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Posts Tagged ‘gothic’

Memories Schmemories … sort of.

I had an epiphany! Just this weekend I happened to be doing one of those jobs I hate — getting groceries. However, I was on a quest. I was pushing my cart, my mind puzzling over where the grocer might have hidden those lightly-salted cardboard flavored treats known as rice cakes, when what did my ears hear?
Sam_the_sham_1965
Why, it was that classic piece of music by Sam the Sham and the Pharoahs, Wooly Bully! Talk about something triggering memories. Ahhh, nothing better than a bunch of guys from Texas dressed up in costumes from The Sheik belting out a song that makes no sense. But you can dance to it! And, I might add, I was a dancin’ fool a long time ago.

As I stood in the grocery store tapping my toes discreetly … God forbid any one should see me … my mind wandered back to the books I was reading when the song came out. You must understand that this was before the romance books of today — before I discovered Georgette Heyer. My favorite book at the time was James Michener’s The Source. And, it still is my favorite Michener. But don’t cry for me Argentina, because before there was romance there was historical fiction and gothic novels.  And, I was a big fan of both.

o05271-1In fact, Doris Leslie’s historical fiction novel Wreath for Arabella (published in 1948) is still in my bookcase. And if any of you are not familiar with modern gothic books (in my opinion, the precursor to romance) a lot of the covers had a woman in a long flowing gown looking over her shoulder at the shadowy castle in the background. Gothic also has a lot of gloomy-doomy guys wandering down dark foreboding passages — noises in the night — a light touch on the shoulder when no one is around — candles flickering out — a warning about the woods.  Great stuff!  mistressThose were some humdinger books, and if you have never read one you should.  You may have to do some digging in storage, but in most cases it’s worth a little dust.   Some of my favorite authors of modern gothic are Victoria Holt, Joan Aiken, Virginia Coffman, Anya Seton, Mary Stewart and Elsie Lee. Great authors! Great books! For you readers steeped in the classics, Bram Stoker, Mary Shelly, Edgar Allen Poe, Charlotte Bronte and Horace Walpole were all gothic novelists or dabbled in it.  As you can tell there is also a close connection between gothic and horror.  So here’s to you gothic writers for making me what I am today and here’s to you, Sam, Sham and Pharoahs, for the trip down memory lane.

I shall leave you with this lyrical prose:

“Hattie told Mattie
About the thing she saw
Had two big horns
And a wooly jaw.

Wooly Bully, Wooly Bully, Wooly Bully, etc.

Hattie told Mattie
Don’t take no chance
Let’s not be L-7
Come and learn to dance.

Wooly Bully etc.

Mattie told Hattie
It’s the thing to do
Get yourself a filly
To pull the wool with you.” – Domingo “Sam” Samudio

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