Tuesday, April 12, 2016

A New Chapter

After 14 years with a particular organization, I find my self unemployed and beginning a new chapter in my life. This was unexpected as, I guess, I thought I began the LAST chapter in my life 4½ years ago. Now, I don't like change any more than the next guy, but I trust God to guide me where I'm needed.

In the meantime, while looking for work, this looks to be a good time to blow the dust and soot off this blog. So, here we go...


I realize all too clearly that I have all but become the stereotypical old man, sitting in a rocking chair on the front porch, whittling, yelling at the neighborhood kids to "git offa my lahn!!".

My father never was like that. He was a quiet man. He didn't particularly like my rock'n'roll music, but he didn't complain about it either. He always encouraged my music interest, even when it turned into music study. His view was that it's a great hobby. He actually played piano and organ completely by ear, without a second of training. But not as a career. I'll skip the point for now that I wish I'd listen to him on that.

Anyway, my high school years spanned the 1970s. So I listened to a lot of Doobie Brothers, Seals and Crofts, Chicago, Three Dog Night, Elton John, The Eagles, well, you get the picture. Mostly on the radio until I was able to buy albums of my own.

This continued throughout the decade until disco started entering the picture. At this point, not liking disco, I began my lifelong search for music I liked that was not so easy to come by. All this time, several record companies, Warner Brothers in particular, were release "sampler" albums via mail-order. I got to hear many artists that were not getting on the radio stations. At least, not the ones I could get.

This lead me to Cat Stevens, Steely Dan, Jethro Tull, Genesis, and others. Once I knew they existed I knew what to look for in the record store. But in those days, teens didn't have all the disposable funds that teens seem to have now. So I couldn't buy very many and had to choose carefully. Often I was hang around in the record stores listening to whatever album they were playing on the store system.

During this time, there were landmark albums of my high school years, such as (in no particular order):

  • Aja & Katy Lied - Steely Day
  • Who's Next - The Who
  • The Dark Side of the Moon - Pink Floyd
  • Yessongs - Yes
  • Seven Separate Fools - Three Dog Night
  • One of These Nights & On The Border & One of These Nights - The Eagles
  • They Only Come Out at Night - The Edgar Winter Group
  • Diamond Girl & Summer Breeze - Seals and Crofts
  • Third Annual Pipe Dream - The Atlanta Rhythm Section
  • So What - Joe Walsh
  • Born to Run - Bruce Springsteen
  • Physical Graffiti - Led Zeppelin
  • Night Moves - Bob Seger
  • Silk Degrees - Boz Scaggs
  • The Pretender - Jackson Browne

And more, that's only though 1976. There were may songs and artists I was not exposed to until years and sometime decades later.

I was relying on records and the one AOR radio station out of Tallahassee for "my" music. The rest of the radio was country and western (when it was REAL country and western) and disco-pop. And all of that reached a peak in September of 1975.

I was so frustrated of everything being played on rock radio I was ready to give up on music completely. So, standing in front of my silent radio I prayed to God my frustration and how much I loved music. I made a deal with Him. I would turn on the radio and whatever was playing, with no retuning, if I like it, I would be patent and not give up on music. Otherwise I was going to chunk the radio all together.

I stood there, nervously with my hand on the knob. Then I took a deep breath and turned it on.  Bruce Springsteen was proclaiming "baby we were born to run". Having never heard the song before, I turned it up and just breathed in the layered guitars and desperate lyrics that were both alien and familiar to me.

After the song finished, some banal-crap song began. It turned off the radio and told God that I was good for my word. I continued my search for music that spoke to me. Starting off with "Born to Run".

Later on in the 70s, WFSU radio started an afternoon program called Freefall. It was the onset of college radio. It was my new source for the non-top40.

I continued this pattern until I basically gave up during the 90s. It was in this decade that I had the most difficulty relating to the sounds of the music. Of course there are always exceptions. Actually, as I type this Seal is singing for me from 1994 from one of the best albums EVER.

So now, I focus on "old" music but I keep looking. Praise God I've pretty much been able to put together my ideal library. And as I listen to Stephen Stills on my iPhone, I can sit in the car-port and make sure those dang kids stay "offa my lawn".

Coming soon - my music of the 80s, the college years...

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