Jukebooks: Beautiful Music for Ugly Children by Kirstin Cronn-Mills
Gabe did not ask for the impossible task of living in a girl’s body; really, he’s just an average guy. But being a guy in his head and a girl in his body makes him a problem, an issue, an endless source of frustration and heartache for others. Music, then, is Gabe’s primary language. And for Gabe, it all comes back to Elvis. When Gabe is doing his show on community service radio, “Beautiful Music for Ugly Children,” he captures the attention of listeners who can understand his concept of an “A Side” and a “B Side.” His physical presence, the girl called Elizabeth, is his A Side. Gabe loves his B Side, the side that doesn’t get much play, the side so many others find impossible.
Each night, Gabe pulls out his 45 with Elvis’s “That’s All Right” on the A Side. This was Elvis Presley’s first commercial recording, released in July, 1954. Like so many great songs, Elvis’s interpretation first occurred when he was just playing around with the old blues song, giving it an upbeat tempo. Fifty years later, Rolling Stone magazine called it, “the first rock-and-roll record.” Sometimes, when things get tough, Gabe hears Elvis’s voice in his head saying, “That’s all right, Gabe.”
This video recording is from a 1970 documentary about Elvis titled, Elvis: That’s the Way It Is.
Diane Colson, currently reading Minders (advanced readers copy) by Michelle Jaffe