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It occurred to me Monday evening that I’m way behind in the Re-Listening Project. Six whole discs! Which means I’m right on schedule, I suppose. But just six discs since the end of February. I haven’t been driving a lot, fortunately. Saving the earth and all of that.

This is the one where I’m listening to all of my old CDs in the car, in the order in which I acquired them. I’ve been (intermittently) writing about them here to pad things out. These aren’t reviews, because who cares? Usually they are just memories, but mostly excuses to post some music.

And so we go back to 2004! We go back to 2004 to hear songs from a man who died in 1995! A collection of his songs from the 1950s and 1960s!

I speak, of course, of Dean Martin, one of the true peaks of 20th century entertainment. Captured on “Dino: The Essential Dean Martin,” are 30 tracks, and you need almost all of them. Here, you can learn to croon. Here, you can learn to mumble, badly through a few Italian phrases. Here, you could learn Volare.

I knew, or was passingly familiar, with a full two-thirds or more of this album when I first picked it up, but I didn’t own any of them. And the rat pack wasn’t on the radio in my house or my grandparents’ homes or anywhere else, but I knew them all the same. The King of Cool is just imprinted on you somehow, I suppose. It makes it easier to see what he was, and what you are not. Anyway, the track listing.

Ain’t That a Kick in the Head?
That’s Amore
Memories Are Made of This
Just in Time
I’d Cry Like a Baby
Volare (Nel Blu di Pinto di Blu)
Under the Bridges of Paris
Love Me, Love Me
Mambo Italiano
Let Me Go, Lover!
Standing on the Corner
You Belong to Me
Powder Your Face with Sunshine (Smile! Smile! Smile!)
Innamorata (Sweetheart)
I’ll Always Love You (Day After Day)
You’re Nobody till Somebody Loves You
Return to Me (Ritorna-Me)
The Door Is Still Open (to My Heart)
Send Me the Pillow You Dream On
Everybody Loves Somebody
In the Chapel in the Moonlight
I Will
Little Ole Wine Drinker, Me
Somewhere There’s a Someone
In the Misty Moonlight
Gentle on My Mind

My favorites remain this one, which started as a show tune, crossed over and became a big hit for The Four Lads in 1956.

Here’s The Four Lads version, which sounds like it came from a different generation after you hear Martin’s.

They came out in the same year.

Probably the song I listened to the most was “Houston.” Written by the incredibly influential Lee Hazlewood, and first recorded by the rockabilly singer Sanford Clark (a man usually ahead of his time), but Martin made it his own.

It was a hit. “Houston” spent 9 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, peaking at 21, and settled in at number two on Billboard’s Easy Listening chart.

Let’s check in on a few of the things growing around here. The squash is going strong. We could be eating a lot of squash this summer.

And I will definitely be enjoying a lot of tomato sandwiches this summer. Grow, tomatoes, grow!

We’re still waiting on a few other things to emerge from the soil, potentially, but so far this has been an encouraging first effort in our new-old greenhouse.

And, finally, because it is Thursday and you deserve something peaceful and stunningly gorgeous, please enjoy with me this mesmerizing comb jelly from the Monterey Aquarium, which we saw on our trip to California last month.


These beauties are incredibly fragile. These spotted comb jellies are small, but they vary in size within the species. Some 186 species are recognized today, ranging in size from a few millimeters to 5 feet! The comblike plates beat to move the jelly through the water, and the combs diffract the light to produce that captivating rainbow effect. They eat other jellies, and some of them can expand their stomachs so they can consume prey nearly half their size! Salmon, turtles and other jellies think of these comb jellies as a tasty meal.

I’ll show you another comb jelly on Monday.

Tomorrow, we’re going to look at an old book.

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