Sunday, August 26, 2007

Sunday Morning, Sunday Morning

The perfect Sunday morning, to me, involves getting up reasonably early (I've never done well with sleep in late types), devouring the Times, especially if it involves some thick arts preview section, the perfect coffee and a pastry I had the foresight to garner the previous afternoon and a favorite chanteuse of my childhood or before. Actually I've often been conflicted about whether I have a significant other that wants to share that time with me. If he sleeps in late, I usually immediately label him as a low energy loser. If he wants to chatter and get up in my space, he's considered too clingy since this time is about my news and my music not that annoying lovey dovey stuff. Life's too short, you know.

I've long outgrown the Billie Holiday Gloomy Sunday phase. A good example is
Margo Guryan, whose work I knew for years but discovered as a performer only recently. Being the author of Sunday Morning, she's obviously fits that bill perfectly. Male singers are more of a weekday, get motivated thing. I'm already planning to have Lee Hazelwood serenade me with "Some velvet mornin' when I'm straight..." first thing tomorrow. (Sadly, Lee left us on August 4 of this year, and we lost one of the most amazing voices of all time. When I was about six years old and heard his voice for the first time, it was the first time it hit me that I wanted to have men in my life as more than science teachers and baseball coaches.)

Undoubtedly
it was Friday's premier of Junk Thief TV - Season Two with the Dory Previn penned lyric for I'll Grow My Own Tree that has been trashed along with MacArthur Park as being the worst pop lyrics of all time. I'll agree that the metaphor of the solitary tree, not one in a row, and that poor soggy cake with its dripping green icing are pretty atrocious but still so compelling with their fearless bombast. So I started my morning with my three original vinyl issues of Dory's. Dory has gained recent hip cache as the titular subject of a Camera Obscura ditty. She really doesn't fit the mold of the quintessential '70s chick singer cliches. Carol King may have evolved from Brill Building pop, but Dory evolved from having written some of the worst celluloid tunes of the mid-1960s, or at least those in some of the most bizarre musical sequences in what were essentially big musical numbers in non-musical. Besides the aforementioned tree tune, that was represented by that enormous star-hiding mobile in Valley of the Dolls, she also wrote You're Going to Hear from Me from Inside Daisy Clover that has to be one of the weirdest faux musical numbers ever committed to the big screen. After a breakdown when husband Andre ran off with Mia Farrow, she wrote the prophetic Beware of Young Girls that was intended to chronicle their triangle but could more aptly be a foreshadowing of the Mia-Woody-Soon Yi triangle. As most people under 50 today would think of Mia as an elderly eccentric and would have trouble envisioning that she was ever a jail bait siren. Although I always knew Dory was a bit older than most of gals of the Joni-Carly-Carol era, I was really shocked to discover that she's about to turn 82. Dang, that makes cranky old Joni seem pretty dern young and spry by comparison. And I was also pleased to realize how non-characteristic her stuff is of the era. There's definitely no You've Got a Friend or Woman of Heart and Mind here. A woman that would have tunes with pretty self-explanatory titles like Did Jesus Have a Baby Sister? and The Obscene Phone Call on the same album has to be admired for showing even more audacity than she showed when writing about that dang tree that was not one in a row. Dory had an incredibly bizarre, tragic childhood with a father who suffered from Stockholm Syndrome, and she performed with a razor blade in her mouth as a child performer, all chronicled in her 1976 book Midnight Baby. She also suffered through electro-shock therapy.

Ultimately her latter work falls into the sphere of angst-spewing public therapy that I thought was really cool as a teen before I'd been assaulted by so much of it. Dory was the perfect soundtrack for my high school years when I thought I was really with it by hanging out with my cousin Ginger's proto-feminist, men bashing friends whom I probably followed just to sneak a peak at their copies of the original Viva magazine. Sadly, my fantasy of them feature a spread of Lee Hazelwood never materialized.

Sadly, most of the songs aren't ones I really want to hear on repeated listening, and I'll probably be fine if I don't pull those Dory discs out again until, say 2015 or so. I was also sad to hear that she's suffered strokes recently and is in poor health. I hope she has a good 82
nd on October 22, and I will always think of her when I hear the term "Reflections in a Mud Puddle."

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13 Comments:

At 11:14 PM, Blogger Gary said...

Hi Gregg, I am one of those lazy types who enjoys sleeping late when I can, which has been basically all summer. But the majority of the year finds me up before the sun.

I have been catching up on past episodes of Junk Thief TV and have been enjoying them. You really have been quite productive. Looking forward to more my friend.

 
At 4:22 AM, Blogger Jim said...

Sunday mornings for me are usually about recovering from Saturday night, I'm usually up before noon however :)

(I'm going to have to google some of the people you mentioned)

 
At 5:30 AM, Blogger Reya Mellicker said...

Poor Dory. She had to lose her husband to the young Mia Farrow. I don't think she ever got over it.

 
At 6:38 AM, Blogger Salty Miss Jill said...

Why have I not heard of this Dory before? You do know the most innnnteresting people!

And oh yeah...Lee Hazelwood.I got to see him duet with Nancy Sinatra on her 1998 tour. Pure sex, baby. :)

 
At 6:57 AM, Blogger Joy said...

I have not thought about VIVA in a hundred years, but it was so much better than Playgirl. Thanks for the memories! ;)

 
At 7:47 AM, Blogger Junk Thief said...

Jim - I'd suggest starting with Lee.

Reya - Yeah, I think you could say Dory "had issues".

Jill - Lee and Nancy live! Oh, I don't think I could stand it. Even at their ages, they'd be too much. Nancy's still a mighty sassy lady.

Joy - VIVA -- hey if Bob Guccione was behind it you know it was pure class!

 
At 8:41 AM, Blogger Junk Thief said...

Gary - Well, for you I wouldn't complain about the late sleeping. I know you're no slouch. You've earned your drowsy summer days.

Thanks for watching our little channel! (I just love using the plural first person to suggest that I have a huge staff here.)

 
At 12:59 PM, Blogger Dave said...

I first heard Lee Hazlewood at Tiptina's in New Orleans, as the warm-up music for a GWAR show, of all things. (If you're not familiar, GWAR is a death-metal band famous for wild costumes and for hosing down their audiences with simulated blood, urine, semen, shit, vomit and whatever else they can work into the show.) I followed that tour across the South for about a week, through Baton Rouge, Austin and Houston, and before every show they played "Sundown, Sundown" and "Some Velvet Morning" and the rest of that album. I loved it and the music got stuck in my brain but this was back before the Internets were big so it took me quite a while to find out who it was.

A couple years later I was having dinner at my parents' house and my stepdad was digging old records out from the back of the closet and one of them was, you guessed it, Nancy and Lee. I immediately ran to the Walgreen's to buy some blank cassette tapes. If there's ever been a singer with a sexier voice than Lee Hazelwood, I haven't heard him yet.

 
At 1:23 PM, Blogger Junk Thief said...

Dave - Yep, that man's voice gets me everytime. And those lyrics: "Some velvet mornin' when I'm sraight/I'm gonna open up your gate." Open the barn door while you're at it Mr. Hazelwood. If there is a God, Clay Aiken will never record a Lee Hazelwood song!

 
At 5:14 PM, Blogger Gavin Elster said...

all I got from this post is possible good news about rape!

 
At 5:47 PM, Blogger Ladrón de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

Gavin - Okay, I'm not sure where you found it, but I'm happy for you.

 
At 9:27 AM, Blogger Gavin Elster said...

the VIVA cover.

 
At 9:39 AM, Blogger Ladrón de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

Gavin - Ah, now I get it. You're the only one I know that would buy VIVA "for the articles" not the pictures.

 

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