A New Year’s Lyric & Wish

December 31st, 2021

I’ve shared this here before, but I thought it could stand another look, especially as we close out – for the second December 31 in a row – am awful, awful year. I wrote this in 1991.

                        Twelve O’Clock High

Headlights on the avenue; footprints in the snow;
“Auld Lang Syne” is written on the wall.
Cards from distant strangers who were friends not long ago
Are standing on the bookcase in the hall.
The stereo plays Motown as our conversation wanes.
We calculate our losses and consolidate our gains.
The year is quickly passing on; not much of it remains,
And much of it we’d rather not recall.

Dancers in the living room are fragments of the past;
The twist is resurrected for the night.
Remember when they told us that our music wouldn’t last?
It’s sad to say, but maybe they were right.
We can’t be sure we’re living in the present when we dance.
We leave behind maturity and seek a second chance
At all the sophomore dreams we left behind without a glance.
The record ends, and dreams can’t stand the light.

So the old year departs by the window
As the new one comes in by the door.
We hide from our failures with wine and with masks.
We season our lives with endurable tasks,
And we can’t tell the truth so we hope no one asks
If we know what we’ve been living for,
And it’s twelve o’clock high once more.

Every year, the party seems to feel more like a wake,
With party streamers trying to conceal
Our weariness and wariness at what we couldn’t make;
We act like what we’ve made is how we feel.
But celebrating Janus means we have to look ahead;
We’d like to do the things undone and say the things unsaid,
To give our dreams some nourishment and put our fears to bed,
And leave the artificial for the real.

So the old year departs by the window
As the new one comes in by the door.
May directions in living come thankfully clear;
May all of us find we have nothing to fear.
May peace be upon us.  May this be the year
That we know what we’ve been living for
When it’s twelve o’clock high once more.

And the Texas Gal and I would like to pass on our hopes that somehow, 2022 will be one of those years that shines while you’re living it and shines even more brightly as it recedes in the past.

No. 40 Fifty Years Ago (Easy Listening)

December 29th, 2021

We’re going to take care of some fifty-years ago business in these last days of 2021, looking back at the last week of December 1971, a time when my greatest concerns were trying to explain how I had managed to fail both chemistry and African history during the fall quarter just completed at St. Cloud State and trying to figure out what to do about a girlfriend who was moving too fast for my comfort.

(I solved the first by admitting I did not know how to study, never having been required to put much effort into schoolwork in high school. I solved the second by running away. In today’s parlance, I ghosted poor Jeannie. [I ran into her about ten years later on Main Street in Buffalo, Minnesota, and explained and apologized; she held no grudge.])

At the time, my listening was beginning to bend toward progressive/album rock, the result of my having begun to spend much of my free time on campus in the studios of KVSC-FM, the St. Cloud State student station. But I still heard enough Top 40 in the car and enough easy listening elsewhere that the records listed by Billboard in its last Easy Listening chart of the year were mostly familiar.

Here’s the Top Ten:

“All I Ever Need Is You” by Sonny & Cher
“Cherish” by David Cassidy
“Old Fashioned Love Song” by Three Dog Night
“Friends With You” by John Denver
“Let It Be” by Joan Baez
“Baby, I’m-A Want You” by Bread
“Stones” by Neil Diamond
“I’d Like To Teach The World To Sing” by the Hillside Singers
“Brand New Key” by Melanie
“An American Trilogy” by Mickey Newbury

Most of those were also receiving play on Top 40, which I still heard in the car and at friends’ homes and on occasion, at my own home. I had to refresh my memory of the John Denver tune the other day, and this morning, listened to the Baez single, which I do not recall at all. (It went to only No. 49 on the Hot 100, but I liked it today much better than I’ve ever liked her previous single, the ill-begotten cover of The Band’s “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down.”)

And I remember the Newbury single – a mash-up of “Dixie,” “Battle Hymn Of The Republic” and “All My Trials.” I don’t think I ever heard it on the radio – it went to No. 26 on the Hot 100 – but my pal Rick across the street had a copy of it, and I heard it enough over there to be underwhelmed.

Most of those, as I said, were familiar at the time, but that’s not to say that those ten are enduring portions of my musical world. The only singles in that Top Ten that are in my iPod fifty years later – and thus a part of my day-to-day listening – are those by Three Dog Night and Bread. The Neil Diamond track may join them, as might the Baez.

But what do we find when we drop down to the bottom of that long-ago chart, as the title of this piece promises?

Normally, when doing things with fifty-year-old charts, we’d go to No. 50, but the Easy Listening chart listed only forty records in 1971, so we’ll see what’s at No. 40. And it turns out to be a record I doubt I’ve ever heard: “I’d Do It All Again” by Vicki Carr, pulled from her 1971 album Superstar.

It’s a lost love tune, one in which the protagonist admits that the ending hurts but – as the title states – she’d do it all again. Decidedly middle-of-the-road with a big band backing, it’s something that I probably would have liked had I heard it a little more than two years earlier, in the days before I heard the Beatles’ “Come Together” coming from WLS in the middle of an August night.

“I’d Do It All Again” would move up one more slot on the Easy Listening chart; it would not make the Hot 100.

Saturday Single No. 767

December 25th, 2021

It’s early, just a little before 7 a.m. as I write this. I heard cats slinking about the house and instead of mushing up my pillow and trying to go back to sleep, I decided to go ahead and give them their breakfast.

As they ate and I made a cup of coffee, I recalled that on Christmas mornings long ago, it was about this time that I’d awake at my grandfather’s house and quietly make my way downstairs to see what Santa – I never really believed in Santa, but it was a nice story – had left in my Christmas stocking.

And I thought about the passage of time, as I often do anyway, remembering the eight-year-old me who found a Danish troll in his stocking sixty years ago and the slightly older me who found a copy of Ian Fleming’s Dr. No in that same stocking about five years later. That decorated stocking – along with the one my sister made for the Texas Gal about twenty years ago – is in one of the boxes in the garage; for about fifteen years now, the Texas Gal and I have found gift bags at my sister’s fireplace instead of stockings.

There were none last year, when we sheltered in place. This year, our gift bags are waiting for us on our living room table; leery of the larger gathering my sister has planned for today, we made a masked midweek trip to drop off gifts and brought back this year’s gift bags from Santa.

So, for the second year in a row, the Texas Gal and I will be spending Christmas by ourselves, That’s okay. Yeah, I’ll miss seeing my niece and her family, but I’ve been battling an (non-Covid) infection for about a month, and there’s no point in risking my health or the health of the others. So when the Texas Gal gets up in a little while, we’ll go through our “stockings,” scratch off the lottery tickets that are sure to be part of our booty, then have a late breakfast and prepare for a quiet day.

We have only two things planned. We’ll have a dinner of King Ranch casserole, a favorite dish of mine since the Texas Gal brought it along with her when she came into my life almost twenty-two years ago. And we’ll find a streaming service that’s showing the 1969 film Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid. I mentioned to her yesterday that I’ve never seen the whole thing, having fallen asleep in a theater in Winnipeg, Manitoba, during a long-ago high school choir trip and having never bothered to find the movie to see what I missed. She said she wouldn’t mind seeing the movie again.

It’s not the holiday we had planned, but – like many around the world – it’s the holiday we’ve got. I imagine it’s the same for whoever stops by here: For the second holiday season in a row, things are out of whack.

All I can say is that, whatever holiday you celebrate, I hope you can celebrate it with people you love in a place you call home.

And here’s Darlene Love with the original version of “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” from Phil Spector’s 1963 album A Christmas Gift For You. It’s today’s Saturday Single.

What’s At No. 100? (December 1975)

December 23rd, 2021

So what do we get when we look at the (no doubt) familiar records that make up the Billboard Top Ten for this week in December 1975?

Well, we get a set of records that I heard while driving around the Twin Cities during my television internship and also, no doubt, heard while enjoying two weeks of holiday break from that internship.

Here’s the Billboard Top Ten from the week ending December 27, 1975:

“Let’s Do It Again” by the Staple Singers
“Saturday Night” by the Bay City Rollers
“That’s The Way (I Like It)” by K.C. & The Sunshine Band
“Love Rollercoaster” by the Ohio Players
“Theme From ‘Mahogany’ (Do You Know Where You’re Going To)” by Diana Ross
“I Write The Songs” by Barry Manilow
“Convoy” by C.W. McCall
“Fox On The Run” by the Sweet
“Fly, Robin, Fly” by Silver Convention
“I Love Music (Part 1)” by the O’Jays

I never much cared for the records by the Sweet and the Bay City Rollers. But then, at 22, I was not in the target demographic. The rest of those ten are fine, though I imagine that as “Convoy” rose in the chart – it was up seven spots from No. 14 the week before – folks were getting a little tired of it. And I know there was derision for the Manilow single. The singles from Ross and Silver Convention are fondly remembered artifacts from a fondly remembered season and year.

Before I look, I’m going to guess that no more than four of those singles matter today, as measured by inclusion among the 2,900-some tracks in my iTunes files. That would track with my general thought about the Top 40 as 1975 eased to its ending. The music wasn’t speaking to me the way it had two or three years earlier, and the music then hadn’t seemed as essential as the music from two or three years before that. I was approaching, I now know, the end of my sweet spot.

After checking, I’m a little startled to find that the only two tracks from that Top Ten that are in iTunes – and thus in my day-to-day listening – are the Ross and Silver Convention singles. I would have thought the Staple Singers and perhaps K.C. & The Sunshine Band would have been there. And they likely will by the end of the day. And so, probably, will be “Convoy.”

But what of our other business today, checking out the record at the bottom of that forty-six year old chart?

Well, it turns out to be the very last chart gasp for one of the significant voices of the 1960s who wasn’t all that concerned about the charts anyway: “Breakfast For Two” by Country Joe McDonald wasn’t about anyone like Sweet Martha Lorraine. Nor was it about protesting foreign policy, as McDonald had with his group, the Fish, not that many years before.

We went out to dinner
Boy, what an appetite
We just couldn’t stop eating
We stayed up most of the night

And after three or four hours
Our stomachs began to hurt
But everything tasted so good
We didn’t stop until after dessert

Ooh la la, breakfast for two
Ooh la la, you got me and I got you

I’ve eaten in Italy
Yes, I’ve eaten in Spain
I must admit I’d be licking my lips
If I ever was to eat there again

But last night at dinner
You really, really blew my mind
The way we supped just filled me up
I think about food all of the time

Ooh la la, breakfast for two
Ooh la la, you got me and I got you

People always come up to me
They say, hey, man, how about a little smile
Don’t take life so seriously
Lighten up for a little while

I say that a man’s a fool
If he don’t know how to cry
When I get down, I sure get down
But when I’m up, I know how to fly

Ooh la la, breakfast for two
Ooh la la, you got me and I got you

My first thought is, “That’s got to be a joke.” But I wouldn’t be able to know for sure, I imagine, unless I listen to the rest of the album, Paradise With An Ocean View. Which I might try to do. Anyway, the single was at No. 100 during the last week of 1975 after peaking at No. 92. Three earlier singles with the Fish had bounced around in the same territory; “Not So Sweet Martha Lorraine” went to No. 95 and the other two – “Who Am I” and “Here I Go Again” bubbled under.

“Breakfast For Two” ended Country Joe McDonald’s tale on the singles chart. The album was the next-to-last of his to chart, reaching No. 124 on the Billboard 200. Love Is A Fire bubbled under at No. 202 a year later.

(McDonald’s early albums with the Fish were, of course, a major part of the music scene of the late 1960s; the best selling of those was 1968’s Together, which went to No. 23. The most important, most likely, was 1967’s Electric Music For The Mind And Body, which went to No. 39.)

Anyway, here’s “Breakfast For Two.”

Saturday Single No. 766

December 18th, 2021

Employing one of my favorite musical crutches this morning, I asked the RealPlayer to sort out tracks recorded over the years on December 18. I got back four, which is a little fewer than usual.

Least pleasing among them was Julia Gerrity’s plaint, “Sittin’ On A Rubbish Can,” a 1931 recording in the stilted style of mainstream pop of those days. I’m not sure where I got it. But it probably showed up here around 2005, when I was beginning my vintage music digging but wasn’t yet too picky about my sorting and tagging.

Two of the December 18 tracks came from a 1951 session in St. Louis, a raw, bluesy and unreleased pair recorded by Clifford Gibson. “Sneaky Groundhog” and “Let Me Be Your Handyman” came my way via the 2010 four-CD box set Juke Joint Blues, one of several sets I have from JSP, a firm operating out of the United Kingdom.

I have two copies of the fourth December 18 track, a 1947 boogie by Wild Bill Moore titled “We’re Gonna Rock, We’re Gonna Roll.” Recorded in Detroit for the Savoy label, the track showed up on a 1977 double-LP set titled The Roots of Rock ’N Roll (a set I also have on CD, thanks to reader and friend Yah Shure) and it also showed up on a four-CD set titled The Big Horn: The History of the Honkin’ & Screamin’ Saxophone released by Proper, a London-based firm.

Both sets are fine; I have some difficulty sorting out the notes on The Big Horn. They’re detailed enough, but each entry begins with personnel notes, leaving the title of the piece and the recording date and place at the bottom of each entry. It feels backwards to me, and it caused quite a bit of double-checking when I entered the data.

Anyway, “We’re Gonna Rock, We’re Gonna Roll” features tenor sax work from Moore and alto and baritone sax work from Paul Williams. The record hit No. 14 on the Best Seller chart and No. 15 on the Juke Box chart during the summer of 1948, and – exactly seventy-four years after it was recorded – it’s today’s Saturday Single.

‘Cahoots’ Gets A Re-Make

December 15th, 2021

“Life Is A Carnival,” sang The Band on the group’s 1971 album Cahoots, an album that also contained the group’s take on Bob Dylan’s “When I Paint My Masterpiece,” a duet with Van Morrison titled “4% Pantomime,” and the elegiac “River Hymn.”

I heard some of those on the radio, maybe – “Life Is A Carnival” was the first single pulled from the album, and it went only to No. 72 on the Billboard Hot 100, leaving me wondering on which station I heard it (KVSC-FM at St. Cloud State is my guess this morning) – and I heard some at friends’ homes and at other places in St. Cloud during my college years.

I wasn’t impressed. Even though I had the group’s self-titled 1969 album – an album I loved – at home, the bits and pieces of Cahoots that I heard left me cold. So I forgot about the album until the late 1980s, when a lady friend of mine began to explore the music of The Band for the first time, and I came along, adding Cahoots in early 1988. And I added the CD to the collection in 2018.

It still didn’t impress me. It sounded flat, unfinished somehow. I might have pulled it out of the stacks once or twice to put “When I Paint My Masterpiece” on a mixtape or a CD for a friend, but that would have been about it. Unlike Music From Big Pink, The Band, or even Stage Fright, it wasn’t an album I sought out for casual listening.

And I began to understand my decades-long reaction yesterday when a delivery truck dropped off the two-CD fiftieth anniversary edition of the album. The notes in the accompanying booklet tell how the album came to be created in the first place: With the group recording whatever the five musicians had at hand while helping Albert Grossman figure out how to finish off his Bearsville studio in Woodstock, New York.

The notes, by Rob Bowman, explain that The Band – especially Robbie Robertson – had always felt Cahoots to be unfinished because of the lack of facilities at Bearsville at the time. And that meant that preparing the fiftieth anniversary version offered an opportunity to mix and master the album the way the group would have liked in 1971.

Robertson and engineer Bob Clearmountain have both been involved in three previous fiftieth anniversary reissues of albums by The Band: Music From Big Pink, The Band, and Stage Fright. Those projects, both men say in comments in the new edition’s notes, involved enhancing the sound of the three albums, making them sound better while keeping the albums’ characters and general sound the same. Their work with Cahoots, the two say, was to make the album sound like it should have sounded.

Much of the commentary supporting that approach comes from Bowman’s interviews with Robertson. Although there are general quotes from the other members of The Band about the making of Cahoots that come from previously published material, it’s probably good to remember that Richard Manuel, Rick Danko and Levon Helm are gone and unavailable for current comment. A few comments from Garth Hudson make their way into Bowman’s notes, but it’s basically Robertson’s views that prevail.

So, does it work? I have yet to absorb the whole album in its new state. And I think I’ll be going back and forth between the new version and the old one at odd times for a while, trying to internalize the changes. (That’s true, too, of the live bootleg of a 1971 performance by the group in Paris that’s included on the second CD of the package.  And both CDs have bonus tracks of outtakes and alternate takes from the Cahoots sessions.)

As “Life Is A Carnival” started to come out of the speakers here yesterday, I reminded myself that different isn’t always better. But, at least for that track, it is. The track, enhanced even more now by Allen Toussaint’s horn arrangement, has a kick it’s never had. As I wander through the rest of the new album, comparing it to the old one, I hope I continue to be pleased.

Here’s the new version of “Life Is A Carnival.”

Saturday Single No. 765

December 11th, 2021

With some errands to run and a North Dakota State football game set for late morning, we’re going to take the quick and random way out this morning by playing some Games With Numbers with today’s date. We’re going to look for a Billboard Hot 100 from December 11 during the years of my sweet spot – 1969-75 – and then we’re going to see what was at No. 23 that week.

And that puts us back – as I thought it might – in 1971, fifty years ago. And the No. 23 record fifty years ago this week was one that has – as far as I can tell – never been mentioned during the nearly fifteen years this blog has trudged along. (Oddly, though, the Texas Gal and I listened to it in the car the other day.)

Fifty years ago this week, “Everybody’s Everything” by Santana was at No. 23, coming back down the chart after peaking at No. 12. A note in Joel Whitburn’s Top Pop Singles says that the tune was originally recorded as “Karate” by the Emperor’s (yep, with an unnecessary apostrophe). That record peaked at No. 55 in late January 1967.

Here’s Santana’s “Everybody’s Everything,” today’s Saturday Single.

‘Not Even Know Your Name . . .’

December 10th, 2021

As I sat at the computer the other day, iTunes kept me company, offering familiarity and comfort, mostly from the late 1960s and early 1970s, and then – from 1970, a year smack in the middle of that period – came “The Road” by Chicago, a track from the group’s second album, the silver one.

And, not for the first time, I pondered the lyrics and wondered how the narrator – not necessarily the song’s composer, Terry Kath or its singer, Peter Cetera, but the imagined narrator – would feel about his words fifty-some years after the fact:

If you’d like to get together
Then come right over to me
Oh, we can do anything
That you’d like to do

If you’d like to give your love
Then please, just feel free
Because I may be gone tomorrow
And not even know your name, yeah

Now please don’t misunderstand my loneliness
Let’s never, ever talk of time
For our friends may fade away
And our hopes will say goodnight
And our friendship would be lost
It would be such a waste of life
So, let’s just, let’s have a good thing, girl
And let’s not worry
Let’s do everything we want
And let’s not cry.
When it’s over
When I leave, our thing won’t die

If you really understand
Then come right over to me
Oh, we can play together for a while
And still be free, yeah!

The callowness of the young, right? Well, Kath and the other members of Chicago were young when the track came out. Kath was twenty-four, just to check one. And the sentiments of the song were very much of its time, especially for a young man on the road with a band. (The song is kind of the flip side of “Superstar,” the Leon Russell/Bonnie Bramlett tune.)

And I remember sorting the lyrics out when I got the Chicago album at the age of sixteen and kind of thinking (perhaps ahead of my time and my peers): “That might be a cool way to live, with a lot of girls around, maybe, but you know, when you do get to wherever home is, there’s probably no one there, and maybe that wouldn’t be such a good idea, not that I’ll ever have the chance to know . . .”

And with that train of thought sometime in 1970 went the rather ludicrous idea of my ever being a rock ’n’ roll god, and from then on, I just bobbed my head to the music and – in the last few decades – have wondered how long it took in the rock ’n’ roll world for those sentiments to fade away or if they even have.

Ah, well. It’s just an old song, an artifact of its time, and it pops up once in a while – six times this year – and usually I let it roll by as I read news or putter on Facebook.

‘A Lovely Golden Glow . . .’

December 8th, 2021

I’m a beer nerd.

The squib on the blog page “About Your Host” says, “And I still like a good dark beer.” That’s true, but over the past twenty years, I’ve come to love others as well: ambers, pale ales, red ales, and more.

It was during my long-ago travels in Europe that I came to like beers other than the basic yellow lager most Americans were drinking at the time. When I came home, I drank some dark beer in bars that had it on tap, but it wasn’t available a lot of places, and if it was available in liquor stores, it was more expensive than your basic brands, so as I went through college and just beyond, I drank a lot of the American lager.

As circumstances changed throughout my life, beer came and went from my refrigerator. I quit drinking for a while in the Eighties and early Nineties for various reasons, and then again in the late Nineties when a doctor told me to avoid yeast for a year, so it’s only in the past two decades that I’ve been able to indulge myself in beer styles and brands from around the world.

So, why this today? Because I’ve been pondering returning to a long-abandoned project: my journal from my time in Europe during the 1973-74 academic year. I worked on it regularly for maybe a year almost twenty years ago, then stopped (probably about the time I started this blog). My method was to type up verbatim each day’s journal entry and then clarify and expand the entry as well as comment on how those events seem to the adult me.

And I’ve been poking through the six-plus months I have completed – that sounds like I’m close to ending it, but I was on the road all of March and most of April; those two months are likely to be the longest chapters in the project, and I’m only up to March 7 – and thinking about resuming things. And as I poked around this morning, I checked out the entry for December 8, 1973, a Saturday I spent in Brussels forty-eight years ago today. Here’s a portion of my commentary on that day’s entry:

I did not do Belgium well. I did sip enough beer, however, to judge it among the best I ever had. Now, the best beer I had during my entire time in Europe was the Danish Tuborg Rød I’ve already mentioned.  But Belgian brews were very good.  I didn’t drink a lot, but I had a good sample, including the beer I had [December 8] with the fellow from Montreal. We sat in one of the cafés on the Grand Place, next to a window so fogged over that the lights of the square outside – glinting off the gilt facades of the buildings across the way – were diffused into a lovely golden glow as the afternoon faded away. I don’t think I ever had a bad beer in Belgium – and Belgium is the only nation I can say that about – but that one, a dark beer I drank in the warmth of the café as the December evening began, is the one I remember the most fondly.

It took years for that seed to sprout, but I think on that day, the beer nerd in me began to form.

So, what else happened that day in Brussels? Well, one of the things I liked to do in each major city I visited was – along with visiting historic sites and museums – to take some time to wander through the grocery stores and the downtown arcades, seeing at least a little bit of what life was like for the folks who lived there.

And while I wandered through a glitzy and very modern arcade not far from the restaurant where I would drink a beer that afternoon, I went past a record store and learned from a window display that Ringo Starr had a new album out, the album simply titled Ringo from which came the hits “Photograph” and “You’re Sixteen.”

I tucked the information away, and a little more than a year after I came home, I came across the album in a used record shop, and it’s long been one of my favorites.

So, to mark all that from forty-eight years ago today, here’s my favorite album track from the Ringo album, “Step Lightly.” (And I’ll likely also mark those long-ago events late this afternoon with a dark beer from the selection in the new mini-fridge that sits not far from where I write.)

Saturday Single No. 764

December 4th, 2021

I invested a few words two weeks ago answering some questions I found at Facebook:

Do you remember the first five albums you bought (or at least chose for yourself)?

Do you remember the next five?

Do you listen to any of those albums today?

In that post, titled “Saturday Single No. 762,” I dealt with the first five albums I chose for my collection in 1969 and 1970. Today, for what it’s worth, we’ll look at the next five, all acquired during the summer and autumn of 1970:

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band by the Beatles
Best Of Bee Gees
Hey Jude by the Beatles
Magical Mystery Tour by the Beatles
Déjà Vu by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young

I was clearly catching up on things as well as beginning my quest to acquire all eighteen American Beatles albums in the next two years. (My pal Rick had challenged me to do so, timing the deadline with his entering his senior year of high school in September 1972.)

And even after fifty-some years, those are five very good albums. While Sgt. Pepper might have lost some of its luster – it was, course, widely considered at the time to be the best album ever released, a judgment that’s since moderated in many corners – it’s still a very good album, an evaluation that’s been supported by the remastered versions released in recent years.

Hey Jude (titled in some places as The Beatles Again) was a collection of singles from over the years that had never made it onto albums in the American market: From “Can’t Buy Me Love” through “The Ballad of John & Yoko,” it provided a (necessarily limited) primer on the Beatles’ career arc for the inexperienced listener that I was. I’d heard most of the tracks at least a couple of times before; I think, though, that Hey Jude brought me my first hearings of “Rain” and “Don’t Let Me Down.”

Of the three Beatles releases on that list of my second five, the lesser release is Magical Mystery Tour. The six tracks on Side One in the American configuration, the soundtrack to the group’s disastrous television special, aren’t entirely dismissible, but only two of them – “Fool On The Hill” and “I Am The Walrus” – have to me any historical weight (although for a time I loved “Your Mother Should Know” for its period campiness). Still, it’s hard to dismiss the album, as its real weight comes on Side Two, with the astounding and eternally pertinent 1967 double-sided singles: “Penny Lane/Strawberry Fields Forever,” “All You Need Is Love/Baby You’re A Rich Man,” and “Hello Goodbye” (which had been backed with Side One’s “I Am The Walrus”). After the general froth of Side One, Side Two is a mother lode of musical genius.

Best Of Bee Gees is a good summation of the first two years of the long and eternally changing career of the Brothers Gibb, with hits ranging in time from 1967’s “New York Mining Disaster 1941” to 1969’s “First Of May.” It never got as much play in the basement rec room on Kilian Boulevard as Sgt. Pepper, Hey Jude or the second side of Magical Mystery Tour, but it wasn’t ignored, either.

The odd album out in that list of my second five is Déjà Vu. Not because it’s not good or because I didn’t listen to it regularly but because I acquired it when it was relatively current. (Well, I’d acquired Hey Jude not long after it was released, but the music it offered wasn’t current.) I’m not sure how I managed to make the leap to Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Maybe hearing “Woodstock,” “Teach Your Children” and “Our House” on the radio in the past few months had led me to purchase the album in October of 1970. And I liked all of the album, especially Stephen Stills’ spare and haunting “4+20.”

So, how pertinent are those five albums to my listening life now?

I’d say they’re all pertinent, even though the only portion of Sgt. Pepper in my iPod (and therefore part of my day-to-day listening) is the final suite: “Good Morning, Good Morning/Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)/Day In The Life.” But the album is one of nearly three hundred I’ve ripped as part of my full album project, meaning that when I’m in full album mode, it’s one I’d like to hear. (And it crosses my mind as I write that I should pull George Harrison’s “Within You Without You” into the iPod.)

Ten of the tracks on Hey Jude are in the iPod, so all except “I Should Have Known Better” and “Old Brown Shoe” still matter. Also in the device are “Strawberry Fields Forever,” “Penny Lane” and Hello Goodbye.” I should likely add “Fool On The Hill” and “I Am The Walrus.” I’m weary of “All You Need Is Love.” So, Hey Jude and MMT matter.

As to the twelve tracks on Best Of Bee Gees, the iPod is missing only “World,” “I Can’t See Nobody” and “Spicks & Specks,” so that album still matters, too.

And then, Déjà Vu. Seven of its ten tracks are in the iPod. I’ve skipped only the two Graham Nash songs, “Teach Your Children” and “Our House,” and the closer, “Everybody I Love You.” I’m likely to add the last of those three, but for some reason, I am not at all inclined to add the Nash songs.

Anyway, here’s likely my favorite track from Déjà Vu, the title track. It took me years, but I recall my “oh, of course” reaction and my widening eyes when I realized that David Crosby was singing about reincarnation. So, here’s “Déjà Vu,” today’s Saturday Single.