‘Scarf Now!’

I have – as we all do – consistent patterns and habits.

The Texas Gal first noticed that soon after we met, when our daily contact was still limited to computer chat and telephone calls. “What’s for lunch?” she asked one morning. Chili beans over hot dogs, I told her.

“You had that yesterday,” she said.

“Yes, and the day before that,” I replied.

There were reasons for the sameness of my lunch menu, I told her. First, I like chili beans over hot dogs. And then, I was at the time on a very limited budget. Chili beans were cheap, and a couple weeks earlier, the grocery store where I shopped had filled a small freezer in the meat department with one-pound packages of John Morrell’s German Brand hot dogs. They’d been frozen upon their arrival at the store some time earlier and had been forgotten in the main freezer until they were past their so-called freshness date. There was nothing wrong with the hot dogs, a sign assured shoppers; they’d been frozen since their arrival. But because of the date on the packages, the store was selling them at a dollar per one-pound package.

I’d never tried the brand, so I bought a package and had two or three that noon. Having approved, I went back to the store that afternoon and stocked up on, oh, fifteen pounds of German Brand hot dogs. And that became my preferred brand until the Morrell company discontinued them about five years ago. So I found another brand, and even with the addition to my lunchtime options earlier this year of several varieties of Chef Boy-Ar-Dee pasta, a bowl of chili beans over hot dogs still shows up frequently on my noontime table.

So what brought habits and patterns to mind this morning? My breakfast.

For a couple of years now, my breakfast has been the same. It starts with coffee, of course. (I’ve lately been drinking Gevalia’s Traditional Roast, my most recent attempt to find a regular coffee since the McGarvey Flame Room blend has once more disappeared from the shelves of the nearby supermarket.)

To represent the beginning of my breakfast, here’s Squeeze with “Black Coffee in Bed,” which went to No. 103 in 1982. The record isn’t much, but the video is entertaining for both the 1980s fashions and for the seeming disinterest with which the members of Squeeze go through the motions.

Once coffee is brewing, I head to the bread. If I ever took the time to make toast in the mornings, I could dig up a video for “Toast to the Fool” by the Dramatics or maybe “Toast and Marmalade For Tea” by Tin Tin, but I go with plain bread. So here’s a clip from the television show Solid Gold of Robert John performing his 1983 cover of the Newbeats’ “Bread & Butter.” The Newbeats’ version went to No. 2 in 1964, while John’s cover went to No. 68.

Speaking of habits, John made a habit of covering older hits. His 1972 version of “The Lion Sleeps Tonight,” which went to No. 3, was a cover of the Tokens’ No. 1 hit from 1961. (The Tokens’ version was reissued in 1994 and went to No. 50 after the song was recorded by South African artist Lebo M. as part of the soundtrack to the Disney film The Lion King.)* John also covered the doo-wop classic “Hushabye” in 1972. That cover went to No. 99; the Mystics’ version had gone to No. 20 in 1959. And in 1980, John released a version of “Hey There Lonely Girl,” which went to No. 31. That was, in fact, a cover of a cover: Eddie Holman’s take on the song went to No. 2 in 1970 while the original, Ruby & The Romantics’ “Hey There Lonely Boy,” had gone to No. 27 in 1963.

Anyway, once I have my bread (and I suppose we should be grateful that no record ever seems to have come close to the Billboard Hot 100 that has the words “whole grain” in its title), I slather it with peanut butter. Here’s the Marathons (who also recorded as the Olympics, as I noted in a post some time ago) with “Peanut Butter,” which went to No. 20 in 1961.

That takes care of one slice of bread. These days, the other gets a good coating of apple butter. (I used to use grape jam but switched for some reason a couple of years ago). There are no records that I could find specifically about apple butter (and I quickly dismissed the idea of pulling anything out of the “Apple Jam” portion of George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass), but there are plenty about apples. Here’s a pretty good one from Badfinger, “Apple of My Eye,” which went to No. 102 in 1974 (and was released, happily enough for our purposes this morning, on Apple).

*The tangled history of the songs “Mbude” and “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” is told well at All-Music Guide.

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4 Responses to “‘Scarf Now!’”

  1. Alex says:

    “Apple of My Eye” is a strange and wonderful song about Badfinger’s decision to leave Apple Records (and the protection offered to them by the Beatles when they could be bothered to pay attention).

    Of course, their time at Warner Bros. would culminate in their best record being pulled from stores after 2 weeks because of allegations of financial malpractice by the band’s manager (but then again, there are few happy endings in the Badfinger story.

  2. porky says:

    How about 12-year old Bobby Pedrick Jr (aka Robert John) doing “White Bucks and Saddle Shoes.” Of course that combination is not too tasty, kind of chewy…..

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LxzI8A25fD0

    Pomus and Shuman probably wrote this on their lunch break and I love the “jazz guitarist imitates rock and roll” solo about 1:10 into the tune.

  3. Yah Shure says:

    I hope all those hot dogs have been nitrite-free!

    There was a group called 100% Whole Wheat. whose self-titled 1977 LP on the AVI label caught the ear of a few of us in the Heilicher Brothers promotion department (although the sales office didn’t share our interest.) I have the promo 7-incher that contains both sides of the two singles pulled from that album, as well as a late-1980 45 (“Hot Connection”) fetched from the WJON discard pile. The act was something of an odd signing for AVI, which had a much more visible presence in the disco scene.

  4. Paco Malo says:

    I recently put Badfinger’s “Name of the Game” as the lead cut on a mix CD that I’m very happy with. I never heard their “Apple of My Eye” before; I like it.

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