some Leave It To Beaver moments

Last winter I binge watched some Leave It To Beaver episodes. I remember watching them as a child in the afternoons in syndication. My wife and I were watching them and I was thinking to myself it would probably not age too well. I was pleasantly surprised.

The show really had some good writers. They caught kids being kids and it holds up today minus the cell phones, video games, and modern distractions. They do catch how kids think and feel and also parents. Yea sometimes it could be a little too perfect but the writers would surprise me… Eddie Haskell. The name has lived on beyond the show. Everyone knows an Eddie Haskell.

In one episode the boys are playing basketball and June Cleaver is making sandwiches for them all. Eddie tells Mrs.Cleaver that he is allergic to mayonnaise. June doesn’t like Eddie and it’s clear in this episode…what does she do? She loads Eddie’s sandwich up with mayonnaise.

In another episode, the Cleavers get new neighbors and the wife of the neighbor kisses Beaver…Eddie tells him the husband is going to get Beaver back for kissing his wife. Later on, Beaver asks Ward a question about kissing women. This was more for the adults.

Theodore Cleaver: Dad, you’re a married man, aren’t you?
Ward Cleaver: Yeah, I think we’re safe in assuming that.
Theodore Cleaver: And Mom’s a married woman, isn’t she?
Ward Cleaver: Oh, yes.
Theodore Cleaver: Have you ever kissed any other married woman besides Mom?
Ward Cleaver: Well… now, Beaver, why would you ask a question like that?
Theodore Cleaver: I’m just wondering.
Ward Cleaver: Well, actually son, No.
Theodore Cleaver: I guess you were scared to, huh?
Ward Cleaver: Yeah, that’s as good a way as any to sum it up, I guess.
Theodore Cleaver: I guess a guy could get in a lot of trouble doing that, huh?
Ward Cleaver : [a wistful smile crosses Ward’s face]  He sure could.

The Beaver had a great friend in Larry Mondello. Larry was on the show for a few seasons and then left. Larry would sometimes leave Beaver holding the bag but for the most part, he was good to him. On the other hand, his friends Gilbert and Whitey would trick the gullible Beaver. Again we have all known Gilberts and we have all had a Larry Mondello friend.

This show gets made fun of at times but after watching some as an adult…it is a solid and well-written show and the choices they make work for today also.

My favorite episode? In The Soup… Whitey again tricks the Beaver into climbing into the Billboard soup bowl.

in the soup.jpg

 

 

 

The Who – Pictures of Lily

Describing the Who’s next new single…Pete Townshend coined the term “Power Pop” to describe this song before it was released. It made it to #60 in the Billboard 100 and #4 in the UK Charts. The song tells the story of a father giving his son risque pictures of a woman taken the 1920s…and after a while, the son finds out that she had died many years ago.

It is a song about the lust of a teenage boy…we will keep it at that.

“Pictures Of Lily”

I used to wake up in the morning
I used to feel so bad
I got so sick of having sleepless nights
I went and told my dad
He said “son now here’s some little something”
And stuck them on my wall
And now my nights seem quite so lonely
In fact I, I don’t feel bad at all
I don’t feel bad at allPictures of Lily
Made my life so wonderful
Pictures of Lily
Helped me sleep at night
Pictures of Lily
Solved my childhood problem
Pictures of Lily
Helped me feel alright

Pictures of Lily
Lily, Oh Lily
Lily, Oh Lily
Pictures of Lily

And then one day things weren’t quite so fine
I fell in love with Lily
I asked my dad where Lily I could find
He said “son now don’t be silly
She’s been dead since 1929″
Oh how I cried that night
If only I’d been born in Lily’s time
It would have been alright

Pictures of Lily
Made my life so wonderful
Pictures of Lily
Helped me sleep at night
Pictures of Lily
But me and Lily are together in my dreams
And I ask ya, “Hey mister have ya ever seen?”
Pictures of Lily!

Beatlemania Show In 1983

My cousin Mark won tickets in 1983 on the radio to a show called Beatlemania. He called me up because he knew I was a huge Beatles fan and wanted to know if I wanted to go with him…well yes.

I was excited but I had no clue about what to expect. In the back of my mind, I thought they would cover 1964 and maybe the early part of 1965…nothing but the early period. I only had read about this show a little in the past where the Beatles took Beatlemania to court… Never read on how good or bad it was…

We got there and went to the lobby before the show. The actual band was in the lobby talking to some people. We went over to get something to drink and I heard a couple of people talking “hey they are going to try Lady Madonna tonight for the first time”, that surprised me. That is the second I started to get really excited about the show…I thought hmmm they might play more than just the early songs. The Beatles stopped touring after 1966 and so many of the songs from and after Revolver were never played live.

They came out in the suits and started off with Twist and Shout and sounded really good. Those early songs work well live.

After playing several songs an intermission was announced. They came back out dressed in Sgt Pepper outfits and started to play Sgt Pepper and Magical Mystery Tour songs. I kept thinking that these songs could not have been pulled off in the era they were released in live. I didn’t think I would ever hear these songs live…if I closed my eyes a little…it was as close to the real thing as I could get.

Another intermission and out they came dressed like the Abbey Road period and covered songs from the White Album, Let It Be, and Abbey Road.

To hear these songs live was incredible. They were very good musicians and did a good job emulating the Beatles. I’ve since seen other Beatle cover bands in Disneyworld and Opryland and they have been decent…but never as good as this show.

It’s odd giving a review of a show that happened 35 years ago but it was really enjoyable. In 2010 I saw Paul McCartney do many of the songs live that I had not heard since that night in 1983…but this time I didn’t have to pretend as much. The giant sound McCartney had was better than I ever could expect.

But as a 16-year-old Beatle fan on September 13, 1983, these pretend Beatles were a great experience.

beatlemania.JPG

Hail! Hail! Rock ‘N’ Roll 1987

This documentary starts off in 1986 with Chuck Berry reminiscing about the Cosmopolitan Club where he played in the earlier days.

The film is centered around Chuck Berry’s 60th birthday and Keith Richards assembling an All-Star Band to support Chuck in concert. Chuck had been touring since the 60s by traveling town to town and playing with any pickup band he found…all he brought was his guitar. He would get paid with cash in a paper bag in many places. That was his motivation more than playing with a good band. Chuck could be very sloppy playing live.

Chuck could also be difficult, to say the least. Keith was determined that Chuck was going to be backed by a great band for this concert… Chuck was Keith’s idol but Chuck seemed to want to give Keith as much trouble as possible. Richards says in the documentary that Chuck was the only man that hit him that he didn’t hit back. During the rehearsals for the song “Carol”, you can feel the tension in the air between the two.

Seeing Keith’s reaction to Chuck at times is worth the price of admission and I’m glad Keith was persistent and patient and got this done. It’s great footage of Chuck playing his classics.

The concert at the Fox Theatre ended up a success. Chuck sounded great and so did the band.

During the documentary, there are some great comments by Little Richard, Bo Diddley, Bruce Springsteen, Jerry Lee Lewis, Willie Dixon and more.

Little Richard, Bo Diddley, and Chuck have a very interesting conversation about how hard it was to get played on the radio because of being African American in the 50s. They also talk about payola and Alan Freed.

The band was incredible… Keith Richards, Robert Cray, the great Johnnie Johnson (Chuck’s original piano player), Steve Jordan, Bobby Keys, Chuck Leavell and Eric Clapton guests on a few songs.

Some of the artists that came on and sang were Etta James, Linda Ronstadt, and Julian Lennon.

Chuck was a complicated man but he was a poet as well. I can’t recommend this documentary enough. If you are a music fan you should like it. Chuck Berry may have influenced Rock and Roll more than anyone else…

My favorite story is from Bruce Springsteen. Bruce and the E Street Band volunteered to back up Chuck Berry for a show in the early seventies. Being Chuck’s temporarily pickup band must have been nerve-wracking for musicians. Chuck didn’t tell them what songs he was playing or what key…this is Bruce’s quote “About five minutes before the show was timed to start, the back door opens and he comes in. He’s by himself. He’s got a guitar case, and that was it,” Springsteen said. “[I said] ‘Chuck, what songs are we going to do?’ He says, ‘Well, we’re going to do some Chuck Berry songs.’ That was all he said!”

Below is the video…not extremely clear but watchable.

 

Tommy James and The Shondells – Crimson And Clover

I grew up with this single. The song was a number one hit on the Billboard 100 in 1968. This song separates itself from others… I learned what tremolo was about with this record. After full tremolo on guitar…at, the end of the song, a microphone was plugged into the guitar amp with the tremolo effect on the vocal for good measure.

Good pop song

From Songfacts

Tommy James constructed this slice of psychedelia from his favorite color and his favorite flower. In our interview with Tommy James, he told us: “They were just two of my favorite words that came together. Actually, it was one morning as I was getting up out of bed, and it just came to me, those two words. And it sounded so poetic. I had no idea what it meant, or if it meant anything. They were just two of my favorite words. And Mike Vale and I – bass player – actually wrote another song called ‘Crimson and Clover.’ And it just wasn’t quite there. And I ended up writing ‘Crimson and Clover’ with my drummer, Pete Lucia, who has since passed away.”

Crimson and Clover

Ah, now I don’t hardly know her
But I think I could love her
Crimson and clover

Ah when she comes walking over
Now I’ve been waitin’ to show her
Crimson and clover over and over

Yeah, my, my such a sweet thing
I wanna do everything
What a beautiful feeling
Crimson and clover over and over

Crimson and clover over and over
Crimson and clover over and over
Crimson and clover over and over
Crimson and clover over and over

Donovan – Season of the Witch

I’ve always liked the groove of this song. Season of the Witch was released in 1966 on the Sunshine Superman Album but not as a single. It remains one of Donovan’s most well-known songs. The song has been covered many times and often bands start the song and draw it out to a jam. Jimmy Page plays guitar on the recording.

I rediscovered the song in 2012 when it was on the animated movie “Paranorman.” The song was written by Donovan and Shawn Phillips.

From Songfacts

The genesis of this song goes back to an evening at folk music notable Bert Jansch’s house in north London when fellow acoustic master John Renbourn showed Donovan a D ninth chord. From that Donovan built up a riff that, according to the memories of those present, he then played solidly for the next seven hours.

“There was a feeling, even then, that all was not perfect in the Garden of Eden,” he said of the song in an interview with Mojo magazine June 2011. “Dealers were moving into Bohemia and hard drugs were on the fringes. The song was also prophetic. It was about the bust, although of course, I couldn’t know that then.”

During Led Zeppelin’s soundchecks, they often warmed up by playing this. The song allows for lots of jamming when played live, which makes it a popular cover for many bands.

Season of the Witch

When I look out my window,
Many sights to see.
And when I look in my window,
So many different people to be
That it’s strange, so strange.

You’ve got to pick up every stitch,
You’ve got to pick up every stitch,
You’ve got to pick up every stitch,
Mmm, must be the season of the witch,
Must be the season of the witch, yeah,
Must be the season of the witch.

When I look over my shoulder,
What do you think I see?
Some other cat looking over
His shoulder at me
And he’s strange, sure he’s strange.

You’ve got to pick up every stitch,
You’ve got to pick up every stitch,
Beatniks are out to make it rich,
Oh no, must be the season of the witch,
Must be the season of the witch, yeah,
Must be the season of the witch.

You’ve got to pick up every stitch,
The rabbits running in the ditch,
Beatniks are out to make it rich,
Oh no, must be the season of the witch,
Must be the season of the witch,
Must be the season of the witch.

When I look out my window,
What do you think I see?
And when I look in my window,
So many different people to be
It’s strange, sure is strange.
You’ve got to pick up every stitch,
You’ve got to pick up every stitch,
The rabbits running in the ditch,
Oh no, must be the season of the witch,
Must be the season of the witch, yeah,
Must be the season of the witch.
When I look, when I look.

The Impressions – People Get Ready

You can’t go wrong with Curtis Mayfield. A beautiful song with a gospel slant. The song was released in 1965 and peaked at #14 on the Billboard 100 and #3 on the Billboard R&B Charts.

The song was written by Curtis Mayfield and continues to be covered to this day. Here is a quote by Curtis.

“While I had written a few Gospel songs, what would be looked upon as Gospel, I called them more inspirational, such things as ‘People Get Ready,’” he said. “This is a perfect example of what I believe has laid in my subconscious as to the preaching of my grandmother, and most ministers when they reflect from the Bible.”

From Songfacts

This song resonated with African Americans during the civil rights struggles of the ’60s. The song speaks for the downtrodden, and Mayfield made it clear that transcended race. “It doesn’t matter what color or faith you have,” he told Goldmine in 1997. “I’m pleased the lyrics can be of value to anybody.”

 

People Get Ready

People get ready, there’s a train a comin’ 
You don’t need no baggage, you just get on board 
All you need is faith, to hear the diesels hummin’
Don’t need no ticket, you just thank the Lord 

So people get ready, for the train to Jordan 
Picking up passengers coast to coast 
Faith is the key, open the doors and board ’em 
There’s hope for all, among those loved the most 

There ain’t no room for the hopeless sinner 
Whom would hurt all mankind, just to save his own, believe me now
Have pity on those whose chances grow thinner 
For there is no hiding place, against the kingdom’s throne 

So people get ready there’s a train a comin’ 
You don’t need no baggage, you just get on board 
All you need is faith, to hear the diesels hummin’ 
Don’t need no ticket, you just thank the Lord