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Diving back into history may be delightful or dismaying. KNKX's Nick Morrison delivers a daily dose of it with his signature humor and skepticism. Here's what happened on this day.

March 27: Bobby Bland is born, 'Typhoid Mary' enters quarantine and Seattle's Kingdome opens

FILE - In this Jan. 15, 1992, file photo, Bobby "Blue" Bland, left, receives his award for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame from B.B. King during induction ceremonies in New York. Bland died at age 83 on Sunday, June 23, 2013, at his Memphis home surrounded by relatives.
Mark Lennihan
FILE - In this Jan. 15, 1992, file photo, Bobby "Blue" Bland, left, receives his award for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame from B.B. King during induction ceremonies in New York. Bland died at age 83 on Sunday, June 23, 2013, at his Memphis home surrounded by relatives.


Bobby Bland is born — 1930

One of the all-time great blues/R&B singers, Bobby ‘Blue’ Bland was born on this day in the small community of Barrettsville, Tennessee. He had to drop out of school in the third grade to work crops, which contributed to a lifetime of near-illiteracy. When Bobby moved to Memphis with his mother in 1947, he started singing publicly. By ’49 he was part of a group of musicians that called themselves The Beale Streeters, which included BB King, Junior Parker and (as Paul Simon would later sing, ‘the late, great’) Johnny Ace. But before Bobby could really get his musical wheels under him he was drafted into the Army.

Upon his return to Memphis he kept trying, and mostly failing, to put out a hit record. But when he was finally brought aboard by Duke Records, things started panning out. Taking a look at the entirety of his career, Farther On Up The Road, Yield Not To Temptation, Turn On Your Love Light, I Pity The Fool, Don’t Cry No More and Stormy Monday Blues are just a few of the classic recordings on which his reputation is firmly established.

If you feel like checking out his music—or reacquainting yourself with it—a good starting place is a 1961 release called Two Steps From The Blues. It’s a classic. I’ll try to tempt you with a song from it:

'Typhoid Mary' is quarantined — 1915

On this day in 1915, Mary Mallon, the woman know as Typhoid Mary, was permanently quarantined in New York’s Riverside Hospital as an asymptomatic carrier of typhoid fever. For years I’ve known most of the information in the previous sentence, but it wasn’t until today that I learned that ‘Typhoid’ Mary Mallon was quarantined for life. Yeah, for life. Man, oh, man...

Born in Ireland, Mary emigrated to the US when she was 15 and eventually became a cook for families that could afford a cook.

In 1907, after investigating cases of typhoid at a vacation home in Oyster Bay, a sanitation engineer named George Soper was able to trace those cases and several others to Mary Mallon. When quarantine was suggested, Mary wouldn’t hear of it. She, after all, was a picture of health. In the event she had to be taken by force. She was released in 1910 on the condition that she’d stop cooking for people. That didn’t last long.

After some time passed, she started cooking again, using false names. And this time she was cooking in more public venues—restaurants, hotels and whatnot—but once again, the indomitable Mr. Soper was on her trail. She was soon quarantined for the second time, on March 15th, 1915—this time for the rest of her life.

Looked at one way, maybe it was the only responsible thing the medical community could do to help insure public health. Looked at another way, it was a pretty raw deal for Mary.

Seattle Kingdome opens — 1976

I don’t know why I didn’t go to opening day at the Kingdome. They had square dancing, barbershop quartets and log rolling. Maybe I had an accordion lesson that day.

OK, I jest. My apologies to all fans of square dancing, barbershop quartets, log rolling and, yes, accordions (which I actually like, in moderation). It was a big deal, this huge stadium opening in SoDo in the year of our nation’s bicentennial. It subsequently provided a home for all of Seattle’s nascent sports franchises—the Seahawks, the Sounders, the Mariners…even the lamented Supersonics for a while.

The idea for a domed stadium started getting kicked around (in both senses of the phrase) in 1959-1960. The immediate stumbling block was that Seattle needed some sort of major sports team to play there. Finally, in ’67, baseball’s American League granted Seattle an expansion franchise and the Dome got voted into being. Then, in 1974, the NFL awarded Seattle a football expansion franchise which would become the Seahawks.

The first sports event held in the Dome took place two weeks after its opening. It was a soccer exhibition match between the Sounders and the New York Cosmos. The game was very well attended and the Kingdome was off and running. Or maybe "lumbering." The big lug only lived 26 years before it was demolished to make way for…well…another stadium.

Nick began working at KNKX as a program host in the late 1980’s and, with the exception of a relatively brief hiatus, has been with the station ever since. Along with his work as a Midday Jazz host, Nick worked for several years as KNKX’s Music Director. He is now the station’s Production Manager and also serves as a fill-in host on KNKX’s jazz and blues programs.