Whew...while I am enjoying my vacation, sipping Mojito's by the waves in perfect 75 degree weather, while remarking on the wonderful weightloss and stress reduction program they offer here at the REAL Club Med...
OH WAIT!!! **shakes head wildly** That's the DREAM I have been having while taking a break from writing my Tales O' Trivia here on CHEESE! Back to reality...
Here's a little ditty (OK, maybe not a "ditty", but a great post all the same) submitted from the "draft" by Zee, a wonderful blogger down south (hey, Oregon IS south of Washington!), who writes the MS Blog, Behind Blue Eyes . And I just "happened" to find an actual album cover of her daddy's band to go along with the post! (Somebody call the Copyright Cops now...I've returned to stealing from the Web):
Goin' Against the Grain
Years and years and years ago, when I was younger than 10, my dad and his friend Tim used to get together on a regular basis and play music at our house. For a while, they set up in the dining room and would play for hours, looking outside at the yard and large oak trees that lined our block. Later, dad nailed grey egg cartons all over the ceiling and walls of our basement, to absorb sound, and they played down there. Tim and dad did this for years, with various and sundry other musicians joining them at times. As you might expect, by the time the bands broke up and Tim had moved away and dad had stopped playing for the most part, I knew the words to every one of the songs, whether I liked them or not.
Most of them I did like, in fact, and for years afterwards I'd occasionally hear a song in my head and be reminded of those practice sessions. Several years ago, dad loaned me a tape he and Tim had made back in 1983 – before Tim left Portland for Nashville, dreaming of stardom – and I was excited to find that some of my favorite “Tim & Dad” songs were on that tape! These were the songs that haunted my memories: songs whose names I couldn’t recall or never knew, snippets of musical phrases that appeared and then flitted away again with only the briefest recollection to leave me puzzled. Songs I sought without much luck while listening to the many tapes my dad made for long road trips.
Unfortunately, these songs were only on tape and I had long since switched all my music over to digital format. Most of what my dad and Tim, or their band from that same era, the Surf Cowboys, had done up to that point was on CD by now. That tape was the last holdout.
Today, a package came in the mail from my dad, and low and behold, it was a digitized version of those 1983 recordings!! I promptly threw the disc into my computer and ripped it to my hard drive and have been happily listening to it ever since. Many of the songs dad and Tim did together were ones Tim wrote or songs they collaborated on. Tim may be a lot of things (a whole ‘nother story in and of itself) but he really is a talented songwriter, and – coupled with arrangements my dad put together – the music they made was interesting, tuneful and memorable.
In thinking about it later, though, I realized that this music from my childhood is music that so few of my generation would know or recognize. Music is one of those defining entities in my life: I grew up with my father singing “Puff the Magic Dragon” and other “kids” songs to me while I went to sleep; I started flute lessons at 10 and instantly clicked with that. Later, taking up the piano, I felt instantly drawn to the kinds of music I was able to make with the range of combinations the piano offers. Music has always been around me and more often than not the music I was listening to at the time defined the memories I carried with me and pulled up later at random moments.
I, of course, know and like many of the bands popular during my childhood– The Bangles, Bon Jovi, Debbie Gibson, the Beastie Boys, Duran Duran, the Go Go's, Michael The Weird One, Wham! – but many of the songs I love best are ones that my dad and Tim wrote and sang. I have yet to meet anyone of my generation who knew of their bands or music back in the day. At the time they were popular on the scene here in Portland but, like many local bands, they faded away as the bands broke up, and names and faces were forgotten. Many people who hear the music now seem to like it, but it’s an aspect of my childhood that I don’t think will ever mirror anyone else’s.
Addendum: This piece is based on a post originally written for Zee’s Boston Musings – my first blog – on April 1, 2005. I’ve cleaned up a few things in this version, added a bit more description and a few more details, and generally made it more of an essay. Since this post was written, the CD my dad sent me of the 1983 recordings has been mastered and released under the title “Heroes of the West. It is available for purchase here for those who are curious. The original version of this essay appears on Behind Blue Eyes.