This Is Me--2019 A to Z Theme

The Challenge of 2019 was the 10th! Since this was kind of a milestone year for A to Z my theme was a retrospective of sorts, looking at my 10 years as a blogger as well as ruminations about my life as it is and as I hope it yet can be. I've got places to be and people to see along the way. Hope you'll join me for this part of my journey...

Always a work in progress--welcome to my blog.

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Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Take Your Percussion and Beat It! ( #BOTB Results )

    I don't know about my own six degrees of separation from Kevin Bacon, but I know about my personal connection to Paul Kohler and Dennison Jackson--the musicians in my most recent Battle of the Band match.   Here is that story...


       My first years of life were spent in Cleveland, Ohio.  This would have been from 1951-58 when the vaudevillian concept of variety shows took to the dance floors of night clubs across the United States.  Television was becoming an entertainment force with which to contend, but still Americans enjoyed nights out on the town filled with revelry and entertainment.

       During those years my parents worked most weekends in this club circuit performing their juggling act.  As a child I remember hearing the names of certain other performers popping up in my parents' conversations, and on occasion some of these acts would even stop at our house to visit. 

        There were quite a number of nationally known performers living in and around Cleveland at the time.  Over time acts would cross paths and form friendships.  One of my favorite acts was Paul Kohler.  He had established himself as the national xylophone champion in 1937 and had been a hot ticket on the show circuit for many years.

         I was fortunate enough to see Kohler's act on a few occasions.  Being a child at the time, I particularly liked his Christmas show where he would dress up in a bear costume and play his novelty xylophone numbers.  He'd be billed as "The Kohler Bear" and why wouldn't a kid like that?  For me though, his best musical novelty was when he'd play a flashy xylophone (or marimba) with dazzling lights using lighted percussion mallets.  It was pure eye candy combined with musical virtuosity.

          After we moved to San Diego California in 1959 the night club and show circuit basically dried up for my parents   During those few years my father began encouraging my younger sister to enter talent contests in the region.  With a unique act that combined acrobatic dancing with juggling and magic tricks, my sister started winning most every contest she entered.  Eventually her act made it to the top state competition in Sacramento.

          There's not much I remember about that contest that probably was in 1962.  My sister didn't win, but she came out as a finalist.  What I do remember is a teenage drummer who wowed the crowd with his drumming.  Beyond that--and what really captured my appreciation--this drummer had his kit and sticks painted with colorful fluorescent paints which, when the stage lights were doused and the stage was illuminated by black light, created a psychedelic display that drove the audience wild.

          As I figured was his due, that young drummer captured the top place in that talent show.  The name of that drummer was Dennison Jackson and he was the inspiration for my most recent Battle of the Bands...


Battle of the Bands Results



     
            I figured this would be just a silly slow summer Battle, but actually it was one of the closest races I've seen from beginning to end.  Going in I had no idea who would win this pairing and judging from the responses I'd say this was as much a vote on instrument preference as it was on artists talents (which both artists have an abundance of in my opinion).

           Close race that this was I ended up with the deciding vote.  It was a tough one for me, but based on childhood sentiments and a musical preference for xylophone I gave my vote to Paul Kohler...

Final Vote Tally

Paul Kohler                9

Dennison Jackson      8


Next Battle of the Bands on Sunday September 1st

          Yeah, it's almost fall.   I remember having this lament not so seemingly long ago, but it was really a year ago.   No point in saying much more than that.








20 comments:

  1. That's cool you saw both men perform live. Close battle.

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    1. Alex, having crossed paths with the artists was the point of the Battle. It was actually a better Battle than I thought it would be.

      Lee

      Delete
  2. What an amazing life you have had, such memories, and especially loved the account of Kohler as a bear 🤭

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    1. Carole, it's been a great life! Might have been better, but I'm satisfied with what I've got.

      Lee

      Delete
  3. Interesting memoir, Lee! How cool that you saw both of these artists perform. 😎 I thought the drummer would win, so the outcome was a bit of a surprise. Fun to be the tie-breaker!

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  4. That is so cool that you met both musicians and lived such a great life back in those days. Not many people had this life which must have been fun often. It's neat to know how well your sister did. What did she end up doing later on? Just curious. You could have had a tie in this one...great battle.

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    1. Birgit, my sister worked several jobs with a final career in real estate that caused all my daughters to move to NJ. Now my sister is out of her retirement working again with her husband.

      Lee

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  5. Does your sister still perform magic?

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    1. PTM, she might make things disappear and appear, but I don't think I'd call it due to any magic.

      Lee

      Delete
  6. It's good when you've seen both perform...I chose the loser but it was a close call.

    Yvonne.

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    Replies
    1. Yvonne, really there was not a loser--just one that I gave my vote to and that could have gone either way.

      Lee

      Delete
  7. Cool concept, LEE, and an excellent Battle it made. When you get to cast the deciding vote... well, it can't get better'n that!

    I really thought the drummer would win pretty handily but the longer BOTB goes on, it seems the less accurately I'm able to predict the outcomes. That seems counterintuitive but is true regardless.

    ~ D-FensDogG
    STMcC Presents BATTLE OF THE BANDS

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    1. STMcC, the Battle turned out more interesting than I expected. It was more of a throwaway excuse to feature some memoir thoughts, but it turned out to be an interesting Battle.

      Lee

      Delete
  8. Every time I go to Youngstown, I swing up to Cleveland, if at all possible. My Dad's ancestors were some of the founders of good ole' Cleveland, but I go for the food and the Westside Market. Primo!

    Good battle and my guy won!

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    1. Cherdo, I wish I could go visit Cleveland for more than a passing through. Maybe one day I can go make a few day trip there and see places where I used to go as a child.

      Lee

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  9. Lee,

    Last night on PBS they were peddling John Denver mewsic collecton as they aired a documentary on him to gain financial support. You came to mind while watching because one of the clips they shared was of Denver juggling. Who knew? I certainly didn't but there were a lot of things I learned about him which was interesting and fun. What a talented mewsician he was and loved by many. I'm sorry I missed your last BoTB but appreciated learning the outcome. I had a fascination with the xylophone as a kid, too. However, I think had I voted in this round I would've gone with the drummer giving you a tie. I guess it's a good thing I didn't vote, huh? lol Have a good day!

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    1. Cathy, I've seen that John Denver documentary. It's a good one. There are a great many artists whom I've discovered can juggle. Usually it's just basic stuff, but it's pretty cool anyway.

      Lee

      Delete
  10. Those are good memories to hold onto.

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    1. Susan K, these days anything that I can manage to remember is pretty good by my estimation.

      Lee

      Delete

Go ahead and say something. Don't be afraid to speak your mind.
I normally try to respond to all comments in the comment section so please remember to check the "Email follow-up comments" box if you want to participate in the comment conversation.

For Battle of the Bands voting the "Anonymous" commenting option has been made available though this version is the least preferred. If voting using "anonymous" please include in your comment your name (first only is okay) and city you are voting from and the reason you chose the artist you did.

If you know me and want to comment but don't want to do it here, then you can send me an email @ jacksonlee51 at aol dot com.

Lee