In 1968 Tommy Cooper Peter Sellers, Norman Wisdom, Ronnie Barker, Ronnie Corbett, Dick Emery, Spike Milligan, Tim Brooke Taylor, Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Marty Feldman, Michael Palin, Gillian Lind, Connie Booth, Dick Vosburgh, David Frost, Eric Sykes, Hattie Jacques, and Eric Idle, all English comedians, were at the top of their game. I was heavily influenced by them.
During that time, as a student at that time, I was developing a scheme to bring music to young children so that they could learn to laugh the way I had done as a child. I was becoming more and more interested in Early Childhood Development. In reality, it would take me a full 14 more years and a move to a foreign country to realize my dream.
The following are "kindnesses" that have been given to us over the years, contributing to the reasons why we devoted our careers to the development of kids.
KINDNESS... "Words to live by." Terry a la Berry
A few years ago when we were recording A Bakers Dozen, our friend Terry a la Berry the drummer for The Arlo Guthrie Band, was on tour out west with the band and had agreed to add his drum tracks to a few of our songs when he returned from tour. It turned out he had less time off between tours, so he decided to ask Abe Guthrie (Arlo’s son) to help him record his drum tracks to our songs during sound checks at various different cities throughout Canada and the Midwest. The results were impeccable as was the recording which he drop-boxed to us a few weeks later (including the outtakes jokes and comments that Terry and Abe quipped back and forth between the stage and the soundboard that were hilarious) The fact that Terry was recording his tracks on stage added a wonderful new dimension to the record. We are so grateful to Terry and Abe’s kindness for recording the tracks in this unique and powerful manner. It gave the album a really “live” in-the-room feel and added so much pizazz to A Bakers Dozen.
Check out A Bakers Dozen by visiting https://batduo.bandcamp.com/album/a-bakers-dozen
KINDNESS ….. “Words to live by.” Joan Rivers
In 1987 we wrote to The Late Show (The Johnny Carson Show/Joan Rivers Show) asking to be guests on the show. The following letter is the kindest and most personal rejection letter we’ve ever received (and trust me we’ve received a LOT...LOL), typed by Joan Rivers herself, giving us kind advice that we’ve lived by every day for the last 30 years. Thank you Joan Rivers for your kindness courtesy and support. We took your advice, and have filled our days since then with joy, happiness, and loads of laughter…Thanks for your advice. J
KINDNESS ….. “Words to live by.” Senator Bob Graham
Senator Bob Graham, former Governor of Florida, brought his triplet Grand Kids to see us perform at Wolf Trap’s Filene Center, nr Washington DC. He enjoyed our program and encouraged us to bring our show to Florida Public Schools. We did just that, and he wrote us a follow-up letter, calling us “A National Treasure.” That quote has meant so much and helped “open doors” for us over the years. Thanks, Senator. We are truly grateful for your kindness;
Bob Graham and Jimmy Buffet founded Save the Manatees in 1981 to help rehabilitate Manatees from injuries sustained by power boat propeller damage. From his act of kindness to us in 1994, we're delighted now to be able to repay the favor, by donating one of our songs to his Save the Manatee Foundation. If you’d like to donate to Save the Manatees you can visit them at www.savethemantee.org Just say Tim and La sent you… Please feel free to share this video with your friends
Watch the video now at: http://youtu.be/B3EuEsCnAks
SESAME STREET AND THE WHITE HOUSE
We had been hired to do an outreach program for SESAME STREET in a Library in D.C. When we arrived, there were a group of young children sitting on the floor being read a story by a Lady. We sat down and listened to the story until she finished, and then after the kids were shuffled into position to take part in the TV show we introduced ourselves to the “Story Lady” After we had done our “bit” with the kids the lady asked us if we had a recording that she could buy. We of course just gave her one ( a cassette tape! It was that long ago!). Some weeks later we got a call from The Social Secretary of The White House, inviting us to perform at an event they were holding the following month at The White House. Long story short, it turned out that The Story Lady who we met in the Library some weeks before was not only The President of The World Bank, but was also Hillary Clinton’s best friend, and had lent our album to The First Lady who subsequently had her people invite us to perform at The White House, where we performed for the next 6 years. Just goes to show…. Right place…right time. We are still friends with Jan today 31 years after we first met.
“WRONG WAY MANATEE”
Lots of people have written to us (regarding the lyrics to our song Manatee) telling us that Manatees are not found in Tennessee… SO…here’s what we discovered when we researched it. We discovered that, although Manatees are primarily the pride of Florida, in 2006 a Manatee strayed 700 miles up the Mississippi all the way to Tennessee. Memphis residents subsequently nicknamed him “Wrong Way Manatee.” …and so the line in our song goes….. “They say I’m cute, I’m ten feet long, Adorable when I’m swimming along, I never tire I’m wild and free, I’m a well-known singer down in Tennessee
And thus a fun song was born
A BAKERS’ DOZEN video: http://youtu.be/UcFlKcKolfc
A few years ago when we set up our Grammy listening post we realized that we could also make the link available to the Child Care Centers who’ve been so important in our lives for the past 35 years, so we contacted them offering the link to listen to or download. We’re thrilled to announce that we've had 20,648 plays of A Bakers Dozen on our site. Music to our ears. Let us explain
When we started this journey we used to perform on average 5 acoustic shows a day in small daycare centers. We would visit a city and find a number of centers, some in wealthy areas and others in poorer areas of the same city. We contrived to play at the wealthy centers and be paid, (so we could afford to keep traveling) and then perform free shows at the poorer centers. As we became friends with the owners and directors they unequivocally approved of our plan and hired us again and again. So we got paid for 3 and did 2 for free. We generally worked 5 days a week staying in small motels, then moving on. From East LA to Chicago, Atlanta to Birmingham, and New York to Toronto. No city was too big or too small. Where children were, we went. We did that for more than 30 + years still remaining friends with most of the centers. We’re very fortunate to not only have 1 beautiful daughter but also to have a few thousand kids who seem to love us and call us Mom and Dad…… We’ve ALWAYS been paid in SMILES
And so we’re so delighted that not only so many Grammy voters have listened to ABD, but also that Kids in Daycare centers in Mobile AL, Poughkeepsie NY, Savannah GA, Knoxville TN, and Jacksonville FL are regularly listening to our new album, and as we’ve been told by Teachers, A Baker’s Dozen is helping them all over our country to learn to read and count. Music to Our Ears…
Check out A Bakers Dozen by visiting https://batduo.bandcamp.com/album/a-bakers-dozen
KINDNESS…….WORDS TO LIVE BY… DIMITRI TIOMKIN
It was London…in the late 1960s. I was a student and had found a summer job with a moving company. One day we were sent to Hampstead, a wealthy suburb of London, to move a gentleman into his new home. I was told by my boss to unload boxes from our truck and store them in the garage. There was a room above the garage (like a small apartment) Sitting in that room alone at a desk was an old man sorting out some papers. We worked silently for an hour or so and then out of the blue he asked me a question. I replied shyly and my answer prompted an hour chat with this kindly old man. He asked me what I was studying in school, and what my dreams and aspirations were. He showed me a few manuscripts and some musical scores he had been working on, and finally, my boss who'd been looking for me found me and berated me for slacking off: The old man came to my rescue and told my boss that I’d been helping him. I was very grateful to him for intervening on my behalf. I knew that he was a composer, because of the scores he'd shown me, but at that point, I didn't know his name.
In the truck on the way home, my boss told me that the old man was none other than the movie composer Dimitri Tiomkin, who had composed the scores for films like "High Noon, The Alamo, The Old Man, and the Sea, Gunfight at the OK Corral, and Lost Horizon," and had received 22 Oscar Nominations, and actually won 4 Academy Awards.
This kind man took the time to listen to my foolish dreams, sitting in his garage all those years ago. Thank you, Mr. Tiomkin. I listened to your advice, and have had a wonderful life as a musician. I owe it all to you.
Grammy season is upon us, a time when thousands of musicians from around the world whose music has been submitted to NARAS, will discover if their hard work, creativity, and passion have earned them a much coveted Grammy nomination. November 15th also marks my 45th anniversary of being in the music business. Much has changed in the past 45 years, but this year the talent has been incredible. So we’ll actually learn on my anniversary the Artists who will move on to the next round of the Grammys. Good luck to all of you. It truly has been our privilege.
Without Teachers life would have no class! Just a kind word goes a long way. People realize you’ve noticed them.
Or even just a smile. They light up. It makes their day.
That’s the amazing thing about kindness. It makes you feel good- whether you’re the one handing it out or the one receiving it.
We worked with Ella Jenkins 25 years ago in Georgetown SC. After our concert,(as we were staying at the same hotel,) the 3 of us decided to grab dinner at a restaurant right next door to the hotel. We stayed at the restaurant until we "closed" the place around 2.30 the following morning, telling joke after joke, story after story, with Ella filling us in on her life in Chicago.
What stood out about Ella Jenkins, that night was how incredibly nice, straightforward, and genuinely interested in people. She was a true "Gentlewoman" with a brilliant sense of humor.
KINDNESS IS A RENEWABLE QUALITY
Fill your house with happiness…..close to brilliant yet far from normal.
Read how the BatDuo won a Red Tricycle award
I am a competent guitar player and as things tend to, things changed fast for me. I found myself moving to Los Angeles and getting work in a pub playing music to adults in Ghirardelli Square. I loved staying in LA. It was at the height of “Flower Power,” and Haight Ashbury was the place to be, and just like London had been for me, I slept all day and played music all night.