Saturday, July 17, 2010

I'll Show You Mine If You Show Me Yours

Just a short post for music Saturday. In the new Stereophile there's a write-in competition, but it really isn't much of a competition, more just the willingness to make an embarrassing disclosure.

It's very simple. As we all know, music has the mysterious ability to call up distinct moods and memories from very specific times, places, and periods in one's life. It's completely beyond our control, and just "happens."

The premise of the contest is simple: "What are the five tracks or albums that, for you, most strongly strike the mystic chords of memory?" Importantly, the competition "is about music that, even if you hardly listen to it any more, most strongly evokes places and times in your past; music with which you have a transrational emotional connection -- not which are the greatest tracks or albums you know, not the tracks or albums you think other people should know, and not a list of your Desert Island records."

So this is not necessarily about quality, but about guilty pleasures and forbidden attractions. It is also about individuality and about the mystery of how we locate things in the environment in order to articulate the self. It's about tracks or albums that have somehow become lodged in your unconscious and woven into your psychic substance, perhaps even in spite of yourself and against your better judgment. You are not proud of these choices, and are probably a little embarrassed to acknowledge them in public.

For me, there are at least a couple of problems with this exercise. First, since there was never a time that I didn't have the transistor radio glued to my ear as a kid, there are just too many choices. Top 30 radio was truly the soundtrack to my childhood.

But countering that fact is that in the interim, even the most obscure music has become so readily available, that I've been able to listen to it enough that those preternaturally "mystic chords" have faded out. I may still enjoy the song, but there have been so many subsequent listenings, that they have superimposed themselves over the old memory swamp.

I think this is a more general problem with instant access to everything, which makes it less special. Really, it wasn't so long ago that if you wanted to see a film, you had to see it in the theatre. Many films would eventually appear on commercial television, but not always, especially not the great ones.

For example, I remember when Gone With the Wind was re-released for a limited run when I was a kid; it must have been 1969, for the thirty year anniversary. My mom insisted on dragging me and my brothers to the theatre, since she remembered it so well from her own childhood. I assumed it was going to be totally lame -- after all, my mother liked it! -- but was very much blown away.

Likewise, with digital downloading, virtually any track you've ever heard is instantly accessible. This can't help but result in a devaluation of the experience. For example, I can remember how difficult it was to track down certain songs before the digital revolution. Back in the late 1970s they used to have a monthly swap meet in the parking lot of the Capitol Records building in Hollywood, where you could find all sorts of rarities, and I would go there from time to time in search of precious booty. The problem was, the oldies stations only played stuff that was popular, not the things that might have only scraped the bottom of the top thirty and then disappeared without a trace.

I still remember the exilaration of locating a copy of Let Her Dance by the Bobby Fuller Four. Everyone's heard his I Fought the Law, but this song was only around for a few weeks, and then got no airplay at all, and I just needed to hear it again. Same with the Buckingham's Don't You Care. Oldies radio mainly played their Kind of a Drag and Mercy, Mercy, Mercy, but not this one, which, at the time, evoked extremely powerful memories of 1967.

So, without further ado, I'm going to now walk over to Bob's Record Collection, and pick out a few songs that still have that strange effect on me. And I will try to overcome embarrassment and be completely candid. Virtually all are from the pre-1973 period of classic top 30 radio. It's quite random and incomplete, -- almost arbitrary, really -- and I'm undoubtedly leaving out many significant ones:

Groovy Situation, Gene Chandler
Tighter and Tighter, Alive and Kicking
Crystal Blue Persuasion, Tommy James
More Today Than Yesterday, Spiral Staircase
My Pledge of Love, The Joe Jeffrey Group (as you can see from the video, this man is holding the actual 45 in his trembling hand; that's what you were looking for at the Capitol Records swap meet)
One Fine Morning, Lighthouse
Ride Captain Ride, Blues Image
Soulful Strut, Young Holt Unlimited
We Gotta Get You a Woman, Todd Rundgren
Lazy Day, Spanky & Our Gang
Sunday Will Never Be the Same, Spanky & Our Gang
Everybody's Talkin', Nilsson
A Girl Like You, Rascals
Cracklin' Rosie, Neil Diamond
Grazing in the Grass, Friends of Distinction
Love or Let Me Be Lonely, Friends of Distinction
Sunshine Girl, The Parade
Live, The Merry-Go-Round
Turn Down Day, the Cyrkle
Ooh Child, Five Stairsteps

Many of these are pretty obscure, so I'll see if I can find links to some of them on You Tube, so you can get an idea of what they sound like, and how strange and unpredictable are the ways of soul imprinting.

I might add that if you will review the last footnote of my book on page 298, there is a more respectable list of songs that I wove into the Cosmobliteration section for their evocative effect on me.

So, what are your five or more quirkily evocative tracks/albums?

119 Comments:

Blogger ge said...

Ride Captain Ride, Blues Image
is on y-t [i bet most your cuts are!]---funny i nearly posted that here last week.

yes Bobby fuller's LET HER DANCE doth amaze!
[Harrumph! no dece version over there]
-just-Spectory enough production and that simple-but-slightly-twisted riff, plus doomed scorpio bobby's dark jealousy-redeemed-by-Art lyrics.

7/17/2010 08:52:00 AM  
Blogger Kurt said...

Thank you, Bob, for opening your heart to us each day. It is a great blessing to me.

First, the soundtrack to 'Once Upon a Time in America', by Ennio Morricone. Almost too painful
to listen to, when memory is the prisoner of regret.

Second, 'Giu la Testa', from 'A Fistful of Dynamite', again by Morricone. When the expatriate IRA
man reaches back in his memory to those perfect moments in his life, the joy is overwhelming, especially
when sorrow is so close at hand.

Third, the Kyrie from Missa Papae Marcellus, by Palestrina. When I hear the words, 'Kyrie Eliason' (Lord Have Mercy) and sung so beautifully, I remember with painful clarity my true situation, but at the same time seeing clearly and knowing truly that a broken and contrite heart He will not turn away. Not even mine.

Fourth, 'Morning Birds' by Deuter. Remembering that the love of our Gracious Father is new every
morning is the greatest joy of my life. As the morning birds take wing to greet the rising sun, so my heart flies to Thee, Gracious Father, at break of day.

Fifth, 'Summer Wind', by Frank Sinatra. It seems to summarize the sad, siren call of all that this life can offer us. Fleeting joys, happy memories with sharp edges, love once held but now lost, all sung by the
man who best symbolizes all the emotions that the song evokes. Frank had it all, but I just don't think he was ever really happy. But, oh, he could sing! May God have mercy on his soul.

I don't think I could live without music...or maybe better to say that I would not really be alive
without it.

Kurt

7/17/2010 11:04:00 AM  
Blogger Dianne said...

1. When I was little I used to sit in the car in the driveway on Friday night with my father, listening to the Grand Ole Oprey on the car radio. I always remember that when I hear any of the old country or bluegrass songs. Lester Flat and Earl Scruggs, Loretta Lynn, Tammy Wynette, George Jones, etc. were popular then.

2. Also when I was little, a good intentioned neighbor lady took me to Church one Sunday morning. The only dress I had was way too short and you could see my underwear, and they probably weren't all that clean. I felt so embarrassed about who I was and what I was wearing that I "cut up" in Sunday school, and had all the kids laughing with me instead of at me, but the adults were not amused. The sign of a bad kid. They gave us all a stick of Wrigley's gum to calm us down and shut us up.

But I heard the hymn "I Come to the Garden Alone, " and afterwards I would walk around in the back yard touching the leaves on the bushes and pretending to sing that song, cuz all I remembered of the lyrics was "I come to the garden alone, while the dew is still on the roses."

I think the neighbor lady must have thought I was a lost cause, cuz she never repeated her invitation.

3. Hotel California - Eagles - Always evokes the memory of the summer before senior year when I was riding around with my best friend in her Mustang with the windows down, the wind blowing in our hair and blasting this song on the radio.

Always makes me laugh because altho the lyrics were "..they stab it with their steely knives but they just can't kill the beast," she would sing at the top of her lungs, "they stab it with their steely knives but they just can't feel the beat."

4. Fire Lake - Bob Seger - The ride in the back of a pick-up truck to the airport, which was a couple hours away, with a group of friends in my late teens (with someone's parents driving us), for a trip to Switzerland. We had our snacks, we had out cassett tapes and player, we were READY! :)

Can't think of a #5 right now. That's probably enough from me anyway. :)

7/17/2010 11:22:00 AM  
Blogger Sal said...

1) El Paso (Marty Robbins)
2) If I Had a Hammer (Peter, Paul and Mary)
3) Tiajuana Taxi (Herb ALpert)
4) White Album (Beatles)
5) American Pie (Don Mclean)
6) Theme from "The Cowboys" (John Williams
7) I Can See Clearly Now (Johnny Nash)

7/17/2010 11:42:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Kurt --

Summer Wind, by Frank. Perfection!

7/17/2010 11:47:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Theme from "The Cowboys" -- good quirky choice! That has an odd effect on me as well.

And El Paso is another piece of musical perfection. They say it was President Reagan's favorite song. I love Marty Robbins in general....

7/17/2010 11:50:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Check me on that -- I was thinking of the theme from Midnight Cowboy. However, I just watched the Cowboys on TV the other night, and the music is quite memorable.

Speaking of John Wayne, how about title song from True Grit, sung by Glen Campbell? I've always loved that one.

7/17/2010 11:54:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Kurt:

Morricone is quite evocative in general. A few year back Rhino put out an excellent anthology with everything from A Fistful of Dollars to The Mission....

7/17/2010 11:58:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Jumping in the wayback machine,

1. Neil Diamond.
My mom had one of his albums, we used to listen to it while she drove us to school in England. Until she saw what he looked like.

2. Milli Vanilli, Information Society, the Cure.
I have an excuse, it was 8th grade.

3. The Police - Every Breath You Take, Singles
College, playing Hearts

4. Crowded House, Temple of (Lo Mein)

5. Dead Can Dance

Dianne - re. Hotel California, I really lol'ed

7/17/2010 12:14:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

I think she had a "best of" album - I remember "Sweet Caroline," and think it ended with "Coming to America." That one seems a little cheesy in hindsight, but since we were in England then we thought it was great. "Heartlight" got a got of play in there eventually, too. If memory serves, that one was about ET.

Yeah - he was pretty much a load by then.

7/17/2010 12:30:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Plus, it probably consisted of remakes of the originals, since Columbia didn't have rights to them. The original Sweet Caroline was recorded in Memphis with a crack studio band of famous soul musicians, as were quite a few of his songs from that period. The later remakes are bloated and Vegas-y, with anonymous musicians and bellowing instead of singing.

7/17/2010 01:00:00 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

Richard Thompson's "1952 Black Vincent"

Get's me everytime...

7/17/2010 01:08:00 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

U2's "In God's Country

Burned by the fire of love...

7/17/2010 01:13:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

The later remakes are bloated and Vegas-y, with anonymous musicians and bellowing instead of singing.

Yep, bellowing and blatting.

Jack - Joshua Tree is a good one, too. Another that reminds me of college. A lot of their songs have accumulated layers in my head.

7/17/2010 01:29:00 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

Gary Numan "Cars".

Oddly enough...the instrumental sections, particularly the outro I could listen to endlessly.

7/17/2010 01:32:00 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

Julie-

There is a bunch of U2 that would make the list. Though I was "too cool for school" to admit to anyone then (though at least I wasn't lying to myself).

Unforgettable Fire

No matter how embarrassing Bono can be...I still find much of their music evocative and powerful.

7/17/2010 01:48:00 PM  
Blogger Dianne said...

My problem with Bono these days is his willingness to petition the govt. into spending tax payers money (someone else's money) for his pet projects.

It makes him look good for being all philanthropic and sh-t, but at the same time, he's clueless to the fact that with all that govt. spending it hurts the people he thinks he's trying to help.

It's not "free" money to throw around.

Clasic liberal?

7/17/2010 02:07:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Hey, I'm no fan of Bono, but if we start holding musicians to Raccoon standards, it'll be pretty silent.

7/17/2010 02:13:00 PM  
Blogger Dianne said...

Can't musicians be smart and creative at the same time?

7/17/2010 02:17:00 PM  
Blogger Sal said...

I should confess that I loathed the White Album and thought most of it pretentious gimcrackery.
It's on the list b/c you couldn't walk down the hall to the john in '68-'69 without it pouring from every door.
I hated being a teen-ager, couldn't wait to be a grown-up. One small reason was that I figured I could then listen to all the classical music I liked, without being thought odd.

Julie:
"Until she saw what he looked like." Ouch!

I am an unabashed Williams fan, from "The Cowboys", my favorite Wayne movie, on. "True Grit" was one of those perfect small novels you love so much, no movie can do it justice.

But I thought about adding Campbell's "Galveston" to my list.

7/17/2010 02:18:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Dianne:

"Can't musicians be smart and creative at the same time?"

Of course. But even if they do happen to be intelligent, intelligence has little to do with wisdom. Indeed, it might even be inversely related these days.

7/17/2010 02:21:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Maybe OT... but not really.

You've all heard of the 'Flash events', where people will turn up in a bus terminal and perform coordinated bicycle balet or the zombie chorusline frrom 'Thriller' or whatever..., well check this one out, "Opera Company of Philadelphia "Flash Brindisi" at Reading Terminal Market (April 24, 2010) ", I'm not a big opera fan, but this is awesome.

Watch the peoples faces as they realize what is happening in and around them... community!

7/17/2010 02:22:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Sal,
she had a mental picture of some broad, tall, studly nordic-looking dude. At the very least, she expected tall. He failed on all counts, which completely ruined it for her. She used to laugh about how silly a reason that is to stop liking his music, but she couldn't get past it, nonetheless.

7/17/2010 02:25:00 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

This Saturday Music Post has gotten me thinking about Music and worldviews. If there are other Raccoons out there in the music world I haven't met *any*. At least as far as the public verbiage goes...by far most musicians are on the left, if not the total wackjob left.

And that does not stop them from being good people and even great musicians. I just shut up and play my guitar...

What troubles me though is that their lefty views DO seem to inspire their music. I guess for me the question arises as to how true, deep, beautiful music can be founded on a delusional worldview?

Is there something about music that protects it from such idiocy. Something the visual art world has not been protected from, nor movies, tv, etc

How is it that the essence of music survives when other art forms are unable to do?

7/17/2010 02:28:00 PM  
Blogger Sal said...

Van-
that was wonderful!
Just finished working on "Pippin" for the local community theater. Even with a turkey like that- which makes you want to personally apologize to the cast for the late 1960's and early '70's- the synergy between players and audience is a recurrent revelation and delight.

7/17/2010 02:34:00 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

Radiohead "How to Disappear Completely

More lefties whose music I like...

7/17/2010 02:36:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Jack, that's a good question. My knee-jerk response is that music is Word, in a way that other media aren't. That is, it is language breathed to life in time. Hearing comes before sight, and maybe arguably before smell, taste, and touch. The first rhythms we hear are the ebb and flow of tidal forces within the mother's body, not just the heartbeat but the blood flow, the gurgling of the digestive system, and the sound of air moving in and out. Because of all that, imho, music without some reference to the elemental structures that are our existence from the inside out is simply alien, and no amount of being told it's worthwhile will convince any but the most stubbornly tenured that it is worth subjecting oneself to.

Comparing artforms, from a creative standpoint, I can sing without needing any other input to distract myself; not so with painting or drawing. To paint I need music, preferably to sing along with but at the very least to get me in-spired.

7/17/2010 02:41:00 PM  
Blogger Dianne said...

Bob Said "Of course. But even if they do happen to be intelligent, intelligence has little to do with wisdom. Indeed, it might even be inversely related these days."

I think intelligence has everything to do with wisdom. How can you be wise if you have no intelligence?

I think I know what you mean tho - it seems that the least wise these days have the intelligence to become leaders of a nation. Not so much intelligence in an innate kind of way - but intelligence in knowing how to work the system and con people.

7/17/2010 02:43:00 PM  
Blogger Mikal said...

Gagster,

One thing I noticed about your list is how upbeat all those songs are. Most popular music now -- mainstream or "alternative" -- seems to sound either threatening or angst-ridden (or both!)

Here are my Evocative Five:

Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds, "Don't Pull Your Love" -- I'm 11, swimming in the neighbor's pool, and noticing girls for the first time.

The Ramones, "Blitzkrieg Bop" -- I'm 16, bored at school, PO'ed at my family, and finally hear something fast, loud and stupid enough to match my state of mind.

The Seeds, "900 Million People All Making Love" -- I'm 19, smoking weed and making out with my GF in my dorm room, combining my punk attitude with hippie aesthetics.

The Choir of the Carmelite Priory, London, "Laudes seu Acclamationes -- I'm 25, living alone away from my secular family and hipster pals, and discovering the beauty of Christian liturgy.

The Mother Hips, "Life in the City" -- I'm 40, living in the Bay Area, self-employed, and happier than I've ever been before.

7/17/2010 02:51:00 PM  
Blogger Dianne said...

Great post Mikal.

That's the kind of post with examples that would make this thread even more awesome.

7/17/2010 03:06:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Jack--

"I guess for me the question arises as to how true, deep, beautiful music can be founded on a delusional worldview?"

My immediate response is that if music is any good, it's coming from a much deeper place than one's conscious mind and beliefs. This is why the most shallow music is didactic or programatic (in a kitschy way) in nature, i.e., when the composer succeeds in rendering the music as shallow as his thoughts!

7/17/2010 03:19:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Which is why a song about, say, freedom itself, is much more powerful than a song about the freedom to go on strike, or a song about love is more powerful than a song about politicized homosexual love.

7/17/2010 03:25:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

It's why the lyrics of most protest songs make you cringe, while a great rock song can be liberation itself, irrespective of the lyrical content. You might say that a good musician sets you free. A bad one just sings about freedom.

7/17/2010 03:28:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

And of course, it's also why contemporary Christian music is generally so lame...

7/17/2010 03:30:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Remember, you asked...

* Beethoven's 6th Pastoral Symphony - Fantasia & every home we ever lived at growing up, writing short stories in front of the fireplace....

* "How To Handle A Woman" Camelot - my parents performed it at a community production, I was probably around 4 yrs old and I vividly remember them practicing around the house while doing laundry, cooking, etc.

* "Try to remember, the times in September" - Fantastics - same triggers as above.

* "Captain Fantastic & the Brown Dirt Cowboy' - one of the best summer's ever, capped with a trip up through Yosemite, San Francisco & an extended family reunion in Redding CA.

* "Venus & Mars" Wings - same reason as above, adding in kissing cousins.

* (might be embarrassing... ya think?) "S-a-t-u-r-d-a-y Night!" Bay City Rollers, new home, new neighborhood, kissing extends beyond cousins.

* "Good girls don't" - The Knack - 'Successful' garage bands... well... enough descriptions

* "Sloop John B." and the rest of the Beach Boys album... summer living on the beach (sometimes literaly, or in my Van) in San Deigo with band & reforming band on the road.

(break)

7/17/2010 04:36:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

And just in general ability to flash up mood & memories yanked from the closet on the summons of three notes, max:
* "Head over Heels", "Our lips are sealed", "Vacation" Go-Go's, (LOL! Beer can's thrown at the back of my head by the rest of the band, captive in the back of my van, driving back from a gig I didn't think they measured up to!)
* "Brown eyed girl" Van Morrison,
* "Shook me all night long" ACDC,
* "Manic Monday" The Bangles,
* "American Girl", "Listen to her heart", "Free Falling", "Don't come around here no more", "Even the losers", Top Petty and the Heartbreakers
* "Where The Streets Have No Name", "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For", "With Or Without You" U2- Joshua Tree
* "Surrender", "The Flame" Cheap Trick
(friggin blogger break)

7/17/2010 04:38:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

(final)
* "Total Eclipse of the Heart" Bonnie Tyler
* "Let the good times roll", "Drive" The Cars
* "I don't want to spoil the party so I'll go", "I'm a loser", "If I fell" "I need you", "I'll follow the sun" - Beatles
* "I Ran" Flock of Seagulls
* "The Wall" - Pink Floyd... flirting with insanity and opting out... a dark time that ended with a dawn.
* " I Wanna Grow Old With You" Adam Sandler
* "The Metro" - Berlin
* "Blood Brothers", "This Hard Land", "Better Days", "No Retreat, No Surrender" Bruce Springsteen
* "I Melt with you" Modern English

Well I think that's about all I can survive.

7/17/2010 04:38:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

"5 or more"

How did I forget Gary Numan?
"Here in my car" - Gary Numan,
"I wanna be sedated" The Ramones
"Don't You Forget About Me" - Simple Minds

And as for my list, hey, someone's gotta stand up for unobscure, non-intellectual music that... just...
yanks you outta time and place....

I feel like a complete emotional basket case after listening/seeing those... yikes.

7/17/2010 04:54:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Van:

Now that's the spirit! Some embarrassing disclosures in there.

7/17/2010 05:02:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I mean, anybody can say "Beethoven." But it takes a real man to say "Bay City Rollers."

7/17/2010 05:03:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

And not just a gay man.

7/17/2010 05:04:00 PM  
Blogger Dianne said...

You got that right, that's the spirit.

I forgot about most of those songs, but I pretty much like them all. Going off to listen.

What about the rest of you - Gandolin? Susannah? Bueller?

7/17/2010 05:12:00 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

My sweet Lord used to play everyday at the same time on my Dad's car radio when he drove me to kiddie school.

Sister Golden Hair

Ventura highway

Horse with no name

Maggie Mae

7/17/2010 05:12:00 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

Black Water

7/17/2010 05:19:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Gagdad said "I mean, anybody can say "Beethoven." But it takes a real man to say "Bay City Rollers.""

;-)

Had to do some serious girding up of the loins, I'll tell ya.

wv:strepoo
Ya see?!

7/17/2010 05:20:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I was going to say Ventura Highway. In fact, there are a number of their very early songs I like, mostly from the first two albums.

And I would have said My Sweet Lord, but that album was such a critical and commercial success that it fails the quirkiness test.

I well remember when Maggie Mae came out. I listened to that whole album hundreds of times. I especially couldn't get enough of the song Every Picture Tells a Story. I would just play it over and over... love the acoustic guitars and Mick Waller's drums.

7/17/2010 05:24:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Okay, here's one I don't like to admit: I actually like Beach Baby, by First Class. The long version, of course...

7/17/2010 05:25:00 PM  
Blogger Dianne said...

Rick, when I moved across country and went to a used CD store to buy some tunes for travel, one of them was America's greatest hits, with Sister Golden Hair.

I still have it in my car, and pop it in the CD player when I'm stuck in traffic.

7/17/2010 05:26:00 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

I'm going to take one for the team and say Seals and Crofts.

7/17/2010 05:30:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Dude.

Diamond Girl.

7/17/2010 05:34:00 PM  
Blogger Dianne said...

Summer Breeze makes me feel fine.

7/17/2010 05:35:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I also like their song Hummingbird.

Those two did it right. They were both seriously spiritual, and when they made enough moolah they retired and bought islands or something.

7/17/2010 05:37:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Seals & Crofts also did an anti-abortion song, and were crucified for it by the tolerant left. I think it almost killed their career.

7/17/2010 05:38:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

The details.

7/17/2010 05:40:00 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

Re My Sweet Lord...I was five years old. What did I know from commercial success? It was just me and Dad, every morning. The other two older brothers rode the bus.

:-)

7/17/2010 05:47:00 PM  
Blogger Susannah said...

Sheep May Safely Graze, on classical guitar. I think this was around senior high/college age. No specific memory attached, but it still does something to me.

Castaway, by singer/songwriter Mark Heard--I heard this on the car radio one night and got permanently hooked on his music.

I Surrender All, a hymn that calls up the time we spent during a few of my early elementary years at an Assembly of God church. I'm not sure why it made an impression on me, but I recall it running through my mind. Maybe it was watching the young adult choir perform it?

There's a song called "Mountain Climber" (I think; not even sure of the title) that is so totally obscure, even in the Christian music genre, that I can't even find it anymore. But for some reason the melody evokes back country GA roads and the Old South as idealized in Savannah. I think we did some traveling and vacationing cross-state at the time we had that album. The name of the singing duo escapes me too.

2nd Chapter of Acts: Mansion Builder. Not sure why; I still love that song. It just sorta evokes a whole (early) era of Christian music for me.

Keith Green: More Like Jesus/Love Broke Through. It's a toss-up.

Phil Keaggy: Spend My Life With You/In Your Keep/I Belong to You...that whole album (more than one of his albums) evoked in me the same sense of brightness and longing that Lewis's writing did.

Diamond's Lullaby, by David Edwards. I read the lyric at our baby's memorial service. I don't know that the song is so remarkable musically, though I like it. Maybe because At the Back of the North Wind is a book I re-read every couple of years.

Tabhair Dom Do Lagh, by various artists in traditional music. First ran across it via Planxty about twenty years back. (I am drawn to joyful tunes.)

None of it very hip, but that's my incomplete list. :) I could probably add Daniel Amos's Out Across the Sky, since I reunited with the album on YouTube in a recent music thread. Also, Larry Norman's Wish We'd All Been Ready TOTALLY creeped me out as a kid because it was featured in a very goofy (but to my innocent eyes, at the time, scary) end-times film perpetrated on the youth of AoG churches back in the day. To this day, that song holds an eerie fascination.

Once I post I'll probably think of more significant songs.

7/17/2010 05:48:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

How about Dancing in the Moonlight, by King Harvest? If you twist it ever so slightly, you can almost imagine it as a Van Morrison song.

7/17/2010 05:51:00 PM  
Blogger Susannah said...

Tabhair Dom Do *Lamh*--I should stick to English: "Give Me Your Hand"

7/17/2010 05:55:00 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

GB said: "My immediate response is that if music is any good, it's coming from a much deeper place than one's conscious mind and beliefs."

This part of why the disjunct is so startling. On one level musician X pours out Beauty, Goodness and Truth while on stage and then spout absurdities and arrogant idiocy once the put down the instrument.

I've long felt that every musician of any sufficient depth is *inherently* religious whether they know it or not (or are even disturbingly hostile to any such notion), or they wouldn't be able to do what they do. Music with out depth, or "soul", is no more impressive then an extremely proficient typist.

7/17/2010 05:57:00 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

After Ed Sullivan (I was too young) but before MTV (not live performances) we only had Don Kirshner's Rock Concert. I think it came on after Saturday Night Live... 1:00am? And if I remember correctly, they didn't say who would be on in the TV Guide. You had to stay up and find out.

Same with the Merv Griffin Show if say you wanted to catch Clint Eastwood in a interview. I suffered for that one.

7/17/2010 05:59:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Coconut.

7/17/2010 06:01:00 PM  
Blogger Dianne said...

Arghh!

7/17/2010 06:06:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Don Kirshner invented the Monkees. And yet, the Nobel committee denies him.

7/17/2010 06:15:00 PM  
Blogger Dianne said...

Well what do you expect from a committee that gives the likes of Arafat and Gore a prize? :)

7/17/2010 06:21:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

For sheer quirkiness, the 20 volume Rhino series Have a Nice Day: Super HIts of the Seventies is filled with obscure gems.

7/17/2010 06:23:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Ok, first to hitch up the loin girding,
"Paranoid", "Crazy Train" BS & Ozzy (what an absolute dork on stage!)

... to compensate for,
I was only joking Rod Stewart
"Fire and Rain" James Taylor,
"Back on My Feet Again", "Isn't It Time", "Missing You " - THE BABYS - John Waite
"Rainy Days And Mondays ", "Top Of The World ", "Goodbye To Love ", "For All We Know " - The Carpenters
"Rocky Mountain High ", "Country Roads ", "Leaving on a Jet Plane " - John Denver

They've all got their places...and unless I want a seat on the crazy train, I'd better leave it there.

7/17/2010 06:40:00 PM  
Blogger Dianne said...

Van, you've left out the Doobie Brothers.

7/17/2010 06:45:00 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

No I didn't. "Black Water"

7/17/2010 06:48:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Completely off topic, consider this a reminder that anyone with a blog whose content would be irreplaceable should the blog disappear for any reason ought to be using some kind of backup...

7/17/2010 07:24:00 PM  
Blogger Verdiales said...

Hi folks, I usually lurk happily, but these music threads are wonderful and draw me out. I've been a passionate amateur musician all my life, and sometimes a professional one, so music has been part of my life at nearly every point. Many of the tunes you've already mentioned above are weirdly evocative for me, too. It's amazing how well I remember them, now that you mention them!

At any rate, here's a really personal list. I don't think all of these will be weirdly evocative for the rest of you, but for me, they're like Proust's cookies. Instant time-shift into fully-detailed landscapes of memory.

"Magic," ELO
lying on the rug next to my parents' faux-classical wooden sideboard LP/radio/sideboard combination, discovering FM radio for the first time, while my mother made anxious and disapproving noises from the kitchen

"Sweet Home Alabama," Skynyrd
on bleachers in the middle school gym with the whole school, listening to live rock music for the first time, thrilled, watching the kids from the other side of the tracks play that song really, really well -- we went nuts

"Already Gone," Eagles
in the back of a Bronco, windows down, on the highway with my young teenage buddies headed towards northern Ontario for a fifty-mile canoe trip, with secret stashes of whiskey in our packs

"Open Arms," Journey
at high school dances (do they still have those?), in awkward groups, trying to figure out how to move our bodies without looking like dorks

"Sex Machine," James Brown
figuring it out

"Beautiful Girls," Van Halen
driving back from the wrong side of the tracks, alone, on a beautifully verdant late summer afternoon, after seeing my first girl, totally elated

"Prelude in C# minor," Rachmaninoff
in my mother's formal sitting room with the piano, practicing, practicing, feeling it, and pounding the piano out of tune

7/17/2010 07:58:00 PM  
Blogger Verdiales said...

(cont)

"Mony, Mony," Billy Idol
crashing college frat parties, wading into the sweat, beer, skin, and vomit

"Rock Lobster," B-52's
that college quadrangle with the 800 academically gifted kids in middle school, all of whom were dancing to it under the watchful eyes of college RA's (us), who would soon be drinking

"Bruyères" and other preludes, Debussy
on a very fine grand piano in our college's stone chapel, alone, every Tuesday morning in the spring, and realizing that I was being listened to surreptitiously by our college's piano performance professor

"New Frontier," Donald Fagen
those long nighttime stints in the radio station as a jazz jockey, living Fagen's album cover, taking calls from truckers and girls who were really wanting to talk to the next DJ's in line that played house music and rap

"Body and Soul," Edward Heyman et al
accompanying on jazz guitar an overweight but wonderfully kind ex-hippie in coffee shops who had an extraordinary voice but knew she was living with an aneurysm that would probably soon kill her -- which it did

"Sicut cervus," Palestrina
choir rehearsals with wonderfully generous and skillful people who, in their jeans, ball caps, and sequined shirt-fronts, made spine-tingling polyphonic music together, which ended in an everyday coffee hour that seemed so paradoxically appropriate to having just sung music of profound metaphysical beauty

"Petit Fleur," Bechet
a vineyard in the middle of a dark pine forest, where I got away from marital tensions for a while to hear a gypsy music concert by a friend who then took me with some pals and gals to a local restaurant that kept itself open way past closing so we could drink and play into the wee hours, as if we were stealing something, which we were

"Big Chief," Professor Longhair
Mardi Gras, chers!

"Adorate Deum," Gregorian chant
evokes the feeling that I have been away for a long while, placeless, and have finally come home

Bob, thanks for writing such a sane blog and opening up comments.

7/17/2010 07:58:00 PM  
Blogger Verdiales said...

Uh oh, that was sixteen. Cripes.

7/17/2010 08:04:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Sicut Cervus - my choir performed that one recently, maybe last fall? Lovely.

7/17/2010 08:07:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

"lying on the rug next to my parents' faux-classical wooden sideboard LP/radio/sideboard combination, discovering FM radio for the first time, while my mother made anxious and disapproving noises from the kitchen"

In this rambling and disorganized book I'm reading about Van Morrison, there's a whole chapter on the magic of the radio, which future generations will never know. Many of his songs mention or revolve around this truly magical relationship.

"Already Gone." I really dislike the commercial behemoth the Eagles later became, but their first three albums were great, including that track. ""Big Chief" -- excellent obscurity! And the whole of Nightfly is great.

I actually had a chance to see Professor Longhair live on the Queen Mary. It seems that he was the entertainment for some kind of party that Paul McCartney was throwing in LA. But back then I didn't know who the Professor was, and I didn't really care for the girl who asked me to go...

7/17/2010 08:17:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Here's one I really like: Feel Flows, by the Beach Boys.

7/17/2010 08:48:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Another obscure Beach Boys track I've always loved, this one about meditation: All This is That.

7/17/2010 08:57:00 PM  
Blogger Susannah said...

In the "tradition" of ecstatic worship...Here's a video that kept my toddler transfixed one morning not long after we moved here.

I have always loved this particular song. Takes me straight back to our newlywed days.

We always laugh about the time a friend of ours turned to us in a worship service and remarked, in his dry way, "It's gettin' cra-zy now." A good bit of me says, Bring the crazy back.)

7/17/2010 09:45:00 PM  
Blogger ge said...

...years ago, used the inversion
"I'll show you yours
If you show me mine"*
in a tune
[becomes more about love than sex?]

a thought:
Hell is other peoples' music!

:)

*
cut 3

7/18/2010 05:44:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

"Hell is other peoples' music!"

I was just thinking something along those lines -- that ultimately this little exercise is somewhat pointless, because the memories attached to the songs are absolutely inaccessible to anyone else. Nor can you even really put the feeling into words. You can describe where you were and what you were doing, but that doesn't really cut it.

When Van Morrison sings about this phenomenon, he always goes deeper, and tried to explore the very nature of musical memory and its penumbra of mysticism. In that way it taps into something universal, instead of just being idiosyncratic nostalgia or sentimentality. I've always been aware of that - that the song is just a vehicle of some kind of transcendence.

7/18/2010 07:05:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Let me find some examples from Van's corpus:

Sam Cooke is on the radio
And the night is filled with space


or

There are strange things happening every day
I hear music up above my head
Fill me up with wonder
Give me my rapture today


or

And you went into a trance
Your childlike vision became so fine
And we heard the bells within the church
We loved so much
And felt the presence of the youth of eternal summers
In the garden


or

Hey, Mr. DJ
Play me Rainbow 66
'Cause I'm drifting like a ship out on the fog
And I just don't know what's coming next
Gonna turn it way down low
Leave it on all night long until the morning comes


or

Deep in my soul, I wanna feel
Oh so close to the One, close to the One
Close to the One, close to the One
And that's why, I keep on singing, baby
My hymns to the silence, hymns to the silence


or

I am down on my knees
At those wireless knobs
Telefunken, Telefunken
And I'm searching for
Luxembourg, Luxembourg,
Athlone, Budapest, AFN,
Hilversum, Helvetia
In the days before rock 'n' roll


or

Going down to the old mine with a
Transistor radio.
Standing in the sunlight laughing
Hide behind a rainbow's wall,
Slipping and a-sliding
All along the waterfall
With you, my brown-eyed girl

7/18/2010 07:44:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Oh, that's what he's saying...

7/18/2010 07:57:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Van mumblesome.

7/18/2010 08:01:00 AM  
Blogger ge said...

cool--yes Van seems to BE in ecstasy when he's singing---comes thru also in Marley & Glenn Gould footage. Van is surely a most spiritual album-maker. I have most of his work and that's almost a shelf of CDs. Guys like him flirting w/ scientology makes you wonder re LRH!
maybe robin williamson egged him on

7/18/2010 08:02:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Re. "Van mumblesome,"
:D
Just a bit. Still awesome, though.

7/18/2010 08:03:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

ge:

Morrison truly only flirted with scientology briefly, and never joined. In contrast, Chick Corea is a lifer, and it certainly hasn't had an adverse effect on his artistry (the fusion stuff notwithstanding). This is another example of the artistry coming from a deeper place than the ideology.

In fact, Corea made one album based on Hubbard's teaching, and it was totally lame.

7/18/2010 08:08:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Re the ecstasy:

There is no doubt about that. His music was absolutely instrumental in awakening my own spirituality, in particular, his string of explicitly spiritual albums in the 1980s. As it so happens, he was actually experimenting with using music to induce spiritual states in others. He does this most effectively on the live albums, e.g., San Francisco and Belfast.

7/18/2010 08:14:00 AM  
Blogger Susannah said...

BTW, this is a corollary benefit of keeping the kids out of school (not the primary reason, but still...)

Once they're old enough to care who Lady Gaga is, they'll have developed enough taste and maturity not to.

It's unfortunate I never heard Morrison growing up (outside of Brown-Eyed Girl, the only tune of his I was familiar with until recently).

7/18/2010 09:03:00 AM  
Blogger Susannah said...

IOW, I think there is some music that can be definitively described as "hell."

7/18/2010 09:12:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Here is one of Van's more ecstatic performances on record.

7/18/2010 09:22:00 AM  
Blogger Susannah said...

Bob, could you delete my post with the vomit-inducing lyric? Thanks and apologies...

Things are hitting too close to home today...

7/18/2010 09:22:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Then there's In the Garden, which is a meditation exercise itself if you close your eyes and listen.

7/18/2010 09:31:00 AM  
Blogger Susannah said...

Thank you kindly. :)

I put on In the Garden, but I think I'm going to need quiet (rare commodity) for that one.

Here's a palate-cleanser from one of my favorite YouTube channels. This is what YT is all about.

7/18/2010 10:08:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

So it is. I'm glad I finally heard it; this morning would be a Onederful bit of timelessness to return to with future listenings.

7/18/2010 10:11:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

(if it's not obvious, I was also referring to "In the Garden.")

7/18/2010 10:13:00 AM  
Blogger Sal said...

Timely-
Felt I totally flunked this exercise b/c I'm really not all that musical. As you can tell.

So, I thought: what really stirs your mystic chords of memory?
Instant answer: Horticulture.

And OC is the only place I'd feel not stupid saying that...
So, not music so much, but the beauty of the created world, a specific type of tree, shrub or flower can recall a time, place or person.

7/18/2010 11:14:00 AM  
Blogger John said...

*The Little White Cloud That Cried, J. Ray
*{about a deck of cards, belief} ? Tex Ritter
*{any-, everything} Mario Lanza
*The Okeh Laughing Record, ....
*Thirty Thousand Pounds of Bananas
*I'm So Lonesome I Could..H Wms
Morning on Mockingbird Hill, ?

7/18/2010 11:21:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Susannah said “there is some music that can be definitively described as "hell."

I don’t think you’re so off base with that. I’d even, in some ways, aimed GE’s “Hell is other people’s music” to in some cases “Hell is your old music”… or at least a doorway to it.

Leaving aside the obvious candidates from my list, ‘The Wall’ and Ozzy, and the easy quips and slams to the rest of the lists that leaves open, isn’t there more than a little substance to that? Seems to me that there’s more to it than meets the ear.

I’d written a comment here, and a post about how the intro’s to sermon’s, which I once rolled my eyes at, served the purpose of throwing up conceptual scaffolding for the purpose of preparing for and making the persons frame of mind able to support the spiritual message to come. There are many ways in which music, especially music which you have strong and deep memories – not just a slide show pictures, but memories of feelings, thoughts, pleasures and desires – intimately tied to, where playing that music is in some cases an anti-scaffolding to the conceptual structure you (I) might have made for your life today.

Is that not true? I see much of talk of how music can be all nifty & spiritual, but that is not all it is, and in many ways if not the music itself, the associations to it, can be downright destructive – all the more so because it is also something your enjoy listening to. Yes? There is a dark side to music, and modern music is especially suited to transmitting it.

That list I put up here was seriously mentally and spiritually wrenching to listen to as I found the links to the clips and listened to a few seconds or the full songs… some of those associations are severely incompatible with my life today and what I believe, and were so before I first came to OC, and are even more so today… so what gives? Some of you have been musicians for probably much longer than I was, and some seem to be having more success than we ever did, but… even in our small delimited world, we were ‘Rock Stars’, and from a few of the crew who went on to some real measure of success, I know that the small scale ‘Star status’ we had, was, well, small scale, in comparison to album selling, major venue playing level of ‘Star Status’. Now being a ‘Rock Star’ may not relate to most peoples experience and interaction with music, but it isn’t irrelevant – that imagery was, and IS, to one degree or another, the point of rock music… how does that square with you today?

I really. do. Not. Listen. To. Rock on the radio, and not so much because I do or don’t like current styles – some of it I do – but because of what I know it means… at least to me. Do other’s not experience it as viscerally as I did? do? I find that hard to believe. But I can barely hear such music without imagining playing it, who could sing which parts best, how to deliver particular phrases… how much stage room I know I’d need on some parts (to clue the singer so they’d be less likely to have their skull bashed in by a bass headstock swinging around like a baseball bat)… and the crowd, setting, mood, etc, etc, etc.

And even beyond, or beneath the performance aspects, the music is there, driving it all.

Isn’t it?

If I listen to music today, it’s classical. Or some very few jazz selections, and those because I have no experience or associations of them beyond the music, but that’s in small doses too, because there is an underlying theme of the music and it is still there, even without the lifestyle associations. I literally cannot imagine that it’s not.

And I can’t go there. Not for long. Integration IS the watchword, and so much of modern music (defining ‘modern’ as 1920’s through to today) is something I experience as very dis-integrating.

So. In the interests of chiming in with “the willingness to make an embarrassing disclosure”, and perhaps lessen the starkness of mine, whatcha think?

Honestly, wv:
prair

7/18/2010 11:28:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Sal - unusual, yes. Weird, no. Whatever brings you back to the Garden, imho...

7/18/2010 11:30:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Van,
Do other’s not experience it as viscerally as I did? do? I find that hard to believe.

No, I think you're right about that. There are a whole host of songs that I cringe to hear when they come up, mainly tunes that at some point or another I found, if not moving, at least amusing. Usually darkly so.

I don't necessarily consider them deconstructive, though - without then, there's no now, and I find it valuable to bear in mind the paths I've traveled to get here. I can't be then again, but if nothing else it helps me to remember to be patient with those who are still then, now.

7/18/2010 11:39:00 AM  
Blogger f/zero said...

Some of my favorite 'take-me-away' tunes:

Hot Rats - Zappa. Hated it at first, then finally 'got' it and became part of my permanent soundtrack.

Will To Live - Neil Young in his salmon suit.

When I Was A Boy (entire album) - Jane Siberry. My God, the voice.

I Will Arise - Jimmy Webb who for once avoids treacle and makes transcendent magic.

Globe of Frogs - Robyn Hitchcock, master of tuneful macabre.

7/18/2010 11:52:00 AM  
Blogger John said...

Well,
I thought this was to be quirky,
Thought I would be too sane,
and, then,
I read all the comments -
not something I do all the time:
I AM A LOT OLDER than most of you,
maybe all of you , combined, dunno

Thanks for all the names: I recognize many of the modern and older faith references. By the time I began to find my way out of rural Virginia, to go beyond my father's Heavy 78s, I was looking for more meat. Rock is a poison.
Jazz an other drug.
Palestrina. Gregorian. Heart stuff, to join me.
SAL says, "So, I thought: what really stirs your mystic chords of memory?
Instant answer: Horticulture."
Amen
The clippers separate wayward twigs, before the organism grows the wrong wqay. The shearing metal sound, as I squeeze the rubber-cushioned handles, and the plant bleeds. And my song is in His garden.

John

7/18/2010 11:58:00 AM  
Blogger John said...

Van, and Julie's response, We were typing at the same time:

Horticulture, to heal the anger, calm the heart: bleed the poison, get rid of rock, stand on a Rock.

Van, "the music itself, the associations to it, can be downright destructive – all the more so because it is also something your enjoy listening to. Yes? There is a dark side to music, and modern music is especially suited to transmitting it."

Off to walk in a garden with my father's widow.
love, John

7/18/2010 12:07:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Beatle George was all about gardening as well. Apparently, he much preferred it to music.

7/18/2010 12:12:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

John,
Off to walk in a garden with my father's widow.

The flipside of my morning, spent curled up on a couch listening about a garden with my husband's son. I hope yours is as ordinarily transcendent as mine.

Timeless ways to remember the Sabbath.

7/18/2010 12:17:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Speaking of gardens and beginnings and the primacy of music over other forms of art/creativity, I was thinking more last night about how sound and music are probably experienced first in utero, and somehow was drawn back to Genesis, which among other things could be said to describe how people are formed in the womb. It occurred to me that music never comes up; first there is light, then separation, then everything else.

But of course, even before all of that, out of the void, there was no light until God Said. Can anyone doubt that what he said was music?

7/18/2010 12:27:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

They say that architecture is just frozen music....

7/18/2010 12:34:00 PM  
Blogger ge said...

here's a
bonafide classic

1st link: the song
2nd: its history---dont miss
'Authorship lawsuit' sec.

7/18/2010 12:36:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

BTW, there's plenty of research showing that babies can recognize their mother's voice in the womb, and that they also dance to music.

7/18/2010 12:39:00 PM  
Blogger Jason T. said...

Having been raised on classic rock, progressive rock, and heavy metal (Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Rush, Jethro Tull, Metallica, Dream Theater, Tool, Black Sabbath) anything that was remotely popish was taboo in my neck of the woods. Of course, my mother was a lover of Motown, and that influenced me heavily, so my tastes eventually diverged from the cultural norm--transcended and included, if I might borrow a term from...somebody.

Anyway, here are my albums/songs that transport me to a certain time and place:

1.) Journey's Greatest Hits - This whole album takes me back to summer nights as a kid in south St. Louis, smells of bbq and Bud/Busch beer wafting in the air. Thunder storms gathering, my very first crush (I was 12, she was 16, and I still am in love with her), and driving down Lindbergh Blvd. on Saturday night; all this comes rushing back whenever I here "Separate Ways" or "Who's Crying Now."

2.Pearl Jam's "Ten" - Mom away, my brother and all of his friends getting high and drunk in the basement, playing ping-pong and basement hockey. Yes, I am a hoosier, indeed.

3. Boyz II Men - "I'll Make Love To You," "End Of The Road," and "It's so Hard To Say Goodbye" -These were some of the first songs that took me into a place of heartfelt LOVE while listening to music. Sometimes I would just sit in the dark and listen to them over and over sobbing at how beautiful they are. When I here them today I still get that special feeling, like they were my first loves.

4. Say Hello 2 Heaven by Temple of the Dog - If you have not heard this song, you are missing out. Special place in my heart that I can't put into words. Definitely NOT a guilty pleasure, but still brings me to another place.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zyVTdY2BI3g

5. OK, the ultimate guilty pleasure songs that played prominent roles in my life: Father Figure by George Michael, Dirty Diana by Michael Jackson, and Stan by Eminem.

Word, G.

Oh yeah, I wrote a top ten all time favorite song list on my blog if anyone is interested.

http://evolutionaryartist.blogspot.com/

7/18/2010 12:49:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

I hadn't heard about the dancing, but I knew they could hear their mother's voice and other sounds. Just for clarity, when I said "sound and music are probably experienced first in utero," I meant prior to the other senses. When all that you see, smell, taste and touch are more or less unchanging (I would guess; maybe I'm completely wrong on that score), external sounds are the first things we experience that are distinctive and perhaps obviously external to ourselves. First music, then light...

7/18/2010 12:53:00 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

I think Van makes a very useful point. Sometimes there just seems to be a darkness emanating from certain music. I have many friends who listen to what may be categorized as indie rock/post-punk music. I find it very challenging to listen to on what seems to be a spiritual level.

It is no coincidence that these same friends tend towards lefty/pomo/agnosticism/Atheism/etc. There seems to be a core of nihilism in such music. Something in me blocks it out as inhuman, even anti-human.

A band like Radiohead skirts that line for me. It seems their music has a longing for transcendence but just one which never arrives. It's a short step from there to simply skipping the whole "longing for transcendence" part of the equation. It is telling to me that Radiohead supposedly refers to themselves jokingly as "Punk Floyd".

I had to stop listening to the band as innovative as they could be because there was just a darkness, a void, in their music.

Rock music can easily devolve into nihilism. Any thoughts as to why? What are the unspoken assumptions of much rock music that encourages this? What does it say about the culture at large?

7/18/2010 01:10:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I remember when nihilism used to be about something....

7/18/2010 01:16:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

In all seriousness, I think there is a place for "nihilism," so long as it is in a dialectic with its opposite, like how you need catabolism (tearing down) and anabolism (building up) to have metabolism. Just as a biology of pure catabolism is death, so too is a philosophy of pure nihilism.

For example, Christianity makes ample room for "nihilism" in the form of apophatic theology. This "unKnowing" of God is actually a kind of higher knowing, not a non-knowing per se. But when the left gets ahold of these concepts, things go down hill in a hurry -- for example, with the dharma bums of the 1950s who used the "emptiness" of Zen as a pretext for sociopathy.

7/18/2010 01:26:00 PM  
Blogger Linda Morgan said...

First, Hi. Another lurker here, lured in by this challenge. I would’ve posted within the first 100 comments but for all the ruthless, ruthless winnowing (most painfully of all Beatles, a true gem by Joe Simon and “I Wanna Take You Higher” by Sly & Family) that took a little time. But I’ve got it down to five, so here goes:

1. Telstar, by the Tornados. The best musical tribute ever composed for the king of all wild horses sweeping majestically across the great rolling western plains. Or so my imagination had it for months, maybe years, until a cousin – merely my age but more attuned to the actual times we lived in and better informed generally – explained to me with some amusement that Telstar was the name of a satellite. Not a horse. “Tel” was short for “television” and “star” had nothing to do in this case with distinctive, maybe magical facial markings.

2. Sweet Thang, by Loretta Lynn and Ernest Tubb. Country music was the music of grownups when and where I was a kid and this smash hit (among all the grownups I knew outside of those teaching school) was full of all sorts of adult mysteries I was intent at the time on getting to the bottom of. Yeah, I could feel the appeal, but too much of the story was going right over my head. Sandbox? And why is it bad to blink more than twice? Mom, can you help me out here?

3. I’m Gonna Make You Love Me. The Temptations and the Supremes. Oh, just, sigh. Nothing in the ‘60s said Tomorrow like Motown. And nothing promised glorious, glamorous, beautiful blue sky, forever summer Tomorrow like this marriage of the best with the best. I was in Jr. high and nothing was more in the bag than the most fabulous future the world had ever seen.

4. At Folsom Prison, by Johnny Cash. We finally got a car that had 8-track(!) and this was one of the first tapes my parents purchased. The longest trips we took (to visit my aunt, uncle and cousins at one after another Air Force base farther and farther down south) were all over-night, when it was cooler and you could make the best time. Even with the ever increasing demands from myself and my sibs for more rock, less country, I don’t think any 8-track or (later) cassette ever logged more mileage with less whining in any of our station wagons than this one.

5. Don’t Fence Me In. Willie Nelson and Leon Russell teamed up to cover, a bit lackadaisically, this and a bunch of other standards on “One for the Road” in 1979. I was driving my father home from what would be his last doctor’s appointment when it came on the radio and he, unexpectedly, almost unimaginably by that time but entirely whole-heartedly, joined in at full volume. It was audacious, hilarious, and the perfect affirmation that he was, even then, exactly who and what he’d always been. I joined in as best I could, through all the laughing and trying to hold the car on the road. I guess you would have had to have been there, and where we had been for some years. I’ll never forget it.

Thanks, Bob, for a great post, an excuse for this trip down memory lane and all the good work generally!

7/18/2010 01:38:00 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

Yes. Maybe that's it. The best of a band like Radiohead has *some* light to it and it is often enough. And it is really the balance between the two aspects of existence. I tend to shy away from music that is all dark (i.e. "there is no dark side of the moon, in fact it's all dark") as well as music that tends to be all "light" ...both types lack a fundamentally aspect of Reality.

7/18/2010 01:41:00 PM  
Blogger Mizz E said...

"Coming In On A Wing and A Prayer" was the No. ! song in the country the day I was born, so now that my seniority has been established....listen UP, after all it is "World Listening Day." 0(*.*)0

Recently, I've been going through my Dad's college yearbooks and my Mom's scrapbooks and from what I can tell, the The Greatest Generation was great for many reasons but perhaps it's their music that made them so. My jaw dropped open when I turned over a faded postcard and read:

"You are cordially invited to the V.M.I Concert Tea Dance, (with) Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra featuring
Connie Haines and Frank Sinatra
with the Pied Pipers, April 26, 1941. Admission: $1.00 Single, $1.50 Couple." WHAAAA??

Eight months later, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and everyone smacked by that awful reality joined together in supreme cooperation to defend life and liberty. One of the grand things FDR did was create the USO. Their traveling music shows to various installations around the world was a huge morale booster for the military personnel.

The No. 1 songs in 1943 were:

All Or Nothing At All - Frank Sinatra w/ Harry James

As Time Goes By - Rudy Vallee

Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition - Kay Kyser

Taking A Chance On Love - Benny Goodman

That Old Black Magic - The Glen Miller Orchestra

When the Lights Go On Again (All Over the World) - Vaughn Monroe

When I was a teeny bopper, it was all Elvis, Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly, Everly Brothers all the time, then Dylan and Kristoferson and Emily Lou Harris w/o the electronics. I still enjoy revisiting the old Rock em & Roll em tunes, but my heart belongs to the War Songs.

7/18/2010 05:17:00 PM  
Blogger Jason T. said...

Bob... "But when the left gets ahold of these concepts, things go down hill in a hurry -- for example, with the dharma bums of the 1950s who used the "emptiness" of Zen as a pretext for sociopathy."

It has been my experience, and this a very recent discovery for me, that such terminologies and even flash/peak insights or revelations of emptiness can be used as a defense mechanism of an already fractured and dissociated ego. It is like the ability to 'witness all that arises' gives license to keep depersonalizing from the raging internal battle that is happening within. Of course, then it simply manifests itself in ones' external life: there is no running from what is already in place--the only pathway is authentic suffering of it and eventual integration.

If emptiness is what one wants, then they should step into a monastery and devote their life to it full time, but if you want to be in the world and utilize the ego among a living breathing culture, then brother (and sister), you better recognize that there is such a thing as relative truth, personal responsibility, and psychological-emotional wounding.

Unless one prefers a life that is spiraling out of control, harmful to others, and is as self absorbed as a two year old playing with his wee-wee.

Speaking to myself, here...

7/18/2010 07:51:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"Speaking to myself, here..."

I speak to myself all the time wondering if anyone is listening.
I mean, I know where I live but it's amazing how often I'm out to lunch, so to speak.

7/18/2010 11:36:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Plus, all those "Trespassers will be violated, I mean, prosecuted" signs make for some interesting contemplation.

I know, it's not that funny. See what I gotta put up with?

7/18/2010 11:43:00 PM  

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