Aaron’s Radio Show

Episode 17

My Three Songs with Mina Gobler

 

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Notes

Episode Notes

EPISODE SEVENTEEN – My Three Songs with Mina Gobler:  Welcome, everyone, to Episode Seventeen. This is the seventh in our series of episodes called My Three Songs where my guest chooses three memorable songs and we listen to the songs and talk about why they are meaningful to my guest.

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Three Songs

  1. Cry – Johnny Ray (1951)
  2. You Belong to Me – Jo Stafford (1952)
  3. California Dreaming – Mamas & the Papas (1965)

Aaron’s Radio Show has been licensed by ASCAP and BMI to include songs from their repertories in performances on this website.

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Transcript

This transcript was originally generated using artificial intelligence ("AI") software. It has been edited by a human being, but it may still contain some misspellings, lack necessary punctuation, or include other anomalies. We are regularly working to improve our transcripts!


Jake:

Coming to you almost live from Berkeley, California, it's Aaron's Radio Show ... with your host, Aaron Gobler.

Aaron Gobler:

Thanks, Jake. And welcome, everybody to Episode 17. Welcome to My Three Songs, where I played three special songs chosen by my guests, and we talk about why they chose each song. Today my guest is the one person in this world who has known me the longest my mother, Mina Gobler. Mina, I think it's okay, if I call you that instead of Mom.

Mina Gobler:

I would certainly hope so.

Aaron Gobler:

Okay! How are you today?

Mina Gobler:

Well, I'm fine. It's a beautiful day in Albany, California. As for my mood, I'm a little bit anxious since I don't want to embarrass either of us.

Aaron Gobler:

I see I see. Okay, well, I think we'll both be very gracious to each other and, and the embarrassment will just be maybe a side-effect instead of an intention. Okay. I want to thank you for being on My Three Songs. You know, I know you always try to support your kids' endeavors. Is that the only reason you decided to be on the show?

Mina Gobler:

Well, you interviewed my daughter and her brother. And so that left me; so I thought about this, I was really intrigued by the three songs concept. At first, I wasn't sure that I'd be able to come up with three songs that were really meaningful to me. But once I got started thinking, I got really excited. Okay. And besides, we never talked about my musical history. So I'm hoping to tell you something about myself that you didn't know.

Aaron Gobler:

Yeah, I as I'm listening to you speak now I'm thinking that there are plenty of things that you haven't told me about music and, and it should be very enlightening. By the time we're done our conversation, I'm very interested in thinking of what little morsels I learned today from, from this. So, before we get started on your list, tell me like how does music fit into your life? Like you listen to it on a whim? Or, like, is it a key part of your normal day? Or is it mostly in the background?

Mina Gobler:

Well, my lifetime has been much longer than that of any of your other guests. And so over my lifetime, I've been introduced to all different kinds of music, and a lot of it based on my friends at the time. So for right now, I don't listen to that much music, because living alone, I keep the television on a lot to keep the company and unfortunately watching too much of MSNBC has forced me to shut that off, and to listen to Klezmer music, which we'll talk about later. Yes, I used to have my radio, my bedside radio tuned to regular news to NPR, and I found that if I woke up during the night and turn the radio on, and started listening, I would be hearing all this terrible news and couldn't go back to sleep. So I changed my station and at night, if I wake up, it's just classical music.

Aaron Gobler:

So it sounds like it's important for you to have something in the background, and that the music is more of a meditative or calming thing than listening to the news.

Mina Gobler:

That would be for classical music. If I play Klezmer music, I dance a little bit. Nobody's here to see me!

Aaron Gobler:

... they say "dance like nobody's watching"; right? Or something like that.

Mina Gobler:

There's something that I wanted to mention about my history with music. Briefly in high school. I dated somebody who was a classical music buff, so I started collecting and listening to classical music. He was an interesting character because it was my first brush with OCD. He timed each musical selection so that he could fit the right amount into an hour of listening. Moving on to college, though, I was in class with a lot of the vets who were returning from the Korean War, and they were Jazz players and aficionados, and they were so much into the scene that they called the Jazz greats by their first names. Okay, so they would talk about Miles, or they would talk about Cole, or Anita. And fortunately, I got to know the last names of people. So when I met your father and we both enjoyed jazz, we actually saw Miles Davis perform in a club in Philly, and one in Atlantic City.

Aaron Gobler:

Yeah. As you recall, I do recall seeing Miles Davis records in your record collection. But I don't remember you playing Miles Davis for me. I don't recall really knowing his music, but I did notice you had a lot of his music in your your record collection.

Mina Gobler:

Yes. I did! I gave them all to my son-in-law Larry, who has the greatest musical collection of all.

Aaron Gobler:

So you selected three great songs. And many people would consider these to be oldies but goodies. I realized that a lot of the songs that I grew up with, I have to refer to as oldies even though, you know, when I was growing up the oldies were the songs you know, kind of in your list, especially the ones from the 50s. But the younger generation refers to songs from the 80s as oldies so it's a little bit ...

Mina Gobler:

Welcome to the new world.

Aaron Gobler:

Your first selection was "Cry" by Johnny Ray from 1951. And then "You Belong To Me" by Jo Stafford from 1952. And then the classic "California Dreamin'" by the Mamas and the Papas from 1965. Mina, I'm familiar with all of these songs, especially the last one. I'm curious to hear why you made each of these selections and to hear your stories about them. First, let's take a listen to cry by Johnny Ray. This song is the epitome of the crooner genre, and without divulging your age, I'm going to guess the song was really popular when you were a teenager. Why is the song meaningful to you?

Mina Gobler:

Well, Johnny Ray was a heartthrob. And he had several songs that were really on the top of the charts, one of which you just played, "Cry". So when I was a kid, and into my early teenage years, my family would go to Atlantic City for the summer. And one of the attractions in Atlantic City was Steel Pier. And there were performances that were held on Steel Pier. And one day Johnny Ray was performing. Well, of course, I didn't buy a ticket. But there I was on the boardwalk with this big scrum of teenage girls very much like myself, waiting for Johnny Ray to make his exit. And he steps outside with his onto the boardwalk with his men, you know who are around him ... and he is this skinny looking guy. So as we crowded around him, I got close enough to touch him with my finger. And I was so excited. And we're on the way home, all of us walking on the boardwalk going, going back to where we live, and say aah! I touched Johnny Ray, I touch ... oh my god, I don't remember which finger it was. The right hand or the left hand?! I may never wash again. So that was really ... I was about 13 at the time, that's really emblematic of a particular period in my life.

Aaron Gobler:

So this particular song has significance among the rest of the songs that he has or this is your favorite one or ... ?

Mina Gobler:

it was the most representative of of his work.

Aaron Gobler:

And your interest in him, obviously was a precursor for you touching him. But did that cement his legacy then. in your, your canon of music?

Mina Gobler:

No.

Aaron Gobler:

Okay.

Mina Gobler:

It was just such a memorable experience. And you know, there are times in our lives where we, we kind of snap a picture, or make a video and it's in our head. And so that's how I was able to describe this to you. Because it happened a REALLY long time ago.

Aaron Gobler:

Okay. It's definitely indelible in your mind. Are there any other artists that you actually physically connected with?

Mina Gobler:

Not that I can remember.

Aaron Gobler:

Okay, okay.

Mina Gobler:

... or I would have chosen one of them.

Aaron Gobler:

The next song in your list is "You Belong To Me" by Jo Stafford. So let's take a listen to that, and we'll talk about it on the other side. Mina, this song has been covered by a lot of artists. And my research shows that this version is the most popular. So what inspired you to add this song to your list?

Mina Gobler:

This reflects my years in high school. And it was a time when we had house parties. I had a dear friend Millie, who had an older brother Paul, who went to Central High School, which was a big deal in Philadelphia. And so he would bring his boyfriends and Millie would gather her girlfriends. And we would get together in their rec room. And we would dance. And it was an opportunity to really dance close together. There weren't many other opportunities in high school to do that. So as you could hear, this was this was kind of mellow. And and I think that period of time was was kind of mellow. It was before a lot of bad things happen. And it was was kind of the afterglow of World War II. Any other question about that?

Aaron Gobler:

No, but I but I was starting to get in that little like queasy area that you know, where you're thinking about your parents in, in romantic situations. So, but we just we just started touching on that area. And then and then you kind of brought it back. So I think we're good.

Mina Gobler:

Remember, I was a kid.

Aaron Gobler:

I know, yes, yeah. It's enough to have to consider your children in those kinds of situations, let alone then roll your mind back to then think of your parents in those situations. The last song in your list is "California Dreamin'" by the Mamas and the Papas. And I've always loved the song. And I'm sure a lot of that has to do with the fact that it was played a lot for me when I was a little kid, and I really love the Mamas and Papas in general. So let's give that song a listen, I'm going to be sitting here ... you know, harkening back to when I was a little kid. So here it is, "California Dreamin'". Mina, this song is certainly part of Americana. And it's really poignant for the both of us and our families, just because we're, we've been living in California for many years now. I imagine most people have heard this song at some point in their life. And I'm curious as to why this song is meaningful to you?

Mina Gobler:

Well, because it's very meaningful to you! I'll tell you why. It's actually the first popular music that you were introduced to when you were just months old. So when you were a baby, your paternal grandmother was living in our house for a few months because she was in-between apartments. So your bedroom became her bedroom at night. And you would sleep in a port-a-crib in the dining room. And I would have to help you get ready for sleep. So I would take you into the living room, turn on the Mamas and the Papas, and I would kind of rock you. And that was the music that you first heard. And it was the Mamas and the Papas. So, so that's why it's significant to me because I have that memory of kind of rocking you back and forth and helping you fall asleep to the music of the Mamas and the Papas.

Aaron Gobler:

So that explains it's kind of imprinted in my brain that when I hear that song, it's subconsciously calming me or bringing me back into babe-in-arms ... kind of.

Mina Gobler:

(Laughter) Yeah, I guess you could say that! If I could just add one little funny thing.

Aaron Gobler:

Sure!

Mina Gobler:

... that your port-a-crib was in the dining room. And when your sister Ellen would come home, and her friends would be with her, or any of the neighbors would come by, you were like an exhibit because there you were in your port-a-crib. You know, be looking through the bars. And they would be looking at you.

Aaron Gobler:

There was no like little plaque with a Latin name, you know, like Homosapien Gobler or something?

Mina Gobler:

Nope!

Aaron Gobler:

No? Okay.

Mina Gobler:

They just used their imaginations!

Aaron Gobler:

Okay. (Laughter) So did I ... was I entertaining? Did I ... was I nice to the visitors?

Mina Gobler:

Oh! You were adorable!

Aaron Gobler:

Oh, okay. Okay. I guess that was a leading question.

Mina Gobler:

I think you were happy for the attention. You were a good baby. That's why I decided to keep you ...

Aaron Gobler:

Where did I go wrong??! (Laughter) Is there anything else you'd like to share about the selections? Like, is there some kind of connective tissue across the three of them or anything else you you haven't had a chance to talk about?

Mina Gobler:

An important thread. A thread throughout my life has been Hebrew music. When I was 10 years-old, Israel was established as a state. And at some point they started to have, what they called Hasidic Song Festivals. And I bought records over the years that I loved to sing along with. And I also love singing Hebrew liturgical music. I sang in the synagogue choir. So so that's a whole separate, but important thread, running through my love of music. Now, what I need to add is that I am grateful to you and your sister, because once you started playing music, I got to know James Taylor, and all of the ... Elton John, and all of those, those singers, and I really appreciated how much I gained and enjoyed all the music that that you both played. The best part is that rap music didn't start until you guys were out of the house. So, kudos for that.

Aaron Gobler:

(Chuckling) Okay, I hear you. Yeah, it is. From generation to generation. I mean, there's definitely some, some music that that are ... I call them kids. I mean, they're, they're young adults ... listened to or had listened to that I can't, I still can't get my head around. But they really, really enjoy. So I think it's just a generational thing like not understanding or appreciating certain types of music, just because it's so different than what you were what you're used to. So I certainly can appreciate that. Is there? Is there anything else you'd like to add about your music taste?

Mina Gobler:

What I wanted to add before we end is that I wanted to say how happy I am ... that you have found a way to combine your love and deep knowledge of popular music with your gift of being a good listener and bringing out the best from your participants.

Aaron Gobler:

Well, that's really sweet. Now, what did you say again? I wasn't listening. (Awkward laughter) Well, thank you. No, thank you for that observation. I'm really happy that I started down this path of trying out the radio show and then this particular format, I'm really enjoying it.

Mina Gobler:

Thank you. Thank you for trusting me, and for thinking that your friends would be interested in what I have to say.

Aaron Gobler:

Well, so far, I have not turned away any person who wants to be on the show.

Mina Gobler:

Oh ...

Aaron Gobler:

That sounds like a backhanded compliment to you. (Laughter) So that wasn't meant the way it came out. But, it's really ... I'm expecting ... you mentioned earlier that I had interviewed my brother and I have not yet ... so ... I've asked him a few times. So maybe after he listens to this, he's going to feel like he has to in order to not make you a liar. So if you're listening, Michael, you know, you're next ... at some point ... get on my list! So, you know, I want to thank you again, Mina. I'm sure I'll be talking to you very soon. But this little conversation was a lot of fun.

Mina Gobler:

For me as well.

Aaron Gobler:

Oh, good. Good. Not really embarrassing. You know, I'm sorry, to the listeners who were hoping for something a little more ...

Mina Gobler:

Racy?

Aaron Gobler:

Racy or just ...

Mina Gobler:

Revealing?

Aaron Gobler:

Revealing. Yeah. I should say to my listeners, if you want to be part of this show, start by going to our website, Aaron's Radio dot show, and clicking on the My three songs button that's on the homepage. So until next time, keep your ears and mind open and let more music into your world.

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