So please turn on your magic beam

It’s that season to be thankful. In our neck of the woods (barring any precipitation) it’s capital walking weather and about 20 minutes by foot from this very desk are the sylvan paths of Concord’s Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, where a refreshing meander has always proven the best remedy for the aftermath of a large seasonal feast.

Through the years this autumnal stroll has brought such appreciative delight that some of us are compelled to read everything within reach about the place.  What’s more, only the slightest of nudges invariably ends in a walking tour…with a nod toward the cemetery’s considerable history (for example, it was dedicated in 1855 with Ralph Waldo Emerson as orator) but with an even greater appreciation for (sorry) newly unearthed stories that continue to find their way to these appreciative ears.

Which brings us to a song that sometimes comes freighted with funereal connotations, thanks to those those grim “Halloween” horror films, although it can also be rife with sleep-inducing implications as well. Kind of like the “modus operandi” for a guy who tours a bunch of people (some more interested than others) through the local cemetery.

Featuring the most splendid knee-playing ever to hit the hit-parade, today’s selection was published in 1954 by Francis Drake Ballard, born in Troy Pennsylvania in 1899 (take heart all ye 55 year olds).  Recorded by the a capella quartette, the Chordettes that same year, with piano played by Moe Wechsler, it was released on the Cadence Records label, whose then 45-year-old founder, Archie Bleyer served as “orchestra conductor” and, talk about having fun with your position, was credited for “knees played by.” It is also Bleyer’s voice that is heard in the third verse, saying “Yes?”

The single reached Number 1 on the US Billboard charts and Number 11 in the UK in 1954, which was also the year the Four Aces released a version that charted higher in the UK, and the same year that Max Bygraves’ rendition reached Number 16 in the UK.  When it came time for Cash Box Magazine to chart the song, all versions were simply combined and the song was designated as Number 1.

 LISTEN TO TODAY’S SELECTION – Monday 19 November

Mister Sandman

 Mr. Sandman, bring me a dream

Make him the cutest that I’ve ever seen

Give him two lips like roses and clover

 Then tell him that his lonesome nights are over

 Sandman, I’m so alone

Don’t have nobody to call my own

Please turn on your magic beam

Mr. Sandman, bring me a dream

 Mr. Sandman, bring me a dream

Make him the cutest that I’ve ever seen

Give him the word that I’m not a rover

Then tell him that his lonesome nights are over

 Sandman, I’m so alone

Don’t have nobody to call my own

Please turn on your magic beam

Mr. Sandman, bring me a dream

 Mr. Sandman bring us a dream

(Yes)

Give him a pair of eyes with a come-hither gleam

Give him a lonely heart like Pagliacci

And lots of wavy hair like Liberace

 Mr Sandman, someone to hold

(Someone to hold)

Would be so peachy before we’re too old

So please turn on your magic beam

Mr Sandman, bring us, please, please, please

Mr Sandman, bring us a dream

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