“Davy Crockett, Jesus and The Beatles” By Robert Germaux

“Davy Crockett, Jesus and The Beatles”

By Robert Germaux

I’ve always loved to sing, and when I was younger, my voice was good enough that I sang in both my church and school choirs. The main memories I have of my church singing are of two very different situations. For two or three years when I was around ten or eleven, I soloed in front of the congregation on Easter Sunday, singing There is a Green Hill Far Away. I didn’t particularly enjoy those performances, mostly because I didn’t like the heavy robe everyone in the choir had to wear. However, my other church-singing experience involved an entirely different ensemble, one that I definitely enjoyed wearing. When I was nine years old, our church held a father and son banquet, and I got up and sang The Ballad of Davy Crockett. I went full frontiersman on that occasion, including, of course, the coonskin cap. A couple of my siblings claim to be in possession of photographic evidence of that event, which explains why I’ve played the role of victim in a number of family blackmail schemes over the years.

In high school, I sang tenor in the a capella choir, despite the fact that I’d never learned to read music, not a single note. What saved me in that situation was my friend, Cliff Thomas, who was able to unlock the mystery of those squiggly marks on the pages with all the lines. Incidentally, I just now went online and saw that the pages with all the lines are called notation papers. You learn something every day. Anyway, back to Cliff. Whenever we had to sing a song I didn’t know, I’d listen to Cliff the first couple of times we rehearsed, and then I usually had it. On the rare occasion when I might forget part of a song, I’d just mouth that part during the performance. Cliff was a much better singer than the rest of us, and he could have handled the tenor section all by his lonesome. Cliff, if you’re still out there somewhere, thanks, buddy.

As for the songs I enjoy listening to at home or in the car, I used to think my musical tastes ran a fairly narrow gamut from the late fifties to the mid-sixties, ending about halfway through the Beatles invasion. I kind of lost touch with the music scene from the late sixties on, mainly because I was busy getting my first teaching position, settling into married life, grading thousands of student compositions, etc. You know, life. I often had music on in the background, especially when I was working on lesson plans or grading all those compositions, but I didn’t pay much attention to who was singing. However, thanks to Sirius-XM radio, with its on-screen display of artists and dates of release, I now realize there are songs from the seventies I really like. The Eagles’ Best of My Love, Dave Mason’s We Just Disagree, Chicago’s Color My World and, of course, Billy Joel’s classic Piano Man. Great songs, all. In fact, I’m now considering venturing into the eighties. I hear good things about this Springsteen lad.

A final note. As much as I’ve come to enjoy so many post-Beatles songs, I have to admit that I find some of today’s songs to be shallow and superficial. I still think that the fifties and sixties take the prize for meaningful lyrics. As proof, travel with me back to 1958, when a little ditty called Witch Doctor spent two weeks atop the Billboard 100. Allow me to set the scene. A young man is in love with a girl who doesn’t love him back, so, of course, he seeks advice from the local witch doctor. Here’s what that individual said to the young man. Be sure to pay close attention.

Ooo eee, ooo ah ah ting tang

Walla walla, bing bang

Ooo eee, ooo ah ah ting tang

Walla walla, bing bang

Enough said, right?


ABOUT ROBERT GERMAUX

Robert Germaux and his wife Cynthia live outside of Pittsburgh. After three decades as a high school English teacher, and now a good many years into retirement, he is beginning to have serious doubts about his lifelong dream of pitching for the Pirates. Grammar Sex and Other Stuff is Bob’s first non-fiction book. You can find links to his first three novels (The Backup Husband, Small Talk and Hard Court) at his Amazon Author Page.

 

 

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3 replies »

  1. Thanks for participating in the book tour for “Grammar Sex (and other stuff)” this week. Your site looks pretty cool. Yeah, “pretty cool.” What can I say? I’m a child of the sixties! Again, thanks!!

    Like

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