Thursday, June 3, 2010

June Night

-- click on the above audio clip (video is just the one picture) to experience this post in 3D!

Junes - how many Junes can you remember? June is the time of change, school’s out, try new things, looking for a job, waiting for a summer job to start, lots of things seem to start in June.

June in the 1950s - the radio is playing “Trumpeter’s Lullaby” by Leroy Anderson, sitting on the front porch at night with Mom and Dad. No chairs, just sitting on the concrete step, smells in the air of the humid night - nobody had air conditioning. We lived on the edge of town, and the frogs and crickets from the nearby vacant countryside were a constant musical backdrop for all memories. A real treat, maybe once a week, was to out for ice cream - soft-serve at the A&W, or the Penguin, a local drive-in. That little ring of ice cream on the top of the cone was the best-tasting part.

June in the early 1960s, the Eisenhower and Kennedy days. The basement is “fixed up”. My father bought a “hi fi” - a Capitol phonograph. It’s white and red, and looks like a suitcase when it’s closed. And it plays a stack of LP records. We kids weren’t allowed to touch those, because they were “hi fi”. But the music was sublime - Dinah Shore singing with an orchestra, Steve Allen playing piano, Dixieland bands, Jonah Jones, Roger Williams. And of course the ubiquitous bongos. There were Bossa Nova records, Harry Belafonte, Rhumba, and Caribbean, by unknown artists on budget labels, an exotic new sound we had never heard before in a land where Polka and Perry Como were the norm.

And Steve Allen played his piano on that magical album “Monday Nights”. My mother got it free with Kleenex boxtops. It was a glorious record. A version of Laura with bongos and tiny ringing cymbals, a dreamy piece called House Boat, done with a chorus, and a very scary sounding version of “Bell Book and Candle” from the movie of the same name, with the chorus. And we had comedy - "The Bickersons Fight Back" with Don Ameche and Francis Langford- we listened to that so many times. And, of course “The First Family”, a comedy album impersonating the Kennedy family. I still thought it was funny after President Kennedy got shot, but my mother didn’t want us to play it anymore.

excerpt from "45 rpm", something I wrote in 2007.

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1 comment:

leslie said...

LOVE IT! Keep 'em coming, dude. Ah, the memories.