Press-Republican

Columns

October 9, 2011

Coffee and music a perfect blend

Quick, what's the title of the song with the following lyrics? "A cup, a cup, a cup, a cup, a cup?" A hint? Ink Spots, 1940. Got it? Of course you do. And now you're singing it with all the lyrics. That's what I like about you. It's "Java Jive."

It's time for another meander down the street marked "Gordie's College of Musical Knowledge." If you're on my wave length, you always have a song going in your head. For me, the first line of William Congreve's 1697 play "The Mourning Bride" rings true: "Musick has Charms to sooth a savage Breast, to soften Rocks, or bend a knotted Oak." You thought the word was "Beast?" Nope.

This morning, as I shared the day's first cup of black coffee, I hummed "Java Jive" and delved into my oldies collection to listen to Bill Kenny and the Ink Spots, as they recorded it 71 years ago. If you haven't heard it, find it on the Internet and drink to it as I have so often.

"Java Jive" has been sung by many others since 1940. Among the most popular versions are those by The King Sisters in 1941, Manhattan Transfer in the 1970s and by me (rather badly) in the shower at least a thousand times.

I drank at least 30 cups of black coffee each day for almost 36 years while on the radio. It kept me wired for sound. Coffee is one of the reasons I walked away from the business in 1997, but that's a chapter best left to moulder. Thank goodness I gave up the three-and-a-half packs of cigarettes I smoked until 1975. I still drink 10 or more cups daily, and as testimony to that, we have at least a half-dozen working coffee makers here in our "Little" house on the river. I'm not sure we still have a percolator, but we used one for years, and I remember dancing to the "Percolator Twist." Uh, oh. It's now racing through my head. I also remember making that morning pot of java in a glass Silex coffee maker. Do you? Of course, we also "boiled" coffee right on the stove many years ago. By the way, I just measured it out and discovered that my current coffee mug actually holds more than two-and-a-half cups. I might have to revise the tally of my present daily intake.

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