Friday, July 11, 2008

Sunday Mornings - in Concert



Stuffed with my usual Sunday morning breakfast of bacon and pancakes I have plunked myself down on the couch to continue watching Sunday morning television. "Davey & Goliath" has made way for "Kids are People Too" which would then be followed by reruns of "The Big Valley" or "Star Trek". By 11AM there is nothing good on TV anymore. Mark, Barbara and I would usually scatter to the four winds in search of something to do.
Soon afterwards the familiar crackle of a record on the turntable meant that Mom had claimed the den as was her wont and due.
We grew up in a very small house. Mom and Dad plus three kids and a lovable old mutt. Solitude was at a premium. Except for your bedroom there was literally nowhere to go that someone else would not need to traipse through to get to someplace else. We had two TV's - a large console color TV in the den and a small black and white set in the living room. Mom & Dad used the B&W while we used the color TV. However, the record player was also in the den. Therefore, it was not possible to watch TV and listen to records at the same time. Six days a week the den was for the kids. On Sunday's, it became Mom and Dad's room - for just a few hours.
During this time they would pull out an LP from whomever struck their fancy at the moment. Regular performers included Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Jim Nabors, Johnny Cash, The Kingston Trio and many, many others. I don't remember my parents ever enjoying anyone who was popular (to us kids, anyway...). Instead, it was all of these "old-timers" belting out hits that I would never hear on top 40 radio. At the time I mocked them.
Yet they stuck with me.
From an early age I remember singing along absent-minded to Frank, Bing, and Johnny Cash. I actually liked the music although I couldn't tell you why I did. My parents liked it so it must be okay. It wasn't until junior high that I realized that having tastes that did not coincide with the other students meant nothing but trouble. Note to self - when a junior high schoolteacher asks what music you listen to at home - LIE and say anything but "Johnny Cash". This will save you a towel whipping in gym class.
Further note to self - the above advice is crap. Listen to whatever you want to and to hell with your "peers".
My musical tastes may not have been popular when I was a kid but boy, am I glad for my parents taste in music now.
Watching "Walk the Line" the other night made me realize how much I liked the music of Johnny Cash. This realization sent me to Amazon to buy "At Folsom Prison". As I listened to the sample tracks I realized that THIS was the album that my parents wore out on Sunday mornings. I knew instinctively what the next song would be on the play list just from hearing the previous song. Clearly these records stayed with me more than I ever realized.
As I've gotten older I enjoy the singers and standards of my parents generation more and more. I've always like Big Band Music (see above 'note to self') and Jazz (ditto) but now, I realize that my musical taste was shaped long ago by my parents, who took time out from their busy week to listen to a few LP's from their childhood once in a while. Jenna already likes some 80's music because of my incessant playing of "Back to the 80's Friday Nights" on MIX 98.5 so there must be something to this immersion in song. Maybe someday her kids will roll their eyes whenever she rocks out to "Jessie's Girl"? Or not.
My music shipment from Amazon arrives this afternoon. I think that I'll play "At Folsom Prison" on Sunday morning - right after a hearty breakfast of pancakes and bacon.

4 Comments:

Blogger Bridget said...

Start Your Day with Robert J was my Sunday morning wake-up call. I can still hear the deep, soothing voice of Robert J Lurtsema as he introduced each classical piece of music on GBH radio's 'Morning pro musica'. The program always began with the swelling sounds of tweeting birds. It was a wonderful way to wake up on a Sunday morning. Thanks for conjuring up such a cool old memory.

8:31 AM, July 11, 2008  
Blogger Fox In Detox said...

So you like Johnny Cash eh? Well so do most of the head banging, goth wearing, tattooed punk rockers of Allston's rock city and surrounding areas. Welcome to the new mainstream. You, my friend, have unknowingly landed yourself square in the middle of all things "cool"...

8:56 AM, July 11, 2008  
Blogger Murph said...

My grandparents had all that old music, too, but it was more of an 'event' when they would warm up the old console (yes, I can hear the hum of the tubes, now) and put on a record.

For me, it was Pa's incessant talk radio that had an impact, although, I haven't found one where I don't think most people are idiots. So, I stick with sports-talk radio. Yeah, they're still are idiots, but the hosts are more apt to call them out or simply 'blow them up,' which is the fancy way 'Dennis & Callahan' will simply hang up on one of those idiots.

Of course, I do see my musical influences slowly immersing into my girls but Trish has had more of an impact with her unending playing of Jimmy Buffett on the CD player any time they are in the minivan. The best I have done so far is to get Alana to enjoy some Black Crowes. But I haven't given up hope, yet.

And as a side comment, it's funny, and a bit sad when I mention 45's and 8-tracks in front of the kids.

Now, if I could only figure out why I have 'A Priate Looks at Forty' in my head.

9:13 AM, July 11, 2008  
Blogger Cynthia said...

My dad listened to (and thus, did everyone else, being in a small house as well) Carole King, James Taylor, Simon and Garfunkle, Neil Diamond, the Irish Rovers, the Mamas and the Papas, and Peter, Paul, & Mary. Some of his older stuff he had on reel-to-reel. I went through similar teasings for being a Neil Diamond fan. Still do.

I collected '45's (didn't we all?): my particular favorites were those simulated interviews with popular music spliced in for the response. Remember "Energy Crisis '74" and "Mr. Jaws"?

At slumber parties us girls would play records and take turns sing along, an early version of "American Idol". "Killing Me Softly" and "Loving You" were frequent choices.

4:35 PM, July 12, 2008  

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