The music was blasting from Ray’s Corner as usual this afternoon.
Ray’s Corner, as our longtime readers know, is the apartment with the loud music, and the place where the martinis are made of gin with the vermouth bottle held about a foot away. Ray is my dad. He is 84.
When I opened the door, Dad popped up from behind the counter. He’d been digging around in his CDs.
“TV’s terrible tonight,” he said. “Just the coach’s show at 6:30, and then nothing until the news comes on.”
Dad was lining up some more tunes to fill the evening that followed watching the Packers’ coach discuss the latest preseason game.
First, though, Dad had to turn it down the music, then turn it off, so we could talk. That was Billie Holiday blasting away. Dad likes the ladies.
Dad likes his TV, too. But he misses the variety shows of the ’60s and the ’70s, the ones that featured up-and-coming singers like Shirley Bassey, the lovely Welsh sensation.
In the late ’60s, Dad was in his mid-40s. He never would have listened to anything from the musical “Hair,” nor anything by Three Dog Night.
But he might have listened to something from “Hair” or something done by Three Dog Night if sung by Shirley Bassey. Something like this:
“Easy To Be Hard,” Shirley Bassey, from “Shirley Bassey Is Really Something,” 1970. (The album link is to a remastered, expanded import CD released in 1999.)
That, of course, was the long way around the barn to get to this tune. It’s a companion piece to another Shirley Bassey tune — a fine cover of “Light My Fire” — posted the other day by our friend Larry over at Funky 16 Corners.
I found this record last fall in the dollar bins in my friend Jim’s back yard. There are at least two more solid covers — the Beatles’ “Something” and Blood, Sweat and Tears’ “Spinning Wheel” on it.
By the way, Dame Shirley Bassey is still going strong. She has a new album due out this fall. I know an older gent — also still going strong — who might like it.