Before I launch into my latest treatise, I want to thank you all for your thoughtful emails and comments regarding my last blog “Instant Gratification vs Commitment.” You gave me some great insights. I’m ready to take on the commitment I mentioned and I will let you know what happens in the upcoming months.
It’s getting harder and harder these days to keep me amused musically, especially while I work out. My old school Nano is almost full and yet I’m bored.
iTunes has “suggestions” for me based on prior purchases, but man are they off base most of the time. “Crush on You” by the Jets? Are they kidding me? Britney Spears comes up a lot on my Just For You list, too. Why? I don’t think I’ve ever listened to a Britney song all the way through to the end. I’d rather listen to In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida sober.
As I clicked around iTunes trying to find music that didn’t make me want to stick my tongue on a frozen metal post and rip it loose, I saw an advertisement for The Rubinoos Anthology. This made me curious and very happy. Curious because I thought, ‘Don’t you have to have released more than one album to put out an anthology?’ And happy because in 1977 I bought the Rubinoos debut album called, well, The Rubinoos and I loved it. I played it day after day and well into the night. I’d plug in my ginormous headphones, the ones that weighed at least 10 pounds and looked like I could send radio signals to Mars, and I would lip-sync like I was in the band while everyone else in my family was sound asleep. I remember doing similar fantasy role-playing with a Cowsills album, Fleetwood Mac, Linda Ronstadt, and Shaun Cassidy.
Anyway, the Rubinoos rendition of “I Think We’re Alone Now” was a huge hit in the Sioux Falls radio market. I remember wondering what it would be like to “tumble to the ground” with some boy and then say to him, “I think we’re alone now. There doesn’t seem to be anyone around.” God knows that would’ve been too bold for me, the girl who, during a football game in 7th grade, agreed to go to the “make-out shack” with Ricky Peterson and promptly walked out the second he stuck his tongue in my mouth. “We! What are you doing?” I think were my exact words.
The “make-out shack” was a little uninsulated wooden building on property known as the “duck farm” located on the edge of our little town. I don’t remember the details of the duck farm, only that there were a lot of ducks and geese there and my friends and I would go there often during the summer to feed them. However, feeding ducks there and getting French kissed there were about as experientially different as one could possibly imagine.
So all those memories came flooding back to me when I saw The Rubinoos Anthology advertised on iTunes. I Googled the group and what do you know? They kept making music after 1977. They even still tour and have a website. “Hunh,” I said. “I wonder if I still have that album.” I went to the closet where we keep the vinyl, laid on my stomach and started flipping through our collection.
It was a little depressing realizing a good number of the artists are dead. John Denver, Dan Fogelberg, Jimi Hendrix, Warren Zevon, half of the Beatles, a few members of Lynyrd Skynyrd, Duane Allman, Keith Moon, John Bonham, Dave Peverett, Brad Delp. But there are plenty of them still living, too, and still making music. The Moody Blues, Bruce Springsteen, the Eagles. Our closet of vinyl is a virtual Mecca for classic rock lovers.
I wish I still had the first album I ever bought, though. Three Dog Night’s Greatest Hits. I saved the money I earned working at my dad’s grocery store and bought it at Musicland at the Western Mall on one of my family’s infrequent visits to Sioux Falls. I still have the last album I bought, though, before CDs became the medium: Tom Petty’s Full Moon Fever. I also found the Rubinoos album. Problem is, I don’t have a turntable to play it on.
I was at the mercy of iTunes. I downloaded a few Rubinoos songs and what do you know? I not only remembered every word, but I anticipated every inflection and change in vibrato like I’d just heard the music yesterday. How come those brain cells are still alive thirty years later and yet I can’t remember what I had for dinner last night?
I won’t be plugging in the stereo headphones and lip-syncing in the dark, but don’t be surprised if you see my lips moving when I work out. These new songs will definitely keep me amused for a few weeks. After that, who knows? Maybe iTunes will finally understand my musical tastes and recommend something more appropriate for me, like the Cowsills, the Keane Brothers or Shaun or David Cassidy.