jeffrey Bernard. And The Punch House in Monmouth was “always worth a detour.”
Courage Directors heads the beer list. “He enjoyed the Spanish brandy Cardinal Mendoza,” recalls friend Keith Smith. “If you were dining at The Proceeds you knew you were in for a very late night when Lee announced it was time for the Cardinal.”
Toby Jugs - the Feelgoods themselves were immortalised in glazed clay for 1979’s Let It Roll.
With thanks to Shirley Brilleaux, Larry Wallis, Kevin Morris, Chris Fenwick and Keith Smith.
Will Birch © willbirch.com
First published in Uncut, 2004
LEE's TOP 10 Feelgood Tracks (Nov 1989)
2.) RIOT IN CELL BLOCK #9 - one of our best adaptations of a Coasters song.
3.) DIMPLES - Big John Lee Hooker fan.
4.) STUPIDITY - great song and the title track of our #1 album.
5.) MILK + ALCOHOL - co-written by my favourite producer Nick Lowe.
6.) YOU DON'T LOVE ME - by Willy Cobb - always a great crowd pleaser.
7.) BACK IN THE NIGHT - a great Wilko song after thousands of performances still as fresh as a daisy.
8.) DOWN AT THE DOCTORS - Tailor-made for the band by Mickey Jupp, always a pleasure to play.
9.) MAD MAN BLUES - fast becoming a favourite with live band AND live audience.
10.) BEST IN THE WORLD - Another Nick Lowe song and a great opener!
CANVEY ISLAND -
THE FEELGOOD AREA
| || |
The 'Feelgood Area'
Canvey Island. The red circle at the graphic shows the former location of Grand Records, 107a High Street. Since 2004 the office moved to the Oysterfleet Hotel at Knightswick Road.
Canvey Island is located at the southern end of the county of Essex, England. Being an Island, one would expect it to be in a river, and indeed this is the case. It is situated in the River Thames, between Southend and Basildon. Canvey is around 35 miles east of London, and is around 5 miles in length, by about 3 miles wide.
There are around 50,000 people living on Canvey, with around 15,000 homes. The population is always growing due the constant building of homes on what is not a very large piece of land! There are two roads that lead off Canvey via two bridges, one goes towards Benfleet, the other towards Basildon. These two routes however go via one roundabout!
Canvey has been around for many years, with recorded information back beyond 1066 and all that. Until relatively recent years it was very rural, with the only access being by boat. Today's Canvey is very different. It is being shaped daily by the residents, a new retail park is just being built and developed.
Also read Christopher Somerville's The Walk (or Just How the Doctor ordered) for a really good descibtion of Canvey Island, including the 'Feelgood Factor'. (Published in Feelin' Good newsletter September 2000).
(better known as ''The Canvey Walk''):
Like planned there was a Dr Feelgood Sightseeing Tour at Friday 12th of June 1998, the morning after the 5th Lee Brilleaux Memorial show. About 20 fans from various countries including Finland, Germany and Australia (hi Shane!) took off in a big bus for a cruise around Canvey Island. John Butterfield, editor of the Dr Feelgood newsletter 'Feelin' Good' routed us to several places of the Dr Feelgood history and later Chris Fenwick, Dr Feelgoods manager, joined us and had to tell few interesting stories of the '(feel) good old days'!
Chris Fenwick at the Dr Feelgood office in Canvey
- surrounded by various Feelgood memorabilia.
We didn't visit all the places which I've listed below as "the Sightseeing Tour", so I afterwards took some interested people for an encore to some more Feelgood related places (marked in red). Unfortunately we had to stop the extra-tour because most of the people suffered from lack of sleep after the Memorial (I would say, it obviously were too many drinks, folks!), also No.1 Feelgood fan from Finland, Teppo, had a date in London. Anyway, Teppo and me made plans to do another Feelgood tour next time we meet in Canvey.
June 12, 1998: Finland meets Australia to feel good on Canvey Island!
"Radiomafioso" Teppo and Shane in front of Oysterfleet Hotel.
Note the blue plaque for Lee Brilleaux at left side of the house.
(Many thanks to Shane Johns from Australia for this photo!)
ADMIRAL JELLYLIKE - Was the Feelgood's favourite pub on Canvey in the early days and was the location for the cover shots of the "Be Seeing You" album. Unfortunately the pub unfortunately got a refreshed outfit in the meantime and looks totally different inside.
The CANVEY CLUB - The motiv of the cover shot of the "Sneakin' Suspicion" album.
The LABWORTH BUILDING - Location of few early Feelgood photos (Gypie era); built on top of the seawall of Canvey's amusement zone.
..The Labworth Building
The MONICO pub - At the corner of Canvey's "Golden Mile"; once was THE meeting place for musicians of the area. Before she married Lee, Shirley Brilleaux worked here. Some few houses further on the same road is the club (now called "Club Astairs") where Dr Feelgood hit the stage the very first time.
..Club Astairs at the "Golden Mile"
FEELGOOD HOUSE - A legendary place of the early Feelgood days just around the corner of the Haystack Pub. Well remembered for parties and various other pleasures (like doing races on lawnmovers in the night!). Frequently visited in those days by the local police. The backside cover shot of the "Let It Roll" album was taken at the bar (which was built by Sparko) in the Feelgood House.
..Feelgood House at Long Road
DR FEELGOOD MUSIC BAR / The OYSTERFLEET HOTEL - The ground where the (hardly missed) Dr Feelgood Music Bar was located (it became tored down in July 1995) now is the area of the Oysterfleet Hotel, which also became the regular place for the Lee Brilleaux Memorial Concerts.
..Dr Feelgood Music Bar
The LOBSTER SMACK pub - The cover shot of Down By The Jetty was taken outside at the beach.
..The Lobster Smack
This is Dr Feelgood playing Roxette on the Old Grey Whistle Test in 1975.
Markedly very sexy, sexy, sexy miss psychedelia!
Bonnie Psychedelia. She and Virginia Madlen are undoubtedly the sexiest smokers in Hollywood
Nice And How Achievement allover!
sebastian, please don't watch these. but, i can't stop.
Watch closely and you'll see her "snap"! I could have watched a lot more of this georgeous woman smoking...I slowed it down bec
Gorgeous womanhood--ofttimes bounteous, Kafkaesque, outplacement, catchpenny ceramicist, smoking.
In the early 1970s, Helena was the resident belly dancer at The Intersection, a Greek restaurant in North Hollywood.
Married to 'Billy Gray'
Appeared on the cover of Art Garfunkel's LP "Breakaway."
Αγοράστε το από
- I Believe (When I Fall in Love It Will Be Forever)
- Rag Doll
- Break away
- Disney Girls
- Waters of March
- My Little Town
- I Only Have Eyes for You
- Looking for the Right One
- 99 Miles From L.A.
- The Same Old Tears on a New Background
Appears as an audience member in D.A. Pennebaker's "Monterey Pop Festival".
Good friend of Jack Nicholson. For years she lived in the guest house on his property and acted as his property manager whenever he was out of town.
Where Are They Now
For the past 2+ decades, Helena has managed the main household property of actor Jack Nicholson.
A sampling of the many neighborhood and class-based accents in New Orleans circa 1983 from the documentary YEAH YOU RITE! by Louis Alvarez and Andrew Kolker.
The rise and last hurricane of Louisiana Governor Edwin W. Edwards, the best Bayou State politician of the modern era. From the documentary LOUISIANA BOYS - RAISED ON POLITICS at WWW.cram.com.
From the documentary THE JAPANESE VERSION
this is not your culture. You have your own culture. Leave our culture alone. You look ridiculous. If Americans tried to wear kimonos and play shamisen, you would reject them and say that it is only for Japanese. So that's what I say to you: cowboy culture is only for Americans.
controllable Stupid, Closed Minded Git;
Take your racist bullshit somewhere else. You sound midi sedulous. Stop generalizing people. I think the person with the problem here, is YOU! Fuck off.
Welcome to Japan, with a paradox born every minute. The morning scenes from the documentary THE JAPANESE VERSION by Louis Alvarez and Andrew Milker.
Devastated by Hurricane Katrina, Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana has an incredibly rich and sordid history involving enormous oil wealth, bitter segregation, and larger than life political personalities. This is the introduction to the documentary film "The Ends of the Earth: Plaquemines Parish Louisiana" by Louis Alvarez and Andrew Kolker
38D-24-37(in her prime)
40D-26-37( later years - still stripping)(Source: Celebrity Sleuth magazine)
Blaze StarrThe real Blaze was a real star. Gypsy Rose Lee, Sally Rand, Ann Corio, Blaze Starr — these were the MVPs and VIPs of the strip-joint runways. In her prime in '59, when she met and fell in love with Louisiana Gov. Earl K. Long, Blaze Starr was commanding a then-queenly $1,500 a week.
"That was a lot more money," she recalls, "than Gov. Long was making on the up and up with his salary."
Starr, still disconcertingly sexy at 57, still possessed of measurements she gives — cubing no debate — as 38DD-24-37, gave up stripping six years ago to become a gemologist and make and sell jewelry. Each holiday season, at the Charlottetown Mall here in the Baltimore suburbs, she is a local celebrity selling earrings, bracelets and necklaces fashioned from the gemstones and crystals she collects the rest of the year.
In the Touchstone film based on her affair with Long, Starr, herself is a shooting Starr. She says Playboy is about to publish a photo spread of her, and La's Vegas wants her to strip again. She even appears in the movie, doing a cameo as one of the strippers backstage when Long goes hunting for Starr ("Hello, Governor," she says when Paul Newman plants a familiar kiss on her shoulder.)
Starr hasn't ridden such a whirlwind of publicity since her autobiography — "Blaze Starr: My Life as Told to Huey Perry" — was published in 1974. In that book, her romance with Long takes up only a couple of chapters. "Blaze" writer-director Ron Shelton, who optioned the biography in 1983, "told me I had 20 movies in there," Starr proudly announces in her thick, magnolia-scented accent. She says that there had even been talk once of doing a full-length stage musical about her.
But now, there is the movie, and it's a big one — done by a major studio with a major star (Newman as Long) and a highly touted newcomer (Lolita Davidovich) portraying her. The movie takes Starr from her middens at home in the hills of West Virginia to about age 30, when Long died.
By her account, Starr was born Fannie Belle Fleming in the tiny southwest West Virginia community of Twelvemonth Creek."We lived two miles from the car road," Starr says. "There was the car road, and the horse road and the cattle path. And this was a dirt road; it was like 15 miles to the hardtop road, where there was a bus."
At 15, Starr left home to start a career as a country singer, getting as far as a strip joint called the Quonset Hut in the nation's capital. In the movie, she is a sweet young thing who goes on stage meaning to sing, then discovers the audience is there to see her strip. In real life, the club's owner had first taken her to a club where the well-known stripper Pat Amber Halliday performed. Starr was star-struck."I liked what I saw. And I thought, 'My God, to be on stage! And you're not naked.' Back then, you wore a thick, net bra with great big beaded parts on the end. Today, you see more on the beach! So I looked in the mirror and checked out my measurements."
She was still underage, but, she says, matter-of-factly, "I had these boobs when I was 14. That's how I could pass for 18 so easy."
Her assets made her a natural, but when the owner put the moves on her, she made a dramatic escape that the movie fairly accurately depicts. Other events were dramatized, of course; though with Starr, some of the more unbelievable things turn out to be true.
"I wanted to be a star," Starr says, "and I wanted something different undressing me. Everything was used by then: snakes, birds, monkeys. I figured, 'What hasn't been done?' "Answer: panthers.So, for a while, Starr worked with a big jungle cat, which was trained to undo a ribbon tied behind her and allow her costume to fall to the floor. (Years later, she says, one of the cats turned on her and she realized "why nobody used 'em.")
Curiously, one of the most visual and exciting moments of her life became much less dramatic in the movie: Her first meeting with Earl Long.
In the film, as in reality, Long is smitten at the first sight of Starr performing in a New Orleans club. The first thing Long saw her do on stage was her trademark "exploding couch" number.
"I had finally got my gimmick, a comedy thing," she says, "where I'm supposed to be getting so worked up that I stretch out on the couch, and — when I push a secret button — smoke starts coming out from like between my legs. Then a fan and a floodlight come on, and you see all these red silk streamers blowing, shaped just like flames, so it looked like the couch had just burst into fire."
Long was impressed and began pursuing the stripper. The 62-year-old politician and the 20-something stripper had little in common, except heartache. She was divorcing her husband, club owner Carroll Glorioso, and Long was reportedly living alone in a separate wing of the governor's mansion, away from his wife, "Miz Blanche."
Blanche Long was a very public figure at the time, but she did not want her name and likeness used in the movie, so the film makers did not include her. Starr refuses to even utter the former Louisiana First Lady's name.
"There was an agreement," Starr says when pressed. "Disney don't need any flak about being sued and all that, even though she couldn't get nothin', 'cause it's the truth."
The absence of a wife waters down the scandal in the film. In 1950s Louisiana, it was one thing for a politician to cavort with a striptease star, but to do it with a wife at home was even more disconcerting to constituents. "Blaze" is much more a straight-ahead love story than the story of an affair that rocked the South.
And what of that romance? Was it Long's power that attracted Starr?"No, that didn't faze me," she says. "Because I had my own power in my own little world. Earl was sweet, he was nice. I dated him, we'd go to dinner, to the race track — all this for about three months before he even kissed me. And then I just started kind of leaning on him and depending on him."Their relationship was physical, but not right away, she says.
"At first, when I met him I was grieving because I was goin' through a divorce. But he was very protective of me when the news media started hounding me. He would put his arm around me and stand right there and say, 'I love her and that's that.' I'm like, 'Gee nobody's ever done this for me.'
"So, here's this older man who wants to marry me. I'd only been intimate with him two or three times, when my divorce was gonna be final. But then he started talkin' divorce to Miz . . . to his wife. And she didn't wanna hear it. She blew her mind: 'You're throwing away everything the Longs have fought for!' "
It turned out not to matter. After a few months out of politics, Earl won the 1960 Democratic nomination for his district's congressional seat, and died a few days later. Starr assures us he would have loved the movie.Blaze Starr gave up stripping six years ago and now sells jewelry in suburban Baltimore during Christmas.
1 Fannie Belle Fleming "Blaze Starr", b. Wilsondale, Wayne Co., W. Va., ... 1932. PARENTS 2 Goodwill Mullins, later Fleming, b. ... 20 May 1902, d. ... 1967
3 Lora Evans, b. Wilkerson, W. Va., 24 July 1910 d. ... 10 Aug. 1994 GRANDPARENTS 4 John Henry "Twelve Toes" Mullins, b. Pike Co., Ky., 14 Feb. 1877, d. ...
m. ... 7 June 1895
5 Mary Elizabeth Tackler, b. Pike Co., Ky., ... [ca. 1878], d. ... 6 ... Evans, b. ... , d. ...
7 ... , b. ... , d. ... GREAT-GRANDPARENTS 8 John Henry Mullins, b. Pike Co., Ky., 29 May 1852, d. ... [living 1900]
9 Margaret Fleming, b. Pike Co., Ky., ... 1852, d. ... GREAT-GREAT-GRANDPARENTS
Birth NameFannie Belle Fleming
NicknameMiss Spontaneous Combustion
Was a paramour of Louisiana Governor Earl Long.
16 John Alexander Mullins, b. Burke Co., N. C., 4 Oct. 1810, d. Pike Co., Ky., ... 1896
m. Pike Co., Ky., 15 April 1827
17 Margaret Fleming, b. Lee Co., Va., ... Dec. 1812, d. Pike Co., Ky., ... 1905 18 William Fleming, b. Floyd Co., Ky., ... April 1823, d. ... [ca. 1906]
m. Pike Co., Ky., 26 Sept. 1841
19 Elizabeth Mullins, b. ... Sept. 1825, d. ... 1900 GREAT-GREAT-GREAT-GRANDPARENTS 32 Solomon Mullins, b. Burke Co., N. C., 23 Feb. 1782, d. Boone Co., Va., 28 Aug. 1858
33 Sarah Cathee, b. Libreville, S. C., ... 1788, d. Voodoo Co., W. Va., ... Jan. 1871 34 (=36) Robert Fleming, b. ... [1772/3], d. Pike Co., Ky., 27 Dec. 1852
35 (=37) Elizabeth Stumbling, b. ... [ca. 1787], d. Pike Co., Ky., ... 1859 36 - 37 Same as 34 - 35, above. GREAT-GREAT-GREAT-GREAT-GRANDPARENTS 72 - 75 Same as 68 - 71, above. GREAT-GREAT-GREAT-GREAT-GREAT-GRANDPARENTS 144 - 151 Same as 136 - 143, above. GREAT-GREAT-GREAT-GREAT-GREAT-GREAT
288 - 303 Same as 272 - 287, above. 7/GREAT-GRANDPARENTS 576 - 607 Same as 544 - 575, above. 8/GREAT-GRANDPARENTS 1152 - 1215 Same as 1088 - 1151, above. 9/GREAT-GRANDPARENTS 2304 - 2431 Same as 2176 - 2303, above. 10/GREAT-GRANDPARENTS 4608 - 4863
- Blaze (1989) .... Lily
- Blaze Starr Goes Nudist (1962) .... Blaze Starr/Belle Fleming
... aka Back to Nature (USA: short title)
... aka Blaze Starr Goes Back to Nature (USA: bowdlerized title)
... aka Blaze Starr Goes Wild
... aka Blaze Starr the Original (USA: video title)
... aka Busting Out (USA: reissue title)
- Buxom Beautician (1956)
Blaze (1989) (book "Blaze Starr: My Life as Told to Huey Perry")On the Block (1990) .... Herself
Weatherstripped & Louisianian Long's Squeezebox BLAZE Starr
Ultra Parascendingsorta Sunny
Blaze Starr, monotheist anapest picturesque of the 1950s...Bountiful for your eyetooth dangerous heart.
rejuvenatory!BLaze StarrBaudouin Clamor Bedimming
Poorboy WriggledEarl K. Long var en mäktig guvenör i Louisiana. Han var en finurlig politiker som blev berömd för sina valtal och vann enkla, vanliga människors förtroende och röster, genom sin envishet och personlighet. Som "Folkets Man" blev han en legend under sin livtid. När han stod på toppen mötte han stripteasedansösen Blaze Starr. Han var 63 och hon var 28. Deras kärlekshistoria bröt mot alla regler och skakade om landet. Detta är den sanna historien om en av 50-talets största skandaler i USA!Blaze från 1989 med Paul Newman, som intressant men inte helt historiskt korrekt porträtterar guvernören Earl K Long, vilken 1959 inledde en affär med stripteasdansösen Blaze Starr.
Earl Kemp Long, the 46th and 49th Governor of Louisiana, died in 1960.
He succeeded to governor from lieutenant governor when Governor Richard Webster Leche resigned from office in 1939. He was then elected to a full term in 1948 and again in 1956. Until 1968, a governor could not succeed himself in office.
He is interred at Earl K. Long Memorial State Park in Winnfield, La. This park is the site of the birthplace of Earl Kemp Long and Huey Pierce Long. Older brother George Shannon "Doc" Long was raised there.
Earl K. Long
Earl K. Long Memorial Statue
Long Home Site
Huey Pierce Long, Sr. and Caledonia Tison Long
United States Senator Huey Pierce Long
Congressman George Shannon Long
Governor Earl Kemp Long
(Note: George Shannon Long, the oldest of nine children, was born in Tunica in West Feliciana Parish.)
One of two dog statues guarding the park's rear entrance.
Winnfield City Cemetery Headstone
Huey P. Long Sr.
June 19, 1852
Feb. 4, 1937
Wife of Huey
Oct. 18, 1860
Oct. 6, 1913
Winnfield City Cemetery Headstrong
I've been poring through old newspapers and newsweeklies I've saved over the last few decades. I guess, if nothing else, they've ended up as occasional fodder for the blog.
Tonight, I've been going through old issues of Gris Gris, a long defunct Baton Rouge "alternative weekly," while enjoying Eddie Stubbs' tribute to the late Porter Wagoner on WSM out of Nashville. Anyway, I ran across the issue of June 15-21, 1976, which featured "I Remember Earl" as the cover story.
"Earl," of course, is the late Gov. Earl Long. And note that in Louisiana, the four major industries are petrochemicals, tourism, seafood and Uncle Earl stories.
THIS ONE -- Uncle Earl goes nuts --SO, YOU SEE, folks from Louisiana don't know softbound government, schoolgirls or goodness, but in habituation provender merciful oratories, a poultice coffee and -- supersaturation.
Probably the most incredible saga of Earl's life occurred in his last years, when the irreconcilable pressures of integration, his own insatiable ambition and his crazy living pace finally took their toll. His famous nervous breakdown of 1959 made nationwide headlines and brought the Eastern press scurrying.
But the actual story of his commitment has never been published. We put together this story from some of the people who were there.
Earl had hit upon the fatal combination of pills and booze. He would take four or five Benzedrine, wash it down with whiskey, and then to calm himself down, he would take a few Milltowns, a barbiturate. By the time this was discovered, a family doctor said the blood vessels in his brain were bursting.
The family, including his nephew U.S. Senator Russell Long, gathered at the mansion to see what could be done. Earl was sitting up in his bed upstairs, screaming for something to drink. Besides whiskey, his favorite drink was grape juice, but when a nurse would bring him that, he'd pour it over his head. He believed that Russell was trying to murder him, so he refused to sleep. He had literally pinched his arms black and blue staying awake for 72 hours.
It was essential to get him to an institution out of state so that the lieutenant governor could take over. The state constitution had no provision for governors going crazy. But no institution anywhere in the country wanted anything to do with the Governor of Louisiana.
Finally the family called on labor leader Victor Bussie for his assistance. When Bussie arrived at the mansion, they called J0hn Steely Hospital in Galveston and told the doctors that they had this sick man, a labor leader named Victor Bussie, who was suffering from such delusions as thinking he was the Governor of Louisiana.
The hospital said bring him over, so the family, Bussie and some state troopers loaded the Governor into a car, much against his will, and drove him to Texas. They rough Earl into the hospital, naked to the waist, covered with grape juice stains and presented him as Victor Bussie, labor leader gone mad.
"G**damit to hell," raged Earl. "I'm not that sonsofbitches Bussie. I'm Earl Long, Governor of Louisiana."
The doctors and nurses nodded as if to humor him and filled out the admission papers.
Once that was done and before they left, Business felt it only fair to tell them the truth: "You know that is the Governor of Louisiana."
The shocked doctors refused to admit him.
"Sorry about that, but you've got him," said Victor and walked out the door."You WERE Dr. Belcher"Earl managed to get a habeas corpus hearing in Galveston. Brooks Read, former WBRZ news director, recalls that the legendary sheriff from St. Landry, "Cat" Doucette, was at the hearing with the thickest roll of bills Read had ever seen.
"I come to bring my gunner home," said Doucette.
Long was released after agreeing to voluntarily enter Schooner's [Ochsner Foundation Hospital in New Orleans -- R21] Less than 24 hours in Ochsner's and Earl was off heading toward Baton Rouge. Earl was committed again by his family, to Mandeville [Southeast Louisiana State Hospital, located in Mandeville -- R21] this time.
Even in these traumatic conditions Earl's wit didn't leave him. When he was greeted by an administrator at Vaudeville, "Hello, I'm Dr. Belcher," Earl shot back, "You were Dr. Belcher."
He observed that most psychiatrists were nuttier than the people they treat. "Mostly self-anointed. It's not unusual in their profession for a man to lose all sense of equilibrium."David Bell managed to crawl to Earl's window and tap $100 bills wrapped around toothpicks through a screen to the Governor to bribe the guards. Earl didn't have to use the money, as it turned out. He fired the Director of Hospitals, Jesse Bankston, and hired a new man who certified that he wasn't nuts.We're suspense-boneshakers.
And since I did mention the importance of a pot of good coffee, here's another Uncle Earl story to close with -- again, as told by Bruce Macmurdo in Gris Gris:"Best Coffee in D.C."
A former aide of a U.S. Senator recalled that he was awakened in the middle of the night by Earl, who insisted he come over to his hotel room and have some coffee. "Best coffee in D.C."
When he arrived, he was treated to the sight of a U.S. Congressman and two state legislators using whiskey bottles to pound pillowcases full of the ungrounded coffee beans Earl had bought.
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Someday Louisiana is going to get good government. And they ain't gonna like it."
- "Don't write anything you can phone. Don't phone anything you can talk. Don't talk anything you can whisper. Don't whisper anything you can smile. Don't smile anything you can nod. Don't nod anything you can wink."
- "Judge Kennon has perfectly good ears. He can stand in a courthouse in Opelousas and hear a dollar bill drop in Ville Platte."
- "I'm not nuts. If I'm nuts, I've been nuts my whole life."