Wednesday, September 04, 2013

The LuLac Edition #2510, September 4th, 2013

Our "Write On Wednesday" logo.



If you have been reading a column in the Citizen's Voice for the last three decades by a fellow named Jan Souther, well you might be in for a surprise. Turns out the well liked author of the column is none other than Father Tom Carten who is leaving his post at King's College and the Radio Home Visitor.
Carten would peck out his column anywhere there was a device that housed a keyboard. Then after carefully editing it, he walked it over to the Hotel Sterling or later Washington Street where the Voice was housed. I'm told that his visits were more than perfunctory but friendly home style chats that left Voice employees all the richer for the contact. Here's Jan Souther's final column that ran in the Sunday Voice:
Published: September 1, 2013
From Friday, Jan 30, 1981 to Sunday, Sept. 1, 2013, it's been quite a ride. But like all rides, we've reached the end due simply to health problems. More on that later.
Jazzbow, quietly but firmly protective of his age (revealed only in his obituary at the end as 92), brought to us the eyewitness view of the fan who was there. One time, we disagreed on a particular point regarding the Birdland nightclub. While I based my opinion on what I had read once, he merely said, "Jazzbow was there." End of argument. George and Joan Rihan, no longer with us, enjoyed every note of music they ever heard.
He was indeed there, and everywhere. "Swing Street," for one, Newark, for another, anywhere the good music was playing, and he went with Mrs. Jazzbow, equally a fan.
More than a fan: one time he asked to conduct some big band and the leader let him do a couple of pieces until a union official in the audience came up and asked him for his card. Uh-oh; back to his seat. Fun while it lasted.
Then there was the time that Russ Morgan's tour bus broke down up by the mall and Jazzbow offered to take them back from Irem Temple. All of them. In his car. In one trip. I told him not to but, with the springs sagging and engine straining, he just smiled at me and off they went.
"Jazzbow's Uncle" came along for a while. We never did find out who he was, but all indications seemed to be he was the legendary arranger and musician Bill Challis, also a resident of the Back Mountain. The age given in his nickname, his knowledge, the era of which he spoke so knowledgeably, all point to this.
The Big Band Ambassador appeared here. John McKeown became well-known on the rubber chicken and mashed potatoes circuit speaking about the bands and their backgrounds.
When you have a lot going on in your life, deadlines come like a thief in the night and it helps to have someone to remind you. One of my friends worried she was becoming a nag, so I officially appointed her "Nag-In-Chief" and she went at it with a vengeance. Gently on Sunday, not quite so on Monday, and when Deadline Day came on Tuesday it was like nag, nag, nag. If you need someone to keep you focused, Rhode Island's Ruth Curley is more than capable of reminding you that there is an editor waiting impatiently for my column.
Thirty-four years ago, when I joined The Voice, we were in the middle of a bitter strike. In my private life, I represented two different entities and did not wish to have the general public think they were allied with one or another newspaper, it was that divisive. So King's College instructor Fr. Tom Carten first became arts writer Chris Vail and two years later got together with his friend George Rihan and showed up as big band columnist Jan Souther. I also began and, as of tomorrow, hosted "The Radio Home Visitor," the King's College Radio Reading Service, on the air daily since 1974. Sue Henry will continue it.
In this past year, my health has been failing and I must leave the college and the newspaper, moving to our religious community's assisted living residence at Notre Dame. It's been fun and I wish you all good listening.


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