Category Archives: Billie Holiday

Marilyn Wedge. Gwen McCrae. John Szwed.

          

Next on Life Elsewhere we’ll cover three divergent topics. First, Marilyn Wedge, Ph.D. a family therapist who has helped children, adolescents and families since 1988 talks about her new book, A Disease Called Childhood: Why ADHD Became an American Epidemic. She asks, what some believe are controversial questions, such as, “Is ADHD a genetically based disorder?” “What roles do schools play in a child’s getting an ADHD diagnosis?” “What does neuroscience teach us about ADHD?” “Is there anything parents can do to help their ADHD child besides giving them medication?” Marilyn Wedge will talk candidly with Norman B about big pharma and the truth behind ADHD diagnosis.

This week’s Hit That Never Was features a singer who grew up in Pensacola, Florida, singing in her pentecostal church, later she discovered secular singers like Sam Cooke and Aretha Franklin. She began performing in local clubs as a teenager, and singing with local groups like the Lafayettes and the Independents. In 1963, she met a young sailor named George McCrae, whom she married within a week. Following husband George‘s  unexpected solo success with Rock Your Baby, she went on to have a major hit of her own in 1975 with Rockin’ Chair. Gwen McCrae went on to have a follow up hit with Love Insurance, but by this time the separate successes of George and herself took a toll on their marriage. Gwen moved on to have a few minor chart entries, but by the mid 80’s her records were mostly revered by the UK’s Northern Soul scene. Our Hit That Never Was, 90% of Me Is You never made a big dent in the charts but has consistently enjoyed rave reviews from the always enthusiastic Northern Soul scene.

When Billie Holiday stepped into Columbia’s studios in November 1933, it marked the beginning of what is arguably the most remarkable and influential career in ?twentieth-century popular music. Her voice weathered countless shifts in public taste, and new reincarnations of her continue to arrive, most recently in the form of singers like Amy Winehouse and Adele. Most of the writing on Holiday has focused on the tragic details of her life—her prostitution at the age of fourteen, her heroin addiction and alcoholism, her series of abusive relationships—or tried to correct the many fabrications of her autobiography. But now, Billie Holiday: The Musician and the Myth stays close to the music, to her performance style, and to the self she created and put into print, on record and on stage. Drawing on a vast amount of new material that has surfaced in the last decade, critically acclaimed jazz writer John Szwed considers how her life inflected her art, her influences, her uncanny voice and rhythmic genius, a number of her signature songs, and her legacy. Don’t miss Norman B’s conversation with John Szwed as he passionately talks about Billie Holiday: The Musician and the Myth.

Life Elsewhere, airs every Sunday, at 12 noon Eastern Standard Time at The Source on WMNF HD 3. Click on this link and then click on The Source. The show is repeated every Monday, at 5.00pm Pacific Standard Time on NWCZ Radio. The show will also be available at Soundcloud.

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Lynsey Addario, Ellen Meister, Dirty Beaches & Melanie De Biasio

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On the next edition of Life Elsewhere, you’ll hear the true, harrowing stories of a photojournalist held hostage in Lebanon. We urge you not to miss Lynsey Addario tell her graphic stories of being on the front-line in Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Darfur and the Congo, as told brilliantly in her new book, It’s What I Do: A Photographer’s Life of Love and War. 

The imagined ghost of Dorothy Parker haunting the venerable Algonquin hotel with cocktail in hand is the centerpiece of the new novel, Dorothy Parker Drank Here,  by adroit author, Ellen Meister, who will entertain with her tales of the Algonquin Round Table and channeling  the ghost of Ms. Parker.

And, Norman B will introduce you to Melanie De Biasio, an enchanting musician from Belgium who has been likened to Billie Holiday and Nina Simone. Plus, the Hit That Never Was features Alex Zhang Hungtai, an innovative Canadian musician who goes by the name of Dirty Beaches. It’s a fully-packed show, you won’t want to miss. Life Elsewhere airs Sundays, at 12 noon ET at The Source WMNF HD3  Mondays,  5.00pm PT at NWCZ Radio

Make sure you check out the cultural links at BACK.