I live a very routine life. I may not perform tasks at the same time, but it’s generally in the same sequence. Quiet time. Make coffee. Check my glucose and blood pressure. Make breakfast. Take my pills. Turn on the television to listen to background music. Check e-mails, Facebook, blog reader and my bank account in that order. Get on with the day. When I listen to music, it’s generally Beautiful Instrumentals, with alternating Malt Shop Oldies and 60s Revolution on Saturdays and Positively Sunday on GAC on Sundays.
Last Saturday I was listening to Malt Shop Oldies. My 12 year old grandson listened along for awhile before announcing his dissatisfaction with my listening preference. The song was Mockingbird. He just got up from the couch and said, “I don’t get it. There’s no bass. It needs bass.”
A little while later he came back with me still listening to Malt Shop Oldies. This time it was Sam Cooke’s Only Sixteen. He stood there for a couple of minutes and with full animation said, “It’s crazy. There’s no bass. It needs bass. I just don’t understand, why don’t they use some bass?”
I had to chuckle before trying to explain to him baaaack then, artists didn’t have the tools of today. No sound boards. No acoustics. No pre-programmed beats and melodies. No synthesizers. What you heard was the band performing as an accompaniment to the singer. The lyrics — whether they made sense or not — was the focus, not the loudness of the guitars and drums.
But what made me chuckle was the tete-a-tete between us. It brought me back to the days when I was saying “I don’t get it” to my parents and their Big Band and Jazz recordings. And as I uttered the words, “You know, today’s music is nothing more than noise … real, loud noise,” I remember those same words coming from Mom and Dad as they listened to my generation’s songs, usually played a little louder in volume than they were accustomed to.
I vividly remember my Dad yelling at me one night after work. I had used the car the night before and had left WCBS on the radio. I also had the volume pumped up. “I got in the car this morning,” he said, “and almost lost my hearing! Why do you have to listen to that junk so loud?”
And I thought he was going to lose it when I installed rear speakers in the Chevy.
Back then, of course, we were limited to radio stations. We also listened on AM, with all its screechiness and fading. Ah, those were the days.
I confess, I grew up on volume. To this day, you can often hear me coming down the street well before you see me. But I never was much into bass. I wanted to hear the purity of the music … not watch my speakers gyrate. I wanted to hear the strings. I wanted to hear the percussion. I wanted to hear the brass. But most of all, I wanted to listen to the lyrics and the silver-throated voices of the singers.
I guess eveything — or every conversation — old is new again.
THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: The best I can do is sustain and live a life where respect, love and a caring heart are on display for others and try to hold the bar high for them to see. Being me is all I have to offer. Being TRUE to me is all I have to offer myself.