Friday, October 19, 2012

WALGREENS IS STILL A HEARTBREAK. Homer & Jethro and Ruby Wright

Back in 1964, Ruby Wright (daughter of Johnny Wright and Kitty Wells) had some success with novelty singles. Her biggest was "Dern Ya," the answer to Roger Miller's "Dang Me." The same year, she offered "Billy Broke My Heart at Walgreens," via Nashville's RIC (Record Industries Corp) label. Her brief popularity with country novelty tunes set her apart from the other Ruby Wright...the big band vocalist who only five years earlier, had Top 40 hits on the mainstream charts with "Let's Light the Christmas Tree" and the Holly, Vallens & Bopper tribute "Three Stars."

Written by Hank Mills, and featuring an alarming "talking guitar" (not by Alvino Rey, but expert country session man Pete Drake), it could almost be taken seriously. There were probably a few fatties in trailer parks drinking some Jim Beam and stuffing Slim Jims in their pusses, (that's not a typo, that's puss, as in face), recalling some similar catastrophe of love gone wrong.

Without having to re-write too much of it, Homer & Jethro harmonized on their own version, raising the level of comic pathos to new heights of pathetic humorousness. (Feel free to click the picture and look at the bigger version. H&J and Ruby are so photogenic...and the photoshop job adding Sears and Walgreens looks so real...)

It ain't too funny that so many of our beloved chain stores have disappeared since Ruby Wright and Homer & Jethro sang about Walgreens. Gone or soon to be forgotten: Woolworths, Montgomery Ward, E.J. Korvette, King Kullen...Macy's can no longer tell Gimbel's anything…the latter went under long ago, along with Lamstons and Filenes and Daffy's and Abraham and Straus. How about the chains that still survive, but maybe pulled out of a neighborhood near you…a Baskin-Robbins, White Castle or Jack in the Box replaced by a Starbucks or Applebees or just a "for rent" sign.

Best Buy is teetering toward the same edge as Circuit City, because people go in there to handle the camcorders and see the computers…then rush back to Amazon to get the item for ten bucks cheaper and free shipping. Sears? Are they a factor anymore? Were most of them taken over by Wal-Mart? As for Walgreens they've been partnering up with other drug chains notably Duane Reade (an outfit that's emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy), and will probably stay around because our dependence on drugs for headache, stomach pain, and all the new ailments brought by stress and the environment is only going to increase.

Will anyone break your heart at Walgreens in the near future? No, you'll have your heart broken on Skype. Or you'll discover your sexy Facebook friend's latest sexting texts have other names on 'em and were sent in error to you. Or your heart will break when you discover your sexy Internet friend can't meet you in person because you'd discover that the person is actually 30 years older than you, and of the same sex! Vividly miserable at Walgreens is being replaced with being momentarily pissed off about the e-mail sex partner who now sends you nothing but spam about needing money and how you should deposit money in a Nigerian bank via Western Union. You might shed some tears but...

On the Internet, nobody hears you cry.

Sapristi! RUBY WRIGHT'S Billy Broke My Heart at Walgreens….

Sapristi! Homer & Jethro's She Broke My Heart at Walgreens….

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