Antique Memorial Day postcards are among the most evocative piece of vintage ephemera you can collect. With their elegant imagery mixing both patriotism and remembrance of those who died in service of this country, they are almost uniformly somber but almost uplifting at the same time. The postcards on display here mostly date from the first few decades of the 20th century, when the holiday was more often known as Decoration Day. That's due to its roots as a day to decorate the graves of fallen Civil War soldiers. Not coincidentally, these cards are heavy on the Civil War imagery.
Sadly, we know all too well that the list of wars in which American soldiers died hardly stopped at 1898 (Spanish-American War) or 1917 (World War I). Nevertheless, this day we remember their bravery. This Memorial Day poster really is a lovely piece of work and I'd love to know who illustrated it. (source)
Here are some cool images taken during a Memorial Day parade in Washington, D.C., circa May 1942. As this was the first Memorial Day since the United States military officially entered World War II it likely took on extra significance. I'm no military expert so I can't identify any of the units in these photos. I'm assuming they're reserve units, but I could be wrong. There's a few shots in this gallery of what was referred to at the time as a Colored unit. Photography credit goes to Thomas McAvoy for Life magazine. (Click on the thumbnail for a larger version.)
Memorial Day is upon is once again, and so for this edition of Sunday Jazz I'm offering up a pair of wartime-related jazz numbers. They're billed to Clyde Hart's All Stars and feature Hart on piano, but the true attractions were jazz immortals Charlie Parker on alto sax and Dizzy Gillespie on trumpet. Information on the recording sessions varies, but it seems that these tracks were laid down in New York City on January 4, 1945 -- just a few months before Hart's death from tuberculosis. They also feature Rubberlegs Williams on vocals. Listen carefully to his rather loopy performance, which sounds that way for a very strange reason. Seems Rubberlegs helped himself to some of Bird's coffee, which happened to be laced with Benzedrine. Yup, that explains a few things. So what's the Memori...
It's been a slow week here at the Suit. Real life and such sometimes gets in the way of writing, unfortunately. So as we inch ever closer to Memorial Day and the unofficial start of summer, let's cut loose a little. Here's one of the better tracks off the latest release from blues guitarist and singer extraordinaire Tab Benoit, "Come and Get It." The album is called Medicine, and it's a burner. It's his first studio LP since 2007's Power of the Pontchartrain, and it may just be part of the soundtrack for your summer if you don't mind. Related articles Benoit and The Bear (thebigchilicookoffevergreen.wordpress.com) Stories from the Gulf, one year on (cnn.com)