Friday, July 15, 2011

Merry Little Minuet

The Kingston Trio recorded this song in 1959. I still can't decide if the lyrics were prescient or are just timeless. We owe the songwriting to Sheldon Harnick, who went on to more serious work on Broadway. Many people erroneously attributed it to Harnick's contemporary, Tom Lehrer, perhaps because he penned it using similar acerbic wit. 

Judging from some comments on the YouTube video, we shouldn't laugh at some of this stuff but the audience clearly enjoyed it at the time (not a laugh track but recorded live in a small club). I've enjoyed this song since I can remember because my parents were Kingston Trio fans and they had all their vinyl LPs when I was growing up.


  1. I avoid listening to music! ANd, here, I recognized, from the first whistle! Eisenhower was president. And, we'd reached beyond "atomic" ... to something even "stronger." And, this song hit the spot! It made fun of something so many people feared ...

    And, then what happened? Nixon became president ten years later.

    And, kids, in 1968 did fight the "establishment" back! 1968. In the streets of Chicago. As reported by Norman Mailer (in his best book): Armies of the Night.

    Songs do it for you. Book memories do it for me. The Kingston Trio, however, was the best. We were lighter then. We're way more serious now.

    Plus, more wrinkled. Did you know, when you were born, people like me were saying "Don't Trust Anyone Over 30." Can you imagine that?

  2. Songs do it for you. Book memories do it for me.

    Yes. What will do it for the Gen Xer's? movies? and after them music videos....cable TV shows...memorable YouTubes? It's actually not a great trend as it tends away from ordered, disciplined thought IMO.

    Did you know, when you were born, people like me were saying "Don't Trust Anyone Over 30." Can you imagine that?

    I thought that came a bit later. I remember when my mother was 27. I still trust her now and she's 74!

  3. So I guess what you're saying'd prefer if I blogged about books. :)

  4. No, Bruce, I love your blog as is!

    You know, I have a friend who is a chemist. He used to work for Amgen. (Starting there back in 1987, when Amgen was a very risky stock.) My mom thought so much of Alan, that she called Schwab. "Any company that hired Alan has to be a very good company," she said.

    Now? Alan's retired. I've asked him why he doesn't do stuff with his chemistry knowledge. And, he said "he's forgotten so much."

    But what got instilled was the way he "does" life's problems. No matter how much the lab stinks, he analyzes things as if problems are in a test tube.

    You don't have to change a thing to make me happy.

    Your mom was so young when you were born!

    I was 40 for the "event." And, my son is now 32.

    I have no trouble sharing with him my favorites from the past. Just as I'm sure my parents had no trouble getting across to me the wonders of watching Charlie Chaplin.

    Why do you think things "disappear?"

    I thought with the electronics we have ... so much of what was wonderful is now accessible, and saved, on "the heads of pins."

    Better than dancing angels.

  5. She was actually 22 or 23 when I was born and I was her second boy. I wrote about her here. her life growing up was completely different than my Dad's "Waltons" upbringing.

  6. Why do you think things "disappear?"

    Vulnerabilty to electromagnetic forces, i.e, erasable media. Laser disc stored media is less susceptible. Chemical storage of data as in DNA is far far off still but possible. But even then it's carbon based and vulnerable.

    I still like dead tree printed matter.

  7. We disappear. Generation in. Generation out. But we pass the baton.

    Sometimes we see "specialists" digging back to the Bronze Age. (We read the Bible, which is a collection of stories amassed that long ago.)

    Will our technology run out of steam?

    When my son was young, I bought him a book ... that on the cover had an Egyptian woman with a toilet seat around her neck ... And, the archeologist saying it was a necklace.

    Some of the things about identifying old tools we get right.

    Others? You know anyone who has an 8-track system?

  8. T'was Latin what set me on the straight and narrow, Carol. link. I willingly donned the shoes shunned by Huckleberry Finn. Before that it was teenage wasteland.