Saturday, November 30, 2013


About a gazillion years ago, I was visiting friends in San Francisco, when I made a stop at my friend Baba's apartment. Right there in his living room, a juke box, the first one I'd seen one outside of a bar or diner. After he wrangled a few quarters from me, the talk turned to want lists, specifically his want list for the next round of 45s to put into his new acquisition. He was having a hard time coming up with the name of the group who did "Little Darlin'", a doo wop song that we were both very familiar with, me from the soundtrack from American Graffiti, and him from who knows where. While we were racking our brains, trying to come up with the title, we started goofing around singing it (I can still hear him doing the bass part, "little darlin', I need you..."). The reason why I bring this up is because if it would have happened today, someone would have whipped out their phone and looked online for the artist. But as it was, we tried and tried to come up with the group's name, to no avail. But, for that reason, the fact that we, both with hearty appetites for music of all eras, couldn't come up with the name at that time, when I did remember it, it was tattooed in my brain forever. If we would have done a web search, that particular moment would be gone, it would have never happened. Google is fucking shit up.

All of this came flooding back to me recently. My brother was just given a juke box, a classic '59 Rockola to be exact. Long story short, he helped a women sort things out when her husband passed away, and in doing so, they uncovered the juke box covered in a storage shed. The women didn't even know it was in there, and just gave it to my brother. Good for him, this time the nice guy didn't finish last, and all that jazz. You better believe I'm going to make sure that he has a copy of "Little Darlin'" on 45, you know, just in case he should ever need it.

One thing to note about doo wop. You might think of vocal stuff like this to be fairly lame. Adjust your ears and listen to everything, it'll help rid you of those Mitch Miller-esque preconceptions. Listen to the backing musicians and the arrangements. This shit don't grow on trees. If you're digging it, check out the site Doo Wop Juke Box There's tons of it, and most of it is the lesser known stuff, with posts going back five or six years. It's a full on rabbit hole. I mean it.


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