“Down And Out And Far From Home”

I have liked many of Nana Mouskouri’s recordings over the years, but this particular one only came to my attention quite by accident and very recently. I love her vocal tones and her very clear pronunciation of the English lyrics. Put that together with a sensitive story-line and a lovely melody, and that is why she is here now! Enjoy.¬† ūüôā

Something different!

I had a number of songs to choose from for today but, while looking for YouTube videos of them, I accidentally came across this! I am not a great fan of Country music and, while Dolly Parton has done a few songs which I really liked, I do not have much of her work in my music library. I do however always appreciate a celebrity who can/does behave like a normal human being rather than elevate themselves as a result of their achievements. Dolly Parton? Who could not love her!

Note: If you get a “Video Unavailable” pop-up message, the issue is resolved if you select the YouTube link offered!

The Magic of Music!

There was no music planned for today, but then I had some thoughts about music pieces being kinds of milestones! This was made very clear to me this past week … but I am getting ahead of myself,¬† so let me go back in time.

If I reflect musically, I am taken back to numerous recordings which made an impact such that they are associated with a particular time in my life. My father was an ardent lover of Classical music, and had little time for the “pop music” of the 1960’s (my teen years). My mother liked some classical, and some “pop”, but she really liked the soundtracks from musicals such as “Carousel”, Oklahoma” etc. I had an older sister (by 3 years) who was listening to Buddy Holly, Elvis Presley, Sal Mineo, Pat Boone etc.¬† My exposure to music during my teen years was therefore rather conducive to developing a broad range of musical tastes …. and I can revisit certain periods in my past simply by recalling the music.

Let me give you some examples:

Peter Lind Hayes – “Life Gets Tedious” … goes back to the late 1950’s and could well have been the first song I heard which I liked. It was unusual, creative and funny!

Lonnie Donegan – “Cumberland Gap” – Released in 1957, was my first 78rpm record, and I loved the skiffle rhythms.

Bruch’s – “Violin Concerto #1” (3rd Mvmt) – My first connection with a classical piece. I loved the violin tones and the speed of the piece. I later learned that 3rd Movements were typically written for a fast tempo. I was therefore “anointed” into the realm of Classical music by Max Bruch around¬† 1960/61.

The Searchers – “Needles & Pins” – Came out in 1963, but I first heard it at the beginning of 1964 when I was living in a college across the other side of the country to my home.

During college, and for quite a few years thereafter, music was relegated to a rather insignificant position in my life due to unplanned career path changes and a social life, and then in the late 1960’s I met Les who had just moved into a house just round the corner to us. We shared a common interest in music and he introduced me to The Moody Blues “Question of Balance” album (and many others). He played guitar as a hobby (with dreams of public performances) and eventually influenced me sufficiently that I went out and bought one!

What does all this have to do with milestones? The above clearly suggests that music can take us to a specific point in time, and I would not be surprised if many (perhaps all) of you can travel back in time to a point dictated by music. However, this post was not started with the goal of reminiscing over music, but rather the potential ramifications of a journey into the past and being guided by music.

My very recent journey started when I was in FB, and came across an old photograph of Les (ref earlier comments). It was instant recognition because it was exactly how I remembered him, with very long and rather “out of control” hair! Given that there has been no communication since we moved to another part of town (and later emigrated), the question that came to mind was “What does one say to somebody after 50 years?”

The answer was very simple … say “Hi Les. Just found you by accident. Remember me?”

We are now in regular dialogue as we slowly recap our respective lives. Les is still playing his guitar and¬† has partnered with a lady who plays/teaches violin, and sings. They have formed a “contemporary folk” group (aka alternative folk), and were playing¬† pubs and clubs until COVID put an end to that. As I also maintained my musical interests (my book “Just Thinking” includes a number of pieces that were originally written as songs), we are currently in the process of sharing our musical endeavours!

… and all this came from music. Not only can significant time frames in my life be revisited¬† by way of a song, but a common interest in music was a catalyst to restore a 50 years old relationship.

Music does seem to have that ability to create memories, and if you cannot remember too much about specific times in your past, you probably will if you hear the appropriate song! I am enjoying the magic of music, especially during these COVID times … are you?

Life Gets Tedious –¬† https://meandray.com/2018/04/07/life-gets-tedious/

Cumberland Gap –¬† https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WRUGuuz7yVo

Bruch’s Violin Concerto 3rd Mvmt –¬†¬† https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p5Qhne9qZFY

Needles & Pins –¬†¬† https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZFHpEINyZ-E

Question –¬†¬† https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NP9iOqdxS8c

“Little Boxes”

I am slowly working through my old albums as I load them onto my PC, and so there are inevitably many memories being “revisited”.¬† The album that sticks out this past week was “Pete Seeger Live”. There were no real surprises in the content given it was a mid 1960’s recording, so I happily enjoyed Pete Seeger’s take on the racial discrimination and other cultural issues of those times with “We Shall Overcome”, “If You Miss Me At The Back Of The Bus.”, “That’s What I Learned In School”, “I Ain’t Scared Of Your Jail” … and “Little Boxes”!

I remember being quite absorbed with “Little Boxes” ( I was in my late teens then), and so thought that I would find a video of Pete Seeger singing it. As is often the case, I was rather sidetracked by an unknown (to me) band singing “Little Boxes” … and showing over 14M plays, which far exceeded the Pete Seeger videos. My curiosity got¬† the better of me and, while I¬† was skeptical during the first few moments, I was quite impressed with how Walk Off The Earth presented the song.

I checked into the band yesterday, and was rather embarrassed to read they were from Burlington, Ont … about a 20 min drive from where we live! They’re certainly creative. What do you think?

If you liked their creativity, then here is a bonus:

Melanie!

Melanie Safka came into my life (musically speaking) around late 1970/early 1971.¬† She was the ultimate “flower-child” of those times, and made it quite clear on many occasions how she disliked the manipulation aspects of the music industry. Her “Tuning My Guitar” makes it quite clear that she is a free spirit and will fight manipulation …

https://meandray.com/2020/05/30/tuning-my-guitar/

… but this song (below) was, I think, my introduction to Melanie.

As for my daughter having the same first name? That is not entirely coincidental!

“A Thousand Years”

I have¬† watched so many music videos and have noticed that (so often) the singer simply does their part and the various band members simply do their part. What I miss in many videos is them all¬† showing some cohesion in the performance. What do I mean? Well,¬† it is fine if everybody sings and/or plays flawlessly, but it is so much nicer when they are all “in the same space”. i.e. instead of a group of professional entertainers doing what is expected of them, I can see them reacting with each other as well. Interactions can make a good video into a lovely video!

What can I say about this one … except “What a really lovely video.” I am sure that most of you (probably all of you) will agree. Enjoy!¬† ūüôā

One song … 50 Countries!

I am not going to say anything about this video, except that it is Christian based. Any readers who are not of the Christian faith (or of any faith), can still appreciate the example of people from all around our world coming together to offer a united message of hope for our future. Of course we should also appreciate the technology that made it possible!

“Who Knows Where Time Goes”

Sandy Denny was a well known singer in the UK Folk/Pop scene in the 1970’s but, very sadly, died in 1978 after a fall down some steps. “Her death was ruled to be the result of a traumatic mid-brain haemorrhage and blunt force trauma to her head.” (per Wikipedia) She would have been 31 years old. I always loved her vocal tones and the way she used them.

For anybody interested, a search on this Blog for Sandy Denny will produce two more of her songs that I really like – “Solo” and “Full Moon”. Meanwhile, enjoy “Who Knows Where Time Goes”, recorded when she was the lead singer with Fairport Convention.

“New World in the Morning”

There were some lovely songs recorded in the 1970’s … many of which are still appropriate for today (and probably tomorrow). This was another one that I came across in my task of converting vinyl to digital! It stresses the perennial message that “tomorrow never comes” in the context that, if you really want to do some thing, you shouldn’t wait until “tomorrow”. When you think about it, if there is something we want to do that is important enough to plan starting “tomorrow”, then surely¬† it is important enough to start today?

I remember listening to a speaker who had spent many hours talking with individuals who were at the end of their lives.¬† The ones that had been productive, and could look back with smiles of satisfaction, readily accepted their demise. Conversely, those who had procrastinated throughout their lives, often by simply putting off doing things until “tomorrow”, were the ones that were¬† bitter. From their perspective, life had been unfair to them.

Today is really all we have, and there are no guarantees about tomorrow. One day, tomorrow really is not going to come … literally!¬† Use today to write that letter; send that email; make that phone call; start a walking program; be careful about what you are eating; make the first move to repair a relationship; do anything that you have been thinking about starting “tomorrow”. Nike’s logo of “Do it now” says it all. Enjoy Roger Whitaker reminding is of all this!