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Monday, March 28, 2016


Music is fun and entertaining to most of us whether it is from our own memories of pop tunes recorded during our lifetimes or before.

I love the old songs because the tunes are so great and supply us with a vision of their times and plus some of the lyrics infuriate the holier than thou liberals of today who don’t understand the era that produced the songs.
A favorite is “Let’s Do It" (Let’s fall in love)” written in 1928 by the prolific Cole Porter.  The irony in this song is in the opening chorus where it states that “Chinks do it, Japs do it, up in Lapland little Laps do it...” 
Porter wrote it for the show Paris which was his first Broadway success.  With the politically correct world that evolved, the lyrics were later changed to “Birds do it, bees do it”.  I think that is a cop out; I think Porter was just having fun with the first lyrics and meant nothing harmful with “Chinks do it, Japs do it” but as we know, tastes change and skin gets thinner .
I’ve been a music freak forever and still carry a harmonica around much to the disdain of some but, hey, that’s just me.  I’ve been following pop music since I was 6 or 7 and have never tired of it although some of the stuff today makes me glad I like what are now the radio oldies. 
One favorite from the late 40’s was a regular on the hit parade from WCKY in Cincinnati:  Peggy Lee and her then husband Dave Barbour doing “Manana.”  Peggy was great with any tune.  As she sang so well:  "Manana is soon enough for me."
The 60s were nice.  I spent 4 years in the Air Force; plenty of time to learn things I would never had learned by staying in Cincy.   Also a time to meet girls and dance and love in clubs from Texas and Missouri to Germany only to come home in 1965 and find my true love a month later.  I have been with her for 49 years!  Isn’t fate great?  The young guys today don’t know what they missed by not having to serve in the military..
Meanwhile, tunes like “The Lion Sleeps Tonight”, “The Twist”, “The Duke of Earl”, “Surf City”, “Sugar Shack”, all the great British invasion songs including “Downtown” by Pet Clark; "Monday, Monday,” “Crimson and Clover”, and many other great tunes came along.
Even today, I still like to occasionally turn up the volume all the way and break off the knob as I am doing while I write this paean to pop music.  So far while writing I have played The Smithereens, Donnie Iris, “Puttin’ on the Ritz”, Norman Greenbaum, "West End Girls," Jefferson Starship,  "One Night in Bangkok," Greg Kihn Band, and Yes. 
Great stuff.

(Comments?, Questions? Please post below.)


Glo, Rockin' Chick said...

Hi Jim.
So I found a 1941 Youtube entry of Billie Holiday singing the original lyrics. Ah, those adventurous little Chink, Japs, and baby Laps! LOL Now, this may be heresy, but I have heard several of her songs and I don’t think she was all that much at all, but, back then, she was.

Revamping the lyrics is simply another tentacle of political correctness that is now the Eleventh Commandment of American life. Let us not offend anyone lest we, too, are offended! By the way: Black Lives Matter! Sorry, haven’t quite had my morning coffee yet … FREE HUEY!!!

Can you imagine Hollywood trying to remake Blazing Saddles in this day and age? I shudder … I absolutely shudder …

I have a 4-CD set of songs from the 1940s, and it’s amazing to hear what songs permeated the country during WW II. I often think of my mom, who was a young woman listening to those ditties, while at her age I rocked out to the hits of the 1970s (which, by the way, I thoroughly believe was the best decade for music). Each decade had a different sound and tapestry, but each was spectacular in its own way.

My brother and sister-in-law listen almost exclusively to the sounds of the 1950s. I have enriched my listening pleasure by embracing newer music, and, in doing so, have found some wonderful songs by groups such as Five-Finger Death Punch, Deadman, Opeth, Adele, Nickelback, and many others. Currently I have downloaded several songs from the soundtrack of the new TV series, Lucifer, which are hard, pulsing rock that, perhaps, a chick of 62 ½ shouldn’t necessarily embrace. Well, I’m 25 inside my head, so I guess I’m okay then. Check out these two on Youtube: Lucifer Where the Devil Don’t Go, and Lucifer I’m a Wanted Man.

In case you’re wondering what my favorite group of the 1960s is, well, it’s Simon & Garfunkel – the Beatles come in second! 

Jim McAllister said...

Hi Glo,

Thanks for your great comment. I never tire of your sense of humor and wit!

It's amazing how terminology in music and elsewhere has changed over the years. In Porter's time those terms became common. Today? Not so much! It all depends on one's attitude and attitudes have become progressively diferent over the years. Remember Jerry Lewis (who recently turned 90!) used to do his Oriental imitation with the big teeth? That got a lot of laughs years ago; not so much now. In fact, someone will probably emerge from the woodwork to tell me "Oriental" is also a no-no these days.

My brother graduated from high school in 1955. There was kid in his class who was quite a spiffy dresser. Therefore, he earned the nickname "Nig." Try to get away with that today! When I was in high school I was asked many times "How is the weather up there?" At 6-4 I thought it was funny. Today I'm sure that is a no-no as calling a kid with glasses "four eyes." I used to get that too but it didn't seem like a big deal to me. Times sure change, too much sensibility today.

When I think of "Blazing Saddles" the first thing I think of is John Hillerman's comment as Cleavon Little is riding into town. "Let's welcome our new ........nigger." I don't know how they pulled that passed the censors even in 1974!

I enjoy a lot of today's rock, especially Alternative. With YouTube I can fire up about anything I want to hear and sometimes they even have a decent video with it. Times sure have changed since we spun those 78's and 45's listening to Patti Page and Perry Como. By the way, we still listen to those sides you sent me years ago with some great tunes. That stuff never gets old!

Mike Slater said...

Jim, I go to You Tube also to listen to my favorite songs. We also down load songs to Deb's smart phone. We enjoy most kinds of music except rap and hard rock. Some of our favorites are from Willie Nelson, Billy Joel, ZZ top and old country singers like Marty Robbins, Jim Reeves and Patsy Cline.

Of course are music wouldn't be complete without Elvis and Dean Martin, two of the finest voices I've ever heard.

For those that like old country songs there is a FM station on 96.3 that plays the old songs from 6PM to 7Pm during the week.

Jim McAllister said...


I agree on YouTube. It's the greatest selection we will ever get and it's free.

I'm a big ZZ Top fan. Barb and I saw them in concert in Laughlin back in 2005. They put on a nice show in the moonlight in a nice arena by the river. I was writing for the North Scottsdale Independent at the time and wrote a review on their show. I did Crosby, Stills, and Nash there too and they were surprisingly good since they laid off the protest crap pretty much.

Jim Reeves was great. I felt bad when he died in that plane crash. We lost a real talent there.

I don't listen to any local radio anymore now that i have Sirius in the car. They have every genre there is and no commercials. My kind of station!

nativekentuckian said...

Hey Jim!

Speaking of Cincy in the 50's and 60's...remember when Lucky Strike tobacco had the "Remember How Great?" promotion in the latter fifties? I remember at age 10 "borrowing" an empty Lucky Strike pack to send in along with my $1.95 to cover postage and receiving by return mail an album with the songs of Harry James (Ciribiribin), Dinah Shore, Louie Armstrong, Glen Miller Orchestra, along with the Mills Brothers and many others from that era...I bet I wore out at least three needles on my record player before the album got mysteriously broken after leaving for school one day.....Those were some great tunes!

Jim McAllister said...


I used to love that stuff. We would send in Ovaltine labels, Lucky Strike or many others for stuff. I used to watch the mail box every day looking for that stuff.

I always liked Harry James. He was married to gorgeous Betty Grable. She was a real babe of my youth and he could play. Great bands like his were popular at Castle Farm. I remember Ralph Marterie, Woody Herman and others. They went to rock shows in later years. I saw Jackie Wilson there in about '57. Like all good things from the past it eventually was torn down.

Those are great memories. We're lucky to have lived then.

Rick Kepple said...

Back when people believed that I knew SN, they would come around and jam out, but not anymore. The other partners in DR J Studio LLC backed out fearing the loss of their Food Stamps.

Yep, in this day and age, the free music sure is a real help to struggling families. They really appreciate that.

I try to jam out a little each day. I created one song using a squirrel call, a turkey box call, some bass and an electric guitar. I might try throwing some harmonica in. It's never going to be released, but it's fun to learn how to create songs with overdubbing. Harmonicas are in keys of C, D and G. I kind of like the D and G the best. And I had to get new drum sets downloaded to the Yamaha with a cowbell. I need more cowbell!

Arizona Dave said...

Great article Jim, as always...brings back wonderful memories in the early days...lesser political correctness and more fun....wonder how political correctness would have judged the following H.G. Wells quote...
"The uglier a man's legs are, the better he plays golf."

Glo said...

"Babe," Jim?? Really? I have contacted the feminist police. You need a good lawyer, especially if she's a tough broad.

Rick Kepple said...

The executive producer of that HUGE studio just contacted me and they want to see our "reels" and the website ... I haven't created one, except for the Facebook page. Barely got that up.

Gee, if I can get a contract with them, I can gain permission to use the music of lots of different forgotten and undiscovered music artists. Al Vance would have been tickled pink, but he passed last year. It just trips me out that famous people like me.

One of my famous friends, who used to work for Jerry Seinfeld, flew in one day and told me to "pay it forward." So I help the forgotten music legends and there is nothing cooler than visiting with these guys that I heard on the radio when I was younger. It's a trip.

Jim McAllister said...


I love the harmonica. I have a C, D, and a G and play along all the time to chords available on the internet. They have some good backgrounds by noted artists that make it sound pretty good even from an amateur like me.

Jim McAllister said...


I agree; way too much political correctness these days. No one can take a joke anymore; I laugh when I see people in tears because they feel they were "offended". I don't know how many times I was called "4 eyes" as a kid or asked "How's the weather up there." Kids had nicknames like "Shorty" or "Tall drink of water." Big deal! Today they cry if called such names.

I blame the liberal establishment for it. A bunch of whining losers led by Obama.

Jim McAllister said...


Oh no! I've locked my door! LOL

Jim McAllister said...


Good luck with that. It may be a nice opportunity.

Jim McAllister said...

Jim, we share your love of music - all eras. I have been trying to track down a very old jazz tune called "Sugar". I enjoyed Fats Waller and the rest. Both our families played instruments - piano, clarinet, violin. My folks would have other musical friends in and they would all play their instruments - popular music of the day.

Thanks for your column.

Jim McAllister said...

Hi Joy,

Good to hear from you.

I've always liked music and still fool around with my harmonicas. I enjoy about any genre especially jazz, blues, and rock.

As far as "Sugar" there have been a few numbers that use that title. I know it was a pretty popular number in the Fred Astaire film from 1940 called "Second Chorus." The film had a great cast that included Artie Shaw, Burgess Meredith, plus some other well known stars. It was considered a pretty bad film but has good tunes.

If you search around the internet, you can probably find what you need to know. I think "Sugar" was actually written in 1927. If I find out anything more, I'll let you know.

Fats Waller was one of the best. I could listen to him doing "Ain't Misbehavin'" all day long:

"I don't stay out late
Don't care to go
I'm home about eight
Just me and my radio
Ain't misbehavin'
I'm savin' my love for you."

Take care,


Merna Gamal said...

I also mad at music Espically piano the music enable us to fly above the sky but I would like to ask about is hermonica need practice?

Jim McAllister said...


A harmonica is like any instrument: One has to practice to get proficient. Get a good brand like a Hohner and google some harmonica teaching videos. Work at it and you will improve.