Name That Tune

Crepe paper streamers dangled at the entrance to the Passion Pit, the name my brother and I dubbed the finished basement we used for our party room when we were in high school.  It was a misnomer because nothing more passionate than a quick, stolen kiss or two happened during our parties.

Dancing in the Passion Pit

Kids nowadays would yawn at our Saturday night shindigs.  My mother would bring down platters of sloppy joes, her famous potato salad, and chips, and we’d put a stack of  45’s on the stereo and play games and dance.  Occasionally, my brother’s group, the Capsized Three, would perform their signature song, Jamaica Farewell.

The songs we loved can only be heard on golden oldies stations now, of course.  Songs by Frankie Valle and the Four Seasons, the Everly Brothers or Neil Sedaka, and Dion and the Belmonts.

My 45’s are long gone and I gave all my LP’s to my brother because I no longer have a turntable.  I’ve missed hearing those songs and artists.  That is, until…Pandora!  My daughter and son-in-law introduced us to Pandora Internet radio ( when they visited last month.  I can create my own “radio stations” by typing in a particular artist or song.  Pandora will play songs by that artist and similar artists.  I have the option of giving a thumbs down for any song or artist I don’t like.  I also can choose to hear one particular artist exclusively, and I can create as many of these “radio stations” as I want.  I have a jazz station with musicians like Dave Brubeck, a folk music group with singers like Ian and Sylvia, the Kingston Trio, and Peter, Paul, and Mary.  And the cost of all this?  Free!  Yes, I get forty hours a month free.  If I run over that, I can pay 99 cents for the rest of the month until the next month of free music.

I don’t know how they do it.  What a treat it is for me to listen to a concert of Joni Mitchell, Joan Baez, and Judy Collins.  Did you know that Linda Ronstadt sounds so much like Joan Baez when she sings folk songs?  I didn’t until Pandora chose those early songs of hers to include on my Judy Collins station.  You can get Pandora on your smart phone and plug it into your car’s auxiliary connection and hear the music through your car speakers.  At home I hook my Nook (an e-reader) to an external speaker and play Pandora through it.  Blue Ray players now give you the capability of playing Pandora.

Okay, everyone who is reading this must be saying, “Where has she been?  Pandora’s been around for awhile.”  I tend to be oblivious to new things until they become old things, so you’ll have to forgive me.  I have to wonder, though, how Pandora affects the music industry.  Just like book stores and video stores going out of business left and right, CD sales have to be down, too, because of iTunes and programs like Pandora.  What’s next?  As for me, I’ve got to scoot; I have a date with the Highwaymen.

About Coming East

I am a writer, wife, mother, and grandmother who thinks you're never too old until you're dead. My inspiration is Grandma Moses who became a successful artist in her late 70's. If I don't do something pretty soon, though, I'll have to find someone older for inspiration.
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28 Responses to Name That Tune

  1. oldereyes says:

    Didn’t you ever play spin the bottle (I never got invited to the spin the bottle parties)? Anyway, thanks for the nostalgia … I’m pretty much a Sirius XM addict because I love to be surprised when a forgotten favorite pops up on the fifties or sixties stations.

  2. winsomebella says:

    Sloppy joes, 45s, LPs. Some of today’s Pandora users don’t even know what those things are. Thanks for the memories and congratulations on your new “toy.”

  3. Pandora is amazing indeed. We’ve come a long way from album-oriented rock FM stations that I listened to back in the day.

  4. Judith says:

    Hi Susan. Pandora is only available in the US but we do have a programme here that plays music from my time. For some reason it’s called Coast Radio and it is available 24/7 with only very short ad breaks. Good easy listening music.
    When we were growing up, mother would roll up the rugs (we had parquet flooring) and push the furniture aside so we could dance in the living room. How innocent it all was – or ‘has time rewritten every line’?

    • comingeast says:

      We have radio stations that play the oldies, too, but they’re still not like Pandora where you decide exactly who you want to listen to. Even on the oldies stations I wasn’t getting the folk music like Ian and Sylvia and the Seekers. Hope you get something like that because it’s awesome. Speaking of a more innocent time, when my daughter read this post, she said she wouldn’t dare have a boy/girl party in their basement now. It was never a problem when I was a teenager. How sad.

  5. Leah says:

    Okay, I’m officially hooked. So glad I didn’t spend nearly $100 on the Time Life Singers and Songwriters collection because now they’re all playing here on my computer. Yeah, I’m behind the times too.

    • comingeast says:

      Yea! I actually shared something useful! You’ll notice that some of your stations overlap. For example, when I started my Ian and Sylvia station, I wasn’t hearing any Joni Mitchell, so I made a Joni Mitchell Station, then a Judy Collins station. Now I’m noticing I’m getting all of them on all three stations. I think you can create a mix by choosing several of your stations. You can even make a mix of just two or three musicians. You’ll have to play with it. Glad you like it.

  6. Leah says:

    I don’t know what I’m more excited about — the fact that there’s an internet radio that can do this. Or that I love all the same music you do. I sing “Puff the Magic Dragon” to my 3-year-old every night and she can recognize James Taylor’s songs by his voice. Stick with the classics, I say.

  7. Mark says:

    I still have all the records!

  8. Patti Ross says:

    I had not heard of Pandora, well beyond the one with the box. I still listen to my oldie radio stations when I drive, but rarely have music on at other times. I do not have an ipod, etc. but my new phone promises I can get music over it somehow. Not sure if Pandora is an option but it sure sounds worth exploring. Thanks for the memories!

  9. Amy says:

    Back then, we couldn’t listen to music, anytime, anywhere like we do now, but the time we spent to listen to the songs we love was so precious. Your post prompted me to go to the Youtube, I listened the “Blowin in the wind”, “all the flowers gone?”, “call out my name”,… those old songs can warmed your heart. Many thanks!

    • comingeast says:

      I was able to hear all those old songs on Pandora. It’s been so hard to find CD’s of the Kingston Trio or the Highwaymen, but they are easily available on Pandora. Do I sound like a commercial? LOL!

  10. I didn’t know about about Pandora! But I will checking it out today! The rush of warm memories that accompany those songs is overwhelmingly wonderful! I appreciate how you insert media (or whatever it’s called) on your posts. It’s taken me longer than normal to read your post, today, because I had to stop and sing with every song. Thanks for the info and the great post!

    • comingeast says:

      I’m glad you enjoyed the songs. I never expect people to listen all the way through, but just the first few bars are enough to bring back great memories, aren’t they? That music isn’t just nice to listen to; it takes me back to a great growing-up time in my life. Thanks for commenting. Hope you like Pandora.

  11. Isn’t Pandora the best invention? Oh gosh, your post and music took me back to the good old days. Now you got me singing “Here’s my story, it’s sad but true. It’s about a girl that I once knew…..keep away from runaround Sue.” My oldest sister would have ‘pajama parties’ in our basement and I would sit on the stairs watching all the girls dance the night away to 45’s until my mom would make me go back upstairs. I have no idea what happened to my sister’s or my old collections of 45’s. But how fun that we can listen to the oldies of our choice again!

    • comingeast says:

      Yea! You didn’t make me feel dumb because I just now found out about Pandora. LOL! Your comment makes me smile as I think about you sharing those days as I did. (Only, I was the older sister. ;-))

  12. mypajamadays says:

    I would never trust a boy/girl party in my basement…sigh. But boy do you sound like a tech savvy blogger! Where did my mom go? I’m so glad that you are enjoying Pandora. I have a Cannonball Adderley station myself.

    • comingeast says:

      LOL! Yes, I guess boy/girl parties these days are quite a bit different than when I was a teenager. Sigh. Those were good times. And why do you think I’m a tech savvy blogger? I still don’t know how to get that Versatile Blogger award on my sidebar.

  13. E.C. says:

    Ah I love memories like this. Simplicity and good fun. 🙂
    I still have a several old records. I don’t have a turn-table though. I think it’d be enjoyable to play them again someday just for sweet sentiment and nostalgia. 😉

  14. Julia says:

    Yikes, passion pit…. racy! 🙂 Your mom’s sloppy joes and famous potato salad sound awesome. Also, my husband and I once heard Harry Belafonte in concert! It was amazing! Nice post and please share your mom’s recipe for potato salad — I need a good one!

    • comingeast says:

      I think we called it the Passion Pit just to get a rise out of our mom. As for her potato salad, it is so easy, I can’t imagine why it’s so special; it just always tastes perfect. You boil the potatoes with their skins on until they’re easily pierced with a fork. I use red skins sometimes and leave some of the skin on. Then you drain them, and mash them up a bit; not quite as mashed as mashed potatoes. The secret is that while they are still warm, you mix in Miracle Whip. They don’t taste quite the same if you let them cool off too much. I’ve used mayonnaise, and it’s okay, but Miracle Whip is better. Then just shred carrots and dice an onion, mix it all up, and voila, it’s my mom’s potato salad.

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