|Look at Goosey's bling.|
These are those catchy little ditties that stick in your head, and are fun to sing. You don't really want to think about what you are singing in most of these, as they have their roots in some dark places. Ring around the Rosy is about the plague, London Bridge is about urban decay, Goosey Goosey Gander is possibly about prostitutes, and if you don't think child services should have called on Miss Suzie a long time ago, you can't babysit my kids (I mean seriously, I know single parenting can be hard, but can you get to the baby before he tries to fit the bathtub in his throat? The soap, I get.).
Sister Benedicta taught me the likes of Don Gato the cat, and Old Paint who was leaving Cheyenne, and there was a song we sang about ships that I liked, but can no longer remember. I remember that I liked it because it had a part in it, that I would lower my voice and sing like my Dad, and it made me feel so grown up to do it. Feel free to comment on it, if you remember it, because now it's driving me nuts that I can't remember it. Church had some songs like that too. Be forewarned, I still sing Amazing Grace that way, if you sit near me. I liked to end mass with "Go tell it on the Mountain" or "Go Forth" (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, heard good news so they passed it on...) I still kind of get excited when I see the numbers for those songs on the end of the songboard. I'm easily excited though, just ask my wife. I could fill a few paragraphs with the songs or openings to TV shows from back then, that I remember, but I bet most of you could too. They were designed for us to remember, and hey, they worked! Who doesn't remember the tune to Bonanza? You are doing it now aren't you? I can do the entire theme to Gilligan's Island
My next musical influence took me far outside of the mainstream. I blame my parents. You see, they sent me to bed way too early on Sunday nights, so how could I not curl up with a transistor radio and listen? It was there that I discovered Dr. Demento and his 2 hour radio show dedicated to offbeat and zany songs from a huge library of music. I, in fact, first heard the song that I use as the blog's theme song, "I Love Onions" on his show. If you want to hear it, go to my complete profile, and play the audio clip that is attached there. My
I happened to grow up in one of the most influential rock decades of all time, the 70's, and although I wasn't exclusive to this type of music, I couldn't help but be a fan. How can you debate the likes of Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Eagles, Aerosmith, Billy Joel, Don McLean, Led Zeppelin,and of course Queen.
|NYC show circa 2004|
Back to the story, the 70's quickly gave way to the 80's and now that I was in High School, I started listening to the more popular groups like Foreigner, REO Speedwagon, Journey, Rush, Def Leppard and of course Michael Jackson. He owned that decade and his 14 minute Thriller video is forever ingrained in my mind. We seemed to listen to a lot of local bands too, I remember using fake ID's to get into a Duke Jupiter concert at the Pier 9. The rumor, that summer, was that they were going to shoot their "This is Japan" in the Japanese garden at Sonnenberg Gardens, but I don't think they ever did. I remember a great performance of the Good Rats at the Penny Arcade (Cuz, your face could stop a clock, I'll call you Coo Coo Coo...) I worked at Papa Frank's back then, and would spend a fair amount of my money on the jukebox each night. I was shopping yesterday and I heard Eddie Rabbitt's "I love a rainy night" and it brought me instantly back to that machine. Olivia Newton John's "Please Mr. Please." will do the same thing. I saw her in concert about 10 years ago, and she looked fantastic (insert Australian expression for "I wouldn't kick her out of bed for eating crackers" here). A high school teacher of mine, Frank Meyer introduced me to some unique artists at that time too, like John Prine. I still get out to hear Frank and his partner play often. As a matter of fact, I plan on spending St. Paddy's day with them this year at Buffalo Bill's in Shortsville. It promises to be a good time.
I started dating my wife about this time, and we started investing in albums together. We both had extensive collections of 45's of our own, but now would pool our money and buy the album. Our first shared purchase was Simon and Garfunkel's concert in Central Park. I'm a fan still. Mentally flipping through them
I have my family to keep me up on newer artists, as my wife is a Top 40's listener, and my kids have very eclectic music tastes. Unlike my wife and I, they all have taken music lessons and each of them has a good singing voice, believe it or not. I know I didn't at first, I had to be convinced. It must be one of those two negatives makes a positive things. Two out of three have sung on stage so far, and in a month I'll be able to say 3/3. My daughter added the first country songs to my Ipod, but they brought back memories of the Country music my Dad used to listen to, Patsy Cline, Buck Owens, Johnny Cash (brings back memories of singing Mean Eyed Cat with my sisters) and Hank Williams. Think that's eclectic? I still use the Lawrence Welk theme song to help me sleep if I struggle (sleep patterns are learned early and my bedtime was right after Lawrence Welk). Speaking of eclectic, if you ever have a chance to go to a party that my brother Ace and I cater, you can hear some of our picks, as we always play music when we work. So I hope you have enjoyed the trek through my eclectic musical influences. I'll close this blog, with Mama Cass singing California Dreaming, because as we all know, it's not really over until the fat lady sings.