Music sets the mood, makes the coffee, work, recreation all that much sweeter.
Sometimes for background filler, motivation, or to be turned up and felt deep down inside. To move, shake, buzz, rattle and hum. Because dancing is expression, great exercise. So the music you listen to, how wide and varied and why?
My three older brothers, in a ten year difference of age span exposed my Maine family household to lots of artists.
From oldest brother Stephen’s Chuck Berry, Little Eva, Chubby Checker, Fats Domino and Jerry Lee’s “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On”.
(The latter a group my oldest brother got to be warm up performing band for at the old Bangor Auditorium in his local Bangor Maine talented musical group called “Bootleg”).
The next brother in line Jonathan’s “House Of The Risin’ Sun” by the Animals.
That I can see sitting on his bed. Bent over a stringed Gibson, learning to play on guitar. And his favorite Kinks, Beach Boys, The Who, The Doors, Traffic, The Moody Blues song cranked louder at home. When Mom and Dad were away. On the front room den hi fi surround sound, not just on his upstairs bedroom two channel stereo.
Or when he was giving me rides somewhere as the baby of the family. To be dropped off, picked up. Very fast. And in the 1967 Mustang bought during a good potato year for two brothers to share.
For their working pretty much round the clock when not in school on the Maine farm.
And next youngest brother Brian’s Cream, Iron Butterfly,and Rolling Stones. His shared harmonies of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. Add in the Sunday noon after church living room songs from Boots Randolph, Tom Jones, Jerry Vale, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra and likes of old World War Two Artie Shaw, Glenn Miller.
Mom’s piano playing of old hymns and Christmas songs like “Up On The House Top Click Click Click”. Her Anne Murray, Glen Campbell, Engelbert Humperdinck, Wayne Newton, other artists always on the kitchen radio. While she whipped up amazing meals for the Maine farm family table. The same one used for counting potato barrel tickets during harvest.
Plus my Aunt Ruth was a music teacher so got dragged around on her operetta circuit with my cousins. Exposed to her pretty amazing voice belting out “Valeree, Valerah.. ha ha ha ha ha” when the camping knapsack song kicked into gear. Heading to swimming lessons at Cary Lake from her horse riding summer camp on the Callaghan Road.
I worked at a local Maine radio station WHOU and went on to the Bangor Maine market to spin tunes during the second half of the 1970’s.
WABI had a Golden Oldie’s format so that helped broaden the segments I was too young to remember. And top forty exposure split with the country music format at another station blew open the repertroire expanse. Z62 was a rocker and you can always get more done with a rock bass line pushing you from behind. To tap your toe to. Feel a finger or two have to go up and down. As you catch the beat. It goes inside your pores. Heading for your soul. Amen.
But listening to XM / Sirius in all the vehicles, being around my own household raising four kids meant non stop tunes to pile on. The hits that just keep on coming. But no longer stacks of wax. Riding on vinyl grooves or 8 track, metal cassette delivery. No no. Digital, not analog and on clean, loud, just music hard drives. In all types of personal devices to plug in the ear buds. For a companion while mowing lawns of angled grass. Or early morning, late night walks. While puttering on projects outside.
The kid’s ipods a music library in their own right. 3500 songs a piece is a lot.
From electronic of Deadmau to Daft Punk. French DJ techno to Alt Nation my current favorite musical watering hole. But then shifting to other channels depending on the day. The Loft or Coffee House genre with unplugged versions stripped down for a Sunday morning. When slicing, dicing onions, mushrooms, peppers of all colors. To mix into the grated cheese, hot sauce, fresh ground black peppered scrambled eggs. Home made toast. The fresh black coffee, weekend newspapers and home fries, sausage links for the breakfast brunch.
I remember the first albums. Saving up to buy, eye balling the art work, reading the lyric sheets. Studying the liner notes, the entire 33 and a third RPM musical collection of tune tracks. Usually five, six a side. Of my favorite Doobie Brothers, Billy Joel, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Pater Frampton records. That played in the background of the memory making. That take you back, neck rein so efficiently to earlier times in your life.
The singles, ZZ Top, the little old band from Texas. T Rex, Bang A Gong, Get It On. Radar Love, because I been driving all night, my hand’s wet on the wheel. High school dances with The Raspberries suggesting what the heck. Go All The Way. Elton John crooning about Crocodile Rock, Saturday Fighting being alright. Something about your little sister, wearing braces and boots. With a gob, handful of grease in her hair.
So how about you?
How wide and handsome is your musical background? Keeping it expanding, growing so easily today with a little thing called the Internet. And a slew of the concert series playing at a local venue near you of the old timers who sound better than ever with the new technology. Shorter sets and more variety on the same play bill making it like a musical buffet.