Friday, August 15, 2008

Some Of My Best Friends Are Old Songs

From an early age, I was fascinated with television. My parents tell me that, early on, I used to run around like a little demon, then stop dead in my tracks, transfixed by the commercials. Then came Barbara Mandrell & The Mandrell Sisters. I was 5 years old.

In 1980, Barbara Mandrell was on top of the world, having been named CMA's Entertainer of the Year. She and her sisters, raven-haired Louise and ditzy blonde Irlene, served up a healthy slice of Americana every Saturday night on NBC. I was glued to the TV!

At the top of each episode, Barbara, Louise and Irlene Mandrell came out singing. They were costumed in very similar outfits, yet each had a distinct variation. If Barbara's had 2 sleeves, Louise's would have one sleeve and Irlene's would be sleeveless. Multi-talented Barbara not only sang, but played nearly every instrument imaginable, leaving just the bass & fiddle for Louise and percussion for Irlene. Louise held her own vocally, with her distinctive sound, however Irlene was relegated to just a line or two when the trio would sing together.

Celebrity guests, Muppet-esque costars and madcap comedy followed the opening number. Each episode ended with the catch phrase, "May you always be as happy as you've made us tonight!"

Last night as I drove home, a familiar tune came up on my iPod. It was a classic '80s country song, and this was the third time it had popped up on shuffle in the past month or so. The track that had me waxing nostalgic was Louise Mandrell's "Some Of My Best Friends Are Old Songs." Take a look:


WWEBEAR said...

OH MY GOD....I loved the Mandrell Sisters Show! I watched it faithfully every week. I still love Barbaras "sleepin single in a double bed!" I was a TV junkie when i was a kid ! great memories!...also thanks for the nice comments on my altered anthems blog! I appreciate that! Are you in San Diego? hit me up at and maybe we can hit a concert sometime! Thanks again...Roger

C. Tab Revilla said...

This is such a sweet, endearing essay, Blake. I am so glad that you have started a regular, heartfelt blog. Thank you for this sentimental posting. Your friend, Tab