Old Cheese for a New Year

I’m sure you’ve already had it happen to you: Out of nowhere, a tune you knew a long, long time ago comes back from the deepest recesses of your brain and you can’t get it out of your mind. Therefore, you resolve to go on the ‘Net to see if you can find it somewhere. And much to your amazement, you actually find it …although perhaps not the original version you remembered.

Growing up in the 1970s, I remember looking upon 78-RPM records with great curiosity. Made of shellac and measuring 10 inches in diametre, they were much thicker, had remarkably large grooves, and were much more fragile than the 33 RPM LPs that were as ubiquitous then as CDs are today. Given that they essentially went out of use by 1960, they were becoming quite rare already by the time I first encountered them. However, some people still had a collection of those relics, just like I still have well over 100 33-RPM LPs in my bedroom closet. And thus I discovered why record players had a “78” setting and a flippable needle.

Frank’s parents were among those who still had a lot of 78s well after they went out of use. I remember hanging out with him at his house after school — we would have been in Grade 2, thus placing us in 1972 or 1973 — and he pulled out a few of those odd, easily breakable records. And the instrumental tune on one of them, which Frank’s mom gave to me, was this:

Portuguese Washerwoman (mp3, 3.4MB, 2:23)

Not that exact version, mind you, but very similar. It’s cheesy as hell, but if you’re among those for whom “ultra-lounge” is a guilty pleasure, you’re sure to enjoy it. It’s so bad that I can’t wipe the grin off my face, because it’s just so much fun!