Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Dirty Water

This is one of my favorite songs from the 60's. We had the 45 when I was a kid. I listened to it in the basement again and again. It fascinated me. The lead singer was sassy. "Down by the river....down by the banks of the river Charles...." I pictured people hanging out near a gritty riverfront, not caring if the water was dirty or their clothes were dirty. Even as a young naif, the punk sensibility resonated with me. I sensed something was being expressed that was of value to me --the future me, that I would understand more when I got older.

These guys are doing a lousy job of lip-synching, but it doesn't seem like they care too much.


  1. i heard this song in my teens but never saw the actual band. didn't know how CUTE the lead singer was! his voice doesn't match his face. i wonder if his fellow band members ever were jealous that he got all the camera time. yeah, i always pictured a nasty river whose banks were populated with prostitutes. great song, though.

  2. "I sensed something was being expressed that was of value to me --the future me, that I would understand more when I got older."

    I love this quote!

  3. Thanks Laura, that's nice to know, because I actually struggled to find a way to say that--I rewrote it many times before I got it to come out in a way I was satisfied with.

  4. OMG this takes me back ... to the basement, the old record player, and ... the Wheaties Red Records.

  5. The Wheaties Red Records?! Were those the records that had those weird little songs, like "Poor Little Robin?" I never knew where those came from. Did they come from the Wheaties cereal people? Explain, please!

  6. whoa - if those came from a cereal box - i don't wanna know. it would shatter too many childhood illusions.

    shimony, as soon as i saw the title to your blog, i thought, now what could dirty water be -- wonder if it's that song that goes "love that dirty water"..... i had totally forgotten the name of the band.

  7. No way could those records have come from a cereal box. They were thick and heavy! Maybe mom ordered them off a cereal box? What records are you talking about Marc, and how did we come by them? Things that had existed in the house before I came along--well, it was like they were just there for ME to find. Like they hadn't originally been bought for anyone else.

    How could you forget the name of the band? It was burned into my brain, from looking at that little 45 with the orange label.

  8. Sue, just read online that Dick Dodd, the cute lead singer, had been a mouseketeer as a kid.

    Also, according to what I read:

    The Boston Red Sox have been playing the song after home victories since 2001. However, the Standells were not from Boston, but from California. Their producer, from New England, wrote the song. They weren't thrilled about it, but agreed to record it if they could re-arrange it. The guitarist came up with the guitar opening and Dick Dodd came up with the ad libs "I'm gonna tell you a big, fat story, baby..."

    Supposedly, the Standells got their name from standing around their agent's office, begging for work.

  9. I don't know where the records came from. They were red 45's, as I recall. Maybe they did come with the house!

  10. What's with the Wheaties bit? Why did you call them Wheaties records?

  11. check it out - still no definitive answer, but marc, how the HELL do you remember the label that well.

  12. O M G !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    The red records are on youtube! But now I'm remembering --there was more than one kind of red record we had. I think the Wheaties records were actually ones I considered lame and didn't like. There was another kind --some of them were red, and some of them were gold, and they had better songs (or so I thought at the time.)

    They had that really weird song about the astronaut who fell in love with a spacegirl. "She had four arms." "The better to hold him." "Three lips." "The better to kiss him." Or something like that.

  13. this is without looking up the words -- i'm sure i'm leaving some words out:

    i was walking thru the park one night
    and oh i felt so blue
    when i heard a little voice say
    "i feel lonely too."
    then i turned around and looked,
    and much to my surprise
    a little space girl sat there crying
    right before my eyes
    stepping up a little closer to see what i could see
    she said, "mr earthman, will you please marry me?"
    i said, "why no, i couldnt do that,
    that just wouldnt be right,
    cause you and me, and me and you -
    we don't even look alike
    cause you've got 4 arms"
    [spacegirl:"the better to hold you"]
    "3 lips" ["the better to kiss you"]
    "3 eyes" ["all the better to see...
    ...i can really dance and sing (not sure of these words) cuz i've got more of everything so mr earthman will you marry me?"
    "WHY SURE!"

  14. omg!!!!!

  15. OH MY GOD !!! OH MY GOD!!!! OH MY GOD !!!!!

    I don't believe you remember the words! I can't believe that song is on YouTube! They had the GOLD RECORD that we had on YouTube, with the picture of the little girl with the four arms! I never thought I'd see that record again. I never thought I'd hear that song again!

    Oh my god, the lyrics are killing me--I remember now --how at the end of the song he says, "WHY SURE!!" (I'll marry you.) Oh, that is so sick. That is the best children's song ever!!


  16. Laura, dunno how I remember that label from so long ago. Some things just stick with you. Kinda scary to think about what useless bits of information are crammed away in my brain, and how they're taking up space for more useful stuff.

    The weird thing is, we never ate Wheaties; we were not a Wheaties family!