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

Friday, December 5, 2014

Christmas Sounds of Ray Conniff on the air again

The Nostalgic Rambler has been quite busy lately. I've been helping to set up a Christian radio station coming soon to my city. It is an exciting project as a music library is being assembled and programs are being recorded. You can be assured that since the project has my input, there will be plenty of songs from the artists featured here on this blog.

Anyhow due to this project there just isn't enough time for too many projects like this blog, so if posts are a little scarce you know why.... I imagine there is enough stuff on here to keep you entertained. 

                                            Gotta love this lady's Santa outfit.

Radio stations once again are playing Christmas music which as usual they are calling "holiday" music. This "holiday" music, which is really "Christmas" music (!) brings a lot of our favorite recording artists out of the woodwork.
This morning our clock radio woke us up to Ray Conniff's "12 Days of Christmas."  It is great to listen to Ray Conniff anytime of the year but especially at Christmas. Someone posted an entire Conniff Christmas album here so click  and enjoy........ Guaranteed to put you in a Christmas (holiday) mood!
Merry CHRISTmas everybody.........

Info on Ray Conniff can be found here.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Gene Martin Big Band Dance Party

As you might know, my radio show "The Nostalgic Rambler" is heard Saturdays from 2-4pm on WKSG 89.5 fm in Ocala as well as on line at www.TheGeneMartinShow.com.

Gene is "Mr. Music" of our area and has been a beloved radio man for years. November 2 he held a big band dinner dance at the Ocala Hilton and the fans came out of the woodwork to attend. It reminded me of what it must have been like in the big band heyday.

Singer Mark Raisch was the star singer, dazzling the audience

People still love to dance to good music!

It was great to see the folks come up and talk to Gene about how much they love the music on the radio station. 

Gene Martin was a bit under the weather due to a recent illness. He couldn't play his sax for the crowd,  but he still managed to get some of those desserts he always talks about on his program....

Here's a pic of me with Gene and Don Bruce who also has a show on the station. Thanks to all those who attended and who told me they are out there listening!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

A Visit To Johnny Mercer's Savannah

We visited Savannah Georgia recently, the stomping grounds of one the all time great lyricists Johnny Mercer.  He was the man who wrote the words to such songs as "Moon River" and "The Days of Wine and Roses." He also started Capitol Records and was closely affiliated with my favorite singer Jo Stafford and her husband Paul Weston.
                                                 Paul Weston, Jo Stafford, and Johnny
 Johnny was the genius behind Capitol Records with such stars as Nat King Cole under his wings
                                   Bing Crosby and Johnny were admirers of each other

Savannah pays tribute to Johnny with this statue that Heike discovered as we were wondering around. She said "I found Johnny Mercer." I thought to myself "What is she talking about?!" And there he was....

We visited the Bonaventure Cemetery, a very interesting place. The movie "In The Garden Of Good and Evil" starts off there with a picture of Johnny's grave. Clint Eastwood produced that pic and used Johnny's music throughout.

The cemetery had such elaborate graves that they must have cost the families a small fortune. 

Here I am at the Johnny Mercer gravesite: 

This bench at the grave has several of Johnny's biggest hits engraved on it including Ac-cen-thu-ate the Positive, Autumn Leaves, Blues in the Night, Charade, Laura, My Shining Hour, and Atcheson Topeka and Santa Fe.  Click on the song titles to hear them by some of the greatest including Johnny himself who sang quite well and sold a lot records in his early years.

Sadly there was a group of tourists at the grave with the tour guide asking "Does anyone know who Johnny Mercer was?" Nobody did. He was about to continue the tour without much of an explanation, so I started singing "Moon River" and told them that Johnny wrote that. They all recognized it immediately.

There are several bios out there about Johnny. There is also an excellent dvd which Clint Eastwood had a hand in as well entitled 
"Johnny Mercer: The Dream's On Me."

 Mercer had an interesting life. He was a genius but also an alcoholic with a mean streak. His lyrics are often very haunting and sentimental. Quite a talented man.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

David Cassidy News Brings Out Partridge Family Records

Pardon my slip into the mod 1970s on this edition of the Nostalgic Rambler. I saw a recent news story that singer David Cassidy was spending time in rehab for alcoholism and it got me to thinking about the early 1970s when we were all enthralled by The Partridge Family. I wasn't even a teen then and was caught up in the fever. 

If you're a young whippersnapper and haven't seen The Partridge Family, it is easy to find on Youtube, DVD or reruns. 

I heard someone say "We all watched the Bradys but we all wanted to be the Partridges." How cool it would be to travel all around with your family in a bus and sing songs. Well we watched both quite religiously as I recall. And of course had to buy those records....

Who wouldn't want to be in a family where the mom is Shirley Jones of "Oklahoma!" and "Music Man" fame? Sister Susan Dey was quite a knock out and David of course was Mister Cool. Even now most of the 1970s clothes look like a fashion statement. Bell bottoms anyone!?

The whole premise of the show was totally unrealistic but it was great television escape. The country bought into the escape and often didn't even realize that the only voices on the records who were on actually the show were Jones and Cassidy, the rest were professional musicians. (I think one of the main guys is currently married to one of the Lennon Sisters of Lawrence Welk fame!)

Anyhow, I certainly wish 60 year old something David Cassidy well. I guess he did or maybe even still lives in Florida, the home of The Nostalgic Rambler! David's drinking and marital problems are sad to read about. Despite that, recent interviews show that he knows he was a positive influence on a lot of people during his career. I wish him the best and hope he can escape the demons of addiction.

So the old Partridge Family records came out of the cabinet and I'm converting them to cd. My wife had never seen The Partridge Family before. With my love of music she can probably see why I was so addicted to it in my early life. The closest I came to being a Partridge was singing in the school choir!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Worthy of the name legend: Henry Mancini

Today the word "legend" and "iconic" seems to refer to any Johnny-Come-Lately nobody. This Nostalgic Rambler posting is about a true legend, icon and genius, Mr. Henry Mancini.

 Mr. Mancini did a lot of music for film and television but it was not the average melody to be forgotten. Many songs are now legendary and one of a kind.  Back when postage was only 37 cents we got to celebrate Mancini with a stamp. There were so many hits they couldn't fit them all on the stamp. Notice the Pink Panther on the left of the stamp. He wrote that theme, too.

Although the movie is one of the strangest stories I've ever seen, the music to Breakfast at Tiffany's is magnificent. The opening credits with Audrey and Mancini's music is just lovely and when she sings the song "Moon River" during the movie, it is film magic.


I will have to do a blog sometime on lyric genius Johnny Mercer, another one of my favorites. The lyrics to The Days of Wine and Roses are achingly beautiful and Mancini's music is iconic.


Mancini and Mercer were Academy Award winners, but everyone knows that, don't they? Probably not anymore...that's why we're here!  I like these pics. Mancini guested on Lawrence Welk and the audience loved it. Pic on right is Mancini with Mercer.

 I had the privilege of seeing Henry Mancini in concert in Sarasota Florida years ago. He was so easy going and likeable. He said something along these lines. "People tell me they hear my music in elevators. Don't feel sorry for me. Every time they play my songs in those elevators, I get paid..."

 Henry's legacy is alive on the radio, in film, on tv and on his webpage.  If you don't know about this American genius, you can find a slew of info about him there.

Friday, August 1, 2014

A refreshing drink of Faygo Pop for you

It's hot and it's summer so we need to cool off with a nice can or bottle of pop.  When I moved to Florida years ago, I found out it is called "soda" here, but in Michigan we call it pop and thus shall it always be.

One of Detroit's best pops is made by Faygo with such iconic flavors and tastes as Rock & Rye and Redpop. 

 There aren't too many iconic TV commercials out there anymore but in the Nostalgic Rambler's childhood there were quite a few. Faygo had some really great ones. Click here for the singing very nostalgic commercial that will make you want a Faygo pop right now.  Here (with Laurel and Hardy...)  and here are a couple of other ones that are really cute.

 Oddly enough Faygo is apparently now owned by a Florida company even though it's still made in Detroit. 

There were other good ads for other pops but that's for another time....Coke anyone? Remember this?


Thursday, July 17, 2014

Connie Francis is the Sound of Summer

It's summer and the Nostalgic Rambler is lazy from the heat. 

Summer tends to have me taking out the happy records to listen to and Miss Connie Francis is one of those happy sounds.

 She is one of those world known celebrities and was a bit hit in Japan, Sweden, Italy and Germany as well as points in between. 

 Several years back the Germans re-lived their Connie Francis love affair by releasing an interesting re-mix of her songs, which made her a hit all over again. Listen to it and see Connie on TV by clicking here.

 As I say, summertime makes the Nostalgic Rambler a bit on the lazy side so instead of my ramblings on Connie, I invited you to listen to a couple of her great summer sounding songs. Click here for VACATION or here for EVERYBODY'S SOMEBODY'S FOOL or here  (cool vintage TV of Connie) for LIPSTICK ON YOUR COLLAR. 
Thanks for the summer music fun Connie! Hopefully everyone has her in their library, but if not find buy a CD, an LP, or download some of her albums for a sure summer hit.

PS: I still think my wife looks a lot like you!


Sunday, June 29, 2014

Paul McCartney dredges up Irving Berlin

The Nostalgic Rambler is busy these days producing radio shows for WMCW in Astor, Florida. "The Saturday Night Stereo Dance Party" airs on that station. If you're not local, hopefully they will be on the world wide web soon so you can listen in! 

In the meantime, don't forget about our "Nostalgic Rambler" show every Saturday from 2-4pm on WKSG 89.5 FM in Ocala, Florida or on the web at www.TheGeneMartinShow.com.

In the meantime music still fills our days in other ways. We have another radio station locally "Gold 99" which airs a satellite feed of "America's Best Music." It's a good mix of favorites and includes some nice surprises once in a while.

I'm no big fan of The Beatles, but was charmed when they played a song by Paul McCartney. It was his version of the ancient Irving Berlin classic "Always." Click here to enjoy it. 

Or if you want a more vintage version here's Norma Zimmer from "The Lawrence Welk Show" singing the song back in the black and white TV days. 

Irving Berlin was a genius and it's great to see his music being kept alive by a Rock and Roll icon like McCartney.

Hope you're having a great summer. We are! There is so much music to listen to!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Spending the summer with "What's My Line?"

As I get more out of touch with modern pop culture and retreat into my comfortable cocoon of the past, I am very much enthralled this summer with the 1950s/60s game show "What's My Line?" starring John Daly, Dorothy Kilgallen, Arlene Francis, one of my favorite personalities Bennett Cerf, and a slew of guests. 

 The show ran from 1950 to 1967 (!) on CBS and featured practically every famous person through the years coming through as a mystery guest.

Being on for so many years, the audience felt that they knew the panelists. Dorothy Kilgallen was a gossip columnist, Arlene Francis hosted and appeared on many other tv shows, and Bennett Cerf was the guy who started the publishing gianthouse Random House (see a previous Nostalgic Rambler entry about him by clicking here.) John Daly was an ABC newsman but did his What's My Line? stint for all those years on CBS.

The panelists try to guess the occupations of regular folk but the mystery guest ("for which as always my friends on the panel on blindfolded...blindfolds in place panel???...Enter mystery guest and sign in please!" was always a highlight. Everyone from Salvadore Dali to Barbra Streisand came on the show.

 Why am I watching all of these shows? Years ago they were on Game Show Network but have long vanished again from over the air TV. With the advent of the Roku and Youtube, I can see them anytime I want. Don't have to wait for Sunday night at 10:30pm on CBS as they did back in the 1950s. That's one good thing about living today instead of then, but I do wish I had met Bennett Cerf. Maybe he would have published my book "The Little Grownup"!

You can easily do a search on Youtube for What's My Line? but here are a few links. Click here or here to watch.