Tracks In The Dust

A Father's Advice About Learning the Mission of Life

Archive for the tag “Beatles”

Music: Favorite Albums All Time

I was going to stick with a list of 10 albums or something.

But at my age, it seems like it is justified to make it 25. So here is the first 10. There is way too much historical music and experiences to stop short.

Heart Music

I realized that I am pretty much sticking to classic rock and vinyl memories. Actually the 2nd 15 there are few more contemporary albums.  Not much out of the out of the mainstream or anything… but that is what was thought-provoking. Maybe for you too.

The challenge is to think about the following. Not just that it is “good” music-because that could go on forever on a list. Rather consider this.
• Changed your personal perspective musically
• The music became embedded into your life and the “album” itself is important- not just one song on it

Here’s my first 10 – the other 15 come later. Chime in with comments-anyone who likes music of any sort has an opinion.

1 Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band: I held it in my hands that summer day and listened to it over and over and read the words (they included the frickin’ words) and stared at the cover. I didn’t have the money for the stereo version- I bought the mono version. It didn’t matter, I was consumed by it. It still amazes me every time I listen to it end to end. It seems like a much longer album, but it wasn’t that long.

2 Who’s Next: I blew a set of speakers because of this album. I think it was on “Baba O’Rielly”, but it maybe could have been “Won’t Get Fooled Again”. I can’t tell you how great it is that all of my teenagers love this album as much as I did in 71. They totally get how it influenced what they listen to today. It still makes sense even now. The songs. The lyrics. The music.

3 Ziggy Stardust and Spiders from Mars: What Sgt Peppers did in its day, Bowie helped glam rock and all that it would be. It captures the heart of Velvet Underground and what would be the rest of the Mott the Hoople/T Rex/Lou Reed evolution. Even though there were better albums in that era in some pieces, this was the complete damn record.

4 Inner visions: Stevie Wonder man, in the way that this album was constructed is like some sort of opera for the inner city, but also like a painting, or a movie. It stands as a work of art. The album influenced the word of soul, funk, and everything that came after that. It influenced me by taking me beyond rock for the first time in a way that Motown music had not done before that.

5 Hotel California: The first time I heard this, I was in denial. I had heard the Eagles first album and it was stacked up with the “America” album in my collection. Then I listened to this album. It was the way that they captured the essence of California, and all that it meant to be the cool part of the next decade. The 60’s were behind- this was the cool 70’s and this was the new band to take it there.

6 Déjà vu; I have to say that this is a personal favorite- but like you gotta know – if you play Carry On really loud, it just doesn’t get better. Add to that the bass line and organ in the title song, and “Almost Cut My Hair”. I loved their first album, but this was something more stretching – it had Neil Young too.

7 Beach Boys Pet Sounds: I know I grew up as a young kid listening to them rather than the standard bubble gum stuff other kids my age were listening to. All the early 60’s stuff was fun and pop- 3 minute songs with a lot of images. This was the real thing. “God Only Knows” and “Caroline No” the Warmth of the Sun… just put this on the record player and close your eyes… and it always projects me back ( like most music does) – but it like put this box around summer, and made it the good vibrations.

8 Todd Rundgren: Something/Anything; I grew up in the matter of months from a kid-like existence to  being an adult with this album. This was something that captured everything in one double album for me. Todd spoke words to make me remember my high school years with each song bringing back something different. It Wouldn’t Have Made Any Difference, if you’d loved me. Yes, Wizard True Star album was kicking ass, but this was like a soundtrack album for me.

9 Jimi Hendrix: Electric Lady Land. I used to play this off my back porch by stringing my speakers from my room down and out the back door. Smoke cigarettes and drink beer and keep turning the records over and starting again. Then later I put it on tape and just let it play. It pissed off the neighbors, but my friends and I were in a trance I think. Imagine Voodoo Child playing on a humid late summer evening, with a beer in your hand.

10 Dark Side of the Moon: Okay so I couldn’t find a way to not list this album. It had really captured me- I had owned Uma Gumma I think – but this was so rich with sounds. Okay – so like so many others, I used to sit in the dark and smoke stuff and listen to this. I owned a better stereo then I had in my earlier days…and this was one for the headphones too. Okay a weakness. I had one of those light things that would change with the music  that my brother had given me – we would put this on, then for an encore-play Echoes from Meddle. Dude.

If you got this far… share your top 10. No choices are wrong, it is about you.

Respecting Life’s Lessons, Life Flows On

There is something about understanding your own choices, though not everyone wants to try to.  It means admitting that you are the person in control of the course you are taking in your life. After all is said and done, life’s lessons seem to be the most indelible. Looking back. they have the most meaning and impact our futures. Though it is more popular these days to look for others to blame I think.

Who Are You

I mean all the warnings, all the advice, all those things I have told my kids from my life’s lessons as a parent are things they can decide fit in their lives or not. I could have shamed them into believing them, I could have punished them and made them believe. I could have reasoned with them ( but in those rebellious teen years there wasn’t a lot of reasoning). Still they decided it was valuable to find their way by “being independent” and did things that didn’t always make sense to me. Often it led to those regrettable moments,that they had to end up dealing with personally .

So life’s lessons are the best way to learn, as it seems as though those lessons are the hardest. Mistakes we are making that can break us, can take us to a path we would never have chosen.

As I look back I have to admit that there were plenty of those decisions I made in the past. Knowing that things could be different now doesn’t change it. Knowing I didn’t always take other’s advice had its reward and its regrets.

What I have learned: One of the most important personal life’s lesson: Respect the lesson’s from the past, weigh the advice that others give you. And as I had recently posted … in the end be true to yourself (as I recently posted). Life flows on.

Within You Without You”

We were talking about the space between us all
And the people who hide themselves behind a wall of illusion
Never glimpse the truth, then it’s far too late, when they pass away
We were talking about the love we all could share
When we find it, to try our best to hold it there with our love
With our love, we could save the world, if they only knew
Try to realize it’s all within yourself
No one else can make you change
And to see you’re really only very small
And life flows on within you and without youWe were talking about the love that’s gone so cold
And the people who gain the world and lose their soul
They don’t know, they can’t see, are you one of them?

When you’ve seen beyond yourself then you may find
Peace of mind is waiting there
And the time will come when you see we’re all one
And life flows on within you and without you

Musical Moments In Time

It is kind of profound really. I did my best to commemorate the 50th anniversary of The Beatles playing on American TV for the first time. I can tell you that I remember right where I was on that night, playing with some elementary school friends who were the children of my parents best friends.

Beatles Pix

We all huddled around the black and white 19″ TV in their living room and stared and smiled. We boys were too manly to scream. My parents and their friends shook their heads in disbelief that these mop-haired musicians were so popular. They were sure that it would pass, this would be a novelty. Like the icons of the 50’s – they would burn out and something else would replace them also. But we found out later they were not replaceable. They were indelible and made a lasting impression on my life, and so many others of my generation.

Those impressions lasted. I have passed the torch in a way, and showed my children the simplicity of their music, the pure construction of the early years, the experimentation era and the ironic struggles to Get Back as they quickly disintegrated as the fab 4. It was the music, it is the music that has held up. I hear it in the songs and artist my children happily introduce me to. There are so many good ones actually. It takes a true musician to construct pop music that will last beyond the next pre-fabricated musical trends.

I clearly remember every album as they arrived. What I was doing and where I was. Long playing vinyl records that had 2 sides and in many cases didn’t last past 30 odd minutes in total. But there it was in the record bins. When I was younger I even purchased the “mono” versions instead of the stereo versions because it was an affordable $1-2 less than the stereo.

Looking back now I even bought my first (not last) copy of Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band in mono. I sat and listened to it that summer, over and over and sponged up the sounds that were so fresh and different that I had to keep playing them again. And the album came with the “words”- so even more than the music, you could enjoy the meaning as well as the tune. The album came with lavish cover art and cut-outs that made the physical album itself an experience.

I will always see The Beatles as the musicians who helped move my world from black and white to color. Helped me explore the music beyond the 20 songs constantly played on the AM radio. Helped me to consider the possibilities for popular music today and I can still them in the new artists music. Like so many other musicians at the time and since, they have paved the way for the music and the experience for my children and theirs in the future. Thanks to those iconic guys.

The Day The Music Died

For those of us who love music… we likely all have music heroes.

Imagine

There are those musicians who perform and write music that hits our psyche, those who make a certain time in our lives more than special. There are those musicians who have been present in our lives for a long-span of it, and continue to be part of the soundtrack of our lives over the rest of it.

Music is a thread for me that has been present in one way or another for as long as I can remember.  I had music at my fingertips since I was old enough to play those yellow plastic 78 rpm records and 45 rpm records with the big hole in the middle on a little record player I had in my bedroom. I remember when my brother gave me his old “transistor radio” that actually allowed me to travel with music everywhere I went. It was the beginning of a discovery of the variety of music in the world. Easy listening, classical, country – you name it. In particular rock and roll was in its infancy stages when I was quite young. I was enamored with the same hits that all older teens were listening to, and wanted to play it every waking hour.

I learned about The Beatles there. In 1963 I had in my hand a $3.99 LP that my dad helped me buy from the local department store called “Introducing the Beatles”.  A brown almost old fashioned themed cover on an odd label (V Jay) with 4 guys  pictured on it that if they had shorter hair could have been the 4 Freshman, but they weren’t- they were significantly different.

From that moment on I was willing to consume all of the British invasion – take in every nuance of reference to the Merseybeat, to the mods and sods of English ruffians. But no matter what – the Beatles were my central soundtrack. Through the 60’s as I was growing up, they were growing up too. They were moving the culture of a generation of music, others were following. Even in the initial times of the late 60’s rock renaissance explosion, the Beatles were the royalty of the rock music that had become so diverse in such a short time.

So I here I am. Fifty years later. Still the fan of a group that has long since passed as music is depicted today. No wrecking ball, no electronic drums, no voice boxes.

What I miss terribly are all the years that we lost when John Lennon was assassinated so early in his life. Like many before him and many since, there was a lot of music to consume in such a short time. But imagine what it would be if he had survived to be the senior musician his famous writing partner has become. What would we have experienced?

That day in December 1980 will be indelibly in my mind. I was actually broadcasting on a local small town college radio station at the time. I spent the entire night with listeners who called in with disbelief as we listened to his music and remembered the day that made the music live for us. The music died that day. I still will remember it, hope many others do too.

This Never Happened Before

My wife and I find that things are quite different these days.

In Is In Your Hands

Maybe you could call it “empty nest syndrome” or something like that, but actually it is just more about becoming older. Not the kind of “older” that means turning into a senior citizen. But the older that is more about knowing who we are, what we want and what is important to us.

We have been living most our lives together headed toward the future. Getting married, finishing school, moving around the country to find the next part of a career to support our family, and owning a home. Kids, yes we wanted kids. When we were younger we would think that maybe six kids would be great – yup a big family. As we decided to have children we determined six was not in the plan after the 2nd one we knew . In the end, four was enough.

But we spent much of their lives ( our lives) as the grew up being sure they were healthy, happy ( too much about that sometimes). that they had a good moral compass, good work ethic, made good decisions ( believe me they did not always make good decisions… sometimes really really poor ones).  There to support them. It was our imperative. We love them. We wanted only the best for them and wanted to surround them with the things that matter (love would have been enough).

But now they are old enough ( all over 20 actually) and can make their own way through things each day. Just like my wife and I did when we were young. Oh we will be there for them whenever they need us, advice. sympathy, finances (sometimes), we enjoy and have excitement for their progress in the world.

But this never happened before: We have to make our way with our love to a new place, One that will be centered more around US and less around growing up with the kids in mind. We are what is needed for the future. We need to make that a priority.

Life is short, and it is definitely shorter on the downhill ride. Love my wife very much. This is the way it should be for lovers. 

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