WHEN IT WAS HIP TO BE HEP

Fondly Remembering HARRY “THE HIPSTER” GIBSON…
… On His 102nd Birthday.

Frantic and eccentric … Rockin’ and Rollin’ twenty years before Elvis, Harry was a true master of boogie woogie piano — and every other musical style, too!

HARRY “The Hipster” GIBSON
Julliard trained, he blazed his own musical trail and was popular during the mid-1940’s during the heyday of the “Zoot suit with the drape shape and the reet pleat.”  Today, Harry is often remembered for the dubious distinction of being arrested with jazz pal and drug buddy Billie Holiday.  

 

After a relatively short time in the spotlight, Gibson drifted into obscurity, only to be rediscovered thirty years later by a small but devoted contingent of fans from new generations.


His decades of living in the fast lane, however, had reached its peak (or valley) — and his self-destructive lifestyle finally took its tragic toll in 1991, when Harry took his own life.
Jazz radio legend, CHUCK NILES.

 

Jazz radio legend Chuck Niles was a good friend of Harry’s and, when I recorded “Stop That Dancin’ Up There,” a wild Gibson trademark tune, (see link below), Chuck was the first to give it repeated air play and invited me into the studio several times to talk about it.  Niles commented on the air that, aside from Harry himself, I was the only other singer to ever do Gibson’s music justice — and that’s a badge of honor I still wear paradoxically — with both pride and humility.

HARRY “THE HIPSTER” GIBSON (Harry Raab)
27th June 1915 – 9th May 1991


HERE’S HARRY IN HIS PRIME, performing his signature tune, “Handsome Harry the Hipster.”  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xm3HdISZLKc

HERE’S MY RECORDING of Harry Gibson’s “Stop That Dancin’ Up There,” as presented by my buddy, “Uncle Floyd” Vivino, on his New York radio show: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KmYynbpuLIg

Memorial Day: The WHAT, WHY — and WHY NOT

This shouldn’t have to be a “day to vent” for me or anyone, but I really need to get something off my chest today.

At “Villa Wayno,” our American flag waves proudly but respectfully at half-staff on Memorial Day.

It’s Memorial Day – and I’m concerned as  I begin to wonder what’s happening to our country as it gradually declines into a self-centered “participation award” pop pseudo-culture. Continue reading “Memorial Day: The WHAT, WHY — and WHY NOT”

“Big Butter and Egg Man”

When we moved production from Hollywood down to Texas for the second season of “13 East” (NBC), the folks in Dallas were so warm and welcoming in so many ways – even presenting me with a Texas flag which had flown over the capital in Austin.

They really made us feel right at home – and, of course, I had to show my appreciation by getting into the Texas spirit.
Here I am arriving for a public appearance at a rodeo – complete with Tony Lama snakeskin boots & matching belt w/sterling buckle set, a 7x Stetson and a brand new Cadillac Eldorado with my “preferred vantage point” parking spot adjacent to the women’s restroom!  Is it any wonder that producer Scoey Mitchlll introduced me as “Wayne Powers – that Big Butter and Egg Man.”  Yeehah!  What great fun we had!
 
If you’re unfamiliar with the term, “Big Butter and Egg Man,” CLICK HERE for a wonderful YouTube video Doc Cheatham & Carrie Smith performing this classic tune in a tribute to the great Louis Armstrong.
Ironically, this jazz festival performance was from 1990 – the same time as the photo!
For further info, visit the “13 East” page HERE.

“All Hail the Cat”

THE JAZZ CAT SWINGS, STRUTS & CROONS ABOUT THOSE CATS OF THE FELINE VARIETY

Combing the archives turned up this fun recording done several years ago with some extraordinary talented folks.

Give yourself a “Cheshire grin” and check it out right meow!

 

 

HE WAS MY ENTRY INTO HOLLYWOOD

TODAY WOULD HAVE BEEN HENRY MANCINI’S 93rd BIRTHDAY.

I can’t let today go by without acknowledging one of my greatest mentors and benefactors, never to be forgotten.
Upon arriving in L.A. back in 1976, I was greatly blessed to work for Henry, eventually administering all his music publishing for a short time before moving on to build my performance career – the original purpose in my relocating to the west coast.

Continue reading “HE WAS MY ENTRY INTO HOLLYWOOD”

RAISING MY VOICE AGAIN


 
IT’S ALWAYS GREAT TO BE BACK IN THE RECORDING STUDIO
 … especially when it’s River City Studios, Ltd. in nearby Grand Rapids.
Thanks to Roy & Jackie for their usual warm welcome and first-rate professional skills.

…and to Bobby at Charles Holloman Productions in Charlotte for producing and co-engineering.
That’s the kind of pro team that always helps make my vocal cords hummmm on every project.