My parents were salt of the earth type of people. Put one foot in front of the other type of people. If you met them on the street you’d think they were nice folks. But they had little to no joy in their lives. They didn’t pass down family recipes…that was before there was a label like “foodies” for the those of us who not only enjoy cooking and eating a great meal but feel compelled to Instagram it to everyone I know. My mother didn’t seem to enjoy cooking and there was no pleasure in experiencing new foods. We ate the same thing on the same day of the week forever. Likewise, there wasn’t any real musical memories passed down by my folks…they just didn’t listen to music, not even in the car. I am not really counting our weekly viewing of Mitch Miller and Lawrence Welk as musical memories. Perhaps my love of music and food developed as a form of rebellion.
Since I was a little kid, music has always been my “time out”, but I had to go looking for it. There were some albums that never got played. I tried to like album that was a tribute to Glen Miller….played on the accordion! I just couldn’t warm up to it.
The music I knew growing up was the music I found stashed away by my two older brothers. These were the old 45’s…. There was an old suitcase style record player in the basement and I could safely play those old 45’s down there without getting into too much trouble. While other kids where singing… oh hell, I have no idea what the other 6 year old kids might be singing….but it makes me laugh when I think of the six year old me sitting in the bathtub belting out my finest version of Skeeter Davis’ “End of the World”! I’m Sure I was awesome and perhaps a bit melodramatic.
I wake up in the morning and I wonder
Why everything’s the same as it was
I can’t understand, no, I can’t understand
How life goes on the way it does
Listen to Skeeter here: 09 The End of the World
There was a piano player by the name of Jo Ann Castle on The Lawrence Welk Show that played Honky Tonk piano – they liked her. Her arms would shake like crazy when she played the piano and my mother would say “now, Barbie, that’s what you should do!” All I could see were those crazy arms flailing about and think why would I want to do that, she looks ridiculous!
I took piano lessons and had a fold out cardboard cutout of the piano keyboard…that’s what I had to practice on…not the piano in the “Music Room”. My mother called it the “Music Room” because it had the piano in it. As a small child placing my fingers carefully on the cardboard cutout of the piano keyboard I remember thinking….This is stupid! I really wanted to play by ear, I couldn’t and really didn’t care to learn to read music. I tried this approach later, but got found out by my piano teacher. Doris Day had a TV show on and the theme of the TV Show was Que Sera Sera. It was a little different than the sheet music I had and I was playing the TV Show Theme.
Listen to Doris Day’s Que Sera Sera here: 15 Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be)
It was those old 45’s….I found those to be interesting….And here’s the thing about those old 45’s….I had no idea which side was the hit and which was the “B Side”. So I just played both sides. And I liked them both! I carried that little blue and white box around with me for years – my kids even know some of the songs. Some of the songs were funny. John Loudermilk had a record out, one side was Angela Jones and the other was Road Hog. Do you know which side was his hit? Nope, I didn’t either. After a little research for this article I’m pretty sure it was Road Hog. It seems Johnny Ferguson had a hit with Angela Jones. That’s probably information you didn’t even need.
Listen to Anela Jones here: John D. Loudermilk – Angela Jones (RCA 47-8101 – Oct 1962)
Listen to Road Hog here: 14 Road Hog
I’d sit in the basement with these 45’s and the little suitcase record player and play the limited number of records I had contained in the blue and white checkered box…this was my solitude…This was the music I knew. Sue Thompson, she had a 45 out with James (Hold the Ladder Steady) on one side and Norman on the other. I still know all the words to each song, but I couldn’t tell you which one was her hit. Perhaps you could tell me.
Listen to James (Hold the Ladder Steady) here: 03 James (Hold the Ladder Steady)
Listen to Norman here: Sue Thompson – Norman (1962)
So now this ground breaking TV Show called “The Monkees” comes along…I had just turned 10. Ok, I think I’m just going to die. Now, you’re combining real pop music….CURRENT pop with cute boys. I think you might have something here. My love affair with Michael Nesmith had begun. That’s right I fell for the smart Monkee! I should have figured that out early in life…would have save me a lot of heartache later in life!
Listen to Papa Gene’s Blues here: 05 Papa Gene’s Blues
And can anyone forget that album cover with Bobby Sherman’s face on it. For God’s sake those blue eyes! Julie Julie Do you Love Me! My name’s not Julie, but yes, I do, I do I really do Love you, Bobby! This was no longer about music! This was becoming about feeling things! I just didn’t know what to do with these emotions! I’ll tell you what I wanted to do…Move to Seattle! That’s where Bobby Sherman was…wasn’t he?
Listen to Julie, Julie here 17 Julie, Do Ya Love Me
Listen to Seattle here Seattle – Bobby Sherman
Now, I’m starting to grow up…I”m talking to kids at school about music. I’m feeling the peer pressure to like what they like. I buy my own albums. This is where I discover Jesus Christ Superstar. OMG. What a great album. There were TWO albums in it….I felt like I had won the lottery. Such different music….and it felt almost like blasphemy! For some reason I liked that too.
My favorite song? Listen to it here…2-06 King Herod’s Song (Try It and See)
So as a result of growing up in a house with no music, I love discovering new music….I also know some oldies that nobody else knows….unfortunately so do my kids. 🙂
What’s that one song you know that nobody else knows?
If you’d like to download any of the music contained in this post you can get it on iTunes! Just click any of the links below…enjoy! 😉
Skeeter Davis, The End of The World
Sue Thompson, James (Hold The Ladder Steady)
The Monkees, Papa Gene’s Blues
Bobby Sherman, Julie Do Ya Love Me
Jesus Christ Superstar, King Herod’s Song