Cuban Pete, an appreciation

My daughter and I share a trick memory for lyrics. Part of our bed-time ritual is singing three songs -- two "new" songs (that she hasn't heard before) and one "old" one (from a previous night). It's really challenging to come up with two new songs whose lyrics I can remember (or fake) well enough every night. Last night, I found myself singing Desi Arnaz's "Cuban Pete," as performed on I Love Lucy, and we both agreed that it was a keeper, particularly for the "chick-chicky-boom" refrain (not to be confused with the likewise excellent and legendary "CHICA CHICA BOOM CHIC" refrain from Carmen Miranda). YouTube being the collective memory of a large slice of the species, it naturally has a clip of Desi and Lucy performing "Cuban Pete" from the 1951 I Love Lucy episode, "The Diet."

Cuban Pete


    1.  You beat me to it!  The whole soundtrack is actually pretty good with modern versions of older songs.

  1. For some odd-assed reason I thought of this song – as sung by “Ricky Ricardo” – today, when I was doing my laundry. “And Cuban’s Pete’s never in a hurry like Arthur Murray/I come from Havana/and there’s always manana.” I Desi’s band on the show was pretty hot.

  2. Cory (sorry – it feels awfully familiar to call you by your first name) — if you really want to test your daughter’s memory for lyrics, try Crayola Doesn’t Make a Color For Your Eyes.  All my friends with kids agree, it’s catchy… “like herpes.”  It’s all over YouTube (some live, some with lyrics overwritten, etc).  For example:

  3. Cory,
    Massive props for singing every nigh!  Especially so many songs.
    My daughter periodically asks for a song just as I say good night, and all the songs I can remember lyrics for off the cuff are not really designed for a cappella bedtime singing. (i.e. AC/DC )  I know and can sing many song, but need lyrical prep.
    (I prefer to tell myths, which I *can* do at will.)

  4. My daughter wants to play my drums before she goes to sleep……we should get on this…

  5. One thing I wish was emphasized more to new parents is that you really only have a few years to set things in motion.  So quickly, their own personalities and peer pressure take over and it becomes virtually impossible to convince them to like a particular genre of music, or type of food, or whatever.

    You’ve started your daughter on an excellent trajectory, Cory.

    I’ll warn you that you’re likely to go through a phase where she will not want you to sing anything under any circumstance.  If that happens, don’t worry, she’ll come back out of it again.

  6. Lucy was originally a dancer, and if you can dig up any of her old photos, she was a smoking hot red head showgirl. 

    I also saw a documentary about pioneering business deals, and Lucy shrewdly bought all the rights to her show before anyone had even thought of syndicating shows, and insisted oh high production quality to make it marketable. Also, Desilu Studios pioneered many of the standard television  production techniques.  Ricky was not the brains of the outfit. 

  7. About memory–yours is phenomenal, I noticed it when you spoke in Seattle a couple years ago; can’t remember exactly when of course! So glad your daughter has it too. Memory is a superpower, is what I tell the nieces and nephews, hoping they won’t decide it’s cool to space out and forget things like their auntie. My memory, short and long-term, quit in my late 20’s, one year after I left university and left Germany to start working full-time in the US. I had thought my brain figuratively sniffed the air, detected bass notes of redneck high school, and decided it wasn’t wanted or necessary. However, recently I visited Germany again and noticed that they sit around discussing for hours, fairly regularly. While doing so, they remind each other of things (repetition), fill in the blanks of aspects of stories the others didn’t know yet, fix errors, and create a vacuum for facts, a need to collect and review information. The discussion culture creates group memory that strengthens individual memory.

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