Thursday, July 19, 2012


Why, it seems like just two years ago that I was saluting my (Facebook) friend Don Grady on his birthday (June 8), and in a blog post, mentioning that his self-named website was buzzing with activity, including samples and sales of his new "Boomer" solo album.

He lived past his June 8th birthday this year, but died of cancer on June 27th. One of Walt Disney's original musical Mouseketeers, Don was best known as one of Fred MacMurray's "My Three Sons," appearing in over 300 episodes of the sitcom, which ran from 1960 to 1972. In music, he led The Yellow Balloon, scoring a 60's hit with a song the just happened to be called "Yellow Balloon." His lone hit as a solo artist is in the download below: "The Children of St. Monica" on the indie Canterbury label.

His adult years included a lot of journeyman credits as a songwriter, from writing the theme song for "The Phil Donahue Show" to working with Michael Crawford in Las Vegas, to knocking off songs for the TV series “The Kid-a-Littles” and co-writing “Keep the Dream Alive,” which turned up on albums by Herbie Hancock and Della Reese among others. He tried solo albums from time to time. "Homegrown" came out in 1973, but his more recent effort was "Boomer," completed a few years ago. Back to "Children ofSt. Monica," which was weird then, and is still weird now.

"The Children of St. Monica" is sunshine pop with some dark overtones. The melody is so perky that only ill folks wouldn't be seduced into ignoring the lyrics. For those who check the words, it turns out that the children are being observed as "the sun goes down" and start "joining hands around the burning candle" at the St. Monica Church. What do they do next? Apparently an impression of the Swingle Sisters (how many kids warble wordless vocalize jazz??)

The kids also weep "quiet tears they share with one another," which hardly matches the joyous music and the Sammy Davis Jr.-styled impression of a twangy guitar ("now na now now na now."). Ultimately: "Heads are bowed in honor of the fate that cast their will. Who could ever know just what they're saying?"

And is Don hanging around with St. Monica at this very moment, playing her some sunshine music? As Hemingway used to put it, wouldn't it be pretty to think so.

DON GRADY Instant download or listen on line. No pop-ups, porn-ads or wait time.

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