Adam Blatner

Words and Images from the Mind of Adam Blatner

Those Were the Days

Originally posted on October 31, 2013

Listening to a Sinatra tape on my portable tape recorder—there are some of ‘em still around!—and thinking some smug thoughts! No doubt folks who liked songs before the 1920s and after the 1980s have a nice repertoire and good memories—I think—but the mid-20th century was blessed with evocative and poetic songs. Oh, of course, some were better than others, but their rhythm and themes charmed me.

I have been blessed with one of the great romances for over 37 years and I’m so happy with my darling Allee. She loves these songs to, and affection, and romance, and dancing, and all that stuff. If you like that sort of thing, it’s paradise.

But I am also curious, though pleased, at my bias toward the music of my era. Some may be the process of unconsciously selecting the tiny percentage that touched me, but when I listen to tapes (the inheritor of records) I’m impressed with that percentage not being that tiny.

When I square dance sings many songs, and on occasion our Caller also uses one recorded in the 60s about Peggy Sue. It strikes me as partic-ularly lame, its main lyric being just the name of the girl and the song, and occasionally, for variety, “I love the way you talk, I love the way you walk, oh Peggy Sue.” Note the many qualities omitted. Adolescence was primarily persona, the often made-up mask folks presented to the world. Gradually I learned to see beyond that, but the culture didn’t make it easy.

Thankfully, many songs were far more poetic and complex, yet on the whole relatively understandable. Meanings became increasingly obscure in the later 60s and 70s for many songs, the singing was often affected by regional accents, slurred, and hard to understand, so I gave up trying to enjoy that sort of music.

The point, though, is that although I know I’m embedded in my own era in many roles—while also looking into the far future in a few, and appreciating the distant past in others—I do confess to my gratitude for the good stuff happening in my own lifetime. (I won’t comment on the bad stuff happening then. Some may improve, some may get worse, so I don’t try to judge that category.)

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