Bell Bottomed Blues

” Bell bottom blues
You made me cry
I don’t want to
lose this feeling
If I could choose
a place to die
It would be in your arms “

Here’s an interesting story
from the world of the
golden age
of rock and roll….
and another involving
Eric Clapton and Pattie Boyd –

It concerns the song
Bell Bottom Blues “.

Now, you might remember
from a previous episode of
the Muscleheaded Blog 

( as well as from Rolling
Stone, Creem, and some
other 1960’s publications )

that Eric Clapton has a very
strong yen for Pattie,
who was, at the time,
(1969-1970) his friend
George Harrison’s first wife.

( He had written
Layla ” for her..
among other songs. )

Pattie knew that Clapton
was due to go on an
American tour, and asked
Eric to bring her back a
couple pair of American
bell-bottomed jeans.

According to Eric:
“Pattie asked me to get her
some pairs of these jeans
we used to call Landlubbers“.

And of course,
he did.

Ok, so it’s a short story.
Sue me.

Ahem.

Bell bottom jeans were
all the rage in the rock
and roll scene back then —
and American bells were
the most popular.

Hell, I remember a pair
of elephant bells that I
wore to a Junior High
dance that made me as
temporarily popular as
the Beatles.

Ahem again.

Interestingly enough,
as so many cultural cools
are, bell bottom pants
began with the Navy –

they’d been around
since the 1850’s —
popular with Sailors
because they were
easily rolled up –
and they soon became
synonymous with the Navy
uniform.

(The British Navy version
were much more like
bell-bottoms than the U.S.
– ours are more like
what you might call ‘flairs’. )

This identification
with the Navy
became especially evident
during World War II :

Kay Kyser had a minor hit
with the ‘Sailor in the bell
bottoms’ theme in 1945 –

So did Louis Prima with
Bell Bottom Trousers ”

And bug-eyed comedian
Jerry Colonna did a
novelty piece on
the Bob Hope tour about
it.

As for the fashion fad,
well, that seems to
have started around
1965 as the evolution
of the beatniks
into the hippie movement
was in full swing —

Cher wore a pair of bell
bottoms in a very wide
circulated photo of her
and Sonny on their
honeymoon.

And that year, the
Coasters released a song
called ” Bell Bottom Slacks
and A Chinese Kimono “.

In 1966, Sonny Warner
had a minor hit with :
Bell Bottom Blue Jeans ” .

Considering how big the
whole cultural phenom
was – it’s a bit surprising
that more contemporary
songs weren’t performed
about them –

most of the good ones
about bell bottoms
pre-dated the hippie days,
like:

Teresa Brewer’s
Bell Bottom Blues
from around 1954 —

or post-dated it,
like:

Helen Cornelius’s 1974
Bell Bottom Trousers“…

or The Beautiful South’s
Bell Bottomed Tear
(about a relationship
with a Sailor )

— but Clapton’s
love tribute song
about Pattie would
have been hard to beat
, anyway.

!! HOY !!!

.

Knaughticalites

Image result for postcard Navy vintageYou know,
if there’s one
topic that a Sailor
can always speak
about in a
knowledgeable way,
it’s knots.

Tying knots are ,
along with:
swabbing decks,
chipping paint,
manual of arms,
and standing a
lonely fire watch
at oh-dark-thirty
in the morning,
are about the first
things you learnImage result for lonely postcard Navy
about when
you’re adjusting to
Navy life in boot camp.

Add shining boots,
dropping quarters
on bunks,
scrubbing the head, Related image
doing push-ups
till you die,
cleaning rifles,
and just generally
looking busy are also
very important lessons –

– oh, and
speaking
of knots……..

– who could forget
the most important one-

–the maintenance of
those all essential
emotional knots via
the art of writing letters.

You might be totally
illiterate the day you
arrive at boot camp,
but by graduation,
you’ll have written so
many letters to your
sweetie and back home,Related image
you’ll be a pocket
Hemingway.

One of the advantages
of military service
( at least when I was in )
was that you could write
a letter home on a piece
of box from a C-Ration,
put an address on it,
and it would get delivered –
– no postage required.

I’m not sure how that was
handled by the Navy  –

– all I know is I scribbled
many a line on many aRelated image
scrap of paper and the
letter always got there.

Even the steamier ones.

And boy, can a Sailor
write a steamy letter.

Naturally, it would
be a lot easier
to just go to the
Navy Store and buy a
postcard that already
cut right to the point
for you…..

but in whatever
spare time one
finds himself with
in boot camp, the
loneliness and
boredom makes
one naturally
take to pen and paper.

And that especially
applies when it
comes to that ‘special’
person —

— such things can’t be
left up to random
chance and generic
postcards, ya know.

You’d be surprised
how easily even the
toughest character
finds it to
use terms like:
‘yearning’,
‘desire’,
and ‘devotion’
and epithets like: 
‘my dearest’,
‘darling’, and
‘sweetheart’
in a letter
when he’s far
from home.

When it’s time for
mail-call —

a desire to read a
reciprocal expression
of the feelings expressed
in ones’ own letters
becomes oh, so
very important — 

— when you don’t
hear back right away
sometimes it seems like
you’re totally cut off from
your loved ones.

It can drive ya crazy.

And of course,
you always want to feel
connected to the ole
homestead.

Why does that
sense of being so far
from home make for 
better letter writing ?

Perhaps because
it’s really the only way
to express certain ideas
and feelings at a particular
moment in time —

one is inspired
to make his message
run deep, and clear,
like the blue ocean —

and to tighten the
knots of sentiment,
tenderness,
and intimacy.

Even today, with all the
different technologies
available…

I’m sure that
a heartfelt letter
goes further
to express the
emotions, and
the sense of
appreciation
for those
far from you
in distance
but close to you
in spirit.

.

!!! HOY !!!

.

Every Nice Girl

nice

Seldom do I get
such a wonderful
and welcome opening line….

Yes,
women really do seem to love a sailor.

Being a Navy man,
I’m always happy to hear that!

even though,
in reality,

at least when I was in,

it always seemed to me
that they liked long-haired civilian hipsters better…

Our short hair,
c
combined with a distinctly non-civilian manner,

and a ‘take no prisoners’ attitude
toward ladies in general….

seemed to hold us back in a lot of the ports
we visited in the 70’s and 80’s,
particularly Stateside.

Of course,docks

it might have also been that
‘been at sea too long’ look we often had —

It mighta been a little too intense for some girls.

Ha.

But,
yet…

that whole ‘Ladies Love A Sailor’
thing must be true,

… cause I got plenty
of vintage postcards that say so.

It must be the uniform.mermaids

Oh well…

I’ll take it
why/how/where/when I can get it,

… ya know?

It’s an old expression,
no doubt about it.a1

It was very popular around the turn of the century–

When the expression originally went:

“Ship Ahoy !”
(“All The Nice Girls Love A Sailor”),

It originated as a song title,
from an early 1900’s London hit stage show–

featuring a very popular
‘male impersonator’ —

named Miss Hetty King .

There she is, now .shipahoy

She does seem like a nice girl.

But she don’t look very convincing as a man.

Sorry, Hetty.

Those breast tie-down things must hurt like hell, too.

And honestly,

1927…… she’d get a lot further with sailors,
if she didn’t dress like a Naval Officer herself.

No real self respectin’ Sailor
would mess with one of them Officer types.

Those ceremonial swords
get pretty pointy, too.

Anyhoo….

Being a Navy man,

…. getting to travel,
and see the world like we do,
a
people tend to assume
that we’ve got women all figured out.

The truth couldn’t be further from the truth.

Ummm…..

errr….

……… well, you know what I mean.

But,

speaking for Sailors in general,

I can safely say that:

bbeing the dedicated sea-going fellers that we are,

means that we’re willing to continue to research the subject until we do.

Or,

until we run outta gas.

And, at least for me,

it’ll be a long, long cruise before THAT happens.

HOY!

P.S. …….

duty
.

I might mention, by the by,
that the United States Naval
Nurse Corps program
celebrating it’s 110th Birthday.

And everybody knows the Navy
ain’t nothing without
our Navy Nurses.

Thank you for your service —
———– and here’s to another 110!!!

.

Check out this Enoch Bolles designed magazine cover from 1928:

bolles