SAN ANTONIO, Texas. Vikki Carr, the 70 year-old chanteuse who was sung for five presidents, hasn’t had a top-selling record in over a decade. She hopes to end that losing streak with her new CD “That Crazy, Wacky Thing We Call the Internet,” an attempt to re-position herself for a youthful audience “hip” to technological innovation.
“We were on the tour bus going to the Missouri State Fair and we read an article in USA Today that said the internet was here to stay,” recalls her manager, Del Floyd, Jr. “So we said–what the hey!–let’s do an album around it!”
In addition to the title song, Carr sings a soothing lullaby called “I Caught Daddy Bookmarking a Porn Site,” a fast-paced polka titled “I’ve Had it With My Dial-Up Connection,” and “I’ve Got So Many Passwords, I Can’t Remember Them All,” a bluesy song about a woman who forgets her six-letter combination for shopping on-line at the L.L. Bean website.
Carr, whose real name is Florencia Bisenta de Casillas Martinez Cardona and who records in both English and Spanish, changed the course of history when she asked President Gerald Ford to name the Mexican dish he liked best, according to Ford’s autobiography “A Time to Heal.” “I like you,” Ford replied within earshot of his wife Betty, setting off a drinking binge by the First Lady that resulted in the founding of the Betty Ford Clinic.
While Carr’s music is decidedly middle-of-the-road, she attracted the attention of Rat Pack charter member Dean Martin in the late 60′s as the boozy Italian crooner called her “the best girl singer in the business.” Martin was hospitalized from the blow to his head that Carr landed after she learned of his patronizing remark, but he recovered and was eventually able to drink without the use of a wheelchair.
Carr admits her technological skills aren’t “up to snuff,” but says she’s experimenting with email as a way of keeping in touch with her grandchildren. “They’re just adorable,” she says as she affixes a “forever” stamp to her computer screen and hits “Send.”