Sunday, August 08, 2010

The kid's first 78 & my first bandmate

I was singing "Doggy in the Window" to Donovan earlier this week and thought he needed to hear the original Patti Page version. When I found my 78 of it, there was a huge chunk busted out of it, which didn't leave enough of the song for him to hear. So one day after daycare, I took him to Squirrel Hill for his first trip to Jerry's Records. Jerry's son Willie actually runs part of the store with nothing but 78s in it, and that was our destination.

Donovan was in my arms going up the steps and around the corner past the huge speaker that was booming old r&b ("That's loud!"). I'm glad he was because if there's any place where you don't want to unleash a bouncy three-year old, it's a 78 shop.

We found the heavy crate full of Patti Page records and I started thumbing through them. He was standing next to me by now and he seemed excited because he kept asking, "Where's 'Doggy in the Window'? Where's 'Doggy in the Window'?" Knowing how popular the song was, I was confidant there was at least one copy. And knowing that Donovan wouldn't stay still for long, I grabbed the first one I saw, even though it had a flimsy sleeve. Besides it was in great shape and only $2.

Donovan will often get very excited about something until he actually gets it, at which point his loses interest. Not so with "Doggy in the Window." When we put it on that night, he wasn't freaked out by the Victrola volume and he clearly got a kick out of the song. Thankfully, he doesn't want to hear it five times a day, but he has asked for it since then.

Speaking of kids and records and (from the last post) talk of neighbors and their records, I heard back from my long lost friend Eric last week. When we were in kindergarten - and probably long before that because memories get fuzzy at that age - we were both into music, listening to it constantly and making up skits that he would tape on a big honkin' reel to reel player in his room. We were going to have a "band," even though neither of us played anything. But he moved to Columbus in first grade, which kind of ended that. Each time he visited Pittsburgh, though, he'd spend the night at my place and we'd put on a concert in my basement with the help of my brother Tom. The concert consisted of us lip-synching to records and playing guitars that Tom fashioned out of bamboo poles and cardboard.

Eric - if you're reading this, my sister reminded me that there's a Facebook group called "I played in a band with Mike Shanley," which you have every right to join since you were the first.


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John Young said...

MIKE -- Unrelated to your very cool story, but did you see that "Cathy" is ending its run after 34 wretched years? Praise be! But who will remind me that clothes don't fit, food is evil, technology slows us down, work sucks, men don't understand women, etc., etc., etc.?!

shanleymusic said...

Johnny D - Indeed I did see it! There is much rejoicing on my part. The funnies should be more fodder for this blog. Sadly the article in today's PG seems truthful, though: most of them are more nostalgic of a bygone time rather than contemporary times. Except for Pearls Before Swine and Lio. And Curtis if you think too hard about it.

egross said...

Hi Mike - Yes, I read your post last night and I wrote you back on Facebook. Oh the memories. We were definitely ahead of our time!

shanleymusic said...

Eric - I can't tell you how good it makes me feel to know you feel the same way I do. There's a very early post here, from either 2006 or 2007 about the Sugar Bears, another "major influence" of ours.