Watts: 1965. Giving new meaning to the phrase “long, hot summer”.
Click on the link here for audio player: Watts Riot Coverage – Aug. 13, 1965
August 13, 1965 marked the third straight day of civil unrest, gunfire, and burning buildings in the Los Angeles suburb of Watts. In what began as a routine traffic stop quickly escalated into a tense standoff, was downplayed on local radio and TV as “nothing important going on”, and then exploded into one of the most violent and deadly confrontations to take place in an American city in a long time. By the time it was over, some 20,0000 National Guard troops were patrolling the streets, some 30 people lay dead and destruction of homes and businesses was estimated in the millions.
Here is a portion of that third day (from roughly 10:00 -11:15 pm) as reported by KTLA in Los Angeles on August 13, 1965. In later years, such violent confrontations would warrant our uninterrupted attention. But in 1965 there was still time out for commercial breaks.
Jacque-Dupont. Almost totally unknown outside of France.
Click on the link here for Audio Player: Jacque-Dupont – Divertissement for Piano And Orch. 1948
Sometimes history can be frustrating. In the case of this recording, it’s a matter of damaged discs coupled with not the best recording at the time. A world premier performance of the Divertissement For Piano and Orchestra by the 20th century composer Jacque-Dupont (or Jacques Dupont depending on which entry you read), recorded as it happened in 1948 by French Radio. It features the composer at the piano and the Paris Conservatory conducted by Pierre Michel LeConte. First off, the levels jump all over the place, from under-modulated to bordering on distortion between the piano and orchestra, which means the engineer at the time was having a problem keeping the balance and the levels together. Okay, there’s that. And then there’s the transcription disc itself, which has seen better days and wasn’t stored in the best possible conditions – so it’s riddled with ticks and pops.
I tried my best to compensate for all those things and I offer apologies up front if the sound isn’t the best it could possibly be.
But with that said, this is an engaging work by an almost totally unknown composer (over in the U.S.) and it’s the world premiere. So it’s important on a lot of levels. Ultimately, the ride will be worth it – even though the car is in bad shape. But like I said, history can sometimes be very frustrating.
Enjoy it in the spirit it’s being offered.