Oh my, this is going to be embarrassing. In 1975, when i was 13 years old, “I Can Do It” by the Rubettes (the guys with the funky attire above) was a favorite tune of mine. Actually, that same year I bought their “We Can Do It” LP just to get hold of that single track (and perhaps “Jukebox Jive”, which wasn’t bad).
Today, on my PC, I actually have a folder with about 300 single tracks like this one which, for some reason or other and from some listening era or other, played a major role in my musical life. About 50% of those tunes might seriously confuse those who thought they knew me, but that’s the way music goes (and many more of these tunes are coming your way via this website, if you like it or not).
When “I Can Do It” was released, we were living in Niederbachem, a small village near Bonn (at the time Germany’s capital city, today something we ironically like to call “that federal village“). We had moved into our first house there, a small bungalow wedged into a row together with 5 others, right between a neighbor who spent most of her time traveling around Africa and – two houses down – a retired postal worker who regularly supplied the neighbors’ children with the most fascinating stamps from around the globe (and who, most importantly, pulled out his trumpet on the 24th of December every year to play two or three wonderful Christmas hymns for the entire small valley, which always fell completely silent while he was doing so).
That house, which had 100 something square meters distributed across three levels, was smaller than my apartment is today. In the beginning we were two sons, and then – with a substantial delay – suddenly three. To avoid the usual hassle that develops when three male offspring spend too much time together in a smallish environment, my parents decided to separate us and somehow squeezed out three (small) rooms from the meager square meters available.
Listening to the Rubettes’ “I Can Do It” always reminds me of the 10sqm room I ended up with. Yes, it was tiny, but it was my very own kingdom, expertly furnished by my mom who had spent weeks (if not months) trying to find functional furniture to adequately use the limited space available. This being the 1970s, the furniture had a dark-green hue and had all these nifty details, like a cupboard with a fold-out desk and a whole load of drawers and hidden compartments, a bed with a funky green-striped mattress and drawers beneath it, etc. To round things off, the room had a fluffy wall-to-wall carpet with some odd beige/brown strands woven into it … and a small window that you couldn’t look out of if you tried.
The center of that room was my music system which consisted of a small Dual record player (with plastic speakers) and a wonderful Grundig radio recorder, both of which were always on when I was in the room, usually accessed via my wonderful KOSS headphones to make sure the rest of the family wouldn’t get a heart attack. Late at night I would either tune into the Wolfman Jack radio program (available, as far as I recall, via AFN) or some radio play which, at the time, was almost always available. Tons of stuff was taped off those stations and I actually still have some moldy (BASF) tapes flying around in some box that I haven’t listened to since the early 1980s.
Those were the days.
Ah-thinkin’ ’bout guitars when I was just a kid
Just lookin’ back on the things we did
Like hangin’ round at the local hop
With my candy
and my soda pop.
I guess I never really stood a chance
I liked the music
but I couldn’t dance
I guess I’ve really learnt a lot since then