Friday, July 10, 2009

"We Will Come Back"
One of the singers I worked with at Six Flags Over Texas is still a very close friend. I have known her for 43 years. She was from New Jersey, went to school in Tennessee and we met in Dallas. We reconnected in LA when Sandi and I moved here. She was then and still is the caribeaner to a performers "Mafia" who share a common theme park past. She lives about 5 minutes from my house, and my birthday party this weekend will be there. Lynn is another story for another blog although I doubt a weeks worth of blogs devoted to our friendship would scratch the surface.

With those Six Flags ties still holding firm, just this week I got an email from a Mafia member still living in Texas. She was trying to find the lyrics to a song that closed every show at Six Flags Charles R. Meeker, Jr. produced. I knew the song by the title, "We will come back". I sang it for seven years in one show or another. Those words are fixed to my brain like a crude Mexican tattoo.

Mr. Meeker didn't write the song although he changed the words. I knew the original was out there somewhere but I could never find it. Evidently my friend Linda was having the same difficulty as she was trying to locate the words to the second verse. When I got her email I immediately began to sing it and wrote her back immediately. Through an exchange of emails I found out that the actual song is titled "Maybe I'll Come Back". That is why I could never find it, I had the wrong title.

With a better search title I found it on iTunes yesterday and bought it. The best version and the one that most probably inspired Mr. Meeker was Marlene Dietrich's version. Recorded live in front of a very enthusiatic audience, listening to Dietrich sing it was an out of body experience for me. While it took me back to a time when I was 15 years old singing it at the Campus review, her version sounded more like the Madelene Kahn spoof from "Blazing Saddles."

It was always our closing number and curtain call. As I listened to Marlene sing it what struck me was what a weird number it was to close a show. It is a break up song stating strongly that the singer will never come back to some unsung relationship. The tune is very vaudevillian, but you can get the idea from the lyrics. (These are the ones I learned... only a couple of lines are different, I will come back was changed to we because it was an ensemble song)

We will come back when the elephants roost in the trees,

We will come back when the birds make love to the bees,

We will come back when the sun refuses to shine,
Angus Wynne, Jr. is a cousin of mine.
(If there was a VIP in the audience we would always change the name to theirs.)

We will come back when the fish start to jump in the bags,
We will come back when they're no longer flying Six Flags.
When the snow has turned from white to blue then maybe,

We will come back to you.

Now here is what struck me. Instead of a pleasant, "Thank You" song to end the show on a come back soon note, this song pretty much says... we ain't coming back... the show is over... go home.
Regardless of the mixed message it might have engendered it became the signature song for all of his review shows. It remains one of the few songs I can play any time by memory on the piano. In fact the family has refused to listen to it one more time, ever. Taylor has been know to leave the house if he hears the opening chord.

I guess when you are contemplating another birthday you remember little flashes like that. Perhaps some day it will make a perfect funeral song for my Staples memorial. It would fit perfectly then:
When the snow has turned from white to blue then maybe I will come back to you.

As you were,

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Judy Garland closed every one of her early 60's TV show with this song; in turn, she did so because her beloved father did so himself in their vaudeville shows back in the 20's. So the song has rather a lengthy histor.