Novak (novak) wrote,

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Personal/Theological Notebook/Musical: Kevin's Book Arrives; Arthur Korb obit

Well, he did it: Kevin's book is out, and I arrived home to find it waiting for me. It's a thin little thing, but it wastes no time and no space: it goes directly to its points and so I judge that its size is a virture. More clearly could be said on all it deals with, but does not here need to be said: it leaves follow-up to other circumstances, which I think was a wise choice in letting this book try to achieve its best impact.

The Half-Truth High: Breaking the Illusions of the Most Powerful Drug In Life & Business by Kevin J. Fleming, Ph.D. (The foreward by philosopher Tom Morris is available on Kev's business website, Effective Executive Coaching.) As I said to him the other week before I left on my travels, when it had just come out, it has that fabulously satisfying feeling that we associated with putting out a CD: a work accomplished, a task completed. In some ways, he thought, it was even more intimately personal than putting music out into the public because there are so many aspects of his life and work tied up in it.

I was also more than a little curious about it, in a personal way, because I knew that in the three topics he had dealt with – half-truths in psychology, business, and religion – that the religion section drew upon me in considerable ways, though I can see our conversations in his other material as well. Our friendship has long been characterized by an ongoing conversation on spirituality and psychology, one made particularly explicit because Kevin and I are such opposites in the ways we think, that we are one another's "antiself," as it has been called. That is, we have never naturally just "got" one another and so conversation itself has been more than usually vital in our friendship. Love has always here had to work to tease out Understanding. But in truly appreciating that diversity, we both early recognized that there was an extraordinary friendship that could result if we put in that work. So, since he had told me that he had raided my emails at a number of points in working through his thoughts on those matters, I was rather curious to see what he had culled for his own use.

I was relieved to discover that he hadn't used anything that had been written in so personal or casual a way that I didn't think it would make sense to anyone other than him. (Of course, his editor and writing consultant might have flagged such for him.) In fact, my chief embarrassment was mostly in regard to some lines I thought that I could have punctuated better in order to make my point more clearly. Fortunately I tend not to get too casual in expression even in email. It'll be interesting to see what may come of all this. Talking with Erik last week, it was interesting to hear that – despite the usual paranoia – Harvard's starting to lead the way with admitting that a religiously-informed component is helpful in therapeutic settings, and there's apparently a growing interest in cross-field cooperation of the sort Kevin and I have been doing for the last several years.

In a completely unrelated matter, I read the following obituary a while ago after looking up Arthur Korb as the composer of fabulously-bad theme song from 1966 for Metamorpho, the Element Man, which I had seen referenced in a geekery note on my local comic-dealer's website. I rather liked that last quote, though....
Boston Globe
May 7, 2003

Arthur Korb, 93, a Harvard-educated Tin Pan Alley tunesmith whose works were recorded by Louis Armstrong and Patti Page, died April 16 in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where he was living in retirement.

Working at a 7-foot-long grand piano at his home in Newton, Mass., with a fountain pen poised over manuscript paper, Korb wrote the lyrics and music for pop tunes, jingles and children's recordings.

His best-known tune was It Takes Time, which he wrote in 1947. It was recorded by Armstrong in the late 1940s and was revived in 1988 for the advertising campaign for Citizen Watch.

He also wrote Go on With the Wedding, recorded by Page, and Gone, recorded by Bobby Vinton.

"He was extremely articulate and could take any concept and put it in its simplest form," his daughter, Ellen Burbano Korb, of King of Prussia, Pa., said Monday. "I think he would have been more successful if he had lived in New York, but it was too much bustle for him."

Korb was born in Boston. He graduated from Harvard College in 1930 and earned a master's degree in music at the university two years later.

He had planned a classical musical career, but, as he wrote in the 25th-anniversary report of his class at Harvard, he "switched from longhair music to the close-to-the-scalp kind" because "a feller's got to eat."

Of his output, he wrote: "I write a mess of songs, some good, some bad, some published, some collecting dust. And I write some jingles (all bad) that help bring in stuff that pays for the chicken-and-noodle soup."

Working on his Henry F. Miller piano made in Boston, he wrote most of his songs in his home in Newton, where he lived for 35 years.

"It was amazing to watch him work," his son, Robert, of San Juan, said Monday. "He always wrote the lyrics first and the music second and had the most beautiful penmanship."

Korb had a small recording studio in his house and often had singers and other musicians around. The Korb household was always filled with music.

"He always had the latest singles," his daughter said. "I think it's why he always looked and acted younger than his years."

His songs were recorded on vinyl, sold as sheet music and even inscribed on rolls for player pianos.

He shared his expertise on the ins and outs of the industry in the book How to Write Songs that Sell, which was first printed in 1949. In the introduction, he wrote: "When it comes to building dreams, nobody can build them bigger or better than songwriters."
Tags: books, cultural, dc universe, friends-notre dame era, musical, mysticism/spirituality, obituary, personal, quotations, theological notebook, writing

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