Welcome to the Nostalgic Ramber

Hans Jeff Borger is heard on WRGE 97.9 FM in Ocala, FL featuring Christian programming.

"The Nostalgic Rambler" radio show previously heard on Gene Martin & Friends has been suspended due to my commitments at WRGE.

Why a blog? I wrote a book "The Little Grownup: a nostalgic Michigan boyhood" which should appeal to most baby boomers. A mass market book? Well, not yet...but the potential is there! (Be sure to buy it at "finer on line bookstores" everywhere!)

The comments presented in "The Nostalgic Rambler" probably won't be of interest to the masses...anymore. If grandma and grandpa and their friends were still alive, then it would be a different story.

I live in the past. My time warp is a comfortable cocoon even if it sometimes drives my wife crazy. The music of the 1940s and 50s, the stars of those days were big stuff in their day, but are now almost forgotten. Oddly enough, I was born in '64 so those iconic years were for the most part over by that time.

Through "The Nostalgic Rambler" I maybe can help share my love and knowledge for those times and things...all at one time important pieces of Americana but now a bit faded in memory.

The woman who did the blog about cooking all of Julia Childs' French Cuisine Cookbook in a year got a sweet movie deal out of her blog experience. I wouldn't mind that but would be happy to know that you are reading this....and maybe enjoying my time warp, too.

Hans Jeff Borger

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Fascinating Life of Bennett Cerf

As you can see, this man was on the cover of Time magazine. He was on television almost every week in the 50s/60s. He has a star of the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Does anyone recall Bennett Cerf? On my Facebook page, I list his book "At Random" as once of my favorites. Why? His life was fascinating.

Born in 1898, he was raised in New York City and hobnobbed with famous people from his school days. He started a publishing company with his friend in the 1920s which became the hugely successful Random House. He worked with Faulkner, Capote, Michener,and even Dr. Seuss.

His wit and use of puns was legendary and he published several books on humor.

He married Ginger Roger's cousin.

He appeared on the popular "What's my line?" TV show as panelist back in the days when wit and genius were seen on tv.

His biography "At Random" is a fascinating look into the life of this man and even though I am not that well acquainted with many of the famous authors and people that Cerf dealt with through the years, the many characters and personalities are an interesting read. You might have trouble finding this book as it is quite old now, but definitely worth looking for.

Cerf died in 1971 but when the Game Show Network started running old "What's My Line" shows, I wondered who this man Bennett Cerf was. They don't come much more interesting than this. Click here for an interview with Cerf.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Percy Faith and his orchestra

One of the most successful orchestra leaders of the 1950s and 60s was Canadian Percy Faith. I was astounded when I spoke with a talented young musician recently who had never heard of this musical genius. How quickly the music world forgets.

When Percy Faith was a child, he was a violinist and pianist. After a fire damaged his hands, he turned to conducting on the radio during its 1930s and 40s heyday. Later when albums became the rage, he put out a slew of instrumental orchestrations on LP for Columbia.

See the album "Brazil!" above? When I was a kid, my mom had this in her collection. I played the record over and over and apparently was so fascinated by the woman on the album (covered with confetti) that I took a magic marker and added to the artwork! (Unfortunately this work of art is no longer available for viewing after all these years).

Many of Percy Faith's albums were upbeat and lively, such as his Brazil and other Latin American tribute albums. His most famous song is "Theme From A Summer Place" which you can listen to and watch a rare video of Percy conducting his famous orchestra here. The song was record of the year in 1961.

His Christmas orchestrations sound like they could have come directly from heaven itself. Click here and see if you agree!

No need here to elaborate on what is already done better. A marvelous tribute to the man and his music is maintained at www.percyfaithpages.org, which I highly recommend. Click here to go there!

Monday, February 14, 2011

We'll Sing In The Sunshine

This time The Nostalgic Rambler turns the clock back to the 60s when folk type songs were all the rage. Gale Garnett, with a New Zealand/Canadian background, came up with a one hit wonder called "We'll Sing In The Sunshine" which still sounds as nice today as it did then.

I always liked this song since the days of playing it on the radio years ago. Listen to Gale's version here or here. Dolly Parton did a more recent rendition. You can listen to that here. There are also some other excellent cover versions like this piano version I found on Youtube "for my friend Jeff" here...no it wasn't me asking for it, but it is cool honky tonk piano styling!

I don't know what happened to Miss Garnett through the years. Looks like she had several albums through the years but nothing ever rivaling her big hit. Strange how those one hit wonders are so enthralling, but just for that one song.

"We'll sing in the sunshine, we'll laugh everyday....we'll sing in the sunshine....then I'll be on my way..."