Music Memory

With two jobs, I have so little time for doing the normal things on the internet, but once in awhile I get sucked in to something.  I still buy CDs.  I don’t have time to download MP3s, and I don’t like the sound quality on older recordings, plus I always knew it would be a big black hole if I ever got started doing it.  So the only thing I’ve bothered to download is three versions of Billy Idol’s “Mony Mony,” which I was never able to get on CD and only had on cassette.  

I guess only people who’ve known me in the past would know that I’m a huge music fan.  It’s sort of an all or nothing thing with me, though.  I made my younger life in a career of music business because from the time I was a teen listening to Joplin and Hendrix on the old stereo console, those rock people were the only ones I felt really understood me, and I knew I wanted to be a part of it, and so I wanted it bad enough that I saw to it.  Sadly, I have only time for dabbling now; and frankly, I find it depressing being only partially immersed, and so I tend not to wade in too often, but it is like going under the ocean for me, and it is the world of my soul, so I wade in when I can handle it.

Lately, I’ve gotten pulled in twice.  I’m on Twitter and I had tweeted David Crosby during Occupy Wall Street, and he returned the tweet, about Kent State.  Then I had to go listen to “Ohio,” and that’s how I got pulled in.  I spent some hours listening to the more radical of Jefferson Airplane/Starship albums, and Grace Slick’s “Manhole,” albums that have been “cutouts” for decades, such as “Bark” and “Sunfighter.”  They were too political for most people.  I thrived on them while I lived out in the country one summer.  I sat on the ladder that covered the fence and sang to the horses with the stereo turned up all the way.  Music, for me, releases memories and emotions.  It is like my databank of memories and emotions.  I relive things so clearly, and listening to these albums for the first time in a long time made me feel exactly as I felt when I was singing on the fence, barely out of my teens.  It just all welled up in me.  I spent some time looking for the perfect version of “White Rabbit,” which, if it’s possible, is a song that actually has grown on me over the decades.  It’s taken on a new dimension.  I have even had some psychic experiences related to the song.  It became a premonition for awhile.  I pity those who will never hear a pristine analog recording of it cranked up loud on massive woofers and tweeters.  It’s so powerful that it’s more a spell than it is a song.

I ended the evening by printing off a black and white photo of Grace Slick in a beautiful period paisley mod dress shooting the finger up against a wall of hieroglyphs, and hung it in my guest bath, across from the framed Kent State Life Magazine and Article 1 Section 1 Bill of Rights 45 cover “Ohio” single.

Tonight I fell into a different rabbit hole after watching “Glee” and hearing Dot Jones do a cover of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene.”  I had all but forgotten that that song existed.  I’m not a big country fan, though my favorite female vocalist is Patsy Cline, and I have always respected and admired Dolly Parton, her music and her life.  So I googled and as it turns out, “Jolene” was Parton’s most covered song.  So I just listened to about 12 versions of it. Besides Dolly’s, it’s hard to pick a favorite, but I really enjoyed Alison Kraus’ live version, Mindy Smith’s video (Dolly appears in both videos), and probably most of all, Dolly Parton’s live duet with Miley Cyrus. I had only heard one song by Cyrus, which didn’t stay with me, but she was in wonderful voice with Dolly on “Jolene.”  The two blended beautifully.  Everyone from White Stripes to Sisters of Mercy has covered it.  What I would have forgotten about “Jolene” (certainly not the lyrics!) is the beautiful guitar picking on it.  It’s a good honest love song with real appeal for musicians, so it’s little wonder it’s well covered.  I now realize I need not worry about Dolly running out of money in her old age, because she must do quite well with royalties.  

I have no idea how long it will be before I enter the black hole again and go on a semi-obsessive musical quest, but when I do, I’ll be right back here writing about it.  


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