Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Buddy Holly

This is one of the many instances of that time when I heard the soundtrack album to certain movies long before seeing the actual movie (Young Frankenstein and Up In Smoke come to mind). I wasn't missing too much in this case; the concert sequences are bitchin', but the rest of the movie (to me) plays like a typical '70s sitcom, minus the laugh-track. Aside from that, this album was my first exposure to the music of Buddy Holly, and I was impressed with the songs and performances on it, even if I wasn't to know that it wasn't the real guy. I still loved "That'll Be The Day" the best. Later on, we got this one, and I finally got to hear The Real Deal!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Lovin' Spoonful

Dad pulled this one out, one sunny summer afternoon in 1979, and played "Summer In The City"...wow, what a song that was! Very unusual structure, chord changes, the breakdowns, sound effects--I loved it immediately. And then a nice little pile of non-stop cool songs on the other side of the album: "Daydream", "You Didn't Have To Be So Nice", "Did You Ever Have To Make Up Your Mind" and "Do You Believe In Magic?". I liked what I was hearing, although I was transfixed by the image on the cover: four figures made of either clay or papier-mache. I couldn't figure out what it was supposed to be; I thought it was some sort of teacher sitting on the stool with his students behind him. This wasn't exactly my first taste. Back at the Blue House, A K-tel album called Hit Machine was around, and one of the cuts was John Sebastian's "Welcome Back". Flash forward to the summer of 2012, after hearing about the passings of Epstein and Horshack from Welcome Back, Kotter, I played the song on YouTube, and Geoffrey loved it (and still does!). I got to thinking of the old Spoonful album of Dad's, and how much fun I had listening to it, so I played him the same cuts for him before a nap...and he loved it! And now it's one of his most-requested things to listen to!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Elton John

When I think of someone I heard a lot of work by at the white house, I think of this 8-Track tape of Elton John's Greatest Hits album. I don't remember picking this one out or anything, Dad was just playing it one day, and I loved what I was hearing. After that, though, I asked to hear it again and again. Obviously, I liked "Bennie & The Jets" the best, and on the 8-Track copy, the song was on there twice. In fact, there's even a picture of myself on Christmas Eve of 1979, banging away on a little red toy piano, and trying to sing this, so I had the urge in me even back then! One evening, Dad had picked up and put on Greatest Hits, Volume II. I was expecting some more great tunes along the lines of "Rocket Man" or "Daniel" or "Bennie", but...no. "Island Girl", "The Bitch Is Back" and "Philadelphia Freedom" didn't work the same magic on me, though I liked his cover of "Pinball Wizard", and this was before I saw Tommy. I still loved the first one, and we played it so much that we eventually wore it out completely and had to throw it away. As a result of the second volume, I didn't really keep up with anything else he'd done, but had fond memories of the first volume, even if I hadn't played it at home for a very long time. One day in 2009, thirty years after first hearing it, I found a vinyl copy of Greatest Hits at the Goodwill Outlet store, in nice condition. I bought it, took it home, put it on the turntable, and re-connected with an old friend after all those years. It felt great.

Friday, April 12, 2013

White House Ball

In early 1979, we moved across town to 2134 South L Street, which was painted white at the time. Two things happened. First, I was getting a little older, my brain was expanding, and I was taking in a lot of things within the space of just a little over a year that we lived there. I had a pretty heavy crash course of a musical education, and a lot of it still resides within me to this day. Second, I was picking up on the concept of time; I began to notice that Dad had two days off per week, and we almost always had fun on them...even more so in the mornings when Angie was at school, and it was sometimes just the two of us. The stereo would be on, and there would be something new playing. And not just music, he would also play comedy bits by various funny-guys, and although a lot of it went over my head, the audience sounded as if they were having fun! On days that he was at work, I braved venturing into the album collection, pulling certain ones out, and just being mesmerized by the artwork on the covers. I think I helped myself learning how to read and learning which colors were which. Some of the things I heard here resonated a little deeper in the next place we lived in, but this was house was a major starting point for them, so some of the bands' work here can sometimes overlap between them.

This is also when I noticed a rather wide split between my parents when it came to their respective musical tastes. Dad was primarily into Rock, and also into a little of everything else along the way, but mom was more into '60s AM pop singers, and Country from the same era. So I also heard a lot of stuff that I didn't particularly care for, but things have to be heard before you can figure out whether you like it or not.


I remember this one being played a lot during the summer of 1978, most particularly side three of the original double-album set Moonflower. I liked "She's Not There" a lot, but I would be amazed years later to learn that The Zombies had originally wrote and recorded it. It was followed by the instrumental title track, which is still a personal favorite to this day, but is not one that gets heard a lot these days. I remember it once being used as background music a few times for a call-station "bumper" on the local TV station KTPS-TV, so I guess I wasn't the only fan of that song!