Sunday, September 23, 2012

Those Oldies But Goodies…Out In The Be-Bop ‘50s Song Night- Jody Reynolds “Endless Sleep”- Billie’s View

Click on the headline to link to a YouTube film clip of Jody Reynolds performing the classic Endless Sleep.

Markin comment:

This is another tongue-in-cheek commentary, the back story if you like, in the occasional entries under this headline going back to the primordial youth time of the 1950s with its bags full of classic rock songs for the ages. Of course, any such efforts have to include the views of one Billie, William James Bradley, the mad hatter of the 1950s rock jailbreak out in our “the projects” neighborhood. Yah, in those days, unlike during his later fateful wrong turn trajectory days, every kid, including best friend Markin, me, lived to hear what he had to say about any song that came trumpeting over the radio, at least every one that we would recognize as our own. This song, Endless Sleep, came out at a time when I my family was beginning to start the process of moving out of the projects, and, more importantly, I had begun to move away from Billie’s orbit, his new found orbit as king hell gangster wannabe. I was in my 24/7 reading at the local public library branch phase in lieu of being Billie’s accomplice on various, well, let’s call them capers just in case the statute of limitations has not run out. Still Billie, king hell rock and roll king of the old neighborhood, knew how to call a lyric, and make us laugh to boot. Wherever you are Billie I’m still pulling for you. Got it.

"Endless Sleep"
(Jody Reynolds and Dolores Nance)

The night was black, rain fallin' down
Looked for my baby, she's nowhere around
Traced her footsteps down to the shore
‘fraid she's gone forever more
I looked at the sea and it seemed to say
“I took your baby from you away.
I heard a voice cryin' in the deep
“Come join me, baby, in my endless sleep.

Why did we quarrel, why did we fight?
Why did I leave her alone tonight?
That's why her footsteps ran into the sea
That's why my baby has gone from me.
I looked at the sea and it seemed to say
“I took your baby from you away.
I heard a voice cryin' in the deep
“Come join me, baby, in my endless sleep.

Ran in the water, heart full of fear
There in the breakers I saw her near
Reached for my darlin', held her to me
Stole her away from the angry sea
I looked at the sea and it seemed to say
“You took your baby from me away.
My heart cried out “she's mine to keep
I saved my baby from an endless sleep.

Endless sleep, endless sleep
Billie back again, William James Bradley, if you didn’t know. Markin’s pal, Peter Paul Markin’s pal, from over the Adamsville Elementary School and the pope of rock lyrics down here in “the projects.” The Adamsville projects, if you don’t know. Markin, who I hadn’t seen for a while since he told me his family was going to move out of the projects and who had developed this big thing for the local library and books lately, came by the other day to breathe in the fresh air of my rock universe-adorned bedroom when we got to talking about this latest record, Endless Sleep, by Jody Reynolds. All the parents around here, at least the parents that care anyway, or those who have heard the lyrics screaming from their kid’s plug-in blaring radio (that’s why they invented transistor radios-so parents wouldn’t, or couldn’t, catch on to what we are listening to- smarten up is what I say to those kids still on plug-in mode, for christ’s sake) about the not so subtle suicide theme. Yah, like that is what every kid is going to do when the going gets a little tough in the love department. Take a jump in the ocean, and call one and all to join them. Come on, will ya. It's only a song. Besides what is really good about this one is that great back beat on the guitar and Jody Reynolds' cool clothes and sideburns. I wish to high heaven I had both.

But see the pope of rock lyrics, me, can’t just leave this song like that. I have to decode it for the teeny-boppers around here or they will be clueless, including big time book guy Markin. And that is really what is going to make the difference between us here. We had a battle royal over this one. See, Markin always wants to give big play to the “social” meaning of the song, whatever that is, you know where the thing sticks in society, at least teeny-bopper society. Yah, and Markin is also the “sensitive” guy, usually. Like pulling for the girl to get her guy back, or at least go back to her old boyfriend for some back-up love, in Eddie My Love. Or has a kind thing to say about the dumb cluck of a bimbo who went back to the railroad track-stuck car to get some cheapjack class ring in Teen Angel (although he agreed, agreed fully, that the dame was a dumb cluck on other grounds).

Here though I am the sensitive guy, if you can believe that. Here’s why. It seems that Markin has some kind of exception to the “social” rule when it comes to the ocean, to the sea, christ, probably to some scum pond for all I know as the scene for suicide attempts. Apparently he is in the throes of some King Neptune frenzy and took umbrage (his word, not mind I don’t go to the library much) at the idea that someone would desecrate the sea that way, our homeland the sea was the way he put it. Like old Neptune hasn’t brought seventy-three types of hell on us with his hurricane tidal waves, his overflowing the seawalls, his flooding everything within three miles of the coast, or when he just throws his flotsam and jetsam (my words, from school, I like them) on the projects beaches whenever he gets fed up. So I have to defend this frail’s action, and gladly.

You know it really is unbelievable once you start to think about it how many of these songs don’t have people in them with names, real names, nicknames, anything to tag on them. Here it’s the same old thing. Markin would just blithely go on and makes up names but I’ll just give you the “skinny” without the Markin literary touches, okay. Rather than calling the girl every name in the book for disturbing the fishes or the plankton like Markin I am trying to see what happened here to drive her to such a rash action. Obviously they, the unnamed boy and girl, had an argument, alright a big argument if that satisfies you. What could it have been about? Markin, wise guy Markin, wants to make it some little thing like a missed date, or the guy didn't call or something. Maybe it was, but I think the poor girl was heartbroken about something bigger. Maybe boyfriend didn’t want to “go steady” or maybe he wasn’t ready to be her ever lovin’ one and only. Let me put it this way it was big, not Markin’s b.s. stuff.

Okay she went over the edge, no question, running down to the sea and jumping in. On a rainy night to boot. Hey she had it bad, whatever it was. But see old Neptune, Markin’s friend, maybe father for all I know, is taunting said boyfriend, saying he is taking his baby away. Well, frankly, and old wimpy Markin dismissed this out of hand, those are fighting words in the projects, and not just the projects either. And the girl, given the cold and what that does to you when you have been in too long is forced to taunt her lover boy, trying to bring him down too. This is the part I like though, although Markin would probably take umbrage (again), the boyfriend is ready to reclaim his honey, come hell or high water. Yah, he’s taking his baby back, and taking her no questions asked, from that nasty relentless sea. Chalk one up for our side. Yes, Billie, William James Bradley, is happy, pleased, delighted and any other words you can find in the library that this story has a happy ending. Markin be damned.

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