A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from April 26, 2005
“Lock ‘em up”/“Hellview of Bellevue” (1961); “For You” (1973)
Jazz great Charles Mingus (1922-1979) recorded "Hellview of Bellevue" (also titled, "Lock 'em up") in 1960. He was actually locked up there.

In 1973's album Greetings From Asbury Park, N. J., a young Bruce Springsteen would sing briefly about Bellevue in "For You."

Crawl into my ambulance, your pulse is getting weak
reveal yourself all now to me girl while you've got the strength to speak
Cause they're waiting for you at Bellevue with their oxygen masks
But I could give it all to you now if only you could ask
And don't call for your surgeon even he says it's too late
It's not your lungs this time, it's your heart that holds your fate

The third and last song here, "Lock 'Em Up" - originally titled "Hellview of Bellevue" - is a reference to Mingus' stint at the infamous New York hospital. It's an intense and intensely personal number, full of anguished voices and dissonance, and it hits the listener with all the verity of personal experience.

The larger band is brought out again, but this time they are playing an example of true Mingus madness. Indeed, the inspiration for "Lock 'Em Up (Hellview of Bellvue)" came when Mingus ill-advisedly knocked on the front door of the Bellvue mental hospital, hoping to get some relief for some minor malaise and found himself committed, necessitating a rescue by some of his friends. The song explodes in angry, chaotic frenzy, and acts as a precursor to some of the off-the-wall music that Mingus had in his future. Combined, the three tracks on Mingus make for some solid listening, even if it lacks moments of true greatness. -- Stacia Proefrock, AMG

What is it about Bellevue and your artist types? Bellevue hospital, howled around by the best minds of Ginsberg's generation. Bellevue, Charlie Parker's last hospital - he checked in after an attempt to check out of life a year before heart failure, pneumonia, and cirrhosis of the liver did the job for him. Where Caitlin McNamara Thomas spent her first night in NY. And Bellevue, where, according to his extraordinary autobiography, Charles Mingus bumped into Bobby Fischer.

(OLCLC WorldCat)
Title: Mingus
Author(s): Mingus, Charles, 1922- (Performer - prf); Dolphy, Eric. ; (Performer - prf); Knepper, Jimmy,; 1927- ; (Performer - prf); Ervin, Booker. ; (Performer - prf); Curson, Ted. ; (Performer - prf); Woodman, Britt. ; (Performer - prf); Richmond, Dannie. ; (Performer - prf)
Publication: New York :; Candid,
Year: 1961
Description: 1 sound disc (40 min.) :; analog, 33 1/3 rpm, stereo. ;; 12 in.
Music Type: Jazz
Standard No: Publisher: CJS 9021; Candid
Contents: MDM (19:52) -- Stormy weather (13:25) -- Lock 'em up (6:35).
Descriptor: Jazz -- 1961-1970.
Note(s): Jazz./ Program notes by Nat Hentoff on container./ Participants: Charles Mingus, bass ; with Eric Dolphy, alto bass clarinet ; Jimmy Knepper, trombone ; Booker Ervin, tenor ; Ted Curson, trumpet ; Britt Woodman, trombone ; Dannie, Richmond, drums ; and others./ Recorded Oct. 20 and Nov. 11, 1960, New York City.
Responsibility: Charles Mingus.
Material Type: Musical recording (msr); LP recording (lps)
Document Type: Sound Recording

Posted by Barry Popik
Music/Dance/Theatre/Film/Circus • Tuesday, April 26, 2005 • Permalink

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