Monday, July 2, 2007

voices to hear #6

Written by John from Altjiranga Mitjina

This week’s voice to hear started her recording career in the early 1960’s, but hasn’t released anything new since 1965. She’s Mary Weiss, the former lead singer of the girl group Shangri-Las. The Shangri-Las were the tough girl group that sang the hits “Remember (Walking in the Sand)” and “Leader of the Pack.” The Shangri-Las were the street tough girls compared to the other girl groups at the time. Their songs were melodramas of teenage alienation, loss, love and death.

The group consisted of Mary and her sister Betty and identical twins Marge and Mary Ann Ganser. They were signed to a recording contract when they were still in their teens and their first hits were produced by legendary producer Shadow Morton. Mary was 16 when she sang on their first hit “Remember (Walking in the Sand).”

In 1968 the group disbanded and Mary married and went to work as an interior designer and furniture store manager. Mary Ann and Marge have both died since the group disbanded. Mary and her sister have re-united a few times to do shows, but have went no farther with the group.

Recently Mary decided to return to singing. She’s signed to Norton Records and with the garage band the Reigning Sound she has recorded a new album. Mary has a powerful voice that just commands attention and she has lost none of that power over the years. As the album starts with the first cut it evokes memories of past sounds and you can almost hear the other members of the Shangri-Las singing in the background.

Mary doesn’t try to update her sound. Her songs from the past have been cited as influences by such groups as the New York Dolls and Blondie, so her sound really needs no updating. She sings straight ahead rock and roll that can get you to humming along and tapping your feet and finally singing along.

It’s great to discover new talent and encourage new singers on the path to stardom, but it’s nice to find some of the older artists and realize that they can be just as important to today’s music as they were in the past. In country music a lot of older performers are treated as irrelevant by today’s fans, artists such as Dolly Parton and Johnny Cash. This is beyond crazy, these artists made the genre what it is today and still can add much to it to legacy. We shouldn’t ignore our past while we look forward to the future.

After forgetting for the past couple columns John (who finds referring to himself like this weird) has remembered to write a bio. He’s just redesigned his blog, altjiranga mitjina so everyone should go check it out. Besides that he’s too busy with work and other things to do much else.


Featured Post and Blog of the Week

You Are Here

by Amie from

You did well in school to get into college. You tried to get by well enough in college to be attractive to an employer or graduate program, and along the way you may have opened your heart a time or two. Maybe you even found true love.

With a foot in the door, the first years of work were the time to
prove your mettle once again. Promotions, raises all with the goal to secure your future will allow you to settle down, buy a house, travel, commit to a relationship, have kids or not. In what feels like a blink of an eye, your future is here.

And now what?

Read the full post...

Chance Favors Only Those Who Court Her

by Debbie from Missives from Suburbia

After a less-than-friendly divorce, I was on the market again. Seizing the opportunity, my friends scoured their address books and Palm Pilots for single men and set me up on blind date after blind date. My reaction to most of those dates was, "I call these people my FRIENDS?" One of my real friends suggested, and given how much I love the Internet, I gave it a go.

A couple months of e-dating passed by in a blink. It was fun, but so far nothing meaningful had hit my radar, and my match inventory was starting to run low. You see, "matches" you to people based on a list of your requirements, and I'd pretty much run through all my existing matches who didn't seem psycho or stoned, based on their profiles.

Then, one day, I got an email from a guy who was not a match by my standards...

Read the full post...

A Lost Opportunity

by John from Altjiranga Mitjina

Trying to break in as a writer in the comic book industry can be a bit like the one legged man in a butt kicking contest. Every step forward you make means you land on your butt after your kick forward. Comic books are a visual medium. An artist can bring a portfolio to an editor at a convention and said editor can sit there and look at it within minutes and decide if this artist is worthy of working on the newest issue of Stupendous Man or not. Trying being a hopeful writer handing over a script to this same editor at a busy comic convention. You’ll be lucky if the editor agrees to take the script and promise that they’ll look at it later. Most times the hopeful writer is told to send for their submission guidelines and mail in their proposal.

The best way for a writer is to find an aspiring artist and hook up...

Read the full post...

Jesus Toothpaste!

by Karen Rayne from Adolescent Sexuality Today with Karen Rayne, Ph.D.

This weekend I went out of town, leaving my family to fend for themselves. On Saturday, my darling husband took my two darling daughters – 6 and 3 years old – to what he heard was a fun new toy store in town. Great, right?

They walk in the door, and the 6-year-old pipes up with “Look, Daddy! Jesus toothpaste!” He takes one look, puts one hand on each girl’s shoulder, and does a 180 out of the store. It may be a fun new toy store, but it’s intended clientele does not include the under-13 set.

When I got home on Sunday, the first thing the 6-year-old says to me was, “Guess what! We saw Jesus toothpaste!” I blinked, figuring I hadn’t heard her correctly. Regrettably, I had...

Read the full post...

A biker, a green thumb, a cracked hand, and a Queen.

by Megan from Velveteen Mind, originally guest posted at Queen of Spain

A random biker on a Harley-Davidson took my picture last week. What I wanted to do was take his picture, but I hesitated. Now, instead of a photo of some random biker holding an i am bumper sticker, all I have is a lame photo of me holding the bumper sticker and the mental picture of him riding off into the sunset, never to be seen again.

Okay, it wasn’t as romantic or dramatic as that. It was nine in the morning and there was no sunset.

This is not the first time that I have hesitated to seize an opportunity. I don’t expect it will be the last. However, I hope with each lost chance for something intriguing, I will lose a shade of that hesitation for next time...

Read the full post...