This post is in response to a question on the previous post from my friend and fellow blogger, Kat. She asked about the origin of the name of this blog – Papa Do Run. Well, Kat, both the blog title and the title of my book of rock and roll oldies trivia are taken from lyrics (and titles) that can be found in several oldies from what I call the vintage era. I have live links to YouTube for the songs on the book’s website, but sometimes they have to be removed, and when you click on them, the live links are "deceased.” So I'll take this opportunity to post fresh lively links here and hopefully they will stick around for a while, so we all can have a listen to these classic oldies. And if anybody ever comes across any other songs with Papa Do Run (or any variant spellings) in the title or lyrics, please contact me, I’d love to hear about it!
We sure haven’t had much rain here this summer in Soup City. Soup City? That would be Leamington, Ontario, officially called the Tomato Capital of Canada, also referred to by some as Tomato Town. But if you have a working nose and you are anywhere downwind of our gi-nourmous Heinz plant these days, I think you’ll prefer the name I made up for it – Soup City. In fact, I think someone ought to re-write the lyrics to the Jan and Dean classic, "Surf City" and make in into an anthem for Leamington. Well, let’s leave that for another day. Meanwhile, it looks like it could rain today, so I decided to find a good oldie about rain that we can all listen to and maybe it will attract the rain. Plus we could all chant. You know, kind of the opposite of what they all did in the Woodstock documentary, "No rain! No rain!" How about "Rain now! Rain now!"
For our purposes today, there are many songs to choose from. I picked this because it is not only a fave of mine, but the video on YouTube is so charming, it’s a must see. There they are, the boys in the band in living color, with Zal mugging and goofing around at the keyboard, and John Sebastian playing the harp and singing. How he manages to do both at the same time I don’t know; it looks like it should be too hard. But we’ve already seen him rockin’ out with an autoharp, so it should come as no surprise that he can harp it up as well. Anyway, here’s our best hope for some rain today. Hope we get more than a Spoonful (sorry). Enjoy!
Okay, let's go: Rain now Rain now Rain now Rain.....
P.S. The video with Sebastian playing the autoharp is in my January 19/08 post. I'm pretty sure there is a way to give you a live link to it here, but...I haven't figured it out yet. You know me, slow on the uptake on computer stuff. But you can search at the top for "John Sebastian" and that'll bring it up.
Video from YT member Sixtiesalltheway Rain photo from Wikimedia Commons
I didn’t really plan on watching very much of the Olys last week; I’m really more of a winter sport person, but you kind of can’t help it. I admit it was fun to see the opening fanfare, the highs and lows of all the athletes, the old records broken and reset etc. But now the party is over and it’s back to our workaday lives again. Plus, the summer is almost over; back to school is right around the corner, and everybody in the U.S. has to get back to the interminable election coverage. I’ll bet you wish you had a parliamentary system like the Brits and Canucks do. Up here in Canada the whole thing overwith in weeks, not years, it costs a LOT less, and if it doesn’t work out, it’s easier to give ‘im the boot. Well, don’t let the turkeys get ya down. Here’s a little number by the legendary Nola music man, Huey “Piano” Smith to lift your spirits. Come on, let me hear you go “gooba gooba gooba gooba!”
Laughing horse from charlie'swarehouse.wikidot.com Video from YT member Oldies55
Ah, real he-men with high voices. A.k.a. falsetto. I don’t know what it is about males signing in this register that has such universal appeal, such endless fascination. The same isn’t always true of men with high speaking voices, but when they sing, the girls go crazy. I like it so much (warning, shameless plug coming up) I’ve included a section about falsetto singers in my forthcoming (2009) rock ‘n’ roll trivia book, “Peanut Butter and Mashed Potatoes” (the sequel to “Papa Do Run”). These guys have lasting appeal too, given that our two feature songs could barely be more separated on the popular music timeline. I’m happy to have both on my shelf. I realize I’ve had earlier posts that linked to “He’s In town” by the British Invasion group The Rockin’ Berries, but it’s just sooooo good, we can always listen again, right? And Coldplay is an instant modern classic. So, here they are; two of my favorite falsetto voices/songs. Ya just gotta love it! And go ahead and squeal, ladies. No one can hear you on the web.
I had one not long ago. It was like I was being shadowed by Mr. Murphy, starting from the moment my toast landed peanut butter side down on the floor. It reminded me of my favorite Life Motto: If it’s funny later, it’s funny now. That one has saved me from getting too wound up over life’s more trying moments many times. Things that drive you crazy now make the funniest stories to entertain your friends with later on. It also reminded me of a somewhat obscure vintage oldie, “That’s Life”— which is itself lifted from the old word game we used to reel off as kids. I tried to remember how the whole thing went, but it’s obviously been pushed to the back of my memory file. Anyone out there is welcome to have a shot at it. Meanwhile, here’s Gabriel and the Angels singing “That’s Life.”
Photo from Mental Floss. If you don't know about Mental Floss, please, do yourself a big favor and check it out, subscribe to email or the mag. I get no kickback from saying this, it's just way funny!!! You'll thank me, I know you will... Video from YT member barrygioportmorien1
This song is one of the enduring greats. If you didn’t know the Bob Seger 1978 original, you probably know it from the 1983 movie Risky Business, with Tom Cruise dancing around in his tighty-whiteys. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for appreciating the male physique, but (pun unavoidable) I’m just not much of a Tom Cruise fan, in any state of dress or undress. Maybe if they'd made that movie starring -- oh never mind, and I do apologize if all this is TMI (too much information). Let’s get back on track.
Apparently our feature song has also been recycled into the old TV show ALF, and also as a cat food commercial, but I can’t personally vouch for either of these. I haven’t seen Risky Business either, but you can’t live on this planet and not have seen the Cruise scene several dozen times without even trying. Anyway, I love Seger, and I love this song. It really speaks for all time about the sad deterioration of great music (whatever it was you grew up with and dig) into really bad music (whatever is the current rage, and is what you hate). But back in 1977, when it was written, writers George Jackson and Thomas Earl Jones III were most likely talking about the really good stuff from the late 50s and possibly early 60s. Beyond that it’s kind of hard to say, because I haven’t been able to find a copy of the original lyrics. According to some sources, Seger changed just a few of the words. According to Seger, he did a real overhaul on all the verses. (He also neglected to add his name to the writing credits, and therefore has no control over how the song is used, hence the cat food ad. I’m not going to argue for or against either claim; I’m just here to agree with the general sentiment. But it’s obvious to me that Seger is lamenting what I would call The Good Stuff.
So let’s hear it again, Bob Seger doing “That Old Time Rock and Roll”
Oh all right ladies (elaborate sigh)…if you’re really going to pout about it, here’s the Tom Cruise version, too. I really thought we were a teensy bit more evolved than that…(smiley)
Videos from YT members OldRockSongs (first) and tettwick (second)
With regret I have to report on another passing, this time it’s an original member of Detroit’s own Spinners – Pervis Jackson. While the Spinners have been around since the 50s, and had their biggest success with a string of soulful hits in the 70s, my favorite song splits the difference, the 1966 heartbreaker, “Truly Yours.” The lead singer for this one was, I believe, Bobbie Smith, and Pervis Jackson sang bass. Mr. Jackson died in Detroit at the age of 70. Here’s thanking him for the music!
I’m sure we all can easily name several songs from the vintage years that either unquestionably were, or were rumored to be, in whole or in part, about drugs. In case you haven’t had your morning cuppa joe yet, here, not in chronological order, are a few to get you going:
Undeniably Unquestionable – The Pusher, Don’t Bogart That Joint, Coming Into Los Angeles, Six Days on the Road (the original version)
Rumored (or maybe unquestionable depending on your viewpoint) – Puff The Magic Dragon, Eight Miles High, Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds
Well, I think I found one more that’s suspect. A while ago I upgraded my Mamas and Papas Greatest Hits single CD to a more comprehensive 2 CD set. It was sure wonderful to hear a lot of the old album tunes I used to listen to back in the 60s, the ones that weren’t big hit singles, and thus never get played on most oldies stations. The song I’m referring to is “Straight Shooter.” Back in my student days, I was pretty naïve. I was also (and still am) pretty square. So I wouldn’t immediately have associated terms like “shooting” and “holding” with drugs, evening thought I’d heard them used in that context. In fact, I remember listening to this song in the (non-coed) dorm with some of the girls, giggling because we thought the line “…what your holding, half of that belongs to me” might mean…uh-oh…a baby! You know, like that freshman girl down the hall who suddenly had to drop out and, it was whispered, get married! Oh, those were different days all right. Anyway, I’ve never seen this song on anyone’s list of oldies about drugs, and even if I am right, it doesn’t change anything for me. It’s a wonderful vintage oldie, and real vintage Mamas and Papas too. STRAIGHT SHOOTER(click for YouTube vid. It was recorded live at Monterey, and thus is not a perfectly balanced studio recording, but it’ll take ya back, guaranteed). Meanwhile, here's the lyrics; see what you think.
Don't get me mad; don't tell no lie. Don't make me sad; don't pass me by. Baby are you holding, holding anything but me? 'Cause I'm a real straight shooter, if you know what I mean. You can bring me love; you can hang around. You can bring me up; don't you bring me down. Baby are you holding, holding anything but me? 'Cause I'm a real straight shooter, if you know what I mean.
I've been searching all night, just to find what I'm looking for. Baby, baby, treat me right, or I won't come round your door No more! You can bring me love; you can hang around. You can bring me up; don't you bring me down. Baby are you holding, holding anything but me? 'Cause I'm a real straight shooter, if you know what I mean.
I've been searching all night, just to find what I'm looking for. Baby, baby, treat me right, or I won't come round your door No more!
Don't get me mad; don't tell no lie. Don't get me sad; just get me high. Baby, what your holding, half of that belongs to me. 'Cause I'm a real straight shooter (Baby, don't you get me down...) I'm a real straight shooter... (I've been searching all night long...) I'm a real straight shooter (baby) if you know what I mean - If you know what I mean.
Famed music producer and mogul Jerry Wexler, who gave us the term “rhythm and blues,” has died at the age of 91. During his years at Atlantic Records, Wexler worked with some of the greats, like Wilson Pickett, Ray Charles, and Aretha. Here’s one of everybody’s favorites…and thanks, Jerry.
I had one of those eclectic music mornings yesterday. It started out with a visit to the Keep the Coffee Coming blog, which was featuring a song by one of my favorite contemporary singers, "Greenville" by Lucinda Williams. From there I went on to browse around my own CD shelf - the Mamas and Papas, a little Donovan, a quick jump over to the Burrito Brothers, then double back for some classic doo wop from the Cleftones. I ended up my session with a song from one of my favorite voices, Dion Di Mucci. This one really showcases his slow dance love ballad side instead of the finger-poppin' numbers people probably think of first. It was the flip side of his big hit, "Ruby Baby." When it comes to heartbreak songs, I'd put "He'll Only Hurt You" right up there with "Cryin" and "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling."
Okay, I’m from Detroit originally, so naturally I think Motown rules, but you have to admit, the sound is a staple and still making new young converts all over the globe. I have my favorite artists and groups just like everyone else, and for me, as far as the Supremes go, it’s the earlier the better. Here’s a little number that dates back to their 1962 debut album, Meet the Supremes. It’s also the first song they recorded as a trio (Diana, Flo, Mary) after the other original member, Barbara Martin, left the group. The album didn’t perform as hoped, and none of the songs broke the top 40. Of course, things changed radically with their sophomore album, with “Where Did Our Live Go” shooting to numero uno. I have to say, with all the good tunes they had, this is still my favorite. I like the directness of the lyrics (written by Berry Gordy) and that cool-on-cool R&B strut. And to my ear it’s just a little less polished and produced. Here, have yourself a groove.
Well, maybe we didn’t find out who the mystery girl is behind Gene Clark’s song, “I Knew I’d Want You” (two posts prior to this) but there are a couple of other songs in vintage rock-and-rolldom that are easy to figure out. One song I have always enjoyed is “The Fat Angel” in both its incarnations, by Donovan and Jefferson Airplane. Donovan wrote the song in tribute to Mama Cass Elliott, and whispers her name as the sitar and tabla do their thing, right after the Jefferson Airplane namecheck (still an unknown SF band, but destined for fame in a short while). So naturally, the Airplane gang recorded it as well. I like that one a lot, too, but I think I have to give the edge to Donovan because of that whisper.
He will bring happiness in a pipe, He'll-a ride away on his silver bike And apart from that he'll be so kind In consenting to blow your mind. Fly Translove Airways, get you there on time. Fly Translove Airways, get you there on time. He will bring orchids for my lady, The perfume will be of an excellent style And apart from that he'll be so kind In consenting to blow your mind. Fly Translove Airways, get you there on time. Fly Translove Airways, get you there on time. He will bring happiness in a pipe, He'll-a ride away on his silver bike And apart from that he'll be so kind In consenting to blow your mind. Fly Jefferson Airplane, get you there on time. Fly Jefferson Airplane, get you there on time. Sitar/tabla Cass…Cass He will bring happiness in a pipe, He'll-a ride away on his silver bike And apart from that he'll be so kind In consenting to blow your mind. Fly Translove Airways, get you there on time. Fly Translove Airways, get you there on time. We'll be flying at an altitude of thirty-nine thousand feet Captain High at your service.
And we should also mention the reference to Timothy Leary’s Translove Airways, and probably a salute to Jerry Garcia in the last line (Captain High). Jerry was once nicknamed “Captain Trips” because of his penchant for LSD, but “high” definitely works better in the lyrics, IMHO.
Speaking of whispers, Mama Cass did a little whispering of her own on “I Call Your Name.” Remember “John…John”? Well, I had heard many years ago that it might be a reference to Papa John Phillips, because Cass had a thing for him. That made sense to me at the time. But in checking around on the web for this post, I found several other possibilities and contradictions. The song itself was written (mostly) by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, so some say she was giving a wink and a nod to Lennon. And still others said that Cass had a thing for Papa Denny, not John. So, I’m not sure we can really nail this one down. Sadly, the all four (both Johns, Denny and Cass) main players are gone. I pass these speculations along to you just as I found them. Ultimately all we have on this one are weasel wordsand the song. I vote we listen!
I'm a baby boomer who grew up dancing in the streets of Detroit during the classic Motown years, lived beside the Rocky Mountains for many years, now retired and living (and writing full time) in S. Ontario. I have one blog for rock 'n' roll oldies, and one for nature, poetry and life along the Lake.