Have no fear, however; NYMary -- the proprietor and creator of this here blog -- will be posting in my stead, and there may even be a special appearance by the redoubtable Kid Charlemagne.
Okay, with that out of the way, I would just like to note (and for the record as it were) that I have recently devoured veteran scribe Joel Selvin's study of the life and work of '60s writer/producer Bert Berns (1929-1967)..
...and it is, without question, the best rock book I've encountered since Kevin Avery's Paul Nelson bio/anthology. (Or Boys Don't Lie, but that's a given.)
In case you don't know who Berns was, here's just a partial list of the songs he either wrote or produced, or in some cases both.
"A Little Bit of Soap" The Jarmels (1961)
"Twist and Shout" The Isley Brothers (1962) / The Beatles (1963)
"Cry to Me" Solomon Burke (1962)
"Tell Him" The Exciters (1962)
"Cry Baby" Garnet Mimms (1963) / Janis Joplin (1971)
"Everybody Needs Somebody to Love" Solomon Burke (1964) / Wilson Pickett (1967)
"I Want Candy" The Strangeloves (1965) / Bow Wow Wow (1982)
"Hang on Sloopy" The McCoys (1965)
"Down in the Valley" Solomon Burke (1964) Otis Redding (1965)
"Piece of My Heart" Erma Franklin (1967) / Big Brother and the Holding Company (1968)
"Twenty Five Miles" Edwin Starr (1968)
"Nobody but Me" The Isley Brothers (1963)
"Under The Boardwalk" The Drifters (1964)
"Baby Please Don't Go" "Here Comes the Night" Them (1965)
"Baby I'm Yours" Barbara Lewis (1965)
"Make Me Your Baby" Barbara Lewis (1965)
"Brown Eyed Girl" Van Morrison (1967)
I mean, sweet Jeebus -- but talk about a work ethic.
Of course, apart from the hits, Berns was also a fascinating example of a certain kind of New York City music biz character from the Golden Age; intensely driven (by a justifiable fear of dying young, due to a childhood bout of rheumatic fever), he was also not above using his Mafia ties to get what he wanted, both from artists and industry moguls (not for nothing was the label he helmed called Bang Records). In any case, Selvin does full justice to both the man's music and to the dark side of the street he lived on. It's an absolutely smashing read; order it over at Amazon HERE
BTW, here's a representative Berns song and production (a little more obscure than some of those listed above, but no less great): Freddie Scott and "Are You Lonely For Me Baby."
Ah, there really were giants in the earth in those days.
See you next week.