Shumate column: Memories of The Association
ěOh, I love the night life; Iíve got to boogie.î
These song lyrics certainly pertained to me back in the 1970s when I was in my late 20s. My body was very agile back then and both my knees could bend on cue without creaking. I loved disco music and dancing with all my friends on Saturday nights.
The Uptown Connection night club was a favorite venue for Salisburyís youth at that time. It was located at East Fisher and Lee Streets in the building which is currently the home of the Norvell Theater. Jean, Ronnie, Barry and I, along with many others, liked to show off our effortless, graceful moves on the dance floor under the dazzling silver ball. We moved to the magical beats of great disco songs spun by the house DJ which included ěLast Dance,î ěItís Raining Men,î ěI Will Survive,î and numerous others. This was a most memorable time in my young adult life.
It was during this same time period and at the same establishment that I became the subject of and experienced a most peculiar event one night that I shall never, ever forget.
On this particular Saturday evening, Randy, the clubís owner, had booked a live band for our entertainment. This six-man pop group was named The Association and would later become well known everywhere for such songs as ěCherish,î ěWindy,î ěNever My Loveî and others, which were mostly recorded from 1966-1968.
I had to put my dancing shoes on hold that night as I was in the final recovery stage of a nasty bout with the flu. I chose a stool at the dry bar and began sipping cranberry juice and enjoying the great music. During one of the bandís breaks, I was surprisingly approached by several of the band members. They called me by name and handed me one of their albums entitled, ěThe Association ó Greatest Hits.î They also wished me well and hoped I would be feeling better real soon.
I turned the ablum over and much to my surprise found autographs and well wishes from all the band members. I just sat there dazed and amazed and could barely get out a thank you to them for such a kind gesture.
I was silently thinking to myself, ěGood grief! I only had the flu. Why such a big fuss over such a common malady? Why am I so special?î
They left to return to the stage and I turned my stool around to investigage a howling commotion that had suddenly erupted somewhere behind me.
There appeared my younger sister, Paula, and some of her friends. They were all red-faced and doubled over in laughter. Knowing what a big prankster my sister was, it suddenly dawned on me that I had probably just been the target of one of her mischievous acts. She had indeed pointed me out to the bandís manager and told him that I was her sister and had been going through a difficult time. She also added that I had just been released from a mental institution.
Of course he fell for her convincing story and subsequently devised the album presentation.
My daughter, Tracy, recently researched the current status of The Association and discovered that to date, they have sold in excess of 80 million records. In 2003 they were voted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame.
The joke may have been on me that night long ago, but I still own and ěcherishî this album with all the signatures and notations.
My love for all types of music and dancing contined for some years and produced other comical encouters which I will report in future columns. Until then, just know that after rededicating my life fo the Lord, I gave up the night club night life, but I still appreciate good music and the dance.
Margaret Shumate lives in Salisbury.