It’s an interesting word isn’t it? Nostalgia, the sense of looking back fondly. Then we have the word reminiscence, from an entirely different root, which means virtually the same thing. And very few other languages have words at all to compare with these unless they rob from English. We have an infinitely wonderful language that draws from Latin, Greek, Arabic, German/Dutch, Scandinavian, ancient sub-continental, modern American and so on. Anyway the point is I had a feeling of wistfulness (another lovely synonym) today when I listened to Beautiful South singer Jacqui Abbott on Radio 2 talking abut the Tracks of her Years. She recalled happily (I’ll stop doing similar phrases now) a song which her mum loved and played a lot – And I Love You So – sung originally by Don McLean. It is a haunting little tune for sure

And after all my recent carping about over-claiming yet under-performing politicians, I got to change tack by thinking about my own mum and her favourite songs. Anything by Elvis and early Beatles stuff. My folks never really listened to the radio much – which makes me wonder where I got my love of it from. But there was one record that she would play endlessly on our stereogram, a substantial and highly-polished piece of furniture, almost every time that she had a cleaning/washing day and needed uplifting. It was the soundtrack from the film Carmen Jones starring Dorthy Dandridge and Harry Belafonte, a modern day re-telling of the Bizet opera set in the Deep South during WW2. Quite how she’d come across this movie and took to the music escaped me. There are people in the deepest backwoods in unexplored vallies of The Appalachians who had a closer affinity to operatic culture than my family. But Helen found something in this music that moved her enormously. And of course it became ingrained in my own memories.

Many years later when I had close contacts at the Royal Albert Hall I took her and Bob to a live performance there of Carmen and she adored it, though I’m sure she found the original setting and storyline slightly strange. Nevertheless I can still remember her belting out the words to Dere’s A Cafe On The Corner and Beat Out Dat Rhythm of a Drum  like it was yesterday.

If there’s a song that takes you back to a loved one just let me know. Meantime enjoy this; Dat’s Love, another way of saying love and miss you mum…



6 thoughts on “Nostalgia

    • Hi S

      Yep saw the link thanks mate. Agree that Vincent was DM’s mot soulful song but this one was a lulu too. Not sure he got the credit for it he deserved. Stay safe and love to all

  1. Hi Paul Dad was a big music fan and looked forward to returning south to go round the working mens’ clubs in Yorkshire. Aside from that, loved country and western – Hank Snow and Slim Whitman spring to mind. But he enjoyed The Old Rugged Cross, Deck of Cards and Elvis’s rendition of Old Shep. As a typical teenager he would repeatedly tell me that the singers of the 60s weren’t real singers like Mario Lanza but I could never get my head round Lay My Head Beneath a Painted Tainted Rose. That just cracked me up. It took years for he and my mum to forgive me for trading in their beloved Bachelors LP for one by Them (remember them?).
    Didn’t see what all the fuss was about, they were Irish too and somehow Gloria sounded way better than listening to a private being court-martialled for playing cards in church

    As always, keep writing and above all keep safe

    • Hi Al

      Great memories and I’d have swapped The Bachelors for Them everyday mate. Spookily my mum’s sister was a big Mario Lanza fan too. Thanks for checking by as ever Al and stay well and safe too


  2. This brought a tear to my eye Paul. Carmen Jones was a favourite in our house and my introduction to Opera. I have to say no opera was ever played in our house, and I never knew it was based on Carmen until I was and adult. My Mum’s favourite tunes were from the Batchelors and bizarrely she loved Strauss waltzes. Thanks for reminiscing xx

    • Hi Lynne
      Lovely to hear from you and hope you guys are all well. It’s funny how you don’t think of a lost loved one for days and days and then you see, hear to taste something and memories come flooding back. Isn’t that spooky that Carmen Jones was popular in your household too? Your mum sure had wide-ranging musical tastes!
      Love to all and stay safe xx

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