Above left, Orleans’ 1976 album Waking and Dreaming, with new congressman John Hall the naked guy in the centre. Of all the other naked guys. And above right, a photo that I think might be Pat Patrick with the Sun Ra Arkestra in 1968… unless it’s Charles Davis? Photo by Lee Santa.
A couple of musical grace notes to this very good day (Gin for Rummy! Senate on the verge! Bernie Sanders! Et! And cetera!):
When former Orleans singer and No Nukes benefit concert organizer John Hall made an unexpected breakthrough in winning a Congress seat last night, he didn’t just add a delightfully fromage-aroma’d 1970s rock star to the legislature - he also became perhaps the first ex-music critic to hold U.S. federal office. (Any others?) According to E&P, Hall was once a writer for Crawdaddy, penning among other things a cover feature on Stevie Wonder.
It’s also, of course, sweet revenge for the Bush campaign using Orleans’ Still the One as a campaign song in the 2004 election - an appropriation that drew Hall’s heated objections. It’s almost as if Springsteen had run in the midterms in the eighties to get his own back from Ronald Reagan after the Born in the USA debacle. (More: The Nation pre-analyzes Hall’s win.)
More amazing yet, it turns out that Deval Patrick, who’s just become the first black governor of Massachusetts, is the son of baritone saxophonist (Laurdine) Pat Patrick, who played with Coltrane, Monk and Mongo Santamaria among others, but mostly in the Sun Ra Arkestra from 1954 until his death in 1991. Boston’s Weekly Dig ran a good piece about the connection. Lest you have any starry-eyed idealizations of what it would like to be the kidlet of an Arkestra-naut - sounds like Deval’s childhood flat-out sucked. Because surely only the happiest, most adjusted of men would join an all-male semi-secret society devoted to playing the drunken-elephant-honking, parade-band anthems of a guy who steadfastly claimed to be an angel from Saturn. No escapist urges there. Talk about fatherhood material. But Pat was a great baritone player, often doubling with the somewhat better-known (and still living, I think) Charles Davis. (See here for a discussion of their joint influence.)
Perhaps Deval will bring some of his dad’s originality and improvisational flexibility to Beacon Hill. His own biography, which starts on the south side of Chicago, sure makes it seem that he’s got some of those traits.
(PS: None of the above is meant to imply that the Dems aren’t still 90 per cent bleah. But at least for today, all is forgiven: Hip hip hoorah for the lesser of two bleahs!)