Monday, September 22, 2014

I'll ride with the tide and go with the flow

Songs in head; songs in head; songs in head...rhnnmrroooohnn (groan).

First it was "Margaritaville," followed closely by Jimmy Buffett's "Cheeseburger In Paradise" -- Making the best of every virtue and vice, Worth every damn bit of sacrifice, To get a -- Cheeseburger ... Yeah.

Just when I thought I couldn't take that anymore, this ancient memory from 100 thousand years ago when I was, maybe, Akron, Ohio, somehow these little traditional melodies came into my consciousness, and the other day I remembered the one that goes --

"Oh dear, what can the matter be?
Johnny's so long at the fair."

It has a lilting, cajoling tune that makes you want to listen to it, and sing it, and remember it.  (And -- apparently -- Never EVER forget it...!!!)

I could recall this sense of frowning worry, or anxiety, which the song brought to me...what happened to Johnny?  Is he OK?  Did he get home from the fair?

Googling, tells us the song originated in England, becoming popular in America in late 1700s, and takes us to a follow-up verse:

He promised he'd bring me a bunch of blue ribbons
To tie up my bonny brown hair.

----------------------------- Well, you see -- that's no kind of answer.

No wonder it bothered me.

("Well doctor, I was frightened by a folk song as a small child"...)

And there was another little song for little tots which kind of bugged me -- the beckoning, gentle melody made you want to listen, but the words made me feel kind of anxious and sad...Or maybe not sad, but rather mildly distressed.

Hush little baby, don't say a word
Papa's gonna buy you a mockingbird

And if that mockingbird won't sing
Papa's gonna buy you a diamond ring

And if that diamond ring turns brass
Papa's gonna buy you a looking glass

[why did this bum me out?  Well -- it was somehow the sense of nothing working out, of things being Not-OK (in EVERY verse!!) and your parents have to go back and buy something ELSE and try THAT...I guess it sounded to me like problems not being solved, but rather being continued, or repeated, on and on and on -- like that Greek myth guy who has to push the rock uphill forever, or something...futility...]

And if that looking glass gets broke
Papa's gonna buy you a billy goat


And if that billy goat won't pull,
Papa's gonna buy you a cart and bull

[What?? What about the goat, is he OK?]

And if that cart and bull turn over
[oh my God!!]
Papa's gonna buy you a dog named Rover

And if that dog named Rover won't bark
Papa's gonna buy you a horse and cart

[wait, what was wrong with the dog?? -- why couldn't he bark?!?? 
What the +_(*&# ??????????????]

And if that horse and cart fall down


You'll still be the sweetest little girl in town

> > > [What.  Ever.  Please -- no more children's songs.  Please.  No more.  No more.  Noooo moreeeeee...]



On the bright side --

"Hush little baby" was later turned into an R&B style hit song that really rocks and is very  much fun --
James Taylor and Carly Simon  (1973)


before them,

Inez and Charlie Foxx, 1963, Sue Records.  (They wrote the rhythm and blues version)

And also childhood was not completely scarred, because there were other songs we heard, and / or learned, that didn't worry me...

"skip to my Lou, my darling"

"jump down, turn around, pick a bale of cotton,
jump down turn around, pick a bale a day" (not a "bale of hay" ...)

"swing low, sweet chariot"

Those I could live with....


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