Category Archives: mob member?

Oh, What a Night!

Standard

The song, “December, 1963 / Oh, What a Night” leads me to

believe we all have wonderful memories of particular musical

artists for each period of our lives.  We may think of songs

which are sad and mournful, when we wish to ‘wallow’ in our

sorrow. Then there are the songs which transport us out of

ourselves to special places, soaring above or out of this world.

“Oh, What a Night” refers to new love found in 1963, but it

also stands for a different timeline in my own life. . .

I felt transfixed during each of the musical numbers in “Jersey

Boys.”  I felt that I was there in the midst of tragedy when one

of the members lost his daughter. I felt excited when another

of the members of the band  wrote a new song, one that had a

unique beat and message. Some of Frankie Valli and the Four

Seasons’ playlist, was like lining up memories of my own life,

where I was when I heard this one, who I danced with while

the other song was played by a small local band at a wedding.

If you have grown up in the fifties, sixties or even, seventies,

you may be a ‘fan’ or a fond listener to Frankie Valli and the

Four Seasons. I had heard the songs but didn’t really know

the way the group’s story began, nor what happened to the

members, causing them to ‘stall out’ for about 24 years.

Only to meet again at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Induction performance.

The director, Clint Eastwood, is known for wishing details

to fit the situations and fulfilling the character of the times

the movie is supposed to be set into.  A perfect example of

NOT following the book was when he filmed the movie

version of the famous book, “Bridges of Madison County.”

It is about an Italian homemaker and her adventures over

one weekend, while her children and husband are at the state

fair. Robert James Waller has the homemaker wearing jeans,

(possibly to emphasize her figure) while Clint explained in

an interview, he felt this woman could have been his own

mother, so she would wear a common house dress. There

are more examples in many of his movies, some where

the music takes a big part of the film and others where it

is just the background sound behind the story. I liked

finding out during the credits his son, Kyle Eastwood

was a musical assistant and helped with the soundtrack.

Also, Clint’s daughter, Francesco Eastwood plays one of

the wives in the film.

Frankie Valli’s character was played by John Lloyd Young,

who portrayed and sang on Broadway.  In “Jersey Boys,”

(up close and personal in the movie) he captures your

attention and his voice is very similar to Frankie Valli’s.

If you saw the musical play, you may know the characters

each take turns talking directly to the audience. It is a

very interesting technique for telling their individual

stories.

I felt sympathy for the way the real man became  part of

the underbelly of his neighborhood, by being  pulled into

the mob and illegal dealings by his friend and eventual

member of the band, Tommy.  You realize his gambling,

drinking and other vices, such as trying to trade with

stolen goods, would eventually ‘catch up’ with Tommy.

As a viewer, you may possibly worry about his pulling

his good friend, Frankie down.  Their musical career

eventually helps them to get out of their neighborhood

but they could barely escape the ties.

The raw emotions of a death and funeral of one of the

member’s children, still just a teenager, rocks their

group to the very core.

Christopher Walken’s scenes as the ‘benefactor’ and

supposed friend among the mob members ‘steal the

show,’ at times. He is a versatile and fine actor.

The executive producers are Frankie Valli and Bob

Gaudio. The slow building of the band, its members

and their story unfolds and is beautifully portrayed

with the songs many of us loved, sang and danced to.

In a semblance of order, illustrating the sequence and

growth of the band’s body of work is shown in this list

of songs,

“Who Loves You, Pretty Baby?”

“Big Girls, Don’t Cry”

“Walk Like a Man”

“Dawn”

“Rag Doll”

“Sherry”

“Bye Bye Baby”

“You’re Just Too Good to Be True”

“My Eyes Adored You”

“Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You”

and repeating the title song,

“Oh, What a Night.”

The members of the band, Nicky (Massi), Tommy

De Vito, Bob Gaudio (writer/lyricist) and Frankie

performed at the R and R Hall of Fame, after 24

years apart.

* They were inducted in 1990 into the Rock and

Roll Hall of Fame.

They joked,  saying singing together came natural,

even after all the years. They only had to lower the

octave and sing in a lower key.

*They were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of

Fame in 1999.

*In 2012, they performed together in England at

the Royal Albert Hall, honored for their body of

music which included 29 Top Ten (on American

music award charts) Hits.

This brief ‘sketch’ of the musical movie, “Jersey Boys”

which came out in 2014 is to persuade you to celebrate

someday soon, by listening to one or more of Frankie

Valli and the Four Seasons’ lifetime of songs. They grew

up together on the streets of New Jersey, sang and lived

quite fantastic lives.

The movie captured it nicely. Too bad it didn’t win any

awards for “Best Soundtrack” or “Best Song.” Tough year

and competition.

What is your favorite song from this group?

Which is one you played the most?

If you never really liked their music, did

one of your family members enjoy them?

You know, “You’re just too good to be true.”

Tightly wound

Standard

It may be easy to assess me to be a loosely wound person, maybe a widely spaced

string of colorful beads. I have been repeatedly attracted to the tightly wound kind

of man. Opposites attract doesn’t explain the magnetic force that took me into the

arms and lives of at least two military men.

When I married two Air Force men in a row, my parents were beside themselves.

I am a product of practically socialistic parents with the most pacifistic natures

around. The only times they used to get riled up were to march for peace, to march

for civil rights and for women’s rights. Oh, and the occasional marital spat!

Once those two men were history, why would I even think about another ironing

the uniform shirt, folding the military corners on bedsheets, lining up the shoes

kind of Man??

I don’t know the answer and it has been years since I have taken the time to go to

a counselor. They never really give you the answer, anyway, just make you think

you know it. Then you sit in your car and lose total recall of the answers to any of

your soul searching questions.

Let’s see, there is the nothing but the best products’ man, the no mammals that resemble

stages of humans zoo man, the fisherman with his intricately organized tackle box, the 13

guitars in his carefully displayed music room don’t touch them Bill and the next one in line

is a possible member of the mob. I have to tell you about this one!

I email back and forth with a man who has nicely slicked, perfectly coiffed hair. He

resembles a combination of Michael Douglas in his Wall Street movies and Andy

Garcia in the Godfather movies.

I definitely want to impress this man with a good outfit. Maybe borrowed, since my

wardrobe is a little outdated. We are going to a steakhouse. I have been trying to impress

men with my fairness and my generosity, no meals, just snacks or a home cooked meal

once past the dangerous first few visits. After all, no one would dare attack or kill me with

neighbors so close in my apartment building! But I have been craving meat, a steak possibly

and the offer is made so I am going to do this. Get all ‘dolled up’ and get treated to a nice

meal.

No green appetizers, no bathroom visits with trailing t.p., no mentions of wives or

girlfriends that may resemble Sofia Vergara. We are gently, carefully rolling along into

desserts. I am going to choose something that will not leave any colored teeth, creme

brûlée. He chooses chocolate mousse. During this last portion of the dinner, two glasses of

wine later, I mention that my daughter is dating a man I call “Dennis the menace.”

For some reason, I notice his eyes get a gleam and intensity in them.

Does he recognize the young man’s name? Oh oh, I didn’t say his last name accidentally,

did I  perhaps?

He leans very close to me and in all seriousness, quietly says these words, “Do you

want me to take care of him?”

Wow, now my dating circle has widened, it has become the stuff movies and books are

written about!

I can see it in my head, “The Night I Dated A Member of the Ohio Mob!”