For a certain kid growing up in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, the passing of summer to fall was not marked by the leaves turning but rather the arrival of Topps football cards at the store.
That happened at about this time every year.
Yet in the summer of 1970, when baseball cards started to fade from the shelves, I decided to divert some of my rather modest spending to 45 rpm records. We bought 45s at Evans Department Store. Part of a small local chain, they carried a little bit of everything.
They kept the 45s on a tall rack up front. The rack was turned toward the cashiers so they could keep an eye on the kids and, presumably, keep the records from walking out the door.
Though I no longer have the 45s I bought that summer — or any of my 45s, for that matter — I vividly remember the first two I bought. They were, of course, all over the AM radio that summer.
“In The Summertime,” Mungo Jerry, from “Mungo Jerry,” 1970. The LP is out of print, but the tune is widely available digitally. I thnk I have it on an old radio station comp LP, but I can’t find it at the moment.
I loved this tune by Ray Dorset and his mates from England. Still do. You still can’t help smile when you hear it today. There’s not much higher praise for a pop song. I never had this LP, and my 45 is long gone, but I can tell you it was on Janus Records, which was kind of a butterscotch or light brown label.
(Speaking of identifying old 45 labels, my old junior high friend Mike prides himself on still being able to do so, even four decades later.)
“Mama Told Me (Not To Come),” Three Dog Night, from “It Ain’t Easy,” 1970. I have it on “Golden Bisquits,” the greatest-hits LP from 1971. Both are out of print, but the tune is available on either “Complete Hit Singles,” a 21-track comp from 2004, or “Millenium Collection,” a 13-track comp from 2007.
To a 13-year-old kid, this tune was a little edgy. I wondered how it would play at home if my parents heard it. But then I figured, “Ah, what the heck.” Again, my 45 is long gone, but I can tell you this was on ABC-Dunhill Records, which had a black label.
Couldn’t tell you how long it was before I learned this was a cover of a Randy Newman song. Longer than I care to admit.