In this 1939 newsreel, the great Lucille Ball demonstrates the Sonovox, a device that brings amplified sound effects from vinyl records into the throat where the tongue and lips modulate it. Here's the patent for the Sonovox, invented by Gilbert Wright and used in TV advertisements, the movie Dumbo (1941) for Casey Junior the train's voice, and the "days of the week" radio jingle that was included on The Who Sell Out (1967).
Of course the Sonovox begat the "talk box" that routes an amplified instrument's sound from a small speaker into the musician's mouth via a rubber tube so they can shape the tone as if they're speaking. In the rock arena, Peter Frampton made the talk box famous on the track "Do You Feel Like We Do" (1973).
More on all this in my post last year featuring Pete Drake's beautiful pedal steel "talk box" tune "Forever" from 1963, long before Peter Frampton showed us the way.
At Nick Cave’s “The Red Hand Files,” the musician/poet/screenwriter responded to a fan who asked, “What do you do when the lyrics just aren’t coming?” In short, Cave’s answer is to wait patiently. But his full reply is quite beautiful and inspiring. From The Red Hand Files: The idea of lyrics ‘not coming’ is basically […]
For the Seattle Mariners’ virtual Opening Day festivities, my pal Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie brought some good ol’ fashioned melancholy to John Fogerty’s “Centerfield.” Ben pre-recorded this clip in an appropriately, and sadly, empty T-Mobile Park.
Freeman Vines is a luthier in Fountain, North Carolina. For half a century, he’s crafted beautiful guitars from wood taken from a tree used to lynch Black people. Vines deeply moving work is the subject of a new photography book, Hanging Tree Guitars, with tintype images by Timothy Duffy and essays by Zoe Van Buren […]
The aluminum can is a great invention. And for 60 years, it and its crafty little addition, the pull tab, have made transporting and drinking all of our favorite beers, soft drinks and other beverages about 1,000 percent easier. Of course, evolution continues — and even an innovation as awesome as the aluminum can is […]
It’s tempting for many young professionals to assume that because they’ve spent most of their lives posting links to Facebook or pushing selfies to Instagram that they have the skills needed to be a digital marketer. Creating compelling content is certainly important, but if you’re not up to speed on search engine optimization (SEO), how […]
With everybody working from home now, it’s natural to start thinking about careers where not going into the office is more the norm than the exception. Better yet, many are looking to start careers as freelancers, professionals who build their livelihoods around the scope of their talent and not the fortunes of one all-encompassing employer. […]