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  • Uncle Dave Griffin

Tail of the Weak 2.45

Updated: Jan 25, 2020

Tail of the Weak is a series of insights and musical memories from the mind of Uncle Dave Griffin, singer/songwriter and founder of the Annual Gram Parsons Guitar Pull and Tribute Festival, from Waycross, Georgia.

Ain't that computer a fascinating addition to the modern home or house trailer? You can go anywhere and find anything on it—unless it starts with an S and ends with an X. I spend hours upon hours—chasing down childhood memories, discovering new subjects for thought, seeing what my friends ate for supper on Facebook, and deleting a slew of spam e-mails from my Yahoo account—so long as Firefox don't crash and my hard drive keeps on spinning.

Every now and again, I'll start feeling a little nostalgic for the early songs of my innocent youth—songs that moved me as a child, for whatever reason—that still resonate in my musical soul 59 years later—so, I just click on YouTube and watch the years melt away.

My earliest memories stem from listening to Daddy's diverse album and 45 rpm collection. Webb Pierce's “Tupelo County Jail”, co-written with stuttering Mel Tillis, Johnny Cash's “I Got Stripes”, and THE cowboy song of all cowboy songs, “El Paso”, from Marty Robbins.

One of the standouts was a song made famous by Percy Faith and his Orchestra, “Theme from A Summer Place”, a beautiful instrumental that was all over the radio from September 1959 to April 1960. Our family had just moved back from Tripoli, Libya in March of '60; and I recall hearing it in both places. My love for the song spanned two continents.

Originally titled the “Molly and Johnny Theme” for the movie, A Summer Place, starring Sandra Dee and Troy Donahue, the Billboard Book of Number One Hits called it “the most successful instrumental single of the rock era.”

By the age of eight, I had a transistor radio of my own and played it way down low underneath my pillow at night, mesmerized by songs like Nino Tempo and April Stevens' “Deep Purple”, Del Shannon's “Runaway”, “Telstar” from The Tornados, and “Sherry” by The Four Seasons featuring Frankie Valli, who sang so high the dogs would be circling our house in a half-panic.

In early '63, I first heard the syncopated, bass-snare-guitar intro to Andy Williams big hit, “Can't Get Used to Losing You”, and was moved by the desperation in the lyrics. The song was written by Jerome “Doc” Pomus and Mort Shuman, a successful team responsible for a lot of big hits, including Dion and the Belmonts' “A Teenager in Love”, The Drifters' “This Magic Moment” and “Save the Last Dance for Me”, and Elvis's “Little Sister”, “Suspicion”, and “Viva Las Vegas”.

I'm pretty sure that we've all experienced the scientific phenomenon of how certain sounds and smells can trigger emotional memories. Well, if you're a hyposmiac or an anosmiac, then maybe not; but, it happens to me all the time.

When I hear Elvis singing “It's Now or Never”, I'm magically transported to a Baptist pallet laid out in the rear of our Ford station wagon, as the tires pressed slowly through the gravel driveway of the Georgia Drive-In Theater in Albany, Georgia.

I also remember fondly a 1962 summer vacation night in Fernandina Beach, Florida, standing outside Moore's Grocery, surrounded by cousins, hearing Nat King Cole's smooth, sauntering vocals on “Ramblin' Rose” coming out of the skate rink windows next to the putt-putt golf course.

I was ten years old when “I Want to Hold Your Hand” came blistering over the airwaves, just a few short months after JFK was gunned down in Dallas, Texas—a 60s combination of sadness and joy, making us all feel a little older and less innocent.

Yes, the joys of modern technology are only outweighed by the sweet, pleasant, nostalgic memories—triggered by sound and smell—that the personal computer provides, making me stay up way past bedtime with worn-out ears and a tired nose.

American Spirit: Uncle Dave and The Younguns Download or Buy



YouTube Memories straight from the mind of Uncle Dave Griffin

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