Next: professional development week!

Next week is "Professional Development Week," something I regard with utter cynicism and despair. At this point, I contemn anyone who partakes of it without noisy and constant disapprobation. 

This year, PD themes are: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; Pedagogy; IT/Technology; Health and Wellness; and "Returning to Campus." Yep. Imagine the spin, the self-deception, the wokedness.

—Kill me now. [It's not all bad, of course. I'm sure there's good stuff here and there. E.g., the session on critical race theory should be interesting: I know most of the presenters.]


"Were a stranger to drop on a sudden into this world, I would shew him, as a specimen of its ills, an hospital full of diseases, a prison crowded with malefactors and debtors, a field of battle strewed with carcases, a fleet foundering in the ocean, a nation languishing under tyranny, famine, or pestilence. To turn the gay side of life to him and give him a notion of its pleasures; whither should I conduct him? to a ball, to an opera, to court? [To freakin' professional development week?] He might justly think, that I was only shewing him a diversity of distress and sorrow."

(Time to retire, I think.)

I wonder sometimes if American TV—or American college—is fundamentally different. 

Some kind of mad circus.

The Trustee Area 4 Mess (Whitt Rydell v. Reeve!)

   I spoke with Rebel Girl about this Whitt Rydell business, and so she did some digging at the OC Registrar of Voters. After a few minutes, she called back, and the news wasn’t good. 

   Whitt Rydell’s “trustee area” is number 4. Turns out that only two people have filed to run for that seat, and the filing deadline is about a week away. Those two are Terri Whitt Rydell and—gulp—Derek frickin’ Reeve! 

   Reeve is a lawyer and local right wing pol; he’s done some teaching, too, at local colleges (including Saddleback). He’s been on the San Juan Capistrano City Council for years and, presently, he’s that town’s mayor. (His term ends at the end of this year.) 

   You’ll recall we covered some of Mr. Reeve’s exploits and scandals more than ten years ago (we tagged him for plagiarism). Essentially, he’s another Steve Frogue, and he has a local following among knuckle-draggers. He’d be worse, far worse, than Terri Whitt Rydell on our board. 

   What if this “living in Colorado” rumor pans out and Whitt Rydell is disqualified? That would leave Mr. Reeve unopposed. Good Lord! 

   A BOT with Reeve would be very entertaining, I suppose, but he’d be a disastrous trustee. He’d create an endless Frogueian circus what with his gun love and outrageous Islamophobia and whatnot (Villa Park’s ghastly Deborah Pauly is among his allies). 

   I have no idea if the Faculty Association is aware of this apparent PROBLEM. Let’s hope so. IF Whitt Rydell is living in Colorado and thus is unqualified for area 4 candidacy, somebody’s got to come up with a new candidate for that seat, and fast. 

   As you know, silly old Jim Wright of trustee area 6 has stepped down, and so there’ll be a race for his seat. As it turns out, only one individual has filed and, luckily, that person is Mr. Ryan Dack, whom we encountered during Wright's last race in 2020. Dack's a good guy. 

   So we seem to be OK with 6. 

   Marcia (area 5) and Prendergast (area 2) are running unopposed.

   The only problem here is area 4.


Is Terri Whitt Rydell another "Dodgy" Dot Fortune?

Some district history

   As you know, our district and its colleges have had their share of scandals over the years. 
   One especially juicy scandal concerned former SOCCCD trustee (1996-2003) Dorothy Fortune.
   Well, “Dot,” as we always called her, was involved in several scandals during her tenure, for she was a member of the original, union-promoted (!) “conservative board majority,” which included Holocaust denier Steve Frogue and corruption poster child John Williams
   You remember those guys. 
   These people didn’t seem to think the rules applied to them. 
   By late 2003, while Fortune was serving her second term as trustee, she moved out of the state—but didn’t mention it to anyone who might care that an elected official, by law, must live in the district she supposedly serves. 
   Hence, Dorothy Fortune ended her time at SOCCCD ignominiously. She resigned just as local journalists closed in. (See Junior College Trustee in O.C. Quits, LA Times, Sept. 18, 2003)

Whitt Rydell:

   These days, the district board still comprises some dodgy or semi-dodgy characters, though perhaps not quite in Dot Fortune or John Williams’s league. Perhaps the dodgiest is Terri Whitt Rydell, someone who snuck onto the board less-than-honestly. 
   How so? 
   Well, way back in 2015, just as she retired (as Saddleback nurse faculty), Whitt Rydell was chosen to serve as interim replacement for the ailing trustee Nancy Padberg, who was in the first half of her 4-year term. At the time, Whitt assured everyone that she had no interest whatsoever in actually running for office when her interim service was over in late 2018. She was strictly a short-timer, a stopgap. (Bobbie Jay offered the same assurances.)
   Promises were made — e.g., to the Faculty Association, who had already identified a candidate for the '18 run.
   But she broke those promises and ran for office anyway, exploiting the sorry fact that, as an incumbent, she was likely to win simply because she was an incumbent, thereby obviating an expensive campaign. (Consider how the odious Tom Fuentes made it to the board back in the election of 2004. With his considerable baggage, Fuentes, the notoriously autocratic and misogynistic chief of the OC GOP, was not likely to win without the incumbent advantage. Hence, in the summer of 2000, the unpopular trustee Frogue resigned, Fuentes got the interim gig, and then Fuentes sailed to an easy victory in ’04. Nice trick. Likely, the Padberg replacement used the same playbook.) 
   Whitt’s been on the board ever since—nearly seven years—and she hasn't made much of a contribution. She's coming up for reelection in November. Because she's an incumbent, she'll win, even if she doesn't campaign.
   It's the American Way.

Frogue, Fortune, Lorch, Williams

Anti-intellectualism, again:

   Whitt Rydell represents yet another theme in district history: the inclusion of anti-intellectual “conservatives” at the top, i.e., on the governing board. That sort of thing goes back to the beginning, with the likes of John Schmitz conservative Hans Vogel (see; see also here), the district's first board president (1967). The district went through another serious bout of this kind of anti-academic governance starting with the 1996 “conservative board majority,” an era that didn’t really end until maybe 2012 or even later. (This was made possible, of course, by the cynical and unprincipled leadership of the Faculty Association.) 

Whitt Rydell gets her news from Trumpians: Breitbart, Daily Wire

   How conservative is Whitt Rydell? Well, take a look at her Facebook page. Among her “likes” is Breitbart“Breitbart News … is a conservative news and opinion website founded by the late Andrew Breitbart.” (Whitt Rydell also likes "Daily Wire," another right wing organization.)
   According to Wikipedia, Breitbart’s journalists 

are widely considered to be ideologically driven, and much of its content has been called misogynistic, xenophobic, and racist by liberals and traditional conservatives alike. The site has published a number of conspiracy theories and intentionally misleading stories. Posts originating from the Breitbart News Facebook page are among the most widely shared political content on Facebook. … Breitbart News aligned with the alt-right under the management of former executive chairman Steve Bannon, who declared the website "the platform for the alt-right" in 2016. 

   Unsurprisingly, Whitt Rydell’s extreme right-wingery has occasionally revealed itself during Board business, the most notorious example being her incoherent performance during the Sept. 2021 board discussion over vaccine mandates. On that occasion, Whitt Rydell sought simultaneously to please the educated pro-vacc crowd while maintaining fidelity to her Neanderthal, anti-vacc (i.e., Trumpian) electoral base, and it just wasn’t working; she sounded like a blithering idiot. (Reminded me of Teddi Lorch, another interim trustee—and right winger—who got the unbeatable incumbent advantage. She was an incredible dolt. The Faculty Union engineered that one too.)

Little birds:

   Well, little birds are telling me that Whitt Rydell might be repeating Fortune’s 2003 gambit: not long ago, she married and she now lives with hubby in Colorado. Or so I’m told. 
   Is that true? 
   When I first heard about this (from reliable people), I asked: well, just how many days per month, if any, does she spend in her place in San Clemente? Do we know that she spends most of her time in the Centennial State?
   Nobody seems clear about that. 
   Let's get clear.

Remembering trustee John Williams

2002: Fortune, et al., honoring then state senator Bill Morrow.
Morrow was vehemently anti-abortion and the sort who would join the notorious Minutemen.
Nevertheless, the conservative SOCCCD crew were pleased as punch to be seen with him.

Recording "California Dreamin'" (1965)


“California Dreamin’” was written by John Phillips and Michelle Phillips during a cold winter in New York, 1963. This was before they had formed the Mamas and the Papas. Michelle missed the warmth of Los Angeles and the song grew out of that. 

The story of the M and the P’s recording of “California Dreamin’” and the group’s signing to Dunhill Records is as follows:

MIX: Classic Tracks: The Mamas & The Papas' "California Dreamin'"

Jul 1, 2004 12:00 PM, By Dan Daley 

Bones Howe, 1963
“Bones” Howe instinctively downplays his role in the creation of one of pop music's most memorable tracks. “I was just the engineer,” he says…. 

Howe would get to see the very beginning of the arc of The Mamas & The Papas' rise to the top through to its bittersweet end. In early 1966, “California Dreamin'” was the first of a string of sparks — the group's first six singles, including “Monday, Monday,” “Words of Love” and “Dedicated to the One I Love,” would all go Top 10 — that helped keep vocal harmony alive, well and hip in the stoned-out fuzzbox of the 1960s.

…The track to “California Dreamin'” had already been recorded before The Mamas & The Papas were even signed to producer Lou Adler's Dunhill Records label. John Phillips, the group's acknowledged leader and songwriter, was already getting noticed as a composer, and the group — he, Michelle Phillips, Denny Doherty and Cass Elliot — was making some money doing background vocals around L.A., where they had moved the year before from New York. All four had roots in New York City's folk scene. Actually, it was Barry McGuire, of “Eve of Destruction” fame, who originally decided to cut John and Michelle Phillips' “California Dreamin',” and Adler and Howe had recorded the track for him. The night they were scheduled to cut the vocals, McGuire brought The Mamas & The Papas with him into United & Western Recorders as backup singers.

“We were working in Studio 3, which was so small that we always did basic tracks first and vocals afterward because you couldn't fit that many people in there at once,” recalls Howe. “So Barry comes in with these four scruffy-looking characters. Lou said, ‘Let's listen to them, but first let's get a few other things taken care of.’ So they waited around while we kept working, doing more tracking. Then we took a break and Barry asked us again to listen to them sing. So we asked if another studio was open and Studio 2 was, so we went in there and John picked up an acoustic guitar and they sang four songs, including ‘California Dreamin’” and ‘Go Where You Want to Go’; basically, they sang what would become their first four hits. Lou turns to me and says, ‘What do you think?’ I said to Lou, ‘If you don't take them, I will.’ That did it.”

Adler then peeled off $100 and gave it to the group — a down payment on the contract they would sign that same week, and $50 more than Capitol Records A&R; chief Nick Venet had given them the day before. “I don't think Nick ever spoke to Lou again after that,” says Howe.

The track, intended for McGuire (it was released on one of his albums), now became the basis for The Mamas & The Papas' first hit. It had been played by members of the famed Wrecking Crew, which included Hal Blaine on drums, bassist Joe Osborn, pianist Larry Knechtal and acoustic guitarist P.F. Sloan, who created and played the wonderful picked guitar intro that so perfectly sets up the mid-tempo track. Howe's tracking technique was typical of the era and varied little, if at all, from session to session. “In those days, we'd have a track mixed together in 10 minutes,” says Howe. “There was none of this, ‘Let me hear the kick drum and now the snare drum.’ If you listen to instruments individually, they don't sound the same as they will when they're all playing together, whether it's a drum kit or a rhythm section. When you have the musicians in the same room together without headphones, they tend to balance themselves better than any engineer can.”

…Howe would usually record bass and drums to one track, then put guitars and keyboards on another nonadjacent track (e.g., tracks 1 and 3 or 2 and 4) [this is called “bouncing”], leaving the intervening tracks for vocals and bouncing. The actual track layout for this song was track 1, female vocals; track 2, guitars and piano; track 3, male vocals; and track 4, bass and drums.

The new vocals by The Mamas & The Papas were laid atop the original track, which fortunately was in the right key…. Howe set up the vocals the way the group naturally stood: the men and women facing each other, close in, each group with its own ... microphone. “I took the two mics and set them in a directional cardioid pattern, with the dead sides facing each other,” Howe explains. “That gave us great rejection and allowed them to sing naturally. The song starts out with the guys singing ‘All the leaves are brown’ and the girls answering the lines. It's pretty much the group all the way through except for a few lines that Denny [Doherty] sang solo. When the time came for that, John walked around to sing at the girls' microphone.”

The first-pass vocals were laid to one of the two open tracks. Howe then bounced the music bed tracks together on a second ... deck and doubled the vocals, careful to keep the vocal tracks separate from the rest of the recording. Adler wanted a solo, and the arrangement for McGuire had a hole for it on one of the vocal tracks after the second chorus. “Lou was saying he didn't want a sax solo like every other rock record had,” Howe remembers. “I knew that Bud Schank was playing flute on a jazz session in another studio because I had seen him earlier in the hall. So I went down there and said, ‘I can get you another session when your 8-to-11 [p.m.] is done’…. 

Howe was working on a custom console designed by studio owner Bill Putnam. He recalls it as having no more than 12 inputs, … plenty for a 4-track recording and plenty more for what would be a mono primary mix. A stereo mix was done afterward at Howe's request, and Adler never bothered to show up for it. “He had the radio mix he wanted in the mono mix,” Howe says. “Stereo was optional in those days.”

In fact, as was often the case in this era, much of the mix had been done as the recording went along, with reverb from Studio 3's live chamber…. Howe split the men and women right and left, respectively, on the stereo mix, just as they had stood in the studio. He didn't use a particularly light touch on the reverb on each pass, either, adding a bit more on the final mix. “The reverb was part of the whole '60s sound,” he comments. “Everyone used it a lot on [all the vocal groups]: Jan & Dean and the Beach Boys and so on. It might have sounded the same, but you have to understand that back then, everyone made the same records. We were using the same studios, the same musicians, the same equipment. The only thing that changed was the artists. That's where the difference was.”

Like pilots flying on instruments, engineers had to trust their judgment when applying reverb, because, as Howe points out, there was no way to monitor the reverb return separately on the ultrasimple signal path of the Universal console. “Those were very simple straight-line modules…” he explains. “The way you monitored it was to listen to the reverb recorded on the track with the vocals. You were making these kinds of commitments and decisions throughout the recording process as you went along. But the benefit was that when you layered the reverbs on each vocal pass, you got this wonderful, sparkling sound from the phasing in the chamber. We didn't plan these things; we discovered them as we went along.”

Barry McGuire

With its lush harmonies that practically begged listeners to sing along, “California Dreamin'” was a pleasing slice of folk-rock in a time when other top groups of the day were slowly starting to turn toward psychedelia. The song quickly shot into the Top 10, peaking at Number 4 in the early spring of 1966. It was followed by a string of hits from the album If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears. The Mamas & The Papas never equaled the performance of that particular collection of songs, either as a group or in their individual solo careers, and personal demons would eventually destroy the group and, ultimately, two of its members: Elliot died in 1974 of heart failure after a handful of respectable solo hits and John Phillips passed away in 2001 after years of alcohol and drug abuse.

But Howe, who stays in touch with Doherty and Michelle Phillips (whom he affectionately calls “Michie”), remembers The Mamas & The Papas as the brilliant and dedicated musicians they were when they made that first record, even though they were still products of the age. “You name an excess — grass, alcohol, whatever — they did it,” he says. “Lou [Adler] later said to me we should have recorded 200 songs for that first album, because their behavior got worse as they got more famous and successful. But when we made ‘California Dreamin',’ they were still poor kids. That picture of them in the bathtub on the album cover — that's how they actually lived. But once the money comes, you know what happens. They used to have a contest to see who could spend the most money in a week. John bought a house. Cass bought a mulberry-colored Aston-Martin. She won that week. But they sounded the way they did because they were a group, the same as the musicians in the studio. They don't sound like their individual instruments, they sound like a unit. Lou Adler said it best when he said to me, ‘Bones, it's not a ham sandwich and a cheese sandwich, it's a ham and cheese sandwich.’ That's what making a record is all about: how the parts work together.”

Ham sandwich

SOCCCD: Indoor mask mandate extended indefinitely

Today, district employees received this message from SOCCCD Chancellor Kathleen Burke:

Greetings Employees:

Thank you for your cooperation and support throughout the indoor mask mandate. Last night the Board of Trustees voted to extend the indoor mask mandate indefinitely, until county metrics improve. 

More specifically, the Board of Trustees approved an extension of the indoor mask mandate indefinitely and delegated authority to the Chancellor, in consultation with the Board President, to lift the indoor mask mandate should the seven-day Orange County case rate fall below 10 percent and reinstate an indoor mask mandate in consultation with the Board President should the seven-day case rate rise above 10 percent in Orange County as reported by the Orange County Health Care Agency.

Unfortunately, positive COVID case rates have continued on an upward trajectory in Orange County. Your wellness and safety remain a priority and given the current environment, the indoor mask requirement will remain in place indefinitely, until county metrics improve. At that time, a district communication will be sent to all employees.

Effective today, please note that all employees are required to wear a mask indoors while on campus.

Please remember to refer to the Return to Work Guidelines for COVID related questions.

Thank you for your continued cooperation and patience. Be well.

Kathleen F. Burke, Ed.D.


Contra apathy: (the case for) continuing the district Mask Mandate, July 25

Minutes ago, the Pres. of the IVC Academic Senate wrote the members of the IVC School of Humanities, urging them to contact members of the SOCCCD Board of Trustees, encouraging them to vote to CONTINUE the MASK MANDATE at the July 25 board meeting:

Dear colleagues,

At the upcoming SOCCCD Board of Trustees meeting on Monday, July 25, the Trustees will be voting on whether to renew the mask mandate. I would encourage you to write to the Board members in support of continuing the mask mandate, despite pressure from outside groups and growing apathy in the south Orange County community, to protect our students, staff, faculty, and administrators at IVC, Saddleback College, ATEP, and the District. Chancellor Burke has forwarded two options to the Board: a continuation of the mandate to August 25 or continuing the mandate for a longer time period and placing future decisions in the hands of the Chancellor.

 If you want to write in support of continuing the mandate, please consider the following:

• Cases per 100K in CA have risen from 31.4 at the time school began last fall to 45.1 as of July 16.

Cases per 100K in Orange County have risen from 17.6 at the time school began last fall to 34.7 as of July 16.

Test positivity in Orange County has risen from 6.1% when school began last fall to 19.5% as of July 16.

• The two Omicron subvariants of current concern, BA.4 and BA.5, both spread more easily and better skirt immune defenses than previous variants and make people ill.

• People who have recently contracted COVID-19 often do not have sufficient antibodies to protect them against variants BA.4 and BA.5.

• Preliminary findings have found that BA.4 and BA.5 more easily replicate themselves in human lung cells than do previous variants.

• Additionally, many of us have anecdotal information of increased cases among friends, family, colleagues and students.. This is all bad news for higher risk populations in our district, groups of faculty, staff, administrators, and students who work in high-contact offices, and colleagues still suffering from long Covid. It also increases the risk of new cases in our classrooms.

I would encourage you, if you are in favor of extending the mask mandate, to reach out by email to our Board members over the next several days and to encourage colleagues you know who are not on my mailing list to write as well.. The Trustees' email addresses follow. 

Marcia Milchiker:

Timothy Jemal:

Terri Whitt Rydell:

Carolyn Inmon:

Barbara J. Jay:

T.J. Prendergast III:

Thank you for your consideration.

Guitarist Reggie Young: an appreciation

A real dump, even then: but great music was made here

The great Reggie Young

     Reggie Young (1936-2019) was the guitarist for the house band (the "Memphis Boys") of the great American Sound Studio in Memphis from 1967 to 1972. The studio was started by Chips Moman and Don Crews. 
     Before American, Young was a guitarist for Hi Record Co's house band, which included Bobby Emmons and Tommy Cogbill, who eventually moved, with Reggie, to American on Thomas Street (pictured above).
     American went bust in 1972 and Moman moved his studio to Atlanta. Young and the band followed him there.
     Many of these songs were recorded at the American Sound Studio pictured above. 

1965: Loved this one when I was a kid. Written by Royal's pal, Joe South but the guitar was by Young.
South played electric sitar on his "Games People Play" (1968) at about the time Young played the instrument on "Hooked on a Feeling" and "Cry Like a Baby."

1973: Years later, Reggie was asked to play this live, but he forgot how. 
Zac Childs says this is Reggie's best performance.

"Guitar amps for Young, whose Les Paul played the song’s soulful and defining double-stop fills, and Troy Seals, whose Telecaster added staccato country licks in the chorus, were miked with AKG 224s set about six inches from the speakers, slightly off-axis. “I also used the 224s for acoustic guitars a lot,” says Eichelberger. … “The band picked up the song immediately,” [composer Mentor] Williams remembers. “The intro was a set of chords I had, but Reggie turned them into what you hear on the record”: a folky two-bar riff that sets up the song and serves as the turn-around between verses. Young later doubled the part each time it occurred, and Eichelberger set the two tracks slightly out of phase with each other, giving it a Leslie-like quality. … Gray punched in a word here and there, but Williams says he would let small artifacts, like headphone leakage, pass in favor of keeping the feel of vocal." (Dobie Gray’s “Drift Away”)

1968: English popster goes to a ramshackle studio in Memphis to sing American soul—and kills

"The recording was a challenge for [producer, Jerry] Wexler. In his book Rhythm and the Blues, Wexler wrote that out of all the songs that were initially submitted to Springfield for consideration, "she approved exactly zero." For her, he continued, "to say yes to one song was seen as a lifetime commitment." … He was surprised, given Dusty's talent, by her apparent insecurity. Springfield later attributed her initial unease to a very real anxiety about being compared with the soul greats who had recorded in the same studios. Eventually Dusty's final vocals were recorded in New York. Additionally, Springfield stated that she had never before worked with just a rhythm track, and that it was the first time she had worked with outside producers, having self-produced her previous recordings (something for which she never took credit). 
 During the Memphis sessions in November 1968, Springfield suggested to the heads of Atlantic Records that they should sign the newly formed Led Zeppelin group. She knew the band's bass player John Paul Jones, who had backed her in concerts before. Without having ever seen them and largely on Dusty's advice, the record company signed the group with a $143,000 advance." (Wikipedia)

     1968: Loved this song back in the day. Eventually, I became a huge Alex Chilton fan (he was the singer at age 17). Saw him at the Coach House maybe twenty years ago. He was great.
     By the new millennium, Chilton had moved to New Orleans, where the Kinks' Ray Davies was a neighbor. The two became good friends and planned projects together, but Chilton suddenly died of a heart attack in 2010. (See Big Star.)

   "Dan Penn was producing The Box Tops, he had produced a #1 record called "The Letter". He recorded that in Memphis when he and I were both living there. So he calls me one day and says, "Spooner, will you help me try to write a song for Alex (Chilton) and the Box Tops?" He says, "People have sent me some songs, but I don't think any of them really fit. This record company's been after me about three weeks for a follow-up single." And I said, "Sure, I'll try to help write a song for you." 
   We got together in the studio one evening with our little notes of our five or ten best ideas or titles. We each pulled one out and they eventually ended up in the garbage. The next morning, we were getting tired and decided to call it quits. So we locked the doors, turned out the lights in the studio, turned off the instruments. Went across the street to the little café - name was Porky's or something like that - and ordered breakfast. I remember I was putting my head on the table. There was nobody in there, I don't think, but us and the cook. And I tiredly put my head on the table, my arms under my head, just for a few seconds. Then I lifted my head up and looked at Dan, and because I felt sorry that he needed another record and we were no help to each other that evening, I said, "Dan, I could just cry like a baby." And he says, "What did you say?" And I said it again. He says, "I like that." So unbeknownst to me, we had a song started. 
   By the time we walked across the street back to the studio, we had the first verse written. When we got in, he turned on the lights and the recorder, and I turned on the Hammond organ. He got his guitar out, and we put on a quarter-inch 90-minute tape, and we finished the song, just recorded a demo. 
   The next day or two in the morning Alex Chilton came in. I was so tired and weary I didn't know what we had, if anything. I played the little tape demo to him and he smiled and reached out his hand, shook my hand, so I knew he liked it, anyway. And then we got in the studio and recorded it shortly, I think that day." (Spoon Oldham, SongFacts)

1969: Yes, Elvis really did come to this shitty little studio—to record one of his best records ever. Reggie was using Scotty Moore's Sun Sessions guitar (1954).

"Elvis had a cold when he first arrived at American that night and was a bit taken aback by the studio's condition, which was run-down enough for a host of rats to feel comfortable taking up residence; 'What a funky studio!' he announced, responding to hearing rodents scuffling around."
"It was bitter cold the evening of January 13, 1969, in Memphis, Tennessee. Producer Chips Moman and the searing band of musicians he had assembled at American Sound Studios were waiting for the arrival of Elvis Presley and his notorious retinue…. For their part, the musicians weren't overly impressed about working with someone of Elvis Presley's stature, having already worked with many big names by then. But, they were surprised by the charisma he exuded before work even began. 'You'd know he was in the room when he walked in', said Reggie Young. 'You hear stories about people that have that effect on people, and I never thought anything about it. But Elvis really did. He just kind of commanded his space. You definitely knew he was there'." (Elvis Australia)

1968: Once again, Reggie got out his electric sitar. Love that sound!

"This song was written by Mark James, who also wrote Elvis Presley's "Suspicious Minds." B.J. Thomas was signed to Scepter Records and had some hits with his group The Triumphs before Scepter producer Chips Moman convinced him to leave Texas and come to American Studios in Memphis, where he recorded some of the songs James wrote for his album On My Way. The first single from the album was the James-penned "The Eyes of a New York Woman," which reached #28 in the US. The next single was "Hooked On A Feeling," which was a big hit for Thomas but not nearly as successful as his next one, "Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head," which stayed at US #1 for four weeks. "Hooked" was produced by Moman with session musicians that included Tommy Cogbill (guitar) Reggie Young (guitar), Mike Leech (bass) and Buddy Emmons (drums)." (SongFacts)

1972 (O'Keefe recorded a far inferior version of this tune in 1967). Here, Reggie uses his volume pedal to make a pedal steel sound.

'"Good Time Charlie" was re-recorded for [O’Keefe’s] second album, O'Keefe, which was released in 1972 [though recorded in 1971]. This time, it was recorded at American Studios in Memphis with Arif Marden producing. [T]he song was released as a single and became a big hit....  O'Keefe told Mojo about the song's lyrical content: "Maybe it was about hipsters drawn to the high life. I lived in interesting times and there was a lot of experimentation with every kind of drug. There were a lot of damages and strange intersections of lives that provided much grist for a young songwriter's mill."' (SongFacts)

1969: Diamond became a problematic artist, but some of his earlier work was great (e.g., "Solitary Man")

Recorded by Carr in 1966, released in 1967. Recorded essentially by the "Memphis Boys," including Reggie Young, but at another studio in town, another dump of a place; this one was owned by "Hi" Recording Company. The site has been rescued.

Royal Studio, Memphis, where "Dark Side of the Street" was recorded, among other classics.

You Were Always On My Mind (Willie Nelson, 1982)
Pancho and Lefty (Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard, 1983)
Sweet Caroline  (Neil Diamond, 1969)
Show Me (Joe Tex, 1967)
Angel of the Morning (Merrilee Rush, 1968)
I Can Help (Billy Swan, 1974)

Next: professional development week!

Next week is "Professional Development Week," something I regard with utter cynicism and despair. At this point, I contemn anyone ...