Dazed and confused? Not me. I’m just Lost in the Cheese Aisle.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018


It occurred to me recently that, of my two sets of grandparents, I can only recall hearing music in my paternal grandparents’ home.

Mom’s parents probably liked music as much as anyone, but I just don’t remember any evidence of it. Maybe after my mother decided not to be a piano prodigy, her folks gave up on music in frustration. Who knows?

On the other hand, Dad’s parents - or at least his mother - liked having a little melody in the house.

They had an actual record player - a turntable with a record changer! - and a tuner, in case they got bored listening to records. If my memory serves, the turntable/tuner assembly was housed in a cabinet with speakers, and it was on some kind of sliding drawer affair that enabled one to pull it out in order to load a stack of records.

I remember listening to “South Pacific” on that thing. It was a real old-school record album, a pile of 78 RPM shellac discs that were stored in - literally - an album. You would take them out of their sleeves and load them onto the changer. After the first sides all played, you’d flip the whole stack over at once and listen to the other sides. (The turntable could also be used to listen to those new-fangled vinyl LP’s.)

Grandma liked her music, she did. In the late 1960’s she became a Tom Jones aficionado, and whenever one of the local FM stations would play “Delilah,” she was entranced. Nice going, Grandma - a song about a romance-fueled murder. I suspect Frank Zappa and the Grateful Dead were a little too much for her.

But what I remembered from my little-kid days was a rockabilly number that she would listen to incessantly... hardly the kind of thing you’d expect to appeal to a little old Jewish lady in Brooklyn, but there you are. And the lyrics got engraved in my brain thanks to ceaseless repetition:

Be-bop - I love you, baby
Be-bop - I don’t mean maybe
Be-bop - I love you, baby
I’m stickin’ with you 
I’m stickin’ with you...

Thanks to the miracle of the Inter-Webby-Netz, I was finally able to track this little tune down - a song by one Jimmy Bowen with which he kicked of his recording career in 1957. The song charted at #14 - not bad for a flip side - but Bowen eventually decided to work on the other side of the mike. I’m happy to report that he’s still walking the planet.

Have a listen:

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