Christmas/Holiday Cheer: Jean Redpath, “Gift o’ Gowd”

While Martha and I were putting lights on our tree Sunday morning, I pulled out a couple of CDs to play. One was Still the Night, by the late Scottish folksinger Jean Redpath. My wife was a fan prior to meeting me, probably discovering her via appearances on A Prairie Home Companion*. Still the Night came out in 1999, at the very end of Redpath’s career. It was released on her own label, and it’s apparently so obscure that Wikipedia** doesn’t even list it in her discography.

Martha ripped the CD long ago and added it to the Christmas playlist on the iPod she keeps in her car. In normal years, we’d be out and about much more right now and would be hearing Redpath’s clear, lilting voice now and again as the tunes shuffled on. In particular, it seems like every year I would hear opening track “2000 Years Ago,” written by fellow Scot Alan Bell. I had planned on sharing that one with you today; however, this disk is apparently so obscure that essentially none of it appears on YouTube, either.

One of Redpath’s primary contributions over her lengthy career was a seven-disk set of recordings of songs written/collected by the great Scottish poet Robert Burns. You get a sense of how she might have approached that project by listening to the one track from Still the Night I can find out there, “Gift o’ Gowd” (gowd being Gaelic for gold–it’s a song about the Magi).

*Redpath comes across as quite earnest in her approach to the craft, but check out this duet with Garrison Keillor from one of her Prairie Home appearances.

**My favorite line in Redpath’s Wikipedia entry is, “She was awarded the MBE in 1977 as well as being named a Kentucky colonel by the governor of Kentucky.” If you’re wondering what it means to be named a Kentucky Colonel, well, you can check that out here. One group of grad school friends gave me grief over and again after I told them I had been made a Colonel twice before I turned twenty.

Dad’s 45s, Part 7: Early 60s Minor Hits

It wasn’t just big sellers in my father’s 45 collection (though there are still more of those to come). Here are a few songs that only made the lower reaches of the Top 40 in the first half of the 1960s. We’ll start with the most famous one.

Hank Ballard and the Midnighters, “The Twist” (#28, September 1960)
Last month we saw two of Chubby Checker’s other hits in this space. It’s at least somewhat curious to me that Dad bought the original rather than the cover (which peaked at #1 the very week this reached its high spot). I don’t know about you, but I might like this take better. Ballard’s “Finger Poppin’ Time” was on the chart at the same time.

Bobby Freeman, “(I Do the) Shimmy Shimmy” (#37, October 1960)
Sandwiched between Freeman’s two #5 hits, “Do You Wanna Dance” and “C’mon and Swim.” I was today years old when I learned about the role that Cincinnati’s King Records played in promoting country and R&B records in the 50s and 60s, including getting James Brown’s career off the ground.

Wanda Jackson, “Let’s Have a Party” (#37, October 1960)
That’s not a typo–Freeman and Jackson occupied #37 on consecutive weeks. This was the first of three trips that the Queen of Rockabilly would make to the Top 40. Wikipedia says she’s still around, and was performing up until last year. Her voice is going to have to grow on me, though.

Stan Kenton, “Mama Sang a Song” (#32, December 1962)
Yes, my father was a minister for quite a few years, but I don’t recall country-flavored gospel (or is it gospel-flavored country?) being among his musical loves. Though I could see him digging on Kenton’s jazz, I’m wondering if one of his parishioners from Bromley gave this 45 to him. It was nominated for Best Documentary or Spoken Word Recording the following spring.

Millie Small, “Sweet William” (#40, September 1964)
The arrival of a certain bundle of joy seven months earlier is no doubt the reason for this record’s presence in the collection. This was Jamaica native Small’s second and final U.S. hit, a follow-up to the #2 “My Boy Lollipop.” She passed away in Britain just this past May, at age 72.

More September/October Charts

Between grappling with this hectic fall semester and deciding to play another Strat-o-Matic tourney these last three weeks, I’ve let putting up another Charts post slide down the priority list. It’s become time for me to get it together.

9/5/81
Another case where I missed the tail end of the show and used the Florence Mall Recordland as a backup. That third Archive song was “To Sir, with Love”–this, after Casey giving a career retrospective of Lulu in hour 2 before playing her current hit. It’s embarrassing I whiffed on both of Bobbie Gentry’s names.

Hello/Goodbye: Nobody bows in, but it’s never again for Point Blank, Robbie Patton, and John Schneider.

As for my rankings:

While 1981 has a (justified) soft rock/country-dominated reputation, I’ll defend my top 15 choices of the time, Oak Ridge Boys excepted. The song at #25 is one I’ve noted before, from Union, another Randy Bachman joint–it didn’t chart nationally.

9/25/76
This is during the six-week period that WSAI took Casey off the air. I woke up early on a few Sunday mornings to listen to WAKY out of Louisville (but not 6:00am early, apparently). I didn’t write down the Top 10, since I could get that out of the newspaper.

Hello/Goodbye: Didn’t know it at the time, but this week was the beginning for Firefall.

Continue reading “More September/October Charts”

American Top 40 PastBlast, 12/1/79: Daryl Hall and John Oates, “Wait for Me”

8/12/79: It’s Sunday morning, and I’m hearing voices. More accurately, the voices of folks around me in the hotel restaurant and the swimming pool area sound just like those of people I know, which makes no sense. I keep looking up in surprise—why are they here?—but of course it turns out I’m imagining things. It’s more than a little alarming that it keeps happening as the day progresses.

I chalk up the hallucinations mostly to the very tiny amount of sleep I’ve had the last three days.  On Thursday, I’d gone on an overnight hiking/camping trip to a state park in southern Ohio, maybe a couple of hours east of Cincinnati. There were five of us: my church’s minister, the female half of our youth group leadership, Meg (who’s my age), Dean (a couple years older), and me. (Those aren’t their actual names.)  I enjoyed backpacking through the woods, and I suppose cooking dinner over a fire was fine. But I’d laid my sleeping bag over some roots and rocks and had a miserable night trying in vain to get comfortable. I closed my eyes for 10-15 minutes a couple of times on the ride home, and it helped a little, I guess. Regardless, I wasn’t going to be kept from going to Friday night’s youth lock-in at the church. My fellow campers are there, along with maybe a dozen others, including my sister (I don’t remember why she bailed on the hiking trip). A lot of fun was had, but sleep was naturally not high on the agenda. After Amy and I got home late Saturday morning, we packed a suitcase and headed south to Lexington for a couple of nights. We didn’t have a family vacation in 1979; this would be the closest we’d come that summer. I imagine we visited with one of Mom’s oldest and dearest friends on our way to the Campbell House, but I was so wiped out, who knows.

So, throughout Sunday, I keep thinking that folks with whom I’d spent so much of Thursday and Friday were at the next table over or just out of sight, around a corner. As the hours pass, there is something else: a strange and funny feeling surfacing in both head and stomach. Meg. The Big Crush of my high school years has just happened. (Did I know then that this was her birthday? Maybe; maybe not.) I’m positively moony for several days as I adjust to my new reality.

12/1/79: It’s hard to say how cool I’ve played it at youth group throughout the fall—less well than I think, I bet. Talking to girls is definitely one of my many kryptonites, but so is acting normal around someone I “like.” One thing I’ve learned about Meg is that she’s in the flag corps at her school, and that turns out to mean she’s here tonight in my high school gym. I’m keeping stats for the boys’ basketball team as our respective schools do battle. As the buzzer for halftime sounds, I leave the bench and dash to the corner where the pep band takes up residence to pick up my trombone and blast a few tunes, foregoing the opportunity to listen to any berating from the coach in the locker room.

It also allows me to watch Meg take part in the corps’ routine. I’m surprised to hear the song to which they perform: “So Fine,” the opener on side two of ELO’s A New World Record. After they’re done, do I seek Meg out to talk? Doubtful. What about at church the next day? More likely, but I can’t say now one way or the other.

Sometime after New Year’s, I summon up the courage to give Meg a call. I slink downstairs to our partially finished basement; there’s a wall phone in the unfinished part, almost under the stairs and next to the washer/dryer. (It’s also the room where our dog Frisky spends most of her time.) Her father answers, and somehow I manage to identify myself and ask to speak with her. We talk for a moderate amount of time. Either it goes well enough or I’m oblivious to the opposite, because I find myself calling back regularly, maybe weekly, for a few months. Meg is certainly some combination of patient and kind in these conversations. There’s youth group, too, but when we’re both there neither gives any sign of additional contact. In the middle of all this, I get my driver’s license, but I guess I’m too nervous to ask her out.

Several months into 1980, it dawns on me that there’s been no particular sign of reciprocity, and I start calling less frequently. I’m surprised when she rings me up one day toward the end of the summer—the first time that’s happened—to ask if I’d like to go bowling. We have a nice enough time, but it’s obvious that we’ll stay “just friends.” By this point, I’m okay with that. Meg will agree to be my junior prom date the following April, our second and last time out together. Throughout this period, and for many years after, Meg’s mom is super nice to me when I see her at church on my infrequent visits home (to be honest, I’ve always wondered if the bowling get-together was her suggestion).

I missed the start of AT40 on that early December Saturday night just over 41 years ago now. My dad, forever indulgent of his son’s chart addiction, was pressed into service to listen to the beginning of the show and do some record-keeping. (This wasn’t the first time, as you may see someday in a Charts post.) At the top of the list Dad handed me when I got home was “Wait for Me,” a debut from Daryl Hall and John Oates; it would reach #18 at the end of January.

It’s one of those weird quirks of memory that I’ve come to associate a song I didn’t hear on 12/1/79 with the events of that day. Indeed, in this YouTube age, you’ll find me on December 1 more often than not—it happened again this past Tuesday—seeking out both “So Fine” and “Wait for Me” for a listen.

Christmas/Holiday Cheer: Cocteau Twins, “Frosty the Snowman”

The teaching part of my job is over for a while, as just a bit ago I submitted grades for the fall term. This past semester was both a sprint and a marathon, as we upended our calendar to finish classes prior to Thanksgiving. (I described the plan here.) My prediction that the college would have to transition to fully remote learning at some point was entirely incorrect–we were able to stay in-person the whole time. I’m still in need of decompression, but I’d like to write up some of the highs and lows of the fall at some point–perhaps reflection will help me avoid some traps next time. We’re delaying the start of the spring term to late January; now we wait and see if conditions on the ground will allow us to feasibly return then.

It’s not going to be a vacation for eight weeks, though. In addition to planning spring classes (including the possibility of having to deliver them online), there’s a lot of departmental work to do, including dealing with parts of our every-five-year self-study and getting started on a search for a new colleague. Nonetheless, I’m hoping that December and January will be months with somewhat more frequent posting here than the last four have been…

Toward that end, here’s a song of the season from Cocteau Twins, a band we’ve seen fit to mention a couple of times already this year. This is one-half of their 1993 two-song EP Snow, released shortly after the disappointing Four-Calendar Café. It’s impressive how they’re able to remain true to both the song and their sound.

Modern Rock Tracks, 12/1/90

Whenever December 1 is a Saturday, that means Thanksgiving is as early as it can be, on November 22. On the morning of the 23rd, 1990, I hit the road, heading west. This was the second consecutive year I attended a wedding the Saturday after Turkey Day, both times for college friends. The festivities thirty years ago were in suburban St. Louis: my dear friends Mark H and Lana were tying the knot, more than eight years after they’d met. I served as best man; my toast centered on a plausible-yet-fictitious rendering of their first encounter, on the day Mark (and I) moved in at Transy–it is true that Lana, a returning student, was helping coordinate traffic in the back circle by the dorms that day…

Anyway, it’s time for the final Modern Rock Tracks installment of the year, from the weekend following those nuptials. What delights await?

#30. Concrete Blonde, “Caroline”
I keep getting reeled in by Johnette Napolitano’s earthy vocals. The band’s outfits in the clip are pretty all-world.

#27. Inspiral Carpets, “Commercial Rain”
More goodies from the UK in the Manchester mold. Catchy as all get out but the lyrics are, well, not that deep (“Mary’s crying for her baby, for her baby doll–ahhhhhhhhhh, commercial rain”). It would wind up on a mix tape I made in the summer of 1992, so I’m saving the vid for whenever I write that up.

#24. The Posies, “Golden Blunders”
Another mix tape treat–this time from 1994–but it’s so good, I won’t mind repeating myself should I wind up featuring it again. I’m willing to call this the best song on the chart. The Posies were a Seattle-area band, strictly power pop and not grungy in the least. The title feels like an obvious Beatles reference; Ringo covered it a couple of years later.

#23. Hindu Love Gods, “Raspberry Beret”
Warren Zevon + non-Stipe members of REM + late night recording session after much drinking = respectable Prince cover.

#19. Redd Kross, “Annie’s Gone”
The next three embedded videos today are from quality songs that somehow slipped under my radar in real time. First up, a California band led by a pair of brothers unafraid to make a fashion statement or three.

#17. Edie Brickell and New Bohemians, “Mama Help Me”
I get how folks can be turned off by Brickell’s overly precious writing. I do. This lead track from Ghost of a Dog had no chance of changing anyone’s mind about it, either. Like that album plenty, but “Mama Help Me” is among its lower tier of tracks.

#14. The Trash Can Sinatras, “Only Tongue Can Tell”
These guys from Scotland are still together thirty years on. I’m definitely picking up a Smiths vibe.

#12. INXS, “Disappear”
Much better than “Suicide Blonde.” This would be their seventh and last Top 10 hit on the U.S. pop charts; each peaked at a different position (they didn’t have a #4, #6, or #10 hit).

#10. The Connells, “Stone Cold Yesterday”
Greg had tipped me off earlier in the year to “Something to Say” from 1989’s Fun and Games. I don’t know how this gem got past me; give it a crank.

#7. Iggy Pop, “Candy”
For your consideration: Kate Pierson’s uncredited accompanying vocals, while not as pervasive, are the early 90s analogue of Stevie Nicks’ work in the late 70s.

#5. U2, “Night and Day”
In retrospect, this track can be seen as a second inflection point in the direction of their music. It’s definitely one of the highlights on Red Hot + Blue, the collection of Cole Porter covers that raised money for the fight against AIDS. (I’ll confess I’m also a big sucker for Iggy and Debbie Harry stumbling through “Well, Did You Evah!”)

#4. An Emotional Fish, “Celebrate”
Another Irish band that got some traction trying to sound a little like the boys at #5. What are the odds that Bono could have come up with a line like, “Well, I guess beauty does what beauty does best–it’s beautiful”? I’d lay 3-2 on it. This also was on one of my mix tapes and will likely receive mention in this space again someday.

#3. Sisters of Mercy, “More”
British Goth doesn’t do all that much for me, but I had to toss this one in when I learned that Jim Steinman co-wrote and co-produced it. I’m trying to imagine the conversation between Mr. Over-the-Top and lead Sister Andrew Eldritch that resulted in the collaboration. Eldritch: “Jim, I just loved what you did for Bonnie Tyler on ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart,’ especially the line about the powder keg. Listen–can you help me? I’ve got this lyric stuck in my head: ‘You keep me comin’ back for more.’ Any ideas on how to flesh it out?” Steinman: “Hmmm. We should be able to fit ‘like a kid in a candy store’ in somehow. That’s much more pedestrian that my ‘mountain of rocks/Crackerjack Box’ rhyme for Meat Loaf, but I bet we can make it work. My fee, you ask? All I request is to have a go at the control board.”

(You now know why I flamed out as a fiction writer.)

#1. Jane’s Addiction, “Been Caught Stealing”
Can’t say I’m much of a Perry Ferrell fan, yet here we are, with the big hit from Ritual de lo habitual at the top. On the other hand, when I was watching videos from this chart via YouTube a couple of nights ago, this was the song that brought my son over from his computer to listen more closely. Maybe it was the dog barking at the intro…

Stereo Review In Review: November 1987

I don’t recall paying all that much attention back in the day to the interviews with/articles on performers that appeared occasionally in the pages of SR. One thing that’s stood out to me thumbing through these old issues this year is how often they featured country artists, first by Noel Coppage and then Alanna Nash; there’s another one this month. We also get a second article, all about my favorite act from 1987 (I doubt I read it at the time, though).

Articles
Elizabeth Costello Interviews Suzanne Vega
Vega talks about being surprised by the success of “Luka,” her singing style (“I’ve always disliked a lot of vibrato”), and the evolution her songwriting (“I think it is becoming more streamlined, more abstract, and more condensed. And I think it’s becoming more melodic.”)

Alanna Nash Interviews Patty Loveless
Nash recounts how native Kentuckian Loveless, whose star was just beginning to rise, reached this moment. Nashville kept calling—at age fourteen she and her brother met Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton, who became a friend, and at age eighteen she briefly fronted for the Wilburn Brothers. Marrying that band’s drummer took her to western North Carolina for several years, where she mostly sang rockers in bars and incurred bad habits with drugs and alcohol. After cleaning up, she took one last shot at country stardom and it sure panned out.

Our reviewers this month are Chris Albertson, Phyl Garland, Alanna Nash, Mark Peel, and Steve Simels. Unfortunately, the scan at worldradiohistory.com is missing a couple of pages, including the beginning of the pop reviews, so we might be missing out on a gem or two.

Best of the Month
–Rosanne Cash, King’s Record Shop (AN) “…Cash again offers a stunning mix of traditional and progressive country, ballad, and biting rock. Far more sober than her previous album, King’s Record Shop rips into vital veins and arteries of emotion…” This one’s been in my collection for a long time.
–Cruzados, After Dark (MP) “Cruzados combine the country music of parched cinderblock and sweating beer bottles with the hard rock of a fist fight waiting to happen.”

Other Disks Reviewed (* = featured review)
–*Three sets of unreleased recordings of Count Basie (CA) “Eventually (remaining Basie tapes) will all be released—the great, the good, and the simply fair. These three albums cover all three bases.”
–Natalie Cole, Everlasting (PG) “She presents it all with grace, ease, and taste. And she’s in good voice, with energy to spare.”
–Duane Eddy, S/T (SS) “…as nuttily entertaining an album as I’ve heard all year.”
–Gloria Estefan and Miami Sound Machine, Let It Loose (PG) “Their cohesive music and sound prove that there are still new horizons to be explored in popular music.”
–A Flock of Seagulls, The Best of… (SS) “Call it disposable, call it New Wave nostalgia, but there’s something oddly touching about the innocence of this music, just as there’s something oddly touching about the innocence of a Buddy Holly song.”
–The Grateful Dead, In the Dark (SS) “Whatever you think of these guys, this is clearly the most surprising album of the year: the first Grateful Dead record you don’t have to be a Deadhead to enjoy.”
–Highway 101, S/T (AN) “…this is commercial country music, retro honky-tonk…(t)he real news, however, is Paulette Carlson. Sounding at once like early Dolly Parton, earlier Brenda Lee…(she) throws a one-two punch as a vocalist and songwriter.”
–*La Bamba (SS) “…the most exciting evocation of Fifties rock anybody has ever recorded.”
–Richard Lloyd, Real Time (SS) “In retrospect, Television…was never as radical as people assumed at the time, and it now seems clear that was because Lloyd played Paul McCartney to (Tom) Verlaine’s John Lennon.”
–Split Enz, History Never Repeats—The Best of Split Enz (MP) “The selections display the group’s facile songwriting, clever word play, and the determinedly lighthearted approach that probably doomed it.”
Who’s That Girl (AN) “Alas, there is nothing gutsy about Madonna’s performance on the sound the soundtrack of Who’s That Girl, a movie in which the singer goes to great lengths to prove she is not an actress…”
–X, See How We Are (MP) “…there’s an unfinished quality to the rough harmonies and rambling tunes, a roughness that allows X to communicate directly and forcefully in live performance but seems hollow and self-conscious on record…”

American Top 40 PastBlast, 11/19/77: Dave Mason, “We Just Disagree”

I began buying 45s in the middle of 1976, right around the same time I started keeping my AT40 charts; my sister jumped in on the fun not long after. By the end of 1977, a high percentage of our allowance money was being shoved at Sears and Recordland in the Florence Mall, so much so that while listening to this weekend’s show it felt like close to half of the songs would have been in our hands by Christmas that year. I rifled through my collection of singles last night in an attempt to verify my memories. Several tunes I expected to find didn’t pop up, but they were mostly the ones I remember to be Amy’s–I guess they wound up in her hands in the end. A visit to my trusty Joel Whitburn’s Top Pop Singles 1955-2002, which lists B-sides, helped me confirm those I don’t appear to have anymore.

With that, let’s take a peek at what was being spun on the turntable chez Harris 43 years ago. An asterisk * means the single must have been my sister’s.

#40. The Bay City Rollers, “The Way I Feel Tonight”
You are not going to shame me on this one (Amy and/or I also bought “I Only Wanna Be with You” and “You Made Me Believe in Magic”). It’d never really registered with me until this weekend that they modulate going into the chorus two different times. Whitburn notes this single was released with two different B-sides.

#39. Foreigner, “Cold As Ice”
Did this one have a single mix? In my head I always hear the strings more prominently.

#35. Meco, “Star Wars Theme/Cantina Band”
There are two copies in my collection–pretty sure at least one of them came courtesy of a neighbor who lived up the street.

#32. *Bob Welch, “Sentimental Lady”
Was disappointed not to find this one. That winter I grabbed onto the flip side “Hot Love, Cold World,” which also wound up being the third single from French Kiss, hitting #31 in July 1978. How often was that sort of thing happening in the late 70s?

#23. Barry Manilow, “Daybreak”
This one wasn’t on 45–your humble blogger had broken out the big bucks several weeks earlier for Barry Manilow Live.

#22. The Babys, “Isn’t It Time”
With apologies to “I Feel Love” and “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue,” I’ll stick my neck out and claim this is the best record on the show. I wrote an homage to it three years ago in my first year of blogging; as a pop record, it’s just got it all.

#17. Dave Mason, “We Just Disagree”
A minor gem. My recollection is it didn’t take too many times hearing this on the radio before I went out and got it. Compact storytelling, mature lyrics, sweet harmonies. Still dig it.

#14. The Little River Band, “Help Is on Its Way”
Probably my favorite song at the time of this show. I imagine I’ve noted before that LRB was right up there with ELO as my favorite band in the late 70s.

#10. Carly Simon, “Nobody Does It Better”
It’s no “You’re So Vain,” but except for that one, I’m not sure I like anything of hers more. Not sure how it took me over forty years to understand the word toward the end between “Baby, baby” and “You’re the best” is an over-emoted and growled “Darling.”

#8. *Rita Coolidge, “We’re All Alone”
Between my “Lido Shuffle” 45 and subsequent purchase of Silk Degrees, I knew the song well by the time Coolidge released her version. I see how her take was a hit, but that doesn’t mean I think it’s better than Boz’s.

#7. Paul Nicholas, “Heaven on the 7th Floor”
If only this hadn’t climbed one more notch… A song designed to appeal to teenagers.

#6. *The Bee Gees, “How Deep Is Your Love”
The only single from Saturday Night Fever either one of us bought (no LP, either), though I liked “Night Fever” and “If I Can’t Have You” plenty. I guess we didn’t lack for hearing those songs on the radio practically any time we wanted.

#5. *Chicago, “Baby, What a Big Surprise”
Their last hit prior to Terry Kath’s death. Was always kind of meh on it.

#1. *Debby Boone, “You Light Up My Life”
Not my doing, as you can tell, though I’ll tip my hat to the key change at the end of “And fill my nights with song.”

Okay, so it turned out to be ‘only’ fourteen of this countdown’s songs (though some years later I would pick up “I Go Crazy” and “Send in the Clowns”). I’d keep buying 45s at a steady clip over the next 4 or so years–the rate probably began tailing off once I got to college.

As for a feature, let’s land on Mason, who would climb to #12 with “We Just Disagree.” He was almost a one-timer on AT40, touching #39 with a remake of “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” seven months after this one peaked.

American Top 40 PastBlast, 11/11/72: Nilsson, “Spaceman”

A good while back I mentioned in passing that one of my good friends from high school introduced me to Harry Nilsson’s 1972 album Son of Schmilsson. He’d learned about it when we were seventh-graders, as a member of the golf team–one of the seniors played the cassette (or would it have been an 8-track?) in his car on the way to practice and matches. It would be the summer of 1979 before my friend shared his find with me. The main attraction was the utter naughtiness of some of its lyrics, chiefly Nilsson telling us how hard he sang to impress a female studio visitor in “Take 54” and giving the finger over and over to his soon-to-be-ex-wife in “You’re Breakin’ My Heart.” I mean, they’re tuneful pieces with fine studio playing, but that was plainly secondary to the opportunity to giggle over what Harry was getting away with singing. (I clearly wasn’t all that mature at 15 and 16.)

Forty years on, I hear Nilsson beginning to spiral a little out of control. He is not in particularly good voice, devolving into semi-screaming too often. There are some interesting songs: I guess I was too young to recognize “Ambush” as anti-Vietnam War or “I’d Rather Be Dead” as pro-assisted suicide (watch the video) when I first heard them. On the other hand, there’s “Joy,” which Casey noted on the 8/19/72 show was released as a country single under the pseudonym Buck Earl. (That Nilsson thought this was a reasonable idea is additional evidence that his judgment was already in decline, never mind the fact I laughed hard over this song many a time.)

What feels somewhat odd is that I don’t have memories from the late 70s of hearing the song on Son of Schmilsson that actually made the Top 40: “Spaceman” is at its peak of #23 on this show. It’s another tune of its time, touching on the same theme of feeling alienation while circling above the earth in a tin can we hear in “Rocket Man” and “Space Oddity” (“Spaceman” made AT40 in between those two, though of course Bowie’s piece was over three years old by the time it hit).

I still have the LP–I must have picked it up sometime while in college. But that wasn’t the only vinyl copy of Son of Schmillson I ever bought; my friend reminded me when I saw him a little over a year ago that I had given one to him as a gift in January 1985, just before he moved away from KY to start on his career as an air traffic controller (a job from which he retired this past July; my-oh-my, how the years do fly).

Dad’s 45s, Part 6: Double-Dips

A few artists (in addition to the Beatles) have multiple representatives in my father’s 45 collection. We won’t see a couple of them in this post (I showed you records from Gary U.S. Bonds and Joey Dee and the Starliters early on; a second from each will crop up some other time). Here are the other four acts whose work Dad dug twice.

Chubby Checker, “The Fly” and “Let’s Twist Again”

You might be as surprised as I am that CC’s biggest hit isn’t here–it was my father’s #15 song of all time. Instead, we get two Top 10 hits from the summer and fall of 1961, right around the time that my parents met. Pretty sweet sleeves.

Creedence Clearwater Revival, “Down on the Corner” and “Run Through the Jungle”

Two double-sided hits–“Fortunate Son” and “Up Around the Bend” are on the flip sides here.

Johnny Rivers, “Rockin’ Pneumonia-Boogie Woogie Flu” and “Sea Cruise”

I’m not sure how much of a fan Dad was overall of Rivers’s 60s hits (though I’m pretty sure he liked “Secret Agent Man”), but he definitely jumped on board in the 70s when Johnny started doing covers of early rock-era hits. It wouldn’t have been a shock to come across “Help Me Rhonda” in his stash. This is not a PastBlast post, but I’ll note that “Rockin’ Pneumonia-Boogie Woogie Flu” is debuting at #38 on this weekend’s 11/11/72 rebroadcast.

Nilsson, “Everybody’s Talkin'”and “Without You”

Eight-year-old me loved “Without You,” but somehow it escaped me for eons that Dad had bought the single back then. These are both quality picks.

Nilsson is also on the 11/11/72 show, and I’m hoping to put together a little something about that in the next few days.