Gather ’round Cats, Let Me Tell You A Story

guitar-cat-diane-ursinBack in the late 50’s when I was a teen age boy a song was released called “The All American Boy“. There is a lot of controversy about who wrote the song, who recorded the song, etc. This blog is not about that, but just to keep the record straight, Bobby Bare recorded the song, but it was released under the name of Bill Parsons, who probably wrote it. However, if you listen to the song, and if you are a Bobby Bare fan, there is no doubt who recorded it.

From the first time I heard that song, I wanted a guitar and I wanted to be a rock and roll star. Sadly neither occurred (probably for the best since I cannot carry a tune in a bucket) but the story here is about that time. I had that song on a 45 rpm record and played it over and over again. I really wanted that guitar. I think I was most enamored by the phrase “impressing the girls”. Sadly, that didn’t happen either. I hinted and hinted about how bad I wanted a guitar. Back then most bands consisted of one or two guitarists, a drummer, and a sax player. Drums were too noisy and i knew from my preteen days when I was given a toy clarinet that playing a horn was not for me. After all, horn players generally warren’t lead vocalist, and you needed to sing if you wanted to “impress the girls”. Besides, no matter how good you are on the clarinet (I know I was good because my Mother told me I was), most rock and roll bands didn’t need a horn player who’s entire selection list consisted of “Mary Had A Little Lamb” and “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”.

Christmas that year was to be the year. I hinted and hinted and I knew I would see a new shiny guitar under the tree. But I did not. However my friends Scotty and Charlie did get a guitar. I could be lead singer if only I could sing. Eventually, in desperation, I went out and purchased my own instrument. I bought a Hohner Marine Band Harmonica (in the key of C). Back then harmonica players did not have a place in a rock and roll band. The only people playing then were the Harmonicats. Who were the Harmonicats you may ask? Exactly. Alvin and the Chipmunks had not become famous and Bob Dylan was unheard of. I also inherited an instrument from my Father called a Jew’s Harp,, which I still have to this day. Unfortunately, no place in the band for a Jew’s Harpist either. And neither a harmonica or a Jew’s Harp were very useful for impressing the girls.

As time went on, Scotty and Charlie become good guitar players, they formed a band and Donna was the lead singer, and I enlisted in the Navy. So, is there a moral to this story? Hmmmm, let’s see. “You don’t always get what you want“, not much of a moral, but a good song lyric. How about “Life is like a box of. . . ” Nope, already taken. “Good things come to those who wait”. Apparently not! Okay, I don’t have a good moral. How about, it is just fun to think back and remember. It is fun to think about old friend’s and good times. Those are my thoughts, what are yours?

Tom Lind

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