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Monday
Nov172014

A Thousand Lives, tragedy at Jonestown

NOTE: This blog entry originally appeared in November 2011


by Dan Bloom, producer 

Since the fateful date of November 18, 1978, the story of Jim Jones, People’s Temple and the Jonestown disaster has lived in the collective cultural memory of Americans.

It would be emotionally trying for any researcher to pore over reams of FBI documents from Jonestown, and author Julia Scheeres has done just that, with diligence and professionalism. The result is her book A Thousand Lives: The Untold Story of Hope, Deception, and Survival at Jonestown.

For more information about Julia Scheeres and background materials on Jonestown, visit JuliaScheeres.com

Monday
Nov172014

Victor Wooten's Music Lesson

Note: This blog entry originally appeared in May of 2008.

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Victor Lemonte Wooten could be the greatest bass player alive. That’s a pretty bold claim  to make, but after listening to Victor’s performance interview on Bob Edwards Weekend, you might become a believer too.

You could say he’s one of a kind, but that wouldn’t exactly be true.  He has his own distinct personality, but Victor is proud to be the youngest of five immensely talented brothers, all of whom play music. The Wootens became a five-piece band when Victor, the youngest of the bunch, got his hands on a bass guitar at 5 years old. The brothers are Victor, Regi, Rudy, Joseph and Roy AKA Future Man.

Victor and Future Man are band mates in the Grammy award winning bluegrass group, Béla Fleck and the Flecktones. That group was initially convened for the sole purpose of playing one gig, a ‘Lonesome Pine Special’ television program in Bob’s hometown of Louisville, Kentucky.

Bob and Victor engage in a wide ranging conversation, discussing music, nature, martial arts and much more.  Interspersed throughout the interview, Victor performs some of his best known songs & arrangements, including: ‘Classical Thump,’ ‘Norwegian Wood,’ ‘The Lesson’ and ‘Amazing Grace.’

Victor has a new album out, its called ‘Palmystery.’

In addition to all his musical endeavors, Wooten has also made his mark with the printed word.  His new book is titled:

 ‘The Music Lesson: A Spiritual Search for Growth Through Music.’

It’s published by Penguin Group (USA).

Victor Wooten’s Official Website
Information on Victor’s tour dates, albums, camps and a lot more.

Special thanks to Howard Wall and Tom Haushalter at Penguin.

-Dan Bloom

Victor performing a song you’ll hear in the interview, ‘Norwegian Wood’

And here’s a link to Victor busting a move — and that move is the windmill.

Friday
Nov142014

Meg Hutchinson

NOTE: This blog entry originally appeared in March 2010

by Bob Edwards

Some weeks ago I had a rare day on which no interviews were booked.  A day like that is perfect for wading into the mountain of music cd’s that accumulate on my desk.  I give each artist two songs.  If the second song doesn’t grab me, the cd goes to the reject pile. On this day, the reject pile was climbing pretty high.    Then I tried The Living Side, by Meg Hutchinson. Meg got me with the first words of the first track titled Hard to Change: “Train whistling home in the dark—-Christmas lights up in the trailer park.” With those very spare words I have both audio and visual cues.   She went on like that—-supplying multi-dimensional images in a song about class and economic justice. I didn’t need the second song to decide we were going to have her on the show, but after that first, I longed to hear them all.   None of them disappointed me.   My favorite is called Gatekeeper and it’s dedicated to Kevin Briggs, a motorcycle patrolman with the Marin County, California police department. Meg had read about Briggs in a 2003 New Yorker story about the Golden Gate Bridge as a final destination for people who want to end their lives.   Briggs intervened when people looked like they were about to jump off the bridge. His technique was to ask two questions to which he already knew the answers. “How do you feel?”    “What are your plans for tomorrow?” When told there no plans, Briggs would say, “Well let’s make some—and if they don’t work out, you can always come back here.” Briggs said he’d been successful all 200 times he’d done this.   A guy like that deserves a song—and Gatekeeper is a gem.

Click here to read the New Yorker article about Kevin Briggs.

Click here to learn more about Kevin Briggs and his work since retiring from the California Highway Patrol.


Friday
Nov142014

The Bob Edwards Show Schedule (November 17-21, 2014)

 

Monday, November 17, 2014: Victor Wooten is perhaps the most important bassist of his generation. He’s from a musical family and best known for his work as a member of Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, but Wooten has also released several albums of his own. Wooten is also an author. His first book, The Music Lesson, a Spiritual Search for Growth through Music, prompts readers to re-consider traditional notions of music, instruments and knowledge.

 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014:  On this day in 1978, 909 people killed themselves in a jungle in Guyana. In her book titled A Thousand Lives: the Untold Story of Hope, Deception, and Survival at Jonestown, Julia Scheeres tells the story of five of those who willingly followed pastor Jim Jones to South America and to their own demise.

 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014: Imagine Janis Joplin chatting with Gloria Swanson or Debbie Reynolds alongside Sly and the Family Stone. No, you’re not delusional, you’re watching “The Dick Cavett Show”. From 1969 to 1975, Cavett’s nightly program treated audiences not only to the day’s top celebrities but also to interactions among them. As Newsweek said, Cavett “mixed guests like a chemistry professor.” To help celebrate his 78th birthday, Dick Cavett joins Bob to discuss one slice of his remarkable life.

 

Thursday, November 20, 2014: Historian and author Thurston Clarke talks with Bob about the lessons we can learn from Robert Kennedy’s presidential bid in 1968. Clarke’s book is titled The Last Campaign: Robert F. Kennedy and 82 Days That Inspired America. Today would have been RFK’s 89th birthday. Then we’ll hear about his big brother from presidential scholar Chuck Wills.  His book is titled Jack Kennedy: The Illustrated Life of a President featuring Intimate Photos, Personal Memorabilia, and History-making Documents.  It features a CD of JFK’s most famous speeches, replicas of his handwritten letters and medical exams, an agenda for his meeting with Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, and of course, many photos.

 

Friday, November 21, 2014: Bruce Hornsby has sold more than 11 million records, drawing from a wide-range of American musical traditions.  He was schooled in bluegrass, folk, rock, pop, country, blues and jazz, although the “adult-contemporary” label has plagued him ever since his hit, “The Way It Is,” became the most-played song on American radio in 1987.  Bob speaks with Rosanne Cash about her first new album in four years. The River & The Thread was released earlier this year. The record was inspired by her trips to Dyess, Arkansas to participate in the restoration of her father’s boyhood home.

 

Friday
Nov142014

Bob Edwards Weekend (November 15-16, 2014)

 

HOUR ONE:

 

Noted conductor LEONARD SLATKIN will speak about the world of classical music and his career in it. Slatkin’s discography includes more than 100 recordings, over half of which have been nominated for Grammy Awards. He is a seven-time winner and currently, he is in the music director for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.

 

In 2010, Bob spoke with singer-songwriter MEG HUTCHINSON about her album The Living Side.  On the album is a song called Gatekeeper about KEVIN BRIGGS of the California Highway Patrol.  For years, Briggs has worked on the Golden Gate Bridge, talking hundreds of people out of jumping to their deaths.  Bob talks with both Meg and Kevin about the song and about Kevin’s work.

 

 

HOUR TWO:

    

Time magazine chief science writer and author JEFFREY KLUGER takes a hard look at the destructive people in our lives in his new book The Narcissist Next Door: Understanding the Monster in Your Family, In Your Office, In Your Bed—In Your World.

 

The world’s oldest stories, Homer’s epic poems The Iliad and The Odyssey are often forgotten after we leave school, but in his new book, Why Homer Matters, writer ADAM NICOLSON reminds us why these 4,000 year old poems still have plenty of life in them.