Tuesday, August 21, 2007

191/365 Frank Mills/Sodomy

My childhood record stash had its share of Broadway musicals. A lot of these belonged to my parents first, but some, like Hair, belonged to the kids. I listened to this album a lot, and it’s possible I was listening to it a lot before I was 10.

As Sewa Yoleme can attest, I love a lot of the ditties in this musical, and he and I—at least once—have rolled the windows down in the car, played the soundtrack full blast, and sung along even louder (I am such a hag). I have a lot of favorites, but two of them are “Frank Mills” and “Sodomy.”

“Frank Mills” is just such a syrupy ballad. I mean, it’s perfect. So yearny. So naïve. So I-want-the-bad-boy-but-what-will-my-friends-think.

I met a boy called Frank Mills
On September twelfth right here
In front of the Waverly
But unfortunately
I lost his address

He was last seen with his friend,
A drummer, he resembles George Harrison of the Beatles
But he wears his hair
Tied in a small bow at the back

I love him but it embarrasses me
To walk down the street with him
He lives in Brooklyn somewhere
And wears this white crash helmet

He has gold chains on his leather jacket
And on the back is written the names
And Mom
And Hell’s Angels

I would gratefully
Appreciate it if you see him tell him
I’m in the park with my girlfriend
And please

Tell him Angela and I
Don’t want the two dollars back
Just him!

This is one easy song to croon. Or belt. Ask Sewa to sing it to you sometime. (Or Susan, I’m guessin’.)

I once had an international “Frank Mills” moment. A decade ago, Alison and I took a trip to Scotland. When we arrived at the train station in Edinburgh, the Waverley, there was a street performer out front (a young man with a guitar), singing this one. I mean, he had to, didn’t he?

“Sodomy,” another song short enough to list all the lyrics below, may in fact be my first exposure—so to speak—to some of these words, and it’s likely that I was singing them long before I understood them.


Father, why do these words sound so nasty?

Can be fun
Join the holy orgy
Kama Sutra

In retrospect, it seems that Hair was a useful stepping stone in my education.

[Here’s a special “Sodomy” clip for Sewa. It may be too dark and creepy for most of you, but the guy does all right.]


Mrs Slocombe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mrs Slocombe said...

I've never heard any of Hair but that song is fabulously banal, and I am imagining a Kurt Weil/Hans Eisler descant and fall melody to it( a bit like 'On Suicide'. And what about the comments on you tube: this topic really brings out the best in people doesn't it?

Indigo Bunting said...

Mmmmm, love the descant idea, would be perfect. And I just went back to read the comments, which I tend to avoid, given how cerebral they tend to be. Yeah, about what you'd expect. Too bad.

Sewa Yoleme said...

I kinda like the drag version of "Frank Mills." I seem to remember reading somewhere that the text came verbatim from a note found pinned to a telephone pole in front of the old Waverly movie theater in NYC.

And you're right, Indigo, that's a dark version of "Sodomy," but it's fascinating. Love the "tragedy mask" image at the end.

I remember the day each of us discovered that the other had all the lyrics to all the songs in "Hair" completely memorized. We had been friends for years, but that told us our connection went much deeper than we had yet realized.

And my word verification code for the day is "pyssz." I feel so dirty.

Indigo Bunting said...

SY: Man, I wish I'd found that drag version first. Fabulous. Thanks!

And I wish I could say I know all the words to all the songs, but there are definitely a few for which that is not true. I bow at the feet of the master.

With a verification code like that, you should feel dirty, my friend. Enjoy it.

Kat said...

One of my grade school friends used to belt out the Sodomy song when we prowled the mall. I didn't know whether to laugh or run.