Saturday’s Theme Music

Today’s song, “It’s Only Rock n’ Roll (But I Like It)” came out in 1974. I consider this song part of the theme music for my eighteenth year of life. I graduated high school, turned eighteen years old, and joined the U.S. Air Force in 1974. I think the song celebrates my attitude toward rock and roll; it’s just music, but —

I use the song for references, to celebrate, and to time-travel through memories as surely as Marcel Proust’s madeleines. I know it’s only rock and roll, and not significant in many universal schemes (although there’s a potential story, there, isn’t there, about how rock and roll changes things?), but I like it.

The song’s opening, too, offers exasperated questioning about the past and new expectations.

If I could stick my pen in my heart
And spill it all over the stage
Would it satisfy ya, would it slide on by ya
Would you think the boy is strange? Ain’t he strange?

h/t to AZlyrics.com

I’ve found that opening question appropriate for my life. What will it take to satisfy the bosses, lovers, friends, family, and gods? Each employs a different measuring system. The tricks are to find what works, what annoys them and causes me enough pain to avoid doing it again, and then monitor it all for changes – ’cause change is, like, you know, probable. Beyond all that shit, it’s a great song to sing to my stream as I walk or drive on my lonesome.

 

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Tareytons Are Better

Being part of this era of pop-culture and consumer living is wonderful. We witness the rise and fall of trends, and technology grants us visitation rights with what was then and how it was done.

I grew up in the cigarette culture. Born in 1956, the doctors and nurses were probably smoking when I was delivered. Everyone was smoking in the 1960s. Movie and television stars used cigarettes as props for being cool, sophisticated, and fashionable. Mom and Dad smoked while doing everything from working on the car (yeah, that was a thing, then, and it was probably not a safe thing) to entertaining guests. Children stole cigarettes and smoke in secret to be like their parents. A smoky haze filled bars, airplanes, and restaurants.

I didn’t smoke cigarettes. I smoke marijuana, a little hash, and then cigars and pipes, but never cigarettes (yea, me?). I never smoked much of any of it, and quit any smoking thirteen years ago. I have sometimes vaped some marijuana since then.

I was thinking about the cigarette smoking and their commercials, jingles, and slogans. Do you know about those days, when cigarette advertising was as dominant as medicine advertising now is? If not, you should learn about “Tareytons are better, charcoal is why,” and cigarettes that were made for women, or manly cigarettes like Camels and Marlboros, and the meaning behind LSMFT*.

We made fun of it all back then. Winston had a jingle about how good their cigarettes were. I’ve included that below. We sang a different song about Winstons.

“Winstons taste bad, like the one I just had. No filter, no flavor, just toilet paper.”

 

* LSMFT – Lucky Strikes Mean Fine Tobacco.

Sunday’s Theme Music

I’m once again streaming 1974, another year in which things happened, other things changed, and everything kept going almost as though nothing had happened. For me, I graduated high school, turned eighteen, joined the military and left home, in that order.

Today’s theme music, “Only Solitaire”, arrives via a miasma polluting the thinking stream. Jethro Tull’s Warchild album was being streamed, but thinking about a particular individual, the stream’s thread narrowed to “Only Solitaire”. It’s a short and simple song.

Brain-storming habit-forming battle-warning weary
winsome actor spewing spineless chilling lines —
the critics falling over to tell themselves he’s boring
and really not an awful lot of fun.
Well who the hell can he be when he’s never had V.D.,
and he doesn’t even sit on toilet seats?
Court-jesting, never-resting
he must be very cunning
to assume an air of dignity
and bless us all with his oratory prowess,
his lame-brained antics and his jumping in the air.
And every night his act’s the same
and so it must be all a game of chess he’s playing
“But you’re wrong, Steve: you see, it’s only solitaire.”

h/t to Collecting-tull.com

It’s a short song, a few ticks more than a minute and a half.

Imprinted

We heard a story…

Everyone had grown up and left the home, nurturing their lives, careers, and dreams. Somehow, though, they began having Sunday dinner together every week. Mom was so overjoyed that she made their favorite every week, which was southern fried chicken.

I immediately recalled watching Mom go through her fried-chicken process in our little ranch style home in the mid 1960s. Starting with a whole chicken, she would wash it and rub it down with cold water and then burn the remains of the feathers off over the gas burner. Truthfully, I never saw any feathers. I don’t know if Mom saw any, either, but this was her process.

Next, she washed the chicken again, and then dried it, and cut it into pieces. The pieces were dipped in egg, and then rolled in white flour with salt and pepper. She fried it in grease from her drippings collection in a big electric skillet. (Crisco later replaced the drippings.) The chicken was vigilantly watched and turned. When judged ready, they were removed and put on paper towels so excess grease could drip off.

I know her process well, and know how her fried chicken tasted as well. Nothing like grabbing a cold piece of fried chicken out of the refrigerator for a late-evening snack. Like many things she made for us to eat in those years, it ruined things for me later. I’ve always been looking for something that tastes as good as Mom’s. When you’ve had the best, it’s imprinted.

In My Neck…

In my neck of existence, back when I was a child, snowstorms meant listening to the AM radio to see if school was canceled. Snowstorms meant bundling up to go outside to play in this substance, to sled, build, explore, and experience. The storms meant returning home to hot tomato soup with a grilled cheese sandwich with a dill pickle, or a cup of hot cocoa.

Snowstorms changed our neighborhood sounds, forcing out the usual ruckus in favor of cars’ soft sibilant hissing, or a spinning whine as tires looked for a bite in the slick mess. Rhythmic chains, clicking studs, and the snowplows’ grinding blades broke the stillness, enhancing the ambiance.

The house was hot and the outside was frigid. Sunshine seemed hidden by infinite layers. Trees were starkly outlined, but cars and houses were buried.

Snowstorms made the day special as routines bent and fractured under the snow’s weight. Now I anticipate the snowstorm for days, hoping it’ll return some of childhood’s joys when the snow closes us in, but the storms rarely stand up to hopes.

At least, in my neck of experience.

Friday’s Theme Music

A friend was once singing today’s song, “Timothy”, by the Buoys, shortly after it was high on the pop charts. I asked him if he knew what this song was about, because listening closely, it seemed like it was about two guys eating the third one with them, Timothy.

I probably haven’t thought about the song since ’bout the time of that conversation in 1971. Recalling the song last night, I looked it up. Yep, it was about a cave in, and the two survivors eating the other, with the singer claiming that he must have blacked out, but he awoke with a full stomach.

Strangest to me, I learned that Rupert Holmes, who wrote and sang, “Escape (The Pina Colada Song)” (1979), wrote “Timothy”.

That’s the net’s fun aspect, looking things up to answer, what the hell?

Tuesday’s Theme Music

My spouse was busy making Christmas crockpot candy, which involves melting a lot of almond bark and chocolate together with some nuts, and then spooning it out into balls and letting it cool.

Christmas music was on, but this was a Christmas blues album. We have it on a CD that we picked up for a dollar about twenty years ago. The album was probably recorded in the sixties. It hasn’t been remastered.

Anyway, that CD ended, and a Motown Christmas album was launched. A CD of Motown hits from 1971 followed. A twelve minute version of “Papa Was a Rolling Stone” by the the Temptations stayed in my stream overnight.

What can I say? It’s great music, cool music, telling a story through voice, lyrics, and instruments.

Monday’s Theme Music

Don’t know why I’m streaming today’s music. Are you surprised? Shocked, I am, totally shocked.

Anyway, today’s theme music was a pop hit that came to be part of my life music stream via my sister. I was nine when this song was a hit. Two years older, my sister was a popster and a big fan of the forty-fives. The Dave Clark Five were a Brit invasion pop group. Sis loved them. No surprise, then, that their 1965 hit “Over and Over”, has escaped my brain’s shields and entered my stream.

What’s perhaps more surprising is how little I hear this song on the radio. After remembering it, I looked the group up on that Internet. There, through Wikipedia, I discovered the Dave Clark Five had a run of hits, disbanded in 1970, and were inducted into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame in 2008.

Love the video’s dancing display. Ah, those were the days, hey?

Another Mary Said

I remember telling other neighborhood children stories that I made up, often citing them as my dreams. Sometimes they started as a dream, but I often just began telling an incident. I remember that once a dozen children a year or two younger stood in my cousin’s garage, listening to me tell them a story that I was making up as I stood there.

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