Happy Fiftieth Birthday To The Biff Rose Album Children Of Light, A Forgotten Treasure





Math equations can sometimes be used to describe certain musical performers, and the formula actually helps to identify their particular sound. Pointing out the combinations of more familiar recording artists is the next best thing to getting to hear the unknown artist with your own ears.

With that in mind, take Randy Newman and connect him to Tom Paxton. Then add Loudon Wainwright with Phil Ochs, and your solution would sound something like Biff Rose.

Not much has been heard of the piano playing folk songwriter Biff Rose since he received some acclaim in the late Sixties, after the release of his first album Children of Light. That record, quite influential in spite of unremarkable chart success, hit the store shelves in 1968.

David Bowie was one of the biggest stars to pay tribute to him, as he quoted Biff Rose in one the early albums. The Bowie song “Fill Your Heart”, just one of the many gems on the Hunky Dory album, is a cover version of a tune composed by Rose.

Rose had gone to Hollywood as a writer for comedian George Carlin in the Sixties, deciding soon after to become a recording artist. That decision brought about the debut album Children of Light, now fifty years old.

It is a smorgasbord of musical styles, blending ragtime with Vaudeville while also incorporating folk and classical. Lyrically, however, is where the album really stands out.

Most of the themes are left-leaning, as might be expected from a man who was en,edged in the hippie culture of the West Coast in the Late Sixties. The titles themselves indicate as much, especially “Communist Sympathizer” and “Colorblind Blues.”

On the latter, which was recorded live at the Troubadour in Hollywood, Rose exhibits his characteristic wit.

“Black power, blue power, green power, purple, thanks a lot. At the end of the rainbow there is pot,” he quips. “And I hear it’s gold.”

He parodies capitalism in “American Waltz”, on which Rose’s deft ragtime piano is backed by marching drums.

“The spirit of giving through selling and buying,” he says of the Christmas holiday in the United States. “Cars shaped like bullets with people inside.”

His humor is also apparent on “Ballad of Cliches” and “Ain’t No New Day”, but he proves just as gifted when it comes to serious tunes. “Son in Moon” offers a pointed reflection about man’s abuse of the earth, and “To Baby” serves as a love ode to someone special.

The highlight, however, is the title track, which contains some of Rose’s best piano playing as well as his most memorable lyrics.

“The man who’s afraid will have all kinds of answers, law and order, law and order, we need more law and order,” Rose snarls, perhaps as a stab at the political leaders at the time.

In April of 1969 Rose performed that song on The Smothers Brothers, appearing in the same episode as Ike and Tina Turner. A few months later on Dick Clark’s American Bandstand he sang “Spaced Out” and “I’ve Got You Covered”, the two tracks that are combined to close out the album.

Next came a memorable appearance on the Hugh Hefner weekly variety show, Playboy After Dark. Rose performed the title track before giving way to a future superstar, a twenty year old girl named Linda Rondstadt.

Not much was heard from Rose in the late Seventies, when he nearly disappeared from the music business. In 2018, though, folks hungry for nostalgia should celebrate his debut album’s fiftieth anniversary by digging out this treasure of eleven songs.

Source by Doug Poe

When you are a child, dressing for a birthday party means simply wearing whatever tee shirt can withstand dribbles of red punch, chocolate cake and crusty white icing. But as an adult, birthday parties are more than just a two-hour sugar high. A birthday party is a great opportunity to show a friend or family member how much you care about him or her, to celebrate with others, and even to meet new people from both a personal and professional standpoint. So you should, of course, dress to impress...even at a birthday party.

The first thing to consider when deciding what to wear to is to look at the invitation for any wardrobe requests. Theme parties are popular now, and you may be asked to participate by dressing a certain way. Even if dressing like a pirate at your 4 year old nephew's party doesn't sound like a blast to you, you should honor the host's request. So slap on an eye patch and a tie a silk scarf around your neck, lest you look like a party pooper.

For adult birthday parties, it is a good idea to consider the time of day and location. For example, if you are attending an evening birthday party where all of the guests will be dining at a nice, local downtown restaurant, it's time to pull out your date wear. For fall, a great evening look is a pair of dark wash jeans or black dress trousers with a pinstripe button up shirt. Top off the look with a nice pair of black leather or suede dress shoes and a black skinny tie. The skinny tie is a hugely popular tie style right now, and due to the fact that it can easily be dressed up or down, it is very versatile. Since dinner out often transitions right into bar hopping or other night life, grab a blazer, sport jacket, or cardigan sweater incase it gets cold. Since you may also end up in a dance club, the button up shirt is a good choice, as the sleeves can easily be rolled up to your elbows for a more casual look.

In the case that you are uncertain of just how formal the birthday party will be, it is best to lean more towards dressy and less towards casual. It is never good to look like a scrub in the presence of well dressed friends, however there is absolutely nothing wrong with being the best dressed guy in the room, regardless of where you are. Also, keep in mind that landmark birthday parties, such as 30, 40, or 50 tend to be more formal affairs. It is likely that many people will be snapping photos, so dress nicely. Birthday parties such as 60, 70, 80... even 100... are often lavish affairs with many guests. A birthday party that takes place in a banquet hall or elegant restaurant calls for a suit. If you have any doubt as to the formality of the event, politely inquire with the host.

For an outdoor birthday party, such as a backyard barbecue, be prepared for the elements, and wear comfortable clothing that allows for decent range of motion. Usually a more casual affair such as this calls for dark jeans, a silk screened tee shirt or button up shirt with a vest, and a comfortable but clean and nice looking pair of fashion (not athletic) sneakers. If it is cool outside, instead try a pair of earth toned corduroy pants and a denim jacket. Dress in layers, so that you can add or remove items of clothing depending on the weather. If you are attending a party inside someone's house, you may be asked to remove your shoes at the front door. So don't forget to wear a nice pair of socks!


Source by Michael D Taylor