Archive for the ‘Video’ Category

Lists, Again

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2020

I’m working on a couple of music lists these days. One is on Facebook, where a friend tagged me in one of those things that come around every once in a while.

The idea is to post, without comment, covers of albums that have influenced you – twenty of ’em in twenty days. I’m not planning ahead on this one, just winging it, and I’m five days in. I’ve done ten in ten days before, so I can likely predict what the next five will be, but after that, it could be interesting.

Here are the first five, and I doubt whether they’ll surprise anyone who’s read this blog for any length of time:

Honey In The Horn by Al Hirt
Goldfinger soundtrack by John Barry
Abbey Road by the Beatles
Den Store Flugt by Sebastian
The Band

(A recap: Sebastian is a Danish singer/songwriter who, I think it’s safe to say, has become over the years a Danish national treasure. Den Store Flugt is his second album, released in 1972, and it’s the one that my Danish host brother encouraged me to buy and bring back to the States as my time in Denmark was drawing to a close in the spring of 1974.)

At the same time, I’m working on a list of about twenty-five tracks for the guest DJ program at WXYG-FM, the album rock station based in Sauk Rapids, just northeast of St. Cloud. I sent an early version of the list to the station’s “do everything” guy, Al Neff, and we’re negotiating.

I knew Al a little bit many years ago when I was teaching at St. Cloud State as an adjunct faculty member. My office was adjacent to the offices of KVSC-FM, the university’s student-run station, where Al was either music director or program director. On occasion, as I worked on lectures or grading in my office, I got called into discussions in the radio station office. Al and I reconnected a couple of years ago when I noticed he was affiliated with WXYG, and since then, we’ve spent some pleasant hours talking over beer and deep-fried pickles.

Al’s first response to my list noted that he’d allow me three artists who aren’t normally played on the station, probably a reaction to my listing tracks from the first two albums in the list above. And he said he had to pass on tracks by Bobbie Gentry and Marlena Shaw. (He actually added a third pass on a group he called too obscure, but I sent him a note saying that was a hard cut, even as I yielded on Bobbie and Marlena. He said I could keep the third track.)

I won’t reveal what’s on the list for the WXYG program. Again, long-time readers could likely guess at least ten of the twenty-one tracks that currently remain on the working list. I’m going to make an adjustment or two and then ship the second version of the list back to Al.

And here’s the Marlena Shaw track I’ve pulled from contention for the WXYG program. It’s been here before as part of my long-ago Ultimate Jukebox, but that was about ten years ago, which is eons in blogtime. It’s “California Soul” from Shaw’s 1969 album, The Spice Of Life.

Saturday Single No. 679

Saturday, February 29th, 2020

There’s only one thing to do here today.

I’ve known jb, the proprietor of the fine blog The Hits Just Keep On Comin’, since sometime in 2007, first as a presence in the music blogging community and then, starting in 2009, as a presence in the real word. He and his Mrs. have, over those years, shared several weekends with the Texas Gal and me, some here in St. Cloud, one in the Twin Cities, and several in Wisconsin, where they live near Madison. And he’s visited us here when his work – which involves travel – brings him nearby.

So the four of us have noted each other’s birthdays as years pass. But I don’t know if I’ve ever marked jb’s birthday here in this space. But then, I’ve only had three previous chances to do so. He is, you see, one of those rarities, a child born on February 29. And as far as I know, he’s the only person I’ve ever met who was a Leap Day baby.

(I’m sure there were others who came through my life who were. Simple math tells me that one out of every 1,461 people walking through the mall or attending a concert at the Paramount Theatre downtown would have a February 29 birthday. But I’ve never known who they were.)

Anyway, in literal terms, my good friend jb turns fifteen today. In practical terms, well, you can do the math. And to mark the day, what else can I do but share an appropriate record by a band from his home state of Wisconsin? (Well, I can also wish him good beer, but he’ll take care of that by himself.)

Here’s “Birthday,” a cover of the Beatles’ tune by the Underground Sunshine. It was the only hit for the group from Montello, Wisconsin, peaking at No. 26 on the Billboard Hot 100 in September 1969. (A release later that year, “Don’t Shut Me Out,” bubbled under at No. 102.) And in jb’s honor, the Underground Sunshine’s cover of “Birthday” is today’s Saturday Single.

‘Sunrise’

Tuesday, February 25th, 2020

I’m up early enough this morning to look through the window near my desk and see the sun just beginning to rise above the welter of branches on the eastern end of the block. This calls, of course, for an investigation into how many times the word “sunrise” shows up among the 79,000-some tracks in the RealPlayer.

The answer is forty-four, but as usual, some of the tracks that show up must be winnowed out, like both sides of a 1968 single by the group The Sunrise Highway and four releases on the Sunrise label from 1929 and 1930: “I’m Thinking Tonight Of My Blue Eyes” by the Carter Family, “New Chattanooga Blues” by the Allen Brothers and two by Joe Stone, “It’s Hard Time” and “Back Door Blues.” We also lose a version of “Lonesome Blues” that Bob Dylan recorded on February 1, 2002, in Sunrise, Florida.

But that leaves us with plenty of tracks to mess around with as the sun climbs higher through the branches down the block, and we’ll look at a few of them. There are numerous duplicates to ponder. For example, there are four versions of “Blues Before Sunrise,” one each from Elmore James, Muddy Waters, Eric Clapton and B.B. King. We’ll pass on all of them.

There are also two versions each of the Broadway tune “Sunrise, Sunset” (from Ferrante & Teicher and John Gary) and the big band standard “Sunrise Serenade (a 1939 version by Glenn Miller and a 1944 cover by Frankie Carle, who originally wrote the melody for the song). We’ll come back to one of those later.

We also find nine tracks titled just “Sunrise,” and we’ll highlight just one of them, the one found on the Grateful Dead’s 1977 album Terrapin Station. It’s notable because it was written and sung by Donna Godchaux, wife of Dead pianist Keith Godchaux. The song has been acknowledged, says Wikipedia, “as a tribute to the band’s recently deceased road manager, Rex Jackson.”

John Gary was a 1960s vocalist whose name rings louder in my memory than it does in the singles charts. He has two records listed in Joel Whitburn’s Top Pop Singles: “Soon I’ll Wed My Love” went to No. 89 in the Hot 100 in 1964 and “Don’t Throw The Roses Away” bubbled under at No. 132 in 1965. They both hit the magazine’s Easy Listening chart as well, reaching Nos. 19 and 21, respectively, and Gary had three other records in that chart during the Sixties: “Don’t Let The Music Play” (No. 24 in 1966), “Everybody Say Peace” (No. 10 in 1967), and “Cold,” which reached the chart in November 1967 and later was No. 1 for two weeks.

But I recall Gary’s name, I think, from the promotional Christmas albums that my dad brought home from the tire stores in many 1960s Decembers. We had none of Gary’s own albums – he had fourteen of them reach the Billboard 200 between 1963 and 1969 – in the house on Kilian Boulevard, so I’m not sure how I would have otherwise known his name back then. Our focus this morning is on his take on “Sunrise, Sunset” from the 1964 musical Fiddler On The Roof. The song was overwhelmingly present in the mid- to late-1960s, and it’s been some time since I’ve actually listened to it. Gary’s version was released as a single on RCA Victor in 1964, and is quite nice.

Gothic Horizon was the British folk duo of Andy Desmond and Richard Garrett from Hertfordshire. Discogs.com calls the group’s output “bright and breezy folk music.” The first of the duo’s two albums – The Jason Lodge Poetry Book – somehow ended on the digital shelves here, no doubt courtesy of a blog offering, and it’s on that 1970 album that we find the delicate-to-the-point-of-being-fey “Wilhelmina Before Sunrise.” I do have a fondness for pale Britfolk of that era, and “Wilhelmina Before Sunrise” falls nicely into that niche.

Saturday Single No. 678

Saturday, February 22nd, 2020

Here’s a piece I ran in this space ten years ago today. It’s been edited slightly.

One of the classic small-town fund-raisers is the fish fry. During the years I lived in Monticello, the Other Half and I would occasionally make our way to the American Legion club at the west edge of town and join our friends and neighbors at long tables. The menu was always deep-fried fish – probably haddock, maybe cod – with french fries and cole slaw.

We’d nibble on our dinners, sip coffee and chat with whoever ended up sitting nearby. Occasionally, I’d field questions or complaints about something the newspaper had published that week. Otherwise, we’d maybe talk about the city’s plans to redevelop downtown, the upcoming school board election or the prospects for the high school’s teams – still called, amazingly enough, the Redmen – in the coming winter tournaments.

But as we sat at the tables for the Rotary Club’s annual fish fry forty years ago this evening, we talked about none of that. All anybody wanted to talk about was a bunch of college kids, kids with names like Broten, Johnson and Eruzione; Callahan, Craig and Pavelich; Morrow, Verchota and Suter and eleven more. And we talked about Herb Brooks, the hockey coach who’d molded those twenty American college kids into a hockey team that had defeated the legendary team from the Soviet Union 4 to 3 in an Olympic medal-round game late that afternoon.

I’ve never asked anyone, but I’ve always wondered how sparse the crowd was for the first hour or so of the fish fry that evening. The hockey game began at four o’clock Central Time – officials for the ABC network, which was broadcasting the Olympics from Lake Placid, N.Y., tried to have the game switched to seven o’clock, but Soviet officials refused – and was likely over a little after six o’clock. That’s when we made our way to the Legion club for dinner, as I’d been listening to the game on a distant radio station, struggling to make sense of the play-by-play through a forest of static.

I imagine that many others had done the same, as it seems in memory that we were among a large group of diners who showed up about the same time. Those already dining were already talking about hockey or related topics, like why ABC – which planned to air a tape of the game that evening – didn’t show the game live at four o’clock. And there were grumbles at the Soviet officials who refused to allow the game to be moved from late afternoon to the evening. (Wikipedia notes that such a shift would have meant a four a.m. start for the game in Moscow.)

But most of the time, it seems – in the soft light of a memory now forty years old – we were shaking our heads and marveling at what those twenty American kids and their coaches had done that afternoon. After all, the Soviet team had won five of the six gold medals in hockey since 1956 (with the U.S. winning in 1960 in Squaw Valley, Calif.). Since those 1960 games, the Soviets had gone 32-1-1 over the next four Olympic tournaments and the preliminary round at Lake Placid. Games between the Soviet teams and the professionals of the National Hockey League had started in 1972, and during the two most recent series, the Soviets were 7-4-1 against the NHL’s best. In addition, in the last exhibition game for the U.S. Olympic team before the competition at Lake Placid, the Soviets had defeated the U.S. team in New York City by a 10-3 score.

So I don’t recall talking to anyone during the preceding days who thought that the U.S. boys – who’d won four and tied one of their preliminary round games – could beat the Soviets. Watching the five earlier games had cued us – hockey fans and those who were only vaguely familiar with the sport alike – that the U.S. team might be something special. And it was, advancing to the medal round with what seemed like a good chance for silver or at least bronze.

But those American kids surprised everyone: the experts in the sporting world who’d conceded the gold medal to the Soviet team from the start; the delirious crowd in the Lake Placid arena that afternoon; and those of us all across the country who would sit in their living rooms and watch the taped game that evening. The kids probably even surprised their own coach, Herb Brooks. And there’s no doubt that they surprised the supremely talented members of the Soviet Union’s Olympic hockey team.

There were overtones to the hockey game, of course: The general sense of unease in the U.S. at the time and the international rivalry between the U.S. and the Soviet Union – heightened by the Soviets’ 1979 invasion of Afghanistan – all made the U.S team’s victory a template for something more than a hockey game. But even as only a hockey game, it was enough. And that’s what we chewed on that evening at the Rotary fish fry, forty years ago tonight.

And here’s a video of the last minute of the game and the celebration that followed.

Survey Digging (February 1970)

Friday, February 21st, 2020

We’re going to knock around in 1970 again this morning, as it’s been about seven weeks since we looked at a KDWB survey from that year, now a half-century in the past. Here’s the top twelve from the station’s “6+30” survey from February 23, 1970:

“Bridge Over Troubled Water” by Simon & Garfunkel
“He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother” by the Hollies
“No Time” by the Guess Who
“Ma Belle Amie” by the Tee Set
“Travelin’ Band/Who’ll Stop The Rain” by Creedence Clearwater Revival
“Thank You (Falettin Me Be Mice Elf Again)/Everybody Is A Star” by Sly & TheFamily Stone
“Venus” by the Shocking Blue
‘Honey Come Back” by Glen Campbell
“Walk A Mile In My Shoes” by Joe South
“Walkin’ In The Rain” by Jay & The Americans
“Arizona” by Mark Lindsay
“Oh Me Oh My (I’m A Fool For You)” by Lulu

There are a few memories there. The Lulu record is, as readers might recall, tied to my romantic ambitions of the time, and the Guess Who record – as I noted here about three weeks ago – is tied to a trip to see a Minnesota North Stars hockey game.

The thing that comes back when I ponder “Bridge Over Troubled Water” is my purchasing in early February the sheet music for the Paul Simon-penned song and working to master Larry Knechtel’s brilliant piano arrangement. (I became fairly proficient at it, a proficiency I am attempting to resurrect fifty years later, so my young vocalist friend from church and I can perform it some Sunday. It goes slowly.)

Then, there was a classmate named Jill, who sat near me in French class. In the fall, she would be heading off to St. Cloud Apollo, the city’s new high school, while I would remain at St. Cloud Tech. That spring, she signed my yearbook by quoting the Tee Set’s record: “Ma belle amie! Apres tous les beaux jours je te dis ‘merci, merci!’” (I next saw her twenty years later when she played the role of waitress Trudy Chelgren on the television series Twin Peaks.)

The other eleven entries from the top of KDWB’s “6+30” for that week are just records I heard on the radio. Some I liked a great deal – the records by the Hollies and by Mark Lindsay fall there – and others were just okay, like the A-side of the Sly & The Family Stone record (I did love the B-side) and the Glen Campbell record.

In other words, that was a good hour’s worth of listening. So I ask, as I tend to do, how many of those seventeen records matter fifty years later?

Well, fourteen of those seventeen records are in the iPod and thus part of my day-to-day listening. The absentees? “Thank You (Falettin Me Be Mice Elf Again),” “Honey Come Back,” and “Walkin’ In The Rain.” And I see no need to add them.

So what was at the bottom of that long-ago survey? At No. 36, we find “Take A Look Around” by the group Smith, the follow-up to the hit “Baby It’s You,” which went to No. 1 on KDWB in November 1969. “Take A Look Around” didn’t fare as well, peaking at No. 22 on KDWB’s last survey of March 1970.

(Nationally, the pattern followed: “Baby It’s You” peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100, and “Take A Look Around” got to No. 43.)

Here’s “Take A Look Around.” It’s a decent record.

‘As Time Goes On . . .’

Tuesday, February 11th, 2020

Every year, as the middle of February comes by, we musicians at our Unitarian-Universalist Fellowship put together a Sunday program to celebrate Valentine’s Day, about forty-five minutes filled with love songs, poems and readings.

As we plan, the four of us run through our memories and songbooks, looking for tunes that would fit the day. And when I packed up some of my songbooks in preparation for a planning session the other week, I noticed the book for Chicago’s second album, the silver one called just Chicago when it came out and now called Chicago II. And I thought, “Why not?”

So during the meeting, I offered the idea of including the brief and beautiful “Colour My World” for the program. Two of the three others in the group are about my age, and even though they were (and still are) more attuned to folk music than to pop/rock, they both knew the song and rapidly agreed.

Our fourth member, the owner of an astounding soprano voice, is twenty-seven, and she’d never heard the song. The other three of us gave it a quick run-through, and the other two folks decided that she’d handle the vocals on her own, with me on the piano. The next day, I emailed her a lyric sheet and an mp3 of the original version of the tune.

We got together last evening to practice, and after struggling a bit with the start of the vocals after the long piano introduction – we adjusted the vocal entry place from where the transcription showed it (and I have a suspicion that the transcription might have been wrong, which I may or may not check out) – we worked through it enough to feel comfortable performing it this coming Sunday. Sadly, we know no one who plays the flute, or we’d have the flute solo following the vocal, as the original recording does.

As we took a brief break, I told my young colleague that in 1970, “Colour My World” was pretty much inescapable. “It’s the sound of probably a million weddings during the early Seventies,” I said. And then I told her of my connection to the song from back then.

I got the album – with the song tucked into the middle of the long suite “Ballet For A Girl In Buchannon” – in 1970, and a year later, as my piano-playing ambitions grew, I bought the songbook for the album and learned to play most of that long suite pretty well. “Colour My World,” I could nail.

Then, in the autumn of 1971, during my freshman year at St. Cloud State, the guys I knew who lived in Stearns Hall – a men’s dorm – would on occasion walk over to nearby Holes Hall and hang out in the first floor lounge, hoping of course to connect with some of the young women who lived there. There was a piano in the lounge, and on those occasions when I was with the guys and the piano bench was open, I’d sit down and play.

And, I said last night to my young friend’s chuckles, of all the pieces I played during that long-ago autumn, “There was no better chick magnet than ‘Colour My World’.”

Saturday Single No. 676

Saturday, February 8th, 2020

It’s not a nice round number, but we’re going to back fifty-three years today, to February of 1967. I was thirteen, and it was about this time that I had my tonsils out and spent about a week home from school. I remember eating a fair amount of ice cream and sipping a good quantity of broth, sometimes beef, sometimes chicken.

And I recall lugging our brown and gold AM radio from the kitchen up to my room every morning after Dad had headed off to work. I’d park it on my bedside table and read while Minneapolis’ WCCO offered its combination of talk and middle-of-the-road music. When Arthur Godfrey’s show came on at 10 a.m., I’d retune the radio to KDWB, one of the Twin Cities’ Top 40 stations, and listen to records that I didn’t really know or appreciate yet. When I knew Godfrey was done for the day, I’d head back to WCCO where the middle of the road welcomed me again.

I was an easy listening kid.

So what was in the Billboard Easy Listening top ten during the second week of February 1967? Take a look:

“My Cup Runneth Over” by Ed Ames
“Music To Watch Girls By” by the Bob Crewe Generation
“Wish Me A Rainbow” by the Gunter Kallmann Chorus
“Lady” by Jack Jones
“All” by James Darren
“Sweet Maria” by the Billy Vaughn Singers
“Georgy Girl” by the Seekers
“I’ll Take Care Of Your Cares” by Frankie Laine
“Sunrise, Sunset” by Roger Williams
“What Makes It Happen” by Tony Bennett

I recall without prompting the records by Ames, the Bob Crewe Generation, the Seekers and Williams. (I’ll note here that seeing the Ames single listed here reminds me of a piece by my pal jb at The Hits Just Keep On Comin’. It remains the best thing I’ve ever read about “My Cup Runneth Over.”)

The others? Well, we’re going to make a visit to YouTube to see if some melodies jog my memory.

I don’t recall and truly do not like “Wish Me A Rainbow,” which came from the film This Property Is Condemned, the title of which is only vaguely familiar to me. Nor does the Jack Jones record click for me (though I like it a little).

The James Darren record, though, sounds familiar, and it’s something that I would have liked as a thirteen-year-old: romantic with a pretty instrumental arrangement and lush voices in the background. (The video I checked out shows the cover of the LP from which “All” came, and I’m amused to see from the cover that Darren also recorded “Georgy Girl,” “Lady,” and “My Cup Runneth Over.”)

I have about sixty tracks by Vaughn on the digital shelves, but “Sweet Maria” is not one of them, but it sounds familiar, so who knows? And I have no memory of the records by Laine or Bennett, although I do like them, along with most of this top ten. Taken together, they sound exactly like what my 1967 sounded like.

But let’s play some Games With Numbers, taking today’s date 2-8-20 and making that into 30, and then look at the No. 30 record on that long-ago Easy Listening chart. And we find “Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye” by Jane Morgan, who was an occasional presence on both the Easy Listening chart (from 1965 to 1968) and the Hot 100 (from 1956 to 1967).

“Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye” would go no higher on the Easy Listening chart during a nine-week stay, and it was the last record Morgan placed in or near the Hot 100, as it bubbled under at No. 121. It’s an okay record, but it’s not at all familiar and I doubt I’d have liked it in 1967, but that’s the way things go. It’s today’s Saturday Single.

‘Delia’s Gone . . .’

Tuesday, February 4th, 2020

Who was Delia?

Her name was Delia Green. Here’s part of what Wikipedia has to say about her:

Delia Green (1886 – December 25, 1900) was a 14-year-old African-American murder victim who has been identified as the likely inspiration for several well-known traditional American songs, usually known by the titles “Delia” and “Delia’s Gone.”

According to contemporaneous reports published in Georgia newspapers, Green was shot by 15-year-old Mose (or Moses) Houston late on Christmas Eve, 1900, in the Yamacraw neighborhood of Savannah, Georgia, and died at 3:00 a.m. on Christmas Day. Houston, the newspapers implied, had been involved in a sexual relationship with Green for several months. The shooting took place at the home of Willie West, who chased down Houston after the shooting and turned him over to the city police.

Green’s murder and Houston’s trial in the spring of 1901 were reported in the Savannah Morning News and the Savannah Evening Press. Although Houston reportedly had confessed to the murder at the time of his arrest, at his trial he claimed the shooting was accidental. Other witnesses, however, testified that Houston had become angry after Green called him ‘a son of a bitch.”

Green was buried in an unmarked grave in Laurel Grove Cemetery South in Savannah.

The earliest recorded version of any of the songs inspired by Green’s fate is listed at Second Hand Songs as “Delhia,” a 1939 Decca recording by Jimmie Gordon and His Vip Vop Band. I wouldn’t be startled if there were earlier recordings. (Wikipedia notes that in 1928, folklorist Robert Winslow Gordon reported to the Library of Congress that he had traced the songs back to a murder in Savannah and that he had interviewed both Green’s mother and the police officer who took Houston into custody.)

Johnny Cash recorded “Delia’s Gone” in 1962 for the album The Sound Of Johnny Cash and re-recorded the song in 1993 for the album American Recordings. Here’s how he told the tale the second time:

Delia, oh, Delia
Delia all my life
If I hadn’t shot poor Delia
I’d have had her for my wife
Delia’s gone, one more round
Delia’s gone

I went up to Memphis
And I met Delia there
Found her in her parlor
And I tied her to her chair
Delia’s gone, one more round
Delia’s gone

She was low-down and trifling
And she was cold and mean
Kind of evil make me want to
Grab my sub-machine
Delia’s gone, one more round
Delia’s gone

First time I shot her
I shot her in the side
Hard to watch her suffer
But with the second shot she died
Delia’s gone, one more round
Delia’s gone

But jailer, oh, jailer
Jailer, I can’t sleep
’Cause all around my bedside
I hear the patter of Delia’s feet
Delia’s gone, one more round
Delia’s gone

So if your woman’s devilish
You can let her run
Or you can bring her down and do her
Like Delia got done
Delia’s gone, one more round
Delia’s gone
Delia’s gone, one more round
Delia’s gone

‘There’s Really Nothing To It . . .’

Thursday, January 30th, 2020

We started the month (and new year) digging into some charts from 1970, and I have a sense that for the next 336 days, we’ll be in that year a lot, first because it’s a nice round fifty years ago, and second, because it was – as ya’ll know if you’ve been taking notes – one of my favorite years for music.

This morning, we’re going to look at what was hot on the Twin Cities’ KDWB as January turned the corner into February that year. Here’s the top ten from the station’s “6+30” survey that was released on February 2, 1970:

“Venus” by the Shocking Blue
“Arizona” by Mark Lindsay
“I Want You Back” by the Jackson 5
“I’ll Never Fall In Love Again” by Dionne Warwick
“Whole Lotta Love” by Led Zeppelin
“Jam Up, Jelly Tight” by Tommy Roe
“Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Again)” by Sly & The Family Stone
“Don’t Cry, Daddy” by Elvis Presley
“No Time” by the Guess Who
“Early In The Morning” by Vanity Fare

That’s a decent forty or so minutes of listening. I truly like eight of those ten, having always had some mild dislike for the Tommy Roe and Elvis records. If I were hearing them in my room at home, they’d give me a good opportunity to wander downstairs and get another glass of juice or something. But the other eight were fine.

(And as I look at those ten, I see a heck of a segue, if one were counting up, from “Whole Lotta Love” to “I’ll Never Fall In Love Again.”)

Back then, my favorites from this bunch were probably “Arizona” and “No Time.” Thoughts of the Mark Lindsay record don’t put me in any specific place, but I always perked up a bit when it came on the radio.

As to “No Time,” my clearest memory of the record comes from a drive back to St. Cloud from the Cities after watching the Minnesota North Stars play the Montreal Canadiens to a 1-1 tie. I was with Rick and Rob and a friend of Rob’s, and we had just left what was then the northwestern limits of urban growth and were driving through farmland that in the next twenty years would become suburban subdivisions. “No Time” came on KDWB, and I recall letting the sound of the introductory guitar riff wash over me as I looked out and saw the moon high over the barren wintertime fields.

(I’ve always put that memory into early February, and a quick bit of digging at the Hockey Reference site verifies that: The Stars and the Habs played to a 1-1 tie on February 7, 1970, just a day after Rick turned sixteen.)

Just because we regularly check, we’re going to see how many of those records are in the iPod and thus still a part of my day-to-day listening. It turns out that the only tracks missing are those by Tommy Roe, Sly & The Family Stone and Elvis, just as I likely would have guessed. (So will “Thank You [Falettinme Be Mice Elf Again]” find its way into the iPod? Maybe.)

And from here, we’ll play some Games With Numbers, taking today’s date – 1/30/20 – and take a look at the No. 20 and No. 30 records in that long-ago 6+30. Sitting at No. 20 is a double-sided single by Creedence Clearwater Revival that I liked fairly well, depending on my mood at the moment. If I felt like bopping, I’d want to hear “Traveling Band.” If I were being reflective, the flip side, “Who’ll Stop The Rain,” would do well. I liked both records fifty years ago and still do. (Both are in the iPod.)

And at No. 30, we find another record I like, one that I recall hearing on KDWB but not very often. It must have made an impression, though, because when I ran across it years later – either during the vinyl madness of the 1990s or during my time in the early 2000s digging through blogs and boards – it was happily familiar. It’s Jefferson’s “Baby, Take Me In Your Arms,” and it, too, has a place in the iPod. And I still love the tympani introduction.

What’s At No. 100? (January 1965)

Tuesday, January 28th, 2020

I thought that today we’d venture fifty-five years back and look at the Billboard Hot 100 from the last week of January 1965, checking out the Top Ten and then dropping down to the last spot in the chart.

Here’s the Top Ten:

“Downtown” by Petula Clark
“You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’” by the Righteous Brothers
“The Name Game” by Shirley Ellis
“Love Potion Number Nine” by the Searchers
“Hold What You’ve Got” by Joe Tex
“How Sweet It Is To Be Loved By You” by Marvin Gaye
“This Diamond Ring” by Gary Lewis & The Playboys
“Come See About Me” by the Supremes
“Keep Searchin’ (We’ll Follow The Sun)” by Del Shannon
“All Day And All Of The Night” by the Kinks

Well, I was eleven and in sixth grade when these records ruled, and there are only three of those ten that I can say with certainty I remember from the time: “Downtown” was pervasive; whether one liked it or derided it, you knew the hook. “This Diamond Ring” for some reason wended its way into my memory. I still like both of those. And I recall “The Name Game,” which I detest. I suppose I heard “Greg, Greg, Popeg . . .” once too often (though I have no direct memory of the event).

Six of the other seven, I’ve learned about over the years. The one exception, the one record I had to seek out today to see if it were familiar, is “Keep Searchin’ (We’ll Follow The Sun).” It turns out to be on the digital shelves, and it’s not an awful record, but it’s not at all familiar, except for the sound of the cheesy organ solo.

So, using as our measuring stick the 3,900-odd tracks in the iPod, do any of those records matter today?

It turns out that four of them do: “Downtown,” “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’,” “This Diamond Ring,” and “Come See About Me.” And I don’t see that I’d add any of the other six to the device.

But what about our other business here? When we drop to the bottom of the Hot 100 from the last week of January 1965, what do we find?

Well, we find a version of a favorite tune that I did not know about until this morning: “Goldfinger” by Jack La Forge, His Piano & Orchestra. The record was in its first week on the chart, and it would hang around for another four weeks, peaking at No. 96 (and reaching No. 20 on the magazine’s easy listening chart).

It was the only charting record for LaForge, though it wasn’t for lack of trying. His entry at discogs.com lists eighteen singles, most of them on the Regina label. Joel Whitburn tells us in the 2009 edition of Top Pop Singles that LaForge was born in 1924 in Manhattan. Neither Whitburn nor discogs list a death date, and a little bit of digging this morning yielded nothing. The man would be ninety-five today.

It’s a decent easy listening version of the song.