Beach Boys and Girls

After writing about the Beach Boys last month I did a little iTunes looking & found early lps were very inexpensive. I only knew the songs as radio fodder, not in Lp context so I downloaded: Surfer Girl/ Summer Days (and Summer Nights)/ Smiley Smile/ Surf’s Up.

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I enjoyed them all but there is little variation in lyric or style. Elevated barber shop, do-whop for the most part. Surf’s Up adds some electronic to the mix. I loved Summer Days (and Summer Nights) with California Girls & Help Me, Rhonda – a must have cd for any Beach Boys fan. Novelty song fillers on others lost their appeal quickly, for me, as well.

The Boys were too all-American clean for me at the time, even bare-chested on the beach they didn’t have any sex appeal. Their sunny sound couldn’t pull be away from the Beatles or the Stones.

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To this mp3 collection I added a bunch of r’n’b girl groups, & some real do-whop: Johnny Otis Presents: variety of acts including The Safaris; Barbara & The Browns: soul group ‘Can’t Find No Happiness;’ The Esquires: funky male do-whop; Linda Hopkins: Mid-US regional hit maker: “Come Back Baby.”

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Bob McFadden: Songs Our Mummy Taught Us: novelty Halloween songs a la Bobby Pickett; The Andantes: sweet girl group harmonies; Betty Harris: r’n’b soul “I’m Evil Tonight;” and finally the very recent Bette Midler: ‘For The Girls’ in which she pay tribute to 60’s girl groups (buy it.) Actually buy any of these, you won’t be disappointed.

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The Amazing Spark

The poster for the circus was in reds and blues that Cindy couldn’t get out of her dreams.

“Ladies and gentlemen I would like to introduce the Amazing Spark!”

Cindy would ride out in her sequinned suit, ride on tiptoe balanced on the back of a perfect white – no not white, to hard to keep clean – on a perfect midnight blue horse. Yes, blue, just like the blue on the poster.

“The Amazing Spark on her wonder horse Sacre Bleu.”

She would ride in circles so fast her costume would be a magenta blur. As she twirled on Sacre Bleu’s wide back he would slowly rise into the air. Yes – they could fly but not too high but just enough.

How the children would applaud. They would put down their sweet sticky pink vanilla candy – cotton candy flecked with spikes of red, cinnamon flavour. Yum. She would lean over and scoop up some of the delicious cotton candy and eat it – handfuls of it. It would stick all over her. Then her Magic Owls would appear. Their wings iridescent with green and silver. They would flutter around her and clean her off. The crowd would applaud even more. They would jump to their feet.

Sacre Bleu would rise on his hind legs with Cindy poised on the tip of his nose on one foot. Toe to damp nose. Her other leg would stretch out perfectly and Magic Owls would land on her leg and they would take their bow.

When she left the ring the Prince would waiting for her but she wouldn’t care. She had her own true love already.

Trudy – the Monkey Man’s daughter.

They would wrap their arms around each other and walk through the fair grounds carefree and laugh at the looks of the people they passed. For of course they would be jealous. Who wouldn’t be of such two perfect little girls. Well, not so little.

Cindy rolled the poster up and put it on the dining room table. She hoped her kids would like it for more than the five seconds it would shut them up. The circus of her life wasn’t as thrilling.

Five kids, two husbands later – later than what, she didn’t know, but better later than never. She still didn’t know which was right for her. The circus of escape of the life of reality.

Some days she didn’t know where she had gone wrong or even if she had but she sensed that this wasn’t what she wanted. Something she had never wanted and now she was stuck with it. Even on her tip toes she couldn’t dance over the fields of life around her. She didn’t want to escape she just wanted to get it right.

Try as she might right always eluded her. Men with good jobs who wanted to raise families weren’t so hard to find but once she had them she couldn’t find them anymore. Not around the house.

Sometimes she would find herself with her latest him. Snug and warm beside her till the alarm, till the first child woke, till …

She unrolled the circus poster again. Ahh Trudy where the Hell are you?

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Do You Hear What I Hear

 How quickly do you get tired of festive music? Two minutes? Two days? Over the years I’ve built up a little collection of Christmas music that covers languages: Welsh, Russian, Swedish, French and even some Elvis. I dig them out once a year & give them their annual listenings.

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I do favour the campy/cheesy side of things with the Beach Boys, The Ventures; special favourites Booker T & The MG’s go hand in hand with Jimmy Smith. I even have one of my family’s Christmas lp’s: Eddie Fisher. I can’t say as I have an absolute favourite though. Brenda Lee’s Rocking ‘Round the Christmas Tree is pretty close to perfect though. Plus Silent Night sung by a choir of starving children on an ice flow (just kidding).

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One thing I always enjoy is a A Christmas Carol beautifully read in complete – a free download – takes a couple of hours to listen to but it has spoiled me for any movie version. I have it burned to a cd along with Dylan Thomas reading A Child’s Christmas in Wales, plus the Million Dollar Man’s Christmas adventures, and (could it get any better?) Charles Laughton reading a Pickwick Christmas and (too much?) Ronald Coleman in a very abridged Christmas Carol.

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Yeah I love Christmas but I’m always happy when its over.

 

samples

another piece out of the archives:

Circle

it’s hard to resist the notions of patterns

how the repeated gets repeated

the notion

that if you go back to the same bed

you leave in the morning

you have really gone nowhere

start to finish

at the same point

doesn’t equal progress

yet   for many that is progress

to maintain the same pattern

to have the comfort

of ending back where they started from

I do not resist the comfort and ease

of repetition

that gives structure

funny though

how much quicker and smaller these

rituals become

the older one becomes

the aching years and summers of youth

are the all too fast and brief

flash from one winter to the next

winters coming too close together

and summers never long enough

flowers come go  come go

and the gardening continues

when will the circle be broken

things are done

to keep that break from happening

the right foods for the heart

exercise  avoid the sun

drinking lots of water

a few less morsels at every meal

to cut down on the burden of the waist

each a little ritual

in hopes of avoiding the break

each

to add a few morsels of days

the gift of the moment

the miracle of breath

and joy of experiencing

what there remains to be experienced

days are numbered

but no one knows what those numbers are

we don’t know

what they are going to add up to

what will remain

is rarely equalled to

what we may have done

the mark made disappears with time

I decided not to worry about the mark made

but to enjoy what there is to enjoy

to create sustain without concern

leaving a legacy

is the least of my intent

a few memories will linger

till the last of those

who remember me

are gone

that is enough for me

another of the aging details

I sometimes forget

is about what may remain

who gets what

maybe I’ll give it all way

before the break

shedding is a good stage

to prepare me for the transition

into the next one

shed all that I wouldn’t want to move with

pretend my life

is to be reduced to a single room

what would I want to keep

make it that simple

and see what

loses its hold on me

what is really wanted

and what is there merely

because I have a place for it

those things that are pleasant enough

but which it

may be time to live without

to move on

to clear and clear

make more empty shelves

and leave them empty

invite the emptiness

into the present day

to prepare me for

what may be the void

when the circle is broken

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