A Drive Down Memory Lane

My wife and I recently took a vacation with her parents.  We drove to Door County, Wisconsin, and stayed in a little cottage close to the water.  The drive from Chicago takes a good chunk of the day so we packed some CDs to listen to on the way. 

My in-laws are in their mid-80s, so we brought along some CDS we hoped they’d enjoy.  One of them was a CD of songs by the Andrews Sisters.  Trying to guess what kind of music someone else will like is always a bit of a gamble, but I figured the Andrews Sisters were a sure thing for someone of my in-laws’ generation.  I was right.  They loved the CD and my father-in-law knew all the words to all the songs.  He and my mother-in-law were teenagers during World War II, which was when the Andrews Sisters were huge.

The songs were fun to listen to: “The Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy,” “Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree,” etc.  To quote a phrase, the songs were a part of the soundtrack of my in-laws’ youth, but for me, they have a slightly campy quality to them.  This made me wonder — what groups from my youth will MY children think are campy and mildly goofy?  The Beatles?  The Doors?  The Beach Boys?  Maybe I don’t want to know!

Anyway, there’s one thing about those old songs–some of them have a great hook and keep echoing in your head.  Here’s the one from the Andrews Sisters’ CD that stuck with me for days.  It’s a guest performance by a well-known male singer of his time–to put it mildly.  (I once heard the renowned operatic bass, Samuel Ramey, peform this song as an encore and he brought down the house.):

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  • Dee H

    Phil,
    I am a first time visitor to your blog and found this article very amusing and interesting (though since I DO NOT have DSL, took a while to get video and music to play. yes some of us still are on S L O W dial up). Being a born to parents in that age group I actually remember playing my fathers 45 collection of records (which I still have but can’t play them as the new players have very sensitive sound collectors). But my favorites were, “How much is that doggie” “the Banana Boat song” which was more of a narrative between singer and recorder, and the “Pickle Song” (my pop gave me a nickel to buy some ?? instead I bought a pickle). I would play these records over and over to the point my parents, actually my mother as dad was at work, would hide them. The main reason why my father had such a collection of songs is that he would play them at the grocery store that he managed. By playing his own selection of music, he controlled what was heard. In fact, he was one of the first grocers who had music playing in their store here in the Kankakee area. Sadly, he nor my mother are no longer with us to tell more stories about the little old ladies doing the shuffle down the isles listening to the music.
    So if you want some other songs to join your collection of campy (as you say) songs, try the above out. But if you find them, please let me know as I would love to have a digital copy of them to go along with my other oldies but goodies I have found like “This Old House” by Rosemary Clooney. That is another classic!