Tuesday, December 08, 2009

The Hour of Not Quite Rain

Here's another excerpt from my book about growing up in the 60s. It's 1967, the summer of love in Los Angeles.

In the spirit of freedom and “do your own thing” KHJ radio devised an ingenious contest. Listeners were invited to send in original song lyrics and the winning entry would be put to music and appear on the next Buffalo Springfield album. Every hour the Bossjocks read another finalist. Ohmygod, they were terrible! Sophomoric, overwrought, just loaded with pungent imagery that made zero sense. The jocks would read them very straight over sappy music. I would roar with laughter every hour. But what do you expect? These were 13-year-olds composing this stuff. And many followed the current trend of trying to simulate the free association of a drug trip, which I suppose gave them license to abandon coherent thoughts and poetry in favor of Mad Libs.

Micki Callen was the winner with her haunting if not mystifying ballad, “The Hour of Not Quite Rain”.

In the hour of not quite rain
When the fog was fingertip high
The moon hung suspended
In a singular sky

Deeply and beyond seeing
Not wishing to intrude
Bathed in its own reflection
The water mirrored the moon

The tumbling birds have now sobered
From the leaves of their nursery
Like shadowy, quiet children
Watching sleepily


She beat out 15,000 entries. Micki, if you're out there, I'd love to hear your story on this.

Anyway, here it is. Take some acid and click play.


Larry said...

I think it's beautiful and evocative. What's your problem?

My word verification is "expreak," combining express and speak, which Micki Callen managed to do.

YEKIMI said...

I could see one of the Buffalo Springfield members saying after listening to this: "Stop, hey, what's that sound?"

Jeffrey Leonard said...

Ken...Micki Callen lived in Reseda, not far from me. It was her 15 minutes. Knowing the way things were in those days, I'm sure she became a groupy and lived with Neil Young for a couple of years. Boy, do I miss the 60s!

Barry in Portland said...

I listened to that song many, many times, back in the day, but this is the first time I actually looked at or thought about the words.

Pretty weird.

Max Clarke said...

Sounds good, has a bit of the Procol Harum sound, a kind of elegant strangeness. Fits right into the 60's. Buffalo Springfield served the poet well.

SeattleDan said...

I remember that contest. I may have submitted something. I can't remember. It was the sixites, after all. If I did, it was rightfully consigned to the dustbins of the KHJ studios.

I liked KFWB better, anyway.

Anonymous said...

Interesting, yes. Indeed, I shall share this bon mot around the dinner table tonight. However -- I AM DYING TO GET TO PART III of the saga of CHARACTERS. Please?

Anonymous said...

I queried "Ken Levine" on Amazon but a book about the sixties didn't come up. What's the skinny on availability and release date?

Unknown said...

i took your advice man
and listed to it on acids
tilted nostalgia
wafts back to
drags along sunset
with the real
fuckin' don steele
cuttin' up jackpots
too hip for the kids
spooning the top 40

back in the la heyday of KHJ

Tin Coupe Trophy
2nd Place

Shiderette said...

what extraordinary feces!
Thanks for sharing.

mannysboobsarenothin'comparedtotigerstails said...

I've never tried acid. Is it too late? I did try pot once in high school back in Michigan. Second time was early 90's on a Saturday night-some dive apartment in Brentwood, CA. Long story short; couple of bong hits sent me alice-in-wonderland-style to St. John's emergency room. It was a loooooong night. But I digress. "The Hour Of Not Quite Rain" basically sounds the way I felt that night. Out of my fuckin' mind. It gave me a newfound understanding of my fellow actor from a tv series on which we played one another's love interest over a four year span.
If coke is the devil's dandruff, then pot must be his five o'clock shadow. Where does that leave acid?

Paul Duca said...

Ken...you ought to speak with Uncle Ricky and figure out some way to post a clip of the Real Don Steele reading a set of lyrics during an aircheck posted at the Reel Top 40 Radio Repository.

Baylink said...

Is this thing sold yet? Pre-order on Amazon?

Cause after your first book... I'm running as fast as I

No, really, I'm there. I don't know how you sold this, but I'll buy it. :-)

consupp: the stuff one eats in a consuite.

By Ken Levine said...

I'm still writing the book. Hopefully it will be out sometime next ear. Thanks for the interest. It helps me to keep powering on.

Theatertimes said...

Wow. I still listen to this album, having bought it when it was new. Like others, I never paid attention to any throughline in the lyrics. I never got past the "In the hour of not-quite rain, when the fog was fingertip high." Love that. Had no idea it was a KHJ contest! Crazy. Thanks for this. Since it's been six years . . . I'll look for your book.

Anonymous said...

I did too, but by 1967 KFWB had gone all news radio.