Thursday, February 15, 2007

You're In Trouble!

The other day I was checking out the local hometown paper, the Providence Journal online, known affectionately to all Rhode Islanders as the ProJo and I read an article that a local storyteller and performer had won a Grammy Sunday night for Best Spoken Word Album for Children. I think I was cheering at my desk at work to see that Bill Harley had beaten out such competition as Disney's Little Einsteins and a recording of Vanessa Redgrave reading The Witches in this category.

When I was a kid, it seemed like we were always going to Bill Harley concerts. In school, at libraries, at the public beach, Bill Harley was always performing and we loved his music. My brother and I would often go to these concerts with our friends and neighbors the Simeone boys from up the street. Cassette tapes of the music would be on sale, and we owned quite a few and played them over and over in the house to the point of wearing out. Just looking at the discography on the Bill Harley website I can remember owning You're in Trouble!, 50 Ways to Fool Your Mother, and maybe Cool in School. I think the Simeones owned a few more and we would swap. Yes, I remember for sure they had Monsters in the Bathroom. Needless to say, we would sing along at the concerts at full volume. To this day, probably 15 years since I last attended one of these children's folk concerts, I still know all the words to "Dad Threw the TV Out the Window"; I have been known to sing a chorus to myself of "You're in Trouble" when I've screwed something up really big, and whenever I'm babysitting, I still sing "If You're Gonna Be a Grub" to my kids at bath time.

The fact that Harley won a Grammy this year means that these songs and stories that I loved posses a timeless in an era of television shows like the Boobahs the bewilder the hell out of me and Disney Princess mania run amok, and I find that very comforting. Sure, when I first clicked on Harley's website and saw his photo with the Grammy I said, "What the hell happened to Bill's hair?" but you know what, Jason Simeone is getting married in a few months, and despite both of families' predictions in 1988, he's not marrying me. So, we grow up, we're getting older, Dora the Explorer and her companion Diego with the bedroom eyes are teaching our pre-schoolers Spanish one random word at a time, and somewhere in Southern New England, Bill Harley is still pumping out the grade school hits. Rock on Bill, I hope to see you in the cafeteria in another 10 years, embarrassing my own kids by singing along at the top of my lungs. Play "Dad Threw The TV Out the Window" for me.


Linda said...

Harley gave a great interview about his music and the Grammy win on the local TV news last night. Kinda funny to watch him recite his lyrics to the news anchor. He's a great guy and a great talent! Bravo for his Grammy!

Anonymous said...

This is single handedly the greatest blog entry I have read from the Cupcake. Bill Harley, or the BH as I call him, is the John Lennon of children;s music.

Cupcake said...

Quite right, Anonymous, I was only killing time with this blog waiting for Bill Harley to win a Grammy.

Also, I thought of another BH song I carry with me still, the classic "There's No School Today" which I still sing hopefully every morning there's been a snowfull and, in New York City, also comes in handy in threats of transit strike or ConEd meltdown.