David Bruce: The Funniest People in Music, Volume 2 — Work


• First Leopold Damrosch, and then his son Walter Damrosch conducted the New York Symphony Orchestra, which was eventually disbanded despite rumors that Harry Harkness Flagler would have continued to give money to make up its deficits if someone else were to conduct the orchestra. At the orchestra’s final concert, Maestro Damrosch, fils, gave each member of the orchestra a pair of cuff links. Georges Barrere, a flutist with the orchestra, complained, “First he takes the shirt off our backs and then he gives us cuff links.”

• Otis Williams is the last of the original Temptations, the group that brought the world “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg,” “Can’t Get Next to You,” “Get Ready,” “Just My Imagination,” and “Papa was a Rolling Stone.” (The group is still going strong despite its changing line-up of musicians.) In addition to his talent with music, he has a talent with words. In 2007, instead of saying that he has no plans to retire at the current time, he said, “I’m going to ride the hair off the horse. When I get off the horse, the horse will be bald.”

• Siegfried Jerusalem entered the world of opera a bassoon player, but became a tenor. While playing bassoon for the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra, he and the orchestra started to record Zigeunerbaron for television. Unfortunately, the tenor failed to show up. His colleagues urged Mr. Jerusalem to offer himself as the tenor. He did, and he won the part, thus beginning a major career as a tenor in opera.

• In the early 1980s, Monte was a well-known figure outside — and sometimes inside — the Metropolitan Opera. He used to hawk opera tickets that were unwanted by subscribers who were too diffident to approach people on the street to offer to sell them their tickets. He worked for tips, and his manner of making money made him a one-name celebrity in the manner of Madonna.

• Gioacchino Rossini was composing some music in bed when a page of the music he had composed fell on the floor. Since he didn’t feel like getting out of bed and picking up the sheet of music, he composed a duet. Later, a friend stopped by and picked up the sheet of music. Rossini didn’t want to throw it away, so he added it to the duet he had just composed and made it a trio.

• Justin Jeffre of the singing group 98 Degrees knew at an early age that he wanted to be a singer. However, he knew that it would be a good idea to have a back-up plan in case things didn’t work out. Therefore, he decided on an alternative career to pursue if he didn’t make it as a singer: He would become a cowboy.

• The Ramones were known for playing short sets early in their careers and for playing faster than any other band — and they speeded up their playing as they got older. Someone asked guitarist Johnny Ramone why the Ramones’ songs were so short. He replied, “They’re actually fairly long songs played very, very quickly.”


Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved


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Music Recommendation: Rusty Smith — “Give Me My Flowers While I’m Living”


Music: “Give Me My Flowers While I’m Living” from the album RUSTY SMITH AND FRIENDS

Artist: Rusty Smith

Artist Location: Athens, Ohio

Info: Released August 1, 2013 

Rusty Smith: guitar, fiddle, vocals, piano 
Zeke Hutchison: mandolin (lead vocal on 5) 
Terry Douds: bass 
Todd Sams: banjo 10, 13 
Hilarie Burhans: banjo 15 
John Borchard: dobro 8, 13 
Jorma Kaukonen: guitar 11 
Mark Hellenberg: percussion 11 
Ali Smith: clarinet 9, 16 
Bruce Dalzell: vocals 2 
Gay Dalzell: vocals 2 
Buck McCumbers: vocals 10, 13 
Mimi Hart: vocals 1, 8

Note: the numbers refer to tracks on the 16-track album.

“Great album. Lots of Rusty’s friends are long-time Athens, Ohio, well-respected music-makers. Jorma Kaukonen, who lives now in nearby Meigs County, played for Jefferson Airplane.” — Bruce

Price: $0.50 for track (50 cents — WHAT A BARGAIN!); $7 (USD) for 16-track album.

Genre: Americana. Folk. Bluegrass.