Posts Tagged ‘Tin Tin’

Saturday Single No. 379

February 15, 2014

We kind of punted Valentine’s Day here at the Echoes In The Wind studios yesterday. It’s not like we forgot about it, but neither the Texas Gal nor I have ever made a big deal about February 14, and last week, we agreed to more or less let the day go by without any hoopla. But that’s difficult to do. I sent her an email Valentine yesterday, and during a trip to the drug store yesterday afternoon, I added a small box of chocolates.

She, in turn, was going to take me out for dinner last evening, but when we pulled up into the parking lot of the seafood place about 5:45, we noticed lots of folks leaving the building with resigned looks on their faces. I rolled down the car window and asked a young couple, “Are they busy?”

The young lady nodded. “About a two-hour wait,” she said.

I thanked her and we headed back to the East Side. Along the way, we stopped at a noodle place and grabbed dinner: Steak Stroganoff on whole grain noodles for me, and spaghetti and meatballs for her, with the thought of heading to the seafood place for lunch today.

But you know about the “best-laid plans” thing, right? The Texas Gal began to feel a little off-kilter last night, a little achy, with some head congestion and a sore throat setting in. And she woke up this morning feeling the way I felt Monday, evidently the recipient of an inadvertent and not very pleasant Valentine’s Day gift from me. So after I finish up here, I’ll run some leftover errands from yesterday and then spend the day puttering in the study, shoveling some snow that’s drifted onto the sidewalks in the past few windy days and making sure the Texas Gal gets enough fluids and rest.

And I thought I’d get to some music by checking out some radio station surveys from a February 15 in the past. One of those I found was released on February 15, 1971, by Twin Cities station KDWB, so we’ll dig around in that for a bit and see what I was listening to on Valentine’s Day 1971 as I no doubt pined for a young lady whose attentions were directed elsewhere.

The top five records that week in KDWB’s “6+30” were:

“One Bad Apple” by the Osmonds
“D.O.A.” by Bloodrock
“If You Could Read My Mind” by Gordon Lightfoot
“I Hear You Knockin’” by Dave Edmunds
“Mr. Bojangles” by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band

The only one of those I don’t care for is the Bloodrock single, the post-mortem first-person tale of a plane crash victim. I don’t recall hearing it a lot, and that was fine with me. The gruesome single creeped me out, and remembering it this morning gave me a little chill.

So I looked further down in the survey: Elton John, Andy Williams, Bobby Goldsboro, Dawn, Bee Gees, Bread, Tom Jones, Liz Damon’s Orient Express and more. And right near the bottom of the survey, sitting at No. 35, was Tin Tin with “Toast & Marmalade For Tea.”

Tin Tin was an Australian duo, and “Toast & Marmalade . . .” would go to No. 20 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the spring. I loved that record in 1971, and I’m not sure why. Maybe it was the way Tin Tin sounded like the Bee Gees. I remember thinking it was a not unsurprising sound considering the two groups’ Aussie origins, and that might have been a naïve conclusion. This morning, looking at the single’s label, that similar sound makes more sense yet but for a different reason, as I note that the record was produced by Maurice Gibb.

Do I love the record today? That’s a hard question to answer, and it’s one that goes to the heart of some of the things this blog is about. I love the memory of the record, the memory of hearing it on the radio, maybe in the car driving around with Rick, or maybe coming from the old RCA radio in my room, possibly even on Valentine’s Day evening, a Sunday in 1971. (Did it make me think of my Dulcinea? It might have, but there were other records at the time that did that more potently.)

So I love the memory now and I loved the record then. Is there a way to separate those two things? Well, yes, and looked at with a critical and unsentimental eye, “Toast & Marmalade For Tea” is a self-consciously winsome and lyrically illogical record with a quavery and metallic sound that seems as if it might have been mastered at the wrong speed.

All of that would matter if the record were not an artifact of my youth. But it is, and that means that memory and music entwine. It also means that “Toast & Marmalade For Tea” by Tin Tin is this week’s Saturday Single.

My Time In Middle-earth

August 19, 2011

Originally posted October 6, 2008

It’s funny, the things that stay with you from your youthful fascinations.

When I typed in today’s date – October 6 – at the top of the file I use to write the posts for this blog, I looked at it and nodded. “October 6,” I thought. “The date when Frodo was wounded under Weathertop.”

The reference is, of course, to an event in The Fellowship of the Ring, the first volume of the fantasy trilogy, The Lord of the Rings. Seeking to take the One Ring to perceived safety in Rivendell, Frodo and his companions – three other hobbits and Strider, the Ranger – are attacked by night in a small dell on the side of the hill called Weathertop. I don’t believe there is a mention of the specific date during the narrative at that point, but near the end of the massive adventure, the date is mentioned as an anniversary, and the date is also mentioned in a chronology in one of the many appendices that author J.R.R. Tolkien devised.

When I thought about Frodo and Weathertop, I pulled my battered and tobacco-contaminated copy of the trilogy from the shelf and spent a few moments verifying what I knew: October 6 was the date of that fictional event.

There was a time when I immersed myself deeply enough in Tolkien’s chronicle of Middle-earth that it felt at times like the history of a real world. I sometimes wished – like many, I assume – that it were real. I first read the trilogy when I was a freshman in high school. I’d read its predecessor, The Hobbit, a couple of years before that, but when I tried the trilogy, the shift to a more serious tone and more complex ideas put me off. But when I picked up the first volume of the trilogy, The Fellowship of the Ring, as a ninth-grader, it grabbed me. And for about six years, I guess, until the middle of my college years, one of the three volumes of the trilogy was always on my bedside table.

Oh, I wasn’t always reading it sequentially. I mostly browsed through it a bit at a time, either reviewing favorite scenes or poring over the appendices. I read plenty of other books – science fiction, history, and mainstream fiction – but I still took time to sift through Tolkien’s tales, probably not every day, but maybe once a week. Beyond that, I read the entire trilogy from the start once a year, generally in the autumn.

I’m sure I wasn’t the only one. I don’t recall knowing anyone else in high school or in college who was fascinated as I was by Tolkien’s world and its inhabitants. But I’m sure they were around, members like me of the second generation to have discovered Middle-earth since the three volumes were first published in the 1950s. And, like those others, I assume, I urged my friends to read it. Some did, but most didn’t. I even managed to find an English copy of the trilogy during my year in Denmark to give as a birthday gift to the American girl I was seeing (oddly enough, I recall her birthday, which also happens to be during this week).

I could quote at length from the trilogy, and I frequently drew upon that ability to offer bits and pieces of advice or explanation or inspiration to friends and lovers. I’m sure that was, after a brief time, annoying. When I was planning my academic year in Denmark, I pored over the atlas, seeking place names from the trilogy; I ended up spending a day in the city of Bree, Belgium, a rather dull place, simply because it shared its name with a city in Tolkien’s world.

Sometime during the mid-1970s, the obsession ended, as such things generally do. The paperbacks stayed on the shelves. My love for the tales didn’t go away, but I no longer immersed myself in their world. When I joined a book club as an adult, I got a hardcover set of the trilogy to replace my tattered paperback copies. Now that I no longer smoke – I quit nine years ago, another anniversary that falls this week – I may get a new, clean set of the trilogy. And, as it’s been about fifteen years since I last read the trilogy, I’ll likely read it once.

Millions of others must have similar tales and memories, especially since the release of Peter Jackson’s trilogy of films earlier in this decade. There are many websites devoted to the trilogy – both the books and the movies – with discussions and arguments and assessments of the value of the works and the meaning of their tiniest details. It may be a good thing that such sites and associations weren’t available thirty-five years ago, or I might never have come back from Middle-earth. Given the opportunity, I fear I might easily have become lost in my obsession, and as much as I love Tolkien’s world, I’m pretty glad to be a part of this one, too.

Given today’s anniversary of the attack under Weathertop, I thought I’d start a Walk Through the Junkyard with the piece “A Knife In The Dark” from Howard Shore’s soundtrack from The Fellowship of the Ring, the first film in the trilogy, which came out in 2001. After that, we’ll pull a random selection from the years 1950-2002.

A Monday Walk Through the Junkyard, Vol. 7
“A Knife in the Dark” by Howard Shore from the soundtrack to The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, 2001

“Poor Immigrant” by Judy Collins from Who Knows Where the Time Goes, 1968

“Pictures Of A City including 42nd at Treadmill” by King Crimson from In The Wake Of Poseidon, 1970

“Jock-O-Mo” by James “Sugar Boy” Crawford, Checker 787, 1954

“It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry” by the Grateful Dead in Washington, D.C., June 10, 1973

“Havana Moon” by Geoff & Maria Muldaur from Sweet Potatoes, 1971

“Shootout on the Plantation” by Leon Russell from Leon Russell, 1970.

“Long Walk to D.C.” by the Staple Singers from Soul Folk In Action, 1968

“Busy Doin’ Nothing” by the Flowerpot Men from Let’s Go To San Francisco, 1967

“Restless Farewell” by Bob Dylan from The Times They Are A-Changin’, 1964

“She Said Ride” by Tin Tin from Tin Tin, 1970

“See Him On The Street” by the Jayhawks from Tomorrow The Green Grass, 1995

“Borrowed Time” by  J. J. Cale from Closer To You, 1994

“Tried To Be True” by the Indigo Girls from Indigo Girls, 1989

“I Wanna Talk About Me” by Toby Keith from Pull My Chain, 2001

A few notes:

Every other version of the Judy Collins recording, as far as I know, uses the full title: “I Pity the Poor Immigrant.” It’s a Dylan song, of course, from John Wesley Harding, and I don’t think Collins quite gets to the center of the song, as she had [with the tunes] on the previous year’s Wildflowers. I get the sense that she was still a little too reverent toward her source.

The King Crimson track has some fascinating moments, but, as often happened in the genre called progressive rock, what seemed special many years ago now seems to go on a couple minutes too long. (On the other hand, as a writer, I know how easy it is to keep going and how difficult it can be to be concise.)

The Grateful Dead track comes from Postcards From The Hanging, a collection of the Dead’s concert performances of the songs of Bob Dylan issued in 2002. It’s a CD well worth finding for fans of both the Dead and Dylan.

Soul Folk In Action, the Staple Singers’ album from which “Long Walk To D.C.” comes, is an extraordinary piece of work. Backing the Staples are MGs Duck Dunn, Al Jackson and Steve Cropper and the Memphis Horns, with Cropper producing. The song “Long Walk To D.C.” is a moving piece of work, too, written by Homer Banks and E. Thomas (though once source says Marvelle Thomas), commenting generally on the struggle for civil rights and specifically on the March on Washington, which was part of the Poor People’s Campaign in the spring of 1968.

Tin Tin had a hit in 1971 with “Toast and Marmalade For Tea,” a frothy ditty that went to No. 20. Surprisingly, “She Said Ride” from the same self-titled album rocks some. The album was produced by the late Maurice Gibb of the Bee Gees.

Toby Keith’s “I Wanna Talk About Me” is one of the funniest songs I’ve ever heard. Written by Bobby Braddock and performed perfectly by Keith, the song was one of the first I got to know when the Texas Gal began to introduce me to country. If you ever get a chance, catch the video. It’s a hoot! (The link above now goes to that video. Note added August 8, 2013.)