Saturday, April 30, 2011

Immovable Object

There it sits. Every day for the past two years, I have ridden by this immovable object and wonder.

Why is this object that was constructed and sold to carry people and their possessions to far off adventures just sit there?

It sits there every morning, it sits there in the afternoon, it sits there in the evening, and even late at night it just sits there.

There doesn’t seem to be any mechanical issues with this large piece of metal and it appears the rain or wind keeps it overall look clean. It has it’s own parking space and never seems to crowd out the other vehicles that come and go.

It is the only mobile machine in the neighborhood that never moves. Others change colors, size and an even model, but this one just sits there.

Like some of us who are adventures, travelers, wanderers must be on the move seeking what is outside our realm of sight, but some of us are settlers. Some, who stay in one place, started businesses, build buildings, form governments, raise crops to feed others and are quiet content not to move on.

Perhaps this is what has happened here? Perhaps this vehicle found a good spot and just decided to sit there? Kind of like me.

But it will stay a familiar landmark, until the day either it or I won’t be there. Until then, see you tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Speaking of clothing, ever look in your closet and wonder what all those fabrics present?

Hangers full of purchases to present an appearance to please someone else are what fill our closets. These are not clothing necessary to protect us from the cold or keep us dry but statements we wish to make to others.

This is our persona.

Perhaps if we look backward, just a little bit, when things were simple, we would wear whatever was in the dresser only due to cultural society requiring us to cover our parts in public. Other than that requirement, the shoes protected our feet from the rough walk, the coats kept us warm, and the hats protected us from the glare of sunlight. Our parents choose the style and material due to price and availability, but we didn’t care.

As societies grow and develop, styles must be conformed to. Fashion is one of our binding group activities being able to relate to someone else in a similar look. What the tag in the collar read made judgments on each other and whether that piece of clothing would allow you to communicate to each other.
And yet, to be accepted, we tend to conform to the mold presented by groups we wished to emulate.

The same was true for language. We listened to others and learn to speak like them to join the conversation. Perhaps laughing smoothed the lapse in understanding, but the overall gestures were copied and duplicated as if following was the intent.

Work presented a new set of conformity, with terminology of the trade or profession only recognized by those who worked in the same field. The jargon became a badge of courage showing the knowledge and excelling the experience for others to follow.

And the clothing always changed with the recognition. From the comfortable clothing of the youth, proper attire was conformed to and even in some instance, overwhelmed the closet.

We wore a uniform.

Depending on the occasion, the presentation of fashion could make a statement that could further a career. Just as the right smile, wink of an eye, holding of a glass of wine, or stance; an entire future could be made or broken for the appearance.

So why did I have so many tuxedos in my closet? Why did I have tartan wool pants? Why did I have red velvet pants? Why did I have a blue double-breasted velvet jacket? Why did I have so many cummerbunds and satin bow ties and white diner jackets?

It may have been what I was or what I appeared to be?

But don’t worry, the next time I see you I’ll be incognito.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Black Socks

OK, ladies, you can take a break. This is for guys only.

Try and remember those clothes you wore when you were younger. Yeah, those funky t-shirts bought by your parents at the theme park that you had to wear to school or those weird pink and black suits that fit in with the time, but were only a cover for a brief moment.

Looking back at black and white pictures of captures in time, there are the shirts and pants and shoes that feels familiar as if I wore them today.

I can feel the texture and the buttons and the closures of the coats and shirts worn without chosen but with a pattern of similarity to others in the schools and occasions bringing like minded families together.

Of course we all shopped at the sames stores and followed the same trends in fashion, but some had more money than others, so the appearance had to adjust to the presentation.
Where the kackes pleated? Was the shirt button down and starched? Was there a loop in the back of the collar?

Looking at photos more than remembering the time, you remember the feel of the clothing. The correctness of the shirt, the buckles of the belt, the sway of the boots.

And when we were finally able to buy our own attire, we spent our meger dollars on outrageous fabulous, ill fitting and in-appropriate for community viewing, but it just felt right.
As we grew, we also learn the language of the time.

The jargon of the jobs and the associates became our daily conversation that no-one else knew.
So I look at the black socks in the drawer and wonder. What will become of these. They were only bought for the formal wear with suits and shoes shined and stretchered out occasions where the proper attire was required.

Much like the conversations learned to blend with the others in the world, we adjust to wearing black socks.

And now, what will I do with them?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Dancing with Mrs. D

A calm ride this morning in the warmth sunshine dodging the articles of clothing. It must have been an interesting evening. Probably those rowdy baseball fans.

A quiet spring morning with the sound of spring flying chorus, passing a few joggers plugged in avoiding the song of spring, where the lime green has turned to rolling piles of iron brown.
With thoughts of the gathering yesterday to celebrate nine decades of a strong country woman who would become my second family for a while.

A wonderful woman, as I remember, who would tolerate a mass of teenagers to pile all over her living room with arms and legs flaying, trying to find partners in a sea of the English invasion. I think she enjoyed the insecurities, passion for fun, and innocence of the times.

The streets are already block off for the parade of mostly white town folk walking up and down the street of monuments showing off silly hats, dressing up their dogs, and drinking in public. I wave at one of the yellow t-shirted keepers of the barricades, sitting in a folding chair under the shade of nature's umbrella. "Not a bad way to spend the day", I thought as he returned to his book. This will be a great day for people watching.

It seemed as if the drive way up to the house was a caravan of automobiles. One after one they found a spot and dumped their cargo of people I did not know. I may have met them years ago, but the faces and names were not familiar. It was like being at a high school reunion at a school you did not attend. But this was a gathering for another family. A family I had become part of for a brief time.

It will be a good day for the Fan eateries I think as I stop for a water break. A lad on a skateboard passes by then stops for traffic. I look at him and think "What an free soul". A backpack, pair of jeans, dirty t-shirt and skateboard was all he needed. Life should be that easy.

I hung next to the wall not partaking of the food stuffs or alcohol in abundance being introduced to complete strangers. A kinda a country feel in these folks but it was a city setting with high ceiling and artwork on the walls. Meeting kids and grand kids and being barked at by the roaming boxer. "Must be the orange sweatshirt", one person laughed.

A couple of guys climb ladders for a day of painting the wide porches of the 1920 row houses that so many of my high school buddies grew up in. Pass the school which brought them all together before I met that group allowing me to meet Mrs. D.

Finally noticing a pause in the family acknowledgments to the figurehead of the family, I made my way through the crowded living room to see the elderly women in a bright green top. Sitting in a walker bent over from time she looked up with a sparkle in her eye.

"Mrs. D. do you remember me?" I asked in a quiet voice trying to see what you cognizance was. "I'm Cliff Leftwich" I announced. She looked me in the eye and smiled. We shared pleasantries and it was a special moment. I always thought of her as my second mother, since during a major time of change, she was always pleasant and accommodating to me. She had invited me to go camping with her family, didn't interrupt me from banging on her piano, or stop me from lusting over young ladies in her house.

My yard bunny is out this morning but I figured she was busy hiding those eggs. What should I do with this warm sunny day of spring? Paint? Vacuum? Dig in the dirt? Just enjoy the day!

She told me she had asked about me over the years and had been told crazy tales about me. I chuckled. What had my friends told her? It was probably true even though they didn't know the half of it. "We all turned out pretty well" I responded. She smiled. A lot of it was because of her.

Earlier in the afternoon, before the room became packed with Walters, and Johnsons, and other family names; I had pulled out some old black and white photos taken in Mrs. D's living room. I tried to explain them to the hostess and Mrs. D's grandson. "Here is you dad being molested on the sofa, here is Art being levitated, here is the remands of the snow party that lasted overnight". "Where you drunk?" the grandson asked. "No, we didn't drink back then." replied his father. We looked at each other with a smile of innocence lost and I agreed, "We were good boys." That seemed to be foreign to the lad. "And here is your grandmother on the phone." from the glossy image from 1966. The brother and sister commented on the imitation artwork on the wall over the phone with the same bickering chatter I had remembered.

Another sip of water before the long climb up the hill before me washed down some of the pollen coating my throat. I was warm enough to breath easily through the nose taking in the smells of freshly cut grass and full blooming decoration. I could avoid the hill, but it would only be going around the mountain when she comes. Instead, I waited for the jogger to pass by between the oncoming traffic and those parked.

Later in the sun-drenched afternoon, I ventured back into the thinning room to hear the sounds of the 40's big bands and noticed the star of the day rocking back and forth to the strands of horns, reeds, and harmonies. Her son, spread out on the low soft sofa would lean back and remind her the name of the singer he had downloaded. With a sharp wit, she responded she knew the sound of the singer. Other than the frailness of the body, she was dancing to the tunes of her childhood. As yellowed pictures were passed around, she was lost in the dream of her youth. I joined her in the dance to songs I knew all too well myself.

Cooled down and rehydrated, it is time to change bikes and push on to the day's assignment. Reality of the neighbors barking dog awakes me from a few hours in someone else life. The last sip of cold coffee and I'm off. Now the black and white captures of a pass time can reside in an different house for they are their memories in their former space.

Thanks for the dance, Mrs. D.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

40 Years Ago - Today

I started my real life job that would carry me through 38 years for the same company.

I wasn’t looking for a job here, but I was getting ready to graduate from college, get an apartment and get married, so I figured it might be better than what I was doing now.

Now I had been working to earn money to spend on records and eat out, but no great financial windfalls. For that matter, money never seemed that important to me. Working as a caddy, pool boy, grass cutter, newspaper deliverer, sign painter, rock and roll guitar player, vending machine stocker, public library page and artist, and even Santa Claus was my resume when I saw the full page ad in the newspaper requesting anyone who was breathing to apply for a job there.

So at lunchtime, I walked the block away from my current job and filled out the paperwork in the personnel office. I was then shuffled through the picket line (the type setters who were on strike to protest the change from hot metal to cold type) and to the second floor to be introduced to the “Creative Services” manager.

After a brief view of my application, he noted I was about to graduate from the local art college, and then offered me a job. There was no discussion of salary, times, working conditions or benefits, so I said “Yes”.

He then asked if I could start right away, like today at 3 P.M.?

After giving my former boss a two-week notice, I started cleaning up for the new establishment job. I even wore a tie to the first day (see attached photo).

I sat in a metal cubicle with a wooden drawing board, a wooden drawer thingy and a telephone on a swivel rod. I had no idea what I was supposed to do or who I was to report to or who else worked in this office.
It was a part time job starting around noon until six and Saturday morning. The title was “Masking Artist” which meant I was to cut amberlite (and orange film peeled off of clear acetate) mask for photos so backgrounds could be dropped out. All my college classes had not trained me for this technique, so the Assistant Art Director had to show me step-by-step how the process was done.

I must have picked it up quickly because I became a “Jr. Artist”, then an “Artist” , then an “Assistant Art Director” and then an “Art Director”. The sales staff asked for fast ideas which I could produce so every year, right before the new year, the boss would call me into his office, look through a file and say I was doing a fine job and would get a % raise. It was much, but it was always enough to pay the bills and put food on the table for my wife and me.

Then the digital world came along and everything changed. I realized what these new desktop computers offered and struggled to learn on my own how they worked. This new television attached to a gray box could produce type in various sizes and styles; create graphics and logos, tone photos with the ease of a mouse click.

Absorbing the new technology I became a missionary of the change in the industry with multi-media presentations and classes.

After a consolation of departments by outside consultants, my “Technology Specials” turned into a daily grind of “Operations Manager”. Budgets, employee files and day-to-day work flows overtook the creativity.

Finally, I assumed the roll of “Database Administrator” being responsible for tracking the elements and processes of the network. That was until the stock dropped and lacking budgets required cuts.
I learned a lot of different techniques of printing and relish the opportunity to be part of an industry shift, but am sorry it is now a dying industry.

Surprisingly I still have dreams of solving problems with some of the characters I worked with over the years. Perhaps that is what I actually did, I was a “Problem Solver”.

And as time fades the memories, the lack of stress and long hours and endless paperwork and unproductive meetings are not missed. I made some good friends along the way, taught a few and learned from others, and had a pretty good run.

So I will put the identification card away for the past has gone and the next generation can solve the problems on there own.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Buddies at Buddy’s

This would have been “Joe’s In at Joe’s Inn Again” but for some reason this Thursday night was packed, probably due to the warm temperature and sunshine.
So with a Dexter guided tour of the famous Fan locations, we wandered of to Robinson Street with its rows of cafes, bistros, diners, and bars on every corner.

“Buddy’s” was my choice since I had never been there but had heard tales of wanton abandon from friends who were across the street neighbors of this fine dining establishment.

After finding a booth in the fairly empty dark interior, I viewed the all to similar layout to every other corner bar in every other American town. A long bar with swivel stools running down one wall covered with bottles and giant signs touting the daily beverage special with wooden booths lining the other wall with a kitchen in the back and bathrooms off to the side presented a comfortable familiar atmosphere which could soon be forgotten.

The only waitress handed us menus and asked’ “What are WE having?” With my quick wit I replied with a sweeping hand indicating the three of us and asked if she was joining us. She looked dumbfounded as if she had never been asked that before, but all waitresses have been asked that question.

I knew my buddy would rather have dined on Joe’s Italian cuisine, but he settled for a Ruben sandwich and a side. Since the waitress recommended the burger, I settled for a burger and fries with lettuce and tomato and a choice of provolone cheese. We both agreed on a local brewery special and settled into conversation.

Before we got too deep into small talk, I put a microphone out of my jacket and presented it to him. Earlier in the day I had sent him an email asking him to describe his remembrance of the “Thursday Night” band that he was the lead singer. He said he had gotten the email but didn’t know when the band was formed. I just asked him to fill in the blanks, since one member is deceased, one totally lost, one was not responding to request about music, and one I wanted to fill in what ever I couldn’t remember. Like most garage bands of the 60’s from what I remembered, we practiced at each others houses until the parents forbid any more noise, played a few locations for little to no money, and broke up.

He said his wife was interested in him because he was a musician and I responded I still get tickled about how he met his wife.

Once the plates arrived, we ordered up another round. Even though the cheese was wrong on the burger, I didn’t object. My expectations were confirmed.

We passed a few introversion comments without revealing too much or asking for much depth, for we were still very far apart in time and space. Health, family, wealth and work were the usual core of conversation, with a few choice statements that caught my ear, but I did not respond.

He mentioned his poetry. That brought my thoughts back to the tape recording he had done in his living room some 45 years earlier where he read a self made untitled poem capturing teen anxiety and possible suicide. I wondered later if he still had his poetry? Was he still interested in writing or was that just a forgotten moment of expression? If he was still interested in poetry, maybe he could publish a book or blog?

When asked, “What makes you happy?” (Which is a pat question I ask everyone) he answered his yard made him happy, but the sparkle was not in his eye as he took a couple of pills with his coffee. Maybe it was the upcoming birthday celebration of his mother or the wandering son, but his mind seemed to be on work and schedules and he seemed overall tired.

But as I said, we only see each other now and then so all I can relate to is 40 some years of passage with some old stories and names and a giant void of connection.

As we walked back to the beginning location we bid adieu to one another without commitment to establish another contact or communication. Perhaps neither of us wishes to invest more energy into reconnecting a long ago close friendship or maybe we cannot offer anything to the other at this time.

Whatever a couple of hours were spent out of the house, talking one-on-one with another human being with a familiar past.

Thanks for the dinner and time.

It is my treat next time.

What could you do on a rainy day?

Well, it is going to rain all day, so what "indoor" projects will I attempt to accomplish?

Could check the stereo to make sure the cassette player and DVD/CD player are plugged in correctly? Could check the light bulb upstairs to see if I need to call the electrician again next week? Could put the new D-cell battery in the guitar? Could plug the guitars into the black box amp with the speakers to see if that works right after having it for two years and never taking it out of the box? Could go to the store and get some beer?! Could wash the laundry getting moldy in the machine since it is Saturday? Could vacuum with that new shop vac with all that horse power? Could record some more tracks on "Interruption" like you intended? Could cook a pizza? Could make the roasted chicken, steamed veggies and whole wheat noodles you have the ingredients for? Could finish patching the upstairs walls? Could put primer on the patches? Could fix the chair? Could put rollers on the wicker chair and see if that works? Could take a nap? Could take out the trash? Could wash the book shelves you've moved up stairs and put the remainder of the books away? Could draw some of the ideas you had this morning about places on Carytown? Could go to the record store between the drops? Could take down some more shelves in the kitchen? Could scrap the ceiling? Could move the baskets upstairs? Could crawl under the house and turn the water on? Could make up the bed that looks like a tornado came through? Could put up the smoke alarms? Could polish the guitars? Could waste some time watching tall guys in baggy shorts run around on a polished wood floor? Could put away winter clothes? Could sand the walls with the windows down? Could put in that new window sash? Could determine if I lost any files on the PC? Could wash the kitchen floor? Could patch the stairs? Could write a list of things you could do on a rainy day?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Selective Memory

Was it what she said or how she said it?

People change but memories stay the same.

No, not really. People do change from life experiences. Some keep their internal values while others waffle to the whims of the times and the surroundings.

And memories, either good or bad, are etched into our gray matter and can be sparked by the slightest cause. Perhaps a sound or smell or taste or just an inner feeling will bring back a different time and place.

But memories are embellished through time. The good times are remembered and the bad times are tried to be buried, only to show up as nightmares.

Memories will not go away.

Looking at old photos can show occasions long forgotten. Yet another point of view by one who remembers the photo at a different angle in life can flood the brain with thoughts still dusty with time.

As time moves on the dust will gather on the memories and fade the times somewhat cherished yet far, far away.

What was it she said? Oh, I remember.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Soap Opera

Have you ever watched one of these? It is amazing!
I first saw a soap opera when my mother watched one on the small black and white viewing box. The sound was terrible and the shadows of the cameras showed how cramped the settings were. It could not hold my attention.
Then I was reintroduced to them when my second wife followed them, but only on Channel 8. She was a fan long before I met her, which I didn’t know.
I would come home from work and she would tell me about all these people and the interactions between them and I would wonder who were these people. I didn’t know any of the neighbors with these names and besides how could she know all these facts about the neighbors without peering into the windows.
Then I became aware that they were the small two-dimensional people appearing every weekday on the television with a continuing story of worry and wonder. I was introduced to the richest family between two and three and the multiple marriages, deaths and tales of Tadd and Todd and Lora and Luke and a bunch of other faces I could not remember. Each hour from the noon news to the six o’clock news was a parade of similar dull conversations between two characters interrupted by commercials for soap detergents (appropriate), medical attention, and diapers.
On vacations, I would sit for hours in the kitchen and watch this continuous story from one hour to another not knowing the difference between chapters or characters.
Since I didn’t know the personalities of the characters, but recognized the faces, the network would throw a curve to me by presenting a new person in a role I had already accepted. When questioned by the change, my wife would say, “yeah she started last week” fully accepting the new face in the story line, for the story was what was important.
I would go for months without seeing any of these plots develop, and then stop and watch for an hour and be amazed how nothing had really changed.
The same people were in each other’s faces for a brief moment trying to get in each other’s business. There was always a crisis or some type of drama that could not be immediately resolved until the ratings peaked.
It all seemed rather boring to me, but in retrospect, these simple stories of families and drama do reflect real life.
Families create their own drama and have to deal with everyday worries and dreams, loves and forgotten lives, though maybe not as extreme as television writing, then again maybe more so.
And as slow of a pace as it appears on the screen, so is life. One minute, one hour, one day at a time to absorb the workings of life and react to it.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Moving Music

A weekend project is to take all the remaining vinyl 33 1/3 recordings and sort them so I can find what I’m looking for then put them into newly polished and cleaned teak boxes with sliding doors.

A: “Ananda Shankar” the son of Ravi who put a little rock to the sitar, “The Archies” yeah so sue me, “Adrian Belew” took feedback to another level with help from FZ and Fripp, “ARS Nova” an early ’68 band who combined Gothic classical with rock

The first project is to get them all out in one spot. There are only about a quarter of what I used to store, but through the years I found some I didn’t like, some I wondered how I ever acquired, and some that had to be sold to pay for food. These are the cherished ones.

B: “Barbarians” with a drummer with one hand, “Blue Cheer” the loudest band of the time, “Blues Magoos” with psychedelic lollipops, “Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band” 40’s sounds with wonderful comic insight (note: Magical Mystery Tour), “Buckingham & Nicks” the beginning of a Fleetwood Mac sound by two teens, “Buggles” because video did kill the radio star

I’ve made a database of all the titles / artist / producers/ musicians / songs / studios/…. (only because I’m anal) so I have a list to organize with. Some are show tunes, some are classical, some are new wave, but the majority is good old rock and roll. And when I say “old” I mean the originals.

C: “Camel” did try to keep the Beatle smooth sound going, “Charlie Watts Orchestra” who would have thought he could make it swing, “Chesterfield Kings” a group of guys who mimicked the 60’s to a key, “Country Joe and the Fish” no other music sounds like what they captured

This mass of plastic have only moved a few times, so the wear and tear have not been too bad. I’ve always tried to keep the covers clean and upright in protected shelving.

D: “Donovan” made children’s music; “Doors” introduced by a little girl, “Duke University” the only recording of my father’s music

For years they have sat, taking up space due to the turntable dying and I never purchased another one. Recently I bought one with a USB plug to digitize some out-of-print copies.

E: “Easy Rider” a pivotal soundtrack, “Eric Clapton” surprising commercial on second listening, “Eagles” great, great harmonies, “Everly Brothers” more great harmonies and not as hillbilly as I remembered

So last winter, I decided to play every album. This was to see if the quality was still listenable. It was also to see if I really wanted to keep all this cardboard.

F: “Fanny” the first REAL girl rock and roll band, “Flo & Eddie” more great harmonies with a lot of fun, “Francis Vincent Zappa” what can I say, his music changed my life, “Fugs” irreverent poetry

Some of the sounds caught my ear since I had not listened to them in decades. Some surprised me with an almost new sound. Some brought smiles of familiarity. Some proved to me that I supported some artist over and over. Sometimes that worked out well, sometimes not.

G: “George Harrison” you see, this is why I have to organize them, this should be under “H”. Was not as impressed with his box set since 3 sides were jams but love his “Wonderwall Music” soundtrack, “Grandmothers” a bunch of disgruntled Mothers of Invention players who said they wanted their royalties

My first venture into listening to plastic brought back the sounds of scratches and pops, but even through small speakers the sound was full and rich, as I had remembered it being years earlier.

H: “Hall & Oates” was not that impressed with their music until they copied the Apollo, “Herman Hermits” a true capture of the English pop-wash sound, “Hits of the Mersey Era” is an attempt to remember all those other one hit pop wonders who invaded from England

Then came the skips. Those annoying jumps in the middle of a note or verse or thought brought out the wiping rags and Discwasher DR Hi-Technology Record Cleaning Fluid and I swirled the black disk in a ritual passed on by audio aficionados.

J: “J.S. Darling” the music teacher of Williamsburg who played at my first wedding, “Jean-luc Ponty” a fine French violinist who enjoyed FZ music, “Jeff Beck” didn’t like his early stuff, but he found a niche in electronic sound unlike anyone else, “Jimmy Carl Black” the Indian of the group, “John Sabestian” always like the Lovin’ Spoonful ragtag sound, but this solo album captured what you didn’t hear at Woodstock, “John Small” a local musician with a cover by my bud Bill Nelson, “ Joshua Rifkin” with his baroque Beatles

When the skip reappears, I recalled an old wives tales of weighting down the tone arm. Since there was not adjust to the weight, a penny will have to do. Eureka! It was just enough pressure to keep the needle in the groove.

K: “K-tel” don’t fool yourself, we all bought this stuff, “Kate Bush” turned on by a friend of mine due to a great poster, but the music and writing captured me, “ Kevin Ayers – John Cale – Eno – Nico – and the Soporifics” made a definitive 1974 experimental recording live, “King Crimson” one of the most flexible sounds with unexpected results, “Kinks” a great band not nearly respected enough

I thought about putting some in a pile to go sell after listening to them again while others brought new wonder. I had not remembered some of these songs.

L: “Leopold Stokowski” his presentation of Fantasia is a classic, “Lighthouse” a Canadian horn band following the trend but never had a hit, “Living Guitars” a gift from someone I’ll get back with songs made famous by the Rolling Stones, “Looney Tunes” one of the wonderful compilations from Warner Brothers in the late 60s early 70s, “Lothar and the Hand People” interesting band who’s hook was a Theremin, “Love” whose first two albums changed things, “Lovin Spoonful” music reminds me of a little girl and simpler times.

Some of the titles I remembered shelving after an initial listening due to lack of interest but I wanted to keep it for a complete set of the artist. These surprised me with sounds that were new and refreshing and very, very good. Maybe over the years my listening palette has changed.

M: “Mandrake Memorial” with an Escher cover and interesting electronics from a trio, “McCoys” yes, that three chord wonder, “Miami Vice” soundtrack to pastel adventure television, “Moby Grape” what a wonderful album. I recommend everyone listen to the first album, “Monkees” what, everyone has this album, “ Moody Blues” good tripping music, “Mothers of Invention” music is the BEST, “Move” great power band with classical background who went on to become ELO, “Music Machine” a 66 leather band with a gimmick of wearing one black glove yet good recording for the time.

Some were imports, but most where the copies any red-blooded teenage boy could buy at Gary’s or Walter D. Moses or Woolworths. Hours were spent flipping through plywood bins of these 12” x 12” images capturing our imagination. So many albums were bought for the cover design and photography.

N: “New York Rock and Roll Ensemble” classical meet doped up rockers talking about grave digging, “Nice” more classically trained players who like to throw a Hammond organ around the stage then stab it with knives to go on to for ELP, “Nico” the Chelsea girl who lived the life and died on a bicycle, “Nighthawks” wonderful blues, “Harry Nilsson” one of the best song writers and performers (when sober) of our time, “Nitty Gritty Dirt Band” found it’s niche with old country songs and recording an old man and his dog

Of course there were 45s around, but they only had one or two songs per side and the joy of a long playing album was it played several songs before you had to get up and go back to the turntable to flip it over and reset the needle for more music.

O: “Oingo-Boingo” wonderful pop from a writer who would turn to movies, “Orson Welles” 1938 recording of War of the Worlds, “Outsiders” a formula band from the mid 60s

The other joy of the large format was that a lot of information could be put on the cover. Names, photos, details, recording history and other silly stuff the artist or “groups” wanted to display. This material became topics for conversations at parties and other gatherings.

P: “P.D.Q. Bach” a college professor who took Bach to another silly level, “Paul Revere & the Raiders” who were lucky enough to be televised by Dick Clark to become THE teen cover band, “Paul Winter” bringing in various sounds to make early Earth music, “People” a one-hit wonder with potential, “Pink Floyd” had an interesting sound until it became dreamy

Even the fashion style was emulated by teens since this was the closest many would ever get to the celebrities of the time.

Q: “Queen” from a trio band with a powerful singer showed what multi-tracking can produce, “Quicksilver Messenger Service” never made it much further than the San Fran sound but were a compliment to Janis, the Airplane and the Dead

Fan magazines were taken over by MTV. The quick dying 8-track was taken over by the easy to carry cassette which music on the move. Analog became digitized. The entire industry changed.

R: “Randy Newman” a commercial writer who could write a commercial everyone would buy, “Rolling Stones” like them better (in the beginning) than the Beatles due to a gritty sound covering Chicago blues, think I have a complete set of vinyl’s?, “Rotary Connection” inter-racial group with covers and strange sounds like early Sly, “Ry Cooder” after his influence on Stones albums, he showed how the slide guitar could become popular

Today groups and artist and want-to-be singers and guitar players can post short videos of their attempt at entertainment, some with success and others with great talent yet no audience.

S: “Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes” a companion to Bruce Springsteen, “Spanky & Our Gang” with a smooth combination of politics and big band vocals, “Spirit” had one song that caught me, but it is still good, “Statutory Rock – WRXL – 102 FM” a time capsule of 1981 in this town, “Steeleyed Span” English rock and classic folk songs, “Supertramp” very easy to listen to and the last concert with my first wife, “Suzanne Vega” folk singer with deep messages

For in the long run, the thrill of the sounds coming out of the radio and then on albums you could purchase for $3.50 and take home to listen to over and over, was just business.

T: “The Andrew Oldham Orchestra” the Rolling Stones first manager recorded songs using the backup musicians, a REAL Classic, “The Beatles” should this be under “B”? , “The Kingston Trio” from the late 50s, “The Mormon Tabernacle Choir” singing songs from the North & South 1861-1865, “The Police” energy punk, “The Rutles” the pre-fab four, “The Soft Machine” played with Hendrix and the first album blew my socks off, “The Who” power rock at it’s best, “Them” Van Morrison blues

The ones we thought were rebels and the cutting edge were only popular due to extensive marketing and continuous photo distribution.

U: “USA Africa” yeah, I know, we all fell for trying to save Africa through music

I can tell by the grooves in the record which artist or composers or performers caught my ear at one time or another. They arranged the notes and sounds to match my mood at the time. Some reflect an era while some may have had the same effect on millions of others, but the sound was personal to me.

V: “Vanilla Fudge” who took a short song a stretched it out, “Velvet Underground & Nico” with a Warhol banana cover with NY earliest punk, “Ventures” great surf sound on the radio

So I’ll dust off this library and place them gently into their new homes. There they can sleep until the electronics awaken the sound again.

W: “Weather Report” jazz with a beat to turn on so much more, “Wings” to show how commercial Paul could be, “Witchcraft Coven” songs of the dark side

And while the cassette tapes and CDs and MP3s and whatever comes next will offer convenience, this old friends will remain a treasure.


A little piece of history to be shared with those who wish to come and listen. A sample of what moves people, what stirs the sole in all of us?

Y: “Yardbirds” had a wonderful tinny electric sound with so many guitars but lost their energy, “Yes” complex intertwined band who were very tight

For music, I believe, is the universal chord. More than language, fashion, politics; Music can be shared and enjoyed by anyone who listens.

Z: “Zabriskie Point” soundtrack to a movie that cannot be found, with Pink Floyd and the Grateful Dead being the fill, “Zachariah” soundtrack to a 70s western with a theme of peace and naming a friends first born, “Zodiac” comic sounds of the stars, man
There are more but my fingers are tired and I have to move records.