02 April 2013

The Whistling Gypsy

In the first years of the 1960's, there was a thriving (by those days' standards) folk music scene. It was centered on adults, 30-somethings and older, in nightclubs. By the mid-1960's, the Beatles and Bob had put an end to that. Dylan and friends developed an acoustic music labeled folk, but based on performer penned songs, rather than traditional ones which had aged with the people. So to speak. The only exemplar of that era that's still remember by more than a handful of diehards is The Kingston Trio. For myself, while decades younger than the nightclub goers, I was drawn to the best of the best, The Limeliters. They did some sung-through commercials, identifiably sung by them, which are rare today but common then, so that's how I discovered them, Coke and Lucky Strike, if I remember correctly. Over a couple of years, their recording fame was due to a few live recordings, done quickly and frequently; they were done for by 1963.

"The Dance" by Fleetwood Mac is an example of audience interaction but The Limeliters, were more so. Audience interaction was nearly as much of the act as the singing. Their studio recordings were flat by comparison. The banter came mostly from Lou Gottlieb, a Berkeley Ph.D. (in musicology, not math stats; the latter would make the tale too cloying for words). When the group disbanded, he had his own fifteen minutes of fame when he attempted to will a farm/commune he'd established to God (the piece misspells the group's name, which happened a lot after they'd been consigned to history). The California courts weren't amused.

He opens one of their better known songs with some of his better known banter: "... the title of the song: 'The Whistling Gypsy', or where the hot wind blows." Well, there is a hot wind in the database world, and it's Northwind. Along with Date's supplier/parts database, the most well known and universally available demonstration database in the whole entire world. If your world is Windows and SQL Server.

I've been searching, in a desultory way, for a flat file dump that I can load into my various linux database engines, notably Postgres (due to the PL/R support which provides my R fix in database connectivity) to no avail. Until now. Here's the stuff. DB2/LUW is missing. May be I'll do that one too. For now, Postgres will do nicely.

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