All in Good Time by Jonathan Schwartz

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All In Good TimeI have probably been listening to Jonathan Schwartz play Frank Sinatra and his genre of  music on the radio for more than 30 years originally in New York and now on satellite radio in LA. His intimate understanding of the music ,the song writers and the singers was matched by his warm personal style of chatting with the audience. I guess I felt that he was one of my friends and I spent many  weekend afternoons listening to him. I knew he was a well respected expert in this music, had been a singer himself and that his father was a well known song writer who wrote Dancing in the Dark and some other songs that were part of the American Song Book. Therefore I was very pleased when a dear cousin of mine presented me with this book as a gift. After reading it I feel that I now know  “my friend” much better  and as a psychiatrist I particularly understand  some of the pain suffering that he has gone through in his remarkable life. Growing up he was surrounded by show business stars and has to be one of the few people on earth who can recall as a small child having Judy Garland come into his room and sing him “Over the Rainbow.”    Unfortunately he had to also suffer the death of his mother while he was little kid. He also encountered a step mother who treated him much worst than was the case in the Cinderella story. He shared the sad story of his childhood excursions of sneaking into neighbors homes in Beverly Hills to hid behind  their couches just to listen to their family interactions  He did inherit his father’s musical ability, developed a wonderful ear for music and insight into  the popular music of his early years and the genre which was built upon it.  His desire to play music on the radio was manifested as an early teenager as he rigged up his own radio station when living in Manhattan which could be picked up in his apartment house on many radios. This well written  memoir ( he is also an accomplished writer) is an intimate one in which we learn of his encounters with girls and young women and his hardy drinking. He paints a full rich picture of the nature of many of his difficult relationships with women. He seems to pull few punches as he tells of his flirting with suicide, his psychiatric admission and his time at Betty Ford Hospital. for his alcoholism. While I would not venture a psychiatric diagnosis, I will say that I do believe that the five years or so that he had with his mother and a connection with his father that while certainly rocky and tested at times allowed him  to ultimately develop a warm mature personality. He seems  to be a caring father with a very good relationship with his children. Perhaps the vignette which stands out most in my mind from the book is the story how Frank Sinatra ( certainly a symbolic  father figure to him )  whom he did meet several times, arranged to have  him fired from his radio job because he made  some negative critique of one of his albums. Despite this traumatic event Jonathan Schwartz never faltered in his love for the man and his music. Although we are the same age, I am very grateful that he continues to be on the  radio with no sign of slowing down  and to be “my friend” and companion as I enjoy my favorite music.

Category: AM - Autobiography or Memoir | Tags: , , , , Comment »

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