I don’t know about you but music, all types need to be in my diet, the background.
No matter what is going on. Maybe it is to avoid “dead air” training from early years in a Maine radio career. Where Mighty John Marshall threatened to fine on air record spinners a quarter for every second of wasted, empty “dead air”. To keep everything hot, dancing VU meters in the red tight. Flowing, polished, professional. Without cracks, gaps or joints in the programming.
In Maine the outdoor sounds can be the muzak that motivates, stimulates.
Crickets chirping, birds peeping, loon crooning, crying. Or whispering pine needle vibrations humming when the wind picks up. To go with the sound of rain water on a tin roof, sleet against a side window on the northeast. Or waves lapping the rocks, against a dock along a Maine lake or oceanfront craggy shoreline.
But back to the digital music channels from 30,000 miles into space. The gazillion available to tap into, dial to enjoy.
To set the tone. Which ones depending on your mood, what you need to enhance the day or evening musically. The last three days on the ride to and fro in the jeep, the 40’s channel is where I have it locked in. Not a regular haunt like Alt Nation, Classic Vinyl, The Loft, The Pulse, BPM, Backspin, etc.
The itch to change the channel. Not leave it where you got it. Because the longer you sample any type of music, repetition starts to creep in. And it’s time to pack up and move sideways. Up or down the dial. To find a new musical home to explore, sample, enjoy. This big band, musical production channel from the 1940’s features your classic dance bands. That include Artie Shaw, Duke Ellington, Woodie Herman, Glenn Miller, Jimmie Lunceford.
The lyrics when Bing Crosby, Jane Wyman, Bob Hope, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Dinah Shore, Helen Humes, Jo Stafford, Helen Forrest, Peggy Lee or whoever paired up as boyfriend/girlfriend.
Or husband and wife duos with common themes. Each partner with defined, distinct and obvious roles in the partnership. Love, managing the money, raising kids, all reflecting the times. Often World War Two war subjects.
Being blue because of being apart. Or heartache recovery while floundering, on the rebound. Or feet not touching the ground in love, bitten and smitten. Not able to think straight but both the love birds in la la land. And put to words, dance steps to prove it.
Trying to share what each is feeling deep down inside.
Because of what the other in their system is doing to the other in the new blossoming love. Full of hope, promise, plenty of potential. Love and marriage. Bring in the baby carriage. We’re off to the races.
Stretching the dollar, starting a business, tilling a patch of dirt, just having carefree let your hair hang down fun dancing. Common decency, manners, values, starting a family. All of it splashed generously into the production scores. Striving to have it all. The American Dream. The cape cod, big car, filled with lots of kids. All of it surrounded by the picket fence.
Taking the train into the city for a broadway show.
Up to the mountains in New England to ski. All weaved into the G and F clef sheet brass, woodwind, percussion, ivory key musical arrangements.
Nothing like rap, no degrading woman, crude or for shock value lyrics or obscene way beyond just suggestive sexual gyrations on camera on the Hollywoood or club sound stage.
Everything black and white simple, good, respectful. G Rated. The nice guys wearing white hats obvious. Good wins out over evil everytime. Happy endings to the musical movies. The entire premise of each filled with all American themes. Causing itchy pants, squirming. Not being able to sit and waste good dance music.
Everyone dressed up, to the nines, the latest style, young. Out at clubs, with lots of clouds of first and second hand smoking around the corner booth tables. A few high balls, gin and tonics, manhattans or old fashions scattered, filled with ice. IV’ed into the musical melodies. Lubricating the entertainment dance and music two step process.
Cutting the rug. Everyone smiling, happy, out for the evening. To celebrate something big. Or just the end of being away, a hard week of toiling.
To dance, sing along. Anything but stalled, parked, sitting still.
Everything simpler, decent, wholesome.
I think of my parents listening to many of the familiar songs. Music that filled the Maine farm home. Usually the needle on the vinyl groove dropped on Sundays. Just before dinner, sandwiched right after the church time slot. When later that afternoon it was taking turns. Shut the music off, put the 33.3 RPM black discs away.
To land at one of my Mom’s eleven kid family of brothers or sisters. With cousins socializing in new backyards. While the parents sat in lawn chairs, recalled history. Caught up on the latest happenings in the local area from the weekly circle of chair meet up in a small Maine town.