A Musical Interlude

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I’ve always had eclectic tastes in music. If it is good music, no matter the genre, I will listen to it. My mother was something else, forbidding a wide array of modern music while forcing show tunes and more on me. At least between her and my Dad I got exposed to some great Bluegrass… I also still take pride in my favorite line from Oklahoma! being “I knew I loved her, when I saw the moonlight gleaming off, the barrels of her father’s shotgun.” She was so disappointed.

While I’ve been on something of a metal kick the last few years (Sabaton, The Hu, others), recently I’ve found myself going back to the music of my teenage years. I had to sneak the Doors, Stones, and so much more, and the first album my mother ever allowed me to buy was Herb Alpert. It was the Whipped Cream and Other Delights album, and even to my seven-year-old(?) self, it caught my eye and imagination. Even then I was smart enough not to say why I was interested and came up with something else to focus on.

Which sort-of leads into my teenage years when I fast talked my way into The Electric Light Orchestra (ELO). I think it was all the classical instruments and such that let me sell that one, and the fact that I wasn’t lying or misleading about how some parts reminded me of ships of the British Navy (which I was studying at the time) crashing through the sea, etc. May not have hurt that mom (and to a lesser extent my Dad) was convinced Bev Bevan was a girl because of something on PBS that made it look like he had moobs. This was well before Dipper Gorey, thankfully, though I am amused to this day that ELO’s finger in her eye (Fire On High) became one of their most commercially successful songs. They were also the first real concert I ever attended.

As an aside, my vision for many songs is not the normal one. For example, when Age of Aquarius comes on I see in my mind a Saturn V thundering off the pad because of a certain moon mission. For ELO’s Tightrope, I can see a grinning Scotty being a smartass (and this was before I met Mr. Doohan) beaming down a skein of rope to Kirk instead of beaming him up. Gerry Rafferty’s Home And Dry always had me in the cockpit of an F-15 or similar headed to England. Don’t ask. Just know the picture in my head is rarely the standard shown on the music video or other.

At any rate, I went exploring back through the ELO of my youth, before Bev Bevan, Mik Kaminski, Mike de Albuquerque, Richard Tandy, Mike Edwards, and Hugh McDowell left. Back well before the phase I still refer to as the Jeff Lynne Memorial Ego Project. Innovative, risk taking, and some neat and unusual sound.

Some of the music holds up amazingly well. I still love the melding of classical instruments with synthesizer and modern riffs and chords. Some of the lyrics hold up well as well. Some, well, not so much.

Back in the day, an early form of virtue signally was the ‘War Is Bad’ song that was somewhat de rigueur in the time. A bit earlier it had been a required anti-Vietnam song for so many. At any rate, ELO’s take on it was the epically long Kuiama. I remember loving it, and thinking it was just great.

Today, while the instrumental portion is still amazing in many respects, I really don’t think eye-rolls, snorts, and shaking my head were the responses being desired for the lyrics. My response back then was ‘Oh Wow!’ Today, my response is more ‘Oh Wow is that terrible!’

I did notice in going back through that and other music from my youth, is that I think my brain is trying to augment the lost hearing. One of the more annoying parts of being hit by lightning is that I’ve lost all the high-frequency hearing in my right ear. Makes listening to music not quite as enjoyable, and even a bit annoying on occasion. However, with music I had truly listened to before, it’s as if the brain was trying to “fill in” some of the missing notes. Interesting.

While I may have known it before the strike, I have also been exploring the influence of Alan Parsons. Yes, loved the Project but it is truly amazing how many albums and/or songs by so many different artists are what they are because of him. The common denominator for the albums I like in several different genres is his work on them.

It’s interesting that he is also responsible for one of two songs I think appropriate to play at the end of the world. The first of the two is the suggestion of Roger Zelazny who fashioned a short story around Miles Davis’s rendition of Saeta being the song played by the main character at the end of the world. The second, which is my more modern choice, is Alan Parson’s Genesis Ch.1,v.32.

In reviewing these and other songs, it is interesting to see what has held up, and what hasn’t. Frankly, I’m a bit amazed at how well so much of it has held up. And on others, well, I have also been doing a bit of MST and making fun of the lyrics and such that didn’t. Also, have renamed some of the soft pop of the late 60’s and 70’s as whiney bitch music…

BTW, if challenged I cheerfully admit that the HipHop I listen to is Zuby. My favorite rap song gets me in trouble: One Night In Bangkok by Murray Head.

Oh, final thought: if you come across any ELO concert footage that has Mik Kaminski in it, watch. The man was/is amazing and in that first concert I watched in awe as he plucked, repeat plucked, the Flight of the Bumblebee. Even the other band members were shaking their head at amazement.


If you would like to help me in my recovery efforts, which include moving to the SW, feel free to hit the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo. Getting hit by lightning is not fun, and it is thanks to your gifts and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.

2 thoughts on “A Musical Interlude”

  1. One of my favorite Bluegrass bands is actually from Chicago and used to play locally several times a year before they hit the bigtime.

    Check out Henhouse Prowlers.

    Their song “Simplify” is always floating around in my playlists, and “Chop my money” is just fun 🙂

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