Sunday, August 31, 2008

Flesh and Blood

This is the 100th blog published on this Oscar Aleman web log, dedicated to the great Argentine guitar player Oscar Aleman, born February 1909, who passed away October 1980.

Next year we'll celebrate the fact, that he was born 100 years ago.

This times I love to refer to a contribution I posted almost two years ago. I shared the following story: A few years ago I got a message from a lady who lived in Groningen ( a city in the northern part of the Netherlands) who asked me where she could buy an Oscar Aleman recording. She told me, she bought a book to relax, each year, for her holidays period. Her favorite author was Jonathan Kellerman. Jonathan Kellerman writes detective / thriler like books and he always introduces the readers to certain musicians. In one of his books, she had forgotten wich ones, he had talked about Oscar Aleman and, as she had form a habit to obtain the music Kellerman suggested, she wanted to know where she could obtain a CD of Oscar Aleman.
It was a pity the lady couldn't give me more info ......

Then, October 2006 I received a message from David L.
Hi Hans. Found a reference to Oscar Aleman in the following novel: Jonathan Kellerman "Flesh and blood", Ballantine Books, 2002, p.326 (Chapter 29). This is a paperback edition, so the page well might be different in the hard cover edition.
"I ran the tape deck as I slumped in the front seat. Old recording of Oscar Aleman riffing on a shiny silver National guitar in some thirties Buenos Aires nightclub. Aleman and the band peeling off a ha-ha rendition of 'Besame Mucho' that would have done Spike Jones proud, but no mistaking the artistry." (Quotes from the contribution:
Jonathan Kellerman)

Oscar Aleman playing his metal guitar in the Baker Boys ( Paris - early 1930s)

What happened yesterday? In a village nearby, Kapelle, in the south west region of The Netherlands, Zeeland, last weekend, its yearly fair - De Kapelse Dag, was scedulded, which includes festivities with horses ( Ringsteken - a local game ( = Tilt at the Ring)) and a market, wich included this time some tables with used books. At one of the stalls I found ..... Flesh and Blood - The Stunning New International Bestseller by Jonathan Kellerman ( Headline Book Publishing London ( 2001) 566 p.). Although I wasn't sure for the fully 100 percent this was THE book ( and a quick glance into the book didn't bring me the name of Oscar Aleman) I bought it, took it home and opened the Jonathan Kellerman contribution I refered to. Page 326 didn't work, but chapter twenty-nine did. Finally I found the book and the quotation.

Page 408 - chapter twenty-nine. ( negative)

I love to share with you some critial notes around this quotation: It seems as if Jonathan Kellerman didn't had the correct information (or a vivid imagination) when he wrote: Old recording of Oscar Aleman riffing on a shiny silver National guitar in some thirties Buenos Aires nightclub. Oscar Aleman played on a silver National guitar, a dobro, when he was living in Europe, in France. You can see him as part of The Baker Boys on the picture above. The picture on the right is one from 1937 when he played in the band of Frank Big Boy Goudy. When Oscar left Europe in 1940, because the German had occupied France and other parts of Europe, he was stopped at the borders and the German soldier took his metal National guitar, the story tells, because they needed the metal for weapons. So, when Oscar arrived in Argentine he didn't had this instrument any longer. Of course he could have bought himself a new one later in Argentina, but I don't know if he ever recorded again with that instrumewnt. Well up to now, it seems all okay, but during the 1930s Oscar Aleman didn't visit Argentina - he lived, almost the complete decade, in France. So - he could never have played that instrument in some thirties Buenos Aires nightclub. If Jonathan Kellerman has a cassette tape with the song Besame Mucho he refers to the only known recording by Oscar, September 1943 in Buenos Aires, which he recorded with his Quinteto de Swing. Oscar plays on that record an ordinary wooden guitar ( View the picture of the 1940s Quinteto de Swing). So, Jonathan Kellerman suggests things that seem to be inconsistent with what I said before.

Well, it learns ....... never believe a novel writer - he has the freedom to change the truth ..... Although ... I guess I read the book this winter ........ it looks great !! Label of Odeon 45885 with Besame Mucho.

This contribution will also be posted at the Keep Swinging web log as Flesh and Blood and in Dutch as Vlees en Bloed later.

Keep swinging

Hans Koert


Blogger Jo said...

Interesting facts according this fiction, indeed. Well, the thriller genre never appealed much to me, not even as a movie. Anyway, I was thrilled to learn that you finally found the book, coincidences seem to be the 'natural' way of discovering new things regarding OA. That's like it ought to be!

1:42 PM  

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