Thursday, January 31, 2019

The Roots Is The Toots: The Music That Got The Generation Of ’68 Through The 1950s Red Scare Cold War Night-Frankie Riley’s Theory- With Jody Reynolds' “Endless Sleep” In Mind –Take Two

The Roots Is The Toots: The Music That Got The Generation Of ’68 Through The 1950s Red Scare Cold War Night-Frankie Riley’s Theory- With Jody Reynolds' “Endless Sleep” In Mind –Take Two  

"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
I want the iPhone number and e-mail address of the person who wrote this one, wrote these death-dealing lyrics above. Of course I would not touch a hair on the head of well-side-burned pretty boy Jody Reynolds since I may need to use his song sometime myself so I will reserve my fury for Delores Nance for leading Jody astray on this one. As far as getting her iPhone number and e-mail, well, okay since this song goes back a way I will give some choices just to show I am not a guy hung on being very, very up-to-date with the latest communications technology and don’t realize that not everybody has made their mark on the information superhighway. Hell I won’t be particular and will be old-fashioned enough to just request the landline number and street address of Ms. Nance. She, in any case should be made to run the gauntlet, or put on a lonely desert isle, or, and this would be real justice in this case made to follow Socrates, who also corrupted the morals of the youth of his time. Yeah, the more I think about the matter before us that latter choice seems most fitting.

Why all the hubbub? Why am I insisting on deep Socratic measures for some poor Tin Pan Alley denizen? Well read the heart-breaking teen angst lyrics printed above for your perusal on Endless Sleep. Old Jesse Lee, let’s call him that, although as in most cases with these 1950s teen lyrics, frustratingly, the parties are not named except things like Johnny Angel, teen angel, earth angel, be-bopper, him, her, she, he, they, etc. like giving names to angry anguished teens in the red scare cold war night was akin to aiding and abetting the Russkies or was some grave matter of kinky national security concerns, and his honey have had a spat, of unnamed origin so we never get to figure out who had justice on his or her side. Okay, so maybe it was a bigger one than usual but in the whole wide-world historic meaning of things still just a spat. Laura, high-strung Laura, again name made up although not the angst to give some personality to this sketch since we revealed Lee’s name and nothing much has happened to him as a result. Judging from her reaction thought whatever irked her was a world-historic dispute, and she just flat-out flipped out. Nothing new to that phenomenon as teenagers have been flipping out since they invented teenagers about a century maybe more ago although they have not always called what said teenagers did “flipping out.” And, as teenagers often will do in a moment of overreaction to some slight, Laura had gone down to the seaside to end it all. Throw her young body, whether it was shapely or not we never find out either but figure with a name like Laura she is, well, “hot,” high school hot or Jesse Lee and his big ass ’57 Chevy would have no truck with her to begin with, into the sea. Lee in desperation, once he heard from some inevitably unnamed third party, I say apparently unnamed although maybe it was from some more reliable source like Susie Darling, Laura’s best friend since elementary school, what Laura had done, frantically tried to find her out in the deep, dark, wave-splashed night. All the while the churning “sea” is relentlessly, almost sexually cone hither calling out for him to join her. Jesus what a scene.

And that last part, the part where the sea, or Laura now acting as the ocean’s agent, practically begs for a joint teen suicide pact is where every right thinking person, and not just enraged parents either, should, or should have, put his or her foot down and gone after the lyricist’s scalp, to speak nothing of the singer of such woe begotten lines (although like I say not me, not me just in case that she I am eying right now might have a crush on Jody, or actually like such deathly lyrics). Yeah, I know old Jesse Lee saved his honey from the endless sleep but still we cannot have this stuff filling the ears of impressionable teen-agers. Right?

Of course, from what I heard third-hand from a friend of a friend who claims to have scoped out what really happened, this quarrel that old Lee speaks of, and that Laura went ballistic over, was about whether they were going to go bowling with Lee’s guy friends and their girls down at old Jack Slack’s bowling alleys or whatever the name of the bowling alleys were in there town to roll a few strings Saturday or to the drive-in theater for the latest Elvis movie. (I have used Jack Slack’s bowling establishment here since that is where me and my corner boys hung out, hung out one night discussing the meaning of all of the acts in this very song so Jack Slack’s will do nicely to fill in a name for what ailed our beloved couple.) Jesse Lee, usually a mild-mannered kid despite his corner boy reputation and some things said about his style around town, reared up at that thought of going to another bogus Elvis film featuring him, the king. The king riding around in a big old car, some pink Caddy, dressed in some gaudy Hawaiian shirt and white beach pants attire, singing some lamo syrupy songs that in his Sun Records days when he was young and hungry and talking about one night of sin and jailbreak-out stuff he would have thrown out the studio door, having plenty of dough in his pocket and plenty of luscious young girls ready and waiting to help him spent that dough. Of such disputes the battle of the sexes abound, and occasionally other battles, war battles as well. However, after hearing that take on the dispute, which sounds reasonable to me, I think old Jesse Lee had much the best of it. And, also off of that same take I am not altogether sure I would have been all that frantic to go down to the seaside looking for dear, sweet Laura. Just kidding.

Okay, okay I know what everybody is going to say, or at least think now. What has this guy not at least given Laura her say, her day in court to explain he dramatic behavior. This information was harder to glean because I had to get it from a friend of Laura’s friend Susie Darling. Susie sworn on a stack of seven bibles or something that she would not reveal to anyone Laura’s motivation under penalty of death. Of course in the ethos of the times and age that swearing unto death business just meant telling only one other person, a girl person in this case, come Monday morning before school girls’ “lav” talkfest. So according to this hearsay what Laura was miffed about was that Jesse Lee had not been paying enough attention to her of late, had been almost every night out with his corner boys doing wheelers with his car or whatever guys do when their honeys are not on board. So the drive-in movie idea was to get Jesse Lee to pay more serious attention to her was not about the movie, not about Elvis although Laura, like every other girl in America had her dreams about how she could tame Elvis in a flash if she could just get close to him, but about “doing the do.” See Laura a few weeks before had let Jesse Lee have his way with her but since then-no go. And she wanted to do it. But here is the kicker the place where Laura went into the sea is exactly the place where they had first made love. Jesus.               

But that brings something up, something that I am not kidding about. Now I love the sea more than a little having grown up so near it that I could roll down a hill and take a splash. Love the sea and its tranquility, of the effect that those waves, splashing waves too, have on my temperament. But I also know about the power of the sea, about old Uncle Neptune’s capacity to do some very bad things to anyone, anything, any object that gets in his way. From old double-high storm-tossed seawalls that crumble at the charging sea’s touch to rain-soaked, mast-toppled boats lost down under in the briny deep whose only sin was to stir up the waves. And Laura should have too, should have known on that dark rainy night the power of the sea. So I am really ticked off, yes, ticked off, that Laura should tempt the fates, and Lee’s fate, by pulling a bone-head water's edge stunt like that.

The whole scenario once I thought about it reminded me, although I offer this observation in contrast, of the time that old flame, old hitchhike road searching for the blue-pink great American West night flame Angelica, old Indiana-bred, Mid-American naïve Angelica, who got so excited the first time she saw the Pacific Ocean, out there near Point Magoo in California never having seen the ocean before, leaped right in and was almost carried away by a sudden riptide. It took all I had, all I knew or remembered about how to ride out a riptide to pull her out. To save her from the briny deep. And that Angelica error was out of sheer ignorance. Laura had no excuse. When you look at it that way, and as much as I personally do no care a fig about bowling, would it really have been that bad to go bowl a couple of strings. Such are the ways of teen angst.

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