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“MY HEART TOOK A LEAPTHE POETIC INNOCENSE OF THE SHANGRI-LAS” RICH BUCKLAND’S EPIPHANY NOTEBOOK So. Here’s how it all started. Like so many pre teens growing up in the sixites I slept with a transistor radio under my pillow. That receiver was the best friend a 12 year old could possibly have. It told me only what I wanted to hear and unlike the parental tunes regulary dispensed, I could slide the dial to another frequency and change the feel and tempo. 1964 was an extraordinary year for popular music and youthful urges. My wireless companion delivered the sound of pleading voices reciting urgent love calls through the night air. The first feminine intonations that whispered directly to my adolescent hunger ariived through The Supremes in June of that year. I would wait anxiously through the bedtime darkness to hear the DJ conduct another spin of the salvation revealed within a Diana Ross plea requesting an explanation to what would become the eternal question of “Where Did Our Love Go”. I was fully captured by the gentle elocution each conflicted tone incited. She was conducting a sorrowful inquest, the meaning of which I was not experienced enough to comprehend and yet fully accepted. It felt like a sensual revolution emanating from the magic of a wireless, spiritual trasmission, but more importantly a glorious awakening having nothing to do with sexual messaging. It was my initiation into the significance of lonliness. And then it became more complex. In August of that same period, a group calling themselves The Shangri-las, dispatched a 45 revelations per second record titled “Remember (Walking In The Sand )” It ignited something dark and dramatic. This was my first migraine heartache and I understood the origin. It was the voice of Mary Weiss, the groups teen vocalist from Queens NY, the very bourough I lived in. She was singing a story of such anguish, I just wanted to embrace her and make it better. “Oh, no, Oh no, Oh, no, no, no, no, no. Remember ( Walking In The Sand )”. The song and it’s production were the child of a music business misfit named George “Shadow” Morton” But it was the urgent hurt of Mary Weiss that has lived within me going on 55 years. I recall ruminating, ” If this is 12, what the hell will 13 be like.” I began to find out when the next Shangri-las recording was released in December. The melancholy of “Remember” surrendered to another George Morton composition sung as only Mary and her partners could. It was called “Give Him A Great Big Kiss” and made me feel better about our fate and the abyss she had us both falling into only four months earlier. Teendom was just around my Queens, NY street corner and love was in the breezy wind. So, that’s how it all started. In retrospect Mary Weiss was my first true infatuation. The emotions were real, especially for a kid who cried over Jackie Wilsons “Lonely Teardrops” at age 7. Rock and Rhythm and Blues produced awakenings and sensations with no age restrictions. After 4 marriages I still have similar questions posed by The Shangri-las and The Supremes . I owe a great deal to those remarkable women and their sacred voices. If we are fortunate, The eternal flame of yearning begs new understanding with each sunrise. Just give the one you love a Great Big Kiss and always Remember. Always.

By Rich Buckland 12/30/2019 12:30 PM

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