Childhood Traditions: Doo Wop Bops

Most , if not all, of us have at least one fond memory from our childhood that brings a smile to our faces. Others, have traditions that they take with them well into adulthood. Whilst I have many (like making sure to be at home as New Year’s Eve turns into the New Year), one of them is a weekly guarantee.

Sundays are dedicated to oldies.

When I say oldies, I am not talking about the awesomeness that was 90s music. I could go on for hours about 90s R&B, Dub/Dancehall, Pop, Rock and so forth. No, I am talking about music from the eras when segregation was all that many people knew. The eras when lyrics meant something. When if you wanted to get your music out there, you relied on the purchases of records. Dropping a surprise album and going platinum in minutes was unfathomable.

But I digress.

Growing up in Guyana, you usually knew how your Sunday mornings would [typically] go down. In my household:

  1. Breakfast. My fave was fried green plantains, scrambled eggs (minus the milk & cheese) and Milo tea (hot chocolate).
  2. Church in the morning. It is important to note that I was a church hopper. Meaning, I attended different denominations of Christianity based on my mood. I won’t get into that right now. Remind me later, okay?
  3. When you got home from church, you’d either finish any leftover chores from Saturday (Chores-day) or help out with lunch preparations. While this is going on, you of course needed a soundtrack of love in the background.
  4. Lunch. Sunday lunches were all about that hearty fulfillment. It consisted of food that made you love your sibling even after not speaking for a day — because he krazy-glued your dolls’ heads together.
  5. The rest of the day, before dinner, was a toss up: visit family and/or friends; play/fish near the koker; attend whatever holiday celebration or activity was popular that day.
Coconut water and chicken foot. *no chickens were harmed in the making of this wholesome goodness*

The radio programs on Sundays were great, and since I am talking about the 90s here … you get the drift. However, the magical hours came from 18:00 hrs – 00:00 hr — The Basil P radio program. The Basil P Show transported its listeners to a time when Doo Wop Bops were the ideal tunes to be playing and dancing to.

  • My parents taught me how to waltz to these gems
  • I witnessed a fiery tragedy as Shirley Bassey’s “Goldfinger” played in the background
  • I hummed “First Day Back at School” by Paul and Paula each new school year
  • I sat on my veranda during many rainy Sunday nights as Sam Cook crooned his plea to Cupid.
You know you’re Guyanese when: you learned all the words to Pretty Blue Eyes before all four stanzas of the National Anthem. *image: Google Images*

At the time, I had no idea that I would’ve been migrating in the near future, or what hardships these artists faced to get their music out; I had no idea what race any particular singer was (though it was easy to speculate at times), all I knew for certain was that these songs made me laugh, dance and cherish the time spent with my family.

My younger self neglected to figure out what half of the messages were, but as I grew older the songs held deeper meanings to me. Despite my thoughts on marriage, I still imagine myself dancing to The O’Jays “Forever Mine” with my significant other.

Though the mediums in which I listen to music have changed throughout the years, one thing is a given: Sundays are dedicated to my “Take Me Back” playlist.


Link to my Apple Music “Take Me Back” Playlist

What are some of your childhood traditions that you brought into adulthood? What era of music is your favorite? Comment below.


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