SB Student Worker Aimee’s Weekly Log

Hello all! These posts will serve to give you a little glimpse into the work I’m doing for Sound Beat. Thanks again to the John Ben Snow Foundation for making it all possible!

December 1st – December 7th

This week I concentrated solely on putting together the episode write-ups for my first theme week,  which will air in February! Roughly following the process outlined in the Sound Beat Class Partnership, I wrote the scripts using 175 words, which we’ll edit down further.



SB Student Worker Aimee’s Weekly Log

Hello all! These posts will serve to give you a little glimpse into the work I’m doing for Sound Beat. Thanks again to the John Ben Snow Foundation for making it all possible!

October 30th – November 5th

Created video explanation on how to search for recordings in Belfer. – 3 hours

Found some great information to get started on Road Series episodes including a piece Bob Hope wrote up about Bing Crosby after his passing, a short biography on Dorothy Lamour (decided to use “Personality” for her episode), and a piece on Syracuse native Jimmy Van Heusen – will use “Moonlight Becomes You” for his episode. –  7 hours


SB Student Worker Aimee’s Weekly Log

Hello all! These posts will serve to give you a little glimpse into the work I’m doing for Sound Beat. Thanks again to the John Ben Snow Foundation for making it all possible!

October 23rd – October 29th

 Met with reference librarian to discuss resource options to find more information about the Road Series songs. She suggested perhaps focusing on the past reviews of the movie and any mention of why they were popular (if it was because they were funny, use a part of a song to show that humor). – 2 hours

Collected a list of Road series songs the archive has and basic information that might be helpful in my research. Started looking for song information (finding it’s not that easy as a lot of the songs were not very popular). Searched through movie reviews from newspapers that might mention any songs. Decided to focus on trivia from the Road Series might be easier and started research for that. – 7 hours

Planned ideas for the blog – perhaps instructions on how to search the archive? – 1 hour


SB Student Worker Aimee’s Weekly Log

Hello all! These posts will serve to give you a little glimpse into the work I’m doing for Sound Beat. Thanks again to the John Ben Snow Foundation for making it all possible!

October 16th – October 22nd

 Explored Sound Beat website, listened to recordings to familiarize myself with the style. – 2 hours

Gathered images and video clips to use for Facebook hashtag days. – 2 hours

Researched potential topics for the theme weeks I’ll be planning, researching and writing. I found out the “Road” series with Bing Crosby and Bob Hope will be celebrating its 75th anniversary in March. Decided to focus on that, to begin with. Other options are protest songs, females in music (girl groups, influential women), famous cover songs. – 6 hours


Our New Student Worker

Our New Student Worker - aimeeface

Hi there Sound Beat world!

I wanted to introduce myself since you might be seeing quite a bit of me on this blog.

My name is Aimee and I love music. I’ve been graciously allowed to work at Sound Beat through a grant from the John Ben Snow Foundation. It’s been fun so far – and kind of different.  I live in New Hampshire and I’m the first distance student they’ve ever had. It will definitely be a learning experience for us all. I plan on documenting my time working for Sound Beat, giving you a bit of a glimpse behind the scenes as I experience it all firsthand. Before all of that, a little bit about me.

I was first introduced to the Belfer Audio Archive this past summer when I was up at Syracuse for my residency. (I’m a first year graduate getting my masters in library science.) One of our many field trips involved a tour of Bird Library and then that little hidden gem next door.

It was love at first site. All the old phonographs, cylinders, vinyl records! I could hardly contain myself in excitement. I took so many photos that day because I knew I had to show my dad. He’s the one that got me into music.

Growing up I was raised on Buddy Holly, the Shirelles, Moody Blues and the Beach Boys. I can remember sitting in the car, watching my dad push in a Shirelles cassette tape, and singing along to “Mama Said” as we waited for my mom to get her hair done. They were happy memories. And I’m sure, like a lot of you, it was a song that defined every big moment of my life.

When 9/11 happened, I remember hearing Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA” played over and over.

Billy Idol’s “Dancing with Myself” became me and my younger sister’s signature song when we felt like dancing around like buffoons.

I feel a surge of energy rush through my veins every time I hear Bay City Rollers’ “Saturday Night”, the song my dad used to play every Saturday morning to excite us for the family activity planned that evening.

I also feel dread whenever I hear the Gummi Bears theme song, the song my dad alternately played whenever he needed to get his four lazy kids out of bed.

The title music from The Princess Bride, “Once Upon a Time… Storybook Love”, plays over and over in my head when I recall the day my older sister walked down the aisle and Beauty and the Beast’s “Tale as Old as Time”, the song playing on the radio, will be forever linked to the memory of holding my niece in my arms for the very first time.

Music has been a huge part of my life, as I’m sure it has for you as well. That’s why what Sound Beat and the Belfer Audio Archive do is so incredible. They are preserving that history – and those memories – for years to come.

I can’t wait to share with you more of my learning experience and the many memories associated with each of these recordings.

Happy listening! Any questions or comments? Send them to Aimee@soundbeat.org



Record Store Day

by Patrick Williams

Record Store Day - rsdApril may be known as the cruelest month, but not if you are a fan of vinyl records. Sales and production of new vinyl LPs have experienced a staggering rise in the the last decade or so. One expression of this renewed popularity comes around on the third Saturday of every April. It’s the annual event most record collectors know of simply as RSD.

Record Store Day, now in its seventh year (April 19th this year), is a celebration of local, independent, brick-and-mortar record stores, more specifically, those that carry vinyl records. With the sheer amount of reissues and special RSD-exclusive vinyl released each April, Record Store Day is also a major driver in the production of vinyl records these days. The list of RSD releases this year numbers over 400. Many of these releases are very limited– in some cases only 500 or 1,000 copies are distributed among the hundreds of participating stores. This means that the crowds form early outside stores (even with the risk of being soaked in an April shower), eager to for the chance to get in and get what they can. It feels a lot like waiting in line for concert tickets (though that’s one relic of the pre-Internet world I can happily do without).

As a long-time record collector, I’m both amazed by the enthusiasm that RSD brings out in the vinyl community, and frustrated by the increase in competition for the releases that in earlier years, I could have just waltzed in and picked up. But mostly, I’m just pleased RSD’s success provides a tactile, social, and public way that fans can support the networks of artists, labels, pressing plants, distributors, and independent stores that supply them. I don’t feel a lot of those connections in the realm of digitally-distributed music.

Record stores, for me, have always been outposts– places to find music, to learn about local events, to get a sense of a new city. Record Store Day is one of many days each year I spend supporting them. But if you have not experienced it yet, you may be surprised to see the vinyl-fever-fueled mob at your sleepy local store on April 19. Even David Lynch is getting into the action this year. Just remember to bring an umbrella.


Signals, Calls, & Marches

By Patrick Williams

For college football fans, the early winter weeks can be brutal— not just because half of our teams will inevitably lose their final games, but because the weekly tradition of rooting for those teams recedes into memory as players declare for the NFL draft, coaches get fired, and we get a lot less marching band in our lives.

This week is Bowl Week at Sound Beat, and we’ll be listening to some of the music behind the collegiate football traditions we celebrate each and every fall. Of course, five days of episodes only allows us to scratch the surface of the connections between music and football. But behind every fight song, marching performance, and baton toss, there is a story.

Military Marches

We’ll look into the Naval Academy’s “Anchors’ Aweigh” in an episode this week, but that song it is only one of the Service Academy tunes football fans are used to hearing. West Point’s “On, Brave Army Team,” composed by Philip Egner, a West Point music teacher, was written in 1911 and was recorded the same year.

The Air Force Academy’s “The US Air Force Song,” (originally penned as “Army Air Corps” by Captain Robert M Crawford) might be better known than either of those two tunes. With its familiar “Off we go, into the wild blue yonder…” opening, the song was a  last minute stand-out among over 700 entries in a 1939 contest for an Air Force theme (“Many of the songs were submitted by persons of unquestioned patriotism, but with obvious signs of illiteracy.”).


The US Coast Guard Academy’s “Semper Paratus” (composed in the 1920s by Captain Frances Von Boskerck), which welcomes the USCGA Bears onto the field each fall, is an equally bombastic song, if not as well known.


A Familiar Tune

The Old Dominion Athletic Conference powerhouse Washington and Lee’s fight song, “The Washington & Lee Swing” might be familiar to fans of other schools, and not just those who are frequent opponents of the Generals. “The Swing” is the result of a multi-year collaboration among several early 20th Century W&L students, but its reach extends far beyond the campus.

Over the years, dozens of schools have adapted the popular song for their own teams. Perhaps best known, Gonzaga University was among this group until recently, debuting a new alumnus-penned rouser in 2010.

The Seawolf Growl

Not every new fight song recalls the brassy and brash tunes of the early 20th Century, though. In the 1980s, University of Alaska Anchorage enlisted the assistance of an advertising firm to attract fans to Seawolves athletic events. The resulting minute-long rocker (complete with noodly guitar flourishes and the growls of angry Seawolves) eventually found its way into the UAA basketball warmup playlist, and was adopted as a fight song for all of the Seawolves’ teams.

A Very Specific Competitive Spirit

Like the UAA Seawolves song, many collegiate fight songs attempt to capture something unique about the character of the school– they might mention regional geographic features or team colors; they may invoke the names of mascots or stadiums– all in the name of firing up their home crowds.

But some schools’ fight songs seem specifically engineered to fire up the opponents, taunting them, by name, in their lyrics. This 2009 Bleacher Report Feature highlights 14 such fight songs that directly call out their teams’ rivals.

The Texas / Texas A&M rivalry features fight songs in direct, focused dialogue with one another. “Texas Fight” was written as a response to “The Aggie War Hymn,” which will be featured in one of this week’s episodes. But some songs’ taunts are more diffuse; Georgetown’s checks nearly a half dozen opponents’ names.

It may be that the only marches and fight songs that get us more worked up than those of our own, are those of our rivals, played in celebration of a victory. Let’s just be thankful they tend to cut those from the TV broadcasts.

For more information of the origins of your favorite fight songs, check out Studwell & Shueneman’s College Fight Songs: An Annotated Bibliography, a helpful source for this post.


“You can’t cook with a test-tube mind.”

By Patrick Williams

“Food is important. Especially at meals.”

These are Arthur “Bugs” Baer’s opening words to George Rector’s 1937 book Dine at Home with Rector: A Book on What Men Like, How They Like It, and How to Cook It. This thick volume documents the adventures and advice of the restaurant titan and gastronimical pioneer whose restaurant was immortalized in “If a Table at Rector’s Could Talk.”

After the restaurant that fed his fame closed in 1922 (thanks to prohibition, according to then-owner Lucius Boomer),  George Rector was something of an early twentieth century Mark Bittman or Bobby Flay. He hosted a CBS radio show entitled “Dine with George Rector,” and wrote a column for the Saturday Evening Post, and published at least 7 cookbooks.

In Dine at Home with Rector, George holds forth his opinions on proper pancake preparation, outlines what meals men should prepare when their wives are away, engages in some amateur anthropology of global tea drinkers, and argues whether or not one should dare cut into hot bread (one should not).

Rector was not known to not shy away from controversial statements, and one quote from Dine at Home with Rector in particular seems a little out-of-sync with our times:  “French and Italian coffee seems to be a natural enemy of mankind.” One assumes Rector would be infuriated that American coffee drinkers regularly employ Italian words in their daily coffee orders. Apart from that, much of what Rector introduced to American tables is still quite palatable today. See for yourself by checking out the recipe index in Dine at Home with Rector to get more advice on eating everything.


That Sound Beat sound….

It’s bittersweet getting to the end of every Sound Beat episode. Bitter because our time together is nearly over, but made so sweet by that Sound Beat Theme. We’re beyond fortunate to have had David Wolfert compose the piece for us.

David is a Grammy and Emmy nominated composer, arranger, songwriter, orchestrator, producer and instrumentalist who has worked in all areas of music, including film, records, advertising and television.

Here’s the complete theme. We get to use about ten seconds of it, and as you read a bit more about this man’s career below, you might see why editing the piece was a bit nervewracking.

David’s songs have been recorded by Whitney Houston (“I Believe in You and Me”), Barbra Streisand, Kelly Clarkson, Jennifer Hudson, Usher, Dolly Parton, Dusty Springfield, Eddie Murphy, the Four Tops, Cher, Julio Iglesias Jr. and many others, and appear on the Greatest Hits collections of Whitney Houston, Barbra Streisand, and Dolly Parton.   His song, “Stand Up” was recently used by the United  Nations Millenium project as the centerpiece of an event that rallied over 173 million people all over the world to demand that their leaders live up to 12 basic goals set by the UN. David has also worked as an arranger. producer and guitarist with many icons of the music business, including Rod Stewart, Bette Midler, Whitney Houston, Elton John, Peter Criss, Jimmy Cliff. Johnny Cash, Harry Nilsson, The Temptations, Aretha Franklin, Judy Collins, Brenda Russel, Don Covay, Dr. John and many others.(for a more complete listing, please go to allmusicguide.com.)

Some of David’s recent film scores include ” True Bromance (2012), “Smash His Camera,” a 2010 Sundance Selection, “Dale” (Paramount/CMT) one of the  biggest selling sports-themed DVDs of all time, “Montana Meth (HBO) “The Ride of Their Lives,” Petty Blue (2010 Release) and “Together” (Nascar Media Group).

David’s recent television work includes the theme music for The Katie Couric Show (ABC),  Fuse News (Fuse), Poker After Dark and Heads Up Poker, both on NBC.  He wrote the theme for ‘Pokémon,’ currently airing on  the Cartoon Network and in 70 countries, and the theme for Extreme Trains, on the History channel  His catalog also includes music for NFL Football, Nascar, The Martha Stewart Show, Bringing Home Baby, Nascar 360 and the logo music for MSNBC, Procter and Gamble Productions and New  Line Television.  He created the theme and additional scoring for NBC’s ‘The Chris Matthews Show,’ the theme for ‘Professional Bull Riders’ and ‘Notre Dame Football’ on NBC Sports, music for the highly acclaimed PBS program ‘Egg the Arts Show,’ the theme and library for ‘Flashpoints,’ Bryant Gumbel’s show on PBS .  He has composed many promos for NBC Nightly News, Showtime, and the Discovery Channel. He has also written the theme for the Nickelodeon series, ‘The Animorphs’ and scored the ‘Upfront’ presentations for the Discovery Channel and for NBC Networks.

David has also written music for well over a thousand Television and Radio commercials, for virtually every major advertiser. And he’s won more Clio Awards (2) than Don Draper (1).

He is the Composer/Music Director for Goodpenny, a creative boutique came up of equal parts editorial, visual effects and musical talent, and serves on the Advisory board of Songs of Love, a charity that composes personalized songs for chronically and terminally ill children.

David lives in New York and has studios in New York City and Bridgehampton, Long Island.



The Real Thoroughbred Races of 1948

By Patrick Williams

It was a big year for the Kentucky Derby, and for thoroughbread racing in general, but it wasn’t because of the triumph of Feetlebaum in Spike Jones’s 1948 William Tell Overture.

That year, Citation, ridden by Eddie Arcaro and bred by Calumet Farm, won not only the Kentucky Derby, but also the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes consecutively.

Visit ESPNClassic to read more about that exciting 1948 Derby race.

Citation was the eighth of only eleven Triple Crown winners to date, and the fourth horse in the 1940s to reach all three Winner’s Circles in a single year. Affirmed was the last horese to take the honor nearly 35 years ago, on June 10th, 1978.

Incidentally, music plays a big part in each of the Triple Crown events; fans sing along to a unique tune before the stakes race at each park.

At the Kentucky Derby, we hear “My Old Kentucky Home,” the official state song of Kentucky.

At the Preakness Stakes, we hear “Maryland, My Maryland”, the official state song of Maryland.

And at the Belmont Stakes, well, that’s a little more complicated. Up until 1997, it was the 1894 James Blake & Charles Lawler-penned tune, “The Sidewalks of New York.”

From 1997 on, we have heard the familiar “Theme from New York, New York,” except in 2010, when crowds were treated to a deviation from that tradition in the form of Alicia Keyes’s hit “Empire State of Mind,” by Jasmine Villegas. Many fans were not pleased.

Will any of this year’s horses have a shot at the Triple Crown? We need only wait until the Preakness Stakes on May 18th so see if Saturday’s Derby winner joins 2012’s I’ll Have Another among the 22 “Double Crown” winners.