Saturday, September 07, 2013

Say Something Funny

Megan Abbott and I happened to stop by The End of All Music yesterday just as one of the owners, David, was standing on his tiptoes in the back of his pick-up truck hanging a snazzy new sign for the store on a pole. We went in and bought some records. So I guess the sign worked! I picked up a Patty Duke album. Are you bored yet? I also got a double album; do you kids remember double albums? I know you don't - don't lie to me. Anyway, this album is by Jimmy Clanton and has a red cover that says "Jimmy's Happy." But if you flip it over it has a blue cover and says "Jimmy's Blue." Jimmy looks happy on the happy cover and pensive on the blue cover. So it's one LP of happy songs and one LP of sad songs and when you open the leaves or double sleeve of the double album there's a Jimmy Clanton poster folded up in the middle! But you can't see it until you "cut along the dotted line" to get it out, and friends... THIS DOTTED LINE HAS NEVER BEEN CUT ALONG. Or, to be more grammatical, THIS IS A DOTTED LINE ALONG WHICH NO ONE HAS EVER CUT. So I can't see the poster. But the edges are blue, so maybe it's Sad Jimmy. Don't know when I'll cut along the dotted line and take out the poster and hang it up, though I feel I should. I have never been one of those "keep the toy in mint condition in the original box" sort of guys. Maybe we'll have some kind of ceremony. You know, I have another Jimmy Clanton story, but I'm truly boring myself, so let's move on to other things equally boring. I put the Patty Duke on the turntable today and it immediately evoked David Lynch: minor chords plus a chirpy, doubled vocal, punctuated by ominous timpani. (Come to think of it, Patty Duke played identical cousins on her TV show - so Lynchian! And one of the major subplots of TWIN PEAKS, of course.) "Don't Just Stand There," the song is called, and it is all about Patty Duke telling a guy not to just stand there. There is a quiet, forthright spoken-word section, always a wellspring of unintended eeriness. The song was written by "B. Ross - L. Crane" and with the tiniest bit of research I could find out who B. Ross and L. Crane were, but I'm just so tired of life. I will say, based on a few other tracks they wrote for the album, that B. Ross and L. Crane were masterminds of the perverse. One of their Patty Duke songs is called "Say Something Funny" and in it the narrator asks her boyfriend, who is in the process of dumping her in public, to "say something funny" that will make her laugh so the other people around won't know her heart is breaking! HER HEART IS BREAKING