Saturday, April 10, 2010

First Page

Sammy woke, sweating again. He didn't remember closing his eyes, but two hours had passed. This one was much worse than usual. He didn't remember how it started, but the end had jolted him badly.
It was Thursday and Sammy still had three days. She would come in on the afternoon train and she would be ready. She was always ready, that's why Sammy invited her. He knew it wouldn't be easy, it might not even have been smart, but he needed her and she was willing. She was coming, in any case.
The letter came Monday; it had taken her a month to respond. Her reply had left Sammy unsettled. There was something unnerving in her confidence:

Sammy, Pick me up at three. I'm taking the train. Tell Lawrence I want to see him, but don't bring him with you. I take your offer to be a promise. Three o'clock, Sunday.

It had been six years since he last saw her, seven since she had seen him.
By the time Sammy got the letter, Lawrence had already called. He wasn't happy, but Sammy knew he could handle him. June wanted to see Lawrence and Sammy needed them both.

"Be My Baby"-The Ronettes, ...this is another one that has no specific album, but the image below is from The Best of the Ronettes. For years I've been thinking about what to say about this song, but haven't attempted a description for fear of erring on the side of either pretentious critical hyperbole or overly sentimental nostalgia for an era I never experienced. The reasons behind both of those potential outcomes are the reasons I love this song. It feels important. When stripped of its symphonic echoes and thundering percussion, it is essentially just another two-minute pop song about a girl and a guy, but its production elevates it to something exhilarating. This song catches you and fills you up. From that first genius snare/tambourine hit the momentum is set for the full on explosion of the chorus. It is the embodiment of young love, of youth in general...that feeling that what is happening now is more important than anything before and what comes next doesn't matter. Right now, this is amazing.
Phil Spector's "Wall of Sound", I am forced to admit (see Rosemary's Baby), does most of the work, but the song would be nowhere near as successful without Ronnie Spector's vocals. She has the greatest voice in rock n' roll--attitude and exuberance and fun and abandon. Everything that rock n' roll is and should be.
I often lament the fact that my generation has not had its own music revelation. I will never know the full sensation felt by kids in the 50s and 60s when they first heard rock n' roll and no one had heard it before them. The feeling I get from this song is as close as I'm likely to get to that experience. Rock n' roll in the summertime in love.

(click the pic)

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