Friday, October 03, 2003

Hall of Fame blog, part 2.

One floor of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has listening stations with earphones plugged into a screen-activated computer that contains songs released by all of the members of the Hall of Fame. The effect, if you happen to be middle-aged, can be to remind you of some swampy spot of your youth.

The members were listed alphabetically, and I started browsing from the back. The last member, and the only Z, was Frank Zappa. I was pleased to see him listed. I never bought any of his records, and certainly you didn't hear him all that much on the radio 20-odd years ago. But listening to him took me back to my first year at Vanderbilt. Bob 'n' Pete, or Pete 'n' Bob, two roommates not far down the hall from me, had a taste for Zappa that they would sometimes share with the rest of us, loudly. One song in particular they were fond of. I dialed it up at the console and listened:

Catholic Girls
With a tiny little moustache
Catholic Girls
Do you know how they go?
Catholic Girls
In the Rectory Basement
Father Riley's a fairy
But it don't bother Mary
Catholic Girls
At the CYO
Catholic Girls
Do you know how they go?
Catholic Girls
There can be no replacement
How do they go, after the show?

All the way
That's the way they go
Every day
And none of their mamas ever seem to know
For all the class they show
There's nothing like a Catholic Girl
At the CYO
Where they learn to blow ...
They're learning to blow
All the Catholic Boys!

Now that's Zappa. By turns puerile, funny, bawdy, silly, strange. Also, with my somewhat more experienced ear, I now realize how remarkable his music sounds -- leaving the lyrics aside.

More importantly, it made me think of those two demented bastards down the hall. They helped make freshman year that much more interesting.


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