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March 9th, 2023:

New Category: Scraps

It happens to everybody: A song pops into your head and you can’t get rid of it. We call those “earworms,” and I’ve had my share. The other day while I was folding clean laundry, a song popped into my head. No biggie, right? Well…I don’t think I’d heard this song in almost fifty years. I didn’t remember the artist. I remembered about a third of the lyrics, but the instruments came through clear as a bell, including the interlude that had no lyrics. From the lyrics, I guessed its title was “A Special Kind of Morning.”

Curious, I looked in all my Whitburn pop song references, and found no such title listed. After it ran a few times in my head I had the insight that it was on one of my college-years 8” recorded off-the-air reel-to-reel mix tapes. I still have the typewritten index for those tapes, and yup, there it was, recorded in March, 1970. The artist was Joe Brooks. I listened to those tapes until I left home in early 1976, so that may have been when I heard the song last. I did a DDG search and there it was (like so many other obscure pop songs from that era) free on YouTube.

So. Why that song? And why then? I was folding my socks and underwear, sheesh. It was a typical pop song of no special quality, with dumb lyrics. Of several adjectives I might apply to it, “memorable” was not one of them.

My sister has a name for this sort of thing: brain sludge. She gets it too. I’m going to apply a slightly different name to it, and make it a category here on Contra: Scraps. That’s what they are: Scraps of memory that surface for no apparent reason. I have a notefile containing a few examples from recent years. I’ll present them here as time permits. All of them are peculiar, and one is definitely weird.

Stay tuned.