Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Kitty Wells

She was "The Queen of Country Music." Born and raised in Nashville, Ellen Muriel Deason found her voice in church. She married Johnnie Wright, a musician, and got her professional start singing with him. He gave her the name "Kitty Wells" for the heroine of an old favorite song. When she started singing on her own, she was something of a pioneer. Mother Maybelle Carter was an early woman country music star, but she stayed in the context of The Carter Family. Kitty was the first to make it big solo. She was an inspiration for the next generation of women in country music, including Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, and Dolly Parton. She was also known for her duets with male stars like Red Foley and Webb Pierce.

The video above, courtesy of academic51, has audio of her singing one of my favorite songs of hers, "Will Your Lawyer Talk to God?", with a montage of still photos. Kitty Wells died on Monday, at the age of 92.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

S.S. United States breaks transatlantic speed record: a movie newsreel from 1952.

A year ago this past February, I posted about the S.S. United States getting at least a temporary reprieve from the threat of going for scrap. Since then, the S.S. United States Conservancy has been busy publicizing the efforts to save the ship and raising funds for her preservation. You can contribute on the Conservancy's website.

The video above is of a movie newsreel (if you're my age you probably can remember these; they were shown at movie theaters, along with previews of coming attractions and cartoon shorts, before the featured film) announcing the "Big U's" setting of a new transatlantic speed record, which entitled her to the Blue Riband, an award that retired with her. The broom seen in the foreground in the still above is to be attached to her mainmast for the next voyage as an acknowledgement of her record setting run.

Thanks to Carl R. Weber for the link to the video.