‘Fluffy Hats, Rings & Beads . . .’

Oh, we walked the streets of Greenwich Village
Holdin’ hands like school kids in the summer August sun,
Smilin’ at the passing strangers on their way
And wishin’ the end would never come.
Then a flower lady sold me one red rose to give you
For your chestnut hair, just to make it shine,
Then I held it close to me, and I whispered,
“Jolie girl, when will you be mine?”

That’s the first verse to a little gem I found hiding in the Bubbling Under section of the Billboard Hot 100 from October 24, 1970, forty-three years ago today. That’s an autumn of radio I know well, an autumn I easily place in the stack of the better seasons of my youth. But I’d never known of “Jolie Girl” until I was digging around in my reference files this morning.

Then we stepped up to the first stand on the corner
For some coconut champagne
And a taxi driver cussed us, ’cause a blind man got his tip
And tapped “thank you” with his cane.
And we ducked out of the rain into a dusty little shop
That traded books, fluffy hats, rings and beads
Then I held you close to me, and I whispered,
“Jolie girl, you’re all I need.”

Greenwich Village in August, coconut champagne, and a dusty shop with books, fluffy hats, rings and beads: Sounds like hippie singer-songwriter stuff to me. (It also sounds like a time and place I wish I could have experienced.) So who was it who wrote and recorded this folk-rock paean to late summertime love in the city?

Well, it was the same guy who wrote and sang eleven years earlier about lovely Felina and the west Texas town of El Paso. Yeah, Marty Robbins. As the YouTube poster of the video below noted, this is not expected territory for Robbins, far better known as a country singer than as a singer of anything else.

The record didn’t do much of anything on the pop chart, sitting at No. 108 for one week and then disappearing. It did pretty well on the Billboard country chart, getting to No. 7.

It’s a decent record, although it seems to me that the drums get in the way a little bit at the end. And it’s always fun to find out that a performer stretched a little bit, trying something different now and then.

Oh, Jolie girl, please don’t ask me how long I’ll be stayin’
Here with your dandy ship of dreams that we can share.*
Tomorrow is just another day, I’m maybe far away
Jolie girl, I might be anywhere
So let’s spread our blanket in the park and hold each other close
The night is coming on and soon we’ll have to go
But remember, Jolie girl, oh remember
Jolie girl, I love you so.

*I found the lyrics online, and I’ve made some minor corrections and alterations, but I’m not sure the “dandy ship of dreams” is correct. I’ve listened to that verse maybe fifty times, and I still can’t tell exactly what it is Robbins is singing there.


One Response to “‘Fluffy Hats, Rings & Beads . . .’”

  1. Paco Malo says:

    Cosmic American Marty, “with a white sport coast and a pink carnation.”

    Excellent post.

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