Smorgasbord Weekly Round Up – Rum Cocktails, Blog Sitters and all that Jazz


I have had a lovely week with a birthday and Valentine’s Day and I am now about to pack my bags to head off for a girls week with my two sisters to celebrate all our birthdays which all fall in February. I will report on the activities they have planned on my return… at least those I can talk about!

I got very excited when I read the headlines in the Daily Mail online yesterday that promised hotter temperatures than Spain with a high of 16 degrees and sunshine.. As I was planning what to pack, I thought I better check a more reliable source than the DM!  Sure enough, apart from a couple of days with a glimpse of yellow behind the clouds there is a 45 – 55% of rain all week and a high of 10 or 11.

I have put away my swimsuit, shorts and flip flops again in the attic with the other summer clothes that I fear may never see the light of day again.

However, all is not lost as David bought me a therapy lamp with safe tanning for my birthday. I have been using as advised and retire upstairs to the spare bedroom and don goggles, my iPod and pretend for 15 minutes that I am on a tropical island on a sandy beach. It was not quite there…. but David solved that by buying a bottle of rum, and a dram of that in my coconut water and Bob’s your uncle.. (please drink responsibly with only one cocktail per tanning session and only at sundown)


I was going to put up a few regular posts during my absence just to keep things ticking over. I then thought that it seemed a shame not to use this as an opportunity to promote a few of my blogging friends and so posted a part-time blog sitter vacancy.

I know how busy everyone is with their own blog and projects so was very grateful to receive a wonderful response to the advert.  I have put together a programme of events for the week that I am away beginning Tuesday with posts from this group of talent writers.

Paul Andruss, Tina Frisco, Colin Chappell, Debby Gies, William Price King, Geoff Le Pard, Noelle Granger, Susan M. Toy, Mary Smith, Robbie Cheadle, John W. Howell and Linda Bethea.

The full programme details can be found here:

Time for some of the posts you might have missed during the week.

William Price King – Leontyne Price

classical music

As always my thanks to William Price King for his weekly music post and this week we follow the career and performances of Leontyne Price during the 1960s. Look out for William’s Creative Artist Interview on Wednesday March 1st.  It is an interactive interview and I hope that you will drop in and ask William questions about his life and career in the comments.

Paul Andruss

Thomas the Rhymer

Although Paul has contributed articles for the blog over the last couple of months I was delighted when he accepted my invitation to be a regular contributor going forward.. This is his official first post as Writer in Residence.

Personal Stuff

A short story for Valentine’s Day.. about love.. of course..

Weekly Image and Haiku


Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update

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glimpsesCover Art by Jon Hunsinger51abcfiqqgl-_uy250_

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New on the Shelves





Smorgasbord Blogger Daily showcasing 25 bloggers and their posts.


Smorgasbord Health 2017Seasonal Affective Disorder

Food to pep you up a bit.. and not just for Valentines Day.

New series – Top to Toe – The Human Body – The Brain

A -Z of Common Conditions… nothing more common than the cold!



That’s me done for the week.. It is a bit early for a rum and coconut juice but I might take a cup of coffee up with me to the tropical paradise and listen to some calypsos!

N.B. If you would like to promote your books and blog here on Smorgasbord the details are here. If you contact me and I don’t respond immediately don’t worry I will get back to you on my return after 28th of Feb.

Thanks for dropping by and see some of you tomorrow for a few of the regular promotions before I head off.

Classical Music with William Price King – Leontyne Price Part Three – 1960s

classical musicWelcome to the third part of Leontyne Price’s career and performances. And to set the scene a few words from her admirers.

In The Grand Tradition, a 1974 history of operatic recording, the British critic J.B. Steane wrote that “one might conclude from recordings that [Price] is the best interpreter of Verdi of the century.” For the Russian soprano Galina Vishnevskaya, a 1963 Price performance of Tosca at the Vienna State Opera “left me with the strongest impression I have ever gotten from opera.” In his 1983 autobiography, Placido Domingo writes, “The power and sensuousness of Leontyne’s voice were phenomenal—the most beautiful Verdi soprano I have ever heard.”


William Price King now picks up Leontyne Price’s story in the 1960s.

In September 1961, Leontyne Price opened the Met season as Minnie in La fanciulla del West. A musicians’ strike had threatened to abort the season, but President Kennedy sent Secretary of Labor Arthur Goldberg to mediate a settlement.

Following her second Faniciulla performance it became apparent that Leontyne had a problem with her voice. After losing it completely , she was forced to shout her lines until the end of the act, when standby soprano, Dorothy Kristen replaced her in the third act.

After several weeks recovering from a reported viral infection, Leontyne returned for another Fanciulla performance and Butterfly in December. Having carried out her commitments she then left for a three months to Rome. She would later comment that she was suffering from nervous exhaustion.

However, in the April, Leontyne returned to the Met to perform in her first fully staged Tosca and following that up with the Met tour which included Tosca, Butterfly and Fanciulla. It was also a landmark tour that saw Leontyne Price as the first African American to perform in a lead role in the South, specifically in Dallas.

La fanciulla del West (The Girl of the West) is an opera in three acts by Giacomo Puccini to an Italian libretto by Guelfo Civinini and Carlo Zangarini. It was based on the the play The Girl of the Golden West by American David Belasco and followed Butterfly which was also based on one of his plays. Whilst not as well known as other Puccini operas, it still has wonderful orchestration and is regarded as more melodic than some of his previous work.

At the end of Act I, Price, as Minnie, recalls her happy childhood and sings about her ideal love in the aria “Laggiù nel Soledad.” This is the only role Leontyne Price sang which was not exactly for her. Nonetheless, her voice is captivating and she soars up to those high C’s with no problem and makes them ring.

Although other African American opera stars had performed in leading roles at the Met, Leontyne Price was the first to achieve recognition on both sides of the Atlantic, the first to be repeatedly invited to perform with the Met in various leading roles, and the first to earn the highest fee, which put her on a par with the leading sopranos at the time such as Joan Sutherland and Maria Callas. Not an easy road to success in a time of segregation and continued racism against African Americans in opera. Especially when opportunities in general were limited in the world of opera.

Following the successful tour, Leontyne added more roles to her repertoire at the Met. These included Elvira in Verdi’s Ernani, Pamina in Mozart’s The Magic Flute, Fiordilgi in Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte, Tatyana in Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Oenegin, Cleopatra in Barber’s Antony and Cleopatra, Amelia in Un ballo in maschera, and Leonora in La forza del destino.

Così fan tutte, ossia La scuola degli amanti (Thus Do They All, or The School for Lovers) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is an Italian opera buffa. Buffa was first used as an informal description of Italian comic operas, also know as commedia in musica or dramma bernesco, and were particularly associated with productions in Naples in the first half of the 18th century. A buffa in the beginning tended to contain everyday settings, local dialects and simpler librettos. If you like to our modern day soap-opera. Cosi fan tutti was first performed in Vienna in January 1790. The libretto was written by Lorenzo Da Ponte who also wrote Le nozze di Figaro and Don Giovanni.

Here is Leontyne who loved singing Mozart, and her Fiordiligi is considered one of the best. “Come scoglio” (Like a rock) demands a singer who can handle the extreme parts of the soprano range with great ease and Price was perfect in the role.

By 1966 Leontyne Price was at the peak of her career when she sang Cleopatra in Antony and Cleopatra by American composer Samuel Barber and conducted by Thomas Schippers in the newly opened Met’s house at Lincoln Center. Leontyne and Samuel Barber had worked together several times from her early career and remained close friends. This collaboration allowed Samuel Barber, who knew her voice well, to tailor the music for Cleopatra’s role perfectly to suit both her register and range.

Following this role, Leontyne decided to cut back on her operatic performances and to focus on recitals and concerts. The schedule of new productions at the Met and also the need to adjust her vocal technique as she moved into her forties was tiring. However her career continued to flourish as she toured major cities and large universities.

As she moved into the 1970s, Leontyne returned to Europe to perform in Hamburg and London’s Covent Garden with further recitals in Vienna, Paris and the Salzburg Festival. She was so popular at the festival that she continued to return six times between 1975 and 1984.

Leontyne was invited back to the Met, but only undertook three new roles after 1970 which included Ariadne in Richard Strauss’ Ariadne aux Naxos in San Franciso and New York.

In 1971 she performed in Il tabarro (The Cloak), which is one act opera by Giacomo Puccini with an Italian libretto by Giuseppe Adami. It was based on Didier Gold’s play La houppelande.. It is the first of a trio of operas known a Il Trittico first performed at the Met in New York in 1918.

Here is Leontyne Price singing “E ben altro il mio sogno” Il Tabarro Live 1971. In the role of Giorgetta from Puccini’s “Il Tabarro”  Leontyne Price is at home. This role is perfectly fit for her voice and she does a magnificent job in this impassioned duet with Luigi, dreaming of a better life in Paris, in the aria “E ben altro il mio sogno.”The characterization is rapturous.

Additional Sources:

Buy the music of Leontyne Price:

William and his musicAbout William Price King

William Price King is an American jazz singer, musician and composer. Originally he studied classical music and opera but over the years his style has evolved to what many refer to as the ‘sweet point’ where music and voice come together so beautifully.

His vocal mentors are two of the greatest giants in jazz, Nat King Cole and Mel Torme. His jazz album, ‘Home,’ is a collection of contemporary songs and whilst clearly a homage to their wonderful legacy it brings a new and refreshing complexity to the vocals that is entrancing.

His latest album Eric Sempe and William Price King is now available to download. The repertory includes standards such as “Bye Bye Blackbird” (a jazz classic), Sting’s “Englishman in New York,” Queen’s “The Show Must Go On”, Led Zepplin’s “Stairway to Heaven” and other well-known jazz, pop, and rock classics.

William and Eric Sempe have also brought their own magic to the album with original tracks such as Keep on Dreaming and Red Snow with collaboration with Jeanne King
Download the new album.

William is currently in France where he performs in popular Jazz Venues in Nice and surrounding area.

Connect to William

Website –
Facebook –
Twitter – @wpkofficial
Regular Venue –

You will find the previous artists..  Luciano Pavarotti, Andrea Bocelli, Kiri Te Kanawa in this directory.

Thank you so much for stopping by and your feedback is always very welcome. Sally

Smorgasbord Round up – Eagles, Irish Fairies, Opera and thrills and spills.


Welcome to this week’s round-up of posts you might have missed. It has been a fairly busy week as I prepare for the new series of interviews beginning in March and I am thrilled with the response. Twenty five talented authors, poets, musicians and other creative people have come forward to take part in either Book Reading at the Bookstore or The Creative Artist Interview.

Whilst there are some set questions there are also three personalised questions that I am including in each interview so as you can imagine I am taking my time with that. I hope to have them all out by Monday… It looks like I may go to two posts a week to make sure that nobody is hanging around for weeks waiting for their interview to go live. That being the case if you have not already volunteered.. here is the link which includes the format for the interviews.

Here are all the new promotional opportunities, with something for everyone, all on one page.

On the subject of promotions.

On the 21st I am off on a girls week with my two sisters to celebrate our three birthdays that are all in February. I will be taking a break from writing posts for the blog but the blog will be handed over to some fabulous and talented members of the blogging community who will be filling in for me in my absence.

I have no worries about leaving the blog for the week to fend for itself but I thought it was another promotional opportunity for you all. As well as the guest post.. I will make sure to top and tail with an intro, feature books, blog, art etc as well as links. Definitely good for the blog and perhaps a little boost for you. Especially as I will not be doing the usual book promotions that week.

If you would like to apply for the job of part-time blog sitter please come back to me by Thursday so that I can get it scheduled in time.

As always I am hugely grateful for your wonderful support, comments, shares and motivation. ♥♥

Enough of the mushy stuff.. and on with the posts from the week…..

Classical music with William Price King

William and his music

So pleased that so many of you are enjoying the last in the classical music series and the story of American soprano Leontyne Price. This week a look at her performances in the 1950s and the bigotry that she endured in her early career.

Weekly Image and Haiku

I am so lucky to have some wonderful co-hosts on occasion for the blog and one post this week seemed to touch the hearts of many of you. Wayne Barnes of Tofino Photographs has been a blogging friend for the last three years and he sent me some recent photographs of the eagles Romeo and Juliette.. he very kindly agreed to let me use one of the images for this week’s Haiku.. You can see the full sized version in the post.


Short Story – After the Festival 

Another collaboration with illustrator Donata Zawdska with After the Festival. I was very privileged to be able to use the artwork for my short story..a new one from my upcoming Tales from the Irish Garden later in the year.. I hope you enjoy.


The new interview series if you missed them last week.

Book Promotions

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore New on the Shelves






Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update

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Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – Another 25 bloggers promoted this week.

If you would like to be included in the Blogger Daily then just leave a link to your most recent post in the comments section of the round up today..

Smorgasbord Health – series Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)


Smorgasbord health – A – Z of Common Conditions – Lung Cancer.

smorgasbord health

Humour and Afternoon Video


That is it for another week on Smorgasbord.. Couldn’t do it without you.. Please remember that it saves me time if you volunteer your news about new book releases, fantastic reviews or share your blog post link.. Help me share your work.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend.  Thanks Sally

Smorgasbord 2016 in Review – Open House – Meet author Claire Fullerton

Smorgasbord Open House

This was the top viewed Smorgasbord Open House in 2016 for the interview with author Claire Fullerton.

My guest today is Claire Fullerton author of Dancing to an Irish Reel which is set in Connemara, Ireland and A Portal in Time, a paranormal mystery across two time periods, set on California’s Monterey Peninsula in the famous village of Carmel-on-Sea, both published by Vinspire Publishing.


Claire is a three- time award winning essayist, a former newspaper columnist, a contributor to magazines including Celtic Life International and Southern Writers Magazine. She is a five-time contributor to the “Chicken Soup for the Soul” book series and can be found on Goodreads as well as the website under her name. She is currently working on her third novel and you can find out more about that later in the post.

First a look at Claire’s books beginning with her latest release in 2015, the wonderfully titled Dancing to an Irish Reel set in Connemara.


About the book.

On sabbatical from her job in the LA record business, Hailey takes a trip to Ireland for the vacation of a lifetime. What she finds is a job offer too good to turn down.

Her new job comes with one major complication—Liam Hennessey. He’s a famous Irish musician whose entire live has revolved around performing. And Hailey falls in love with him. Although Liam’s not so sure love is in the cards for him, he’s not willing to push her away completely.

And so begins Hailey’s journey to a colorful land that changes her life, unites her with friends more colorful than the Irish landscape, and gives her a chance at happiness she’s never found before.

Some of the many reviews for the book also now in audio.

Dancing to an Irish Reel is awesome!!!!! By Amazon Customer on February 5, 2016 Format: Audible Audio EditionVerified Purchase

A lovely, leisurely trip to Ireland from my couch By Sophie Quist on January 24, 2016 Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase

Distinctive and Convincing Writing By Gracelikestoread on December 13, 2015 Format: Kindle Edition

 Direct Links to Purchase “Dancing to an Irish Reel”

Amazon Books and Kindle
Barnes and Noble Books and Nook

Google Play

Kobo Books

Now a look at A Portal in Time released in November 2013.


When we are inexplicably drawn to love and a particular place, is it coincidence, or have we loved before?

Enigmatic and spirited Anna Lucera is gifted with an uncanny sixth-sense and is intrigued by all things mystical. When her green, cat-eyes and long, black hair capture the attention of a young lawyer named Kevin Townsend, a romance ensues which leads them to the hauntingly beautiful region of California’s Carmel-By-The-Sea where Anna is intuitively drawn to the Madiera Hotel. Everything about the hotel and Carmel-By-The-Sea heightens her senses and speaks to Anna as if she had been there before. As Anna’s memory unravels the puzzle, she is drawn into a past that’s eerily familiar and a life she just may have lived before.

Claire has received some great reviews for this book.

A Wonderful Page-Turning Romance By Ellen Comeskey on December 11, 2013

I highly recommend this enchanting book. By virginia muller on December 19, 2013

Direct link on Amazon to buy A Portal in Time. Amazon

Claire’s Essays on her website.

If you click on the link to Claire’s website you will not only find out more information on her writing in general but some wonderful published essays. She feels a deep connection to Ireland and this is evident in her essay Irish Connections. Irish Connections

Whilst you browse all her essays I also recommend that you read Carmel. Claire has a personal connection to Carmel as she spent her honeymoon there and she returned on her first anniversary. This essay was published in the Carmel Living Magazine. Claire and her husband spent part of their time after this and the history and atmosphere of the town provided the inspiration for her first novel A Portal in Time. Having stayed their one weekend myself I can also recommend that you visit if you are on the west coast. Delightful place with a huge amount of places of historical interest and charm; perfect setting for a book.

Before we move onto Claire’s interview questions, here is how she describes herself and her Southern upbringing in a previous interview last year. Sunday Lunch

‘I grew up in the Deep South, that part of the US that many consider the last romantic place in America. And it is; the region has its own culture that is so steeped in tradition, it seems that time has stood still. At the heart of the ways and means of the South is an iron-clad code of manners handed down at birth. It is an imperative code of civility that is society’s glue, and there is no more egregious error one can commit than to display bad manners.

When people talk about Southern hospitality, what they’re talking about is how a Southerner will treat a guest, even if that guest is only someone a Southerner accidently brushes up against while walking down the street. The most salient characteristic of Southern hospitality is the ability to extend oneself, which means putting another first, to focus such a high beam of gregarious concern that anyone caught in the headlight will think they’re the most important soul on earth. But you have to be born into the South to know this, for the guidelines of Southern ways are taught through the power of example, wrought through simply observing the glittering Southern people that come before you, who never lower themselves to a gauche confession of their inner-workings, but prefer to walk the line of implication instead in a “show-don’t tell” manner. It is a way of being in the world that is confident enough in its own animal grace to know the unspoken influence of its own attraction’.

So welcome Claire and delighted that you could drop by this morning… Over to you.

What genre do you read and your favourite authors?

My idea of heaven is to immerse myself in the works of contemporary Southern writers, especially when they write in the first person.

Three authors stand out for me: Pat Conroy, Ann Rivers Siddons and Donna Tartt. I am in awe of these writers and could ace a blind test wherein I was given a sentence by each and asked to name who wrote it. All three are considered Southern writers by virtue of the fact that they were born in the American South, and I’ve been pondering this term of late because I am a writer who hails from Memphis, Tennessee.

Not to get off point by digression, but my first two novels have nothing to do with the South, yet my third is set in Memphis and thematically about the repercussions of the culture. This has led me to ponder what it truly means to be a Southern writer. One hears this categorization bantered about, and it does evoke classification that has to do with regional setting, but to me, it is so much more. When a writer hails from the South, they cannot help but carry a certain frame of reference from which they view and interact with the world. This frame of reference is unknown to outsiders and therefore often misunderstood. I say this because I am now a transplanted Southerner living in California. I am well aware that the accent I wield invites assumption.

People “out here,” as any Southerner would label a region north of the Mason Dixon line, think the South is more back woods than it actually is. They don’t know that the South maintains a soft gentility passed down in families, that there is an iron-clad code of civility, and that there is nothing more unforgivable than bad manners. I’ve heard it said that the South is the last romantic place in America, and I believe it to be so. The romance hangs in the air with Southern humidity and informs everything from the way people move to their speech. I have had the great largess of growing up with many a flamboyant Southerner in my immediate circumference.

I will generalize here for the sake of clear explanation by saying those that affected my childhood were proud Southerners intent on perpetuating the social mores of the South, whose heart maintains the love of story. Southerners are a long winded lot, intent on detail and incapable of making any point without offering fifteen minutes of background. But they are bright, upbeat creatures who exist in packs and feel a moral obligation to entertain both literally and figuratively. In the South, great importance is placed on connections, which includes familial lineage, ties to the land, and the jury of one’s peers. They are ever mindful of the value of relationships and measure themselves in relation to one another.

This constitutes a certain regional consciousness and gives rise to a tacit, cultural paradigm that eludes the casual observer. What outsiders don’t know about Southerners is that they are in love with the peculiarities of being Southern, and will defend their Southerness to the hilt. All three of the authors I have mentioned know well of these Southern eccentricities, and it flavours their writing. All three are masters of lyrical language and are sensitive to and sing praises of the nuances of the South.

Which book in your opinion is the best you have ever read and why?

Hands down, Pat Conroy’s “The Prince of Tides.” It’s first two sentences read, “My wound is my geography. It is my anchorage, my port of call.” We’ve all read brilliant writers, but what gets me about Conroy is he takes a knife to the soul and can open up unhealed, dormant wounds that we all carry ( of this I am convinced) and explains them to us through the love of words and story. In the two sentences I have quoted above, he covers everything about what it means to be a product of a family born to a region that defines you and explains everything about who you are. “The Prince of Tides” is the ultimate “sins of the father” story, whose theme of cause and effect perpetrated within the family draws the lines of each character and shapes the course of each of their life.

But it is Conroy’s lyrical use of language throughout the book that sets the mood of the story. It is languid, sonorous, and fluid in a way that is commiserate with the tides of South Carolina’s low country, which is the setting of the book. Not content with economy of language, Pat Conroy takes the reader into the undertow of this family saga and invites them to fend for themselves through the story’s ebb and flow, until they are cast upon the shore panting for breath. This book blew my world wide open. It showed me what is possible with the written word.

What kind of music do you listen to and who are your favourite musicians?

Sally, you’re a woman after my own heart with this question! Here we go: being raised in Memphis, which is literally “The home of the Blues” and having had the good fortune of growing up with a brother named Haines, who was eighteen months older than me, and who picked up a guitar at the age of eight and never put it down, music was the only thing I ever cared about for the first twenty some-odd years of my life! I came into the world that The Beatles defined, and lived in the region that was the hot seat of the impetus of that definition! By this, I mean Elvis Presley. Elvis took the Delta Blues and created Rock-n-Roll, and The Beatles took Rock-n-Roll and revolutionized it. It all came from Memphis; The Beatles knew this, The Rolling Stones knew this, and to one degree or another, contemporary music has Memphis to thank.

I’m a fan of “Pop music” and could keep you here all day naming names. Instead, I’ll tell you I spent nine years as a music radio DJ in Memphis; that I worked in the music business in Los Angeles discovering bands that went on to “make it big” and will now mention that my brother, Haines, was instrumental in the formative years of The Dave Matthews Band.

Okay, let me give you the respect of answering your question and name a few names: The Beatles, The Who, Led Zeppelin, Peter Gabriel, David Bowie, Crowded House, Neil Finn solo, Toad the Wet Sprocket, anything Glen Phillips does, who could not see the merits in U2, Cold Play is not actually the U2 rip-off many proclaim them to be, Ed Sheeran thrills me; don’t judge me, but I’m a fan of Country Music; Keith Urban comes to mind; I’m in love with Mike Scott and love The Waterboys, as well as Karl Wallinger (you’re in the know if you know their connection.) Lastly, I applaud Irish traditional music; it speaks to my genetic lineage, and I’ll now say that if you don’t have a copy of “A Place among the Stones” by Davy Spillane, then you’re at a complete disadvantage.

Buy A Place Amongst the StonesA place amongst the stones

What are the top five experiences or activities that you feel that everyone should complete in their lifetime?

I’ll provide a list here in no order of importance.

  1. Move to a foreign country and stay. Submerge yourself in the culture until it makes you forget where you came from.
  2. Study dance and incorporate it into your way of being in the world.
  3. Share your life with a dog. Love it, tend to it, be responsible for it, let it love you, and you will know the nature of unconditional love.
  4. Arrive at a clear idea of how to be of service to others. Identify your peculiar, individual gifts that you came into the world carrying, and get about the business of using them to the benefit of others.
  5. Stay connected to God as you know Him, which means cultivate a daily spiritual practice that’ll lend itself to daily renewal, humility, hope, faith, and a healthy perspective.

Tell us about your work in progress, plans for your blog in the next year any special events that are coming up that are very special to you.

I recently completed my third novel, which is a Southern family saga set in 1970’s and 1980’s Memphis. Its title is “Mourning Dove,” and it is written in the first person voice of Millie Crossan, as she tells about growing up with her brother, Finley, in their mother’s genteel world, where all that glitters is not gold.

I wanted to tell a family story set in post-civil- rights Memphis that depicts the opulent South, where the region is changing, yet a certain sect of society still clings to old world manner and form, even in the face of tragedy. The themes in “Mourning Dove” are a search for place, a search for identity, and ultimately a search for God. It was my aim to capture the era in which I grew up. Much has changed now, as has the world, but I was well aware of the uniqueness of the Memphis I was born into while I grew up; I found it beautiful and very specifically civilized, yet in a cloistered way.

And as life is life no matter where you set it, how people handle life’s vagaries is often dictated by social customs, and the adherence of those customs colors the experience. Currently, the book is under review.

My thanks to Claire for providing us with an insight into her life and what inspires her to right. Also a big thank you for suggesting we listen to the beautiful Celtic music of Davy Spillane.

Find details and buy links to Claire’s books via her website and of course the usual online bookstores including: Amazon Author Page:

Connect with Claire on her website and social media.
Author Facebook page:
Dancing to an Irish Reel – Facebook page: Link
Dancing to an Irish Reel -Google+ page:Link
Claire on Pinterest:Lin

Thank you for dropping by and it would be wonderful if you could sign the visitors book… and also before you leave spread the word about Claire Fullerton across your own networks.

If you would like to be a guest on Open House it is very straightforward.. here is the link that tells you about the interview and also has the questions that you can choose from.

Enjoy the day.. thanks Sally


Smorgasbord 2016 in review – A Man and his Music – William Price King meets Kurt Elling – Part Two.

William and his musicPart one and part two of the career and music of  Kurt Elling were the top music posts of is part one


Moving into the 1990s, Kurt Elling became a regular at the Green Mill Club Monday Night sessions. The Green Mill Cocktail Lounge.. also known as the Green Mill Jazz Club is a venue in uptown Chicago with a reputation for outstanding music and some historical connections to the Chicago mob.

It had opened in 1907 as Pop Morse’s Roadhouse and evolved over the years into the Green Mill Gardens. During the prohibition, a member of Al Capone’s organisation became part owner of the venue, and over the next few years, tunnels under the property were used by the mob for various nefarious activities. Al Capone had a favourite booth that was conveniently located with a line of sight on the front and back entrances and it is still in the bar today.

Thankfully by the time Kurt Elling began playing on Monday nights in the 90s, the mob years were over but the club had established itself as a top jazz venue. The leader of the jazz sessions was Ed Petersen a tenor saxophonist who had been playing at the Green Mill since the 80s. Petersen was well established in the Jazz scene in Chicago and having played with emerging artists such as guitarist Fareed Haque and trumpeter Brad Goode, he was well placed to give Kurt career advice. This was to focus on his lyric abilities and this led to Kurt developing what was to become the highly successful collaboration with the pianist in the band, Laurence Hobgood.

On a side note.. Ed Petersen would continue to work with Kurt Elling over the years playing on his albums along with those of Fareed Haque and Frank Mantooth as well as releasing two albums on the Delmark label: Upward Spiral in 1988 and The Haint in 1994. He is now Associate Chair of Music and Coordinator of Jazz Studies at the University of New Orleans.

Laurence Hobgood at this time was in his early 30s and had moved to Chicago in 1988 where he began to establish himself in the Jazz Scene before being invited to join the Monday sessions at the Green Mill with Ed Petersen. He and Kurt Elling met in 1993 and began their musical collaboration.

Laurence introduced Kurt to the other members of Trio New which were bassist Eric Hochberg and drummer Paul Wertico. This led to a demo tape that was co-produced by Laurence. After obtaining the finance to book studio time, Kurt Elling recorded his first album and this was sent for feedback to the manager of a musician friend. It became a whirlwind courtship at that point with offers of representation and an unexpected call from the president of the Blue Note label, Bruce Lundvall.

A few months later after signing to the label, Close Your Eyes was released  in 1995 as it had originally been recorded in Chicago. The album featured Laurence Hobgood, Eric Hochberg, Paul Wertico with acoustic bassist Rob Amster, saxophonists Von Freeman and Ed Petersen and guitarist Dave Onderdonk.

As well as jazz standards such as Wait Till You See Her by Lorenz Hart and Richard Rodgers, the title track Close Your Eyes by Bernice Petkere and Never, Never Land by Betty Comden, Adolph Green and Julie Styne there were original tracks that were arranged to showcase Kurt Elling’s emerging signature style.

Here is a review of the album by Michael G. Nastos.

For his debut recording, Chicago vocalist Elling pushes the envelope, challenging listeners and his musicians with beat poetry, ranting, and his Mark Murphy-ish singing. There’s quite a bit of dramatist/actor in Elling, although the romantic in him is also pretty prevalent. Acting much like a tenor saxophonist, Elling can wail and shout, expound on social themes, and scat like a demon. Help from the extraordinary pianist Laurence Hobgood, bassists Eric Hochberg and Rob Amster, and drummer Paul Wertico inspires Elling to even higher plateaus, while tenor saxophone foils Ed Petersen and Von Freeman appear separately on three of the 13 tracks.

Elling writes a ton of lyrics. His take on Wayne Shorter’s “Dolores” is “Dolores Dream,” on which the singer speaks of Chi-Town in terms both favorable (hanging out at the Green Mill jazz club) and not so favorable (“fat frying, spluttering rank Chicago smeltering along, smothered in hot wooly sweat”), with a maniacal swing following his a cappella intro. His ramrod scatting is amazing both on this piece and on an exploratory take of Herbie Hancock’s “Hurricane.” A “So What”-type modality informs “(Hide The) Salome,” with vicious scatting and Freeman’s tenor in complete, frustrated agreement. Elling’s poetic recitation of “Married Blues” and the avant beat style of “Now It Is Time” show his reverence for Rexroth and Rilke, respectively.

As far as pure singing goes, “All the Sad Young Men” is beautifully rendered — similar to Murphy, but not as overtly pronounced. “Close Your Eyes” opens with a tender piano intro, flowing into bass/vocal wistfulness and a mid-tempo romp. Elling extrapolates on the original lyric and scats feverishly on the bridge. He is at his most sexual on the slinky bossa “Never Say Goodbye” and the ballad “Storyteller Experiencing Total Confusion,” with Petersen’s sax shyly filling in cracks of fear and disillusionment. There’s clearly more in store for Elling as he matures, but this is as auspicious a vocal jazz debut as the world has heard.

Close Your Eyes was nominated for Best Jazz Vocalist Performance in the 1996 Grammys and following the critics’ accolades for the album, Kurt Elling received invitations to play at Carnegie Hall and top Jazz festivals. 1996 was also spent on a world tour and the recording of his second album The Messenger released in 1997. The existing collaborative team was enhanced by the addition of Jim Widlowski on drums, Orbert Davis on Trumpet, Eddie Johnson on tenor saxophone and Cassandra Wilson with vocals on track 11, Time of the Season.


Jazz critics and fans loved the album and its fresh arrangements and establishment of his unique style and range with standout tracks including Nature Boy, Tanya Jean, Gingerbread Boy and It’s Just a Thing.

As with his previous album, The Messenger brought Kurt Elling his second Grammy nomination for Best Jazz Vocalist.

indexThe last album of the 90s was This Time It’s Love in 1998 with the addition of drummer Michael Raynor saxophonist Brad Wheeler and veteran jazz violinist and bassist Johnny Frigo.

The Allmusic review by Tim Sheridan awarded the album four stars, and said Elling “finds a happy medium between romantic rumination and vocal experimentation. The highlight of the disc is “Freddie’s Yen for Jen,”a stellar jazz experience that comes pretty damn close to committing the pure emotion of love to tape.

The tracks covered most of the romantic spectrum including My Foolish Heart, The Very Thought of You, She’s Funny That Way, and Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye.

Here is what one fan has to say about the album.

A Real Jazz Singer By Mark Jamison on September 27, 2000

I’ve been a fan of Kurt Elling’s for years. His concurrent sophistication with a musical line, understanding of the lyric, and his vocal control make him unsurpassed among contemporary jazz singers, and on this “record” he wields his ax sublimely. For example, the Freddie Hubbard tune (Frddie’s Yen for Jen) is a multi-leveled tour de force with vocal licks so true to Freddie’s trumpet form and intent, it’s amazing. Unfortunately his sophistication doesn’t have mass appeal and so he’ll never sell as many CDs as the popular wanna-be jazz vocalists.

While I would subjectively argue that “Close Your Eyes” is his best CD, “This Time It’s Love” is a great introduction to Kurt if you are new to the fold. If you like jazz, do yourself a favor and get this CD. Live he is even better.

To end the 1990s here is the performance that I have selected; My Foolish Hear live at the Montreal Jazz Festival in 2007. In my opinion, Kurt Elling gives a staggering performance in this video of the Oscar nominated song, “My Foolish Heart.” A real tour de force.

As usual, he is in total command of his instrument. His robust baritone sound is flawless, and he weaves in and out of his head voice (falsetto) in an appealing pianissimo with the ease and virtuosity of a master. He is at ease with the emotion and the beauty of the text which he exploits profoundly. Chill bumps guaranteed.

At times his manner of interpretation, for me, is reminiscent of my mentor Mel Tormé. Elling’s musicians lay the groundwork with a myriad of rhythmical colors and textures making  incredible sounds that help create the magic of the moment, especially the sublime piano solo of Laurence Hobgood. This performance is a work of art, I would even say a “masterpiece.” Enjoy!

Buy Kurt Elling Music:
Find out more about Kurt Elling:
Touring schedule:

Additional information:

About William Price King

williampricekingWilliam Price King is an American jazz singer, musician and composer. Originally he studied classical music and opera but over the years his style has evolved to what many refer to as the ‘sweet point’ where music and voice come together so beautifully.

His vocal mentors are two of the greatest giants in jazz, Nat King Cole and Mel Torme. His jazz album, ‘Home,’ is a collection of contemporary songs and whilst clearly a homage to their wonderful legacy it brings a new and refreshing complexity to the vocals that is entrancing.

His latest album Eric Sempe and William Price King is now available to download. The repertory includes standards such as “Bye Bye Blackbird” (a jazz classic), Sting’s “Englishman in New York,” Queen’s “The Show Must Go On”, Led Zepplin’s “Stairway to Heaven” and other well-known jazz, pop, and rock classics.

William and Eric Sempe have also brought their own magic to the album with original tracks such as Keep on Dreaming and Red Snow with collaboration with Jeanne King
Download the new album.

William is currently in France where he performs in popular Jazz Venues in Nice and surrounding area.

You can find the other artists in the previous series here:

Thank you for dropping by today and always look forward to your feedback.. Sally

Smorgasbord 2016 Review – A Man and his Music – William Price King meets Kurt Elling

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The top three music posts of 2016 were Kurt Elling part one and two and Diana Krall part one and over the next week I will feature all of them.. You can catch up with all the Jazz and Classical series for the last two years in these two directories.

Here is part one of the Kurt Elling series.

Welcome to the latest series A Man and his Music – William Price King meets jazz royalty. In the last two years we have reviewed the lives and work of many incredible artists  and we are now going to take a look at the life and work of a very contemporary musician.. Kurt Elling is originally from Chicago and like many of the top jazz artists began his music career by focusing on the classics.

William Price King now picks up the story….


In the series so far we have explored the talent, techniques and unique qualities that make a musical artist stand out from the crowd. Nat King Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, Mel Torme, Nina Simone, Quincy Jones, and Natalie Cole are not only incredible musical talents but also superb performers.  Over the last 50 years other styles of music have naturally evolved with new generations of musicians and vocalists, but as we saw with Diana Krall, there is still little substitute for the classic jazz standards, especially when given a new interpretation by some of our contemporary artists.

In this first part of the new series I am giving you a brief summary of Kurt Elling’s early life and you can read more at the links I have included at the end of the post.  Over the next three weeks we will be looking in more detail at some of his fifteen albums and stand out performances.

I have been browsing through the reviews for Kurt Elling’s albums and whilst there are many reviews by critics, I was more interested in what those who buy the albums have to say. Here is just one by a fan from his home town of Chicago and over the next few weeks I will share more.

The Best in Chicago Jazz By Shadasious on August 15, 2003 Format: Audio CD

As a lifelong Chicagoan and as a person who has heard jazz constantly from local stars and family alike, I have been a Kurt Elling fan since his 1st CD in 1995. This is his best recording, all of his skills are on display and he is in top form. Vocalese is his specialty, taking a previously recorded tune and writing lyrics for that tune that was a hit on its own instrumental right. Songs like my fave Winelight, A Time to Say Goodbye and Never My Love, never sounded better. Laurence Hobgood his collaborater, producer, arranger and pianist is a marvel on the 88 keys and Stefon Harris adds just the right touches on the vibes to make this a celebrated recording. If you want to get a feel of current Chicago and contemporary jazz, get this CD first, then listen to other recordings by Kurt and then check out our other innovative hometown jazz people, Patricia Barber, Ken Vandermark, Grazyna Auguscik, Orbert Davis & Jim Gailloreto, you won’t be disappointed or bored.
The Early Years.

Kurt Elling was born in 1967, the son of Martha and Henry Elling and was fortunate enough to be part of a family that already celebrated music. His father was the Choirmaster at a Lutheran church and through Kurt’s childhood, he would sing in choirs as well as becoming an accomplished musician playing a number of instruments. These included the French horn, piano and the drums.

Whilst his musical education was focused more on classical compositions, the influence of artists now being featured on television in the 70s was to play a role in Kurt’s future career. He listened to Tony Bennett and wondered what it might be like to sing with a big band rather as part of a choral ensemble. In the meantime however he continued to devote his free time to his performances with the college choir.

He was to say later: “When it was undeniably uncool and geeky and all that, to be in the choir, I did it anyway, because it was reliably beautiful, and it was rewarding, and it gave me gifts of experience and friendships.”

That experience included singing the National Anthem with his high school madrigal choir Joyful Sounds, under the direction of Joyce Kortz in front of a crowd of over 40,000 people. A taste of things to come.

Kurt majored in history and minored in religion at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota, but still found time to sing in the 70 voice Gustavus Choir, an a cappella choir that performed works from a variety of different composers, allowing him to develop his technical skills. His performance skills were also honed performing with the choir in the USA and also on a European tour.

His schedule still allowed time to appreciate other styles of music and in a later in an interview with Craig Jolley of All About Jazz online, he had this to say about his growing interest in jazz.

“A friend of mine down the hall was a big jazz fan, and he started hipping me to Dexter Gordon, Dave Brubeck and Herbie Hancock. It seemed like a natural thing to start singing that music. I turned to Ella Fitzgerald right away because with her scat-singing, she went beyond the usual boring pattern of singer-horn solo-singer.”

This new appreciation of jazz let Kurt to join both the college’s jazz orchestra and student combos although at this time his focus still remained in the classic realm.

Following his time at Gustavus Adolphus College, Kurt returned in 1989 to Illinois to start his graduate studies in philosophy and ethics at the University of Chicago’s Divinity School. His music was not neglected and he began playing a weekly jazz gig and whilst not hugely lucrative, it did reinforce Kurt’s new found love of the style. He was fortunate to find a mentor and teacher in Karl Johnson, the house pianist at Milt Trenier’s, a basement club in Chicago. However, the challenge of studying philosophy and religion during the day and spending his night-times in jazz clubs became too complex and jazz won.

Kurt was to say in an interview: “I realized that my fun and the joy of my life was happening a lot more in clubs with jazz musicians than it was in the classroom with academic people,” the singer told Fred Jung of Jazz Weekly online. “I sort of figured out that I had a chance of doing this kind of thing and decided to take my shot at it and started to work in earnest toward becoming a jazz musician.”

Now began the task of establishing himself as a jazz musician and as Kurt moved into the 90s he worked hard to get performances across various venues, supplementing his income at private functions. Spare time was spent in publicising his talent in Chicago.

One of his influences during this time was Mark Murphy an American jazz singer based in New York. He was known for his use of vocalese (a style of singing in which singers put words to jazz tunes, especially to previously improvised instrumental solos) and vocal improvisations with both melody and lyrics.

Mark Murphy was now in his early 60s and had received some wonderful accolades over the years including being the recipient of the Done Beat magazine jazz poll for Best Male Vocalist of the Year and also received six Grammy award nominations for Best Vocal Jazz Performance during his career.

Kurt began to also include improvisations and reworkings of some of the standards and when some criticised this move from the classic interpretations, he commented.

“Well, in jazz, the way it exists is for every performer to find his own voice and to speak what he really thinks and play the notes that he feels sounds good, and so it would be apathetical of the music for me to do anything other than what I really hear,” he explained to Fred Jung. “I could probably make a lot more money playing what other people have already played and they’ve already done the work to make that popular, Frank Sinatra or Harry Connick or something like that. I think the truest respect that you can pay to the music of somebody who is a great artist like Frank Sinatra, or Betty Carter, or Jon Hendricks, is to try to figure out your own thing and to build on what they’ve done and to learn from them, but more importantly, to become yourself and to have your own thing to say and to be an artist in your own right.”

Next time in the Kurt Elling story we join his career in the mid-90s as he becomes a regular performer at the Green Mill Club and his first recordings for Blue Note.

As a taste of things to come here is Kurt Elling with Nature Boy uploaded by cyberjaz

Buy Kurt Elling Music:
Find out more about Kurt Elling:
Touring schedule:

About William Price King


William Price King is an American jazz singer, musician and composer. Originally he studied classical music and opera but over the years his style has evolved to what many refer to as the ‘sweet point’ where music and voice come together so beautifully.
His vocal mentors are two of the greatest giants in jazz, Nat King Cole and Mel Torme. His jazz album, ‘Home,’ is a collection of contemporary songs and whilst clearly a homage to their wonderful legacy it brings a new and refreshing complexity to the vocals that is entrancing.

His latest album Eric Sempe and William Price King is now available to download. The repertory includes standards such as “Bye Bye Blackbird” (a jazz classic), Sting’s “Englishman in New York,” Queen’s “The Show Must Go On”, Led Zepplin’s “Stairway to Heaven” and other well-known jazz, pop, and rock classics.

William and Eric Sempe have also brought their own magic to the album with original tracks such as Keep on Dreaming and Red Snow with collaboration with Jeanne King
Download the new album.

William is currently in France where he performs in popular Jazz Venues in Nice and surrounding area.

You can find the other artists in the previous series here:

Thank you for dropping by today and hope you have enjoyed the introduction to this talented artist.. Sally

Classical Music with William Price King – Andrea Bocelli up to date.

classical musicWelcome to the last post in the story so far of Andrea Bocelli.. It is clear from his recent performances that he is in his prime as far as his voice is concerned and I am sure there will be many more albums added to his astonishing number so far. He continues to grow his worldwide audience and today we also find out more about his foundation and charity work.

It is now time to hand over to William Price King to look at not just his stand out performances of the last six years but also what his fans have to say about his music.


In the late summer of 2011 Andrea Bocelli gave a free concert on the Great Lawn of Central Park in New York.  The concert was broadcast throughout north America by PBS and in Italy by Rai 1.  The concert included guest performers Celine Dion, Tony Bennett and Bryn Terfel and the album of the concert immediately entered the Billboard Top 10 rising to No. 4 on the Billboard 200.

Singing in New York City on Central Park’s Great Lawn is an honor for both pop and classical artists. Andrea Bocelli is enrapturing and provides an exquisite performance. Bocelli, being a pop singer who happens to sing opera, comes from a long line of Italian vocalists who enjoy singing both the classical and popular repertory and especially those glorious Neapolitan songs such as the jovial Funiculi, Funicula.

“Funiculì, Funiculà” is a famous Neapolitan song composed in 1880 by Luigi Denza to lyrics by Peppino Turco. It was written to commemorate the opening of the first funicular cable car on Mount Vesuvius. It was presented by Turco and Denza at the Piedigrotta festival the same year. The sheet music was published by Ricordi and sold over a million copies within a year. It has been widely adapted and recorded since its publication.

Here, his transcendent voice rings out, as he sings the high notes and lower register with ease, backed by the New York Philharmonic and Chorus, under the direction of musical director Alan Gilbert. A real treat!

In October, 2011 Bocelli performed again for Pope Benedic XVI and a crowd of 8,000 people in Vatican’s Audience Hall. He gave an open-air free concert at Praça Rui Barbosa in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, in November, to an audience of between 80,000 and 150,000 people.

Also in this busy year, The Andrea Bocelli Foundation was launched. Its two missions are to fund medical research and fight poverty.  Andrea is very actively involved in the foundation which is currently bringing aid to Haiti that was devastated by a hurricane on 4th October this year.  Whole villages were flooded and no longer exist. Homes and huge swathes of vegetation and farming land has been swept away. The bridge connecting the south of the island to the capital collapsed which resulted in a long delay for supplies to get through. The foundation is working to bring in essentials and repair infrastructure so that people can have shelter, food and water until repairs can be finalised.  This includes repairing the schools for the 1350 students.

He not only works to develop his own foundation but also has contributed his time and his talent throughout his career to support to causes around the world.

He has participated in charity benefit concerts in different countries for various charities, such as the Michael Jackson benefit concert in 1998, the Memorial Concert at Ground Zero, in New York City for the victims of the September 11 attacks, and the Music of Asia festival in 2004, for the Indian tsunami appeal.

He performed with Mary J. Blige and David Foster the the 52nd Grammy Awards to raise awareness for the victims of the 2010 Haiti earthquake. He later gave an open-air concert at Masada, Israel, with the proceeds going to the residents of Galilee and Negev, and another in Sicily to support the Flames of Solidarity charity, raising awareness concerning poverty. In Greece, he held a concert at the Odeon of Herodes Atticus to help cancer research. Bocelli performed at the Children in Need Rocks Manchester concert in November 2011.

The awards continued to pour in and in 2012 he received the  “America Award” from the Italy-USA Foundation. He also won “International Artist of the Year in association with Raymond Weil” of the Classic Brit Awards that year.  As a final honour he performed for Queen Elizabeth II at the Royal Albert Hall, during the 100th anniversary of the Royal Variety Performance.

In January of 2013, Andrea Bocelli released his fourteenth studio Album, Passione. The album features Mediterranean love songs including duets with Jennifer Lopez, Nelly Furtado.
Passione is the fourteenth studio album by Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli, released on 29 January 2013.[3] The album is a collection of Mediterranean love songs featuring duets with Jennifer Lopez, Nelly Furtado

“La Vie en rose” was the signature song of popular French singer Édith Piaf, written in 1945, popularized in 1946, and released as a single in 1947. The song became very popular in the USA in 1950 with no less than seven different versions reaching the Billboard charts.

This is a very interesting cabaret style virtual duet with the late Edith Piaf performed under the stars, accompanied by a very fine jazz orchestra singing her signature song “La Vie en Rose.” Bocelli’s French is flawless in this piece showcasing his versatile vocal abilities with a certain inflection in his singing that truly evokes the emotion of this beautiful and romantic love song.

Andrea Bocelli continues to perform around the world and to release recordings of those performances and studio albums. You can find details of all his music at this link:

BUY Andrea Bocelli’s Music:

My life experience has taught me nothing happens by chance. Even the idea of the ball in a roulette game: it’s not chance it ends up in a certain place. It’s forces that are at play.”  Andrea Bocelli

Official Website:

Additional material

To end the series we have had a special request to play The Prayer featuring Celine Dion… thanks Debby Gies for the suggestion.


williampricekingAbout William Price King

William Price King is an American jazz singer, musician and composer. Originally he studied classical music and opera but over the years his style has evolved to what many refer to as the ‘sweet point’ where music and voice come together so beautifully.
His vocal mentors are two of the greatest giants in jazz, Nat King Cole and Mel Torme. His jazz album, ‘Home,’ is a collection of contemporary songs and whilst clearly a homage to their wonderful legacy it brings a new and refreshing complexity to the vocals that is entrancing.

His latest album Eric Sempe and William Price King is now available to download. The repertory includes standards such as “Bye Bye Blackbird” (a jazz classic), Sting’s “Englishman in New York,” Queen’s “The Show Must Go On”, Led Zepplin’s “Stairway to Heaven” and other well-known jazz, pop, and rock classics.

William and Eric Sempe have also brought their own magic to the album with original tracks such as Keep on Dreaming and Red Snow with collaboration with Jeanne King
Download the new album.

William is currently in France where he performs in popular Jazz Venues in Nice and surrounding area.

Connect to William

Links to website –
Facebook –
Twitter –
Regular Venue –

You will find the previous series on Luciano Pavarotti and part one of Andrea Bocelli in this directory:

Thank you so much for joining us today.. We would be grateful if you could reblog or share the post.. thanks Sally

Christmas Party Playlist – with DJs Twinkling Tina and Silly Sally with Jana and Michael Buble

Christmas playlist

The first selection today is a delightful version of Little Drummer Boy by Jana Mashonee (San Juan Tewa Pueblo) from her album American Indian Christmas… recommended by Twinkling TinaAKA Tina Frisco

Buy the album:

About Tina Frisco


Tina Frisco is an author, singer-songwriter, RN, activist, and shaman apprentice. Born in Pennsylvania USA, she attended nursing school in New York and lives in California. She began writing as a child and received her first guitar at age 14, which launched her passion for music and songwriting. She has performed publicly in many local venues. Her publishing history includes book reviews, essays, articles in the field of medicine, her début novel – Plateau: Beyond the Trees, and her children’s book – Gabby and the Quads.Tina is working on another novel to be released very shortly.

She enjoys writing, reading, music, dancing, arts and crafts, exploring nature, and frequently getting lost in working crossword puzzles.

Books by Tina Frisco


BUY Tina’s books:

Connect to Tina on her website and social media.


Christmas playlist

Silly Sally AKA Guess Who.. with Michael Buble and I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas – with Shania Twain who is another favourite of mine.  There are two reasons for my selection… first and foremost I love the song and also Michael Buble.. but also because I hope you will join me in wishing his three year old son a speedy recovery from his recently diagnosed cancer.. Michael is not going to be singing until his son is well again.. Sending love and hugs. ♥♥

Buy Michael Buble’s Christmas Album:

I hope you have enjoyed today’s selection and please feel free to sing along and share.. thanks Sally

Classical Music with William Price King – Andrea Bocelli – The Early Years

classical music

Welcome to the first part in the Andrea Bocelli story. The multi-award winning cross over tenor has won not just critical acclaim for his beautiful voice, but the hearts of millions around the world. He is the perfect choice to take us into the festive season as his Christmas Album is packed with wonderful music to bring a sparkle to the occasion.  I will now hand you over to William Price King to take us through the early life and career of this wonderful artist.

51wcyjeld4l-_ss135_sl160_Andrea Bocelli was born to Alessandro and Edi Bocelli who lived on a farm in the village of La Sterza, a suburb of the town of Lajatico, 50 kilometres from Florence the capital of the Tuscany region of Italy. His parents made their living by selling farm machinery and making wine and his family continue to live there today.

Andrea was born in September 1958 following what must have been a stressful time for the family. Doctors determined that the baby was likely to be born with disabilities and his parents were recommended to terminate the pregnancy. But Alessandro and Edi decided not to do so, and Andrea was born apparently healthy.  However, it soon became apparent that he did have sight problems and was diagnosed eventually with congenital glaucoma.

Throughout his early childhood his mother said that music was the only thing that brought this little boy comfort as he struggled with his condition, and by the age of six he had begun piano lessons. Over the next few years he went on to learn to play the flute, saxophone, trumpet, guitar and drums. He was still only a small boy when he was introduced to opera. His nanny gave him his first record of the internationally renowned tenor Franco Corelli.

Born in 1921 this artist was associated with the dramatic tenor roles of the Italian repertory including composers such as Rossini, Verdi and Puccini. Dubbed the Prince of Tenors, he was celebrated universally for his powerhouse voice, electrifying top notes, clear timbre, passionate singing and remarkable performances. Having listened to Franco Corelli, Andrea was now determined to follow a singing career.  Even at the age of seven he was able to recognise the foremost tenors of the time and within a few years he was performing their music in public.

Andrea gave his first concert in a small village near his home and I suspect that those in the audience, whilst marvelling at this young boy’s voice, would not have envisaged that one day he would be such an international star.  Here is Franco Corelli singing Torna a Surriento.

In a devastating blow in 1970, at the age of 12, Andrea lost his sight completely following an accident during a football game. He was hit in the eye playing goalkeeper during a match and suffered a brain hemorrhage.

Undeterred, at age 14 Andrea won his first competition, The Margherita d’Oro in Viareggio singing O Sole Mio.

Apart from his passion for music, Andrea did well at school and at age twenty, he began law studies at the University of Pisa. To earn money, Andrea performed in local piano bars in the evenings and after obtaining his degree, he spent a year as a court appointed lawyer.

However, singing was still a driving force in Andrea’s life and in 1992, the Italian rock star Zucchero held auditions for tenors to make a demo tape of his song Miserere, to send to Luciano Pavarotti.  His intention was to persuade the great tenor to duet with him on the song but initially, having heard Andrea Bocelli’s audition, Pavarotti suggested that Zucchero record with him instead.

However, eventually Pavarotti did record the original with Zucchero and it was a huge hit. But the following year during the rock star’s European concert tour, Andrea Bocelli accompanied him and as well as Miserere, Andrea performed solo sets singing Nessun Dorma from Puccini’s Turandot.

Andrea Bocelli gives an exquisite performance of Miserere. The emotion flows easily and his passion is evident. This is a remarkable cross-over duet with Zucchero in spite of the fact that they have two totally different *timbres.

Note:  timbre – the character and quality of a musical voice.

Later that year Bocelli signed with the Sugar Music label in Milan after the president of the label heard him sing both songs at Zucchero’s birthday party.  In the December he entered the preliminary round of the world famous Sanremo Music Festival, performing Miserere and won the newcomer category with the highest marks ever received.

This was followed by his debut in the classical world in a concert at the Teatro Romolo Valli in Reggio Emilia.

In February 1994, he entered the main Sanremo Festival competition with Il mare calmo della sera, and he won the newcomers section, again with a record score. Following his win, Bocelli released his debut album of the same name in April, and it entered the Italian Top Ten, being certified platinum within weeks.


With his distinctive *classical crossover sound, Bocelli delights us with a vocal contrast between the light, tenor quality of his voice and a cutting edge raspy tone filled with emotion. He is an impressive communicator, and in this song the emotion speaks for itself.

Note: classical crossover – a style that hovers between classical and popular music, targeted for fans of both genres and in this case for classically trained singers.

BUY Andrea Bocelli’s Music:

Official Website:

Additional material


About William Price King

William Price King is an American jazz singer, musician and composer. Originally he studied classical music and opera but over the years his style has evolved to what many refer to as the ‘sweet point’ where music and voice come together so beautifully.
His vocal mentors are two of the greatest giants in jazz, Nat King Cole and Mel Torme. His jazz album, ‘Home,’ is a collection of contemporary songs and whilst clearly a homage to their wonderful legacy it brings a new and refreshing complexity to the vocals that is entrancing.

His latest album Eric Sempe and William Price King is now available to download. The repertory includes standards such as “Bye Bye Blackbird” (a jazz classic), Sting’s “Englishman in New York,” Queen’s “The Show Must Go On”, Led Zepplin’s “Stairway to Heaven” and other well-known jazz, pop, and rock classics.

William and Eric Sempe have also brought their own magic to the album with original tracks such as Keep on Dreaming and Red Snow with collaboration with Jeanne King
Download the new album.

William is currently in France where he performs in popular Jazz Venues in Nice and surrounding area.

Connect to William

Links to website –
Facebook –
Twitter – @wpkofficial
Regular Venue –

You will find the previous series on Luciano Pavarotti in this directory.

Thank you so much for joining us today.. We would be grateful if you could reblog or share the post to give this new series a great send off.. thanks Sally

Memories are made of this Revisited -1980 – Divorce, Driving Test and Room Forty

I will be a bit scarce today as it is our 36th Wedding Anniversary.  Tonight I will be cooking dinner so I am off to find some local ingredients and with any luck I will have cleared off the dining room table of my unpacked ‘stuff’ so we can have our first proper meal since we moved in.

The next day we have something special planned and I will tell you about that in my round up on Sunday.. Tomorrow there will be some posts… more or less as usual.

I wrote this post a year ago and at the time we wondered if we would ever sell our house in Madrid and had no idea that a few months later we would be making a new life for ourselves here back in Ireland.. life can spin on a dime.

I hope you have a great day.. we intend to.  In the meantime.. for those of you who missed this post last November as part of my series… Memories are Made of This…

ds-with-fintanAs Frank Sinatra would say, 1980 for me was a very good year… I was happy in my job, had a whole bunch of new friends in the area, loved my job at Bontddu Hall and on April 1st my divorce was finalised.

It had taken me three years and my savings to get over this time in my life but it had been worth it. I was now 27 years old and as I held that precious piece of paper with the words Decree Absolute in bold print emblazoned across it; I vowed that I would never marry again! You know what they say about famous last words don’t you?

Anyway the second great event was that I took and passed my driving test. I had begun driving at age 17 and had several lessons but then ran out of money. Over the years various boyfriends and my husband had attempted to teach me to drive but without success.

After living midway between Barmouth and Dolgellau for over a year and having walked myself down to a size 10; I decided that I should book some more lessons and take the test. I signed up with Mr. Evans in Dolgellau who would pick me up in his mini in the middle of the afternoon during my couple of hours off.

I have never regretted those lessons on narrow Welsh roads as they have stood me in good stead when driving in various countries and terrains around the world. However, there was one slight problem at that time in my local area…No traffic lights and no roundabouts. Road works were useful for practice but we had to drive 30 miles north of Dolgellau to find a roundabout. We would go around and around this damn thing for about ten minutes before heading back before the lesson finished.

I was very lucky to have met a wonderful friend called Joan who was a district nurse and used her own car for work. On my day off she would let me drive and we travelled the length and breadth of North Wales, up and down mountains to give me as much practice as possible. That August I passed my test in Machynlleth despite stalling at … You guessed it… Traffic lights.

sally wedding day 1980Rightly chuffed with my achievement I set about putting away a little each week towards a car… But of course fate was about to take a hand in my life yet again.

In the first week in September I took a call in reception for a booking for two single rooms with arrival on September 16th for two weeks. I thought at the time that the caller, a Mr. David Cronin, had a lovely Irish accent and when I had booked the rooms and put the telephone down, I turned to one of the receptionists on duty and said jokingly; ‘What a lovely voice, I think I will marry him.’

On the day that Mr. Cronin was due to arrive I had a few extra hours off as I had been filling in for the said receptionist who was off for a week at a family wedding. I came on duty at 6.30 p.m. in my long dress to carry out my evening duties, which were to accompany our guests to their table in the dining-room, and then ensure that they were happy with their meals etc throughout the evening.

Put it this way; I was not disappointed when I met the owner of the voice on the end of the phone for the first time and escorted him to the best table!

For the next two weeks our paths crossed several times and I arranged some business meetings and meals for Mr. Cronin. His room, Number 40, was at the top of the flight of stairs on the first landing and as I checked the hotel before locking up for the night, I would pass by and see a light under the door and wonder about this very nice man.

On the night before he was due to check out, he approached me and asked if, when I finished for the evening, I could meet him for a drink in the Blue Lounge, which intrigued I did. We chatted and completed the Telegraph cryptic crossword whilst enjoying an excellent whisky and water before he handed me a small packet. He said it was a thank you for arranging his meetings so efficiently.

It was a Celtic pendant on a silver chain with a small note in the box… For going beyond the call of duty. Best wishes David Cronin.

I obviously thanked him and was very sad that he would be leaving the next day and  that I would be unlikely to see him again. But he continued to surprise me by asking me out for lunch the following day; when I would be off duty until the evening. Of course I accepted and he booked himself in for a further night rather than travel back to Liverpool. It was at this point that I began calling him David rather than Mr. Cronin.

We had lunch and walked along Harlech beach where they were making a film at the time. As we chatted, stuntmen thundered past dressed in Arab costumes on fiery stallions, kicking up the sand. Talk about romantic.

After work that evening we met up again and talked for a long time. The next morning as we prepared to say goodbye, David simply said… I think there is only one thing for us… Will you marry me?

That was September 29th and we moved in to a small holiday flat together when the hotel closed on October 5th and we were married in Dolgellau registry office five weeks later on November 15th 1980.

sally wedding day 1980

See what I mean about famous last words!!

Later on that Saturday morning after accepting David’s proposal, I had gone into work and found the owner of the hotel leaning up against the counter reading his paper. He asked me how my day off had gone and I replied that I was getting married. Shocked rigid he asked, ‘who the hell to?’ My reply was, ‘Room 40.’ Now a standing joke in the family.

I still relied heavily on the radio in those days and we also had music piped into the public rooms in the hotel. The hits of the year included Don McLean with Crying, Abba with Super Trouper and The Winner Takes it All. The Police with Don’t Stand so Close to Me, Blondie and Atomic, Diana Ross with Upside Down, Pink Floyd and Another Brick in the Wall, Dr. Hook and Sexy Eyes with Michael Jackson and She’s Out Of My Life. But in honour of our impending anniversary here is Barbra Streisand with Woman in Love.

I did not get to see many films in 1980 but there were some great ones to catch up with later on DVD and television. These included The Empire Strikes Back, Raging Bull, The Elephant Man, Caddyshack, Airplane, American Gigolo, Private Benjamin and Fame. Here is the theme song from Fame.


 Thank you for dropping in on this special day. ♥♥ Sally