I’ve Got Mail: Pogo is Music To Bill’s Ears

The great bassist and jazz annecdotalist Bill Crow is not much help regarding Hans Groiner,but he has other goodies to share:

Sorry, I don’t have a clue about Hans Groiner. I hope it’s a joke.

I’m sorry Paul Weston, a great joker, passed on before he had a chance to do anything with an idea I gave him: having Jonathan and Darlene do an album of minor tunes made more upbeat by changing all the chords and melodies to major. “Moanin’,” “Saint Louis Blues,” “Alone Together,” “Comes Love,” and “Gloomy Sunday” all sound much more cheerful when played and sung this way.

Years ago, when Johnny Mercer first started Capitol Records, Paul did some country and western records for the label featuring a guy he called “Shug Fisher,” who stuttered while he sang, adding extra beats of guitar strumming during the stuttered sections of the lyrics, and putting the meter deliriously out of whack.

Consensus seems to be that it’s a joke, and Rifftides had more to say about Groiner and about other Monk-strosities.

Bill also wrote me a few days ago regarding my mention of Pogo:

I have another Pogo quote for you. Albert the Alligator was talking about, “…everybody thinks…” something or other, and Churcy La Femme remarked,

“Without me, nobody is everybody!”

I was a big fan of Walt Kelly, and during my first years in NYC, living on Cornelia Street, I was moved to write him a letter one day. I complimented him on his strip in general, and particularly on the way he often made jokes about musicians without demeaning them. About a week later I got a nice letter from him along with the original drawing for his 9/28/53 strip, an episode involving Pogo’s banjo playing and singing. It still hangs on our wall at home.
If you haven’t checked out Bill’s website, do so now. In addition to great photos (which I’ve mentioned in the past), he’s now posting some of his writing, including a lovely piece from 1999 about Marian McPartland.