After my grandparents moved to Chetek someone gave them a tape recorder and they’d create audio tapes for family. My grandma had a toy organ and their beagle, Chubby, would sing along with her. Ten years ago I converted one of the tapes to .mp3 files and uploaded them to my Clutch Cargo Lips blog. Here’s Me and My Shadow.
Three songs remind me of growing up in Elgin around Christmastime: Suzy Snowflake, Hardrock, Coco, and Joe, and Frosty the Snowman because they were all played (with accompanying animation) on the local (Chicago) WGN TV station in the days leading up to Christmas. This was back in a time of my life that Christmas was something to look forward to.
When I discovered Kate Bush’s music, I knew no one else who liked her. It wasn’t until I got online almost 20 years later that I realized how many people not only knew who she was, but loved her music as much as I did. Those first two decades were very lonely, but at least I had her music for comfort.
There are two pieces of music that stop me in my tracks when I hear them. One is Our House by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young and one is Pachelbel’s Canon in D. They both evoke in me strong memories and feelings that must be relived and felt without distractions. I wrote about both on Jeux San Frontieres (previous links).
Until I really listened to the lyrics to Downtown I never quite understood my mother’s obsession with the downtown of cities I’d visited. She was usually disappointed that I’d not gone downtown, but her idea of downtown was from the song:
So go downtown, things’ll be great when you’re
Downtown, no finer place for sure
Downtown everything’s waiting for you
As we’ve aged we’ve become more inclined to keep the air conditioning on in the summer. The last few nights it has been cool and dry enough to keep the air conditioning off and the windows open. Last night I realized how much I’d missed the nightsong outside the window. Crickets (even snowy-tree crickets) and katydids. I love their song.
After attending a Tom Chapin concert at the Birchmere in Alexandria I bought a cassette tape of his Moonboat. Once we had kids, his was the only “kids” music we bought and we all sang along in the car to his music. We also abandoned the traditional Happy Birthday song for Tom’s. We still sing it to this day.
By June of 2016 Mom had not said my name for over a year when I visited her in the hospital that month. To keep her cheerful and occupied I decided to play music from the 50s on my phone. I chose The Twist then I twisted and sang along while she watched and laughed, then shouted “Dona! Stop that!”
Forever tied to my mother, this song fills my head when I see lilies of the valley. Mom and I used to sing it when they bloomed.
Shortly before my mother died, when she could still talk, but didn’t remember much, I played a recording of this song for her. Her eyes brightened, she smiled and said, “Oh yeah.”
Creative people everywhere used their craft to cope with the horrors of September 11, 2001, Dan Bern among them. He wrote NYC 911 a few days later and I heard him play it not long after that. It’s not on any released album, but is on several bootlegs I own.
I listen to it once a year on the anniversary of the tragedy.
Two slim books of hymns belonging to my father’s mother sit in a pile of “to blog about” items. One has no cover, the other does. But they both, when I hold them, cause church music to play in my head. No particular title, just soaring organ music and out of tune, but determined voices filling my mind with song.
My husband always needs music playing in the background. In the car, in the kitchen, in the shower, in his office, on his bike. There are times however, he cannot play music so he whistles instead. Poorly, annoyingly, gratingly. I politely ask him to stop. Once a colleague shouted “Would you please cease that incessant tuneless noise you are making!”
My fourth-grade teacher had her class put on a minstrel show every year. Yes, you read that right, blackface and all. We had to audition for a part. She suggested I sing Beautiful Dreamer, so in front of the entire class I tried my best to hit the notes. She told me that I sang terribly and to sit down.
While I normally like silence, there is one activity that needs music: cleaning. For that I usually request that Alexa stream Motown or more specifically, music from The Big Chill. This music gives me enough energy, both physical and psychological, to deal with whatever cleaning I need to do. Joy To The World, especially, gives me a needed adrenaline surge.
The end of summer song is the song of the cicada. Is it my imagination or does the song become louder in September? Did you know that Dylan wrote a song about cicadas? He got the common name wrong, and he was singing about the periodical cicadas, but still. He did write a song about cicadas.
It’s not on YouTube.