A to Z Theme 2016

For my 2016 A to Z theme I used a meme that I ran across on the blog of Bridget Straub who first saw it on the blog of Paula Acton. This meme is a natural for me to use on my memoir blog. It's an A to Z concept and it's about me. No research and nothing complicated. I'm given twenty six questions or topics to discuss that are about me.

In April I kept my posts short and uncomplicated. In the midst of it all you might learn a few things about me that you didn't previously know.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Sugar Shoppe: A Confused Aural Memory

         When it comes to writing memoir or just reminiscing about one's past, the internet is hard to beat for putting things in perspective in a quick and convenient fashion.   I've been able to trace obscure parts of my lineage, look up places I've been in the past, or pinpoint dates I was confused about.

          A case in point is when I was looking for information regarding my current Battle of the Bands post at Tossing It Out.   And let me stop here for a moment while you click over to read that post if you'd like.  For those who don't know about the Battle of the Bands posts, they are part of a blog event that occurs on the 1st and 15th of each with a handful of bloggers participating.   Anyone is welcome to join in if they like.   If you join us, let us know and we will add your link to our list   My Battle of the Bands post today includes a song by the group The Sugar Shoppe.

         Now back to the story.  Somewhere in my hazy past of younger days, I seem to recall having heard The Sugar Shoppe's rendition of an old song from the 1920's called "Poor Papa".  I was certain that I had heard the song very late one night (or more probably in wee hours of the morning) sometime in February 1966 as I was traveling with my parents to Rochester, New York.  As we neared our destination I listened to the radio station that my father had tuned into.  They were playing some great tunes.  I thought "Poor Papa" was one that I heard during that cold snowy night of driving.

          As it turns out this could not have been possible.  According to all the information I've uncovered on the internet, the vocal group was not formed until 1967 and the album that "Poor Papa" appeared on came out in 1968.   There is no way that I could have heard that song on that night in 1966.

          It would have been in the summer after my junior year of high school when I heard "Poor Papa" played on some radio broadcast that I no longer remember.  I doubt whether it was played on the regular top 40 AM radio station that I would have normally listened to back then.  By this time I was usually finding FM stations that were broadcasting occasional pop and rock music.  Most of the FM radio in Knoxville, Tennessee was Muzak--FM had not particularly caught on at that time.  Still a few FM stations were experimenting with their playlists.

         Wherever it was I had heard "Poor Papa", the song captivated me.   It put me in mind of the New Vaudeville Band hit "Winchester Cathedral" that had come out a couple years before.   I liked the old timey sound.  And it didn't hurt that the production value of the record was very fine.  I discerned that The Sugar Shoppe was probably a very fine group on the basis of hearing that one song.

            Once Christmas neared, I turned in my gift wish list to my mother.   This was a tradition for me.  Each year I'd make a sensible list of things I wanted for Christmas and since I prudently kept the list within a modest budget, my mother usually got everything that I had put on the list.  By high school my lists consisted almost exclusively of record albums that I wanted.   For the Christmas of 1968 my list had selections like The Beatles White Album,  Iron Butterfly's In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, Creedence Clearwater Revival's debut album, and The Sugar Shoppe's album.

           I'm almost surprised that my mother was able to locate the album by The Sugar Shoppe in East Tennessee.  But somehow she found it.  She was good at that.  Rarely was there an album that I asked for that she didn't find.   As I had predicted the Sugar Shoppe album was as good as the one song I had heard--even better in fact.  There was a nice mix of modern music done very well by an outstanding vocal group.

          I still have the album in fact.  It's in excellent condition and plays very well.  In the past few months I've hooked up my turntable in the bedroom across from the room that I use for my office.  I've been digging back into my vinyl collection and listening again after decades of those records sitting dormant on a shelf.  Listening to the Sugar Shoppe album is what prompted me to include a cut by them in one of my Battle of the Bands posts.   I began investigating YouTube and found that the song "Privilege" had videos for versions by two artists.   I had my song and now I could share the music of this great neglected group with my blog readers.

          We'll find out what the response is in this episode of Battle of the Bands.  If you haven't visited the post I'll give you another chance.   Click here and take a listen.  What did you think of the song?   Which version did you like best?   Did you vote?

           Do you use search engines to jog your memory about things in your past?   Was there ever a time when you heard a song and decided that you just had to have the album it came from?   Do you still own any recordings that you owned in high school or before?

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  1. Your story reminded me of the fact that I "remembered" seeing a movie with my great-grandmother that didn't come out until after her death. I don't how my brain invented that. I can still see it in my head, even the car trip to the theatre—but apparently it never happened.

  2. Kelly-- Yes! You've nailed it. It's strange how these fabricated memories come about. I have a number of them. I'm sure that connections could be made that explain why we have them, but it would probably take some deep analysis. Excellent recounting of a misremembering.


  3. Once upon a time, I had a wonderful collection of vinyl albums and 45s, and even a bunch of 78s. Of all the things I've gotten rid of over the years, those are among the possessions I really regret giving away. I love that you still have yours, Lee.

  4. I'll head over and listen to the song - what a great story, aural memories, your mum finding you albums and then listening to them decades later. I remember the West Gate Bridge in Melbourne falling down - but it happened the year before I was born.. go figure.


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Arlee Bird