Quote of the Day:
“At Haggerty’s and Swami’s
San Onofre and Sunset
Redondo Beach, L.A.
All over La Jolla
At Waiamea Bay,
Everybody’s gone surfin’, Surfin’ USA….” –the Beach Boys
In TB’s recent plea for help in the shaping of the Little Scamp’s musical future, I was surprised and touched by the response from the various realms where these ramblin’s are read. It seems I am not the first parent to take a moment away from worrying about a child’s runny nose, disdain for veggies or the boys she’ll meet in ten years or college funding, or her family history of heart disease….etc….to focus a bit of the neurosis on her development in the field of good tunage.
I was replying to an email sent by a friend of the blog just this morning on the subject as a matter of fact. Prone to digression in the outside universe the same as in the TBU, I found myself suddenly recounting the earliest influences of my own musical life. My brother is ten years older than I, and a lifelong music aficionado. We haven’t seen each other in many years, so long in fact that in my mind’s eye he is yet sixteen years old while to him, no doubt, I am but six. It was my teenage brother in the mid to late 1970’s who provided the early influences on my own musical tastes.
We would sit in his room with the black light of his closet reflecting strangely against a newly acquired STOP sign, when he would let me, and listen to his tunes. I had to stay quiet even though the music was loud. It didn’t make sense and it was hard to do, but rules was rules. By the shadowy light of shrouded lamp, Bill would hold his album covers gently by the edges absorbing all the details in the liner notes and credits. Memory fails me on whether I was ever allowed, with his knowledge, to put my own grubby little digits on them. I do know he taught me how to handle the records themselves and somehow impressed upon me the urgency of proper handling and scratch-free sound. Knowledge I was proud to have, but in the long run was of little practical use.
I remember Abby Road and Sergeant Pepper, preferring then, as now, the artwork of Pepper and the title track–always have loved a story song. Though I’m told by a friend of his that Bill was near-obsessed with the Stones’ Wild Horses, I remember more vividly listening often to Ruby Tuesday, and I still love that almost-upbeat melancholy sound. We listened to a lot of Bob Dylan and I guess Like a Rolling Stone is the tune I recall most–I definitely remember being confused by the fact there was a song and a group, but the group didn’t sing the song. Mostly about Dylan I recall that I dug the harmonica and like any sensible six-year-old, I felt sure I was born harpist. We’d listen sometimes to Pet Sounds and The Best of the Beach Boys. Surfin’ USA was the first non-kid/non-National Anthem song I knew all the words to–well, most of the words to. I still sing that one now like I did then, and there are a lot of parts where I go to a lower volume and unintelligible mode or switch over to the “inside-outside” part before bustin’ back out loud with “Surfin’ USA.” And more than all the rest, there was Don McLean’s American Pie–the second song I learned all the words to, all of ’em, and I still know ’em. Though I can’t say I really know what the hell he’s talkin’ about still or whether he meant the song or the group when he mentioned something about moss and a rollin’ stone. As much as the song I loved that album cover–the thumb painted in American flag.
I’d be curious, as a follow-up to the great discussion generated on the Scamp’s playlist, to see some of the soundtrack of y’all’s own early youth.