Sunday, April 29, 2018

Republicans Attain A New Low As Praying For The Poor Becomes A Firing Offense

(TPM reported on May 3 that Father Conroy has rescinded his resignation.
As hostile acts go, it did not seem to be in the same league as Kim Jong-un reneging on a peace deal or Vladimir Putin ordering the poisoning of a defector spy, but for Republicans it was enough to send House Chaplain Patrick J. Conroy packing.   
It seems that in Republican eyes the right reverend had sinned when, in a prayer last November as the House took up the $1.5 trillion tax "reform" bill, he prayed for the bill's chief advocate, House Speaker Paul Ryan, and other lawmakers to "guarantee that there are not winners and losers under new tax laws, but benefits balanced and shared by all Americans." 
Although it took awhile, Ryan has now fired Father Conroy because he prayed for the poor.  And the hungry, the powerless, the jobless, the fearful, the disabled and the victims of prejudice.  
Call Father Conroy's banishment from the temple of the Greatest Deliberative Body in the World what you want, but I call it a God Job.  Because in one fell swoop, Republicans not only exposed themselves for the hypocritical thugs they are, but they laid bare the historic anti-Catholic bias shared by many Americans who do not look to Rome for spiritual guidance, the virulent anti-Catholicism that permeates the perverted belief system of Evangelical Christians (which is to say Republicans), while gifting Democrats a pungent is somewhat ephemeral issue on which to campaign this fall in Rust Belt election districts with substantial Catholic populations that voted for Donald Trump in 2016.  
Meanwhile, there was a run on Shakespeare analogies, notably Thomas Becket's immortal words in the Bard's Henry II: "Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?" which the king uttered just before a posse of his soldiers decapitated the politically vexsome archbishop of Canterbury.      
Father Conroy, whose head has remained intact, said that Ryan told him shortly after his November homily, "Padre, you just got to stay out of politics."   The right reverend did not get the message, and in subsequent months had the temerity to pray to God that lawmakers would:
Help "the least among us." 
Follow the example of St.Nicholas, "who fed the hungry, brought hope to the imprisoned, gave comfort to the lost." 
"Serve other people in their need." 
"Pray for the unemployed and those who work but still struggle to make ends meet." 
Work for "peace and reconciliation where those virtues are so sorely needed." 
In dealing with immigration, "be mindful of those whom they represent who possess little or no power." 
Be "free of all prejudice." 
After the Parkland, Florida school shooting, to "fulfill the hopes of those who long for peace and security for their children."  
And on Friday morning, in the well of the House for one of his last prayers before his banishment takes effect, Father Conroy prayed "for all people who have special needs" and "those who are sick" and for those "who serve in this House to be their best selves." 
The first congressional chaplain, Jacob Duché, was appointed in 1774 by the newly formed Continental Congress to promote civil discourse on the legislative floor.  The position has endured for the last 244 years as a nonpartisan tradition, and lawmakers have come to expect a chaplain's prayers at the start of each day's work.  
Until now. 
Ryan, himself a Catholic, is almost as famous for unforced errors as the Big Guy (Donald Trump, not God), but he outdid himself in telling legislators who objected to Father Conroy's ouster after seven years of innocuous bead fingering that unspecified complaints about the fathers "pastoral care and not politics" led to his ouster. 
It turns out this is not unfamiliar territory for Ryan. 
Growing up in Janesville, Wisconsin, Ryan reportedly left the church where he had been baptized and had gone to grade school for a different parish across town when an outspoken and socially conscious priest took over.  Later in life, of course, he ditched Jesus and his church's teachings altogether for Saint Ayn Rand.
Of 148 members of the House who signed a letter to Ryan demanding answers on why he ousted Father Conroy for praying for compassion, just one was a Republican. 
Father Conroy was nonplussed. 
"I've never been talked to about being political in seven years," he said.  " If you are a hospital chaplain, you are going to pray about health.  If you are a chaplain of Congress, you are going to pray about what Congress is doing." 
The flap over who should be lawmakers' religious counselor exposed long-simmering tensions between Roman Catholics and Evangelical Christians, who slavishly support Trump despite his extramarital affairs and multitude of other sins.   
(By my count, Trump has violated at least seven of the Ten Commandments, but then who's counting?) 
Representative Mark Walker, a North Carolina Republican, co-chairman of the Congressional Prayer Caucus and a Baptist minister, helpfully brought the controversy to a boil in saying that he hoped the next chaplain of the House might come from a nondenominational church tradition "who could relate to members with wives and children."   
Which would kind of rule out Catholic priests, let alone liberal Jesuits like Father Conroy.     
"This will have ramifications," Jones speechified.  "This is bigger than Father Conroy and the House of Representatives.  This is about religion in America."
Despite the constitutionally mandated separation of church and state, Jones, his fellow Republicans in general and Evangelicals in particular have been trying to ram religion down our throats for years in demanding that public school prayer be legalized, faith-based political action groups be tax exempt and employers be permitted to hide behind their religion in refusing to pay for employee benefits that include reproductive health care. 
But for God's sake keep religion out of their own house . . . er, House.   
The best spin I can put on the affair is that Ryan axed Father Conroy because of his pique over the general unpopularity of the tax bill beyond board rooms and country clubs.  The House leader figures that Republicans are going to lose big in November, and heaven forbid that Democrats get to choose the next House chaplain. 
After all, he might be a Muslim.

Richard Codor's Cartoon du Jour

Thursday, April 26, 2018

It Was Another Big Week For Putin's Useful Idiot. 'Fox & Friends' Sure Thought So.

And so the curtain crashes down on another frighteningly bizarre week in the improbable presidency of Vladimir Putin's "useful idiot," which is a Russian term for an unwitting collaborator. 
Donald Trump is a useful idiot because of how hard he is working to undermine American democratic institutions in service of knocking the U.S. from its perch and returning Russia to the Soviet Union's Cold War glory.  In the week almost passed the man will the small hands and peculiar hair and his clown car wrecking crew undermined like crazy. 
Yes, Trump's nomination of the government vehicle-totaling, pill pushing Ronny "Doctor Feelgood" Jackson to ruin . . . er, run the Veterans Administration crashed and burned and Environmental hitman and high flyer Scott Pruitt unconvincingly blamed everyone but himself in a star turn before two congressional committees in explaining where are nearly a dozen ethics investigation targeting the EPA and himself. 
Trump took a pass on Pruitt, but blamed "those Democrats" for Jackson's substance abuse problems, which included handing out opioids like they were Skittles to the president's staff, and who knows, maybe . . .    
No matter.  Beyond setbacks for two creeps whom Trump has repeatedly called his "best people," he continued his attacks on the intelligence community and Justice Department with nary a whimper from a congressional sycophancy that claims to be Republican yet hardly resembles the Republicans of yore who were all for law and order and all against Moscow.   
Attorney General Jeff Sessions, whom Trump calls "Mr. Magoo" when not calling him worse or threatening to fire him, said maybe he wasn't recusing himself from the federal investigation into Michael Cohen, who himself was unceremoniously demoted from Trump's longtime fixer to coffee boy as the week ground on.   
Then Trump suffered a Category Five brain fart in suddenly remembering the 130 grand Cohen paid porn star Stormy Daniels to hush up the affair that he had misremembered in repeatedly saying he knew nothing about, having told reporters aboard Air Force One just the other day that he didn't know that Cohen had paid Clifford, didn't know where the money had come from, but was sure that "no campaign funds" were involved.   
Besides which, the affair never happened.   
But in what arguably was the week's show stopper, Trump rang up his comrades Steve Doocy, Ainsley Earhardt and Brian Kilmeade at Fox and Friends to peddle his latest round of falsehoods and pretty much seal the case that he's completely out of his mind. 
In what Esquire's Charles Pierce charitably called an "episode," Trump threatened to bring the Justice Department under his personal control, ranted about the rank dishonesty of the news media, seemed to endorse the popular vote over the Electoral College, whined yet again about Hillary Clinton, and explained that Abraham Lincoln had been a Republican, which "people don't realize."  
And that was just for openers. 
In a comment that had to have lawyerly heads exploding all over the drapes in the West Wing, Trump said that although he is currently choosing not to interfere in the investigation into Russian interference on his behalf in the 2016 election, he may change his mind and get involved although Russia never did that bad stuff.   
The bad stuff that never happened nevertheless has become a "witch hunt" being carried out by Mr. Magoo's Justice Department in the person of Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller, whom he also has threatened to fire, with a rear guard action by former FBI Director James Comey, whom he did fire and whose recently published A Higher Loyalty, a memwow of his interactions with the president, already has sold a million copies.
"Because of the fact [the investigation] is going on, and I think you will understand this, I have decided I won't be involved," he told Fox and Friends before prattling on that "I may change my mind at some point.  Because what's going on is a disgrace." 
"It is all lies and it is a horrible thing that is going on, a horrible thing," Trump continued as he lurched into a staccato burst of falsehoods. "Yet I have accomplished with all of this going on more than any president in the first year in our history.  Everybody, even the enemies and haters admit that.  We have accomplished more than any president in the first year by far."  
Oh, and besides bringing up the Moscow Pee Tapes for the umpteenth time, as he repeatedly did unsolicited with Comey while finally admitting he did overnight in Moscow in 2013, he also -- cue more lawyerly heads exploding on drapes -- effectively undermined the notion that his communications with Cohen are protected by executive privilege, so the FBI he loves to hate can presumably have at it. 
"Michael is in business. He's really a businessman, a fairly big business as I understand it, I don’t know his business," Trump opined in a Sarah Palin-esque word salad that laid bare his obliviousness.  "But this doesn't have to do with me. Michael is a businessman, he's got a business.  He also practices law, I would say probably the big thing is his business, and they're looking at something having to do with his business.  I have nothing to do with his business." 
That is absolutely true if you overlook the copiously documented fact that Cohen was the key intermediary between the Trump Organization and a dazzling roster of money launderers and other creeps, many of them not coincidentally Russians, for over a decade.  
While Trump was waxing on about what a hale fellow Cohen is, Earhardt veered off script and inconveniently asked, "Then why is he pleading the Fifth?" rather than expose himself to being deposed in Stormy's lawsuit against him. 
"Because he’s got other things," Trump replied. 
When Kilmead pointed out that Cohen happens to be Trump's attorney and asked how much of his legal work Cohen handles, he replied: 
"As a percentage of my overall legal work, a tiny, tiny little fraction.  But Michael would represent me and represent me on some things.  He represents me like with this crazy Stormy Daniels deal, he represented me, and you know, from what I see, he did absolutely nothing wrong . . . I'm not involved." 
Underscoring Trump's non pareil ability to get himself in trouble, federal prosecutors in Manhattan filed court documents less than two hours later citing Trump's "tiny little fraction" remark to bolster their claim that most of the documents seized from Cohen in FBI raids are not privileged. 
Heck, let's give the poor guy the benefit of the doubt.   
It was Melania's birthday, no less, but Trump seems to have forgotten to give the Big White Hat anything beyond a card, explaining to the Fox gang that he had gotten "in trouble" since "maybe I didn't get her so much."    
Kilmead appeared to be cutting Trump off, pointing out, "We could talk all day, but looks like you have a million things to do."  (For the record, Trump had a typically light schedule with only one event listed for the day.) 
The impression lingers that the shellshocked Fox crew, sensing that "Donald From D.C." was digging a pretty big hole for himself, was anxious to return to "normal" programming.     
After all, the president of the United States was having a tough week.  Maybe Dr. Jackson's meds were wearing off even if it was only 8:45 in the morning.  As Doocy opined after Trump rang off, "You know, I think he was awake. He had a lot to say!"

Click HERE for a comprehensive timeline of the Russia scandal
and related developments. 

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Bob Dorough (December 12, 1923 ~ April 23, 2018)

(Bob Dorough has been posthumously named a 2019 NEA Jazz Master.) 
If you include the rhythms Bob Dorough beat out on his highchair tray back in Cherry Hill, Arkansas as a toddler, the bebop jazz legend and lifelong hipster composed, arranged and performed music for an extraordinary 10 decades.    
That seems like an awfully long time until you consider that one of the things that makes jazz so special, which is to say so timelessly vibrant, is that its elders never stop playing and giving back, and the youngsters -- the sensible ones, anyway -- always are eager to learn from them.  
My first face-to-face meeting with Bob was in a booth at a greasy spoon near his home in the Pocono Mountains of northeastern Pennsylvania, and while we did eventually get around to talking music, the reason for the sitdown was that he had been good friends with a guy about whom I was writing a book.    
The reason I was writing this particular book was that the guy, a popular bar owner and community do-gooder, had the misfortune of being hacked to death by an ax-wielding madman whom the police had never been particularly interested in finding -- and so didn't.  This is because the guy was . . . well, from the wrong side of the tracks and hung out with low lifes like bikers and hippies and jazz musicians like Bob.  That's how the justice system works in those parts. 
It is a testament to Bob's good naturedness that he maintained the kind of grin that so many sweet eccentrics have through a couple cups of diner joe and some buttered toast although he obviously was uncomfortable discussing this unfortunate slicing and dicing.  
He was a youthful 79 when we first spoke and was wearing his gray hair in a ponytail. Which he always did.   
What I didn't know at the time was that my book -- The Bottom of the Fox: A True Story of Love, Devotion & Cold-Blooded Murder -- would touch him deeply, so deeply that he penned a song with an eponymous title that he debuted at a jazz festival in 2010 and put on one of his zillion albums. 
It is not often that we brush shoulders with greatness, let alone become friends with someone so great, but Bob and his wonderful wife Sally and my love Deborah and I did just that.  
Bob Dorough left this mortal coil on April 23 surrounded by family and friends at his Mount Bethel, Pennsylvania home.  He was 94.
Aralee Dorough, Steve Berger, Pat O'Leary, Bob Dorough 
It was a hallmark of that 10-decade career that many people heard Bob over the years but didn't know it.    
Although he played with Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis, Stan Getz and Gil Evans, among other jazz legends, he may hold the world record for uncredited appearances on jazz albums, although he is best unknown as a voice and primary composer of most of the songs in the Schoolhouse Rock! canon.   
In 1971, with jazz money running slow and low, Bob was asked by his boss at the advertising company where he had a day job to set the multiplication tables to music.  His boss cited his children's ability to remember rock song lyrics, but not their school lessons.  That, in turn led to Bob's run on the popular ABC series of educational animated shorts appearing on Saturday morning television in the 1970s and 1980s.  Among his masterful compositions, which my then young kids and millions of others soaked up with sponge-like enthusiasm, were "My Hero, Zero," "Three Is a Magic Number" and my own fave, "Conjunction Junction."  
Conjunction Junction, what's your function?
Hooking up words and phrases and clauses
In complex sentences like:
"In the mornings, when I am usually wide awake,
I love to take a walk through the gardens and down by the lake,
Where I often see a duck and a drake,
And I wonder as I walk by
Just what they'd say if they could speak,
Although I know that's an absurd thought." 
Opined People magazine in 2016: "Not to unduly shame the American education system, but chances are Bob Dorough has had more of an impact on grammar fluency than any other individual in the 20th century." 
The New York Times honored Bob not only with a fulsome obituary, but with a second story devoted to his "Schoolhouse Rock!" masterpieces. 
"For the generation who learned more about math, grammar, history and civics from the interstitial cartoons on . . . 'Schoolhouse Rock!' than they would care to admit, Bob Dorough was one of the most integral influences of their formative years — even if they didn’t know his name," wrote Steve Kandler.   "He was a jazz musician, composer and singer, and the mastermind behind dozens of educational earwigs primarily in the '70s and '80s -- a man who understood that the best way to trick children into learning was to wrap lessons inside irresistible, frequently funky ditties." 
Many jazz fans first heard Bob a few years earlier.  And of course didn't know it.   
That was because producer Teo Macero never credited him as a piano player on Monk's popular Monk album, which was released in 1957.   
Gary Giddins also notes in a wonderful Village Voice profile that Bob's is the "high-pitched, nerdy male voice singing a 115-second [uncredited] panegyric, 'Nothing Like You,' backed by winds and bongos" on trumpeter Miles's Sorcerer. 
Bob released his first album, Devil May Care, in 1956.  It contained a version of "Yardbird Suite" with lyrics by Bob over the famous Charlie Parker song.  Miles liked the album, so when Columbia asked him to record a Christmas song in 1962, he turned to Bob for lyrics and singing duties. 
"Bob?  Bob Dorough?  This is Miles, Miles Davis," Bob would croak in recalling the career-altering phone call from the trumpet master.  "I want you to write me a Christmas song." 
The result was a downbeat tune that fit Miles's famously sour demeanor like a glove.  It was called "Blue Xmas, (To Whom It May Concern)" making Bob one of the few musicians with a vocal performance on Miles's 100-plus albums.  
Blue Christmas, that's the way you see it when you're feeling blue
Blue Xmas, when you're blue at Christmastime
you see right through,
All the waste, all the sham, all the haste
and plain old bad taste

Sidewalk Santy Clauses are much, much, much too thin
They're wearing fancy rented costumes, false beards and big fat phony grins
And nearly everybody's standing round holding out their empty hand or tin cup
Gimme gimme gimme gimme, gimme gimme gimme
Fill my stocking up
All the way up
It's a time when the greedy give a dime to the needy
Blue Christmas, all the paper, tinsel and the fal-de-ral
Blue Xmas, people trading gifts that matter not at all
What I call
Bitter gall.......Fal-de-ral
"Devil May Care" probably comes as close to a Bob Dorough signature song as any.  
When the day is through, I suffer no regrets
I know that he who frets, loses the night
For only a fool, thinks he can hold back the dawn
He was wise to never tries to revise what's past and gone
Live love today, love come tomorrow or May
Don't even stop for a sigh, it doesn't help if you cry
That's how I live and I'll die
Devil may care
You can't listen to a jazz radio station for even a day without hearing "Devil May Care," if not sung by Bob himself, then covered by Diane Krall, Jamie Cullum or Miles himself. In all, the song has been recorded by nearly 60 artists and groups.   
While Bob's piano chops were admirable, his nonpareil ability to interpret lyrics was his trademark.  This includes what is known as vocalese, the singing of lyrics written for melodies that were originally instrumental compositions, usually entirely in syllables. (Think Cab CallowayAl Jarreau and Bob's contemporary, longtime friend and junior by 10 years, Dave Frishberg.) 
Writing about Beginning To See the Light, Bob's 1976 album, Giddins notes: 
"Jazz musicians usually come a cropper when they try to get down with rock tunes; yet Dorough begins with 'Don't Think Twice, It's All Right' in a version I prefer to Dylan's. The rhythm is exactly right, but what locks it down for me is the way he phrases 'Don't think twice, baby, that's all right' -- the last three words emitted in a rapid bullfrog croak."  
Indeed, Bob's voice was something of an acquired taste.   
"Anyone who’s ever taken a singing lesson resents the hell out of Bob Dorough for having the nerve to pass himself off as a vocalist," writes Will Friedwald in Jazz Singing (1990). 
How Bob became a headliner is a story in itself, and one that befits an eccentric.    
Robert Lrod (pronounced Elrod) Dorough was born on Dec. 12, 1923 (the same birth day as vocalists Frank Sinatra and Joe Williams) in Cherry Hill, Arkansas.  His father, Robert, was a salesman, and his mother, Alma Lewis Dorough, worked for the Singer sewing machine company. 
Bob studied violin and piano as a child.  His family moved to rural Plainview, Texas, where he played clarinet in the high school band, and he never completely lost his Lone Star twang.   
He majored in band music at Texas Tech University and in 1943 was called up in the draft, but was declared unfit for combat due to a punctured eardrum (ha!) and assigned to a special services band, an experience that fortunately did not dull his enthusiasm for music. 
Bob moved to New York City in 1949. 
He was playing piano in a Times Square tap dance studio when he was introduced to Sugar Ray Robinson, for my money the greatest boxer of all time, who had temporarily left the ring and was putting together a song and dance revue.  Bob became the revue's music director and traveled with it throughout the U.S. and Europe.  
"I used to hang out a little bit with Dizz," Bob said of that era and trumpet great Dizzy Gillespie.  "That's when I could stay up late." 
Bob left Robinson in Paris and lived there for two years, recording with singer Blossom Dearie, with whom he long collaborated, before moving to Los Angeles where he gigged around, including playing between sets for comedian Lenny Bruce. 
Daughter Aralee was only a few years out of her own highchair when Bob escaped Long Island City, a gritty New York City suburb, for a farmhouse in Mount Bethel, a quaint village near Delaware Water Gap, which is even quainter although it does boast a traffic light.  The Gap is home to the Deer Head Inn, the oldest continually running jazz club in the U.S. and a wonderfully organic embodiment of the notion of the older cats sharing their magic with the younguns, who mature into older cats themselves and in turn share with the latest up and comers.  And have been doing so for over 60 years. 
The biggest reason for Bob's move was so Aralee could start first grade and grow up in a bucolic setting, and this altruistic act was to have unexpectedly wonderful consequences beyond her becoming a great musician in her own right and eventually principal flautist of the world renowned Houston Symphony.    
The Poconos at one time probably had more jazz clubs per capita than anyplace anywhere, a happy consequence of the area's resort industry and one man -- Bob Newman, who had played in Woody Herman's Thundering Herd big band before becoming music director at Mt. Airy Lodge, a gig he held down for most of the 1960s and 70s.    
Newman put together fabulous house bands that would back the biggest stars of the era, many of whom would play Mt. Airy and other big resorts on a Saturday night and then appear on The Ed Sullivan Show in New York City the next night.  Those were the days.  
A musician leaving Mt. Airy to return to New York had to drive by the Deer Head to get to the Portland Bridge and Route 46, the main drag between the Delaware River and the Lincoln Tunnel before Interstate 80 cleaved the heart out of the region, and they would stop in and jam until the cows came home with the immortal John Coates Jr. and other Deer Head regulars.  (It was at pianist Coates's knee that an up and comer by the name of Keith Jarrett cut his jazz teeth.)  
Dorough, who of course played in Newman's house band at Mt. Airy, was one of the first musicians to move to the area from New York, arriving in the early 1960s.    
The trickle was to turn into a flood that included tenor saxophonist Al Cohn, trombonist Urbie Green, pianist-vocalist  Frishberg, bassists Steve Gilmore and Russ Savakus, woodwind artist George Young, keyboard player Wolfgang Knittel, and drummers Bud Nealy and Bill Goodwin.  Goodwin played with alto sax great Phil Woods, first lived in the attic of Dorough's house when he moved to the Poconos, and eventually lured Woods to the Gap.  
Bob co-wrote "Comin' Home Baby," a Top-40 hit for Mel Tormé in the early 1960s, and produced two albums for Spanky and Our Gang, adding jazz-influenced arrangements to their folky sound.  He acted occasionally and appeared in an episode of the television western "Have Gun -- Will Travel" in 1959.   He has influenced a goodly number of musicians, including blues-jazz improviser Mose Alison and singer-songwriter-comedian Nellie McKay. 
Says the congenitally waggish McKay: "Lou Reed's idea of hell would be to sit in heaven with Bob Dorough," referencing the famously cantankerous New York rocker.
Bob's deep sense of humility and good naturedness was genuine.  That sweet eccentricity I first encountered 15 years ago was not a prop that he would put away when he was off stage.   His wonderfully sung homage to Deborah and I at the Deer Head a while back -- I had requested Duke Ellington's semi-obscure "Flamingo" when he asked how he might help celebrate our anniversary  -- always will be a special moment. 
Typical Bob: He called me on a New Years Day a couple years ago to make sure he had our correct mailing address so he could mail us a copy of his then brand-new Live at the Deer Head Inn album, which happened to be recorded on December 12, 2015, his 92nd birthday.  (We had missed the CD release party because we were at the Blue Note in New York City for Chick Corea's birthday party; he was only 75.) 
Typical Bob: "He would call me and say something like 'I'm coming to town to see an old friend.  Wanna come with me?' " says Steve Berger, Bob's longtime guitar player.  "We'd end up at somebody's place.  Always a piano.  Somebody who needed a little cheering up. Someone who wasn't feeling so well."    
Munich-based saxophonist and composer-producer Michael Hornstein, who toured in Europe with Bob, remembers meeting him for the first time: 

"I landed at JFK in New York, but Bob was not there waiting for me.  He was, which was typical for a jazz musician of that time, tremendously late.  And he looked completely different than what I had pictured him to look like.  I had expected a stylish hipster in a suit, something like the guys on the covers of the albums I owned.  What I saw instead was a hippie with a pony tail and nearly tattered clothes.  We drove through New York, which wasn’t looking pretty at the time, and New Jersey to his house in Mount Bethel.  Bob and his [second] wife Corine (the sister of my godmother) hosted me with generosity and warmth, that I had not experienced before.  There was always something happening.  Every day Bob and I played together in his living room.  Only in hindsight do I understand how patient he was with me." 
Recalls longtime WBGO announcer Michael Bourne:  
"Bob Dorough was the first jazz singer I enjoyed. I was heavily into Brubeck in the ‘60s, but not yet singers.  One of my college housemates owned Bob's Bethlehem album Devil May Care — with Bob looking out from a whirl of orange on the cover.  I traded (I can't remember what) for it and I was immediately delighted by it.

"I'd never heard anyone sing "Old Devil Moon" (or any song) like Bob.  Funny.  Swinging. I was just learning what the words 'hip' and 'cool' meant.  Bob was definitively hip. . . . I never imagined back then that I'd ever be playing that scratchy LP on the radio. Or that I'd get to know him.  And get to be friends with him."   
"Who else could turn the number eight into a heart-breaking ballad?" wrote Lindsay Parker at Yahoo! Entertainment in a tribute to Bob's pedagogical gifts.  "Who could turn zero into a hero?  The number seven into a plucky trickster rabbit, the number nine into a pool-hustling tabby cat, and a conjunction into a railroad boxcar traversing a land where train-hopping vagabonds and curious ducks uttered compound sentences?" 
Bob's first marriage, to singer Jacqueline Wright, ended in divorce.  His second wife, the former Corine Oeser, who had been a dancer, died in 1986. 
Survivors include his wife of 25 years, the former Sally Shanley; daughter Aralee, her husband Colin Gatwood and their son, Corin; two stepsons, Christopher Wolf and Peter Wolf; a brother; 12 nieces and nephews; a multitude of great-nieces and nephews and great-great-nieces and nephews, "and more friends and fans than we can number," as Aralee so beautifully put it in a tribute to her father in the Pocono Record. 
Bob's last performance at the Deer Head was on March 31.  He played a hometown family concert in Mount Bethel on April 8. 
Berger, who had toured the world with Bob since the early 1980s, first heard him play with Bill Takas on April 1, 1979 at Barge Music, a club on what was literally a barge beneath the Brooklyn Bridge.  
"I called him this April 1st to tell him it was our 39th anniversary. He said "It is????!!!!' As enthusiastic as always. 
"He was my best friend.  Father.  Teacher.  Boss. . . . I only saw him get a little unhappy with me once.  If he did get angry, he would turn it into understanding and love.  
"Thirty-five years later.  Trips together around the world later.  Many hundreds of gigs, festivals and thousands of hours of rehearsal, music lessons and hanging later, I say, 'Thanks, Bob.  I'll see you in a minute.' " 
To which Berger added:
"There was this really cool guy two thousand years ago that a few people followed.  A whole bunch of people have been waiting for him to come back, but they missed it.  Bob was it."   
Bob Dorough was not wont to ruminate on his age. 
"Everybody knows that I'm old," he said not long ago before launching into an especially introspective cover of "September Song." 
"I guess I'm a little past September," Bob said after the song.  "Late October, November maybe.  When I reach my December, I'll keep on keeping on." 
Borrowing a line from the Beatles' "With a Little Help From My Friends," Bob once said that his goal in life was "to sing you a song and have you not walk out on me."  In that our huckleberry friend succeeded extraordinarily well, touching so many lives with his joy and good cheer. 
 Bob Dorough with Deborah Olson, Your Faithful Scribe and Rick Chamberlain