"May You Always Drive A Cadillac"
It's all relevant stuff as will be revealed in the text below
Front : 1941 Caddy at our Mastic Beach house in 1953
Center : '53 Caddy Eldorado Convert sitting on Anne Orologas' 1969 High School Yearbook
from Warren G Harding High , Warren, Ohio
Back Row: My Caddy Seville purchased with one of my first songwriting royalty checks
1964 William Floyd High Yearbook (my class)
Anne's 1968 Ohio Jr High Yearbook
1962 William Floyd Yearbook (Butchie's class)
My parents when they were dating Walter Joseph & Amelia Spooner in a 1932 Buick Roadster
It's not a Caddy but Its Mighty Cool
All this William Floyd School Stuff that has come flying in and around me this past summer got me thinking about a way to try and cap it all off. Not that I'm done adding things, (still got a tribute to the Class Of 1960 coming and who knows what else ?) but as the old saying goes "Life's Short ..Eat Dessert First ".... so I thought I'd put these next few pages online now, just in case I choke on my jello.
In Nashville where I have lived for the last 17 years, some might say I had my greatest success in life, fact is the way I see it now, anyplace I've ever been has been pretty good, even when it wasn't good or pretty. The other thing is our formative years aren't called that for nothing. I spent my first 17 of them basically in one place. That is in the Walter & Mimi Joseph house with my sister Gerry and brother Butch on Elm & McKinley in Mastic Beach. It is pictured behind the 1941 Caddy my folks owned in the early 1950's , until Pop drove it into Pattersquash Creek one night and Pat & Mike had to tow it out. The Caddy sat in our driveway after that for two years before a junky came and took it away. Pop and my sisters high school boyfriend, Dennis Kiernan were going to make it into some kind of sports car. That never got past Denny's sketches of it. (That is it , the Fastback in small pic in the foreground)
There is a saying in Nashville among the songwriting community, that has always rang true for me long before it was used as a way to sell something including membership in the NSAI Nashville songwriters association ..."It All Starts With A Song" ...Those who know a little bit or perhaps too much about me , know that saying has rang true since I was about two or three years old. One hot summer day I was listening to "Goodnight Irene" by the Weavers on my Grandpa Joseph's car radio in his '40 Plymouth coupe that was parked in front of Bob DeCordova's Mobil Garage on the corner of Whittier Drive & Aspen Road. We hadn't even moved out from the city yet. Grandpa Joseph was shootin' the breeze with Bob about something .... "Yeah bring it in next week and we'll put it on the lift" and although it was hot as hell in his Plymouth and the mohair was sticking to Butchie & Me and his cigar smell was turning Butchie green in the gills (he always got carsick) I was cool as cucumber listening to Pete Seeger, Ronnie Gilbert, Fred Hellerman, and Lee Hays harmonize and sing "Sometimes I Live In The Country, Sometimes I Live In Town, Sometimes I get a great notion. To jump into the river and drown.
Bob DeCordova's Former Auto Repair Garage Today.... Whittier Drive, Mastic Beach
Now I took no notions to jump in to the river and drown, though in 1949 I did live in country & the town . AND I did walk right into the bay one time in the dead of winter when I was around two. But there were no suicidal thoughts honest there were probably no thoughts at all. Just a lot of pretty water that I never saw before.... Recalling the incident years later Butch & Gerry said our fathers jaw just dropped! Again this was before we had moved to Mastic Beach full time. He took all three of us kids Gerry, Butchie and Me down to the beach, and I just walked right in up to my waist.....and the 35year old Navy Sea Bee ran in and pulled me out. My mother nearly killled him when he brought me back to Grandpa's bungalow encrusted in ice. But getting back To Bob DeCordovas .....and the summertime ... I basically drove my folks nuts asking for the Goodnite Irene record. They caved and bought a whole set of Weavers Columbia 78's , On Top Of Old Smokey , Shenandoah, and of course my favorite Good Nite Irene, Good Nite Irene, I'll see you in my dreams... I played it over and over much to their amazement and probably drove Butchie nuts... I think his favorite then was the Big Rock Candy Mountain which was one of those colored picture discs I think it was yellow plastic... no telling what Gerry was listening to then, Rock and Roll was still in the womb.
And that thing for music has never quit me even though today I'm down to one ear and can't really play my instruments anymore. Not to my satisfaction at least. I started playing guitar in 1956 and it took me places I never could of dreamed back then and back then I dreamed pretty big. I remember one day sitting on my neighbors back deck, the Yodice's. I think we (our regular summer gang) were either all having lunch there or drinking Kool Aid or something. Anyway the window was open and one of the teenage Yodice girls (it was a huge Italian family) Theresa or Connie had 1010 WINS on (no she wasn't listening to the World In 22 Minutes nor was I ) The world was smaller then, but it still couldn't be summed up in 22 minutes of negativity repeated ad nauseam through out the day. It was mid day, so it was probably DJ Jack Lacy or Stan Z. Burns (Alan Freed had the night shift) They were playing a brand new song Bye Bye Love by a brand new group called The Everly Brothers. From the minute I heard Don Everly's guitar intro I was hooked. And just like a year or so earlier when Hound Dog & Don't Be Cruel came out, I spent my allowance on an Everly Brothers 45...and this one was a real bargain because not only did it have two songs, It had Four!!! It was an extended play 45 with Bye Bye Love, Wake Up Little Susie, I Wonder If I Care As Much and Maybe Tomorrow. I spent hours wearing it out on our Grundig-Majestic Hi Fi that we got at at Friendly Frost Stores, trying to learn every lick on it on my 17 dollar Christmas guitar. As for the Brothers Harmony .......... I still don't know how they do it! They are the most amazing vocal duo to ever come down the pike period. Saw them live many times over the years. Last time a few years ago here at The Ryman......They still had it!!! Even caught them once in Washington DC. with their Dad Ike Everly. Ike was the basic guy Merle Travis and Chet Atkins got their style from. The brothers roots are deeper than the holler and they were deep inside the soundtrack of my life.
From that little EP, more singles followed into the combined 45 collection of Butchie & Me. Then I bought the Everly's first album. Their influences on me really never stopped for decades, even when they stopped being brothers in public and Butchie and Me did in private. I recall in 1960, a school field trip (no it wasn't one of my personal field trips, this was a sanctioned one honest) I was in the eighth grade and Miss Kanowitcz took her art classes to the Metropolitan Art Museum and the brand new just opened MOMA (Musum of Modern Art) The two things I recall about the museums were the Mummies in The Met and the Ramps in the MOMA... Round and Round like a record....But the one magic moment was on the bus ride home. I was sitting with Sarah Buonandouno and Lenore Rogoyski. Now Sarah and I had a discussion a few weeks ago at the post reunion party about my crush on her in the 5th grade but we didn't talk about this.
As the Everly's burst forth from Sarah's Transistor Radio with Cathy's Clown, I was falling like a ton of bricks for the fair maiden Leonore. Leonore though must of lost her sheet music or was humming something else in her head. This longing continued back in school for me for a least a week including one day off when I just couldn't bear seeing her from the distance. I knew in the tiny reality corner of my cranium though, from a distance is all it was ever going to be. ......This was in May I might add and I was soon "cured" of my unrequited love of lady Leonore by another stunner....Shirley Lanham .... I didn't even need the Everly's crooning to put me in the mood for Shirley.... there was just one slight problem there...Graduation Day... You see I was going to graduate in a few weeks from the 8th grade .... and Shirley ...well she graduated from High School that same week! ....... Bye Bye Love......
My Love Is Bigger Than A Cadillac ....
I Try To Show It But You Drive Me Back
Your Love For Me Has Got To Be Real
For You To Know Just How I Feel
A Love That's Real Not Fade Away .....Buddy Holly
As big an influence as the Everly's were on me, Buddy Holly was just as big too. Getting to see The Crickets over Christmas at the Alan Freed Show in 1958 was a life changer. I had the pleasure of talking about that very show with the Crickets here in Nashville 30 years later. When I first heard the Beatles in November of '63 on the Huntley - Brinkley news show I said to myself " Man they have listened to a ton of Everly's and Buddy."
The one time the Everly's really came through for me in the romance department was Christmas Eve, 1968 when I proposed to Susan Muchka of Islip NY. I sang " Devoted To You " to her ,,,,,,, How could any girl say no to that? Even a soon to be Adelphi (Dowling campus) college grad. We were married the following September.
We used to have good times together
but now I feel them slip away
It makes me cry to see love die,
So Sad to watch good love go bad
In 1986 as I was making plans to move to Nashville from Florida , with my second wife Anne and 3 year old son Erik, The Everlys put out an album on Mercury called Born Yesterday... It was the follow up to their Reunion Album .... They reunited in 1984 after 10 year split... 1984 Whadda Book , Movie & Year! It was the last time I saw my brother Butchie ...........But life goes on and so does the music...because without music life stops at least for me ...... Anyway there was a tune on that record called Always Drive A Cadillac that caught my ear way back then and was one we songwriters like to say ....I Wish I Would Of Wrote
Not that it was a huge hit , I don't think it was ever a single, it's just a great song written by a fellow from Memphis named Larry Raspberry.... It's a song I pitched to a recording artist back in the late 1980's here. Now when a songwriter pitches some other songwriters song, you got to know it has something that goes deeper than I Wish I Would Of Wrote That One...
Are you reading this Larry...hope so...take a bow man....to me you have written the definitive High School Reunion song ...PLUS A WHOLE LOT MORE...
Now what I'm gonna say next to you all is the Cardinal, 100% , Take It To The Bank , If I'm Lying, I'm Dying
Truth is something that is rarely heard anymore , it's kind of like a real good song .... you gotta look for it...and some of you know truthfully I am dying but aren't we all someday?...so with that out of the way read the fine print pilgrim..
The other day (Sept 10th) when I was writing the text for the Floyd Reunion Page, there was a custom CD spinning in my player that I hadn't listened to in a long time. I titled it Everly Buddies 'cause its a combo of Everly & Buddy Holly material I really like. As I hit the save button of The '64 Floyd Reunion text, Always Drive A Cadillac started coming through the speakers....and like I said to Mr. Proefriedt the day we wheeled up in Kenny's Caddy in the circular drive of Floyd School...and discovered the front door open....
MR. P.. IT'S AN OMEN!
On the next page you will get to read the lyrics to Larry Raspberry's Always Drive A Cadillac and for those with a fast enough connection. You can click on the song title on the bottom and it will open another page and the Everlys should start in singin' it for you....providing your browser is configured properly that is. I would suggest you minimize the music playing page so you can read the lyric as you listen...BOTH ARE MIGHTY POWERFUL...I would add that Born Yesterday is still readily available ...so support your local songwriters...we support you...we helped you dance through this life, hopefully whistling a happy tune, or fall in love or get over falling out of it. There is also a link to Larry's homepage...the guy can rock...you would not believe what group he used to be in when we graduated....nothing like gettin' older and gettin' better... and to all who have read this far ....