Thursday, February 21, 2013

Atomic Cocktail & Uranium Rock

Jane Ellen Plays Radioactive Hits: Yes, it is almost Purim! Last year, Abq Jew entertained you (or at least attempted to entertain you) with the satirical piece West Bank Settlements To Be Removed. Yes, that was satire!

This year - just in time for Purim! - Jane Ellen taught a class in Radioactive Hits: Music of the Cold War at OASIS Albuquerque. Here's what the syllabus said:
Paranoia inspired hundreds of songs during the Cold War. With the possible exception of Tom Lehrer's "We'll All Go Together When We Go", most of them have been forgotten. It may be hard to take songs like "You Hit Me Like an Atom Bomb" and "My Fallout Filly with the Atomic Kiss" seriously today, but dozens of these songs filled the airwaves. Your safety is assured; no duck and cover drills will be conducted.
You know about OASIS, right?  Abq Jew has featured OASIS Albuquerque on several occasions, and lists OASIS Abq courses of Jewish interest on his Learn/FiftyPlus page.

Who is Jane Ellen? Abq Jew blogged about here once before (5 Years, 65 Years, 19 Years) and will doubtless do so again. Just to remind you, there's a bio on her website, which you can download here. It begins:

Jane Ellen is an active composer, performer, and recording artist, with four CDs and over 50 print publications to her credit.
Currently living in the southwestern US, she holds a Bachelor of Arts, summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, from the University of New Mexico and received permanent Professional Masters certification from the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) in Washington, DC after completing 15 hours towards a M.M. degree in composition. 
Jane Ellen did a lot of research for this class, then threw most of it away. She whittled down the Radioactive Hits playlist to about 20 songs, of which Abq Jew is about to share four with you.

Why four? To go along with the four bottles of wine we're each supposed to drink for Purim, until we can't tell the difference between "Blessed be Mordechai" and "Cursed be Haman." Or - to go along with the Four Hoarse Men with the Alpaca Lisp.

Just one more thing before we begin: You gotta play these videos!

Now, Abq Jew knows that you're all busy, with a zillion things to do! Just gotta get the hametz out of the house before Purim! But really - you gotta listen! If you're reading this in the Weekly Abq Jew Blog Update - you can always find this blog post right here.


1. The Sun Is Burning

Here's a soft, sweet song to get us started. Written by Ian Campbell, it is performed here by Simon & Garfunkel, our boys from Forest Hills. This song was on their debut album, Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M. - but nobody remembers it. The Sound of Silence - that we remember.

Need the lyrics? Probably not - S&G sing slowly and clearly. But here they are anyway.
The sun is burning in the sky
Strands of clouds go slowly drifting by
In the park the lazy bees
Are joining in the flowers, among the trees
And the sun burns in the sky

Now the sun is in the West
Little kids go home to take their rest
And the couples in the park
Are holdin' hands and waitin' for the dark
And the sun is in the West

Now the sun is sinking low
Children playin' know it's time to go
High above a spot appears
A little blossom blooms and then draws near
And the sun is sinking low

Now the sun has come to Earth
Shrouded in a mushroom cloud of death
Death comes in a blinding flash
Of hellish heat and leaves a smear of ash
And the sun has come to Earth

Now the sun has disappeared
All is darkness, anger, pain and fear
Twisted, sightless wrecks of men
Go groping on their knees and cry in pain
And the sun has disappeared
Such happy music! Such cheerful words! Are we in the Purim mood yet?


2. Old Man Atom

Moving right along, let's listen to this classic by the Sons of the Pioneers (Cincinnati born Leonard Slye, later known as Roy Rogers, was a founding member).  The lyrics are mesmerizing, and whoa, when they sing out the chorus in four-part harmony -

Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Alamogordo, Bikini!

Too serious for you? Well, Jane Ellen brought in this gem to cheer us up:


3. Crawl Out Through The Fallout

This swingin' tune was written by Sheldon Allman. Never heard of him? Possible. But you've certainly heard him. Wikipedia tells us:
Sheldon Allman (June 8, 1924 – January 22, 2002) was a Jewish American-born Canadian raised actor, singer, and songwriter.

He began his singing career with the Royal National Guard during his World War II service with the RCAF. Relocating to Los Angeles, he appeared in twelve movies, including such notable films as Nevada Smith, The Sons of Katie Elder, Hud and In Cold Blood. His co-stars included, respectively, Steve McQueen, Paul Newman and John Wayne. He also made appearances in numerous TV series during the 1960s and 1970s.

He was the singing voice for TV's Mister Ed, for which he also wrote and recorded "The Pretty Little Filly with the Ponytail" and "The Empty Feedbag Blues". Mr. Allman wrote longer versions of these songs, but never recorded the longer versions. He was the lyricist for the theme song to George of the Jungle ("George, George, George of the Jungle, friend to you and me! Watch out for that tree!!").

You're gonna want the words to this one.
Crawl out through the fallout, baby, when they drop that bomb
Crawl out through the fallout with the greatest of aplomb
When your white count's getting higher, hurry don't delay
I'll hold you close and kiss those radiation burns away
Crawl out through the fallout, baby, to my loving arms
      through the rain of Strontium 90
Think about your hero when you're at Ground Zero
      and crawl out through the fallout back to me
Crawl out through the fallout, baby, you know what I mean
Crawl out through the fallout, 'cause they said this bomb was clean
If you cannot find the way, just listen for my song,
      I'll love you all your life, although that may not be too long
Crawl out through the fallout, baby, to my loving arms
      while those ICBMs keep us free
When you hear me call out, baby kick the wall out
      and crawl out the fallout back to me
Cause you'll be the only girl in the world for me
Why don't crawl out through the fallout back to me

4. We Will All Go Together When We Go

For the class finale, Jane Ellen selected Tom Lehrer's famous anthem of camaraderie and fellowship. And how could she not? Surely you've heard this one before. And Abq Jew promises to stop calling you Shirley - right after Purim.

Here are the lyrics. Everybody sing along!
When you attend a funeral,
It is sad to think that sooner or
Later those you love will do the same for you.
And you may have thought it tragic,
Not to mention other adjec-
Tives, to think of all the weeping they will do.
But don't you worry.
No more ashes, no more sackcloth.
And an armband made of black cloth
Will some day never more adorn a sleeve.
For if the bomb that drops on you
Gets your friends and neighbors too,
There'll be nobody left behind to grieve.

And we will all go together when we go.
What a comforting fact that is to know.
Universal bereavement,
An inspiring achievement,
Yes, we all will go together when we go.

We will all go together when we go.
All suffuse with an incandescent glow.
No one will have the endurance
To collect on his insurance,
Lloyd's of London will be loaded when they go.

Oh we will all fry together when we fry.
We'll be french fried potatoes by and by.
There will be no more misery
When the world is our rotisserie,
Yes, we will all fry together when we fry.

Down by the old maelstrom,
There'll be a storm before the calm.

And we will all bake together when we bake.
There'll be nobody present at the wake.
With complete participation
In that grand incineration,
Nearly three billion hunks of well-done steak.

Oh we will all char together when we char.
And let there be no moaning of the bar.
Just sing out a Te Deum
When you see that I.C.B.M.,
And the party will be "come as you are."

Oh we will all burn together when we burn.
There'll be no need to stand and wait your turn.
When it's time for the fallout
And Saint Peter calls us all out,
We'll just drop our agendas and adjourn.

You will all go directly to your respective Valhallas.
Go directly, do not pass Go, do not collect two hundred dolla's.

And we will all go together when we go.
Ev'ry Hottentot and ev'ry Eskimo.
When the air becomes uranious,
And we will all go simultaneous.
Yes we all will go together
When we all go together,
Yes we all will go together when we go.

Now we're ready for Purim! Just remember:

Life is like a sewer.
What you get out of it
depends on what you put into it.

Shabbat Shalom, Albuquerque!
Good Shabbos, New Mexico!
Happy Purim, World!

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