When this movie came out, I saw it every day for two weeks. I thought — still think — it’s one of the best movies ever made.
I usually went with a friend. I went twice with my mother, but sometimes I went alone. We have a copy on DVD and it gives me shivers.
Who knew that more than 40 years later, the movie would feel relevant in my country?
It was the first thing that came into my head when I saw the word “wagon.” That’s right. Westerns! Wagon trains and buckboard wagons with teams of horses.
Wagon Train brought us Ward Bond, Robert Horton, and others. Randolph Scott was offered the role originally but turned it down. It worked out to be a good deal for Ward Bond and it got Robert Horton acting as well as singing.
My favorite individual theme was “Rawhide” as sung by The Blues Brothers with all the whips at the bar in the south. Remember? I tend to get Wagon Train and Rawhide confused. They were entirely different shows, but they “felt” very similar. Maybe it was the costumes.
I think the happiest day of our two trips to Arizona was the day we spent in Tombstone.
Here’s a little special something for all of us who watched and loved those Western shows. It’s funny that I can’t remember any of the plots or stories, but I can sing ALL of the songs!
I was a Western movie addict as was Garry. I loved the men, but really, I loved the horses and those old dusty towns. Mostly, though, the horses. I think if you just showed me an hour of horses, I’d have been a very happy camper. Wasn’t it amazing how the streets were not full of mud and horseshit? And after they drove the cattle through … who cleaned up that mess?
And finally, I found this little treasure on YouTube. I’m sure there’s more and some of these aren’t in very good condition … but if those were the days when Westerns were the name of the game … roll ’em out, head ’em in …
And all because of wagons. Yee haw!
Of all the singers in the universe to whom I would have attributed this particular song, Perry Como is not the guy.
I was wrong.
It’s Perry Como singing “You Are Temptation.” What’s particularly odd about this are the boats. He’s singing about temptation. Doesn’t that imply something … you know … sexual? Hot?
I have to assume that this particular individual was seriously into boats. And found them tempting.
Need something to do with all that spare time?
This one was a beer advertisement!
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I’ve been a Tom Paxton fan forever. He may be one of the greatest writers and singers of folks songs. Ever. He is 80 now, still performing, still living on Long Island in New York.
May you live forever, Tom Paxton! You bring my youth back to me!
Mother’s Day – Sunday, May 13, 2018
FROM swo8 (Leslie Martel): Today is Mother’s Day. To commemorate this day, we have created a photographic montage of families together. It includes eight generations of my family and three of Marilyn and Garry Armstrong’s families.
The song is bittersweet because to be a mother, is indeed bittersweet. Our children bring us our greatest joys and our greatest sorrows. The first couple in the video are my great-grandparents. My great-grandmother died in childbirth leaving 3 babies and a husband.
When my great-grandfather remarried the children were sent off to their aunt to be raised. The aunt is the lady sitting by the fire-place. The first photo of children is of my grandmother and her twin sisters. My grandmother being the oldest would have missed her mother the most. In spite of her early losses she became an extraordinary person and had a huge influence on me and my thinking.
To be a mother has got to be one of the most difficult endeavours to under take in one’s life. We are given this helpless creature for a short period of time to nourish, educate and inspire before they disappear into the ether of adulthood.
As a tribute to mother’s everywhere we dedicate this song, “Mother’s Waltz” by swo8 Blues Jazz and Marilyn Armstrong.
FROM Serendipity (Marilyn & Garry Armstrong): It has arrived. The melody of A Mother’s Waltz echoes in my mind. I feel as if it is something I remember hearing my mother sing a long time ago … but of course, it is brand new from swo8 Blues Jazz.
The pictures of my family include my mother, me, much younger and my son as a toddler. Pictures of Garry’s family include his mother and father’s wedding, Garry’s dad back from WWII with little Garry on his knee. Garry’s mom as a young woman.
The pictures are family heirlooms that evoke strong and sometimes conflicted feelings.
Music by swo8 … with pictures from Leslie Martel (swo8) and Marilyn Armstrong. Memories in music for mothers everywhere.
CONVERSANT AGAIN – NATIONAL BROTHERHOOD WEEK AND CELEBRATING WORLD WAR THREE – IN ADVANCE (WE WON ‘T HAVE TIME, LATER)
Way back in the dark ages, the third week in February (an otherwise dreary and neglected month) was designated National Brotherhood Week. As designated special weeks go, it was never a big hit with the general public. In the 1980s, it disappeared completely. Probably because it failed to sell greeting cards. Which is probably the point of such created events.
The National Conference for Christians and Jews (NCCJ) came up with the idea of National Brotherhood Week in 1934. Given the current political climate, maybe we can agree more brotherhood year round would be an improvement. Sadly, we no longer have even that one, measly week.
February is now Black History Month which seems to mean movie channels run films featuring non-white stars. Unless you watch PBS or the History Channel where you might see a documentary or two.
The man who took it seriously — even in the old days — as he took all politics seriously, was Tom Lehrer. He taught math at Hahvid (Harvard, if you aren’t from around here). He didn’t write a lot of songs since he, till his dying day (which hasn’t occurred yet as he’s alive and living in California), thought of himself as a math teacher who wrote silly songs. Not as an entertainer.
Despite this unfair self-assessment, I’ve always felt Tom got this particular holiday dead to rights. Ya’ think?
He got a lot of stuff right. Check him out on YouTube. He only wrote about 50 songs and most of them are posted in some video or other. Me? I’ve got the CDs. (Remember CDs?)
And because the news has been so … fraught … I thought I’d add a couple of more shockingly relevant songs for this day in February, 2018.
My, how times have not really changed — except we really do have colored TV pretty much everywhere!