Wednesday, March 21, 2007

with a song (or twenty) in his heart

When I was little, I remember how cool it was when we got our stereo in the living room. Up until then, music had crackled intermittently from the giant radio console in the dining room, but only after making this horrible shrieking sound like it was calling the mother ship, for say, twenty minutes. I remember my mother listening to "Red Roses for a Blue Lady", and whenever I hear that song (on an elevator? or haven't you heard Ludacris' version?), I feel her loneliness. I'm not sure when the stereo arrived, but it wasn't long after that. It was followed by "Record Albums". The ones that were upstairs I could look at but not touch. They belonged to the whole family and I loved listening to Glen Campbell singing "Gentle On My Mind" and "By the Time I Get To Phoenix", and Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass playing "A Taste of Honey" (although the cover for that one made its way downstairs where my brothers had their bedrooms. Hmmmmmmm - I wonder why?!)

All the records that were downstairs in my brothers' rooms were strictly off limits.....when they were around to keep my mitts off them. Otherwise, I'd be down there, playing "Gonna Take A Miracle" by Laura Nyro until I think I wore the needle out. Isn't that quaint? A needle.... Ahhhhh, those were the days. What's that, I can't hear you. Just let me get my earhorn...

Anyway, the reason I started this post, is that recently we were dredging up some musical memories of our own. We have about a million and two cd's, but our cd player is going the way of our old stereo. My husband works for Apple, so we have more than a couple iPods in our house. But the thing is, a lot of our old music, the music we listened to when we were "courting" (a.k.a. "hooking up" for all you whippersnappers out there) is on those cd's, and Charley decided it was time to dust some off and put it on our iPods. The first artist he put on is the one that's been on rotation for the last week, because Joe-Henry can't get enough. You haven't lived until you've heard him sing Richard Thompson's "Don't Sit On My Jimmy Shand" or "Can't Win". He's connected to this music like he was when he saw "Stop Making Sense" at two and a half and toddled around the house in my white sneakers singing "Psycho Killer". He Can't. Stop. Singing.

It all takes me back, but then delivers me smack dab in the present. It's the strangest feeling to hear our song, my husband's and mine, sung by our six year old. ("1952 Vincent Black Lightening", in case you were wondering) But what I really think about when I hear it, is how it will shape his memories when he's older. "Read About Love" isn't the same as "Leavin' On a Jetplane". Will it warp his romantic sensibilities? Or will he think it's as quaint as, I don't know, a cd player?


anne said...

Thank you for visiting my blog and for leaving a comment.

I am sure I can sing you the first verse and chorus of "Red Roses for a Blue Lady". My sister and I had our tonsils out when we were 7 and 8, respectively, and our "treat" while we were recuperating on the couches in the living room was to listen to the new Glen Campbell album on the record player. We also memorized the lyrics to "Gentle On My Mind" and "By the Time I Get To Phoenix".

Last week I was singing "If I was a rich man..." from Fiddler on the Roof, and my 8 year old daughter asked how I knew a song by Hillary Duff (or some other girl artist) they play on Radio Disney ad nauseum.

suttonhoo said...

read this yesterday and wasn't able to comment -- but glen campbell just shuffled by on my ipod singing "gentle on my mind" to remind me -- love love love that song! :)

great post! (and I really have to take back all the mean things I said about Glen: he's a master.)