People who have musical ability are surely blessed. They should be recognized for their talent. I can’t play an instrument and anyone who has ever heard me sing will attest to the fact that I need a wheelbarrow to carry a note. But I can play a radio and truly love music. I love it in all its forms. If I know the words better yet, I’ll sing along. Even if I only think I know the words I will fill in what I think fits. Most often it won’t make any sense, but who cares, I’m happy. If the melody has no words, but instead it was the theme to something like a Summer Place, or Santo and Johnny‘s, Sleep Walk, I could almost swoon with the strains.
I have been singing and dancing from the time I was a child. My father always brought music into the house. Whether it was a phonograph or a huge radio. Whether we had 78 LP’s or 33 and a 3rd. There was always music in our house when my father was around. He would purchase records all the time. Rosemary Clooney, Nat King Cole, Perry Como and very early Rock N Roll, Bill Haley and the Comets. My mother’s taste ran more to Bolero, Hernando’s Hideaway, Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White.
They would play these records repeatedly. We ran that old phonograph arm for so long that after a time we would tape quarters, nickels and pennies to the head of the arm to hold it down on the record or it would skip and jump off. Doing that eventually cut deeper grooves into the record. That’s what caused them to get scratchy. We played them anyway. You could sing along and fill in the word when the record lost a word or two.
When I was little, Rosemary Clooney sang some of my favorite songs. I would sing them over and over for the family. I accompanied myself with dance. Remember, they enjoyed the performances because I was their curly-headed kid. A few years ago my friend, Linda, gave me a CD of Bette Midler doing Rosemary’s songs. “Hey There, This Old House, and Mambo Italiano”, among them. I listen to it often and smile broadly as I sing along. And when I am alone in the house I might even dance.
As I got older, I always associated a song with a boyfriend. Slow dancing was part of my growing up. There were two clubs, one on 116th and one 115th, that were populated by separate boy gangs. Each had their own Jukebox. I was welcomed into both clubs, almost anytime, to dance. With a body that matured fairly early, with youthful curves that didn’t quit, I guess I was nice to hold while we danced to songs like, The closer you are, Just two kinds of people in the world, Diamonds and Pearls, I could go on forever.
To this day, every song of that era reminds me of a special boy, or an exciting time. Strolling in Jefferson Park and having a date break into a rendition of “Blue Moon”. All the boys thought they were Frankie Avalon or Fabian. For realism they sported a modified pompadour over their foreheads. This didn’t aid their singing, but fortunately most could sing better than me, or the romance would have surely been destroyed before it began. Most romances only lasted a month or two.
The music matured as we did and I fell in love with Soul Music. Mommio, Daddio, this is Jocko and I’m going to take you to the moon! Submarine Races, Plum Beach, Orchard Beach Parking Lot, the music was always there. It was such an important part of who we were. The teens of the fifties and sixties identified with it, right up and through the English Invasion.
Today I still play my music, but now its on a Disk, Computer, Ipod or Ipad. I still sing along and dance in the kitchen. Once in a while if something like “A Sunday Kind of Love“, happens to serenade from the Ipod, and my guy is in the kitchen with me, we will stop everything, even a fight, to have a dance.
Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t sing and you can’t dance. All you need is music.