Saturday, August 24, 2013

You’ve Got That Right, The Have Not Part-Ernest Hemingway’s To Have And Have Not




From The Pen Of Frank Jackman

Book Review

To Have And Have Not, Ernest Hemingway, 1937

Those of us who have been spoon-fed on the film adaptation (and with a screenplay written by William Faulkner) To Have And Have Not starring Humphrey Bogart and a fresh young Lauren Bacall will be somewhat taken aback on reading Ernest Hemingway’s original story. Other than the title and a few names of characters they are two totally different animals. No crusty, no-nonsense, world wary, world weary, everybody looks out for themselves, but in the end unabashedly heroic sea captain Humphrey who succumbs to the charms ofLauren and is lured in by her “you know how whistle, don’t you?” all to the sway of seen it all piano player Hoagie Carmichael” s Am I Blue and How Little We Know. No more Humphrey getting off the dime and aiding the angels in the struggle that was blowing over Europe at the time of World War II as translated into Carib time just because he didn’t like some fat quisling doing Vichy’s dirty work out in the colonies. Or maybe, just maybe he didn’t like that third degree Lauren was put through by that quisling because she was down or her upper. And we will see no more mussing up the bad guys just because he didn’t like the cut of their jibe, and didn’t mind chasing a few windmills if a slender brunette came with it. So mainly we will see no more romantic haze in the night.

The book, conforming more to Hemingway’s interest in how men (and it was mainly men, and first half of the 20th century manly endeavors liking bull-fighting, soldier fighting, seadog ocean night fighting, hunting men or animals, stuff like that, he was interested in exploring with his pen, centers rather on a small time been around the block sea captain, Harry Morgan, same as in the book, and his struggle, well, his struggle to just make ends meet in 1930s Carib time. And just making ends meet for an uneducated, where is the next buck coming from,non-nonsense guy with limited (and specialized) skills is what drives the bulk of the book. In short, a “to have not” guy. Or better, a guy with cojones (and if you don’t know the word’s meaning or can’t figure it out Google the word and presto you will be in the know).What drives Harry is simply making the next dime to feed the wife and kids, and maybe some time for a drink or seven with the boys down at some gin mill by the docks where a stand-up guy like him could put things on the cuff.

By the way making that next dime legally if possible, but making it. But as the story unfolds old Harry’s life is filled with rough turns and so he is forced, there is no other way to say it, to put himself and his boat at the service of whoever will pay the freight. No reasonable, hell, no unreasonable offer refused out of hand. Bootleggers, drug smugglers, bank robbers and an off-hand revolutionary are in need of his services to either flee Key West or flee some place to get to Key West hi sport of call. And things were going, well, okay until the other shoe dropped on that last voyage, after that last great kiss-off. First a busted deal where he lost his own boat and one arm and then the losing of his small-scale life in another ill-advised caper.Oh yeah, and this story is told, as in the best of Hemingway in that sparse, functional, no-nonsense style that made him a stellar modernist writer in the days when flowery prose was the order of the day in order to sell books. Oh yeah, still see the movie if for no other reason than to see what it was like, in black and white in the 1940s, to see the steamiestsexual foreplay by two people with their clothes on you will ever see.

 
Out In The Be-Bop 1950s Night- A Breathe Of Fresh Air Hits The Radio Airwaves – When Elvis Was Young And Hungry-A CD Review


Watch Elvis sway on YouTube.
CD Review

Sunrise: Elvis Presley, Elvis Presley, 2 CD set, BMG Records. 1989

“I hate Elvis, I love Elvis,” I can still hear the echo of my old “the projects” boy, William James Bradley, also known as Billie, Billie from the hills, a mad demon of a kid and my best friend down in the elementary school. We grew apart after a while, and I will tell you why in a minute, but for a long time, a long kid time long, Billie, Billie of a hundred dreams, Billie of fifty (at least) screw-ups made me laugh and made my day when things were tough, like they almost always were, at my beat down broke down family house.

You know fifty some years later Billie was right. We hated Elvis, especially at that time when all the girls, the young girls got weak-kneed over him and he made the older girls (and women, some mothers even) sweat and left no room for ordinary mortal boys, “the projects boys” most of all, on their “dream” card. And most especially, hard as we tried, for brown-haired, tow-headed, blue-eyed ten, eleven and twelve year old boys who didn’t know how to dance, or sneer. We both got pissed off at my brother because, he looked very much like Elvis and although he had no manners, and no time for girls, they were all following him. Christ there really is no justice in this wicked old world.

And we loved Elvis for giving us, at least as far as we knew then, our own music, our own "jump' and our own jail-break from the tired old stuff we heard on the radio and television but did not ‘”speak” to us. And for the songs that he left behind. Not the goofy, Tin Pan Alley or somewhere like that, inspired “happy” music that went along with his mostly maligned, and rightly so, films but the stuff from the Sun Records days, the stuff from when he was from hunger. That, as we also from hunger, was like a siren call to break-out and then we caught his act on television and that was that. I probably walk “funny”, knees and hips out of whack, today from trying way back then to pour a third-rate imitation of his moves into my body to impress the girls.

But enough of Elvis’ place in the pre-teen and teen rock pantheon this is after all about Billie, and Elvis’ twisted spell on the poor boy. Now you know Billie, or you should, from another story, a story about Bo Diddley and how Billie wanted to, as a change of pace break from the Elvis rut create his own “style.” Well, in hard, hard post-World War II Northern white "the projects" racial animosity poor unknowing Billie got blasted away by one of the older, more knowing boys about wanted to emulate a n----r for his troubles.

That sent Billie, Billie from the hills, back to Elvis pronto. See, Billie was desperate to impress the girls way before I was aware of them, or their charms. Half, on some days, three-quarters of our conversations (I won’t say monologues because I did get a word in edgewise every once in a while when Billie got on one of his rants) revolved around doing this or that, something legal something not, to impress the girls. And that is where the “hate” part mentioned above comes in. Billie believed, and he may still believe it today, that if only he could approximate Elvis’s looks, look, stance, and substance that all the girls would be flocking to him.

Needless to say, such an endeavor required, requires money, dough, kale, cash, moola whatever you want to call it. And what twelve year old project boys (that’s the age time of this story, about late 1957, early 1958) didn’t have, and didn’t have in abundance was any of that do-re-mi. And no way to get it from missing parents, messed up parents, or just flat out poor parents. Billie’s and mine were the later, poor as church mice. No that‘s not right because church mice (in the way that I am using it, and as we used it back then to signify the respectable poor who “touted” their Catholic pious poorness as a badge of honor in this weaselly old world) would not do, would not think about, would not even breathe the same air of what we were about to embark on. A life of crime, kid stuff crime but I'll leave that to the readers judgment.

See, on one of Billie’s rants he got the idea in his head, and, maybe, it got planted there by something that he read about Elvis (Christ, he read more about that guy that he did about anybody else once he became an acolyte), that if he had a bunch of rings on all his fingers the girls would give him a tumble (a tumble in those days being a hard kiss on the lips for about twelve seconds or “copping” a little feel, and if I have to explain that last in more detail you had better just move on). But see, also Billie’s idea is that if he has all those rings, especially for a projects boy then it will make his story that has set to tell easier. And that story is none other than he wrote to Elvis (possible) and spoke man to man about his situation (improbable) and Elvis, Elvis the king, Elvis from nowhere Mississippi like we were from the nowhere projects, Elvis bleeding heart, had sent him these rings to give him a start in life (outrageously impossible.) Christ, I don’t believe old Billie came up with that story even now when I am a million years world-weary.

But first you need the rings and as the late honorable bank robber, Willie Sutton, said about robbing banks-that’s where the money is-old Billie, blessed, beatified Billie, figured out, and figured out all by himself, that if you want to be a ring stealer that you better go to the jewelry store because that is where the rings are. Now the reader, and rightly so, now, might ask where was his best buddy during this time and why was he not offering wise counsel about the pitfalls of crime and the virtues of honesty and incorruptibility. Well, when Billie got off on his rant you just waited to see what played out but the real reason was, hell, maybe I could get a ring for my ring-less fingers and be on my way to impress the girls too. I think they call it, or could call it, aiding and abetting.

But enough of that superficial moralizing. Let’s get to the jewelry store, the best one in the downtown of the working class town we were appendaged to (literally so because it was located on a one road in and out peninsula). We walked a couple of miles to get there, plotting all the way. Bingo the Acme Jewelry Store(or some name like that) jumped up at us. Billie’s was as nervous as a colt and I was not far behind, although on this caper I am just the “stooge”, if that. I’m to wait outside to see if John Law comes by. Okay, Billie, good luck. And strangely enough his luck is good that day, and many days after, although those days after were not ring days. That day though his haul was five rings. Five shaky rings, shaky hands Billie, as we walked, then started running, away from the down town area. When we got close to home we stopped near the beach where we lived to see up close what the rings looked like. Billie yelled, “Damn.” And why did he yell that word. Well, apparently in his terror (his word to me) at getting caught he just grabbed what was at hand. And what was at hand were five women’s rings. Now, how are you going to impress girls, ten, eleven or twelve year old girls, even if as na├»ve as us, and maybe more so, that Elvis is you bosom buddy and you are practically his only life-line adviser with five women’s rings? Damn, damn is right.

P.S. It took a few years and some sense getting knocked into me, and a funny trip to the local library where I squirreled up and started reading books to break from the Billie, Billie from the hills habit, and his habits. We drifted away mainly because he was “hot” and I was just getting into being “cool”, or thinking I was. The last I had heard Billie had just finished a long stretch for armed robbery. Damn, damn is right.

Marching for King's dream: 'The task is not done'


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WASHINGTON (AP) — Tens of thousands of people marched to the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial and down the National Mall on Saturday, commemorating the 50th anniversary of King's famous speech and pledging that his dream includes equality for gays, Latinos, the poor and the disabled.

The event was an homage to a generation of activists that endured fire hoses, police abuse and indignities to demand equality for African Americans. But there was a strong theme of unfinished business.

"This is not the time for nostalgic commemoration," said Martin Luther King III, the oldest son of the slain civil rights leader. "Nor is this the time for self-congratulatory celebration. The task is not done. The journey is not complete. We can and we must do more."

Eric Holder, the nation's first black attorney general, said he would not be in office, nor would Barack Obama be president, without those who marched.

"They marched in spite of animosity, oppression and brutality because they believed in the greatness of what this nation could become and despaired of the founding promises not kept," Holder said.

Holder mentioned gays and Latinos, women and the disabled as those who had yet to fully realize the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream. Others in the crowd advocated organized labor, voting rights, revamping immigration policies and access to local post offices.

Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., the only surviving speaker from the 1963 March on Washington, railed against a recent Supreme Court decision that effectively erased a key anti-discrimination provision of the Voting Rights Act. Lewis was a leader of a 1965 march, where police beat and gassed marchers who demanded access to voting booths.

"I gave a little blood on that bridge in Selma, Ala., for the right to vote," he said. "I am not going to stand by and let the Supreme Court take the right to vote away from us. You cannot stand by. You cannot sit down. You've got to stand up. Speak up, speak out and get in the way."

Organizers expected about 100,000 people to participate in the event, the precursor to the actual anniversary of the Aug. 28, 1963, march that drew some 250,000 to the National Mall and ushered in the idea of massive, nonviolent demonstrations.

Marchers began arriving early Saturday, many staking out their spots as the sun rose in a clear sky over the Capitol. By midday, tens of thousands had gathered on the National Mall.

Lynda Chambers, 58, gave up a day's pay to attend because her retail job does not provide paid vacation. Even as a 7-year-old at the time of the original march, she felt alienated and deprived of her rights. Remembering those feelings, she said, she was compelled to make the trip Saturday.

"I wanted to have some sort of connection to what I have always known, as far as being a black person," she said.

Longtime activist Al Sharpton, now a MSNBC host, implored young black men to respect women and reminded them that two of the leading figures in the civil rights movement of the 1960s were women.

"Rosa Parks wasn't no ho," he said. "And Fannie Lou Hamer wasn't no bitch."

Speakers frequently mentioned persistent high unemployment among blacks, which is about twice that of white Americans, and the acquittal of George Zimmerman for the shooting death of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin in Florida. Along the Mall, Martin's picture was nearly as ubiquitous as King's.

Nancy Norman, of Seattle, said she was disappointed more people who look like her had not attended. She is white. But the 58-year-old she said she was glad to hear climate change discussed alongside voting rights.

"I'm the kind of person who thinks all of those things are interconnected. Climate change is at the top of my list," Norman said. "I don't think it's one we can set aside for any other discussion."

Those in attendance arrived in a post-9/11 Washington that was very different from the one civil rights leaders visited in 1963.

Then, people crowded the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and could get close to King to hear his "I Have a Dream" speech. Saturday's speakers were also on the memorial's steps, but metal barriers kept people away from the reflecting pool and only a small group of attendees was allowed near the memorial Saturday.

There was a media area and VIP seating. Everyone else had been pushed back and watched and listened to the speeches on big-screen televisions. Police were stationed atop the Lincoln Memorial. After the speeches, marchers walked from there, past the King Memorial, then down the National Mall to the Washington Monument, a distance of just over a mile.

On the day of the anniversary, President Barack Obama will speak from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. He will be joined by former Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter. Churches and groups have been asked to ring bells at 3 p.m. Wednesday, marking the exact time King spoke.

Joseph Lowery, who founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference along with King, urged the crowd to continue working for King's ideals.

"We've come to Washington to commemorate," the 92-year-old civil rights leader said, "and we're going home to agitate."

———

Follow Suzanne Gamboa at http://www.twitter.com/APsgamboa
***Those Oldies But Goodies…Out In The Be-Bop ‘50s Song Night- The Battle Rages- Jerry Lee or Elvis?- Jerry Lee Lewis’ “High School Confidential”


Click on the headline to link to a YouTube film clip of Jerry Lee Lewis banging away on that piano for his life on High School Confidential from the movie of the same name.
Markin comment:
This is the back story, the teen listener back story if you like, going back to the primordial youth time of the mid to late 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 schoolboy mad-hatter of the 1950s rock jailbreak out in our “the projects” neighborhood. Ya, 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.

Billie and I spent many, many hours mainly up in his tiny bedroom, his rock heaven bedroom, walls plastered with posters of Elvis, Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry, somewhat later Jerry Lee Lewis, and of every new teen heartthrob singer, heartthrob to the girls that is, around, on his night table every new record Billie could get his hands on, by hook or by crook, and neatly folded piles of clothing, also gathered by that same hook or by crook, appropriate to the king hell king of the schoolboy rock scene, the elementary school rock scene between about 1956 to 1960. Much of that time was spent discussing the “meaning” of various songs, especially their sexual implications, ah, their mystery of girls-finding-out-about worthiness.

Although in early 1959 my family had started 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 still would wander back there until mid-1960 just to hear his take on whatever music was interesting him at the time. These commentaries, these Billie commentaries, are my recollections of his and my conversations on the song lyrics in this series. But I am not relying on memory alone. During this period we would use my father’s tape recorder, by today’s standard his big old reel to reel monstrosity of a tape recorder, to record Billie’s covers of the then current hit songs (for those who have not read previously of Billie’s “heroics” he was a pretty good budding rock singer at the time) and our conversations of those song meanings that we fretted about for hours. I have, painstakingly, had those reels transcribed so that many of these commentaries will be the actual words spoken during those conversations(somewhat edited, of course). That said, 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.
*********
High School Confidential lyrics-Jerry Lee Lewis

You better open up honey it's your lover boy me that's a knockin'
You better listen to me sugar all the cats are at the High School rockin'
Honey get your boppin' shoes Before the juke box blows a fuse
Got everybody hoppin' everybody boppin'

Boppin' at the High School Hop
Boppin' at the High School Hop
Shakin' at the High School Hop
I've rollin' at the High School Hop
I've been movin' at the High School Hop
Everybody’s hoppin' Everybody's boppin'
Boppin' at the High School Hop

Come on little baby gonna rock a little bit tonight
Woooh I got get with you sugar gonna shake things up tonight
Check out the heart beatin' rhythm cause my feet are moving smooth and
Light

Boppin' at the High School Hop
Shakin' at the High School Hop
Rollin' at the High School Hop
Movin' at the High School Hop
Everybody’s hoppin' just a boppin' just a boppin'

Piano Solo!

Come on little baby let me give a piece good news good news good news
Jerry Lee is going to rock away all his blues
My hearts beatin' rhythm and my soul is singin' the blues

Oooooh Boppin' at the High School Hop
Shakin' at the High School Hop
Rollin' at the High School Hop
Gettin' it at the High School Hop
Everybody’s hoppin' Everybody's boppin'
Boppin' at the High School Hop
********
Peter Paul Markin comment:

“Who are you taking to the hop? Come on now, tell me, tell me, your old buddy Billie, who you asked? Was it Theresa? Was it Donna? Was it Karen?” That was the incessant bugging by my old elementary school boy compadre, Billie, William James Bradley if you didn’t know already, every time a school sock hop came up. But you know, or you should know, that was just a little way that he had to bait me about my shyness, or rather my awkwardness around girls. Around girls that he, king hell king of the late 1950s rock night “discarded” and left for the rest of us, especially for me.

And he knew, he knew damn well that I had not gotten up the nerve to ask any of those three ex-flames, or any girl, to the dance coming up in a few days. For one thing because, as king hell king of the rock night, and therefore king, crowned or uncrowned, of the sock hop he had all the configurations, combinations, set-ups, and, and, no-go bust-ups all computed out, no, not on some machine memory depot but in his head. For another because he didn’t know that I had decided just to go to the dance alone and maybe getting lucky there. Heck, I had done it before, a few times, although not with any great success but if there is any rhyme or reason to youth it is around the possibilities of getting lucky. Of course, old Billie had “selected” Laura as his escort, no awkwardness in Billie, although I had heard, heard from more than one budding teenage source that she “liked me,”(don’t ever tell him this though for I will deny it on seven stacked bibles). Or liked my seriousness, and my clowny, get in the way bookishness. So I am going “stag” on the hope, the hell or high water hope that Billie will let his old buddy, his old amigo, his, well you know, have a dance with his escort to see if I have some “magic.”

Now, and ever since I heard about her opinion of me, I have been wracking my brain to figure out this question. How could she “like me”, or not like me for that matter, I do not know because although I had looked over in her direction in class dreamily (yes, dreamily) more than somewhat I had never said word one to her, or her to me. Now this Laura, if you want a description is not drop-dead beautiful, at least by Billie-Markin defined drop-dead beautiful, twelve and thirteen year old girl beautiful, but she has something else that I would not (and Billie definitely would not) figure out how to say for many years, she was fetching. Definition: nice figure, meaning having a shape, if you really want to know, because when you think about it, boy or girl, twelve and thirteen year old boy or girl, any girl that had a shape (meaning had womanly contours, hips, breasts, nicely-formed legs) rather than a stock stick figure tomboy-like girl was bound to get ahead in that be-bop night, and probably now too.

But more than that, for me, if not for Billie, she didn’t giggle, silly giggle like the other girls when a boy said something stupid-funny (and the twelve and thirteen year old boy universe is more than somewhat filled with stupid-funny stuff done by eons of clueless guys, trying, trying just like me, and just like Billie if he could have ever been honest about it, to figure out the key to the girl-charm thing, yes, there is plenty of room in that universe even now for the stupid-funny) and, she carried herself in a way, sometimes with a certain thoughtful look, sometimes by a thing she did by putting her fingers to her lips, and maybe the most important, that she knew she was a girl and was content with that knowledge. She would lack for no dates or admirers, ever. Oh, ya she was also smart, not Billie street smart, not Markin two-thousand facts smart but asking and answering teacher smart, without being crazy smart about it that you also knew every boy, or almost every boy, in the twelve and thirteen year old boy universe did not like in girls then, and maybe now for all I know. It only gets sifted out later.

But enough of Laura, of Billie, christ of Markin as well, of pre-sock hop arrangements, derangements and dreamily kid in the night be-bop stuff let us get to the sock hop. Hey, wait a minute, you know what sock hops are, or you heard from your parents or grandparents what sock hops are, right? Back in the fifties, yes, the 1950s (and a little bit into the 1960s but the term had kind of died out by then, at least for “non-squares”). If you don’t then I’ll fill you in quickly now, but you’ll see you really know about all of this because it is nothing but a “primitive”, maybe Stone Age when you hear it, version of any school dance scene since they started making teenagers a separate social category in the world, the whole wide world even. Okay the idea was to hem in this mad dash, this mad craze to dance, and dance guys with girls and vice versa, that kids have been into since the radio and jukebox came on the scene, maybe back in that Stone Age now that I think about it.

So dear mother and father, you name the generation, figured out if you can’t beat them join them, and the schools (and churches later) were in cahoots. So every once in a while to keep three eyes on this stuff (and to avoid the feared, seriously feared, basement or “family room”-launched “petting parties” if kids are left to their own devices), maybe a few times a month they would throw a sock hop (the sock part comes from the fact, the hard fact, that most girls, most twelve and thirteen year old girls, wore ankle socks. Ya, no nylons, etc. If you don’t believe me look it up on Wikipedia, or something). Now, most times, this was nothing but some parent or teacher acting as dee-jay and "spinning platters” (records) in some dank, well-lighted, too well-lighted school gym or church basement, christ more than once in the school cafeteria when the gym was being used for other purposes that night. Yes, the night, the night in those days being from seven to about ten in the evening so you would have to think pretty hard about not going, stag or dated up, to the dance if for no other reason than to be able to get out of the house, the cramped, nowhere project house (really apartment) for a few hours uncramped freedom.

This night, this night that Billie kidded me about, this Billie and Laura night, though somehow, although I am vague on the details of how they were brought in, we are not reduced to cranky, scratchy records but a real live local band, a band that prided itself, I heard, on doing covers of the “hot” new singers and groups we knew from American Bandstand (an afternoon television show that had Philly kids, older Philly kids, dancing and swaying to whatever dee-jay Dick Clark, is he still around?, decided was wholesome and fit for the ears of America’s afternoon rock obsessed youth). So this is a time you definitely did not want to miss. And to truth to tell I went early, nervously early if you must know, to see what was up and watch the band set up.

Now this is not just any time in the 1950s, although the sock hop thing, the worried parent, worried about those “petting party” things(and more, much more, about sex things) and this wild and woolly rock obsessed thing their no understand what kids are into could have been anytime from about 1955 on, from the time that Elvis exploded onto the scene with those swiveling hips, that jumping girl guitar, that unkempt hair (ya, unkempt to them), and that permanent sneer came onto the scene.

No, this is 1958 when the Elvis thing had died down a little now that he was dead, or we thought he was dead, and for a fact he might have well have been dead in the constant teen chew-up of rock talent from the kind of music and movies he was into after giving us such great stuff like Jailhouse Rock, Good Rockin’ Tonight, Heartbreak Hotel and One Night With You. Ya, the king was dead, long live the king, and let’s move on, okay. Billie and I talked about it, about how guys, rock guys that is, seen to have a short shelf-life, but as Billie knew, knew from his own bumpy rock “career”, that’s show biz. So this night we are wondering, wondering like crazy, how the band will work out and whose music they will cover.

Like I said I got there early and watched the band set up, including a piano besides the guitar and drums so I figure maybe they will do some Little Richard or Fats Domino stuff. Seven o’clock comes and here comes Billie with Laura. Wow, Billie has on a nice jacket, wide lapels like all the rock guys are wearing these days (I’ll tell you about how he got it sometime but you can figure that a projects boy didn’t get it as a birthday present from Ma and Pa). Really sharp. But double wow on Laura who has on a cashmere sweater, some wide skirt and, can you believe this, nylons, to show off her nice legs. Oh ya, and just a hint of smile on her face like she is here with the king of the rock night, crowned or uncrowned, and she has staked out the territory as queen, demure queen, but queen nevertheless.

Yes, fetching (although we will agree between ourselves that I don’t know that word, or how to use it in relationship to describing girls and their charms just yet, alright). But here is where the sweetest part comes in when Billie and Laura make their royal entrance and come over to where I am standing when Billie introduces me, formally introduces Laura to me, she gives me this, well, I don’t care if I do wear out the word, fetching smile and says “I’ve seen you in class but you never seem to pay any attention to me. I thought that report you gave on Greek democracy in class was very well done.” Be still my heart, she actually remembers the report… and me. And here I am wearing some bedraggled (always bedraggled, always) stripped (stripes, jesus) white collared shirt, ratty black pants, and old Thom McAn Easter-bought brown shoes. Well, she remembered my report, that’s a start, and it actually was pretty good because I went to the Thomas Crane Public Library right up in Adamsville Square to look the stuff up.

But enough of reports, and "be still my hearts" because the music is going on. A few covers of Little Richard and Fats as I expected, with that piano and all, some Buddy Holly that sounded a little tinny, a few other non-memorable odd and ends, including some Elvis that sounded, and I again swear on seven bibles, like old time parents’ music, like Frank Sinatra, or those guys. The suddenly, the leader of the band said that he had a special guest on the piano for the next number. We all wondered what the song would be while they were setting the piano up closer to the front. I heard somebody say it was going to be something by a new guy, Jerry Lee Lewis. Whoa! I have only heard him once or twice but I thought his piano was smoking so maybe this guest guy could do a good cover on it. Billie, Billie king hell king of the rock night, must have known something was up, and why (always why) because he brought Laura over and asked me if wanted to dance the next dance with her. Me, two left feet, or two right feet, stag, coming to the dance stag just hoping that I would get lucky with “discarded” Theresa, Donna, or Karen dance with fetching Laura. No way. The she said “but I really want to dance with you, you being Billie friend, and he says you are a good dancer,” and then turns a very whimsical smile on me.

Well what are you going to do when a woman (alright girl, but a girl with a shape) wants to dance with you, and had something nice to say about your school report, and, oh yes had that smile, that come hinter smile that leaves a man (okay, boy) anywhere from twelve to twelve hundred weak at the knees. Well, the music is starting so I say yes, okay yes.

And what does our guest pianist do but a cover, a hot cover by the way, of Jerry Lee Lewis’ latest, High School Confidential, which I had heard about but had not heard. Great. Laura and I are dancing away and she is doing nothing but give me meaningful smiles and, maybe that rumor about her “liking me” was true. I am just dancing away like crazy and people are looking at me like where did he learn how to do that. After the dance I returned Laura to Billie, a little miffed Billie but I could have been wrong on that. And then Theresa came over and asked if I wanted to dance. A few dances, a few Laura-less dances later the call for last dance came, and not feeling like watching Laura with Billie just then I headed home.

The next morning, a Sunday morning, if I recall, Billie came over to the house and was fuming/hangdog as we talked, talked obviously about the sock hop doings. Fuming because I had switched up on him. How? Well, apparently, Laura, sweet fetching Laura, spent more than the allotted time talking about me, rather than about Billie’s virtues and he had used the dance, the Jerry Lee Lewis manic rock number that he had found out the band was going to play to make me look silly (his word, although mine when I heard it was more of an expletive). Hangdog because he felt bad now that he had done his best friend wrong, wrong over a girl although, in Billie fashion, he tried to step back and argue that maybe he did me a favor getting me out on the dance floor. See, though what he didn’t know (and don’t tell him either, if you know his whereabouts) is that I had been taking lessons from his slightly older sister, Carol, on how to dance this latest faster dance stuff.

So that is the end of the story, or almost the end. A few days later Laura knocked at our apartment door in the afternoon after school. My mother answered the door and invited her in, although she, my mother that is, said Laura was coming in no matter what from the look on her face. She was fuming, although as it turns out good fuming, because she said she had been smiling at me like crazy when we were dancing to give me the “hint” to ask her for the last dance, the last close to her dance. Sorry, Laura. And then she blurted out her command, “You and I are going to the next sock hop together and you had better not say no.” Well, when a woman (girl, are you happy) "insists” on something, almost anything like that, and on top of that had that kind remark about that school report, and that shape, what is a boy, a boy of the twelve and thirteen year old universe to do but say yes. So at the next dance I won’t be dancing with Billie “discard” Theresa, Donna, or Karen although they are okay but with fetching Laura. So there Billie, we are even. And if anybody asks you, like they asked me once-Elvis or Jerry Lee? Jerry Lee, long live the king.
***Those Oldies But Goodies…Out In The Be-Bop ‘50s Song Night- Billie’s Lament- Elvis’ "One Night"


A YouTube film clip of Elvis Presley performing One Night Of Sin.
Markin comment:

This is the back story, the teen listener back story if you like, going back to the primordial youth time of the mid to late 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 schoolboy mad-hatter of the 1950s rock jailbreak out in our “the projects” neighborhood. Ya, 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.

Billie and I spent many, many hours mainly up in his tiny bedroom, his rock heaven bedroom, walls plastered with posters of Elvis, Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry, somewhat later Jerry Lee Lewis, and of every new teen heartthrob singer, heartthrob to the girls that is, around; on his night table every new record Billie could get his hands on, by hook or by crook; and, neatly folded piles of clothing, also gathered by that same hook or by crook, appropriate to the king hell king of the schoolboy rock scene, the elementary school rock scene between about 1956 to 1960. Much of that time was spent discussing the “meaning” of various songs, especially their sexual implications, ah, their mystery of girls-finding-out-about worthiness.

Although in early 1959 my family had started 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 still would wander back there until mid-1960 just to hear his take on whatever music was interesting him at the time. These commentaries, these Billie commentaries, are my recollections of his and my conversations on the song lyrics in this series. But I am not relying on memory alone. During this period we would use my father’s tape recorder, by today’s standard his big old reel to reel monstrosity of a tape recorder, to record Billie’s covers of the then current hit songs (for those who have not read previously of Billie’s “heroics” he was a pretty good budding rock singer at the time) and our conversations of those song meanings that we fretted about for hours. I have, painstakingly, had those reels transcribed so that many of these commentaries will be the actual words spoken during those conversations (somewhat edited, of course). That said, 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.
*********
One Night-Elvis Presley

Intro: E A A11 E

[NC] Riff 1 Riff 1
One night with you
B7
Is what I'm now praying for
B7
The things that we two could plan
E
Would make my dreams come true
[NC] Riff 1 Riff 1
Just call my name
B7
And I'll be right by your side
B7
I want your sweet helping hand
E E7
My loves too strong to hide

Riff 2 Riff 2
Always lived, very quiet life
Riff 1
I ain't never did no wrong
Riff 3
Now I know that life without you
B7
Has been too lonely too long


One night with you
Is what I'm now praying for
The things that we two could plan
Would make my dreams come true

Always lived, very quiet life
I ain't never did no wrong
Now I know that life without you
Has been too lonely too long

One night with you
Is what I'm now praying for
The things that we two could plan
E A A11 E B7 E7
Would make my dreams come true
*****

Billie, William James Bradley, comment:

Ya, I know I haven’t talked to you in a while like I was suppose to. I was suppose to tell you all about Markin’s, Peter Paul Markin's, my best friend over Adamsville Elementary School, ill-fated attempts to single-handedly close the space gap they keep talking about ever since the commies put that Sputnik satellite up in orbit last year. I will have to put that on hold for now, because I still kind of broken up about something. See I got caught up, well I might as well just come out with it, with woman trouble, alright girl trouble okay. Some of you may know about how old best buddy Peter Paul tried to used Jerry Lee Lewis to cut my time with Laura, Laura Doyle. Ya Laura, the hottest frill in school, and maybe in this dead old town if you just count twelve or thirteen year old girls. And for right now all that counts, anyway. Got it.

Oh you think that Peter Paul, old best pal but definitely strictly junior varsity when it comes to the women, ah, girls took Laura away from me. Jesus, are you kidding? Come on now, if you know the story then you know that’s a joke, and if you don’t you should still know it is a joke. Hell, I swept Laura back even before the next school dance. I just let, once I figured out that Laura was really dazzled more by Jerry Lee’s hopped-up piano on High School Confidential than Peter Paul’s book shuffle dancing, nature take its course and she was back in my arms before you knew it. Maybe I will tell you the details of that one some time but unlike that space thing, that Markin single-handed space thing, don’t hold me to telling you that story. Just say that nature is one thing you can’t escape from, nature and the king of the rock night around here, me, putting on his charm, his high Elvis charm and it was all over. Markin’s white flag was flying all over the place almost before it began.

No, what has me down in the dumps, seriously down in the dumps is that Laura moved away from the neighborhood a couple of weeks ago. Now I don’t know if Markin explained what this “projects” neighborhood thing is here down in Adamsville but it started out with guys like Markin’s father Prescott (a good guy although he is nothing but a Protestant, a Southern Baptist or something like that, but not a Roman Catholic like most of us here, and definitely not Irish like most of us too, but everybody likes him even William James Bradley Senior, Billie Senior, my father, and he doesn’t like anybody usually, anybody without a beer bottle in his hand giving it to him anyway) and my father coming back from the war, World War II, and needing some housing, some cheap housing to hold them over until better times came along. And that’s how it worked for lots of people,

Well, except for Markin’s father and mine, who seem are going to be here forever and you can forget the better times. Well the ship finally came in for Laura’s father, a veteran like Prescott and Billie, Sr., and so they are moving to New Hampshire to some better place in the country or something. Laura showed me a picture of the place and it looked pretty good.

But see here is the bitch, excuse my language. No question Billie, William James Bradley, is strictly a love ‘em and leave guy. I have had plenty of girlfriends already, most of them sticks, no shapes, if you know what I means, eleven and twelve year sticks, maybe one or two ten, sticks like Theresa, Karen and Donna (Cool Donna O’Toole, not my older sister Donna who is no stick but who I don’t talk to lately, if I can help it, what with her not liking anything in the world just because I like it). Laura though was my first step-up not stick girl, with a nice shape, a shape like a woman, or trying to be, and it showed, the trying part. Definitely something to invest some time in, some Billie time, and I did.

Here is where the bitch part comes in. Not only was Laura smart, and had those curves, that shape I just told you about. But as it turns out she had some great kind of kiss, long kisses, longer than any of the stick girls, way longer. And Laura was not afraid, once I put on the charm, to let me feel her up. I am not bragging and she is gone far away and so I am not talking behind her back but a few times, about four or five, she and I well, we acted like adults that way. And it wasn’t all me pushing either. See I knew that from my sister Donna, when were talking more, that girls like this kind of stuff as well as guys do although they usually don’t let on. So, if you excuse me, I am kind of down in the dumps because I will now be left with just the sticks. And you know they don’t go for that sex stuff, or even think about it, or maybe even dream about it like it was a mortal sin. And maybe it is but don’t tell me that, or Laura.

And do you know how we set the mood for our fooling around once Laura got over that one-hit Jerry Lee thing? Well, I’ll give you a hint. A guy from Mississippi with long sideburns and a wicked sneer that made all the girls act crazy, and women too. Sure, Elvis. But not just any Elvis song. One Night. That was OUR song. And if you think about the lyrics a minute it talks about a guy being lonely, finding the right girl and making plans for the future. That guy was me, me with Laura because, and just ask Peter Paul, otherwise I am a love ‘em and leave ‘em guy. But now she’s gone, gone to some freaking farm country and will probably wind up showing some hayseed a good time, if you know what I mean. But, as Billie Senior says, says all the time-“that’s the breaks, kid.”

See, now that I am over my period of mourning, two weeks is enough for any girl, shape or no shape, and I am talking to Peter about different records I might as well tell you what I discovered in checking up on history, Elvis history what else? That One Night thing was strictly kid’s stuff, goodie, goodie Ed Sullivan, and good parenting seal of approval kid’s stuff to make us act just like grown-ups. Find a girl or guy, make plans, settle down and maybe listen to Elvis all day and all night until we are old, like thirty maybe. Square, very square, if not just plain cube.

There is the real thing though and I can hardly wait to try it out on my next chick, my next love ‘em and leave ‘em chick. I found a recording up at Benny’s Record Shop in Adamsville Square that Elvis recorded that has the same beat as One Night but with different lyrics, One Night Of Sin. Ya, that’s more like it, more like real Elvis, more like Billie, William James Bradley, king of the rock night around here. And guess what? I have been noticing that Donna O’Toole, Cool Donna O’Toole is starting to have some shape, some woman’s shape, or trying to and maybe I‘ll give her another chance. Peter Paul, mad man Peter Paul Markin, heard that Donna cried no tears, no tears at all, when Laura headed north. I know one thing for sure I am going to make One Night Of Sin my song, and I don’t mind paying for my sins after. Got it.
*****
One Night Of Sin lyrics
One night of sin, yeah
Is what I'm now paying for
The things I did and I saw
Would make the earth stand still

Don't call my name
It makes me feel so ashamed
I lost my sweet helping hand
I got myself to blame

Always lived, very quiet life
Ain't never did no wrong
But now I know that very quiet life
Has cost me nothing but harm

One night of sin, yeah
Is what I'm now paying for
The things I did and I saw
Would make the earth stand still

Always lived, very quiet life
Ain't never did no wrong
But now I know that very quiet life
Has cost me nothing but harm

One night of sin, yeah
Is what I'm now paying for
The things I did and I saw
Would make the earth stand still
Also 50 years later the truth-teller...

Malcolm X on the March on Washington, 1964



From The Autobiography of Malcolm X. New York: Ballantine Books, 1964. 278-281.

Not long ago, the black man in America was fed a dose of another form of the weakening, lulling and deluding effects of so-called "integration." It was that "Farce in Washington," I call it. The idea of a mass of blacks marching on Washington was originally the brainchild of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters' A. Philip Randolph. For twenty or more years the March on Washington idea had floated around among Negroes. And, spontaneously, suddenly now, that idea caught on. Overalled rural Southern Negroes, small town Negroes, Northern ghetto Negroes, even thousands of previously Uncle Tom Negroes began talking "March!" Nothing since Joe Louis had so coalesced the masses of Negroes. Groups of Negroes were talking of getting to Washington any way they could--in rickety old cars, on buses, hitch-hiking--walking, even, if they had to. They envisioned thousands of black brothers converging together upon Washington--to lie down in the streets, on airport runways, on government lawns--demanding of the Congress and the White House some concrete civil rights action. This was a national bitterness; militant, unorganized, and leaderless. Predominantly, it was young Negroes, defiant of whatever might be the consequences, sick and tired of the black man's neck under the white man's heel. The white man had plenty of good reasons for nervous worry. The right spark--some unpredictable emotional chemistry--could set off a black uprising. The government knew that thousands of milling, angry blacks not only could completely disrupt Washington--but they could erupt in Washington. The White House speedily invited in the major civil rights Negro "leaders." They were asked to stop the planned March. They truthfully said they hadn't begun it, they had no control over it--the idea was national, spontaneous, unorganized, and leaderless. In other words, it was a black powder keg. Any student of how "integration" can weaken the black man's movement was about to observe a master lesson. The White House, with a fanfare of international publicity, "approved," "endorsed," and "welcomed" a March on Washington. The big civil rights organizations right at this time had been publicly squabbling about donations. The New York Times had broken the story. The NAACP had charged that other agencies' demonstrations, highly publicized, had attracted a major part of the civil rights donations--while the NAACP got left holding the bag, supplying costly bail and legal talent for the other organizations' jailed demonstrators. It was like a movie. The next scene was the "big six" civil rights Negro "leaders" meeting in New York City with the white head of a big philanthropic agency. They were told that their money--wrangling in public was damaging their image. And a reported $800,000 was donated to a United Civil Rights Leadership council that was quickly organized by the "big six." Now, what had instantly achieved black unity? The white man's money. What string was attached to the money? Advice. Not only was there this donation, but another comparable sum was promised, for sometime later on, after the March. . . obviously if all went well. The original "angry" March on Washington was now about to be entirely changed. Massive international publicity projected the "big six" as March on Washington leaders. It was news to those angry grass-roots Negroes steadily adding steam to their March plans. They probably assumed that now those famous "leaders" were endorsing and joining them. Invited next to join the March were four famous white public figures: one Catholic, one Jew, one Protestant, and one labor boss. The massive publicity now gently hinted that the "big ten" would "supervise" the March on Washington's "mood," and its "direction." The four white figures began nodding. The word spread fast among so-called "liberal" Catholics, Jews, Protestants, and laborites: it was "democratic" to join this black March. And suddenly, the previously March--nervous whites began announcing they were going. It was as if electrical current shot through the ranks of bourgeois Negroes--the very so-called "middle class" and "upper class" who had earlier been deploring the March on Washington talk by grass-roots Negroes. But white people, now, were going to march. Why, some downtrodden, jobless, hungry Negroes might have gotten trampled. Those "integration"-mad Negroes practically ran over each other trying to find out where to sign up. The "angry blacks" March suddenly had been made chic. Suddenly it had a Kentucky Derby image. For the status-seeker, it was a status symbol. "Were you there?" You can hear that right today. It had become an outing, a picnic. The morning of the March, any rickety carloads of angry, dusty, sweating small-town Negroes would have gotten lost among the chartered jet planes, railroad cars, and air-conditioned buses. What originally was planned to be an angry riptide, one English newspaper aptly described now as "the gentle flood." Talk about "integrated"! It was like salt and pepper. And, by now, there wasn't a single logistics aspect uncontrolled. The marchers had been instructed to bring no signs--signs were provided. They had been told to sing one song: "We Shall Overcome." They had been told how to arrive, when, where to arrive, where to assemble, when to start marching, the route to march. First aid stations were strategically located--even where to faint! Yes, I was there. I observed that circus. Who ever heard of angry revolutionists all harmonizing "We Shall Overcome. . .Suum Day. . ." while tripping and swaying along arm-in-arm with the very people they were supposed to be angrily revolting against? Who ever heard of angry revolutionists swinging their bare feet together with their oppressor in lily-pad park pools, with gospels and guitars and "I Have A Dream" speeches? And the black masses in America were--and still are--having a nightmare.
 
***Out In The 1950s Crime Noir Night- Robert Mitchum Watch Out For Fetching Femmes Fatales, Will You- "His Kind Of Woman"- A Review


DVD Review

His Kind Of Woman, starring Robert Mitchum, Jane Russell, Raymond Burr, Vincent Price, produced by Howard Hughes, RKO Pictures, 1951



Just when you think a guy, in this case a Robert Mitchum 1950s crime noir movie actor guy, hasn’t got enough sense to come in out of the rain when some vampish femme fatale displays her charms he finally gets some sense, a little anyway. Previously I had the following to say about Brother Mitchum in a review of Angel Face (co-starring young femme fatale Jean Simmons):

Some guys never learn, never learn to leave well enough alone, and stay away, far away from femmes fatales that have that slightly mad look in their eyes and lust in their hearts, as here in the Otto Preminger-directed crime noir, Angel Face, with Robert Mitchum. See, it is not like Brother Robert hadn’t been down that road before and had all the trouble he could handle and then some with femme fatale Jane Greer in Out Of The Past. Ms. Greer “took him for a ride” six ways to Sunday in that one. But you know when a guy gets heated up by a dame, well, let’s just leave it at you know, okay. Needless to say Brother Robert is set to get “taken for a ride” six ways to Sunday here too, although the femme fatale here is a little younger, and maybe has better manners than Ms. Greer. Maybe. But that all goes for naught when the heat rises. Yes, we guys (and maybe gals too) know, we know, nature.”

And a summary of the plot in the comedic crime noir under review here, His Kind Of Woman, will tell the tale of why I qualified that wising up a little part. Mitchum plays a profession gambler a little off his game, about six aces up the sleeve worth, and so, as anybody is that situation might do, he listens to any proposition that will get him out from under. In this case a proposition about changing his identity for a wad of dough from a deported gangster (played by a non-lawyerly, a very non-lawyerly, Raymond Burr), looking to get back in the old U.S. of A. so he can get his usual infusion of illegal dough. Now this is something that Mitchum might have passed on in sunnier times. But times are hard and suckers are not as plentiful to rope in when you don’t have dough, or a way to get it.

Of course the action here, due to Burr’s, ah, immigration problems, has to take place in, well, sunny Mexico (this is stage-door Mexico before the ax fell down there and crime, and criminals got nastier, very much nastier than that of the criminal skills displayed here) at a tropical seaside resort (naturally). And here is where the dame comes in, also naturally. A sweet-singing down-on-her-heels night club singer (maybe) posing as an heiress, played by Jane Russell (producer Howard Hughes’ paramour at the time), is working her own angles for dough in the person of a vacationing ham, strictly B-movie actor, played by Vincent Price. But when broad-shouldered, bedroom eyes, world-wary Mitchum shows up she is, he is, well, they are smitten (after a little cat and mouse game, as expected). When Mitchum, after putting together some acute observations (putting two and two together, okay) about the set-up, fully realized that he is to be the fall guy and may not get to spend that promised wad of dough everything goes awry. But get this- when things get hairy Ms. Russell, instead of throwing him to the wolves like some of his past companions, actually tries to help him (trying to provide a gat in the bargain). A lot.

Now Robert this is a woman to hang onto, and she looks, well, fetching in a bathing suit in the bargain. Speaking of which, while he is trying to bring a little justice in this old wicked old world Mitchum shows plenty of beefcake for the ladies, the 1950s ladies I would guess. Plenty of comic moments here, some corny some clever but the main thing is that Brother Mitchum does not have to keep looking over his shoulder for an off-hand bullet to pass by every time he kisses Ms. Russell like with some of that earlier female company he kept. Whee!

Note: Naturally with a hunky guy like Robert Mitchum, he of the broad shoulders to fend off the world’s troubles, or at least any women’s troubles, those smoldering eyes, and that glib world-wary cigarette and whiskey manner, the ladies will surely be flocking to his door. Sorry, in this one heart-of- gold faux gold-digger Russell has him slated as exclusive property. And Mitchum tries, tries like hell, for once to stay in that orbit, unlike in the past, where he let those maddened femme fatale eyes and ruby red lips that speak to some dark adventure get the best of him. Progress, definitely progress, Brother Mitchum.

"America, Where Are You Now...."- Stepphenwolf's The Monster- Take Two

 

A YouTube Film Clip Of Stepphenwolf Performing Monster. Ah, Those Were The Days

Commentary/CD REVIEW

Steppenwolf: 16 Greatest Hits, Steppenwolf, Digital Sound, 1990

 

America where are you now?

Don't you care about your sons and daughters?

Don't you know we need you now

We can't fight alone against the monster

 

The heavy rock band Steppenwolf, one of many that was thrown up by the musical counter-culture of the mid to late 1960's was a cut above and apart from some of the others due to their scorching lyrics provided mainly, but not solely, by gravelly-voiced lead singer John Kay. Some bands played, consciously played, to the “drop out” notion of times, drop out of rat-race bourgeois society and it money imperative, its white picket fence with little e white house visions (from when many of the young, the post-World War II baby-boomer young, now sadly older), drop out and create a niche somewhere, some physical somewhere perhaps but certainly some other mental somewhere and the music reflected that disenchantment, Much of which was ephemeral, merely background music, and has not survived (except in lonely YouTube cyberspace). Others, flash pan “music is the revolution,” period exclamation point, end of conversation bands assumed a few pithy lyrics would carry the day and dirty old bourgeois society would run and hide in horror leaving the field open, open for, uh, us. That music too, except for gens like The Ballad Of Easy Rider, is safely ensconced in vast cyberspace.        

 

 

Steppenwolf was different. Not all the lyrics worked, then or now. Not all the words are now some forty plus years later memorable. After all every song is written with current audience in mind, and notions of immortality for most songs are displaced. Certainly some of the less political lyrics seem entirely forgettable. As does some of the heavy decibel rock sound that seems to wander at times like, as was the case more often than not, and more often that we, deep in some a then hermetic drug thrall, would have acknowledged, or worried about. But know this- when you think today about trying to escape from the rat race of daily living then you have an enduring anthem Born To Be Wild that still stirs the young (and not so young). If Bob Dylan's Like A Rolling Stone was one musical pillar of the youth revolt of the 1960's then Born To Be Wild was the other.

And if you needed (or need) a quick history lesson about the nature of American society in the 1960's, what it was doing to its young, where it had been and where it was heading (and seemingly still is as we finish up the Afghan wars and the war signals for intervention into Syria and Iran, or both are beating the war drums fiercely) then the trilogy under the title "The Monster" (the chorus which I have posted above and lyrics below) said it all.

Then there were songs like The Pusher Man a song that could be usefully used as an argument in favor of decriminalization of drugs today and get our people the hell out of jail and  moving on with their lives and  other then more topical songs like Draft Resister to fill out the album. The group did not have the staying power of others like The Rolling Stones but if you want to know, approximately, what it was like for rock groups to seriously put rock and roll and a hard political edge together give a listen.

Words and music by John Kay, Jerry Edmonton, Nick St. Nicholas and Larry Byrom

(Monster)

Once the religious, the hunted and weary

Chasing the promise of freedom and hope

Came to this country to build a new vision

Far from the reaches of kingdom and pope

Like good Christians, some would burn the witches

Later some got slaves to gather riches

But still from near and far to seek America

They came by thousands to court the wild

And she just patiently smiled and bore a child

To be their spirit and guiding light

And once the ties with the crown had been broken

Westward in saddle and wagon it went

And 'til the railroad linked ocean to ocean

Many the lives which had come to an end

While we bullied, stole and bought our a homeland

We began the slaughter of the red man

But still from near and far to seek America

They came by thousands to court the wild

And she just patiently smiled and bore a child

To be their spirit and guiding light

The blue and grey they stomped it

They kicked it just like a dog

And when the war over

They stuffed it just like a hog

And though the past has it's share of injustice

Kind was the spirit in many a way

But it's protectors and friends have been sleeping

Now it's a monster and will not obey

(Suicide)

The spirit was freedom and justice

And it's keepers seem generous and kind

It's leaders were supposed to serve the country

But now they won't pay it no mind

'Cause the people grew fat and got lazy

And now their vote is a meaningless joke

They babble about law and order

But it's all just an echo of what they've been told

Yeah, there's a monster on the loose

It's got our heads into a noose

And it just sits there watchin'

Our cities have turned into jungles

And corruption is stranglin' the land

The police force is watching the people

And the people just can't understand

We don't know how to mind our own business

'Cause the whole worlds got to be just like us

Now we are fighting a war over there

No matter who's the winner

We can't pay the cost

'Cause there's a monster on the loose

It's got our heads into a noose

And it just sits there watching

(America)

America where are you now?

Don't you care about your sons and daughters?

Don't you know we need you now

We can't fight alone against the monster

© Copyright MCA Music (BMI)
All rights for the USA controlled and administered by
MCA Corporation of America, INC

--Used with permission--

Born To Be Wild

Words and music by Mars Bonfire

Get your motor runnin'

Head out on the highway

Lookin' for adventure

And whatever comes our way

Yeah Darlin' go make it happen

Take the world in a love embrace

Fire all of your guns at once

And explode into space

I like smoke and lightning

Heavy metal thunder

Racin' with the wind

And the feelin' that I'm under

Yeah Darlin' go make it happen

Take the world in a love embrace

Fire all of your guns at once

And explode into space

Like a true nature's child

We were born, born to be wild

We can climb so high

I never wanna die

Born to be wild

Born to be wild

© MCA Music (BMI)
All rights for the USA controlled and administered by
MCA Corporation of America, INC

--Used with permission--

THE PUSHER

From the 1968 release "Steppenwolf"

Words and music by Hoyt Axton

You know I've smoked a lot of grass

O' Lord, I've popped a lot of pills

But I never touched nothin'

That my spirit could kill

You know, I've seen a lot of people walkin' 'round

With tombstones in their eyes

But the pusher don't care

Ah, if you live or if you die

God damn, The Pusher

God damn, I say The Pusher

I said God damn, God damn The Pusher man

You know the dealer, the dealer is a man

With the love grass in his hand

Oh but the pusher is a monster

Good God, he's not a natural man

The dealer for a nickel

Lord, will sell you lots of sweet dreams

Ah, but the pusher ruin your body

Lord, he'll leave your, he'll leave your mind to scream

God damn, The Pusher

God damn, God damn the Pusher

I said God damn, God, God damn The Pusher man

Well, now if I were the president of this land

You know, I'd declare total war on The Pusher man

I'd cut him if he stands, and I'd shoot him if he'd run

Yes I'd kill him with my Bible and my razor and my gun

God damn The Pusher

Gad damn The Pusher

I said God damn, God damn The Pusher man

© Irving Music Inc. (BMI)

--Used with permission--