Over at one of my fave music blogs, Keep The Coffee Coming, we recently had a mystery artist to identify. It really had me goin’ for a while, and I have to admit I was stumped right up til the final ‘reveal.’ I highly recommend you head over there and have a listen to the Sunday, September 28 post titled “Blue Shadows on the Trail” aka “I Never See Maggie Alone” and see if you can guess who it is. And if you don’t want a spoiler, don’t look at the comments first!
All this guessing got me thinking about some of the more or less obscure oldies we don’t hear often enough. One of my favorites is a sweet little Brill Building number by Greenwich/Barry) and recorded by the girl group called The Butterflys. Happily there is a video of it on YouTube, so you can hear it again. The only thing better would be if it had footage of the gals performing it, but we can’t be too picky. So here it is – have a listen to the lyrics and remember your own early dating days.
Photo from www.fiftiesweb.com Video by YT member VinylRecords60
As you’ve no doubt seen and heard on the news, Israel has lifted its long-standing ban on the Beatles, and allowed former member Paul McCartney to play in concert there. Politically speaking (and we know we can never get fully away from that, anywhere!) I think Sir Paul did his level best to play it down the middle, bringing his music to both sides as a “message of peace,” and if you want all the 411 on that, you can easily find it online, so I won’t cover it here. Besides, what I think is most interesting is seeing news footage of all the grizzled old Boomer-age folks over there, all excited about seeing and hearing McCartney perform. I think it’s really a shame that those fans never had the chance to see all four of the mop-tops play together. But, I’m sure they are delighted to have Paul there, and no one is going to complain. The event is already being labeled the “Israeli Woodstock”
Here's a little clip of the concert. Even if it's long overdue, isn't it great to see everyone having such a good time?! That's the power of music, folks.
Video from YT member bartcase Photo from Wikimedia Commons
In these uncertain times, we must be thankful for any displays of common sense and good judgment when we come across them. With that in mind, I want to applaud the Ben and Jerry ice cream company for declining to act on the request of animal rights group, PETA, who has called for B&J to exchange their usual cow milk for human breast milk in their recipes. Now, let me be the first to say that I don’t think there is anything wrong with HBM per se. In fact, I was told by my mother (who should know) that a very long time ago, when I was a newborn baby, it was my sole nourishment. I’m sure a lot of people could say the same. However, now that we are big, I think we would all agree that we don’t want HBM in our ice cream. I will say this about the PETA proposal, though. If Ben and Jerry had decided to add human breast milk to their ice cream, it would make for some hilarious (and doubtless rather rude) new flavor names. I’m sure you will have no trouble thinking up some real zingers for yourself, so I won’t offer any of mine here. Besides, this is G-rated blog.
You may be wondering how I am going to tie all this in with oldies. Well, B&J’s number one top ice cream seller (and my personal fave) is Cherry Garcia, named after the inimitable Jerry Garcia, of the Grateful Dead. Okay, so it’s 1987, and not the true vintage years (not by my definition, anyway) but it’s still over 20 years ago. Doesn’t that make all you Gen-Xers feel old? Well, none of us are babies anymore. So let's listen to "A Touch of Grey."
Photo of Denman Island ice cream store from Wikimedia Commons Video by YT member NewOldVinyl
Okay, let me start by saying that it had never been my intention that this blog should be anything more than a celebration of vintage music and memories, and therefore should not take a strong political or any other kind of stand. In addition, before anyone thinks that I’m singling out Islam here, let me add that, IMHO, there isn’t a fundamentalist division of any belief system on the planet that is known for its self-deprecating humor or its ability to take a joke. Having said both those things, I find I simply cannot resist the urge to fudge on my own “house rules” just a bit today, in light of the recently issued fatwa against Mickey Mouse. Yes, as you may have already heard, a Saudi sheik has denounced the Mickey as a “soldier of Satan” and an “impure corrupter,” and called for his death. As I understand it, part of that has to do with the cultural view Islamists have of mice in general, which is pretty much that they are the lowest life form on earth. I know they (mice) are pests, but still, I personally don’t object to them in principle. Of course other people are welcome to their own views, but I have to wonder about a death threat being issued to a cute little mouse that…let me see, how shall I best put this…. DOESN’T REALLY EXIST!!! Personally, if you’re going to pick on some poor animated critter as a bad influence, I’d go for Donald Duck. At least Mickey wears some pants.
Anyway, for all the baby boomers out there, here is a short (and therefore only minimally corrupting) video for the Mickey Mouse club, so we can remember the good old days.
Photo from Wikimedia Commons Video by YT member kaijueguy
I’m what you’d call a playoffs sports fan. I don’t really watch all my fave teams during the regular season, but if any of them advance, well, I’m right there cheering. I root for the following: Hockey – Red Wings, Pro football – Calgary Stampeders, College football – U of Michigan. That’s it; I don’t follow basketball or anything else. As you can imagine, I was pretty happy with last years Stanley Cup results, and the Wolverines, well, they need to pick it up a bit, but it’s still early. Most recently, I’ve been keeping an eye on the Tigers, a team capable of great things but who have admittedly had kind of a roller coaster season. I think it will pretty much take a miracle now, but what the heck, let’s give ‘em a boost, some musical encouragement anyway. Maybe they'll "run all the way home" a few more times before they're done for the season. And who better than these guys…and this is the perfect song. Speaking of perfect, I saw them perform this live on TV, wearing baseball uniforms. I can’t remember if they had a team logo on the uniforms, can’t even remember what show they were on, maybe Bandstand, or possibly Ed Sullivan. Unfortunately, that particular video isn’t currently on YouTube, so if anyone has any of the particulars, I would dearly love to know.
P.S. I’m taking my tower into the shop for some work, so if you don’t hear from me for a few days, fear not, I will return!
My fellow blogger, Kat, over at Culture Clips for Gen-Xers did a post yesterday (Sunday, Sept 14) about a fave movie of hers from 1969 – The James Bond flick, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. I responded with a couple of movie titles I recall from the same year, in different genres. Everybody has their own preferences, but what Kat’s post really made me think of is the Bryan Adams song, “Summer of 69.” Only whenever I listen to it, I’m mentally thinking “the summer of 65” since that was my senior year in High School, and really was one of the best times I ever had.
Since I like the song so much, I thought I’d feature it here at Papa Do Run. Why not – I mean, even if it was released in 1984, it’s about the joys of the vintage year 1969, right? Wrong. Well, sort of wrong. Let me be the first to admit that ever since I first heard this hard-rockin’ little tune, I have not doubted for a moment that it was about looking back to the good old days (and any numerical reference to anything else was purely coincidental). Never mind the fact that Bryan Adams was born in 1959, and thus would have been only 10 years old – if we are to think of this song as in any sense autobiographical, that is. Next, I decided to check out good old Wikipedia and see what they had to say. To my surprise, I discovered that this song that I have loved for over 20 years is not actually about the year 69. No, my friends, it’s actually about…ahem…that numerical coincidence after all…you know, the other definition. At least that's what Bryan Adams says he meant by it. Hoo-kay. But, my friends, Bryan Adams isn’t the sole writer of this song. It’s a collaboration between him and a fellow named Jim Vallance, and Jim says as far as he’s concerned, it’s just about the year. Well, I guess ultimately the meaning is up to the individual. For me, it’s still about ’65 anyway, and I don’t think that’s a nickname for anything racy.
Summer is pretty much obeying the calendar around here. Maybe it’s not all that chilly, but the leaves are certainly falling – mostly from lack of rain! Tonight it’s Dinner and a Movie with some friends. It kind of got me thinking about movies, and summer, and that made me think of one of my favorites oldies, (Theme from) A Summer Place. The theme song was a huge slow dance hit for Percy Faith and his Orchestra back in 1959, when I was only 12.The movie starred the adorable Sandra Dee and the equally adorable (for different reasons) Troy Donahue, in one of those early generation gap movies. There’s a wealth of clips from A Summer Place on YouTube. You could practically watch the entire flick if so inclined, but I’ve selected a couple here that I think make a good sampling, for your viewing pleasure.
This first is one a montage of scenes, the longest one featuring Molly and Johnny (Sandra and Troy) discussing their rather Romeo and Juliet love life (their parents are trying to tear them apart!). You can hear the famous theme in the background at the very beginning.
I had to include the second clip because it’s just so bizarro, IMHO. This must have been pretty suggestive stuff at the time. Molly and Dad are reclining closely together, in bed, both in their jammies, having some serious face time about how frigid and sexually repressed Mom is, and how sexually free Molly thinks things should be, and the intimate details of…oh heck just go watch the clip.
All I can say is, this is definitely not the 1959 I think most of us baby boomers remember! Nor is it likely to be anything resembling "the talk" any of us got. Of course, back then I was just starting to get interested in the dance moves I saw on Bandstand, yet was still capable of dressing up Revlon dolls (early precursor of Barbie) with my girlfriends. And going to see our favorite teen idols at the movies. Well, that's enough summer and youthful reminiscing for now. I think we're having pizza tonight, and watching "Happy Feet" (animated penguins, and we all know how sexy they are...) See how things change when you grow up.
Videos from YT members WarnerBrosOnline (top) and littlerings
Today is so nice, perfect combination of sun, low humidity and cool temp. It’s been so dry here that many of the leaves are curling and dropping before they have a chance to turn color, but I don’t care. It’s time for my annual fall ritual, now that the hot sticky days of summer behind us. So I fired up the O.C. – that would be my bright Poppy Red ’65 Mustang, fondly nicknamed Orange Crush – and went out for a spin with, like Chuck Berry, I had no particular place to go, and to heck with wasting a little gas; I didn’t drive it much this summer. Why not? Because with no A/C and those black vinyl seats, it’s just too too too hot. But now, everything's perfect, so I took my fall songs and headed out. They aren’t all true vintage tunes, but all sound great with the windows rolled down. Just plug the MP3 player to the radio, and roar off. So here it is, my fall 2008 playlist:
As some of you already know, I am a dyed-in-the-wool Beach Boys fan, and that extends to Brian Wilson in his post-BB solo career. When I heard he had a new album, called Lucky Old Sun, coming out, I made a beeline to Amazon to pre-order. Then Brian was on Leno Wednesday night to promote it, and what I heard just made me even more eager to hear the whole thing. Well, today my CD arrived, and I popped it into the Tamale (red Grand Caravan) and headed off to do some errands. When I pulled back into the garage, the last song, “Southern California,” was about halfway through. Normally I would have turned off the engine and gone in the house without thinking. But I couldn’t interrupt it; I just sat there in the darkened garage, listening until it finished. And, my friends, there was even the hint of a tear in my eye.
I have to tell you, as much as I enjoy rock and roll in all its various vintage forms – rockabilly, folksy, surfer, girl groups etcetc – nothing over the years has effected me quite the way this album did today. I have clapped and whooped, laughed and shouted, but I’ve never had a reaction like this. Why? Well, I had to do some thinking about that. A recent review in the San Francisco Chronicle called Brian’s new album a “love letter to Los Angeles” – they took the words right from under my fingertips! I’d only add “…and all of Southern California.” But that’s not exactly the reason I was so affected. This album is like an autobiography of Brian’s long and varied musical career, and his equally varied life, with songs and spoken narratives inter-mingled (and don’t nobody go wrinkling none of their respective noses – I’m telling you, it works!) But that’s still not the reason. No, what got me is that the this album has the feel of a man, an artist – one of the most influential and lauded of his era – coming at last to a high place that affords him a view, a look back form a perspective that youth doesn’t offer. Do I think it sounded like a swan song? No, I wouldn’t say that. It sounded like the thing I suspect most people do when they get past a certain age (Brian is 65). This album feels to me like a summation, a stock-taking, a pause, and a moment of gratitude. It’s all in there, a musical scrapbook for the ear, but it’s not a simple rehash of his old styles and material. It’s fresh and vigorous and very much in the present, for all its nostalgic touches.
Brian Wilson is a few years older than me; I’m from the mid-West Rust Belt. We grew up in very different lives together, but we’ve been with each other every step of the way. Mind you, I’m not the kind of fan who joins clubs, memorizes birthdays and other personal trivia; I only know what most everyone else interested in the music gets by osmosis just from watching TV and reading the paper. I’ve never been to California, never even got to a Beach Boys concert. But that doesn’t mean I don’t feel a relationship. This is my music, and Brian Wilson is my main music man. We’ve both taken stock, and now we’re growing old together. And I feel very lucky to have this beautiful album beside me.
If you’re a baby boomer music fan, a Beach Boys fan, or a Brian Wilson fan, I think you will appreciate this album, too. Here’s a link case you want to check it out further.
Here’s a trailer from one of the best/worst 60s teen dramas ever, featuring a whole swack of youthful stars who went rather quickly from “rising” to…you know, I’m not even sure some of them ever made it to “where are they now.” Not only that, it’s the acting debut (notice how the trailer calls it a “challenge”!) of Dick Clark. This was pretty steamy stuff back in the day (yes, I’m tired of that phrase, too). The reason I’m putting it up here is because it’s such a time capsule. I totally love this song, but not the James Darren version. No, for me it’s gotta be the Duane Eddy instrumental. Oh, don’t get me wrong, James Darren is a read “doll” but I don’t think I’ll draw too much fire if I say his rendition is kind of wishy-washy. Jimmy may be a sweet thang, but for this song, we want the twang thang.
Because They're Young Trailer
Duane Eddy and His Twangy Guitar
Trailer video by YT member OurManinHavana Duane Eddy Video by YT member MorriconeRocks Shoes from Wikimedia
Okay, so maybe by 1962 poodle skirts and saddle shoes were pretty much a thing of the past, but that didn't mean we were through dancing! This will get you up "off your chair, dear lady"* (and gentleman too)
Video by YT member loucacciot
* from lyrics to Gary U.S. Bond's "Dear Lady Twist' Oh heck, this is such a great vid, let's do this one, too!
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.