Hello, dear readers, and here's hoping you all had a wonderful holiday. It's the end of another year and somehow, though I'm in the running for busiest person on the planet, this is my 70th entry of the year on the ol' blog, up dramatically from 47 in 2012. I still love writing these, though finding time isn't always easy (that's why Facebook was invented, for me to get my spur-of-the-moment Armstrong-related thoughts/news/videos/pictures out as quickly and succinctly as possible).
I'm in the middle of 17 days off from work and I'm kind of overdosing on my wife and kids right now, thus, I'm stepping aside from the blog for a week or so (I should have more Mosaic news in January so I won't be going too far). But this year, while some entries were short and sweet, others had some more meat to them. Thus, though I've never done this before, I present a little "Best of 2013" list of my 15 favorite blog entries from the past year. Again, that's leaving 55 on the table but they're all easily accessed on the column to the right of your screen. If you missed any of these the first time or just want to go down the Pops wormhole again, sit back, relax and enjoy the rantings of a crazy man:
The Story of a Photo: Copenhagen 1967
My first entry of 2013 was inspired by a photo I saw on Facebook of a worn-out looking Pops backstage at a concert that was tough on the chops.
75 Years of Louis Armstrong's Unbelievable January 12, 1938 Decca Session
An in-depth look at a session that resulted in "Satchelmouth Swing," "Jubilee," "Struttin' With Some Barbecue" and "The Trumpet Player's Lament."
The Story of Louis Armstrong's Last Tape
Oh, this was an emotional one, spurred on by the opportunity to transfer the contents of the very last tape Louis Armstrong made the night before he passed away.
Louis Armstrong's Final Tapes
Inspired by the previous entry, an examination of the series of tapes--and collages--Louis made from February-July 1971.
Barrett Deems Centennial Celebration
My friend Bernard Flegar, an ace drummer man, shared stories and commentary on his friend and hero, Barrett Deems, on the centennial of Deems's birth.
Laughin' Louie: 80 Years of Louis's April 1933 Victor Sessions
I wrote a LOT about Louis's 1933 Victor sessions but this was one of my favorites, featuring more info on the silent movie cue Louis played during his solo.
75 Years of "When the Saints Go Marching In"
Everything you wanted to know about "The Saints" (but were afraid to ask....or sit through about three hours of audio for).
New Mosaic Records Boxed Set Coming Soon!
Bursting with excitement to break the news of the upcoming Armstrong boxed set. I still send people to this entry because it breaks down exactly what's going to be on the set.
Live Louis - Jammin' at the Cotton Club - December 11, 1939
Out of the blue (really, the Netherlands), three previously unknown live performances popped up in startling sound.
85 Years of "West End Blues"
Yeah, this was basically a rehash of an older entry but still, a worthwhile (I hope) examination of Louis's history with the tune.
The Beautiful American
For July 4, I wrote an editorial about Louis Armstrong and baseball that I hoped would get picked up in an NY paper. When it didn't, I turned to the blog and posted it in full here.
That's My Home - Live in Tokyo, Japan, April 25, 1963
Every time you think there's nothing more left from the All Stars, something incredible pops up, like this emotional version of "That's My Home" from pretty late in the game.
Satchmo: A Musical Autobiography - Avid Reissue
I was honored to get the opportunity to write the liner notes for one of my favorite album, Satchmo: A Musical Autobiography. This post contained my complete notes for the terrific Avid reissue.
The Definition of DEEP - Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen, September 29, 1957
Footage of Louis incorporating "The Star Spangled Banner" into "Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen" knocked me on my ass in November. I tried to put it all into context here.
Satchmo in East Berlin, March 22, 1965
And finally, the great discovery of the year, the complete All Stars concert of March 22, 1965, finally broadcast on German television and shared around the world online. My blow-by-blow account.
Thanks, all, for reading and here's to what I feel is going to be another great year for Pops in 2014!