Thursday, January 31, 2008

GET LOST - a post not, strictly speaking, about rock and roll

In addition to my interest in the golden oldies, I'm also a big fan of pop culture. Because of that I'm going to make a brief diversion here, and please, I beg you, humor me. Last night, I willingly gave up two hours of my life to watch a special "re-cap" program on the TV show Lost. It was designed to reawaken our waning (or totally dormant) enthusiasm for this show. It was meant to hook us back in. And, grudgingly, I worked (for me anyway). As Charlie Brown used to say, "Aaaarrrgh!" If you've been one of the frustrated followers of Lost, you know what I mean. Tonight is another two-hour special, namely the season premiere (never mind that it wasn't even on during the Fall of '07). If I could say one thing to the producers it would be, "Don't you dare try to tell me again that there will be 'answers'! I am not falling for that one any more!" Apparently, there will be a few more seasons doled out here and there (when did TV scheduling get so chopped up and...and...stupid?) before Lost wraps up for good. All I ask is that when the time comes, we actually do learn everything. I think they owe us that. And I'm talking about a real concrete answer-packed finale that satisfies. Not like that wishy-washy ending to the X-Files. Okay, I think I have vented enough now. And just to show you my appreciation, I'll put in a YouTube link to a great oldie by the Everlys. As 60s tragedy songs go, this one isn't as well-known as "Teen Angel" or "Last Kiss" but I'm sure you'll agree it fits the occasion...

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


If you happened to be listening to WPON yesterday noon, then you caught Jukebox John's excellent interview with legendary DJ Tom Shannon. What a treat! Back in the 60s, as a teenager with transistor in hand, I logged a lot of hours listening to Tom Shannon on the airwaves from CKLW - that equally legendary cross-border radio phenomenon. For those of you who might not know the particular geography I'm talking about, CKLW was (and still is, but no more rock and roll) a Canadian radio station located in Windsor, Ontario, just across the river from Detroit. Back in the AM radio heyday, "CK" served a huge listening audience on both sides of the border. Their jingle was "CKLW...the Motor City." That ought to tell you how it was. Oh, those were they days all right!

Back then, most DJs had jingles and slogans of their own, to promote their shows. Tom Shannon had "The Sun Never Sets on the Shannon Empire" (fitting for a guy who started out in Buffalo, worked in the Rose City/Motor City, Denver, and in Tennessee). Speaking of Buffalo, Shannon had a jingle for his Buffalo show, too. You'd recognize it if you heard it today; it's set to the tune of the classic 60s instrumental, "Wild Weekend." Just to prove the truth behind the old saying "Learn something new everyday" - I found out during yesterday's interview that the jingle came first! Shannon and buddy Phil Todaro wrote it, and once it got playing, everyone liked it so much they turned it into a hit record, done by the Buffalo band, the Rockin' Rebels. Now, I have to admit that this is not a startling bit of previously-unknown trivia. You can easily find it documented online, but like much info on the web, if you don't know to look for it, you might not find it...and I simply hadn't yet. Anyway, Tom and Jukebox John chatted for almost 90 minutes. You can imagine what that meant to a trivia addict like me! One mystery still remains, however. When I was writing the Introduction to my book, Papa Do Run, I mentioned that I was searching for some 60s radio trivia, namely the Detroit/Windsor DJ who debuted the Barbra Streisand hit, "People." It was a memorable moment, and I really hoped to talk to someone who might remember the broadcast. For a while I was in contact with some people in the Windsor area who knew Tom Shannon, and who I'd hoped might be able to find out for me, but alas, nothing came of it, and the book went to print without the answer. Yesterday, there wasn't enough time to take many calls at the station, but Tom Shannon has promised he'll be back, so maybe next time I'll be able to ask him, and perhaps finally solve the mystery. It's kind of my own personal holy grail of music trivia.

Well, these days Tom Shannon is retired on the west coast - and pushing 70! - but he's still as fresh and entertaining as ever. It was great to hear all his stories from his radio (and some TV) days. Unfortunately, the interview isn't archived on the WPON site, but I'll include a link below to some bios of famous CKLW DJs. Tom Shannon's in the third from the top. There's also link to a 1965 CKLW air check that has not only Shannon, but a show promo by Chubby Checker, and an old Pepsi commercial (could that be Joanie Somers??) too. Enjoy!

CKLW - Shannon bio

Wild Weekend video
Really terrific vintage visuals on this one!

If you like 50s, 60s and early 70s, especially the rare stuff, you can listen live on the Internet, or locally at AM 1460.

Monday, January 28, 2008


Attention: If you are a baby boomer who has retired to (or always lived in) a year-round warm climate, this post is not addressed to you.

No offense. This is mainly for those of us who live in a location that offers all four seasons. At the moment, for me, that happens to be the north shore of Lake Erie. As you can see (picture) there ain't much doin' on the lake today. Sigh. Don't get me wrong, I like winters. I really do. Generally they're fluffy, and give everybody nice healthy-looking pink cheeks. I mean, what's not to like? (black ice, tire chains, wind chills). There's skiing, tobogganing, (frozen wiper blades) skating. A veritable sparkling wonderland of (dead batteries) fun. Remember the phrase "Too much of a good thing"? Right. So, now that we have the holidays behind us, and have got past Jan. 24th -- officially known as the Most Depressing Day of the Year-- it's time to perk things up around here. And who can do that better for all of us winter-weary baby boomers than...The Beach Boys!! Here's the plan: you and your significant other put a couple extra logs on the fire, or crank up the space heater, whatever, 'til it's nice and toasty warm inside. Then set up that red heat lamp you use when your bursitis acts up; it'll make a great tropical sunset. Now, dig out some of your July/dog days wear (shorts, loud shirts, muumuus, sandals), make up a big honkin' batch of mojitos, and then cuddle up on the recliner on a beach towel. I will provide the musical accompaniment to complete the mood. Turn up your speakers, watch the monitor, and relax. Summer is a state of mind, my friends!
Now, don't you feel better?
There's also this way of handling winter doldrums, but somehow I think it has appeal only to the younger set. I don't think even being young-at-heart is enough to get me out there in my flip flops. But cute vid, guys!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

FEATURE ARTIST/RECORD: "Believe Me" by The Royal Teens

I got caught in a bit of a time warp with this song, which makes it the perfect one to talk about today, since last night I watched the movie "The Fountain" (2006, Hugh Jackman, Rachel Weisz). Man, that movie is so bizarre it made me yearn for something simple to figure "2001 -A Space Odyssey." But let's stay on topic. Here's the story...

You may have noticed on the left hand side of this blog that there's a list of my Top10 favorite vintage oldies, and that "Believe Me" is on that list. "Believe Me" was released in late 1959 and became a hit for the group in 1960, when I was in the 8th grade. I have very fond and specific American Graffiti-type memories of that song, so I really hope nobody uses it in some hokey commercial (see Jan7th 2007 post). The other song we all remember by the Royal Teens is a sassy little number called "Short Shorts." I never liked the song "Short Shorts" quite as much. Even the group thought it was a throw-away instrumental until, on a whim, they added the wolf-whistle and that back-and-forth with the girls (Q: Who wears short shorts? A: We wear short shorts). It was a huge hit.

Now, here's the time warp part. Over the years, whenever I heard "Short Shorts" I always assumed it came out after "Believe Me," in about 1970 or so. Why did I think that? Because I used to wear short shorts back in the early 70s. They were a big thing. But somehow I could never quite reconcile how a group could have such a doo-wop hit like "Believe Me" in 1960, and then a decade later, record "Short Shorts." After all, 1970 was the psychedelic heyday. Well, the reason I couldn't reconcile it is because I was wrong. "Short Shorts" was a hit in 1958, a whole year before "Believe Me." How could that be? Well, I have since realized I got it wrong because I was confusing the earlier (and redundant) fashion statement, short shorts, with the decade-later version, known as hot pants. I'd forgotten all about that important difference. So, in 1970, I had hot pants (don't go there) not short shorts. I'm so glad that got cleared up! Anyway, the Royal Teens didn't go on to have as successful a career as I think they should have; they had only a few other minor hits. But two of their personnel went on to further fame and glory - Bob Gaudio (The Four Seasons) and Al Kooper (Blues Project). Okay, time for the music. As usual, YouTube didn't let us down...

Short Shorts

Believe Me

Friday, January 25, 2008


Folk Rock, Country Rock, and some Acid Rock too. We've been looking to the south and the west (coast) in recent posts. And last time we remembered the musical, "Hair." Now it's time to pay tribute to that staple of the hippie rock era - fringe. Like hair itself, fringe could be a very individual thing. If it was leather, you could leave it natural brown or doeskin white, or have it dyed any color that took your fancy. You could also have it made of synthetic strands, decorated with beads, long or short, thick or thin. Fringe in the 60s/70s was a visible statement of your mindset, lifestyle, politics - you name it. Plus it was a lot of fun to wear. I not only had the aforementioned fringe vest in my youth, but these days I still have fringes on a purse, a jacket, and some work gloves (but now it's more of a "cowgirl" thing, the result of all my years in Alberta). Anyway, in this post we will look at some memorable fringed outfits. These are the standout ones I remembered and could find easily on YouTube, but I know there are others. Feel free to post your favorites.

Neil Young is known for several fashion statements, one of which is pictured above on the left. But, as the photo on the right shows, he also had some killer fringe. This is from the album, "Everybody Knows This is Nowhere." I couldn't find a definitive video at YouTube of Neil in full fringe, but this is a nice one regardless, and...he's wearing a jacket that may or may not have a bit of fringe at the be the judge.
This one starts with Graham Nash solo at the piano, but hang in there, David Crosby steps in at 1:43 to harmonize, wearing a gorgeous brown abundantly-fringed shirt. After a little goofy chit chat in the middle, they duet up again on Marrakesh Express. I wonder where that shirt is today...
At the "Woodstock Nation" fringe was king. Here's Roger Daltry all bedecked, doing "See Me Feel Me" from "Tommy." The video is pretty dark (in the optical sense) in places, but you want to catch the last 2 minutes, when it brightens up, and Roger really works that fringe, and Pete Townshend does his signature jumps and fans the guitar. Love it love it love it!
Here we have Jimi, starting out with a familiar riff, then just taking off, with his beautiful blue and white fringe swaying along.
Okay, there's two of these; both still at Woodstock. The first one is actually of Janis (who was really more of a feather than fringe gal) but it's the very first few seconds of the video that shows Sly Stone when he raises his fringed arms like a bird taking to the sky. The second link is for the complete video of Sly's performance of "I Want to Take You Higher" which ends with the same flight. Like the Who video above, it's pretty hard to see in places, but gets better. And that whole performance had to have been one of the most moving of the weekend. And the fringe is the piece de resistance, as far as I'm concerned. Big wow.

Feb. 12/08 Update: Bingo! Just found one of Janis with fringe. Check out the photo at 3:45.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


Now that's a song I bet a lot of baby boomers identify with in a rather different way today than they did back in the late 60s. Who here remembers the musical HAIR? Very good, I'm glad to see so many hands. The show's official title was "Hair - An American Tribal Love-Rock Musical" and it was all that and a bag of...well, never mind. Let's just say it wasn't chips. Perhaps these days the only songs anyone remembers are "Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In" (The 5th Dimension), and the title song "Hair" (The Cowsills). And maybe "Good Morning Starshine" (Oliver) and "Easy To Be Hard" (Three Dog Night). Oh, and I think "Frank Mills" survived total obscurity too, but I don't recall at the moment who recorded it. That may seem like a goodly number of songs, but there's so many more aren't heard any more. I was something of a "Hair" devotee way back when. I had both the original Broadway cast recording (acid green and orange) and also the pink one, done by (as incongruous as it may sound) The Royal Shakespeare Festival Public Theater. Both records had most of the same songs, but each had some good ones the other didn't. Between these two, I think I had everything covered.

Speaking of covered, "Hair" was infamous at the time for including nude scenes in the some of the productions. Many venues banned the nudity part, but other more progressive ones went for it. I saw "Hair" in Detroit, with the Detroit cast, in 1970. While I'm pretty sure there wasn't any nudity in that one, I honestly can't remember. But I didn't exactly have front row seats, so if there was any nakedness on stage, I probably wouldn't have gotten a corrupting peek at anything. Gee, all that censorship for nothing. Of course, the wealthier kids who had close-up seats would have been damaged forever.

Anyway, here's a link that will give you the history of the show, if you're into it.
As you'll see, the original Broadway cast is to modern popular music what SNL is to subsequent sitcom and comedy movies - a real talent farm.
This is one terrific video, and obviously done recently. Great voices, and a nice touch at the end - the kids meet up with a "slightly older" James Rado (one of the creators of Hair) at the end. The 5th Dimension's version was a more commercial "hybrid" of two "Hair" songs. It was good, but this is the way "Hair" purists like me like to hear it. Peace out.

Later that same day...
I thought I'd put this little post script here for those (like me) die-hard trivia nutjobs. The full title of the above-linked song is "The Flesh Failures/Let The Sunshine In." Here is a link for the lyrics to the Flesh Failures part, which will help you decipher the layers.

If you are a Mensa-level trivia buff, you will probably already be aware (sigh - I had to look it up) that the underlying lyrics are from Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet." Here's a link for that, too. Scroll down to Lines 112-114.
In conclusion, I guess having a production done by the Royal Shakespeare Festival wasn't so incongruous after all...

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


Yup, that's what is says on this crazy website I found that lists weird holidays and commemorative days - and the "normal" ones too. When I read it was Answer Your Cat's Questions Day, several questions of my own arose: Where did such a day come from? How many people actually celebrate this day? Do cats truly have questions? (other than when do we eat? of course) If we are to go by the look on Pearl's face (that's her in the picture) I think she might be thinking something like "We don't need no stinking answers!" I imagine she'd think it in a sneering bandito voice, too. So, make of this holiday what you will. I do not question the validity of information I found, but simply pass it along to you "for what it's worth." And here's some fun music to go with...
A very short commercial for diamonds. It's here because the music is a song written by Cat Stevens, and sung by Cat Power.
Nora at the piano. You probably got this one in an email already, but always fun to watch. I wonder what questions she might have...?
"For what it's worth"

Sunday, January 20, 2008


I saw an article in the news the other day, about a young woman, who lives in my former home province, the fair Alberta, whose favorite music, rap/hip-hop, was giving her instant grand mal epileptic seizures. (It's a very rare condition; there are only 5 known cases in the whole world.) Even more unfortunately for her, the worst offender was her fave artist, a fellow named Sean Paul. She has since had brain surgery, which involved removing the small part of her brain that was causing the seizures. Yikes! Please don't get me wrong, I'm not being flip about this. Epileptic seizures are a serious matter, and I am very happy for her that she is fine, and now able to listen to her music without having them - but it sure made me stop and wonder. What if the music I loved caused me the same kind of dangerous distress? Would I have to do what she did? There is one variable worth considering.

Rap and hip-hop music is everywhere these days. A person is very likely to encounter it frequently out in the world. You hear it all the time on TV; it's blasting from the sound system of practically every other store. Of course, a person could stay away from the malls without too much difficulty, but what if you heard it coming from the car next to you at a red light? And often you can hear the low-frequency boomba boomba boomba coming a half a block away. It would be pretty hard to get away from that. This poor gal was even affected by hearing rap music faintly from some person's iPOD, if they were just sitting near her. I can see why she needed that operation.

Now, as you know, my music is not rap/hip-hop, but vintage oldies. With the exception of a few TV commercials and movie soundtracks, rock and roll oldies are pretty hard to find in the general populace. Occasionally I hear them in the background while grocery shopping. Other than that, I think I'd really have to seek them out to hear any. But then...I couldn't safely do that, could I. Hmmm. A life without Buddy and Del and Shangri-Las. No "California Girls" and no "White Rabbit"'s unthinkable! It wouldn't take a brain surgeon to figure out that I'd want my name on a brain surgeon's "to do" list. (This is definitely no DIY project). So, in conclusion, let this be a lesson to us all, never to take our good health, or our music - whatever kind it may be - for granted. And to that young woman in Alberta - rap on!

Sean Paul

Jefferson Airplane

Saturday, January 19, 2008


I suppose I should begin this post with a wee disclaimer, and tell you that I'm totally aware that "folk rock" is a pretty big umbrella term that covers a whole swack of musical styles. It's way more complex than these simple posts are intended to cover; The Kingston Trio, Dylan, Simon and Garfunkel, on and on. So many blends, crossovers and experiments that we won't take the time or space to touch on here. For now, I'm just going to focus on one of my particular favorites - the music known as "country folk." and even more particularly, the musicians from California.

Long before the "new" country became cool from coast to coast and pole to equator, many musicians discovered it was a great addition to their sound. Some used it to add the occasional additional extra flavor, while others planned entire menus around it. Of the latter groups, my long-time faves are The Byrds, Poco, and The Flying Burrito Brothers. It's no secret they were all related, and hugely influential to those around them, and those who came after. We've all picked up bits of info about them here and there over the years, but a while back a friend emailed me an astonishing chart that really gives us the complete perspective. It's not new, maybe you've seen it already, but it certainly won't hurt to be amazed all over again. Here you can see the roots, the transitions, and the legacies, all in "one swell foop" as they say. And my hat's off to Pete, the guy who pulled it all together. Here's the link for the Byrds Family Tree.

And, of course, the music...



And one more for good measure, not from California, but who doesn't love these guys. We all know the various postures required to play guitar (think Jimi Hendrix or Pete Townshend). Or drums, bass etc. Now here's cutie-patootie John Sebastian showing the world how to rock with a zither. Who knew.

Thursday, January 17, 2008


After I wrote my previous post, with that reference to "acid folk, " I got to trippin' on all that groovy music from the late 60s and early 70s that my flatmate and I used to listen to back in our weekend hippie days. We were definitely a long way from what you'd call the hardcore counterculture, but we sure tried to look the part. I had a brown leather vest with rivets and fringe down past my knees; she had a tie-dyed T-shirt with matching headband, and giant hoop earrings; we both wore bell-bottom jeans (with homemade flares). you're probably wondering right about now if I'm going to admit to smoking anything "homemade" too. Well, yes, I did try it out a few times (and yes, I did inhale) but honestly, the whole "get high" thing never really caught on with me. My guess is it's because I'm a Taurus. For those of you who don't know astrology, Taurus is what's known as an Earth (as is solid ground) Sign. It's also a Fixed (as in real steady) Earth Sign. Plus, I also have a few teensy little control issues (as in, "the Observation way!!"). So you can easily imagine I wasn't a good candidate for being a stoner. However, that's not to say I didn't enjoy other accoutrements of hippie life. Sitting in a darkened room (India print bedspread/curtain over the window) with black light posters on the ceiling, laughing at the glowing lint on everybody's clothes can be a total blast...just not for hours. Of course, I found listening to the music the best part, and that could be done any time, any place, and under any conditions.

Back in those days I had the good fortune to know some actual hippies who were really into "folk rock," and who turned me on to some of the good stuff. Nowadays, it seems like there's all kinds of terms, with different shades of meaning and style: acid folk, freak folk, psych (as in psychedelic) folk. I honestly don't recall all those names back then, but maybe. What's most important to me is the fusion of various elements from "world music" (another more modern term). Instruments and traditions from India and the British Isles were two big influences, both in North America and across the pond. Some of my favorite British artists and groups were (and still are) Donovan, Fairport Convention, Pentangle, and Jethro Tull.

Here's a few samples from our friends at YouTube. Hope they bring you wonderful memories, but no bad flashbacks, man.
Judy Collins is probably better known for this one, but the late Sandy Denny wrote it and performs it here with Fairport Convention. It will be a long time before we hear the likes of her voice again, IMHO.
This one by Donovan was something of an anti-war song, because of its message of a peaceful Golden Age. Oddly, Scorsese paired it with a scene in "Goodfellas" that is arguably the most violent in a movie known for being violent (it's also available on YouTube). Also, Donovan and the Beatles also had a lot of cross-pollination, which is why the repeating chorus might remind you of "Hey Jude" or vice versa.
Pentangle's Jacquie McShee is another voice of another age. My personal fave of theirs is "Sweet Child" but there's no video of that one yet. But this little thinly-veiled morality song about "saving yourself for Mr. Right" is totally charming.
Every Christmas when I hear that musical line about "ten lords a-leaping" I always picture Ian Anderson. This video may be too long for's practically the Compleat Jethro Tull all by itself...but well worth a look and a listen. Worth while checking out the lyrics, too.

or, if you want just a little Tull with your tea:

Coming next post: artists and bands for over here.

Sunday, January 13, 2008


On today's menu: "I Love Onions" by Susan Christie, 1966

Working with what you love is good advice for just about any endeavor, so it should come as no surprise that someone has made a song about this lowly (but versatile) veggie. A lot of people would probably say they love onions, and onions are no less deserving of a song all their own than any other food item. But even so, this tune undoubtedly must be classified more as a novelty than a true love song. It has all the fun elements: amusing lyrics, an unusual voice (a certain Marilyn-Monroe-Happy-Birthday-Mr.-President quality), the goofy onion oration part in the middle, and last but not least, some virtuoso kazoo (for more on the kazoo, see my Nov. 6, 2007 post).

I must admit that beyond remembering this song from my teen years, I didn't know a thing about Susan Christie. So I looked for a bio, and discovered that, in addition to her one (minor) hit wonder status, she had aspirations as a folk singer. Apparently her somewhat startling approach (All Music Guide calls it "acid folk") to a few folk standards didn't win her a contract back in the late 60s, and her demos sat in dusty obscurity until 2006, when they were put out on CD. At the moment I'm debating if I want to check it out or not; I may get back to you. Meanwhile, let's return to the onion patch.

As I typed in a search for this one on YouTube, I was kind of holding my breath, then to my happy surprise someone has indeed posted a video of this song. Someone with really adorable kids, I might add. A few of you may recognize this song from your own youth, watching Captain Kangaroo. It's also been recycled as a commercial for Turtles candy - "Oooo, I love Turtles." Given their choice of snacks, who wouldn't prefer to end up with Turtle breath? Anyway, here's the lyrics and a link so you can check it out for yourselves.
TITLE: I Love Onions
ARTIST: Donald Cochrane and John Hill

I don't like snails or toads or frogs
Or strange things living under logs
But mmm, I love onions

I don't like to dance with Crazy Ted
He's always jumping on my head
But mmm, I love onions

Onions, onions, la-la-la
Onions, onions, ha-ha-ha
Root doot doot-doot, doot doot doot
Onions, onions, la-la-la
Onions, onions, ha-ha-ha
Root doot doot-doot, doot doot doot

I don't like rain or snow or hail
Or Moby Dick the great white whale
But mmm, I love onions

I don't like shoes that pinch your toes
Or people who squirt you with a garden hose
But mmm, I love onions


Onion is a tuberous vegetable, and is a member of the genus Stinkus Delicioso. It was highly prized by the ancient Egyptian pharaohs and their friends and cousins. It causes watering of the eyes and rubifaction of the skin but it is very, very tasty.


How vewwy, vewwy good

Thursday, January 10, 2008



"Daydream" The Lovin' Spoonful, 1966
"The Weight" The Band, 1968

I'm already on record about how frustrating it can be looking for answers to misheard lyrics on all those lyrics websites. It's definitely Believe At Your Own Risk, as far as I'm concerned. What some lyrics posters think are the correct lyrics are simply baffling. Sure, they may be right in a way - that's what it may sound like, but common sense should tell them it some meanings just don't work. For example, here's a line from "The Weight" by The Band: "He said I will fix your ___ if you'll take Jack my dog." Without much effort (my kind of research!) I found three postings for the missing word, claiming it was rack, rags, or rat. See what I mean - even if you are so certain that you would bet six months pay that he's singing rags or rat, what sense does either one make? How do you fix a rat (other that taking it to the vet to be neutered, like any responsible pet owner would do). And rags? How, and more importantly why, would you fix a rag? I think I've made my point. Personally, I always thought he might be saying wreck. That isn't too far fetched, right? But it also could be rack. Either one would be acceptable, if a little enigmatic, but hey, the whole song is a little bit strange. And of course I mean strange in a good way. After viewing the YouTube video, however, I think it's pretty clear he's singing rack. But maybe racks and wrecks are in the ear of the beholder. Make that belistener. Now on to the next.

The last time I heard this Spoonful song on the radio, it was a perfect warm spring day. Truly the kind of day that would make anyone want to skip out on work and go flop down in a field. But soon that one obscure phrase came along like a little dark raincloud to spoil the fun: "A pie in the face for being _____." Candidates I found for this include a sleepy bull toad, a sleep'n bull doag, and asleep before dawn. Hmm. I have to admit, back in the 60s I did think for a short while that it was asleep before dawn. But lately I've been starting to wonder. There are not, to my knowledge, any such things as bull toads (at least not on this continent), but that could be a case of artistic license to rhyme with "load." Ditto doag. I think that is a variation on "dog" only pronounced like what the cowboys call calves: doggies (dough-geys). Regardless, the best part for me, being a life-long Soupy Sales fan, is the pie-in-the-face. So that's the results for those two songs. Maybe I haven't totally solved they mystery in each case, now at least now when you sing along, and you come to those two places in question, and you have to sing something, you can make a more informed choice. I hope this has been helpful...
Soupy and White Fang. While you're waiting for the inevitable pie (which comes right at the very end) just savor the expressions on Soupy's face, especially when he's not even talking. What a comedic master!

Monday, January 7, 2008


As someone who grew up in the 50s and 60s, and thus heard all that great music the first time around, it warms the cockles of my heart every time I discover that some new movie, especially one aimed at the 20-something crowd, has included a song from "my" era. It happens pretty frequently, possibly because a lot of the folks making the movies are older as well. Sometimes a song will be covered and "updated" by a new group, but just as often you can hear the original version being recycled into a new soundtrack. It gives me a good feeling to know that this music is still capable of reaching out to a while new set of ears. But there is one inherent danger for baby boomers in this. Here's what I mean: there are hundred of songs that remind me of my teenage years, and among them, there are a handful of songs that remind me of very specific events or even exact moments in those years. It doesn't matter that decades have gone by since I made the association; just hearing a certain song can take me right back there. But these days, I can be watching a movie or a TV show, and one of the old songs happens to show up in the "wrong place" so to speak, and bingo! - I have a whole new, unwanted association that kind of shoulders its way into my head, rudely pushes the old memory aside, and immediately makes itself at home. So far, I've been fortunate in that every time this has happened to me, it's been with songs that weren't paired up with really important or treasured memories. Take, for example, that scene in Lost when we meet Desmond in the hatch. He's playing Cass Elliott's "Make Your Own Kind of Music." I listened a lot to the Mamas and Papas back in my student days, so hearing any song by them always reminds me of that time in my life, but now, from here on in, whenever I hear "Make Your Own Kind of Music" I will see in my mind's eye Desmond inoculating himself with that awful contraption and making those gross blender shakes. Fortunately for me, I had no special emotional attachment to that particular song, so I can't say I mind all that much. If it had been "Monday Monday" or "Twelve Thirty" I would be in big trouble. Of course, TV commercials that incorporate oldies are a whole other travesty unto themselves. Whether they use the original versions or re-write the lyrics to "fit" the product, they can wreck a nice memory almost before you can react. I'm telling you, when that kind of commercial comes on, I can't dive for the remote and press "mute" fast enough! If you've had the misfortune to catch the Viagra commercial that is a parody of Elvis singing "Viva Las Vegas" then you know what I'm talking about. There oughta be a law! Okay, I think I'm done with my mini-rant. In conclusion, I wish you a day full of your favorite oldies that leave your best old memories unharmed.
"Twelve Thirty" The Mamas and Papas
As of this posting, all 3 vids of this song on YouTube either come in a bit late or cut off too soon at the end. This one cuts off too soon at the end, but is the least hurt by it, in my opinion. It's also a little short on visual imagery as well, but let's you concentrate on the images in the lyrics. Enjoy!

January 10th update. Since the above video has been withdrawn, here's a substitute for ya. It cuts off short at the end, and is missing the very first line, "I used to live in New York City" but everything else is there...including John's signature fur hat.

Friday, January 4, 2008


It's been a long time since my student days and all those Art History classes, but this is one painting I remember very well. It's called "The Jolly Flatboatmen in Port" - painted by the 19th Century American artist, George Caleb Bingham. George painted river scenes up and down the Missouri River frontier, doing different versions of the same theme - boatmen. This one is listed as being in the St. Louis Art Museum, and I recall one with men and a pet cat sitting on the boat from my regular visits to the Detroit Institute of Arts as a kid. Anyway, what I have always liked about this one is the image of that truly jolly fellow in the middle, dancing like it's going out of style. You can almost hear the fiddle music (probably some ancient mountain air brought over by immigrants from the British Isles). I'd love to be able to click my mouse on his feet and bring him to life, to see just what kind of jig or hop he's doing. It must have been pretty popular in its time, because you can still find echoes of it today. I'm sure there are other references out there, but here's three to get things started.

"Yes to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free"
Mr. Tambourine Man - Bob Dylan.
You won't find this verse in the Byrds' version; you gotta go right to the source. And boy is this video going to take you back!!

"We'll sing and dance with one hand free..."
Back in the High Life Again - Steve Winwood.
Obviously this kind of dancing is made for celebration! Who wouldn't feel like kicking up their heels and waving after a long boring stretch floating on the river...although it's not clear to me why the flatboatmen are still hanging out on the boat instead of heading straight to the House of the Rising Sun...but hey, that's another song and another story...
Listen for the little bit of James Taylor chiming in at the end

And most recently...

In that charming 2005 semi-road movie/chick flick, "Elizabethtown" (starring Orlando Bloom, Kirsten Dunst, and a host of cameos) when the character Drew (Bloom) is making his journey home, as orchestrated by Dunst's character, Claire, he is instructed to "make time to dance with one hand waving free." The following YouTube video of scene from the movie shows the dancing scene right at the very end, at about the 3:36 mark. There he is, Drew/Bloom, dancing away with his one hand (and also two) waving free. The music in the video is from the movie, although I don't recall if it's the exact music that was playing in that particular scene. Anyway, the song is "Same In Any Language" by the alt group, I Nine. In fact, the whole soundtrack is good.

Thursday, January 3, 2008


No, I'm not talking about Burton Cummings and Co. That would be THE Guess Who. I mean it literally, guess who? The two pictures should give you a big hint. Give up? It's Tony Orlando and Dawn. Actually, Tony's association with the Dawn girls is more like the second phase of his career. He had a number of solo hits in the early '60s, with songs like "Bless You," "Halfway to Paradise," "Happy Times," and "My Baby's a Stranger." Once he teamed up with Dawn, they had another string of hits together, including "Candida," "Knock Three Times," and of course their smash hit, "Tie a Yellow Ribbon." The group then took their talents to the small screen, with the era's first multi-ethnic/racial (Tony is Greek/Puerto Rican, Dawn gals are African American) variety show. It was called The Tony Orlando and Dawn Rainbow Hour. Let's hear it for the 70s!! And it was no small potatoes show, either, but featured some of the biggest names in the biz. Like Jackie Gleason. Tony has gone on to become a recurring reference in popular culture. When you show up on The Simpson's you know you've made it. But for all that, it's young Tony's earliest, pre-Dawn songs that I like best. To finish off this post, I went to YouTube, and...bless me!...there wasn't much to chose from this time. All I found was just this one video potpourri accompanying an early Tony Orlando song without Dawn, so here ya go.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008


...with apologies for being a day late; blame it on my server "taking the day off" yesterday. So, it's 2008! My how times have changed. Like many baby boomers, I remember when life was very different. For example, I clearly recall helping my mother feed wet clothes into the wringer attachment on the washing machine before handing them on the clothesline in the backyard. And hearing the chink of glass bottles as the milkman loaded our order into the chute. Then there were the rotary telephones with their short curly cords, and the black & white TVs. Antique stuff like that. Well, the same goes for the music we listened to as teenagers. There's plenty of quaint notions contained in the lyrics; things that have long since gone out of style. For instance...

"Wake Up Little Susie" The Everly Brothers, 1957
In the first verse, the boy in this song mentions that he promised Susie's parents that he'd have her back home "by 10." I used to have a weekend curfew like that, and a weeknight one that was even earlier. Can you imagine telling a teen today that they have to be in by 10 on a Friday night? You'd all end up on Dr. Phil for sure. This is a great video I found on YouTube, but, closely as I look, I can't figure out if those guys are whispering "Oo la la" or not. Maybe you'll have better luck.

"Sherry" The Four Seasons, 1962
In this one, the guy tells his girl to ask her mom's permission to go to his party. Parents these days probably only find out there even was a party after the fact, when they see a cell phone video of it featured on Inside Edition (with body parts discreetly blurred).

"Be True to Your School" The Beach Boys, 1963
What a concept! Plus, I suspect that kids who are true to their schools don't drop out -- that was unthinkable! And fighting words were only heard at pep rallies right before the big game.
Another wonderful vid. There's some real talent out there.

"(I'm proud to be an) Okie from Muskogee" Merle Haggard, 1969
Okay, so this is really a country crossover, but you remember it, right? Especially that line about how they don't smoke pot or use LSD in Muskogee. Which just goes to show, you should never brag about something that might come back to bite you later. Just Google these three words - "Muskogee" "drug" and "rehab" in that order, and you'll see what I mean. Sorry Merle.

Well, as you can see, a lot has changed. In fact, I just took a load out of the dryer wearing my phone headset. The only exception is that baby boomers are starting to find themselves once again under an early curfew, but this time it's imposed by those other strict parents, Mother Nature and Father Time.