My awesome sister gave me this Captain & Tennille CD for my birthday! THANKS, BETS!
We had this LP when we were kids and listened to it incessantly, if memory serves. That is, when Barry Manilow and the K-Tel Greatest Hits weren’t on the turntable. (Attention Kids: There’s likely to be a lot of Dated References in this post. Please just nod and smile and pretend to be amused, like you do when your parents start on a story from back in the day and just won’t stop. It’ll be just like that. Thanks for your patience, and thanks for reading!)
I remember my sister and I had a choreographed routine to “Shop Around” that we performed in her bedroom. I think it involved flips over the end of her awesome canopy bed with the yellow gingham linens, lip-syncing with fake microphones and dramatic arm flourishes, and pennies on the arm of the record player to prevent skipping. (Kids, did you get that? Pennies on the arm of the record player? Do you know what a “needle” is in this context? My gawd, you were born in the 1990s, how could you begin to understand??)
I was driving home from my office tonight – an hour’s drive no matter which route you take – and listening to the CD. (You freakin’ kids, do you even know what a CD is? DO YOU??) I was surprised because there were songs on it that I totally don’t remember from when we owned it 33 years ago. We must have skipped to our favorite songs – Lonely Night, Shop Around, and (I know, shut up) The Wedding Song (There Is Love). And by “skipped” I mean we moved the “needle” on the “arm” of the “record player” to the next “song” on the “LP”. (Kids are you keeping up??)
Listening to it tonight, I was struck both by the Captain’s excellent keyboard skills, and Toni Tennille’s bluesy alto vocals. Right in my own vocal range. I sang along and the words came rushing right back to the tip of my tongue, as if it was just yesterday I was 9 years old and listening to it in my sister’s bedroom.
The other thought I had? Is how cool it is with CDs – or MP3 tracks – to be able to skip the ones you don’t want to hear and listen to the ones you do. And that was also possible back in the dark ages, when we listened to LPs (kids, if you’ve been paying attention, I’ve explained in other posts that an “LP” was a black vinyl disc the size of a dinner plate into which music was pressed – oh, never mind, go ask you folks). And then I got to thinking about cassette tapes, and how many of those I totally wore out (INXS’s The Swing, Foreigner 4, Van Halen 1984, the Pretty in Pink soundtrack) from all the fast-forwarding and rewinding. And THAT made me think about Soup Husband Curt’s awesome sound system that he had when we first met – a real selling point! – and how his stereo cassette player had this button called “cue” that would fast forward through exactly one track, find the blank space between tracks, and brink you to the next track? Remember how cool that was?
And THEN I thought to myself, what ever happened to the brilliant engineer who heard people whine and bitch and moan about how much worse cassette tapes were than LPs because you couldn’t easily move from track to track, and he said I CAN FIX THAT!, and voila!, he had a patent on the little “cue” button on everyone’s stereo cassette decks, and that was the most Awesome Thing Ever about 25 years ago, when making mix tapes was a fun way to pass a Fridy night, but how now that technology is obsolete to the point where – forget about cassette tapes – those of us born in the ’60s are strugging to explain to our children about how an artist would publish a collection of 9-12 songs and it was called an ALBUM and you’d go to Sam Goody or The Wiz or Kemp Mill Records and buy it all for about $12, in the form of a CD, instead of buying one track for $0.99 through the computer and digitally transferring it to your “iPod” or “MP3 player” or, God forbid, your “mobile phone”!, and how there is no further need for the once nifty invention called the “cue button”?
And then I got home and stopped thinking about these things, but I didn’t stop thinking about the Captain and Tennille and how they had their own Variety Show on Network Television, and that, kids, is a whole other thing that you will never understand, but no matter!, check out this clip I found on YouTube (imagine if we’d had THAT in the 1970s!) from Toni Tennille’s variety show in the 1970s, and maybe, just maybe, you’ll understand your parents a wee bit better than you did before reading my rambling diatribe: