Hitting The Double Nickel

There’s a reason the nuns in The Sound Of Music sang that Maria was “unpredictable as weather.” The only thing predictable about Midwestern winters is that they are gray, wet, and cold — but the precise combination of those qualities varies.

Every once in a while, however, the fates align and a flukey day happens — like today. Sunny, and a high of 55? It’s a day to sit outside and bank some of that warmth and sunshine before tomorrow’s gray chill closes in.

The Cold Front Cometh

There’s a turning point each winter.  For weeks the trend has been gradual cooling, to the point where you’re acclimated to temperatures that are about 40 degrees.  Then, suddenly, the mercury plummets, and you’re dealing with the first significant snowfall, or the first truly frigid day where the temperature falls below 20.

img_3220This used to be a surprise.  Unless you were someone who actually watched the local news — and who under the age of 90 watches the local news these days? — you had no idea what the weather was going to be.  There’s a reason why the nuns in The Sound of Music sang about Maria being as “unpredictable as weather.”  The weather was a constant surprise.

But that was in the days before weather apps on smartphones became ubiquitous.  Now, when you tap your weather app to see if it’s supposed to rain today, you’re automatically exposed to a solid week’s worth of forecasts — and you can’t help but look at it.  And when I checked the app this morning, I saw that we’re supposed to get a steady diet of lows in the teens, then two days of snow, and finally a day where the low is three degrees.  Three degrees!  I like the song When Will I See You Again? as much as the next R&B fan, but “three degrees” isn’t a word combination I want to hear right now.  It means that the turning point is here, and winter is about to strike with all of its brutal iciness, and it’s time to rotate to the heavier coats and clothing and to start eating hot food at every meal.

I liked it better when the turning point caught me by surprise, and I spent the last few days of pre-winter unaware of what was to come right around the corner, rather than bracing myself for the onslaught.

Mom Mix (Cont.)

Today we celebrate Mom’s 80th birthday with a party.  As I’ve mentioned before, my primary responsibility for the party was to prepare a mix of songs that Mom and her guests would enjoy.  We expect to have about 80 people there of all ages, but the primary musical audience will be Mom and her contemporaries, who like Big Band music and show tunes.

I’ve tried to put together a bit of a musical journey to track Mom’s life, from Over The Rainbow in The Wizard of Oz, released when she was only nine years old, through the Big Band music and crooners of the War Years and the ’40s, past the movie musicals and solo artists of the ’50s and early ’60s, and ending with the rock ‘n roll music of the late ’60s and early ’70s, when all of us kids were growing up and insisting on watching The Monkees TV show and listening to rock ‘n roll music on family drives.  (I put one song in particular, Windy by the Association, in the mix because I have a very strong recollection of listening to that song while being ferried in the Ford Country Squire station wagon to a family dinner at a restaurant/pub called The Other Place near Bath, Ohio.)

I’ve posted the songs in the Mom Mix below.  In all, the mix should take about three and a half hours.  I’ll try to post some photos of Mom’s party, and perhaps some reactions to the mix, later.

’30s/’40s

Over The Rainbow Judy Garland
In the Mood Glenn Miller
Swinging On A Star (Single Version) Bing Crosby
Let’s Dance Benny Goodman
It Might As Well Be Spring Rosemary Clooney
In a Sentimental Mood Duke Ellington
Little Brown Jug Glen Gray
Up An Atom Gene Krupa & His Orchestra
If I Could Be With You (One Hour Tonight) Kay Starr
String Of Pearls Benny Goodman And His Orchestra

’50s/Musicals

Fly Me To The Moon Frank Sinatra
Just In Time Dean Martin
I Could Have Danced All Night Rosemary Clooney
The Shadow Of Your Smile Tony Bennett
Selections from South Pacific (There Is Nothin’ Like A Dame, Bali Ha’i, I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair, I’m In Love With A Wonderful Guy, Younger Than Springtime,
Finale
)
The Lady Is A Tramp Frank Sinatra
Unforgettable Nat King Cole
A Bushel and a Peck Vivian Blaine & The Hot Box Girls
Alley Cat
Selections from The King and I (I Whistle a Happy Tune, Getting To Know You, I Have Dreamed, Something Wonderful, Shall We Dance?)

Who’s Sorry Now Connie Francis
Selections from Oklahoma! (Oh, What A Beautiful Mornin’, The Surrey With The Fringe On Top, Oklahoma)
Soldier Boy The Shirelles
Hello Mary Lou Ricky Nelson
Selections from West Side Story (Maria, Tonight, Gee, Officer Krupke, I Feel Pretty, Somewhere)

’60s/The Sound of Music

Mack The Knife Bobby Darin
16 Candles The Crests
Selections from The Sound of Music (Maria, I Have Confidence, My Favorite Things, Do-Re-Mi, Edelweiss, So Long, Farewell, Climb Ev’ry Mountain, Processional And Maria)
Sherry Four Seasons
Do You Want To Know A Secret The Beatles
King Of The Road (Single Version) Roger Miller
People Barbra Streisand

Late ’60s/’70s

Downtown Petula Clark
Last Train To Clarksville The Monkees
Sugar Sugar The Archies
Windy The Association
This Guy’s In Love With You Herb Alpert
Love (Can Make You Happy) Mercy
Stoney End Barbra Streisand
I’ll Have To Say I Love You In A Song Jim Croce
Joy To The World Three Dog Night

Finale

My Way Frank Sinatra
Brazil Rosemary Clooney
When You Wish Upon A Star Linda Ronstadt

Mom Mix

We will be celebrating Mom’s 80th birthday in a few weeks, and preparations for the big shindig already are underway.  My sister Cath, the consummate organizer, has decided that rather than a harpist (!), the “entertainment” should consist of a mix of songs I am to prepare on my Ipod.  (I must admit that I agree with this decision on Cath’s part, because I associate harps with angels, and you don’t want to be thinking about angels at a person’s 80th birthday party.)

I welcome this challenge.  I know that Mom likes ’40s music, and I already have a pretty good selection of “Big Band” stuff on the Ipod.  So, preparing a mix of those tunes will just involve creating a new playlist and moving some songs around.  I like Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington, and similar artists of that era, and I also like ’40s-style singers such as Bing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney, and Frank Sinatra.

When I asked Mom about what kind of music she would like to listen to at her party, she also mentioned “show tunes” and songs from movie musicals like South Pacific and The King and I.  I’ve never been much of a fan of musicals because the whole concept has always seemed incredibly awkward to me, with people who are living otherwise normal lives suddenly bursting into song at any moment.  Being the dutiful son, however, I want to make Mom happy, so I’ve gotten the CDs for those two musicals, plus The Sound of Music, Guys and Dolls, and West Side Story.

Because I really don’t know much about this genre, I would be happy to get any suggestions from our readers about good “show tunes” to include on the “Mom Mix.”  For now, however, I am pretty sure that There Is Nothin’ Like A Dame from South Pacific will make the cut.