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Songs I Love - My Life, Inspired by Music AND My Dad
I Love and Have Loved SO MANY Songs and Songwriters Throughout My Life...
I'm guessing that this particular lens could go on for a mile. I have listened to music and have played and sung for my entire life.
My earliest memories were of my Dad singing and playing songs from The Brothers Four (I actually got to meet them in the early 1990s, and got them to sign a CD for my Dad).
My mom also sang, and she had a lovely voice.
I have been very, very blessed with a voice. Give me a song with a real tune, and I'll be humming or singing along. I love making harmonies.
I love writing music. Playing piano. Playing guitar... Listening to old vinyl, tapes...
BUT... I don't yet have an iPod if you can believe that! (Hint hint for anyone wanting to know what they can get me for a gift!)
So, if you can indulge me, I'd like to share a few memories and some of my favorite songs and songwriters. Again, this is the tip of the iceberg for me!
Some of My Earliest Memories
The Brothers Four!
I have always loved The Brothers Four. I still do! I still listen to their albums...
When I was REALLY little and just learning the actual language of music terminology such as "Andante," "Allegro," etc, one day my dad was singing "Oh My PaPa" to me. It was such a soulful and sad sounding song... ("Oh my papa, to me he was so wonderful. Oh my papa, to me he was so grand...")
I would beg him to stop, saying "Oh Daddy, Please stop! It's Andante!" (meaning slow... I was very clever, don't you think?)
The reason it saddened me so much is that I did, and still do, adore my father. He was like a hero to me. Patient and teaching. He would read to me. He would sit for hours on end if I need to have "a 'scussion" (discussion about something that was either troubling me or of interest to me).
The thought of my Dad NOT being there was (and still is) a thought I can scarcely bear. Of course, I loved my mom too - but my Dad is the one who really helped me through the dark hours of adolescence when I needed someone to believe in me.
So, that's why The Brothers Four have such a pull on my heart to this day.
One of my ABSOLUTE Favorite Brothers Four Tunes... - But, I cannot say ONLY ONE is my Favorite...
It is so incredibly difficult for me to narrow down just 1 or 2 of my favorite Brothers Four tunes. Here are some of the most memorable ones for me though: Nancy Whiskey, Greenfields (I still sing this all the time - in the car, just walking around...truly a beautiful song), Lemon Tree, Yellow Bird, Oh Mama Oh Mama Come Scrubba My Back (actually don't know the real name), Oh My Papa...
But, for today... just for today, "Try to Remember" - a song actually from a show called The Fantasticks (remember "Lenny Brisco" from Law & Order, played by Jerry Orbach? Anyway, Jerry starred in The Fantasticks in the original off-Broadway production in the early 60s, and sang this beautiful song)
I wish I could find a good recording of it!
And the magnificent voice of Judith Durham
When I first heard songs like "Georgie Girl" and "I'll Never Find Another You," I knew I had found my vocal mentor.
I would have done almost anything to have been on stage with Judith Durham, singing along to "I'll Never Find Another You."
Also, she just epitomized the happiness and beauty that I felt when I sang.
If you see a photo of Judith today, you'll still see it. She is still a singer whom I admire so very much. I still look for YouTube videos that I can sing along to...
Judith, if you ever see this, please know how much your singing means to me. :)
Following is one of my favorite YouTube videos!
Judith Durham and The Seekers - I'll Never Find Another You
I love this song and Judith Durham has the most amazing voice. Plus, she looks so happy.
I still get chills listening to this song...
And The Seekers...45 Years Later! - Oh My... They STILL Sound Heavenly!
I just had to come back and add this YouTube video that I just stumbled upon... Here are The Seekers on a tour in 2010 - 45 years after their first blockbuster hit "I Know I'll Never Find Another You." I listened to the interview preceding their performance of this song, and I seriously had tears in my eyes. They are still wonderful, marvelous people, and you can tell that they still love one another! And the voices! Good Lord! You would NEVER know that this is 45 years later. :) Please enjoy!
Fast Forward to the Mid 1960s
I was only 7 or 8 years old, so forgive my memory!
About 1967, when I was still quite young - only 8 - I began hearing terms like "Peace" and "Love" in ways I hadn't before. Far too young to understand what was really going on in the country and world, there was still something that hit me at a pretty deep level.
I have never been able to really explain myself to others - but from a very early age, I feel as though I have been, well, a little "different" from others who were my age.
For example, I just couldn't get into The Beatles - but I adored George Harrison. I didn't much care for the stuff like "My Boyfriend's Back" or other "puppy rock" type of sounds.
I was singing all the time. But, even though The Rolling Stones were pretty big by this time, as was Cream (Eric Clapton, et al) that my older brother really liked - it just wasn't for me.
And then, I recall hearing a few melodies that I sing to this day, The Youngbloods singing "Get Together" or Scott MacKenzie singing "San Francisco...". Sometimes I go to YouTube just to hear and sing along! The following YouTube clips will show you where I was!
I always did picture walking around with flowers in my hair...
San Francisco (Be Sure To Wear Some Flowers In Your Hair)
I had never been to San Francisco, but Scot MacKenzie made it sound so alluring. I knew nothing about any "movement" that was going on. I just loved the song. Wonder what my parents thought if they heard me walking around singing it... Great imagery in this song!
Get Together (C'mon people now...smile on your brother...) - The Youngbloods
I sing this beautiful song frequently. When I wintered over in Antarctica (1990-91), my friend Dawn and I would sing all the time, and this was one we NAILED! We sang this at an Acoustic Night that we had helped organize during the dark mid-winter over at nearby Scott Base (New Zealand's Antarctic research station), and I still listen to the tape of that night.
Love the harmonies...
"...everybody get together, try to love one another right now..." Just wish I could find a YouTube video that's live for this one.
I still didn't know what was going on in the world...
Frankly, the 1970s for me weren't all that much fun. High school and stuff. College was fun in the late 70s, but the early and mid 70s weren't so hot.
I was more concerned about boys, and watching Adam-12 (had a crush on Kent McCord) and The Brady Bunch than the nightly news, so I was kind of a clueless young lass... still am, actually!
But, other than daydreaming about boys, I read a lot, played piano, and discovered the guitar. More than a few songs and songwriters stand out in my mind!
Singing along with Joan Baez, Judy Collins, Peter Paul & Mary, Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, Jim Croce, and John Denver was not only fun then - but it still is today.
A lot of the songs I learned in the 70s were actually from the 60's (e.g. "Both Sides Now" by Joni Mitchell, and covered by Judy Collins, or "Someday Soon" by Ian and Sylvia, also covered by Judy Collins, etc).
Here are a few of the ones I still connect to the 1970s.
The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down - Covered by Joan Baez...(and Me and My Dad!)
Ok, I had not yet even HEARD of Robbie Robertson or his band, The Band, when I first heard Joan Baez belt this out on the car's AM radio while my dad drove me and my friends to our Saturday morning Bowling League. I have loved this song ever since, and to this day, my dad bursts out laughing when we hear it.
There's a part in the early part of the song where Joan is singing, "...We were hungry, just barely alive..." and the way it came out sounded like "HONGRY" - so my Dad would always wait 'til Joan would hit that part, and then say, "HONGRY??" And I'd laugh every time. :)
By the way, my husband has since turned me on to The Band. Outstanding stuff! Should've been 70's for me, but alas, it's the 2000s instead for me.
The Band? Or Joan Baez? - Hmmm...
Robbie Robertson from The Band wrote "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down," and Joan Baez brought it to my attention a bit later.
Which version of "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down?" The Band? or Joan Baez?
Oh, it's THE BAND all the way... No Comparison
Big Yellow Taxi - Joni Mitchell
I've heard Joni sing this in a few different versions, but this is the one that I sing. Ahem. I can still hit the note at the end (including that little "ah ha ha ha!" giggle she adds)
Can't have enough Joni...
Late 70s into the early 80s
BEFORE I went to Antarctica, I spent the last few years of the 70s and first year or so of the 80s in college, and with my first husband, Paul. He introduced me to a lot of great music, and my memories of those years still include my favorites from earlier, but now I was beginning to listen to John Renbourn and Pentangle, Dan Fogelberg, Jackson Browne, and that ilk.
Even today, I have my copy of Renbourn's "The Black Balloon" with me to play. Renbourn is, simply put, an absolute genius on guitar. Of course I love Clapton and other modern guitar greats, but that ancient English "country" style of music that Renbourn excels in has captivated me since the day I first heard it.
I had the good fortune to meet Dan Fogelberg (RIP) in Vail before one of his concerts (during my days working at the Lane Guest Ranch in Colorado). What a wonderful, warm, down-to-earth man he was. Naturally, I had a crush on him too...
So, here are a couple of my faves from that era...
The Mist Covered Mountains of Home - John Renbourn
The first of my John Renbourn favorites...
The Pelican - John Renbourn
Probably my all-time favorite John Renbourn piece. Haunting, melodic, and so wonderful to listen to. This frequently goes through my head for hours and hours at a time! Off the album "The Black Balloon." Listen to this and tell me if this doesn't stick in your head!
To The Morning - Dan Fogelberg
I will always have a very special place in my heart for anything "Dan Fogelberg." Although this particular piece of Dan's was released early in his career, I didn't hear it - or even hear of Dan Fogelberg - until around 1979 or so. I also knew a guy out in Loveland, Colorado who claimed to own one of Dan's old guitars - a Guild. This guy played Dan's songs beautifully, and inspired me to get a Guild of my own - I still have a sunburst Guild from 1976.
Rest in Peace Dan Fogelberg... Gone too soon like so many other wonderful performers.
In 1983 I Went to New Zealand...
Certain tunes evoke memories of New Zealand for me...
If there was any country in the world that I could live, other than my own, it would be New Zealand. Some of the greatest memories from the 1980s through 1991 involve New Zealand - whether it was me and my first husband on our 4-5 month bicycle trip in 1983-84, or subsequent visits as a result of my work in Antarctica.
During that time, for some reason there are 2 songs that I always "hear" when I think of New Zealand. One is "Moonlight Shadow," by Mike Oldfield, another is "99 Luftballoons," and then "In A Big Country" ALWAYS brings me back. :)
Moonlight Shadow - Mike Oldfield
This brings me back to 1983, Tauranga, New Zealand where we hung out with friends for a while. Have a listen!
In a Big Country - Big Country
I can't help it. Every time I hear this song I'm in New Zealand. Were these guys "1 Hit Wonders?"
The Antarctic Years
1984 - 1991
I spent several seasons in Antarctica, beginning in 1984 when my first husband, Paul, and I went to "The Ice" as it's fondly called. I continued going back to the Ice after our divorce, and including time there with my 2nd husband - he who will not be named, if that's ok with everyone here...
Anyway, this sort of corresponded with the start of MTV, which was wonderful - in my opinion - in those days. I was enthralled by the incredible creativity shown in those early videos. Here are my memories - largely from Antarctica.
Another reason for most of my 1980s into late 1991 music choices are due to the fact that everything we heard in Antarctica was sent in by family and friends back home, on VCR tapes.
Also, thanks to my friend Ann, who introduced me and another friend, Dawn to the beauty of madrigal a capella singing, I fell in love with this form of music! The three of us performed at what has probably gone down in history as McMurdo Station's finest Art Show, which was an absolute blast...
Here are some of my memories...
Money for Nothing - Dire Straits
Hands down... Ask me "What music did you listen to in Antarctica?" I will answer "We watched 'Money for Nothing' by Dire Straits on a video someone sent down..."
This version brings me back to when we would be sitting on a dusty couch in our quarters during the evening hours when someone would pop in the VHS that their friend or someone had sent down...
Once In A Lifetime - Talking Heads
I never was really into The Talking Heads prior to going to Antarctica, but this stuff really grew on me. And I related to this song.
Interestingly enough, this particular song seemed to resonate with a lot of us down there! We'd joke around, "How did I get here" or "You may find yourself....(fill in the blanks)..."
And when we'd leave after our season...and then come back the next season, we'd look around... "Same as it ever was..." Part of the fun!
Yeah, a lot of us related to this song, and while we worked hard, we laughed hard too! The types of people I met and friendships I made are likely to remain the strongest, finest memories and friendships in this lifetime. And...Hmmm. Come to think of it, this song still resonates with me. I don't want to wake up one day and think, "How Did I Get Here???!!!" I want to enjoy it all.
Now Is The Month Of Maying - ...When merry lads are playing...fa la la la la la la la la la...
I have to say that some of my fondest Antarctic memories involve singing. And thanks to my good friends Ann and Dawn, I got to do quite a bit of it - particularly during my final year on the Ice (1990-91).
Ann is very knowledgeable about song and music, and introduced me to Madrigals. Dawn, who has the voice of a beautiful bell-bird, sang soprano, I was 2nd, and Ann was alto. Between Ann's excellent direction, her music selection, and our desire to sing our hearts out, we successfully put together a set of madrigals that I feel (humbly) that we NAILED! :)
I don't have the tape of us where I am right now, but I found a rendition of "Now is the Month of Maying" on YouTube that I'll share with you here.
(I think WE actually sounded a bit better than these folks...) :)
And finally... I met John!
I have a marriage most people only dream of...
Really, I mean that. John is a wonderful husband, a great friend, and steadfast in his convictions.
A little exacting in his musical tastes, and he introduced me to stuff I should really have heard back in the 70s.
For example, Lynryd Skynyrd, Bob Seeger (Turn the Page), Bluegrass... Classic Rock.
In John's words, "You can say all these names, but I don't like all of it... Just the hard-hitting stuff that came from the soul, not the stuff they did to make money."
So, here is a selection of some of our favorites! These particular selections speak to the way we think and feel. Soul. Real. Truth. Sure, these guys made money on these songs, but we truly believe that they felt it.
As John says, "Not that we want to LIVE in the past... but we can certainly LEARN from it."
Dedicated to my wonderful husband, John. :)
Turn The Page - Bob Seeger
From the heart. What else needs be said? Bob Seeger says it all so eloquently here...
Simple Man - Lynyrd Skynyrd
John introduced me to this song, along with "The Ballad of Curtis Lowe" (next module). John's convictions and values are pretty simple indeed. How many can live up to this message?
Lynyrd Skynyrd - So much more then "Freebird"
Why do so many great singers and songwriters have to depart so soon?
Ballad of Curtis Lowe - Lynyrd Skynyrd
Another incredible and heartfelt song. Now, WHY, I ask myself, WHY did I not really know about Lynyrd Skynyrd back in the 70s??
Sigh... I can only think that I was too busy trying to survive high school. But, I have an appreciation for this genius now, an unbelievable appreciation for this material.
I had so much fun putting this page together, and believe me... it's a work in progress for as long as I can grace the pages of Squidoo.
Please let me know your thoughts! I'll add more as time goes on!