Say Goodby to Mr. Rhythm

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Sometimes called Mr. Rhythm, sometimes called Old Man Jazz; undisputedly “America’s Number One Song Stylist,” Frankie Laine passed away today at the age of 94. He had more than 70 charted records, 21 gold records, and worldwide sales of over 250 million disks. His list of records/songs/hits is simply unbelievable. To sum up his relevance, he was the bridge between the crooners and the early white Rock N Rollers like Elvis. It’s an era that gets largely neglected, but just talk to someone who was coming of age during late ’40′s and early 50′s and they’ll tell you about Frankie Laine, Jo Stafford and Patti Page. I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for these types of performers. How I long for just a glimpse in today’s performers of the professionalism and versatility that these guys had.

A Story About Workers

God’s kingdom is like an manager who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his warehouse. They agreed on a normal day’s wage, and went to work. Later, about 9:00 am, the manager saw some others hanging around. He told them to go to work in his warehouse and he would pay them a fair wage. They went.

He did the same thing at noon, and again at three o’clock. At five o’clock he went back and found still others standing around. He said, “Why are you standing around all day doing nothing?”

They said, “Because no one hired us.”

He told them to go to work in his warehouse.

When the day’s work was over, the manager instructed his foreman, “Call the workers in and pay them their wages. Start with the last hired and go on to the first.”

Those hired at five o’clock came up and were each given a day’s wage. When those who were hired first saw that, they assumed they would get far more. But they got the same, each of them one day’s wage. Taking the money, they groused angrily to the manager, “These last workers put in only one easy hour, and you just made them equal to us, who slaved all day under a scorching sun.”

He replied to the one speaking for the rest, “Friend, I haven’t been unfair. We agreed on the wage, didn’t we? So take it and go. I decided to give to the one who came last the same as you. Can’t I do what I want with my own money? Are you going to get stingy because I am generous?”

Again, the Great Reversal: many of the first ending up last, and the last first.