Tuesday, December 29, 2009

***In Search Of The Great Working Class Love Song- With Donna W., Class Of 1964, In Mind

*In Search Of The Great Working Class Love Song- With Donna W., Class Of 1964, In Mind

Click on to the headline to link to a "YouTube" film clip of Richard Thompson performing his classic working class love song, "1952 Vincent Black Lighting".

Al Johnson, Class Of 1964, comment:

Yes, I know, just when you thought it was safe to, discretely, peruse this page without having to be bombarded by some outlandish commentary from a fellow classmate here he is again asking those infernal, eternal questions. Well, yes. For some time now I have been doing a little of this and a little of that, including some writing, in order to make ends meet. But now I have time for some serious writing and so it goes.

Today's subject is prompted by a question that I have been asked about before - what music were you listening to back in the day? Well, for me at least that subject is exhausted. I no longer want to hear about how you fainted over "Teen Angel,""Johnny Angel,"or "Earth Angel". Moreover, enough of "You're Gonna Be Sorry," "I'm Sorry," and "Who's Sorry Now". And no more of "Tell Laura I Love Her," "Oh Donna," and "I Had A Girl Her Name Was Joanne," or whatever woman's name comes to mind. It is time, boys and girls, to move on to other musical influences from our more mature years.

But why, as the headline suggests, the search for the great working class love song? Well, hello! Our old town was (and is, as far as I can tell from a very recent trip to the old place) a quintessential working class town (especially before the deindustrialization of America). At least the great majority of us came from working class or working poor homes. Most songs, especially popular songs, reflect a kind of "one size fits all" lyric that could apply to anyone. What I am looking for is songs that in some way reflect that working class ethos that is still in our bones, whether we recognize it or not.

Needless to say, since I have posed the question, I have my choice already prepared. As will become obvious, once you read the lyrics, this song reflects my take on the male angst in the age old love problem. However, any woman classmate is more than free to choice songs that reflect her female angst angle (ouch, for that awkward formulation) on the class hit parade.

1952 Vincent Black Lightning-Richard Thompson

This song is on "YouTube" performed by Thompson, although a stronger version is done on a cover by folk singer Greg Brown.

Said Red Molly to James that's a fine motorbike
A girl could feel special on any such like
Said James to Red Molly, well my hat's off to you
It's a Vincent Black Lightning, 1952
And I've seen you at the corners and cafes it seems
Red hair and black leather, my favorite color scheme
And he pulled her on behind
And down to Box Hill they did ride

Said James to Red Molly, here's a ring for your right hand
But I'll tell you in earnest I'm a dangerous man
I've fought with the law since I was seventeen
I robbed many a man to get my Vincent machine
Now I'm 21 years, I might make 22
And I don't mind dying, but for the love of you
And if fate should break my stride
Then I'll give you my Vincent to ride

Come down, come down, Red Molly, called Sergeant McRae
For they've taken young James Adie for armed robbery
Shotgun blast hit his chest, left nothing inside
Oh, come down, Red Molly to his dying bedside
When she came to the hospital, there wasn't much left
He was running out of road, he was running out of breath
But he smiled to see her cry
And said I'll give you my Vincent to ride

Says James, in my opinion, there's nothing in this world
Beats a 52 Vincent and a red headed girl
Now Nortons and Indians and Greeveses won't do
They don't have a soul like a Vincent 52
He reached for her hand and he slipped her the keys
He said I've got no further use for these
I see angels on Ariels in leather and chrome
Swooping down from heaven to carry me home
And he gave her one last kiss and died
And he gave her his Vincent to ride

Come on now, after reading these lyrics is any mere verbal profession of undying love, any taking somebody on a ride to some two-bit carnival (I am thinking of Bruce Springsteen's "Jersey Girl" here) , some buying a gold ring or some chintzy flowers going to mean anything? Hell, the guy is giving her HIS bike, his bike, man. Case closed.

Added note: I KNOW of at least one female, not on this class list here, who might relate to this song. I also know at least one male, also on not this list, who snuck out the back door of NQHS with another classmate to ride his bike during school hours back in the day. So don't think I have forgotten my medication, or something. And I repeat, the guy in the song gave her HIS bike, man. That is love, no question.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

***A Confession, Of Sorts-For Joyce D., Hunter College High School, Class Of 1966, Somewhere

Click on the headline to link to my "Classmates" profile page to get a flavor of what the post below refers to.

A Confession, Of Sorts

Originally posted in December 2009 on my profile page at Classmates

We live in an age, thanks to Internet technology, where one is able to tell-all in an instant. Well, here is my contribution to the genre with a half-fictional, whimsical tale. But only half...

Okay, okay I have a confession to make. I am being forced to do so, kicking and screaming, by my "soul mate". Her telling me something about coming clean for the good of my soul. Whatever. In any case one and all should now know that I am on this Class of 1964 site under false pretenses. Oh, sure, when I originally came on I, like you, was just trying to take a little nostalgic trip down memory lane to the good old high school days. However, once here, I started to spew forth about the fates of various sports figures like the fleet-footed long distance runner, Bill Cadger, and the behemoth football player, Bill Curran, and his heroic partners in the victorious 1964 football season.

Then, seemingly as an act of hubris, I felt compelled to investigate various aspects of our common past using a very handy copy of the "Manet" as a guide. I ran through a whole series of investigations from rather simple ones like the pressing question of the rationale for white socks and shorts and the more urgent one of the rationale for separate boys' and girls' bowling teams and, ultimately, stumbling on to the apparently nefarious doings of Tri-Hi-Y. Well, you get the drift- a guy with a little time on his hands and a decided penchant for mischief.

Well those would all be good and sufficient reasons for being on this site, if those were indeed the reasons. But here is where the confession part comes in. The REAL reason I am on this site is the generic Classmate homepage. I am very, very curious, among other things, about those 833 nubile young women, courtesy of an online dating service, who live near my town and who are just dying to meet an old geezer. (Fellow women classmates, I am sure, get the same with hulky, beefcake young guys.) The slender, slinky, saucy (and intelligent, of course) Kerry, in particular, has my attention. But enough of that. That above-mentioned "soul mate" would take a very dim view on this subject. But now I know why the expression "dirty old man" and the word "lecher" were created in the English language long ago.

That hardly ends this sordid tale though. Other, admittedly, lesser kinds of information also intrigue me like my credit rating. Hell, apparently, my credit is too good. I can't raise a bank loan for hell nor high water. Seemingly only GM, Goldman Sachs, AIG and that bankrupt-prone crowd gets the nod these days. (Now, let's not get political here Al. Save that for another day.) More appropriately, if ominously, our brethren at AARP have seen fit to extol the virtues of long-term care insurance. So you can see how one can get easily sidetracked. So be it. However, here is the good part. I have taken, and I hope you will join me, the PLEDGE. From here on in I will keep my eyes straight forward on my profile page , the Class Of 1964 home page and only click on the "Message Board" section. Well, except for one little, little peek at... winsome Kerry.