August 02, 2006

DopI Ditties Down the Years

It's probably not a shocker, but I gotta say that much of the so-called 'personal technology' bugs the crap out of me. Seriously. I see folks with their damned iPods and for some reason, it annoys me. It's no fun trying to hide expressions of disdain while standing in the aisle of the bus, staring at folks whose listening apparati fall from their ears as if their noodly brains were seeking escape. Do people really need to be listening to music all the freaking time? What did they do before music was portable??

Back in the day, portable music meant closing my Mickey Mouse record player (complete with blue-and-white-striped sleeve/record arm), unplugging it, and toting it and a few 45s into my brother's room. (A download was going to the living room a floor below.)

Most of the time, I'd listen to records in my room, but when I was really little, I'd listen to the big LPs that were being played downstairs on the family record player. On weekends, I might hear the soundtrack to The Sting, but most of the time, it was the opera records my dad loved, which were often met with shouts of "Turn it down!!!!!!!" by the rest of the family. (It's probably safe to say he was the only opera fan in the house, but don't hold me to that.)

One album I remember listening to a lot belonged to my mom and had a white cover with a picture of a large soda on it. The soda was pink and had two straws coming out of it, flanked by some of the song names the album contained. Silhouettes, Born Too Late, Sh-Boom, Stagger Lee, etc. Yep, oldies. This was the '70s, when '50s nostalgia was in, and I basically grew up listening to oldies, oldies, and more oldies. What can I say..they had a groovy beat, and you could dance to 'em.

In high school, I discovered that my hometown had a really good oldies radio station, and I kept a cassette in my record player/tape deck at all times--by this point, Mickey had been unceremoniously tossed out--just in case something good came on that I wanted to record. Sometimes I'd get a snippet, sometimes the whole song, and it became a challenge to find out the names and artists, since they didn't always announce them and most of these songs weren't in heavy rotation. (Translation: Not Motown.) The day I found out who sang "Keep on Dancin'" was a big thrill indeed. One of my top favorites? "Bad to Me" -- Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas. It's good dippy boppy fun!

During my radio days, I'd make mental notes of the songs I liked, vowing to someday buy them. For me, these were long-term goals, as my needs weren't usually immediate. Sometimes I'd forget about them and buy other stuff, but other times I'd go on a specific hunt. Either way, patience was the name of the game. (I finally got "Keep on Dancin'" by Larry Raspberry and the Gentrys in 2000. It was quite the wish fulfillment. Woo. You might remember this song from an ad for Dancing Donald Duck and Dancing Mickey Mouse toys. This is my second Mickey mention and I loathe Walt Disney, in case you were interested.)

Anyhoo, I've been working on a project at work that requires the use of music to keep me awake and in a steady rhythm. I'm sick of most of the cds I have at the office, but I've been listening to some real audio files (.ram) that I downloaded from a great oldies site a couple of years ago. Two of them are songs I have had a hard time finding on compilation discs, which is no fun because I really love one of them. The songs?

Bristol Stomp (by, I found out a year or so ago, the Dovells)
(Just Like) Romeo & Juliet (by The Reflections)

Romeo and Juliet I've had on tape before, but I stupidly loaned one of my famed mixes to a friend who was driving cross-country with her boyfriend, and I never got it or my other tapes back. She claims her brother had them, or that they were in storage or whatnot..but all I know is, I made some of them in college using other folks' music, and I'll probably not be able to replace them. Oh well.

Bristol Stomp has been harder to find. The snippets of it from one album I heard it on sounded different, and the only real recording of it is one I got from a radio station after e-mailing it as a request. :) (Yes, the days of radio requests seem to be over now, too. At least, for me.)

I also found R&J on a disc not long ago, but it was some re-recorded version (I swear it did not say that on the label, I was suckered!) and it blew.

---Update before publishing (so I cheat, it's my blog) -- My hard-won iPod is now the proud receptacle of both Bristol Stomp and the original Just Like Romeo and Juliet songs. I can't tell you how cool it is to have my own personal jukebox rotating these faves whenever I freaking want to hear them. I've been using Shuffle on my iPod, it's more like a radio station feel that way (only a good one, sans commercials, and very little Motown), and while I do listen to it on my way home from work, I'll only use it when I'm walking. Which reminds me, I never liked the Boom Box era, and I'm sticking with my No Pods on Buses ideal.


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