Wednesday, May 11, 2005

The Music of My Youth

First, define youth: I was married at 19, had a child at 21. I’m defining youth as everything that came before I got married, though I could make the case that some great enthusiasms which happened after that date could fall into the category. Rickie Lee Jones, for instance.

First single: “Crimson and Clover,” by the . I also borrowed all kinds of stuff from friends and made a reel-to-reel tape. I believe it involved songs by Bobby Vinton, Soupy Sales (really!) and the Archies. It was 7th grade, okay?

First albums:

Glen Campbell. I stand behind Galveston and Wichita Lineman, which I listened to over and over on my little plastic phonograph with built in speakers.
Bridge over Troubled Waters. Ditto the phonograph. I wore this one out. Thereafter, I worked backward through the Simon and Garfunkel oeuvre, receiving them for birthdays and/or Christmas until I had them all, including Wednesday Morning, 3 a.m.

Albums I checked out of the library so much they should have been mine:

Modern Jazz Quartet, . Loved their cool sound.
Mandrill

Albums I have recently repurchased in CD format:

Beach Boys, Pet Sounds. This is sublime. It really is.
Beach Boys, Endless Summer. It’s surprising how many amazing songs the BBs recorded. There’s a garage version of “Barbara Ann” that is unfortunately not on this recording, but is nonetheless a classic. I remember hearing it when coming back from seminary (Mormon religious school, which I went to in the early early morning on school days)—it was the perfect antidote.
Leon Russell and the Shelter People
Led Zeppelin IV. Everything’s good on this album. This music reminds me of seeing my classmates smoking by the flag pole on my high school campus. Can I be wrong about this?
Neil Young, Tonight’s the Night. “Bruce Berry was a working man,/ He used to load that Econoline van./ A sparkle was in his eye / but his life was in his hands./ Late at night when the people were gone/ he used to pick up my guitar,/ and sing a song in a shaky voice/ that was real as the day was long…”
Cat Stevens, Teaser and the Firecat and Catch Bull at Four (what an utter babe Yusef Islam used to be—check out the photos on this recording.)

Albums given to me as gifts:

Leon Russell, Carney. I think people have forgotten about how awesome Leon Russell was. I got to see him with Edgar Winter at a sad bar in Murray—what an amazing show.
Rolling Stones, Hot Rocks. I only have Exile on Main Street and one other greatest hits recording of the Stones. But I did learn sympathy for the devil from this one.
Soundtrack to The Rocky Horror Picture Show (my friend believed I would need this to get through my first year at BYU, and he was right)
Spirit, Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus. My then-boyfriend was convinced of the greatness of this group—he was a wonderful musician, so I gave this a bunch of tries, but it didn’t really ever take.

Songs I couldn’t be bothered with at the time but which haunt me now:

“Betcha By Golly Wow,” Stylistics. Listen to Prince’s cover of this on Emancipation.

Great songs by any standard:

Paul McCartney, “Maybe I’m Amazed,” “High, High, High,” and “My Love (does it good)”
Aerosmith, “Dream On”
Staple Singers, “Respect Yourself”
John Lennon, “Imagine”


Fantastically cheesy music I’d love to hear again, anytime:

Moody Blues, Days of Future Passed. Spawned a zillion slow dances.
Emerson, Lake, and Palmer, Trilogy. Excellent synth-y sound.
Procol Harum, “A Whiter Shade of Pale.” Saw these guys in concert at the Hollywood Bowl. I loved all these three bands because their sound was big, symphonic, and serious.

Eternal Music:

Joni Mitchell, Blue, For the Roses, and Court and Spark
James Taylor, Mud Slide Slim, One Man Dog, and Gorilla
Jackson Browne, Saturate Before Using, For Everyman, and Late for the Sky
Paul Simon, There Goes Rhymin’ Simon
Patti Smith, Horses. This is cheating, as I only heard this after I got married, but it’s from the era, and hey—it’s my post.
Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young, Déjà vu. Every song on this, except “Almost Cut My Hair,” is precious.
Bob Dylan, Blood on the Tracks.
Elton John, Your Song, Honky Chateau, and Goodbye, Yellow Brick Road. It only seemed like throwaway music when the songs came out.
Derek and the Dominos, Layla and other love songs. When I was writing the first version of my dissertation, I listened to this after I listened to three different requiems. It felt like a big arrival.
Stevie Wonder, Talking Book and Innervisions

Classic concerts from this era that I saw:

Eric Clapton (461 Ocean Blvd., clean and sober era) with Santana (the Forum)
Stevie Wonder with Rufus, starring Chaka Khan (the Forum)
Elton John (the Forum)
Joni Mitchell (Miles of Aisles sessions) (the L.A. Amphitheater)
James Taylor (the L.A. Amphitheater)
Dave Brubeck, actually, when he was at full strength (at a community college auditorium, if I’m not mistaken)

Classic concert I missed because I felt it would be a sin to break the Sabbath (gosh!):

Bob Dylan, Before the Flood sessions

1 comment:

Dr. Write said...

I have so many responses I will probably forget some, but I saw some great shows and that's what I am reminded of.
Before they were Famous:
I saw The Presidents in a very small college ballroom. Then I went to Thailand for six weeks and when I got back they were playing Key Arena or some huge place. Sigh.
I saw Cake in the same college ballroom just before they went on tour with one of those Crow bands. I also hung backstage with them, which spawned my enduring love of them. They do the best covers of "Perhaps" and "I Will Survive" ever.
I saw James Taylor, and Robert Cray, and a few others on Cape Cod. Back in the day. Amazing small shows.
I didn't go see REM in a small college ballroom for $5 or some nominal fee back in 1986. Why? I probably had to study. I'm an idiot.
In Pocatell Idaho in the mid-80s, it was also (in Radio Time) the mid-70s, so I (for some reason) love Boston and Steve Miller and old Aerosmith and the Doobies. (the doobies! for god's sake!). I blame rural Idaho.
And my first love was Charlie Rich: "Hey, did you happen to see the most beautiful girl in the world?" I even bought the 45. I think Johnny Cash was my second love. I also loved Elvis at some point, but threw him over for Buddy Holly. And we all know it's a short road from Buddy Holly to Elvis Costello.

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