Amy Mann

10 Jan

Nelson and I used to hang out a lot in different parts in, and around, Boston. Kenmore Square, Union Square, Inman Square, Harvard Square, Central Square and Cleveland Circle just to name a few. Wherever our fancy struck and depending on what we wanted to do.

One particular balmy, dreamy and lazy day we hoofed to Cleveland Circle to toss a Frisbee on the grass right near the theater. This was a great place to gaze at the traffic, to people watch, to sit in the sun, to apologize to drivers for hitting their car with the overthrown Frisbee, and to smile into the mid-afternoon sun while enjoying a whimsical and careless day.

I used to love the people watching in particular and had my capricious eye on the girls who walked by singly or in pairs or in small packs. I would walk up (with a wayward Frisbee toss being the excuse) and smile and make small talk and exchange banter for a few moments. Not with the aim of ‘hooking up’, but simply and truthfully just to converse and admire beautifully animated art.

Nelson and I decided to take a break and walk across the street to get a slice and a Coke. As we walked, one girl in particular stood out, and as clear as day, I can still picture her; thin, white, white perfect skin, a beret on her head that revealed what we used to call a ‘rat tail’ dangling down her back, a white short sleeved blouse, jean shorts and big, black army-type boots that were so popular at that time. I was so taken with that look that a few select women wore back then – what with the big, big boots, the hair style, the bright personality, the perfect teeth and their decision to not look like every other fluffy-haired bimbet, I was again, of course, struck by Cupid’s arrow and timed my walk so that I caught up to her at the crosswalk.

AmyI stood next to her waiting for the walking signal, turned to her, our eyes met, I smiled and said “hello”. She replied “hello” in return and exchanged a smile of her own. Something about her seemed so familiar, but I couldn’t at the moment place her. We made small talk walking across the square and parted when she went up the block while Nelson and I went into the pizza shop and ordered. It wasn’t until my second bite that I realized who she was. I remembered seeing her perform in a band somewhere around Boston. I think it was the Paradise on Comm. Ave.

About a week later I saw her again, this time on MTV. Her band ‘Til Tuesday had a hit with ‘Voices Carry’ and Amy Mann, the girl I bantered with, was spectacular. More about ‘Voice Carry’ at the bottom.

The Boston music scene was crushingly great at that moment and there was no shortage of talent showcased in the bars, the tours, on the airwaves, on the video stations and in terms of sales. ‘Til Tuesday was played at my apartment so often that I’m sure the vinyl turned from black to translucent.

I’ve followed Amy Mann through the years and admire her songwriting not only in terms of craft, but because she never writes a banal or turgid ‘boy meets girl’, but sears the lyrics on a more abstract and personal level. As her solo career progressed, I’ve enjoyed her personal journeys through ‘I’m With Stupid’, ‘Lost in Space’, ‘@#%&! Smilers’ and right up to 2012’s ‘Charmer’ (which is brilliant by the way).

From their 1985 debut album, ‘Til Tuesday with ‘Over My Shoulder’.

When I’m wearing my heart on my sleeve
It wears out after a fashion
And I’m finding it hard to believe
Your whole-hearted lack of compassion

And if I’m looking over my shoulder
It’s just because I hope you’ll be there
And if I’m looking older and older
It’s because I know I haven’t a prayer

Over My Shoulder

Lastly, remember the video for ‘Voices Carry’? Watch the original video and then take a watch at the video for ‘Labrador’, which is a single off of ‘Charmer’. Anyone get the humor and irony?

End of The Line

Every so often an article reminds me of how powerful music can get hold of one’s soul. Doesn’t matter if you know the artist being written about, but what does matter is the feelings one can be gripped with while reading the written words of someone who is passionate about the subject matter. Over at Funky16Corners, this article does it for me.


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