There was an insert in our Sunday paper that was all about music. Specifically, "The 25 Greatest Live Albums of the 1970's"!!
Hey! The 70's. I graduated high school in 1971 so that was a prime music listening era for me. All right! I was all sorts of excited to read this insert!
And it was interesting. I was particularly interested to learn that I never owned a single one of the albums they listed. Not only that, but I never owned any albums by any of the artists listed! Yikes! I was never ever cool was I?
I was at least familiar with all of the artists listed in the article. Whew! I'm not a total freak. Jimi Hendrix, BB King, Aretha Franklin, Peter Frampton, The Who, The Grateful Dead, oh yeah, I knew who they were. I just never, ever, EVER bought a single one of their albums. I'm not absolutely certain why that is so, but it absolutely is the truth.
I grew up in a house of filled with music. Most of it Classical or popular music of my mom's era. So I was very familiar with Rachmaninoff, Bach and Hayden. I could sing along with the scores of any number of musicals and knew all the words to 'Moon River" and "Danke schoen". And of course I was good friends with loads of Christmas Music. but as far as I knew, music began and ended there.
Shortly after we moved to St Louis, however, my knowledge based increased exponentially.
The next door neighbors at our new home there were the nicest folks. A couple with three daughter. One nearly grown, one teenager and one my younger sisters age. My sister and the youngest became best friends instantly. The neighbors middle daughter was just enough older than me that we weren't really friends. Friendly, but not friends y'know? And while it was just a matter of a year or so difference in our chronological ages, in was light years in sophistication ages.
On one of the days that she did ask me over to her house (a rare occasion), the invitation was specifically to listen to her new record. Wow! Okay! I was so tickled to be invited over, a little shy and uncomfortable so very quiet, not much of a conversationalist on my part. But as soon as I went into her room, she said, 'Listen to this!" and the needle lowered onto the record. I was totally unprepared for the sound that came out. Holy Cats! What was this stuff I heard? I had not only never heard anything like that, I never imagined anything like it either!
It was The Beatles! One of the early albums. I fell in love straight away with this new music that I was hearing. Wow! But it was a few years before I heard it again. Not until we moved to Texas. Then I got a clock radio for a birthday gift one year and tuned it in to KFJZ (King Z) and listened to the Mark E. Baby show after school every day. (The E stood for Walter) and suddenly the world of Rock'n'Roll opened it's doors to me and MY world was never the same again.
I became familiar with all sorts of popular music, Janis Joplin, 3 Dog Night, Creedance Clearwater Revival, Jefferson Airplane, Wow! Awesome on top of Fantastic on top of Amazing!
But I wondered about how the radical change could have taken place. To go directly from Frank Sinatra to The Rolling Stones seemed like an impossible leap. There had to have been something in the middle. So I looked backwards a little bit and discovered all that amazing 50's and 60's music that I never knew about. Elvis Presley (how on earth did I miss Elvis?) Chuck Berry, Johnny Cash and Ray Charles. There it was.
Back a little rather I found the stunning Billie Holiday, Buddy Holly and Ella Fitzgerald. Okay, the transition was making more and more sense to me and I looked backwards. And I loved it. I loved it all. Blues, Jazz, country and gospel music was the platform that built rock'n'roll . It was perfectly logical and absolutely wonderful. And I loved it all.
I listened faithfully to the radio and on very rare occasions bought records. I was always tight with a buck so I made careful decisions what albums I would buy, only choosing the ones I really loved. It was Rock-lite I confess. But that's what spoke to me the most. Oh I had a few Beatles Albums, I mean, I had to. For me it all started there and let's face it, they are the icons. But my collection was mostly the Monkees, Paul Revere and the Raiders, Dr. Hook and Harry Nilsson. Lots and lots of Harry Nilsson. There was a Marshall Crenshaw album in there somewhere and Bette Midler, The Pointer Sisters and Billy Joel that went off the college with me.
And then people were buying 8-track tapes. Yikes! I couldn't afford to replace all of my favourite albums with 8-tracks! So I didn't even try. Nope, I skipped that entirely. But the day finally came when I couldn't even buy a Record Album. I had to move on the cassettes. Yuck. I hated cassettes. I hated how they got stuck in the cassette player in the car. I hated the way the film inside the cassette would "break" and have to be spliced together so that that particular track would forever have a skip in it. And especially I hated having to replace my favourite music. So I hardly did. Oh I did buy a couple of cassette, but not many. And it's a good thing too.
Because the next trend was CD's. I do not believe that I ever bought a single music CD for myself. I definitely got a few for the kids (they fit in Christmas Stockings) and for Tim. And I received some as gifts. I have them in my car right now as a matter of fact. But now technology has moved on again and now apparently music is all about downloading it on your cell phone. It's an App. Of course it is. Everything is now. I do not listen to music on my phone. I did have an MP-player that was loaded with my favourite stuff and I listened to that with ear buds sometimes. But I had to crank it up pretty high to hear it well enough (pre-hearing aides) which, no doubt, contributed to my already existing hearing loss. I don't do that anymore.
I love the quality of recorded music nowadays. No skips, no pops, no scratchy sounds. It's absolutely streamlined perfection. But there was an earthy, hardcore charm to those old 45's and 33's and even the older 78's. They are more real, more authentic, less produced and processed. Hey, don't get me wrong, I appreciate the new technology. I'm just saying the old stuff was more real. Even I could be made to sound good with production tech nowadays.
Currently, I mostly listen to music by memory. I can bring to mind, any music I've ever heard and it's right there between my ears anytime I want to hear it. When Tim is traveling I can listen to anything I want on my computer and so I do. All day long. It's right there at my fingers tips and I do love having the entire library of existing music available to me.
I stayed fairly familiar with current music trends through the kids when they still lived at home and most of it, I liked. I'm far more out of touch with popular tunes now and that's okay with me. I don't actively dislike what little bit I have heard, but I don't feel connected to it the way I have other forms of music. And that's probably okay too. I honestly don't feel as if I'm missing out.
So this all started with an article on the 25 best albums article. And that is somebody's opinion. It's not My list though. Maybe I need to put some thought to that. I wonder what my list of the 25 best albums would be. I'll have to put some thought into that.
What albums would be on your list?
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.