I hesitated to even write this article as I thought it smacked of braggadocio. But it’s less about showing off and more about gratitude, maybe, and a celebration of the Vintage Leisure community. This is obviously a group of people who are interested in the things of the past – as I am – and want to read and learn more about the singers, actors, movies, books and albums of the middle of the Twentieth Century. And it’s confirmation that I may provide something of a service.
Regular visitors to SoulRide will know that I often write about things about which not a whole lot can be found on the internet. Bless all of the bloggers that write about Gone With the Wind and Joan Crawford but I often think that so much is already known and is available about certain things from the past that it’s hard to add anything to, say, Cary Grant or Casablanca that we don’t already know.
Here at SoulRide I won’t presume that I can tell you anything new about John Wayne, for example. My jam here is more along the lines of Jack Lord and Gardner McKay. Unknown films from the past like The Take and books you may have missed like, say, The Last Musical Hurrah or Wolfman Jack’s autobiography.
I also like to pinpoint coolness; illustrate to any visiting reader that there is many interesting things to know about Sinatra’s album with Jobim or a specific 3-year span in the career of the Osmonds or some deep cuts from Elvis Presley or uncovering info I’ve stumbled on about people like the lady from Toronto who was the first to voice Wonder Woman. There’s even a story about some holes in the ground in Texas. All of these topics are presented with what I think is an interesting connection to the things of the past that give many of us a lot of joy.
Lastly, I hope this article reaches people who have not spent much time at SoulRide and I hope this serves as an invitation. I hope people will follow this blog to not miss any of the fun and to get my take on why Frankie Avalon is cool or read info on the sad demise of Eric Fleming or get lucid study on specific aspects of the work of those I focus on here, namely Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley and the Beach Boys.
I’ve been happy to have readers comment because I learn from them and comments encourage discussion which should be what it’s all about. So, I’ll encourage you to comment if you do stop by and read an article. It’s with humility I say that I think I fill in the blanks here at SoulRide where I don’t specialize in Barbara Stanwyck but, hey, have you heard of Kathrine Baumann? You haven’t? Well, have I got a story for you!
I thought I’d lay some numbers on you as I am a “stats guy” from way back. So, this may be kinda more for me than you but it may also work like peer pressure. When I break down the number of visitors I’ve had and the number of countries they hail from, it may make you wanna hop on and join in. This is my way of saying “C’mon! Everybody’s doing it!”
COUNTRIES: 109, including Estonia, the United Arab Emirates, Guernsey, Kazakhstan, Macau SAR China, Bahrain, Uzbekistan, Moldova, American Samoa and two countries I’ve literally never heard of; Niue, and the Marshall Islands.
TOP COUNTRIES: No surprises in that most of my readers come from, in order, the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and Australia but the Top Ten also includes the Netherlands, Spain, Germany and Israel.
TOP POSTS OF THE YEAR
10. “Shu-Bop”: The Lost Track (240 views) – One I wrote in 2019, this article is near and dear to me. Ron Norwood of Friend of SoulRide The Doo-Wop Express radio station read this one and signed me up to write the monthly blog for his website. This year, I noticed that an internet discussion group discovered this article and conversed back and forth about it. This was rewarding for me because it confirmed that, for some of the subjects I tackle here, my articles are some of the few places on the internet you can go for info. Additionally, often all the info available on the net on a given subject is collected for my articles – so I have done the digging for you.
9. Check This Out: The Lennon Sisters (262) – This is another from 2019 but from the last day of that year. Perhaps here’s another good example of me collecting info from various sources and compiling them in one place. People searching for info on this venerable family institution need go to only one place for all the skinny.
8. Check This Out: Gardner McKay (279) – Written in the spring of 2020 just as the world was shutting down, I was happy to pay homage to a cool dude and to his show, Adventures in Paradise. Another deep cut and all the info you need is here at SoulRide.
7. King Movies: Live a Little, Love a Little (291) – Again, you may be able to find ample info on, say, Jailhouse Rock but I was happy to present an article on this hidden gem for Elvis Week in January of 2019. It’s no surprise that Elvis articles get a lot of hits owing to his worldwide fan base. Thanks to the rabid and plentiful fans that populate the various Facebook groups devoted to the King. What they may lack in discernment they make up for in enthusiasm.
6. The Truth About Jan and Dean (319) – I’m glad this 2019 article is getting read – I just hope it’s understood. After I published it, I felt a little funny about it. After all, readers could look at it as a slam on this revered Southern California duo but I hope my love for them comes through. Actually, this post represents another theme I like to present at SoulRide and that is love for a subject while still being able to critique them honestly.
5. A Leisurely Look @ Jack Lord (340) – Another one that takes me back to the spring of 2020. It started out as a less-comprehensive Check This Out article as I simply wanted to tell people how cool Jack Lord is. As I researched, it became clear that a more in-depth look was called for. Writing this one put me in contact with the on-line world of devoted Jack Lord fans and was written while I made my way through Season Six of Hawaii Five-O so good memories for me. Handy that Jack had a connection to Elvis, too.
4. The Greatest Album Ever (Under 30 Minutes)  – I was happy to kill two birds here; write an article on one of my favourite albums ever and present some thoughts on Frank Sinatra in time for the anniversary of his death. I’m sure I lured some readers to my site from an FS Facebook group with this one.
3. The Ping Girl: The Story of Carole Landis (595) – One of the flagship articles of this site, I wrote about the tragic life of actress Carole Landis in 2018, actually, and it’s still getting read. Just about every month since I published it, it has been read at least once and it is the 5th most-read article I’ve ever published. I will always cherish the memory of researching and writing it as it was an early example for me of really digging in and learning about a subject. And also of being genuinely affected by that subject. I’m happy, too, that I have sent a lot of readers to the premiere site devoted to Landis, carolelandis.net.
2. The Top Ten Elvis Presley Songs You’ve Never Heard (771) – This one took off like a late freight and ended up being my second most-read article although I published it at the mid-way point of the year. I understand that many from the aforementioned EP FB groups would be interested in reading this but I’m at a loss, really, to understand where other readers are coming from. I’m amazed at the visitors I get and often wonder if someone somewhere is adding the link to their sites. I discovered that a link to this article had been added to a Danish site devoted to Presley.
A Taste of White Mormon R&B: In Defence of the Osmonds – 975 views
What a fun article this was to write. Another good example of the deep dives I like to take. While there’s nothing “hidden” about the super-popular Osmond family, I chose to highlight one brief era in their career and present it as proof that the family had not only immense talent but was also unique and pretty cool. The big lesson I learned from writing about the Osmonds has to do with their fanbase. Judging solely by the “Anything Osmond” Facebook group and its 30,000 members, the devotion of these fans rivals even that of fans of Presley. It has been fun to be part of the group and watch how they honour these guys – and girl – and share with each other their memories but also any current news regarding the Osmond family and their countless descendants. While I wrote this article in defence of the Osmonds, I learned that their legacy is being defended daily by thousands of fans the world over.
I could not have reached the readers I did in 2020 without the help of many Friends of SoulRide who have shared links to my articles throughout the year. Koop Kooper and his Cocktail Nation radio show and website has been invaluable in this regard. Not only has he featured me for the last two years on his show presenting book recommendations on Words With Wellsy but he also has shared my articles on his online Lounge Life Magazine. Many thanks to my man. With George Fairbrother I share a love of the Beach Boys and Elvis Presley, particularly King’s sojourn through the 1970’s. Another avid sharer of my work, George and I hope to join forces in 2021 in an effort to understand Presley’s life and work through the last seven-or-so years of his life and to share our thoughts with you. Fellow Canadian Paddy Lee has been gracious enough to share links to my articles on Old Hollywood at her excellent website caftanwoman.com. I would be remiss if I did not direct you to her wonderful site that is chock full of articles on the wonderful old films many of us cherish. These three people I wanted to highlight but there have been many others who have connected with me on social media and have thereby drawn attention to my work. Sure, I’d like to be known throughout the world as the premiere purveyor of the study of Vintage Leisure but I also enjoy the fraternity of the folks I’ve discovered through a mutual love of all things mid-century. Perhaps a small group but a tight knit group of nice people that allow social media to do what it is supposed to.
Thank you very much for stopping by, reading and commenting throughout 2020. Click “Follow” so you don’t miss any of the kicks we’re sure to have during this new year.