Scoop Saturday: The Hairy Eagle
In a small, dimly lit back room of the Onondaga Historical Association in Syracuse, New York, is a unique and priceless treasure…a civil-war era decorative eagle. [It is] made entirely out of hair, contributed by leading politicians, and their wives, most notably…President Abraham Lincoln and First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln. The artifact came about when the US Sanitary Commission, a volunteer agency working for the health of Union soldiers during the war, needed money for its efforts. [They] reached out to President Lincoln soliciting, a lock of hair as large as he [could] spare. Lincoln communicated the request to other members of the parliament and a surprisingly large number of politicians, and their wives, responded positively. [They donated] their hair for the Brooklyn jewelers Spies & Champney to weave a national symbol out of it.
The large showpiece, nicknamed the Hairy Eagle, featured an American eagle, perched on top of half a globe, spreading its wings and, surrounded with swirls and flowers. The eagle’s head was made from Lincoln’s hair, its back, from Vice President Hannibal Hamlin’s hair, its beak, from Secretary of the Treasury Salmon Chase’s hair and, its wings, from the various senators’ hair. The wives’ hair, meanwhile, was used to create the floral arrangement, surmounted by the eagle and globe. The eagle became an immediate attraction when it was debuted at Metropolitan Sanitary Fair, organized to raise funds for the benefit of Union soldiers. Running for three weeks in April 1864, the fair featured events, attractions, auctions, raffles and more. For the entry fee of $2, visitors could view spectacular floral arrangements in the Temple of Flora, watch dances performed by the Fair’s Native American Troupe, enjoy Dutch cuisine at the Knickerbocker Kitchen and even buy a piece of Plymouth Rock. Tens of thousands of people visited the Hairy Eagle during this time. Underneath it, a small visitor book was kept, in which guests were able to sign their name on the payment of one dollar. The goal was to raise $1,000.
It’s not known whether the goal of $1000 and 1000 signatures was reached but, reports of the fair compiled three years later noted that the book was so popular that, 400 signatures and $400 were collected within the first three days of the Fair. The Hairy Eagle was meant to be presented to the Lincolns as a gift after the fair ended but, the wreath never made its way to the White House. Instead, it hung in the window of the Champney & Smitten shop in Brooklyn for many years before disappearing for decades. In the 1920s, F.T. Champney’s wife Ida donated the eagle to Onondaga Historical Association, where it has remained ever since.
Civil War Era Eagle Sculpture (Smithsonian Magazine/Jason Emerson/September 23, 2021)
Hans 2021 Song Draft: Round Nine-Pick Eight-In Sleep-Lissie (2010)
Hanspostcard has a song draft challenge. This is my Round Nine pick.
This, and my last pick, will feature two women that are a little less known in the music world. I skipped right over the 2000s (only so many choices) and hopped into the next decade. I happened to catch this song while listening to the University of Texas @ Austin’s radio station (a station involved with SXSW). I was hooked and I went looking for it…and her. Elisabeth Corrin Maurus or Lissie is a singer-songwriter out of Rock Island, Illinois.
“I always sang, since I was little and wrote poems in high school. I sort of taught myself to play guitar lines to the poems and stuff. In high school, it seems like everyone has more drama than any other time in their life, [so] that was the time in my life where I really leaned on music as a way to stay sane…”
Interview With Lissie
Scott the Intern
Pop Culture Madness [Web Archive]
February 11, 2008
In her senior year, she was kicked out of high school (she spit in a teacher’s face) and had to get a GED, elsewhere. Then, she hit the road, troubadour-style. She attended Colorado State in Fort Collins and liked to open for other traveling acts. After a short time in Paris, she moved to Los Angeles, met Betsy Hammer and scored an introduction to Brooks Arthur. Hammer & Arthur took her to talent manager Guy Oseary and he got her to producer Glen Ballard. She can be heard singing in the movie Have Dreams, Will Travel (Dream It Out Loud) and performed at the wedding of Demi Moore & Ashton Kutcher in 2005 (Oseary’s referral). In January 2008, she opened for Lenny Kravitz (via a hook-up on MySpace).
The third track from the album Catching A Tiger, In Sleep was released in April of 2010 and the only chart it showed up on was the UK iTunes Single of the Week. The album did manage to make it to #5 on the Billboard Folk Albums & Top Heatseekers charts and, #34 on the Independent Albums chart. The album’s first release was in the UK and hit the US two months later.
“Not to be mistaken for Lissy Trullie, […] Lissie Maurus deals in sun-kissed pop-blues straight from Laurel Canyon.
Her 12-track debut conjures images of highways and horses, with Lissie’s smoky tones echoing Fleetwood Mac’s Stevie Nicks.”
CDs of the Week: Eminem and Lissie
London Evening Standard [Web Archive]
June 18, 2010
Give her a listen. I think she is fantastic and her two band members are outstanding, as well. They are all over YouTube and, in live recordings, her bassist is sitting down, keeping the drum/cymbal beat. Talk about multitasking. I’ve included the studio version of this that has more drum work on it and a possible synthesizer. I’m also including her version of Go Your Own Way. which actually charted in the UK in 2012. The studio version sounds like it has a cello in it and is part of the soundtrack from the movie Safe Haven. She has been very busy.
Happy Halloween, Y’all! ~Vic
Interview: Lissie (Stereofox/06-12-2013)
Lissie (CTN Music Interview/12-22-2008/Web Archive)
Lissie and Her Connections (The Uncarved Blog/Ken Chawkin/05-11-2019)
Lissie Catching A Tiger Review (BBC Review/Mike Diver/2010)
Local Q&A: Lissie (Chicago Tribune Metromix/Matt Pais/11-09-2009/Web Archive)
Rock Island Native Lissie Hits Billboard’s Charts (Quad-City Times/David Burke/05-09-2008/Web Archive)
Live Recording On ARD
From Discovery of Witches
Hans 2021 Song Draft: Round Two-Pick Two-Cathy’s Clown-Everly Brothers (1960)
Hanspostcard has a song draft challenge. This is my Round Two pick.
I grew up around lots of music. My dad had his tastes, my mom had hers and I got some exposure to my grandparents music, too. There was plenty of Elvis, Buddy Holly, Everly Brothers, Ricky Nelson, Gene Pitney, Chuck Berry, Johnny Cash, Johnny Horton, The Ventures, The Beach Boys, instrumental music (think Hugo Montenegro or Paul Mauriat), funny stuff like Ben Colder/Sheb Wooley, Ray Stevens or David Seville (my dad’s stuff), The Four Seasons, Motown, soul music, beach music (my mom’s stuff), big band music (my paternal grandparents) and, bluegrass, country and Latin/jazz (maternal grandparents). One song, in particular, that reminds me of my dad the most is Cathy’s Clown. When I was a kid, my dad liked to just get in the car, drive around and listen to the radio. It was, literally, No Particular Place To Go. When I became an adult, we’d still get in the car and cruise. He and I would sing Cathy’s Clown, together, with me taking Phil’s harmony. I still own my dad’s original 45. ~Vic
Written by Don, it was recorded in March and released in April 1960. It was recorded live, in a single take, with both brothers sharing a microphone. Floyd Cramer was on piano, Floyd Chance on bass and Buddy Harman on drums. An odd song, it has a chorus and bridges but, no verses. It was their first single for Warner Bros. It spent five weeks at #1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart, one week on the Billboard’s R&B chart and seven weeks at #1 on UK’s Singles chart. It was their biggest selling single and their last #1 after Wake Up Little Susie and All I Have to Do Is Dream.
The song is ranked at #150 Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time and it was added to the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress in 2013. Covers have been done by Reba McEntire and Neil Sedaka (1983) with McEntire’s version reaching #1 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart and Canada’s RPM Country Tracks chart in 1989. There is even a Jan and Dean version on Filet Of Soul Redux: The Rejected Master Recordings (2017).
“We owe those guys everything. They started it all.” ~Bob Dylan
Additional Reading & References:
The Everly Brothers: That Sibling Sound (BBC News/2014)
Cathy’s Clown ~ The Everly Brothers (Library of Congress/PDF)
Recording Cathy’s Clown (Steve Hoffman Music Forum)
Saturday Night Beech-Nut Show 1960
Song Sunday: Last Name
“I had no clue what I was getting into. So, I’ll blame it on the Cuervo. Oh, where did my manners go?”
Returning to my Samsung playlist, submitted for your approval on this first Sunday of the new year…I present Last Name by Carrie Underwood. Released in April 2008, it was written by Underwood, Luke Laird and Hillary Lindsey. It is the eighth track from the album Carnival Ride and the third release. It peaked at #1 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart on June 21, 2008, was #1 on the Billboard Country Airplay chart, made it to #3 on the Canada Country Billboard chart and #19 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
I remember when she wowed the whole world on the fourth season of American Idol in 2005. It’s hard to believe that it has been over 15 years since she stormed the music world. I never watched the show but, she was all over the media. When I heard Before He Cheats on the radio, I knew she was gonna be an incredible star and, as far as I’m concerned, she could sing the phone book to me. I don’t own any of her albums/CDs as, after the 90s, everything went digital.
♦ The music video portrays the song as a prequel to her Before He Cheats song, even going so far as to hire the same actor to play the man in question.
♦ [This song] became Underwood’s fastest single to hit number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Songs chart after only 13 weeks of its official release […]. It stayed there for one week.
♦ 2009 Grammy Award for Best Female Country Vocal Performance.
Carrie Underwood Official (Official Website)