Sometimes one cannot win. A few years ago, after some serious prodding bordering on violations of the Genera Conventions against torture, I was asked by the chairperson of my North Adamsville High School Class 1964 (ouch!) Reunion Committee to answer certain questions about my likes and dislikes back in the day. The purpose of this exercise (other than to see if we were still youthfully sharp) was to compile a survey /sketch of class life in the long ago misty 1960s. There was a certain method to her madness as she probed by stages starting off with easy stuff like favorite sports, teachers, school lunch (none of the above) and worked her way into more intimate stuff like personal tastes in music. Obviously as she reeled us in, such a profound question required answers, especially those of us wedded to rock and roll like some precious child.
But there was even more devilishness behind her CIA-like probes. She posed the questions very specifically and asked what she probably thought was an innocuous question: in your youth did you prefer The Rolling Stones or the Beatles? Innocent, right? Pick one or the other. I did and went on and on about how the Stones lit my flamed-out youth on fire, how I came to the blues via their cover of Howlin' Wolf's (really Willie Dixon's) Little Red Rooster (banned in Boston, moreover, that made it just that much more appealing) etc. ,etc.
Are you with me so far? Then she asked about this combination- the Brenda Lee versus Patsy Cline shoot-out. What, are you kidding? I cavalierly dismissed the notion of either singer have the slightest influence on my budding manly rock persona and refused, purposefully refused to answer (okay, okay I put N/A). No big deal this is America after all and N/A is part of the democratic tradition if frowned upon by partisans. End of story.
Not though when my "significant other" (known in the old days, in polite society, as my paramour and in impolite society as...oh, well you can fill in the blank) finished reading my response (I had off-handedly shown it to her for some laughs). The gist of her indignant argument centered on my alleged testosterone-driven choices of male Rock 'n' Roll bands like the Stones to the exclusion of kinder, gentler music-in short, choices that women might prefer. Okay, I took the point and then made my selection. Naturally, I need to make a little comment to motivate my choice.
Frankly, like I said, I really do not remember being a fan of either Brenda Lee or Patsy Cline in my youth. Both names are associated in those high school memories with dreamy school dances or other types of romantic endeavor. It was not until several years ago that I came to appreciate Patsy Cline's work. I have always been a sucker for female torch- singers like Billie Holiday and the young Peggy Lee in her Benny Goodman period but Patsy only recently became part of my musical interests as a country "torch" singer. So there you have my choice. Then. Since that time though, and the review of this Brenda Lee CD will bear this out, Ms. Lee (Brenda that is) has been making some strides. Of course this two CD set has most of the great stuff but why, why for a while now does the tune "I Want To Be Wanted " reverberate in my head. And truth. It did back in some mystic Saturday night high school dance time when I was looking toward having the last dance with a certain she. A case for Freud, no question.
One last word. My last word. Let me get back to that controversy with my "significant other" (I prefer "soul-mate" but I will let that pass here). I mentioned in that hard-nosed class reunion questionnaire that in the summer of 2005 I attended a Rolling Stones concert at Fenway Park. Now who do you think was standing beside me shaking, as the kids say, her "booty" for all she was worth? So much that testosterone theory. Moreover, who imprisoned me in Fenway Park practically at gunpoint, until I bought her a sassy little Stones T-shirt as a memento of the occasion? Enough said.