KamerTunesBlog

Revisiting my extensive music collection, one artist at a time

PEANUT VENDOR IN THE RAIN – IN MEMORY OF LARRY KAMERMAN (1930-2022)

On August 8, 2022 my dad, Larry Kamerman, passed away at the age of 92. He was an amazing father; loving, supportive, patient and always making his kids feel like the most important people on earth. He was also…and I say this without exaggeration…the nicest & friendliest person who ever lived. Sure, there might be others who were/are equally as nice & friendly, but none more so than my dad. I’ve always been proud to be his son and, after a childhood & adolescence marked by temper tantrums, I mellowed out and learned to be a good & decent adult simply by watching everything he did. He & my mom were married more than 63 years and their love & commitment to each other helped me to be a good husband (I’m pretty sure my wife agrees). He was a New York boy through & through. Loved bagels, pizza, Chinese food (what’s more New York than that, right?), the Yankees (for which this Mets fan forgives him) and the football Giants. The latter led to some great times together, as he had season tickets for over 30 years and I attended countless games with him. Even after retiring to Florida, and spending four years near me in North Carolina, he would often brashly state, “I’m tough…I’m from Brooklyn.”

I could go on & on about all the things that made him so special, but this is a music blog and I have a lot of musical connections to my dad that I want to share. He wasn’t a musician himself, although he dabbled a bit with the guitar (more on that later), but after a stint in the U.S. Army in Kentucky & Louisiana during the Korean War he developed a lifelong love of country music which was passed on to me at an early age. I recall playing records by Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Webb Pierce, Roger Miller, Jimmy Dean & so many more, along with other albums he brought home in the ‘70s when he worked at Warner Communications (home of Warner Bros. Records, Atlantic & Elektra-Asylum). Those early record-spinning experiences led to my passion (obsession?) for music. I’ll be forever grateful that he introduced me to Hank Williams in particular, because Williams was never played on then-contemporary country radio, so who knows when I would have encountered those timeless tunes, or if they would have made the same impact on me when I was older. Dad & I often talked about Hank Williams songs, and we both had an affinity for “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry,” which Elvis Presley later called “the saddest song I’ve ever heard in my life.”

I’ll try not to be too maudlin here, but there are several songs about father-son relationships that I’ll be sharing. My dad & I were always very close, so there’ll be no “Cats In The Cradle” or “The Living Years.” The first of these songs is “That’s My Job” by Conway Twitty, another country music legend. Most of the lyrics encapsulate why I looked up to him & how he felt about me (and my siblings), other than the part about barely getting along during the narrator’s teenage years.

I started taking drum lessons when I was 8 years old and my dad happily drove me & waited around the music store for an hour each week. When I played percussion in orchestras during junior high & high school, he came to every rehearsal & performance. Less than a month before he passed, he still beamed when talking about the time the conductor called me over after a particularly good performance to give me a big hug & a kiss on each cheek. The only thing we disagreed on was the piece, which he remembered as Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture” but I think was Mussorgsky’s “Night On Bald Mountain.”







He drove me & my friends to numerous rock concerts including a memorable night in October 1982 when I saw The Who at Shea Stadium. Someone else brought us there but dad said he would meet us after the show at the industrial buildings across the street. Little did we know that Shea Stadium was surrounded on three sides by such buildings. It took a half hour for us to find each other but, instead of being angry or even worried, he was just glad we were together and had a nice car ride home. He even allowed me & my friends to play “our” music whenever he drove us somewhere. On one such ride he heard Led Zeppelin’s “Fool In The Rain” and, during the mid-song Latin-tinged breakdown he said, “This sounds like ‘The Peanut Vendor’ by Stan Kenton.” Even though I never heard of Mr. Kenton, who came in toward the tail end of the Big Band era, dad’s comparison always stuck in my head, and a few years later I picked up a Stan Kenton cassette with that song. Lo & behold, dad was right. I’ve never heard anyone else make that comparison, and I’m not sure if the band was influenced by “The Peanut Vendor,” but I certainly hear the similarity and thanks to dad I’ve been a Stan Kenton fan for decades. The aforementioned “Fool In The Rain” breakdown starts at around the 2:30 mark, and “The Peanut Vendor really gets cooking after the first minute.

Two songs that make me think of my relationship with him are Cat Stevens’ “Father And Son” and Phil Collins’ similarly-named “Father To Son.” The former features a dialogue between the titular characters, while the latter has Collins imparting sage advice to his young son. The lyrics might not always be an exact match for me & my dad, but there’s something about them which always had me thinking of him…and not just because of the song titles. After his passing they pack an even more emotional punch but still bring a smile to my face.

Speaking of smiles, my dad had a great one, as well as a wonderful sense of humor. We laughed together a lot and the smiles in every photo here are genuine. We were always happy to be together. Whether recounting favorite episodes of Seinfeld, Taxi and Everybody Loves Raymond or just being silly, smiling & laughing was a big part of our relationship.

The last song I want to share is also possibly the most poignant: “Tank Park Salute” by Billy Bragg, an artist I saw many times throughout the ‘90s. During one of those shows he introduced this new song that he had written for his father who had recently passed away. I think I shed a tear that night just knowing that one day I would have to feel what he was feeling; the emptiness & finality that take over when you lose a parent. I’m fortunate that I had my dad in my life for as long as I did but the impact of his loss is just as huge as I imagined.
“I closed my eyes and when I looked, your name was in the memorial book, and what had become of all the things we planned? I accepted the commiserations of all your friends and your relations, but there’s some things I still don’t understand. You were so tall, how could you fall?”

I’m not sure how old my dad was when he bought his Gibson LG-1 acoustic guitar. It was probably in the 1950s so he was in his twenties. My siblings & I have all plucked away at that guitar at various times over the past 5 decades, and I’m pleased to say that it’s been in my possession for the last few years. I’ve even attempted to (finally) learn how to play it, with limited success so far. I had hoped to figure out some Hank Williams songs to perform for dad but the timing didn’t work out. I will continue working at it, and with each strum of the strings I know he’ll be listening and telling me, “It sounds great, kiddo.”

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30 comments on “PEANUT VENDOR IN THE RAIN – IN MEMORY OF LARRY KAMERMAN (1930-2022)

  1. keepsmealive
    August 26, 2022

    Rich, what a beautiful tribute. Sincerest condolences from all of us here in Owen Sound.

    Like

  2. christiansmusicmusings
    August 26, 2022

    My deepest condolences, Rich. My thoughts are with you and your family. I can only imagine how difficult the situation must be.

    My parents who are in their mid-‘80s, are still alive. I already dread the moment when the inevitable is going to happen.

    I’m glad you were able to share what sound like many special moments with your dad. I’m sure these will stay with you, so in that sense your dad will continue to live in your mind.

    Take care!

    Like

  3. My condolences to you, Rich.

    Like

  4. deKE
    August 27, 2022

    My condolences to you, Rich and to your family as well…

    Like

  5. Alyson
    August 27, 2022

    I’m so sorry to hear of your loss Rich but what a beautiful tribute to your dad. The photos you shared of him are just wonderful and the two of you are indeed like two peas in a pod. It seems you really were one of the lucky ones and to have had him until the age of 92 is quite something.

    I’ve always loved the song Father and Son and believe it or not it’s just as emotional to listen to if you have a daughter. It’s about that parent-child relationship, and it gets me every time.

    It was a lovely surprise to see something from you pop up on the feed this morning but so sad it was for this reason. You’ve put together a wonderful account of what sounds like a dad in a million though. Thinking of you, Rich and family.

    Like

    • Hi Alyson. Thanks so much for reading this post and learning just a bit about how awesome my dad was. I’ve always known how lucky I am, so I’ve taken great comfort in that. My parents lived near me for four years, until we moved them back to Florida in February (mostly for financial reasons). Having that time with them, even though the responsibility was immense, is something I’ll always cherish. I’m glad you’re also a fan of that Cat Stevens song. It’s so powerful, and I’m not surprised that it has the same impact for a mother-daughter relationship.

      It was nice to post something here for the first time in a while. I’ve had a few blog ideas floating around my head but I’ve been either too busy or too lazy. I’ve also been frustrated by the WordPress editor, since I preferred the older version, but after writing this post I think I’m more comfortable with it. So you might be seeing some more from me in the not-too-distant future. I’m also still hoping to do a podcast at some point…I even bought a good microphone and digital interface…but that will take additional time to put together.

      I hope all is well with you & your loved ones. Thanks again for your kind thoughts.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Alyson
        August 29, 2022

        All well with us and my mum is still living in her care home locally. Reading about your dad reminded me of just how awesome my own dad was but I sadly lost him a long time ago, so didn’t get nearly as long with him as you did with your own dad. You were lucky.

        It would be lovely to see you back blogging again, even just sporadically. Doesn’t have to be a series or anything long and wordy. See how you feel once you’ve processed this recent sadness. Not easy I know.

        Like

      • I meant to ask about your mum. I hope she’s doing well and you’re making the most of being so close to her. I agree about how lucky I am that my dad was around for such a long time. It’s never enough, of course, but I take comfort in all the great times we had together.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Alyson
        August 30, 2022

        It was tough visiting during covid but she is in the right place for her condition. Not easy to witness however as I’m sure you will understand.

        Like

  6. MichelleMB
    August 27, 2022

    What a lovely tribute; thanks for introducing us all to your dad. His memory will be a blessing to you always. Deepest sympathy to you and your family.

    Like

  7. boppinsblog
    August 27, 2022

    Thanks for sharing your stories and some new songs to me.
    I am sure he would be really proud of you.
    All the best.

    Like

  8. 80smetalman
    August 28, 2022

    An wonderful tribute to your father, Rich, he sounds like an amazing man. My condolences for your loss.

    Like

  9. Aphoristical
    August 28, 2022

    I loved the photos. Condolences for your loss.

    Like

  10. degreehunterblog
    August 29, 2022

    This is an amazing and beautifully written tribute. Thanks for sharing these memories of your dad with us Rich…I’ll now always think of you, your dad, and the Peanut Vendor whenever I hear Fool in the Rain. You were lucky to have such an amazing loving dad.

    Like

  11. wardo68
    August 29, 2022

    Nicely done, Rich.

    Like

  12. the press music reviews
    September 21, 2022

    Condolences Rich and a beautiful write up.

    Like

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This entry was posted on August 26, 2022 by in Miscellaneous Thoughts and tagged , , , , , , .

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