Music Related

Tom Jones – “Long Lost Suitcase” (The new album)

Harry Borden/Courtesy of the artist.

The origins of this post are all born from National Public Radio (NPR) who featured an article yesterday regarding the release of a new album by Tom Jones. Tom is some nine months older than me so after giving a few tracks of this new album, “Long Lost Suitcase”, a listen, I was extremely impressed with the way his voice equaled the task. The album is to be released December 4th.

From some old Americana to some good old Memphis blues, I found the majority of the albums offerings quite tasty. It wasn’t what I was expecting given his music of the past but was always the case with Tom Jones in my opinion, I have heard little to none songs from any musical genre that he wasn’t able to handle, sometimes even expanding.

If you’re a Tom Jones fan perhaps you will enjoy the attached samples from the album’s various selections made available through “Spotify” from NPR’s feature preview article for this post….

Tom Jones – “Long Lost Suitcase”

When you don’t expect the unexpected…

Once in a great while we are completely blown away and wowed when certain things occur in our lives that were so completely and totally unexpected. Being a life-long lover of music I can easily recall two such instances in my lifetime musically speaking that easily dominate that category. In fact, there might be many other of my peers that might join me in those two particular revelations.

The first of those revelations began to emerge in the early fifties when the comedy duo of Martin & Lewis took on life and entered the lives of most Americans. Dean was the straight man and crooner with a delightful singing voice and his sidekick was none other than Jerry Lewis whose comedic antics and slapstick would seem to delight the world. Jerry’s voice on the other hand was high-pitched, loud, with an almost irritable tone that was perhaps reminiscent of fingernails scratching down a chalkboard.

(Jerry Lewis & Dean Martin)

It was in September or October of 1956 when the first of my two earth shattering events occurred when I heard for the first time a song recorded by Jerry Lewis and released for radio play. It was an old but very familiar song titled “Rock-A-Bye Your Baby With A Dixie Melody” which had originally been a Number 1 hit for Al Jolson back in 1918. But I think it fair to say that when we heard Jerry Lewis belt out his version of this song, well it just completely blew the general population away. No one ever saw this coming from this particular comedian. The song gained such popularity that it rose to Number 10 on the Pop Music Charts in November of that same year – an instantaneous hit.

“Rock-A-Bye Your Baby To A Dixie Melody” – Jerry Lewis

It would be around a decade or so later when another such comedian would perhaps pull off an even more shocking musical entrance into our lives. What brought us to our proverbial knees would be a character known as Gomer Pyle who first played a gas station attendant on the very popular “Andy Griffith Show”. Jim Nabors was the name of the man behind the character and after two years on that show, he began starring in his own spin-off television series, “Gomer Pyle U.S.M.C.” which gained similar popularity.

Gomer-Pyle-02(Jim Nabors – “Gomer Pyle U.S.M.C.”)

It was during a guest appearance on “The Danny Kaye Show” in 1964 when the golden baritone voice of the bungling Gomer Pyle would literally shock a nation. Who would have thought such golden sounds could have ever emanated from such a clown. There was such approval of his musical talent that from 1969 to 1972 he hosted his own prime time variety show, “The Jim Nabors Show”.

“You’ll Never Walk Alone” – Jim Nabors

Although Jim Nabors never had a song hit the Pop Charts he was nevertheless quite popular with the older generation and released dozens of albums over his career. Perhaps of all the songs he did put on those albums, it was probably the song “The Impossible Dream” which was usually associated with the man.

“The Impossible Dream” – Jim Nabors

And I have to say that to this day whenever I hear a Jim Nabors’ record it still doesn’t completely register that this voice is really coming from the man who was first known to us as Gomer Pyle!

Who the heck is Gene Mumford?

Billy Ward & His Dominoes - 03

Having always given myself the utmost credit with regard to being a music lover, even boasting at times at the self-endowed fact that I was a true connoisseur of the music attributed to the 1950’s and early 1960’s, I have recently discovered that I have failed miserably by all accounts regarding my most recent enlightenment. And to add insult to injury from my perspective, I found this post quite difficult to write due to the fact that there are just so many moving parts that it is hard to decide what to include and what to omit. And this is especially true when it comes to the many vocal groups who were emerging during the late 1940’s and early 1950’s with the growth of popularity of R&B music coupled with the birth of the rock and roll genre.

If you spent your teenage years growing up in the 1950’s as I did then you may recall that in 1957 two songs in particular that hit the Billboard Charts that year struck a real musical chord with a lot of folks. Even our parents who were not quite yet caught up the new budding rock and roll music genre took somewhat of a liking to the new releases. And why not, who could not be caught up in those classic pop standards which were “Stardust” and “Deep Purple”.

A vocal group, “Billy Ward & His Dominoes”, released the two songs in 1957 which were covers of a couple of classic contemporary pop standards, “Stardust” which topped the Billboard Charts at #12 in July of 1957 and was followed by the release, “Deep Purple” which went to #20 on those same charts in October of that same year. Aside from being great classic songs, these new versions were steeped in the flavor of the ‘Doo-Wop’ sound which seem to elevate them to an even higher level with the younger generation.

And without any further guidance and/or information from local radio DJ’s or other sources and given the fact that the record label itself was devoid of any clarifying information regarding the lead singer, the majority of us just assumed given the name of the group that it was Billy Ward. And if your memory has failed you to any degree up to this point regarding those two music selections, let me offer up a subtle reminder.

Liberty Record Labels Combo - 1957

(“Stardust” – Billy Ward & His Dominoes)

(“Deep Purple” – Billy Ward & His Dominoes)

Imagine now, if you will, waking up one morning some 58 years later and finding out that all these years you have been doling out ‘kudos’ to Billy Ward for his amazing voice featured in those two recordings and finding out the singer was not Billy Ward at all. It actually wasn’t until well after the advent of the Internet that I happened across information that would enlighten me greatly with regard to the subject matter of this post.

Eugene MumfordWell, let me get to the heart of the matter at this point. No, that is not Billy Ward singing the lead on those two songs and I found myself a bit shell-shocked when I discovered the true facts. It was a man named “Eugene (Gene) Mumford” who was quite well known among his musical peers for his golden tenor voice but to the admiring pubic where I was residing he was a total unknown. And unfortunately pretty much remains so to this day. And that, musically speaking, is tragic in my opinion.

The group was basically founded in 1950 and was originally called The Dominoes. Billy Ward along with his agent and partner, Rose Ann Marks, were co-founders of the group. Billy Ward was trained on the piano had been a child prodigy, even attending New York’s famed Julliard School of Music. As a group leader, he had a reputation for being a strict disciplinarian when it came to running and controlling the group and had a no-nonsense personality.

After some initial efforts at trying to organize a cohesive vocal group, in late 1950 the vocal mix that the founders were looking for emerged. At that early point in of the group’s beginnings, The Dominoes, which was the group’s initial name, consisted of the following talents: Billy Ward at piano, Clyde McPhatter – lead singer, Charlie White – tenor, Joe Lamont – baritone, and Bill Brown as bass singer. And yes you read that right, the group’s first lead singer was the very famous Clyde McPhatter who at the time was a virtual unknown and had been recruited from a gospel group. Here’s a selection from the makeup of that group. (Please click on photo to enlarge)

Billy Ward & His Dominoes featuring Clyde McPhatter 1

 

 

“Harbor Lights”

Billy Ward & His Dominoes featuring Clyde McPhatter

McPhatter would remain the group’s lead singer until late 1953 when he would leave the group to pursue both a successful solo career and found the famed group, The Drifters. Amazingly enough, McPhatter’s replacement would end up being another virtual unknown, Jackie Wilson who like McPhatter, would go on to have a stellar career of his own. (Please click on photo to enlarge)

Billy Ward & His Dominoes featuring Jackie Wilson 2

 

 

“Rags To Riches”

Billy Ward & His Dominoes featuring Jackie Wilson

And now to the man of the hour, Gene Mumford, who as previously mentioned was well known among his vocal group peers and virtually unknown to the general public. With Jackie Wilson having left the Dominoes and hearing Gene Mumford was available, Billy Ward immediately recruited Mumford for his next tenor and lead singer.

During his early singing years Mumford was a member of a southern gospel group, The Four Interns, and then in the mid-1940’s he had a couple of unfortunate run-ins with both military and civilian law enforcement, eventually spending two years on a prison chain gang until he was cleared of all charges and received a full pardon from the Governor of North Carolina.

After being pardoned and released from prison in 1949, Mumford was contacted by Therman Ruth who was a gospel singer, Dee-jay and concert promoter whom Mumford had come to know prior to his incarceration and had remained in contact with during that time. Therman was in the process of putting together a group he called the Jubilators and as soon as he learned Mumford had been released he immediately contacted him and Mumford joined the group as a tenor/lead.

Then on October 5, 1950 Therman took the group around New York City on a marathon recording fiasco where the group recorded at several different record companies under a sundry of group names and individual aliases. They finally ended up that day at Apollo Records where they had already recorded some tracks earlier in that same day. They were preparing to record new tracks under a different group name, “Southern Harmonaires”, when one of the studios employees recognized them from their session earlier in the day. They called the studio owner, Bess Berman, who came to the studio and after actually hearing the group sing decided on the spot that she wanted them under contract so in the end she made a deal with all the other recording companies and secured sole rights to the group.

Bess wanted a secular R&B group and so it was that the Jubliators faded into obscurity and she renamed the new group the “5 Larks”. Within several weeks the ‘5’ was dropped from the group’s name and they would be known from that point on simply as “The Larks”. And through it all Gene Mumford continued his tenure as tenor/lead.

In March of 1951 the group cut a record with a song on one side titled “My Reverie” and although the song garnished no particular acclaim nationwide it is considered one of the group’s classics and features our man of the hour, Gene Mumford, singing lead so here are those sweet sounds. (Please click on photo to enlarge)

The Larks - 1951

 

 

“My Reverie”

The Larks featuring Gene Mumford

 

The group’s members slowly began to migrate to other groups in mid-1952. Gene Mumford would join a gospel vocal group called the “Golden Gate Quartet” but in less than a year he left the group in an effort to further pursue a career in secular music. In 1953 Mumford then took it upon himself to try and reincarnate his formal vocal group, The Larks, so he simply began recruiting new members but maintaining the name “The Larks”, although this was in reality a completely new group.

In 1954 the group was given the opportunity to perform and record some five songs at a local production company named Studio Films who was trying to produce a series of music videos. One of those five songs filmed was the very well-known classic, “Danny Boy”, which is featured below. David ‘Boots’ Bowers who was the group’s bass singer sings on the first portion of the video but Gene Mumford, who is at the far right of the group, comes in at about the 1-minute mark to finish out the song.

The Larks - 1954-2

 

The reincarnated Larks would finally dissolve for the last time in the latter part of 1955. Mumford pretty much remained out of the lime light until early 1957 when he surfaced once again as a member of a vocal group named the “Serenaders”. It was apparently only a short time later that Jackie Wilson had left Billy Ward and His Dominoes so it was at that time that Billy Ward recruited Mumford to replace Jackie in his group. Gene’s voice had fully matured by that time and he could vocally deliver one hell of a ballad.

 And so it is that we have basically come full circle since I started this short little post with those two great songs that were released by Billy Ward & His Dominoes in 1957 and featured Gene in the lead. Certainly this historical look is not by any means but I did want to try and give a basic overview of this talent who may have been somewhat overlooked by the general music loving public. Sometimes when it comes to music, again historically speaking, we often miss some of the real historical treasures of that music and its true origins. In the case of Gene Mumford, after myself becoming enlightened on this man, do believe he has been for the most part a true musical treasure sadly overlooked.

Gene Mumford who was born June 25, 1928 passed away May 29, 1977 at the age of 51 having been diagnosed with bacterial pneumonia. Gene also suffered from diabetes and his friend, Therman Ruth, felt that his diabetes along with a serious drinking issue were primary contributors to his early death.

The Larks are now regarded as one of the most important R&B vocal groups of the 1950’s and even though they had less than a handful of songs that hit the Billboard Charts, their music and history certainly seems to bear that out beyond any shadow of a doubt. Billy Ward and His Dominoes enjoyed a bit more success when it came to charted songs but a part of it all was a talent of whose name I was totally unaware which would emerge from the shadows on occasion and surely catch the ear of all within listening distance.

In closing, if you are interested in a much more detailed accounting of the two vocal groups to include Gene Mumford I want to highly recommend reading the following biographical accounts:

Marv Goldberg’s R&B Notebook – The Dominoes (Part 1)

Marv Goldberg’s R&B Notebook – The Larks

Todd Batista’s Harmony Lane – In Search of Gene Mumford

 

I thought it was stupid”! – Robert Redford’

I recently had an opportunity to re-watch a film which I had not seen in years. That film which was certainly quite well known was “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” which was released way back in 1969. Gosh, it just doesn’t seem like it was some forty-five years ago when I first watched that movie. And of course who can mention this particular film and not in the same breath mention the song “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head” which was sung and recorded by B.J. Thomas that same year. For most the film and the song are synonymous.

I was, however, to also learn during this particular airing of the film that all was not as it seemed back in the beginning with regard to the film and this particular song. There was much discussion as to whether the song fit the film in any regard. And as recently as April of 2012 during an interview at the London Film Festival one of the stars of the film, Robert Redford, noted that the music played a huge role in the film’s success but at the time they were filming he thought it was stupid to put that particular song in the film. Redford noted, “Suddenly there was a scene where the guy was singing “Raindrops Falling on My Head” and it wasn’t even raining. Well… how wrong was I?”

The song was released in October of 1969 to very mixed reviews. It wasn’t particularly a good fit with the hit songs on the charts at the time competing against number one songs at the time to the likes of “Can’t Get Next To You” by The Temptations; Sugar, Sugar by The Archies; Suspicious Minds by Elvis; Wedding Bell Blues by The Fifth Dimension; Leaving On A Jet Plane by Peter, Paul & Mary.

A separate version of the song was recorded specifically for the film which included a separate instrumental break when Paul Newman did a few bicycle stunts during the subject music sequence. The entire filmed sequence centered around two of the lead characters, Paul Newman and Katherine Ross, riding on a bicycle in one manner or another.

Despite the song’s initial slow rise in popularity, with the release of the film “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” in December of 1969 “Raindrops Falling on My Head” shot up to Number One in January of 1970 and held that position for four weeks. It sold some 200,000 to 300,000 records a day and continued selling for about three years. Written by Hal David and Bert Bacharach, it won an Academy Award for both “Best Original Song” and for “Best Original Score”.

Below is a video clip of the scene in discussion….

As we now know of course, the song became almost iconic after it became a part of the film. And to this day I suspect it is hard for anyone who was old enough to remember the release of the film or the song to think of one without thinking of the other. And can’t you imagine just how bad Mr. Redford must feel about his prior misgivings! 🙂

Looking Back 60 Years…. It was July of 1954.

Young Elvis Presley - 01

Elvis Presley

No one should ever profess that rock and roll began or was founded with the advent of Elvis Presley onto the musical scene but in the day it would have certainly been fair to say that with the appearance of Elvis onto the scene, we now had the rising genre of rock and roll on steroids.

In retrospect it seems that July is surely a landmark month when it comes time to discuss Elvis Presley and the earliest beginnings of his career. After all, it was on July 18th of 1953 when Elvis made his way through the front door of Sun Records and recorded his first two songs. Sixty-one years ago on this month after walking through that front door he plunked down $3.98 and recorded a acetate demo of two songs; “My Happiness” and “That’s When Your Heartaches Begin”. The seed had been sown…

Then in 1954, one year later during the month of July a combination of events would occur setting in motion a force that would elevate the relatively new genre of Rock & Roll to unprecedented levels driven by the talents of one young man….

July 4thElvis was trying to find a band to sing with and so Sam Phillips who just happened to be owner and producer of Sun Records and simply trying to be a nice guy and help the young kid out, arranged for Scotty Moore and Bill Black, two local Memphis musicians to audition Elvis to see if there might be some possibilities there for a band. Elvis got together with Scotty and Bill at Scotty’s house on July 4, 1954 but neither musician was particularly impressed with what Elvis had to offer. But they did agree to meet at Sun Records the next day and have Sam Phillips oversee a studio session to explore any uncovered potential.

July 5thThe three met the next day at the studio along with Phillips and rehearsed and recorded a few selective songs but nothing that made any impressions on anyone. During a break Elvis picked up a guitar and began playing around and singing “That’s All Right”. Phillips had Moore and Black join in and they all got their first real taste of the talent that lay beneath the skin of the young man. They recorded four songs during that session but the two standouts were “That’s All Right” and “Blue Moon Over Kentucky”.

July 8thAfter the session on the 5th Sam pressed a few acetate records and took them to a local station in Memphis, WHBQ, and it was on this day the songs hit the airways to test the waters and see what, if any, public reaction might reveal. A week later Sun Records had received some 6,000 advanced orders for the record.

July 19thAnd so it was that on this day, the 19th, in 1954 that Sun Records releases the first Elvis Presley record containing “Blue Moon of Kentucky” and “That’s All Right”. It should be noted that the song “That’s All Right” was considered the A-side of the record while “Blue Moon of Kentucky” the B-side. From its early release however through early December, “Blue Moon of Kentucky” was consistently higher on the local charts but then quickly after that both songs began to hit the charts across the South.

Thats-All-Right-Blue-Moon-Over-Kentucky(Click below to listen to songs)

(“That’s All Right” – Elvis Presley)

(“Blue Moon of Kentucky” – Elvis Presley)

At the time I was nearing my 14th birthday and ready to start the 8th grade. Given my hometown’s (Little Rock, Arkansas) proximity to Memphis we were certainly aware of this shape shifting, hip-shaking rock and roller making a name for himself but were not aware of what was to follow. But… if you loved music as I surely did, it was a hell of a time to be a kid and taking it all in… believe you me!\r\n\r\nIf you check out the “Featured Music Selection” for this week you’ll see I have posted a selection titled “Birth of Rock and Roll”. The song was released on an album in 1985 titled “Class of ’55′” and features another one of those Sun Records artists from those days days of renown with lyrics actually chronicling Elvis and those early Sun Record days. That artist being none other than Carl Perkins who was another of the great talents to emerge from the Sun’s record label.

Remembering Eva Cassidy….

Although I don’t suppose it has been all that long ago, I can still remember the first time I heard Eva Cassidy’s recording of “Over the Rainbow”. I, like many others perhaps, was musically awestruck at the voice and the measure of passion contained within that wonderful vocal presentation. It was the song that would bring her from obscurity to the limelight even though it was some 2 years after her death.

The story behind her brief life and the music of Eva is so very bittersweet but captured so very well in a televised ABC Nightline story which aired back in May of 2001 showcasing life and music Eva Cassidy. She was born in a Washington DC suburb in 1963 and only 33 years later she would be diagnosed with advanced melanoma and was given only some three to five months to live. She was strongly supported by her family and the small, dedicated fan base there in Washington DC who shared in Eva’s love for the music she gave.

Not much is available video wise featuring Eva because she died at such a young age and as previously mentioned, was virtually unknown as an artist until a few years after her death. If you are by any measure an Eva Cassidy fan the two videos that a a part of this post are definitely a “must see”. Past that, quite honestly there is really little else that can be said….

The live home video of Eva performing her famous version of “Over the Rainbow” you heard mentioned in the ABC Nightline’s video is posted below. We fans are so fortunate to have this warming yet bittersweet performance left to us as part of her musical legacy….

‘Like Father…. Like Son

Rex-Allen-Rex-Allen-Jr(Click to Enlarge)

One of my personal favorite cowboy stars from back in the fifties was Rex Allen. He was one of the singing cowboys of the day and to top it off, at least for me, his horse Ko Ko was my favorite horse of all the horses those cowboy heroes of the day mounted on any given Saturday. In fact, the personal relationship between the horse’s actual owner, Rex Allen, and Ko Ko is something quite special in itself. But we’ll leave that for perhaps another day.

Rex-Allen-Sr-03(Rex Allen & KoKo – Click to Enlarge)

In 1962 Rex Allen would surprise everyone when he released a recording, “Son, Don’t Go Near the Indians”, which would reach Number 17 on the Billboard Music Charts. His professional success would continue on through the sixties and seventies during which time he narrated over 80 Walt Disney films.

Then… along came junior. I’m speaking of course about Rex Allen’s son, Rex Allen Jr., who in my opinion got the golden voice gene from his papa, no doubt about it. Like father, like son, I found myself a fan from the first time I ever heard Rex Allen Jr. sing.

Rex Allen Jr. became much more well known for his vocal talents when he, along with Janie Fricke, became regular guests on the Statler Brother’s Show television show which ran from 1991 to 1998.

I chose a music video featuring Rex Allen Jr. which was his first music video by the way, because it showcases those old westerns we use to love but perhaps even more importantly, contains a message that seems so appropriate for the times we live in these days. You may even catch a glimpse of papa in one or two of those background film clips if you’re watching closely….

You Don’t Miss Your Water (till your well runs dry) – William Bell

I was elated when found the video below on YouTube. I had originally seen the performance as aired by PBS last year at the White House but never thought I would find what I considered to be the best performance on the show available for personal use.

Since the featured song and video in this post was filmed at the White House during a performance there, let me say this post is all about the music and the artist and has nothing to with politics so come on in, sit down and listen to some of the best of Memphis Soul you will ever hear… but leave your politics at the door!

In my opinion it doesn’t get any better than what you see and hear in this video. William Bell grew up in Memphis, Tennessee and recorded his first hit with Stax Records in Memphis titled “You Don’t Miss Your Water” which is a classic blues piece of music. That’s the song you’ll hear in the video and the man has only gotten better with the years considering he first recorded the song back in 1961. He was 73 years old when he performed on this video in 2013.

And I cannot fail to mention that the group backing up the performers on this particular night was led by none other than Booker T. Jones of Booker T. & The MG’s fame. It was in 1962 when that group recorded their rock anthem Green Onions” at Stax Records.

Music as seen thru the eyes of a genealogy chart….

Being a music lover, I ran across something I thought very interesting recently regarding the genres of music. Most of us tend to keep our music references to genres pretty basic I would say for the most part such as country, rock and classical for example. But in reality, much like a genealogy chart or scientific classification chart, there are many specific music genres seemingly tied to one another in a maze of interconnections enough to boggle one’s mind. Even candies have genealogy charts, much to my surprise!

Candy Scientific Chart(Click to Enlarge)

This was all brought to light several days ago for me when I ran across a news article in the Entertainment Section of a media website that had referenced the blog which is part of a website run by ConcertHotels.Com. Their blog contained a post entry titled “From Gospel to Grunge – A Rock Time Machine” which led me to the chart (partially shown below) I frivolously referenced as a genealogy chart in my post title which is actually titled “100 Years of Rock”.

Music Genres - 01(Click to Enlarge)

The chart is actually an interactive chart that allows you to follow how the various genres of music developed and also allows you to listen to selected samples of the numerous genres. The evolution of music will slowly evolve as the page opens. I actually found the chart to be quite educational along with being somewhat entertaining so I thought I would post it. Back in the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s it seemed aligning one’s self with a particular genre of music was a rather simple task but these days, not so much.

Perhaps it’s just that old age has taken me over but I haven’t listened to any popular music in quite a few years now. Music just isn’t as melodic as it use to be and the lyricists of today’s music lost me a long time ago.

By the way, if you do happen to visit the website I mentioned, check out their latest post “From Bowie to Bieber: What Makes A Singer Great:” and check out the chart listing the voice ranges of the world’s greatest singers. I was shocked to find Axl Rose of Guns & Roses leading the pack…

The Art of Writing Love Letters….

Recently one of my blogger aquaintnaces, Cheerful Monk, published a post regarding “BroApps“, one of the new applications developed for mobile devices, solely purposed for sending short little love quips and notes to your significant other. It immediately reminded me of something I wrote some time ago which was actually published here in the local newspaper so I thought I would share that little essay with you this morning….

 

“The Art of Writing Love Letters”

Love Letter PNG Images - 108

A few days ago while listening to one of my favorite old music selections I seemed to have been drawn into a moment of deep and reminiscent contemplation for no apparent reason. The song selection I refer to is one of my favorite songs ever recorded by Elvis Presley and is titled “Love Letters” and although it is not one of his mainstream hits, it is a song that has always struck a strong chord with me and certainly captures the essence of a love letter.

(“Love Letters” – Elvis Presley)

But with respect to that referred moment of which I just spoke, I seemed to have come to the stark realization that we, our kids, our society in fact, are losing touch with one of the most romantic and meaningful things that we use to so willingly engage in with our girlfriends, boyfriends, wives and husbands – and that being the art of writing love letters.

In those past times I think it fair to say that to use the word ‘typewriter’ and ‘love letter’ in the same sentence seemed a transgression against all we held dear and sacred. And now we have the computers and other means of instant transmission. Sure you can still bang out a letter to the one you love on the old computer keyboard or even a cell phone text message I suppose, but from my perspective there seems to be complete lack of warmth, sensitivity and passion in such acts. There is a coldness and harshness that cannot be disguised by the words themselves. Simply words embedded in the cold metal and plastic of technology. Love letters weren’t just words on paper. They were words that flowed from the heart through the inked veins of the pen onto the paper with intensity and passion. The words themselves had a life and a purpose.

Remember the anticipation of going to the mail box or post office? Your heart pounding as you fumbled through the mail looking for that magical envelope that would lift your soul to the heavens. Realizing she had been holding the pen from which flowed the words that your heart longed to hear. Her hands had touched the paper, the envelope. She had touched the letter to her face before mailing it, perhaps even sealing the envelope with a tender and wishful kiss. And lastly, there was that subtle scent of perfume that gave you a sense she was at that very moment only a heartbeat away.

For many of us during those good old school days, a love letter was a four page note on notebook paper that we had written the night before while sprawled out across our bed in lieu of doing the homework and studying we should have been doing. The next day at some secluded water fountain in a school hallway I would meet the love of my life and quickly slip the note into her hand. And then I would spend the next hours in weighted anxiety and anticipation of an acknowledging and reciprocating reply.

To say there is something romantic, even magical about the art of writing love letters is perhaps to a great degree an understatement. And though those days have surely passed for me, I find myself almost in a state of remorse. Not because I may not write another myself, but because of all the feelings and sensations that so many others will miss for not ever having experienced the sheer joy and excitement involved with the writing and receiving of those love letters of which I speak.

It seems to me there are just some things that are sinful to lose as this world and our society progresses into its unknown future. I don’t know if the few words written here today will do justice or honor to the wonder and magic of the ‘love letter’ and all it has meant, but I had to try. I would love to end this brief dissertation on a high note but it just cannot be done from my perspective. There is for me, an aurora of sadness because of what I know so many will miss. No one will ever write or sing a song about love letters in the future it would seem. The art of writing and penmanship seem to be slowly fading into obliteration and with that, so must some of their treasured benefits such as the beloved love letter.