Today’s prompt was brought to us by our guest conductor, Cathy, who gave us the prompt, “mail, soup, vacuum,” evidently after reading a national day calendar. I got a little creative with it, and managed to come up with ten songs anyway.
The first four songs are “letter” songs. “Roll Over Beethoven,” the Chuck Berry classic, starts with the line “gonna write a little letter, gonna mail it to my local DJ.” I used the Beatles version from With The Beatles, the British album that became Meet The Beatles and The Beatles’ Second Album in the US (it’s the second song on the latter). Next, although Cathy already used “Air Mail Special,” I’m using the version by The Benny Goodman Sextet, which featured Charlie Christian on guitar. After that, we have Muddy Waters, with Little Walter on harmonica and Big Crawford on bass, playing the original version of his “Sad Letter,” from 1950. He re-recorded it on 1974’s Can’t Get No Grindin’, but the original is cleaner. Muddy got a lot of use out of the guitar licks in this song, because you can hear the same guitar part in about half of his songs. The last song in the “letter” set is The Box Tops’ classic “The Letter,” their first big hit.
Next, I have three “vacuum” songs. The way I did this was to remember that space is a vacuum. So, we have The Tornados’ “Telstar” from 1962, Billy Preston’s “Outta Space” from 1971, and Harry Nilsson’s “Spaceman” from 1972’s Son of Schmilsson.
Finally, three “soup” songs, more or less. First up is Carole King’s “Chicken Soup With Rice,” from the 1975 musical Really Rosie, which was written by Maurice Sendak. Carole wrote the music and sang it in the original 1975 animated special. Then, I got a little creative: In the US and in most of the rest of the world, the most popular brand of canned soup is Campbell’s (they’re based in Camden, New Jersey, and had a plant in Chicago). True to their Scottish roots, the “Campbell Kids” were dressed in kilts and tam o’shanters and the song “The Campbells Are Coming” was used in some of their commercials. This all told me that the song was perfect for the theme, so I chose Tex Williams’s Western swing version of it. And finally, we have the adorable Shirley Temple singing her classic song “Animal Crackers In My Soup,” which is a lot more violent than I remember it being.
And that’s Monday’s Music Moves Me for February 4, 2019.