Thursday, February 26, 2015

Good Night Little Girl Of My Dreams / Fading Like A Flower

I didn't intend to make a medley of these two songs but they are in the same key and they are on the piano at the same time.

Good Night, Little Girl Of My Dreams
By Charles Tobias and Joe Burke
Key: F Major
Typical 1933 sexism. That's Jack Fulton leering at you from the inset.
Charles Tobias was born a year before the great Hoagy Carmichael. He had two brothers Harry and Henry, who were both songwriters in the Tin Pan Alley and Vaudeville tradition. This particular song is kind of Tin Pan Alley gone to seed because the subject matter is generic, can't-miss, I love you and you love me, drivel that still appeals to youth, and the melody is actually a rip off of Home on the Range. At least, I hear the similarities, but it's more urbanized and I can imagine street cars and gas lights and, this being the last year of Prohibition, speakeasy juke joints and rum runners prowling the streets in the shadows. The Prohibition  is a social example of how a virus adapts to a hostile environment. The innocence of 1919 is awesome: Congress really thought they would eliminate alcohol abuse if they prohibited the manufacturing of alcohol. I think the evidence suggests Prohibition was sincere. Well, it forced criminals to get organized or die. Until 1918 criminals were content with disorganization, every man for himself, small gangs robbing stage coaches and trains. But Prohibition required a higher level of organization to succeed. All the lawless gangs of 1918 wanted to exploit the demand for alcohol but individually they all failed. The scale of the law required an organized approach never seen before on American soil. Maybe it was Italian and German and Spanish experience finally coming to fruit, but I don't want to blame it on those countries because by that time these were 1st and 2nd generation Americans. I watched The Godfather. Vito Corleone had no intention of returning to Italy. He was American. So, as an American, people like Vito put aside their childish petty thievery and embraced professional crime, crime that required bribes and corruption. Watch Leone's Once Upon A Time In America for a good dramatization of this time period. This is the law of unintended consequences in which the fantasies of some well-intentioned temperance folk forced the criminal element of America to organize to succeed. And like any good virus, they adapted, they built communication lines, they built bridges, they corrupted officials, they evolved. Some died, but the strong survived and built Las Vegas. This song, Good Night Little Girl, was published at the very end of the Prohibition, which ended in early December, 1933. Songs published in 1934 all were in a climate of legal alcohol and organized crime. True, the end of Prohibition forced the criminal cartels to adapt again, but they merely switched drugs. And while an end to the Prohibition of drugs will cause the cartels to adapt again, it will not eliminate them. That opportunity ended in 1919 when they first were forced to adapt. See, once the adaptation process starts, for a virus or a cartel, then there's no turning back the clock. All attempts to kill the virus or the cancer or the cartel will only cause it to divide and strengthen. No, I think there is a good argument that 1918 was the last chance to maintain some kind of innocence and domination over the outlaws of the West. And that's why there is a nostalgia for even the outlaws of that time, because it was the last time period when there was no organized crime. A handful of gangs with a handful of members impacted isolated areas but now a truckload of organized crime cartels impact the whole world.

Creative Commons License
Man in the Van by Oggy Bleacher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.