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

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Song Of The Open Road by Paul Weston & Jo Stafford

 As you regular "Nostalgic Rambler" blog readers know, my favorite reads are biographies of my favorite stars. Jo Stafford is my favorite singer and her bandleader/arranger genius husband Paul Weston has fascinated me as well. Unfortunately they never wrote a biography on their lives....or did they?

Apparently back in 1979 and 1980 they started on the project but it never saw the light of day as publishers said the incidents happened too long ago and their stories didn't have enough juicy gossip to entertain the masses. Sounds like the banner of the Nostalgic Rambler!
 Jo and Paul are gone now. They donated their archives to the University of Arizona. You can visit their on-line webpage and see the massive collection that is on file there as well as read some background about the Westons. The archive curator is a guy named Keith Pawlak. I wouldn't mind having his job as he has free access to all of this one of a kind material. Perhaps one day I will be able to visit.

With the cooperation of Jo Stafford and Paul Weston's children, Pawlak has now re-assembled the long lost biography and published it under the title "Song Of The Open Road, An Autobiography & Other Writings by Paul Weston and Jo Stafford." It's available from the publisher Bear Manor Media.
 The book has several sections to it. First we have a captivating look at the "Big Band Era" including what it was like to travel with Tommy Dorsey on a bus. This is not a Hollywood watered down version and is great fun. Can you imagine Tommy not letting the bus stop for a pee break and a guy getting his, well, you know what, caught in a beer can?!

Next is a great look into the 1940s personal lives of Jo and Paul as we are voyeurs peering at their love letters and personal correspondence. I just eat this sort of stuff up as I read about the recording sessions, radio shows, and stars the two hobnobbed with.
 The book has some essays about the music biz that Paul Weston wrote and also has a chapter explaining how Mr. Pawlak assembled the book, which wasn't an easy task.
It's unfortunate that the book was never finished back when the Westons were alive. A skeleton outline is presented about what might have been. It would have been great to read more about the stars they recorded with, the songwriters, the radio and tv shows. The Mitch Miller connection would have been fascinating I'm sure. And what about the later years when Jo more or less retired from singing? When she regained her record library and started Corinthian Records? Pawlak could have done a lot more research to flush out the missing stories...but then he calls himself merely "editor", letting the writings of Paul and Jo speak for themselves. And those writings were never completed.

Despite the fact that this book is not the complete story, it is highly recommended as an insiders' look at the music biz, the big band era, and radio in the early days.  Back in 1979 no one wanted this book. I'm grateful that we have other publishers now such as Bear Manor Media who can bring these manuscripts to life. It allowed me to spend several hours with two people I admire and what fun it was.....

You can order the book here, and tell 'em The Nostalgic Rambler sentcha!

Don't forget to listen to my radio show where nary a week goes by without a Jo Stafford song....Saturday or Sunday at 1 pm EST at www.TheGeneMartinShow.com.