Jerry Lee Lewis ‘The Killer’ R.I.P.

Rock ‘n’ roll pioneer Jerry Lee Lewis, known as ‘The Killer,’ dies

By Bill Trott

(Reuters) -American rock pioneer Jerry Lee Lewis,

https://www.the-sun.com/news/6536726/jerry-lee-lewis-singer-still-alive-death-hoax/

who was torn between his Bible-thumping upbringing and his desire to make hell-raising rock ‘n’ roll with hits such as “Great Balls of Fire” and “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On,” has died at the age of 87.
Lewis passed away from natural causes at his home in Desoto County, Mississippi, with his wife, Judith, by his side, his publicist said. The musician had been ill in recent years and suffered a stroke in 2019.
Like Chuck Berry’s guitar, Lewis’ piano was essential in shaping rock ‘n’ roll in the mid-1950s. He was part of the dazzling Sun Records talent pool in Memphis, Tennessee, that included Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and Roy Orbison. Lewis outlived them all.
Lewis, also known by the nickname “The Killer”, was one of the first performers inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame in 1986 and was so influential that when John Lennon met him backstage at a show in Los Angeles, the Beatle dropped to his knees and kissed Lewis’ feet.
Lewis filled his albums not only with ground-breaking rock but with gospel, country and rhythm and blues such as “Me and Bobby McGee” and “To Make Love Sweeter for You” as he endured a life often filled with alcohol, drugs and tragedy. His music was sometimes overshadowed by scandals – including his marriage to his 13-year-old cousin Myra in 1957.
In his prime, he performed with daring, originality and a lewd wild-man stage demeanor that thrilled his young fans as much as it agitated their parents. Typically, Lewis would kick away his piano bench and bang the keyboard with his foot while his long wavy blond hair flopped in his face.
According to legend, Lewis was once so upset that Chuck Berry had been chosen to close a show over him that he finished his set with a move that was hard to top – setting the piano on fire and walking off.
“I’m a rompin’, stompin’, piano-playing son of a bitch,” Lewis once told Time magazine in his Louisiana drawl. “A mean son of a bitch. But a great son of a bitch.”

FAMOUS COUSINS

Lewis was born Sept. 29, 1935, in Ferriday, Louisiana, and grew up poor with two cousins also destined for fame – television evangelist Jimmy Swaggart and country singer Mickey Gilley.
He became interested in the piano at age 4 and by 10 was sneaking in to roadhouses to hear blues performers. He absorbed a variety of musical influences, especially the Jimmie Rodgers records that belonged to his father, a farmer who went to prison for bootlegging.
Lewis’ family attended the Assembly of God church and his mother ensured he was thoroughly informed about the evils of liquor, honky-tonks and promiscuity. But Lewis was intent on experiencing them first hand and began playing piano in bars while still a teenager. His mother, upset by the idea of her son performing the devil’s music, sent him to a Bible college in Texas.
It turned out to be a brief stay, with Lewis reportedly being dismissed from the school for playing a boogie-woogie version of “My God Is Real” during an assembly. The incident showed the dichotomy that Lewis had to live with.
“The man is tortured,” Myra Lewis told People magazine. “Jerry Lee thinks that Jerry Lee is too wicked to be saved.”
As Lewis himself once put it, “I’m dragging the audience to hell with me.”

MAKING IT IN MEMPHIS

Lewis had a son and was on his second marriage before he turned 20, even though he had not divorced his first wife. He was determined to be a musician and made his way to Memphis.
In 1957 he recorded two rollicking chart-topping hits for Sun – “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” and “Great Balls of Fire,” which he had been reluctant to record because he considered it blasphemous – that helped define early rock ‘n’ roll. Lewis quickly followed with more hits – “You Win Again,” “Breathless” and “High School Confidential.”
His career came to a halt during a 1958 tour of Britain. Journalists discovered Lewis was now married to Myra, the daughter of his bass player, who not only was 13 years old but also was his cousin. News coverage was so intensely negative that the tour was called off.
Back in the United States, Lewis’ career was not revived until he shifted genres and recorded country hits such as “Another Place, Another Time,” “What’s Made Milwaukee Famous (Has Made a Loser Out of Me)” and “She Even Woke Me Up to Say Goodbye.”
Lewis’ string of hits was matched only by the tragedies in his life. His young son Steve Allen Lewis drowned in 1962 and another son, Jerry Lee Jr., died in a 1973 car accident at 19.
After a divorce from Myra in the early 1970s, he married Jaren Pate in 1971 but she drowned in 1982. They had been separated for eight years but not divorced.
After only a few months of marriage, his next wife, Shawn Michelle Stevens, was found dead of a drug overdose in their home in 1983. Eight months later he started another stormy marriage with sixth wife Kerrie McCarver that lasted 20 years before they divorced and he married his seventh wife, Judith Brown, in 2012.

GUNPLAY

In 1976 Lewis accidentally shot his bass player and that same year was arrested drunk outside Presley’s Graceland mansion in Memphis with a loaded pistol, demanding to see Presley.
Lewis, who lived much of his later life on a ranch in Nesbit, Mississippi, also endured costly battles with U.S. tax officials, a nearly fatal perforated ulcer and a painkiller addiction that landed him in the Betty Ford Clinic.
In his later years he settled down but biographer Rick Bragg

https://www.thenewsstar.com/story/life/2014/10/28/jerry-lee-lewis-tells-rick-bragg-story/18067971/

recalled interviewing Lewis for his 2014 book “Jerry Lee Lewis: His Own Words.”

iberlibro.com

Lewis showed Bragg the pistol he kept under his pillow in a bedroom pockmarked with bullet holes and a Bowie knife stuck in the door.
“I don’t think Jerry Lee Lewis had to exaggerate his life one bit to make it interesting,” Bragg told the Atlanta Constitution Journal. “He really did make Elvis cry. He really did turn over more Cadillacs than most people purchased in the state of Mississippi.”
Lewis’s late recordings included featured guests such as Jimmy Page, Bruce Springsteen, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Neil Young, John Fogerty, Ringo Starr and other rockers he had influenced.
In addition to wife Judith, Lewis is survived by four children, a sister and many grandchildren.

(Writing and reporting by Bill Trott; additional reporting by Lisa Richwine, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien and Diane Craft)
https://news.yahoo.com/rock-n-roll-pioneer-jerry-172222231.html

Blue Harvest Moon

After learning there would be a Blue Moon on the night of September 20, tonight, I reached out to my friend Dennis Fritzinger, the poet who was profiled here earlier (https://xpertchesslessons.wordpress.com/2021/05/04/the-chess-playing-poet/), asking permission to use one of his poems:

Blue Moon

was my Auny Shirley’s favorite song
i have a picture of her
at a penny arcade
with her first or second husband
it had a moon theme going.
i still remember her
singing a few bars of it,
“Blue moon…
I saw you shining alone…”
it was a very romantic song,
about love and all that stuff;
it went way over my head,
but she seemed to like it.
“Blue moon…” she’d sing,
“Blue moon…”.

from his book, Nuclear Family:

In addition I mentioned possibly putting in a plug for the book on the blog because I very much liked Nuclear Family. His response:

Dennis Fritzinger
To:Michael Bacon
Mon, Sep 6 at 8:43 PM

Hi Michael,

You have my permission to use “Blue Moon”.

Also, thank you for your wonderful story. I hoped my book would trigger memories in its readers, and I’m glad to see it has!

All the Best,

Dennis

Here’s how to order “Nuclear Family” (Ordering information and cover photo below).

Send $20 to:

Dennis Fritzinger

2220 Piedmont Ave.

Haas School of Business

University of California

Berkeley, CA 94720-1900

And here is the song chosen to go with the post:

While researching the song this was discovered:

Blue Moon THE SONG

The fascinating true story you never heard

EVERYONE KNOWS THE SONG
… NO ONE KNEW THE MAN

“Blue Moon,” the classic American ballad that is one of the most universally recognized songs of the 20th century, is not what you think it is.

History tells us that it was written by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart.

In reality, “Blue Moon” was composed in 1931 by a 17-year-old, the son of Polish immigrants, after an evening of moonlit skating on a pond in upstate New York. This is the previously untold true story.

NY Times Interview On Blue Moon With Liz Roman Gallese

Blue Moon. The Real Story.
By Rodgers & Hart? Not Really.


From the Memoir:

“. . .the history of ‘Blue Moon,’ for all of its known convolutedness and remarkableness, actually begins earlier. Its unknown origins are even more remarkable and convoluted, and its agency lies at that very intersection of those final Hart lyrics being either his ‘simplest or most banal.’”

“. . .the lyrics. . .weren’t written by Hart, nor the melody by Rodgers. Rather the song was composed in 1931 by a 17-year-old, the son of Polish immigrants, in Troy, on the East bank of the Hudson River in upstate New York. His name was Edward W. Roman.”

Photo of Edward W. Roman with his ice skates
Photo of Edward W. Roman with his ice skates

“I know because I am his daughter, and because I have always known this story. It was part of the family lore for all of my growing-up years, the source of whispers about ‘that “Blue Moon” thing’ among the adults. . .a matter of curiosity among the more curious of the youngsters, of which I was perhaps the most curious.”

If you click onto this link you can hear Billie Holiday sing Blue Moon (https://bluemoonsong.org/)

But wait…there’s MORE! Todaze moon is not a blue moon, but a HARVEST MOON! I kid you not…

Traditional Full Moon Names

Wolf Moon – January
Snow Moon – February
Worm Moon – March
Pink Moon – April
Flower Moon – May
Strawberry Moon – June
Buck Moon – July
Sturgeon Moon – August
Harvest Moon – September or October
Full Corn Moon (Harvest) – September
Hunter's Moon (Harvest) – October
Beaver Moon – November
Cold Moon – December 

It would appear that what we have tonight is a moon full of corn.

A Full Moon shines over a field of corn ready to be harvested. Dark blue night sky in the background.
https://www.timeanddate.com/astronomy/moon/full-corn.html

Wait a minute! I do not see anything about a “Blue Moon” in the list? Inquiring minds wanna know, so…

Full Moons with No Name

Some years have 13 Full Moons, which makes at least one of them a Blue Moon, as it doesn’t quite fit in with the traditional Full Moon naming system. However, this is not the only definition of a Blue Moon.

About every 19 years, there is no Full Moon in February. This is one of several definitions of the term Black Moon. The other definitions refer to a New Moon which does not fit in with the equinoxes or solstices, similar to a Blue Moon. (https://www.timeanddate.com/astronomy/moon/full-moon-names.html)

Time to put the wrap on another post, and who better to bring in the harvest than…

Ellie Goulding Plays Chess with a Heart of Gold

Ellie Goulding looks effortlessly stylish in grey shirt and skinny jeans as she helps prepare Christmas feast at homeless shelter

By Connie Rusk For Mailonline

Published: 13:55 EST, 23 December 2017 | Updated: 14:48 EST, 23 December 2017

She hosted her annual star-studded benefit concert for homelessness earlier this month.

And Ellie Goulding proved she has a heart of gold as she paid a visit to a Crisis homeless shelter on Saturday.

The 30-year-old Burn songstress rocked a casual look, pairing a puffed sleeve grey shirt with skinny black jeans.


Giving back to the community: Ellie Goulding proved she has a heart of gold as she paid a visit to a homeless shelter on Saturday


Concentration: The Starry Eyed songstress appeared full of festive cheer as she chatted away to volunteers before taking part in a chess game

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-5208609/Ellie-Goulding-visits-Crisis-homeless-shelter.html

Hey, that is NOT CHESS!

Flowing With Intuition

After moving to Hendersonville, NC, I found myself sitting across the chess board playing a speed game at the weekly chess club from Expert Jimmy Hardy. It was my move. I saw the opportunity to retreat my Queen, bringing it back to the center of the board where it would be surrounded by enemy pieces. Nevertheless, it looked like a strong move.
I was never much of a speed chess player and have always thought the reason was because I began playing chess as an adult. While playing speed chess I would often see what to me was a beautiful position and wish there were more time to look into the depths of the position. Sometimes I would try to remember the position so it could be looked at later. When I mentioned this to Big Al after losing yet another speed game after my flag fell, he said, “That’s crazy.” The last time we played speed chess Al won again. He got up from the board saying, “It happens every game…You have a winning position and I win on time. This is no fun.” I beat Oscar Al Hamilton in only twenty moves in what would now be called a “classical” game at a Thad Rogers event, called by the Legendary Georgia Ironman “another nameless, faceless weekend swiss.” Big Al got up after resigning saying, “Nobody beats me like that. NOBODY!” It was only years later I realized how much the loss had affected our relationship.
Another time I was facing Uylsses Martin, a man who had served seven years in the state penitentiary for murder before being paroled. I sat there contemplating whether of not to move my h-pawn and launch an attack. The logical, “Mr. Spock” side of my brain was arguing with the intuitive, “Captain Kirk” side and I went with Spock holding back the pawn move, hoping to make the pawn move next. Without even writing down my move, Uylsses immediately played a move to prevent my moving the wing pawn. I looked at him and sort of grinned. He looked back at me as if to say, “What?” I went on to win that game, but it took much longer than it would have if I had listened to Kirk. As an aside, I won another game against Uylsses, one of the nicest fellows you could ever meet, when his flag fell before he made his twenty fifth move!
I could give many more examples, but you get my drift. Because of the battle between Spock and Kirk that has raged in my brain over the course of my chess career I have been interested in reading about chess intuition. Just this week a new book, “The Enigma of Chess Intuition,” by Valeri Beim, arrived. The book, in excellent condition, cost only $7.95, plus shipping.
The Ironman has a book, “The Magic Tactics of Mikhail Tal,” by Karsten Muller & Raymund Stolze. Like the aforementioned book, it too is published by New in Chess. I allowed Tim to open “Enigma” and the first thing he said was, “If it’s published by New in Chess you know it has got to be good!” When young and on his way toward the battle for the World Championship with Mikhail Botvinnik, Tal was a creative genius who was an intuitive player. He played moves that defied calculation by humans of the day. Computer programs may be able to refute some of Tal’s moves now, but human players were unable to do so “back in the day.” Just how much chess programs have affected the game of chess is illustrated by this from GM Rafael Vaganian in an interview with Sergey Kim on the chess24.com website:
“Sergey Kim: Both at the board and simply in life you met all the Soviet world champions from Botvinnik to Kasparov. The world champions of the twentieth century – of your generation – and the champions of the third millennium – first and foremost, Carlsen: how do they differ?
Rafael Vaganian: It’s hard to compare, because the chess is totally different. Those champions worked in another setting, playing another kind of chess. With no computers, they worked and created on their own, and their creativity was immense. If they found something it was with their own minds, while now there are these amazing programs. Theory has “grown” to 30-35 moves, and you simply can’t compare the two types of chess. Frankly speaking, I don’t like modern chess, and I’m not sure what’s going to happen next. After all, a person isn’t capable of remembering so much, so they simply suffer because of it. They need to remember and learn it all, but then what of creativity? They barely play at the board, but at home, and that’s bad.
I consider those champions to have been greats, though perhaps that’s natural, since I’m a chess player of that generation – the Soviet School – and it all means a lot to me. I find modern chess alien, so it’s possible I’m not objective. Botvinnik, Karpov, Kasparov – they beat everyone for 10-12 years in a row, while for me the thirteenth champion is a separate topic. The way Kasparov and his group worked was incredible. They were a class above the rest and therefore he crushed everyone. Garry won a huge number of games in the opening. His preparation was colossal! But he found moves himself at the board rather than the computer coming up with them. Back then people still beat computers, while now even the world champion can’t beat a computer.” (https://chess24.com/en/read/news/rafael-vaganian-anand-won-t-lose)
After one tournament Gail told me Big Al had mentioned to her that I was “trying too hard.” I gave his words considerable thought, coming to the conclusion Al was right. When at my best I did not have to try so hard because it seemed easy and just kind of flowed. Many years later, after devoting all my time and energy to backgammon, chess was anything but easy. When playing baseball I had to give it my all since I was smaller than the other players. When a senior in high school I was awarded a small trophy that meant all the world to me because my teammates had voted it to me for being the player that best showed what our coach called the “105” spirit. We chattered “105” on the field that year, which meant giving that little extra. It was the only way I knew to play, and it carried over into my chess.
I read something earlier this year by a Go player, Michael Redmond, that seems applicable to a discussion of intuition. “The charismatic Redmond, an American, is one of very few non-Asian Go celebrities. He began playing professionally in Japan at the age of 18, and remains the only Westerner to ever reach 9-dan, the game’s highest rank.”
“The trouble is that identifying Go moves that deserve attention is often a mysterious process. “You’ll be looking at the board and just know,” Redmond told me, as we stood in front of the projector screen watching Crazy Stone take back Nomitan’s initial lead. “It’s something subconscious, that you train through years and years of playing. I’ll see a move and be sure it’s the right one, but won’t be able to tell you exactly how I know. I just see it.” (From-The Mystery of Go, the Ancient Game That Computers Still Can’t Win, by Alan Levinovitz 05.12.14)
http://www.wired.com/2014/05/the-world-of-computer-go/
Substitute “chess” for “Go” above and you will understand, grasshopper. “You’ll be looking at the board and just know.” You do not have to calculate, and sometimes it will not matter because no matter how long you calculate you will never to be completely certain as there are just too many possibilities.
Intuition can be found in every endeavor. For example, in a 1997 interview with Robert Hilburn, found in the “Dylan Companion,” while referring to Neil Young in the song “Highlands” from the “Time Out of Mind” album, Bob says, “It’s anything you want it to be. I don’t give much thought to individual lines. If I thought about them in any kind of deep way, maybe I wouldn’t use them because I’d always be second-guessing myself. I learned a long time ago to trust my intuition.”
In a 1995 interview in the USA TODAY not long after his “Unplugged” performance, Dylan said, “As you get older, you get smarter and that can hinder you because you try to gain control over the creative impulse. Creativity is not like a freight train going down the tracks. It’s something that has to be caressed and treated with a great deal of respect. If your mind is intellectually in the way, it will stop you. You’ve got to program your brain not to think too much.”
The first line reminds me of Mikhail Tal. His style of play changed as he grew older. Part of it may have been a natural process, but being forced to work with Karpov also had a lasting effect on his style of play.
What it all boils down to is that one must go with the flow and play what you know, Joe. This is exactly what Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, a “Positive psychologist,” means when he says that flow is, “A state of heightened focus and immersion in activities such as art, play and work.” (http://www.ted.com/talks/mihaly_csikszentmihalyi_on_flow?language=en)
Viswanathan Anand lost his “flow” but somehow managed to get back into the flow for the Candidates tournament, one of the most amazing things in the history of chess.
After losing the game to Jimmy, our friend NM Neal Harris walked over, asking the result. Jimmy said, “I won, but take a look at this position!” He immediately set up the position to which I referred at the beginning of this article. Jimmy looked at Neal with blazing eyes and said, while moving the Queen to the middle of the board, “Mike missed this crushing blow. I don’t see how I can continue after this move.” The two mountain men continued moving the pieces around while I debated telling them I had actually seen the move, but rejected it. Instead I said, “Yeah, that looks like a real strong move.”

Watching The River Flow by Bob Dylan

What’s the matter with me
I don’t have much to say
Daylight sneakin’ through the window
And I’m still in this all-night café
Walkin’ to and fro beneath the moon
Out to where the trucks are rollin’ slow
To sit down on this bank of sand
And watch the river flow

Wish I was back in the city
Instead of this old bank of sand
With the sun beating down over the chimney tops
And the one I love so close at hand
If I had wings and I could fly
I know where I would go
But right now I’ll just sit here so contentedly
And watch the river flow

People disagreeing on all just about everything, yeah
Makes you stop and all wonder why
Why only yesterday I saw somebody on the street
Who just couldn’t help but cry
Oh, this ol’ river keeps on rollin’, though
No matter what gets in the way and which way the wind does blow
And as long as it does I’ll just sit here
And watch the river flow

People disagreeing everywhere you look
Makes you wanna stop and read a book
Why only yesterday I saw somebody on the street
That was really shook
But this ol’ river keeps on rollin’, though
No matter what gets in the way and which way the wind does blow
And as long as it does I’ll just sit here
And watch the river flow

Watch the river flow
Watchin’ the river flow
Watchin’ the river flow
But I’ll sit down on this bank of sand
And watch the river flow
Copyright © 1971 by Big Sky Music; renewed 1999 by Big Sky Music

Bob Dylan Watching The River Flow

http://njnnetwork.com/2010/01/bob-dylan-watching-the-river-flow/

LEON RUSSELL, WATCHING THE RIVER FLOW