Saturday, June 15, 2013

Sef and His Playboys

Sef and His Playboys
Severin Pfannenstiel – drums
Rod Julkowski – cordovox
Rod Harkman – sax, clarinet, and trumpet
Wendell Phifer – bass guitar

Sef Pfannenstiel - 470 S. Bryant Street, Denver

Upon dropping the needle on the Sef and His Playboys album (yes, I too noticed the cover picture was exactly the same as the one on Bob Mickey's LP), I thought this was going to be your standard issue vanity release polka record, from an un-Googleable artist.

But holy cats was I wrong.

Thankfully I kept listening, and soon realized ‘ol Sef and His Playboys is probably my best surprise find – ever.

I am hard pressed to find words to describe this album. It’s jazz, it’s polka – heck, it even has some psych vibes (not joking). Four songs into side one, and Rod Harkman jazzes it up on "Pennies From Heaven" – oh my God I’m diggin’ that cordovox!

The second cut, a cover of Herb Albert and the Tijuana Brass “So What’s New,” and I have no words. If you had been a fly on my wall when I first heard this. WOW.  Rod Julkowski is channeling some lite psych on his keyboards.

Throw in some Louis Armstrong ("Song of the Island"), and Carpenters ("Close to You") covers, for good measure....and the song that inspired the theme to Star Trek, "Out of Nowhere."

OK, enough gushing. I’ll stop now. The runoff indicates it was recorded in 1972. I did find a Severin Pfannenstiel who passed away in 1988, but can’t get confirmation if he is one in the same.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

June 5, 1963 - JFK visits the Air Force Academy

I always have to laugh at the blatant political leanings up and down Interstate 25.  When you go across the Colorado border, you're on John F. Kennedy Memorial Highway.  However it becomes quickly evident that you are soon in the conservative bastion of the state, once you leave the Democratic-friendly Pueblo County, and enter into El Paso County, and Colorado Springs, where the road instantly becomes Ronald Reagan Highway. 

In spite of the political divide, the U.S. Air Force Academy asked President John F. Kennedy to be its first presidential commencement speaker, on June 5, 1963 (the previous year, Vice President Lyndon Johnson gave the commencement speech).

Whether you were a Democrat or Republican, a President arriving in Colorado Springs was a huge deal. He spoke at 9:45 a.m. in a packed Falcon Stadium and was awarded an honorary bachelor of science degree.  Afterward, he went on to visit NORAD, before flying to the White Sands Missile Range, in New Mexico.

To commemorate the Colorado visit, the Air Force Academy released a vinyl single souvenir - on standard black vinyl (and blue label), and on yellow vinyl (with a blue label).  The label notes "A Reed Record," but the flip indicates it was from "J.B.B. Enterprises," out of Hollywood. My copy didn't come with a picture sleeve.  Would be cool to know if it came with one.

U.S. Presidents/USAFA commencement speakers (and year)

1963     John F. Kennedy
1969     Richard M. Nixon
1984     Ronald W. Reagan
1991     George H.W. Bush
1995     William J. Clinton
1999     William J. Clinton
2004     George W. Bush
2012     Barack H. Obama
2016     Barack H. Obama

Saturday, June 1, 2013

The Abbey School Glee Club

The Abbey School (1956)

The Abbey of the Holy Cross in Cañon City, founded 1924, started out as a former monastery of the Order of St. Benedict in the United States. That same year, monks opened a boarding school for boys. In 1927, the school had its first graduating class.

Boys who lived at the school took part in daily regimented activities: Up at seven, breakfast in the dining hall of the basement of the monastery building, then back to their rooms where they picked up their books and went to class. Chapel was every day before lunch, dinner at 6 p.m., study time, then lights out.

When there was time for extracurricular activities, the students enjoyed swimming, tennis, and occasional trips to downtown Cañon City, where they took in a movie, or enjoyed a soda.

In 1960, the school's glee club recorded an album, "Songs of Yale."

(note: the spelling of Cañon City)

Choral Director Mark Cumrine.

Standard issue choral offerings.

Side One:
Hail, Holy Queen
O Sacrum Convivium
Christmas Hymn
My Horn Shall Weigh a Willow Bough
A British Tar (Trio: Pat Bachechi, Tony Segura, Tony Cable)

Side Two:
Medley:  Down Over The Hill, Where the Elm Tree Grows, Neath the Elms, Whiffenpoof Song, High Barbary, AJ Lucka Lucka, As Off to the South'ard We Go, Humble (Larry Didcoct), Aura Lee
Bulldog on the Bank (Rob Carricaburu, Larry Didcoct, Don McLennan and Tom Anelmi).

 The school closed in 1985.