‘These Precious Days . . .’

September 27th, 2016

(Life is getting back to what passes for normal around here, and while that process goes on, I decided to take a look in the EITW archives. As I did, I came across a piece written eight years ago today, during our first autumn in our little house just off Lincoln Avenue. I’ve made a few revisions and selected a different version of the song.)

Oh, it’s a long, long while from May to December,
But the days grow short when you reach September.

No, I’m not channeling intimations of mortality this morning as I ponder Willie Nelson’s melancholy version of “September Song.” But it is late September, and it is autumn, my favorite of seasons.

I often wonder if there’s some sliver of my being that lingers from the long-ago days of my Swedish and German ancestors, some bit of soul memory that recalls the Septembers and Octobers of Northern Europe. For I connect with that distant past as the leaves turn their browns, golds and reds and then release themselves from their trees. It pleases me on some level to hear talk of first frost, and I noted the passing of last week’s equinox, when the nighttime begins to fill more of our hours than does the daylight, with the quiet satisfaction of a man who feels his best time is come again.

This is my season. Were I a vintner, my wines would be autumnal and bittersweet.

In all those things mentioned above – the chilling of the weather, the fading of the leaves, the fading of the light – there lies the metaphor of our of own chilling and fading. And simple time sometimes reminds us, too. My father had his first heart attack forty-two years ago this week, just before he turned fifty-five. I’m eight years older than that now, and thankfully, show no indications of any heart ailments. I think about that as I look out my study window and watch the oaks trees just this week beginning to surrender their first leaves, one by one.

My father survived that trial and lived through another twenty-eight autumns before leaving on a late springtime day in 2003. I don’t foresee an early exit for me, either, no matter the twinge of melancholy found in both autumn’s winds and Nelson’s version of the song, written long ago by Maxwell Anderson and Kurt Weill. And it’s worth noting that, as drear as “September Song” might seem, it centers on a promise.

Now, promises can be cruel things, and – knowing that – I once told my loved one that I could not promise forever. But, I said, I would promise tomorrow. Come tomorrow, I would promise another tomorrow. And then another and another, until all the tomorrows were done. That’s a promise I will keep.

And here’s what Nelson – and all who’ve offered us “September Song” over the years – promises as the ending nears:

Oh, the days dwindle down to a precious few.
September. November.
And these few precious days, I’ll spend with you.
These precious days I’ll spend with you.

So, for my Texas Gal, and for all those anywhere who hold to love while the leaves fall and the days dwindle, here’s Willie Nelson’s version of “September Song.” It’s from his 1978 album Stardust.

‘Put The Load Right On Me . . .’

September 21st, 2016

Well, the signs were there: On Friday evening, when my pal Rob and I headed out to the College of St. Benedict in nearby St. Joseph for a performance by the Blues Heritage Orchestra Quintet (an excellent choice for a good evening; I’ll perhaps write about the group in the future), I had a sore throat, which I ignored. Not a good decision, as it turned out.

The next morning – when I wrote about our busy Saturday – I had a few body aches, which I generally ignored. Again, not a good decision.

When I awoke Sunday, I had no energy, my head felt like concrete, my throat was raw, and I was coughing. I canceled plans and stayed home. And here I am three days later, still at home. I’ve talked to Mom several times, but I’m not visiting right now. And the doctor says I should be fine by Friday, as long as I continue to lay low until then.

So I’ll lay low. But with Mom in rehab for at least another two weeks, and now me unable to do much this week, I swear it feels as if someone put the load right on me.

That’s a quote from “The Weight,” of course, so here’s Jackie DeShannon’s version of the tune. It’s from her great 1968 album, Laurel Canyon. I’ll be back when I’m back.

Saturday Single No. 510

September 17th, 2016

Things are okay here, but this will be a busy day: The Texas Gal and I will be part of the group from our Unitarian Universalist Fellowship staffing a booth at the annual Pride In The Park festival near Lake George just southwest of downtown St. Cloud. We’ll be in on set-up this morning and on breakdown this afternoon, and in between, the Texas Gal will be there most of the day.

I’ll be taking a break in there to head for practice for a cabaret-style performance that I’ll be doing with two friends in November. We’re trying to finish the script – some editing remains, but things are, we think, in their final order – and today, we will begin to polish the dances and vocal numbers. (I do no dancing; I play piano and sing, for the most part.)

But that comes in mid-day, so after rehearsal is over, I’ll make my way back to Lake George and eventually help with tear-down. After that, the Texas Gal and I will head home to meet a high school friend of mine whom I’ve seen only rarely in the last forty years. He’s in town for a high school reunion tonight – an event that I’ll skip only because I cannot do everything – and he’s going to stop by to exchange an aloe plant for some of the Texas Gal’s pickles.

After that, as Mike heads off to the reunion, we’ll likely collapse at the end of a very busy but very worthwhile Saturday.

So I went looking for Saturday tunes, and I found one I’m pretty certain I hadn’t listened to very closely before: It’s by Aztec Two-Step, which has released some very nice folk-rock albums starting in 1972. Leading off the 1975 album Second Step was the track “It’s Going On Saturday,” and it’s today’s Saturday Single.

‘Tougher’

September 16th, 2016

I don’t remember the product – probably Excedrin – but I remember the commercial:

A thirty-something woman dressed in her best Eighties office clothes strides along the street and tells the camera (and those of us who were watching): “Life got tougher.”

And she catalogs all the ways life in 1982 (I think) was so much harder than it had been, oh, maybe ten years earlier. And then tries to sell us something to ease the resulting headache.

Back in its day, I used a reference to that commercial as a lead paragraph for an editorial at the Monticello Times, writing about how we cope with the harsh realities of life and how we sometimes don’t. And it came to mind the other day. My mom was in the hospital for a few days this week with pneumonia. She’s recovering, and she’s been transferred to a short-stay care facility for some physical therapy with the hopes of rebuilding her strength and balance so she can return to her apartment in her assisted living center.

I think she’s going to be okay. But my week has been a little stressful: getting her to the hospital and then to the short-stay facility; talking to doctors, nurses, physical therapists, social workers and case managers at both facilities; making decisions about her preferred location on the fly; keeping my sister informed about it all; taking care of some things for church; and keeping our house running as smoothly as possible. It’s been wearying. And during one of these days as I was driving from one place to another, I thought about that 1982 commercial.

And I thought, “Lady, if you thought life was tough thirty-four years ago when you were in your thirties, just wait.”

Then I thought for a bit more as I drove, and I realized that had that fictional woman in the commercial actually been living a big city, power-suit life, going home to a husband and kids in the suburbs, she’d now be – like me – in her early sixties. She’d probably be thinking about retirement and Medicare, worrying about her adult children and maybe indulging her grandchildren, and very possibly caring in one way or another for an elderly parent or two.

So, yeah, life got tougher.

But you know, maybe it’s always been this tough, and we Baby Boomers – the vast majority of whom, if we’re honest, had it pretty good and were pretty sheltered for our first twenty or so years – just didn’t know. That would explain the surprise and frustration proclaimed in that 1982 commercial, a proclamation that echoed what we were feeling out there in consumer-land, for the ways in which things are sold to us is a good a mirror of who we are.

You want tough? Consider my folks’ early years: Wall Street crashed and triggered the Great Depression during the year my dad turned eleven and my mom turned nine. Dad went into the army in the late 1930s, about the time my mom was teaching elementary school in a one-room schoolhouse with a woodstove for heat and no running water. Then came World War II. And then things got better, but it still took a lot of hard work.

So yeah, in 1982, life probably got tougher for us as we were dealing with the realities of the adult world that maybe surprised us as a generation. But you know, I have a sense that life has always been tough and we learn that as we mature and grow older; and we need to remember that there are times that are not as tough as others.

So all of that is what I’ve been pondering as I make my way from one task to another this week, aware through the worry, the frustration and the fatigue that maybe life got tougher for me, yeah, but I’m coping, as most of us find a way to do.

And here are Long John Baldry & The Hoochie Coochie Men with “Times Are Getting Tougher Than Tough” from 1964.

‘You Ain’t Never Been . . .’

September 13th, 2016

Responsibilities accumulate and errands call. That’s okay; as some younger folks call it these days, that’s adulting. And I’m feeling better today than I did last week. Not entirely back, but closer than I was.

So to keep things brief here but still find some music I’d not heard before (or at least hadn’t thought about for a long time), I ducked into the Billboard Hot 100 from this date in 1975, and played with the numbers today’s date gave me: 9-13-75.

I didn’t expect anything new at Nos. 9 or 13, and I was right. At No. 9, I got “Run, Joey, Run” by David Geddes, a record that I try not to think about, and at No. 13, I got “That’s The Way Of The World” by Earth, Wind & Fire, a record that I’m happy to think about but one that’s eminently familiar.

So Odd and Pop and I turned our gaze to No. 75 in that long-ago chart and found Jessi Colter’s: “You Ain’t Never Been Loved (Like I’m Gonna Love You).” I’d never heard it, so as it played, I hit the books and the charts. It turns out that some of the info in the weekly charts I got from a board or forum long ago conflicts slightly with the information in my reference library. That on-line compilation – in which I have found some errors over the years – indicates that “You Ain’t Never . . .” is a double-sided single, with “What’s Happened To Blue Eyes” on the flip.

But the listing of the Hot 100 at the Billboard website lists only “You Ain’t Never . . .” at No. 75 for the week in question. In Top Pop Singles, Joel Whitburn shows “You Ain’t Never . . .” entering the Hot 100 on September 6 and peaking at No. 64, with “Blue Eyes” coming into the chart on October 11 and peaking at No. 57. Whitburn’s listing seems to indicate that “Blue Eyes” was the A side, and in fact, “Blue Eyes” went to No. 5 on the magazine’s country chart and “You Ain’t Never . . .” did not hit the country Top 40.

If there’s a mystery there, I’ll not be unraveling it this morning. And having listened to both of the tracks this morning, I find “You Ain’t Never Been Loved (Like I’m Gonna Love You)” to be a better record, one that I like pretty well on first listen. So here it is, and I’ll be off to take care of my world.

Saturday Single No. 509

September 10th, 2016

So what do we know about September 10? Well, Wikipedia tells us it’s the 254th day of this Leap Year, and it’s slightly more likely to fall on a Monday, Thursday or Saturday. (And in the handful of times we’ve done this type of post, that the first time I can recall Wikpedia noting that likelihood information. Interesting.)

Okay, so historically, what does Wikipedia tell us has happened on September 10?

The list leads off there by noting that in 506 A.D., the bishops of Visigothic Gaul met in the Council of Agde. Visigothic Gaul, as we all should know, was the southwestern area of what is now France, and it was ruled by the Visigoths – the western portions of the Germanic peoples known as Goths (and I don’t think they wore black lipstick and listened to Nine Inch Nails) – from the early 400s to 507. The Council of Agde – which took place on the island of Agde (or Agatha) on the Mediterranean coast east of the now-French city of Narbonne – set out forty-some rules for the naming and behavior of deacons, priests and bishops.

(I went into detail there for a couple of reasons: First, because the event was the first on the list offered by Wikipedia about September 10; second, because I’ve been through Narbonne; third, because it gave me a chance for a cheap joke about modern-day Goths and their music; and fourth, because I never pass up a chance to misspell “Mediterranean” and have spell-check correct me.)

Other events over the years that have taken place on September 10 include:

The Battle of Pinkie Cleugh, which took place in 1547 “on the banks of the River Esk near Musselburgh, Scotland. The last pitched battle between Scottish and English armies, it was part of the conflict known as the Rough Wooing, and is considered to be the first modern battle in the British Isles. It was a catastrophic defeat for Scotland, where it became known as Black Saturday.”

The election of John Smith as council president of Jamestown, Virginia, in 1608. This was the year after Smith was supposedly saved from death at the hands of the Powhatan Indians by Pocahontas, the daughter of the Powhatans’ chief. There remain some questions about the story’s truth, and Wikipedia goes into detail about the story and about the history of the discussion over the years. I’m a little interested, and I may go back to read further than I did this morning.

Elias Howe was granted a patent for the sewing machine in 1846. By inventing the machine, he saved most likely millions of mothers from the drudgery of hand-stitching their family’s clothing, which resulted in mid-Twentieth Century moms bringing home clothing patterns by Simplicity, Butterick and other companies, which then resulted in kids wearing to school home-made shirts made from odd and no doubt unique plaid fabrics. (It only happened once; during my first marriage, the Other Half offered me well-made shirts in very nice plaids, and I happily wore those until they either fell apart or I got too large.)

In 1919, Austria and the victorious Allies of World War I signed the Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye recognizing the independence of Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia. Less than a century later, two of those four nations have now split apart and the Poland that was recognized in that treaty was shifted to the west after World War II, losing territory in the east to the Soviet Union and being compensated by gaining territory from Germany in the west. And I imagine that if I looked into it, the borders of Hungary now are likely no longer the borders that were recognized in that 1919 treaty.

Speaking of the Soviet Union, it was on September 10, 1972, that the USSR’s Olympic men’s basketball team won the gold medal game against the United States by a score of 51 to 50. The Soviets were given three opportunities – two of them against the rules, from what I understand and remember – at the end of the game to score the winning basket. The United States team refused its silver medals, and I’ve read a couple of pieces over the years about the team and that decision; the medals, as I understand it, are in a bank vault in Switzerland, waiting to be claimed. I hope they never are.

And that last item brings me to a numerical hook for some tunes. We can look at the No. 50, No. 51 and No. 101 records from this week in 1972 for a single for today. And we have a nice set to choose from.

Sitting at No. 50 in the Billboard Hot 100 forty-four years ago today was Jackson Browne’s “Rock Me On The Water,” which would in succeeding weeks move up just two more spots to a peak at No. 48. Parked at No. 51 was Danny O’Keefe’s “Good Time Charlie’s Got The Blues,” one of my favorite one-hit wonders, which would eventually move up to No. 9.

And sitting atop the Bubbling Under section at No. 101 was Al Green’s “Guilty,” a record that I’m not sure I’d heard until this morning. It was released on the Bell label, which to me means that it was recorded before Green’s huge success at Hi but released after he was a star. It only went to No. 69, and I can only assume that listeners might have liked Green’s voice but missed the classic production touches offered on Green’s hits by Hi’s Willie Mitchell. I miss them, too, so we’ll pass on “Guilty.”

As to the other two, I spent some time a while ago looking at the Jackson Browne record and various covers of the tune, but according to a search this morning, I’ve mentioned the O’Keefe record only twice in the course of some 1,800 posts, and as much as I like it, we’ve never listened to it here. My little tunehead pal Pop finds that unconscionable, and even Odd thinks it strange.

So here’s Danny O’Keefe’s “Good Time Charlie’s Got The Blues,” today’s Saturday Single.

Depression

September 9th, 2016

I’ve been gone from here a lot lately, with my latest absence – six days – the second longest since I began this blog in early 2007. The longest was during a 3,000-mile trip to Texas and Arkansas that spring during which the Texas Gal and I kept a count of the roadkill we’d seen and were oddly enough able to include a llama in our tally.

But this has been no road trip and no dead llamas. This absence I have to ascribe to my own biochemistry and the resulting depression with which I’ve struggled my entire adult life.

I take my medication, at least most of the time. There are days I forget, but I do pretty well. For example, the current bottle of pills within reach here at my desk is one I got on June 4. I should have taken the last pill of those ninety around September 3. I have a pill left in the bottle for tomorrow, September 10, so I’ve missed seven pills in the last three or so months. That’s not too bad.

But one of the features of my particular depression is that sometimes it doesn’t care if I’ve taken my medication. Every four to six weeks, I head into a deep ditch of sadness, whether I’m medicated or not. My time in the ditch varies, from one or two days to – as I’ve been learning in recent days – as long as a week. I’m still there, and I see no way out of the ditch. (But then, it seems to me that I never really see the way out; I just find myself one morning back on the highway).

One of the worst things about depression – and I’ve been dealing with it for more than forty years, although I’ve had medication for it for only the last twenty or so – is that it not only settles a layer of sadness on life, it also makes joyless those things that would otherwise bring relief. Thus, in the last week, I’ve found far less satisfaction than I normally would have in sorting things and memories at my mom’s storage unit; celebrating my birthday; and anticipating the beginning of the pro football season, as it brings with it fantasy football and my ongoing (since 1970) attempts to predict the winners of each game.

And other things that I cherish have gone undone, things like digging into genealogy, playing table-top baseball, cooking, and yes, writing this blog.

Not even the Texas Gal can slice through the darkness. All I can do is tell her where I’ve found myself and trust that she and her love will be there for me when I find my way out.

As I indicated above, I don’t know when this particular stretch of dismal days will end. I just have to trust that they will, and I’ve decided to pick things up and truck on. I’ll likely call Dr. Julie or her nurses and talk about upping the dosage of my medication (or adjusting another medication that was recently altered, come to think of it). And in the meantime, I’ll get back to the things that enrich my life, trusting too that sometime soon they will be joyful pastimes instead of just things to do.

Depression is a tough thing to write about because our culture tends not to want to think about it or sometimes even recognize that it exists. I think we’re better in dealing with it, culturally and personally, than we were, oh, forty years ago. And that’s good, but we still have a distance to go. Lastly, I’m not looking for sympathy. I just wanted to explain what seems to me to be a long absence from this place where I share my life and the music I love.

So when I went looking through the digital stacks for some joy, well, I found lots of it. Here’s Howlin’ Wolf with his 1963 Chess single, “Three Hundred Pounds Of Joy.”

Saturday Single No. 508

September 3rd, 2016

I’m here only briefly today, as I’m due at my mom’s storage unit this morning for another session of sorting things, some of which my sister or I might decide to keep and most of which we’ll shuttle off to somewhere else (either the trash or an antique shop, I would guess).

So I took a quick look in the digital files to see if there was anything there that was recorded on September 3. And there was at least one. There might have been more than that, but I stopped on the first one because “Midriff,” recorded in Hollywood on September 3, 1946, by Duke Ellington & His Famous Orchestra, suited me just fine. Written by Billy Strayhorn, the track was released on the Swing label. (At least I think this was the version recorded on that date and released on Swing; Ellington and his band recorded the tune several times.)

No, I don’t know why it’s titled “Midriff.” I doubt it has anything to do with anyone’s tummy; instead, I’d guess it might be about a musical riff being stopped midway. I don’t hear that when I’m listening, but I am listening with ears less accustomed to big band jazz than they are to blues, rock and country. In any case, “Midriff” is a fine piece of work, and it’s today’s Saturday Single.

‘New Jersey . . .’

September 1st, 2016

With September here this morning, and considering the prospect of a 45-year high school reunion later this month, I thought about the long-ago month of September of 1971. As the month started, I was ready to go back to school, to get started on my freshman year at St. Cloud State.

But the fall quarter didn’t begin until sometime after September 20, leaving me three more weeks of scrubbing floors on campus during evening shifts with my friend Mike. The quarter’s late start was disconcerting; it felt odd to see the neighborhood kids head off to Lincoln Elementary, South Junior High and Tech High while I spent my daytime doing chores around the house and listening to the radio.

Here’s some of what I was hearing during those odd days, the top ten on the Twin Cities’ KDWB during this week in 1971:

“Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey” by Paul & Linda McCartney
“Wedding Song (There Is Love)” by Paul Stookey
“I Just Want To Celebrate” by Rare Earth
“Liar” by Three Dog Night
“Sweet Hitchhiker” by Creedence Clearwater Revival
“Beginnings/Colour My World” by Chicago
“Smiling Faces” by the Undisputed Truth
“Stick-Up” by the Honeycone
“Won’t Be Fooled Again” by the Who
“Bangla-Desh” by George Harrison

I liked all of those, some more than others, of course. I knew the Chicago B-side and the McCartneys’ record well by then, as Ram and Chicago were regularly on the turntable in the rec room. And as I looked this morning at the rest of KDWB’s 6+30 from that week, things were pretty familiar, too, until I got to No. 31: “New Jersey” by England Dan & John Ford Coley.

I knew the artists, of course. Their “I’d Really Love To See You Tonight” is one of the records that brings back in an instant the summer of 1976 and my departure from Kilian Boulevard. But “New Jersey”? In 1971? I didn’t remember that from 1971 although something about the record was tickling my memory. So I went digging.

The record got some airplay on KDWB, but not a lot: It was in the 6+30 for about eight weeks and peaked at No. 22. How did it do elsewhere?

Well, the massive collection of Top 40 surveys at the Airheads Radio Survey Archive shows little love for “New Jersey” anywhere except the Twin Cities. The record shows up on four other stations’ lists: It was listed as an “Instant Preview” in mid-August on the Music Guide offered by KRCB in Omaha/Council Bluffs. A week earlier than that, KAFY in Bakersfield, California, tagged the record “hit-bound” in its “Big 55.” In September, the record went to No. 12 on KSPD in Boise, Idaho, and to No. 7 on WLON in Lincolnton, North Carolina.

Sadly, ARSA doesn’t have any surveys from stations in New Jersey during September 1971, nor are there any surveys there that came out of Austin, Texas, the duo’s home base, during that month. Maybe the record did better in those places, but I don’t know. In any case, even though ARSA doesn’t have complete archives, it seems to me that being listed on surveys from only five stations is a pretty slender showing.

Finally, we’ll go to the big book: Joel Whitburn’s Top Pop Singles, where we find that “New Jersey” pretty well flopped: The A&M release bubbled under the Hot 100 for all four weeks of September 1971, never rising higher than No. 103.

For all that, it’s not a bad record, even though a first-time listener might think from the introduction that he’s listening to Joe Cocker’s version of “With A Little Help From My Friends.” And with that in mind, I finally recalled where I’d previously heard “New Jersey” by England Dan & John Ford Coley. The track was on a collection of the duo’s early work given to me about a year ago by pal Yah Shure. So here it is:

Plenty

August 30th, 2016

At about 7 a.m. Sunday, I thought we were in deep trouble: The sky was gray, rain was falling, and the Texas Gal and I were expecting as many as sixty people for our biennial End of Summer Picnic in five hours. As cozy as our house is, we would not get sixty folks into the kitchen, dining room, living room and back hallway.

That was especially true because much of the space in the dining room and living room was already taken up by tables on which we would place the food brought by our guests.

So I did what I could do inside to prepare for the picnic and then sat at my computer, refreshing the weather radar every few minutes.

The Texas Gal soon joined me downstairs and began culinary preparations: getting the shredded beef brisket and the barbecued chicken into the oven and the calico beans into the crockpot. The cats were sequestered upstairs. Tablecloths went on the tables, followed by utensils, pickles and condiments.

And then we waited and checked the weather, she on her phone, I at my computer. Around ten o’clock, a weather program I consult occasionally said that the rain would end in about thirty minutes. And it did. When I went out about forty minutes later to place lawn chairs, the rain was over, although the trees were still shedding water from their leaves.

Soon after that, I made a run for ice, got the various beverages in coolers under a Norway pine and we waited. And our biennial picnic was a great success. The sun came out, the grass dried, and although the day became fairly warm, the heat was never oppressive.

We had about sixty people join us: My mom, my sister and a few of my cousins; members of our Unitarian Universalist Fellowship; the Texas Gal’s co-workers, both former and current; and friends from all eras of our lives, including a cluster of about eight folks from the days of The Table at St. Cloud State, three of whom I had not seen for close to forty years.

Finally, there was Yah Shure, constant reader and frequent commenter here. His regular contribution to our picnics has moved over the years into legend. I greeted him and sent him on into the house with his famed white plastic bucket (and a clutch of custom-burned CDs he was delivering), and as I moved back to the rapidly growing throng, four or five of our regular guests asked me, “Is that the Fudgy Bonbon man?”

“Yep,” I told them, guessing that by the end of the day, Yah Shure’s chocolatey treats would be gone and his white bucket, which he always makes certain to take back to St. Paul with him, would be empty. (I didn’t check as he left, but as the bucket made the rounds where the last eight or nine of us were chatting in the late afternoon, there were very few bonbons left.)

Beyond the Fudgy Bonbons, the bounty offered on our tables by our guests was astounding in its variety and quantity: the salads included potato, pasta, cole slaw, and a wonderful concoction of watermelon and feta cheese under a savory dressing (I’m going to get the recipe for that one very soon); there were chips, crackers, dips and salsas; kabobs with veggies, fruit and sausage; and desserts galore, including apple pie, apple cobbler, bars and cakes, and an ice box cake from our new friend Lucille, one made from her grandmother’s recipe. (It combines chocolate and vanilla puddings, graham crackers and bananas, and I’m making quick work of the leftovers.)

If anything was in short supply Sunday, it was time enough for the Texas Gal and me to spend with all of our guests as we hosted. There were some with whom we hardly spoke, but I’m sure they understood. Other than that, it was a day of plenty: Plenty to eat on the tables, plenty to drink in the coolers; plenty of good company; and plenty to talk about.

And to mark that day of plenty, here are the Pointer Sisters combining the jazz standard “That’s A Plenty” with the silliness of a tune called “Surfeit, U.S.A.” from their 1974 album That’s A Plenty.