Saturday, March 31, 2007

The Jungle Book Rocks

When I was four, I got a Jungle Book record player for my birthday. I loved it. I would shimmy around and leap from the bed with great height and flair. My dad taped a dime to the top of the needle to stop it from skipping when the floor shook.

Tune Storage and Cataloging : Not Like Today

I stored my music collection in a special little box with a flip top and a brass latch. It had originally belonged to my pop. As a teenager, he would buy the old 45's that got replaced in jukeboxes. This was in the Bronx. The "buying" part is probably alleged.

I would track my favorite tunes by making strange squiggly notations on the record labels with a Sharpie marker. Which is why the records currently have no value and just one example of my mother's brinksmanship: she boldly entrusted her 4-year-old with a stash of Sharpie markers.

Top Ranked Tracks

Five-star favorites included Dead Man's Curve (Jan & Dean), Do You Believe in Magic (Lovin' Spoonful), Rama Lama Ding Dong (The Edsels), Lady Willpower (Gary Puckett and the Union Gap), Blue Moon (The Marcels), Splish Splash (Bobby Darin) Up on the Roof (The Drifters) and Mickey's Monkey (Smoky Robinson).

This was before I discovered Little Anthony and the Imperials.
What poetic lyrics!
What a soulful beat!
I was enraptured.

Little Anthony and the Imperials on the Playground

I pictured Little Anthony as a fifth grader. He liked to sing while swinging on the swingset. Little Anthony hit the high notes while the swing was high up in the air. He may also have had a trapeze. He would break it out for the really poignant numbers.

When I got Little Anthony's greatest hits album for Christmas, I noted the purple duo-tone image on the cover depicted four Black men in white suits. I thought it was a strange choice for cover art until I realized that the singer of Shimmy Shimmy Ko-Ko-Bop was actually one of those men. He did not swing. At least on the swingset.

The Subconscious Rocks

Sometimes a song comes on an oldies radio station. I have no recollection ever hearing the tune before. But I know every single word. I know all the breaks, the bop-bop-bops, and the doo-woo-wops.