Thursday, July 16, 2009

Music & the theory of time standing still

Yes, I remember "Jay" & the Americans

While step-pa-pa was listening to Richard Tucker out-Italian the Italian tenors, cara mia ma-ma had her own brand of sort of Italian music that she enjoyed. This is to say, she loved Jay and the Americans, and this band had one song with an Italian name. It was "Cara Mia" = "my beloved."

I probably enjoyed the music this group produced as much as my mother did, and maybe even enjoyed it more than I did the sound of Tucker. The roots of this band actually go back to the late 1950s, but its popularity came in the 1960s when David North agreed to adopt the name "Jay" and became the new lead singer.

The version posted here today is from a television show recorded in 1965. Be prepared to smile, if not outright laugh. Maybe television programming has not gotten more idiotic over the years; maybe it always has been sort of goofy, and we have been doomed since the very beginning. Whatever .... try to ignore the few brief seconds the "go-go girls" appear on screen, and just listen to the song. North had quite a voice, did he not?

The band is Jay and the Americans
The singer is Jay North
The song is "Cara Mia"

No, I did not & will not forget Queen & Freddie

I wonder sometimes, maybe others do, too, why I have not mentioned Queen and Freddie Mercury in these recent posts when I write about great bands and great singers. Many rock and roll enthusiasts would name Queen as the greatest band of all during the second half of the 20th Century and, I am certain, Freddie would secure countless votes as the best front man, if not actually the best singer, of his times. In my case, I think Queen and Freddie might belong in a category of their own, over and above all the other bands and all the other singers, especially those of the 1970s and the 1980s.

So, this time around, included below is Queen and Freddie doing "Crazy Little Thing Called Love," a song he composed, according to legend, in about ten minutes. This performance is from Queen's appearance at Wembley Stadium in London in 1986. Judge for yourself if they might not have been the greatest among the great.

The band is Queen
The singer is Freddie Mercury
The song is "Crazy Little Thing Called Love"


TheChicGeek said...

Awww, Cara Mia, Fram...LOL...has a ring to it :D That was great! I am going to have to watch some more. What a fabulous concert with Queen too! Now, that, would have been a rocking fun night!

I enjoyed your selections today :D Thank you!

PS: Don't knock the go-go girls....I happen to have been one myself in the day...LOL We rock!

Now I'm going to pony trot on out of here and search my closet for my white go-go boots and my yellow paper dress! Do you remember those? LOL
Have a Happy Day, Fram!

Magdalena said...

Your Mum must be very sweet and lovely lady since she likes such a sweet song. I already like her. Has she ever been to Florence?

The second one is so, so cool!!! I love dancing to it. Are you a good dancer, Fram the Wolf?

Have a good day :-) Bye, bye.

A Cuban In London said...

OK, you see what you have done, me ol' boy? You have awakened memories.

I have been a self-avowed Queen fan since I was thirteen and I'm pushing 38 now. And no, I am not the type of Queen fan who, as I described on my blog when I wrote about Queen, listens only to their 'Greatest Hits'. Typical example, this song if from their 'The Game' album and had it not been for May's solo it would have been a run-of-the-mill tune. It is said that that was the only chord Freddie could play on the guitar and he actually said at the Knebworth concert.

Queen remains one of the few bands where each member wrote his own song and where up until the release of 'The Game' all members, bar John Deacon, sang their own songs. From 1980 onwards only Freddie sang most of the songs.

Also Queen's earlier albums were panned by the critics, whilst loved by the fans, but just like Led Zeppelin's manager, Peter Grant, and his insistence on not releasing singles in the UK, only albums; Queen only performed in theatres at the beginning of theor careera did not use synthesizers for their first eight studio albums.

I'd better stop now because I could carry on and on and bore you to death. Let's just say that my favourite Queen record is one most people have not heard: 'Queen II', released in 1974, the first side called 'White Side' with songs by May and Taylor and the second side called 'Dark Side' with songs by Mercury only. Sublime.

Many thanks for this post.

Greetings from London.

Fram Actual said...

There are times I think about buying a CD with Jay and the Americans, Kelly, but never quite get around to it. They did not have many songs, and I do like most of them very much.

I have two tapes of Queen's 1986 Wembley Stadium concert. They were shot from different angles, and vary a bit in the songs shown on each. They are well used tapes, as you might imagine.

Go-go girls are fine with me, Kelly. It just seems sort of silly dropping them into the performance for five seconds. Actually, I probably would have preferred having the camera on them throughout, with Jay and the guys standing off on the side to sing.

Fram Actual said...

Yes, Mag, she is sweet and lovely, and always has adored music. She has been to Europe, but never to Florence or anywhere in Italy. Maybe she should visit Florence to experience Italian music first-hand.

Am I a good dancer? Reasonable, I guess. Average, I suppose. My preference is for a slow dance in a romantic setting. I am on record as saying I am willing to take lessons.

By the way, speaking of my mother and dancing in the same breath, one of my earliest memories of her is being held by her while she is dancing and singing.

Fram Actual said...

My goal in life is to stir old memories and to create new ones, CiL.

I will not try to attempt to match my knowledge of the members of Queen, either individually or collectively, with your expertise. As I sometimes say, much of the music I love now I was too busy making money to even notice back when it was being played in real time.

The first time I recall seeing Queen, as a matter of fact, was on television in a saloon. The guys were adorned in something less than masculine garb. You might imagine the reception from the patrons of this particular establishment, which was largely occupied at the time by iron miners and deck hands from ore carriers.

Somewhere along the line, for me, the band's music overcame the members' appearance, and their appearance changed, and the world became right again. I am now left to wishing I could have seen a live performance, but am content simply with enjoying their music.

Many thanks, for your history lesson.

A Cuban In London said...

Boy, that was 'I Want To Break Free' and Freddie remembers feeling anxious about the release of the single in the States. That was a good album, 'The Works'. If you want to read a good biography of Freddie Mercury I strongly recommend Lesley Ann Jones's 'Freddie Mercury: The Definitive Biography'. It's probably one of the more thorough books about Freddie's life ever written. I also read Peter Freestone's book about Freddie but it was so predictable and boring that I closed on the fifth page (he was Freddie's personal assistant).

As for being surrounded by miners and deck hands when watching 'I Want To Break Free' I can only imagine that some of them were secretly hoping Taylor was ACTUALLY a woman!

Greetings from London.

Fram Actual said...

Pausing to think for a moment, CiL, I cannot recall ever having read a biography about an entertainer -- be it musician, singer, actor, whatever. (On the other hand, some people might characterize Norman Mailer more of an entertainer than a writer, in which case, I might actually have read one.) I will seriously consider making Freddie the first.

Experiences are validated via environment, whether driving on a fast-moving interstate highway or a snail-speed crowded street; running on a wilderness road under starry skies or a metropolitan pathway beneath glaring street lights. So it is with saloons. The time during which this vision of queen was witnessed was about 7:00 a.m. The miners were just getting down to serious drinking after finishing the night shift; the sailors were gathering their second (or third or fourth) wind after a night of reveling. The world is fascinating, to say the least.

Yes, no doubt a few of the lads, some of them sober, some of them drunk, had their eyes glued to "pretty boy" Roger.

Something special ....