The chatter this morning at the Salvation Army pancake breakfast on Mahoning Street should center on the Steelers' latest Super Bowl triumph. There might even be some talk over coffee about the Springsteen halftime show. "Say, Helen, did you hear that fella say he's goin' to Disneyland? Now why would he go all the way to California to visit a theme park when Disney World is just down the road?''
I've not yet visited Punxsutawney, Pa., so I can't say for sure, but the locals there must have something to talk about other than groundhogs, at least the other 364 days of the year.
Of course, this is that OTHER day of year when the fate of another dreary winter is ceremoniously decided. So if they're going to talk groundhogs today, I'll give them something to talk about. Like:
How in the world was the best song of the movie "Groundhog Day'' left off the soundtrack? The Ray Charles classic "You Don't Know Me'' is nowhere to be found on that disc.
Instead, listeners get an Ottmar Liebert instrumental. Nothing against Ottmar, who is an outstanding flamenco stylist. But his version can't replace Charles' tender voicing of the song from his 1962 album "Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music.''
That terrific album, which also includes "Born to Lose'', "I Can't Stop Loving You'' and "Bye Bye Love'' deservedly makes many favorites lists. (Rolling Stone had it at No. 104 on its Top 500 albums. When I get around to my list, it will be much higher.)
Not that you'll be out there shopping today -- thankfully this day doesn't carry with it any gifting responsibilities. But if you're looking to get your groundhog groove, skip the soundtrack and pick up Brother Ray's album -- if you can find it. Rhino reissued it on CD in 1988, but I just checked Amazon and it's only available there through third-party sellers, and it's $60 new or $20 used. If you own the record or disc, consider yourself lucky. It's a timeless beauty.