Sunday, September 19, 2010

Musical youth

Just sittin' here thinkin' early on a Sunday morning. And for no particular reason, here's a brief timeline . . . of my musical youth.

"Dem goddamn Beatles say dey bigger den Jesus Christ. Dey muss be a bunch a commerniss."

I am 5 and easily bullied by parental units. Original copy of "Meet the Beatles' given to me by Aunt Sybil ends up busted up and pitched into the garbage as some sort of religious act. As opposed to . . . going to church?

1966-67: Take to playing the phonograph in the 1949 Silvertone console, cutting musical teeth on old 78s by Louis Jordan and His Tympany Five, Ivory Joe Hunter, Hank Williams and (yes) Elvis Presley (quite rare, as it turns out). Burn through vintage 45s by the Everly Brothers, Elvis (again), Jerry Lee Lewis, The Kingston Trio, et al.

Unfamiliar enough with the concept of "irony" not to appreciate it in the context of what I've just been listening to from my folks' 1940s and '50s records as compared to their rants about "n****r music."

1971: "C'mon Mama, it's the Carpenters. The Carpenters ain't hippie music."

"Oh, all right."

1971: Out at camp in Head of Island, stay awake half the night under the covers, earphone in ear, listening to acid rock on the "Chad Noga Choo-Choo" on Rampart 102 in New Orleans.

1972: Score 45s by Joe Tex, Dr. Hook, Edgar Winter Group and Gallery, among others, at Howard Bros.

1973: Score 45s by George Harrison, Paul Simon, Billy Preston, Wings, Clarence Carter, Dobie Gray, Elton John and Three Dog Night, among others, at TG&Y.

Have a knack for winning stuff on the phone from

1975: Divide listening time between WLCS and Loose Radio.

1976: Skip lunch a lot to spend lunch money on LPs. All "hippie music."

Regular midnight announcement from parents' bedroom -- "CUT THAT S*** OFF!"

SUMMER 1977: "It's the Sex Pistols. So what?"

FALL 1977: Radio teacher John Dobbs bans from the WBRH airwaves (and confiscates) the copy of "God Save the Queen" my Aunt Ailsa brought back from London that summer -- just as I begged her to. I get my 45 back after promising never to bring it to school again.

Thus ends the last time ever that Baton Rouge was a trendsetter.

Special trek to Musicland at Cortana Mall to buy "Never Mind the Bollocks." Lustily sing the chorus to Bruce Springsteen's "Badlands" while playing air guitar.
For the ones who had a notion, a notion deep inside
That it aint no sin to be glad you're alive
I wanna find one face that aint looking through me
I wanna find one place, I wanna spit in the face of these Badlands
You got to live it every day
Let the broken hearts stand
As the price you got to pay
We'll keep pushing till it's understood
And these badlands start treating us good

1979: Find now-rare "fire cover" of Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Street Survivors" (complete with concert-schedule insert) hiding in the bins of the little-visited Sears record department. Also find "Let It Be" with a rare red-apple label.

Finally get around to replacing that copy of "Meet the Beatles."

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