Of Days Gone By
And so, for you’s mortals who may turn to this page for some kind of savvy succulent, I present to you the following recording that’s been long out of print but that is now available for a short time only via the remastered version that goes something like this:
It’s very clear to me that, lo, these days do conjure words from a George & Ira croon tune that begins, “The more I read the papers, the less I comprehend, the world and all its capers and how it all will end. Nothing seems to be lasting…” Jeez louise, ain’t that the truth. Yeah, the song’s chorus veers into a boy/girl with-the-hots lyrical deal, but what the fock. It’s still got a damn nice melody though, not like these songs I got to try to hum today that sound like some kid’s crammed his cat into the Veg-O-Matic and cranked it up to puree for christ sakes.
Cripes, did the goddamn Congress pass some kind of amendment when I wasn’t looking to make it against the Constitution for musicians these days to put out a song with some focking melody to it once in a while? I got the radio on, and I wish I was deaf.
Which reminds me that commencing soon is the perennial Summerfest down by the shore of Lake Turd-again (as brought to you by the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District). Some of you’s can probably guess what I have to say about that, which I’ll express as an equation: No Bourbon Tent No Topless Tent = No Art Kumbalek.
The music? No thank you. I’m guessing Mr. Porter, Mr. Arlen, Mr. Kern, Mister Ellington, Mr. Berlin, Misters Rodgers and Hart will be absent from the grounds; so, so will I. A guy like me desires to walk away from a music event on some enchanted evening and be able to carry a tune or two inside his head that he might feel like humming a couple, three bars of later whilst patronizing a couple, three bars.
Listen, I’ve got a
theory of American popular music history that I call My Theory of American
Popular Music History that seeks to help explain why a guy like me has a tough
time getting his hum on.
My theory says it started back when
they gave the goddamn 1971 Academy Award to “Theme From Shaft” for Song of the
Year. That was no song. That was some guy cranked clean out of his ever-loving
gourd dicking around with one of those guitar wah-wahs of equipment. And ever
since, anybody with a hankering for a little melody with their music has been
getting the musical shaft uptight and clean-out-of-sight sideways.
And not only no melody, but how ’bout
those lyrics, ain’a? Let’s see if I can recall: “Shaft. John Shaft.” That’s the
short and long of it, yes? Hold on. Later, I think there were some more lyrics:
“Shaft. John Shaft” and “shut your mouth.” Yeah, that’s it. (Not exactly “You
are the promised kiss of springtime/ That makes the lonely winter seem long.
You are the breathless hush of evening/ That trembles on the brink of a lovely
song,” what the fock.)
Now I ask you to tell me how the hell
some show-biz greaseball out Vegas way circa ’70s was supposed to sing “Theme
From Shaft” when he was ready to bring down the house with his showstopping
Oscar-song medley? I tell you, “Theme From Shaft” wrote “yesterday’s news” all
over the careers of great crooners like your Andy Williams, your Dinah Shore,
your Jerry focking Vale, I kid you not.
Yes sir, used to be years ago you’d
hear these songbirds on the radio and on the TV, every day of the week—but
now, you got to haul your sorry ass down there to Branson, Mo., and try to get
a seat at the Great American Washed-Up Entertainment Good Ol’ American-Style
Our Specialty Theatre to essence a previous generation’s
musical greatness, ’cause they sure won’t be at Summerfest.
And those Branson shows are sold out
for years to come to the mature kind of crowd who call Tony Bennett “Sonny.” If
you want to go but you’re not in the will, you’re not getting tickets.
Anyways, I’ve run out of theory so let’s call the whole thing off. All I know is I don’t know, but maybe this: They’re writing songs of love—but not for me; ’cause I’m Art Kumbalek and I told you so.