And Now for Something Completely Different

Yes, the title of my blog post has been stolen directly from Monty Python, but I like it and it suits what you are about to read because today, my dear readers, I’m going to completely break with my normal subjects. In fact…

Normally, I write about:

  • Writing
  • Short Stories
  • Submitting Short Stories to Literary Journals
  • Publishing Short Stories
  • Thoughts on the plight of the short story, and short story writers…….

But today I’m going to write about:

  • Music

That’s right, you heard me (in your head, with a voice that sounds nothing like mine unless you know me personally…)

I could try to make this about writing again and tell you that I don’t listen to music when I write, which is true, but it’s off topic for this post since this post is about Music.

Ahem.

So, about Music. I like it. I don’t listen to music as often as I should because I’m usually spending my free time… hey, wait a minute, I know where this is going! And you need to just stop right there and get back onto the topic. (Sorry.)

Alrighty then, Music.

I grew up listening to Rock-n-Roll, and I was raised on Pink Floyd, AC/DC, Jethro Tull, Steeley Dan (and Donald Fagan’s solo albums which I highly recommend), Peter Gabriel, Eric Clapton, The Doors, The Allman Brothers, The Doobies, Peter Frampton… I could go on, but this is to give you a flavor of the kind of music I listened to at the time.

If I keep going backwards, I’d also have to say I listened to a lot of Disco. And I liked it. That’s not as much of a stigma to admit today as it was in the 80’s and early 90’s. But when I listen to Tragedy by the Bee Gee’s, it’s still damn good and I’m going to keep listening to the Bee Gee’s until I get old (well, I may already be somewhat old so I’ll just say older and we’ll leave it at that, m’kay?)

I’m ALSO going to keep listening to Frankie Valley, and Seals n Crofts, James Taylor, Chicago, and John Denver (yes, I said JOHN DENVER), Little River Band, Wings, Queen, Michael Jackson and many, many other pop artists too numerous to count.

I have to create a special mention for Stevie Wonder in his own paragraph because Stevie Wonder is, you will undoubtedly agree, a GENIUS. The guy has written rock, motown, pop, ballads and everything in between and he has done it brilliantly. I love his entire catalogue and so should you because he is a national treasure.

Now, I’ve already confessed to loving Rock-n-Roll, Disco, some forms of Pop and Motown, but I haven’t really said anything about how much I love the Blues.

In fact, I love the Blues SO much, I may have to write another post about it in the future because I can’t even begin to do the Blues justice in a few sentences or paragraphs.

Let me say this for now, and we’ll come back to this topic again later.

I’ve made pilgrimages for the Blues. I drove to Memphis, TN from New Jersey a few years ago to eat ribs and to hang out on Beale Street at the music shop for hours buying blues CD’s and talking with the manager of the store to find out about artists I didn’t know. I bought SO many CD’s that day that he gave me a free t-shirt. (Trust me, it was a lot of CD’s.)

The Blues is uniquely American, of course, and has its roots in the South, specifically black culture, and some of the best Rock gets its riffs and deep sounds from the Blues.

BB King’s album, Live from San Quentin, is a great set to listen to if you’re not that familiar with the Blues but you want to get into it and have a good time.

I’m a huge fan of sooooo many artists, I cannot possibly do them justice here. Kenny Wayne Shepherd is a real stand out talent, in my opinion, from the last two decades of blues-rock fusion. Pick up the first four albums and just sit back and listen to all of them. It’s fantastic stuff. Then consider he was, like, 18 years old or so (maybe younger?) when the first album came out (I think Ledbetter Heights is the first?), and then pick yourself up off the floor and listen to it again.

So there you have it: music. I don’t normally talk about it, but I wanted to share some of the flavors of what I like and now that you know what I like, you can make suggestions from what you like and I can check it out too.

Who are you listening to these days?

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13 Responses

  1. I love the old rock bands, but I’m a closet fan of Stevie Nicks (love that breathless voice), Bonnie Raitt (is there a pattern here…hoarse-sounding ladies?), and Pat Benatar (it’s confirmed, I’m silly).

    I also dig Gerry Rafferty, Journey, Bon Jovi, and Def Leppard. Eclectic enough for you?

    Of course, my all-time Fave is The Boss. (But I grew up singing The Beatles.)

    p.s. Remind me to tell you about the times I went to concerts by The Who and Judas Priest! (Loved one, hated the other.)

    • They might revoke my New Jersey priveleges for saying this, but I’m not a huge Boss fan, although (like everyone else) I love Born in the USA. I like some of the radio hits, but not all of them.

      But I love the other women artists you mention like Stevie Nicks (and of course you didn’t say it but I assume you may love Fleetwood Mac as much as I do too), Bonnie Rait, Pat Benetar, (what about Joan Jett – she’s great too?)

      Since you enjoy listening to all these ladies, you might also enjoy the music of Susan Tedeschi. She is a phenomenal guitar player, blues singer and is married to another blues singer who has his own band (Derek Trucks). Tedeschi has the chops, and a great voice. Check her out.

      So… I used to lay in my bed at night as a kid singing along to Pyromania. Def Leopard is a great pop-rock mix, and that album is still a classic.

  2. I only have one thing to say: Songs in the Key of Life! Alright I lied, I have more things to say. I am such a music-freak that your post touched a nerve! I have actually started listening to music while I write sometimes – primarily soundtracks and electronica where there are little or no words involved. Anything inspiring and atmospheric. The Lord of the Rings soundtracks are great. There are newer artists that I have been getting into that are mood inspiring for just plain listening enjoyment; if you like Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush, you might enjoy Imogen Heap (Hide & Seek!), Elbow and Bat For Lashes. Perhaps not too coincidentally – they’re all Brits!

    • You know Wren, your comments made me really miss my turn table. I have about 500 vinyl LP’s sitting in storage and no turn table to play them.

      Back in the Dark Ages of my youth, I had a whole Brian Eno phase. I’ve never done “altering substances” of ANY kind, ever, but Eno’s Music for Airports was soooo trippy, I loved it.

      I think it’s why I loved U2’s The Unforgettable Fire because Eno produced it. Eno has produced a lot of bands, actually, and he really brings something unique to the table, which is why I assume Cold Play asked Eno to help them out with their new one Mylo Xyloto. (I haven’t spent a lot of time listening to Cold Play, but I probably should get to know their music a bit better…)

      And if we’re talking about Brits, I completely forgot to mention Elton John which is a huge oversight on my part. From Skyline Pigeon onward, Elton John is (as we all know) a musician for the record books.

    • Oops, meant to also say… Imogen Heap is an artist I don’t know, so I’ll definitely check (her?) out.

      I don’t know why, but that reminds me of Florence and the Machine (I think that’s the name of the band?) and I really do NOT like that song “Dog Days are Over” that was performed on the Academy Awards. That is not my thang.

      • Imogen Heap is not at all like Florence & the Machine. I had been prepared to love Florence when I heard about her, and she just didn’t do it for me. Imogen however – incredible. The first Elbow song I heard “Forget Myself”, I honestly thought I was listening to a new Peter Gabriel track. The hubby even said “Is that Peter Gabriel?”. Bat for Lashes is somewhere out in the cosmos – but along the lines of Kate Bush during the Running up That Hill era.

        • Okay, I will check Imogen’s “Forget Myself” out on iTunes and let you know what I think. Then I’ll have to try and find music by Mogwai that Scribbla recommended.

          I LOVE Peter Gabriel so I’m thinking I will like Imogen Heap.

          And somewhere buried in my replies are some comments about movie soundtracks. Gabriel did the soundtrack for Rabbit Proof Fence, but it’s basically music-only versions of previously released songs, but still, it makes great mood music.

  3. I was also breastfed on the great rock artists – AC/DC, Pink Floyd, et al. These days I find myself exploring the world of post rock. Mogwai is a must.

    • Wow, cool Scribbla – who is Mogwai, and what kind of music is that?

      • Take a listen…

        • Thanks Scribbla. After about five minutes, I had to stop on this one… it just wasn’t my thing. The music was a kind of ambient wall of sound, but not in a Brian Eno kind of way.

          I never thought I would like Moby, but I actually kind of dig some of his ambient electronica (my cousin gave me one of his CD’s as a gift), even though it can be repetitive.

          Not sure what it is about this particular Mogwai track, but part of it – for me at least – was that it’s too long and the repetitions didn’t work for me.

  4. Fun trivia about me: I’m a classical music nerd. You have a question about Mozart? I’m your girl!

    I think music tells us a lot about people. I love Stevie Wonder too. Dust off the old records Carol and bask in the inspiration music can bring! I so often write to music (mostly instrumental, jazz, movie soundtracks are brilliant too) and I find it provokes lucidity of thought.

    • Hey Louise, movie soundtracks is an interesting category. I rarely buy them but I think a long time ago I purchased the Dances with Wolves soundtrack by John Williams.

      John Williams is so well known for his sound tracks, of course (along with Danny Elfman and Randy Newman) and I love the way Williams has these dramatic swells and fades in his compositions.

      Other than that, I bought the soundtrack (a double CD set, in fact) to Reservoir Dogs. Quentin Tarantino had a great set of songs selected for that film… especially the infamous Michael Madsen scene which had Stuck in the Middle by Steeler’s Wheel, I believe.

      🙂

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