Speaking of scores, I was just watching the first episode of the Ken
Burns documentary "Country Music," and there was this bit about the
singer Jimmie Rodgers (1897-1933):
"To help him come up with more songs that could be copyrighted, Rodgers
had enlisted [his wife] Cary's sister, Elsie McWilliams, a Sunday school
music teacher with a gift for turning an overheard phrase or random
incident into a melody with lyrics. Jimmie couldn't read musical
notations. 'Crazy little fly specks with funny tails,' he called them.
So she often came to teach her new compositions to him in person. In
all, Elsie McWilliams would write or contribute to more than a third of
Rodgers' recorded songs.
"At one session in Dallas, which would include a Hawaiian steel guitar
player, Elsie heard Jimmie say, 'I'd like to have me one of them
hula-hula girls.' That night she came up with a new song which they
recorded the next morning: 'Everybody Does It in Hawaii.' With its
suggestive double entendres, the song earned a warning from Variety
magazine that record dealers should 'not sell this into polite families'
because, the review said, 'It's never made clear what everybody does in
[Although the narrator didn't read it out loud, the article continues
with: "That leaves the sensitive listeners in a state of unrelieved
embarrasment." Better to take one's embarrassment in a plain, upfront,
God-fearing way and get it all over with. The anticipation of uncertain
entendres is pure agony for virtuous folk.]
In any case, it's nice to know that people who can decipher fly specks
occasionally have a useful supporting role in the world.