The lines of a ditty from the early 1960s suddenly popped into my head, recently.
It was late lest September, as well as I can remember
While strolling though the park in tipsy pride
Not a word did I utter, as I lay down in the gutter
And this pig came up and lay down by my side
Not a soul was I disturbing as I lay there by the curbing
When this high-tone lady came, and I heard her say…
“You may tell someone who boozes…by he company he chooses”
And the pig got up and slowly walked away
I was 17 at the time, 56 years ago and I still remembered those words. See the video below, only because of the song.
It was sung by the New Christy Minstrels, a very popular folk group from the early 60s. and I saw them sing this live in concert in 1963. It was part of a medley of humorous ditties called Bits and Pieces and this grainy piece of film shows the group and the audience, mostly college kids.
Pay attention to the way the students responded to what would today be considered childish humor.
(Sorry, no video link, so you gotta cut and paste)
This is a conversation I can only begin as I won’t live to see it finished, but we need to back and rethink some things.
In scrolling through YouTube videos of live performances filmed and recorded on college campuses by the top vocal groups of that period, the Kingston Trio, Peter Paul and Mary, and these New Christy Minstrels, I saw live in concert my senior year in high school in a sold out university basketball arena.
It never dawned on me then that this concert format would die before the end of the decade, as would the folk music craze in general. Pop bands and vocalists (both black and white) were popular since the mid-50s, Bill Haley, Buddy Holly and Elvis (I saw Elvis’ first appearance on Ed Sullivan in 1956, when the cameras only showed Elvis from the waist up.) the best examples, and I was a regular at a local youth center since 1957.
Folk music had been around for decades, and performed in clubs, but had no national following until the the Kingston Trio changed all that in 1958 with their Billboard #1 hit, “Tom Dooley” and the release of their namesake album, which consisted of an array of songs not found on other albums, including humor, parody, and borderline bawdy, all put together in a 12-track LP that would become the standard LP format through the 60s. (I think Iron Butterfly with “Inna Gadda da Vida” (1969) changed all that with a single song taking up the entire side 2. That and “Born to be Wild” (1969) by Steppenwolf were perhaps the only heavy metal songs I ever liked. But then again, I was not of that music generation. I was born in 1945 and married, in law school and on my way to the Army. Hard rock was the music of my brothers, born 1948 and 1951, who would have been college and high school age respectively in1969.)
I’m about to walk you through the Law of Music Generations, which is not the typical way we measure generations.
But I want to reveal it through the eyes of that 1962 audience who laughed and clapped as the New Christy Minstrels sang those silly ditties to an auditorium filled with obscenely conservative hair cuts and button-down attire.
It was the Kingston Trio who pioneered the 90-minute stage show before a packed auditorium, and they began their banter-style shows around 1960-61 on college campuses[…]