Words of Wellness

June 08, 2009 | The Rev. Dr. Scott Stoner

Wang Dang What?

My wife and I lived in the Chicago area for ten years in the late seventies and early eighties.  I have many memories of all that wonderful city has to offer, but my favorite memory has to do with Chicago’s respect for the power of live music.  

     While in Chicago, we went to several blues festivals, and will never forget the energy that pulsated through the crowd, ourselves included.  At one of the festivals we had the incredible opportunity to hear the “Queen of the Blues” perform.  When I say “Queen of the Blues,” I mean none other than Koko Taylor, who passed away in Chicago this past week at the age of 80.  I don’t know what other songs we heard her sing, but I remember being treated to her top hit, “Wang Dang Doodle.”  That recording sold over one million copies for Ms. Taylor in 1965.

     The song “Wang Dang Doodle” is contagious.  You get it in your head and you can’t stop singing it and it’s hard to sit still.   What I love most about the song is its name:  Wang Dang Doodle.  It is pure fun, pure silliness.  The power of the song is in the music and the beat-- not the lyrics.  It’s all about that feel-good, foot-stomping license to grin.

     This summer, why not make the effort to go to a concert or a music festival in your home town?  For many, going to a concert--especially their favorite artist-- is like a religious experience: it renews their soul and energizes their spirit.  Whether you prefer the blues, country, rock ‘n roll, hip hop or classical, go enjoy some live music with friends and family this summer.    (In fact, if you or someone you know likes the Jonas Brothers, Samaritan Family Wellness is auctioning off four box seat tickets to their concert at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee on July 9th.  This auction is a fundraiser to help create a new family therapist position to work in Milwaukee’s central city.  Visit our website for details.)

      Life is plenty serious for all of us, especially in these hard times.  That’s why it’s important for us to take time every now and then to unwind and just do something silly.   Trust me, you can’t take anything too seriously when you walk around singing, “We’re gonna pitch a Wang Dang Doodle all night long.”  Go ahead and try it for yourself.   There is a time and place for consideration, contemplation and reasonable stress, but there is equally a time and a place to sing something goofy when you are driving down the street with your windows wide open.   Feel free to infect those around you with the same sense of being high on life.

     What is a “wang dang doodle” anyway?  It is best defined as having a rip-roaring, fun-loving,  good time.  It is a time to forget all your cares and celebrate the fun of being alive.  So in honor of Koko Taylor, and in support of all of us taking a break and enjoying the music of life, here’s wishing you a couple of outstanding Wang Dang Doodles this summer.

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