THE DATING SCENE

Paul Zahl finds the time to tell her and reports on it here:

About Paul and Mary’s Excellent Adventure

It came upon a midnight clear!  It came so suddenly clear that I knew I had to do something.

It was that song, that old forever song: “Can’t Find the Time to Tell You”.

I’ve always wanted to sing it to Mary, “in the morning, when we rise” (Donovan) and at “The End of the Day” (Kinks).  That single song’s enough to make babies and make you say, “I do”.

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What was the name of the group again?  Wait a minute.  It was Orpheus.  The name of the band was Orpheus.  So when a promo ad on WNEW (Boston) said that Orpheus,
seed-bed for the greatest love-song ever sung, was going to play a one-night set, with orchestra even, at the Berklee School of Music, well, “I’m already gone” (Eagles).

It had to be a surprise, though.  Mary couldn’t know.  If possible, she had to be swept off her feet.  At least that was my idea.

Well, I did get her to Boston.  It wasn’t easy, and she kept saying, “Why are we going north
on 95 when we’re supposed to be going south?”

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We finally arrived.  Just two blocks down from Commonwealth Avenue, which is pure Tarkington on the Back Bay, was the Berklee Performance Center.  The line wasn’t long — this wasn’t going to be The Last Waltz.  But there were enough people.  They were all Orpheus fans.

Can I just say something about Orpheus?  Orpheus was a band headed by Bruce Arnold and produced by Alan Lorber in the late 1960s.  Orpheus made four great records, the most popular single from which was “Can’t Find the Time to Tell You.”

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Bruce Arnold said that his two strongest influences were Elvis Presley and Henry Mancini.

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I’d say especially Henry Mancini.

These are hard songs to sing, hard songs to perform, hard songs even to understand.  Lots of orchestration, good melodic hooks, off-sides lyrics with a little mysticism thrown in,
and the steady theme of boy-meets-girl-and-is-changed-forever.

You listen to the songs for more than five minutes and you want to kiss somebody.  Just YouTube the other ones — “Big Green Pearl”, “Music Machine”, and “Love Over Here”.  Everything’s on iTunes.

The concert itself?   Mary and I were in the sixth row.  I would say it had its good points, especially the concluding signature number.  We’d both also say that the band’s resources were a little thin in relation to the aspiration.  Orpheus’s songs are big productions, with many elements inter-locking.  The Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and 30 guitars and keyboards could barely do these songs justice live.  So the hopes of the audience and probably the hopes of the performers were not quite realized.

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Except at the end, when sweet Bruce Arnold, basically alone on a tall stool, sang, and sang, then sang again, “Can’t Find the Time to Tell You”.  Every couple in the place was leaning into each other by the time he finished.

The ushers, too.

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Mary and Paul had their picture taken with Bruce, above, and Paul had a brief chat with him:

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“That’s just it!” Bruce is saying.  “I’m an Episcopalian, too!”

Which goes to show you never can tell, as Chuck Berry once reminded us, and it’s the same with kids today — you never can tell what they’re going to get up to, even when they’ve been married a zillion years, with three kids and enough grand kids to field a baseball team.

And so it goes . . .

Click on the images to enlarge.