Utopian Turtletop. Monsieur Croche's Bête Noire. Contact: turtletop [at] hotmail [dot] com

Tuesday, February 07, 2006


highlights from the week-end

snow-shoeing and cross-country skiing in Mt. Rainier National Park and staying in a lodge outside the park with 20-some hippie friends who have been getting together for more than 20 years, with people coming and going (my beloved spouse has been going for 20; I have for 7 or 8)

“I slept like a baby.”

“Did you wake up every two hours wanting to nurse?”

(an old joke, but “a good old good one.”)

* * *

Man reading a brochure about the park to my 3-year-old son: “Do you want to hear more facts?”

My son: “Yeah.” (pronounced: “Weah.”)

Man: “Right on.”

* * *

A friend: “I’m taking off to volunteer for a week in New Orleans.”

Me: “Are you hooked up with any nonprofit organizations?”

Friend: “Yeah, I’m hooked up with a few, but there’s definitely some H.I.F. going on.”

Me: “What’s H.I.F.?”

Friend: “Hippie Ineptitude Factor.”

* * *

The park. The snow. The snow-shoeing. (Most people ski, and we used to until the kid was born. I don’t miss skiing; I wasn’t any good at it.)

* * *

The hours and hours of singing and playing back in the lodge.

* * *

My beloved spouse knows me: “You don’t come for the snow, you mainly come for the music.”

* * *

Remembering that I’m not that much of a hippie after all. I like the Grateful Dead, but I don’t know the words to ANY of their songs.

* * *

I don’t really like the words, but the tune of “Love the One You’re With,” is catchy as a virus, especially when sung loud by 15 people, in harmony.

* * *

Second night of playing and singing, after a few hours, someone saying, “Hey, you guys should do a Rolling Stones song in honor of the Super Bowl.” Eric, a walking songbook, starts playing “Honky Tonk Women”; my ripping harmonica solo (if I do say so) totally upstaged by a line of five dancing women doing Motown moves.

* * *

Watching my son’s growing independence, going up and talking to people he doesn’t know.

* * *

“I don’t know if I’ll be able to listen to the radio again, after hearing all these songs sung here.”

* * *

“The Monkey Song” from “Jungle Book” sung in a rockin’ Latin 6/8 meter -- I’ve covered the song for years, since before Los Lobos covered it; never played it in 6/8 until the best guitarist in the group, a professional musician I’d never met and real nice guy named Larry, started playing the rocking beat on a nice big hand drum; I started singing, accompanied by many people making monkey noises.

Afterwards, a friend asks: “John, is that one of yours?”

I think she’s joking, but no, her husband wants to know too. “It’s a Disney song, from ‘The Jungle Book.’” (Written by the Sherman Brothers, who scored “Mary Poppins.”)

“I’m Disney illiterate! I should make a button!”

* * *

2 in the morning Sunday, after hours of playing, collapsing into roars of laughter on the couch, like a teen-age slumber party.

* * *

“ ‘A Taste of Honey’ is the only song where Herb Alpert kicked the Beatles’ ass.”

“No, did the Beatles do that song?”

“On their first album.”

“That’s the same song? The Beatles and Herb Alpert did the same song? Oh man, that changes everything! You’re messing with my head!”

* * *

A friend to my son: “Come here, give me a hug.” They hug. A man in the room says, “Give me a high five.” They high five. The woman’s husband asks for a high five too. Another high five. The woman laughs: “We’re teaching sex roles.”
What a great time! I too love "I Wanna Be Like You" and the boys have recently really gotten into The Jungle Book video, so I get to hear it a lot. I'd love to hear your version.
"I Wanna Be Like You," a/k/a "The Monkey Song," sung by Louis Prima as the orangutan King Louie the King of the Apes -- what a weird, menacing song. All but threatening Mowgli as he demands to be taught the secret of fire -- menacing and weird, menacing and weird -- and the fervor of the desire to become human -- yowza! Prima's performance is fantastic. Los Lobos' version (on the Disney tribute-comp "Stay Awake") has a great beat and a great saxophone solo, but the vocal has no menace.

Corndog, I do have a live recording from 1990 of my old band doing it. I'll get you a copy, one way or another. And anybody else who may want it. Might take a while.
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