Your New Favorites | Newberry

Your New Favorites

The success of my St. Patrick’s Day song, “When Virus Eyes Are Smiling” has led to demands for more top 10 potential songs. I’m thinking of releasing an album of them, “I DON”T Want to Hold Your Hand”, as part of the Newberry’s new line of pop music CDs.

If you have not heard about the Newberry’s new venture, you aren’t alone. The Newberry hasn’t heard about it yet, either. This is an idea which was brainstormed by a small division of the brain trust, discussing small themed exhibits for the day upcoming when people will be allowed back into the building, masked or unmasked as the case may be.

Someone had the grand idea of highlighting the Driscoll Collection, a vast collection of sheet music from the early twentieth century. Any number of themes could be represented with just the cover art and titles of the songs: graphic representation of sundry ethnic groups, cats on sheet music, automobile songs, or just an exhibit on Holding Hands (Back When It Was Legal). There are thousands of pieces of sheet music in the collection, most of them designed to vie with others on the rack at the department store, with garish and sometimes bizarre covers and titles that strove to stand out. The visual appeal would be undeniable, and the possibilities of merchandising are limitless (most of these covers are out of copyright.) Postcards, posters, paperweights, silk scarves, what else?

Then someone suggested that this sort of exhibit could be an annual tradition, to be accompanied by a CD of the Newberry Glee Club (there is no such thing) singing the songs on display. No longer would you have to WONDER what Under the Anheuser Busch sounds like; you’d have the recording right there, obtainable by a press of a button on the display case and available on our newest CD at the Rosenberg Bookshop for $12.99. (Tom Lehrer wrote a parody of that classic, by the way, if you want to look it up on YouTube).

I did not immediately volunteer to be part of the project, though I WAS nearly listed in a major reference book as the Manager of the Newberry Library Book Choir. (See, when I filled out the form in my neat but not gaudy handwriting, they couldn’t QUITE make out the words “Book Fair” and did their best to interpret.)

However, I know that once the recording project gets off the ground, the songs from this blog will be as deserving of permanent recording as, say, Paddlin’ Madeline Home or I Had to Drink the Whole Green River Dry. It will include this little quarantine number, which is based on a song you almost certainly know. The lyrics go down even better if you think of Julie Andrews singing it.

Headlines which warn us of ailments systemic,

Protests and lockdowns and viral pandemic,

Bright fabric facemasks which tie on with strings:

These are a few of my corona things!

Blue plastic mittens and hand sanitizer

Stores out of Charmin, Clorox, and Budweiser

Parks that are vacant from beaches to swings:

These are a few of my corona things!

Boarded-up storefronts bright as cemeteries,

Sneezes that close all the bars and libraries,

Work-at-home winters that sag into springs:

These are a few of my corona things!

When the time lags, when the clock clings,

When I’m feeling off,

I simply remember my corona things

And then I don’t feel (cough cough).