Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Grooving to the Mellow Elevator Music Sounds

I'm not so much concerned about showing my age -- what does concern me is revealing what a dweeb I am. Most of my friends prefer real manly, beef-flavored music like The Rolling Stones and Johnny Cash, and I like that sort of thing, too, in its place . . . but, secretly, in my heart of hearts, I've always harbored a shameful love of smarmy Easy Listening ballads.

I owned every album by The Partridge Family that ever came out. I still do. Don't hate me for it.

Give me The Moody Blues and The Carpenters any day over The Rolling Stones. While others were listening to Pink Floyd, I was listening to my grandmother's records by the Mystic Moods Orchestra.

I know. Most of you are now pointing at your mouths and making gagging gestures. Sorry about that, but a person has to be who they are. I love elevator music. There, I've said it. I am free, now!

So when I discovered the power of ITunes a week or so ago, I began tracking down creaking oldies like there was no tomorrow. For the past three nights I've been up until after three AM, searching, ooooh child, searching ever-y wee-yee-yee-utch way-ee-ay-ee-ayee for old musical friends.

And last night I burned a 24-song compilation onto disk, have been playing it more or less continuously since then.

Speaking as a creative person, it is not a creative act to edit a short story collection or to compile a playlist. But for the compiler it does carry a kind of creative feeling, and the selection inevitably says more about the person picking the songs than it does about the songs themselves.

Here then, is my playlist -- with some commentary along the way:

  1. A Summer Place -- Percy Faith
  2. One Less Bell to Answer - The Fifth Dimension (I loved this group. They contributed nothing in terms of songwriting, but they knew how to make a song their own. Once, long ago, a friend proposed a party where only LIVE albums could be played as music. I chimed in with  "I've got a Live album by The Fifth Dimension!! -- The room fell silent.)
  3. We've Only Just Begun -- The Carpenters
  4. I'll Never Fall in Love Again -- Dionne Warwicke (I was quite little when this one came out. I always liked Dionne a lot until she became a psychic call-line con artist).
  5. Alone Again (Naturally) -- Gilbert O'Sullivan (I never did understand the words until I heard the song on the radio again last year, and then they hit me hard. In particular, the verse "I remember I cried when my father died | Never wishing to hide the tears | And at sixty-five years old, | My mother, God rest her soul, | Couldn't understand why the only man | She had ever loved had been taken | Leaving her to start with a heart So badly broken | Despite encouragement from me | No words were ever spoken | When she passed away | I cried and cried all day | Alone again, naturally" are as honest and hard as any you'll find in a bouncy little pop ballad)
  6. Galveston -- Glan Campbell
  7. Both Sides Now -- Judy Collins
  8. Ave Maria -- The Carpenters (the song is a family favorite, and although my favorite version is the one at the end of Fantasia, Karen does a nice job with it here)
  9. The Lord's Prayer -- Sister Janet Mead (this might seem like an odd entry for a crusty skeptic, but I've always loved it. Sister Mead's singing is sweet and clear, and in particular the bridge of the song is just lovely. I wore out that part of my 45 copy by playing it over and over again)
  10. Jean -- Oliver (I know some people who would run screaming from the room if I played this song for them. I love it.)
  11. A Daisy a Day -- Jud Strunk (I saw Strunk live once, at the Thaxter Theater, home of the Portland Players. This was before he turned up as a regular on Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In. His brand of regional comedy didn't appeal to me any more than Tim Sample's does to this day, but he wrote hisseff a nice song here.)
  12. Close to You -- The Carpenters
  13. My Father -- Judy Collins (I first heard this beautiful song when Melanie did a terrific cover of it on her album Good Book)
  14. Sugar, Sugar -- The Archies (Pour a little sugar on it, honey!! -- somehow, I think that might sting!)
  15. The Morning After -- Maureen McGovern (I'd listen to her sing one of George W. Bush's speeches if I had to)
  16. The soundtrack cut for this post. Click here to find out what it is! 
  17. Angel of the Morning -- Merilee Rush (the only song on the compilation that I had to pay for. I just could not find this version anywhere. Juice Newton did a very competent cover, but it doesn't create the mood that this one does)
  18. San Francisco -- Scott McKenzie (I never knew until just last night that Papa John Phillips wrote this song!)
  19. I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing -- The New Seekers (still can't play this without hearing the Coke lyrics in my head. Mom loved this song and I've always liked it.)
  20. Top of the World -- The Carpenters
  21. Can You Read My Mind -- Maureen McGovern (wish they'd used this version in Superman: The Movie instead of Margot Kidder's spoken-word rendition that bleeds the romance right out of it)
  22. I Don't Like Spiders and Snakes -- Jim Stafford (yes, it really is, kind of, a love song, about lad who doesn't know what to do with a crush!)
  23. Right Down the Line -- the recently late Gerry Rafferty. And the perfect closing tune:
  24. Put a Little Love in Your Heart -- Jackie DeShannon

Now I can put this CD on the player and putter around the house with little hearts, flowers and stars flying out of me just like a damn cartoon character.

There was one song that I couldn't find, because I couldn't remember its name or the name of the artist. This afternoon, it finally came to me: Love is Blue.

Can you sense the beginning of another compilation?

P.S. staying up until three AM three nights in a row does not make a person a very good employee by the third morning!

-- Freder.


  1. I always liked Daisy a Day. If you get any more Strunk stuff I'd love a copy of it--Mom used to listen to it when I was little and it stuck. Be honest now, way back at MP you used to say you had an album that was so bad you'd never admit it to anyone--what was it?!?!?


  2. [1] So how can you like Jud Strunk and not Dick Feller? Boy, you pooh-poohed at me hard and fast back in the day, when I tried to introduce his music to you!

    [2] "... it is not a creative act to edit a short story collection ..."? Wow, I couldn't disagree more! Does compiling/editing a collection require the _same_ creativity as writing a story? Nope, definitely not. But does it require a _kind_ of creativity? Sure does if it's done right. Look at any one of those cheapjack, tossed-together-to-make-a-quick-buck SF anthologies edited (I use the word loosely) by the likes of Roger Elwood or Martin Gardiner vs. (as an extreme example from the other end of the spectrum) Ellsion's DANGEROUS VISIONS.

    I rests mah case, Li'l Abner!

  3. As I was scrolling down the list I'm thinking, ", not this one, don't care for this one, the only type of this song I'd put on the list is Jackie DeShannon's 'Put a Little Love in Your Heart' and there it was, coming in at at #24!

  4. By my definition, a creative act has to bring something new into the world. Playlists and collections of existing short stories don't cut it. Harlan is another matter, because he commissioned all new works. I'd be pretty well pissed off with him, though, if I was one of the writers who had turned in work for THE FINAL DANGEROUS VISIONS thirty years ago, and it still hasn't seen print, and it's all locked up legally. . .

    I never did dislike Dick Feller, although he's as countrified as they come, but none of his songs connected with me, whereas, I think the post makes it clear that I don't much like Jud Strunk, even though he's not so much countrified as, like Marsahall Dodge, a parody of a hick -- but I -DO_ like DAISY A DAY. It's a great song. Based on what I've heard, Dick Feller never wrote anything half as good!

  5. L: I have a very rare recording on vinyl of a live concert given by Strunk in the mid seventies. Soon as I get me one of those vinyl-to-mp3 Thingummykabobs I will get it to you!''




Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...