Please Let Me Off This Bus

Chuck Berry (1926-2017) was a black pioneer of rock’n roll and he is often called the father of rock and roll.  Black musicians were often targeted for beatings, had their earnings confiscated, and were arrested and imprisoned, typically for sex, drugs and tax violations.  Berry didn’t take up the guitar until he was thirteen years old and in Junior High School.  Before he was able to graduate from High School, Berry was arrested and convicted of robbing a bakery, a clothing store and a barbershop, and also armed carjacking.  He was sent to a reformatory in Algoa Missouri, where he was held for three years from 1944 to 1947.  Berry gained his release on good behavior on October 18, 1947, which was his 21st birthday.  A year later, he was married to Themetta ‘Toddy’ Suggs and they had four children together, and he swore that he was forever cured of heading down the wrong path again.

Berry established his reputation during the four-year period from 1956 to 1959, not only turning out such classic hits as ‘Roll Over Beethoven’, ‘Maybellene’, ‘Johnny B. Goode’, ‘Sweet Little Sixteen’ and ‘Carol’, but he also established the very template that nearly every rock and roll guitarist after him would follow.  On December 23, 1959, Chuck Berry was arrested in St. Louis, Missouri, on charges relating to his transportation of a 14-year-old waitress and prostitute across state lines for allegedly “immoral purposes”.  Chuck Berry was sentenced to three years in prison in January 1962 at the Indiana Federal Penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana for offenses under the Mann Act, for this transgression.

Berry met 14-year-old Janice Norine Escalanti in a bar in Juarez, Mexico and he offered her a job in his St. Louis nightclub. Three weeks after, their relationship soured, and she was fired from Berry’s nightclub.  Berry brought her to a bus station, and he gave her money for a ticket home.  Instead of going home, she went to the St. Louis police, and told them that that Berry repeatedly had sex with her while they were on the road, in the back of his Cadillac and Berry was arrested two days later.  The Mann Act is the common name for a piece of federal legislation originally known as the United States White-Slave Traffic Act of 1910.  Though intended as a tool for cracking down on organized prostitution, the vague language of the Mann Act regarding the transportation of women for “immoral purposes” rendered its provisions broadly unenforceable.  It has been selectively applied in various high-profile cases over time, most famously in Berry’s and in that of the heavyweight boxing great Jack Johnson.

Berry claimed the girl told him she was 21.  Berry’s defense was not found credible by the all-male, all-white jury at his first trial, and he was convicted on March 11, 1960, and sentenced to five years’ imprisonment and a $5,000 fine.  Although he would have his conviction vacated and a new trial ordered by a Federal Appeals Court in October 1960 due to disparaging racial comments made by the judge in his original trial, Berry would be convicted again on retrial in March 1961 and serve the better part of the next two years in prison.  Berry wound up serving 20 months behind bars, and during this time he wrote several songs.

While Chuck was behind bars, the Rolling Stones recorded their first single, which was his song ‘Come On’ and the Beatles covered his ‘Roll Over Beethoven’.  In 1964, Chuck Berry recorded ‘Nadine (Is It You?)’ on his The Great Twenty-Eight album and the song charted #27 in the UK and it went to #23 in the US.  While Berry was in jail he penned this song along with other classic numbers such as ‘You Never Can Tell’, ‘Promised Land’ and ‘No Particular Place to Go’.  Marshall Chess, the son of Chess Records founder Leonard was his road manager when he came out of prison and they were desperate because he was their biggest star.  He came right from jail, looking raggedy, so they got him some new clothes and went into the studio and recorded ‘Nadine’.

Berry said that he took the top hits of his past and reshaped them, getting ‘Nadine’ from his debut, 1955 hit ‘Maybellene’. This song tells the story of a man catching sight of an elusive woman and spending the rest of the song chasing Nadine and trying to catch up with her.  He glimpses her while riding a bus, hops off and races after her as she is riding in a coffee-colored Cadillac.  He encounters difficulty catching up to Nadine, and he keeps pursuing her, while only getting momentary or partial views of her and questioning if it is really her.  He sees her “getting in a yellow cab heading up town” then he hops into a taxi telling the driver “to catch that yellow cab”.  He says that she moved “around like a wave of summer breeze”, and he tells his cabbie to “Go, driver, go go, catch ‘er for me please”.

In 1985, he received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.  In 1986, he became the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s first inductee.  The scientist Carl Sagan championed the inclusion of Berry’s 1958 hit ‘Johnny B. Goode’ on the so-called Golden Record, an archive of human life launched by NASA into interstellar space with the Voyager probes in 1977.  Chuck Berry died on March 18, 2017 at the age of 90 in his home near St. Louis.

As I got on a city bus and found a vacant seat,
I thought I saw my future bride walking up the street,
I shouted to the driver hey conductor, you must slow down
I think I see her please let me off this bus

Nadine, honey is that you?
Oh, Nadine
Honey, is that you?
Seems like every time I see you
Darling you got something else to do

I saw her from the corner when she turned and doubled back
And started walkin’ toward a coffee colored Cadillac
I was pushin’ through the crowd to get to where she’s at
And I was campaign shouting like a southern diplomat

Nadine, honey is that you?
Oh, Nadine
Honey, where are you?
Seems like every time I catch up with you
You are up to something new

Downtown searching for ‘er, looking all around
Saw her getting in a yellow cab heading up town
I caught a loaded taxi, paid up everybody’s tab
Flipped a twenty dollar bill, told him ‘catch that yellow cab

Nadine, honey is that you?
Oh, Nadine
Honey, is that you?
Seems like every time I catch up with you
You are up to something new

She move around like a wave of summer breeze,
Go, driver, go go, catch ‘er for me please
Moving through the traffic like a mounted cavalier
Leaning out the taxi window trying to make her hear

Nadine, honey is that you?
Oh, Nadine
Honey, is that you?
Seems like every time I see you
Darling are up to something new

Lawdy Me!

Lawdy me stems from the phrase “Lordy me”, which is a contraction of “Lord help me”.  This is said as an exclamation, “Oh me!”, or “Oh my goodness!”, or “My, my, my!”, or “Good grief Charlie Brown!”  This minced oath is usually used to express surprise and it is often said with a Southern accent as Butterfly McQueen, the actress who played Prissy did in Gone With The Wind, “Lawdy, Miz Scarlett, I don’t know nothin’ ‘bout birthin’ no babies!”.  A minced oath is a euphemistic expression formed by misspelling, mispronouncing, or replacing a part of a profane, blasphemous, or taboo term to reduce the original term’s objectionable characteristics thus allowing a person to avoid swearing when expressing surprise or annoyance.  The word Lawdy goes well with the name Clawdy, just as Dizzy goes good Miss Lizzy, or Good Golly fits in with Miss Molly, the same way as Mary, Mary goes together with quite contrary.  The name Clawdy is most likely a nickname for Claudette, or Claudia, or Claudine.  Lloyd Price wrote the song ‘Lawdy Miss Clawdy’, but in 1958, Larry Williams, who had been Lloyd’s valet, reworked it to become ‘Dizzy Miss Lizzy’.

Lloyd Price was born in Kenner, Louisiana on March 9, 1933 and he is an American R&B vocalist, known as “Mr. Personality”, after his 1959 million-selling hit, ‘Personality’.  He began writing songs in grade school, and by the time he was 13, he was proficient on piano and trumpet.  He formed a group with his school mates that they called themselves “the Blue Boys”, and they played around Kenner at the Top of the Town and the Perkins Lounge.  Lloyd had a younger brother Little Leo Price, and the teenagers were both exposed to music from the jukebox in their mother’s popular New Orleans sandwich shop, Beatrice’s Fish ‘n’ Fry.  One day Dave Bartholomew discovered Lloyd when he stopped in at Beatrice’s to get a bite to eat and heard the youth working on his new song ‘Lawdy Miss Clawdy’.

His first recording, ‘Lawdy Miss Clawdy’ became a hit in 1952 and Lloyd Price went on to work in the music industry as a musician, bandleader, songwriter, producer, record-company executive and a booking agent.  While still in high school, nineteen-year-old Lloyd Price was working for New Orleans radio station WBOK.  He provided jingles (music for radio advertisements) for various products, including those hawked by disc jockey James ‘Okey Dokey’ Smith, the first big black disc jockey in New Orleans.  One of Smith’s catch phrases was “Lawdy Miss Clawdy”, which he used in ad slogans such as “Lawdy Miss Clawdy, eat Mother’s Homemade Pies and drink Maxwell House coffee!”

Dave Bartholomew had many talents and roles, but his outstanding accomplishment is his star-making ability.  He discovered Fats Domino, Lloyd Price and a seemingly endless revolving door of New Orleans virtuosos.  He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, as a nonperformer, in 1991.  Lloyd Price was nursing a broken heart when he wrote this influential R&B wailer on an old piano in his mother’s sandwich shop.  He borrowed the title from James ‘Okey Dokey’ Smith’s catch phrase, as Price bids a painful farewell to the good-looking gold-digger who uses and abuses him.

In 1952, Art Rupe an American music industry executive and record producer and founder of Specialty Records in Los Angeles, came to New Orleans in search of new talent, particularly young singers who would attract the growing market of teens tuning into R&B radio.  Local recording studio owner Cosimo Matassa introduced him to Dave Bartholomew, who co-wrote and produced many of Fats Domino’s early hit records.  Bartholomew invited nineteen-year-old Lloyd Price to audition for Rupe at Matassa’s J&M Studio.  Cosimo Matassa was an American recording engineer whose studio was the center of the New Orleans recording scene for two decades and in 2012 he was he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a nonperformer and he was also inducted to the Blues Hall of Fame in 2013.

Price had auditioned the song unsuccessfully several times at J&M, and when he went to this tryout that was supervised by label owner Art Rupe, Price decided to sing something else.  When his turn finally came, Rupe was unimpressed as he had been with most of the day.  It looked like he was going back to the West Coast empty-handed.  Price sensed that he was going to be shown the door, and he nearly broke down in tears as he belted out ‘Lawdy Miss Clawdy’.  Rupe hired Bartholomew to produce the recording session for ‘Lawdy Miss Clawdy’.  On the day of the session, Fats Domino happened to be passing the studio in a brand new Cadillac.  He stopped in just to say, “Hello”, but after he had a few drinks, Domino agreed to play on the session despite his initial reluctance.  He was under contract to Imperial, but that didn’t stop him from supplying one of the catchiest piano intros in the history of recorded music.  He started playing a boogie-woogie, but Dave stopped him because he wanted something different.  So instead of playing boogie-woogie, Fats played the introduction like a tinkling piano roll.  To this day, nobody has ever played that intro like Fats did that day.

Lloyd Price did not have a band to support him on this recording, so Dave let him use his band for this song.  The drummer was Earl Palmer and the rest of Dave’s band included Ernest McLean on guitar, Frank Fields on bass, Herbert Hardesty on tenor sax, Joe Harris on alto sax, and Jack Willis was on trumpet.  There was no sheet music it was all in their heads.  They called it ‘padding’ with the horns holding their notes they played while Lloyd sang.  Dave Bartholomew decided the song was too short and that it needed more of a story, so Price wrote the second verse, “Because I gave you all my money, girl, but you just won’t treat me right” on the spot as he was able to make up lyrics on the fly.  Price didn’t hear the song until it was played on the radio four weeks after the recording session.  When the record came out, Price’s mother moved it to the top spot on her shop’s jukebox.

The song was released on Rupe’s Specialty Records and went to #1 on the R&B chart.  Although it didn’t reach the pop chart, the song did sell well outside of the R&B market and is considered an early crossover hit.  At the time, many industry execs would tack their names onto songs they had little or nothing to do with to get a cut of the royalties.  At best, the real songwriters would receive a sliver of the bounty, and at worst they wouldn’t get credit at all.  To his astonishment, Price was listed as the sole songwriter, with only the publishing rights going to Rupe.  Several artists have covered this, including Elvis Presley, Little Richard, The Hollies, The Dave Clark Five, Fats Domino, Conway Twitty, Carl Perkins, The Replacements, Joe Cocker And The Grease Band and Paul McCartney, among others.  The Beatles also recorded it for their 1969 movie Let It Be.

In April 1952, Specialty Records released ‘Lawdy Miss Clawdy’ and on May 17, 1952 it spread like wild fire and entered Billboard’s R&B chart, staying there a total of 26 weeks.  The song reached number one, where it spent seven weeks there, a feat that wasn’t surpassed by another New Orleans record until Domino’s ‘Blueberry Hill’.  ‘Lawdy Miss Clawdy’ became the song of the year in 1952 and the first record to sell a million copies by a teenager.  Lloyd Price was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1998.  According to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame ‘Lawdy Miss Clawdy’ made the list of The Top 500 Most Influential Rock Songs.  Loyd has 4 songs listed on Rolling Stone Fifty Essential Recordings From The Fifties including ‘Lawdy Miss Clawdy’, ‘Stagger Lee’, ‘Personality’ and ‘I’m Gonna Get Married’.  ‘Lawdy Miss Clawdy’ is also on the list of 660 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll.

Well, lawdy, lawdy, lawdy, Miss Clawdy
Well, you sure look good to me
Well, please, don’t excite me, baby
I know it can’t be me

Well, I give you all my money
Yeah, but you just won’t treat me right
You like to ball every morning
Don’t come home till late at night

I’m gonna tell, tell my mama
Lord, I swear, gal, what you been doing to me?
I’m gonna tell everybody that
I’m in misery

So bye, bye, bye, baby
Gal, I won’t be comin’ no more
Goodbye, little darlin’
Down the road I go

Oh, goodbye, bye, bye, baby
Gal, I won’t be comin’ no more
Goodbye, little darlin’
Down the road I go

Winners Use The Door

The Wild, the Innocent, and the E Street Shuffle is Springsteen’s second album that was released on September 11, 1973 and it features the sound of summer on the Jersey boardwalk.  The song ‘Rosalita, Come Out Tonight’ is a relatively long tune and it has been described as the Boss’s version of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.  Bruce wrote this song and it was included in The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll, which is an unordered list, so there is no way to tell where it ranks.  Bruce Springsteen did get three of his songs listed on Rolling Stone Magazine’s Top 500 Songs, those being ‘Born to Run’ at # 21, ‘Thunder Road’ at #86 and ‘Born in the USA’ at #275 The video for ‘Rosalita, Come Out Tonight’ got the #71 spot on Rolling Stone’s 1993 list of the top 100 videos and this video was a straight concert performance (from a Darkness Tour performance on July 8, 1978 at the Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix, Arizona).  Bruce was inducted into both the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 1999.

‘Rosalita (Come out Tonight)’ is archetypal Springsteen and essential Bruce and it is one of the best love songs that he has ever written, as it displays the yearning lust of a man who is so infatuated with a woman that he will do anything.  Bruce Springsteen is a talented story teller, but most of the meanings of his songs are lost in a flood of incoherent ambiguity and murky characters, at least to me.  His songs sound great to me and to all of his fans that go to his concerts.  I love the way he rhymes his lyrics and as far as I know he is the only songwriter to ever rhyme “Lord had mercy” with “the swamps of Jersey”.

I usually try to analyze the songs that I write about line by line, but I am not able to make anything out of “Spread out now Rosie, doctor come cut loose her mama’s reins”.  This is how the song starts off and I am lost already.  Why does Springsteen tell Rosie to spread out and who the hell is the doctor?  Clearly I need to take a different approach for this song.  Maybe Springsteen’s songs are not meant to be analyzed and you are just supposed to listen to them and enjoy them.  I think the best that I can do is to pick out certain lyrics and relate what they mean to me.

Blind man’s bluff is a children’s game that was played as early as 2,000 years ago in Greece and in one version of this game a child covers another child’s eyes with his hands, then a third child hits the “blind” child on the head and goes back to the circle of children.  When the child who was struck is allowed to look, he must guess correctly who hit him.  If he does guess correctly, the child who hit him must take his place as the next to be “blinded”.

Bruce and Rosalita have these two friends that are named little dynamite and little gun and they pick up their friends “and make that highway run”.  She calls him “lieutenant” for some damned reason and that pisses him off.  Bruce wants to be with Rosalita and he asks her to bring her soft sweet little girl’s tongue along with her, I guess so they can do some French kissing. Bats in the belfry is an old phrase that relates to those erratically flying mammals who are blind and they fly into belfries which are bell towers, mostly found at the top of churches.  The saying bats in the belfry refers to someone who acts as they are crazy or have gone bonkers.  I imagine that the line, “downtown in front of Woolworth’s tryin’ out his attitude on all the cats” is put in this song because it rhymes with bats.

Rosie’s parents are a big problem for this couple, especially for Bruce as he says that he is “only here for fun”.  Bruce adds some obscure names to this song like, “Jack the Rabbit and Weak Knee Willie”, “Sloppy Sue and Big Bone Billy” and then he talks about playing pool, skipping school and acting cool.  He asks Rosie to “come out tonight Windows are for cheaters, chimneys for the poor Oh, closets are for hangers, winners use the door” wanting her to not sneak out of her house and defy her parents and the constrains that they have placed on her showing them that she won’t be pushed around.

Bruce wants to release the girl from her parents and at the same time he would like to convince them that maybe he’s not so bad after all.  Bruce said that this line , “Someday we’ll look back on this and it will all seem funny” may be the greatest one he has ever written in a song.  Rosalita’s family is understandably concerned about her life skills and judgment, so she has been locked her up in her room, but Bruce has recently come into some cash, and he aims to take Rosie to California.  He talks about “a little café, where they play guitars all night and all day”, which is a place where he will really fit in.  This is all I got for this song, but if you enjoyed my post, then “Everybody sing” “jump a little higher”.

Spread out now Rosie, doctor come cut loose her mama’s reins
You know playin’ blind man’s bluff is a little baby’s game
You pick up little dynamite, I’ll pick up little gun
And together we’re gonna go out tonight and make that highway run
You don’t have to call me lieutenant, Rosie, and I don’t want to be your son
The only lover I’m ever gonna need’s your soft, sweet, little girl’s tongue
And Rosie, you’re the one

Dynamite’s in the belfry, baby, playin’ with the bats
Little gun’s downtown in front of Woolworth’s tryin’ out his attitude on all the cats
Papa’s on the corner, waitin’ for the bus
Mama, she’s home in the window, waitin’ up for us
She’ll be there in that chair when they wrestle her upstairs, ‘cause you know we ain’t gonna come
I ain’t here on business, baby, I’m only here for fun
And Rosie, you’re the one

Rosalita, jump a little higher
Senorita, come sit by my fire
I just want to be your lover, ain’t no liar
Rosalita, you’re my stone desire

Jack the Rabbit and Weak Knee Willie, don’t you know they’re gonna be there
Ah Sloppy Sue and Big Bone Billy, they’ll be coming up for air
We’re gonna play some pool, skip some school
Act real cool, stay out all night, it’s gonna feel alright
So Rosie, come out tonight, little baby, come out tonight
Windows are for cheaters, chimneys for the poor
Oh, closets are for hangers, winners use the door
So use it, Rosie, that’s what it’s there for

Rosalita, jump a little higher
Senorita, come sit by my fire
I just want to be your lover, ain’t no liar
Rosalita, you’re my stone desire, alright

Now, I know your mama, she don’t like me, ‘cause I play in a rock and roll band
And I know your daddy, he don’t dig me, but he never did understand
Your papa lowered the boom, he locked you in your room, I’m comin’ to lend a hand
I’m comin’ to liberate you, confiscate you, I want to be your man
Someday we’ll look back on this and it will all seem funny
But now you’re sad, your mama’s mad
And your papa says he knows that I don’t have any money
Oh, your papa says he knows that I don’t have any money
Oh, so your daddy says he knows that I don’t have any money
Well, tell him this is his last chance to get his daughter in a fine romance
Because a record company, Rosie, just gave me a big advance

And my tires were slashed and I almost crashed, but the Lord had mercy
And my machine, she’s a dud, out stuck in the mud somewhere in the swamps of Jersey
Well, hold on tight, stay up all night, ‘cause Rosie, I’m comin’ on strong
By the time we meet the morning light, I will hold you in my arms
I know a pretty little place in Southern California, down San Diego way
There’s a little cafe, where they play guitars all night and all day
You can hear them in the back room strummin’
So hold tight, baby, ‘cause don’t you know daddy’s comin’
Everybody sing

Rosalita, jump a little higher
Senorita, come sit by my fire
I just want to be your lover, ain’t no liar
Rosalita, you’re my stone desire

Hey hey hey hey
Hey hey hey hey
Hey hey hey hey
Hey hey hey hey

Crying Like The Wind

Who (or what) is Stella Blue?  Is this like the sled Rosebud in the movie Citizen Kane?  Stella is Latin for star, however Stella was an American guitar brand owned by the Oscar Schmidt Company that was founded around 1899.  The Stella brand consists of low and mid-level stringed instruments.  Quite a few of the pre-war blues musicians used Stellas, basically because they didn’t have money to throw around on expensive guitars.  Stella guitars were played by notable artists, including Robert Johnson, Lead Belly, Blind Blake, Blind Willie McTell, Charlie Patton, Doc Watson, Pink Anderson, Elvis Presley, B.B. King and Willie Nelson learned to play on one.  Stella was acquired by the Harmony Company in 1939.  I imagine that it is possible that Stella could have manufactured a guitar with a blue finish.  Stella is a guitar in this song not a girl and I am not sure if it fits my current theme of writing about songs with a girl’s name in the title.

Stella guitars were manufactured in Jersey City, New Jersey and it seems very likely to me that some girl in Jersey City could have been named Stella, and this company could have been named after her, so this song might be about a girl after all.  B.B. King called his guitar Lucille and this makes it entirely possible for someone to name their guitar Stella.  B.B King ran into a burning building caused by a fight between two men to save his guitar.  The men were fighting over a lady named Lucille and B.B King named his guitar after her as a reminder to never fight over a woman or run into burning buildings and he also wrote a song about his guitar titled ‘My Lucille’.

Jerry Garcia ranks #46 on Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.  Jerry Garcia also won awards for Musician of the Year and Best Guitarist in 1988 at the Bay Area Music awards.  Some amazing songs were written about guitars, like Chuck Berry’s ‘Johnny B. Goode’, George Harrison’s ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’, Foreigner’s ‘Juke Box Hero’ and Bon Jovi’s ‘Wanted Dead Or Alive’ among many others.  I found a website that listed 56 songs about guitars and I was disappointed because ‘Stella Blue’ was not on the list and IMHO this is a great guitar song.

‘Stella Blue’ has lyrics by Robert Hunter and music by Jerry Garcia and it was released on Wake of the Flood, the Grateful Dead’s sixth studio album in October 1973.  ‘Stella Blue’ is a lovely unique mood piece unlike any other song that the Dead played, being one of the finest ballads that Garcia and Hunter ever produced.  ‘Stella Blue’ is one of the most emotional songs that the Grateful Dead did, as it conveys heartbreaking anguish wrapped up in a wonderful dreamy melancholy tune.  A lot musicians used to stay at the Chelsea Hotel in New York like Jimi Hendrix, Patti Smith and Bob Marley and other celebrities like Andy Warhol, Jack Kerouac and Jackson Pollock.  Hunter wrote the lyrics to this song while he was staying at the Chelsea, years before Garcia composed the music to go along with them.

Writer Thomas Wolfe spent the last few years of his life at the Chelsea before he died in 1938.  Dylan Thomas stayed in room 205 at the Chelsea hotel when he died in 1953.  William Burroughs wrote Naked Lunch there in 1959.  Arthur Miller stayed at the Chelsea after he and Marilyn Monroe divorced in 1961.  Leonard Cohen wrote ‘Chelsea hotel #2’ in 1974 which was about a tryst that he had with Janis Joplin when he was there.  Bob Dylan wrote ‘Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands’ in 1976 while he was staying at the Chelsea.  In 1978, Sid Vicious was accused of killing his girlfriend Nancy Spungen when she was found dead at the Chelsea HotelMadonna took the photographs for her infamous 1992 book Sex at this hotel.

The guy in this song seems to be down and out on his luck, regretting the mistakes that he made in his past and all these years seem to have combined and melted into a dream.  He hears a broken angel singing from a guitar.  Garcia took great pride in his guitars, and although he played many in his career, there are five that are truly noteworthy which are named Alligator, Wolf, Tiger, Rosebud and Lighting Bolt.  It was Graham Nash who gave Garcia’s customized 1957 Fender Stratocaster the name Alligator.  Garcia had an instrument built by Doug Irwin which had the Wolf logo incorporated into its design.  Irwin went all out on the next guitar that he created for Garcia spending six full years making the guitar known as Tiger.  Irwin created Rosebud next for Garcia which was a twin of Tiger, though it was two pounds lighter.  Lightning Bolt was created by yacht builder Stephen Cripe.

The guy may have been lonely for quite some time and he is reflecting on his life when he says, “In the end there’s just a song Comes crying like the wind Through all the broken dreams And vanished years Stella Blue” which is probably saying that his life was not full of great accomplishments, but he always had his guitar around to keep him satisfied.  He goes on singing, “When all the cards are down There’s nothing left to see There’s just the pavement left”, probably because this guitarist lived his life as a gambler and he feels that he can hit the road at a moment’s notice.  “Down every lonely street That’s ever been”, he was able to hang on to Stella Blue, his most prized possession.

He says, “I’ve stayed in every blue-light cheap hotel Can’t win for trying Dust off those rusty strings just One more time Gonna make em shine.”  He has had a rough life and this is what the blues are all about and he feels like he just can’t win no matter what he does.  His trusty guitar is always there to remind who he is supposed to be and all he has to do is dust it off a bit and he can make it shine again.  His life is sad but he takes it in stride saying, “It all rolls into one And nothing comes for free There’s nothing you can hold For very long.”  He has this glass is half full optimistic attitude, because he is getting fulfillment from his guitar.  The song ends with him saying, “It seems like all this life Was just a dream Stella Blue”, as his guitar was the only thing that kept him from being disconnected and confused, which is sometimes called dissociative thinking.

All the years combine
They melt into a dream
A broken angel sings
From a guitar
In the end there’s just a song
Comes crying like the wind
Through all the broken dreams
And vanished years

Stella Blue
When all the cards are down
There’s nothing left to see
There’s just the pavement left
And broken dreams
In the end there’s still that song
Comes crying like the wind
Down every lonely street
That’s ever been

Stella Blue
I’ve stayed in every blue-light cheap hotel
Can’t win for trying
Dust off those rusty strings just
One more time
Gonna make em shine
It all rolls into one
And nothing comes for free
There’s nothing you can hold
For very long
And when you hear that song
Come crying like the wind
It seems like all this life
Was just a dream
Stella Blue

Cross My Heart And Hope To Die

‘Loose Lucy’ is a story song, and Lucy is often compared with ‘Runaround Sue’, but I think that the guy is the one that is doing all the cheating in this story.  Hunter likes people to form their own opinions about his lyrics and my best guess says that there are two different characters talking in the song, the happy guy that is that going round and round with Lucy who says he is the string and Lucy who is the yo-yo.  The way I have it is that Lucy has three lines somewhere in the middle of this story.  Ever since the Beatles recorded ‘Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds’, the name Lucy has been associated with LSD and although the Dead were known for doing a lot of drugs, this is not a drug song.  The Grateful Dead did do some songs with sexual connotations in their early days when Pig Pen sang songs like ‘Good Morning Little School Girl’, but ‘Loose Lucy’ was not what you would figure to be a typical song for them, it was sort of an anomaly.  The Grateful Dead did not record a lot of sexist or chauvinistic songs, although there is that line in ‘Jack Straw’ that says, “We can share the women, we can share the wine”.

‘Loose Lucy’ was composed and written by Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter and it appeared on their From the Mars Hotel album, which was their seventh studio album and that was released on August 7, 1973.  It was also released as the “B” side of a single with ‘U.S. Blues’ in June 1974.  ‘Loose Lucy’ is basically a fun bouncy song that the Dead played so their audience could have a real good time.  The guy is delighted to spend time with Lucy and when they are together they go at it all night long.  The guy is connected with Lucy like a yo-yo is to its string and this comparison may invoke a sexual connotation as the yo-yo is constantly going up and down.  At one point the guy notices a commotion going on and he says, “Listen to the birds on the hot wire sing”.  Audio experts have ascertained that certain sounds can make it easier to focus and these include birds singing, it’s when birds stop singing that people need to worry, so they can keep on balling.  As the birds continue singing, he is saying, “thank you, for a real good time.”  An electrician will say that a wire is hot if it is connected to a power source and when this is the case, caution should be exercised if you are required to handle this wire. I think that caution also needs to be considered when being with Lucy.

He tells Lucy that he “got jumped coming home last night”, a shadow in the alley turned out all his lights, he was making an excuse to tell Lucy why he didn’t show up last night as he had planned.  Lucy got sore thinking that he lost interest in her. She is jealous and she did not believe that he got mugged, and she sounds like a beatnik when she says, “Bebop baby, how can this be I know you’ve been out a cheating on me.”  The word bebop was originally a type of jazz this word was considered to be hip as it was formed from nonsense syllables and it was eventually shortened to just plain bop.  He realizes that it, “Don’t take much to get the word around”, he must have figured that someone told her something, so he tells her, “Cross my heart and hope to die”, saying that he, “was just hanging out with the other guys.”  The story gets a bit confusing here as he says, “Went back home with two black eyes You know I’ll love her till the day I die.”  Did he get one black eye from the mugging and did Lucy give him the other black eye for not showing up, or for going back to his wife?  Is it his wife that he will love till the day that he dies?  If it is, then how will he explain the two black eyes to her.

The guy has already finished having his real good time with Lucy and he probably feels that she is going to get clingy on him, so he is calling it quits with Lucy as he says, “I like your smile but I ain’t your type.”  He is basically breaking it off saying, “It’s not you, it’s me.  I hope we can still be friends.”  Lucy may not have reached the age of consent yet, as the next line in this story says, “Don’t shake the tree when the fruit ain’t ripe”, and he feels that this will get him off the hook.

The Grateful Dead were ranked 57th in the issue The Greatest Artists of all Time by Rolling Stone magazine.  They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994 and their Barton Hall Concert at Cornell University (May 8, 1977) was added to the Library of Congress’s National Recording Registry.  Garcia loved playing songs that the audience could sing along with and people love to sing “yea, yea, yea” and “thank you for a real good time” along with this song.

Loose Lucy is my delight
She comes running and we ball all night
Round and round and round and round
Don’t take much to get me on the ground
She’s my yo-yo, I’m her string
Listen to the birds on the hot wire sing

Singing yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Singing thank you, for a real good time

I got jumped coming home last night
Shadow in the alley turned out all my lights
Round and round and round and round
Don’t take much to get me on the ground
Loose Lucy, she was sore
Says I know you can’t want my love no more,

Singing yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Singing thank you, for a real good time

Bebop baby, how can this be
I know you’ve been out a cheating on me
Round and round and round and round
Don’t take much to get the word around
Cross my heart and hope to die
I was just hanging out with the other guys

Singing yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Singing thank you, for a real good time

Went back home with two black eyes
You know I’ll love her till the day I die
Round and round and round and round
Don’t take much to get the word around
I like your smile but I ain’t your type
Don’t shake the tree when the fruit ain’t ripe

Singing yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Singing thank you, for a real good time

Or Is It The Clothes You Wear?

The book came first and this lead to the movie for which the song was recorded.  Three years before young Margaret Forster wrote her novel in London, on the other side of the world in Melbourne, Victoria, three Australians had formed their own antipodean version of the Kingston Trio (an American folk and pop music group that helped launch the folk revival of the late 1950s to late 1960s that started in San Francisco).  The Antipodeans were a group of Australian modern artists who asserted the importance of figurative art, and protested against abstract expressionism.  They staged a single exhibition in Melbourne during August 1959.

The song ‘Georgy Girl’ was first released by the Australian folk music group the Seekers.  It was used as the title song for the 1966 film of the same name. Tom Springfield composed the music and Jim Dale supplied the lyrics.  The Seekers consisted of Athol Guy on double-bass, Bruce Woodley on guitar, Keith Potger on 12-string guitar and they completed their lineup with Judith Durham on vocals, piano, and tambourine.  Jim Dale is an English actor, narrator, singer, director, and composer and he stated that he holds “the record for having sent more newly discovered singers on that short road back to obscurity than any other song writer.  After recording one of my numbers, very few singers were ever heard of again!”  In 1965, Jim wrote the lyrics to the title song of a new English film Georgy Girl, and the song went on to sell over 11 million copies.  Jim and Tom both received an Academy Award Nomination for “Best Song”.  The song has been described as being a pleasant light-rock tune.

A Georgy Girl is a female who has convinced herself that her looks are plain and that she is undesirable to the point that she would never believe anyone would desire to have a casual relationship with her.  In the movie the main character is Georgina Parkin who is played by Lynn Redgrave and she is called Georgy.  Judith Durham felt that ‘Georgy Girl’ was the perfect song for her to sing because she had self-esteem problems.

Georgy Girl (1965) told the story of an awkward, inelegant working-class lass in London who faced the unsatisfying romantic choice of a gloomy older man who is her dad’s boss and the errant lover of the glamorous and promiscuous girl that she shared an apartment with.  The plot follows the story of a virginal young woman in 1960s Swinging London who is faced with a dilemma while she is being pursued by two different men and she has to put up with her promiscuous and pregnant flat mate Meredith who annoys her.  It was a hit, and the following year it was turned into an even more successful film with Lynn Redgrave as Georgy and a stellar supporting cast of James Mason, Alan Bates, Charlotte Rampling, and Lynn’s own mother, Rachel Kempson.  Miss Forster adapted the novel with the playwright Peter Nichols, and they turned it into a taut, tart script on London life.  The film Georgy Girl was directed by Silvio Narizzano and it features the well-known title song, ‘Georgy Girl’ as performed by The Seekers.

The tune is set in Swinging London on Carnaby Street which is in Soho in the City of Westminster, Central London and this part of the city is known for its unique independent stores and global flagship brands, making it one of London’s most popular and distinctive centers to go shopping in.  A leggy girl in a mini-skirt swings past the groovy boutiques on her lunch hour which becomes an endless sunny afternoon.  Meredith becomes pregnant and Georgy ends up being the nanny, while the father of the baby makes advances at Georgy.  Georgy feels that neither parent wants the baby so she runs away with the child.   The song says, “There’s another Georgy deep inside” and I think this refers to her maternal instincts.  This song contains some great whistling which makes me want to start whistling along with the tune every time I hear it.

Hey there, Georgy girl
Swinging down the street so fancy-free
Nobody you meet could ever see the loneliness there inside you
Hey there, Georgy girl
Why do all the boys just pass you by?
Could it be you just don’t try or is it the clothes you wear?

You’re always window shopping but never stopping to buy
So shed those dowdy feathers and fly a little bit

Hey there, Georgy girl
There’s another Georgy deep inside
Bring out all the love you hide and, oh, what a change there’d be
The world would see a new Georgy girl

Hey there, Georgy girl
Dreaming of the someone you could be
Life is a reality, you can’t always run away
Don’t be so scared of changing and rearranging yourself
It’s time for jumping down from the shelf a little bit

Hey there, Georgy girl
There’s another Georgy deep inside
Bring out all the love you hide and, oh, what a change there’d be
The world would see a new Georgy girl

(Hey there, Georgy girl)
Wake up, Georgy girl
(Hey there, Georgy girl)
Come on, Georgy girl
(Hey there, Georgy girl)
Wake up, Georgy girl

The Wind Will Sing You This Lullaby

Patti Page did not sing the theme song for the 1964 film Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte, but she recorded it later.  The song  references how Bette Davis’ character, the aging Southern belle Charlotte Hollis, obsesses over her lost love, John Mayhew, throughout most of her life even though the murder took place thirty-seven years ago and many people think that Charlotte was responsible.  An aging, reclusive Southern belle is plagued by a horrifying family secret which causes her to descend into madness after the arrival of a lost relative.  Frank DeVol wrote the music and Mack David’s lyrics open with the line, “Hush, hush, sweet Charlotte.”  ‘Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte’ was written early in the movie’s development and Bette Davis suggested that Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte should become the movie’s title instead of what was originally What Ever Happened to Cousin Charlotte?.  The song was nominated for an Oscar.  Despite being beaten for the Academy Award by ‘Chim Chim Cher-ee’ from Mary Poppins, which was originally sung by Dick Van Dyke and Julie Andrews.  A recording of Page’s rendition was rush-released and became the singer’s first Top 10 hit since 1958.

Mack David was an American lyricist and songwriter, best known for his work in film and television, with a career spanning the period between the early 1940s and the early 1970s.  David was credited with writing lyrics or music or both for over one thousand songs.  Mack David was born in 1912, he died in 1993 and he was inducted into the Song Writers Hall of Fame in 1975.  ‘Bibbidy Bobbidi Boo’ was one of eight Academy Award nominations that he received which was featured in the score for the 1950 Disney animated feature Cinderella.  He also co-wrote ‘The Unbirthday Song’ for the 1951 Disney feature Alice in Wonderland.

Bob Johnston was recruited by Columbia Records in New York, where he produced a string of notable and highly influential albums for the likes of Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen.  Working on the song ‘Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte’ was his first major assignment after being hired by Columbia.  The project was a tough one, as it was for the once popular but long faded Patti Page.  He got this job by using a contact that he had made with the Elvis movie people, they let him know that the movie which was in production was in need of a theme.  ‘Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte’ was a huge hit.  It revived Patti Page’s career and it meant that Bob Johnston was the new boy wonder at Columbia Records and this led directly to him working with Dylan.

Patti Page was born as Clara Ann Fowler in Claremore, Oklahoma on November 8, 1927 and she died on January 1, 2013. She was the top-selling female singer of the 1950s with more than 100 million records sold in her career, which spanned six-decades.  Clara Fowler got her stage name while working in the art department at a local radio station KTUL, which had a 15-minute program sponsored by Page Milk Co.  She stumbled on to the air when the anonymous star of a music show Meet Patti Page, called in sick because she had laryngitis.  A hastily-arranged audition resulted in Katy Fowler being substituted, and she henceforth assumed the name Patti Page.

Page was discovered in 1946 by saxophone player Jack Rael, who was making a stop in Tulsa when he heard her sing on the radio.  Rael asked her to join the band he managed, the Jimmy Joy Band.  Rael later became Page’s personal manager.  The Jimmy Joy Band ultimately settled in Chicago where Page met Benny Goodman.  The band leader helped her land her first contract with Mercury Records and she became the label’s “girl singer”.   ‘Tennessee Waltz’ became Page’s signature tune, topping the charts in 1950-1951 and this was the last song to sell a million copies of sheet music.  It eventually sold more than 10 million copies, ranking only behind ‘White Christmas’ by Bing Crosby at the time.  Her 1953 hit ‘How Much Is That Doggie In The Window?’ produced American sales exceeding two million which confounded the critics.  Page had 110 chart hits and 4 #1 singles.

Following the unexpected 1962 box-office hit What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, director Robert Aldrich wanted to re-team stars Joan Crawford and Bette Davis, but Joan Crawford withdrew claiming she was ill.  Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte is a 1964 American psychological thriller film directed and produced by Robert Aldrich, and starring Bette Davis, Olivia de Havilland, Joseph Cotten, Agnes Moorehead and Mary Astor in her final film role.  The original film soundtrack was by Al Martino who was an American singer and actor.  He had his greatest success as a singer between the early 1950s and mid-1970s, being described as “one of the great Italian American pop crooners”, and he also became well known as an actor, particularly for his role as singer Johnny Fontane in The Godfather.  This song became a hit for Patti Page, who took it to #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 and this became her final Gold record.  The song was Nominated for Academy Award for Best Original Song.

The lyrics to ‘Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte’ sound like a lullaby from a bygone era, but in between the mellifluous tones of this song hides a deadly message.  A shocking sequence in this film shows a group of children standing outside Charlotte’s house taunting her, by singing

Chop Chop Sweet Charlotte
Chop chop ‘til he’s dead
Chop Chop Sweet Charlotte
Chop off his hand and head.

Hush hush, sweet Charlotte
Charlotte, don’t you cry
Hush hush, sweet Charlotte
He’ll love you till he dies

Oh, hold him darling
Please hold him tight
And brush the tear from your eye
You weep because you had a dream last night
You dreamed that he said goodbye
He held two roses within his hand
Two roses he gave to you
The red rose tells you of his passion
The white rose his love so true

Hush hush, sweet Charlotte
Charlotte, don’t you cry
Hush hush, sweet Charlotte
He’ll love you till he dies

And every night after he shall die
Yes every night when he’s gone
The wind will sing you this lullaby
Sweet Charlotte was loved by John

Hush hush, sweet Charlotte
Charlotte, don’t you cry
Hush hush, sweet Charlotte
He’ll love you till he dies