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April 21, 2005



I never had much luck breaking the ice with Amsterdammers until I bought an old Mouth & MacNeal album at a second hand store. I had never heard of them, but the "groovy" cover art appealed to me, as did the slightly off-kilter ESL title: Hey you love, how do you do? As I carried it around, usually reserved older Dutch people broke into broad smiles and spontaneously shared memories of listening to the music in their youth. The married proprietors of the Hotel d'Amsterdam and the woman selling international tickets at the train station added sadly that Mouth (which they pronounced "mowsh") had recently died... but MacNeal was still kicking and occasionally performing! After arriving in Prague, I propped the record in a corner just because there was no place else to put it. Then, today, John King arrived from New York for a 10-day visit. When he walked in, the first thing he saw was the record: "Oh my god--Mouth and MacNeal!" Turns out he and his sister used to rock out to How Do You Do? as kids. So much so that he even had the song loaded on his Archos .mp3 player. After charging it up, I gave it a listen and it stuck.