Okay, so technically this is a repeat artist — and really, that would have to happen at some point; I only have so many records, CDs, and MP3s. Herb Alpert and His Tijuana Brass appeared here on January 17, 2020 (“A Taste of Honey”) as an instrumental act, but today he’s the singer on a piece composed by Burt Bacharach.
Each time I hear the musicians from this period and, I guess, genre (“easy listening,” is that what it was called?), I have memories of having heard the songs as a child. There are some Alpert tunes I’m sure were used in TV commercials for the women’s clothing stores on the south side of Portage Avenue in downtown Winnipeg. A few of those remain, but there was a whole long line of them between Eaton’s and The Bay: Clifford’s, Ricki’s, Dayton’s, Cleo’s, D’Alliard’s, Helene’s Silhouette Shop… I know there are many others I can’t think of at the moment (please leave a comment if you remember one!).
For me as a kid in the 1960s and early 70s, Saturdays meant having to be “dragged around the shops…” and I can still hear the sound of hangers making that screeching noise as they were briskly swished from one side of the rack to the other so that every single dress in the store must have been looked at. Every dress. Every store. Every store from Eaton’s to The Bay. And many were tried on; few bought, unless on sale. (It was all about efficient use of the scarce financial resources for our family of seven.)
Most of those stores, if at all, had only one chair in the showroom; my dad would get that. Fair enough… but gawwwd… it all seemed endless. (Well, so it seemed to this youngster; then again, I don’t remember anything else that called urgently upon my time on weekends as I wasn’t into sports, don’t recall reading a lot, probably wouldn’t have been allowed to sit in front of the “idiot box” (TV) all day, hadn’t learned to swim or skate, and seemingly was too young to be left alone at home… at the same time, I never seemed to have thought to bring a book or something to occupy myself.)
For full disclosure, Saturdays weren’t all bad. On those days, I knew at some point, that if I’d behaved reasonably well during the shopping marathon, I’d get a chance to choose some pick-and-mix candies from the sprawling Candy Counter in Eaton’s basement as my dad was a candy fanatic — a quality many of us inherited from him (for a long time, the candy department was on the main floor, I believe… anyone else remember that?), plus we would ALWAYS take home one of those string-tied cardboard boxes of Eaton’s cheesecake, with accompanying containers of cherry topping, from the grocery store in the basement (it was a badass grocery store; I remember it being bit like a Marks and Spencers). I can still taste it. (Sweety made a cherry cheesecake last weekend for the birthday of one of our boys. I think it must have shaken loose this little memory; and damn, it was good, by the way, though I’m not as partial to cheesecake as I once was. But then, I don’t have to endure shopping trips like that, either.)
Anyway, those commercials surely featured some of the songs of Bacharach, Alpert and their ilk, and I remember seeing them with my siblings when our parents were out and we’d watch TV, sometimes even venturing into shows like CKND’s Chiller Thriller (semi-) horror movie at 10:30 pm on Saturdays.
As I mentioned in the post on “A Taste of Honey,” many of the songs from this era flood me with memories. As you can see, this one is no exception.
Maybe I should end it here, as that’s probably more than you need to know about why this is my song of the day for today. But thanks for joining me here, and please enjoy. And as usual, if you like the music, support the artists and purchase it.
Here’s the video from Herb Alpert’s YouTube channel. (Apologies in advance for using a video from the 60s as, for men at that time, it was viewed as normal to refer to an adult woman as “a girl,” as comes up in the verbal preamble to the song. Ugh. Sorry. We “made fire” quicker than we’re progressing on most things — assuming it was men who invented fire, that is. Plus, it’s a cheesy video. And the lyrics are pretty dated, in terms of male self-awareness regarding women and men being equal… but, other than all that, it’s a pretty okay tune.)