Dawn Reader

Dawn Reader
from Open Door Coffee Co.; Hudson, OH; Oct. 26, 2016

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

"Call Me Mr. Blue"

Last night--driving home with Joyce from Aurora--we saw some blue sky opening in the west (it had been overcast much of the day), and I said something about Mr. Blue glowing up there ahead of us.

And then, of course, that song came back ... and it has remained in my head, off and on, ever since. That song, "Mr. Blue."

Written by DeWayne Blackwell and recorded by the Fleetwoods and released in 1959, it reached #1 on the charts in November that year, the month I turned 15 and was, of course, astonishingly vulnerable to issues of the heart. I heard it over and over again on the radio; it was a standard at our sock-hops and dances (at which we very rarely had live music). Friends owned the 45rpm of it, and we listened at their houses, over and over.

Though I remember this, too: It was the kind of song that a guy--a teen guy in the 50s, an aspiring jock (like me)--had to pretend not to like. Sentimental. Romantic. Mushy. Definitely not a guy thing in 1959.

Though--privately, privately--it was my thing in 1959. I had no real idea then, of course, about heartbreak or loss or betrayal or regret--lessons I would learn a little farther down the road--lessons that (to my deep, deep shame) I also taught some others.

It was a great song to slow-dance to, and by the time I was in tenth grade (the year the song came out), I had become very fond of slow-dancing (for obvious carnal reasons). Although "The Twist" would come out in 1960, in 1959, as I recall, we were still doing the Jitterbug to the fast songs. Caught, we were, between the 50s and 60s.

DeWayne Blackwell, the songwriter, born in 1936 (and apparently still with us), wrote for a number of singers--including (says trusty Wikipedia) Garth Brooks--remember "Friends in Low Places"? That is a Blackwell song. (Link to "Low Places.")

The Fleetwoods: Gary Troxel, Gretchen Christopher, Barbara Ellis. Recently, I've read, they're still doing occasional oldies concerts.

Here's a link to "Mr. Blue," the Fleetwoods performing it on YouTube ... Joyce found it on her iPhone as I was driving us home last night, and as it started up, Hiram High School came surging toward me on the raft of memory--though I have to say that I had totally forgotten the opening: "Our guardian star has lost its glow ..." (See complete lyrics at the bottom of the page.)

Now, of course, all I worry about is that--for the rest of my life!--every time I see a blue sky, "Mr. Blue" will come whirling back into my memory. Good thing I live in northeastern Ohio: not all that many blue-sky days!

Our guardian star lost all his glow
The day that I lost you
He lost all his glitter the day you said, no
And his silver turned to blue
Like him, I am doubtful that your love is true
But if you decide to call on me
Ask for Mr. Blue
I'm Mr. Blue (wah-a-wah-ooh)
When you say you love me (ah, Mr. Blue)
Then prove it by goin' out on the sly
Provin' your love isn't true
Call me Mr. Blue
I'm Mr. Blue (wah-a-wah-ooh)
When you say you're sorry (ah, Mr. Blue)
Then turn around, head for the lights of town
Hurtin' me through and through
Call me Mr. Blue
I stay at home at night (I stay at home)
Right by the phone at night (right by the phone)
But you won't call
And I-I won't hu-urt my pride (call me Mr)
I won't tell you (wah-a-wah-ooh)
Why you paint the town (ah, Mr. Blue)
A bright red to turn it upside down
I'm paintin' it too
But I'm paintin' it blue
Call me Mr. Blue (wah-a-wah-ooh)
Call me Mr. Blue (wah-a-wah-ooh)

Call me Mr. Blue

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