There's a port on a western bay
And it serves a hundred ships a day
Lonely sailors pass the time away
And talk about their homes

And there's a girl in this harbor town
And she works laying whiskey down
They say "Brandy, fetch another round"
She serves them whiskey and wine

The sailors say "Brandy, you're a fine girl
What a good wife you would be
Yeah your eyes could steal a sailor
From the sea."

Brandy wears a braided chain
Made of finest silver from the north of Spain
A locket that bears the name
Of a man that Brandy loved

He came on a summer's day
Bringing gifts from far away
But he made it clear he couldn't stay
No harbor was his home

The sailors said "Brandy, you're a fine girl
What a good wife you would be
Yeah, your eyes could steal a sailor
From the sea."

Yeah, Brandy used to watch his eyes when he told his sailor's story
She could feel the ocean fall and rise, she saw its raging glory
But he had always told the truth - Lord, he was an honest man
And Brandy does her best to understand

At night, when the bars close down
Brandy walks through a silent town
And loves a man, who's not around
She still can hear him say, she hears him say

"Brandy, you're a fine girl
What a good wife you would be
But my life, my lover, my lady
Is the sea"

Brandy(You're a Fine Girl)
ELLIOT LURIE - recorded by Looking Glass

This song was one of those precious chance triggers that rocketed me directly into one specific moment of my past. This is funny to me because I never really remember anything else that happened while I was first being kissed or heard the Cranes song "Jewel" or when my grandmother died or all those other countless things that have just completely captured me. It seems that I only have truly distinct memories of fairly mundane times.

The smell of some random man’s too strong cologne was the first thing that hit me when I heard this song again after such a long time. Then there was that whole grubby feeling of the sticky, smoke-filled hole in the wall place I used to meet my friends to pool smuggled cigarettes and make empty creamer container towers. We drank old crankcase oil coffee served to us by a middle-aged career waitress whose hair was in everything she handed out. She was Bev from Utah. She came to our town because her oldest son, Robert, was getting into too much trouble back home. The draw to this place above others was basically that no respectable person patronized it, therefore we could rule out parental mishaps. So it was smokeable. Secondly, and quite important in itself, was the fact that this place had miniature jukeboxes at each table. Ten plays for a dollar.

It happened that a new boy was meeting us that night. At the table there was the customary big time badass rebel talk that bonded us. I was trying to impart the wisdom of J.D. Salinger to one of my stoney counterparts when the aforementioned cologne random man walked by on his way to the bathroom. “Brandy, You’re a Fine Girl” by Looking Glass began in all its AM Gold glory. In stalked the new boy. He introduced himself to me as James Fredrick Paulson. “So serious!” I said. (This was an inside reference to Harold and Maude, the poor boy had no idea.) The table laughed, he cowered, and I felt horrible for alienating him before I even knew him.

Trying to ooze friendliness, I invited him to sit and join the mess. We chatted hospitably for a minute or so until one of the original group said, “Wow, my head really hurts, I gotta get home soon.” After this there was a short silence. James Fredrick Paulson said, “You know, my tumors kinda hurt.” The table was aghast. “What? Tumors? You got cancer? Man, I’m so sorry…” My stomach dropped. I was thinking, “How could I be so rude to this guy I don’t even know? Of course he’s going to be serious, he’s dying for Chrissakes.”

Good old James Fredrick got this crazy, confused look on his face. “What do you mean cancer? I was just saying I have a headache like Bern, that’s all! My head hurts in the tumors!” After this, he pointed to his temples.

Jesus, man what the hell? Don’t you know that the soft spot on the side of your head is called your temple, not your tumor?” was the general idea conveyed in the flurry of remarks that followed. “Brandy, You’re a Fine Girl” ended. After we had thoroughly doused ourselves with smoke covering scents, we went home.

I still see James on occasion; he’s one of the coolest people I’ve ever met. Thank goodness “Brandy” is part of the AM Gold compilation and is sampled on the commercial for the disc these days. I don't know that I would remember so clearly were it not for this song. I love these little things.

“My tumors hurt.”

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