Nation/World

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep, with Renee Montagne. Good morning.

Let's try again, shall we, to explain what it means when we hear that the U.S. economy shrank in the fourth quarter of 2012. As we've discussed elsewhere in the program, the decline was slight - just one-tenth of a percentage point - but it is the first contraction of the economy since the Great Recession officially ended in 2009. NPR's Jim Zarroli is with us once again in New York. Jim, good morning.

JIM ZARROLI, BYLINE: Good morning.

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy: Live In Los Angeles

Dec 12, 2012

Now that it's officially two decades in the past, it's increasingly hard to fathom: In the mid-1990s, swing was popular again. It wasn't quite the big band style of Benny Goodman fame — this new variant was blended with rockabilly and ska and perhaps some other things — but the swing revival so captured the country that it landed Big Bad Voodoo Daddy on the Super Bowl halftime show in 1999.

Alt-country musician Robbie Fulks doesn't get much airplay on country radio, and he often takes an adversarial stance against the Nashville establishment. So a big part of his reputation is based on his more humorous songs — and his raucous live shows.

Fulks has just released his first live album, a two-disc set called Revenge; critic Ken Tucker has a review.

The group's name draws influence from guitarist Django Reinhardt's Hot Club of France and the classic Western swing style of Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys. But Hot Club of Cowtown — guitarist Whit Smith, fiddler Elana Fremerman, and bassist Jake Erwin — is alive and swinging in the 21st century.

The band members recently stopped by NPR's Studio 4B to talk about their music with NPR's John Ydstie and play some tunes from their danceable repertoire.

Janis Martin, 'The Female Elvis,' Returns

Sep 30, 2012

Janis Martin was just a teenager from Virginia when she was christened "The Female Elvis." In the mid-1950s, she sold 750,000 copies of a song called "Will You, Willyum." She played the Grand Ole Opry, American Bandstand and The Tonight Show. But her fame was short-lived. Martin got married and had a baby, which didn't sit so well with the people managing her career. Her label dropped her, and she fell off the musical map.

The thought of a baby dying suddenly and unexpectedly is one that keeps parents awake at night, fearing the worst. For years, little was known about sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS. Babies would die in their sleep, and it was presumed that little could be done to prevent those deaths.

Several cities have "Hot Clubs" — bands that play so-called "Gypsy jazz" in the tradition of Django Reinhardt. There's the Hot Club of New York, San Francisco and Philadelphia.

As he was approaching 40, Bryan Echols realized he was almost half his father's age, and he became curious about the man who raised him.

"What were you like at 40?" Bryan asked his 80-year-old father, Lindberg Echols, at StoryCorps in Chicago.

"Well, I had seven kids," said Lindberg, who worked at a ceramics factory in Gilberts, Ill., to support his family, which included Bryan and his six siblings, plus two daughters from a different marriage. "And I guess I was pretty tough on the boys," he said.

"It was a relationship that got better," Bryan said.

In some families, a specific talent seems to be passed down through the generations. That could be the case for Ledo Lucietto and his daughter Anne, who share a passion for mechanical engineering.

The Luciettos owned a tool and die shop in Illinois for 50 years. Ledo's father was a mechanical engineer who emigrated from Italy. Their shop was called the Byron-Lambert Co.; they made wire forms and metal stampings.

And as a little girl, Anne was a regular in that shop, asking her grandfather, Luigi, what he was doing as he made parts.

A Son, His Mom And A Story About A Dog

Nov 24, 2008

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Mothers and Daughters, and a Blessing

Jul 3, 2008

Sue Hyde lives in Cambridge, Mass., with her wife, Jade McGleughlin, their daughter, Jesse, 14 and their son, Max, 12.

The makeup of their household is not as rare as it once was — and certainly not as rare as it was when Hyde was growing up, in a small town in rural Illinois.

Asked by her daughter about the differences between their childhoods, Hyde's response is, "I grew up in one of those very typical families, with a mom and a dad. And there were seven kids."

StoryCorps Griot: Field of Dreams

Oct 16, 2007

This week's installment of StoryCorps Griot features William and Glen Haley.

They remember their father, Joseph Howard Haley, who founded the Jackie Robinson West Little League in 1971 on the South Side of Chicago.

Although the league only had one team at its inception, it fostered the talents of ballplayers who later played in the major leagues. Such players include Emil Brown, Marvell Wyne and Hall of Famer Kirby Puckett.

In the 2007 season, the 12- year-old team was ranked third in the state of Illinois.

A Return to the Roots of Childhood

Dec 15, 2005

At 68, Barb Fuller-Curry lives across the road from the farm where she grew up, in Whiteside County, Ill. In her youth, Fuller-Curry's father and mother took turns working the fields in order to make ends meet.

After raising her own family elsewhere, Fuller-Curry returned to the farm after 40 years to care for her mother, who passed away earlier this year. The house Curry lives in is one her parents built.

Speaking with her 34-year-old son, Craig, Fuller-Curry recalled the sacrifices her parents made -- and how little she thought about it at the time, when she was just 7.

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