La Bamba by Ritchie Valens burst in on our minds, as soon as it began playing on the airwaves. We were drawn to it almost as soon as we first heard it.
Gleefully, we tried to make sense of the language, the meaning behind the words. They made no sense at all. Even then, in spite of not knowing the meaning of those words, we were drawn to them.
Soon we were singing them, or rather mimicking them. Or even more correctly, attempting to mimic them.
Since the vocalist sang too fast for us to catch on, we hummed and hammed our way through those sections where we couldn’t quite catch on. When it came to the parts we knew, una poca de gracia, or ya arriba, yarriba, or yo no soy mariner, soy capitan, we sang louder.
What fun times La Bamba can still conjure up!
Living in the Love of the Common People was apparently quite a favourite with many artistes, but it was the version sung by Paul Young which caught my fancy.
I liked to think that song meant something more to me than it did to many other people. There wasn’t any hole in my shoe where the rain came through.
But I could relate to many other parts in the song.
Our condition wasn’t so bad, growing up.
But Dad did face years of joblessness, when his company was locked down. It was a period of major deprivation for us, and if Mum and her sewing talents hadn’t risen to the fore, we would never have managed to get by. She was a wizard with a thread and needle and with the sewing machine. One more reason why I was never a little sister, crying ‘cause she doesn’t have a dress without a patch for the party to go. Not that I had a party to go to.
That song always reminds me of the tough times I went through as a child.
But more importantly it is a reminder that at the worst of times, we were still much, much better off than many other families I heard of. Families that gave up and surrendered to despair.
Thank God, we didn’t.
Mum and Dad worked hard, steadfastly, battling circumstances and bills with smiles, infusing us with hope.
When Paul Young sang, Daddy’s gonna buy her a dream to cling to, and Mamma’s gonna love her just as much as she can, it resonated with me.
The crowning glory came with the last verse when he said, Living on a dream ain’t easy,
but the closer the knit, the tighter the fit,
and the chills stay away.
You take them in stride, family pride.
You know that faith is your foundation,
with a whole lotta love and warm conversation,
don’t forget to pray, making you strong,
where you belong.
Reasons why this song remains deeply satisfying for me.